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A Doll Fit For A King

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On a day long ago, when the Goblin King was still just a skinny scrap of a Goblin Prince – one with rumples in his tunic and scrapes on his knees, no less – he found himself the butt of his schoolmates' jokes. His good friend, Nahele, was often teased for his greenish hair, and Hydd for the budding satyr's horns on his forehead; Jareth had taken part in the ribbing himself on occasion, though never with any true malicious intent. However, when the taunts finally turned to him, there was no hat nor hood with which he could hide his shame. His abnormalities lay within his very face, in the form of a row of hateful, jagged teeth, and a pair of ugly, mismatched eyes. How the young Goblin Prince hated them. On that particular day, after he had fled from his classmates' jeers, his mother had found him in the foulest of moods, red in the face and glaring daggers out of his small window.

After the inevitable scolding for almost setting his room on fire – for in his ire, he had already caused the heavy curtains to smoulder – she had listened to his woes with a sympathetic ear, and with that sympathy came a mother's wisdom. He was a handsome lad, she told him – not only in her eyes, but in those of a dozen lovesick schoolgirls who always arrived early for their lessons in the hope of stealing a seat nearby their young prince, and perhaps a glimpse of his sharp-toothed smile. He was observant, so his mother told him, and he was clever and quick-witted. There was nothing that escaped his notice – no target that could escape his grasp once he had set his sights on it, mismatched eyes and all. His uneven smile would one day be that of a great and noble ruler, capable of charming even the most cantankerous of his peers within the High King's court. One day, those mismatched eyes of his would see an entire kingdom kneel before him.

In all the years since Jareth had taken the throne, those curious eyes of his had seen much. They had witnessed times of war and times of peace, of grief and of greatest joy. They had watched the turning of endless seasons, and the growth of a prosperous kingdom under his rule. They had discovered places and sights far beyond even those of his wildest boyhood dreams – and, after so very long, after so many years of heartache and searching, they had finally found the other piece of his soul: the woman who would one day become his wife. How his eyes had followed her on their wedding day, dressed in ivory lace and looking for all the world like an angel given mortal form. How they had misted over with easy tears as they looked upon his beautiful daughter, Sonia, for the very first time.

Yes, those mismatched blue eyes of his had witnessed so, so much in their many years. Therefore, it was a terrible shame that, given the choice, Jareth was ready to stick pins in them, rather than remaining in his current predicament a single second longer.

The weary Goblin King's trivial tale of woe begins, as the most twisted of tales are wont to do, on a day like any other – a crisp December morning, to be precise. The kingdom has been graced with a fine dusting of snow overnight, and as Jareth stands at his chamber window to admire the view, he is presented with a picturesque sight worthy of any mortal greetings card. Within the royal castle, however, the scene is far less charming.

No!” comes the aggrieved scream of the castle's youngest, loudest resident. “I want you here, Mummy! I don't want you to go!”

“Mummy has to go, sweetheart. You know I won't be long. You can be my big, brave girl for a while, can't you? And until I get back, you'll have the best time with Daddy-”

“I don't want Daddy!”

The fractious screech is followed by a torrent of harsh, braying sobs, each one a test of Jareth's patience. Their only daughter, usually such a bright and sunny child, has been nothing more than a pint-sized demon for the past few days. She screams, she cries, and she clings to her mother at all times like a stubborn and soggy limpet, covering the despairing Goblin Queen in a crust of snot and frustrated tears. Sonia's change in demeanour isn't entirely without cause; with numerous Christmas celebrations fast approaching, and a league of meetings to keep her busy well into the new year, said queen certainly has her work cut out for her in making sure all of the preparations are in place.

After a massive cock-up with the annual Yuletide Ball invitations – courtesy of a drunken would-be messenger – and the resulting last-minute scramble, Sarah's attentions have been spread far too thin. There is only so much the exhausted queen can do to keep both family and kingdom happy, and only so much her king can do to take her place. Her annual Christmas visit Aboveground has been pushed back and then pushed back again, until the day itself is almost upon them. She has some serious shopping to do, but Sonia just won't let her go. At the tender age of four, it's clear that the small princess is just too young to understand that her mother won't be gone forever. It's also quite plain that Sarah has finally reached the end of her patience in trying to explain it.

“Sonia,” she says, in what is almost her sternest voice, “you're being ridiculous now, sweetheart. I have to go. It's only for a couple of hours-”

As Sonia's lower lip wobbles and she draws in breath ready for her next wail, Jareth finally decides his ears have suffered enough.

“Why don't I go instead?”

At once, two sets of eyes – one wide and almost too wary to hope, the other red-rimmed and wet, their mismatched pupils almost trembling with emotion – turn on him. Eager to maintain the unexpected ceasefire, Jareth makes his move, slipping one arm around his wife's waist while his other hand ruffles his daughter's silky blonde hair. “She obviously needs her mother, love, and you need a break from all of the organising. Stay home. Stay with her, for once. Play and just let yourself be silly for a while, instead of taking on even more stress. I'll take care of whatever needs to be done Aboveground.”

He knows at once that his suggestion was the right one. Relief all but gleams in his queen's deep green eyes. A fun afternoon spent together, whilst never exactly relaxing, will be just the thing to recharge the batteries of both mother and daughter. The idea obviously appeals, but as always, Sarah is hesitant to simply give in and take the easier path.

“Jareth, there's only two days left until Christmas. Shopping will be a complete nightmare. Wherever you go to get … the thing … it's going to be a bloodbath up there. Are you sure you're up for it?”

Convinced he has made the right decision, the Goblin King smiles and presses a kiss to her cheek. “Of course. Just leave it all to me.”

Oh, the foolish things we do for love – or at the very least, to escape from our loved ones for a few hours.

Jareth quickly comes to realise that the miniature banshee he has left at home is nothing compared to the masses of screaming brats, young and old, that he encounters Above. After morphing into existence in a dark alleyway, hidden from mortal eyes behind a set of fragrant rubbish bins, pushing his way out into the Christmas crowds is harder than first expected. He finds himself elbowed and cursed at, his feet stomped upon more than once as he tries to get his bearings amidst all the noise and bright lights of the high street. Every step, every square inch of grimy, slush-slicked pavement he treads is one he must fight for, jostled along as he is by countless other last-minute shoppers, none of whom seem to know or care a whit that cold and bitter royalty walks among them. Jareth suffers the indignity in silence, the collar of his heavy black peacoat turned up against the icy weather. The scowl set upon his face will remain frozen there until he is safely back Underground.

The festive spirit he has heard so much about does not burn quite as brightly in the hearts of mortals as he has been led to expect. In the case of certain individuals – namely, the one who knocks him, stumbling and swearing, into a steaming pile of dog shit – it seems to have been completely extinguished. As the Goblin King seethes and growls, and scrapes the foul muck off his leather boots, he struggles to understand how humans can be so callous when their day of loving and giving is almost upon them. He might be more open to the irony of it all if he hadn't been left with its mess, and the almighty need to hurt someone. As it is, he's glad his assailant has long since disappeared into the crowd – for both of their sakes. An ancient and extremely unpleasant curse loiters on the tip of his tongue as he fights his way past shopping bag-toting halfwits and box-wielding barbarians to reach his destination.

The toy store itself is but another chamber of the same hell, but at least it's a warmer one. Here, the noise he has endured outdoors increases tenfold, and the humans he encounters seem to care even less for the well-being of others. No sooner has he crossed the threshold than he finds himself in the path of what appears to be a rogue pack of shrieking prepubescent boys, who make his near trampling earlier seem insignificant. There is no apology when they almost knock him down, nor a single backward glance to be seen. Jareth is forced to settle for glaring after them, and contemplating an unscheduled supply run to stock up on condoms. Only the thought of his small family's happiness keeps him on track. He feels a whole new level of admiration for his queen as he tries not to buckle under the many annoyances of her world. Under the mocking glow of a million twinkling fairy lights, his ears under constant barrage by a never-ending loop of warbling Christmas 'hits', Jareth makes a valiant stomp onwards towards the dreaded doll aisle.

