"I just needed to see you. To...to remember." A sort of desperate hope tinged Sarah's voice. Unattractive, thought an uncharitable part of her. But honest, replied another part.

Jareth's smile quirked at the corner, though his eyes remained cold. "Remember what, precisely?"

Her voice faltered as her eyes slipped to the tantalizing stretch of skin just below his throat where his shirt opened. God, she'd forgotten how beautiful he was. "I thought...I mean..." She closed her eyes, drawing a breath.

Silence curled between them, patient and waiting.

Her eyes still closed, she whispered, "I needed to feel again." She opened her eyes then, and looked boldly back at him.

He cocked a golden eyebrow, a gentlemanly picture of polite interest. "And what do you think I can do about that?"

Her temper rose. "Don't pretend you don't know. I'm old enough to see your games now."

"My games?" Ice chipped from his words. "You make it sound as if they were one player events."

She swallowed. "I'm sorry, that wasn't fair."

That damnable smile quirked again in reply.

She rolled her eyes, sighing softly. "Right, right, life isn't fair...I did in fact learn something from when I was fifteen. Dammit, Jareth, this isn't the point! " Her words had tumbled into an unwarranted familiarity before she could rein them in. She took a breath and tried again. "I didn't call you here to argue."

His eyes glittered with something that might have been repressed laughter, and a certain satisfaction. "So why did you call, Sarah? After such a hiatus from our interactions."

Just say it, advised the honest part of her. Stop dancing around it, and say it. Cut through the word games, and say it.

Or you're just a coward after all, added the uncharitable part.

Sarah mentally glared at the uncharitable part and took a breath before she spoke. "I need to...that is, I want to...I mean, I've been missing...oh, for fuck's sake!" she broke off abruptly, exasperated with herself.

His eyes were most definitely dancing with laughter now. He seemed content to simply watch her, thoroughly amused at her verbal flailing.

Okay, maybe your direct approach could use some work, sighed her honest part.

Her uncharitable part was still in the last throes of taunting laughter as it choked out, Oooh, yeah.

And still he was looking at her, still waiting for her, so goddamned close she could smell the scent of him, like a springtime frost, a delicious incongruity.

He wouldn't still be here if he weren't interested, noted the observant part of her. Forget words. You don't need words.

Sarah agreed - if she wanted this, she couldn't request him to take the lead, couldn't request it at all. She had to initiate it.

She moved into him, her pulse pounding as she held his gaze, as she touched his left hand with her right to raise it up to their side, as she slipped her left hand on his right arm, and felt him take hold of her in dance position. He was so achingly real beneath her fingers, and so exactly as she remembered, the unyielding planes and angles of him, that intoxicating scent of him. Her breath came faster, the forgotten rush of emotion rising within her.

Yes, this, sighed the honest part of herself, exactly this.

The observant part of her noted with a certain exuberance that the silent laughter in his eyes had been replaced with the predatory anticipation she recalled. Dangerous, whispered the observant part.

Alive, replied the honest part.

"Do you remember this?" she asked, her voice low.

"I remember," he said as he gracefully began the swaying movement of their dance.

"Do you remember what came after?"

"I do." A growling heat colored his words, the remnants of a wounded pride and the masked promise of a threat.

Her pulse was a singing, racing thing as they moved together. To touch him again, to not know if it was safe, but wanting to have that forbidden taste. The adrenaline pumped through her blood, and the world was both brighter and darker simultaneously, the brilliant contrasts coming back to her after so long. Yes, this.

"Things change," she breathed, and leaned in to brush her lips against his.

She felt the curve of his smile, and then the press of his mouth back against hers, tasting, a hint of possession. A thrumming coursed through her body, electrifying as she felt the exposed skin of his chest against hers.

And then, he withdrew suddenly, leaving glittering need coursing through her. He had moved back enough to look at her, to measure her. "Say what you want."

She blinked rapidly, still held in his arms. "What?"

"Say it." Threads of command wound through his words. "Or is this brief interlude all you were after?"

"I...I..." She faltered, her thoughts scattered and slippery things against that velvet, demanding voice.

"A night will make you feel what you want." There was a darkening behind his eyes, a subtle promise. "This one touch was enough to make you feel that. Is that all you want?"

"No, I..." Her voice trailed off again, as possibilities bloomed that she hadn't really thought through before her incautious summoning.

"Then say it. What do you want, Sarah?"

She took a breath, just letting her gaze rest on him.

Say it, advised the honest part. You'll feel better.

If you can manage to without tying your tongue in knots, snickered the uncharitable part.

Oh, I'm sure he'll have better things to do with your tongue if you do, chimed in the observant part, with something of a salacious wink.

Sarah blinked, hushing her mental conversation. And then she spoke to him, clearly and directly. "I want to be with you."

The trickster smile she remembered flickered briefly across his lips. "Mmm...for a night, then?"

A wry smile of her own answered his as some of her uncertainty melted away. "No, you irritating man - for more than that."

"For how long?" His voice was smooth as glass, still with its undertone of command.

"God, you're demanding, aren't you?"

A jauntiness danced in his eyes. "I've been told that surprisingly often. How long, Sarah?"

Her temper was rising again - this was beyond teasing. "What exactly do you want me to say?"

"What you were thinking before you even called me here tonight." His words were cool and liquid, pooling behind her chest, threading their way through her pulse. "Say it."

"Why?" She let sparks of anger combat the persistent authority of his words, even as they excited her, even as they terrified her. "Why do I need to say it out loud?"

"Because I ask you to. Because that is part of what you need." His voice was gentle, and he leaned in until his lips caressed the edge of her ear. "How long?"

Adrenaline sang through her blood as she answered him softly. "Forever."

His lips pressed gently against the tender spot just below her ear. "And you know what that would mean?"

She closed her eyes, reveling in the feel of his lips against her skin, even as her heart thundered against her rib cage. "I do."

"And," he said, his voice soft as shadows as he breathed deeply of her, "you want this anyway?"

Her voice was a hoarse whisper as her hands spasmed, still caught in his. "Yes."

His velvet laughter spilled over her, as he turned her suddenly, sharply, so that he was behind her, her back to his chest, one arm across her in a gesture of unmistakable possession, the fierce strength of him pressed against her. He kissed slowly down her neck, an icy burn with each touch. "At your service, my lady."