The figure whirled, glancing over his shoulder, and Sarah stared blankly, not sure what to say. She didn't know why she blurted his name aloud, only that catching sight of a head full of silver-blonde shoulder length hair had her world instantly tilting, the name sprung from her lips before she gave it any rational thought.
He stared, smiling faintly, his eyes lowering over her form, stilling on her hands that held a birthday present covered in obnoxious red wrapping paper with puppies and balloons splashed across the front in vivid colors, before she forced herself to smile back.
"Sarah. Hello again."
"It's...uh...nice to see you." He smirked faintly but simply nodded, no snarky comment, no obscene sneer, and she fell quiet, not sure what else to say. He was dressed in casual Aboveground fashion and her head spun, not quite matching his current appearance up with the vision she had of how he had looked to her years ago. She saw his gaze shift, turning to stare at two boys, and she suddenly blinked again, her cheeks pinkening, as she turned her eyes towards the two blonde children playing with so many others, despite the odd otherwordliness about them only she and Jareth must have sensed.
She stepped up beside him, noticing he briefly glanced over at her, then nodded towards the two boys in the distance of the park they both found themselves at. "Yours?"
"My nephews." He commented softly, smiling at them playing with the human children, before glancing back at her, his eyes once more lowering to the gift in her hands. "Yours?" She blinked and he gestured to the package in her grip.
Her cheeks pinkened once more. "No, no. It's for...heh….my nephew. Toby's son, over there." She pointed across the park and there was her younger brother, a new father at twenty - surprising the whole family, some more joyfully than others - playing with a boy of about one. Jareth's eyes drifted and one eyebrow arched in surprise, making her bite the inside of her cheek to contain her laughter.
"You have none of your own?" He asked softly, glancing back at her. She shrugged a shoulder, glancing over at Toby and his son Sean, if for nothing else than to give her eyes something to do. Never in a million years did she think she'd be standing in a park, on any given Sunday, conversing civilly with a Fairy King while watching over family.
"Nope, not yet." She replied, glancing back at him. "You?"
He smiled faintly, something in his eyes softening as he shook his head. "Not yet."
"Well, I'll leave you to it, then." She stepped forward, pausing and looking over her shoulder, surprised to find him still staring at her. "It was good seeing you, Jareth. Have a good afternoon in the park."
"You, too. Good luck with the nephew. Tell Toby...a friend says hello." He smiled, his eyes shifting, as if spotting something in the distance. Sarah heard her name being called and she nodded, not yet ready to turn away, and Jareth's eyes shifted back towards her. He seemed about to say something but she simply swallowed and turned, looking back towards her brother and waving, clearing her throat and trotting over.
"Hey, Sar. Thanks for coming. Amy's at the store, we forgot his favorite crackers and you know how he gets." Toby grinned, giving her a bear hug when she was close enough. Sean looked up from where he was playing on the ground with wooden blocks and gave her a large gummy grin, his teeth just barely beginning to peek through. "Who was that guy?"
Sarah paused, seeing Toby's eyes focused across the park, and she snuck a peek over her shoulder. Jareth was still there, staring at them, looking out of place despite his mundane clothing. She quickly turned, feeling her cheeks pinken again and shrugged a shoulder. "An old friend I knew from High School. He...ah...says hi."
"Yeah?" Toby squinted, tipping his head to the side, and briefly she panicked that he might remember who Jareth was – to him, to her. After a few seconds, though, he simply seemed to shrug and look back at her with a smile. She released a breath she didn't realize she'd been holding. "That's funny, I thought he looked familiar. Did you guys have some classes together or something?"
She handed over the package and settled onto the grass, shifting the skirts of her sundress around her knees as she tucked her feet underneath her. She peaked back at Jareth, realizing now, twenty years later, he appeared about her age, despite being an immortal fae and it being only her that had aged. "Um, something like that…"
She ground her teeth, turning back around as she felt Jareth's attention shift once more from his nephews, to back at her, refusing to turn around, despite Toby still staring at Jareth. "So, how's this young man been today?" She chirped, perhaps a little too loudly, to get Toby's attention.
It worked, sensing Toby shift his gaze back towards her, making her relax, smiling at the two of them as Sean crawled towards Sarah and giggled, tugging on her hair and dress as he pulled himself into her lap, raising her arms and settling them around the child.
"We're good. He's been a little fussy but overall...he's been amazing all morning."
"Yeah?" She grinned, bouncing Sean on her knees, the boy clapping and giggling, staring at her with the overabundant joy only children could maintain at such a simple pleasure. Something in her heart softened as she smoothed a fingertip over Sean's soft plump cheek. "How's Amy doing with having to cut back her school hours? You guys doing ok?"
Toby nodded, swallowing, forcing a smile at Sarah as he looked over at his son, love in his eyes. She looked over him while he was distracted, seeing the worry and underlying concern there. Their parents had not taken to Toby's new family well and Sarah stepped in when her father and stepmother wouldn't, something she disagreed with but tried explaining it was just their generation's sense of 'right and wrong.' She understood, though, how much it must have hurt Toby, and internally promised to be there for anything he needed. She'd ran a Labyrinth for him, she'd do anything for her brother. Because Toby was young and him and Amy weren't married, they'd been forced to get an apartment together and Toby had to quit school while Amy struggled to finish college, balancing an abrupt new family with the surprise pregnancy.
