Disclaimer: I own nothing but my wacky imagination.
Summary: On her 26th birthday, Sarah's roommate gives her a disconcerting gift.
A/N: This was thrown together for Surelady's prompt to the JDB Fangirl Harem: "Sarah comes home one day to find her flatmate has kidnapped a Goblin King, who is currently tied up in their living room. You can decide on the reason for this and the story can be any genre you please." I took a little leeway with the "tied up" part. I hope it still qualifies.
I curse her for putting this plot bunny into my head.
The Trouble with Roommates
The problem with advertising for a roommate, Sarah thought, was often the people who came to interview were more suited for an insane asylum than sharing her living space. But she couldn't shoulder the rent on her spacious two-bedroom apartment, and she was not about move out of the high-end neighborhood because she would rather live alone.
And so she suffered through meeting with the dregs of society, endured coffee with a vampire death-metal fanatic who wanted to know her blood type, sighed through lunch with a man who insisted he was gay but stared at her breasts through the entire meal, rolled her eyes at applicants who claimed to merely be between jobs—if she would just let them move in without a first month's rent, they were good for it.
Finally, after days spent sifting through applications, she found Renna, a free-spirited hippy who was a successful jewelry designer. At the end of their first meeting, Sarah handed her a set of keys and told her to move in whenever.
In retrospect, Sarah realized Renna appeared stable because all the others had been raging lunatics in comparison. There had been red-flags Sarah overlooked—Renna's boundary issues, her belief that all jewels were secretly mined by dwarves enslaved by the gemstone industry, just to name two—in her desperation not to lose her apartment. Over the months, Sarah did her best to ignore Renna's disturbing behavior, and learned to lock her bedroom door at night.
Sarah, however, reached her limit on the day of her twenty-sixth birthday.
"Happy birthday!" Renna squealed as soon as Sarah stepped through the front door after a long day of rehearsals. Renna leapt at her, crushing her in a bone-cracking embrace.
Sarah pushed her back. "Thank you," she said. "I think I'm just going to make some tea and curl up with a good book."
"You can't do that!" Renna looked appalled by the notion. "We have to celebrate! I made you a vegan chocolate cake, and wait until you see your present!"
Sarah sighed. She really did want to curl up with a good book and a cup of raspberry tea. But if eating eggless cake and opening a present would get Renna off her back, then she would do it. "Okay. What did you get me?"
Renna stepped aside and exclaimed, "Ta-da!"
At first, Sarah didn't notice any gifts in their living room—until she looked up. "Oh, my God." She gasped at the birdcage hanging from the ceiling. On the perch sat an owl. A very sullen-looking white barn owl.
"I know, right!" Renna squealed. "I was going to make you an owl pendant, since you seem to like them. But then, I found your diary."
Sarah turned to her roommate, her eyes growing even wider. "You what?"
"Okay, I know that's a no-no," Renna said, backing away with her hands up. "But I really, really wanted to get you the best birthday present ever, and you never told me what you want. Can you blame me for resorting to extreme measures?"
"You read my diary?" For a heartbeat, Sarah hoped this was all a dream—a horrible, horrible dream. The things she'd written in her diary were never meant to see the light of day, let alone lead the capture of an all-powerful, wily Goblin King.
Renna cringed. "Yes?"
Sarah worked her jaw before she could manage a response. "Do you know what you've done?" She grabbed Renna by the shoulders and shook her. "Do you know what you've done!"
"Don't you want him?" Tears pooled in Renna's eyes. "You wrote in your diary—"
"I know what I wrote!" Sarah took a deep breath, trying to quell the storm of rage and fear building within. "Those were my private thoughts. You do understand that he's—" she pointed to the cage, "—not just an owl, right?"
Renna wiped the tears from her cheeks and gave Sarah a flat stare. "Duh." She pulled a twig from her pocket. "I had to use a rowan wand to catch him. And the cage is made of iron."
Sarah buried her face in her hands. "He's going to kill us. Oh, my God, he's going to drown us in the Bog."
"But didn't he fall in love with you?" Renna asked, patting Sarah on back. "I don't know why you're freaking out. This is win-win."
Sarah let out a bitter laugh, shaking her head. "No. That was just a ploy he used. And even if he did, I'm pretty sure he hates me now." She sagged against the wall. "I have to let him out. And we're dead when I do."
"Maybe we should have the cake first?" Renna gave her a weak smile, clearly not understanding that these were their last minutes on earth.
