[Royal Sonesta Hotel, French Quarter, New Orleans, The Following Morning]
Sarah came to slowly, her lashes fluttering briefly as she stared up at the ceiling, feeling a warm chest pressed against her back, a pair of arms wrapped around her waist and a pair of strong thighs intermingled with hers underneath the covers. She swallowed and closed her eyes again tightly, chewing briefly on her lower lip to bite back a small smile, both nervous and excited to greet the morning after – and the face – of her bed partner and the reality of the previous night's actions.
Unable to help herself, she turned her head to peer back at him and almost jumped, flushing faintly as a pair of mismatched eyes steadily met hers. He was awake and probably had been for a while with the alertness she saw in his gaze. How long had he been watching me sleep?
"Good morning," he murmured softly, the edges of a smile playing on his mouth as he reached up and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.
"Morning…" She whispered, barely able to muster up the courage to reply. Once again, struck by an overwhelming force of shyness, she let her eyes drop and started to turn her head but his fingers gently grasped her chin and brought it back towards his. He waited for her to meet his eyes and when she did, she swallowed at the intensity in which they studied her. I'm sorry, I don't know what to do…what do you do in moments like this? Help me?
He leaned forward slowly, treating her like a frightened deer, lightly grazing her mouth with his when he was sure she wouldn't bolt, allowing her to get used to the idea of him in her bed. She sighed softly, closing her eyes and softening her mouth against his kiss and he took advantage, letting out a faint groan as his kisses slowly turned deeper but still slow and languished, the sharp edge of their lust having briefly been blunted last night.
She shivered, feeling a keen ache settling back in her body as his mouth made her body pang for the touch of his again. The way he made her sing last night was still visceral and fresh in her mind, playing over the actions of last night as he kissed her, reliving those moments again and igniting her once more – his mouth between her legs, her mouth between his, the strong movements of their fast and hard couplings followed by the slow and agonizingly gentle ones that followed. They hadn't talked – not once, not since that initial surprise – and it had been wonderful, almost surreal. He's so different than I remember…
She moaned softly against his mouth, turning slightly and fisting her hands in his hair, abandoning to the moment. He shuddered and thrust his tongue in her mouth as one hand reached forward, plucking at her nipples, the other running down her stomach to cup her sex and then gently glide against her opening, testing her. Oh, please. Yes, please touch me…
She could feel the shift in his breathing when his fingers softly pressed into her, finding how ready she already was by the ease in which he breached her. He groaned again as he tilted his face, a soft hoarse sound issuing from him, his nose bumping against hers as he moved to gain better access to her mouth. His hand at her breast twisted faintly, tugging at her nipples – first one, then the other – making her arch up against him, each tug sending a spasm deep inside her, evident in the way her body clinched down on his intruding fingers. Oh Jesus, it feels so good, don't stop…
Sarah mewled loudly, unable to help herself, as his fingers began a soft thrusting movement, wanting him to both move and yet not, desperate to find relief to the ache he'd started. She shuddered violently and rocked her hips slightly upwards, desperate to seek release. Fuck, that feels so good. How can you do this to me? So close!
Growing bold in her own need, she reached down and grasped him from where he flared to eager readiness against her hip, feeling his excitement in the slight slippery wetness coating her fingers where they brushed the tip as they wrapped around his girth, pumping him with an escalating urgency. He jerked against her and groaned again, pressing his hips forward, thrusting against the tightening grip of her hand, his own finger movements getting bolder – his thumb circling and teasing her clit as the others pumped harder, faster, more deeply inside her.
"Ohhh…" She moaned softly against his mouth, giving into the rising fire inside her, arching her hips upwards again. Tearing her mouth away from his as her soft cries turn into outright pleading, her eyebrows knitting together, her hips arching sharply – So close! Don't stop! – She sobbed and pleaded to him, her body bucking faintly against his hands. "Jareth, please! Oh god…please…"
Suddenly he moved atop her, removing his hand from her sex as hers fell away from his, spreading her legs and thrusting into her in one smooth rough motion, his mouth claiming hers once more. She screamed against his mouth, arching up, up and then shattering – feeling him thrusting in long, hard strokes as she came undone – and for a few seconds nothing registered to her but the amazing spasms tearing through her body. She heard him groan in a series of small, broken noises against her mouth as he stilled, pressing into her, his form rigid as he found his own release, feeling the warm plume of his peak and the spams of his cock from where he tensely held himself atop her.
