by Scattered Logic
Disclaimer: Jareth and Sarah belong to Jim Henson. Everyone else is mine.
Author's Note: Thanks to my beta, Cormak, for her thoughts and suggestions. Thanks also to Lady Jamie, The Hooded Crow, Saxonny and Solea for their support and encouragement.
Additional Author's Note: This chapter has been heavily edited due to sexual content before posting to the site. The unabridged chapter is posted on my website for those who wish to read the author's intended version.
As Jareth spoke, Sarah suddenly felt as if she couldn't breathe. Had she been so obvious in her feelings? And why was he asking this now? Did he intend to humiliate her?
"What does it matter to you? You've made it clear that you don't believe in love." She forced her tone to remain even.
To her surprise, his smug smile faded away.
"My opinion has changed," he said quietly.
"Why?" Sarah asked. She was actually curious, but she also saw an opportunity to deflect his attention. Perhaps if she could change the subject slightly...
Jareth's eyes locked with hers.
"Do you love me?" His tone was commanding.
Her shoulders slumped. There was no way out. She had promised to answer truthfully. Sarah straightened, lifted her chin defiantly and steeled herself for his ridicule.
"Yes, I love you," she said clearly.
Jareth didn't speak; he merely took two steps forward. She caught a confused glimpse of his burning eyes before he pulled her to him and then his mouth was on hers.
There was nothing gentle in his kiss. It was fiercely possessive and Sarah was shaking by the time Jareth pulled back and buried his face in her hair. He held her tightly, his breathing harsh, and yet he still hadn't spoken.
"Well, that certainly wasn't the reaction I was expecting," she said breathlessly.
"I almost lost you," he murmured in her ear.
Sarah's heart was suddenly pounding. He sounded so forlorn. She tried to pull back to look into his face, but his arms held her fast.
"Would you have cared?" she asked, her heart seemed to have moved up and was now lodged in her throat.
"Yes," he whispered.
"Why?" She struggled to force the word out, terrified of his answer, but she had to know. She had to know exactly what he was saying.
Jareth finally drew back slightly. "It seems that you were accurate," he said with a small smile. "Love does exist."
Sarah had the most absurd desire to laugh. He didn't believe in love. How many times had he told her that? But the emotion she saw shining in his eyes made her inhale sharply. Any moment now, she thought vaguely, her heart was simply going to burst.
"You have to say it, you know," she said quickly.
A teasing glint came into his eyes. "I have already admitted that you were correct," he said imperiously. "What more do you want?"
She smiled, but it trembled around the edges. She took a deep breath and said, "I love you, Jareth."
And she looked up at him, patiently waiting.
Jareth tilted his head, bemused. How was it possible that hearing four words could bring about so much contentment? Only a few days ago, he would have sworn on his life that he would never speak as he was about to, and certainly not to the woman standing before him now.
"I love you, Sarah," he said gently, and was immediately alarmed when the object of his affections promptly burst into tears. "What is wrong?" he demanded.
"Nothing," she sobbed. "Everything is wonderful."
"Then why are you crying?" he asked, confused.
"Because everything is wonderful." She leaned her forehead against his chest and struggled to get her tears under control.
Jareth shook his head slightly. "I can see I still have a great deal to learn about humans," he sighed, conjuring a handkerchief. "Here, dry your tears."
Sarah looked up and took the white silk square from him. "Thank you," she said and began wiping her eyes. In a moment, she drew back and looked at the handkerchief in confusion.
There hadn't been any handkerchiefs in the boxes of clothing she'd given Jareth.
"Where did you get this?" she asked, frowning slightly.
"Do you not care for the color? Is it too plain?" His eyes suddenly gleaming, he plucked an elaborately embroidered pale peach handkerchief from thin air. "Perhaps this is more to your taste?"
Sarah's eyes grew huge and her mouth dropped open. "When did you get your magic back?" she gasped.
"Last night," he smiled and with a flick of his wrist, the extra handkerchief vanished.
"Last night?" she echoed blankly, confusion apparent on her face. "But how? We haven't..." Her voice trailed away and she shook her head. "I don't understand."
