Title: Of Demons and Goblin Kings
Author: The Daftly Dense Kadasa Mori
Disclaimer: I do not own anything that is not owned by me… I think… therefore I am…?
Summary: Princess Sarah of Sylvan lived a quiet life, day after day, the same routine. When a demon, a fae, the same species that had slaughtered her mother years before, drops in front of her, her routine shatters. But if he thinks she's just gonna roll over and let him kill her, he's got another thing coming.
Waking to pouring rain, Sarah let out a soft sigh. An hour later had her cleaned and dressed heading for a quick breakfast. Now that the suitors were gone, no one dined together.
Sir Annoyance had taken to dining in his rather large suite every day ("Sarah" sometimes joined him despite the fact the real Sarah was usually out with her favorite fae and Kitsune mysteriously disappeared).
Her father stayed in his wing of the castle with Karen and dined with her.
Sarah went to the kitchen to grab a bite to eat, check in with everyone, then head off to wherever she'd be spending her day (usually with Jareth).
Today it seemed the weather would force her to stay indoors. That meant her room, the library or her studio. She chose the latter option and now sat near the windows of the room, a large canvas before her, a palette of paint balanced carefully on an arm.
Sarah sighed at the rain pouring down and turned to her painting, a simple field with very simple grass and trees. It was a piece she'd been working on for awhile but… something was… wrong about it. She frowned, lifting her paintbrush to add some detail to the grass, trying to figure out what made her unhappy about the painting.
"It's absolutely gorgeous, Princess. However did you manage to paint such a work of art?"
She blinked then turned, finding Jareth standing behind her, arms crossed. Her heart let out an uncomfortable beat but when she inhaled the next moment it was gone.
Her eyes narrowed at the sarcastic remark. "Like you could do any better."
He sniffed and walked to the window, sitting down then putting a foot on the other side of the stone frame. "I could."
She scoffed and picked up her paintbrush again, carefully tracing the lines with an earthly green color. She faded back into her work, forgetting he was there against the pouring rain and soft breeze.
"I shall live five times as long as humans but never understand them…"
Sarah sighed once more, turning from her painting and looking over at the fae who was lounging in her window. "What did humankind do to offend you today?"
"You humans… all you want is perfection yet to obtain it, you think you have to get rid of the imperfection by killing all that are imperfect, but by doing so… you imperfect yourself further."
"Humans are an odd bunch like that," Sarah mumbled, dipping the brush into the water then carefully tracing over a line.
"Even as we speak you are trying to perfect yourself."
She turned quickly to face him, gaze narrowing. "Who says I'm trying to be perfect?"
"You do." He got off the windowsill and walked over, her glaring at him the entire time. He tapped her right shoulder then her left. "You keep yourself perfectly straight and only allow your wrist to move when painting." He motioned to the hand holding the tablet of paint. "This arm doesn't move at all, just to add to the perfect stillness and composure of your painting." He motioned to her painting. "This…" He cocked his head. "This is quite good…"
She hid her flush very well. "Thank you."
"What was I saying?"
"How I perfect myself."
"Oh. Yes. Your painting shows just that. It's artfully planned out and carefully aligned to make the perfect piece. You dress yourself carefully and elegantly to perfect the vision anyone sees of you."
"Except you," she interjected, batting his hand away to continue her painting. "For all you see is what's underneath the perfection."
He smirked. "That's because I know how you humans think."
"A few moments ago, you said you didn't understand them."
He lost his smirk and scowled. "That's because I don't understand why you want to be perfect."
"I guess… you see someone who looks better than you and you want to be better than that person. By doing so, you need to ignore what you want and force yourself to become something you… really don't want to be."
"You mean lie."
She glanced at him. "Yes… in a manner…" She shook her head, getting to her feet. "But that's not the point. The point is, to get along in society, you need to be someone you're not… if you can truly be yourself and still survive," she chuckled. "That is perfection…" She stared at him for a moment before chuckling again.
He frowned. "What?"
