This is fluff, not a masterpiece. I enjoyed writing it, hope you enjoy reading it. Happy holidays!


Gifts and Glitter

Sarah was sitting in her room, curling the ribbon on her last present, relieved to finally be finished wrapping, when with a soft pop and a shower of glitter the Goblin King appeared before her.

'Jesus Christ!' she cried, jumping in shock and falling from her bed, on which she had been seated, to land in a sparkling heap on the floor. 'You can't just do that. How many times do I have to say that if you must come talk to me, you at least have to knock!'

She was bluffing, though. She knew it, and he probably did too. It had been over a month since he had come to see her, and she had, in spite of herself… missed him. How did that saying go? You don't miss water until the well runs dry? Well, there was no doubt that she had missed him. As she struggled through college, fought off and on with her family, and tried to keep a job she hated, Jareth's pushy affection and constant encouragement had been one of the few things keeping her going. Not that she was comparing him to water, of course…after all, water was essential to life, and he wasn't. Definitely not. Not even close.

Still, though…she scowled at him, assuming an angry expression to prevent herself from dissolving into a pathetic puddle of rejection and begging to know why he had stopped coming.

'Forgive me,' he said smoothly. 'I was afraid that your family would see me if I materialized in the hall.' He offered her a gloved hand, and she took it little more quickly than she should have to let him pull her to her feet. He didn't let go of her hand.

'You look lovely, Sarah,' he told her, his eyes warm, and she swallowed. She was still in her pyjamas even though it was almost 5:00, she hadn't brushed her hair and she was covered in glitter. But he still thought she looked lovely. She had never dated, guys rarely showed interest in her, and her stepmother's opinion of her appearance was widely known, but Jareth thought she was beautiful.

'Thanks,' she said. 'Uh...you look good, too.'

He looked more than good. She tried to keep her eyes from flickering over his body, but it was hard to do so considering the skin-tight pants and open shirt he wore. Her throat went dry and she forced herself to focus on the floor, but her eyes kept flicking up of their own accord. His outfit was outrageous. It was obscene. And in spite of herself, she appreciated it very much. The clothes, and the hair for that matter, would have look absolutely ridiculous on any human...but they worked on him, somehow, and made him seem all the more majestic, powerful and, she grudgingly admitted, attractive.

'Thank you,' he replied, sounding amused. He still hadn't let go of her hand. 'How have you been doing, precious? You seem...dejected.' He lifted his free hand and placed two fingers beneath her chin, forcing her to look up at him, and her breath caught when he called her precious. He was the only person who had ever had a pet name for her, and as tacky as it was she loved it. No, liked it. There was no way she was going to think the word love in relation to anything associated with him. Not happening.

He had this way of looking at her, though, his mismatched eyes deep and unfathomable, which seemed to be able to gaze deep into her soul. She was dejected, it was true, or at least she had been until he had shown up. Christmas was a stressful time of year. It was Christmas Eve and she had only just finished her shopping, her dad and Karen were both in foul moods and Toby, out of school for the holidays, was wreaking havoc. She had to work the shift on Boxing Day and her boss was driving her crazy. And...it had months since she had seen Jareth. That last detail had only made everything worse.

'I'm just stressed,' she said nonchalantly, irritably. 'What are you doing here, anyway? I thought you had stopped bothering me.' She couldn't manage to summon a biting tone, though, and her false irritation sounded weak even to her. He just smiled.

'I am here because it is Christmas,' he told her.

'So?'

'So,' he continued, his voice soft, 'at Christmas you're supposed to be with people you love.'

Sarah froze, her throat closing, her eyes widening; he had never come so close to saying the words before. She knew that he loved her, or at least that he thought he did, but he had never said it. Sometimes she thought that that was all he would have to do, just say he loved her, and she would fall into his arms. Sometimes she thought that if he had offered her love all those years ago, instead of crystals and power, she would not have been able to refuse him. She licked her lips, trying to get some moisture back to her mouth, unable to think of anything to say.

'Sarah?' he asked, and she looked up at him, still incapable of speech. 'Do you want me to leave?' There was a great sincerity in his eyes, and a glaze of arrogance only thinning masking what she could tell was a deep fear of rejection. If said yes, told him to leave, then he would, and he might not ever come back. Ever. And forever, without Jareth, would be a very long time indeed.

'No,' she said softly. 'No, I don't. Jareth, I...I'm glad you're here. Thank you for coming.'

She didn't know what made her do what she did next. Perhaps it was the stress, or the shock of what he had said, or just plain loneliness. Whatever the reason, though, she stepped forward and leaned her head against his chest. This time it was Jareth who jerked in shock, bringing his hands to her waist. She could feel his heart beat and the steady rhythm of his breath as he inhaled slowly, pulling her closer.

'You're glad I'm here,' he repeated, something akin to wonder in his voice, and she nodded against his chest. He laughed softly. 'Who would have thought?'

'I kind of missed you,' she admitted. He breathed deeply, leaning his cheek against her hair.

'I missed you, too,' he whispered. 'I've missed you for years. I miss you every day.' His fingers curled in her shirt, and her every nerve exploded as they brushed her flesh. For a long moment they stood like that, barely touching, the intimacy of it overwhelming. Sarah found suddenly that she was shivering uncontrollably, and when Jareth slid his hands beneath the cloth of her shirt, resting them on the bones of her hips, his fingers caressing the small of her back, she felt him trembling, too.

Finally, he stepped back, pushing her away. He cleared his throat, clearly finding it as difficult to regain his composure as she was finding it to regain hers.

'Yes. Well. I also came to give you a present,' he said, running a hand through his poufy hair.

'Really?' she asked, twisting her hands together behind her back, wishing that she'd changed her clothes before he arrived. 'Sorry, I didn't get you anything...' He laughed softly, and she realized that she'd already given him the greatest gift she could give him, at least for now. Maybe someday she'd be able to give him even more. As they stood in the fading light, snowflakes dancing outside the window, she found herself hoping that that day would come.

'Here you are, precious,' he said, flicking his fingers and producing and small, gift-wrapped box. He held it out and she took in trembling hands, her eyes locked on his.

'Thank you.'

'Well, go on,' Jareth said when she hesitated. 'Open it.'

'But it's only Christmas Eve. I'm not supposed to open presents until tomorrow morning.'

'But precious, I want to see your face when you open it,' he protested, taking a step back towards her. Looking up at him, his gift held gently before her, she smiled.

'Well, I guess you'll just have to come back tomorrow, then, won't you?'