Panting, her mouth pulled away from his as she relaxed, letting it fall softly back onto the pillow as her orgasm slowly subsided. Running a hand through his hair as his own head gently fell against her shoulder, his ragged breathing tickling the hollow of her throat, she smiled faintly at the sated feeling of her body once more satisfied. She could feel his heart pounding in unison with hers as the tension in his frame eased, his body sagging against hers as he floated down from his own high, his fingers curling through her hair as he pressed against her. He was heavy and slightly crushing her but she didn't mind, finding it oddly endearing the way he clutched at her as if he couldn't let her go.
"Holy mother of God, you're going to kill me…" She muttered teasingly, hearing his soft chuckle and he lifted his head and kissed her gently, pulling his weight off her and easing out of her.
"Let's take a bath. Perhaps we'll even manage a sentence or two this time."
She grinned shyly in response, opening her eyes and looking towards him to find him returning the expression, satisfaction and amusement glittering in his eyes. "Ok."
A few minutes later, Sarah was sitting between Jareth's thighs in the filled jacuzzi tub, his fingers working wonders against her scalp while he washed her hair. She flushed and tried to hide her smile at the sheer silliness of it all – her, sitting against him – a beautiful god-like fae king, washing her hair. He chuckled, seeing her response in the mirror across from them and her eyes jerked up to meet his. She finally relaxed when she saw his faint smirk and rolled her eyes, a smile tugging at her lips.
"What?" She asked, sounding annoyed and amused at the same time.
"You're cute when you're shy," he grinned faintly, scrubbing her scalp slowly with his fingers, making her sigh and lean her head back with her eyes closed as he continued. "But I know how to drag the woman out of the girl…" He teased, leaning forward to whisper in her ear.
"Buddy, you keep doing what you did to me last night and this morning and I'll do anything you want…" She grinned faintly, giving into his light banter, warming to the sound of his responding laugh. After a few minutes, he urged her to dunk her head in the water and she did as he asked, washing out the shampoo.
Sitting up, she moved across the jacuzzi and motioned to the spot in front of her. "Now it's your turn."
Jareth complied and moved towards her, turning once he sat between her knees and she grabbed the bottle of hotel shampoo and lathered it in her hands, studying his profile curiously. There was no mirror at this angle from where they sat so she couldn't see what expressions his face displayed she finally gives into the urge to start a conversation – anything – just to test the waters against the strange situation they found themselves in. What the hell am I even supposed to ask?
"So, why are you here? I mean, Aboveground?" She starts, figuring that's the safest place to begin catching up. It was difficult to decide where to begin, after all that had happened between last night and this morning. No sense in asking if you missed me, I think I've figured out the answer to that question on my own.
"I'm vacationing for a few days with a friend. He loves the city this time of year. All the balls and masks, you see. We don't have to disguise ourselves as much, most are too drunk to notice and if they do, we can remedy that with magic if necessary but most just rationalize our appearance away as something mundane." He waited, tilting his head as she listened, starting to gently scrub his hair, secretly relishing how soft his locks were between her fingers.
She frowned faintly, considering that. "Huh. I never imagined the fae taking vacations, at least not to anywhere in the Aboveground."
She felt him jerk slightly at her reply and she smiled. "You know I am fae?" He sounded surprised.
She chuckled as she continued to lather the soap in his hair, tightening her knees against his torso when he tried to turn around. He got the message and stayed in place. "Let's see…insanely sexy? Magic powers? A fashion sense that rivals the best dressmakers in the world? Oh gee, what could you be?"
He chuckled and swatted at her knee, splashing her face with a little water in the process. She grinned faintly but stilled as she heard his next question.
"I am surprised you're taking this so well in stride. You considered me the villain so vehemently before…" His voice drifted off but not before Sarah sensed the remorse and soft bitterness in his words. She frowned faintly, feeling a tenderness well up in her that frankly surprised her. Still, he was finally addressing the elephant in the room and she figured the least she could do was answer him honestly to his face.
Ignoring the question for the moment, she urged him to dunk his head back and he did, slicking back his hair as he came back up and turned, staring at her with acute eyes, watching her. No getting out of this one, Williams. Just rip that fucker right of, sting and all. Time to face the music. Just…be honest. It won't kill you.
She smiled faintly and swallowed, steeling herself for how to word what she had to say. He stared, his gaze both searching and tense, waiting with that same frustrating patience in his eyes like he had when she first woke up, something she found both irritated and grateful for.
