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Crossing the Line

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The first time had been purely an accident. None of them had even thought it possible. Later, they wondered if it had always been possible.

Sarah had been celebrating her high school graduation with her friends from the Underground. She'd seen little of them during the past three years; she'd been too busy with school events and dating. So this celebration was her way of making up for that lapse.

Laughingly entreating them not to leave just yet, she tugged on Ludo's hand and playfully tried to hold him back as he climbed through the mirror in her bedroom. Ludo, never the most graceful of creatures, lost his balance and fell back into the Underground, taking Sarah with him.

Hoggle and Sir Didymus had been terrified. Sarah had to go back to her own world before the King learned that she had returned. But how? Now that she was here, they wondered, how would she get back there?

It had been far more uncomplicated than they could have anticipated. Instead of saying, "I need you," the words that brought them to her, she said, "I need to go home."

And she went home.

Returning to the Underground from that moment forward was as simple as stepping through the mirror. In the beginning, with one of her friends guiding her, Sarah was content to travel parts of the labyrinth she hadn't seen during her first trip. Her friends were always mindful to keep her away from areas that the King was known to frequent. Although, if Sarah was completely honest with herself, the slight frisson she felt at the possibility of being discovered only made her trips back into the Underground all the more thrilling.

Gradually, as she became familiar with the place, Sarah could travel through entire sections of the labyrinth without the guidance of her friends. That's when she began expanding her travels. Careful to avoid the fireys, she ventured into the countryside, finding wild, abandoned gardens, picturesque forest glades and beautiful waterfalls.

It was during these solo trips through the Underground that Sarah contemplated the Goblin King. While she'd never once regretted saving Toby, Sarah had a great number of regrets concerning Jareth himself. When asked, her friends merely said that he appeared well. They claimed to know little of his day-to-day life, but he'd never punished them for their betrayal of him, a fact over which they all marveled.

For a few weeks, Sarah had been seemingly satisfied with those answers. But in her small bed, safe at home, her restless sleep was filled with Jareth. These were not the innocent dreams of a 15-year old girl satisfied to merely dance with the handsome King. These dreams were sensual, erotic visions of Jareth moving over her, lying under her, making love with her.

She'd wake each morning with a terrible yearning that became more difficult to ignore as the days passed, and increasingly her waking thoughts turned toward the most taboo of places—the castle.

It took Sarah months of cajoling and several pieces of her jewelry, but she was finally able to convince Hoggle to show her a secret way inside. Armed with a crudely drawn map of the hidden passageways and with Hoggle's shrill warnings ringing in her ears, Sarah slipped into the castle.

Other than the slight trembling of her hands and the metallic taste of fear flooding her mouth, the first few clandestine trips into the castle were uneventful. Hoggle had told her of things called "squints," tiny openings built into the secret passages that allowed her to remain hidden while peering into various rooms of the castle.

The first time she caught a glimpse of Jareth, Sarah was certain that she'd be found out simply from the sound of her thundering heartbeat. She was positive that everyone in castle could hear it. A stray thought of Poe's The Tell Tale Heart flashed through her mind and she had to bite back a hysterical laugh.

If it was possible, Jareth was even more beautiful than she remembered. He reclined casually on his throne, listening to several goblins squabbling and spitting out various versions of a story that involved, as far as Sarah could determine, a stolen hat and a pint of ale.

Obviously bored with the matter, the King finally ordered one of the goblins to give the other the disputed hat and the pint of ale and waved his subjects away with a warning to refrain from further thievery. When he was finally alone, Sarah watched as he sighed and rubbed wearily at his eyes. Turning his wrist, he produced a crystal, looked into it briefly, arched an eyebrow and threw the sphere into the air. When it burst in a sparkling shower, he was simply gone from the throne room.

After the initial euphoria of seeing Jareth and coming out unscathed had faded, Sarah knew she should stop going to the castle. It was far too dangerous. But the dreams continued to haunt her sleep each night and the desire to see him again was so compelling she knew she would return.

Sarah began visiting the castle several times a week, always to observe Jareth. Sometimes she'd only stay a few minutes. Sometimes she watched him perform his duties for hours, following him from room to room, vantage point to vantage point.

To her surprise, his life wasn't all tormenting goblins and settling disputes over stolen hats. Jareth often had visitors from other Underground kingdoms, many of whom were there for official discussions or negotiations. Sarah watched, impressed, as Jareth deftly handled those who wanted his political support or advice concerning matters of state. And once, she watched as Jareth slumped back in his chair after a large group of those people had departed. His haughty demeanor was cast aside for a brief moment and she caught a glimpse of an exhausted man who often had too many demands placed upon him. Sarah caught her breath as the instinctive need to comfort him rose in her sharply.

