Categories > Movies > Labyrinth > 3,564 Clappers Later

Ballroom Revisited

by shadowlurker13 0 reviews

In which J tries to overcome Sarah's lingering dancing trauma with ludicrous props as well as introducing her to the more fun applications of a 'come-hither' spell...

Category: Labyrinth - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Romance - Published: 2017-07-20 - 6715 words - Complete

Chapter 8 - Ballroom Revisited
Life had been strangely normal at the Williams residence for about a week now. Jareth had officially been living with Sarah for two weeks and three days. In that entire period of time she had never seen him use a bathroom once. Initially curious, Sarah quickly came to the decision that there were just certain things that one didn’t ask about. Apart from being generally strange in habit and manner (and occasionally annoying) he was doing his best to make himself useful. The apartment was cleaner than it had ever been in the eleven years she had lived there. He had even been doing part of the cooking via the microwave, which was a godsend on nights when she didn’t come home until 10:00 or later - he always left her portion in the fridge. The spice combinations he came up with were imminently palatable but downright outlandish sometimes and Sarah had to reflect that he came from a very different culture - who knew what he considered normal food at home?

Jareth’s experiments to strengthen his power continued but with rapidly declining results. Sarah was beginning to secretly worry that ‘civil methods’ - testing her in any variety of ways, literally anything that crossed his mind that wouldn’t actually hurt her - were ultimately going to fail him and he would end up doing something drastic one day that they would both regret. In any event, things seemed to be going fairly smoothly right now. Or so she thought.

Sarah noticed the Latin music emanating from her apartment again as she entered the building one afternoon - she had left work early again (well, really on time but it was early for her - she had been feeling guilty for having to leave Jareth all by himself so often) and he seemed to be playing it at a more respectable level this time.

At least he’s found something he enjoys here, she thought with a wry little smile as she walked up the stairs - he hadn’t even noticed that she was home. She had nearly caught him in the act a couple of times before but he always turned it off the moment she reached the landing and opened the door for her, pretending nothing had been going on almost like he was embarrassed of it. She figured it was just another of his quirks and had thought nothing of it - until today. It was still playing when she reached her door. Sarah simply shrugged and dug her keys out of her purse, fitting the right one into the lock and opening the door. What happened next really only took a couple of seconds but to Sarah it felt like years: Jareth had pushed all of the furniture out of the way and was dancing by himself in the living room. But not just any kind of dancing. Ballroom dancing. Latin ballroom. He did a couple of quick, sensuous steps and took his invisible partner for a slow dip. Sarah slammed the door shut and ran down the stairs as fast as her legs would carry her - there was no way in hell this was happening! Jareth looked up just in time to see her go as quickly as she came and was out the door on the landing in a flash, leaning over the banister, calling after her.

“Sarah! What’s wrong? Where are you going?”

“To check into a hotel, and I think I’m going to stay there until you change your mind!”

“Oh Sarah, really,” he laughed, his rich, warm voice echoing inside the stairwell. She finally stopped, steps from the door, and looked up. Straight into that devastating smile and strangely kind eyes, full of good-humored mirth.

Damn him. Sarah heaved a great sigh and forced herself to march back up the stairs past him into her apartment. This time he closed and locked the door behind her, his eyes following her over to the windowsill. The radio was sitting there, still blaring - she turned it off before speaking to him. “So that was your big secret?”

“Keeping it a secret from you nearly got me killed by the High Court, but yes; I had hoped to surprise you.”

“Oh it was a surprise alright,” Sarah nodded vaguely, still a bit dazed by what had just happened.

“It looked more like shock to me,” Jareth said guardedly, concernedly observing her.

She looked right at him. “You, of course, know why, right?”


She closed her eyes and bowed her head, embarrassed, her expression pained.

“Do we have to go through with this?” She heard him exhale before crossing the room to her. To Sarah’s amazement, he lightly hugged her.

“No, I don’t suppose we have to,” he said quietly, “but I’d like to. Will you at least consider it?”

She opened her eyes and looked up at him. “For the power?”

“And for you.” He released her and took a couple of steps back, giving her back her ‘personal bubble’. Yet another human psychological need he was learning to accommodate; sometimes it was easier if he visualized it literally.

Sarah looked sarcastically incredulous, slightly shaking her head. “For me - since when has any of this crazy operation been about helping me?”

