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ex_misplace in labyfic

Drunk Dial 2/2

Title: Drunk Dial (Part 2 of 2)
Author: startraveller (aka startraveller776 on ff.net, aka MOI)
Characters/Pairings: Jareth/Sarah
Disclaimer: Own nothing
Rating: PG-13 (for some language)
Genre: Humor/Romance
Summary: Five times Sarah drunk-called Jareth. One time he sobered her up.

A/N: And now, the conclusion. Special thanks again to c_u_kid for deeming this story worthy. (Oh, and for helping me polish it, too.) There’s probably fluff here, because despite my jaded tomboy I-prefer-Blow-‘Em-Up-action-flicks proclivities, there’s a hopeless romantic hiding somewhere deep inside. Try as I might, I can’t seem to rout her out. *sigh*

(Part 1)

~o0O0o~

I was determined to never drunk-call the Goblin King again after that weird ending to our last meeting. I lasted less than a year—not even six months, in fact. The night had started out innocuous enough. It was a New Year’s Eve party—one of those big shindigs in a grand ballroom with wall-to-wall bodies and plenty of champagne. Jessica and Mandy had talked me into going, even though I was dateless. Since Mandy had married, it became their singular purpose to see their single friend settled down.

I suffered the unsolicited match-making best with a healthy dose of alcohol.

The party turned out not to be as heinous as I thought. There was a reasonable contingent of singles there, so I wasn’t alone in my third-wheel-ness among the larger number of couples. After a nice dance with an accountant who asked for my number, Mandy and Jessica found me. My smile vanished when I saw their grim expressions.

They each grabbed an elbow and ushered me through the dancers to the wide balcony outside. Neither spoke until they had dropped me into one of the patio chairs. Apparently, I had to hear this sitting down.

Jessica shared a look with Mandy before speaking. “Rick is here.”

My heart leapt into my throat. “So?” I tried to keep my tone light.

Sadness swept over Mandy’s face. “He’s here with his pregnant wife.”

The bottom dropped out of my world as I processed her words. Maybe what Jareth had said once was true—I hadn’t loved Rick like I should have. But I had loved the dream of a future with him. I had pictured our children, imagined dinner parties. I had dreamt of having someone to grow old with, to sit on the porch in creaking rockers while yelling at the neighborhood kids to stay off the grass. And now, I was all alone while the man I was supposed to have that life with was living the dream—with someone else.

Mandy wrapped her arms around me. “I’m so sorry, honey.”

I shrugged her off. “No, I’m fine,” I lied. “I’m happy for him.”

Jessica raised her brows in disbelief, but mercifully, she said nothing.

“Listen,” Mandy said, “why don’t the three of us get out of here? We’ll get some Ben & Jerry’s and watch old movies.”

“No.” I shook my head. They were looking out for me, but I wanted to be alone. “It’s New Year’s. You should be with your husbands.”
Jessica started to protest. I raised my hand, cutting her off. “I promise I’m fine. Now, shoo.”

After another round of hugs, they walked away, tossing me worried looks as they went back inside. My loneliness spiked as I sat there, reconciling myself to my reality. It was ironic that I, who had once beaten an all-powerful immortal in a high stakes game, couldn’t seem to make my own dreams come true. Not exactly fair, if you asked me. I snorted. But that was the point, wasn’t it?

The even bigger irony was the person I wanted to talk to most at this moment was the very same all-powerful immortal. He’d gotten me through my first Rick crisis. It seemed appropriate he should help me get through this one, too.

Except, there had been that moment with the Goblin King last time... Something had changed in the dynamics of our odd relationship, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to know what we were now.

I stood, sighing. I needed liquid courage to face the party inside. Just before I reached the threshold, though, I looked back out at the glittering night sky. “I wish you were here,” I whispered.

After a few more glasses of champagne, I felt less anxious. I forced myself to walk away from the bar, the hangover from my last stint still fresh enough in my mind to ward me off from getting completely wasted. I made it five steps when I heard a familiar voice—one that dredged up the heartache I was trying to numb.

“Sarah?”

I pasted on a smile as I faced my ex. The years had been good to him, chiseling the roundness of youth from his handsome features. “Hi, Rick.”

