Continuing Tales

Twists of Fate

A Crossovers Story
by Stormlight

Part 13 of 14

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Twists of Fate

Vincent paced worriedly, paused to look up at the ceiling, and then paced some more. Wreath watched him with a humorous smile as she sat cross-legged on Jareth's throne. Hmmm...the guy could really use some cushions on that thing. Jacob had scampered back to the Escher Room with some of the goblins in tow, promising to behave himself, but Vincent couldn't help but wonder what sort of nasty habits his son was picking up from the creatures. He was more worried about Sarah at the moment, however. What sort of discussion was she having with the Goblin King?

"They've been gone a long time," he said.

"And wearing a hole in the floor isn't gonna bring them back any sooner," Wreath replied teasingly.

"But where did they go?" he questioned, shaking his head.

"Someplace private, I'd imagine. They have a lot to talk about."

Vincent regarded Wreath suspiciously. "There's something you aren't telling me," he accused.

She gave him an innocent smile. "I can't begin to imagine what you're talking about," she replied sweetly, then grinned wickedly at his playful growl at her refusal to tell all. "Oh, stop it, Vincent. You don't scare me," she teased. "We both know you're just a big ol' pussycat at heart."

"Pussycat!" he huffed, shooting her an offended look.

She laughed. "You heard me. Bet if I scratched your back you'd start purring. Admit it!"

"I'll admit no such thing," he sniffed.

She just grinned at him, her eyes sparkling with mirth. He noticed, yet again, how pretty she was. It did something to his heart that he'd not felt for a long time. Certainly not since Catherine was alive...To think, all this time she'd been right there, and he'd never noticed before. Of course, she'd been just a child, but no longer. Now she was an adult, and she was his. Or she would be, if he had anything to say about it. Knowing that Catherine approved, and even encouraged him to pursue her, only made things better.

"What are you looking at?" Wreath suddenly asked with a smile. "Did I just grow an extra head or something?"

He grinned suddenly, showing a quick flash of sharp canines, and his eyes lit with wicked humor. "No," he replied with false seriousness. "I was just wondering if you're still as ticklish as you were when you were a child."

Her eyes widened. "You wouldn't dare!" she said with a nervous laugh. "You haven't tried to tickle me since I was ten years old!"

He flashed another grin. "Then I guess that means I'm thirteen years overdue," he replied teasingly, starting toward her. She yelped and scrambled off the throne, dodging past him with a flash of bright hair.

"I don't think so, buddy," she said, laughing. "Your gonna have to do better than that!" She stuck her hands on her hips. "What's gotten into you, anyhow? Jareth didn't feed you any of his peaches, did he?" She grinned, and he laughed softly.

"No, no peaches," he replied. He took another step toward her, and she jumped back again, holding up her hands.

"Okay, who are you and what have you done with my best friend?" she asked sternly, although her eyes were sparkling. She was half stunned at this odd behavior from her longtime friend, but also a bit delighted. He was always so serious. This was a rare glimpse of his more playful side, and she took it as a good sign that he was allowing her to witness it.

Vincent was stalking her now, and she was backing away, not sure what to expect from him. Suddenly, her foot reached the edge of the shallow fire pit, and she stumbled back with a yelp of surprise. Before she could fall, however, Vincent had reached out and snatched her hands in one of those surprisingly quick moves of his, and pulled her away from the pit.

"Thanks," she said. Then, noticing that he still held her hands, she raised an eyebrow. " can let go now," she added. "I'm not gonna fall."

His eyes glittered. "What if I don't wish to let go?" he asked, smiling slightly.

She eyed him suspiciously. "I don't know. What if?" she replied cautiously.

He released one of her hands to reach up and gently touch her face, his eyes dark with some emotion. "I thought I was going to lose you," he told her. "When I saw you there, in that pit of fire, my heart nearly stopped."

"Then you saw Catherine," she added with a wry smile. "I bet that must have shocked you." Her brow furrowed as she suddenly realized something. "What's happened to her, anyway?" she asked. "I thought...I *did* save her, didn't you?"

