"Is there something wrong with me?"
"Whatever would give you that idea, Sarah?"
Sarah turned herself to face Meg, her near perfect roommate. She eyed the blonde moodily, pouting slightly, as she compared the two of them.
"Guys seem to want to avoid me at all costs, that's what gave me the idea," she grumbled, reaching over for another piece of chocolate resting on their small coffee table.
"Maybe they find you intimidating," Meg offered in her sweet, soft voice. Sarah gave an unlady-like snort, to which Meg giggled.
She rested her chin on her knees, trying to think of reasons guys would steer away from her, "Am I not attractive?"
Meg looked shocked that she'd even mentioned such a reason, "Of course you are, Sarah! Why, you're beautiful!"
Sarah couldn't stop the smile from emerging on her face. She looked over at her best friend/roommate. Marguerite "Meg" Giry was the epitome of beauty. She had long, straight blonde hair, large warm brown eyes, a dancer's lithe body, and pixie like features. She was not only beautiful, she was the nicest person Sarah had ever met. She would have had a lot of guys begging for her attention if not for her moody boyfriend.
It was strange to watch the two together. Meg was so sweet, a real-life angel. And her boyfriend was…slightly dark. He'd sooner kill you than talk to you. Sarah had heard that the two were childhood friends. Meg had told her that her mother had asked Erik if he'd escort Meg to America and watch over her while she studied dance. Meg had said that Erik had agreed more to escape memories of his ex-girlfriend, who had dumped him for a richer man.
From the beginning, Sarah could see that Meg held feelings for the moody stranger. When they'd become better friends, Sarah had questioned her about it. Meg had admitted that she'd always loved Erik, but he could never see her in that way. It had taken a few months to boost Meg's confidence, but Sarah had finally gotten Meg to confess to Erik. And to Meg's, and even Sarah's, surprise, Erik had also admitted to harboring feelings for Meg for many years. He hadn't made a move because he hadn't wanted to ruin their friendship.
The two were good for each other. Erik gave Meg confidence, and Meg gave Erik undeterred love. It made Sarah feel jealous at times, when the two were together, looking at each other with love-struck eyes.
Sarah sighed, wishing that she could have someone she loved whole-heartedly like that. She startled herself when a picture of a man with wild, blonde hair and mismatched eyes flashed in her mind.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a light knocking on the front door.
Meg's face seemed to light up, a sweet smile springing up on her face, "Oh! I'll get it!"
Sarah chuckled as Meg almost flew towards the door and yanked it open.
"Marguerite, you shouldn't just open the door for anyone…"
'Speak of the devil,' thought Sarah, chuckling. She turned her head to see a tall, dark-haired man standing at the door, an amused expression on his handsome face.
"I missed you though, I couldn't help it! Besides, I knew it was you, Erik! You have this special kind of knock," Meg flushed, gesturing her hands around to try to explain her reasons.
Sarah watched as the dark-haired man's features softened and he chuckled, "We have only been apart for three days, Marguerite…"
"I still miss you when you're gone," she whispered softly, smiling shyly. Erik's emerald green eyes sparkled with warmth and adoration. Sarah turned her head away, attempting to give them some privacy.
"As do I, mon petit ange," he brushed a small kiss on her lips, smiling widely when Meg's cheeks turned pink.
"Hey, Erik," Sarah called out, smiling at how embarrassed he suddenly got. He shifted uncomfortably, audibly clearing his throat.
"Good evening, Miss Williams," he tilted his head in her direction, acknowledging her. She rolled her eyes. Though he was oftentimes quiet and quite scary, he was also annoyingly polite. He was the only person who called Meg Marguerite, besides her mother, and who had ever called Sarah by her last name besides her teachers.
Meg led him inside, her small hand encased in his. They sat down together on the couch, Meg resting against his chest.
Sarah barely made it in time to move out of the way. A tall blonde came barreling in, landing rather ungracefully where Sarah had been sitting moments before.
He pouted, "That was rude, Sarah!"
Sarah laughed at the pouting expression on the man's face, "Hi, Christian."