The gift has to be a special one. One of Sarah's prerequisites for having a child in the first place was that said child would be brought up to know the best of both their worlds – something Jareth has always both agreed with and obliged. As Sonia has grown, she has been taught just as much about the curious world Above as she has about the Underground. So far, she has cherished every last 'human' addition to her toy chest; her vast collection of stuffed animals in a range of questionable colours would impress even the most seasoned cryptozoologist, and she adores her various tinker toys, building blocks, and that bane of naked feet everywhere known as Lego bricks. This year, however, she is to receive the crown jewel of any young girl's toy collection: her first ever Barbie.

Sarah received her first doll at the same age of four, so she tells him – an innocent time when things had been far happier at home, despite her own mother's extended absences, and her father's progressively longer chats with the pretty lady next door. Her eyes take on a strange, warm light whenever she speaks of that old doll, and how she had loved acting out her wishes and dreams in a land of make believe with her. Jareth knows just how much this new gift will mean to his wife, as well as their daughter. It has to be perfect. It will be perfect.

With this vow to himself at the forefront of his brain, he shoulders his way through the aisle, doling out half-hearted apologies and cold stares in equal measure. The crowd parts for him, at least somewhat, and he takes in the many options on sale around him with growing dread. He will never admit to being out of his depth, but with at least a thousand grinning plastic faces looking down on him, painted eyes all seeking out his approval, he knows Sarah would have been far better suited for the task at hand. She would know if faerie wings or mermaid tails fit this 'perfect' doll criteria.

After several minutes of searching, Jareth is still none the wiser, and all of the rainbows, puppies and so-called fashionistas are making his head spin. He picks up what appears to be an optician playset and wonders whether assigning the doll a set profession is the wisest idea at this early stage; he scoops up a generic pink princess doll and ponders if it would be too cliché a gift. He feels the bone-jarring jolt of a shopping trolley against his spine, and speculates on all the dark and unpleasant things he'd like to do to its operator.

Finally – blessedly – he sees her. The braying of the herd around him fades away in light of this new discovery, and Jareth feels the beginnings of an honest to gods smile curling his lips. There's not a shred of doubt left in his mind – he's found her, at long last. The doll is another princess, this time dressed in fine green velvet and tiny, glittering beads, and with her dark, flowing hair and regal elegance, she reminds him of his queen at her finest. She has Sarah's clear green eyes as well, and in his eyes, that is all that matters. Sonia will be sure to love a doll that is so much like her mother to look at. Jareth is certain that Sarah will also appreciate the brunette addition to their household, given that their daughter has inherited all of his light colouring. She's more than lovely, and most definitely what he has been searching for.

Jareth pulls the toy fully off the shelf and into his protective embrace, casting a wary eye upon the woman who has taken to jostling his right side almost incessantly. He keeps the doll cradled to his chest as he mentally plots out the simplest route through the crowd to make payment, and exactly how quickly he can barge his way towards the exit doors without being mistaken for a common thief.

Just as he is about to leave the blasted aisle behind for good, a flash of silver catches his eye, and with his cursed love of all things that glitter, Jareth hones in on it at once. Behind the protective glass of a display case, partially obscured by the smeared fingerprints of the day's many small admirers, is a doll that makes the one in his arms seem almost inadequate. If the brunette beauty he holds is a princess, then the blonde one behind the glass is surely her queen. She is displayed to perfection beneath a bright white spotlight, the raised white platform she stands upon slowly rotating to show her off at all angles. The silver, full-skirted ball gown she wears is exquisite, covered in sequins and diamonds that, although presumably fake, cast off a pleasing sparkle all the same. She is stunning, and best of all, her pale blue eyes and golden hair are almost a perfect match for Sonia's.

Jareth's eyes narrow as he considers. One finger – mercifully gloved – rises to touch the greasy glass as so many before him have already, and he circles the doll's face, contemplating her serene smile. Sarah has said much about the love between a girl and her first doll; surely, their sweet, compassionate daughter – current hellish behaviour aside – has room enough in her heart for two? Or would an additional doll be too much, killing that special magic between toy and babe?

This heavy layer of thinking serves as armour, dulling the Goblin King's rightful rage when he feels a hand – an actual hand – pawing and then clutching at his royal person. When he glances to his right, he sees that the woman from earlier – she of the sharpened elbows and lack of situational awareness – has moored herself to his side once again. Her fingers rest far too comfortably upon his coat sleeve. Her eyes flit between his face and that of the doll.

“Yeah, I know what you're thinking. She's gorgeous, but she's an expensive one, isn't she?” she chuckles. “Are you thinking of getting her for a kid, or a collector?”

Jareth decides to bury his annoyance in order to bend the woman's ear. “A child – my daughter. This is to be her first Barbie doll, actually.”

The woman beams at him. “Aww, that's so sweet – a really special Christmas this year, then. Is it a surprise, or did she ask for a particular one from Santa Claus?”

“It's a surprise. Her mother wants her to have one, just like she had when she was a girl.” He raises up the brunette doll he holds for the stranger's inspection. “I chose this one because she looks the most like her mother … but this one …” He gestures a hand at the display case, allowing the other doll's beauty to speak for him. By his side, his new-found confidante nods her understanding.

“She's special, all right.”

“Indeed … but perhaps she's too special? I don't wish to have the other doll be overshadowed – I know that's important to her mother, too. I'd like her to have both, but I also want her to love them both.”

The woman's smile deepens as she looks at him. “Huh. Not many dads get that – the bond a girl has with her first dolly. You want my advice, though? Get both. Little girls have a lot of love in their hearts to give. You let her see that brown-haired one first and she's sure to fall head over heels – especially if she's got the looks of her mama. And this one-” Her head cocks to one side, and she pauses to give the glass a gentle tap. “Well, every girl likes to play at being a princess.”

Jareth grins. “Oh, she's definitely a princess.”

A warm chuckle greets his claim. “Exactly. And Daddy will get to be her Prince Charming when he gives her the two best dolls in the world. Buy both, and don't you worry about her finding a good home for the pair of them.”

“Thank you, I think I will. And seeing as you've been rather helpful today, let's see what we can do for you …”

“Oh, I-”

Jareth pats the hand that still holds his arm – nothing more than a simple gesture of friendship to most. A casual onlooker would be blind to the subtle flow of magic that passes between them – the pale silver smoke that slips out from beneath the woman's thick winter coat and into Jareth's waiting palm. Never one to remain in debt to another, the Goblin King has stolen the woman's most secret heart's wish, held it within his sphere of power, and placed it back within her chest within a matter of moments. He knows that the woman will return home to her family that evening with fresh hope for the future, and there will be laughter at the dinner table again. Later that night, she and her husband will make love for the first time in many months, sweet and unhurried, and maybe, just maybe, all may seem right with the world once more.

Basking in the satisfaction of a well-executed business transaction, the Goblin King seeks out the appropriate box containing the silver doll. He slips past his now slightly dazed companion with two boxes now in hand, certain he has displayed more than enough of that tiresome 'Christmas cheer' that Sarah is always talking about, at least for one day. He slides back into his customary scowl as he pushes his way through the crowd, pleased to see at least one misbehaving child shrink back from his mere presence. Underground, his wife and child are his life, his oxygen, often capable of turning him into quite the simpering fool with nothing more than a glance; up here, in the midst of commercial madness, a jolly Christmas Elf he most certainly is not.

By the time he reaches the tills, every queue is at least ten poor, tortured bastards deep, the piped-in music has looped around yet again to that dreadful Wonderful Christmastime song, and the decibel level of the surrounding shoppers has reached rage-inducing new heights. Rather than drowning the whole lot of his problems in Bog water, the Goblin King swallows down his pride and shuffles to the end of the nearest line. He wonders if maybe, just maybe, he will have time to sink a swift pint at one of the many ale houses within the Goblin City before he returns to the castle. The gods know he won't be coming back Above until at least the January sales have ended.

Of course, the stress and indignity of that cold, grey day are banished to distant memory when Christmas morning finally dawns, and he gets to see his daughter's sweet smile.