"She's where she belongs," he replied quietly. At her confusion, he smiled. "You were unconscious. You didn't see. It wasn't Catherine, Wreath. It was...the spirit of Catherine. That test was not given to me by Jareth, but by her. To help me put the past to rest and to face the future, as she told me. I am at peace now. I can face the past now and feel no pain, and can look to the future with open heart and mind."

"But I don't understand. Why would she do that, and how in the world would she get *here*? I mean, this isn't exactly a conventional world," Wreath replied.

"I suppose she can now go anywhere she chooses," he replied thoughtfully. "I have the feeling that we are not the only ones she's been watching over. Sarah and Jareth were involved in this as much as you and I."

Wreath nodded, frowning thoughtfully. Then she gave Vincent a shy glance. "So, what you mean by looking to the future no longer hold on to Catherine's spirit?" she asked coyly.

He smiled, nodded his assent.

She nodded as well, in satisfaction. "That's very good," she told him seriously, "because, in complete honesty, I am really getting tired of competing with a ghost. It's impossible, vying with somebody as perfect as the image you've been carrying in your heart. The real Catherine, at least, had flaws."

She bit her lip and looked away, worried that maybe she'd spoken prematurely. After all, just because Vincent said he was letting Catherine go, he hadn't exactly said that Wreath was the reason for that. But his next action caused her apprehension to vanish in an instant as he lifted her face and gazed deeply into her eyes, his own glowing with love. "You know, someone has been hinting at me that Jacob needs a mother," he told her seriously. "Not just someone to watch him, but a real mother. Do you happen to know anyone who might be interested in applying for the job?"

A smile twitched on her lips. "Well...I must admit that I've had my eye on it. For quite awhile, in fact," she told him with false seriousness. "I mean, I like kids, and I adore Jacob, and I'm pretty sure Jacob is pretty fond of me, too. I can't imagine having a better career. But, you know, his father is a complete bear, so I didn't want to send in an application until I knew that the position was open. Didn't want to get my head bit off for no reason..."

Vincent stared at her for a moment before allowing a soft growl of laughter to escape him. "I would like to examine it," he replied teasingly. "Do you happen to have it with you?"

"My application?" Wreath's eyes glimmered with secret mirth. "Nooo...But I do have a resume you might be interesting in reviewing..."

"Oh? By all means, show me."

"If you say so..."

She grinned, needing no further encouragement. She hopped up onto the stone dais where the throne rested so that she was at eye level with Vincent. Then, slipping her arms around his neck, she drew forward and touched her lips to his ever-so-gently. He stiffened in surprise for the briefest moment, before raising his own arms to encircle her in a warm embrace, pulling her closer to him as he responded to her shy kiss. They stood locked together like that for long moments, lost to everything but each other.

They never noticed that Sarah and Jareth had entered the room behind them. Sarah's face split in a wide grin as she saw them standing there and she looked at Jareth mischievously. He smiled at her gently and stroked her hair. "It looks like we are not the only ones to have discovered our dreams," he said softly. They turned back to the two lovers, who had still not come up for air. "We'll be here all day if we don't alert them," he added with a touch of mischief.

Sarah grinned. "Um...not meaning to interrupt such a perfect Kodak moment, but...we thought maybe you'd like to go home now. Unless you've decided that you'd rather stay here..." she announced loudly, and they jumped apart guiltily, a charming blush staining Wreath's cheeks.

Sarah laughed. "Please. Don't let us stop you," she teased, and Wreath shot her a feigned glare, then grinned.

"Don't mind us," she replied cheerfully. "Vincent was just reviewing my resume." She smirked at Sarah's raised eyebrows. "He's looking for someone to become Jacob's mother," she explained, her eyes twinkling. "I told him I was interested in the position."

Sarah laughed. "So did you get it?" she asked coyly, shooting Vincent a teasing glance. He coughed politely and smiled, a bit sheepishly.

