Written for scatteredlogic.

Title: The Gift Horse

Genre: Romance/Mild Angst

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: Labyrinth belongs to Jim Henson Corp. not to me! No profit is being made from this work of fiction.

Prompt: Sarah hasn't seen Jareth, but she clearly sees his influence in her life. (Sarah as an adult, please, and it's up to the author whether or not she ever actually sees him.)


Sarah finds a way back into the Underground without Jareth's immediate knowledge. (Adult Sarah, please, and how he reacts is up to the author.)

Summary: Visions of the Goblin King visit Sarah, heralding a perplexing new gift. A dream is given, but what if Sarah doesn't want it?


"… After the DNA is unwound by the DNA helicase, the RNA primers are laid down…"

The classroom was typical. A slightly overweight, balding professor was droning at the front. The comatose students sat in their seats, trying to perfect the appearance of studious sleepiness. The room itself was uninspiring, as far as halls went. The chairs were comfortable, but not too comfortable, else the lucky student may have an easier time taking a nap. The desk space was small, conforming to the universal mandate that a student should not have room for a printed lecture notes and a laptop or, god forbid, a text, on its surface at any one time, forcing the student to juggle said items throughout the lecture from lap to bag to desk in an awkwardly uncomfortable shuffle for ninety minutes.

If, of course, said student was a conscientious one.

Ineffable mystery of life number forty-five, Sarah Williams thought, as she doodled on her folder, Why does a drama major have to take biology classes? It's not as if I will be asked to perform that riveting piece of Shakespearean Theatre: Much Ado About DNA Translation.

Sketching swiftly, she envisioned a beautiful garden, with fragrant roses and lush ivy growing upon crumbling walls. It would be dark, she decided, shaded for lover's secrets and the games of pixies. A fountain made of brass and marble would be in the center, catching the few rays of dying sunlight, refracting rainbows upon the granite…

A familiar man stood in the middle of this beauty. His tall, sparse form held a magnetic energy, coiled and leashed excepting for his right hand, where he toyed with a sparkling crystal. He was unchanged; still terrifying, still powerful, still beautiful.

He wasn't looking at her, but she was sure he was aware of her presence.

He turned slowly, nostrils flaring as he scented her, feral features etched in stone.

His composure cracked for a moment, an indescribable emotion coloring his eyes for a brief second, and like the wind it was gone. His right hand stilled, and the brilliant crystal fell and shattered into a million fragments upon the stone…

"Miss Williams!"

Jerked from a set of vivid, mismatched eyes seen only in her dreams, Sarah was thrust rudely into the mundane. Sarah turned dazed eyes towards the odious little man calling her name, and suddenly recalled that she was in the middle of class. From the clock, she judged twenty minutes had elapsed, of which she had absolutely no recollection.

Perfect timing as usual, Goblin King. Sarah grimaced, but managed a relatively coherent reply. "Professor? Could you repeat the question?"

There were the expected snickers, but the Professor's mouth remained down-turned. "What is the basic protein unit for translating DNA to protein?"

Sarah searched her brain, but she knew it was hopeless. Give me Middle English any day. This biology bullshit is just as ridiculous and makes less sense. "I don't know, Professor."

The professor sighed a little, and ran a thick hand through his thinning hair. "A ribosome, Miss Williams."

Sarah sank into her chair, humiliated and incredibly happy that this purgatory was over in five minutes.


Tired, dizzy, and a bit nauseous, Sarah trudged her way through the slush to the music building. Tightening her scarf around her face, she shuddered as a icy wind tore through her thick jacket as if it were sheer silk. Ineffable mystery of life number forty-six, Sarah thought grumpily, Why didn't I go to college somewhere warm? I'll bet the University of Hawaii has a decent drama program.