The three of them – father, mother, and beaming daughter – lay sprawled upon a thick grey rug before an open fire, toys and torn scraps of wrapping paper scattered all around them, and laughter in the air. Both king and queen are impressed with just how quickly the young princess is managing to plough through her mound of presents. There are various oohs and aahs, and plenty of joyful squeals, kisses, and cries of thanks as she uncovers a wide selection of gifts from both Under and Aboveground. The pile of bags and boxes steadily shrinks, until finally, only two more gifts remain.

“Open the one with the red wrapping first, darling,” Jareth instructs, chuckling to himself as his daughter hastens to obey. He rolls onto his belly and rests his chin on the backs of his hands, and watches as Sonia's small mouth falls open when she comes face to face with the brunette Barbie – the one who looks so much like Sarah. The Goblin King's smile stretches from ear to ear as his daughter's tiny fingers trace the doll's perfect face through her packaging.

“She's so beautiful, just like Mummy! I love her!”

When Jareth meets his wife's eyes, he is proud to see that they gleam with emotion, and perhaps even an unshed tear or two. Smiling, he reaches out for her hand and brings it to his lips, gracing her palm with a soft kiss. Sarah responds by cupping his cheek and leaning down to brush his mouth with hers.

“Thank you,” she says, soft enough for only the two of them to hear.

“Any time,” he replies, and means it. For them – for her – he will endure anything, retail and Paul McCartney's Christmas warblings included.

He pushes himself up onto his knees so that he may take her into his arms. Warmth seeps into his soul as her fingers card through his hair, and she presses her lips more firmly against his. Jareth smiles against her mouth, and after a quick glance to make sure Sonia isn't looking, he palms Sarah's arse, squeezing her through the white silk pyjama bottoms she wears. He knows she's bare beneath them. Sarah hums against his lips, half in protest, half in pleasure. She manages to sneak in a quick grope of her own before shifting to face their daughter again, a grin on her lips.

“Last one now, monkey,” she says, stretching out her body with a little yawn, and giving Jareth ample opportunity to wind his arms around her from behind. “Then we'll get you some breakfast. Waffles sound good?”

“Okay, Mummy.”

The queen and her king share a chuckle. It's clear even their daughter's favourite breakfast can't compete with the mystery of her last present. Jareth presses a kiss against Sarah's neck and then rests his chin atop her shoulder, watching as Sonia drags the gold-wrapped gift onto the rug then proceeds to tear into it.

When she finally uncovers the beautiful blonde queen in all her regal finery, her eyes positively sparkle. “Daddy,” she whispers.

Jareth, midway through sneaking a subtle handful of his wife's breast, pauses. “Come again?”

“Dad-dy,” Sonia repeats more slowly, then giggles as she smiles down at her new toy. One stubby fingernail circles the doll's face through its plastic packaging, stroking across the crown of its golden head, and then tapping right between its painted eyes – that pale blue, highlighted by a brush of silver eye shadow. “It's you, Daddy,” she says, with the firmness that only a young and perhaps slightly spoiled princess can muster. “Look, she's got your glitter and everything! And her dress is so pretty!” Her bright little smile only widens as she lifts up both her new dollies, one box in each hand, to make their official introductions. “Queen Mummy and Queen Daddy!”

Sarah covers her mouth to hide a smile. Jareth only sighs. “I suppose I'll take it.”

Chapter Text

Take it, the Goblin King most certainly does, as the festive season plods on. Sonia adores both new additions to her toy collection, giving them pride of place in her playroom and the starring roles in all her games of pretend. Queen Mummy is quite the socialite, making friends with all the stuffed animals, but she gets her fair share of the spotlight on the battlefield as well. She leads a great army: a formation of die-cast metal cars, soldiers, and pastel-coloured plastic ponies at the ready whenever some great enemy decides to attack the kingdom. She gives her commands to the troops, but Queen Daddy is always at the head of the first charge.

He makes for quite a majestic sight as he rides into battle, balanced precariously atop his faithful purple dinosaur, Dinky. The enemy surely quivers in fear when he goes galloping towards them with his goblin blade in hand, his golden locks thrown back by the wind, his glittering gown bunched up around his thighs, and one silver high heel always hanging askew. When the battle is a particularly significant one, the much-coveted championship belt – on a strict short-term loan from one of Uncle Toby's old and well-loved wrestling figures – is wrapped around his slim waist. Sometimes, Sonia will even see fit to tie his flowing locks back with one of her own hair ribbons; Queen Daddy, unrealistic body proportions and rigid limbs aside, is nothing if not versatile. He slays dragons and demons of all shapes and sizes, saving the realm and all its inhabitants by mid-morning, and is still ready to schmooze his way through the most sophisticated of afternoon tea parties. The Goblin King observes all of this without criticism or complaint, even going so far as to join in with said tea parties himself on occasion – though he'll be damned if his doll counterpart gets to steal his spot at the head of the table.

Another cold winter's evening draws to a close, and Jareth sits to watch the latest game, a cup of hot chocolate cradled in his hands and an indulgent smile on his face. Even the heat of the drink is no match for the warmth he feels within his chest. With the new year's celebrations finally behind him, it's good to simply sit and soak up the love of his small family. While Sarah enjoys a rare nap after a full day of play, it's up to him to hold down the fort in the playroom. He's content for a while to ignore the outside world in favour of listening to Sonia's ongoing narrative – a babble of parroted phrases and nonsense she has no doubt picked up from eavesdropping on one of his meetings. Her voice rises and falls in clever mimicry, dependent on which toy she chats to; it makes Jareth chuckle to hear a squeaking attempt at his own deeper tones as Queen Daddy leads his soldiers to guard the grand wooden castle they call home.

At last, the battle is ready to begin, and Sonia sounds the attack as the surrounding Troll dolls – treasured gifts from Aunt Molly – finally close in, led by the mighty Monkey King – gifted long ago by Auntie Orlaith, and already snuggled until his stuffing is about ready to fall out. As Jareth watches his daughter retaliate with a crude attempt at a pincer attack, he can't help feeling a rush of pride. Already, she is proving to have more brains than some of the enemies he has met on the battlefield. He chuckles to himself as toys of all shapes and sizes fling themselves into the fray to prove their loyalty to the Goblin Kingdom, laying down their lives for queens and country, until they at last emerge victorious.

“And Mummy and Daddy win!” Sonia cries, holding up both Barbie dolls in her tiny fists.

“A splendid victory, indeed,” Jareth praises her, with a gracious bow of his head. “A battle well fought, Your Highness.” It almost pains him to think of how long it has been since he had fought in such a thrilling war. Maybe he finally is getting old. He sets his cup aside and slips down onto the soft rug, kneeling beside the young princess. In the heat of battle, a sturdy metal goblin guard – the perfect replica of the Goblin City's own gatekeeper – has been tossed aside. Jareth rights the fallen warrior with a smile, recalling the last time his royal guard had been forced to put their valour to the test: the time his last line of defence had wavered and then crumbled, all for the will of a determined young woman. How she has turned his world in the many wonderful years since then.

Yet another determined young woman sits before him now, humming to herself as she resets her toys in readiness for the next battle. Though it's true she shares his golden hair and pale blue eyes, it is her mother's fierce spirit he sees in her every day, in moments such as this. He knows she'll be certain to love the story of Sarah's first step towards power – the day she faced and conquered his labyrinth. It is the perfect tale of adventure and peril, with just enough danger to keep his little princess on the edge of her seat, and with far less blood and violence than some of the other stories he has told her – though the less her mother ever finds out about those gory goblin tales, the better.

“Would you like to hear a story, Sonia?” he asks, with a smile. “All about Daddy and Mummy, and how Daddy once tried his very best to beat her at a game of wits and skill?” He laughs as Sonia cries out her approval at once, scrambling over to plop herself down onto his lap. She holds out both treasured Mummy and Daddy dolls to him, clearly expecting a visual aid to his narration. Jareth accepts them both with due care, wetting his thumb to wipe away the smear of chocolate that adorns Queen Daddy's forehead. He meets the Sarah doll's eyes with a smile and a wink as he starts to reminisce. “Well, it all started a long time ago, back when Mummy still lived Aboveground, and your Uncle Toby was just a tiny baby …”

Not even an hour later, the playroom has descended into magic and madness. Toys and other ornaments of make-believe litter the floor and furniture, as is the norm during playtime, but they also spin and dance in the air, and walk effortlessly along the room's walls and ceiling. Though the story of Sarah's first visit Underground is magical enough on its own, Jareth feels the need to embellish the tale in places, glossing over endless hours of watching and waiting – and, of course, Sarah's lengthy trek – with showy gestures and improvised songs.