Other of his visitors, however, came simply to curry favor with the Goblin King, bringing him gifts or passing along tidbits of gossip. Many of these guests were beautiful women, and for the first time, the possibility occurred to Sarah that Jareth might have a lover. When he greeted one of these women with a casual kiss, Sarah's stomach twisted into a knot, and she was certain she would be sick. It wasn't until she was home, lying on her bed and staring blankly into the darkness, that she recognized the reaction for what it truly was—jealousy.

As ashamed as she was to be doing it, the burning need to know if he slept alone drove her from her bed. Pulling her clothes on, Sarah stepped through the mirror and back into the Underground.

While a full moon overhead provided adequate light on her route to the castle, the passageways were pitch black in some places. Rooms that were normally brilliantly lighted were dark due to the late hour, and the light that normally filtered into the passages from the squints was nonexistent. Sarah knew if she hadn't learned to travel the passageways so well during the daylight hours, she would never have found her way through them in the dark.

She'd developed a general idea of where Jareth's bedroom was located, but she'd never before sought it out. The map Hoggle had provided weeks ago listed no hidden passages in that part of the castle but Sarah had learned it didn't necessarily mean there were none, only that Hoggle knew nothing of them.

When she'd finally maneuvered her way to the section where she hoped to find a continuing passage, she was confronted with a dead end. Pushing against the stone wall did no good. Sarah carefully felt along the stones, hoping to find a catch that would indicate that the passageway did, in fact, open. When she found nothing, she bit her lip to keep from crying out in frustration and leaned back on the wall, slowly sliding down to sit on the cold floor.

Running her fingers idly against the stones behind her, she was about to concede defeat when she felt the lever she'd been looking for. Jumping up, she pressed down on the lever with her foot and shoved. The wall swung silently open.

This section of the passageway had obviously not been traveled in a very long time. Dim light from one squint filtered through the passage, illuminating thick cobwebs. Swallowing her fear of any lingering eight-legged creatures, Sarah batted the cobwebs away and crept down the passage.

She paused at the vantage point and cautiously looked through. After the darkness of the passages, the bright moonlight that streamed into Jareth's bedroom shone as brightly as the sun to Sarah. She could easily make out his bed; it was almost directly across from her. She sagged against the wall with relief when she saw he was alone.

Jareth lay on his side, his blond hair and fair skin almost glowing in the moonlight. He was covered to the waist with the bed sheets, but his chest and arms were bare. Her mouth went dry as she wondered what he wore underneath those sheets.

Shaking that tantalizing thought from her mind, Sarah started to turn away but stopped as he sighed and turned onto his back. She remained absolutely still, terrified of making an inadvertent noise and waking him. While she waited for Jareth to slip back into deep sleep, she was swept with such a need to touch him that she had to fist her hands in her shirt to stop them from trembling.

After a few minutes, she slowly backed away. For the first time, she noticed a thin line of light seeping along the floor past the squint. Curious, she looked at it closer. Wondering if this could possibly be what it seemed, she brushed her hand along the wall and found the catch.

Sarah jerked her hand back as if burned. The wall in front of her would open into Jareth's bedroom.

For a moment, she considered what he would do if she opened the door and stepped inside. Would he fly into a rage at the sight of her? Would he banish her from this world forever? Or would he do something worse?

Might there be even the slightest chance that he'd be glad to see her?

Shaken, Sarah realized that she had no idea. She didn't know if Jareth had given her a second thought. Maybe he'd decided she was just a silly little girl and forgotten all about her. That tore at her heart and brought scalding tears to her eyes.

Turning, Sarah fled the Underground and returned to her world.

She sat huddled on her bed turning Jareth's possible reactions over in her mind. She knew what she wanted to do; she'd known from the moment she saw him lying in his bed. But how to accomplish her objective without being banished, thrown in an oubliette or suffering the indignity of hearing Jareth sneer, "And what was your name again?"

An idea formed in her mind. It was incredibly perilous, but if she succeeded, the reward would be worth all the risk. A slow grin spread over her face. Perhaps it was time that she and Jareth played another game...

She examined her plan from all angles. There were only two drawbacks that she could see. The first was the possibility that Jareth would simply refuse to participate. The second was the slight problem of her inexperience.

