A Shard by Heist
Sarah grew up, but he still watched her. And so did millions of others. She became an actress. He was amused at first, until he began to see things… irregular.
In her first film, she was a dancer, one of startling grace and poise. Certain gestures seemed familiar to Jareth, though he couldn't pin anything definite down. Either way, it didn't matter much, as the film was a commercial flop. But still, after the film wrapped, he noticed that she moved with a hint more elegance than she had before. It was barely noticeable, and she said in all the interviews that learning to dance had taught her a certain refinement of movement. Jareth let it slide. He assumed that must be the case, that the vague dread on the fringe of his mind was nothing.
In her second film, Sarah played a fairytale queen. She suited the role, and the role suited her, perhaps a little too well, for she wore her regal bearing just as well without the fake crown they gave her to play with. In the film, she smiled and knights fought for her honor. After all, chivalry wasn't dead in the movies if you believed the Hollywood producers. She was commanding, and powerful, and when she carried those qualities away from the film as well, Jareth was mildly perturbed, nothing more. She had worked with a woman who taught comportment to the world's few remaining royals. It wasn't impossible for her to learn such things. And surely the men that fought over her through the media were nothing more than lovesick children. Jareth refused to see further then.
Sarah's third role was an unexpected departure from her first two, and it was the role that won her acclaim. She played a disturbed woman with uncountable secrets, and she carried from the film the air of mystique and darkness that brought her so many awards. Jareth fully noticed then. How could he not? It seemed that every new part she took replaced a part of her. It was wrong, inexplicably wrong, and Jareth watched her more closely than ever. He watched her so closely that he never noticed she sometimes seemed to watch him back.
In her fourth role, Sarah became a whore, and men burned for her. Her voice took a sultry turn, like the slow sear of fire on silk, and her body came into its own. Onscreen, she writhed in lace and sheer silken fabric, and off-screen she twisted through fame in leather jackets and satin ballgowns. She took a steady line of lovers, and when she coiled beneath them Jareth forced himself to grit his teeth and not interfere, no matter how much his every nerve ordered him to do so.
She wasn't his, had never been. He had no power over her, but that didn't stop him from watching her. Every time she reached the edge of ecstasy, Jareth watched, from the deep moan she choked off with a gasp to the bare flutter of her dark lashes. The first time, he wasn't wearing gloves, and he didn't notice the half-moon bites in his palms until they began bleeding. He refused to admit he burned every bit as much as her mortal toys, and he sought other ways to sate his thwarted desire. He never saw how she mouthed his name when she clawed at her lovers' backs.
Jareth hated Sarah as dearly as a beloved adversary when she landed a fifth role, and he suffered for days when he learned she was to play a dark enchantress. During the long days of filming, he kept his distance, refusing to see what new changes were wrought in her. He did not want to see the child-that-was extinguished by the puzzle-pieced creature Sarah became. Every new role somehow wiped away a fragment of her and replaced it with something newer, older, darker, and she seemed to know it. Jareth did not want to know what new strange thing she had become, but he could not control his curiosity for long.
He found her on the set with white feathers in her jet-dark hair and a perfect crystal twirling in her impossibly graceful hand. He waited for her to begin, but she looked directly at him as he watched through a crystal of his own, and smiled slowly. Her eyes were dark with magic and lust and Jareth ran from his own vision for the first time in his life. For weeks, his dreams were haunted by luscious smiles and those eyes, and he woke drenched in sweat and unquenchable desire. No woman he sought out was able to bring relief, and he found he wanted no other. Sarah danced just outside his reach; he had no power over her, no power to touch her, no power to love her, no power to fuck her. Sarah tormented him, and he knew she knew it.
For a year, Sarah disappeared from the theater screen, and Jareth had time enough to breathe for a short while before she reappeared. He did not watch her, but he learned nevertheless that she had chosen the role of a spy when she began to play voyeur. As he had watched her so often through crystals, so Sarah watched him, and just like her, he felt it. It was a vague prickle on his back, a whisper of a caress against his bared skin. And she watched him constantly. He wondered that she had any time at all to play her new part, so often did she watch him. He hated her. He loved her. He was sick for her. But he refused to play her game.
