Categories > Movies > Labyrinth > 3,564 Clappers Later

Forbidden Fruit

by shadowlurker13 0 reviews


Category: Labyrinth - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Romance - Published: 2017-07-21 - 8944 words - Complete

Chapter 19 - Forbidden Fruit

The dinner was prepared. The candles were lit. The music was in place for later and so was the spell that altered his bed into a low stage with a Persian rug. With any luck, Sarah wouldn’t have to work a long day. She should be home any minute now. Earlier that day, Jareth had finally received the long-awaited communication from Morgan that contained what she had gleaned from the bylaws and fine print that governed their world and his fears were confirmed: if he didn’t plan on waiting for Sarah to die, one way or another he had to bring her back with him. She either had to marry him to release him out of that contract or they would have to forcibly drain her, an idea he found quite unsavory. The only other chance was if it would transfer itself to its rightful owner during physical bonding, which in itself concluded with her going with him due to how it changed a human but perhaps it was the least painful of the above choices. At least it was pleasurable and afterwards if she wanted nothing to do with him she could go to the human colony; it was close enough that she wouldn’t even feel the pull of the connection. Morgan still had no idea that he had already located Sarah; his messages were choppy at best and they didn’t seem to be getting any better so he mostly listened. She actually apologized this time, almost as if she anticipated never seeing him again.

“I am sorry that I have failed you, brother mine. Perhaps we shall meet again in another world.”

“You didn’t fail-”

And then the connection was gone. So here he was, prepared to completely sunder the precious trust that he had been cultivating between them. He had felt strangely all afternoon; guilt was an emotion he wasn’t used to and he was doing his best to ignore it. Better that he do this himself than leave her to the mercy of his peers. At last he heard the sound of her key in the lock and he vanished.

Sarah opened the door and did a double-take. The blinds were closed, shutting out the evening light. All the lights were off but it wasn’t dark - there were white candles of various thicknesses strategically placed all throughout her living room; they all had a kind of magic glitter coating them like the one she had seen in that oubliette. She had a sudden feeling of trepidation. What on earth was going on? She cautiously came in and closed the door.


No response. She put her things down. The place definitely smelled like he had just prepared dinner. She walked into the kitchen and found a veritable banquet laid out: an herbed-roasted chicken, an assortment of colorful root vegetables and a platter of fresh fruit festooned the little table along with more candles. The two place settings looked like they should’ve been in a museum: the flatware was carved light-green marble with a Celtic knot work border that matched the silverware, a two-pronged fork and a sharp-looking unserrated knife. But the most notable thing was what Sarah guessed were wine goblets: they were carved from solid amethyst with gold trim but were very broad and shallow with a short stem - she wasn’t even sure how to pick one up! Jareth appeared right behind her.


She jumped slightly but the reaction was considerably muted compared to what it used to be. She sighed with a smirk.

“You,” she looked over her shoulder.

“Were you expecting someone else?” he lightly teased.

“You said you were going to stop doing that.”

“But then it wouldn’t have been a surprise, now would it?” he smiled. She suddenly noticed as he stepped to her side that he was wearing some of the earth clothing she had bought him, the black outfit.

“Oh, it’s a surprise,” she nodded at the table, smiling. “What’s the occasion?”

“I finally got the information I needed today from my sister. I should be able to return home four days hence on the full of the moon, thanks to you.” He brought the back of her right hand to his lips and lightly kissed it. “I thought a celebration was in order.” He gestured her to her seat and pulled out the chair for her, pushing it in neatly as she sat down.

Four days! It felt strangely quick after all those months living under the same roof. She never would’ve guessed it the day he charged back into her life at the Gemini Café but she was going to miss him terribly when he left, she thought as she watched him take his own seat across from her with a bit of a knowing smile lingering about his face. He made a rising gesture with his left hand and the goblets filled with white wine from the bottom up. Sarah lightly gasped but it melted into a fond smirk.

“You just have to show off.”

Jareth shrugged. “It’s my nature.” He scooped up his goblet with his whole hand, the stem wedged between his fingers. “To the best hostess in two worlds and a bright future for us both.”

Sarah managed to pick hers up similarly and they reached across the table and toasted with a crystalline clink. Sarah took a swallow but Jareth knocked back his like a shot and refilled his goblet once he’d put it back down.

“Where’s that coming from anyway?”

“Your pantry, next to the tequila,” he stated wryly, getting up to serve her. “White or dark meat?”

“White, please.” They’d shared plenty of meals together but this one felt different somehow, like he was going out of his way to pamper her. Probably because it was his last chance to do so. They had maintained their bizarre cat-and-mouse sort of relationship that was doomed but went on anyway as if it were the most natural thing in the world. The mutual stalemate attraction couldn’t be helped, apparently. He finished slicing her one of the breasts, putting it on her plate before serving himself a thigh and drumstick.

