Disclaimer: Not mine; just taking the characters out for a spin. I'll return them safe and sound. Mostly. Probably. Maybe. If they're lucky.


Undertaking: Part I


Upon opening her bedroom door after a wonderful day, Sarah Williams promptly spun on her heel and slammed the aforementioned door behind her. It was a bit unfair to the door, really, as it was not the door itself that was the source of her disapproval.

Her course redirected toward her kitchen, Sarah decided to pretend that the reason for her impending overindulgence in ice cream and comfort food did not exist. She also decided to ignore the fact that she had just received an eyeful of- well… She chose not to dwell, and therefore, it was all she could think about. 'Ice cream,' she thought forcefully. Ice cream was a wonderful idea. She contemplated a getting a bowl.

Sarah liked to think herself inured the Goblin King's eccentric attire- when she thought back to it, which she never did, ever, at all- but this was beyond the pale.

'Oh, screw it.' She grabbed the tub from the freezer and plunked down at the table.

Viciously stabbing a spoon into the confection, Sarah redirected her attention and ruminated on her problem rather than the cause.

Up to the present, her day had been perfect. Serendipitously perfect. This really should have really been her first clue that something was catastrophically wrong. This particular calendar date never went well. In fact, it typically went to hell in a hand basket before she could even manage to poke a toe out of bed.

But this year was different. This year she had had the perfect day.

And now, for cheating her fate, she apparently had to answer to a Goblin King.

A scantily clad Goblin King.

A scantily clad Goblin King wearing nothing but sparkly hot-pants that had taken it upon himself to mosey on into the kitchen to better torment her.

For some reason the idea of the Goblin King 'moseying' anywhere resulted in an absurd mental depravity involving cowboy boots and a bull whip. Appetite turned, as that was her story and she was sticking to it, she abandoned her spoon in the incongruity of it all.

'Well, if Jareth were a cowboy, at least he'd be wearing clothes. Probably. I definitely need to look into therapy after this.' He took a seat and Sarah resolved to keep her gaze at eye-level.

"You're terribly rude, you know." He announced conversationally, as he captured her neglected spoon and helped himself to her ice cream.

"After all the trouble I've gone through for you, not even a 'Good evening, Jareth, it's so wonderful to see you!'" His voice pitched in a horrible approximation of her own toward the end, and Sarah rolled her eyes.

"I'm rude? Do you see- actually see what you're wearing? It's- it's indecent!"

He glanced down at himself and then back to her, unable or unwilling to mask his amusement at her discomfiture. "I rather think it brings out my eyes."

It did no such thing. The only effect his attire could have on anyone's eyes would be to direct others' attention downward.

"Why, Sarah-darling, do you find my attire distracting?"

He batted his eyelashes. He batted his eyelashes.

"Hmm." He tapped the spoon against his chin. "That was rather the point, but do try to keep your attention on the matter at hand."

'He just admitted to being purposefully infuriating.' Sarah ground her molars together, to prevent herself from snapping. Completely, anyway.

"What. Do. You. Want?"

He waved the spoon dismissively.

"Oh, a trifle, really. I merely wanted to ask you about your day."

"Right. Because that makes complete and total sense."

He grinned at her obvious ire. He had taken to twirling the spoon idly through his fingers.

"I'm so glad you agree, and now, please allow me to ask. How, precisely, was your day, Sarah?" For her part, Sarah didn't appreciate the tone he adopted. "Everything you could have wished for?"

Sarah, gasped, affronted at his insinuation; she avoided wishes like goblins avoid bath time. "I didn't wish for anything."

The spoon disappeared and Jareth regarded her intently.

"Perhaps you didn't use your words," he conceded after a moment, "It has been so, in ages past, that powerful wishes do not necessarily require words to direct them. Though I assure you, Precious, that you most certainly did make a wish this morning."

Her hackles raised.

"And? Let me guess, you so very generously chose to grant this supposed wish?"

His lips quirked and showed a glimpse of sharp, pointy teeth. Sarah's hackles raised higher.

"Mmm. Close, but no cigar."

Sarah rapidly decided that it was not worth the mental anguish she would suffer getting him to elaborate. She was developing a stress twitch, and if she actually wasn't, she would be soon.

"Well, you asked your question, now leave. Please," she added as an afterthought.

"Ah yes, I did pose my question, but you did not deign to respond. Unfortunately, I require an answer, ergo, my business is unfinished."

"Fine. It was great. Best day I've had in ages. 'Til the most recent five minutes, anyway. Now, go."

"I'm afraid that would be quite counterproductive to my plans," he declared, suddenly serious.

The cold tingle of dread trickled down her spine.

"And what plans are those?"

"Why, to rescue you, of course."

Sarah laughed; she couldn't help it. 'Rescue me? From what, the best day I've had in years?'

"Well," she started after catching her breath, "if you're playing the hero, then I'm doomed."

She chanced a glimpse up only to find his expression grave.

"Perhaps," he inclined.

The dread was back. These rapid fluctuations in mood could not be at all healthy.

"Regardless, you've been left to your own devices for far too many years. I thought that, perhaps-" he seemed to change his mind about what he wanted to say, "You tampered with Fate today, and balance must be restored."

"Excuse me, fate? What are you talking about?"

"You've fallen through the cracks, Sarah Williams." His head tilted a bit as he arched a brow. "Surely, you must have noticed."


A/N: Part 2 will be up after Thanksgiving!