A.N. Hellllo! I am so terribly sorry for such a long break in the story, you could stay family troubles with my aunt having a slight health scare but I can't really blame it all on that. I'm so sorry, anyone who wishes to call me a naughty word or two is free to do so… I deserve them. single tear Could win an Oscar me. Now, once again this is unbeta-ed and completely my own work, and God only knows I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer so any problems please tell me.

The Game.

"Sarah, dear," Someone was talking, behind her as she turned to look over her shoulder - a soft, pleasing woman's voice with a hidden level of mischief. Her mother - grinning lightly as her daughter skipped over - stood with her hands behind her back, a new dress in a deep (almost sea green) emerald dress that missed the floor by about an inch.

She remembered this place.

With a grin, Sarah collided lightly with her mother's knees. Looking up with the hand that brushed her hair from her eyes, she tried to catch sight of the thing behind her back. With a sigh, her eyes were blocked with a light swipe of her fringe into her eyes.

They sat, Sarah on Linda's lap as the item was revealed. A book; deep red leather with gold lettering, a short story but with a charm of it's own. She daren't touch it until her mother placed it upon her knees, running a tiny finger over the lettering that indented the front cover slightly.

Mentally, her mind jumped. She remembered this moment, she was about… What? Seven at most? Fantasy fuelled and still under the impression that there were monsters under her bed when the light went out of an evening.

"The Labyrinth," her mother had said softly, a blank - almost dead - look in her eyes before she had returned to herself once more. She laid both of Sarah's tiny hands over the cover before lifting her under the arms, depositing her child on her bed as they both made themselves comfortable.

With a sigh, her mother hand opened the book and began reading.

"Once upon a time there was a beautiful young woman…"

… And only now did Sarah realise the feeling of being watched.


She woke with not so much of a start as a snore in a vacuum, eyes popping open as she laid there stiffly. Staring at the ceiling, she wondered why she had woken so suddenly. The dream still buzzing along in her mind, she pushed it to one side as someone down the hall from her room raised there voice an octave. Her door was ajar no more of an inch, a perfect place to listen.

Shushing followed the voice, two voices bickering quietly together a few rooms down from hers. Sarah sat up in bed, straining her ears as she did so. The bickering carried on, regardless of the book that fell from her bed and onto the stone floor with a dull thud. She crept out of bed, placing her feet firmly on the ground and shivering briefly to the cold.

She had barely made it to the doorway when someone opened a door, spilling light into the corridor and illuminating two silhouettes. Sarah froze, hunched and shivering beside her doorway, hands splayed before her but touching nothing.

"I won't do it," A male voice, gruff and strained. Almost as if the owner was having a battle with himself.

"Please, let's not be so rash," A woman's voice, soothing and just a little smug as Sarah listened to her footfalls - the shadows coming closer. A pause, the woman sighed and her voice took on a sugary sweetness that almost made Sarah wince. "I know it's a lot to ask, but I trust you to make the right decision." With that, she marched back into the room and closed the door - the lock sounded harsh in the new silence.

Sarah retreated a few paces, the back of her knees colliding with her bed as footsteps echoed down the hall towards her. She had a split second to mutter a curse word under her breathe before the footsteps passed her door, missing the form sprawled in a very unladylike manner upon her sheets as they did so.

With a tutt and a small smile, she stood and tiptoed back to the ajar door. A second listening to the retreating steps and Sarah poked her head out of the door. A quick scan of the hall informed her that she had missed all of the action, merely leaving her confused and feeling a little foolish.

With a sigh she climbed back into bed, fighting with the pillows for a few moments until her mind settled on a topic that it didn't seem willing to give up. Her dream; a memory from years back, when her mother had just been starting up in small time plays and TV dramas, happily married and promising her little girl all the riches and glamour that the world could offer her.

The bitterness only lasted a second, once she caught sight of the room she was staying in with it's four poster bed and balcony. Money certainly wasn't everything.

But why now? Why a memory that hadn't bothered her in a good few years? The feeling of being watched, wanting to scan the room only unable to. Had Jareth been there? Even then? Surely not, she had been seven… But he had positively admitted it himself the last time they spoke.

The last time they spoke, being a few days ago now. Most of the fae council had returned to their own sectors, Alistair merely popping back every so often with important information on the mutation or the search for Kaiden.