Jareth sobered and he gestured toward the sofa. "Sit with me, I will explain."
Carefully, he began recounting the events of the previous night. As he spoke, Sarah's confusion gave way to alarm.
"I died?" she interrupted, incredulous.
"I am not certain that the Labyrinth intended to kill. Pushing you and hoping that you would injure yourself seriously enough to die is a bit haphazard for an entity that could have simply reached out and snapped your neck."
Sarah's expression quickly became horrified.
"But you need not worry, Sarah," he hastened to add, "I swear that it will never hurt you again."
She choked slightly. "How can you be so sure?"
"Because it no longer controls its magic alone." Jareth's voice grew icy and Sarah had the distinct impression that he was no longer speaking solely for her benefit. "And because I will destroy it if it harms you in any way."
Sarah sat silently for a moment, trying to comprehend what Jareth had told her. It seemed unbelievable.
"I don't feel like I died. Shouldn't I feel different in some way?" she asked in a small voice.
He took her hand and traced patterns on her palm with a gloved forefinger. "But you didn't die. When I reordered time, all that changed." His expression darkened and he looked down at her hand. "I was the only one outside the spell. Therefore, I was the only one who witnessed..." He shook his head, refusing to go on.
Sarah went cold. She remembered her fear and panic when she had first seen Jareth lying unconscious on her living room floor. Even before she had fallen in love with him, the pain that had rose up when she'd believed him dead had been horrible. Jareth had known that he loved her and had been forced to helplessly watch her die. Were there even words for that kind of agony? She shivered and reached out to brush his cheek with her fingertips.
"But I'm fine now," she said softly, "because of you."
Jareth looked up and her breath caught in her throat at the pain in his eyes. "You must never do that again, Sarah. I did not like it." His tone was plaintive and he pulled her into his arms, holding her close.
"I'll remember that," she said, blinking back tears. She turned her face slightly into the softness of his hair, breathing in his scent. Jareth loved her. She wasn't certain how it had happened or why, but those things were unimportant. All that mattered was that he loved her.
A giddy feeling swept over her and she hesitated only a moment before pressing her lips against his throat. At his shuddering intake of breath, she tipped up her head to tentatively kiss the soft spot under his ear. When he tilted his head to grant her easier access, she smiled, suddenly much more sure of herself. A slight nip on his earlobe and his arms tightened around her. A few light kisses along his jaw and then she was at the corner of his mouth.
"Did you know that since you told me you love me, you haven't kissed me?" she whispered, her mouth only a breath away from his.
His eyes darkened and he kissed her hard, leaning into her, pushing her down onto the sofa. Sarah found herself lying with Jareth half on top of her and she gasped at the sharp ache set off by the feeling of his weight on her.
His lips covered hers again, his tongue doing the most wonderful things. His hand came up and cupped her breast, his thumb rubbing over her hardened nipple through her blouse and bra, and Sarah moaned softly into his mouth.
Jareth broke the kiss and sat up, pulling her up with him. He stood and wordlessly removed his gloves, tossing them onto the coffee table. She watched him, puzzled for a moment, but when he held out his hands to her, Sarah understood. She placed her hands in his and he drew her to her feet. He pressed a soft kiss onto her lips and then he turned and led her into the bedroom.
The brief respite from the heat of his mouth and body allowed the realization of what they were about to do to come flooding into Sarah's mind with startling clarity. Her breath caught in her throat. She wanted Jareth, she had no doubts about that, but an icy sliver of fear trickled down her spine nonetheless.
"Jareth, I..." she stopped as her voice simply gave out. He paused, standing at the edge of her bed and waited patiently for her to continue. Taking a deep breath, she made another attempt.
"I don't want to disappoint you," Sarah said softly. "You've been with experienced women and... " She cleared her throat and tried one last time. "I'm afraid that you're not going to enjoy this very much. I don't know exactly what I'm doing."
He smiled faintly and pressed a soft kiss onto her lips. "Has it not occurred to you that I am equally as concerned about disappointing you?"
Sarah looked at up him, surprise evident on her face. "But you've done this before."