Sarah wasn't completely naive. She knew about the mechanics of the act and how everything fit together. Books that her stepmother would have fainted if she'd known Sarah had read filled in many of the blanks concerning the more esoteric acts. Sarah even had a limited amount of first-hand knowledge with some of the fumbling boys she'd dated. She'd just never actually had sex.

However, in this case, she decided that audacity might compensate for lack of experience.

~*~

Late the next afternoon, Sarah was back inside the castle. This was one of the more dangerous parts of her plan, and she spent almost half an hour watching Jareth to make certain he was going to be occupied for a bit longer before making her way quickly to the hidden passageway outside his bedroom.

Terror at being discovered froze her fingers to the stone as her courage faltered, but Sarah finally lifted the catch and pushed open the doorway between the passage and Jareth's bedroom. She'd been worried the door would make noise, but she was pleased when it swung open silently. She quickly stepped inside and reached into her pocket, pulling out the the note she'd written. As she moved toward the bed, she was struck by the wonderful scent in his room. An almost intoxicating mixture of spices and leather and something else. Something much, much darker.

She placed the note on his pillow and turned to go, but she couldn't resist running her fingers over the velvet coverlet. It was such a deep shade of purple that it was almost black. So soft, she thought. Did he take it for granted? Or did he sometimes touch the delicate fabric and marvel at its texture?

Sarah shook her head violently to break her reverie. She didn't have time to stand here admiring the furnishings. Not while she stood in the bedroom of a man who could transport himself from place to place simply by willing it. She quickly retreated back into the passageway, pulled the door closed and settled down cross-legged on the floor to wait.

It wasn't long before Sarah heard the outer door to Jareth's bedroom open and the click of his heels on the marble floor. Rising carefully, she peeked through the opening and watched as Jareth crossed the room, unbuttoning his jacket. He took it off and tossed it carelessly on the bed. He turned to walk away, then suddenly stopped.

As Sarah watched, his head turned toward the note, and he went back to the bed, picking up the note lying on his pillow. Jareth looked down at the paper in his hand with a puzzled expression, and as he read, she saw his eyebrows rise and a faint smile appear on his lips.

In her mind, Sarah could see the words she had written there.

Have you ever wanted someone so much that you would risk everything to have them? That's how much I want you.

Jareth glanced around the room quickly and then suddenly frowned.

Crossing the room, he threw open the outer door and commanded the guards outside his bedroom to enter. Two large goblins clothed in red uniforms hurried into the room.

"Who has been in my chambers?" Jareth demanded.

"No one, Your Majesty," the largest of the guards answered.

"Then how is it possible that someone left a message in this room?" Jareth's voice was icy.

The smaller guard eyed Jareth warily and clamped his mouth shut. Sarah placed her hand over her mouth to keep from laughing. It was obvious that the smaller goblin thought this was some sort of trick question.

"I don't know, Your Majesty," the larger guard stammered, obviously confused. "No one has entered the room since..." The guard's voice trailed off, and then his eyes brightened and he smiled, pleased to have an answer for the King. "The maid. The maid was in here."

"I came into the room to change for luncheon," Jareth said, his voice deceptively mild. "The maid had already cleaned the room and gone. Who came into the room after I left it?" He spoke slowly and carefully, as if he were talking to a very small child.

Sarah watched the guards' eyes widen, and they quailed. Apparently, this tone of voice from Jareth was something to beware.

"Truly no one, Your Majesty. No one at all," the smaller guard ventured tentatively.

"Never mind," Jareth snapped. "Get out."

The guards hastily scrambled to leave the room, and Jareth slammed the door behind them.

Jareth examined the note once more.

"Who are you? And how did you get in here without being seen?" he mused aloud. "A woman who was at the castle today... Evelyn, Keva, or Doreen, then. Hmm, I wouldn't have thought any of them bold enough for this."

He smiled widely and shrugged. "Well, we shall see."

He tossed the note onto a table, and Sarah started to turn away. When Jareth began unbuttoning his shirt, she hesitated. She knew she shouldn't do this. Watching him while he was in a meeting was one thing. Even watching him sleep could be rationalized away, but this... This would be crossing the line into a different type of behavior altogether.

With one last regretful glance, Sarah leaned back against the passage wall and forced her eyes tightly closed. After what seemed an eternity, she heard the outer door to his bedroom open and close. A quick glance into his room confirmed that he had gone.

Returning home, Sarah began to prepare for the next phase of her plan.