“Since you have such a strong - and I might add unnatural - aversion to dancing with a partner that you literally ran from me just now,” he pointed to the door.

“Well, there are some things that you just don’t forget,” she sulked, crossing her arms, looking away.

His voice went quiet. “I could make you forget. Right here. Right now.”

Sarah seemed to think about it for a moment then quickly shook her head no.

He simply gave a nod to her decision. “It is amazing that you remember it in the first place.”

A couple of silent minutes went by as she began to pace the floor. Jareth could tell that she was trying to come to terms with the idea of dancing with him again and it wasn’t going to be as easy a decision as keeping the memory of the first time had been. She was lightly gritting her teeth from time to time. “Would it help if I answered some questions for you?”

Sarah stopped and deliberately made eye contact but the sentence she was trying to make came out in a disjointed blurt.

“Calm down, Sarah.” he reassured her, “Form your thoughts. There’s no hurry.” He sat down in the recliner and put up the foot rest, laying it back, folding his arms behind his head.

Seeing him lie prone in his usual ensemble - a revealingly open white poet shirt, skin-tight grey breeches she could’ve sworn were actually tights and knee-high black leather riding boots - was a distraction that Sarah had not anticipated. Staying concentrated on the problem at hand and not on the coaxingly tempting figure spilled out before her was not easy; it bordered on evil, really. Sarah half-wondered if he was doing it subconsciously just to throw her for a loop - it was certainly working as he fixed her with his calmly aristocratic gaze, awaiting his inquisition. She forced herself to swallow and carefully voiced her first question.

“Who were those other people at the… uh… Ball?”

“Ah yes, bad times compounded with bad company. Well,” he changed his view to straight ahead - the ceiling, “you were only in the Firey Forest when I decided to fabricate one of your favorite fairytales. I found your little accomplice running in the opposite direction on the outskirts of the hedge maze.”

Sarah cringed to think of Hoggle running away from her like the coward he wasn’t. Jareth didn’t miss her look of disappointment and was secretly pleased - being emotionally upstaged by a dwarf had been just plain wrong.

“I was initially going to leave him alone when he suddenly heard your cries for help and actually changed his mind - and his course - he could tell from the echoes off of the nearby walls where you were. I don’t know what he told you but I did force that peach on him - it was vital to the spell that you ate at least part of it, ideally all of it.”

“It tasted strange - I only took one bite,” Sarah proudly pointed out.

“I know; I was watching you. If the flavor was off that was my fault, that particular potion isn’t an easy taste to cover. It should’ve been a pomegranate,” he tisked offhandedly. “Oh well,” he gave her a sly, guilty smile. He was such a incorrigible rogue that Sarah sometimes liked him in spite of herself. “At any rate, that left the ballroom. Such a place is easy enough to fabricate; it is not unheard of for a high-ranking fae to make a new room for every party, but, try as one might, believably conscious guests are surprisingly hard to conjure. I was beginning to fear that I would simply have to dress up my goblins when I remembered that my elder brother Sylvanias was holding a dinner party that night. I should have been in attendance but I was excused due to…matters of state,” he looked at her rather pointedly before continuing. “Anyway, I asked him if I could borrow about a two dozen of his courtiers for a couple of hours, explaining my situation.”


Jareth gave a short laugh. “He thought it was an ingenious idea and agreed to send them when the time was right to cast the spell.” He stopped smiling. “I should’ve anticipated that they would be intoxicated. Sylvanias tends to throw wild parties even by our standards. Dinner is usually the only civil part of the whole evening and sometimes decorum doesn’t even hold together that long. I’ve watched a couple of his ‘state dinners’ turn into orgies right there at the table.”

“Oh my god,” Sarah breathed, putting a hand over her mouth, eyes wide.

“Like I said, it was a bad idea,” Jareth winced, putting a hand over his eyes. “I realized in a hurry that the crowd I received was going to be very hard to control. They were given strict orders not to lay so much as a finger on you nor to let on to the ruse. It didn’t keep them from being smug, though. It is rare for a human to get good treatment in my world under any circumstances, let alone as part of a glamour, because they are viewed as an inferior species on the whole by sidhe society; hence the settlements, so that the few humans that are there don’t have to deal with the cruel commentary and the prying eyes of the masses.”

Sarah was at once disgusted and indignant. “Do you see me as inferior?”