Jareth - after keeping from her company for a good time - had excused himself for even longer with the supposed meetings with council members. It had been surprisingly annoying - lonely even, although she would never admit such a thing even to herself. A sort of frustration that came suddenly, leaving just as suddenly to be replaced by hurt briefly.

Not like it mattered.

She would be gone soon; her job done and purpose fulfilled, she'd be back with her family and friends soon enough. Sarah expected excitement to come, receiving nothing but worry for her troubles. If times had been different, she would of laughed at herself. Feeling depressed at the idea of departing from the Goblin King on bad terms…

…Although the last time had not been any better.


"You can't hide forever," Alistair said conversationally, reclining in a position alike his son's - though not exactly, he was an older man and being an older man meant his back killed like no one's business after half an hour of slouching in Jareth's favourite position.

His son - ink smudged over one cheek, a little in the ends of his hair - merely lifted his head from the documents he had been amending, quill in hand and slowly dripping ink over the parchment. He frowned, sweeping brows coming together a little before he shrugged a shoulder carelessly. "I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about," he muttered, head glancing back to the papers before him and nearly growling at the small lake of ink that now marred the papers.

Alistair chucked, head tilted back and hands folder over his stomach with his eyes closed to the midday light that spilled through the large balcony doors. "You always were a terrible liar, even as a child," he chuckled once more, finally returning his gaze to Jareth's and receiving a scowl in return. His voice took on a boyish tone, innocence that fooled no one yet kept the same clipped tone. "I don't know where your cloak went daddy, I 'aven't touched it!" He laughed fully to Jareth's expression, something between amusement and guilt.

For a few moments, the only sound filling the room was Alistair's laughter until Jareth carried on scratching at the papers before him with his quill, head once again down as he tried to look busy and official. "I'm not hiding," he murmured lightly, ignoring the urge to watch as his father tutted lightly.

"Liar," Silence followed the statement, Alistair waited patiently for a reply but received none. "She won't be here forever, Jareth," That merited Jareth's attention, causing the man to abandon all pretences of working to watch his father completely. Alistair could tell he'd hit a nerve, merely by the way that his son's jaw was working stiffly with his eyes slightly wider than usual. "Would you really want her to leave again with the wrong opinion of you?"

"I couldn't care less."

"Liar,"

"Father," A pause. "I appreciate your opinion in most things, but this is one occasion where you are completely off the point," Jareth ignored the disbelieving look he received in return, merely staring at something over the man's shoulder instead. "In the years that Sarah's been Aboveground, she hasn't changed at all," A heavy pause. "When she returns again, she still will not have changed. I think it might be for the best if everything remains the same, even her opinion of me." With that said, Jareth stood and excused himself from the room, avoiding his father's gaze as he left with the excuse of rubbing ink from his fingertips.


Alexis was bustling behind Sarah as she remade the woman's bed, allowing Sarah a few minutes to merely appreciate the scenery from her window. The silence that still dominated the room had been present since Alexis had entered.

She hadn't wanted to talk and Alexis had given up trying after a while, merely tidying the room instead and leaving her to her thoughts. With the day merely halfway through, Sarah felt unreasonably tired and was already looking to the bed longingly. The thought of her bed brought last nights activities to the forefront of her mind, making her turn from the window sharply and catch the attention of Alexis almost immediately.

"Alexis, whose in the room two down from mine?" she asked lightly, watching the woman's light frown carefully.

"No one Sarah, there's no one else on this whole floor," The look she was giving her told Sarah that she had better explain, yet she didn't and wouldn't any time soon.

"Oh, well," A pause. "Whose still staying after the meeting?"

Alexis gave the question some thought, enough time passing for Sarah to run last night through her mind in detail. The voices that she had never heard before, the woman's charm that she turned on in a split second and turned off just as quickly - manipulative and seductive, she was sure to get her own way. But by the man's voice, she was sure that wasn't a good thing.

"Alistair, that's it," A shrug as Sarah nodded mutely, trying her best to make the subject seem innocuous but somehow failing. "Is something the matter?" She took a few steps forward, coming to Sarah's side as the woman merely smiled warmly.

"Oh nothing, just 'bump in the night' syndrome, y'know," she laughed, stopping quickly as Alexis looked panicked and place a hand carefully over her heart.

