Author: Ashleigh Anpilova
Rating/Category: PG. Slash (off-screen, only mentioned)
Word Count: 762
Spoilers: Mild for Assignment Six
Summary: A sequel to For Now. 'They' exact payment on Steel.
Notes/Warnings: I've been writing Sapphire & Steel fanfic for nearly three years now, and as such have built up the characters, taking what we saw on screen and expanding on them to encompass things we weren't shown, but could be implied. As such if you don't know 'my' Steel and haven't read the stories in the mini-series that precede this one, as a stand-alone story it might not make a great deal of sense.
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
Stories in the mini-series preceding this story:
He could hear nothing because there was nothing to hear. Neither in his head nor with his ears.
He could see nothing because there was nothing to see. Neither in his mind nor with his eyes.
He could not take time back because there was no time to take back.
He was outside of Time herself.
Outside of everything and everyone.
Beyond everything and everyone.
Trapped in a void.
There was nothing. There was less than nothing. Nothing as least had possibilities.
This silence. This blankness. This emptiness. This . . .
This had none.
He had known he would have to face the consequence of what he had done.
He had known 'They' would exact payment.
He had known 'They' would not tolerate what he had done.
He had known it. But still he had done it.
Still he had got Sapphire and himself home.
And then he had rescued Silver.
He had known the payment would be harsh.
He had known he had spoken less than the truth when he had assured Silver he would 'save him'.
He had known Silver had lied to him when he had told him he knew he would.
He had known all that, but still he had done it.
Because of Silver.
Because of his feelings for Silver.
Because of his love for Silver.
Because of Silver he was now here.
Except there was no here.
Because of Silver he was doomed to spend the rest of his life isolated, in total and utter nothingness.
No one or no thing.
He had never expected his punishment to be so harsh. He had thought 'They' needed him too much.
And it wasn't only his punishment; that he could bear. It was what it would have done to Silver. What it would be doing to Silver.
If he had never allowed Silver to lure him into his arms, into his bed, to break down the emotional barriers he'd spent an eon constructing, he wouldn't be here. And Silver wouldn't be in pain.
Maybe it would have been best for Silver to have been left where Steel had found him – a place very like the one Steel was in now, but at least that nothingness had been something.
Or maybe he should have taken Silver's life when he had found him. Destroyed him painlessly, simply. Death by his lover would have been preferable to making him go through the painful, agonising, complex destruction that would be his end.
He could live with the mental pain; he had that much power. Silver could not. It would be too much for him.
Steel had saved Silver, only to be the cause of his destruction.
All his powers, and he had many, were gone; he'd been stripped bare. Not because he no longer had them, but because they were futile. There was no way to use them.
There was nothing on which he could use his great strength.
There was nothing on which he could use his 'party piece'. Not even himself. He couldn't even take himself down, not far enough. Not here. Not without anything.
There was nothing he could do.
No one he could touch.
And then . . .
And then something broke the silence.
Something broke the emptiness.
Something broke the nothingness.
"We invited you to join us once, you refused."
He said nothing. There was nothing to say.
"We're giving you a second chance."
It was against everything in which he believed.
It was against everything he had ever tolerated.
It was against everything he was.
It was against everything he could be.
It was against everything.
But it was the only way.
It was his only chance.
His only chance to save Silver.
His only chance to save 'Them'. For despite what 'They' had done to him and to Silver, 'They' had to be saved.
'They' had to know what the Transient Beings had become. 'They' had to know of what they were now capable.
And he was the one who had to tell 'Them'. He was the only one who could tell 'Them'.
And to do that, he had to escape from where 'They' had banished him.
For a moment he closed his eyes, his mind, his ears.
Closed his eyes on the nothingness.
Closed his mind on what he was about to do.
Closed his ears on the silence.
Then he opened them again.
Opened them and saw the same nothingness.
Opened them and felt the same nothingness.
Opened them and heard the same nothingness.