Continuing Tales

Twists of Fate

A Crossovers Story
by Stormlight

Part 12 of 14

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Twists of Fate

As it was, the Goblin King found him. He, Sarah, and Jacob entered the throne room at the same time he was leaving it. They came face to face and stopped, startled. Sarah eyed Wreath in his arms, and a grin split across her face. "It's about time!" she said teasingly. "She's been waiting forever for you to make a move!" Her brow furrowed. "Is she okay?"

"I'm fine," Wreath suddenly murmured, opening her eyes. "Just a little dazed. What a dream!" She looked around, then frowned. "It *was* a dream, wasn't it?"

"Nope. All real," Sarah replied as Vincent set Wreath on her feet. She grinned at her friend. "But that's a good thing, if you can remember what happened."

Wreath thought. "It's blurry, but I remember bits and pieces."

"Daddy!" Jacob suddenly squealed, barging through the group and wrapping his arms around his father's leg, gazing up at him through silky, red-gold hair. "I gots to play with goblins! An' there was a room filled with stairs that went *everywhere*, an' then the ground shook like it did before at home, an'..."

"And this is not yet over," Jareth suddenly interrupted, glaring at them. They all blinked at him, having forgotten that he was even there.

"Um...I beg to differ," Sarah replied, crossing her arms defiantly. "We both made it to the castle. You lose. Let us go home." A feral smile crossed Jareth's face. "Yes, you both did make it to the castle. However..." He gestured, and a clock appeared. The hands read ten minutes after thirteen. "Time has run out. You did not confront me. You lost."

"But it isn't fair!" Sarah burst out before she thought. "It wasn't his fault!"

"It was hardly *my* fault, either," he replied coldly. "The game is ended, time has run out, and you and Vincent will be returned to your world, as the rules go. Wreath and Jacob will remain." He raised his hand, and Sarah's eyes widened.

**It wasn't supposed to go this way!** she thought. She didn't *want* to leave! More than she didn't want Wreath and Jacob to be trapped here, she didn't want to leave! It was utterly ridiculous, but it was also the truth.

Wreath seemed to sense this, because suddenly she gripped Sarah's arm and stared into her eyes earnestly. "Sarah, I don't pretend to know what exactly is happening, but I have the feeling that now is the time," she whispered. "Remember what I said about Fate? About not letting your dreams go again? If you want something, you have to reach out and take it! Now is not the time to play coward! Fate is trying to tell you something here."

Sarah paused, then nodded. "I know," she replied. "Leave it to me. You'll both be going home. I promise." She smiled, then moved toward Jareth, who regarded her somewhat suspiciously. "I need to speak with you," she told him in a tight voice.

"Very well," he replied slowly. "Speak."

She shook her head. "Not here. Someplace private. Please. It's important."

He studied her for a moment, then gestured, and immediately she found herself in a different place. She blinked and looked around. She was in a large bedchamber, a very magnificent chamber with a large, four-poster bed centered in the middle of it, draped with sheets of satin and velvet, all in a deep, midnight blue shot through with silver embroidery, like the night sky. There was a chair pulled up beside a roaring fire, and a large window, over to which Jareth strolled and seated himself on the sill casually. "Well?" he said. "I've things to do. Speak your mind."

"Wh...Where are we?" she stammered.

A glimmer of amusement lit his eyes. "My bedchamber," he replied, and when she paled, the amusement spread to his smile. "You did request someplace private, did you not? My chambers are the most private area in the castle. The goblins don't dare enter here without specific permission."

"Oh," was all she could find to say. She was exceedingly uncomfortable with this arrangement, but she figured she'd better state her argument before he changed his mind and sent her home, instead. So she took a deep breath, turned to face Jareth fully, and looked him in the eyes.

"I want to stay. Send Jacob and Wreath home, and let me here in their place," she stated quietly.

He sighed, and his eyes darkened. "Sarah, we've already been through this..."

"I know," she said quickly. "But the thing is...what I said before, about me not really wanting to come was all a lie. Of course, I didn't *know* it was a lie, at the time. I *thought* I meant it, but now I know I didn't. I want to stay."

Jareth stared at her, his face expressionless. "What of your life Above?" he asked flatly. "You were living your dream. What of it?"

She licked her lips. "What of it?" she replied, and then sighed, running her hands through her dark hair. She unconsciously started to pace as she fought to find the right words for what she had to stay. "All my life, my dream was to become an actress, just like my mother. I've finally become one, even though it's only a two-bit part in a show, but it's still acting! But since I started this, before then, actually...I've felt miserable, like there's something missing in my life. Like there's this giant hole in me, and acting isn't filling it up at all like I thought it would."