Seeing the unspoken strain on Toby's face, she once more extended the offer she always brought up when she visited, watching his gaze shift from his son back to her.
"You know you two can always come to New York, when Amy finishes this semester. I've even cleaned out the spare rooms of Nana's place. All that space and it's just me. What do you say?"
Toby smiled, his eyes watering briefly, despite the flash of embarrassment that coated his feature, as he looked back at Sarah. "We'll...think about it."
Sarah leaned forward, thumping her shoulder against his, holding Sean close, keeping her tone playful. She hated to see the look of shame in his eyes and made sure to hold his attention before she continued. "Don't make me resort to pestering. I mean it, Tobes. I want you guys to come. Please tell me you'll really think about it this time and not just blow me off?"
Toby's head dropped and he nodded. Unable to resist, concerned at the unnecessary struggle she saw him wrestling with, she reached over and ruffled the top of his hair. "It's not charity when it's family, Tobes." She murmured, knowing what must be running through his head. When he looked back up at her, her heart squeezed in sympathy.
"I know, Sar. I'll mention it again to Amy. I….thank you. Thank you for being there for me."
She smiled, opening her mouth to say something, when something slammed into her head, making her blink and topple over. Toby let out a started cry, catching her and Sean, who she had cradled to her chest, her senses reeling, head throbbing, seeing stars.
"What in the hell?!" Toby snarled, looking over sharply, to see two blonde boys that appeared to be about ten in years, looking sheepishly between themselves as they ran over.
"We're super sorry, Mister...is she okay?" One of them asked, shoving his hands nervously in his pockets, as the other scooped up the football that had managed to peg Sarah in the head.
She moaned, rubbing the back of her head, when she heard another run over and kneel down.
"Sarah? Are you alright?" She heard Jareth whisper, gently touching the back of her head, where she winced and moaned again.
"Ow…." She managed to weakly reply, a soft laugh escaping her. "They have a good arm, whomever threw that ball.."
"Boys! What did I tell you about playing too close to others!" She heard Jareth admonish in a sharp tone, raising her hand and grabbing hold of Jareth's wrist that was still pressed against the back of her head. Toby scooped up Sean and took a few steps back.
"It's ok..ay….whoa…." She murmured, blinking softly up at Jareth, who frowned down at her with concern. When she tried sitting up, she felt woozy, then sat back down in the grass, closing her eyes and wincing. "Little...dizzy…" She managed to smile, when Jareth pressed her for what was wrong.
"I'm calling 911," Toby barked, reaching for his phone, when Jareth stopped him. He shook his head, glancing back at her, leaning down so the only thing she saw was his mismatched eyes.
"It's okay, I can take care of this." He murmured, his cool fingers stroking her cheek, grabbing her attention when her eyes fluttered shut to stop the dizziness. "Sarah? Sarah, look at me."
"What do you mean, you'll take care of this? She could have a concussion…" Toby started, the sound of Sean starting to cry reaching Sarah's ears.
"Sarah? Precious, look at me." Jareth coaxed, so she did. She opened her eyes and stared at him and he smiled, continuing to stroke her cheek. She felt something then, as he looked at her, and the fogginess cleared. She blinked slowly, her cheeks reddening for what felt like the twentieth time that day, looking around slowly to see all the faces staring down at her in concern.
"Uh, hey guys. I'm alright. Really, I'm ok." She began to sit up slowly, feeling Jareth's hand fall from her cheek to grip her wrists, helping her shift gently onto her knees. She smiled briefly at him, noting the dizziness was gone, as he stared at her in concern.
"Sarah? Oh my god, is that Sarah?"
Both Jareth and Sarah turned, breaking their mutual inspection of one another, to see a young blonde woman rushing across the park. She looked concerned and shocked, reaching for Sean when he cried and held out his hands to her, adjusting the young boy on her hip as she looked at Jareth and the two older boys. "What happened?"
"This is Amy, Toby's girlfriend. Sean's mother." Sarah supplied, catching Jareth's brief confused stare. He smiled faintly, still holding onto Sarah as she struggled to rise, keeping a firm hand around her shoulders and waist. "Hey, Amy. I'm fine. Jareth's nephews were playing and a misfire snagged me. I feel fine, really."
Both boys looked embarrassed, flushing a faint shade of pink. Sarah grinned, glad to know she wasn't the only one prone to blushes. "We're really sorry, Miss Sarah. We should have listened to Uncle Jareth about playing farther away. We were just curious."
Sarah stared, raising an eyebrow in question, surprised that they knew her name. "Curious?" She asked, glancing back at Jareth for clarification. She blinked, smothering a laugh, at the brief flash of discomfort that etched across his face.
"Oh, yeah, he's told us a lot about you. About how you bested him in his maze back home, and…"
"That's enough, boys. I'm sure Sarah has to catch up with her family. We'll leave you to it, then." Jareth interrupted, his tone sharp, clearing his throat when Sarah stilled at what the boys had started to say, flashing the others a quick embarrassed smile. He motioned to the boys to head back over to where they were, then - with a softened nod and stare at Sarah - quickly followed them before anyone else had recovered enough to say anything in return.
Silence descended between Sarah and the others as they watched the fae boys and their uncle depart. It was Amy's amused tone that snapped Sarah back to the present, pinkening at what she heard.