"Now that I realize it, I suppose I could call demons perfect." His eyes narrowed in confusion. "You all can be who you want to be, do what you want to do and… be yourself without consequences… I guess I kind of envy you…"
His eyebrows lifted but before he could say anything they were interrupted.
"Sarah!" She turned to the door quickly, Jareth leaping into the shadows as Kitsune bounced around the doorway, hair askew. "Sarah! Your father is calling for an appearance in town because it's stopped raining and you're to come with him! Hurry!" The fox flew out of the room.
Sarah set her things down and took a deep breath. "Here goes nothing," she mumbled, then shouted a 'good bye' to Jareth who frowned slightly but climbed out the window, hopping onto the roof.
About fifteen minutes after she'd left, a carriage emerged, headed towards town. He followed after it, sticking to the shadows once he'd reached town. He came upon a small covered platform in the middle of the town square. The carriage stopped beside it, guards everywhere, the entire town waiting as the door opened.
King Richard stepped out, climbing up the stairs to the middle of the stage. Karen followed after him, both wearing gold crowns, Toby in her arms. Sarah followed after them, face emotionless, a thin silver crown on her head. All four were dressed in the finest of clothes. Karen and Sarah's hair were expertly woven, jewelry in all the right spots to make them even more elegant.
Jareth frowned. Sarah had accused him of accusing her of her trying to attain perfection. Right now she looked pretty perfect, like a new doll without a strand of hair out of place.
Richard was speaking. Something about Toby being the heir or something. Jareth was too busy watching Sarah to notice. Her expression hadn't changed, eyes sweeping out over the crowd. He had half a mind to step into her line of sight just to watch her jump. Only the risk of exposing her obviously practiced features kept him from doing so. Richard was still talking. Jareth rolled his eyes. Kept talking, on and on and on and on. Bah. He didn't care. He just wanted to ask Sarah why the perfection if she hated it so much?
The crowd was cheering. It startled him from his thoughts and he looked up to see Richard waving happily. Sarah still hadn't changed her facial features.
As they turned to leave, walking down the steps, someone caught Sarah's arm. She jumped, expression still not changing. Jareth bristled, knowing he could do nothing but watch. A guard started for them but Sarah held up a hand then nodded once and shook hands with the man. He lifted her hand and pressed a kiss to the back of it. Her emotionless face twitched into a brief smile before vanishing. Jareth's gaze narrowed. There was a passing of some object, but he couldn't tell what it was. No one besides himself saw it for everyone else acted normally, the crowd cheering and guards leading Sarah to the carriage, which pulled out of town.
Looking between the man who was hurrying away and Sarah's carriage, Jareth sighed then raced after Sarah. He climbed into her room through the window, lounging in his chair in the shadows.
After a few minutes her door flew open. "No Kit!" she cried. "I can do it myself!" She shut the door behind her, Kitsune shouting something Jareth was glad was muffled by the wood for Sarah probably would've slaughtered her.
Sarah spun on her heel, hands reaching for her hair, pulling at random ornaments and throwing them onto her dresser in fury. After only a few moments her hair was a mess, half still up, the other spilling onto her shoulders. She tore off the first layer of at least four gowns and threw it onto her bed with a cry of fury.
Jareth figured he should probably intervene before she became angry enough to hurt him. "Perfection is not as perfect as it may seem, hm?"
She jumped and spun then snarled. "Shut. Up."
He raised an eyebrow as she tugged off all but a simple white gown, throwing them into a heap on her bed, cursing darkly under her breath. She stormed over to the seat across from him, hers in the little light given off from the storm clouds still in the sky. She tugged on her hair for a few moments before giving up completely and just staring outside.
"Do you need some assistance?"
"No… Kit will be back soon…"
Jareth snorted and got his feet, only her eyes following him. "That is far too long for me to sit in the presence of such." She scoffed but didn't argue as he expertly unwound all of the ornaments out of her hair. "So how was your meeting?"
"You know exactly how it was. I saw you there."
His eyes widened faintly, hands pausing for a moment. "You did? You made no motion you did…"
"I can't make a motion when I'm on stage, Jareth," she mumbled.