He joined in the laughter, putting his arm around her, "So, are we going to get this party started or what?"
"I vote for or what. Your parties are rather hazardous to our health," Erik spoke up from where cuddled with Meg. Christian stuck his tongue out at him then humphed and attempted to smooth down his rumpled hair.
"Party pooper," he whined, "Meg, your boyfriend's no fun! You should find another one!"
Erik's eyes blazed and he looked like he wanted to strangle the 25-year old man. As if sensing the tension between the two males, Meg took Erik's hand in her tiny one, giving him a small smile. He instantly relaxed, though he gave a disapproving frown in Christian's direction. But the blonde man paid him no mind, instead focusing his attention on the bar of chocolate sitting on the coffee table.
He reached forward and snatched the bar, licking his lips, "What juicy gossip were you talking about before we came in?"
"We were talking about my inability to attract the opposite gender," Sarah huffed, plucking her chocolate from Christian's greedy hands. He whined in protest, his lips turning down into a pout. Meg made a disapproving sound, opening her mouth to protest Sarah's claim.
Sarah cut her off before she could even get a word out, "Don't even try, Meg. You and I both know it's true."
Christian grinned widely, showing all his perfect teeth, "Yeah, it is!"
Sarah rolled her eyes as Christian laughed loudly at his own comment, "No need to rub salt in the wound, Christian."
"You're just jealous because I can get a boyfriend and you can't," Christian's smile was smug before it turned into a grimace of pain as Sarah punched his arm.
"Shut up, Christian," she grumbled, taking another large bite of her Hershey's chocolate. He made a whining noise, trying to reach for the chocolate once again. Sarah just swatted his hand away, glaring at him.
"Yes, please do," Erik echoed her sentiments, looking slightly disgusted. Christian stuck a tongue out at him, though he kept his baby blue eyes on the chocolate.
"Your boyfriend is extremely rude, Meg! No matter how attractive he is, I wouldn't ever date you, Erik," the blonde man sniffed haughtily, crossing his arms. Meg rolled her eyes, smiling fondly while snuggling into Erik's chest. Erik smiled, running his fingers through her blonde hair.
"Thank heavens for that," Erik replied dryly, looking disgruntled and slightly disgusted by the idea. Sarah sometimes wondered how the two were still friends. They were constantly bickering.
She sat back against the couch, huffing, "Well, you guys are men so tell me. What's the matter with me? Why won't guys ask me out?"
"I would hardly call Christian a man," Erik smirked, chuckling when the blond man gave a cry of indignation.
Christian made a W then an E in the air with his fingers, "Whatever, Erik! I can probably answer her question better than you can!"
"By all means then, please continue," he spoke smoothly, a challenge in his soft, melodious voice.
"The reason, darling, is quite simple," Christian began in a patronizing tone, "Your aura just radiates that you are taken. And that your 'beloved' is a rather scary fellow."
"That…did not make any sense whatsoever," Sarah looked at him, completely lost. Her 'beloved'? Wasn't the whole reason they were having this conversation was her lack of one?
"It's kind of like what happens to Meg, ok? Scary boyfriends seem to leave this…protection shield around their girlfriends. You have living proof of it. Have any guys approached Meg ever since she started dating Mister Moody? Besides, most guys can sense when a girl is taken, and you my friend…are taken," Christian elaborated, though Sarah still looked somewhat confused. His attention was still captivated by the chocolate in Sarah's hands and Sarah made sure to hold on to it tightly.
"I'm taken? But I don't even have a boyfriend, which is why we're having this discussion in the first place," she puzzled over the information, trying to think of what it could possibly mean.
"It doesn't have to be a boyfriend specifically…It could be someone that has the hots for you. I totally picked up on it when I first met you. It's even worse than the air around Meg," he was able to successfully get the chocolate away from Sarah, who was deep in thought. He took a large bite, moaning happily as he chewed the chocolate.
Meg leaned forward, her expression surprised, "How do you know all this?"
Erik rolled his eyes as Christian opened his mouth to answer Meg's question.