“Go ahead and start before it gets cold,” he gestured to the rest of it. “I hope you like it. This was as close as I could come to recreating the indigenous foodstuffs of my realm. We buy imports from my brother Sylvanias’ kingdom to the north and a few specialties from the human colony but this is what is native to the Labyrinth land itself. I would’ve brought some over with the dishes and whatnot but you can’t eat faery food without staying there; it’s the law.”

Sarah froze. “But the peach?”

“What peach?”

She almost started to gape at the realization but wisely stuffed her mouth with some herbed purple carrots instead. Savory and spicy with just a twinge of mint. Not bad. She nodded approval. He quirked a smile and sat back down to devour his own meal.

“You know, your local law enforcement is quite the nuisance,” he said between bites.

“Oh no, what did you do now?” she groaned.

“Apparently having a fire outside is illegal in this city. Ridiculous ordinance. Not to worry, I paid the ticket but I was forced to finish preparing this meal on the roof of your building, dispelling the smoke to remain undetected.”

“You cooked this on top of my apartment complex?”

“Yes,” he said matter-of-factly. Sarah quietly laughed to herself, shaking her head a little, and started on the chicken; it was seasoned similarly but a bit more sweet, honey glaze maybe.


“Remind me to show you a grocery store rotisserie,” she smiled, taking another sip of wine.

“Speaking of innovation, how’s the great invention of the 21st earth century coming along? Almost finished?”

“Oh, it’s finished all right,” she laughed humorlessly, eying her plate and pointedly spearing a few raspberries. “In fact, it’s cancelled.”

Jareth stopped in mid fork-lift and put both utensils down on his plate with an immediate look of sympathy. “Oh, Sarah, I’m so sorry love. Did the extra time not help, then?”

She shook her head no. “We’ve been going around in circles with this thing. There are too many interconnected problems and no foreseeable solutions that work for all of them at once. It was a pipe dream that we would be able to do this. It’s all it ever was. People have been trying to construct a vehicle like this since the solar battery was invented. All we’ve done is proven that it’s impossible.”

He reached way across the table to put his hand on hers for a moment, a small gesture of support. He withdrew it and sat back up. “So, what happens next?”

“Well, Nikola Motors ships out and takes their business elsewhere. Everyone on this project will be reassigned new tasks on Monday. There’s been some talk of algae that produces more than one kind of fuel. Lots of genetic engineering.” She didn’t sound very excited and he didn’t wonder why; it sounded terribly boring in comparison to what she’d just been working on.

“Will you still be with Irina?”

She shook her head no. “They don’t like to partner us up with the same people twice in a row. Theory is if you mix us up, new ideas might come from different combinations of people. I’ll still see her around, just not as much.” Sarah wasn’t entirely comfortable with where this conversation was going; she was going to be awfully lonely losing both of them at the same time. She decided to try to change the topic. “Any big plans for when you get home?”

He sighed. “Try to assess the damage and go from there, I imagine. I’d really rather not think about it right now.”

She nodded. The remainder of the meal was spent in awkward silence. For all his outward reserve, Sarah could tell he was a little tense but she wasn’t entirely sure why. Maybe he had already been thinking plenty about going home assembling all this. No doubt he was right; it was going to be a mess if the little she had seen was any indication of the level of havoc those creatures were capable of. She probably wouldn’t be looking forward to going home to that, either. At length when they were both finished with the main meal and the rest of the bird was put away, the tray of fruit was the centerpiece of the table and they each had a small plate and a fruit knife. Sarah had been doing her best to ignore it all meal but Jareth now reached forward with a quietly teasing little smile and took the rather large extremely ripe peach from the center of the arrangement and halved it, offering her the side without the pit. Sarah hadn’t touched so much as peach-flavored lip balm since that incident, nevermind the actual fruit. She knew he was trying to bury the last of the hatchet but her knee-jerk apprehension was a very old habit by now.

“Is there anything special I need to know about this one?” she asked, eying it carefully.

“It came from a farmers’ market downtown, along with the rest of the meal. The lady who sold them to me said rather proudly that they were from Palisade as if I should know the place.”

“It’s only the best peach growing community in the state.”

“There you have it, then,” he smiled. Sarah cautiously took it from him and placed it on her plate. It smelled ripely perfumed. He looked a bit sad at her hesitancy. “It’s a pity you can’t eat your favorite fruit,” he said quietly. Jareth raised his half, mock-toasted her and took a deliberately large mouthful of it. She couldn’t help but smile as his cheeks bulged and the juice ran down his chin. Quickly before she could think about it she picked hers up and took a bite. And almost cried - at how long it had been since she’d had one! It was perfect! She didn’t stop devouring it until it was gone and her face was a mess. She didn’t realize until she was licking off her fingers that Jareth had swallowed and stopped eating to watch her. He was sporting a triumphant smile. She embarrassedly wiped off her face with her linen napkin and he resumed eating. She sighed, defeated.

“Did you get any more?”

“There’s a whole bag of them in the cupboard,” he pointed to one of the lower ones. “Still hungry?”

“Maybe later. That was quite the feast. Thank you.”