Admittedly, his rendition of Magic Prance – a rather catchy little tune about the Goblin King's quite enviable dance moves – isn't his finest moment, but all of the jumping, skipping and catchy chorus go down a storm with his delighted audience, who immediately demands an encore. Jareth, of course, obliges. Nothing is too much effort for his silly, giggling princess. Sonia claps her hands and crows with delight as her father makes a complete pillock of himself, making up yet more songs and silly rhymes on the fly, conjuring up twinkling crystals of colour and light, and forming elaborate shadow shapes with his hands that seem almost real enough to leap down from the walls. The magic he feels in the moment he and his daughter share is very real.

With the Sarah doll in his clutches, Jareth walks her through the many perils of his labyrinth for the second time – only on this occasion, the woman herself does not get to dictate what she classes as 'fair'. She is, quite literally, completely in his hands and at his mercy. Jareth, with his questionable morals, takes perhaps more pleasure than he should in giving his inanimate challenger a real run for her money – all in the name of good fun, of course.

It seems that Sonia, too, is in her element; once the small princess has established that there is no real danger afoot, she throws herself completely into the act of imaginary warfare against her miniature mother. Given the brutal nature of some of the traps she suggests – displaying the same ruthlessness that only the very young or the highly sociopathic seem to possess – Jareth finds her to be a most worthy general. No mercy will be had on that day. Certainly, if Sonia had been at his side all those years ago, he thinks that Sarah might have found herself hard-pressed ever to escape from the labyrinth, let alone win back her brother. As it is, with his pint-sized partner egging him on, pushing him to find new and cruel ways to hinder the labyrinth's newest runner, it's hard to recall exactly how Sarah had managed to best him to begin with.

As Queen Mummy stumbles out of her latest chamber of horrors and finally heads for the castle, hounded by Sonia's cackling laughter, Queen Daddy awaits her, perched up high upon the rampart. His painted eyes seem to glitter with malice, his sweeping skirts curled around his slim body like the silvery wings of some ancient and powerful dragon as he seeks out his prey. Surely, just this once, purely for his sweet daughter's sake, it wouldn't be so wrong just to … have him win for a change? Jareth considers this for only a moment before his lips curl into a determined grin.

“And so brave little Sarah came tiptoeing up to the Goblin King's castle, her heart pounding with fear. She was very, very scared.” A subtle swish of his finger brings a miniature bolt of lightning crashing down just beyond the castle's wooden walls. Sonia jumps, her eyes wide, and then she begins to giggle; Jareth presses on. “Her three cowardly friends had all run away with their tails between their legs, and so Sarah had to go on alone. She pushed open the castle's great big doors – cree-ak! She crept along the corridors just as quiet as a little mouse – shh, Sonia, that's it, fingers on lips, very quiet – and she started looking for her baby brother. Where, oh where could he be?” The Sarah doll turns her head left and right as she searches.

“Does she find him, Daddy?”

“Almost, pet. She's still looking, see? I think she's very close to finding him, don't you? But then – oh no!” Jareth snatches up his doll counterpart and places him directly into Sarah's path. His voice booms across the playroom like thunder. “'Who dares to come to my castle? Who dares to defy the mighty Goblin King?'”

Sonia clasps her hands across her mouth and squeaks in glee. “Oh no, Mummy's in trouble!”

Jareth grins. “That she is.” He scoops up the Sarah doll and makes her shake in her shoes. It's easy to slip back into the exaggerated falsetto he has been using for her. In this admittedly rather biased retelling, Sarah sounds an awful lot like Minnie Mouse. “'Oh, please, please, great Goblin King, don't hurt me! I'm ever so scared! I only want my brother back, and I've come so far to get him, through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, too. Oh, won't you please give him back to me?' And then the Goblin King said-”

The small princess wrinkles her nose. “Daddy, what's a heartship? Is it a boat?”

Jareth stifles a chuckle. “Hardship, love, not heartship. Can you say that? Hard-ship? Good girl. It means something very difficult that someone has to do. Mummy had a hard time getting all the way to the castle because of all the clever traps Daddy put in her way – and what were those traps called? Hardships, that's right, that's my clever girl.” He plants a soft kiss atop his daughter's fair head before he goes back to the story. “Now, where were we? Ah, yes. Sarah was quaking in fear, begging for the Goblin King to return her baby brother. The Goblin King, being a good and wise king, thought about her request for a long time, weighing up the good sides and the bad. The girl was at his mercy, and he knew he could be cruel to her, but he could also choose to be generous. And so, he said …”

He has the Sarah doll in his clutches, and there's a strange, giddy feeling in his chest – a feeling of power that makes his spirits soar as he looks down on his prize. “Fear me,” he commands her. “Love me. Do as I say, and … and …” He has to shake himself out of his fantasy, shooting his daughter a reassuring smile before he continues. “And then, Sarah said-”

A small cough from somewhere behind him almost stops his heart. When he turns to find its source, his pulse now jumping away far harder than it should be, he sees his queen leaning against the playroom's arched doorway. Her eyes are on him, and the high arc of one dark eyebrow tells him he's definitely in trouble. Of course, just how much trouble will depend on exactly how long she has been standing there, listening in on his nonsense.

“Then what, Daddy? What did she say?” Sonia pipes up.

His queen folds her arms and cocks that eyebrow higher still. “Yes, Jareth, please tell us what poor, scared little Sarah said to the big, bad Goblin King. I'm dying to know.”

Shit. Jareth dodges his lovely wife's less than lovely stare for a moment, reaching out to reclaim his cup of hot chocolate. He takes a long swallow and keeps his expression carefully blank, despite the fact that the creamy concoction is now stone cold. All his wit having deserted him, he ventures a weak little flutter of his fingers, ready to dismiss the whole thing. “Oh … nothing, really. I'm sure it wasn't that important.”

“Huh, it really sounded like she might have had something special to say to him, you know, after he sent her friends slinking away and had her quaking in her boots, and then demanded all of that from her.”

He gulps. Too late to turn back now. “Well … I suppose she said … she'd at least consider it …?”

Oh, if looks could kill.

Knew that was a step too far. Should have quit while you were ahead, right after Magic Prance. He sighs and sips at his cold chocolate like a good boy. He suspects it might be the last batch Sarah will be willing to whip up for him, at least for a good while. “But I could be wrong. My memory's a little rusty, and I'm not completely sure about what may or may not have been said  – not as sure as I am about my love for you, precious thing.” He glances up, hoping that small declaration might have won him back at least a little favour, but he can tell Sarah is unmoved.

“Doesn't matter, Daddy wins! Mummy lives here now, so that means Daddy wins!” Sonia yells as she scoops up her doll in her arms and twirls him around the room, before setting him down on the rug. “Let's play again! Mummy can play too!”

She goes running to her mother, and Sarah crouches down to sweep her giggling princess into a bear hug. “Not right now, sweetie – it's almost bedtime. Mummy can play with you some more tomorrow, Sonia, and tell you all about what happened when the Goblin King won. Can't she, Daddy?”

Bollocksbollocksbollocksbol- Jareth shoots his daughter a feeble smile. “Yes, darling, we can all play some more tomorrow. Now, go to your room and pick which teddy bear you'd like to take to bed. Mummy and Daddy will be in to get you ready and give kisses in just a moment.” It's a pathetic attempt to remind her that he will be missed, should any wrongdoing befall him; Sarah can't kill him – not if their daughter is expecting a goodnight kiss from them both. He should feel guilty, using Sonia as an emotional shield, but judging by the dark look in Sarah's eyes, he needs all the protection he can get right now. He watches as their little princess scuttles from the room, leaving him alone with his vexed queen.