"Not with you," Jareth answered, his smile widening. His fingers stroked her neck gently. "We shall both learn. Together, we will learn what pleases you, and I will teach you what pleases me."
Much later, Sarah snuggled close to him, resting her head against his chest, listening to his pounding heartbeat as it began to drop back into its normal rhythm.
"This is going to sound really corny," she said softly, "but I'm glad I waited for you."
"And I am glad that I found you," he replied simply.
She raised her head and looked into his eyes. "You know," she said, her voice taking on a teasing tone, "you promised me a next time, but," she gave a pointed glance downward, "you don't seem to be in any condition to live up to your promises."
Surprised at her sudden boldness, Jareth burst out laughing. "You are going to be quite insatiable, aren't you?"
She pretended to think for a moment and then nodded thoughtfully. "I believe that I am."
He smirked and brushed a hand teasingly over her breast until she gasped. "Then I shall have to keep your attention diverted until I am able to live up to your expectations of me."
The next morning, Sarah stood in the living room looking around the cabin.
"Are you ready to go?" Jareth asked.
She glanced over at him and took in the boots, tight breeches and leather jacket with a smile. As good as he had looked in those expensive suits, it was oddly comforting to see him in his usual finery.
"I'm going to miss this place," she said wistfully.
"There is no need for you to give it up entirely," Jareth said, his eyes gleaming. "I have rather fond memories of certain events that took place here."
She grinned. "Me, too, but I think it's best if I sign everything over to Gary. He'll take care of the cabin and I know he'll let us come back to visit whenever we want."
"Well, then," Jareth said, holding out his hand,"let us go see your friend."
Sarah placed her hand in his and they vanished.
They reappeared outside of Gary's apartment.
Sarah shook her head slightly. "How long will it take to get used to that?" she asked. "It makes me kind of dizzy."
"It will be easier when you are able to control it yourself," Jareth assured her. He gestured toward the door. "Are you certain that your friend will be home?"
"It's eight o'clock on a Saturday morning," Sarah said, nodding. "He's probably still asleep."
She knocked firmly on the door and waited.
After a few moments, she saw the peephole darken and heard the sound of bolts being thrown. The door was wrenched open and she caught a flash of Gary, his hair sticking up all over and wearing a bathrobe, before being yanked into his arms.
"Sarah! Thank god, I've been so worried," he cried as he crushed her into a hug.
"I'm sorry but we couldn't call you," she said, hugging him back. "We were snowed in and you know there's no phone up there."
Gary looked past Sarah and reluctantly released her, his eyebrows flying up as he took in Jareth's clothing.
Sarah caught Gary's expression and she shot him a warning glance. She wrapped her hands around Jareth's arm and drew him into the apartment, kicking Gary's door closed with one foot.
"Gary Nolan, this is Jareth. He's the King of the Goblins," she said, introducing the two men, "and, um, he's my fiancé."
Gary blinked. The last time he had seen this guy he'd been certain that the man was going to die, and now there he stood, and damned if he didn't look like a king. It was in the way he carried himself, in his almost arrogant expression. Or maybe, Gary realized with a start, it was the power that seemed to radiate off of him in waves.
But why was Jareth dressed as if he'd stepped off the cover of a trashy romance novel? In the next instant, Gary took in what was made clearly evident by the man's tight breeches. 'Oh, Sarah,' he thought with a carefully hidden grin, 'you lucky girl.'
Gary had no idea whether he should shake this guy's hand or bow to him. He finally settled on nodding his head and watched as Jareth similarly inclined his head.
Sarah's words finally penetrated the fog he'd been in since seeing her. "Fiancé? You're getting married?"
She beamed. "Yes."
Gary frowned slightly. "But how? When? What's going on? You've been painting this guy's portrait for as long as I've known you and then he shows up out of the clear blue, practically drops dead, and you just leave with him. And now you're engaged to him? Sarah, I want you to be happy and I don't mean to be rude, but you barely know him. And I'm not even going to get into the whole 'he's fae and you're human' thing because I can't even fathom how to hold that conversation," Gary shook his head, frustration evident in his voice.