He grinned shaking his head. “God, you look fantastic! How’ve you been?”

I shrugged. “Oh, you know. Busy.” I wanted to crawl into a hole.

He chuckled. “I’m not surprised.”

A pregnant woman—very pregnant—sidled up to him. She was beautiful, glowing.

“Oh, hey,” Rick said, wrapping his arm around her. “This is my wife, Tabitha.” He turned to her. “Hon, this is Sarah.”

Tabitha offered her hand with a genuine smile. “Rick’s college sweetheart—the artist. So nice to meet you.” She meant it. It was like a kick in my gut. I bet she didn’t have a cruel bone in her body.

“Nice to meet you, too,” I said, shaking her hand.

She opened her mouth to speak, but grunted instead. “Baby’s stretching,” she said with a laugh. “He’s our second.”

I raised my brows. Second? Had it really been that long since college? “Congratulations.”

Rick beamed and I ached to see it. “Yeah, we’ve got a two-year-old girl at home. Tabitha didn’t want to go out, but I wanted to have one last night before the baby came. You know how it is.”

I nodded. I had no clue how it was.

“So,” Tabitha said, “do you have kids?”

I looked past her at the dancers, hoping to find Mandy or Jessica. I didn’t see them. There would be no rescuing me from this humiliation. I was about to admit that I was still single and childless when a hand holding a glass of wine appeared before me. My eyes traveled up the mysterious arm to the face of the Goblin King. He smiled at me, and I was so grateful, I nearly cried. I took the glass.

“No,” he answered, draping his arm across my shoulders. “No children.”

Both Rick and Tabitha stared at Jareth, looking a little star-struck. I glanced up at him, and for the first time, I saw how beautiful he was—even disguised as a mortal man. Why had I never noticed that before?

“I don’t know where Sarah’s manners are,” he said. “I’m Jareth.”

No one offered to shake, but it seemed right. He was the Goblin King, after all.

“How long have you two…?” Rick asked, his words trailing off before he could finish the question.

“Sarah and I have known each other for many years.” He glanced at me. “It’s only been more recently we’ve become reacquainted.”

Rick nodded. I could see the wheels turning in his mind as he studied Jareth. There was an unasked question in his eyes: Was this man the reason Sarah had been so aloof? Impossible, my mind scoffed, and yet…

“What is it that you do, Jareth?” Tabitha asked.

“I run an empire.”

I let out a burst of laughter before I could stop myself. The others turned to me with questioning looks. I waved them off. “No, it’s true. He does.”

Tabitha’s eyes widened as she seemed to reassess Jareth. “Wow. That must be a lot of work.”

“It is insufferably tedious with the rare bout of excitement.” Jareth raised a brow.

Rick smiled, gesturing toward me. “Well, at least you’ve got someone to come home to at night.”

Jareth’s eyes captured mine. I blushed. “That is a pleasant thought, isn’t it?” Turning back to the other two, he said, “I believed we’ve interrupted your evening long enough, and Sarah owes me a dance.” He inclined his head, and without waiting for them to reply, led me away by the arm. I hastily handed a random person my untouched wine before he pulled me into his arms.

“Thanks for that,” I said as he weaved us in circles around the other dancers.

“You called, I came.” His tone was indifferent, but he didn’t meet my eyes. Again, I felt that inexplicable something resonating in the space between us.

“You didn’t have to.”

He looked down at me, his gaze intense. “Didn’t I?” The question hung thick in the air.

I shrank from it. Why had things become so complicated? “How long have you been here?”

“From the moment you wished for me.” The corners of his mouth curled into a mischievous grin. “I found it rather amusing, watching your feeble attempt to appear happy while facing Richard.”

I scowled at him. “You’re awful!”

“I’m no saint.” He smirked briefly, then his expression sobered. “Would you change me, Sarah? Would you turn me into the perfect gentleman, simpering and ingratiating? I am who I am—who I’ve ever been, who I always will be.”

I was taken aback by his declaration. I wished my thoughts were a little less muddled by the champagne. “Who are you, then?”

“After all these years, and you are still as naïve as the day you stepped into my Labyrinth.” He shook his head. “What a pity.”