“Not at all.” In less than a day you’ll be cursing my name at the top of your lungs. If I’m lucky. Now to put the rest of the plan into play. He hated this feeling, that he was forced into being her adversary once more but if he waited 50 years for her to die he wouldn’t have anything to go home to except a long prison sentence in all probability for abandoning his kingdom. If there was any kingdom left. So he finished the wine in his goblet - not that it had any effect at all but he could always hope - and proceeded to introduce his trap. If it worked she wouldn’t even realize what was really going on until it was far too late to stop. “Of course, it wouldn’t be a real banquet unless there was some entertainment.”

“I was going to ask you what that area over there was for. Is it a stage?”

You have no idea. “Yes.”

“So, what did you have in mind?”

“Well,” he leaned back in his chair, looking thoughtful, “every man, woman and child of my people can sing, so that really isn’t anything spectacularly interesting and we can all do showy magic when we feel like it but that’s more of a competition atmosphere and those can get pretty ugly all depending on who’s playing. There are usually dancers,” he stated rather pointedly, looking at her. Sarah suddenly blushed, scandalized as the idea sunk in.

“I’m not getting up there and shaking my stuff just because you made dinner!” she laughed. He had known she would refuse but the idea had to be planted suggestively for what he was about to do to have full effect. He simply shrugged as if it was nothing.

“Suit yourself,” he said, getting up and casually stripping off his shirt, walking over to the low stage. Sarah’s jaw involuntarily dropped and she immediately averted her eyes, her cheeks flame red. He turned to face her and smiled. It was working beautifully. “I thought it was acceptable for a man to be seen without his shirt in this culture. Was I wrong?”

“No, but-”

“Then what’s the problem?”

She got the nerve to look him in the eye. His playful expression was a challenge. If they were just friends, she shouldn’t be reacting this way. It was a dirty trick but he was technically in the right. He was so pale he looked like a marble statue with more of his skin exposed. Other than that he looked like a normal human man. Except that he was uncannily gorgeous. His build was deceptively slight but fine muscles rippled under the skin as he moved. She couldn’t tear her eyes away as rude as she knew it was to stare but she couldn’t help herself. He was busy ignoring her for the moment, seemingly oblivious to her open appraisal as he made a couple of crystals and set them in low sconces at the corners of the small stage, where they turned to flame. With a slight gesture of his left hand, all of the candles in the room were extinguished, leaving the torches at the foot of the stage as the only source of light. After a moment’s thought he removed his boots as well, revealing bare feet; better to hedge the bet than to be sorry afterwards. He stood back up and produced another crystal. The firelight flickered, illuminating the variations in his body and casting shadows about the room.

“And what would you call this exactly?”

Entrapment. “Crystal Dancing.” He began to move the sphere back and forth over his right hand, locking eyes with her. She held it for a moment, then looked away again with self-conscious laughter. “Sarah, it defeats the purpose if you’re not going to even deign to watch.”

“I can’t watch you do this!” she laughed. She was still resistant but her guard was coming down.

“Why not?” His tone was open and frank. Clearly he saw nothing odd about this situation and thought she was just being a prude. Maybe she was. Or maybe she wasn’t comfortable letting him know just how much he was affecting her like this. Was that the point?

“Okay, I know I’m going to sound old-fashioned and stodgy here but why did you take your shirt off?”

“Because the crystals fall off too easily with bulky clothing, now are you going to watch or should I make you get up here?”

She wordlessly spluttered. This would’ve been so painfully easy with full eye contact. Leave it up to Sarah to make things challenging. He sighed with a rueful little smirk, producing a small black scarf.

“For your ease,” he said flatly. She looked up again out of curiosity in time to see him bring it up to his face and tie it over his eyes like a blindfold. “I promise not to watch you.” I should be able to hear everything I need to know.

He made an obscure gesture with his right hand and the stereo came on all by itself. Female voices and percussion filled the room with a Spanish guitar and violin. She wasn’t familiar with the song but it sounded like one of the Mediaeval Baebes albums he had purchased. It was almost a little gypsyish; she couldn’t understand most of the words in spite of the fact that it was technically just a variant of English. The reddish firelight illuminated him to perfection. The crystal sparkled and split into two and he began rolling them over his forearms in tandem. He arched up and the left one glided up his arm and over the back of his neck to the other side. They played fluidly over his taut muscles, his porcelain flesh, over his shoulder blades, across his chest and abdomen. One he rode down to his navel; it trembled for a moment before he used his muscles like a belly dancer to shoot it back upward again. Another spark. Now there were three. He had incredible balance, poise and strength. He was so beautiful Sarah couldn’t stop staring. She felt ashamed at the feelings she was experiencing but pure need was starting to override everything else. She suddenly didn’t trust her hands and had to fight the ridiculous urge to sit on them. There was this wild compulsion to touch him, to know that soft smooth skin and what lay beneath. One of the crystals glided across his face, lightly brushing his lips before it ran down the side of his neck.