"Damn, is that an ex of yours, Sarah? I don't think he's over it, if he is." Amy whistled, looking at Jareth as he walked away, winking over at Sarah. Toby scowled at Amy as Sarah blushed, and she laughed, rolling her eyes and slinging a hand around his waist. "Oh, don't give me that look. You know I only have eyes for you, babe. But that man is making goo-goo eyes at your sister. Who is he?"
"A friend of Sarah's from High School," Toby muttered, making Sarah turn and blink, staring at Toby, who was eyeing her dubiously as his gaze shifted between her and the back of the retreating form of Jareth in the distance. "I don't like him," he finished, glowering, before Sean's childish grunts of wanting to be put back down and play dragged his attention away.
Sarah blinked, surprised at the sudden venom in Toby's tone, glancing back at Jareth, who seemed to be leaving with the boys, before settling down on the ground with her brother and his family.
Something made her turn and stare across the park after a few minutes of casual conversation with Toby and Amy as they all watched Sean play. There, in the distance, somehow unseen by others, she saw them. She watched in awe as the two boys blinked out of existence and Jareth turned, staring at her for several seconds. She raised a hand, waving, catching herself surprised as he smiled back and dipped his head towards her briefly before he too vanished into nothing.
Something ached in her chest and she frowned, unable to place the emotion. Sighing faintly, she turned back and smiled, returning to listening to Amy discuss school.
"Yes, Tobes, I'm serious. If you want, I can book the tickets in the morning."
Sarah cradled the phone to her ear as she turned the steaks in the skillet, searing each side quickly. She grinned, biting her lower lip as she nodded into the phone receiver, grabbing a hot pad and tugging the skillet off the stove and slipping it into the oven. Looking over her shoulder, she set the timer, wiping at her brow and nodding.
"Okay, great. I'm really glad you two are doing this. I'll see you in a week, then."
Hanging up the phone, she smiled. Toby and Amy had finally listened, deciding to move in with her in the large house she'd inherited from her grandmother on her mother's side, on the outskirts of Buffalo, where Sarah lived and worked as a writer. The pay wasn't enormous, but Sarah didn't need the money, having inherited everything when Linda sent the estate to her, rather than keep it for herself. While her mother and her were never close, Linda always made sure Sarah was taken care of, and had willed the money to Sarah in her mother's estate conditions, having plenty of money with her Hollywood career.
Looking out the window of her kitchen to the pine forest beyond, she was happy for the company. The house she lived in was close enough to town to be convenient but secluded enough that at night, she wished for the sounds of other people. At thirty-five, she could have been married and settled with her own children, but it never seemed to work out. Briefly, she thought of her encounter with Jareth and swallowed, reaching for the wine glass she'd poured herself earlier, taking a small sip.
Don't go there, Sarah. He's from another world, for God's sake.
Still, she couldn't help but remember how handsome he still looked when she'd seen him standing in the park that day, over a week ago, looking eerily similar to how he did when she'd run the maze. Banishing him from her thoughts, she looked over at the single cupcake she'd bought herself earlier in the grocery store and smiled sadly, grabbing a match from the counter and striking it, lighting the single candle wedged into the icing.
"Happy birthday to me," she murmured softly to herself. She closed her eyes, not really believing in wishes anymore, but blew it out anyways, licking the icing off the end of the candle and tossing it in the trash once it cooled. That's what Toby's call had started as, wishing her a happy birthday, and had ended on the pleasant note of him announcing they'd be joining her soon in New York.
Perhaps wishes weren't completely wasteful after all.
Smiling as she thought of them moving soon and checking the clock by the wall, making sure she had enough time to step away from the cooking food, she moved from the kitchen to the living room and perused her record collection, still having a soft spot for vinyl records despite the digital age that seemed to take the rest of the world by storm. Settling on a record of Irish harps, she turned on the stereo and let the soft noise fill the empty house while she waited on dinner to finish.
The ring of the doorbell surprised her, making her turn briefly and tip her head, wondering if she'd misheard. The urgent re-ringing of someone pressing their finger repeatedly to the doorbell made her set her wine glass aside and pad towards the front door with a frown, glancing at herself in the mirror as she did so. She grimaced at her appearance: Her hair was in a messy top knot, she was wearing an oversized t-shirt that was still splattered with the paint she'd used to redecorate her bedroom in six months ago, a loose set of short boxers hastily placed over her hips, and a kitchen apron covering everything else, then shrugged it off. Whomever it was, they were dealing with her disheveled look.
When she opened the door, she blinked, her eyes widening, as she stared at the two boys from the park that had been with Jareth - his nephews.
"Hello again?" She greeted them, still shocked at their appearance in her doorway, the comment more a question than anything else. Her eyes looked around the empty front yard, before looking back down at the two fae children, who seemed to be grinning at one another and sharing some inner joke she wasn't privy to. "Where is your Uncle Jareth? Your parents?"
"Out," they replied in unison, glancing back at her, the epitome of subservience. "Can we come in?"
Sarah didn't know what to say, speechless, then moved aside, opening the door wider, gesturing for them to step inside. They looked back at one another, giggled, then stomped in, storming for the living room. "Cool house!" One called over their shoulder, as they settled in on the couch, staring at the dead television with reverence.