"Oh dear! Are you sick?" Before Sarah had time to object, a cool hand was smoothing away the hair on her forehead and checking her temperature.

"N-no," she muttered, grabbing the hand and pulling it gently away from her head. "It's just a saying, I heard a few bumps and bangs last night and got a little worried," A pause, a shrug. "In the light of day, it was probably nothing, I mean," A small laugh, Sarah tried to lighten to suddenly worried expression "The castle is full of goblins, did I really expect a noise free night?" Alexis didn't have time to answer as there was a knock on the door, opening with their word as Alistair strolled easily in.

"Ladies," A small bow, one hand swept around to his back as he did so and causing both women to grin at his antics. "I have news, nothing on Kaiden I'm afraid," he added quickly to Sarah's optimistic look, dulling her hope before carrying on. "The healer is here, he will be ready for you in two hours," he turned his attention swiftly to Alexis. "Will you bring Sarah to the guest room in the west tower. Alexis?"

Alexis blushed a little, even going as far as giving a little curtsey as she murmured her reply. "Of course, Sire,"

"Very good," A nod, Sarah was sure she caught the tail end of a smirk before she furrowed her brow; rethinking his earlier words.

"Healer?"

"Oh don't panic, dear," A casual wave of the hand. "It's the equivalent of a…" Alistair stopped, slightly open mouthed and seeming to glare at the ceiling. He clicked his fingers once, twice and then blinked with a sudden thought. "One of those things you have aboveground," Another pause, another frown. "Doctor?" he said towards Alexis, eyes brightening with her slight nod. He too nodded and turned back to Sarah. "A doctor."


Sarah walked slowly through the large oak doorway, watching as Alexis rushed off around a corner as soon as she had lead her to the room. She felt… Oddly nervous, as if she was waiting outside a doctor's room. For a split second she considered walking away, pretending there had been no answer until she realised the reason for the test. After this, she could finally go home.

She still felt a little sick.

With a deep breath, Sarah surveyed the room she was currently entering and caught sight of a tall figure by the window. Back to her, arms crossed and yet tensing as soon as she entered the room. He turned exactly towards her, face impassive and unreadable with the tightest of smiles.

"Jareth," A few moments silence, both of the pair looking from each other to the room and back again. Jareth made the slightest motion with his hand from his arm, towards the door with a tilt of the head.

"Corbin has just left, he wanted to notify Alistair of my attendance," Was that humour? The slightest touch of a joke in his voice, with a definite pull on his lips this time. She grinned a little too, the idea of a man his age still reporting to his dad making her want to laugh.

"Corbin?" she asked lightly, taking a seat in front of a cluttered desk before inspecting some of the shining metal contraptions with trepidation. Were they for her? Once again, Sarah fought the urge to be sick - especially with a scalpel like blade mere inches from her.

"The healer," Jareth murmured, nearly falling into the chair beside her and automatically propping one heel up on the table. For the briefest of moments, Sarah turned away from the unnerving objects to the man beside her. He turned a little in acknowledgement, never quite meeting her eye.

A few moments tense silence followed. "You have blue on your face," she blurted with a smile, watching as Jareth turned with a bemused frown. She pointed to her own cheek, just between her eye and the bridge of her nose with a wry grin. "Just there,"

With a small pause, Jareth blinked and rubbed at his face with a gloved hand. Staring at the evidence in his hands for a second, he merely shrugged and gave her a somewhat lopsided smile. "Ink,"A nod of the head, realising his tired eyes and how silent he had become.

"Been busy?"

"Bored more like it, lots of official looking documents that are no more than rubbish and speculation," A casual wave of the hand, catching Sarah's eye in the process as he explained. "A lot of people pretending to know what they're talking about and really just looking for loopholes, trying to file away the whole mutation business as an accident and nothing to do with them,"

Sarah nodded, biting her lip. "Sounds familiar, except Aboveground we call it Government," A shared grin. "Listen, Jareth," she began but found both their attentions being drawn to the entering figure of an elderly man with a slightly curved back.