Scurrying into the building, Sarah was hit with a wall of humid heat that instantly made her start to sweat under her winter attire. Stripping her layers as she made her way to her classroom, Sarah wanted nothing more to go to her dorm, take a long, scalding shower, have at two-hour nap at least, and then have a long and informative conversation with Hoggle about the recent activities of his Goblinness. In that order.

"Solo auditions, everyone!" The perky choir director, Mrs. Finn, said as Sarah slumped in her chair. "As you know, we are performing Handel's Messiah this year, in its entirety. To compete for the solos and duets, I hope everyone prepared the sections assigned for your vocal part! If you wish to decline the audition, let me know. We'll start alphabetically. Gavin Anderson, you're up."

Sarah groaned. The auditions are today? As if my day could get any worse.

Frantically looking over the music, hoping her decent sight-reading skills, and solid mezzo-soprano would land her a minor part, she stewed until Mrs. Finn called her up.

"Sarah Williams!"

Sarah placed her music on the stand slowly, buying her more time. All too soon, the accompanist played the introduction. She took a deep breath, letting the air fill her lungs, her diaphragm contracted, and…

Pale, pale hair gleamed, reflecting the thousands of candles in the ballroom. As they spun, the heat radiating from his body made her dizzy…

Sarah came to herself abruptly. What the hell was that? She blinked fiercely, and wondered how she was going to explain her daydream to the director, when she stopped cold.

She was singing.

But it was not her voice.

A shiver of fear worked its way along Sarah's spine. Her strong, albeit unremarkable voice had been inexplicably replaced. She sang, heart racing, to a captive audience, their mouths open, eagerly leaning forward to hear more.

The voice was incredibly compelling, mysterious, with a hint of warmth and vulnerability that gave it resonance. So pure it made the heart ache.

Like his. Sarah thought as she finished, immensely disturbed, as the applause thundered around her. Well. It seems my conversation with Hoggle will be more thorough that I thought.


Roommate gone? Check.

Door locked? Check.

Scarf tied around doorknob? Check.

Mirror turned so that fairytale creatures could not be seen by rude co-eds who disturbed privacy despite all warnings? Check.

Sarah's standard Target-brand mirror gleamed as she lit the candles strewn around the room. She sat on her bed with a sigh, and decided that she had procrastinated long enough.

"Hoggle? I need you."

The mirror was still, only reflecting the young woman on the bed. Wide green eyes, serious mouth, pale skin, and dark, mussed hair.

Then Sarah blinked, and Hoggle was there.

Stepping out of the mirror casually, he smiled shyly at the girl on the bed.

"Hoggle!" Sarah embraced her prickly friend, grinning when he blushed profusely. She patted her bed and invited him to sit with her.

"Thought you might've forgotten us, it's been so long." Hoggle grumbled as he climbed beside her.

Sarah's frowned. "I'm sorry Hoggle. I told you it would be much harder for me to talk to you guys now that I live in a dorm. I have absolutely no privacy!" She gave him a quick smile. "I hope you forgive me?"

Hoggle fingered his bracelets thoughtfully, and looked at the tiny room. "Suppose so. Two people live 'ere?"

Sarah laughed and rolled her eyes. "Yeah. I'm sure the university would cram more into it if there weren't fire codes preventing it. Tell me all of the latest Underground news."

Hoggle launched into story after story about the denizens of the Labyrinth. How the Firey's had captured the royal couple from a neighboring kingdom, narrowly causing a full-scale war. Sir Didymus was training Ambrocious to jump through flaming hoops. Ludo found a fortune in diamonds underneath the Bog of Eternal Stench.

He was animatedly telling her about a poor goblin that had found himself stuck in the royal privy, when Sarah saw the opportunity she was looking for.

"… And when 'is majesty saws that little bugger wandering 'round his private water-closet, 'e decided to send 'em to the Bog, as 'e fancied the smell so much." Hoggle chortled, "Better 'im than me."

Sarah laughed, but cringed inwardly at the distress her news was going to cause her friend. "Hoggle, I have something to tell you."