“Sarah, look, I was just-”

“Save it for after bedtime snuggles and kisses, dear husband.”

“But lo-”

“Jareth, if you even think about love or precious thing-ing me right now, I swear to god-”

“Yes. Right. Point taken, love. Wait, that one wasn't deliberate, what I meant was-”

His queen scoffs her disgust before she spins away in a fierce whirl of skirts and hair, leaving him to creep along behind in her shadow, his stomach already plummeting downwards towards his boots. On his way out of the playroom, he catches sight of Queen Daddy, and Jareth is positive he sees just a smidge of pity in his unblinking eyes. It isn't often he finds himself pondering his counterpart's lack of proper genitalia, but now he can only pray that he doesn't end the evening in the same, sorry state as the doll.

With her teeth brushed and pyjamas on, Sonia is tucked up safe and warm in her bed. For once, she doesn't plead for a bedtime story; gods forbid she ease her father's current plight with a distraction. No – she's still far too full of joy from the tale of the Goblin King and the meek little mouse, raving to her mother about her father's storytelling skills, and deepening the hole he has dug for himself with every word that comes spilling from her lips. Sarah's own lips are frozen into the brightest of smiles, and she punctuates her daughter's animated retelling with cries of 'oh, wow!', and 'yay!', and 'what happened next?'

Jareth shuffles in his shoes as all those harmless little untruths come gushing out at once, knowing it's pointless to deny his earlier words. He finds himself glad he saved room after supper, because Sarah is bound to make him eat them. He breathes out a sigh of relief when the outpouring slows to a mere trickle, as Sonia yawns and settles her head back against her pillow. Finally, it's time for cuddles and kisses, and the blessed silence of sleep. Jareth edges towards the door, determined to be the first out so he can start to plan his apologies, but a small voice stops him in his tracks.

“Daddy?”

“ … yes, princess?”

“If I trap a girl or a boy in my labyrinth, do I have to marry them?”

Sarah's eyes snap towards his at once, clearly thrilled to hear his answer.

After a hard swallow, he manages a shaky smile. “Only if you want to, sweetheart. Only if you want to.” He turns to leave, and then quickly turns back. “Oh, and only if they want to, too. Don't forget that talk we had about consent. Do you remember how you thought it was fun to try to ride the dragon, but the dragon really, really didn't want to play that day?” He can still picture that heart-stopping moment all too clearly. Even to this day, he can still remember the screaming, most of which was his own, and the smell of charred goblin hide.

Sonia, oblivious to his glazed and faraway stare, only yawns and nods as she snuggles down beneath the covers. “Yep. G'night, Daddy. G'night, Mummy.”

Sarah pushes her way past him, beating him to the door. “Goodnight, monkey. Sleep tight.”

Jareth breathes out a sigh. “ … goodnight, love.”

He slips from his daughter's bedroom, careful to leave her door open just a crack. When he turns his attention back to his wife, he sees that Sarah is already well ahead of him, her long strides taking her towards the end of the corridor at a breakneck pace. Jareth dashes after her, hissing as loud as he dares. “Sarah, wait!”

It soothes his ego a little to believe that, perhaps, she simply hasn't heard him.

By the time he finally manages to come close to his queen, she is already three steps into their otherwise abandoned throne room. “Sarah, stop,” he begs.

His wife, it seems, is disinclined to obey. She crosses the empty hall with him hot on her heels, only coming to a halt when she reaches the stone dais that houses both their thrones. He can feel her body stiffen as he catches hold of her elbow, and he braces himself for the worst, but the look on her face when she turns to him takes him wholly by surprise.

She's smiling.

Jareth's fingers falter, almost losing their hold on her sleeve. He's seen that look on his queen before, that spark in those beguiling green eyes, usually when she wants him to take her to bed. His current expression – mouth gaping like a dead fish, he's certain – is far from kingly, and it takes him a moment to recover. “Love – ah – Sarah,” he says, quick to correct himself. His eyes search hers, keen to find out just what her game is as she gazes up at him through her dark lashes. An apology is in order, he knows, but for some reason he finds himself distracted. He licks his lips. “Listen, I'm sorry about all that foolishness earlier-”

Light laughter meets his words, and she pats his hand. Her slim fingers linger for a moment atop his own. “Oh, that? Don't worry, that's all behind us now. Come on, why don't you take a seat? It's been a long day.”

Try as he might, Jareth is unable to keep the frown from his face. He watches her, warier than ever as she turns her back to ascend the dais. His appreciative eyes sweep over her, that spill of dark hair, the dip of her waist and the curves of her backside, accented by the clinging wine-coloured velvet of her gown. He jerks his thoughts back to the situation at hand before they can travel too far down that far too tempting path. “Are you feeling well, love?” he asks.

At the top of the steps, she turns to face him again, chuckling as she trails her fingers along the armrest and low back of his throne before coming to stand next to it. She makes no attempt to claim her own, which sits empty beside it. “Me feeling well? Sure I am, silly. You're the one who's had the hard time keeping Sonia entertained all evening. I just thought you deserved a break after all that storytelling, you know? Now, come up here and sit.”

Feeling an awful lot like a fly foolish enough to trust the spider, Jareth slides into his seat, keeping one eye on his wife at all times. It leaves him leaning to the right, neck craning as Sarah circles around the back of his throne, her fingertips in constant, teasing contact with his shoulders. He finds himself torn, able to visualise those fingers wrapped around both his cock and his throat with astounding clarity. He just wishes he knew what her game is. If Sarah can feel the tension harboured in his muscles, she says not a word. The pad of her thumb sweeps across his Adam's apple, and he's able to turn the strangled sound he makes into something resembling a cough.

“Can I get you anything, my king?” she asks, all silky and sweet above him. “Another hot chocolate, or maybe something a little stronger? You know there's nothing I won't do for you.”

He twists and starts to struggle out of his seat, eyebrows on the rise even as her hands urge his body back down. “What on earth has gotten into you? You're never this – dare I say it – meek and wifely.”

Sarah comes to stand beside him, staring down with those wide and not quite innocent eyes. “Why, nothing, Your Highness. You just seemed to like the idea of having a nice, timid version of me that you could order around–“ Here, she overrides his welling protest with two fingers pressed to his lips. “-so much so that I wanted to grant you your wish, for a change.” There's a dangerous gleam in her eyes, and the hand that's touching his mouth feels far too good already. “Don't you want a queen at your beck and call for the night?” she asks, her voice as thick and sweet as honey. Powerless to deny it, he nods, and her dark chuckle seems to vibrate through his whole body, making him shudder. “I thought so. Well, if there's anything I can do for you … anything at all … you know you only need to ask.”

Common sense tells him he's still far from out of the woods – for he knows his queen's temper as well as he knows the rest of her – but still, the idea of a submissive Sarah speaks to his cock the way it always does. There's always an insatiable, primal hunger; the urge to conquer her, and prove her to be his in every base and wicked way he can think of. Thus far, she has only ever allowed him to take full control of her within their bedroom – never in this far riskier, far more public setting. A low groan escapes him as he imagines having the woman of his wildest dreams and wondrous realities right here and now, just taking her, in his seat of ultimate power. Nothing else on earth could make a man feel so strong. It's an offer he does not have the will to turn down … even if he remains convinced there will be consequences. He runs his eyes down the full length of his wife's body. Such sweet temptation never comes without a price.

“Supposing …” Jareth pauses to wet his lips, finding them dry once more. “Supposing I asked you to sit on my lap, then, like a good girl. Would you do it?” He has time to see the tiniest flinch in her smile, just for a moment, and then it is gone, smothered once more by saccharine sweetness.

“Anything for you,” she insists again. “Are you sure that's what you want?”

He lifts a hand to caress her hip, drawing her nearer in the bargain. “Oh, yes,” he hisses, lust quickly overpowering sense. “I want you in my lap, right now.”

“Of course, Sire. Whatever my king demands,” she coos as she moves into position.