The lights dimmed and the DJ announced the final countdown to midnight. Around us, party-goers started yelling, “Ten, nine…”

I stared up at Jareth, trying to make sense of his words.

“…six, five…”

Everything I’ve done, I’ve done for you. My breath caught.

“…two, one!” Everyone screamed. Couples kissed as Auld Lang Syne blasted from the speakers.

And then, it was quiet, as though someone had lowered the volume on the entire celebration. We were in the middle of the dance floor, surrounding by bodies, but we might as well have been the only two people in the ballroom.

“I was a child,” I whispered, the sound loud in the stillness.

Jareth released my hand, reaching up to lift my chin with his fingers. “You’re not a child anymore.” He traced my lips with his thumb. He leaned forward, and I closed my eyes, my heart pounding.

Only, he didn’t kiss me. His breath caressed my ear as he said in a low voice, “I’ve waited long enough, Sarah. Be careful when next you call on me.”

I opened my eyes and found myself alone among the celebrants, the ghost of his warning raising the hairs at the nape of my neck.

~o0O0o~

I hadn’t meant to be tipsy when I called on him again. I postponed it as long as I could before my desire to understand what was transpiring between us overwhelmed my fear of it. It was the stupid greeting card holiday—Valentine’s Day—that did me in. A single girl could only take so many hearts and balloons before she snapped. I didn’t snap in the way where I maniacally defaced every bow-and-arrow-toting cherub I saw—though I considered it.

I snapped, instead, with a bottle of wine while having a romantic movie marathon. By myself. My friends thought I was on a date with someone. I had lied to keep them from fussing over me.

By my fifth film, the bottle was half-empty and I wondered why everyone seemed to get a happily-ever-after except for me. The warm buzz of the alcohol did little to quell my overdramatic thoughts. I went over my past relationships. Other than Rick, all of them had lasted only a few months. What was the common denominator in those failed romances, Sarah? I sardonically asked myself. The answer? Me.

Then, there was the Goblin King. He said he’d waited long enough. What did that mean? I downed the rest of the wine in my glass. He implied I ought to know him by now. I blew out a puff of air. Another cryptic statement. The man was just as much a maze as the Labyrinth he ruled over.

It was time to get some answers. The fact that this would be the fifth time I called on him while under the influence did not escape my notice. If I didn’t know he kept tabs on me, I’d worry he’d think I was a lush.

“I wish the Goblin King would come hang out with me, right now.”

A minute passed. Then another. I sighed. He wasn’t coming. I wasn’t disappointed; I was afraid—afraid I’d never see him again. I liked him. A lot. A lot more than a lot. It was irrational. He had snatched my brother, taunted me when I tried to win Toby back, stole my time, drugged me and sent an entire army after me. And there was the snake-throwing. I hated snakes even more after that little incident.

But then, he listened calmly when I told him off. He helped me get through my break-up with Rick—twice. He spent my birthday with me when my friends had deserted me.

“You never call when you’re sober.”

I glanced up. He leaned against the doorframe, his arms crossed over his chest. I hadn’t seen him as himself—in full Goblin King mode—since I was a teenager. My mouth might have dropped open as he crossed the room to sit next to me on the couch.

What I meant to say as he picked up the bottle of wine and examined the label was, “How are you?” or something along those lines. What came out instead was, “Why are you so pretty?”

He gave me a sidelong glance and laughed. “Only the gods know. But I do find being exceedingly attractive quite useful.”

I rolled my eyes. “Ever hear of humility, Goblin King?”

“It’s Jareth. And that’s a failing I don’t suffer from.” He filled my glass, and instead of giving it to me, took a drink. “What’s the occasion for this call?”

My mouth supplied an answer before my brain could register it. “It’s Valentine’s Day.”

Jareth raised a brow. “The holiday for lovers. And you called on me to spend it with you?”

“Yes—I mean, no! I…” My face was quickly turning a brilliant shade of red. The bastard grinned at me as if he enjoyed watching me sputter. He probably did, knowing him. “Maybe I wanted an encore of ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me.’”

