Author's note: This is a companion piece to Unspoken, written from Jareth's point of view. It includes both the events of Unspoken, as well as a brief look at the events just before and just after. It was inspired by a lovely idea that I ran across in scatteredlogic's Labyrinth fanfic writings, and since it refused to leave me alone until I wrote something about it, here we have it.
Jareth waited in the in-between, biding his time, thoughts of Sarah filling him. They focused him, solidified his core and attuned him to her as he had never been connected before to a storyteller. He could always hear her, always hear the unspoken words inside her that still had the power to name and to call and to shape.
Obsession whispered through him. Such a wash of frustrated rage, of sharp-edged lust, of disdainful admiration, of temptatious need - it was a whirlwind of feeling, the likes of which he had never known before.
And that was most novel indeed. Deliciously addictive, to feel these things, to be quickened like this.
It was her words that did it, of course - so speaks the storyteller, so mote it be - and at the time, he had simply reveled in the delightful trickster fey form he had been given. Such power to manipulate, to play, to be, even if his role was rather fixed. He was the villain in a heroine's tale, and thus doomed to failure. But ah, this storyteller's tastes were more somewhat more nuanced - a villain in love with the heroine, after all, is a more complex creature. And this villain had not been meant to be redeemed either - simply meant to be under the heroine's sway, always and forever, hungering for her light.
It was a role he hadn't played before then surprisingly - the tastes of modern storytellers were much more interesting than the ones of prior eras. And, ah, to be gathered together with that heady emotion running through him, thrumming behind every look and posture - simply divine. With every breath, he felt the adrenaline spike of passion. In love was a wonderfully tumultuous state to be in, with the surging crest and shattering fall of it warring inside him.
Even now, after the close of that specific tale, he continued to be. Especially now. Though she hadn't thought of him consciously for quite some time, he was still here. Still awake and aware and being shaped by thoughts and wishes glittering in the shadows of her dreams. So much better than slipping back into the gray oblivion of the amorphous forgotten.
When she called out loud to him, the intoxicating rush of feeling that carried him to her side was one part sly satisfaction, one part thundering triumph, and three parts visceral anticipation.
She stood before him, her need blazing from her beacon-bright. "I just needed to see you. To…to remember."
Oh, indeed you do. And he would be what she needed to see right now, the impenetrable goblin king of her wishes, with eyes of ice and voice of silk. Even as her direct address of him suffused his blood, he settled his expression into a chill politeness. "Remember what, precisely?"
Her voice flickered and faltered as her eyes raked over him - it was a very pleasing form after all, courtesy of her faerie-fed imagination. "I thought…I mean…" She closed her eyes suddenly, unable to find the words.
Come, my lovely girl, say it out loud. I can see it bubbling just below your skin.
Her voice was a whisper of courage and shame. "I needed to feel again." She was looking at him now, the blossoms of that feeling she had so longed for curling inside her with tantalizing promise.
Though that small awakening of hers pulsed through his tendons and sinews like spiced wine, these things could not be rushed. His voice skated along the edge of mockery. "And what do you think I can do about that?"
Anger rose in her, cinnamon-sharp. "Don't pretend you don't know. I'm old enough to see your games now."
Oh yes, spar with me, build your flame. He let knives slide into his voice. "My games? You make it sound as if they were one player events."
A mortification delicate as wildflowers colored her stammered reply. "I'm sorry, that wasn't fair."
He smiled at that, recalling certain previous exchanges with a taunting knowledge.
Impatience rippled through her then, and a certain charming exasperation as she responded to his implicit reply. "Right, right, life isn't fair…I did in fact learn something from when I was fifteen. Dammit, Jareth, this isn't the point!" She paused then, blushing, suddenly aware of her tone. "I didn't call you here to argue."
He tasted the rise and fall of her anger, the tangled, ragged threads of control woven through it. So thin, those threads, so excitingly close to breaking. "So why did you call, Sarah? After such a hiatus from our interactions."
Caution and hedonistic abandon struggled visibly within her as her words fluttered forth like butterflies. "I need to…that is, I want to…I mean, I've been missing…oh, for fuck's sake!"
Her vexation sung through him, a golden chord plucked from the bones of his chest, deliciously sharp. He savored it as he watched those ragged threads inside her unraveling, slipping away.
Her movement into him was sudden and swift, gloriously decisive.
Oh yes, do touch me.