Sarah considered it. She might as well have a slice before she met her demise, right? Only, Renna was not a good cook—at all. "No, let's just get this over with." She grabbed the wand out of Renna's hand and snapped it in two.
Sarah's footsteps were shaky as she walked up to the cage. The owl stared her down as she opened the latch. She jumped back as soon as it was released, covering her face when the bird flew at her. Her life flashed before her eyes. The nights she spent reading to Toby. Her scriptwriting career taking off. Her reconciliation with both Karen and Linda. It had been a good life, albeit short, one with very few regrets. Too bad it was all over now.
Glitter rained down as the air constricted and expanded. Sarah lowered her arms, her heart galloping in her chest. The Goblin King stood before her as he had eleven years before, bedecked in black armor and a frayed cloak. Instead of the mocking grin he wore at their first meeting, his face was twisted with terrifying fury. Sarah backed away from him, wishing she could make herself disappear.
"First," he said in a calm voice as he turned his fiery gaze on Renna, "I think I'll turn that despicable creature into a goblin and bog her for the rest of eternity."
"And you." He whipped his head around and glared at Sarah. "You turned my subjects against me." He advanced on her. "You destroyed my castle. And now this?"
Sarah squeaked when her back touched the wall. She lifted her chin in an attempt to hide her mounting terror. "In my defense, you did steal my brother and make me run the Labyrinth," she said. "And I had nothing to do with this."
He narrowed his eyes. "Still insufferably defiant, I see." His lip curled in a sneer. "You never learn, Sarah. Perhaps I should teach you—break you of your headstrong ways." He braced his hands on either side of her, caging her. "Yes, I believe I shall start by taking you."
She waited for several quivering heartbeats for him to explain further. He was so close, smelling like new earth and springtime. The intensity of his gaze made her stomach do a queasy flip-flop. "Where?"
He lifted a pale brow. "Any sturdy surface will do." The fury was gone from his eyes, replaced by the promise of every carnal pleasure ever imagined. Sarah's knees almost buckled.
"See?" Renna said, clapping. "Win-win!"
"Quiet, wench!" Without breaking eye contact with Sarah, Jareth threw a hand back and Renna disappeared in a puff of sparkles. He gave Sarah a frightening grin. "Shall we begin?"
She shoved away the memories of her dreams where Jareth looked at her this way—as though she were a succulent meal he was about to devour. "No," she said with a cracked voice. She cleared her throat. "Never." She brought her knee up.
He captured it between his legs before she could do any harm. He tsked, running a finger across her jaw, sending a chill down her spine. "A worthy, if futile, attempt." He leaned forward, grazing his cheek against hers, and whispered, "Do your worst, little Sarah. I intend to prevail."
She closed her eyes with a sharp hiss when his lips brushed her ear. She was torn by opposing desires. She wanted to sink into the wall—through the wall—and escape his overwhelming presence. She wanted to knot her fingers in his hair, press up against him, and let him win. Over and over again.
He pulled back, his laughter seeming to echo throughout the apartment. "Perhaps I ought to pardon that roommate of yours. She did provide me with this unparalleled opportunity."
Sarah mustered up some indignation—though it was difficult with her body chanting, "Kiss him! Kiss him!" She pushed against Jareth's chest and gave him the dirtiest of dirty looks. "I'm not defeated, yet."
"Oh no, of course not." His smile broadened. "It would be incredibly dull if you succumbed as easily as other women."
Sarah scoffed. "What? You have a lot of ladies parading through your bedroom? I'm not going to be another notch in your headboard, Goblin King."
"I see." Jareth's expression turned serious. "However, since we're already here, you'll forgive me an attempt to persuade you otherwise."
Sarah looked over his shoulder, her jaw dropping. Behind him was not her living room, but a large chamber with a huge canopied bed in the center. She touched the wall at her back, unable to believe Jareth had whisked her away when he wasn't supposed to have any power over her. Her breath hitched when her fingertips met with roughly-hewn stone instead of the smooth plaster of her apartment.
Jareth had changed as well. No longer clad in his tattered armor, he wore a loose white shirt, opened to the waist, exposing his strange amulet and his smooth chest. His breeches were still indecently tight, tucked into black boots. The most startling difference, however, was his hands. They were gloveless.
No, no, no! This couldn't be happening! "You can't do that," Sarah said. "You can't just take me wherever you want."