He tilted his head, grinning. “Is that so? If I perform this song, will I get a truth or dare from you in return?” His question was innocent enough, but there was something in his eyes that prickled my skin with goosebumps.

“I don’t have any tequila.” I drew my knees to my chest as if to ward off the growing tension.

“Oh, but the game is far more intriguing when there is no out.” He handed me the wine glass and pulled off his gloves. Trailing a finger along my arm, he said, “Play with me.”

My eyes widened at his touch. He was being more forward than he’d ever been. His words from New Year’s came rushing back. I’ve waited long enough, Sarah. Be careful when next you call on me. Oh, God. He was courting me, or seducing me—or both. I didn’t know how I felt about that.

I shook my head.

He smirked. “What, is the unconquerable Sarah Williams too chicken to engage in a game with a harmless Goblin King?”

I narrowed my eyes. “Harmless is not a word I’d ever associate with you.”

He gave a half-shrug, his smile turning wolfish. He leaned toward me. “Bwak, Bwak, Sarah.”

I took a sip of wine to stall, forgetting he’d drank from the glass. As soon as it touched my tongue, I felt a pulling sensation throughout my body, as if something was being leeched from every inch of my skin. It wasn’t painful, just weird. My thoughts became crisper, less sluggish.

“What did you do?” I gasped after the sensation peaked.

“You should have all of your wits about you when dealing with me—in the interest of fairness.” He gave me a level gaze.

My mouth fell open in angry indignation. “You can’t just randomly drug people!”

“I did not ‘drug’ you,” he said, settling further into the couch. “I magicked the alcohol from your body.”

“Poe-tay-toe, poe-tah-toe, Jareth. You can’t do that without my permission.” I scooted as far away from him on the sofa as I could get. “You’re not supposed to have any power over me.”

He grinned his frustratingly mysterious grin. “Is that a request for a truth? Will you give me a dare in exchange?”

“No.” I had to admit, grudgingly, I was glad I had all my faculties. “This isn’t a game.”

“It isn’t?” Jareth picked up my television remote, studied it and then pressed a button. The movie I had paused earlier flared to life. It was the restaurant scene in “When Harry Met Sally,” and not where I had left off. As Meg Ryan started moaning, I alternated between wanting to crawl under the couch and wanting to smack Jareth with a pillow.

I snatched the remote instead, shutting off the television. “What do you want?”

He raised a brow. “Me? You initiated this encounter, not I. The question is, what do you want?”

That was a loaded question, if there ever was one. If this were the drinking version of Truth or Dare, I would have taken the shot. Jareth looked at me, waiting, his eyes challenging me to acknowledge what I had only begun to admit to myself. The real reason I called on him tonight when my inhibitions were down.

“I want to know how you did that to me when you have no power over me.” I was stubborn, or frightened. Both, actually.

He shook his head, waving a finger in the air. “I believe I already explained the cost of that truth.”

I made a face at him. “Everything comes with a price when it comes to you, doesn’t it?”

“On the contrary, I’ve always been more than generous with you.” He propped a leg up on the cushion, looking for all the world as if he owned the place. “I ask for so little—just a dare. Surely, you’re not afraid of me.”

Oh yeah, I was afraid. Not of his magic, but of the precipice we were standing before. I had no doubts his dare would force me to leap into the scary unknown with him. “I’ll pass,” I said with more bravado than I felt.

He shrugged. “Suit yourself. But then, you’ll always wonder how I’m able to do this.” He flicked his wrist, and suddenly, I was in his lap.

I scrambled up, tripping over the coffee table, but before my rear hit the ground, I was in Jareth’s lap again. He laughed as I attempted another escape, only to find myself plopped back into his arms.

“Stop that!” I pushed against him, but I didn’t try to get up. Being teleported—or whatever it was called—was disorienting.

“Ask me,” he said against my ear, his fingers brushing down my neck. I tried not to tremble. “Ask me for this truth. Play with me.”

My heart quickened. “Will you let me go?”

He sighed, his breath stirring my hair. “For now.” In a blink, I was back on my end of the couch.

I grabbed a pillow and held it against my chest like a shield. “Okay, fine. Give me the truth and I’ll give you a dare.” I clutched the pillow tighter, worried I would regret caving to his request. The man was a trickster, after all.

