A Ring in the Hand

Summary: Sarah left a contribution, a ring. Unknowingly our heroine invoked an ancient rite and is now bound to the Underground and the Labyrinth's King. And then the Summer King finds out.

Rating: T (implication of sex in public... sort of... I err on the side of caution)

Disclaimer: I neither own, nor claim to own, The Labyrinth and all it's characters. I lay claim to future OC's that may or may not show up. But that is all.

**See below for Author's notes

Jareth released Sarah from his purposefully intimate hold almost immediately, spinning her around to face him. She took two steps back from his figure.

"Well." He cupped his chin in a white-gloved hand. "That was certainly a spectacle."

Sarah twisted her hands behind her and smiled nervously. Her posture was unsure and sapped of all the fire and indignation that had so recently filled it.

Jareth's eyes were hooded as he regarded his Queen. "You realize of course, you made a formidable enemy tonight."

The dark haired Queen scowled at the reminder. "He had it coming." Her eyes glinted ferociously and Jareth let loose with a sudden bark of laughter at her phrasing.

"Sarah Williams. You are an odd creature! Most people would be terrified of having made the Summer King an enemy after a scene like that, but not you. No, you think he is the one worse off for being your enemy!" He grinned at her sharply and changed tack suddenly, a sly glint in his odd eyes. "I'd forgotten how much I like you."

He flashed a smile at her, revealing pointed teeth. He fairly oozed confidence and seemed to prowl towards her.

Sarah wavered. The Summer King filled her with anger, now that she was free of him. But the Goblin King terrified her. Still. Again. And she wasn't free of him. He made her shake in her boots. Excepting of course that she was in bare-feet, and her feet were freezing against the cool stone of the castle they'd re-appeared in.

And lest she forget that small, wee fact, they'd just been married. Haltingly she spoke, "Yes, well. I didn't like you last time we met. And, marriage aside, I don't really know you. And still don't like you." She couldn't help the questioning tone. He smirked but she continued more firmly. "So now that I'm free of the Summer Court, you can send me home… please?"

His shark's smile faded and his gaze grew shuttered. "I'm afraid it's not that simple." He stepped closer to her. Sarah gulped.

"Well, yes – "

He gestured imperiously at her. "Be quiet and listen." Goblins previously staying silent in dark corners sniggered at his command.

Sarah shut up and blanched at his tone. Her mouth snapped closed on her words of protest and pleading.

"I would love to send you home. I really would. I was perfectly content to continue in my life as I chose it. Free and unattached."

And why oh why did that cause her a sudden pang of deep sadness?

"But, as always, when it comes to you," he sneered lightly, "my wants are overridden by the Labyrinth's."

"Kind of like how mine were overridden?" She shot back angrily in her hurt. Vaguely the new Queen wondered if she had any right to feel so slighted since she had just asked him to send her away.

He glared at her. "Regardless, you and I, willingly or not, are married. And just to be explicitly clear, marriages here are bound up in the magic and fabric of the underground. In fact, as a general rule, we do not marry. They come with specific obligations. Too much emotion. They cause problems."

He stepped closer to Sarah who was listening in fascination, his icy eyes held her be-spelled. "Nevertheless, married we shall be. For while we began our marriage, we've yet to conclude the ceremony."

Sarah squeaked. "Oh. Um… no?" He stomach jumped in anticipation. No, that wasn't right; terror. It was fluttering with terror.

He laughed, low and throaty. "I'm afraid, dear Sarah, that neither you nor I have a choice in this marriage. Unless of course you prefer a magical backlash?"

"I'm not magical." She stated flatly. "It wouldn't hurt me."

"But you're not entirely un-magical either. And you are most certainly bound up in a magical contract. And wed to a magical King." He leisurely began pulling his gloves from slender hands. He was as nonchalant as if he hadn't just told Sarah that they were going to have sex whether they really wanted to or not.

Because he had. At least, she was pretty sure he had. She tried to take a step back, but he snaked his arms around her. One arm was coiled around her waist, the other followed the line of her spine and cupped her neck.

Sarah could see his pulse fluttering in his neck, above where her hands rested, futilely pushing against him. She angled her head up at him. Sudden fear bled into her eyes. "Please… I don't want this. I don't know you…" She trailed off.

His amusement faded and she glimpsed something remotely human in his eyes. Concern, or trepidation, or pity. His voice was soft when he spoke. "I know. And for what it is worth, I'm sorry."

It was then that she realized something important. She did want this. She wanted this mystical life. She wanted the magical realm. More importantly, she wanted the villainous Goblin King. And for now, that was enough.

And with that he took advantage of her surprise and kissed her. She vaguely felt the room spinning away from them as he moved them somewhere else. Presumably (hopefully) somewhere with a bed.

His mouth was surprisingly gentle on hers, coaxing her into reciprocating. And when she parted her lips under his, her compliance was rewarded. Mind numbing passion filled her senses.