She paused and rubbed her hands together nervously. "Today, I finally figured out why. It's because I had discovered some new dreams, when I went and wished my little brother away into the Labyrinth. Only, up until now, I never realized it. But when you appeared to us and took Jacob, and when I figured out that this time I was gonna get left behind...well...that's when I wished Wreath away. Because I didn't *want* to stay behind, because if I did some part of me knew that I'd regret it. Eight years ago, you had offered me my dreams, and I was too young and scared to take them. But now, I can't help but wonder what would have happened if I *had* taken them. *Would* Toby have been turned into a goblin? Or would he have been sent home, and I would have ended up living the rest of my life as a perfect fairy tale?"

She looked at Jareth, and her eyes shone with tears. "I have a second chance. If I walk away from these dreams of mine this time, I'll never be able to live with myself. I want to stay here. Forever. With *you*." She hesitated, then whispered, "Please?"

Jareth eyed her. "And if I choose to send you back anyway?" he asked emotionlessly, fists resting on hips and head tilted to one side. "What will you do then?"

Sarah swallowed and looked down. When she looked up at him again, some of that spark was back in her eyes, and a small smile appeared on her lips. "Then I guess...I'll just have to keep on wishing children away to you until you get so sick of me winning and showing you up that you'll be begging me to stay," she replied with her characteristic spirit.

Jareth stared at her for a long, silent moment. Then, suddenly, a wide smile spread over his face, and he began to laugh, throwing back his head and nearly howling with delight. Sarah felt her face flush, thinking that he was mocking her yet again, and with a huff she turned on her heel to march away. She didn't have to stand there and take it!

Before she had taken three steps, strong arms suddenly surrounded her from behind, pulling her back against an equally strong chest. Jareth's laughter had stopped. "Don't leave," he murmured softly, resting his cheek against her hair. "I wasn't laughing at you. Only your words."

"Well, I meant them," she muttered, trying to ignore the strong distraction of being held in a most intimate manner by the Goblin King. Not that she was complaining...

He chuckled, and his warm breath tickled her ear, making her shiver slightly. "I'm quite aware that you meant them," he replied, his voice teasing. "If there is one thing I've learned about you, it's that when you put your mind to something, you never give in until you get what you want."

"Damn straight," she replied hotly, and he laughed again.

"I like that in a woman," he whispered, and then his hair brushed her face as she felt warm lips press softly against her throat, just under her jaw, and the slight prick of teeth as he gently nipped at her skin. A short, startled gasp escaped her as her eyes widened, and her heart took a nose-dive into her feet before bungee-jumping its way up into her throat, where it stayed, pounding furiously.

Jareth was well aware of Sarah's reaction to him, and he smiled into her hair. "Do you remember the last time I held you?" he murmured softly.

She smirked. "Yeah. When we saved each other from the WolfBane," she retorted smartly, and he growled playfully.

"Before that," he replied. "During your last...visit. During the ball. Remember?"

She nodded. "Of course," she replied. "I've never been able to forget *that*!" She frowned for a moment before allowing a wicked smile. "Although, I must admit to being rather spaced out on that LSD-laced peach you slipped me to remember anything *clearly*..." she added evilly, and his arms tightened briefly.

"Very funny," he sniffed. "Do you remember clearly enough what I was attempting to do before how would you put this?...'freaked out' on me?"

Sarah *did* remember, although she wasn't about to admit it. Unfortunately, the delicate blush that appeared on her cheeks did all her talking for her, and he smiled. "I see you do," he added teasingly. "As I recall, I was quite rudely interrupted when you smashed through the wall." He grinned as she shifted uncomfortably. "I was wondering," he finished in a near whisper, "if you would allow that I might finish what I tried to initiate eight years ago..."

Sarah was absolutely still. Even her breathing seemed to have quit. He wondered if she was in need of one of those pills she'd been taking. For some moments she stood in silence, and Jareth was just about ready to step away and cast off his request as nothing but flippancy when, very slowly and faintly, Sarah gave a single nod of her head. Barely a twitch...but it was all he needed.

He turned her in his arms so that she faced him, and her hands rested lightly against his chest, where he knew she could feel his heart racing beneath her palm. She glanced down, then back at his face, and a secret delight at *his* reaction to *her* shone in her dark eyes. "My response to you was the same eight years ago," he told her. "You just weren't ready to see it then."

