He encounters her one night through the smoke of his cigarette. She is alone, drinking a glass of wine with no company but an open book. Some things never change, and he thinks, what a cliche. The noise of the rest of the divey cafe subsides around him; there is only his honey with her legs crossed at the knees, chin in her hand, elbow on the table. Both eyes are trained on the page before her: a clear sign to back off. But he will not back off.
Can I join you? he asks, pulling out another cigarette and lighting it.
He sees a quick blink of her long dark eyelashes. Her eyes — still so light, so green — snap up, but not her chin. After a beat, she leans back with a vague gesture. At your own risk, she says. Another clear sign.
He makes himself comfortable, blows smoke over his shoulder. It's nice to see you, Sara.
She levels her gaze at him, but it is not unfriendly. You look the same, Jareth. There is a small smile in her voice.
You're telling me I should cut my hair, he replies, his lips twitching into a smile. He fingers the ends of his long, fairy-light fringe.
Sara shrugs. I'm not, really I'm not. She gives the length of his body a pointed look. But you could wear something other than leather once in a while.
Jareth sniffs and crosses his legs at the knees, then reaches across for her wine. You always liked it, he teases, before taking a sip. Through the glass, he can see the beginnings of a blush on her ears: good. Jareth knows his body, he knows what accentuates the length of his legs, the the elegance of his fingers. He taps the cocktail ring on his finger against the table, and he swears he sees her jump at the sudden sound. Better.
What have you been up to? she asks him, but her book is still open, and she seems unsure as to whether to close it.
Well, the role of Goblin King has many responsibilities, he says offhandedly, studying the furrow of her dark brows. Foreign dignitaries to entertain, paperwork to sign, policy to execute. He grins, a tooth protruding from his lip. Mortal children to capture and eat.
But Sara rolls her eyes, snatches back her glass of wine for a gulp. Right. So what brings you here now, with so much on your plate, as it were?
Something in Jareth twists and rears its ugly head. She still speaks like a character from some old novel. Although Sara is not a teenager anymore, wearing jeans and flowy blouses, she still reads books in bars at night and has the tongue of a poet. Jareth sets his chin on his knuckles and is quiet for a moment. Her hair is shorter, just touching the tops of her shoulders, but it is still healthy and glossy in the night; she still stares out from too-green eyes with a fearlessness too confident for a mere mortal. Her hands, resting on the pages of her book, are still white and soft, ringless as a peasant girl. She had teased him for wearing leather, but she always seems to wear black too, these days: a soft black turtleneck and dark denim trousers. Her face is a stark miracle, coming out of this shadow of hair and clothing in the dark corner of the bar.
You are still so lovely, my dear, he says with sincerity.
Sara blinks once, twice, fast. Oh, she mumbles, then closes her book.
Jareth's grin widens.
A few moments later, she is gasping for breath.
Jareth has dragged her underneath him in the backseat of her car, one hand fisted in her hair, and the other on the belt loops of her jeans. He kisses her firmly, warm, a little wet, tongue darting out to tease her. She pulls away slightly, whispers, Jareth, we — we'll be heard —
But he pulls her up again toward him, laughing low in his throat. Yes, yes we will, he says.
They fog up the windows of her little car, which rocks a little in its stationary spot. He holds her body tight against his, and she bucks her hips against him like he might fly away. Jareth kisses behind her ear, noses the pulse at her throat, listens to all the guilty little noises that emit from her lips. He palms every inch of her that he can, which is mostly her back and sides; she squirms against his tight hold, but otherwise doesn't move away.
Take me, he says between insistent kisses all over her face, take me to your home.
Sara hesitates, looking him wide in the eyes. Jareth, I — I can't —
He shakes his head; she doesn't say more.
It is easy, much too easy, to pull her against him in the hallway of her building, her back flush to his chest. She gulps visibly — which pleases him immensely — but starts looking around in her bag for her keys. He watches her without saying a word, then follows into her apartment while she calls out, I'll — uh — I'll make some tea.
Sara heads for her kitchen, and he stands for a moment, looking around the space. Small and spare, just like she is, with neutral color palettes and soft pillows. Not too many photos on the walls, but art instead, and shelves upon shelves of books. He walks the length of the room, running his fingers over the spines of her volumes, titles that speak of a love of history, art, fairy tales, and above all, fiction.