He levelly met her eyes. “No. Both species have their strengths and weaknesses. It is difficult for us to bear children due to the fluidity of our physical natures while it is so easy for a human that it can happen by accident. You have grand religions that center around eternal life because you are so scared to die; death is the main source of grief in your world. Some of my people have begged to die, to end their existence because it has become too miserable to continue, they have seen too much, lived through too much - death would be mercy - and yet they live on and on and on.”

He seemed to almost shudder at the thought, staring off into space at some distantly remembered horror that Sarah couldn’t even begin to imagine. The closest thing she could compare that particular look to was documentaries she had seen of old World War II veterans being forced to recall the atrocities they had lived through. She walked over and put her hand on his and he immediately came back to earth and gave her a small, grateful smile.

“It isn’t about who’s stronger or who’s smarter,” he sounded fed up with the whole thing, “it’s about what we can offer each other.” He flipped his hand over and gave hers a momentary squeeze, his gaze at once pleading and serious. “This universe made us to work together.” He released her hand and looked away, sighing. “Unfortunately, there are precious few on my side who could live with that. Some don’t even deign to converse with fae beings conceived of as being ‘below them.’ They weren’t just laughing at you dear; they were laughing at us. I was deliberately ignoring them to save face. I know they frightened you; bigotry should always frighten one. One of the ladies had the nerve to tell me to my face that you were too young!”

“Well she was right, I was!”

“Be that as it may,” he continued levelly, “publicly reprimanding royalty is tantamount to spitting in my eye.”

Sarah quietly gasped, a little smile starting to creep across her face in dawning realization before her hand went to cover her mouth. It did not go unnoticed - Jareth had a caustically sarcastic look on his face as he nodded assent.

“Yes, dear, they were pissing me off too.”

Sarah gave a laugh in spite of herself.

“My own trap closing in on me; amusing, I know, but there wasn’t much I could do about it with the game at stake. If all had gone according to plan, I would’ve danced with you for one hour precisely, perhaps waxing romantic, fueling your fantasies, - well you were old enough to have them, dear, but you were completely inexperienced and painfully naïve. Having those women drape all over me was a not-so-subtle hint.”

“Really. I didn’t get that.”

“Well, perhaps I should’ve gotten you a pony instead,” he teased, not missing a beat of her sarcasm - it was just too much fun to bait her. “But it wouldn’t have been as much fun,” he smiled. “Tiring you out needlessly was of course a side benefit for me because you would have eventually fallen asleep in the cushioned pit in the middle of the room with your ‘escort’ beside you - you had already exerted yourself so much in the hours prior that it was inevitable had you stayed; I had counted on it, in fact. The next morning you would’ve woken up in your own bed with no recollection whatsoever of what had transpired the previous night. My goblins would have removed all of the items associated with your little brother from the house. All memories gone.” He made a pass with his hand as if to wipe something away. “It would have been as if he had never existed at all.”

Sarah shivered at the thought, looking away. But…

“Whoa, wait just a minute,” she interjected, “where in this scenario did I forfeit?”

Jareth closed his eyes - he had been hoping she wouldn’t notice that and he could just gloss over it as if it were nothing. Then again, with Sarah there was no such thing as easy. He met her gaze again.

“I would’ve had to kiss you,” he said quietly.

Sarah finally sat down on the edge of the coffee table, stunned. She had won, not by seconds but by mere inches; he had been closing in for the kill when she had finally gotten scared of the situation and pushed him away.

“The moment that you gave into me and returned it, it would’ve all been over. Anything you said or did afterwards wouldn’t have made the slightest bit of difference even if you made it all the way to the end.”

Sarah openly glared at him, slowly shaking her head.

“Of all the dirty… rotten tricks I have ever heard of,” she chewed out, “that one’s easily the lowest.”

Jareth was silent for a little over a minute, trying to come up with something, anything, to counter her scathing accusation. She was absolutely right, of course, but there had been a certain amount of concern for her in that madness. He had known that she couldn’t get much farther in the course without running into the mass of the goblin hoard itself and he had wanted to be able to stop her and send her home before he would be forced by the rules to send them after her. He had almost originally thought of it as a fitting consolation prize for her having done so admirably. What young woman wouldn’t enjoy a fantasy like that? Sarah certainly had - that is, once he had plucked her from the jeering, lascivious crowd.

My goblins would’ve been better behaved, he thought to himself, a bit irked at the memory. At least they know who’s boss.


He leaned forward to look at her. “Well what?”

“What do you have to say for yourself?”

