CROSSING A LINE
Silver asks Steel a question that surprises and confuses him.
A first time story.
Written: November 2010. Word count: 1,900.
"Come to bed with me, Steel."
*But I do not sleep."
"That's not what I meant."
As Steel paced around the room, zigzagging to avoid the various items of furniture, many of which were antique, a fact which caused Steel to shudder, his mind replayed the conversation he'd had with Silver.
Why couldn't people simply say what they meant? Why did they have to speak in riddles? How was he supposed to have known what 'come to bed with me' really meant? And why was he still in Silver's flat? Why hadn't he left as soon as Silver had explained to him what he'd meant?
He didn't have answers to his questions and that in itself troubled him. He always had an answer. It was part of what he did; part of what he was. But this time he did not. He did not know why he was still there.
He continued his zigzagging journey across the room, wishing he was in his own sparsely furnished, organised home where he could pace in straight lines. He should leave. However, for some reason unknown to, and not understood by, him the prospect of leaving, of leaving Silver, whom Steel knew was leaning against the door watching him, of leaving the cluttered room did not appeal to him.
//Why?// Without turning around to face Silver he flung the word at him. It irritated him when Silver chose to reply verbally rather than by telepathy.
"I thought we'd established that, Steel. I thought you understood that I want to make -"
//Yes, Silver. I do remember what you said. But why?// Still Steel did not turn around to look at Silver.
"Why do you think?" Silver's voice was low. "Why do people normally want to -"
Now Steel did turn around to glare at Silver. //We're not 'people'.//
Silver shrugged. //Semantics,// he replied, this time using telepathy.
Steel frowned at the dismissive nature of Silver's tone that came over clearly though the mental link. //Semantics or not, it is the truth. And you still have not answered my question.//
Silver sighed, pushed himself away from the door and moved towards Steel. Steel noticed how easily Silver moved, how elegantly he covered the distance between them. How he avoided all the furniture in his path without even looking at it.
Silver stopped before he reached Steel and stared at him. The look on his face made Steel feel somewhat uneasy, not that he feared Silver would or indeed could hurt him. Physically it was impossible for any of his fellow elements to harm him and mentally his strength was far greater than any of the others.
He wasn't used to feeling unease outside of the job he did, and that was to be expected. Time was a strong enemy, far stronger in many ways than Steel - but he had yet to fail. However, as Silver silently appraised him, he did feel a sense of disquiet. He found he was forcing himself to stand his ground, to stay where he was and to keep meeting the steady gaze.
Finally Silver gave a half shrug. "I like you."
Steel frowned. //I doubt that.//
Now Silver threw up his hands and looked up at the ceiling. Steel watched him, again surprised by the action. Silver looked back at him. //You have no idea, do you?//
"How attractive you are." Silver spoke softly and to Steel's surprise he put his hands on Steel's shoulders and stared directly into Steel's eyes; he seemed to be attempting to read Steel's mind, which would be impossible. As a courtesy to his fellow element, Steel kept his own mind from probing Silver's. He didn't need touch to do so, but even he found it easier, in fact touch made it so easy, he actually had to concentrate hard on not reading the mind of the person touching him.
After a moment or two of silence, Silver took his hands from Steel's shoulders and let him arms fall by his sides. Steel was surprised, shocked even, to discover he missed the touch; he felt almost chilled by the lack of Silver's hands pressing down on him.
Silver shook his head. "No, you don't know. Well you are, Steel. And not just to me."
//What do you mean?//
Silver smiled a little. "Sapphire, Jet they both . . . Forget it, Steel."
However, suddenly Steel realised he didn't want to forget it. He didn't want to at all. He wanted . . . He wasn't sure what exactly it was that he wanted as he never had been intimate with anyone. He didn't think it was possible for him to be thus, not with his towering physical strength, his mind-reading abilities and his natural body temperature. It was foolish; he should just go. He should move and leave. But he didn't. He stayed where he was.
//What do you expect from me?// he demanded.
Silver shrugged. //I said forget it, Steel. You don't -// He broke off and switched to verbal speech, once again irritating Steel. "How could you? I'm too flighty for you. Too," he paused and instead waved his hand around the cluttered room. "You hate this, don't you?"
Steel studied his companion. //I know only too well the danger older things can cause, the havoc they can bring to the human world and even to ours.//
"As I said, you hate them." Silver turned away; his intention to leave the room was obvious.
Before he was consciously aware of what he was doing, Steel grabbed Silver's wrist. He immediately let go as Silver gasped and cradled his wrist with his other hand as he stared wide-eyed at Steel. Angry with himself for the pain he knew he's caused, Steel pushed his body temperature back to the level he maintained around humans and his fellow elements, sheathed his claws, dropped his mental shields and took Silver's wrist, his touch gentle.