Sarah stared, at an utter loss for their sudden appearance, glancing around warily before closing the door and following them into the living room, frowning as she stared at them prod her remotes.
"Can we watch it? Pretty please? We never get to see this stuff back home. You humans have such awesome things, but don't tell our parents, they hate mortal technology. Only Uncle Jareth lets us use this stuff sometimes."
She didn't know what to think about that, the sudden absurd mental image of Jareth sprawled across a couch, playing SEGA, flashing in her head. She struggled to suppress a laugh.
"Umm...sure? What's your names, by the way? And how did you get here?" She asked, glancing back at the front door, as if expecting a pact of angry fae to come blasting through the doorway at any moment. "Aren't your parents worried about where you are?"
"I'm Ainsln." The boy with the palest blonde locks, very similar to Jareth's, said. He pointed to his brother, who's blonde hair was almost an ash grey. "He's Kiernan." They quickly turned on the television and Sarah turned off her record, sliding into a chair as she stared at them and the looks on their faces as they absorbed the television, flicking through channels.
Slowly, they realized she was waiting for them to continue, so the boy named Ainsln continued. "Your birthday was today. We used your birthday wish to come here, say hi. Our parents are with Uncle Jareth, in a council session back home. They won't know we're gone, promise. Not for a few hours, at least."
Sarah struggled with what to say, overwhelmed, as the boys settled in and turned the television to cartoons. The darker boy, Kiernan, looked shyly at Sarah. "I'm so sorry, Miss Sarah. We're curious and we don't know many mortals. Uncle Jareth likes you, so we figured you wouldn't mind. We can go, if you don't want us here."
Sarah found herself smiling faintly, despite her discomfort. "No, it's alright. You can stay. Just...make sure you're home before your parents learn where you are. I don't want to upset them."
Kiernan nodded and his brother shoved him as something blared out on the television. "Shhh, this is the best part! Wait for it…" A loud explosion showed on the television, and Ainsln grinned, pumping his fist in the air. Kiernan was suddenly equally enraptured, staring at the display playing out on the large screen with wide eyes. "So awesome!"
Sarah laughed at their antics, shaking her head, watching as both boys fell silent and stared at the television. Something in their looks reminded her of Toby when he was younger and she smiled at the memory. "Want some snacks? Popcorn, soda? Candy?"
Both boys whirled, staring at her with joy written on their faces. She laughed and stood. "I'll be right back."
As she rounded the corner, opening the pantry closet door, she stilled as she heard the fae boys whispering back and forth to each other, the sounds carrying in the old house.
"See? Told you she's cool."
"Super cool. Why hasn't Uncle Jareth asked her to marry him? Mom says he still really likes her."
Sarah blushed, closing her eyes as she bit her lower lip, forcing the small smile at bay that briefly flashed on her face. Grabbing the proffered snacks, she returned with them on a tray, setting them in front of the boys. They descended on them in typical childish fashion, devouring and guzzling with their eyes glued to the television.
She heard their chorus of thank yous as she moved back into the kitchen to remove her steaks. She grinned, shaking her head, hearing the explosions from the cartoons they were watching echoing from the living room. Leaning down, checking on the contents of the stove, she heard a small peck at her windowsill and sat up as she set the skillet once more on the cutting board to let it cool, nearly screaming as she saw an owl staring at her, tapping it's beak against the window glass.
Biting down on her lower lip to silence the instinctive reaction, she drew a shaky breath and pressed a hand to her chest, shuddering and glaring at the bird, watching it transform into Jareth. He looked frazzled and irate as she pointed at the back door and he nodded, moving towards it.
"Jesus, you scared the shit out of me," she managed, opening the door, where he quickly marched in, dressed in all his Goblin King finery. She found herself suddenly without a voice once more as she stared, subdued, recognizing this was the Jareth she remembered from years ago. He looked exhausted and angry all at once, scouring the kitchen sharply, where he turned, opening his mouth to say something, only for the boy's cries of excitement when a loud bang came from the television. He stiffened, turning to head into the living room, when she grabbed his wrist and tugged him back.
He frowned but softened, his eyes flashing angrily. "They should have never - " He started, but Sarah shook her head and pressed a finger to her lips. He growled softly but fell silent at her small smile.
"Relax, it's okay. They're just watching TV. They haven't been here long and they're having a really good time. I don't mind, honest. A little surprised, but it's alright. They're very sweet."
Jareth stared, still looking positively furious, before he sighed and ran a hand through his hair, closing his eyes. His clothes shifted before her eyes into a subdued polo shirt and a pair of jeans, making her jump slightly at the sudden change. She smirked, then began to softly laugh at his confused look when he blinked his eyes open, looking at her when he heard her soft chuckle.
"What?" He muttered, glancing over at her.
"Nothing - it's nothing. Just...you and jeans...still getting used to that." She grinned, gesturing. He smirked faintly, glancing slowly over what she was wearing, and she felt a blush creep up her face at the way he stared at her legs a little longer than was acceptable.
"Yes, well, I could use your approach, but figured that would make things a little awkward and uncomfortable." He teased, grinning and leaning against the counter, crossing his arms over his chest as he once more looked her over outfit.
She blushed again and rolled her eyes, her jaw tensing as she shifted nervously on her feet, tugging at the hem of her boxers, that she realized suddenly were daringly short for guest, noting she should have changed. "I wasn't expecting company. I...this…" She gestured at her outfit and found herself without words again as he stared.