Oh god. Sarah wasn’t accustomed to lust but she had never wanted a man so badly in her entire life, it almost scared her. Perhaps he wanted her, too, and this was his bizarre way of testing the waters, to see how she reacted; that certainly sounded like him. The thought alone made her pulse hammer and she swallowed, the room suddenly feeling too hot. Was she really ready to do this? Her body was practically screaming yes but a real relationship was impossible - he was leaving in less than a week! The desperation of the situation only seemed to fuel her desire further; the fact that they didn’t have all the time in the world, that brief passion was all they could ever have. Odd shadows had started streaking across the walls with the pounding percussion and fiery flamenco guitar. He had brought all three crystals back to his hands and on the last grating violin strokes he threw them each into the air, letting one after another explode in a lightning-fast burst of flame, and ripped off the blindfold with a triumphant smile. She was ready: her eyes were wide, her cheeks flushed and her breath just coming in shallow little gasps.

“What? No applause? I’m insulted,” he turned his nose up in a playful snit, slyly glancing back to her with a secretive little smile starting to leak across his face. She was still staring.

“I’ve never seen anything like that in my life!”

“Finish that up and get over here,” he gestured to her wine goblet, turning aside to form another crystal. Sarah looked down at her drink for a moment then hurried the contents down her throat before she had time to think and got up, pushing in her chair. He had left the music on and a softer tune was playing that she couldn’t understand at all; it might’ve been in Latin. The strains of harps pervaded the room as she crossed over to the small stage, stepping up.

“Shoes off, love; balance is a must.”

“The blouse is staying on.”

He easily conceded. “It shouldn’t be a problem; it’s close-fitted and your arms are mostly free. Now then,” he stepped up behind her, lifting her right hand by the wrist and straightening it with the backside up. “I can’t force your hand to do this - I could hurt you too easily - but you need to form a slight cup with the back of your hand like this, fingers closed,” and he showed her with his right hand.

“Like this?”

“Less curvature on the fingers…not bad.” He produced a crystal in his left hand and brought it over to rest balanced on his right, reaching in front of her to do it. Sarah suddenly laughed at what was going on.

“Something amusing?”

“You’re being this close on purpose!”

He seemed to think for a moment. “Yes, I knew there was something I liked about teaching this,” he said flirtily. “You can see what I’m doing better from this vantage. So the crystal comes up over the fingertips to rest in the palm. Now you try,” he said, placing the orb on the back of her own hand, just between her flattened knuckles. She managed to balance it a moment but she misjudged where the weight would go and it went flying off her fingertips to smash into the floor, making her jump slightly.

“Sorry,” she said, embarrassed.

“Nothing to be sorry about, you’re just starting” he reassured her warmly. “I’ve smashed millions. Try it again?”

She did - to the exact same result.

“This is ridiculous! How long did it take you to learn how to do that?”

“A while. Can I just show you how it’s supposed to be? Let you get a feel for the weight and balance?”

“You mean just running it over me?” She suddenly flushed slightly - the act wasn’t physically touching her but it was so close.

He felt her body react so quickly at the thought. Yes, she was definitely ready.

“Not entirely. You have to help me, dear. They won’t fall off, though.”

“Okay,” she said quietly, not even daring to look at him. He moved closer. She could feel his warm breath on the back of her neck through her blouse and it was making it harder to concentrate. He placed another crystal on her right hand and it stayed this time. When she arched her hand back it rolled neatly into her palm. She tested it by turning her hand upsidedown - it stuck on, still rolling a bit.

“You never believe me; you always have to see for yourself. So be it,” he said quietly, bringing up her left hand to her right. The statement didn’t hold the harshness or pain that such from him would’ve once held. It was almost sounded a little regretfully fond.

He brought her hands together at the wrists and had her mimic him for a moment. The crystal rolled effortlessly over to her left hand where she began to turn it back and forth with unnatural ease. All that was making this challenging was his proximity, his attention, his radiant body heat. She was having to fight the urge to look down at his feet; they were right behind her. Or the rest of him. Following his hand, her arm lifted gracefully and the crystal suddenly journeyed up it. The slight weight passed sensuously over her high shoulder muscles, just behind her neck, and traveled fluidly down the other arm to the waiting palm. He added another to her occupied hand.

It was surprisingly relaxing, like those Chinese medicine balls, not feeling big or awkward at all. Or maybe it was just him making it seem so, she wasn’t really paying very much attention to who was causing what right now, she was just trying to keep them going. One strayed out of her hand, following his, and she found herself leaning back slightly as it passed her neck in the front. Her head tipped back automatically and she found herself almost face-to-face, the fire dancing in his eyes, as he guided it across from only an inch away, reaching around her, until it reached it’s destination in the left hand. Her breathing had gotten a little quicker. He added the third to the left hand.