“You’re right,” he said simply, eyes apologetic, “but it seemed the least painful way to go about it.” He lay back down and continued. “But, as you so vividly remember in spite of my badly miscalculated efforts, we never got that far. As things turned out, when the party went sour with all of them crowding around us at the end, you bolted and I knew the game was up - you weren’t going to willingly kiss me if your life depended on it. It was a horrid mess; you were running scared half out of your wits and to me it seemed that there was no escape for you. I didn’t realize that you would be able to break the spell on your own,” he said, looking a bit thoughtful. “That in itself was a very bad sign: it meant that you were gaining power - my power - and much too fast. I wasn’t going to be able to hold out much longer and my next steps had to be chosen with the upmost care. But what you did in the end was unknowingly enact justice for us both. It was priceless, watching those snotty, sorry excuses for aristocracy grappling for footholds, screaming like that as the floor went out.” He smiled at the memory. “It was the perfect revenge because a ‘lowly’ human girl had pulled it off, completely destroying a fae-engineered trap. I almost found that enough punishment myself for them ruining everything that night but Sylvanias insisted on removing all of them individually from the guest lists for the rest of the season. Social disgrace.”

“And the fake bedroom?”

“An attempt to salvage the previous plan. Only you didn’t stay in there and,” he pointedly cleared his throat, “go back to sleep.” Sarah thought.

“My dress?”

He smiled. “What about it? Want it back? I can do that.”

Sarah laughed a bit embarrassed. She would have given the world for that once upon a time. “No, no, it’s not that.”

His features took on such a look of honest, crestfallen disappointment that she almost changed her mind. Almost.

“It’s just that…how did you…dress me?”

One of his eyebrows went up at her suggestive speculations as a dangerous little smile curved around half of his mouth. Oh dear it had been tempting but he had remained a gentleman - something about exposing her young body to his ancient, jaded eyes while potioned and enchanted just hadn’t been right.

“Like I clothe myself.”

“Whomp, there it is,” she said quietly.

“I beg your pardon?”

“Oh it’s nothing,” she laughed, looking at the ceiling for a moment, “just a lyric from some stupid, old song that used to be popular back-in-the-day.”

“Well really it’s more like ‘blink and there it is’ but I think I get the idea,” he furrowed his eyebrows playfully, smiling. “Anything else?”

“…how on earth was I able to follow you dancing? That was no mere waltz, Jareth, we were running all over the floor!”

“Now that bit of extra planning actually paid off. I had you enchanted within the other spell.”

“What?! Good grief, you got me three times?!”

“Yes,” he stated matter-of-factly, nodding.

“Boy, you sure weren’t taking any chances,” she smirked, shaking her head.

“Well I couldn’t exactly say to the company at large ‘Excuse me but I must now go and associate my young and inexperienced dance partner with all the nuances of advanced ballroom technique for the next couple of weeks’ - it simply wasn’t practical. I was only using a form of conscious magnetism, colloquially called the ‘come-hither.’”

That’s why I was following him around the room! “Come-hither? You mean like Dracula?!”

“Better. Nosferatu never had much of a sense of touch.”

“Oh my.”

“It’s nothing to be afraid of - at least not from me. Would you like me to demonstrate it for you?”

Sarah looked incredibly suspicious. “Why?”

“I thought I might try utilizing it while you’re learning to dance; the process will go much more quickly.”

Sarah started slowly shaking her head. “…I don’t know if that’s such a good idea-”

Jareth felt her growing tension and apprehension just below the surface and righted the recliner, getting up so fast it she almost jumped.

“Switch with me, only just sit.” Sarah eyed him curiously but did as she was bid. He scrutinized her position for a couple of seconds. “Cross your legs on the chair and angle away right.”

“Okay, what are you up to?”

“You’ll see,” he smiled.

Darn you and your tests. Sarah warily complied. Within moments he had brushed her hair aside and had started to nimbly massage the higher part of her neck up into the divot at the base of her skull with his right hand. It was so relaxing that her neck immediately dropped forward and her vision swam as she closed her eyes against the wondrous sensation. She literally couldn’t respond for a while it was so relaxing mentally but her conscious train of thought slowly fought its way back to the fore.

“…what are you-”

“Just craniosacral massage; keep talking, dear.” His voice seemed to have no direction at all yet it sounded very near, no doubt part of her currently altered sensory perception.