“You called, I came. You asked me to take your brother, I did. You asked me for the chance to win him back, I gave it to you,” he said, picking at the tattered eyelet lace of his sleeves. “When you declared I had no power over you, I had none.” He looked up at me, flashing sharp teeth in a predatory grin. “What you failed to understand about your bold declaration is it only has power until you invite me again—which you did, when you called on me.”

My eyes widened at his explanation as I processed each word. Did that mean he gained back power over me that first time I drunk-called him? If so, why was he only now exerting it, instead of then, or the three other times I called on him?

Before I could put it all together, he said. “And now, your dare.”

I glanced up at him, trepidation blossoming in my middle. I couldn’t get out of whatever he demanded I do. What was said was said.

He inched toward me, like a prowler ready to strike. I held my breath. “I dare you to say it again.”

I blinked. “What?”

“Say I have no power over you.” There was a gleam in his eyes as he pulled the pillow from my arms and hovered over me, waiting.

It was not the kind of dare I was expecting. Taking a deep breath, I said, “You have no power over me.”

Time seemed to stop for several heartbeats, both of us frozen as we were. Then, his grin broadened. It was frighteningly triumphant and alluring. My brow furrowed. Wasn’t he supposed to have vanished?

Jareth, as if sensing my unspoken question, said, “You would have meant it at each of our other encounters.” He tipped his head to the side, scrutinizing me. “Well, perhaps not last time, but I couldn’t be certain. After my failure years ago, caution seemed prudent.” He drew closer, whispering, “I win.”

I shoved against him, furious that this had all been a ploy to regain the upper-hand. I was a little hurt, too. Okay, a lot. Hot tears swelled in my eyes. “You manipulative bas—”

He pressed a finger to my lips. “So quick to assume malice without knowing what we were playing for this round.”

I glared at him. “And what was the prize?” I nearly spat the question.

“This.” He laid a hand against my chest. My heart leapt beneath his touch. “Do you know what makes you cruel, Sarah?”

I shook my head mutely, my mind racing to keep up with the surprises he was throwing at me.

He slid his hand up my neck to cup my cheek. “I had to move the stars, turn the world upside-down, bow to your every whim to earn your love. But you,” he said, his voice softening, “you stole mine with nothing more than that defiant look in your beautiful eyes.”

He kissed me. The wall of my self-denial crumbled, melted when his lips met mine. My soul reverberated under his touch, as if I had been sleeping all these years and had now been awakened. I could feel the magic radiating from him, wrapping around me like a cocoon, and with it, his longing finally answered—or was it mine? My heart was bursting. I loved him—rascally Goblin King ways and all.

Jareth broke off the kiss, and frowned at me. He traced my cheek with a finger, and I realized I was crying. I shook my head, laughing, before pulling him down for another kiss.

Mandy and Jessica never understood why I ran off with my cheating, drugging ex, but the cold war between them and Jareth is another story. I choose to end mine with:

And they lived happily ever after. (Most of the time.)

~FIN~

Comments

*applause*

Lovely! I love your tone, humor mixing into romance and back again, with great, believable characterizations all the way. : )
XDDD Thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed it.
*happy sigh*
Thank you! XD
The userpic puts it better than I ever could. :D
*g* I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you.
I bet she didn’t have a cruel bone in her body.

Ouch.

“Why are you so pretty?”

*sporfle*

Cuute! And I wish to know more of this cold war. If the mood strikes you to write it at some point. :)
Thank you! Yes, I might write the cold war one of these days--if the muse inspires it. For now, I'm focused on the insanity of attempting NaNoWriMo while writing a Labyrinth parody. (Two different stories. Eek!)
Loved the dare he gave her and his explanations. Oh Jareth, ever the patient trickster...
I loved the dare too! (I get to say that because the impish immortal writes himself--I'm constantly surprised by what he says and does.) Yes, he's a clever fellow, isn't he? LOL

Thank you so much!
Thank you! I'm always nervous when I post stories--hoping it comes off the way I intend. This was supposed to be a romantic comedy, and I'm so happy it succeeded! Yay!