~*~

The next afternoon, Sarah showered and washed her hair. She dried it and brushed it into a satiny sheen, then applied her best perfume. She dressed quickly and went to her closet and pulled out the dress she had worn when she'd played princess. She'd tried it on last night, pleased that it still fit. It was a bit tighter through the bust, but she thought with a secret grin, she was a bit larger through the bust now.

Opening her small carry-all, Sarah carefully folded the dress and placed it inside. She took a small box from her dresser drawer and removed a long red silk scarf that had been a graduation gift from her mother. She smiled faintly as she remembered the card that had been inside.

Every woman needs a silk scarf, and red is for courage.

"That's what I need tonight," Sarah whispered to herself. "Courage."

Taking the note she had written earlier in the day, she folded it and placed it in the bag with the scarf and dress.

With a deep breath to calm her frazzled nerves, Sarah went through the mirror.

~*~

Once again she was terrified as she entered Jareth's bedroom. She quickly placed the note and the scarf on his pillow and went back into the passage, pulling the door closed firmly behind her.

Sarah undressed completely, stepped into the dress and zipped it up. She put her jeans, t-shirt and underwear in the carry-all and prepared to wait.

Jareth's bedroom door opened, and Sarah stepped up to the passageway opening and peeked inside. She watched, perplexed, as a goblin servant carried in a tray holding several covered dishes. The servant placed the tray on a small table and left the room.

In a moment, the smell of food drifted into the passageway, and Sarah realized that the dishes on the tray were Jareth's dinner. Craning her neck, she was relieved to see only one place-setting on the table. For a horrible moment she'd been afraid that he had been planning on entertaining someone in his bedroom.

At that moment the door opened again, and Jareth entered the room. Sarah stepped back a bit and watched as he approached the table and began lifting the covers on the dishes, looking at each one and then replacing the lids.

He took off his jacket and hung it on the back of the chair beside the table. Sarah knew the moment that the flash of crimson on the pillow caught his attention, he stiffened slightly and crossed the room to the bed.

He lifted the scarf up, examining it briefly before opening the note.

"Would you like to play a game?" he read aloud. A smile crossed his face, and then he arched one eyebrow as he read the rest of the note. He glanced over at the table.

"No dinner for me, it seems," he murmured. "I'm to have a visitor shortly."

He crossed to the door and opened it.

"I am expecting a guest in a few minutes," he announced to the guards. "Allow the woman through."

The guards nodded quickly, and Jareth shut the door. Returning to the bed, he began following the instructions she'd written at the bottom of the note.

He sat on the edge of the bed and removed his boots. He pulled off his gloves and tossed them onto the bedside table. Picking up the scarf, he folded it in half lengthwise and placed it around his eyes. He tied it behind his head and eased back to sit more comfortably on the bed.

Sarah waited a few moments, watching to make certain he was following the directions. She kicked off her shoes and put them into the carry-all. Sarah opened the passageway door and stepped into the room. She quickly placed the bag between the door and passage. She couldn't afford to have it close completely behind her and lock her in with him.

Sarah turned toward Jareth and drank in the sight of him.

Even blindfolded, he gave the impression of barely-restrained power. He wore only a white shirt and tan breeches, and she bit her lip when she saw that he was already slightly aroused.

"I know you're there," he said quietly. "I felt the change in the air and I can smell your perfume."

Sarah took a deep breath and walked toward him. She had a sudden idea, and she stopped at the table and began lifting the lids of the dishes.

"Don't tell me this was all simply a ploy to steal my dinner," Jareth said dryly. "I will be so disappointed."

Sarah laughed softly.

"Ah, so you can speak," Jareth said, turning his head slightly toward the sound of her laughter.

"Mmm hmm," Sarah murmured. She uncovered a small bowl of fresh cherries and picked it up with a grin.

"But you choose not to do so," he said. "Which means you fear I will recognize your voice. We have met before, then."

Sarah walked toward him. She stopped in front of him, and suddenly she was shaking so badly that she hastily placed the bowl on his nightstand before she dropped it.

Sarah reached out trembling hands and touched Jareth for the first time. She slowly traced her fingers over his brow, down his cheeks, across his nose and down to his mouth. His lips parted at her touch, and she drew in a quick breath, desire clutching at her harshly.

Bending down, she hesitated only a moment before pressing her mouth to his with a feather-light pressure. He allowed her to control the kiss, parting his lips only when her tongue traced against his mouth. Leaning into him, she deepened the kiss slightly, teasing her tongue against his gently. She almost moaned when he responded in kind, and her desire became a throbbing ache.