“Who do you think you are, my therapist?” she lazily smiled.

“I got you into this mess and I am bound and determined to get you out of it. Speak, dear friend,” he urged her gently, quietly. “Those questions were only scratching the surface of what truly bothers you about this.”

“It was disturbing! It was filthy!” she exclaimed. “In retrospect, some of those masks could’ve been dildoes!”

“Some of them probably were,” he noted dryly.

“All right, I did not need to know that!”


“I…I just felt so defiled, I mean I know nothing actually happened in there, but…….but…”

“I know.”

“No, you don’t know! You don’t know what it’s like to suddenly find yourself in a room where the only reason that the people in it aren’t openly having sex right there on the floor is because they’re clothed!”

“I believe that I can confidently assure you that none of that is going to happen this time around. It’ll just be you and me and about three-dozen normal humans just out to have a good time. And I’m footing the bill.”

Sarah blinked. “What? How?”

With his free hand he stuck a $20 bill in front of her face.

“Dancing isn’t the only thing that I have been practicing in your absence.” He stopped massaging her and she took the bill in both hands, sitting back into the chair in shock, staring at it.

She looked up at him, wide-eyed. “Is this real?”

“No, I made it,” he smiled smugly. “What do you think? Will it pass?”

“Do you have any idea how much jail time I’ll have to do it we get caught?”

“I’m serious, how well does it match? I’ve done this numerous times with coinage but not so much with paper. It was hard getting the grain coloring right.”

Sarah examined it carefully. The weight and design seemed right on both sides, he’d even forged the serial numbers well. It was exactly like a crisp $20. Then she held it to the light. “Almost,” she said. “You forgot the watermark.”

“Did I? Let me see.”

Sarah leaned forward for a minute and dug her wallet out of her purse on the floor by the chair, produced a real one, and handed it to Jareth. He looked through it with the light from the window.

“I did miss it. Better fix that right away.” He took the forged one from her and held it up in his right hand so they were side-by-side. The faded vignette of Andrew Jackson appeared in the correct position. But it still didn’t look quite right to Sarah.

“Make it blurrier….more……still more ……….less…..just a little more...stop! That’s it!” If Sarah hadn’t known which was the real one beforehand she certainly wouldn’t have been able to tell now.

He turned and handed hers back to her with a mischievous smirk. Placing the fake in his upturned left palm and bringing his hand perpendicular to his torso he covered the bill with his right hand so that his hands were stacked opposite each other. With a sound akin to shuffling a deck of cards, Sarah gaped as Jareth made the one bill into a stack of counterfeits almost an inch thick!

“All the serial numbers had better be different on all those,” she warned him.

“No two are alike,” he assured her. He gave the pile to Sarah for inspection and she thumbed through it - it was like holding a real wad of dough, it even had that weird ink smell. She handed it back to him with a look of caution.

“All I can say is you’d better be careful. Try not to carry more than a hundred in currency on your person at any given time.”

“I will try to remember. Now for the come-hither.”

Sarah winced, looking away.

“I give you my word that I won’t make you do anything even remotely suggestive.”

She looked at him: his face was sincere. “…….fine, what do I have to do?”

“Get over to the far wall over there,” he gestured to the end of the hallway nearest the front door. She got up and walked over. He strode to the very end of the hall by her bedroom door and turned to face her. “All right, I am going to turn it on now, full-strength so that you can actually feel it. There won’t be mistaking this for anything else.”

He lightly opened his arms in a welcoming posture, his face completely passive. Without her own conscious volition, Sarah found herself walking smoothly towards him! She tried stopping but she couldn’t and trying to go backwards only lengthened her strides forwards. She couldn’t even break his eye contact. It should’ve scared her to death but she was perfectly calm and clear-thinking.

“See? You have complete control of your mental capabilities. Only your body is obeying me.”

“Okay, this is just plain freaky, Jareth.”

“Understandably so,” his voice was kind, reassuring. “Other than the strangeness, are you feeling alright? I‘m not tinkering at all with your breathing or heart rate; that should remain natural.”

“…I think so.”


When she reached him she figured he was going to hold her but to her surprise he suddenly dropped his arms and tapped her on the shoulder with his index finger.

“Tag - you’re it!” He dove past her back down the hallway laughing and she found herself involuntarily chasing him all around her apartment!


