(A.N.)--- ah! hi! i know some people are going to hate me, but don't think of this as a definite end. think of it more as the end of part one. a second part is in the works, but I'm taking a little break to begin (yet again) work on my first labyfic. the original first two chapters should be up shortly. read it if you so desire (please?!). but, because of its age, it is a little different in style.

i would like to thank all the lovely people that have reviewed, and those who have kept up with this story from the beginning. Thank you! ^_^

Title: Twice Upon A Time

Author: Loki

Rating: R

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Epilogue: The Game Was

Sarah rose out of sleep twice after. She couldn't quite recall how long she had drifted in that world between, or when she had finally given in to the warmth---the warmth that had seemed to seep from his body and into hers. Her first awakening was perhaps the longest. Every feeling and touch came back to her nerve by nerve. The first thing she noticed was the heat of Jareth's body, the delicious feel of it against her naked thighs and breasts. Then there was the push of his breath. And the beat of his heart beneathe her palm, as if she could pull it from his chest and cradle it against her own. She remained still and went over every detail of the present, then slowly wound herself back to the past. That brought an edge of colour to her face, a crimson rose in contrast would not seem unusual.

All the times she had said no, all the times she had ended it as soon as it began . . .holding out, not for marriage, but something---something special. Was this it? He's a faerie-tale King. Even if this is all there is of his love, that alone is unique. But that idea was not a comfort. It made her chest ache, enough that she gasped a moment. Special or not, one night could not be all there was. She wouldn't have given herself to one night. And she had given herself.

She sighed, nestled more into the circle of his embrace. She couldn't think about that now, sleep was settling over her yet again. It didn't care about the tribulations of her waking mind, or the complexity of her situation. Sarah let it carry her away from consciousness and didn't look back.

Her second awakening. Confusing and colder, despite the sun that spilled across the bed from the window. Jareth was sitting on the edge, half-dressed and chin resting thoughtfully upon one knee. He glanced to her as she raised, and she caught a glimpse of some storm of thoughts before his eyes turned back to a distance she could not see. She did not approach him, rested back upon her knees and let her hands fall passive to her thighs. She let the silence crawl around them, not understanding it, but knowing something was on its way. Her eyes grazed the rich blue coverlet, falling into their own personal distance.

"This wasn't what I wanted," he finally said, oblivious to the sound of her heart sinking into her feet. "The game was seduction." He looked at her then, "You were supposed to come to me of your own free will."

She didn't understand what he was saying---it was so far from what she had expected. His eyes turned back, maybe to the window, and he sighed as if he had received the exact answer he had perceived, and wasn't pleased.

"I won't hold you to this week anymore. I release you from your promise. You will never have to see me again, so long as you wish."

"Yes," she whispered, "let's end this now." She slipped her hands over his bare shoulders, felt his muscles stiffen beneathe her touch. They were already so tense. Her arms wrapped around him and she laid her cheek against his. She felt the edges of her 'crown' dig into the flesh between her breasts, it dug into his back as well, but the slight pain was less real then the blind intention in her. She couldn't think of what she was saying or doing, she just was.

"You played your game well, but let's be honest." Yes, for once. "Even you couldn't force me into something I didn't want in the first place." O, that was so true. It struck her how true it actually was. She didn't regret finally giving in. No, her only regret was that he had regrets. But still he didn't seem to understand what she was saying, so she traced his jaw with the tips of her fingers, forced him to look at her.

"Don't be sorry for what we did, Jareth. I'm not." She watched the distance melt out of his mismatched eyes. Eyes so beautiful---she wanted to tell him.

"You mean that." It wasn't a question or a statement, more of a revelation. She smiled at him, she couldn't help it. His voice was so far from the condescending King. Could she be his Queen? Maybe they'd be good together. Maybe they'd kill each other. She didn't know, but she wanted him. At least that much. She traced his lips lightly with her own, stroked his shoulders with the gentlest of touches . . .then yelped abruptly as he wrapped his arms around her waist and rolled her like a shark. She fell beneathe him, gasping for air as he laughed.

"I win."

"Because I let you."

"Of course, of course," he grinned, lifting a lock of her hair from her shoulder and spreading the ebony-dark strands between his fingers. His voice made it sound as if she were speaking common knowledge, again and again.

"Or perhaps," she smiled suddenly, trying to ignore the fact that merely his fingers in her hair was enough to make her breathless. "I have won."

"How so?"

She continued to smile, eyes sparkling with a mischief that could nearly rival his. Nearly. She wasn't going to answer, and she made it evident.

He kissed her. "Perhaps."

"Jareth," she spoke his name when she could, pushing it into his mouth and forcing him to hesitate. She knew where he was going, and was even just as eager. But she was curious, and she was hoping the old saying about curiosity and cats didn't work on soon-to-be Goblin Queens.

"Hmmm?" he resumed, though he moved down over her throat and even dipped as low as her collarbone.

Okay, here we go. I may not want to know, but I have to ask. "If you loved me so much then why were you trying so hard to remove that Thread?

He raised up on his elbows, serious, but his eyes glittered with amusement. "And who said I loved you?"

She growled, fighting the beast inside her that wanted to rise to that light in his eyes. "Just answer the damn question, Jareth!" I won't be turned from the subject, no matter how tempting the distraction.

" . . .I was afraid it wouldn't be you."

Sarah blinked, in surprise at first, then to force back the stupid tears. "Oh."