"And yet, I just did." The corner of his mouth turned up in a half-smile. "Oh, did you believe I had no power over you? I suppose I did leave you with that impression at our last encounter." He tilted his head. "Did you truly think I had any desire to keep a squalling babe and his petulant adolescent sister—especially after she decimated my kingdom?"
Sarah glared at him. That had been exactly what she believed, but she wasn't about to admit it.
"You did, didn't you?" Jareth threw back his head and laughed.
She tried to knee him in the groin again, unsuccessfully. "Screw you!"
"Yes, please." He smirked, leaning into her. "Would you like to do that here? My bed might be more comfortable, though."
It was so unfair that he could be so pretty despite his obviously shriveled heart. "I thought you didn't want me." Dammit, why did she have to sound so breathless?
"I didn't want the girl," he said, his eyes sliding down her body then back up again. She shivered. "But now that I've met the woman, I most certainly want her."
"What makes you think I want you?" Sarah tried to back away from him. The unfeeling stone wouldn't give an inch for her, though.
Instead of answering, he held up a hand. In it was her diary. He thumbed through the pages as he said, "What an interesting read this is. Ah." He paused and read, "'Sometimes I wished he would have kissed me in the ballroom.'" He flicked through more pages. "And there's this: 'I dreamed of him again. He tasted like peaches. His touch was like fire, burning me until I thought I would die in the heat of painful bliss.'" Jareth glanced at her. "Would you like another example? There are plenty to choose from."
Sarah thought she might die right then—of mortification. "You are the most awful, horrible, evil man!"
Jareth shrugged, the book vanishing from his fingertips. "I prefer 'deliciously wicked.'" He twirled a lock of her dark hair. "Come now, don't you want to find out if I do taste like peaches?"
Yes. She clamped her mouth shut before the traitorous word could slip out. "No," she said through gritted teeth. "I'm not some conquest."
"Yes, you've already made that clear." He slid his hands beneath her shirt and traced lazy designs on her back with his blazing fingers, leaving goosebumps in their wake. She couldn't breathe. "I said I intend to win, and this time, I believe I'll play for keeps."
His words sunk beneath her skin, frightening and alluring just as he was. "What's the game? Another run through your Labyrinth?"
He glanced up, as though considering her question. "Tempting. However, that would mean risking your victory—and another round of destruction to my kingdom." His eyes met hers, a chilling triumph already dancing in them. "I've got a much better plan. In the next thirteen hours, if you find a way out of my bed, I'll release you. Otherwise, you become mine forever."
Sarah snorted. Thirteen hours? Like any man had that kind of stamina—even magical immortal kings. "What if I don't play?"
"Oh, but you must." He clasped his chest in feigned horror. "Unless, of course, you want me to win by forfeit." He grinned. "It would be an easier victory, but not nearly as entertaining."
"But that's not—" She cut off before she could finish the sentence. Damn him! She was a calm, well-spoken woman, and somehow, she'd reverted back into a whiny teenager in his presence.
"Fair?" He drew the word out with a sardonic tone. "Your persistent belief that I would have anything resembling honor is rather quaint. Now," he said, pulling her against him, "shall we play? Or have I already won?"
She wanted to scream, to pound her fists into his chest. No matter what he said, this wasn't at all fair. Stupid, stupid Renna! Sarah took a little comfort in knowing her nosy roommate was now condemned to a life of squalor and idiocy as a goblin.
"Tick-tock, Sarah," Jareth murmured, tipping up her chin. "Make your choice."
Sarah rolled her eyes. There was only one choice. "Fine. We'll play." Her middle flared with heat when the words left her mouth. She was going to let him seduce her. Oh, God! She opened her mouth to take it back, to find another out, but Jareth pressed a finger to her lips.
"What's said is said." He gave her a wolfish grin. "We only have thirteen hours. Less talking, more ravishing."
He brushed his lips over hers, gently at first, and then hungrily—as if he were unleashing years of pent-up tension. Or was it her who was caving to secret desires? Kissing him in real life was a thousand times more intense than it had been in her dreams. If he hadn't been holding her, she would have collapsed to the floor in a pile of jello as she was overwhelmed by the most acute yearning she'd ever experienced in her adult life.
Sarah was doomed. Stupid Renna!
A/N: Yes, this is a throw-away piece. But I had to write it or else the plot bunny was going to keep attacking me. *sigh* Reviews, as always, are most welcome. :)