She was barely paying him any attention now; all her concentration was on the task at hand, but her body was still registering his closeness. Had he moved closer? She honestly didn’t know. It felt wonderful, though. She was almost totally relaxed. The third from the left hand strayed slowly up the inside of her arm this time. At the same time a fourth appeared in her right hand and after a few twirls it, too, started it’s way up. He brought her wrists together and with a quick movement all changed sides - the ones in the hands switched and the two going up passed each other in front, one over her neck, the other over her bosom. As they fell into they’re prospective hands to twirl she felt another on back of her neck, only to belatedly realize that it was his mouth. Her eyes slid closed in pleasure as he brought his hand up and one of the now-warm crystals flowed up her arm, over the side of her neck, between her breasts down to her abdomen as she leaned back. His trail of slow, hot kisses followed around the left side of her neck up to the back of her ear. She found herself clutching the last two for dear life as the other ran up the opposite side to dandle over her right shoulder, kneading the muscles. Her resistance snapped. With a little cry she threw them violently to the floor and the others fell off as she feverishly spun around and kissed him full on the mouth, gripping his shoulders instead. He was only too happy to oblige her and soon his arms were snaked around her back, holding her close, supporting her weak knees, cradling her head back a bit as he opened her mouth to devour her alive with kisses. She’d never felt anything like it in her entire life; all those wasted years, all those other guys she dated paled to nothing in the face of this storm. Her hands frantically roamed his back and as surely as she could feel her desire mounting, so was his.

This was it. He was starting to come out of his skin, his spirit wings rising, rippling. He could feel his power expanding, hovering, waiting to swoop down and strike like a bird of prey just at the moment his prey weakened beneath him and bodily begged for precisely this kind of a demise when suddenly something alien within him screamed NO! and he broke out of the embrace abruptly, pacing away angrily.

“Damn it all, I can’t do it!” he exclaimed, sounding a bit strangled. Sarah was shocked back to reality fast as lightning… and the fact that he had just walked away from that…

“Jareth?” She sounded small and fragile. He immediately turned back to her, his expression softened with tenderness and familiarity. He came back and just held her, lightly panting as his breathing returned to normal. She belatedly noticed that there were golden sparkles of light surrounding him but they were receding back into his body and she was suddenly very uneasy. What had he just stopped? He finally pulled back to look at her, serious once more.

“I cannot…pleasure you, as I wish.”

“What…what just happened back there? There had better be a damn good explanation for this.”

He sighed, closing his eyes. “You’re going to hate me.”

“Jareth? I need to know.”

He took a deep breath. “It’s evolution, physically strong traits being passed on to ensure the survival of a species.” He opened his eyes. “In order for you to safely carry my seed to term, you yourself would have to be changed. This…arranges for that.”

“You’re planning on getting me pregnant?!”

“By the heavens, no!” he laughed.

“Then what the hell is going on?!”

He started again quietly. “The change would happen anyway.”

“…what kind of change are we talking about here? Do I grow an extra organ? Does my skin go pale?”

“If only it were that easy, love,” he smiled sadly. The smile dropped off his face. “I may appear to be compatible enough in this form but there are vast physical differences between us. In order for me to shape shift, my body vibrates at a much higher rate than your unchanging, solid form. If we were to bond, you would be pulled up to that vibration. Permanently.” Sarah slowly gasped, her eyes going wide. “That isn’t all. Your body, of course, could never survive such a bonding unaided. In short, you would become parasitically dependent upon my personal energy in order to live, bound intrinsically to my life force, living as long as I can, and bestowed with the patience to endure the ages with me.” He paused. “If you remained aboveground without me, you would die in under three days.”

For the first time in over five months the man in her arms was once again an alien creature, something to be feared, something infinitely dangerous, and she pulled out of his embrace, getting off the stage, backing away toward the door. He looked worried and unsure.


“Get away from me!” Her voice was starting to break as if she was about to cry. “How…how could you…you betrayed me! But why?!” she finally sobbed. He walked around the coffee table and defeatedly sank down onto the couch.

“Morgan told me that I had to bring you with me, that they could siphon off the power there safely. I knew you would never agree to go. I could not bring myself to drug or bespell you,” he said quietly, bowing his head in shame.

“So you were just going to trap me for eternity! How thoughtful!”

“THE ONLY OTHER WAY IS TO MARRY YOU!” he finally shouted in frustration. Sarah forgot to breathe for a minute.

“…are you serious? You and I would have to…”

“In every last physical, legal, and spiritual aspect of the word, yes.” he said gravely.

“But why…how could that even…”

“I locked sidhe wedding vows into your banishment of me,” he laughed helplessly. “I don’t even know why they popped into my head, they just did and…” He shook his head with a sigh, looking lost. “I care more for you than I have cared for any creature in my entire life.” He gave a mirthless laugh. “And here you are, terrified of me again because I couldn’t go through with it and had to confess all,” he threw his arms up, “- because I care for you! It doesn’t make any bloody sense! Something must be wrong with me.” he said, sounding a bit embarrassed and worried. “What in Underground am I supposed to do now!? That was my last chance.” This was it then, he thought. No way home. He would have to get a job and move out and pretend to be human until she died. He shook his head quickly, trying to shaking the emotion off. “I am sorry to have troubled you. I’ll just get my things and be on my way,” he said quietly. With a flippant wave of his hand everything was back to normal and the lights were on. He got up and walked over to the air mattress and grabbed the few books and cds he had hidden behind it, throwing his shirt back on. Sarah had been too shocked to speak, listening to him, watching, but she couldn’t shake something he had said. He was in the middle of putting it all in a small duffle bag he had just whipped together out of nothing.