"Hah, let's just say there are advantages to being…"
Sarah suddenly jumped up, her eyes like liquid fire, "I DON'T BELIEVE IT! THAT EGOTISTICAL PRICK!"
Meg cowered into Erik's chest before reaching out toward Sarah, "Umm, are you okay, Sarah?"
Sarah didn't hear her, her anger making her blood boil, "GRRRR! JUST WAIT TILL I GET MY HANDS ON HIM!"
"That would be a no," Christian giggled, earning him a hard look from Meg. Meg turned her worried gaze back to Sarah. Erik laid a comforting hand on her shoulder, giving her a sympathetic look.
He looked at Sarah before looking back at Meg, "I believe Miss Williams would appreciate some time alone to deal with this matter…Shall we go?"
Meg nodded, standing up and taking her boyfriend's hand in her own. Christian made no move to stand, still in giggling mode. Erik cleared his throat loudly, giving the blonde a hard stare.
"Awww, no fair! I want to be here when Sarah commits murder!"
"Christian," Erik growled low in his throat, a threatening undertone in his voice. The blonde shivered in fear, giving a slight squeak of fright.
He stood up quickly, brushing off nonexistent dust off his pants, "All right, all right, I'm coming! Sarah, sweetheart, try not to get blood on the carpet…It would be a nightmare to clean it out. Oh, and next time, you'll have to tell me where you bought those pants, they are absolutely yummylicious!"
"Please refrain from ever using that word again," Erik groaned while Meg giggled. Christian just smiled crookedly, skipping outside. Meg nodded towards Erik, motioning him to go on ahead. He gave a long-suffering sigh before making his way out the door.
Meg put a comforting hand on her arm, looking concerned, "You'll be okay by yourself?"
Sarah nodded tersely, waving Meg off. The blond woman gave her a last worried look before following the two bickering males, closing the door quietly behind her. Sarah waited until she heard the footsteps in the hallway fade into silence before turning toward the empty room.
There was no answer which made Sarah's anger grow.
"JARETH, I KNOW YOU'RE THERE, ANSWER ME YOU GLITTER-OBSSESSED BASTARD!"
"I assure you, precious, my parents were quite happily married when I was born," he purred, sending shivers down her spine. Sarah whirled around, coming face to face with the Goblin King. He leaned against the wall, his lips quirked up into a smug smirk, his mismatched eyes twinkling mischievously, and his white-blonde hair still as wild as ever. He wore his usual casual attire, his white poet's shirt slightly open and showing off his pale chest. Sarah tore her eyes away from his form to look up at his handsome face.
"Jareth," Sarah breathed out his name, her ire quickly extinguishing when their eyes met. His lips slowly twisted up into a smirk. He pushed himself off the wall and slowly stalked towards her, his eyes smoldering.
His voice was like smooth honey, flowing sweetly into her ear, "Precious…I have to say it's a pleasant surprise. I didn't expect you to call me back so soon…I thought the deal was I could only visit once a week?"
Her anger flared up again as she remembered the reason why she'd called him in the first place. Though she couldn't tell if the heat in her cheeks was from anger or from how close he had come to stand beside her.
"Jareth, I am not in the mood for one of your games," she hissed, "Now, you're going to tell me why I have an anti-boy shield around me or so help me I'll drown you in your own bog!"
His eyes widened, "Why, precious, I have no idea what you're talking about!"
One look into his mismatched eyes and she was sure that Jareth knew exactly what she was talking about.
"Liar! Jareth, you're going to tell me exactly what you did NOW," she threatened, her voice low with warning. One of his eyebrows rose, his smirk widening. He leaned forward until his mouth was at her ear, his breath hot on her neck. She felt her face flush, her body flaring up with heat.
He purred, his lips brushing her skin as he spoke into her ear, "Are you sure you want to know, Sarah-mine?"
She nodded, her throat feeling too dry to speak. He gave her a wild grin, showing off his pointy canines. His mismatched eyes flashed, making her heart pound and her knees go weak.
