A/N: Please don't hate me for ending the story here, but I've been fighting with this chapter for so long I've finally surrendered. I know it's short but I sincerely thank everyone for reading and especially for taking the time to review. Sadly my imagination has been utterly and completely hijacked by Sherlock stories, specifically Sherlolly, so if you ship those two I can promise there are a ton of stories I've written or am in the process of writing for that fandom. I will one day try to get back to finishing my unposted story "Forbidden Fruit" as well, for those of you who've expressed an interest. Again, apologies, and I hope this chapter leaves more than the two main characters satisfied.
Epilogue: Happily Ever After?
Well. That was...unexpected. He'd thought to have to pull the words from her, inch by reluctant inch until the confession was made. He'd expected her to spit her feelings at him like bullets from an Aboveground weapon – to try and shame him with them, to show her defiance while at the same admitting the truth they both knew.
But to have her speak the words with such naked honesty, to allow herself to be vulnerable in front of him, a state she'd fought tooth and nail in the past...he found his own anger and long-held vitriol drain away, leaving behind nothing but his own vulnerability. A state no Goblin King could ever admit to, not and retain his title and crown. If anyone ever learned how this slip of a mortal had crawled under his skin – and into his heart – his reign would be cut short, his power curtailed, his kingdom overrun...
He smiled. What of it? If he truly owned her heart, what other kingdom did he need? And if by some chance of Fate he managed to keep his vulnerability a secret between the two of them, if she agreed to wed him by the ancient laws of his kind and rule by his side...what a queen she would make!
Yes, romantic love as Sarah would define it was a purely human concept; the older races, the ones that secreted themselves away in the darker corners of her world and leached into the many other worlds that connected with hers, had never dallied with such short-lived foolishness as mortal love. Feelings flared and died over time; true, deep emotions such as loyalty and steadfastness and even hatred lasted far, far longer than the love the mortals wept and wailed over.
But he understood that Sarah was offering him something deeper, something closer to the affection and regard with with he held her. Her heart was still so, so young, but it beat truly.
And it beat only for him, as his beat only for her.
So why not give her the words she needed to hear? It would not be a lie, after all, to tell her she owned his heart as he owned hers.
"Our hearts have been one ever since you first set foot in my Labyrinth, Sarah Williams," he finally replied, when it was clear she was ready to give up on any chance he returned her affections. He reached up and slid his finger down the curve of her face, resting his fingers on her chin and contemplating her dark, solemn gaze. "Surely you must see that I cannot live without you, and if that is what you mean by love then yes, Sarah, I do love you."
He pressed his lips to hers before she could formulate a response, if indeed she were inclined to attempt any such thing.
Their second joining was even more intense than the first, for her as well as him, judging by the way she clung to him, her legs instinctively moving to wrap around his body, her mouth open and gasping as he sucked a dark, red mark into her neck. Marking her, branding her as his and forevermore belonging to no one else.
He rode her ruthlessly, holding back nothing as he plunged as deeply inside her as he could manage, feeling himself sheathed in her root to tip and reveling in the sensation.
When she came, gasping out his name and digging her fingernails into his shoulders hard enough to draw blood, she drew him along with her, pulling him over the edge in a glorious surge of mingled pain and pleasure, two emotions she had always been able to evoke in him even as a half-grown, defiant brat of girl too stubborn to admit that she felt the same way about him.
Their life together would never be easy, he reflected afterwards, when she rested with her head on his chest, his arms encircling her warmly. But it would never be boring, either, and after untold centuries of existence, that was more than enough to bring contentment to his cynical heart.
Sarah drowsed in Jareth's arms, feeling oddly content for a girl – no, she could never think of herself that way again; for a woman – who had just given in to her abductor, allowed him to ravish her...and just as enthusiastically ravished him right back.
Hm. Put that way, of course she felt content. Satisfied, even. Well, glowing with joy to be really honest. He loved her. She loved him. Yes, she was pragmatic enough to get that that wouldn't always be enough, that the two of them would have epic battles and bouts of not speaking to one another; that she would miss her home and family sometimes badly enough to contemplate leaving him and returning to the life he'd stolen her from...and also pragmatic enough to understand that it would never go beyond the "contemplating" stage.
Oh, fine, it might get to the "threatening to leave" stage, but as for actually letting this amazing, complicated, slightly terrifying man go?
Not gonna happen. Ever.
With a happy sigh, Sarah Williams, bride of the Goblin King, Queen of the Underground, closed her eyes and fell asleep, dreaming of the wonders to come.
And the Goblin King did the same.