Recap:The Labyrinth gates open to Sarah, and she and the Goblin King find themselves flying high above it. With her former adversary holding her close, she finds herself surprisingly at ease with Jareth. But when they land in a wooded clearing before the Witness stones, everything changes. This is the fourth and final part of the story.
Warning: There is some mature content in this chapter. Please do not read further if you might be offended.
"I have one last wish, Goblin King." said Sarah, letting go of his hand.
Jareth folded his cloak around him tightly, as if the warm breeze chilled him. "You have only to name it."
The light in his eyes died quickly, like the shuttering of a window. For a moment, he looked so unhappy that she wanted to throw her arms around his neck and hold him fiercely. But the Goblin King recovered quickly and Sarah ached to see the cool mask drop into place once more.
It wasn't right, what she'd done. Her words had bound him from the very beginning, before Sarah ever saw him. It had always been her desires, her dreams that mattered. He'd labored to fulfill them, even the ones she didn't know she wanted. Even the dreams she didn't dare speak aloud.
He did it all, unquestioning and unstinting, even though it had nearly destroyed him. Guilt prickled her, and Sarah bit her lip. Jareth was right. He'd been generous, and she'd taken everything.
It's not fair. But I can make it right. I could give it back.
Sarah shook her head.
"No. I mean... It's yours. That's what I wish, that you have your heart's desire. Whatever it might be."
His expression was wary, brow furrowed in caution. "You are certain, Sarah? There can be no taking it back if you change your mind. Not here."
The clearing had fallen quiet now with not even the wind stirring a single leaf on the trees. Looming above them, the Witness stones stood as silent sentinels, sunlight piercing the cool shade around them.
Sarah took a deep breath. "I won't change my mind."
You are free, Goblin King. Come what may.
His entire body relaxed then, a slow triumph that crept over him like the sun slipping from behind the clouds.
"Then this is what I want."
Jareth stepped forward, fingertips beneath her chin and his thumb brushing the fullness of her lower lip before he bent eagerly to taste it. This time it was no accident. Her mouth opened up to his as they clung to one another, and Sarah slid her hand between the push of their bodies, over his rapidly beating heart to where the pulse fluttered at the base of his throat. The Goblin King's skin was fever-hot and he smelled like a summer day after the rain. Reaching down, she tugged his shirt loose and let her fingertips wander over the smooth flat of his stomach, then down to the hard muscle of his thighs.
At her touch, he groaned softly against her mouth. Unbuttoning her sweater, Jareth slipped it to the ground with growing impatience and ran his hands down the curve of her back, cupping her buttocks to mold her more closely against him. It was so easy to yield she didn't even think about it, bracing herself on his shoulders and wrapping her legs around his waist.
Pleasant warmth began to build low in her belly, and Sarah closed her eyes. There was nothing else in the moment except her fingers twined in Jareth's hair at the base of his neck to pull him deeper into the kiss. He moved away briefly only to begin again on her throat, biting down lightly at the join of her neck and shoulder. Sarah gasped, involuntarily locking her legs tighter around his body. It was sweeter than she'd imagined, and she admitted to herself now that she had imagined it, all urgency and aching demand that went exquisitely on without end.
But this wasn't a dream, and it couldn't last forever.
When he let her go, the disappointment was almost painful. She raised the back of her hand to her mouth, still feeling the pressure of his embrace as if it'd left an imprint on everything he touched. Jareth moved away a little distance. With the sun behind him, she couldn't see his face.
"Is that all you wanted?" she asked. She didn't know what she would do if he said yes.
The Goblin King laughed, fiercely happy. He caught Sarah up in his arms once more, spinning her in a dizzy circle before setting her down again. His kisses were gentler this time, grazing her forehead and cheek and never seeming to settle in one place until he reached her mouth. There, he lingered.
"No," Jareth said at last when she demanded to be let up for air, "This is only the beginning."
An Epilogue of Sorts
"... before the Witness stones," said Agnes knowingly, "You know what that means, my dears."
The goblins who crowded close around her to listen nodded, but the Junk Lady looked at the sea of vacant eyes and shook her head in disgust. Bending down, she rummaged around in her bag for another ball of yarn.
"Not a clue among the lot," she muttered, "I've seen creatures with more smarts growing on the undersides of logs."
The goblins guffawed until they collapsed on the floor as if she'd told the world's funniest joke. It was an irritating habit of theirs, but she could hardly blame them. It was what they'd been trained to do. Retrieving her yarn, she sniffed.
"No wonder he's kicked you all out of the castle."
Well, she amended silently, That wasn't the only reason.
But there was no use trying to explain that to the goblins, either. The Junk Lady shrugged and began another story, one about a lonely king and the girl who set him free. It began with 'Once upon a time' and had lots of adventures, just the kind of tale that goblins liked best.
Come to think of it, it was the same story each time. Agnes' knitting needles clicked in perfect rhythm as something that resembled a tiny sock grew another row of neat stitches. But it wasn't as simple as all that.
There were stories and there were stories, she mused thoughtfully. Some ended the way you'd expect and some didn't, but when all was said and done and everything was stripped down to the bare bones, maybe the oldest tales were the still the best, and the finest endings were the ones you knew from the very beginning.
Agnes began another row and looked over her audience who sat rapt with attention, waiting for the last line. She took a deep breath and nodded.
"... and they lived happily ever after."
Author's Notes: Any complaints about the saccharine sweetness and/or unbelievability of this story will be met with unsympathetic agreement and possibly a full disavowal of authorship. You were, after all, warned.