"If you want someone to blame for your unfortunate men repellent, then you'd have to be blaming yourself," he began, moving backwards a step so he was no longer intruding on her personal space, but still too close for Sarah to relax completely.
She looked at him suspiciously, "What do you mean?"
She was glad that he had moved away. It was slightly harder to think or talk, with him standing so close to her. He gave her a crooked smile before making himself comfortable on her couch. He made a face as he moved the half-eaten chocolate from the couch to the table with careful fingers.
"Well, precious," he began, "Do you remember our very last encounter in my Labyrinth?"
She folded her arms, her chin coming up, "When I defeated you?"
"What a nasty word, Sarah…I wouldn't say defeated. More like…temporarily deterred," he replied smoothly, "But yes, that's the encounter I was referring to. Do you remember what you said to me before you shattered my wonderful Escher room?"
She sighed, "I said that my kingdom was as great and that you had no power over me…or something like that," she wondered why he'd bring this up.
When he had first visited her after the events of the Labyrinth, she had thrown a book at his head. But after he had insisted that he meant no harm and that he only wanted them to become friends, she had hesitantly agreed to the truce. The only rule was that he could only visit once a week. The start was a bit rocky, but Sarah was soon comfortable in his presence and found that she enjoyed his companionship. Though he often teased her, he was charming, witty, and a good conversationalist. Though she would never admit it to him, lest his ego grow larger than it already was. They talked of many things during their unsteady friendship, but both had avoided the topic of Sarah's underground visit to the Labyrinth. So it was strange for Sarah that he would bring it up now of all times.
"You see, Sarah-mine, when you said those dreadful words, you not only broke my Escher room and made a terrible mess of everything…you also declared yourself my equal," his eyes shone gleefully and his lips quirked up into a secretive smirk.
She huffed, not seeing the connection, "And what does that have to do with all of this?"
He sighed exasperatedly, though she could see the teasing glint in his eyes, "Must I explain everything word for word, precious? Do you really enjoy the sound of my voice so?"
She glared at him, though she found that she couldn't deny his claim. She really did like listening to him speak. He had a nice baritone voice and his clipped British accent drew her in. Though she actually preferred it when he sang. He had the most wonderful singing voice. He cleared his throat, forcing her out of her thoughts. She flushed guiltily and he gave a knowing smirk, as if he knew what she was thinking.
"When you declared yourself my equal, Sarah, it meant you declared yourself my QUEEN," the last word came out almost as a purr. Sarah stood shocked, staring at him with wide eyes.
"That's right, precious. My queen…and it seems the Labyrinth has been doing all it can to make sure that you know it too," he chuckled darkly, making the hairs on the back of Sarah's neck stand up straight.
She ran a hand through her long hair, "So…this is all the Labyrinth's work?"
"And your own, precious," he had summoned a crystal ball and began rolling it around in his palms, "I told you that words were powerful things, did I not?"
"You did…Oh, this can't be happening to me," she moaned, sinking down onto the couch by the reclining Goblin King. He regarded her calmly, the orb flying over his gloved fingers.
He broke the silence with a whispered question, "Is being my Queen such a horrible prospect?"
His voice was indifferent as if he didn't care what the answer was.
But looking into his eyes, Sarah could see the immense hurt and pain that her reactions brought him. She could also read the fear of her answer in the tenseness of his muscles.
Sarah bit her lip, thinking deeply.
Would it be such a bad thing to be married to him?
There was no denying that he was incredibly attractive. But there was also the person to be considered. You didn't just marry someone for their looks.
Jareth had made it a point to tell her when they started to become reacquainted that the person she had met in the Labyrinth wasn't really all of him. He explained to her that she had needed a teacher and a villain and he had taken it upon himself to become that which she wanted him to be. That had been a turning point in their friendship. She had felt his sincerity and realized that she could trust him and that she wanted to learn more about him.
And while he could be infuriating and egotistical, he never failed to comply with whatever she asked of him. And he never failed to surprise her.
Jareth had also never hid what his true intentions were. Though he never said anything amorous, his actions spoke louder than words ever could. The heated glances and lingering touches almost drove her over the edge at times. It was no secret to anyone that Jareth loved her and wanted her.