She broke the kiss and went still as his hands came up to rest on her waist.

"If you won't allow me to see you with my eyes," he said. "Then I must use other means."

Tightening his grasp on her waist, he rose. He moved his hands up and ran them through her hair, testing its length and softness. His fingers traced over her face, and when he brushed against her mouth, she followed his example and parted her lips, but where he had been content to passively allow her to explore, she darted her tongue out to flick against his forefinger. He smiled and moved his hands over her shoulders and down her arms, his thumbs brushing against the sides of her breasts.

Sarah froze as his hands drifted around to cup her breasts lightly. The pressure of his palms against her hardened nipples finally wrung a gasp from her, and his smile widened to a grin. Continuing down, Jareth wrapped his hands around her waist once again and sat back onto the bed.

Thinking that he was through, Sarah began to move toward him and his grasp on her waist tightened, holding her in place.

"I am not finished," he admonished. He smoothed his hands over her hips and then around to cup her bottom and down to her thighs.

Pulling his hands away from her, he smirked and said, "You wear no undergarments whatsoever. You are something of a wanton, aren't you?"

Sarah smiled and picked up one of the cherries and bit into it. She rubbed it lightly on her mouth, glazing her lips with its juices, then popped it into her mouth to eat. She leaned down and kissed him, and he made a surprised sound, his tongue brushing against her lips.

"Cherries," he said when she broke the kiss. "You're eating my dessert. Admit it, you are here to steal my dinner."

Sarah laughed again and pushed gently against his shoulders, urging him to lie back on the bed with his head on the pillow. She took a cherry and teased it against his lips. He lifted his head slightly, and suddenly his teeth closed gently on the tips of her fingers. He sucked the cherry from her grasp and chewed it slowly.

Sarah was so aroused that the ache between her legs was painful and her knees were weak. She sat beside him on the bed and wished desperately that she could see his eyes. She gently brushed his hair back from his forehead, and he smiled at her touch.

The emotion that swept through her at that smile left her shaken.

'Oh god,' she thought. 'When did that happen?' When had she started to love him?

Stunned, Sarah looked down at the man lying on the bed beside her. Suddenly, the red silk blindfold wasn't evidence of her courage but of her weakness. Tears filled her eyes and slipped freely down her cheeks. He wasn't making love with her. He thought she was another woman. He didn't want her at all.

She couldn't do this. It wasn't fair to either of them.

With a shuddering sigh, she pressed a soft kiss onto his mouth. Jareth frowned slightly, and his hands came up to cup her face. His thumbs brushed at the tears he found there.

"Why are you crying?" he asked in a puzzled tone.

"I'm so sorry. I can't do this to you. It isn't right," Sarah whispered brokenly. "I need to go home."

There was a split-second of confusion when she realized that nothing had changed. She was still in Jareth's bedroom, still sitting on the bed next to him.

Panic slammed into her. She'd said the words, so why hadn't she gone back to her world? They'd always worked before.

She stood quickly and whirled around. Her only chance was to run for the passage, but his hand had already shot out and grasped her by the wrist.

"I've sealed off all your exits, Sarah," Jareth said quietly.

Looking back at him in horror, she watched as he slid the blindfold off.

"How long have you known?" she choked out.

"From the beginning," he replied, sitting up. Fear flickered through her eyes , but he shook his head at the sight. "Do you believe I would harm you?"

"I don't know," she admitted.

"Still casting me in the role of villain?" Jareth gestured between them. "I thought we'd finally left that behind us."

"I have," she whispered and dropped her eyes. "I just didn't know about you."

He laughed. "Did you honestly believe I would blindfold myself if I weren't certain of who was about to enter the room? Who do you think opened the door between our worlds? I knew the instant you were back in the Underground. I admit I was surprised when you entered the castle. I hadn't expected you to be quite so brave."

"Then you knew that I..." her eyes met his and her voice trailed off in shock.

"Watched me?" Jareth finished smugly. "Oh, yes, I knew each time."

He gave a little smirk, and Sarah remembered the way he'd begun undressing in front of her. She flushed bright red.

"Were you going to let me watch that, too?" she gasped.

"Of course," he grinned.

"But why didn't you say something?"

"You had to come to me willingly," Jareth said simply. "And you have."

"So what now?" she asked, ducking her head.

He tilted her head up and trailed his hand lightly over her breast before reclining on the bed. He stretched out and made himself comfortable.