“Well you never said anything about embarrassing behavior!” he whirled around to face her, impishly grinning. “Okay, stop! Simon says lift your right arm……..Simon says lift your right leg…… hop on one foot - Simon didn’t say!” he crowed.

“In about two seconds you are going to lose the privilege of sleeping in this apartment!” Sarah ground out through her teeth.

“Alright, alright, stand normally, I’m sorry, it was far too tempting,” he said, stifling a laugh.

“Just undo it.”

“Humor me just once more and then I’ll end it. Come here.”

They had ended up in the kitchen. He walked backwards in front of her and she followed him to the edge of the living room, unable to look away from his eyes. She swallowed against the sensation, the only comfort was that it was being caused by someone she knew. It was almost like possession only she could still think. And in spite of all that, there was something indefinably …kinky about it, that was the word, him having complete control over her body like that. There were probably fae fetishes surrounding this kind of behavior. No wonder he felt the need to reassure her that he wasn’t going to do anything. All of the furniture was still against the walls so there was a fair amount of space in the room. He took her to the far left wall by the bookshelf.

“Wait here,” he smiled. She turned to face him as he paced backwards to the opposite side of the room, his hands clasped behind his back. He stopped when he reached the wall. “Now, all this takes is what this whole process takes: faith, and trust” - she watched in wonder as he looked thoughtfully skyward with his hands clasped behind his back and rose a foot off the floor - “and a little something else.” With a smirk he reached out into the air and made a slow gesture with his right hand as if he were plucking something up ever so carefully: Sarah felt herself rising off of the floor to hang suspended with him, her pulse and breathing quickening with the realization that she was hovering, technically stranded in midair! She wasn’t sure whether to be panicked or exhilarated. He genuinely smiled at her reaction.

“You’ve wanted to fly ever since you saw a staging of Peter Pan for the first time when you were a little girl. Now, I understand that this isn’t quite the same as doing it on your own with a sprinkling of fairy dust but it’s the best I can manage - classical levitation and teleportation can take the better part of a century to master and it is significantly more difficult for your species. No need to be frightened, love: I promise I won’t let you fall.” He held out his right hand for her, leaning forward slightly, letting his legs trail behind him so he was further off the ground. She automatically mirrored him and started floating toward him! She glanced down momentarily and saw her feet not touching the floor, the air was supporting her like water as if she were doing the dead man’s float. All her limbs were relaxed, there was no exertion at all; it was ridiculously easy. She was completely suspended, held up by his will.

“This is so trippy,” she giggled.

“Trippy?” he sounded amused.

“Like something that can’t be real, that has to be a hallucination or a dream, but isn’t.” Like you, she thought suddenly.

“So you like it then?”

“I’d like it better if I was in control of my body, but yeah.” She reached him and he caught her right hand, pulling her close.

“So do I,” he grinned roguishly. He deftly switched hands holding her arm over her head and gave her a fast twirl as if they were dancing. Sarah gave a yell of surprise and then laughed, realizing what he was doing, the adrenaline still pumping through her veins as he caught her from behind by the waist as she caught her breath. They were both slightly turning from the momentum of that last motion when he leaned in close, his lips grazing the back of her earlobe as he murmured against it, “Now, this isn’t all that bad, is it?” Sarah’s eyes fluttered closed as sensation trickled through her and it took quite a bit of willpower for her not to melt into him right then and there with him bracing her to himself - her limbs were already completely relaxed, not to mention at his mercy, and Sarah found the idea strangely arousing. A treacherous part of her wanted to lean back into his mouth, to know the feeling of his warm, soft lips upon her skin.

A devilish little smile graced Jareth’s countenance: she was starting to lose her inner fight. Soon she would be his. “I’d better put you back down or I just might forget I gave you my word; you are entrancing like this.” He cleared his throat and they both hovered back to the floor. He turned her around and placed a chaste kiss on her forehead, making her blush. “You’re free.” He took a couple of large steps back, allowing her room, as Sarah paced and stretched a bit, running in place for a couple of seconds. Humans always seemed to need to reassure themselves that they were still capable of controlling their bodies after such a strong and obvious magnetism spell. “All right?”

“Yeah, just…just give me a minute,” she waved him off, walking away. Jareth nodded and sat down on the couch, shoving the coffee table back out with his feet - it was never just a minute. Sarah came back in with a glass of water, crashing in the recliner in obvious relief.

“I did it for far too long, didn’t I?”

She nodded. “Is it always that noticeable?”