"I suppose I am. It's just…I figured out a long time ago that you played your role, nothing more. I wished Toby away, I can't be angry you only did what I asked of you." She silenced him with a shake of her head and a finger to his lips when he frowned, prepared to interrupt her. "No, Jareth. I did that. 'What's said is said,' remember? You told me that yourself. No way to sugar coat it. Like my dad used to tell me on occasion, 'suck it up buttercup.' I said it and I paid the price. You weren't cruel, you didn't torture or molest me and I beat the Labyrinth and you let me go with Toby, intact." She shrugged her shoulders, watching his response to her words. He mostly didn't move but a shift in his eyes told her he was digesting what she was saying.
"I've read the dark fairy legends, once I got back and finally wrapped my head around what had happened. I know you could've done a lot worse…and yet you didn't. It took me a while to accept that but it's how I look at what happened back in the Labyrinth. So no, Jareth. I don't see you as a villain. A little arrogant, maybe, but no villain."
Jareth released a breath he didn't realize he'd been holding. He knew she didn't see him as a rival anymore, they wouldn't have continued their affair after that initial shock of realizing who one another was when the masks came off and the lights came on if she'd thought otherwise – but it dissolved something sharp laying hidden in his chest that he didn't realize he'd been holding onto until he heard her words.
"You were very angry during your run, very defiant. I both hated and admired that," he replied softly, tilting his head to the side, refusing to use the word loved – despite that being the correct phrase. "I always wondered why. Care to enlighten me, precious?"
She chuckled, once again looking bashful, a small blush creeping up her face. He smiled, amused at her response. He hoped she never changed, her sudden bouts of shyness enthralled him as most fae were so cold and unresponsive to questions and confrontations.
"I thought you were going to turn Toby into a goblin…" She sheepishly replied, glancing back at him with a wince.
"What? Where'd you get an idea like that?" He blinked, his eyebrows raising, doing his best not to laugh.
She flushed again and swatted at him. "Before I called you, I was telling Toby this horrible story – man I was such a damn brat at that age! I honestly don't know how you stood that for thirteen hours!" She laughed, rubbing some sweet-scented lotion across her shoulders to probably keep herself busy – jasmine and vanilla, so that's where it was coming from - and he watched her, fascinated, as she continued despite the bright blush tinting her features and the way her voice grew husky under layers of embarrassment. "Only…again…after I'd gotten home and managed to pull my head out of my ass, realized you never said that. Somehow it stuck, though, and I really thought you'd do that. I was terrified and angry – at the time it was at you, then later myself. I should never have uttered those stupid words."
His chest constricted at her last statement and he forced a smile to his face to hide his response. Does she really regret it? Is that just guilt and anger at herself, or does she really regret us meeting? Why is this damned mortal so hard to figure out?
Her eyes flickered back to his and he forced his smile wider, ignoring the jangling of confused emotions simmering just beneath his skin. "Well, in your defense, I was an ass. Still am, in fact, if you go by the opinion of my court peers." He laughed at the shocked look on her face. "What? We both did a bang up job of getting off on the wrong foot and subsequently hating each other for years."
"You hated me?" She frowned, looking startled and – unless his eyes mistook the brief flash of emotion – sad.
"We're been surprisingly honest up until now, so I don't see a reason to stop. Yes, Sarah. I hated you for years after you won. My pride and reputation were damaged, amongst other things. But, as you have said, I got over it, so to speak. Come now, be honest. I imagine you felt the same." He gently spoke, watching her reaction as he carefully chose his words. It was of paramount importance they continued this talk with complete transparency and he was relieved when she slowly nodded, seemingly accepting the undercurrent of importance with this talk. Everything from here on out hinged on this, at least to him. And then, maybe, I'll tell you how I really feel about you.
She flushed but held his gaze, finally shrugging her shoulders. "Fair enough. Yes, I did. But…past tense. I don't hate you now. I'm not even entirely sure how I should feel about you now."
He couldn't school the surprise out of his features at her words, feeling his heart tug painfully in his chest. That's a start. Before he embarrassed himself and blurted out words of love, something he was loathe to do until he knew how she felt about him first, he changed the subject. "Enough about the past. What brings you to the Crescent City?"