Hoggle listened carefully to the situation, and as the story progressed, he grew more and more grave.

"Well," Sarah said, raking a trembling hand through her hair. "What do you think?"

"I don't like it. Not at all." Hoggle twisted his hands nervously. "You're the first to run the Labyrinth and win, and I didn't think 'is majesty would be takin' it lightly. I just thought he'd done something long before now. Very odd business, this is."

"I'll find out wot I can." Hoggle said quietly as he stepped through the mirror. He hesitated and glanced back at her, dark eyes filled with fear. "Be careful, Sarah. Beware his gifts."


Sarah was mobbed after the concert.

Mrs. Finn begged and pleaded for Sarah to take one of the lead solos in the production. Sarah was quite reluctant, as she didn't want to utilize any 'gift' from Jareth, no matter how benign it seemed.

Things are not always as they appear.

A hard lesson, but one learned very, very well.

Unfortunately, it was difficult to explain her reasoning to the baffled choir director without getting her shipped to the funny-farm for a psychiatric evaluation, so she tentatively accepted the role. She kept in close contact with Hoggle during the months prior to the concert, hoping for some news.

Just before the performance, Sarah had a hushed conversation with Hoggle. After months of probing, he still had found nothing, but then he admitted that it was hard to get a read on the Goblin King. He was very solitary, very private. The workings of his mind were not fathomable to his subjects, his capricious, brilliant nature taken at face value.

Sarah often thought he sounded like the loneliest person in the world.

Fear me, love me, do as I say, and I will be your slave…

As she sang, the words rang through her mind, filling it until there was no thought for the performance, no thought of nerves, no thought for the hot stage lights beating upon her, no thought for the audience sitting in rapt attention.

When Sarah finished, the last note trembling in the humid air, the auditorium was very still. Then, at some unspoken signal, it exploded.

Grinning, feeling unbelievably energized, she bowed, and walked to her place amongst the altos. Sarah sang her heart out, but truly, she was so giddy she could not pay attention to the performance. Soon, it was over, and the choir filed out.

Backstage, Sarah was the center of attention. Choir members, audience members, other performers wanted to see her, congratulate her. Overwhelmed, she stood on her tiptoes, looking for her dad and Karen, cursing her short stature.

"Sarah, darling!"

Suddenly, Sarah found herself enveloped in a vigorous, perfumed embrace.

Startled, she drew back and looked into a pair of familiar green eyes. "Mom! I didn't think you would be able to make it."

"Pierre had a family emergency and the shoot had to be rescheduled." Linda Williams sniffed disdainfully. "Very unprofessional. So I was able to make it after all. And I am certainly glad I did." Linda's eyes gleamed. "You never told me you were so talented!"

"Well…" Sarah looked at her feet. "It never really came up."

Linda, brimming with excitement, carried on as if she hadn't spoken. "Why, you're much better than Helen's daughter, and she has a recording contract. Just think, we could be in the business together!" She gripped Sarah's hand tightly, giving her a big smile. "Will you let me contact some people I know?"

Sarah looked at her mother, heart aching. Is this truly the only way to capture her interest?

"Alright mom. Alright."

Her mother squealed ecstatically, but all Sarah heard was low, mocking laughter.


Sarah wandered around the studio, intimidated by the scads of grossly technical equipment. Are all of those buttons, levers and whatsits necessary? All I'm going to do is sing…

After years of relative indifference, it was amazing how the discovery of marketable talent energized Linda's interest in her daughter, Sarah mused bitterly. For the past few weeks, Linda called almost daily for 'updates' on her progress. Yesterday, she had cajoled one of her friends to set them up with a studio, and to record a demo tape with a fairly accomplished producer.

Her mother and said producer were in deep discussion about something, and the hordes of assistants were puttering around setting up delicate microphones, stringing wires, and generally making Sarah feel like she was in the way.