“You just said you cared for me more than anyone else in your life.”

“Doesn’t matter now, does it?” he stated coldly. “Never did. I tried telling you before but you clearly don’t reciprocate,” he stated, standing and slinging it over his shoulder, walking toward the door, “so there’s no point in dragging this-”

“No, wait! Jareth, wait.” He turned to face her. “You mean to tell me that all of…that,” she gestured behind them, “… that was genuine?”

“Every last second. It is a memory I will treasure,” he bowed slightly and went to grasp the handle. She practically leapt in front of him, blocking it with her body.

“Don’t go.”

“Why should I stay? What reason is there?” he asked sadly.

“…at least give me time to think about it.”

His eyes widened slightly in disbelief. “Do you honestly mean that…”

“Well…I’ve never been proposed to before, let alone by someone who wants to whisk me off to fairyland. That is a lot to think over.” She suddenly stopped and laughed embarrassedly. “Or maybe I’m just making an ass of myself, you never said you actually wanted to. Sorry, I’m so worked up here that I’m jumping to illogical conclusions. If you-”

He cut her off with a passionate kiss, practically pinning her to the door. She was so surprised that she responded for a moment but presently managed to shove him off. He looked every bit as shocked as she did and was just as out of breath. There was gold in the air again. She laughed a half-smile.

“Are you producing extra glitter these days or are you just happy to see me?”

He looked about him. “Oh, come on, it isn’t supposed to happen that quick! I haven’t been that young in centuries!”

Sarah blushed, suddenly finding herself eying the floor. “You mean that’s…”

“My energy. One form of it, anyway,” he said quietly. She suddenly remembered the golden light that she had seen encasing them when they were meditating. It was the same thing, just manifested in the real world. He reached out and lifted her chin up to meet his eyes. His were uncertain and full of questioning. “I wasn’t jesting when I said I think there’s something wrong with me. Perhaps it’s best if I just leave you alone.”

“What do you mean ‘something wrong’?”

He seemed almost ashamedly embarrassed. What could it possibly be?!

“Could we just talk for a minute?”

“All right.”

He walked resignedly back over to the couch and she followed.

“So,” she said sitting, “what’s up? Well, besides you, I mean.”

He genuinely laughed at the jibe - he deserved that one.

“You always were just a little cruel, Sarah. You keep my feet on the ground,” he smiled. And looked down at his feet. “I’m afraid this is most serious. If I am unable to resolve this issue I may be too unstable to return at all. Ever.”

She gasped. “Why? What’s going on? Are you ill?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never felt this way before - that’s just it.”

“Well…how does it feel?”

He thought hard for a moment. “It’s so strange…oh well, might as well just say it and get it over with. I feel like I can’t live without you,” he said simply. “But it goes farther than just immediate need. I’ve started counting the hours until you come home every day you work and it isn’t because I’m bored. I want to be with you all the time. It’s almost like I want to possess you but it goes far beyond that - I would know if it was that. I desire you more than my own life.” He stopped for a moment as Sarah sat there in abject shock as what he said sunk in. “I am sorry if I am frightening you.”

“N-no, no, that’s totally okay.”

“No, really-”

She put a finger over his lips momentarily before sinking back into the couch, letting out a huge breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding.

“Wow. I had no idea…”

“I’m pretty messed up, aren’t I?”

“What’s messed up with being in love? Well, except the obvious?” she laughed. “Is it because I’m human? I know that’s given me plenty of pause, too.”

“I’m afraid you don’t appreciate the seriousness of the situation.” He swallowed and looked at her squarely. “I cannot love.”

Her eyes went wide. “What?”

“I cannot love. No sidhe can. Love is a human emotion. I am incapable of experiencing it. I am truly sorry,” he added quietly. Sarah was shell-shocked.

But……but… “But that’s impossible! What you just described is love!”

It was his turn to look surprised. “It is?!”

“Down to the last letter.”

His mind was frantically racing with the possible implications. Was he accidentally getting any of Sarah along with the power that he was getting back? Was his power being humanized just from her having it? Was he connected to her himself? And yet a small hunch in the back of his mind was starting to quietly say something that he had only suspected in days-gone-by. He steeled his nerves.

“Could you show me?”

“Show you what?”

“What human love feels like?”

Sarah balked. “How?”

“Just think of someone you love and hold still.”

“And you’re going to do what?”

“Just feel what you’re feeling. Nothing more.”