His cock swells within the tight confines of his breeches as she slips an arm around his neck and a shapely leg across his thighs. He feels a much less pleasurable throb in his balls only a moment later, as his wife drops her full weight down onto his unguarded lap. Knew it was too good to be true.

“I suppose I deserved that,” he grunts.

She snorts out a laugh. “I guess you did. Maybe fear and blind obedience aren't the best qualities in a wife after all, huh?”

Her point made, Sarah wriggles and makes to rise from his lap, but Jareth wraps his arms around her middle to hold her in place. Despite the dull ache that has settled into his groin, he remains extremely interested in keeping her seated upon it. With one arm still holding her tight, he reaches up to tease down one side of her dress, just enough for him to plant a kiss on the shoulder he has bared.

“I got carried away,” he admits, using every word as an opportunity to graze her with his mouth. “I wanted to win just as much as Sonia wanted me to … but it was all just a game. You know that's never how I truly saw you, even back then. I will never consider you an unworthy opponent, nor a weak-willed little mouse of a wife.” It gratifies him to hear a sigh pass his beloved's lips, but he knows it isn't wholly borne of pleasure. Though she welcomes his kisses enough to let him continue, her body remains far too tense for his liking.

“It's not just that, Jareth. I know it was all make-believe, but I worry what stories like that will do to her head. She's already in for a lifetime of prejudice from some of the other kingdoms, just for being half-human. She doesn't need to think that girls are always supposed to be weak and stupid on top of that.”

“What, with the example you set her?” Jareth frowns and nips at her shoulder. Guilt tugs at his gut, as loath as he is to acknowledge it. Falling in love has paved the way for a host of other far less pleasant emotions. Anger is far more productive, and it rears up as he imagines those who are far too set and stubborn in their old ways passing judgement upon his only daughter. He knows the fools and the bigots may point and snigger behind their hands at her differences, and be far meaner about it than any of the teasing he dealt with as a child. The idea eats at him more than he will ever allow anyone to know. The neighbouring kingdoms may murmur of his foolishness, how he has moved the stars and more, all for the love of a human bride, but they will see him raise armies and hellfire if even a whisper of their poisonous words ever reaches his ears. “I guarantee she's going to have the world at her feet before she can even spell the word prejudice, and anyone who challenges her – if you don't strike them down first – will have me to deal with. No one interferes with our family, love – no one.”

Sarah relaxes a little more into his embrace. “I know, and I love you for that, but maybe … maybe Queen Daddy should take a little break from storytelling for a while, hmm? Or at least stick to non-fiction when it comes to us?”

Jareth smiles and squeezes his wife tighter. “Consider him relegated to infantry duty until after the next great teddy bear war. Just try to leave me with at least some of my dignity intact when you tell her the true story of our first meeting.”

“Hmm … I'll consider it.”

At long last, his queen offers him a kiss over her shoulder, and Jareth takes it with thanks. Her lips are soft and sweet, and they warm his blood far more than thoughts of war and retribution ever will. His smile turns a tad vulgar as he settles his wife back in his lap, so that her bottom is flush with his stirring erection, and her eyes are free to take in the empty throne room once more. It won't hurt to remind her that they are, in fact, still completely alone. He moves her dark hair aside and mouths at the nape of her neck.

“But what is it that Queen Mummy needs, hmm? Does she enjoy being on top like this?” With her body pressed so close, he feels her soft laughter before he hears it.

“Maybe.” The subtle roll of her hips is telling enough on its own.

“Would she maybe like to spread her legs, so I can show her just how sorry I am?” He smirks as her hips twitch again, this time pushing herself back against his growing bulge.

“It depends what you have in mind.”

“Oh, I think you already have a good idea,” he teases.

He adjusts his grip on her, still holding her tight enough to forbid escape, only now he can feel the pleasant weight of her tits atop his forearms. It's easy enough to shift from there, stroking the underside of each breast with the backs of his thumbs, occasionally venturing a little higher, flicking every so often at their stiffening peaks. Even though she longs to deny him, even through the heavy fabric of her gown, it's so easy to feel the way she craves his touch. Soon enough, he has the firm bud of each nipple trapped between his fingers, pinching down, coaxing them to full hardness as her breathing grows heavier. Slowly, she gives to him, her hips starting to rock with more surety as she takes all he gives her, and still demands more. When he cups her left breast, he can feel her heart hammering against his palm, and he knows his sweet wife needs precious little more convincing.

“Let me make it up to you,” he says against the side of her neck, nuzzling her soft skin. He grins as he feels her reaching back for him, her fingers slipping into his hair, pulling him closer. “That's it, love,” he whispers. His hands slide down to her hips as he sucks at her throat, gently moving her into a more accessible position.

Leaning back in his throne, he spreads his legs, parting his queen's lovely thighs at the same time. With his knees holding her up and open, it's impossible for her to close them again without his permission. Fortunately, Sarah is too wrapped up in his kisses right now to care just how easily he has managed to seduce her. With her head lolled back in pleasure, her body bowed just to his liking, she's the prettiest doll he has ever had the good fortune of playing with – and he has no intention of ever, ever sharing his favourite toy. He keeps one arm locked about her waist, holding her against him as his free hand slides down to pluck at her skirts. Smiling to himself, he inches up the heavy material with a patience he hardly knows himself capable of, forcing them both to wait through the slow reveal. His hand is pale enough, but set against the cream-coloured canvas of her inner thigh, even it appears dark – a delicious contrast that never fails to make his cock surge. It's a sight made only for him.

“You have no idea how much I love you … how much I want you, right now.”

Sarah shudders in his lap, and the hand in his hair tightens enough to hurt – but only for a moment. “What do you love about me?” Her voice is strained as she fights for control, but he's a master by now at stripping her of all hope of resisting, and he loves her all the more for letting him in like this. His heart swells and his mouth opens, though he doesn't quite know where to begin.

“I love your eyes,” he hears himself say, in a low, wondering voice. “I love the way they dance for me, and how I see a piece of your heart every time you look at me. I love the softness of your hair and the sweet sound of your voice. I know I needn't tell you just how much I worship your body.” His fingers chance higher, finding the thin barrier of her underwear and slipping beneath it. The path to her sex is warm and welcoming, and she sighs out a soft moan as he starts to tease her slick folds. “I love your mind,” he continues, “and the way you push not only me, but yourself, always reaching out for greater things. I love your passion and I love your strength, your scent and your softness, and the way you taste. I love how you make me feel like a god whenever I'm inside you, and I love how you love me. Even like this, I love you when you're angry with me, because I get to prove to you just how sorry I am, and the lengths I'll go to just to put a smile back on your beautiful face. You're my everything, love, and I'll never stop telling you so.”

The slow slide of his middle finger into her silken heat is like heaven. She's soaked, moaning out for him as he presses deep, foregoing teasing in favour of stroking her into total submission. After a few thrusts – deep and rough, just the way his queen likes it – she begins to move with him, grinding her hips down into him to seek out the perfect angle. Jareth gives it to her, bringing his thumb up to toy with her clit as his finger pistons into her, murmuring wicked words of encouragement against her neck all the while. He lets her ride his hand for a time, loving that loss of control as she bucks and writhes in his lap, impaling herself steadily now as her arousal trickles down into his palm. She pants his name as he slips in a second finger beside the first. The much tighter squeeze has his cock rock hard with envy. Still, as much as he aches to be inside her, to feel that scalding clasp of her cunt around his throbbing shaft, he knows that this moment isn't for him. He wants all her doubts and fears to be left behind as she comes apart for him.

“Can I surmise that all is forgiven now?” he teases, baring his teeth against her shoulder. As much as he hopes her answer is 'yes', he truly doesn't mind grovelling a little longer – especially if it means watching her work herself into a frenzy, using his hands for her own sweet, selfish pleasure.

“Mmm … I'll let you know when you make me come.”

“And how exactly would my queen like to come?” He tightens his hold around her middle, keeping her in place as he forces his fingers high up inside her. “Tell me – command me, love.”