Making her way into the soundproof box, she took a seat and miserably curled her legs underneath her. Picking at a hole in her jeans, she hummed softly while reflecting on the bizarre situation.

She couldn't sing. She supposed she could carry a tune, and loved being in the choir, but she couldn't enthrall and capture audiences with her voice. When she dreamed of performing as a child, she had never let her fantasies wander to concerts and albums.

He could captivate an audience, Sarah thought, shivering slightly. He could mesmerize a room with his voice.

You with the sad eyes…

Singing softly, she was once again a naïve princess. She was draped in a dress of fairy silk and silver, lost in the frightening and otherworldly ballroom. The masks of the revelers were dark and wicked, masses of curved fangs, macabre smirks, and glittering eyes watching her, an innocent young doe lost in a den of wolves.

Skating the edge of panic, she fought her way through the sweaty crush, searching for the exit. Hands clutched her buttocks, pinched her fair skin, and lightly caressed her breasts. She was hot in places she didn't know she had, her skin too tight to contain the feelings swelling in her slim frame. Rage, shame, and disgraceful desire coursing through her veins, she lifted her hand to claw at the unknown individuals.

Suddenly her hand was caught, and she was pulled from the grasping crowd into an embrace of steel. Raising her other arm reflexively, this was also caught. She caught her breath was pulled more firmly into a tall, leanly muscled form. She lifted her green eyes and met amused mismatched ones.

Taking one talon, he gentled it softly, massaged the anger out of the limb. Satisfied it would do no damage to his person, he placed a lingering kiss to the palm as he stared into her eyes hotly, sending a shiver of delight down her nerve endings. He firmly situated her hands and body, and with a slow glide he maneuvered her body into an elegant waltz.

They spun until the dawn, lost in each other's arms. She was drunk from his song, his heat, his scent, his dance.

But Sarah knew on some level that it wasn't real. But she wanted it to be.

And the Goblin King knew it as well.

"As the world falls down…"

As the last trembling note pierced the air of the studio, Sarah's haze cleared. She was covered in sweat, muscles aching as if she had danced for days, instead of only in her mind. And there was a strange scent in the air… Sarah sniffed, curious.

Sarah's jaw clenched spasmodically as she identified it.


One more point to that rat bastard. Sarah thought grimly.

"Do that again!" The producer's voice came over the speaker system, as he frantically began turning dials and pressing buttons. "Babe, just do whatever you did one more time, and we'll be golden!"

Linda Williams grinned proudly, but wondered when the temperature had grown so hot. She shifted uncomfortably, but soon minor worries were set aside as visions of Sarah's triumph danced across her mind.


The stadium was filled to capacity.

Sarah stood on stage, poised and mysterious, as the song ended. Draped in a semi-revealing costume, drenched in sweat, she took a sip from the water bottle on the edge of the stage. Grinning, she threw it in the audience, and a screeching squabble broke out for it.

This is the craziest thing, Sarah thought as the band cued up for the next set.

Sarah's rise to stardom had been as astonishing as it was fast. She cut an album, sat for a few photo shoots, a few of her songs were picked up by the radio, and BAM, instant double platinum. It was a fairytale, said the tabloids. Sarah felt chills run down her spine when she read that particular headline. Before they lived happily until they died, the heroines of fairytales more often than not had gruesome tales…

Speaking of gruesome, Sarah thought, irritated, as she started to dance. This tour is absolutely terrifying. Linda had insisted on the concert tour to capitalize on her instant fame. It was a smallish one, granted, but Sarah found the crowds, the sweat and the intense noise to be both overwhelming and electrifying.

She finished her last fast, dance number for awhile- thank the Lord- and settled down to sing a few slow, romantic ballads. Crooning softly, her eyes scanned the crowd, smiling at the rapt expressions of the fans. She let her eyes wander, until a very familiar, very handsome face arrested her.

She stopped singing for a moment, eyes straining, lips parted softly. Her heart, already pumping on adrenaline from the performance, started racing.