"I like it." He replied softly, making her pause. She was ready to kill her body's responses to him, watching him grin as she blushed yet again, feeling her cheeks heat. "I like that I still fluster you after all these years, too."
Great, just great. Time to die of embarrassment. She turned sharply, snatching a plate from her cabinets, embarrassed at him calling out her response to him.
"Sarah…" She felt a shift in him, his tone turning softer, as if he felt guilty for making her embarrassed. She smiled briefly over her shoulder at him and shrugged, ignoring the frown on his face.
"It's okay, I mean...yeah...I won't deny I find you attractive." She replied, gesturing to the steaks, ignoring the sudden intake of air she heard from him. "Hungry?"
"Starving." He murmured and she smiled, looking over her shoulder, swallowing at the look of hunger on his face. He wasn't looking at the food, only her. She cleared her throat, then asked him to grab a glass from the cabinet by his head. "Water or wine?"
"Wine, please." He politely requested, where she nodded and set to finishing up their two dinners. Both of their plates got a steak, a small salad, some roasted vegetables she'd finished earlier, and a fresh roll. After their glasses were poured, she grabbed utensils and gestured to the porch.
"How about we eat outside? So the boys can enjoy their TV."
He nodded and she moved past him, settling the outside table. He chose to sit across from her and she nervously shifted into her chair as she took her fork and picked briefly at her food, feeling his gaze on her.
"So the boys told me you were in a meeting of sorts? I hope their little escape didn't cut it short." She started, then blanched, lowering her fork, remembering the two children's parents attended the same meeting. "Oh god, their parents. Do they know?"
"No, I was dismissed early since I had business back home. I stopped by their kingdom and one of the maids got my attention." He smiled faintly, watching her shoulders relax, sipping on his wine. "Don't worry, Sarah. They wouldn't blame you. Those two keep us all busy with their daredevil antics."
She smirked, bringing her fork to her mouth, chewing thoughtfully on her food as she stared at him. "I think I know where they get that from."
For the first time, Jareth looked uncomfortable and she laughed. His eyes moved away from her, taking in their surroundings. "You have a nice home."
She smiled, glancing around. "Thanks. It was my grandmother's. It's just me, but Toby, Sean and Amy will be moving in next week."
Jareth looked back at her, smiling faintly. "That's very kind of you to offer your home to them."
She flushed under his proud stare. "It's a big house. It needs the people in it."
Jareth nodded, staring at her for a long lingering moment, before returning to his food. Not knowing what else to say, she also fell into silence, eating and drinking, just enjoying his company. This has been the strangest week...
She was about to break the silence when the back door banged open and Ainsln came bounding out, his eyes wide with excitement. "Miss Sarah? Can I have some more of that soda? It's so good, oh my -"
He stopped dead at seeing Jareth, who had sat his fork down and was glaring angrily at the boy. Sarah instantly felt sorry for him but remained quiet, studying the two, letting Jareth handle the situation, given that it was his nephew. Jareth shifted in his seat, crossing his legs, as he sat back and coolly stared at Ainsln, his eyes hard chips of glass in his stony face.
The boy remained quiet, his head cast down, staring at the ground.
"What do you have to say for yourself?" Jareth drawled, his tone frigid. Sarah remained completely immobile as the boy flinched.
"I'm sorry for scaring maid Abigail and arriving unannounced at Miss Sarah's house," Ainsln replied in a reproachful tone, glancing sidelong at Sarah before looking at Jareth and wincing.
Jareth didn't say anything, staring at Ainsln with barely suppressed fury. Eventually, he managed a response. "And?"
"And I know that we arrived at a bad time. I just thought…" Ainsln started, only for Jareth to hold up a hand sharply, the boy instantly going quiet. Jareth stared hard at him and Ainsln gulped but kept his gaze even as he stared back at Jareth. Something shifted in Jareth's face and he gestured for the boy to go back inside. "We'll talk about this later. I have a feeling Kiernan only went along in this ruse, but it was you, dear boy, that plotted this. I will not mention this to your parents, but you will pay a price for this. No more soda, just your show. And only for a little longer. Understood?"
"Yes, sir." Ainsln said in the softest, most subdued tone she'd ever heard out of a boy his age. Jareth flicked his wrist, dismissing the boy, and Sarah watched him turn and wander back inside, his shoulders slumped.
Jareth stared at his vanishing backside and Sarah busied herself with sipping on her wine. She bit her tongue to keep her opinion to herself, knowing it was a serious matter that the boys had come to visit her without informing anyone, considering what might have happened if she hadn't been home or hadn't lived here, despite the boy's intentions meaning well.
"I hate to ask…" Jareth said, looking over at her, shifting uncomfortably in his chair, making her pause mid-sip. "But...we cannot cross the barrier tonight. The lunar cycle isn't quite right. I don't think the boys realized. If we could get a ride to town, I am sure I can locate some accommodations…"
Sarah blinked, amused at the flash of discomfort on Jareth's face. She smiled, watching him stare back in embarrassment, and she shrugged a shoulder. "Don't be ridiculous, Jareth. You and the boys can stay. I have five bedrooms and only occupy one. They're all made up, just pick some."
"I don't want to inconvenience you…" He started and she held up a hand, laughing.