“Ohh, fuck – fuck! Jareth, please … please … mmm …” She squirms in his grasp, but he will not let her go. His fingers remain firmly embedded inside her, holding his place within her warm body, waiting for her to find the right words. The slightest flex of his hand is enough to jar them loose. “Your mouth,” she finally manages to gasp.

Despite the higher pitch of her voice, that clear sign of her neediness, Jareth decides to push her a little further. An evil smirk curls his mouth, and he purses his lips before she can feel it. “Oh, you want my kisses, hmm? Very well … if that's all you want.” He drags his lips along the pale line of her throat, giving her the heat of his breath and the tingle of a dozen barely-there pecks of his mouth. “Does that feel good, love? Is that what you need from me?”

“Yes … no …” This time, when Sarah wriggles and moans, her hands move down to his restraining arm. The hard edges of her nails can be felt even through his shirt.

Jareth chuckles. “No? I should stop, then … perhaps leave you to your own devices, Highness?”

No! Oh … oh, god-”

“Then tell me. Speak up like the queen we both know you are – the queen I love – and demand that I please you.”

A shiver runs through her body as she contemplates the best way to use him. “Get up. On your feet – now,” his Sarah commands at last. “Then, I want you to kneel down for me.”

The hard edge to her voice only serves to stroke his aching cock. He feels himself jerk against the soft cushion of her bottom, and he has to restrain himself from thrusting up into the sweet valley between her cheeks. “Anything else?” he asks.

“Jareth … I want you on your knees right now, with your tongue inside me.”

He grins. How could he even think to deny her will? He moves his hands to her hips and presses one last kiss to her neck. “As my queen commands.”

It takes only a moment to lift her from his lap and onto her trembling legs as he abandons his throne, only to coax her down into his former place. He's on his knees in front of her before she can squirm too long in her new seat, and he wastes no time in raising her skirts and ducking beneath them. A curtain of thick, soft velvet falls around him as his hands smooth a path up the insides of her thighs, urging her open. A needy moan reaches his ears as he takes a moment just to breathe her in. His only regret will be not seeing the look on her face as he pleases her.

He dips his head and snakes out his tongue, and all at once, her taste, her heat floods his senses. Gods, if he could drown in this woman, he would be sure to die a happy man. He slides his hands beneath her luscious arse, gripping and lifting her, tilting her body towards him as he explores every slick, swollen inch of her. She moans as he mouths at her clit, but when his tongue delves inside her, she cries out his name. Those two short, sharp syllables ring off the high stone ceiling and set his cock pulsing within his breeches, aching to make her scream them again. He's so hard that it hurts, but he's determined to deny himself until she has taken all he can give.

At one point, he's certain she tries to shift away, overwhelmed by the intensity of it, but he denies her escape, holding her all the harder and muttering his rebuke against her cunt. He won't stop until all her worries are but a distant memory – until there's no room in her thoughts for anything but how much he adores her. He groans his need for her into her silken lips, and smiles against her sweet skin as she shudders apart for him. It's impossible to keep her still, and he moans again at the way she shakes in his hands, all that delicious tension he has wrought finally undone as she sobs out her release.

He's relentless with his tongue, laving her dripping slit, drawing the tight bud of her clit into his smirking mouth. His queen is too far gone to command him, but he takes guidance from her keening cries as he plunges his tongue inside her, prolonging her pleasure. When she's too tender for him to go on, he settles for light, teasing kisses upon each of her thighs, murmuring soft sounds of comfort against her trembling flesh as she comes down.

“Oh, fuck … fuck …”

He goes on soothing her that way until her breathless little sighs turn more urgent, and her hips are restless, seeking him out once more. Jareth hums his own pleasure as he settles into a slow, sinful fuck of his tongue, filling her, pushing his way as deep into her body and mind as he can get. She's absolutely sodden by now, her essence painted all over his lips and chin, and tantalising his tongue. Her legs are thrown over his shoulders, her hips working in rhythm with his smirking mouth. He eats her with pure, raw purpose, his own brazen hunger swiftly driving her to come for him again.

She stiffens and shudders, but this time he doesn't stop, her strangled cry of release climbing into a loud and lustful wailing as he continues to lick her. Her body twists back and forth with whip-like force, and he seizes hold of her hips to keep her locked against his open mouth. She screams and bucks, and begs for him to stop, but only seconds later she's growling at him for even daring to consider the idea as she shakes apart for him, her taut thighs clamped down around his ears, tight enough for him to hear the thunder of his own pulse above her cries. He wrings her for every last drop of desire, sucking at her until she's rendered incapable of anything more than a constant, needy whimper, her body limp and still trembling in the aftershock.

Satisfied for the time being, but not yet near sated, he rocks back on his heels. His jaw is aching, not least of all from the sheer width of his smile. Above him, Sarah sinks back in his throne with a sigh of utter contentment, and he chuckles as he presses a fond farewell kiss to her mound. He trails his lips back down the smooth path of her thigh, taking his sweet time in extricating himself from beneath the tangled mess of her skirts. “Did you enjoy that?” he asks, swiping the ball of his thumb across his wet lips before sucking it into his mouth. Exquisite. His right knee pops as he rises to his feet, reminding him of at least one of his centuries, in spite of how young pleasuring his lovely queen always makes him feel.

Said queen lounges back with a deep glow in her cheeks, one arm thrown across her eyes, the other still gripping the back of the throne. Her mouth is turned up in a perfectly wicked little smile. Between her quick, shallow breaths, a soft giggle escapes. “I think you know I did. That was sensational.”

“I do aim to please,” he tells her as he leans down to capture her mouth. Before he can, Sarah takes him by surprise, surging in her seat to wrap her arms around his neck. He can't help but smile against her lips as his queen kisses him, her mouth made all the sweeter for the shared taste of her pleasure. His cock, which has hardly waned from his oral explorations, gives an impatient throb. A soft groan leaves his lips and rumbles against hers. He has to drag himself away, if only to look her in the eyes. “I hope you know how much to mean to me … how much I love and want you, always … because I'd very much like to take you to bed now, precious.”

For a moment he worries he has pushed things too far, and it is a relief to see her smile. With a speed and grace even he envies, his lady wife slips out of his grasp and off the throne. “Bed already? Don't you want me to return the favour first?” she asks, and Jareth can hardly believe his luck.

Still smiling, Sarah clasps his shoulders, turning them both so that he is the one with the throne at his back. A gentle push on his chest coaxes him into sitting down in a hurry, and soft hands spreading his legs keep him there. His whole body is tensed in anticipation as he awaits her next move. He opens his mouth to speak, perhaps to urge her on, but by then her palm has moved to the prominent tent in his trousers, caressing him through the clinging fabric as she sinks onto her knees. Jareth lets his eyes roll back, and his hips buck up almost out of his seat. He needs her; the barest touch and he is already putty in her hands. Oh, love, you were never the powerless one at all. He surrenders himself to his queen's nimble fingers as she works open his belt, and he sighs in relief when at last she takes his straining cock in her hand. Her mischievous little smile has him twitching, rigid and restless with need.

“Have you enjoyed playing with me so far tonight, Jareth?” Her eyes are fixed on his as she begins to repay him, teasing her thumb along the underside of his throbbing shaft. Jareth grunts and thrusts into her hand.

“So far? I'd say it's getting better and better by the minute.”

His queen's devious chuckle goes straight to his balls. “Is that right?” His eyes are drawn to her mouth as if by some dark enchantment as she makes a show of licking her lips. She leans in close … closer … until those plump pink lips are only inches away from his straining cock head, and he can feel the warm caress of her every exhale. “Well, how would you like for it to get better still? You've spent such a long time toying with that doll and with me tonight … first giving us a voice … then a hand … then a mouth …” The way her lips move as she pumps his cock make him shudder. “You really like to play, don't you, Jareth?”

In that moment, it's a struggle simply to keep his breathing even, let alone finding the wits to act coy. “Yes. Gods, yes. I love to play with you, precious, and right now, I'd love to fuck that pretty mouth of yours.”

His queen's throaty laughter bathes his aching length in yet more delicious heat. “Oh, really? And what else would you love to do?” She squeezes truth from him with just the slightest shift of her fingers.