She resignedly nodded. “Well, here goes.” Somebody I love, let’s see... And to her surprise the first person that popped into her head was him! Maybe it wasn’t entirely romantic love but it was love all the same. She had tried to repress it for so long that she almost couldn’t believe it was still there but nevertheless, there it was, bright as day. She loved his little quirks - his juvenile sense of humor, the chivalrous difference he always showed toward her, his absurd sense of personal flair, the way that he knew her entirely and never passed judgment once. But it was more than that. She genuinely cared about him, she wanted him to be happy, even to the point of giving up things herself. And she was undeniably attracted to him. She concentrated on her memories of him and closed her eyes. “Ready when you are.”

He braced himself and reached out with his right hand, placing it over her heart - and almost instantly pulled it away as if he had been burned! She opened her eyes. Tears were streaming down his cheeks from shocked-wide eyes. It was the most intense feeling he had ever experienced in his entire life…and she had had it thinking of him! And that wasn’t even as strong as it could get? How could humans endure such emotions?! No wonder a handful of them went crazy or committed suicide!

“You…you love…”

“I’ve been so scared to,” she whispered.

He reached out and stroked her cheek in wonder and amazement, then took her hands and fervently kissed her palms, openly crying. He leaned in and gently kissed her lips over and over until she surrendered to the rhythm and opened her mouth, her neck going limp. Within moments they were passionately making out on the couch. Never in Sarah’s life had physical intimacy like this felt so much like love; he was so conscious of everything he was doing to her, there was no other way to explain how perfect this rapture was. But it was getting out of hand again and he finally pulled away, panting.

“Oh, damn,” he groaned, getting off of her so she could sit up. He didn’t have to say anything else - gold hung thick in the air. He collapsed into the back of the couch while Sarah was catching her own breath. What in the world were they supposed to do?! This was far worse than any Romeo and Juliet: if she accepted him, she would have to leave Earth. If she didn’t….

Sarah looked over at him. He had run a hand through his hair - a reaction she now recognized as a stress habit - and the look on his face was just about as bleak as her own. He met her gaze with an uncertain one and went to take one of her hands again but she withdrew it.

“I don’t think so; we know where that goes,” she teased him.

His eyes suddenly lit up as if he had just had an idea and his natural bravado resurfaced. “Would you feel up to something only slightly risky?”

Sarah looked a little unsure but she was definitely willing to listen at this point.

“Like what?”

A familiar slow, devious smile followed as the answer and he scooped her up in his arms and stood up, instantly dousing the lights, walking with her down the hall.

“What is it with you and carrying me?” she laughed.

“It saves energy for more…pleasurable pursuits. And besides,” he purred in her ear, making her head spin, “I like to feel you near me.” They entered her bedroom and he put her down on the bed, crawling on top of her.

“Whoa, I thought you said-”

“We aren’t,” he said matter-of-factly as he straddled her. Sitting up now, he produced another crystal, shimmering red. There seemed to be a sort of haze inside of it but as it slightly cleared momentarily he held it a bit closer to her face so she could see. There were two human forms inside, mingling, writhing in ecstasy amid haze that looked like steam and she could’ve sworn that she faintly heard the woman cry out. With a groan, Sarah bit her lower lip, closing her eyes: it was them!!! Jareth pulled it back to him again, drawing her gaze, and the glow illuminated his face. “It’s just a dream, nothing more. And nothing less.” His eyes smoldered with intention. “Do you want it?” All Sarah could do was frantically nod, completely suffused with need. “Then kiss me.” He leaned in, deliberately and painfully slow and Sarah caught his face in her hands, dragging him down, crushing him to her, desperately kissing him for all she was worth. She was so preoccupied that she failed to notice that his right hand, which still held the crystal, was slowly journeying up to her head; as soon as he touched her temple with it, she was out cold. He leapt off of her and sprinted to the far corner of the room, settling in for the show.


Jareth pulled out of the kiss and smiled against her lips before playfully kissing the tip of her nose, sitting back up again. Sarah took in the change of surroundings: they were in an opulent room with black silk draped along the walls, in the midst of an enormous crimson bed. Something felt different besides the obvious change in location, like she was forgetting something, but what she couldn’t really pin down. Whatever it was had to be trifling in the face of this! Jareth seemed to be taking in the sight of her as she took in everything else.

“Much better,” he said. “Now then, where were we?” he teased sultrily, his hands gliding up her abdomen, heavily over her chest to the collar of her work blouse, awakening her nerve endings. “Ah, yes,” he exhaled, making every last joint in her body go deliciously weak. In one swift move he ripped her blouse completely open, sending the buttons flying.


Sarah had begun to react. The beauty of this spell was that her body would physically respond in the real world to everything that happened in the dream. It was as realistic as he could’ve possibly crafted it, replete with his own intentions, his own dreams and desires. There was no reason that he could not pleasure her even if he was denied it himself. This would be almost as good as being there. She arched off the bed with a gasp. Yes, everything was going beautifully. But wait… what the hell was that?! Gold sparkles were beginning to emanate from her body - toward him! SHIT!!! If they reached him, it would be as if they were bonding in the flesh! He had to get out of here now - without using his magic!