“Rarely. I just wanted you to see it for what it really is. Historically I have led a strange life and who knows what turn events may take. You might even run into another fae someday who will be able to tell that you’ve had previous interaction with the species and get curious. I want you to be able to recognize how this particular spell feels on the off chance that it may happen again in a situation that I am no part of. It is surprisingly common procedure when dealing with a human one does not entirely trust.”

She stopped and looked right at him. “You’ve done this before.”

“Of course.”


“…oh, any number of reasons,” he sighed, leaning back, looking a bit bored. “Trespassing. Physical threat. Friendly coercion to get information. You name it, it’s been done. And torture is not something that is undertaken lightly or often, if for no other reason than it is extremely illegal to do so without just cause as it is determined case by case by the High Court,” he said, very pointedly making eye contact as he openly read her mind for the umpteenth time; she’d given up trying to stop him a long time ago. It would bother her a lot more if he were judgmental…but he never was. Never. He seemed to do it mostly because he genuinely wanted to understand her better. He finally looked away, laying his head back on the top of the sofa and closed his eyes for a moment. Sarah had never given any real, serious thought to the true repercussions of aiding and abetting someone like Jareth.

He must have his share of enemies, she thought as she took a few swallows of water. He’s afraid of me being used…or being a weak link, yikes I hadn’t thought of that.

He stood up abruptly and stretched. “Ready for your first dance lesson?”

“Boy, when you get an idea into that head it sure doesn’t go anywhere.”

“No,” he smiled down at her playfully. She sighed and got up as well, putting down her glass on the coffee table. “In fact, it’s probably the reason you haven’t kicked me out yet.”


He looked at her with a soft chuckle. “You’re stubborn, too. And I wouldn’t have it any other way; a malleable woman is a boring woman.”

Sarah blinked in surprise. “Did you just actually break down and call me a woman?”

“Oh - sorry - it won’t happen again,” he teased.

“You’re impossible!” she laughed.

“I do have a reputation to maintain.”

He assumed the traditional waltz stance and looked at her like ‘well?’ Sarah rolled her eyes then looked back at him. He was trying to look serious. And was failing miserably; the corner of his mouth kept twitching.

He’s hopeless, she thought. Better go help him or he’ll just stand there all night like the stubborn mule he is. She could swear she saw a twinkle in his eye for a moment. Her heart was pounding as she forced herself to walk up to him. She tentatively placed her right hand in his ice-pale upturned one and rested her left hand on his shoulder, almost afraid to give him her weight and actually accept the support, she couldn’t meet his eyes. She watched as his right hand caught her waist with a practiced grip that seemed second nature - just firm enough to lead her and no more - while he clasped her right hand lightly as if it were something delicate that one must take care not to break, like porcelain or fine china. It was exactly like she remembered. She found herself staring at her feet; it was uncomfortably like being a teenager all over again.

“I’m never going to live through this,” she laughed nervously, shaking her head, eyes closed. When she opened them again and looked up at him his face was a mask of serene patience. He had anticipated that this was not going to be easy but he had hoped that he wasn’t going to have to actually enchant her just to keep her from being self-conscious.

“Yes, you are,” he did his best to emanate calm and almost immediately Sarah sighed in relief, accepting the formal embrace, relaxing. “Now, this come-hither spell is going to be extremely light in comparison to what you just experienced; you should even be able to consciously work against it. It is only there to show you when you have made a mistake. As you increase in proficiency I shall use it less and less until you don’t require it at all. And you can’t afford to look at your feet - I know you want to but it’s a bad habit and one that’s hard to break later. I know where we’re both going; look at me. Now shall we begin?”

“Okay,” she said shyly, unsure of herself.

He smiled down at her. She could be lovely without meaning to be. “Alright, then you start with your right foot and it’s front, 2, 3 - to the left-”

“Who’s left?”

“Yours. Directions are always given in difference to the lady, so left, 2, 3 - back, 2, 3, - side, 2, 3. Again.”

Jareth was a surprisingly patient teacher, not rushing her through the steps, letting her take her time. Sarah was having the light sensation that they were attached at the ankles as if they were tied together by something lighter than air yet more buoyant than a rubber band. The next time around she awkwardly stepped to the wrong side thinking they had to alternate and she felt it stretch as she pulled against it.

“See? That’s all that happens. Just use your next free foot; no hopping required,” he stifled a smile. “Ready to add the turn?”
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