As Gary spoke, Jareth's stance changed subtly and his eyes narrowed slightly. Gary sucked in a sharp breath. Sarah had missed it, but he hadn't. The power that Jareth exuded had darkened. Jareth might be dressed like an 18th century fop, but Gary suddenly recognized that, under that delicate exterior, Jareth was an extremely dangerous man, and he was obviously very protective of Sarah.
She brushed off Gary's concerns. "How we got together is a long story," she sighed and then grinned, "but I'm glad that you finally believe me. I told you that it was real. I told you that magic was real."
Gary's expression softened and he reached out to ruffle Sarah's hair. "Yeah, you told me. I just worry about you." He glanced over at Jareth and met his eyes squarely. Even if this guy could turn him into a toad, Gary refused to be intimidated in his own home. "Sarah's a good woman. She deserves to be happy."
For the first time since arriving, Jareth spoke. "Then we agree," he drawled in a melodious voice. "I, too, want her happiness."
Gary glanced over at Sarah's shining face and smiled fondly. He'd never seen her like this. If being with this guy was what caused Sarah to suddenly be so vibrant, then who was he to try to rain on their parade? Besides, he suspected that Jareth wouldn't permit anything to come between them.
Gary looked back at Jareth and nodded slightly. As the two men came to an unspoken understanding, they both relaxed.
"When Sarah told me about the Underground, I always thought that she was just remembering a vivid dream or that it was a realistic fantasy," Gary admitted. "Your existence has kind of shaken my view of the world."
"Things are not always what they seem," Jareth smirked. "And there are more worlds than merely this one."
"Yeah, I've found that out," Gary said, running a hand through his rumpled hair. "I'm just not certain that's a comforting thing to know. Um, I'm going to make some coffee and get dressed, so make yourself at home."
While they waited in Gary's living room, Jareth walked over to the portrait standing on an easel in the corner.
Sarah smiled when she saw that Gary hadn't moved it. The painting was in exactly the same position that she had left it when she'd been so determined to hide it from Jareth.
"This is the painting of your dream?" Jareth asked Sarah over his shoulder. "The dream in which we danced?"
"That's it," Sarah said, moving to his side.
"I do not know these women," Jareth said dismissively and then his gaze turned contemplative. "Nor do I have a jacket similar to this. Although, I like the cut and I look quite attractive in that shade of blue."
"Of all the things about you, I think I love your modesty the most," she teased.
"I shall have my tailor prepare a similar jacket and we shall dance. Would that please you?" Jareth looked at her with a teasing smile.
"Only if you promise to put the blue streaks in your hair, too," Sarah grinned.
Jareth tilted his head and examined his hair in the painting thoughtfully. He glanced at her. "The effect is very flattering," he said seriously.
Sarah laughed as Gary came back into the room, wearing jeans and a T-shirt, and carrying a cup of coffee.
"Can I get either of you something to drink? Something to eat?" Gary asked.
Both of them declined and Sarah sat on the sofa, patting the seat next to her.
"Gary, I've got a business proposition for you," she said briskly, as he sat down. "How would you like to be the proud owner of a mountain cabin and a car?"
While Sarah and her friend discussed the transfer of Sarah's property into Gary's name, Jareth prowled around the living room, pausing to examine the contents of a large bookcase. There, he found copies of the books that Sarah had illustrated but also several reference books, including a world almanac and atlas. He pulled them out and, taking a seat in an armchair, he began to leaf through them.
After a few minutes, Sarah rose and Jareth glanced up at her.
"Gary and I are going to run down to my apartment. I'm going to get the paperwork I need. You want to come with us?" she asked.
"I shall stay here and look through these books," Jareth said. "It will give you an opportunity to freely discuss me with your friend." He smirked at her knowingly.
"Now what makes you think that we'll talk about you?" she teased, but then rolled her eyes and gave him a wry glance. "Thanks."
Downstairs in Sarah's apartment, she found the deed to the cabin and the title to the car. She carried them into her living room where Gary sat, perched on the arm of the sofa.
"I can see that you're happy, Sarah. But are you certain about marrying him? You're going to be living in another world, you're not just moving across town," Gary said, concern apparent in his voice.
