A/N: This story will contain elements of non-con at the end, but nothing worse than you'd find in a 1970s era romance novel, where the hero basically forces himself on the heroine but it's what she really wants, anyway. Dark!Jareth; he wants one thing from Sarah and he's not going to let her mouth say "no" when her body says "yes".
Warning given, I don't own anyone or anything, etc. Enjoy!
Part 1: Birthday Surprise
How she loathed peaches.
But she couldn't tell Dad and Karen that, or her mom. They'd want to know why she suddenly couldn't stand the sight, scent or taste of her once-favorite fruit. Instead she just smiled and pretended that yes, peach cobbler was exactly what she wanted for desert tonight, after her special eighteenth birthday family dinner. The one Mom had flown all the way from London to celebrate with her daughter and her ex-husband and his second family.
It was one of the few things that Sarah had been able to stand about her parents' divorce, the fact that they still got along with each other. In fact, the more time passed, the better they got along; hell, Mom even liked Karen and Toby. Sarah found herself wondering if she'd always liked them or just liked them now that her daughter had finally gotten over herself and started to get along with them both.
Karen, frankly, Sarah could give or take; they'd never be bestest buddies or have any cozy stepmother-daughter chats, but Toby she adored. No matter how annoying or whiny he got, everyone commented on how well his older sister was able to deal with him. He was three now, past the terrible twos but not exactly a model human being as of yet, but Sarah was older as well, and far, far wiser since her sojourn in the Underground.
But she still hated peaches, and still couldn't tell anyone why. How the very sight of a peach made her dizzy, as if everything were dancing around her, just as it had after she'd taken a bite of the magical peach Jareth had tricked her into eating.
And that, of course, was the root cause of her newly-acquired hatred of peaches. She associated them, justifiably enough, with the night she'd almost condemned an innocent baby to a transformed life as a hideous goblin.
Her own brother, and she'd wished him away like yesterday's garbage. "So not cool, Sarah," she muttered to herself as she brushed her hair.
She regarded her reflection in the mirror. It wasn't a bad reflection, not a bad one at all, even if she did say so herself. Her thick, chocolate brown hair reached nearly to her waist after years of steadfastly refusing haircuts that did more than snip off split ends, and she'd learned to wield the tools of the make-up artist at her mother's talented hands, so she'd never gone through the messy, "too much" stage when it came to eye shadow and liner and lipstick. Not that the face she'd been born with required a whole lot of artifice or covering up; her skin was flawless, creamy (she refused to think "peaches and cream"), and mercifully zit-free since just after her fourteenth birthday. And her eyes were large and dark and thickly lashed…
"And my lips are pouty and my nose is perfect and oh my God I sound like the world's biggest narcissist," she said aloud, laughing at herself for getting caught up in her looks, of all things.
Yeah, she had nothing to complain about in that department, but unlike her mother she refused to fuss over it more than she had to. Well, except for nights like this, when she was obviously trying to avoid thinking about other things.
She studied her image for another moment, not to categorize her features, but out of honest curiosity. She was eighteen now; did she look any different? She didn't think so, not so different from yesterday or even a year ago. And she probably wouldn't even have thought about if everyone didn't keep asking if she felt different now.
The truth was, she didn't. The truth was, the last time she'd felt "different" was when she was fifteen and running the Labyrinth, but of course that wasn't something she could tell anyone, any more than she could explain her hatred of peaches.
Oh, she could see how that conversation would go!
"What do you mean, you hate peaches, Sarah? They've always been your favorite," she said in a passable imitation of her mother's voice before switching to a little girl's sing-song tones. "Why, Mummy, didn't I tell you? I wished Toby away to the Goblin Kingdom and then had to run a magical maze to get him back, while the Goblin King did his damndest to stop me, up to and including almost killing me with these creepy mechanical Cleaners. And on top of that, he drugged me with a magic peach."
She shook her head and pulled a face. Yeah. Not happening. No, tonight, as always on her birthday, she would grit her teeth and smile and eat her peach cobbler and be bubbly and social until it was time to put Toby to bed. She'd volunteer to do that so they could have some special brother-sister time, then she'd go into the upstairs bathroom while Dad and Karen and her mother were sharing civilized cocktails and conversation, and puke her guts out.
Then she'd brush her teeth and make sure she lit a candle to cover the smell and go back downstairs and actually enjoy the rest of the evening since the stress of waiting for her body to win the struggle with her mind and eject the peaches would be over and done with for another year. And who knew? Once she started college in the fall she might be able to come up with some plausible excuse for hating peaches, like food poisoning in the cafeteria or something.
"Just another thing to blame you for, Goblin King," she muttered resentfully as she examined her reflection one last time before going downstairs for dinner.