Sarah smiled, leaning back against the edge of the jacuzzi, keeping some space between them. He didn't object, realizing he wanted to know more about her life and if she moved closer, he wouldn't be able to resist her and would spoil this exchange between the two of them. He wanted her on an elemental level that almost unnerved him and forced himself to keep his distance, realizing for the first time that he really wanted to hear what a woman had to say. Most women from his past he simply kept up conversation just a means to an end to satisfy his libido, but not Sarah. It mattered what she said, how she felt, and allowing her the time to trust him enough to honestly share her feelings. Startled, he realized with rising alarm how deeply she was already embedded in him. Gods, what if I can't ever shake this mortal? What if she refuses me again? What then?
Sarah shrugged faintly with another one of those adorable blushes, dragging his attention back to her and away from his rising panic. "I came with my friend Caitlin. She's an old college friend I met my freshman year at NYU. You'll love her, she's outrageous. She's Irish on both sides with absolutely no filter whatsoever. She works at a law firm as a paralegal and I do counseling at a shelter for kids. She insisted I come down with her, she comes once a year and swears by the parties."
He smiled at her comment on what she did for a living, feeling the pride she took in her work by the strength of her words. When she continued, he chuckled in surprise, his eyebrows raising as he remembered her at the party before he tore her away. While she'd still danced with others, there was an inherent shyness around her even in her most confident moments. "You don't strike me as the partying type, precious."
Sarah laughs. "Nooooo, not in the slightest. I'm kind of an introvert these days. Labyrinth lessons and all." She waved a hand as her head fell back against the edge of the tub and she closed her eyes. It took a lot of willpower to resist staring, seeing her nipples faintly peaking above the edge of the water. "Anyways, she wanted me to come down and sort of let my freak flag fly. You know, have some fun, meet some guys, get drunk. Be a wild, single woman for once." Sarah gestured vaguely to the dress that was still on the floor near the bed with one hand, not moving from her comfortable position. "I even insanely agreed to let her pack for me. Normally I'd die to be caught in those clothes but…it was kind of fun, you know?"
His eyebrows continued to rise as he listened and a frown tugged at his lips when he heard her words 'meet some guys, get drunk, let my freak flag fly.' He forced himself to remain outwardly composed but wanted to growl that there would be no need to meet anyone else – if she wanted to be a freak, he'd keep her plenty busy. Still, he was hesitant to demand anything of her, suddenly worried she didn't have as deep an attraction to him as he did to her. "And…have you succeeded?" He asked, keeping his voice even.
She cracked open an eye and peered back at him, her familiar blush back in place. "I found you, didn't I?"
He grinned faintly, feeling a deep satisfaction at her words, but still nervous she'd dismiss him after they dressed for the day. "And am I to your liking? Or shall I be tossed aside for failing to rise to my duties and be traded in for an upgrade this evening?" He kept his words teasing and flirty, hoping he'd hidden the insecurity behind them with his choice of phrase.
Sarah lifted her head and frowned. "Why would you think that?" She asked, genuinely confused. Suddenly, her eyes went wide. "Oh." Again, that shyness was back and he bit the inside of his cheek, letting her figure out what she wanted to say, even if it went against his nature not to demand and maneuver things towards his benefit.
"Um, well…as we're both here together, in the same city, at the same time…" She struggled for words, her green eyes briefly flashing with annoyance, picking up on the fact he continued to remain silent, leaving the decision process to her. He let his smile stretch, the action forcing her to continue. "Why don't we spend it together?"
He grinned and slid towards her. "I thought you'd never ask."
Unable to resist any longer, he fused his mouth with hers and drew her back up against him urgently. Already, his cock ached, stiff and ready, desperately seeking the warm recesses of her body. Enough talking, more fucking. God, I want to show you so many things, precious thing…
Karma, however, had other plans. Just has he began to pull her out of the water and towards the bed, Sarah's cell phone rang. No matter what tactic he tried, she laughed and pushed at him until she was slipping free of his grip and running for her phone. Scowling at the offending item, he leaned back, gritting his teeth as his cock jerked in dissatisfaction. The second she's off that thing, I'm breaking it into a million pieces and banishing it into the ether, he vowed.
Immediately, he sensed the change in Sarah, turning towards her, his arousal dampening as he narrowed his gaze on the differences in her demeanor. As she struggled with the caller, he stood from the tub and walked towards her, overhearing her words. "Who are you? Where's Cait? Can I speak to her-what? You want to talk to Jareth?"
She blinked, looking over at him and handing him the phone. "It's for you? Someone named Niall calling with Cait's phone? Is this your friend?"
That mother fucker! He has some explaining to do! Instantly, anger flooded him but he smiled faintly at her and kissed her gently, taking the phone from her. "Yes, the one I told you about earlier."