Goblin King…

She resumed singing, this time with more feeling, more passion, but when she blinked, he had disappeared like so much smoke.


There were people in the audience with tears streaming down their faces, clutching concert memorabilia and sobbing openly, moved by the music. Sarah didn't notice, didn't care, as her eyes searched for tell tale glimpses of blond or flashes of glitter.


Out of the corner of her eye, she could see the drummer look at her in concern. Her bass player mouthed, 'Are you okay?' Sarah nodded and shot them a weak smile. She signaled them to begin the next set, and the band smiled in relief.

There was nothing, she told herself firmly. He wasn't here and never would be. Sarah took a deep breath, closed her eyes and wailed in her haunting voice about heartbreak, pain, and loss.

And believed it.


Months passed. The dreams and visions grew more intense, and Sarah's star rose higher and higher. She was lauded the voice of millennium, the new horizon of music, the goddess of rock n' roll. All due to the gift of Goblin King.

Aptly, she was miserable.

She was sure that was part of his gift, too.

Her mother was ecstatic. Indeed, Sarah's fame landed Linda more magazine covers than her acting career ever did. Sarah let her take whatever glory she wanted, as she certainly didn't want it. The fame, money, and prestige were nice at first, but she was sick of this game.

Sarah was convinced that if she had become a famous actress on her own terms she would be much more content. But in this situation, the paparazzi, the record companies, and the fans were worshiping a false idol. The irony had amused her for a time, but she had long since grown weary of it.

The Goblin King was playing a game with her, but she didn't know the rules. Hell, she didn't even know what the game was.

All she knew was that she was damn tired of being a puppet.

Sarah sat in window-seat of her bedroom and gazed into the light-polluted sky of Los Angeles. She trailed her fingers down the windowpane, savoring the feeling of cool glass on her overheated skin. "Goblin King," she whispered softly, "What are you playing at?"


Sarah sat in the club surrounded by the very beautiful, the very famous, and the very rich. Lost in the pulsing beat of the music, she sipped her lemon drop martini, enjoying the effervescent mix of tart and sweet as it slid down her throat. Dressed in the very lovely, very expensive, very tiny, very uncomfortable clothes her mother picked out, Sarah watched the dancers moved to the music wistfully, remembering when her life used to be that uncomplicated.

Linda had insisted that she attend the opening of this club, to 'raise her profile.' All Sarah wanted to do was go home, scrub the inch of makeup off of her face, change into he flannel pajamas, eat ice cream, and watch reruns of Buffy. But upon reaching a bargain with her mother that she could stay home for a week in exchange for this favor, Sarah relented.

Tipping back her head, she finished her martini in one swig and brooded silently. She had come to the conclusion that the unsettling magic of her voice had grown stronger. In fact, in a conversation with her producer yesterday, she had to shake him out of a daze after she had spoken.

Placing her glass on the tray of a scantily-clad server, Sarah eyed the various VIPs sitting around her warily. Deciding that dancing was infinitely less painful than listening to yet another self-absorbed male ego drone about how very perfect he was, she rose and made her way to the floor. Happily, she was largely ignored by the beautiful crush, mostly because they were all too famous to care about just another successful singer, or too in awe of her fame to approach her.

So she danced alone, losing her body in the pulsing rhythm, mindless in her pursuit of exhaustion.

She was a good dancer, years of lessons as a child assured it, and as she closed her eyes, she was able to let her body melt into the pulse of the beat. When the newly remixed techno version of her single, As The World Falls Down was spun by the DJ to loud cheers, Sarah smiled grimly and kept to the beat.

There's such a fooled heart, beating so fast…

Suddenly, a strong arm snaked about her waist, pulling her slim figure into a tall, lean frame.

Sarah stiffened for a moment, and then let herself relax against the unknown body, letting the music take her where it will, letting her unnatural voice power her fantasies.

