She lives! Sorry for the, um, three year wait.
Sarah hovered at the door to the now-familiar bed chamber, glaring at Jareth's back.
She had followed him obediently back to the private wing of the castle, looking for all the world like a whipped dog. She was tired, and her head was reeling with the implications of what she had just condemned herself to. And now he was pointing expectantly at his bed, bidding her to lay down and do goodness knows what.
Like hell she would.
He turned around to give her an exasperated glance. She gave him a pointed glare in turn.
"Come now, precious, just this morning you woke up on my floor. Consider it a step up."
"I would rather take the floor."
"You didn't seem to have any qualms about sleeping in my bed last night," he quipped, and she flushed, looking away angrily.
No, she hadn't had a problem with sleeping there. But now, there was the not-so-tiny difference of being in the presence of someone with power over her, someone who had tried to defeat her before and failed, and had probably spent the last few years plotting out intricate revenges.
Jareth, either ignorant to her internal struggles or deliberately ignoring them, seated himself on the bed first, reaching down to pull off his boots. Sarah felt her mouth go suddenly dry – she had a sneaking suspicion that if he was undressing himself, her clothes wouldn't be far behind.
"It's still early afternoon," she muttered, looking at the window through which sunlight still spilled, leaving the interior of the room bright.
He waved a hand carelessly, and a heavy, dark curtain (had it been there before?) came across the window, effectively blocking out all light. For one horrible moment, she stood in pitch darkness with the King just a few feet away, but then there was a rustle of fabric (him moving again, she assumed) and a few candles that stood around the room sputtered to live, giving their surroundings a soft orange glow. His eyes glittered at her from where he sat, and she swallowed, suddenly feeling like she'd prefer the dark after all.
"Romantic," she managed to choke out coolly.
"I have my moments," he responded lightly, cheerfully, swinging his boot-free feet up onto the bed and bringing his hands together behind his head, leaning back into the pillows. "Take off your shoes."
He tut-tutted. "Most do not get into bed with them still on, do they?"
"We never agreed that I was going to bed in the first place."
"Sarah," he said softly, a warning clear in his voice. As he spoke her name, she felt her spine curve and her knees bend without her permission until she was kneeling, her hands resting lightly on the laces of her battered shoes. "I could make you do it."
"Then do it," she spat back bitterly, wanting to scream at her lack of control. "Make me. Isn't that the whole point of this?"
"Hm, yes, in a way. But don't sell yourself short, darling," he added, chuckling. "This isn't all about powerplay. You are a very beautiful woman, after all. Now." The tone of his voice changed, becoming silkier and coaxing, almost loving. "Am I going to have to make you do it?"
Sarah bit the inside of her cheek as she shifted. "No."
He smiled as she hastily pulled her shoes off. "Very good."
She looked up at him, her eyes narrowed. "I'm not a dog to be praised," she growled.
"And yet, look at you, kneeling at my feet so nicely."
Sarah sprang to her feet immediately. "Stop!"
An interested gleam entering his eyes, Jareth sat up, sliding his legs off the bed so he was facing her directly, smiling his smug little smile. "Alright, precious, you've proved your point. But now what will you do?"
She said nothing, clenching her hands into fists at her sides. Like he didn't know perfectly well that she couldn't do anything, anything at all.
His smile broadened. "Come here."
When she did nothing to move towards him, he made a disappointed sound in his throat. "Sarah."
Her left leg moved forward on its own, but it moved at the same time she was trying to stop it from moving, and the result was the feeling that she had split her kneecap. She let out a cry of pain.
"It hurts, doesn't it?" Jareth observed softly, seemingly unaffected. "It's a pain you wouldn't have to deal with if you'd simply listen, for once. Do as I say…"
Sarah was torn. Going to him was the equivalent to admitting defeat, throwing in the towel, however you wanted to say it. But fighting his will was out of the question, if the stinging pain remaining in her knee was anything to go by. He could break every bone in her body without moving a muscle.
She hadn't forfeited her will to let herself be crushed like this. There would be a way out. But until then, to keep herself in one piece long enough to actually find that way, she would have to play the game by his rules.