She shyly ducked her head, and he gently lifted her chin, pleased with this new side to her personality. She felt a difference in his touch, and noticed that his hand was ungloved. She looked at him in surprise, and he smiled. "I want to feel your hair flowing through my fingers," he told her. "Gloves would only get in the way of that." He stroked her cheek softly, and his slender, elegant hand buried into her satin hair. She closed her eyes at the feel of his fingers stroking her skin.

Then her face was tilted up, and a moment later the briefest touch of velvet brushed across her lips before coming back and affixing firmly to her mouth in a burning kiss that made her head spin and her legs go weak. She'd probably have fallen if it hadn't been for his firm grip on her waist. As it was, she had to slide her own arms around his neck for extra support, and that didn't seem to bother him in the least. He merely tightened his own grip and deepened the kiss into an inferno as his long-restrained passions fought to take control.

Sarah's own passions were nearing the breaking point when he finally ended the embrace and stepped reluctantly back, and she nearly cried at the emptiness she felt at his withdrawal. She gazed at him, noting that his breathing seemed as erratic as her own. She wondered if his heart was pounding as hard. She probably should take a pill for that...**Oh, to hell with the pills!** she thought elatedly. If she was going to die of heart failure, well...what a way to go! She tried to find some words to say, but the most she seemed able to come up with was a very breathless, "Wow."

He grinned. "You see what you missed out on eight years ago?" he teased gently, cocking his head to the side.

She gave him a weak smile. "I'm glad I did," she retorted. "That kiss was almost worth letting Toby get turned into a goblin. I wouldn't have stood a chance against you after that!"

He gave a bark of laughter, regarding her almost tenderly. "Well. We'd better get back to your friends before they tear down the castle looking for you," he said. He took her hand into his own, twining her fingers between his in an almost boyish gesture. She found that she liked it, and she smiled to herself as he began to pull her toward the door.

"Wait a sec!" she suddenly cried. "You never answered my question!"

He raised an eyebrow. "What question was that?"

She shot him an incredulous look. "Whether or not I can stay here!" she huffed, fist resting on her hip in a stubborn manner.

"Ah. Yes. That." He shot her an absolutely devilish grin. "Well, I've been a bit...distracted," he added teasingly. At her exasperated glare, he chuckled, then took her other hand into his and raised them both, one after the other, to kiss them softly. "I should think the answer would be quite clear," he murmured. "Don't you remember the old stories you read? Remember what happens when a mortal is kissed by a fae? They are then bound forever to that fae. You know, you are now bound to me by my kiss."

Her face paled a little. "You mean...even if I wanted to leave, I couldn't anymore?" she whispered.

He regarded her seriously. "Only if I chose to let you go," he replied.

She swallowed. "Then...I suppose its a good thing that I want to stay."

He smiled briefly. "That is a good thing," he agreed, "because I really don't want to let you go. Still, you can only remain on one condition."

"Which is?"

"You must marry me," he replied. "You must become my wife and queen in all senses of the word. I love you, Sarah. I have always loved you, and to have you this close to me and not be able to have you would be too much to bear. Even for me. So choose. Either marry me, or return to your world and let Jacob and Wreath remain."

Sarah stared at him for a long moment, and then gave a sudden shout of laughter. "Well, *duh*!" she cried, giving him a poke in the chest. "What did you *think* I meant? That I'd be your mistress? Please! I have morals, you know!" She laughed at his stunned expression, raising her hands to cradle his face. "I love you," she told him softly. "What do you think I've been trying to *tell* you this whole time?! Do I have to spell it out? Fine! I L-O-V-E Y-"

Jareth darted forward, effectively silencing her with another tender kiss. When he raised his head again, she grinned at him. "-O-U. And another thing! This is gonna be an equal opportunity relationship, buddy! No more of this dominating bit, got me? Like I said, I'm not afraid of you anymore!"

"You're not?" He affected a wounded look, and she grinned.

"Nope. Believe me, right now, I am anything but afraid of you!" she teased.

"Even my 'darker' half?" he murmured seductively.

She sobered a moment. "I've seen enough of your dark side," she replied. "I know its only a role you affected for my sake, but the play is over, Jareth. You don't have to be a villain anymore."

He pulled her close to him and buried his face in her hair, holding her as though he'd never let go. "I'll be whatever you wish of me, beloved," he whispered. "If you want a brave and noble hero, I'll be..." He grimaced. "...brave and noble."

"Well..." She grinned wickedly and kissed his throat. "Maybe not *all* the time. The villain *is* kind of exciting, you know..."

Twists of Fate

A Crossovers Story
by Stormlight

Part 12 of 14

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