"Now we finish what you started." His eyes locked with hers. "You may begin by taking off your dress. I want to see you."

Sarah stood by the bed, reached back and unzipped her dress. She slipped her arms free and then pushed it down over her hips and to the floor. She stepped out of it, and Jareth reached out one hand, tracing his fingers along her inner thigh. His eyes hooded as he felt the wetness there.

"So aroused," he murmured, "and we've barely begun."

His fingers moved higher, and as he brushed against the dark curls between her legs, her eyes slid closed and she moaned softly.

His eyes went black and he sat up, abruptly pulling her down to sit beside him. His hands tangled in her hair and yanked her head back. His mouth was on hers, his tongue deep in her mouth as he kissed her fiercely. His hands slid out of her hair, across her back and roamed over her body.

Sarah was shaking by the time he broke the kiss, her fingers trembling so badly she could barely unbutton his shirt and push it off his shoulders. She ran her hands lightly over his chest and trailed kisses down to the small nipples. He sighed as she traced her tongue over them. She slid her hand down, and Jareth sucked in a sharp breath as she ran her fingers over the erection straining the front of his pants.

He lay back as she unfastened his breeches, and he lifted his hips as she tugged them off. She wrapped one hand around him, watching with satisfaction as his eyes closed and he groaned low in his throat. She moved her hand and his hips came slightly off the bed in time with her caresses.

Suddenly, his hand covered hers, stilling her movements. He struggled for a moment to calm his breathing. Jareth sat up and his eyes gleamed as he took one of the cherries from the bowl and held it to her mouth.

She smiled and parted her lips, but instead of putting the fruit into her mouth, he held it and waited. Sarah bit into it, and he took the remainder and rubbed it lightly over her nipple. She gave a quick intake of breath, and he flashed a wicked smile before lowering his head to her breast.

Sarah moaned as he sucked the juice from her skin, and his hands slid down to her thighs and gently pushed them open. As he bit lightly at the hardened point of her breast, Jareth moved a hand between her legs and stroked.

She whimpered and her hips pushed forward to meet his hand. His arms went around her, and he pulled her fully onto the bed and rolled her over until she was lying on her back, looking up at him.

She reached up and traced her fingers over the soft skin of his shoulders, up to his neck and into his hair. Sarah pulled his mouth down to hers once again. As his tongue entered her mouth, she felt him shift until his weight rested on her. She moaned and instinctively parted her legs, cradling him.

With his hardness just pressing against her entrance, he held himself above her and said softly, "I don't mean to hurt you."

Sarah arched up and gasped as he barely slipped inside her. "I don't care," she whimpered. "Please..."

He dropped a quick kiss onto her forehead, pulled his hips back slightly and then plunged into her fully.

Sarah cried out at the bright flare of pain. She heard him groan, and she saw that he was struggling to remain still in order to give her time to adjust. In a moment, the pain subsided and Sarah needed him to move. She shivered and bucked her hips lightly against his.

He thrust in and out of her gently at first, giving her time to find his rhythm, and then he increased his movements slightly. She matched him and he drove into her harder and faster until she was restlessly tossing her head from side to side. She dimly heard someone begging incoherently and realized it was her voice.

Jareth took one of her hands in his and guided it down between them. "Help me to please you," he whispered. "Touch yourself while I'm inside you."

She reached down and shuddered in pleasure as her fingers brushed against their joining. Moving up slightly, she stroked over her swollen flesh in time to the hard movement of his hips. Each flick of her fingers, each thrust of his hips lifted her higher and higher until she felt the world stand still.

And then it exploded.

Sarah came with a scream, contracting around him, and moments later Jareth followed, pouring himself into her.

For a moment, he held himself above her and then rolled them onto their sides, withdrawing from her. He slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her close, her back to his chest.

"Was this just a game, Sarah?" he asked softly.

She turned over to face him, to look into his eyes.

"No," she admitted. "Not to me."

"Good," he said, smiling. His eyes drifted shut, and he murmured sleepily, "Although, if it had been just a game, I would have won."

"No, you wouldn't," she laughingly protested. "I got what I wanted and I had your dessert."

"Cherries, wasn't it?" His eyes opened, and he arched an eyebrow.

Sarah flushed as the double meaning occurred to her. "I'd say it was a tie then."

"That will never do." His eyes closed again. " We must continue playing the game until there is a definitive winner."

Sarah leaned her forehead against his chest and smiled. "I can live with that."

The End