At least, that was what she told herself as she walked toward him stiffly, holding her head up as proudly as she dared, wishing she could claw that smug look off of his face.
She stood so close to him now that their knees touched. It gave her a strange thrill, to, for once, be towering over the seated King. But when he looked up at her, his hooded eyes black with desire and pure want, the feeling of power fled as quickly as it had dropped into her mind. His hands drifted up from where they had been resting on the sheets, gently brushing the backs of her thighs with touches so light, she could have pretended to have imagined them. But then he pressed on the backs of knees, and before she could steel herself and force herself to comply, they gave out automatically, sending her into his lap. And that was something she could not, no matter how vivid her imagination was, pretend was not happening.
His arms came around her to hold them together, and Sarah was left to flail uncertainly with her hands for a moment until they came to rest on his shoulders.
"Don't look so stricken, my dear." He purred, his hands tracing indistinguishable patterns up and down her back. "This," he gestured vaguely to the bed, "this would have happened sooner or later."
"You sound so certainnn!"
As she spoke, he had taken the opportunity to roll them, and the end of her sentence ended on a rather shrill cry of surprise as he tumbled her onto her back effortlessly. She came to rest with her head cushioned by pillows, her back pressed against the mattress, and Jareth lounging calmly between her thighs, propped up on his elbows, his prominent nose only a few inches from her own.
"A warning…would have been nice," she panted out harshly.
He seemed amused at her breathlessness, long fingers reaching out to toy with her dark hair. "I'll be sure to take that into consideration for next time."
She ignored his insinuation at a "next time", pursing her lips and trying to act as though they were sitting down to afternoon tea. Or something. "Why do you think this would have happened sooner or later, then?"
"Sarah," he breathed, dipping his head to bury his face into her throat, an action that had her heart stuttering and her breath faltering. She wished he would stop saying her name like that – it actually made her want to listen to what he had to say. "Look at us, feel us, and tell me that we don't belong together."
"We don't belong together," she responded easily. He chuckled.
"Then I shall simply have to endeavor to change your mind."
His hands ceased their stroking and playful twisting in her hair to travel down her sides, barely skimming the fabric of her shirt, until they came to rest at the hem. They fisted in the material and pulled up, revealing the pale skin underneath inch by inch. Forgetting about her resolve to play his game, forgetting about everything, even, her hands rose from where they have been laying uselessly to wrap around his.
"No," she said quietly. She couldn't play this game. While she was by no means a blushing virgin, this, this whatever-the-hell-it-was had higher stakes than she could even comprehend. "No."
Jareth lifted his head to meet her eyes, and it was as though every single emotion she had ever seen him portray was laid raw on his face. Anger, happiness, sorrow, joy, coming together in a myriad of mixed feeling.
"Yes," he responded softly, one of his hands leaving her shirt to lay flat on the exposed skin of her stomach. The material of his gloves was foreign against her skin, and was cool as ever. She shivered. "Yes," he said again, peeling her fingers easily from his other hand and replacing them at her sides, though, to his credit, he made no attempt to pin them there. There was no smugness or triumph in his voice, but simply a sense of certainty, as though she had asked him if the sun was going to rise.
He resumed his work, pulling his shirt up her body, and she hesitantly raised her arms obligingly so he could slide it over her head. Where it went, she had no idea, as she was rather concerned with the way his eyes had settled hungrily on her skin, which had broken out in gooseflesh in response to the cool air. But he made no attempt to undress her further, simply sliding the palms of his hands from her shoulders and down to her waist.
It didn't take a genius to figure out what he meant.
Her hands trembled as she lifted them again, though this time, she settled them at his waist, where the loose fabric of his shirt was tucked into his breeches. He hummed quietly in response, his eyes sliding shut, though his hands remained steady on her waist. It took a few tries, which had the corners of his mouth quirking in amusement, but she eventually worked the silky material free. Before she could lose her nerve she pulled it quickly over his head. He laughed, a strange, out of place sound given their positions, and pulled away from her to slide the shirt down his arms, flinging it to some unknown corner of the room when he was through with it.