"What about when you're off stage?" She raised an eyebrow, glancing back at him. "The man who grabbed your arm. What did you slip him?"
She chuckled. "Knew you wouldn't miss that… It was a sac of money."
"Yes, oh. Every time I go into town I help him out."
"When I was little, I got lost. Everyone was ignoring me because I'd ripped my dress and gotten dirty. He found me and brought me to his house. I played with his kids all day and ate dinner with them until he'd finally asked where I lived. When I told him, he nearly freaked out." She chuckled. "After his near-panic attack, he said if I ever needed a place to stay, I was welcome to stay with them. He brought me home and I didn't see him again for a few months. Once I did…" She sighed sadly. "Someone had spotted him taking care of me and thought he'd been trying to kidnap me for ransom.
"Rumor spread and he lost his job, no one trusted him and he… couldn't really do anything. Once I was old enough to understand, I began spreading rumors back that someone who disliked him spread the rumor in the first place. People began trusting him again but he can't afford to take care of all of his children, having not been able to make decent money in the years no one trusted him. So I've been slipping him money every time I go to town. He tried to refuse but… I begged him to take it and told him it was my birthday gifts to them and he gradually accepted them." She chuckled again. "He's so sweet. He just doesn't understand the meaning of 'I have too much money. You take it.'"
"There you go again. Trying to right the world." Her eyes flared and she turned to yell at him only to pause as he grinned wickedly and winked, tugging the last ornament from her hair, the last part of her hair falling about her shoulders.
She wondered when the butterflies in her stomach had appeared and why she felt this was a familiar sensation despite never having felt it before when looking at him. Her heart was beating so loudly against her ribcage she was certain he could hear it but the demon merely smiled warmly and turned to set the ornament on the table beside him as she tried to slow her heart and keep the flush from her face.
He ran a few gloved fingers through the bottom of her hair. "There. All better."
She turned around. "T-thanks."
She missed the concerned look he developed before he leaned around her side. "Alright there?"
"Fine," she murmured.
"Hmm..." He stepped around the chair to stand before her. "Princess… if something were wrong, would you inform me of it?"
"Only if you could help. I'd rather not burden you with my problems if they are indeed my own problems."
"What if I wanted to be burdened?"
"I wouldn't allow it."
His face fell as he crouched before her, arms crossing over her knees. "Princess. If I am indeed one of your friends, I'd want to know that I'd be trusted enough to be able to aid you in something that troubles you." Her mouth opened but he cut her off. "I don't care if it puts a burden on me. I want to help."
"Odd coming from a demon," she remarked lightly.
"You've tainted me," he said with a brief smile then uncrossed his arms and stood. "Promise me if you need help you'll ask."
"I…" She bit her lip in worry. "I promise that I will ask for help only when my life is threatened and if by helping me yours isn't."
He sighed. "I'm going to pretend I didn't hear anything after help."
A wicked grin crossed her face. "Then how do you know what I really said." He gave her a look. "What?" she asked innocently.
"You're a horrible person." She laughed. "See! If you weren't horrible you'd have protested but you just laughed so you already knew you were horrible!"
She rolled her eyes. "Yes, yes. Whatever you say." She leaned back in her chair and stretched. "Well, it's been a sufficiently horrible day." He cleared his throat. When she looked confused he motioned to himself. "My apologies. It was a sufficiently horrible day until you showed up."
"I know. I'm amazing."
The door opened as she laughed and Kitsune froze, staring at her. "Hey Kit!" she chirped. "Shut the door and come on over." The fox did so and walked over quickly, putting a hand to her forehead. "The hell?" Sarah pulled away. "What?"
"Are you okay? Are you sick? What's wrong?"
"I'm fine." Sarah scowled. "What's wrong with you?"
She looked at Jareth accusingly. "What did you do to her?"
He looked as confused, if not more, than Sarah. "Nothing."
"He took my hair ornaments out," Sarah offered.
Kitsune barely spared her a glance. "Whenever this happens she's always in a foul mood for the rest of the night! She just laughed!"
She scowled. "Shut up Kit!"
