Epilogue: One Month Later
"She sleeps beautifully."
Sarah smiled to herself as she heard her husband's whispered words. "And she sleeps heavily," she said in a normal tone of voice as she reached down and tenderly adjusted the blanket covering her daughter's small form.
Her daughter. The thought still sent shivers over her; she was a mother, her baby was half-Fae—no, full Fae now. Just like Sarah herself.
That still made her dizzy when she allowed herself to think about it. She was no longer the girl she had been, she was one of the Fae, and married to the heir to the Fae throne. She had defeated a powerful Fae sorceress—with her baby's help, apparently, since it had taken their combined magic to defeat Elizabeta according to the Fae Sage who had scried the dungeon where she'd been held captive and discovered exactly how Sarah had defeated so powerful a foe—and could imagine wanting nothing more out of life than this moment, right here, right now. Jareth was right; Christabel did sleep beautifully. But then, she did everything beautifully, her darling, dark-haired daughter…
She laughed at herself, causing Jareth to gaze inquiringly into her eyes with one eyebrow quirked upward. He'd been standing behind her with his arms around her shoulders as they stared with mutual adoration at their daughter, and Sarah had to explain herself to him. "Ever since I've been Elevated, it seems like my thoughts…I think more in poetry than I did before. And alliteratively. It's…weird."
She felt him relax a little, his grip, which had tightened fractionally, easing as he tilted her face up for a gentle kiss. "Ah," was all he murmured as the kiss ended. He returned his attention to his daughter. So small, so beautiful, such a miracle…his nose wrinkled as a certain odor wafted from the vicinity of her delicate little backside. "Um, Sarah, I believe Christabel needs your attention more at this moment than I do." With that, he released his hold on his wife and beat a hasty retreat, vanishing in a cloud of suggestively deep brown sparkles laced with gold.
"Jareth, you're going to have to change her diapers one of these days!" Sarah muttered angrily at the last bit of glitter lingering in the air. Then she sighed, rolled her eyes, and uttered the exasperated, time-honored curse all women used at least once in their lives: "Men!"
Christabel's eyes popped open, and she welcomed her mother with a smile and a stream of milky drool.
Ah well. It might take Jareth a while, but Sarah was determined to drag him, kicking and screaming if need be, into the full rituals of late 20th fatherhood. Including changing diapers and midnight feedings and all the other things that couldn't just be taken care of with a snap of the fingers and the application of a little pixie dust. Or at least, the things she wouldn't allow to be taken care of that way. Jareth had been absolutely appalled when she announced her intention to do everything she could, once Christabel was born, the way mortals managed it. And she would make Jareth help out if it was the last thing she did.
She knew herself to be well up to the challenge.
A wicked little smile curled her lips as she lifted Christabel up and carried her over to the changing table.
She couldn't wait to start tormenting Jareth again. Especially in bed.
Tonight, she decided. She'd spent enough time being coddled after delivering the Goblin King his heir. Her body was completely healed, according to Amyra, and Jareth was going to get a little surprise when he slipped into bed this evening.
With any luck, she thought with a wicked chuckle, the surprise she received would be anything but little.
Jareth peered cautiously around his bed chamber before fully allowing himself to manifest from the aether. Sarah and Christabel were nowhere to be seen, and he relaxed a bit. Sarah was stubbornly holding onto the human ways she'd been raised with, in spite of her newfound abilities—and quite formidable those abilities had turned out to be, well beyond anything he or the sages had expected from an Elevated mortal. Even taking into account Christabel's magic and how Sarah had been able to draw on it, it was astounding that she had been able to take Elizabeta on alone—and win.
But it wasn't his wife's newfound powers that had him acting with so much caution; it was her insistence on mortal childrearing strategies that made him so…wary. Not only did she intend to feed and clothe and change their daughter herself, she expected him to do so as well! The Goblin King, changing nappies…it was unheard of, unnatural…and so very, very Sarah.
He cat-footed his way across the room, hesitating only briefly before pushing aside the tapestry that covered the entrance to the nursery. Christabel was sleeping again, presumably after Sarah had taken care of the messy job of changing her, but of his wife there was no sign. He entered the room, taking care not to wake his sleeping daughter as he approached the cradle she currently occupied. She seemed to prefer it to the larger crib, even if it wasn't rocking. She was covered by a soft pink and green blanket and her mouth was puckered, as if she'd tasted something nasty. Or as if she were remembering the disagreeable smell of her now-clean diaper.
Jareth smiled down at her, then left the room as silently as he'd entered it, glancing uncertainly at the entrance to Sarah's solar. Then, squaring his shoulders, he lifted the edge of the tapestry and peered inside, fully expecting to find her glaring at him and ready to lecture him on his fatherly responsibilities once again.
The room was unoccupied, at least by his wife. Every surface was covered with vases and pitchers of flowers, no doubt a gift from her gardener friend. Interspersed between the containers were various semi-precious gem stones, which he assumed to be presents from Ludo. He shuddered to think of what the foolish knight-errant fox would offer as a suitable gift, but didn't bother to search around to find out. Instead, he allowed the tapestry to drop, only then realizing that this was the first time Sarah had left Christabel alone in their rooms.