He dusted off his hands, never once looking to the two people in the room as he muttered something under his breath. His snow white beard nearly reached his waist, neat but long with a dusty blue gown as his only form of clothing. "We're all done, s-" he sat down behind the desk, finally realising the other person with no more than an aged but kind smile and a short pause. "Oh! Hello Miss, that's fine Jareth," Corbin waved the man away like a fly, raising a shocked expression from Sarah but nothing more than a smile and bow of the head from Jareth. "You can go,"

He stood and made to walk out without a second glance, leaving Sarah to fight with her own mind to the words she blurted out next. "Jareth," God, her voice sounded so whiny when she was unsure. "Alexis kind of left me here, I have no idea where here actually is," A guilty smile, waiting for the cutting remark that was sure to come back. She received nothing more than a nod of the head, a small gesture and Jareth began walking to the door again.

"I'll wait outside."

Corbin was moving before her now, gentle fingers pressing under her chin as he tilted her face upwards and peered knowingly into her features. After a moments pause, he nodded, smiled and walked calmly over the display cabinet to his right. Sarah couldn't make up her mind whether that was a good or bad thing. "Now Miss Williams, can you please drink this?" A glass vial of what looked like mud passed throught her eyesight, being placed on the table with a light click as Corbin once again inspected her lightly. This time her neck, just under her chin as she fought the urge to giggle with his beard tickling her arm.

"What is it?" she said with a sudden jolt, giggling as Corbin realised his beard and slung it over his shoulder with a tutt. "Merely something to heal any little scrapes and bruises you may have," From the inspection so far, it didn't seem as if she had any. Sarah faltered for a moment, unwilling to drink this foreign liquid until Corbin sighed heaving beside her. Releasing his hold on her chin, he placed a hand to her shoulder instead. "Just drink it, I'm told it tastes like toffee."

It didn't taste like toffee.


"Done," Sarah said as she left the room, catching sight of Jareth sitting on the window seat just outside. One leg kicking back against the wall with his heel, the other curled up beneath him as he stared out to the Labyrinth below. For a few seconds, Sarah regretted announcing her presence so soon - she wanted the chance to watch.

He looked… Almost peaceful; sure, he was stony faced, impassive and looked every part the 'child snatcher' that she had read about. Something in his posture, in his eyes told her that he was calmer - happier even. The realisation had her a little confused; Sarah Williams, a mere mortal of the Aboveground had just analysed the Goblin King.

Except it wasn't the Goblin King, it was Jareth. The person instead of the title, Sarah stopped her train of thought as her mind started to panic with the path she was going down.

He fell with a cat like grace from his perch, giving her nothing more than a nod as he began walking down the hall with Sarah a step and a half behind."It's this way," he muttered into the silence, voice tight in a way that had Sarah a little angrier than she had right to be. The atmosphere was still icy, bearable but uncomfortable as she racked her mind for a topic.

"Back to more paperwork?"A tired nod. "For the next few days, I'm afraid," They stopped at a branch off of their path, two corridors running off to the sides. "Where would you like to go?"

Sarah paused, thinking through the few rooms she had actually seen of the castle. "I'll follow you," A shrug to his surprised frown. "I haven't got anything planned." she muttered with a tight smile, following as he walked to the left in much slower and measured steps.

"Are you sure? It's boring at the best of times," he said, sounding almost like he cared either way. She jogged a few steps, catching up and walking level to Jareth as she pretended to inspect the detailed marble they passed.

"And the worst?"

A beat, enough time for his voice to take on a kind of deadpanned tone. "I feel like trying to kill myself with my own paperweight,"

She laughed briefly, shrugging yet again and finally turning her face upwards and smiling a little. "Could be the best entertainment I've got at present, I'm sure,"

"You're quite wicked, has anyone ever told you that?"

"Not recently."


Sarah sat and sighed for the fourth time that hour, once again ignored by Jareth as he carried on marking the paper before him with his head bent almost completely over the sheet. At first he had looked up, offering her nothing more than the same look of boredom. After two hours of sitting in almost silence, Sarah had exhausted her patience quite quickly.

"Jareth?" she asked in a hushed tone, catching his attention almost immediately. Yet she paused, unsure if she even wanted to ask her question with his intense eyes watching her with such attention it made her want to hide. "Now that the tests are done, when can I go home?"

"That eager are we?" he scoffed, head bent once more over the papers.

"No, it's not like that," she explained quickly, regret in her voice as he glanced up briefly. Once again his expression had gone cold, unreadable except for his slight anger. "I'd just like to know."