"I would say...yes. She certainly did," he replied, regarding Wreath tenderly.

She smiled back at him and hugged him, resting her head against his chest. "It's about time, too," she added in jest. "I was beginning to think I was going to have to look elsewhere for a job."

"Never, beloved," he murmured into her hair.

Jareth coughed, looking slightly ill, and Sarah elbowed him. "Be nice," she muttered, though she was smiling. "Wasn't so long ago you were saying those things to me."

He relented and turned his attention back to Vincent. "You should thank Sarah," he told the other man calmly. "Because of her, I have decided to allow all of you to return to your home. Where's the child?"

"Here I am!" Jacob called, racing into the throne room and throwing himself into Vincent's arms. He regarded his father happily. "Is Wreath really gonna be my mother now?" he asked breathlessly.

Vincent looked surprised. "Were you listening, little imp?" he asked fondly, and laughed at his son's guilty nod. "Yes," he told him. "She is going to be your mother. Does that upset you?"

"No!" he replied firmly. "If she didn't ask you if she could be my mother, I was gonna ask you, instead. I'm glad she did, though." He reached over to Wreath and patted her cheek. "You'll be a good mother," he told her. "Can I all you that?"

Wreath's expression softened. "I'd love it if you'd call me that," she replied softly. "I'd be glad to call you my son, too."

Jacob grinned and, that settled, looked at Jareth. "I had fun playin' with your goblins, sir, but can I go home now? I want Daddy to finish reading me that story. You know, the one when you came."

Vincent looked slightly panicked at that, but Jareth laughed. "Don't worry," he assured him. "I'll not be returning for your son. He's a bright lad, and he'd make a good heir, but I now have the means of making my own." And he regarded Sarah with a wicked grin, who flushed in embarrassment.

"Are you saying that she isn't returning with us?" Vincent snarled, feeling his hackles raise. "You're keeping her here? As a prisoner?"

Jareth laughed loudly. "Hardly that," he replied with a smirk.

Sarah stepped forward, gripping Vincent's arm lightly. Her eyes, once so haunted, were now at peace. "He isn't keeping me here," she told him softly. "I offered to stay." At Vincent's concern, she smiled. "Don't worry, Vincent. It isn't a spell. I discovered something while I was here. That piece of me that had been missing, well, it was Jareth all along, and now that I'm with him again I finally feel whole. This is my destiny, to be his queen. It's right. I know it is. I'll never forget your kindness to me, and how you helped me. We'll always be friends. But I belong in this world. I always have. Do you understand?"

Vincent slowly relaxed, smiling slightly. "I knew there was something about you when we first met," he replied. "I'm glad that you've found your place, even if it is here. I bid you well."

"So do I," Wreath jumped in, reaching out to give Sarah a hug. She stepped back and regarded her. "Looks like I was right," she added smugly. "And if there was anyone meant to be a queen, its you."

"I was right, too," Sarah replied with a grin. "You see? Everything worked out. I hope you have a great life of your own. You keep Jacob out of trouble, got it?" She walked back to Jareth's side and slipped an arm around his waist, and he pulled her close with one hand as a crystal appeared in the other.

"Oh, and, Vincent? In the future, I suggest you be more careful about what you choose to read to your son," Sarah added with an impish grin. Vincent chuckled as he pulled his family closer to him, and then, with a flash of light, they were gone. Sarah sighed as she stared at nothing, realizing that she would most likely never see the three of them again. "They were true friends," she murmured. "I'll miss them."

Strong arms surrounded her, and Jareth's voice asked softly, "Do you regret your decision to stay?"

She turned in his arms and held him close. "Never," she whispered, burying her face in his neck. "This is what I want, more than I've wanted anything in my life. It's my destiny to love you. Don't ever doubt it." She then lifted her face to his and sealed her promise with a tender kiss, which he returned to her wholeheartedly.

Twists of Fate

A Crossovers Story
by Stormlight

Part 13 of 14

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