Alarm raised hackles along the back of his neck; before he could act on his fears, however, a low chuckle from the vicinity of the bed captured his attention, and he whirled to find Sarah lying on top of the bedclothes, very fetchingly garbed…in nothing at all. She lay on her side, allowing him a complete view of her unclothed form, a smile hovering about her lips as she leaned up on one elbow, head resting on her hand. "Looking for someone?" she asked in a husky voice.
Jareth barely remembered moving toward the bed, his eyes on his wife and glowing with an intensity that took her aback for only a moment. Then the moment passed, and she sat up, reaching out for him as he perched on the edge of the bed. He gathered her into his arms, pulling her close for a kiss that rapidly went from gentle to demanding, tongues dueling with sudden urgency. Sarah found herself drowning in the sensations of her body pressed against Jareth's, their lips so ardently tasting of one another that it was with a sensation of shock that she felt him abruptly pull away from her. "Jareth? What's wrong?"
His turned his head reluctantly to look at the tapestry covering the entrance to their sleeping daughter's chamber. "What if Christabel should awaken? What if she…hears us?"
Sarah couldn't help it; she laughed, then quickly covered her mouth with one hand when her merriment was met with a scowl. "Sorry, but it just seems so…normal. For you to worry about the baby hearing us. Which she won't," she hastened to assure him as his scowl only deepened. "I made the tapestry into a sort of one-way mirror, only instead of only being able to see through one side, you can only hear through one side; so we can hear her, but she can't hear us."
Jareth's scowl lightened the tiniest bit, but his brow was still creased with worry. "But if she awakens and needs you…"
"If she wakes up for anything other than an emergency, the nursery maids will pop into the room to feed, change or entertain her," Sarah said with grin.
Jareth's eyebrow rose. "Nursery maids?" he echoed in confusion. "I've assigned no such servants…"
"Ah, but the Goblin Queen has," Sarah replied as her grin became a wide smile. "An elite staff of three—four if you count Ambrosias," she corrected herself.
Jareth's scowl returned, even fiercer than before. "You've assigned your three pets to watch over our daughter? Those…those…" Words failed him even as Sarah laid her finger over his lips.
"Those loyal, brave friends of mine," she said, enunciating each word quite clearly and with a glint of fierceness in her eyes. "Who have been helping me all along and who would never harm a hair on Christabel's head. And who've been thoroughly coached by Amyra in the care and feeding of our baby."
That, as far as Sarah was concerned was that; Jareth read her resolve in her eyes and decided that giving in gracefully would be to his benefit. For now. Later, he would have a few words with the "nursery maids," especially that bubble-headed, fox-faced, self-proclaimed knight errant of his wife's. He recalled all too vividly her complaints about the way he handled the books in the library; how she could even conceive of allowing him to lay paws on their firstborn was almost beyond comprehension…till he remembered how well the goblin had aided in bringing Toby to help rescue Sarah from her mental imprisonment.
Still, he would have words with them all, and if one hair on Christabel's precious head was harmed, there would be hell to pay.
If Sarah read his intentions in his face, she wisely kept her thoughts to herself, choosing instead to bring him back to the moment his worries had interrupted by placing his hand on one of her breasts in a pointed manner. "Hey, remember me?" she murmured, leaning forward to plant a series of delicate kisses along his jawline.
"Always," he growled, pressing her back against the bedclothes and bestowing a series of nips and kisses of his down the column of her throat, eliciting a squeal of pleasure from her that only served to further inflame him.
His own clothing vanished, and Jareth gazed down at his wife in mock dismay. "Woman, do you not think me capable of removing my own garments?"
"You were taking too long," she complained, arching her back so her breasts brushed against his now-bare chest. She wiggled, just a tiny bit, and all thought of mock-anger and conversation fled as Jareth answered her unspoken invitation, bringing his lips to the rosy peaks and making Sarah squeal even more as he took each in turn into his mouth.
Sarah wrapped her legs around his waist, grinding her hips into his, begging without words for Jareth to enter her, to bring her pleasure as only he knew how. She'd never been with another man, and never wanted to have anyone to compare him to. He was hers, her Goblin King, her demon lover, all she ever wanted even when she was too young to fully understand such things.
Jareth took her mouth in his for another passionate kiss as he gave in to his wife's silent demands and eased himself into her. By the Gods, he'd never been with anyone who came close to comparing; was this the result of love, or just something about Sarah herself? What matter, he thought briefly, his last coherent thought for a long, long time. Tis one and the same, Sarah and love, love and Sarah.
With Sarah and Christabel in his life, everything was different, nothing would ever be the same again.
Just as he liked it.
A/N: Well, here it is, the final chapter. But take heart; I am working on not one but two new Laby stories and will post them as soon as I finish my other three unfinished works in progress I have posted. The titles will be "Forbidden Fruit" (rated M and full of angst) and "Lady of the Labyrinth" (probably rated T and much more romantic than smexy). Ta for now, and thanks for reading and reviewing!