Mabon is drawing nearer by the day, days that are filled with work and pleasure in equal amounts, nights filled with nothing but Jareth. The plans are all in place, all but the one thing she's been dreading. It's the age old problem: she has a closet full of clothes, and not a damned thing to wear. What item of clothing does she own that could possibly be deemed worthy of one of the Underground's biggest celebrations of the year? She can only imagine the Goblin King's face if she tried to drag him around the mall to find something.
It's a foolish thing to fret about, given everything else she has to worry about right now, but one that her brain can't seem to leave alone. As the time ticks down, bright red exclamation marks start to flash in her mind, keeping her awake even longer than Jareth's amorous attentions usually do. As much as she hates herself for thinking it, she's desperate not to shame him in any way, but too afraid to do anything about it. With less than half a week to go, the idea of dragging a dismayed Goblin King past a food court full of screaming kids starts to look more and more appealing.
Thankfully, ever proud of his own appearance as he is, Jareth brings up the subject himself one morning. He runs his fingers through her hair, his bare chest rising and falling gently beneath her splayed hand.
“Have you thought about what you'll wear for the Mabon festivities yet? Not that I'm in any rush to get you dressed, mind.”
She presses her head against his shoulder to hide her grin. “I … uh … was kind of hoping you'd help me there. I don't exactly know what's appropriate for this kind of thing.”
His voice carries a trace of amusement. “You'd trust me to dress you?”
She lifts her head long enough to give him a wry smile. “You did the last time I was at one of your parties. Not that I had a choice then.”
He gives a soft snort of laughter. “True. Well, let's start there then. I seem to remember lots of jewels, lots of silver, lots of sleeve …”
She groans. “Please tell me your realm isn't eternally stuck in the eighties, and please tell me you aren't going to use one of my trinket boxes for inspiration this time.”
Jareth chuckles, giving one of her breasts a little squeeze. “Cheeky little minx. No, not quite, love. Although, seeing as we'll be in public, I'd be rather concerned about using any of your adult-self's selection of toys to draw inspiration from, particularly that noisy little thing you keep in your bottom drawer.”
Her mouth drops open. “When did you-? Oh, you son of a-”
“-former king and queen,” he finishes for her, “and as royalty, I'll make certain you're dressed to my standards.” When she rolls her eyes and pouts a little, he leans in to nip at her earlobe. “Leave it with me, I'll have something tailored. Still silver, I think. Silver suits you, and you deserve to look positively gorgeous – not that you aren't already.”
She rolls her eyes again, but can't help a secret little smile at the compliment, her face now safely buried against his shoulder again to hide it. “Are you sure there's time to make me something? Only three days left …”
“Trust me, precious.”
For a wonder, she does.
A goblin arrives that same afternoon to take her measurements, appearing in her kitchen suddenly enough to upset her fruit bowl and make her almost choke on the sandwich she's eating. Jareth claps her on the back whilst simultaneously managing to chide the creature for his intrusion. To both Sarah's and the goblin's mutual relief, his words lack the venom of their last unfortunate meeting.
This goblin is a shifty-looking thing though, eyeing the remains of their lunch until Jareth is forced to clear his throat to bring the creature back to the task at hand, and lingering long enough on Sarah's bust measurements for the Goblin King to outright growl. The creature disappears quickly enough after that, apparently having decided he has what he needs after all. Later, Sarah is positive that her fruit bowl is an apple or two lighter.
“The joys of home,” Jareth sighs. “Dealing with their like on a regular basis.”
She smiles at him. “I'm sure at least the parties are worth it. I'm really looking forward to seeing what it's like … particularly since I actually agreed to attend this one, and I'm not on a time limit.”
“You're never going to let me live that damned peach thing down, are you?”
“Not until you make it up to me with another dance.” A part of her can't help but hope that the magic she felt on that long ago night will be present at this ball as well.
Mabon rolls around quickly enough, and Jareth begins the day of worship and feasting by busying his mouth between her thighs. He's good at this, far better than he has any right to be, and as usual the connection between them, the euphoric high he sends her to leaves her dazed and breathless. When he's finally finished with her, he rests his cheek on her trembling thigh, smiling up at her as she slowly comes down. She runs her fingers through his thick hair, still panting and revelling in the moment.
“Oh, god,” she gasps, her own smile stretching her lips. “You're so … I can't believe … love you.” The moment the words leave her mouth, her heart drops like a stone into her stomach. She stares down at him with something akin to horror, but Jareth only goes on smiling his little smile.
“What was that, pet?” he asks softly, stroking gentle fingers across her belly. “You're rather incoherent when you've just come.”
“I … I said I love you doing that.”
“Good. Then I'll just have to keep on doing it.” His smile widens just a fraction before he presses one last kiss to her mound.
With her heart still hammering in her chest, she urges him onto his back, quick to busy her own mouth before it can get her into any more trouble.
With nothing to do but prepare for the party, they while away most of the day in bed, lazing around, touching, teasing, tasting one another. It's probably the laziest day she's spent in a long time, but he manages to make her feel like a goddess throughout it. By the time evening rolls around, she's almost reluctant to share him with a room full of guests, but at the same time bursting with excitement at the thought of dancing with him again.
“Close your eyes, love,” he tells her.
She rolls them instead. “Haven't you given me enough surprises already?”
“No. Close them.”
Only the softest sigh escapes her as she obeys. Magic seems to flash behind her eyelids, a gentle warmth flooding her skin. “Done?” she asks, unable to keep a smile from her lips.
