Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognize!
Rating: PG
Summary: Sickness can tend to bring out the tender side in all of us. Goblin Kings and stubborn girls no exception. A J/S oneshot.

Of Lemon Tea and Toast

Sarah was one of those strange children who almost never got sick. And she grew up into a strange young woman who, by the way, almost never got sick. That is to say, she was just a little strange and also, she almost never got sick.

So of course, when those rare illnesses did visit our dark haired heroine, they hit with a vengeance. Viruses raged through her body with glee, crippling in their intensity.

Arguably, one could say that the colds Sarah Williams received were no worse than what a three year old child would get and it was only the fact that she received them so infrequently that made seem so violent. In short, she was a wimp and baby when it came to getting sick because it almost never happened.

Of course, ignoring such a blemish on the main character is a much better way to write a story, and so in this instance I will only say that Sarah Williams was sick, feeling very greatly under the weather.

She couldn't breathe. It wasn't so much the fact that her eyes were runny and her throat was sore and then whenever she even thought about laughing even the tiniest bit she coughed up half a lung. Because though all that was true, it was mostly irritating that she couldn't breathe.

The green eyed young woman was intaking air about as easy as if someone had shoved several peas up her nasal cavities, and indeed it certainly felt like it. If Toby hadn't already been at school for the day, and the house empty, doubtless she would have accused someone of doing such thing. Regardless of the improbability. She was sick, she was grumpy, the TV had nothing good on, and she couldn't breathe!

Drugs. She swallowed two drowsy, extra strength cold tablets and waited for the pills to take effect. Which they did.

She absorbed the slight dizziness well because she was lying down, and relaxed marginally as one nostril cleared and fresh air began going in and out through her nose instead of drying out her mouth. Sarah curled up in a fleecy blanket on the soft couch in the warm den of her family's house, mindlessly watching the daytime soaps.

There was a small ottoman in front of her and off to the side that had a tray set firmly on it containing a steaming cup of lemon tea and a plate of now cold, dry toast. She did not feel like eating.

She slipped into a drugged haze of near sleep to the endless droning of the television. Sarah roused once for a stumbling trip to the washroom and then to the kitchen for some water. Her father came down the stairs and made his way to the kitchen to her.

"Hi Dad." She said blearily. "Didn't realize you were home yet."

Her father came close and ruffled her already mussed hair. Sarah scowled at him but he only laughed. "Hey sick one. How are you feeling?"

"Just grand." Sarha said with a deeper scowl. Only it came out "Jub gram." She snorted and cleared her nose once more. She hated blowing, and Kleenex made her nose all red and tender.

Her father grinned at her sympathetically. "I hate to do this to you, but Karen and I have to take Toby into the city tonight for his school trip."

Sarah blinked and then remembered them talking about it. "Oh. Right."

"So you think you'll be okay on your own until tomorrow afternoon?"

"I'm 24. I think I'll manage." She shivered and began to head back to the warmth of the den and the soft couch. "It's just a cold."

So a couple hours later, when a fever began to shake her body, Sarah lay alone in her house feeling miserable and sick and miserable and sick and more miserable. Plus she was pretty sure if she tried to get up and make it to her room she'd fall over and hit her head. She didn't want a concussion on top of her cold and fever.

Her present feelings of disorientation being quite developed, she was sure she was dreaming or hallucinating when the voice and figure of a Goblin King seemingly popped into her den.

"Well, well. Feeling a touch under the weather are we?" His voice was muffled through the pounding of her heartbeat in her ears.

"I'm dreaming." She mumbled and blinked furiously when the Goblin King's blond head came into view as he crouched before her couch.

"Perhaps." He grinned crookedly at her and his eyes were dark with mischief. "Then again, perhaps not."

Sarah just turned her face into a pillow. She felt oddly like crying and she wanted a hug. A few tears leaked from her eyes and she sniffled pathetically.

Jareth wondered if it was possible for her to look any more endearing. She wasn't yelling at him in defiance, or telling him to go away, her cheeks were flushed with fever, and her eyes were bright. He cocked his head to one side as he considered the ill woman before him.

Odd that he wasn't repulsed by her sickness. Not giving it further thought, Jareth asked a question. "Where is your family? Why aren't they taking care of you?"

"Toby… in the city…" She mumbled. "By 'self…"

Jareth frowned. That wouldn't do at all. He snapped his fingers and several goblins sprang out from behind cupboards and underneath the nearby desk.

He rubbed her back gently, there was fresh lemon tea. A cool breeze on her face, a warm blanket for her body, glasses of water for her parched throat and soft kerchiefs for her nose.

Goblins were useful in doing menial tasks, but they couldn't carry Sarah up to her room when she was ready to fall asleep so with a bit of a tender grimace, the Goblin King lowered himself to picking up the sick woman and carrying her to bed.

It cannot be denied that he enjoyed having the one-time champion of the labyrinth in his arms, sick though was, her head burrowed into his chest and one hand clutching at his soft black shirt. She was asleep and incoherent, which was, Jareth supposed, the only way that she was letting him get this near to her without protestation and fight.

With a small grin he deposited her in her bed arranging the covers around her sleeping frame. As he placed fresh water by her bed he took note of the very changed room. No longer was it childish and full of silly wishful dreams. It was a grown ups room with an understated elegance. With one last soft look at the woman mumbling into her pillow, breathing heavily from an open mouth, and was that… drool?

He smiled. A smile that faded as he looked down at his silken shirt. He touched one finger to a suspicious wet spot and his face twisted in a disgusted grimace. Ewww. Snot…

With one last look at Sarah, admittedly there was less care and tenderness in his gaze this time and a little more annoyance, he glittered out of existence in her room, leaving it dark.

Sarah awoke comfortable, still stuffed, but running less of a fever. Confused she looked around her room. How on earth had she ended up here?

Her mind threw hazy images of a haughty Goblin King taking tender care of her. Considering her imagination, she discarded these images and feelings as fever induced hallucinations.

She took a shower, felt better, and changed her sheets. As she was pulling her linens off her bed, she stopped short in shock. She sniffled loudly to clear her nose, and then dropped her bundle of laundry.

A soft black shirt was draped on her chair, a creamy parchment note attached. She pulled it close and read it.

You owe me a clean shirt.


Sarah sniffled and wiped her nose thoughtfully as she regarded the crusty snot patch on his elegant shirt. Perhaps she should get sick more often if it brought a certain Goblin King back into her life.

But then again, she wasn't sure she could afford it if all his shirts were dry-clean only.

AN: Just a little something my mind dredge up when I was sick like... six months ago. And only got around to finishing now. It's a oneshot, but I've had a BRAINY IDEA for a companion oneshot. Though,with mytrack record,it will probably be another 6 months before I even start on it. All spelling and grammatical errors are mine, though I did check it. Let me know what you think! Review!