"A day, give or take a few hours," he said slowly after a short pause, followed by a brief gesture to the door. "My father will open a portal for you, you should speak to him about it," She felt dismissed in a sense, almost as if her question has merited her leave. Once again, she felt like a naughty child being sent to bed.

"How's the Labyrinth?" she asked brightly instead, refusing to leave just because the atmosphere had dropped to artic once more.

"Not a lot better, it's taking time," He looked up at her slightly panicked expression, shrugging with his words. "Thankfully, I have time in abundance,"

"Are you done yet?" she asked with a heavy sigh, feeling the tense atmosphere lighten considerably with Jareth's good natured roll of the eyes as he threw down his quill and sat back in his chair. "Not nearly," he smiled tightly as Sarah groaned, resting her chin in her hand. A short moments pause before he stood, waiting for Sarah to do the same as he spoke. "But I think I can leave the rest for tomorrow, shall we eat?"


"What is this?" Sarah said over her glass, voice echoing slightly in to the crystal as she stared distrusting at the red liquid within.

"I believe it's called wine, I can look up the meaning if you are still perplexed," Jareth quipped from behind her, circling her chair before sitting across from her with a sly grin. She rolled her eyes, fighting the smile that wanted to make itself known.

"Sarcasm, the lowest form of wit," she muttered instead, raising one brow as Jareth merely raised his glass in acknowledgement.

"I rather like it,"

"You would," A brief smile, somewhat fake before she took a tiny sip of the wine. It tasted warm as she swallowed, summery and almost too powerful as she repeatedly swallowed. The after effect - a slightly tingly feeling that ran down her throat - was better than the taste. "This is nice,"

"I believe it's called banter," Another grin.

"I meant the wine," Sarah laughed, watching as Jareth stared into his glass briefly before putting it down and pulling a face.

"Quite strong though,"

"Lets just hope you're a happy drunk," Another fake toast, this time both of them smiling lightly.

"Touché,"

"I meant to ask, is there anyone staying at the castle?" A pause before she continued, watching the man before her frown lightly. "I heard voices last night, arguing,"

"There's no one else on that floor," He shook his head, blonde hair fanning out in an almost hypnotic way as Sarah fought the urge to look for too long. God knew his ego was already big enough for both of them.

"That's what Alexis said,"

"It's true, as far as I know you're completely alone up there," A brief pause, both taking another sip of their wine. "What were they saying?"

Sarah frowned, sorting her memory of such an early morning memory that had dulled with sleep and the day. She waved a hand between them, trying to remember their exact words and failing. "Some woman was trying to convince someone to do something for her,"

"How very vague you're being this evening, a regular melting point of culture,"

"Shut up," she mumbled, finally brightening as a slight piece of memory slid into place in her mind. "He didn't want to, but she asked him to think about it," Sarah nearly spilt her drink on her lap with Jareth's sudden cutting laughter, turning to the man with wide eyes and he covered his mouth with a gloved hand. "What is it?"

"Alondra," he said simply, shaking his head as he did so.

"Bless you."

A soft tutt, one sculpted brow raised to her comment. "Kaiden's half cousin, Alondra," he paused as Sarah's eyes widened hugely, before adding carelessly. "You've seen her at the Council; blonde hair, dark eyes, pale skin,"

A brief pause, followed by Sarah's own laughter. "I can think of about seven people who match that description," she said, continuing in a rather sing song voice. "You faes, when you find a look that works you milk it,"

"Milk it?" Jareth frowned, lips drawn together that made Sarah want to laugh again. She put down her glass, realising with a jolt that she already felt light-headed. Obviously Underground wine really affected her.

"Never mind,"

"She was seated beside his empty chair, kept watching you, remember?"

"Vaguely," Sarah waved away her own thoughts, realising they were getting a little off topic. "So she's plotting against you, trying to get this guy -"

"- Probably Mickael," Jareth added whilst watching the ceiling, head tilted back fully with a languid and uncaring expression.

"This guy Mickael to do her dirty work," With a sudden movement Jareth had pulled a crystal from thin air, followed by a second and he rolled them over his hands rapidly but never breaking his focus on the ceiling. "And you look quite content to drink wine and juggle. Aren't you worried?"