"Oh there it is!" She put a hand to her chest and let out a sigh of relief. "Misery. Sarah's back to normal."
Opening her mouth to shout, Sarah didn't have the chance as Jareth let out a bark of laughter. She was glad he addressed Kit and not her as her words escaped her, her heart thudding furiously once more.
"You seem to love adding fuel to the fire, Kit."
"Yeah, I know. But it's freaking me out that she's so… happy."
When they both turned to regard her, she crossed her arms and leaned back irritably. "You're both disowned as my friends."
This had the unfortunate effect of only increasing her teasing.
The rain had finally stopped before bed, clouds vanishing to reveal a star-studded sky. Sarah had wrapped a blanket around her shoulders and gone to sit out on the balcony, Jareth sitting on the floor against the door frame to keep out of sight of guards passing by.
"So," he spoke after a long pause of silence. He spotted her shoulders jump, head turning slightly to regard him. "Why were you so… distraught over having to play princess?" She looked away quickly. "You were very pretty," he chimed lightly, trying to make her laugh.
"But I'm not." He lifted an eyebrow in confusion. "I'm not her. I'm Sarah, not Princess Sarah. I hate her." She drew her knees up to her chest. "I hate being dolled up and paraded in front of everyone who act like they love me but they really don't."
Jareth discreetly ran a finger over the floor of the balcony to put up an illusion of the balcony without him and vanished, reappearing sitting next to her. "Hey." She peeked out from behind her arms. "Why do you do it?"
"Be her. Why can't you just be Sarah?"
She let out a humorless laugh. "Richard would not approve." He winced. "Forget about him, huh? Yeah. Playing princess is one of the requirements to keeping my friends."
He sighed. "I apologize."
"Don't." A small smile crept up on her lips. "But thanks for caring."
Scoffing, he leaned back on his elbows. "Demons don't care."
"Oh right. Forgot. Thanks for pretending to care."
"Anything for you Princ-" He cut off the nickname quickly, frowning to himself.
She glanced back at him. "It's alright. That doesn't bother me."
He quirked an eyebrow. "You yell at me whenever I call you Princess."
"Mm. And yet you constantly call me Princess."
"Indeed." They were silent again, staring up at the stars before the grandfather clock in Sarah's room chimed that it was very late. She sighed. "That's my cue."
He sighed as well and sat up. "Very well. I will see you tomorrow."
"Until then," she remarked, standing and slipping into her room. She nearly shrieked when his hand grabbed her elbow. "What?"
"I do care."
Her eyes widened in surprise before a dark flush covered her cheeks. "Thank you Jareth."
He smiled and nodded. "Sleep tight, Princess."
"Don't call me that."
Laughing, he vanished and she smiled, crawling into her bed and blowing out the candle.
To all readers and reviewers,
Is it odd that I find it fascinating I'm still a part of fanfiction? I mean, think about it. I started my fanfiction profile when I started high school in ninth grade and here I am, three weeks away from my college graduation.
My apologies for such a short chapter. I wrote everything I wanted to be written and didn't want to introduce the next part before its time.
I hope everyone had an amazing Easter :) I posted one of the Family series up – the one that was meant to go up two years ago but I JUST finished tonight ah ha haaaa. Yeah.
Next chapter preview: Chapter 12
"Kitsune." The fox turned to find Sarah standing there, hands clasped together before her and face unnaturally serious. "I must speak with you."
Kitsune glanced to Jenny who nodded quickly. The fox set down her duster and wiped her hands on her apron. "What is it Sarah?"
The princess glanced towards the curious servants. "Come now Kitsune. Do you really want me to talk about it in front of everyone? I mean, word could spread that you-"
The fox smacked a hand over her mouth. "Outside. Now."
Sarah cackled and hurried out of the room. Kitsune sighed and followed her. Sarah led her to an empty room and looked around. "Can you tell if anyone's in here?"
Kitsune sniffed quietly and shook her head. "No one. We're alone."
"Good… I…" Sarah shifted uneasily. "I've a problem and as you're the one with experience I figured I should ask…"
"A problem? What kind of problem?"
"I've been having these weird… feelings."