"Jareth, you're not. It's alright. I wouldn't offer unless I meant it. Take the rooms, Jareth."
He flashed her a grin that made her insides do a summersault and nodded. "Very well. Thank you."
She smiled, and they ate the rest of their meal in subdued silence.
"The guest bath is in there; the boys can use that one. Yours has an attached bath, through there." She gestured, showing them around. The boys looked disgruntled at having been torn from the television but started undressing down to their undergarments as only boys do and piled in the bed. Jareth looked briefly mortified but she laughed, reminding him she had a kid brother.
He muttered terse instructions that they were to sleep and stay in the room until he came for them in the morning, then shut the door and sighed, running a hand over his face.
"I can't imagine what it'll be like when I have children. Gods help me."
Sarah laughed softly and moved down the hall, listening to him trail along behind her. "Oh, hush. You love them. You'll love your own children, too. They're kids, Jareth. It's their job to make you worry."
"You're probably right," she heard the smile in his voice as he paused outside his doorway, glancing over at her as she looked back at him. "And where's your room?" He murmured, glancing once more over her outfit.
She swallowed, willing down the heat that sluiced through her insides. "On the first floor, by the kitchen." She turned, moving towards the stairs, alarms going off in her head, not daring to meet his face. "Goodnight, Jareth."
Only when she was out of his view did she shiver.
An hour later, the kitchen was back in order, and she tugged off the kitchen apron, exhausted at the turn of events tonight. Canting her eyes towards the ceiling, she bit her lip as she flipped off the lights in the kitchen, not trying to dwell on the fact that she had three fae sleeping in her house.
Turning the corner in the dark hall to head to her room, she yelped as she barreled into a tall lean form, feeling hands instantly reach out and steady her at the waist before she went skidding on the floor she'd polished last week, unable to see who it was.
"Shit, sorry, I…Jareth?" She whispered, feeling the tall form tense.
"Yeah, it's me. Sorry, I was coming to get some water." He murmured, his voice close to her ear. She swallowed, her insides going molten, and she swore she could have heard his sudden intake of breath. He did hiss faintly, his fingers bunching in the clothes at her waist, and she stilled, waiting to see what he'd do, hope and caution warring all at once inside her.
"You know where the - " She started to remind him where the glasses were when he moved forward, pressing her back against the wall. Her mouth fell open in surprise as she stuttered to a stop, then he was kissing her.
It was deep, savage, and all consuming. She moaned, shocked at the sudden swipe of his tongue in her mouth, and she shuddered, arching upwards. He groaned, his hands trailing down the flare of her hips to grip the back of her thighs, tugging her loosely against him, where his own ground down against hers, and she felt him - hard, insistent, against the inside of her right thigh.
"Fuck," she managed to whimper softly, when his mouth moved from her lips to her throat, his breathing sharp and ragged, fingers trailing back and forth against her thighs, then one hand reaching up, curling around the curve of her breast.
She moaned softly, the sound a hiccup of pleasure, and he shifted his grip again, slipping his hand under her shirt. When his fingertips grazed her bare nipple, realizing she didn't wear a bra as it pebbled against his hand, he shuddered violently against her. He stilled and she worried he'd move away, reaching for his shoulders, but instead he simply turned his hand and pinched, rolling her nipple between his fingers. Her back jackknifed against him, her legs splaying open further, and Jareth quickly shoved forward, anchoring her against the wall.
"Goddamn, I want to be in you," Jareth groaned, nipping at her throat. She felt his cock throb briefly against her inner thigh as he shifted slightly, then began a teasing thrust, rubbing her roughly through their clothes. It felt so good, she moaned again.
"The...bedroom…" She managed to say, feeling him lift her and tug her close. She draped her arms across his shoulders and she shuddered as his hands reached down and cupped her bottom, dropping from her breast, one teasing along her boxers, dipping inside. When a finger thrust up in her as he carried her, she moaned and squeezed around him.
The soft strangled noise he made in response had a slow grin tugging at her mouth.
"I'm way past foreplay, precious. I need to be in you, right now," he demanded, roughly depositing her on the bed as the door closed with magic, opening her knees and settling between them. She nodded and suddenly, their clothes were gone and he was pressing forward, one hand gripping his cock, angling it just right.
She moaned, staring at the sheer size of him, as the head of him pressed inside. He shifted, removing his hand, and he slowly groaned, a tortured expression flashing across his face, his hands resting on either side of her face as he leaned down, sliding his hips forward.
Slowly, almost too slow for her to stand, he finally worked his way inside her. He was a thick, heavy presence inside her, filling her almost to the point of discomfort, but it was perfect. She moaned and he found her mouth, kissing her, not moving, just staying buried. She tipped her head back as his mouth lowered, trailing along her collar bones, then to her breasts, his teeth and tongue teasing them into hard peaks.
He still didn't move.
His mouth made her moan, her breasts hyper sensitive, and she found herself squeezing around him in response. He groaned again, and she felt his cock briefly twitch, but he just kept nipping, sucking, teasing her nipples into hard faceted peaks against his mouth.
"I've wanted in you for so long, I can't move just yet, or this'll be over before it starts," he whispered, his hands cupping her breasts, thrusting them up, as he groaned and kept feasting on the hardened peaks. He shuddered and she felt his cock twitch again. "Tell me what to do, so you enjoy this. I'm...embarrassingly close to spilling."