But did she love him in return?
Looking up into his waiting eyes, she found her answer. Somehow, her old arch-nemesis turned best friend had wormed his way into her heart and become someone who she couldn't imagine living without. Somehow, along the way, she had fallen in love with him, amidst all the fights and discussions.
"Well, I guess it wouldn't be so bad," she gave him a mischievous smile, her green eyes twinkling.
His answering smile took her breath away. It was the most sincere smile she had ever gotten from him, one so full of hope and promises that she felt her eyes begin to water. Her next actions took them both by surprise.
She slowly leaned forward and placed her lips onto his warm ones.
He immediately responded, his lips surprisingly gentle and unhurried. He pulled away first, resting his forehead against hers.
"Wow," she breathed out. She couldn't get her heart to slow down.
He chuckled softly, "Wow, indeed."
Their eyes met and their mouths soon followed. Sarah's hands moved up to curl in his wild hair. Jareth growled low in his throat, pulling her closer to his body, his hands at her waist. Sarah's body flared with heat and she pushed herself closer to the Fae until there was no more space between them. She could feel him smirking against her lips.
That smirk was the last straw. She'd show him exactly who he was dealing with. Tilting her head, she deepened the kiss. The smirk was gone, instead he let her lead in the kiss. The heat between them soon began escalating until Sarah thought she would combust. Jareth's patience had also run out and he let his emotions take over. The slightly tame kiss suddenly turned wild, their lips moving in unison. Sarah moaned softly when he bit her lip, giving him a chance to slip his tongue into her mouth. Their tongues wrestled for a while before Jareth broke the kiss, panting slightly.
"Sarah, I…I want you to become my queen…in every sense of the word. You are my world, precious. Please do me the honor of becoming my bride," his mismatched eyes were full of passion, lust, and most importantly, love.
Sarah smiled, feeling tears gather up in her eyes, "You idiot…of course I accept."
A beautiful smile emerged on his face and he kissed her. She eagerly responded, wondering why she hadn't just followed her heart in the first place. Both of them would have been happy long before this if she had just stopped being stubborn and admitted that she had fallen for him.
They both broke apart when the front door slammed open. Standing in the doorway was a smirking Christian, a shocked Meg and an indifferent Erik.
"Hey, guys! What are you doing back here?"
None of them failed to notice that Sarah sounded a little breathless.
"We forgot the keys to the car…My, my, Sarah. I didn't know that you punished people this way," Christian's smirk widened as the girl flushed.
"Shut up, Christian," she growled, though her cheeks were still a light pink. Jareth looked amused, his mismatched eyes glowing.
"I'm afraid I must be going, Sarah-mine, though I did have a wonderful time tonight," Jareth had stood up, pulling Sarah along with him, "We should do it again sometime."
The last part he had whispered in her ear and she shuddered, her mind going fuzzy for a few seconds. He smirked mischievously before bending down and capturing her lips with his in a breathtaking kiss.
"Ta-ta, precious," he purred, before making his way out the door with a nod of acknowledgement to her friends. As soon as he was gone, her friends crowded around her, their gazes inquiring.
"I don't mean to pry, sweetie, but who was that?"
"That, Christian, was the reason why I haven't been able to find a boyfriend," she smiled, a far-away look in her eyes.
"Damn, I want one," Christian's mumble was answered by a smack from Erik, who frowned at him disapprovingly. Meg was staring at her, shock written in every line of her soft face.
"Sarah, what's that on your hand?"
Sarah looked down, her eyes widening in surprise. On her left-ring finger was a ring. The silver metal was twisted to make the shape of a tiny owl in flight, its features perfect down to the last tiny feather. In its talons, it held a small crystal orb. Sarah chuckled, her green eyes sparkling happily.
"This, Meg, is my future," she felt the smile grow on her face as thoughts of Jareth infiltrated her mind.
Sarah was sure that they would still fight and that she would still find him egotistical. But now, he was her egotistical goblin king.
And her personal boy-repellent.