His skin was unflawed as marble, and just as pale, And she was sure, had she had the desire to reach out and touch it, it would be as hard and unyielding as well. And she did have the desire. Her hands twitched where they rested on his arms, but she chose not to move them. As her eyes traveled up from his flat stomach to his chest, she noticed the horned medallion hanging from his chest. As though sensing her gaze, his hand went up to clasp around it, and it vanished.
"A symbol of my station," he said flippantly with a shrug to her unasked question. "Though it would only get in the way now." He smirked condescendingly at the blush that spread across her cheeks. "And now, it's my turn, I believe."
With surprisingly nimble fingers, he had the button of her jeans undone and the zipper pulled down before she even realized he had moved. Ignoring her flinch, he hooked his thumbs into the waistband of her jeans (though, thankfully, leaving her underwear untouched) and pulled down in one fluid motion. Sliding one arm under her knees, he lifted her legs to pull them completely off, and they joined her shirt in the uncharted darkness of the room.
When he touched her, she could hardly stand it. His hands were like ice, roving over her body, leaving trails of chills in their wake as they slid up and down her legs. She tried to twist away, but his hands closed around her calves and held fast as he stared down at her.
Aside from the obvious? She thought to herself. She was disappointed in herself that she was angry that his hands were cold, and not that they had been touching her. But if she had to resign herself to this, she wasn't going to make a hell out of something already bad enough to begin with.
"Your hands are cold."
He looked dumbfounded for a brief moment, but then he smiled slyly and extended his hands. "Take the gloves off, then, precious thing."
Sarah, who had not expected such an easy admission from him, especially since he seemed to wear his gloves constantly, was instantly suspicious. But the way his hands dangled in front of her seemed harmless enough, and so she reached up to peel the fabric away from one hand, and then from the other. And when the gloves were off, sitting in her hand uselessly, she gave them a curious glance – the coolness seemed to come from the leather itself.
Of course, it was always a mistake to look away from the Goblin King.
His hands returned to her flesh, this time coming to rest on her chest directly under her breasts, and she gasped at the vividly different sensation.
His hands were hot. Wherever he brushed his fingers left a path of fire on her skin, a burning sensation that sank beneath and invaded her very blood. And not only that, but the magic that was pouring from his hands spread quickly over her body like flames, leading her to recall earlier in the day when he had healed her, sending his magic to her heart to be pumped out to the rest of her body. But this was different. This was uncontained, raw, pure, magic, and it went everywhere. Without any specific destination to go to, it sank wherever it pleased into her skin, igniting a fire in her blood that had her writhing under his hands from the simple caress.
Jareth, too, seemed to be affected by the lack of a barrier between his hands and her skin. His jaw was clenched, his breathing shallower, and his mouth drawn into a feral snarl as he stared down at her, as though he were seconds away from taking her however he pleased. Their eyes met, Sarah gasping loudly.
His lip curled as realization dawned.
It wasn't him she wanted.
"What…what?" Sarah blinked rapidly as he pulled away, tugging his gloves from where they were twisted in her hands. "But I want-"
"You silly girl," Jareth cut across coldly. "Your mind is so addled by my magic right now, you probably couldn't even tell me your own name, let alone decide what you want." He drew his gloves back on smoothly, and when she reached for him, her eyes still clouded, he circled her hands with an iron grip.
It did the trick. The icy touch coursed quickly through her body, completely countering the effects of his bare hands. The flush on her skin paled, and her eyes cleared. For a moment, she was confused, and her confusion quickly turned to embarrassment as she realized how she had acted, a blush creeping up her neck to color her face. She pulled her hands away, and, to her surprise, he actually let them go. And for a heartbeat, they sat in silence.
Until Sarah rounded on him viciously.
"Why take them off, then," she growled, folding her arms. "If you knew what would happen?"
He stared down at her, still on his knees between her legs. "I had thought it would make you more…compliant."
She laughed humorlessly. "And it did. So, why stop?"
"It wasn't me you wanted."
"But you still would have gotten what you wanted. What difference does it make?"
He looked at her then, and she was surprised at the depth in his mismatched eyes.
"All the difference in the world."