Sarah still knew how to call them. It was just that she needed them less and less often. It saddened her, but she was so busy with college that she barely had time to think about childhood friends. Imaginary friends, it might have been tempting to call them, but she hadn't slid that far away, not yet.
It was past midnight when she stretched shoulders that had been hunched over textbooks all day. The view from her tiny apartment wasn't scenic – brick walls, mostly, but there were still stars, so she poured herself a glass of wine (well, a plastic cup), went out on the fire escape and looked up at them. She wasn't sleepy, just burnt out, and she wanted something she couldn't quite name. Not fun, or at least not the sort her friends here enjoyed – clubbing, getting wasted, fucking nameless guys. She wanted magic, and the freedom to spend all day playing pretend. She wanted to feel special again. Chosen. Everything I've done, I've done for you.
She didn't know if she could do it, she'd never tried. "Jareth," she whispered, "I need you."
The wind whipped her hair about her face. "Do you now?" said a dry, familiar voice behind her. Startled, Sarah almost dropped her cup. She'd not really expected it to work. Slowly, she turned to face him. He hadn't changed much. Shorter, or maybe she'd just grown to match him.
"Does it amuse you? Ha ha, snap your fingers, summon the Goblin King for a lark?" There was a mocking glint in his eyes, but also, she thought, a little pain.
"You didn't have to come."
"Didn't I?" Not waiting for an answer, Jareth stepped into her apartment and surveyed it, taking in the stacks of books, the computer, yesterday's dishes still on the table. "This is what you've chosen, then?" His tone made it clear that he considered it a poor choice.
Sarah followed him. "It's not really a choice, it's just what happened."
"Sarah, Sarah," he said, shaking his head. "Nothing 'just happens'. You always have a choice. I thought you knew that." He ran one finger along the line of her jaw, and she shivered. "Forget all of this."
She blinked, and they stood on the rocky ridge overlooking the Goblin City. "Take me back!" she demanded.
"Oh no. You called for me. You asked for this. You can't throw it away that easily."
"You…" She fumbled for the words. "You have no power over me."
Jareth laughed. "Don't I? Grown-up Sarah, still pining for her little dreams. You give me power over you every time you wish to be someone else, or somewhere else." He coiled an arm around her waist. Her breath caught in her throat, but she didn't shrink away. "Every time you wish it was someone else in your arms, in your bed," he murmured, lips against her ear, and spun her around so that she could see the ornate canopy bed that had, she surmised, just appeared there. It was the bed she used to dream of, fit for a princess. Or a queen.
She thought for a moment, then took his hand and led him over to it.
There was none of the usual first time awkwardness. Clothes vanished as if by magic, and as she drew him down onto her, the diffuse goblin light shone through the curtains around them and turned everything golden. His mouth on her breasts, gentle scrape of teeth on nipples, and the shudder up her spine when his fingers first crept between her legs, yes, this was what she'd always wanted, why no one else had ever been quite good enough. She blossomed beneath his touch, coming undone over and over again, losing herself in his embrace.
"You'll stay this time," he said after, sounding hopeful.
She hesitated, tempted, but finally shook her head. "I can't."
"Why? Haven't I given you everything you wanted?"
"You've given me a beautiful dream, Jareth. But I want my real life too. Even the dirty dishes," she said, seeing the disbelief on his face. "But… can I call you again? If I should ever need you?"
The bed vanished, clothes reappeared in an instant, and the sudden icy wind stung her. "I am not to be trifled with," he said coldly, and she found herself back in her apartment, alone. She shook her head to clear it, then cleaned up the dishes before heading to bed. He hadn't actually said no, she thought, and smiled. The power, it seemed, ran both ways.