The feel of her fingers against his was liquid fire as she guided his right hand with her left, as she slid into that oh-so-familiar position of dance frame, solid and connected and capable of moving as one. Anticipation and fear crackled through her, desire slipping along her skin, a carnal hunger to be touched like this, like this, sliding into her fingers, and into him.
Yes, this, he thought, exactly this.
He felt her emotions stretch him further, felt them fill and color him and pull an instinctual response that flashed across his eyes.
She saw it, and he watched as that knowledge excited her. "Do you remember this?" she asked, her voice low.
Her invitation was unspoken, and he accepted it as he began the graceful movements of their dance. "I remember."
"Do you remember what came after?"
"I do." The thorny remnants of wounded pride and thwarted desire pricked through his voice. But to touch her again like this, to have her need of him imbue him such life, such glittering presence and power. It was unspeakable ecstasy, and he would not lose it again.
"Things change," she breathed before pressing her lips to his.
Oh, how they do. Possession roared through him, but he held its leash in check - just a hint of it now as she pressed the heat of her skin against his. Just enough to tantalize and to tempt before he pushed her further yet. Agony skittered along his skin as he drew back from her, looking at her from a calm distance. "Say what you want."
Confusion sparked in her eyes. "What?"
"Say it." He wrapped his words with the threads of command that inflamed her, even as he kept that insouciant distance between them. "Or is this brief interlude all you were after?"
Her control was in shimmering tatters. "I…I…"
He let cold slither into his voice, the subtle sheen of disdain and dark promises. "A night will make you feel what you want. This one touch was enough to make you feel that." And I, sweet storyteller, and I. It was time to press for what could be. "Is that all you want?"
"No, I…" Her voice whispered to nothing as the possibility of what he was offering surfaced. Reckless anticipation roiled through her, raising an echoing surge in him.
"Then say it. What do you want, Sarah?"
Potential curled between them, shifting the malleable forces of probabilities and improbabilities, shaping him, shaping them both.
And then she spoke, decision framing each word. "I want to be with you."
So speaks the storyteller - so mote it be. But more was needed - there was further still to go. An irreverent teasing filled his voice. "Mmmm…for a night, then?"
An answering humor flowed through her, a sparkling stream of comfortable familiarity. "No, you irritating man - for more than that."
It must be spoken. "For how long?"
"God, you're demanding, aren't you?"
Her irritation crackled against him, small shocks of pleasure-pain tingling through his nerves as he scented faded memories that had been lost to gray oblivion. "I've been told that surprisingly often. How long, Sarah?"
The fight in her rose suddenly, agitated, resisting and barbed. "What exactly do you want me to say?"
Say your right words, my girl. "What you were thinking before you even called me here tonight."
"Why?" Her anger slid between them like lightning, the thunder of her pulse echoing through her skin. "Why do I need to say it out loud?"
"Because I ask you to. Because that is part of what you need." And because it is my need too. He leaned in until he was a breath away from her ear, the tender pattern of intimacy traced between them. "How long?"
A release of control rippled through her suddenly and completely, surrender sweet as snow. "Forever."
He spoke into the softness of her skin just below her ear. "And you know what that would mean?"
Acceptance flowed through her, a serenity stippled with fire bursts of anticipation. "I do."
"And," he said, quiet exultation flooding his senses, "you want this anyway?"
Cold fear flickered through her, trembling along her fingers, then faded. "Yes."
So mote it be. Sublime laughter spilled from him as he turned her sharply so that he held her from behind, letting loose the rolling crash of possession, claiming the long, hot line of her against him. He felt her sudden intake of breath as he kissed slowly down her neck, felt the thudding delirium of passion reverberate through her and into him. "At your service, my lady."
It was the most curious sensation as he lay there with his eyes closed - this gentle stroking of a finger along his nose, tracing the lines of his cheeks, his forehead, his lips, his chin, along his jaw, and back again. It was unhurried, reverent, intimate and endless. The feeling of being wanted was so clear - not simply desired, but wanted, yearned for, needed.
Truth sighed out of him, moonlight-soft, crafting irrevocable chains. "I need you, too..."
Full consciousness surged suddenly, and he felt the heat of their legs intertwined in the bed, the touch of skin to skin. He opened his eyes just as her finger was along the line of his mouth, a smile following the phantom trace of her touch. She withdrew her hand as he watched her, and laid it on his chest, looking back at him with a languid patience. It was a completion, a sense of fitting together and wholeness that was both terrifying and utterly peaceful.
Yes, this, he thought, exactly this.