Le Morte d'Arthur, The Song of Roland, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, the Greek plays of Euripides, multiple copies of Shakespearean tragedies. He finds histories of Tang dynasty China, of the Peloponnesian War, and the Ramayana bound beautifully in gold. Her most recent reads are not on shelves at all, but stacked on coffee tables and next to a massive, pink reading chair — the most colorful object in the room. He peers down and sees a title, Wide Sargasso Sea, and presses a kiss from his lips to the cover.
Jareth calls out to the kitchen, Do you think you have enough books? — but then his heart stops for a moment. He sees, through the door and in her bedroom, a single book on her nightstand. It is small, small enough to fit in the palm of his hand, a worn copy that's been through many years of wear and love. He doesn't even need to go into the room to know what it is — it calls to him, it hums in recognition, and he says its name: The Labyrinth.
Sara comes near him with two cups of tea and hands one to him. Um, here, she says quietly, but Jareth turns and in one fluid motion finds her lips with his. She staggers, and he wards the cups away, safely to a table somewhere, so that he can wrap both arms around her body. Sara vocalizes against his lips, trying to tell him — Jareth, what — I — and after a moment he pulls away, gasping out, looking down at her in wonder, You've been reading about me.
In his arms, Sara blinks, flushing a deep, deep red, as if he had just caught her touching herself. Jareth supposes this is the closest he could ever come to that.
It's — it's not what it looks like, she says guiltily. It's a remnant from my childhood, you know? But the way that she is blinking wide, glassy eyes at him, the way she is blushing all the way to her dark, powerful eyebrows, the way she licks the lips he has kissed but a moment before — it tells him it is exactly what it looks like.
Jareth smiles, albeit a little wickedly, and sinks to his knees before her. He laughs a little, presses his face into her stomach. Sara, he says. Sara, Sara, Sara. And the way he says it means, how little you know me.
We can only do this once, she says, her eyes stern even as she pulls her sweater over her head.
Jareth lies back against her headboard, already topless, without saying a word.
I mean it, she says again. She stands next to him on her bed, clad in jeans and a black bra. This is — she says a little uncomfortably — a one-night-stand.
She doesn't make to move toward him for a moment, as though she isn't sure what to do next; Jareth sits forward and reaches for her, a smug smile on his lips. Yes, yes, my dear, he says quietly, and his tongue is salivating at the thought, then we must make this night last.
He takes her apart slowly.
First, hands. He runs his fingers over the backs of her hands, her small sharp knuckles, the small hard nails, the pink palms. Jareth pulls her hand toward his face, and Sara watches, blinking, heart hammering so loud that his sensitive magical ears can hear it, and he watches her watch him as his slick red tongue parts his lips and tickles the skin between her fingers. He relaxes his tongue and flits it over her palm, down to her wrist, and finally presses a firm, chaste kiss against her pulse, pausing to smell as though there were perfume on her skin.
He says, wonderingly: How many books have these hands paged through? Then pulls her other hand toward his face to repeat the ritual. He gnaws a little on her middle knuckle, then slurps two fingers into the warm cavity of his mouth, and she mewls, shocked, aroused, embarrassed. A chuckle rumbles in his throat. His other hand dances between them, comes to rest on her knee. She jumps a little.
Jareth releases her fingers with a wet pop. My, Sara, we have only just begun.
Next, he flips her onto her stomach, and Sara immediately raises up on her elbows, protesting, What are you —
But Jareth shushes her, presses her gently back down into the sheets. Her bra is soon gone. He reaches around her hips and unbuttons, unzips her jeans, peeling them off her legs slowly, almost painfully, and he watches each new inch of skin reveal itself.
If I have my way, he says now, I will touch every inch of you tonight.
Sara shivers but doesn't answer him. She lays still on her stomach and waits, obedient, and it thrills him to see this powerful young heart bend herself to him.
Equally slowly, he pulls her underwear (black, again) down her legs, and as much as he would like to rip the piece to shreds and devour her plump white ass, he maintains his patience, watching her face as every emotion plays across her features. She is turned on, without a doubt — he can smell it in the air, it is so thick — but she is holding something back, something big, and Jareth takes his time with her until he learns what it is.