Absently she realized he was divesting himself of his sharp and hard armour between fervent kisses, and they were gaining on the bed. But then his hand slipped into the black corset of her dress and she gasped into his mouth. She didn't remember specifics too clearly after that.

He chuckled against her and they were on the bed.

Through a fog Sarah felt vaguely satisfied, as if a question she hadn't known she'd been asking had just been answered. So this is what it's supposed to feel like.

Sun spilled into a warm brown room. A puddle of black silk was resting haphazardly pooled against the wall and the floor. Pieces of frosted white armour were scattered around the room.

The chamber was circular, obviously the top floor of a castle tower, and wide windows with broad ledges were open to the air. Long white curtains were pulled back to let in the bright sun. It spilled across the bed in broad swathes.

Sarah lay curled in an enveloping white blanket, her dark head just peeking out from where she had it clutched to her nose in sleep. One bare leg was kicked out from the pile of warm sheets. She was facing the centre of the large bed, sliding ever closer to the warm body of Jareth who rested on his side in a slight depression.

He was watching her downward progress with faint amusement. He idly tucked a curl away from its position of tickling her faintly freckled nose. She twitched.

The morning was soft and tranquil and Sarah couldn't help but sigh as she opened sleep bleary eyes to the gentle white of the décor against the warm stone. Jareth's pale skin and white blonde hair resolved into clarity when she blinked again.

A sudden blush swept over her body.

He grinned at her, "Delightful!" He whispered at her bashfulness.

"You're naked." She blurted out. Mornings were never a good time for her. Her verbal filter generally didn't kick in until after a solid half hour of wakefulness.

He leaned over her, his covering sheets moving distractedly. "So are you."

Sarah blushed deeper and her eyes skittered from his. Jareth held in a sigh. "But, neither here nor there. You and I have… housekeeping matters to take care of."

Sarah's brows furrowed in consternation. "Housekeeping?"

"Little details to be resolved." He began listing them off and ticking them off on his elegant fingers. Sarah couldn't handle it.

"Jareth." She reached up and pulled his hands down from their action. "Please. It's morning and housekeeping details can wait. For now… I know last night was… erm, unplanned, but I was hoping that we could just work on getting to be friends."

Jareth looked at her in consternation. "A uniquely human tendency." His tone was flat and vaguely condescending, which Sarah was learning (already!) to recognize as his attempt to cover confusion.

"Well, lucky for you," She yawned and stretched her legs out from underneath the blanket catching Jareth's quick glimpse at her limbs, "I'm human. And willing to teach you."

Perhaps it was the morning confusion, perhaps it was some effect of the magic she could feel seeping into her very pores, perhaps there was a spell, or perhaps it was some lingering languidness from the night before. Whatever it was, Sarah was content and surprisingly okay with this sudden change.

Whatever problems they needed to deal with, she'd lost (some of) her fear of the mercurial Goblin King, and was ready to deal with their mess. But not now. It was too early.

He slanted inhuman eyes at her, they were sharp and his white blonde hair haloed around his face, glowing in the bright sun. He grinned his shark's smile at her and with a sudden roll had her under him, only the thick white comforter separating body from body. His white blonde hair tickled her face as he leaned over her. "Friends." He kissed one cheek, "I think…" He kissed the other. "I can try that.

"So then, Goblin Queen," He arched a brow at her challengingly. "Our first order of business is to defy the Summer King."

"Defy…" She tasted the word and recalled it from a very different time and place.

He grinned at her slyly.

And That, as they say, was That.

AN: And really, that is THAT! Complete. I swear. There maybe some lingering backstories playing in my head, but I am now heading into paper writing season and don't really see a stop until oh, august? So I doubt I will get around to them.

Now! A small matter! If you have any questions about events... I feel I should let you know, that I won't be answering things like "Can you explain why...." Several reasons for this. I wrote this story in a mildly vague way, leaving a lot of it up to interpretation. Also, some questions may simply require close reading (combined with a healthy dose of guided speculation). Lastly, I'm a firm believer that if I can't work a truly key explanation into the story I shouldn't be writing the story!! Good practice for if you ever want to be published.

Thanks heaps to those of you that reviewed so faithfully! And very sorry for the delay! Real Life is a nasty creature that sneaks up on you when you are least expecting, walking softly. And often carries a large stick. And then bashes you over the head. So. That is that.

I truly enjoyed my return to this fandom; The Labyrinth is oh so near and dear to my heart. I cannot express how lovely it was to have all of you review and be so enthusiastic!! And those of you that wrote beautifully long reviews and caught my grammar bads (which, by the by, please be on the look out in this last chapter too!), and offered constructive criticism, I loaf you. Loff, LURVE. Shtuff like that. Special thanks to those of you (you all know who you are) who ended up encouraging me via PMs!

AND! Lastly, while it seems like there is clear potential for a sequel, I very much doubt there will be one!! I love the Summer King too much to destroy him, either in a story or through over writing. I'm done now. Leave a review! Let me know what you thought!