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Mab of the Antipodes [userpic]
Sapphire and Steel ficlet
by Mab of the Antipodes (mab_browne)
at February 6th, 2008 (09:43 pm)

calapine's lovely icons finally got me off my mental chuff to put this idea down.

Title: Left Behind
836 words
Characters: Sapphire and Rob
Spoilers for Assignment 1 of the tv series.

I'm glad this has happened now, if only because I'm nearly forty-four. I have a different perspective. If she'd appeared in front of me when I was still in my twenties and still that special sort of stupid, who knows how I might have humiliated myself.

"But you won't remember this, anyway, Rob, so it won't matter."

"Robert. I'm Robert, now, Sapphire." I say her name very softly. I don't mind that maybe she's already digging around in my thoughts. And I don't mind that she calls me by that old name. She's still very beautiful, and her signature colour is still a rich, jewel-toned blue. Anyone's head might turn to watch her go by. But the heads remain still, and I wonder what other people see. Who knows what there really is to see, not that I care. I've dreamed of Sapphire for thirty years, and now she's walking beside me, if only for a little while. I'm taller than she is now.

"I'm sorry," she says. "We forget how difficult it is for humans. Even when we give you a happy ending."

"You didn't make the trouble. You, you and Steel, you saved me and my family."

"Yes." She smiles. "How is Helen?"

She looks older than you, now, I nearly say. It's kind of Sapphire to remember. Or maybe it's not kind. She's not human, after all. "Well. She's well." And if Helen remembers those strange events of thirty years ago, she's never admitted to it. Never. Perhaps she doesn't remember. She was very small. Maybe it was always a dream to her.

"How is Steel? And, and Lead?" I have to reach for Lead's name, even though memory is clear. Big, so tall, and always warmly amused and strong, not like his name at all. Steel's name at least suited him. As does Sapphire's. I told her that she had a lovely name with all the thirteen year old bravado at my command.

Her face becomes an inhumanly beautiful mask. "Lead is – gone – now. I miss him." Then she's alive again, mischievous. "Steel is as he ever was."

"I'm sorry to hear that," I say gravely, but I know that there's mischief in my own face.

She makes a graceful gesture. "Oh, Steel isn't so bad when you know him."

"And you've known him a very, very long time."

"Yes, yes, I have.

We've reached a little park – grass, trees. The sun lights it all, but nothing is as bright as she is. We sit, close together on a park bench.

"I'm sorry I didn't come earlier, Rob, but I couldn't."

I shrug. If she'd come earlier then my life might have been quite different. I wish I was a painter, a sculptor. Maybe I could have put a life time's obsession to good use. But I'm not, and it would only have complicated things for her if I had; that much more for her to tidy away. Yes, I'm bitter now, while I still can be.

"I wish you didn't have to do this, Sapphire."

"Thought's just another sort of energy, Rob, and you've put far too much energy into remembering me. It's not safe, not for me, or Steel, or for you. Especially for you. Once is enough, surely?" Yes, one glimpse of the enormity outside mundane life was enough, except that I never would have seen her. Never been impressed on her like some baby bird hatching out of its shell to see the one thing that it shouldn't see, if it's going to live happily as a bird.

"Can I kiss you?"

Serenely, she says," Yes, Rob, you can kiss me."

I take her face between my hands. She's cold, and I hesitate. Not cold the way that Steel made himself, those terrible moments while I desperately tried to hold Sapphire to our time and place, but still – cold. Not human. I touch my mouth to hers. She should have come back before, she should have. It's like kissing a beautiful statue. Perhaps I could have forgotten her if what I had to remember was this.

"I don't think you would have, Rob," she says in my head. It's warm, affectionate. Maternal at best. "You're far too tenacious. Time to forget," and I hear that throbbing noise, the one that I truly did try to forget because it terrified me. If I opened my eyes, hers would be lit like blue flame, and I fight it, because I don't want to forget. For all its futility, for all the danger she claims, this is thirty years of me and I don't want to forget... I don't want...

I've wandered a long way from the office, but who could blame me? It's a beautiful day, the sky and the grass so bright in the sun. Still, I'd better get back. I stand, and take a couple of steps forward, before I stop and check the bench. Felt as if I'd left something behind me; but the bench is empty.


Posted by: A chair with a panda on it (amaresu)
Posted at: February 6th, 2008 03:02 pm (UTC)

Oh, very nice. Sad, but nice.

Posted by: Mab of the Antipodes (mab_browne)
Posted at: February 6th, 2008 05:55 pm (UTC)

Thanks very much. :-)

Posted by: Dorey (doreyg)
Posted at: February 6th, 2008 06:51 pm (UTC)

This is lovely ^^

very bittersweet

Posted by: Mab of the Antipodes (mab_browne)
Posted at: February 6th, 2008 07:08 pm (UTC)

Thank you. :-)

Posted by: Psychotic Writing Muses (hearts_blood)
Posted at: February 28th, 2008 10:51 pm (UTC)

This is a wonderful story. Poor Rob was completely smitten from the first, wasn't he... and I find it completely believable for him to have spent thirty years of his life obsessing over the memory of Sapphire. A pity about Lead, though... *sniffle* This bit made me chuckle, though:

"Steel is as he ever was."

"I'm sorry to hear that..."

A very nice story. Thank you for sharing it. :)

Posted by: Mab of the Antipodes (mab_browne)
Posted at: February 29th, 2008 12:21 am (UTC)

Thanks for the lovely fb. It's much appreciated. :-)

Posted by: Psychotic Writing Muses (hearts_blood)
Posted at: February 29th, 2008 12:26 am (UTC)

Any time. I hope to see more from you. :)

Posted by: azdak (azdak)
Posted at: March 24th, 2008 04:50 pm (UTC)

I've just stumbled across this story and had to let you know how wonderful I think it is! You hit just the right elegaic note - of course poor Rob could never stop thinking about Sapphire and all that she represented and of course it was a loss as well as a blessing when she took away his memories. The opening and closing paragraphs are absolutely brilliant in their simplicity and clarity. I'm going to remember this one for a very long time.

Posted by: Mab of the Antipodes (mab_browne)
Posted at: March 24th, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC)

Thank you very much. I had this in my head in a long time, and I'm so pleased you think it works. :-)

Posted by: ikeepfishinmytv (ikeepfishinmytv)
Posted at: January 16th, 2010 06:55 pm (UTC)

*my poor Rob!*

Posted by: Mab of the Antipodes (mab_browne)
Posted at: January 16th, 2010 07:16 pm (UTC)

Sorry? *g* If it's any consolation, this concept grabbed my imagination because I like Rob too - and when it comes to fanfic you always hurt the ones you love like. Thanks for the fb.

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