"Not especially, Alondra plays on the fact that she has charm; playing with people to fulfil her every whim - like her little servants, if it comes down to murder or plotting, then I think Mickael might back out," he looked back to her, eyes a little calmer than they had been all day as they both fell into a comfortable silence.

"He didn't sound to eager from what I heard," she admitted finally, watching as Jareth nodded unevenly and watched the crystals before himself with unseeing eyes.

"Exactly," he muttered a second too late.

"Well, okay then," A pause, a sigh. "Fine."

"Do you play chess?" Jareth asked suddenly, eyes shooting back to her own with a kind of alertness that appeared from nowhere.

"What a random question," she laughed quietly, forgetting her earlier worries and taking another sip of the slowly disappearing wine before her. A shrug. "Yes a little, why?"

"Want a game?" A wave of the hand, causing Sarah to turn in the direction of a low standing coffee table with a chess set on top. Was that there before? "Winner gets a prize of their choice,"She turned back sharply, eyes wary like a cornered wild animal. She studied him for a long moment, waiting for the impassive mask to slip. It didn't.

"I don't like the sound of that,"

"Nothing bad, I promise."


"You can't do that!" Sarah shouted, pointing at the mighty Goblin King with rosy cheeks and her hair falling from her earlier pony tail in wisps. She was getting drunker by the second, feeling her sense of gravity slipping a little as the floor swayed slightly beneath her bum. They sat within a small assortment of pillows, both drinking too much and getting into a sort of comfortable banter that Sarah had only ever encountered with Rhiannon after a few years of friendship…

She blamed the drink. Jareth almost laughed, smiling a little oddly with a bewildered expression. "I can, I'm a king and as a king I can do what I like," A proud expression crossed his features as he puffed out his chest, giving Sarah a sly glance as she laughed loudly.

"But it's cheating," A fist by her side as she made to move his piece - a rook? What was the thing that looked like a big pawn called again? - back again, merely being pushed away a few times by a gloved hand. She sighed, looking up and meeting Jareth's blurred face.

"You just can't lose with dignity," he muttered, was he swaying? Or was it her?

"Neither can you,"

"I don't lose," he raised his voice a little, yet for some reason it didn't set Sarah's nerves on edge like before. It was the tone, joking and disbelieving as she giggled quietly.

"Because you cheat," A childlike tone to her voice, barely resisting the urge to cross her arms.

"I'm a king!" A laugh in his voice, followed by a slight fall from the pillow he had been sitting on. A short reshuffle and once again he was puffing out his chest. "I can do what I like!" A pause, Sarah laughed.

"What's funny?"

"You're pouting," she pointed in the general direction of his face, it would have been helpful if he'd stop fidgeting and stay still for two seconds.

"M'not," Muttered with a frown, causing her to grin wider still.

"Uh huh, you are," A slight pause as she looked to the board once more, trying desperately to remember whose turn it was and if she was white or black. With a glance upwards, she realised a piece under Jareth's hand that he was quietly trying to conceal. "And you still can't do that, put it back,"

"What back?" Wide eyes and an innocent look.

Sarah paused, pointing with a sway as she did so. She stuttered, trying to find the right word before sighing and giving up all together. "The tall piece!"

"The tall piece?" Jareth laughed heavily, a rich tone that lasted a lot longer than his usual bark of humour. With a casual sigh he raised his hand, holding the piece within forefinger and thumb before Sarah's eyes. "You mean the queen," his voice had suddenly taken a different tone, softer and regretful.

Sarah was too busy looking at the piece, was that a queen? She thought the queen was the piece still on the board… So what the hell was that other piece then? With a slight movement of her eyes she realised Jareth's intense gaze level with her own, staring past the queen in his hand and studying her instead. "Yeah," she muttered, voice barely a whisper.

"I can move the queen where I like, for I'm a king," he grinned, breaking eye contact after a moment and straightening up.

"You're just scared of losing," she sniffed, crossing her arms over her chest and looking haughtily to her left. She ignored the chuckle before her, fighting the twitch in her lips that signalled a smile below the surface.

"If you had any idea of my prize, then you'd understand,"She turned at that, once again regretting the sudden movement as the world seemed to have slipped and fallen for a second. When things stopped spinning, she stared at the fae man before her with questioning eyes.