"And here I thought our time together had been special," a mocking voice replied from just behind her.
Sarah gasped and spun around, heart pounding. It couldn't be…she'd seen him destroyed…surely he was dead?
But no. Shoulder resting against her bedroom door, mismatched eyes regarding her quizzically, eyebrow raised in that mocking manner she remembered so well…Looking, in fact, exactly as he had when she first saw him.
The Goblin King himself. In her bedroom. "You," she breathed disbelievingly. "What are you doing here?"
Jareth uncrossed his arms and offered a cold smile. "Don't you mean, why aren't I dead?" He plucked a crystal ball from nowhere and tossed it lightly in the air, catching it in one hand before flicking his wrist and making it vanish back to wherever it had come from. "Isn't that what you believed, that I was dead, destroyed by your declaration that I had no power over you?"
Sarah was standing, frozen, unable to move as he spoke in deliberately mocking tones. "I thought…that is, my friends said…"
"Ah, your friends," he sneered, taking one step toward her. Sarah couldn't help it; she backed up until she slammed painfully into the edge of her white-painted vanity table. She yelped, then slapped a hand over her mouth, not wanting to alert her family to the fact that something was wrong.
As if divining her fears, the Goblin King glanced over his shoulder at the door before returning his attention to her and offering a sardonic smile in response. "Don't worry, precious," he said, taking another step closer. "They can't hear us. No one in your world can, since we aren't in your world any longer."
Sarah felt her mouth go dry with terror. "What do you mean?" she demanded, eyes darting about as she took in the familiar details of her room. "We're still in my house…"
Jareth made a tsking noise and took a third step toward her. The room was small; he was only a foot or two away from her now, but she managed to stiffen her spine and not give in to the impulse to dart around him, fling open her bedroom door and run screaming down the hallway.
"Your house is still in your world," he said, seemingly in agreement, but Sarah knew damn well that things weren't always as they appeared when the Goblin King was around. "But this?" He glanced up, waving a hand to take in her room and its contents. The motion turned dismissive as he continued: "This isn't in your house. It isn't even your real room, Sarah. Don't believe me?" His smile turned cruel. "Look outside and tell me what you see."
She didn't want to. She didn't want to turn her back on him, cross the room and open the curtains, but she had to know if he was telling the truth or simply playing some kind of complicated mind-game. So she swallowed her fear, edged past his unmoving form and reached with one hand to push the deep blue curtain aside and peer out into the night.
Her mind reeled as she gazed out onto an alien landscape, a frozen wasteland lit by the brilliant glow of not one but two full moons. She tore her shocked stare away from those impossible orbs long enough to see that the bedroom window now appeared to be at ground level instead of on the second floor where it belonged, and that there was no sign of the backyard, the fence, the neighboring houses or streets, just a frozen tundra, drifts of snow and sheets of ice, billowing mist and nothing else.
"I don't understand," she said through numb lips, when she could find the breath to speak again, eyes still glued to the impossible scene before her. She reached up with trembling fingers to touch the glass, hissing in surprise and pulling back when she encountered a numbing cold. It was late summer, and the day had been brutally hot. Just another sign that she wasn't in Kansas anymore, as the saying went.
"Of course you don't." She let out another gasp; his voice was right behind her, soft and velvety with promise—but promise of what? Why had he brought her here? What did he want with her?
When she voiced those very questions, unable to move, his only response was a low, menacing chuckle and the whisper of gloved fingers trailing up her arm to her shoulder.
As if his touch broke a spell, she wrenched herself away, pushing past him and hurrying to her bedroom door. "I wouldn't try to open that if I were you," he called out in warning, and she paused, fingers on the knob, before slowly turning to face him again.
"Why not?" She tried to make the question as challenging and demanding as she could, but had a sneaking suspicion she only sounded the way she felt—scared. Helpless.
"Because it won't open to anything you'd like to see," Jareth responded. He remained by the window, a slight smile curving his lips, but it wasn't a smile that promised anything but danger. "Be a good girl and don't test me."
Slowly, carefully, Sarah considered her options. Slowly, carefully, she pulled her hand away from the knob and turned to rest her back against the door as she studied the man—creature—standing opposite her. "Why are you doing this?" she finally asked, her voice a near moan. "What do you want?"
"What I've always wanted, precious," he replied, eyes glittering eerily as the light in the room faded to a moonlit glow before disappearing into complete darkness. "You."
A/N: To my "Labyrinth" readers - I know, I know, this isn't "Forbidden Fruit." That has temporarily stalled and is going to be considerably longer than this story, so since I have most of this finished and barely half of the other, this one got to cut in line. Hope you enjoy and be sure to R&R if you do! (If you don't, please refrain from flames; I will happily respond to critical PMs if they are worded nicely!) :)