Title: Valentine, Be Mine
Disclaimer: I do not own.
Summary: Sarah attends the Valentine's Ball with a goblin and Jareth is notably put out.
Author's Note: Was rather pleased with the idea, me. Hope to have this up by Valentine's Day. Took me a while to realize it was today. XD Anyway. This would make an awesome title for a MirrorMask fic, yeah?
Valentine, Be Mine
All day at the bookshop, the girls had been talking about it. To most of them, it was depressing. Another holiday passed without a mate to shower them with affection. Strangely, Sarah didn't really mind. Another Hallmark Holiday had come and gone. By the fifteenth, all the hoopla would be over.
Well, no. That was a lie. On the fifteenth, the girls would be complaining about not having gotten anything, or in Rose's case, having gotten something insanely stupid.
Feeling rather chipper about the whole thing, Sarah skipped down the hallway to her apartment and swung open the door, singing to herself as she went.
Standing not ten feet inside the room was a goblin about as high as her knee, looking as though he were about to pass out. She stopped short, shutting the door softly behind her.
"Hey there. You alright, little guy?"
He swallowed hard and looked down at his hand.
"Sarah Williams, would you go to the… the Valiant… Valets… Valentine's Ball with me?"
She bit the inside of her lip, trying hard not laugh at the poor creature. Not only was he reading to her a badly smeared note from the inside of his hand, but he was totally out of his element here, standing in the center of a very feminine apartment without a chicken or discarded helmet to be found.
"And who may I inquire," she asked, keeping her face very serious, "is asking after me?"
"Giles Gibbs," he said, stuttering badly.
"Well then, Giles, I shall be honored to go to the ball with you." Seeing as how it was a goblin ball, she didn't feel a pressing urge to change from her work clothes. "When do we leave?"
Having gotten the hard part over with, the color rushed back into his face and he grinned, obviously delighted.
"Whenever the lady wishes."
This provoked a mad dance of happy whoops and stomps that the landlady would no doubt have a word with her about tomorrow.
"You is beautiful, lady!" He crowed, stretching up as far as he could to hold her hand.
Sarah grinned and thanked him, wondering all the while what the girls were going to think about this.
They disappeared then, but not before she caught sight of the white owl in the window. Maybe it was her imagination, but the white owl looked almost…. well, pissed.
He could salvage this. He could. There was no way Sarah was going to enjoy her night with Giles. For godssakes, he stuttered.
He could bloody well salvage this. Or Giles was going to find himself floating in a very large keg.
She'd been expecting a bubble.
Then again, she'd also been expecting something decorated as badly as a high school prom.
On both counts, she was surprised. The entry hall of the castle was absolutely gleaming. Utterly spotless, and without a chicken in sight. Goblins ran amuck, but at a more sedate pace, weaving through the legs of the fae and elfin folk. Under normal circumstances, she would have expected the goblins to chase and snatch the fairies from the air. Not today, apparently.
It was a surprise to say the least.
Strange though that Jareth seemed conspicuously absent. The throne, however polished, was vacant. And try as she did, she couldn't for the life of her find that blond mane in the crowd.
But she shrugged it off and carried on dancing with her date. It'd been five years since she'd last seen him. For all she knew, he'd shaved the lot of it off.
"May I cut in?"
Giles froze, a look of extreme disappointment painting his crooked little face. Sarah smiled at him, her back to the as of yet disembodied voice.
"No, you absolutely may not," she announced curtly and carried on dancing, only to find Jareth directly in her way.
"A goblin, Sarah?" A perfect eyebrow cocked. "I'd have thought you had better taste than that."
She ignored him. For the moment at least.
"I love what you've done with your hair. It suits you now that you've grown it even."
"You avoid my question." He crossed his arms.
Sarah froze, pretending at polite surprise.
"Jealousy is unbecoming, Jareth. He asked me first. I can hardly help it that he beat you to the punch. If you'll excuse me?"
She made to pull away, but he caught her arm and sent Giles a glance that very clearly stated that if he ever wanted to use his arms again, he was to bloody well bugger off now.