"Jareth," her voice was steadier than her heart, making her sound almost in control. "Put her back,"

"For you, dear Sarah," he placed the piece back delicately, completely serious in everything but his eyes that seemed to laugh at her. "Of course,"

"Oh, it's 'dear Sarah' again is it?"

"Why yes it is," A moments pause. "Problem?"

"Not at all," she grinned, moving her piece finally as the two played on silently for a few moments. Both had taken a few pieces and Jareth had stopped on his move for a moment, thinking through his next move. "I've still got the book y'know, got it in my drawer," she muttered almost into her chest, feeling Jareth's attention on her almost the same second she spoke. "Tried to get rid once, couldn't do it,"

"I know," his voice sound almost proud, confirming her suspicions that he had indeed been watching at some points. She shrugged, past caring. "Do you regret it?" he asked suddenly, confusing Sarah's drink addled brain until he explained. "Coming here, I mean,"

"Not in the slightest," Said immediately, eyes wide and convincing. "I'll be sad to go actually,"

"Then don't," he said simply, the humour in his eyes gone in a second along with Sarah's drunken stupor. Suddenly she was completely sober again, or was that just because her heart had skipped a beat for the second?

"Don't be silly, I have to!" she tried to laugh, failing with nothing more than a light scoff and feeling her cheeks glow red.

"Why?" he asked immediately, to which Sarah didn't answer. She couldn't, there was no answer. She stared at the board, fighting the blush that was now burning her cheeks. "I'm sorry, pretend I didn't say that," Jareth muttered quickly, voice slurred a little as he motioned towards the board between them.

"I've forgotten what this is," Sarah said after a pause, holding up a piece that merely blurred into nothingness before her eyes. Funny, usually with this much drink she would of either a) fallen asleep, b) been sick or c) both.

"A knight, he can go…" A pause, followed by a short murmur to himself. "Actually, I've forgotten, but he can only go a certain way,"Sarah looked to the board, moving the knight a little to the left before going two along. It was worth a try.

"What about that way?"Jareth just looked at the move, frowning with a pout before waving a hand drunkenly.

"Why not? That way it is!"


"Checkmate," Jareth slurred happily, leaning back a little in triumph but having to grab the table with the realisation that there was nothing behind him but the floor. Sarah stared at the board, wondering just how she had lost so badly. Sure, she was a little drunk and she hadn't played properly in a few years but it was literally a one sided game.

"S'not fair!" she eventually cried, looking upwards defiantly with Jareth's chuckle.

"That's familiar," he muttered with a grin, completely too happy with himself. "It's not though," It sounded a lot more pathetic aloud than in her head, she realised a second too late.

"Now for my prize," Sarah blinked once, twice and opened her mouth with a frown. Slowly she remembered the terms, merely conceding defeat and watching the grin that practically glowed on Jareth. He was entirely too pleased with himself now.

"Oh god, get it over with," she muttered after a moments wait. Jareth seemed prompted to move, unsteadily on legs that had been inactive for so long and the drink flowing through them both. With a little difficulty his skirted around the table on his knees, putting one hand suddenly within Sarah's hair on the back of her head. A small tug and she was eye level with him, a little blurred but the triumph still visible. "What are you doing?" she asked in a slightly high, panicked voice that sounded completely alien to even her own ears. Jareth frowned, still smiling and putting a little more pressure on the back of her head.

"I plan to kiss you, would you slap me if I did?""M'not sure," she hardly moved her lips, looking away from the intense gaze before her but having to look down to avoid it.

"Probably not,"

"Probably not sounds like good odds to me." Once again the slight pressure returned to the back of her head, although Jareth shifted a little sideways and effectively cut off any means of escape. Although in her current state, all Sarah could do was accept the chain of events. With the briefest hesitation as he hovered over her slightly parted lips, Jareth moved over her bottom lip with such a light touch she wondered if it had even been there a second later.

With a slight pause, he finally moved forward and kissed her fully with such light pressure that Sarah leant herself in to the kiss a fraction; tilting her face upwards slightly as the grip on her head moved to her neck. With the buzzing in her head, Sarah had the fleeting thought of his hands without being encased in leather. Although all though left as she felt herself leaning back a little into the makeshift seating arrangement behind her.