Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Don't sue.

Author's note: This is my very first fic ever, in any genre or subtext…so give it a chance:) I'd love reviews, as long as they're polite and constructive. Enjoy!

Chapter 1:

This was most certainly not his finest hour. Beyond the pale reaches of time and outside of all limited imagination, he'd done his utmost to give her what she wanted. The stars themselves winked their displeasure at his manipulations on the behalf of a starry-eyed and ungrateful girl, who'd charged through his trap undaunted and unaware of the lengths he'd gone to enchant her. The raven haired little beauty that ruined his kingdom and his heart, forever. He doubted she could fathom the depths of the tragedy. Not her. Not his impetuous and precocious favorite; she was oblivious to him. Impervious even.

He'd offered her everything. She'd refused. The thought alone left the bitter taste of defeat hovering over his tongue and the crushing weight of rejection in his heart. She, a mere slip of a girl, had no idea just how deep the cut of that that refutation ran. He was a king. He was a force of nature, powerful, proud and prodigious. He'd never needed to impress anyone in all his long life and yet…this girl, this lovely, fanciful creature had brought him low.

What more could she have asked of him? What would it take to assuage her cravings? She asked of him and he acted. She desired and he gifted. She plead and he was merciful. By all the light in her green eyes, he'd done everything she wanted of him! Did he need to wind every one of her precious dreams into his hair, just so she'd truly see what he was offering her? In her world, she was mortal. She was enchanting, charming and carefree but she would never be more than fodder for time. He could make her so much more; give her so much more, if she would only have opened her heart to him.

Did he ask for too much? After everything he'd done for her, all he'd been through she'd said the words that sealed his fate. You have no power over me. What did he expect? She was only a girl and yet, he felt his world become a hollow, empty cavern of despair without her sweet voice to fill its chambers. Couldn't she see that? Even in her own naïve mind, couldn't she see how hard he'd tried to please her? Selfish is what she was. Cruel, taunting, ungrateful and ignorant; she was all of this and more.

You have no power over me.

She was a fool. He would have made her a queen. She would have been prized more greatly than all the jewels in all of the kingdoms in any world. She would have been his light, his sanctuary, his prize…if only. If only she would have embraced him, even once. It would have been enough to satiate this nothingness in his soul.

In sleep she was a marvel, his tormentor. Oblivious to her surroundings, wrapped tightly and comfortingly in those dreams he would have gladly made a reality. Her inky hair fanning about her pillow like a dark halo, her tiny fingers tucked beneath her angelic face; she was the most arresting sight he'd ever laid eyes on. Rosy lips tilted into a smile, her dark lashes resting against those elegant cheekbones. It was all he could do to restrain himself. How long had he watched her like this? How long had he been visiting her while she slept and dreamt of her resounding victory? Too long. If there was ever a moment when she did not consume his thoughts day and night, he couldn't remember it. From the first moment he laid eyes on her in her favorite park, playacting for a dog, he'd ached to be near her. His Sarah. His little obsession.

She rolled in her sleep, throwing a leg out from beneath the covers with a sigh. Her brows drew together as if by his very presence, her dreams had turned sinister. Unable to help himself, he smoothed a gloved finger over her cheek. Not satisfied with this faint contact, he withdrew his gloves and traced her soft skin with bare fingers.

What wouldn't he have done, if it were a touch she invited?

His insides raged. It was all he could do not to wrap her in his cloak and take her Underground, where she belonged. He most likely would've already done so a thousand times past were it not for one simple, stupid thing.

You have no power over me.

His sigh was heavy and filled with years of frustration. "You little fool. I asked for so little." He lifted a stray lock of her hair and held it against his mouth. "It seems I would still be your slave, Sarah."

But not yet. No. He wouldn't give everything to her now, not so easily. She'd reduced his hopes to ashes for her pleasure. Displaced his soul with a toss of that glorious hair and ground her heal over his heart. And he'd let it happen. He'd let her do it.

"Not this time." He whispered above her lips, daring himself to drop the last couple of inches and appease the yearning in his blood. But he would not. He, Jareth the Goblin King and Lord of all the Underground would not surrender his pride to such weakness. At least, not yet. No. He would make her suffer for him first. He would guarantee that his very image would be burned into her memory until the end of time. She would ache for his voice, his touch, and his mercy. And what a mercy it would be, for him. Oh to live and bask himself in the sunlight of her smile, an end to pining for her heartbeat beneath his own. The temptation was a heady and palpable thing but he would not rush it again.

Where once she was a near-child, barely cresting sixteen years: Sarah was now grown. The same rules need not apply. The stakes of this game would definitely be higher. This time, he would not cater to her every childish whim for fear of frightening her away. She was a woman now, and there were no babes to barter against her dreams. There would be no escaping her fate, this time. He may be the beggar by her bedside now but soon, she would finally become the prize he'd sought all these long years. She would belong to him, body and soul.

"Oh Sarah, I warned you that I could be cruel."

With one last lingering look, he tore himself from her side and strode toward her window ledge. The night air was unseasonably warm and caressed his face like a lovers breath. Bathed in moonlight he paused, preparing himself for flight.

"Happy birthday Sarah." His voice was soft as he disappeared into the night but it had the desired effect.

Sarah's eyes snapped open, taking stock of her surroundings with all the wariness of one startled from sleep. Her room was empty, save for the pale glare of the moon as it shone through her open window. Rubbing the back of her eyelids with one hand, she rose and crossed to the casing. Her heart beat furiously in her ears, although she had no idea why she'd woken so suddenly and with such a sense of foreboding. What's the matter with me? She thought, carefully closing and fastening the window she knew she hadn't left open on purpose. It must have been the strong moonlight that had shocked her awake. It was so bright in her room; she might as well have left a light on. Reaching up to draw the curtains, she felt something soft brush against her naked foot. Groggily she scooped the object into her palm, willing her brain into focus. Once the realization of what it was dawned one her, she dropped it again and backed hastily into her bed, her blood racing.

A single, overlarge and snowy white owl feather flitted back toward the floor by her window. The sight brought a trembling hand to her lips. It couldn't be. She reassured herself and yet, what on earth would it be doing there otherwise? She took a deep breath, telling herself that she was being ridiculous and then she heard it. As fleeting and minimal as an indrawn breath…she heard his voice in the crevices of her consciousness.

Happy Birthday Sarah.

She spent the morning of her twentieth birthday sitting bolt upright in her bed, dreading that she was losing her wits and fearing the voices of an imagined past.