When he could take it no longer, he found her crystal spies and destroyed them. "I will not beg," he growled into one before smashing it beneath his boot heel. "Enough."
And suddenly she was there. "It will never be enough," she said simply.
"No," he agreed, and she was gone again. For days he cursed his stupidity, but the burning ache eased by an infinitesimal measure. When it began to seethe again, he realized what she had done.
"I don't want your pity!" he told the air, and he knew she heard him. "I want you to give up whatever hold you have on my soul."
"You first," echoed in his mind, and he knew her influence had gone deeper than he'd first thought. But… for Sarah to have come so far, she had to have surrendered at least a fraction of her implacable power to him. He had the smallest of holds on her, and he cherished it dearly. For a time, he took to finding her dreams and twisting them to suit his purposes. She was shaken, until she took a new role, as an actress. Her struggles against him became invisible to the world, and thus ceased to exist entirely.
Sarah struck back with a vengeance, and she brought the Goblin King to his knees for want of her. It was brutal, the way she took him apart, filled his dreams with sex and darkness and the friction of smooth skin on cool sheets, and left him moments before he found release. And she brought him to heel night after night in unending series.
"Apologize!" she commanded in the dreams, slipping into the dual role of queen and harlot.
"I have done nothing you have not," he replied. "And besides, it will never be enough, my Queen." She flinched, and he was cutting in his desperation.
"You have squandered my love," she whispered, and almost allowed his lips to touch her body.
"This is not love." She vanished, and did not come again for another empty year. If her presence, so close and never close enough, was a torment, her absence was the coldest abyssal hell imaginable.
According to rumor, Sarah became a consummate actress and nothing else. Jareth refused to watch her or be watched by her, no matter how great the temptation. He would not be ruled by her. And then came the end of the waiting, and she came to him outside of the dreams.
"Show me," she told him, and put her hand on his skin. The jolt was electric, and better than any dream, no matter how close the imagined contact. "More," they agreed.
Without silly restrictions like clothing, skin wore and slicked against skin, against cool sheets, against stone walls, against heavy carpets and thick velvet. Jareth made her bleed, he made her come, and he made her scream. Sarah pulled him under with her, gladly. "It won't ever be enough," went unspoken between them, even if it was truth.
They slept, and fucked, and chose time to rest and take meals and began again. To the mortal world, she had all but disappeared, but it didn't matter. She was an actress, and no one needed her. She left no one behind, because the only person worth leaving spent his days wrapped around her body. In rest, he adorned her with precious things and she let him. If it had a degree of permanence, Sarah said nothing, and Jareth let her believe whatever she chose to believe.
Later, whether it was days or weeks or months later, Sarah finally asked the question: "What are we?"
Jareth traced the answer on her body with his mouth until she trembled, but she only changed the question. "Is this love?"
He gazed at her from different eyes. "No."
"This is more."
She accepted that answer with a dancer's grace and an eerie calm, and Jareth watched her just as evenly as he always had. "You will stay," he said, not as a question, but as a statement of fact taken for granted.
Sarah thought of what she had taken from the Labyrinth, its chameleon capacity for change, and how every role she had taken had been to bring herself back to this place. She had to be a dancer to find balance to make sense of the strange world, and she chose the role of Queen to see the Labyrinth as Jareth did. She became insane to find a way into his mind, and she became a dark-sighted whore to find a way beneath his skin, to make him smolder within as she did. She made herself a magician to open the doors to him, and turned to the invisible road of spymaster to creep through those doors unnoticed. She thought on all those things, and nodded.
Notes: Yes, this is indeed a repost, back from those gilded manic days when I thought I could do anything for thirty days. The intention was to write thirty fics or drabbles in thirty days. I managed... three. Lesson learned.