As he was raising the phone to his ear, he watched as Sarah smiled and moved to the other room. "I'll just be drying my hair. Ten minutes tops and we can head out. I am starving," she called out to him. He nodded with a faint smile, his eyes lowering briefly to admire her curves.
He watched as she went into the bathroom and closed the door, the hair dryer soon turned on and drowning out her hearing. Jerking the phone to his ear, he turned and growled into the phone. "Niall, you son of a bitch. You spelled those damn masks."
He heard his friend's responding chuckle and clenched his free hand into a fist. After he'd exhausted Sarah and she slept, he had spent a few minutes inspecting them both, remembering the odd sensation he felt when they were removed. He didn't recognize the source of the magic, telling him that Niall had most likely sought out an unknown caster for the spell, but nevertheless this had his doing written all over it. "I am going to kill you..." He started, gritted his teeth.
Niall simply snorted over the line. "Please. You were in her room and she sounded very…what's the word I'm looking for? Relaxed? Satisfied? Sated? You've been pining after that mortal for longer than is healthy. I merely nudged you to the ledge, you're the one that took the leap."
Jareth gripped the phone so tightly, he was worried he might break it, not rising to Niall's bait. He heard his friend's chuckle as he said nothing. "Admit it, you're satisfied with how things went. I know you're angry with me but it got you what you wanted. Her. She cares about you, you know."
Jareth jerked in surprise. "What do you mean?" He asked, forcing the hesitation out of his voice, keeping it demanding. "Have you been spying on her?" He suddenly hissed, blinded by the spontaneous rage that consumed him. "I take it back, I'm going to torture and then kill you…."
"I don't fancy your mortal, Jareth! Kill it with the alpha male act! Good gods, man. You told me once about her, several years ago." Jareth finally found himself truly at a loss for words, his surprise evident in the continued silence on the line. "So I watched her. She kept your book. She still reads it. She hasn't had a date, or a companion, in years. Have some faith and pursue her, you idiot. You want this mortal. You've wanted her for years and yet never sought her out. Why? What could that possibly solve – other than reaffirming what a moron you've been? You weren't doing anything about it, so I did. And from what I can tell, it worked. You're welcome."
Jareth struggled for words, his anger rising once more at Niall's bluntness. "Just why the hell do you care?" He snarled, listening to Sarah continuing to dry her hair. He waved a hand, instantly drying himself and wearing casual human clothing – tight jeans, a black t-shirt, leather cuffs, his hair and face glamoured to a more human-like appearance.
"Maybe because I was in your shoes once. I didn't push it like I should have. And I've regretted it ever since." Niall's startling admission had Jareth blinking.
"Anyways, her friend is with me. She was adamant to check on Sarah last night and I was determined to give you a night's reunion uninterrupted so she spent it in the guest room, despite doing her best to destroy the whole house in an effort to leave. Was Sarah aware her friend was a seer? The damned female can see through my glamour and is demanding to see her friend so I had to enlighten her on your past to calm her nerves. Shall we meet for brunch? How about Stanley's by the Square?"
Jareth listened in surprise, finding himself having a hard time holding any lasting anger for Niall. Once again, he felt ashamed at how loyal his friend was to him and he'd once again assumed the worst. Pinching the bridge of his nose faintly, he nodded. "Yes, alright. And Niall?" He hurriedly asked before his friend hung up.
He heard a pause on the other end and then his friend's soft and patient tone. "What are friends for?" With that, he hung up.
Hearing the hair dryer shut off, Jareth turned back to see Sarah return to the room, clad in the sexiest underwear he'd ever seen in his life. Biting back a groan, his cock once more trying to flare to life, he remained in place as she looked over him with a small smile – and he smugly realized, no small amount of interest – as she began to dress.
"What was that about?"
"Your friend stayed with mine last night. Seems like they're acquainted. He let her know about our past, given how forward your friend seems to be. They suggested we meet them at Stanley's. How about it, precious? Brunch with friends?"
She grinned as she pulled a loose cotton dress over her body. "Sounds great, I love their eggs benedict. I am famished."
He tried to ignore the spark of irritation at how short and tight the dress was, clinging to her curves. He didn't like other men ogling what was his. Still, he just satisfied himself with deciding he'd not let her out of her sight while she was with him. Offering her his arm once she slung a small purse over her shoulder, he felt a little thrill as she instead threaded her fingers with his as they left the hotel.