Fuck. Oh, your cunt. Your gorgeous arse. I want to touch every last beautiful inch of your body. I want to be inside you, love. I need you.”

The hand wrapped around his cock picks up the pace. With every jerk, that devilish mouth almost comes to brush him, but not quite. “You need my lips wrapped around you?”

“Gods, yes!”

“Sucking you?”

Jareth twists in his seat. “Mmm!”

Fucking you, with my nice hot, wet mouth? You really want me to do it, huh? Is that what you need me to do, sweetheart?”

His fingers are clasped so tightly upon the throne's gilded armrests that he fears they will break. “Fuck … Sarah, please, yes!”

Her sad sigh is torment on his thick, leaking tip. “Well, that's too bad … because let's not forget, Jareth, that whatever the doll said, I never agreed to obey you. Such a pity.” She moves her head back, and he almost howls his frustration.

“Fuck! Love, what are you doing to me?”

The smile she gives him is just a little too smug. “Nothing; I thought that was pretty obvious. Of course, you're welcome to do whatever you like to yourself, if you're feeling a little frustrated.”

He scoffs in disbelief, gesturing at the rigid length of his cock. “So you're just going to leave me like this?”

“I guess you'll just have to be a good Goblin King and see what Santa has in his sack for you next year. I hear they have all kinds of dolls for that sort of thing nowadays, and they inflate with just a few … little … pumps.” The grin she gives him as she finally releases his pulsing shaft is absolutely, positively evil. “Best of all, those dolls never talk back to you … oh, but they also can't do that thing with their tongues that you like. Bad luck, Jareth.”

She's back on her feet before he knows what's happening, and headed towards the door before he can fully voice his protest. All he can manage is a couple of indignant little squawks as she just walks away, leaving him dazed and confused, and not to mention painfully hard. The door thuds to a close behind her, punctuating her departure, but his cock still refuses to believe the fun is over.

As Jareth sees it, three possible options lie ahead of him: sulking and taking matters very literally into his own hands by wanking off; attempting to drown his sorrows with a cup or two of wine, and then very likely ending up wanking himself off; or, option three, chasing down his wife and grovelling, in the hopes that she, in a sudden burst of pity, will see fit to wank him off. With his prick currently standing high above his pride and dignity, it's an easy decision to make. He hoists up his trousers, winces at the constrictive material and the damp patch he has made upon it, and hobble-walks to catch up with his queen.

He's prepared to cry out his apologies as he bursts through the door, calling out to her from afar to let her know just how sorry he is, heedless of who might hear. He's ready to chase her clear across the castle grounds and beg, if his queen requires it. He'll do all this and more, as desperate as he is, but his heart lifts when he realises he won't have to. Sarah is waiting for him, leaning back against the wall opposite, an impish smirk on her lips. He wants to hope, but he's still a little wary.

“Sarah … what-?” he falters.

“I was only playing, Jareth,” she tells him as she draws away from the wall. The slow, measured steps of her approach him remind him a little of a wildcat closing in on its prey. “Just a little fun, like you had earlier.”

Relieved, he finds himself returning her smile. “You little minx. I thought you'd truly left me for the night.”

She steps into his open arms, teasing her nails up along his nape as the other moves to his mouth, a single finger tracing his lips. “What can I say? I like the way you apologise. You were very … mmm … convincing.”

His cock picks up a little height and fresh hope. “Maybe I could persuade you into bed then?”

“I think that could be arranged.”

He arranges it right then before she can reconsider, a swirling rush of his magic depositing the two of them into their bedchamber and onto their soft, wide bed. His arms are around her in an instant, and she squeals as he pulls her atop him, so that she's straddling his hips. Her smile still holds a trace of mischief, but there's a sweet warmth in her eyes as she gazes down at him. He longs to kiss that gorgeous mouth, his cock desperate to be inside her, but then her lips part, and his heart hungers to hear her words.

“You know I still love you, even when you're an ass, right?” The assurance soothes his soul as her soft hands stroke healing warmth across his skin. “I love you when we fight and I love you when we make up. I love you even when you annoy the shit out of me, and I love you when you drop everything and turn the world upside down just to put a smile on my face, or on Sonia's.” Her green eyes sparkle with emotion. “I love you when you're inside of me, I love you when you're fast asleep and snoring, and your face does that weird little scrunched up thing as you're waking up …” She laughs, and it's enough to knock loose a tear. She smiles when he lifts a hand to sweep it away. “You'll always be my world, Jareth, and nothing will ever change that.”

He can't speak, can't put the fire inside him into words, and so he does the only thing that he can. He holds her in his arms and kisses her, letting passion and lust consume all, until the need for air finally parts them. She's breathless and smiling when she pulls back, and he rises with her, chasing her mouth. Their lips barely touch before she's pushing him back against the pillows, taking his hands in hers, whispering for him to close his eyes. He obeys, and when she's fully in control once more, she slips her tongue into his mouth. Her fingers squeeze his, her thumbs sliding up across his palms to caress the inside of each wrist. He submits to her will as she urges his arms up above his head, stretching his body out to her liking. Her weight shifts above him, and he hears the soft sounds of her rustling around in their bedside table, but she lowers herself back down before he can worry she's decided to desert him.

“You know, I was thinking, there's a certain toy of yours we haven't played with in a while,” she breathes warm against his mouth. “Something a little naughty … something gold.”

His cock lurches as he realises just what she's talking about. A second later, he feels the cold kiss of metal against his left wrist, and hears the soft snick of a cuff locking into place – a cuff that, bound by magic, will not open again until it's truly willed to. His eyes fly open, and he starts to laugh.

“Oh, now that's just evil. Honestly, I thought you'd teased and tormented me enough for one-”

The words shrivel up on his tongue as he realises that, in spite the chain that's now draped across his wrist, tricking his senses, he's still free. He whips his head to the side, searching for answers, and oh, joy of joys, heaven upon heaven, he sees the golden cuff is locked around Sarah's wrist instead. His eyes snap back to hers. She bares her teeth at him and plucks at his lower lip, sucking him briefly into the hot recess of her mouth before she sees fit to release him. Her lips are soft and wet, the embodiment of temptation as they graze his own to whisper: “You wanted victory earlier tonight, didn't you, Goblin King? Well, now's your chance to take it. Hell, I'll even pretend to fear you, if you want.”

With a sly little smile, she twists his hand and drops the other, open cuff into his palm. “Just where that goes is up to you,” she tells him. “You can chain me to the bed, or chain me to your throne, if you like. Chain me down in the deepest, darkest oubliette you can find, and fuck me until I can't scream any more. The choice is yours. Just for tonight, I thought I might be completely and utterly yours, to do whatever you want with.”

Jareth swallows hard, his mind already galloping ahead with thoughts of riding crops, spanking paddles, and so much more. He imagines her straining against her bonds until her pale wrists are reddened and tender, her body begging for a release only he can give her. He has so much to give her, so many tricks and toys he can tease her with, he hardly knows where to begin. He knows he has hesitated for too long when he hears Sarah's soft laughter.

“What's wrong, can't think of what you want? I thought you'd be all over me by now.”

He smiles. “Give me a minute, love. When you offer a man everything he could ever dream of, you have to let him figure out what he wants first.” She goes easily enough when he rolls her onto her back, longing and expectation in her eyes as he covers her body with his. He weighs the empty cuff in his hand as he takes in the sight of her beneath him. “After all,” he murmurs, before he kisses her lips, “there are so many possibilities … so many ways for me to have you … so many ways to make you beg me …” His mouth moves lower, nipping at the tender skin that lines her pale throat. “I'm afraid one night won't be enough.”

Though she's already distracted by the attention of his lips and teeth, and the weight of his hips against hers, she still manages a chuckle. “You can shift time, can't you?”

“Mmm. Is that a challenge I hear?”

“I think you'd be disappointed if I didn't challenge you every now and then.”

“If this is where it leads to, I hope you never stop. Never change, love – never.”

As he brings his mouth back to hers, caught up in the welcoming heat of her body and her kiss, the lust and love they'll always share, he knows that's a wish she'll keep on granting.