Silver gasped again as he looked into Steel's eyes. Steel continued to hold Silver's wrist, gently moving his fingers, helping the fine bones to repair themselves. He left the top layer of his mind open to Silver. "Who are you?" Silver whispered.
Steel felt the bones beneath his fingers finally heal, but still he kept holding Silver's wrist. "I am what I have always been," he said. "What you have always known me to be."
He was surprised when Silver switched to telepathy. //But you're so much more, aren't you?//
Steel considered the question, not quite certain he fully understood what Silver was saying. It would be easy for him to find out, but still he prevented himself from reading Silver's mind. So he gave a half-answer, wondering idly from where he had learnt such prevarication. //You've seen me tie lift cables with my hands. And you know of my 'party trick'.// It was what his fellow elements called his ability to take himself down to freezing point.
Silver frowned and shook his head. //That's not what I meant.//
Steel stilled his hand, realising he was still lightly rubbing Silver's wrist. //What do you mean?//
Silver gave him a half-smile. "I don't know."
Steel frowned. How could someone not know what they meant? Then again it was Silver, he shouldn't be that surprised. So instead of answering Silver, he said nothing. As he stood in silence he realised to his surprise he was still holding Silver's wrist. He was about to let it go when he found his hand covered by Silver's. Silver's touch was light, tentative, nervous even, as he closed his fingers around Steel's hand. Steel stilled his own hand and let his fingers remain on Silver's wrist.
They stood in silence just looking at one another. As Steel watched, Silver let go of his hand and slowly, carefully raised it and let it come to rest on Steel's shoulder. The touch was light, Steel barely felt it. As he continued to watch, Silver slid his hand slowly from Steel's shoulder around to cup the back of his neck. Steel froze as Silver's fingers touched his skin.
//I won't hurt you. But then I couldn't, could I?//
Steel gave the equivalent of a mental shrug. //Not in the obvious ways, no.// Silver raised an eyebrow and he looked surprised, almost as surprised as Steel felt. He should go; he should make his way around all the furniture and go; go before he did something that couldn't be undone. But he didn't want to go; staying made no sense, but he wanted to stay.
He changed the grip he still had on Silver's wrist and took Silver's hand instead, interlacing his fingers with Silver's. Then he again lowered his mental shields and answered Silver's puzzled query. For several seconds he let Silver see what no other, human or element, had seen before, not even Sapphire.
Silver gasped and gripped Steel's hand more tightly. //Never?// he asked, moments after Steel re-erected his mental barriers, once more shutting Silver out of his mind.
//Never.// Steel felt vaguely amused, an emotion he wasn't used to feeling at the shock in Silver's tone. Silver still had his hand on his neck and Steel still held Silver's hand. //Does that make a difference? Do you wish to retract your offer?//
Silver shook his head. "No," he murmured, tightening the grip he had on Steel's neck, just a little. "Do you trust me?" he asked softly, his eyes staring unblinkingly into Steel's.
"Yes." //Yes.// Steel deliberately replied verbally and telepathically. Silver nodded once. The next moment Steel felt Silver's lips on his own; felt his head held in place by the grip Silver had on his neck. Of course it was an illusion, if Steel wished to move he could, but he didn't.
The kiss wasn't at all unpleasant. In fact it was very pleasant. As Silver increased the pressure a little, Steel began to realise why humans and his fellow elements seemed to devote so much time to what he'd hitherto believed to be a fruitless, meaningless, unnecessary pastime.
And then he felt something stir inside him and he found himself not merely standing there letting Silver kiss him, but he was kissing Silver back. He felt Silver shake his hand free and instead put it around Steel, tugging him a little closer to him. In turn Steel echoed the move and put his arms around Silver. As their bodies met Steel deliberately let this body temperature creep down to what was normal for him and unleashed a little of his strength. He could feel from the way Silver was holding him and pressing against him that Silver wasn't as fragile as he'd felt when Steel had crushed the bones in his wrist.
As he let his temperature slide down he felt Silver shiver slightly and make a noise in his throat that seemed to indicate pleasure, as he pressed nearer to Steel. After a moment or two longer, Silver pulled back. //Come to bed with me, Steel.//
Steel nodded once and let Silver take him by the hand and guide him through the array of furniture in the room. As they reached the door, Steel glanced back briefly at the clutter; he wondered if he could persuade Silver to rearrange the room, or even dispose of some items. He didn't like to have to zigzag when he paced and something told him life with Silver might well involve a lot of pacing.
Feedback is always appreciated
Go to Sapphire & Steel Fiction Page
Go to Home Page