"I'm...already enjoying it…" She moaned softly, his confession making her core melt around his hardness. She heard him swear softly and stiffen but eventually he relaxed, his mouth once more lashing her the tips of her breasts with his tongue and teeth, driving her towards the edge. "But if you're worried…" She took one of his hands and showed her where to tease that small nub of her nestled against his cock, and he did, keeping his mouth on her left breast.
She moaned, her channel fluttering, as pleasure soared under her skin. "Like..that...oh god, Jareth - I - oh!"
His fingers moved rapidly, perfectly, and soon she was losing control, her breathing ratcheting up from a soft pant to a litany of mewling noises. He growled, feeling her channel beginning to squeeze unbearably around him, and his cock began to twitch again. He trembled, seemingly close himself, and she urged him along, then muffled a scream with the back of her hand as she dissolved into a thousand fragments of pleasure.
He was moving atop her, pounding hard and fast, groaning sharply, his face contorting in rapture, drawing her own orgasm out, and she was dying, dying - then she felt him stiffen and groan out her name and he was throbbing deeply in his own release, a warm plume booming inside her as she felt every slow throb of his climax.
"Sarah - fuck - Sarah, gods….Sarah..."
The ragged way he spoke her name, barely able to form words, his baritone voice gravelly and unrecognizable, sent her over the edge again. She muffled another scream as she bit her lower lip and soon his mouth was on hers, demanding what she needed to give, his body suddenly moving hard and fast over her again, her insides melting, squeezing, pulsing – and he was groaning, coming again himself.
The next time they both settled, neither were able to speak as she curled her arms and legs around him as he sagged against her, his weight crushing her into the mattress, groaning over and over, tremors shaking his body, still throbbing inside her. She held him close for the long moments it took him to finally finish, and when he rolled on his side, still buried in her and holding her close, she shivered at the way he stroked her back and hair with reverence.
Several minutes passed in silence, him still buried inside her, half-hard, and both basking in the afterglow of what just happened. Eventually, his hands stilled, cupping her cheek and tilting her head back so she could meet his gaze.
"I want to do that again, with you, many times over." The look of complete satisfied male made her grin faintly. He smiled back, then kissed her gently, his fingers stroking her cheek. "Along with a whole bunch of other things."
"Like what?" She whispered, wanting to hear it. He stilled again, his voice sounding oddly vulnerable, as his eyes lowered over her body.
"Like spending nights with you, doing human things, or fae things. Telling you...how I feel about you, how I've felt about you for years, hoping you feel the same way. Courting you, convincing you to marry me...have...children with me…" The last few words were barely a whisper as he looked back at her, hesitation in his eyes.
She bit her lower lip at the emotion that swept through her at those statements. "I'd really like that," she whispered, her voice wavering unsteadily, watching his face transform into a hopeful smile burgeoning with joy.
"Would it be too soon if I told you I loved you?" He whispered, stroking her cheek.
"No," she whispered back, keeping her tone gentle and serious. "I might even love you back, too."
She felt him harden inside her and moaned as his mouth dropped to begin kissing her throat. "Yeah?"
"Oh yeah," she murmured, chuckling faintly as he grinned.
"Let me show you how much I love you," He replied huskily, rolling atop her, spending the next several hours thoroughly exhausting her.
The next morning, Sarah quietly made breakfast as two other fae joined them all at the dining table, listening to their subdued conversation from several feet away. She didn't know what to say when Jareth's sister and her husband showed up unexpectedly that morning on their doorstep, instantly making her wary in the way the male had stared in silent fury at her. Only the woman, short and waifishly beautiful and oddly reminiscent of Jareth in appearance, set her at ease with the slow kind smile she cast at her. It took her a few seconds to realize that they were both, in their own way, expressing their embarrassment at arriving this way.
"Is my...brother here? With my children?" She asked, gripping the male's wrist beside her before he spoke. Sarah looked between the two of them.
"He is, come on in." She replied after a moment's hesitation, stepping aside and gesturing for them to come in, never catching their names as they stormed by, hearing the sharp voices of them calling out to Jareth and the children once they caught sight of them, then sat out to making breakfast for the sudden extended group.
Now, listening to them whisper, she felt oddly at ease, realizing how much they were like human families with all their idiosyncrasies, despite the odd addition of magic.
"What were you boys thinking? Do you know how dangerous it is to transport on a lunar event? What if you'd miscalculated, or found yourselves stranded?"
"Geez, mom, it's ok. Sarah's cool. She's Uncle Jareth's girlfriend, anyways. It's not like she's a stranger."
Sarah bit her lip at the uncomfortable clearing of Jareth's throat.
"Is that true, Jareth?" That voice belonged to his sister, surprise and something akin to reservation in her voice. It made her heart stutter at the brief pause that filled the room.
"I love her, Morgan. Yes, it's true. I don't give a damn that she's mortal, we can change that in the courts and when I bond with her, it won't matter anyways. I love her."
Tears pricked her eyes as she heard the seriousness of Jareth's tone. His sister - Morgan - seemed to hastily reply back, setting her initial fear at being rejected aside.
"Of course, Jareth. I'm happy for you, I meant nothing by it. Grandfather was mortal, you know I don't judge these things. Does she know? How you feel?"