He panted into her ear as they ground against each other in a frantic rhythm, lungs heaving, bodies sliding against each other erotically. Hands caressed her sides, her neck, her back. One eventually settled in the curve of her waist, while the other fisted in her long hair, exposing her neck to his small, nibbling kisses.

I'll paint you mornings of gold, I'll spin you Valentine evenings…

"Sarah," A deep voice whispered into her ear, melting her body into butter and arresting her body into complete stillness.

"Sarah," He repeated, his elegant, long fingered hand lightly traced up and down her spine. Sarah felt an answering rush of heat run through her veins, and her body felt like unmolded clay in his knowing hands.

"I can't live within you."

Sarah froze, her mind blank. She felt his hands withdraw from her overheated skin, and this galvanized her to whirl around and face the most baffling, maddening creature in all of existence.

He was gone.

Sarah ran from the club, not caring about the paparazzi photographing her every move, not caring about the greedy eyes and lenses watching her breakdown. Trembling, she quickly opened the door to her limousine and jumped in.

Using all of the ill-begotten power at her disposal, Sarah whispered, "Goblin King, if you're watching, I want you to know that I won't be your plaything any longer. I'm going to make you listen to me, Jareth."


Her face was still stained with angry tears when she stormed into her bedroom. With trembling hands, she locked the door, and tightly closed the curtains. Her tasteful antique dressing table was equipped with the most splendid mirror. It was huge, made of real silver and the frame was a lovely dark red cherry.

Laying a sweaty palm on the cold surface she took in her reflection. A girl stared back, her green eyes fey and wild, black eyeliner and mascara smudged. Her hair was mussed, dark strands sticking out of the formerly elegant half-updo. Clothing askew, face flushed with anger and horror, Sarah hardly recognized herself.

This has gone far enough. Sarah's eyes snapped dangerously.

"I need you, my friends."

And just like that, they were there.

She explained her predicament, and like the true friends they were, they rose to the occasion. Even if there was more reluctance than enthusiasm on their part.

"Do ya want to sneak in, or go in the front door?" Hoggle asked, "So to speak, anyways."

Sarah had changed into a more comfortable outfit, washed her face, and made her hair look a bit less like a rat's nest. Looking at her reflection, she noted that she looked less like a clebutante and more like the dreamy girl she used to be. Good.

"Sneaking would be best," Sarah said firmly, "I want straight answers, and the only way I am going to wring them out of that bastard is through the element of surprise."

Didymus smiled and tapped the mirror delicately with one paw. The silvered reflection slowly dissolved like quicksilver, replaced by a portrait of the kingdom that haunted her dreams. "As you wish, my lady. The Labyrinth awaits."

Grimly, Sarah followed her friends into the mirror, going back to the Labyrinth, going back to him, for the first time in a decade.


Traversing the Labyrinth again and making her way to the Castle at the center of the Goblin City was much easier the second time.

Being champion of the Labyrinth has some advantages, I suppose. Sarah thought as she viewed the hubbub of the Goblin City from the Castle.

The creatures that inhabited the maze remembered her, and remembered the chaos that she had wrought ten years ago. To minimize a repeat of that episode, they were much more forthcoming.

The fact that she could sway the weak minded with her voice didn't hurt either.

Sarah curled herself up onto the cushioned window seat and smiled in contentment as she sipped the herbal tea that the dazed Goblin maid had brought her.

So Jareth found her as he stepped into his bedroom moments later.

He froze and stared at her, shocked.

He was beautiful as all wild creatures are beautiful. His mismatched eyes glowed with an eerie intensity, and seemed to dominate his sharp fey features. Long and lean, he was outfitted casually in dark buff breeches and collared linen shirt. His blond hair seemed a little longer, a little more unkempt, and was pulled from his face in a simple tail.

He was so different, but so similar to the figure in Sarah's dreams that she sighed involuntarily, the sound loud in the stillness of the room. It seemed to snap him out of his inertia.