With his hands, he skims down the entire length of her, from the top of her head to the longest toe on her foot. Up and down, a few times, he studies this spare, splendid body which belongs to the only girl who ever denied him. He murmurs, Lovely, lovely, over and over, as though he cannot quite believe it. He feels her relax under him with each pass of his hands.
Finally, he bends down and kisses the nape of her neck, and a muscle in her back jerks, but he presses down her shoulder. He leaves a wet trail across her shoulders, sucks, hard, on the skin beneath her shoulder blade. Sara cries out in surprise: Jar — but he shoves his finger in her mouth to quiet her.
Yes, Sara? he asks against her skin. You like?
Around his fingers in her mouth, she keens, Ah — I —
He runs his tongue down each trembling bump in her spine, and on either side he counts her ribs and cups under each breast. My, my, honey, he drawls, you're so much skinnier than before. His thumbs tweak her nipples and she bucks, surprised. His chuckle is low in his throat, almost a purr. But these are the same.
You've never touched me like this, she throws back, finally finding her voice. Her cheek is pressed to her bedspread beneath them, and she sounds winded.
True, he says, humming against the small of her back. His tongue is in the groove of her dimple on the left side. But I have hoped for this.
A ripple runs through her body when Jareth dips his tongue, oh so slightly, into her sex from behind. Jareth fists his hand in the sheets on either side of her body; she is blazing hot on his tongue and soaking wet. She opens her knees slowly, making room for him, even pressing herself a little closer to his face. But he sits up instead and looks down at the picture she makes: Sara on her belly, pussy dripping with need for him, her hips pressed back for his mouth. Her own face is hidden beneath the dark curtain of her hair, as though she cannot face him for the embarrassment. Every nerve in his body is hot and drumming, his pulse so loud in his ears he can't concentrate on anything other than that sweet ripe peach begging for his touch.
Sara, he says, keeping his voice from shaking. You look lovely like this. Then he grabs her by the knee, and flips her onto her back.
Jareth — she starts to beg, already, but Jareth laughs, and it comes out more like a groan.
I told you, love, we have to make it last.
He sits back on his haunches, takes one slim ankle in his hand, and places the arch of her foot on his shoulder. Sara watches him with desperation in her eyes, like she can't follow his mind, doesn't know what's coming next, but she wants to hang on tight. She looks like a beautiful instrument, the way he holds her body in his hands, and he runs firm hands down from the small delicate foot down, down her leg to latch onto her hip.
Can you bend for me, Sara? he teases, beginning to lean forward toward her. He takes her leg with him as he goes.
She makes a little sound in the back of her throat, not quite pain, but lets him stretch the hamstrings on her legs before lets her go and repeats on the other side. Finally he parts her legs with his torso and, after a brief lick on each pink, pink nipple, moves toward her lips again.
You tease too much, she says.
He moves a few strands of sticky hair out of her face. Are you pouting?
But a deep blush is returning to her face. I guess, she says, I always thought — if, if we — you know, ever —
If we ever made love? he finishes for her, kisses the corner of her lips. Did you think I would be fast, impatient, dangerous? Like a lover in one of your novels? Jareth laughs a little, and she doesn't answer, but presses her lips tight together in embarrassment. He kisses her slowly, softly, till she moans and her lips come apart.
No, no, no, love, he whispers against her face. I have had time to plan.
Soon Sara is rocking herself against his hand in her bed, and Jareth is watching her, fascinated, aroused, this moment is too magical for words. His fingers are doing their delicate little dance against her clit, and she grips his arm with both hands, as though she thinks he will stop if she lets go.
Jar — Jareth, I — I think I'm — she gasps, hard, struggling.
His fingers slow, but never stop; her breathing becomes deeper and she turns her head to the side as if to rest. But his fingers are still buried in her sex, and after a moment, he picks up the pace again.
You see, Sara, he says, and his voice is perfectly calm, I have always planned to ruin you.
Her eyes are wide, so wide that he can see her blown out pupils in the dim light. She looks desperate, wild, her attention is torn between what is happening between her legs and the words that come out of his mouth.
Jareth leans back down, his mouth to her stomach, his fingers still moving, her hips still squirming against him, pressing hard, harder, against his powerful hand. He nips the delicate skin under her ribs with his teeth, hears her respond with a little slurred, Jar — ah!
I will show you, love, I will show you, Jareth says with his tongue in her navel, with his fingers in her pussy. I will show you that after me, you can take no other lover. I will show you that you are mine.