"Yes," was all she heard from Jareth, before an unknown male's voice interrupted - Morgan's husband, Jareth's brother-in-law.
"Morgan, for Danu's sake, leave the man alone. He wants the mortal, he can have the mortal."
The tone was sharp, commanding, and whipcord strong, clearly the leader of the family. She frowned, not sure how to read his reply, unsure of where she stood with him as she finished setting up the bowls of food to carry into the other room, nearly stumbling and suppressing a laugh for what she heard next.
"She took our boys in and fed them and handled their antics better than he did. That alone qualifies her. Fuck the courts."
"Gerard!" Morgan hissed. "Not around the boys!"
She grinned, shaking her head, carrying out a few bowls with eggs, bacon and waffles. "Who's hungry?"
All at once, they turned and looked at her, settling on the food. She smiled, pleased at the awed look on their faces.
"She cooks," Ainsln whispered excitedly, looking at Jareth. "Your girlfriend is awesome."
Jareth grinned, rising to help, reaching out for one of the bowls she held. "She is."
She laughed faintly and settled down beside everyone, digging into breakfast.
"It was such a pleasure to meet you, Sarah." Morgan smiled, holding the hands of both Ainsln and Kiernan as she and Gerard stepped outside. "Let's do tea soon, alright?"
"That sounds great," Sarah replied, smiling, waving as the family vanished from sight. She turned, looking back to where Jareth was clearing the table, once more in a polo and jeans. He somehow sensed her stare and looked up, the corner of his mouth kicking up.
"Your family is nice." She responded, stepping forward and moving across the living room to the table, helping him with picking up dishes and moving them into the kitchen, placing them in the sink. "Are your parents still alive?"
"No, they've been gone a few centuries. Morgan and Gerard are High King and Queen. When they fade, their sons will inherit the title. I passed on the crown, content with the Labyrinth. Gerard is much better at politics than I am, anyways."
She blinked in surprise then smiled, thinking of her time in the Labyrinth. "How is everyone back at the Labyrinth?"
"They're good. They miss you." He murmured at her side, continuing to move dishes between the two rooms, briefly pausing. "They'll be happy to see you again, if you'd like to go back."
"I thought that was a given? With….us?" She looked over her shoulder, seeing Jareth glance briefly at her as he sat the rest of the dishes aside, nodding as he stepped forward, slowly reaching for her. Setting aside the wash cloth, she wrapped her arms around his shoulders and smiled as he stared down at her, then leaned down and pressed a kiss to her mouth.
"Only if you want it," he murmured, cradling her close, his eyes never leaving her face. "I'd stay here with you, if you wanted it. Whatever you want, I'll do. As long as it's with you, I'll do it. I don't care. It's been so long...since I last saw you. I don't want to waste another minute."
She paused, staring up at him, shaking her head slowly in awe. "You'd give that up for me?"
He stared at her, his expression an open book. Finally, he simply whispered a truth that had her heart bursting. "I can't live without you."
She kissed him then, tugging him close, and he groaned softly against her. They didn't even make it to the bedroom, making love on the kitchen table, peaking together, whispering that they loved each other.
"Forever," She whispered, as he sagged atop her, still climaxing long after she finished.
"You're….what?" Toby blinked, staring at the papers Sarah had sat in front of him and Amy. Sean could be heard in the other room, happily playing with his toys in his playpen. Jareth sat at her side, his hand clasping hers, their twin golden rings bright in the morning sunlight, etched with the symbol of the Labyrinth - of her status as his Queen.
"I'm surrendering all my funds and the house to you." She replied, glancing back at Toby, urging the pen towards him. "Sign it, Toby. I'm serious."
"I...can't do this. No offense," He blinked, looking between Jareth and Sarah, staring at their wedding bands before raising his eyes to look between them both. "This is too much, Sarah. It's wrong."
"I have more than enough to support your sister, Toby. She will want for nothing." Jareth spoke softly, drawing the young man's attention. "Take what she is offering you. She wouldn't let me step in, so this will have to do. It'll make your sister happy, Toby."
"Europe? Really? Now?" Toby asked, shifting uncomfortably, before sighing and finally signing the paperwork. Sarah smiled, nodding, glancing back between them all. Europe was the best excuse she had for where she was going and Jareth mentioned he'd already purchased some French estate, just for a place for them to visit Aboveground through the years.
"Yes, now." She squeezed Jareth's hand, smiling, watching him return the action, before looking back at Toby. "I'm happy, Toby. Really happy. And I won't worry, if you two and little Sean live here. This house was too big for me anyways."
Toby stared between them both for so long, Sarah began to feel nervous, but he finally smiled back - faintly, but it was there. He nodded slowly, leaning forward and taking Sarah's hand. "Alright. Thank you….I...can never thank you enough, Sarah. Be happy."
They both rose, having surprised Toby and Amy under the guise that they had an urgent flight to catch. Sarah came around, hugging her brother, smiling at Amy, before taking Jareth's hand and heading towards the door, dropping the keys to the house in Toby's hand as they went.
"I'll call as soon as I land," she replied, as they stepped outside. Toby nodded, looking at Jareth oddly for a moment, as Amy went to check on Sean.
"Keep her happy, Goblin King," he replied suddenly, making them both jerk in surprise, before he closed the door.
Looking at one another, they grinned, then launched themselves at each other, whisked away by magic, heading home.