Panicked, he glanced about for a route of escape - the golden barrier had already crossed the room, blocking any exit back into the rest of the apartment. His only chance was to make a death leap out of her small bedroom window. Faster than a blink his leather gloves were on again and he hurriedly shoved the window open and popped out the screen, throwing it on the floor. Watching his head, he leapt up onto the teensy ledge, making sure no one was on the street below to see. The shimmering power was three feet away, two feet now. Kicking the window closed with his boot he jumped, spread-eagle, morphing into his owl form, praying he would make it before impact. Mere inches from the ground he zoomed up out of the fall on his new wings and gave a piercing cry of triumph, pumping higher, above the trees and away from the building. He thought he would never truly enjoy this form again after having being trapped in it for so long but the cool night wind gliding past his feathers felt nothing short of glorious and it helped to clear his head. Free as a bird!

He circled and saw that Sarah’s room slightly glowed, but from even a short distance away the light could’ve been caused by any number of human-made luminary devices. He reflected in retrospect that he should’ve anticipated such an outcome and gotten out right away - the power she retained reacted exactly as if it had been he who had been aroused. With him out of range, it wouldn’t hurt her. He was startled by the sudden realization: it had been so thick because it had been coming from both of them!

He soared up above the buildings, trying to ascertain which direction he should take on this magnificent evening. The city was already alive with light. Too much light, actually. Cleaner air and brighter stars beckoned to the west and west he went, chasing the waxing moon. It was strange to think that that distant lump of space rock affected both worlds so much. It was stranger to think that humans had actually managed to physically get there! On and on he flew, not really with any destination in mind until the mesas came into view. He descended and headed for South Table Mountain, scanning the surface of the top for suitable perches. Odd, there was light coming from the old stadium. He carefully landed in a nearby elm tree - dead from the recent drought.

There were two men down there in mechanic suits doing what appeared to be a rundown check on a sort of largish circular-flat device, it was about the size of a small car, oh what were those called? Sports models - that was it - the ones built low to the ground for maximum physical ability. Was this some sort of vehicle? They walked backward about sixty or seventy feet, waving glowing sticks. And the device slowly floated up off of the ground! It was a thing of beauty and power, with a black top and a polished silver bottom with a ring of lights around the underside that illuminated the ground below it in harsh, frosty blue. The magnetic field it was generating was incredible - it was literally bouncing off of Earth’s gravity! It was completely silent as it did a quick jog around the area, glinting in the moonlight, then came back down and turned off as the men waved their sticks again. A door in the top that had been nearly invisible now opened and another man stepped out of the machine and the others walked over.

“How was it this time?”

“I don’t care how difficult it would be to add a vent but I need air in there! I can’t imagine the entire army is going to be wanting to carry around huge oxygen tanks to utilize these things!”

“But was the cockpit more comfortable on the whole?”

“Provided you don’t have to breathe, I could sleep in there. Plenty of leg room now and my arms aren’t cramped anymore; I can get to the controls pretty easily. Even with air aside, though, it’s still awfully claustrophobic in there. Especially the head space.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, here, let me show you,” and the man escorted his two companions over to see the inside of the vessel. They had put down their glowing sticks on a table, revealing a large paper scroll. Could it possibly be the blueprints? Jareth had a sudden moment of brilliance and knew what he had to do. Soaring down from his perch, he landed on the table and, gripping the roll tightly in his talons, took off with it. At the sound of mightily flapping wings the men turned around just in time to see a large barn owl making off with top secret blueprints and equation sheets! They gave chase, angrily shouting after him but he paid them no heed, pumping higher and higher into the black night sky. He turned back just in time to see the flying machine on his tail! It was trying to knock the paper tube out of his grasp! He caught a breeze and quickly floated above it, out of range of the window and invisible from the ground, and simply vanished. After a few minutes, the pilot realized that he had lost the bird somehow and returned to the ground. It was the strangest thing any of them had ever seen. Was it even real? How could anything just disappear like that?! Once the vehicle was safely landed once again, they dashed back over to the table to get the rest of their equipment and received an even bigger shock - the papers were sitting there undisturbed! There were strange stories about these mesas being haunted but being men of science none of them had ever really given them much thought. They were thinking about them now and, at any rate, decided that it was wisest to call it a night, putting a tarp over the experimental aircraft and towing it back to the hangar.


Jareth teleported back to the city with his treasure, momentarily stopping in a deserted alley. Unrolling the inner scroll, it revealed a dizzying series of mathematical/physical equations and rough sketches. In spite of his considerable skill at arithmetic, it was total gibberish to him. Sarah would be able to understand it, though, he was sure of it! Perhaps this could furnish the missing pieces for her own device. Conjuring a long coat, he quickly stashed it in the lining and took a leisurely, time-wasting route home; he had to wait out the spell. Several hours later, he wearily trudged up the stairs to her apartment, walked right through the closed front door, deposited the scroll on the coffee table, and passed out on the couch, exhausted.

(“The Blacksmiths” and “To The One” from Mediaeval Baebes Illumination. These ladies rock!)
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