"Jareth said that I can come back and visit. It's not like I'll never see you again," she said firmly. "I love him, Gary, and we're getting married. So, be happy for me."
Gary threw up his hands in defeat. "Okay, that's all I needed to hear. I'm glad for you, Sarah. It's not every girl who manages to end up with the handsome prince."
"King," she corrected with a smile. "And Jareth says that it's possible for you to come to the wedding. You will come, right?" Her expression became concerned.
"I wouldn't miss it for anything," Gary assured her. When she brightened, he leaned forward. "Okay, I have to ask, does he dress like that all the time?"
"As far as I can tell," she said with a shrug.
"You know," Gary lowered his voice confidentially, "if you had described that outfit to me, I would have sworn that nobody-and I mean nobody-could pull it off. But he really does."
All too soon, it was time for Sarah and Jareth to leave. Gary smiled wistfully at Sarah and pulled her into a tight hug.
"I'm thrilled for you, but when I told you to find a guy to whisk you away, this wasn't exactly what I meant," he whispered into her ear.
"Well, the Underground doesn't exactly qualify as the 'burbs," she admitted. "And I have the strong feeling that we're going to end up with more than 2.5 kids. But some of his subjects might qualify as 'large slobbery dogs'."
Gary gave her a dubious look. "I think it's best that I don't even ask."
Sarah laughed and kissed his cheek. "I'll be back to visit soon." She turned to Jareth. "So, are you ready to go home now?" she asked, slipping her hand into his.
Jareth hesitated. "Actually, I have a place I wish to visit before we return."
When Sarah opened her eyes, she didn't recognize her surroundings. Sunset was close and they were standing in a wooded area at the edge of an open field. Jareth stepped forward, the frozen grass crunching under his boots, and she followed, puzzled. She glanced around and her eyes were drawn to a flag fluttering high on a hill to her left. No, she correctly quickly, not a flag-a battle standard. A pang went through her as she recognized the white boar and the white rose-en-soleil on the pennant.
They were at Bosworth Field.
She hung back, watching Jareth as he strode down a pathway toward a large diamond shaped rock standing within a paved circle of concrete. His head turned from side to side as he surveyed the terrain with a strategist's eye, his expression growing progressively colder with each step he took.
Sarah caught up with him at the rock. It was a monument, she realized. A few white roses lay scattered on the ground and one pale, long-stemmed rose was twined between the stone and a plaque mounted there. Sarah stood at Jareth's side, reading the inscription.
"Richard, the last Plantagenet King of England, was slain here 22nd August 1485."
The failing rays of the sun suddenly cast a blood red glow over the plaque and Sarah shivered, pulling her coat tighter around her.
"He should have won," Jareth said sharply, gesturing toward the hill where the battle standard flew. "King Richard led the charge from that position and he had the superior force. But in the end, he lost his life and his crown due to treason."
"Lord Stanley betrayed him," Sarah murmured. "He and his men held back, refusing to engage Henry Tudor's army."
"And in death, King Richard suffered the ignobility of being branded a monster, a murderer of children, with no more proof than whispers of gossip and fireside tales." Jareth's voice was contemptuous.
He turned away abruptly and walked out into the field, obviously lost in thought. Sarah remained at the monument to give Jareth his privacy, idly brushing her fingers against the soft petals of the rose on the stone.
When the last of the light threatened to completely fade from the sky, Jareth returned to her. She looked at his face closely.
"Are you all right?" she asked softly.
He nodded and held out his hand. "Let us go home," he said, "I am done with this place. This is the past and we have our future ahead of us."
Sarah smiled and as his fingers closed around hers, they vanished.
But the ground around the monument was suddenly ringed with crystal vases filled with white roses-a final gesture from one maligned king to another.
From the Author: I would like to thank each of my readers. Your feedback and encouragement has meant more to me than you'll ever know. I attempted to thank each of you personally, but there were several readers who made comments who did not leave an email address. Be assured that I appreciated your reviews very much.
The Enticement was started on February 03, 2003 and completed on June 12, 2003.