"I get drinks!" Giles cried, and with one fist raised in the air, fled.
"My poor girl, it seems your partner has run off." He smiled. "Allow me to rectify the situation."
For her part, Sarah was enjoying this game immensely. She'd missed Jareth something awful. But then, you couldn't go about telling men of his ilk something like that. Their heads were big enough already.
So instead she flashed a bright smile and pulled away a discreet few inches.
"Perhaps later. I am a bit thirsty."
It would have been inelegant to follow her just then. Jareth glared at Giles' retreating back and let himself be surrounded by the crowd.
"Don't be afraid of him," Sarah said, sitting down with her back against the wall, sipping gingerly from her wine glass. "He won't do anything to you."
"Not while you is here," Giles looked over at her, happy with her sudden change of altitude. "But just wait 'till you is back home. King'll put me upside down over the bog."
She shook her head with a short laugh.
"He knows I'd kill him."
"Shhh!" The little goblin looked around fiercely. "That treason, Sarah!"
"I didn't mean it literally."
"Don't matter." He crossed his arms, stubborn even through his complete lack of knowledge when it came to the word literally. "No say things like that."
She shrugged and turned back to her wine.
"Excuse me, lady?"
She looked up into the most stunning pair of green eyes she'd ever seen.
"Hello." It wasn't the cleverest thing she'd ever said to a bloke, maybe, but it wasn't exactly the worst either.
"Dat's an elf," Giles announced helpfully. "Go dance with him. Giles' shoulders sore."
Sarah laughed, but handed him her drink as the elf offered her a hand up. He really was gorgeous. But then, she supposed elves were supposed to be.
"I'm Hyrd, by the way." He murmured, spinning her out onto the floor. "Nordic name, I know. My parents had an odd sense of humor."
"I think it's a wonderful name. Better than mine. I'm Sarah."
He laughed and shook his head.
"You act as though the entire Underground hasn't heard of Jareth's little wonder."
"Do you know him?" She asked. Everyone else here seemed to refer to Jareth by his title.
And then she noticed just how much they looked alike.
"Related actually." He smiled.
"Heavens, no." He chuckled and deftly swung her through the crowds, pulling her away from Jareth as soon as he caught sight of him. "Just a cousin that enjoys making his life difficult."
Jareth clenched his teeth, glaring as that idiot elf waltzed his Sarah farther away from him.
He had to do something.
Sarah's laugh rang out over the crowd, bearing little more than a passing resemblance to music.
He clenched his teeth and strode off through the crowd, intent on doing that something.
"A word?" He ground out, finally coming face to face with the pair.
Hyrd pretended at surprise.
"Hello, cousin. What a nice—"
"Jareth." There was a warning note in her voice. But Jareth only shot her a look to match and hauled Hyrd away by the arm.
Glaring after the goblin king, she turned and found herself face to face with Hyrd's double.
Jareth flinched to hear Sarah's brilliant laughter, and her question above the noise of the crowd.
The double smiled and pulled her off.
"I'm Byrd. Nice to meet you."
"Your brother did mention your parents having an odd sense of humor."
"That's not nearly the half of it."
"Jareth, you could try simply asking her." Hyrd crossed his arms with a smug grin.
"That's not the point."
He laughed and pulled back, reclaiming his arm.
"Aren't you a prize?" He asked, grinning. "Can't even get a mortal girl to dance with you! I knew you'd lost your touch."
Hyrd knew better than to challenge Jareth. And that was exactly why he did it.
Someone had to force the stupid twit to make his move.
"Thanks for the dance," Byrd whispered suddenly and was gone, lost in the crowd.
Sarah turned slowly, lost and disoriented, unable to remember where it was she'd left Giles.
"Sarah?" Jareth pulled from the sea of dancers, a rock among the crowd.
"Oh, hello." She smiled. "I seem to have lost my partner again."
He smirked and held out a hand.
"I believe I could be of assistance."
Laughing, Sarah accepted.
"If you insist."
"Be mine, Valentine." He whispered as they danced, slipping a ring onto her finger. Sarah laughed, a sound like freedom.
And strangely, her response was the same.
"If you insist."