She doesn't even respond to his threat; she cries out, louder, her cheeks flushed, her breasts bouncing in time to her bucks. He can tell that she will come soon if he doesn't stop, and for a tortuous minute, he thinks he will stop so that she will burst into tears for the tension in her body. But Jareth is a wise man; he knows when it is time to give, when it is time to take. So he works his fingers away at Sara's clit, licks the tips to keep the friction from irritating her skin, and watches as she fucks herself on his hand, and finally squeezes up every knot in her body and twitches, her lips round in a perfect O.
Jareth licks his lips, watching her. Beautiful, he praises.
He doesn't give her much time to recover before he is moving lower. Sara breathes heavily, sweaty, sated, amazed that he can continue. He places a hand on the plane of her belly, the other locks to her hip. She sits up a little, looks down at him and grabs his hand desperately. She seems to have thought better of her position.
I can't, Jareth, she says, her words a choked sound, hard, wet. Tears leap into the corners of her eyes. I can't give you what you want.
But he cocks an eyebrow, squaring his shoulders between her thighs. She shudders, and he grins. What I want right now, he says, nudging down to her sex and breathing hot against her, is to hear you scream.
It is not so loud, but it is so intense, so ragged, so right in his ears that Jareth thinks, with a start, Now I can never take another lover either.
But these screams come only after many long, languorous licks to the folds of her sex, to many short flicks on the sensitive bud of her clit. His fingers tease her entrance, his lips wrap around her and suck, making wet, obscene noises that cause her to grip the hair on his head and push him into her. He loses track of time down there between her legs, licking slowly and then quickly, shallowly and then driving deep into her. He thinks he could drown down here happily, in this pink wonderland where every movement of his mouth causes Sara's mouth to cry, Jareth, ah — oh, Jareth —
An hour, two, three?, must go by while Jareth is toying with her with his tongue. Sara begins to cry and grow weak, her body trembling at the slightest movement of his lips against her.
Jareth, she sighs, Jareth — if, if you don't — I don't know if I can —
And then he licks up to her bud and wraps lips and teeth around her and sucks harder than ever before.
Later, much later, when her body is slack and open, limbs deboned, breaths shallow and weak, he cradles the back of her head. How many times has he brought her over the edge? They've lost count. His chin is slick with her sex, the sheets of her bed messy with it, and her hair is wild, tossed every direction. This night, in this room, he has fucked her with his tongue in more positions than she could've imagined, on her back, on his back, against the walls, bent over the nightstand, on her knees. He could go longer, but night is leaking from the sky, and he thinks he hears birds beginning to sing. Jareth looks down at Sara, panting against the pillows, and thinks he would like to feel her around him at least once before they part. He threads his fingers through her hair, looks indulgently down into her exhausted, luminant face. His other hand is already parting her legs.
Sara, he says, feral, teeth glinting in the lamplight, you can give me more.
And he enters her, slowly, excruciatingly so, and she inhales so raggedly, eyes squeezed shut, nails digging into the skin of his chest. She arches under him, mouth forming a delicious little ah, and he dips down to cover it with his own.
He feels warm and whole, surrounded by her as he is. She is so soft and light in his arms, but when he begins to move against her, thrusting in and out very slowly and carefully, Sara comes alive again. She moves with him, against him, slapping her wet sex against his in time, baring her throat to him so that he can leave ferocious marks that will be blue in the sun that day. She is quiet, save for her moans deep in her throat, and instead he is the one with the words, the begging:
Sara, my Sara, please — please, yes —
And she begins to answer him, encouraging him: Jareth, yes, more —
They are speaking quietly to each other in the early morning, fucking hard against each other's bodies, so taut, so tight, they can't imagine stopping and separating, can't imagine beyond this night, this room. Sara wipes the tears forming again from her eyelashes, and Jareth leans down and kisses her eyelids softly, tasting the salt there.
Sara, you are, you feel so —
Yes, Jareth, tell me —
Sara, you are perfect, you are so good — ah — you are mine —
She makes a louder cry now, as he picks up the pace again, as he reaches down between them to tweak at her clit. She sinks her teeth into his shoulder as he does, murmuring, Yes, yes I'm yours — I love you, I love you, I love you —
They fall together this time.