“Almost. Just one more thing.” He leaves her waiting a few seconds longer before covering her mouth with his own. It's a brief but tender kiss, causing her smile to positively bloom as he pulls back. “Okay. Now.”
Her eyes flutter open, and then widen at the sight before her. Jareth is immaculate in an elegant midnight-blue frock coat and silk cravat, pinned by his royal crest. Teamed with matching boots, leggings, and a crisp white shirt, he looks every inch the handsome, dignified gentleman, like he's just stepped out of a period romance, rather than an eighties music video. When he shifts under her close inspection, she sees that the frock coat seems to glisten with its own light; it isn't quite glitter, but the subtle shimmering effect suits his personality perfectly.
He wears a simple black domino mask on his face, but there's no mistaking the mismatched blue eyes that stare out from beneath it. Right now, those eyes are fixed on her. He's almost enough to take her breath away for a moment. As much as she wants to see those eyes gazing at her and only her in a roomful of people, a part of her wants to see them hooded with lust as his body moves above her, wearing nothing but that mask.
She nods her approval, cracking a grin, and he seems to preen at the attention he's getting. “Not bad,” she allows. “Very fancy. Very regal.”
Jareth gives a comical roll of his eyes. “Naturally. Never mind me though; look.” He places a hand upon her bare – bare? – shoulder, steps behind her, and turns her to face herself in her bedroom mirror.
This time, her breath actually does catch in her throat.
He promised her a silver dress, and the strapless, ankle-length gown that now drapes her body is the shade of palest moonbeams. It catches the light with the subtle glow of silk, but the material doesn't have the same heavy hang, lighter than air as it kisses at her every curve. Her hair has been left down, pulled back from her face in loose curls, her dark locks pinned back with glistening starbursts of what look to be diamonds. As she turns her head, she sees there are tiny flowers woven into her curls too, pale and delicate, their sweet perfume catching her nose.
A silver half-mask covers the upper part of her face, a delicate floral scroll-work pattern etched on it in grey, small clusters of diamonds embellishing the corner of each eye. The jewels also dot her ears and adorn her décolletage on a thin gold chain, subtle yet elegant. On her right wrist is a heavy golden cuff to match the one that already encircles her left, instantly turning the thing that binds them into a thing of beauty, what appears to be simply part of her jewellery. Clearly, Jareth has thought of everything, but Sarah never thought she could look this way. For a woman who never really dresses up to go to this …
Jareth steals her thoughts, and a brief kiss, pressed against her left shoulder. “You're stunning,” he says. “Absolutely stunning.”
She smiles at the stranger in the mirror, and the woman before her smiles back. “I look … I never even thought I could …” A nervous laugh escapes her. “It's amazing what a little magic can do.”
His voice is soft against the crook of her neck, his hands slipping around her body from behind to caress her stomach. “My magic could never make you more than you already are, precious. It simply brings out the beauty that's already there. You look perfect because you are perfect. If I had my way …”
She meets his eyes in the mirror, and the longing she sees in them is so powerful that it makes her insides actually ache. She shivers in his warm embrace, and then in a blink that look is gone, replaced by a rakish grin.
“If I had my way, lovely as your dress is, I'd have you out of it in a heartbeat. You look positively edible, love, and you know just how much I enjoy eating you …”
She laughs and rolls her eyes, leaning back to enjoy the heat of his body. “I think you've had more than enough of me today already.”
“Oh, I'll never have enough of you.” He gives a low growl against her neck, gracing her tingling flesh with one last kiss before he releases her. “Alas, I promised you a ball, and now I fear I'll have to take you there and share the sight of this deliciously dressed body with everyone else. I suppose I'll manage to keep my hands off it for a while.”
His words are such a direct echo of her own thoughts that she has to bite back a giggle. “Wouldn't want you to be late for your big entrance. I know you probably have it choreographed and everything.”
“I suggest you stay that impudent tongue before it gets you in real trouble, pet.” He manages to sneak in a firm grope of her ass, immediately setting the precedent for just how long he can manage to keep his hands off her this evening. “Now, I suggest you keep your arm linked with mine throughout the evening, that should camouflage our binds a little. We might get a few curious stares, but give it a couple of hours and most of my guests will be too drunk to see the chain even if we dangle it under their noses.”
She raises her eyebrows. “Why, Your Highness,” she says, beginning to smirk. “I thought it didn't bother you who saw us chained together. Could it be that the great Goblin King is embarrassed?”
Jareth cocks his head, chin up so that he's staring down the hard ridge of his nose at her. “Perish the thought, precious. I was only thinking of your level of comfort. There are certain … associations that come with a lovely young woman, such as yourself, being seen to be chained to a man of my stature. Of course, if you have no qualms about being seen to be either my slave, or my concubine-”
“Okay, so what do we do?” She's far too quick to speak; her voice emerges high-pitched and reedy.
The wicked Goblin King grins. “Shy after all, I see. Very well, love. As I said, just keep your arm linked with mine. After all, it would be much more in your favour to be seen as an honoured guest I'm escorting, rather than-”
Her arm is through his in an instant, her fingers pressing into the crook of his elbow. “I get the picture. Let's go. Now.”
Her companion gives a low chuckle. “A pity. You clearly have the obedience of a concubine, not to mention certain other … benefits.”
Before she can even manage to stutter a response, there's a shimmer of light around them, and when she can finally open her eyes against the brightness, they've left the familiar confines of her room behind.