His eyes an arctic winter of rage, he seemed to recover and bared his teeth in a feral snarl, and growled, "What are you doing here?"

Sarah turned around slowly and calmly arched a brow, unimpressed. "I wonder."

Sarah put down the delicate teacup carefully, and stood up. She strode forward until she was a few feet from the Goblin King. This close, she could smell his scent, peaches and spice and male musk. It made her dizzy. Focus, Sarah thought grimly, Don't let him intimidate you. Don't let yourself get distracted.

"What did you do to me, Goblin King?"

Jareth shrugged, eyes knowing. "I gave you your dreams."

Sarah was surprised at the deep flow of rage that his callous words uncovered. How dare he? How dare he uproot her life this way? She had defeated him and he had no power over her.

Or did he?

Not wanting to follow that line of thought, Sarah attacked. "They were the dreams of a fifteen year old! You had no right to them."

"You wanted, and I gave you the opportunity that most would kill for." Jareth bared his teeth in a razor-edged smile. "Aren't I the most kind of patrons?"

He circled her then, a menacing raptor closing in on prey. "Ah, but I see you are still ungrateful, still self absorbed."

Sarah stood tall, and refused the bait. "Dreams change."

"Truly? In my estimation, they do not." Jareth traced his index finger over her cheek, the leather smooth against her flushed skin. "Humans stay the same. Weak fools who do not know their own hearts, who are never happy. Who have all of their dreams, but still cry for more, more, more. It sickens me."

"Some are happy." Sarah said quietly, searching his enigmatic face for a reaction.

Jareth waved a gloved hand dismissively and strode to the window. A brilliant crystal appeared in his right hand, and he fingered it distractedly. It flickered in an out of existence in an impossible, magical dance.

Sarah stepped quietly beside him and said, "I wonder that you took the trouble to play with a weak mortal this way."

Jareth slanted her a glance. "It amused me at the time."

"I'm sure it did." Sarah grinned wickedly. "You never could beat me fairly."

"Ah, but games are never fair, Sarah."

"I know."

It wasn't fair, Sarah thought as she studied his profile. She had defeated his Labyrinth, so he should have no power over her. Wasn't that how the story was supposed to go? When did her straightforward fairytale get so messed up?

"So," Jareth said, studiously looking at anything but her distracting presence, "We are at stalemate once again."

Sarah's lips quirked slightly. She leaned against the stone frame window and said cheekily, "It does seem familiar, doesn't it?"

Sarah took a deep breath and faced him. She lifted her chin bravely, "Look at my dreams again."

When Jareth did not respond, she leaned towards him until she was in his personal space, where he could feel her presence like an itch. Lowering her voice to a husky timbre, she put all of her power behind it and whispered, "I dare you."

Jareth's lips thinned, and his nostrils flared, but with a swift flick of his wrist a gleaming orb appeared in his hand. He glanced at it once, and blinked. Squinting slightly, he stared intently at an image only he could see.

The crystal shattered on the stone floor, shards disappearing in a shower of smoke.

Eyes wide, his lips parted in shock, he stared at her.

Sarah stalked towards Jareth, predator becoming prey. He held very still as she gently toyed a bit of silky blond hair. Looking into shocked mismatched eyes, she cupped his cheek softly and smiled. "Everyone grows up, Jareth. Dreams do too."

Winding her arm around his lean frame, Sarah lifted herself to her tiptoes and gave him a warm peck on the lips. Blushing, she studied his crescent pendent. Suddenly, she felt strong arms clamp around her, and Jareth's lips swooped down to capture hers. Fiercely, he kissed her until her world narrowed to nothing but his lips, his tongue, his hands, his heat, his body.

Finally, Sarah was able to tear her lips from his and whispered breathlessly, "No take-backs."

Jareth's brows flew up, but his face relaxed into a slight smile. As his hand burrowed into the soft weight of her hair, he leaned close and said, "As you wish."