Disclaimer: I own nothing. All characters property of Jim Henson and Co.
A/N: This is a sequel to "In Dreams", so it would probably be best to read that first. A quick summary for the impatient - seven years have passed, and the Goblin King comes back into Sarah's life to take back what she took. She refuses, and offers to join him instead.
The wind ghosted through the trees, rattling the dying leaves. Sarah took a deep breath and watched the Goblin King. Her blood still stood like a beacon on his lip. He had made no effort to wipe it away, no motion to lick it clean, and it glistened against his mouth. Cinnamon and leather and peat, with the bright copper tang of blood and magic laid over all. He was still, as only he could be - like a bird of prey.
"A try?" His voice was dry. "My dear, that is simply not enough."
Sarah gathered her courage.
"I know," she said. "I never meant for this to happen." He smirked at her. "I know, I know, I've said a lot of things I don't mean. But I do mean this. I didn't know what you meant, when you asked me. Y'know, before?" She could feel shame rising to heat her cheeks. "But I do, now. I think . And I don't fit here. I never have. You say that I changed you...well, you changed me, too. I want to go back."
He shifted almost abruptly, stalking closer to her. Her fear was back. He circled her, and she felt a strange sense of deja vu - he had done the same in the ruins of the Escher Room.
"Do you, Sarah? Do you know what going back entails?" Sarah could feel the heat of his body like flame licking at her skin.
"No," she breathed. "Tell me. Tell me before."
"You would be my Queen, Sarah. Heart, mind, body, and soul. You would be ruled by me, possessed by me, owned by me. Your every action would serve my will." She shivered, lust and terror and revulsion churning her gut.
Fear me, love me, do as I say...
"And in return?" she asked, squeezing her eyes shut. Leather and cinnamon and peat.
"I will be your slave, Sarah. In all things." He stood behind her, and she struggled to keep from leaning back into his chest. His voice was soft, almost sad. "The choice is, and always has been, yours, my Lady."
"And the Labyrinth?"
"Yours to rule or destroy, as you see fit. If you take your place by my side, you would have dominion over all its subjects, saving only myself. It is not an easy kingdom to rule. It is dark, and dangerous, and full of traps for the unwary." She heard the smile in his tone, could picture the cruel twist of his lips. "Are you frightened, Sarah?"
She nodded, mute. She felt as though she were dreaming again. The wind was biting, but it didn't cut as deeply as it should. His voice, his presence, his scent overwhelmed her senses. Peat and cinnamon and leather. A strand of his hair brushed her cheek as he bent to whisper in her ear.
"You should be. There is no going back, Sarah. Say the words, and I will take you."
Her heart thrummed in her chest, and her mind raced. Panicked thoughts flitted across the surface, like birds flushed from the brush.
"I wish," she began, hearing her voice crack. No more running, she thought. The wind died, and the little stand of trees fell silent as the grave. "I wish the Goblin King would take me as his Queen...right now."
When the first bolt of lightning lit the clearing, it was empty.