Genre: Sapphire & Steel - Becoming Human series
Word Count: 1005
Prompt: Sapphire & Steel - "I will remember this."
To ragnarok_08, I hope you enjoy the story and my thanks to sparky955 for her beta.
Astra stood quietly in her bedroom and looked out the window. It had been a week since her parents had disappeared. She knew they had a job to do and were often gone, but this time it was different. The other Elements were worried, Astra could tell. They would not let her out of their sight, at least not until now.
This was the earth home. As she was both human and Element, They felt it was right that she be schooled in each world. That meant a home and Astra loved the little house. It was tiny, but just the right size for them. She had her own bedroom, stuffed toys and everything a little girl should have.
Except right now, she didn’t have her parents.
It was starting to snow and the sun was heading down. That meant it would be dark soon, so she needed to hurry.
She thought for a moment and her attire changed to something suitable for the climate. She didn’t feel the cold as a rule, except when Daddy was helping her train. However, if she went outside with a coat or hat, people would notice and stop her. Astra did not want to be stopped.
She walked outside and shut the door behind her. Looking left and then right, she thought for a moment before choosing right.
Astra walked quickly. It would really be easier to teleport to where she wanted to go, but she wasn’t very good at that yet and didn’t want to get into trouble again. It was easier as the foot traffic increased. She knew to stay close to someone so that no one would notice her walking alone.
Ahead, a marquee announced that this was the one store for holiday giving. She went inside and rode the escalator to the second floor. That’s where Santa’s Toyland was. She sighed and hoped that this would be the right one. There were many Santas on her journey here. Some were ringing bells and others were passing out pieces of paper. None of them felt right, though.
She looked to the throne and felt something warm build in her stomach. She smiled and got into line.
It took a very long time and Astra was beginning to think that she’d never get there, but suddenly she was flying through the air and came to a rest on Santa’s lap.
“Ho, ho, ho,” Santa said. “What’s your name?”
“My name is Astra, Santa,” she answered politely. She studied him again, now that she was closer. His beard was real, his jiggly belly was real and she was convinced that he was, in fact, the real deal.
“Well, what can Santa do you for you, Astra?”
“I need you to find my mommy and daddy, please.”
“Are you lost?” Santa gestured to one of his elves.
“No, sir. They were on assignment and disappeared. I would have come sooner, but Silver and Jet are very diligent about watching me. Daddy, his name is Steel, said that you saved him once before and Mommy, I mean, Sapphire, too. He said I should always come and find you if I was in trouble. Well, I’m not, but I’m awfully worried about them.”
Santa stared at her for a moment and then leaned over and spoke to the elf. He nodded and Santa helped Astra down from his lap. “Come with me, dear.” There was a cry of dismay from the kids in the line and Santa held up his hand. “I will be right back.”
He led Astra to a curtained off booth and the Santa sitting there looked up, surprised. His mouth moved for a moment as if trying to come up with an explanation for Astra, but the blonde haired child simply smiled and said, “I understand that Santa has many helpers at this time of the year. Mommy explained it to me.”
“If you could relieve me for a few moments, Santa?”
“Of course, Santa.”
Astra waited patiently for the man to walk away and then Santa led her to a table and pulled out a chair. “Would you like some hot chocolate?”
“Yes, that would be lovely, thank you.” She climbed up onto the chair and arranged her clothes as Santa made hot chocolate.
“Now, tell me about your parents.”
Astra stared up at the ceiling, worry keeping sleep from her. Shortly after she began her visit with Santa, Silver and Jet found her. Jet led her away while Silver had a brief conversation with Santa. They weren’t very happy with her, but understood.
She had insisted that she be in her Earth home this evening. It was Christmas Eve and this was the magic time. Except the minutes dragged on and there was no Santa.
The door opened and Silver stood there. “Can’t sleep?”
Astra sat up and shook her head. “I was sure Santa could find Mommy and Daddy.”
“We’re all looking for them, sweetheart. We’ll find them eventually.” But Astra sensed, I hope hanging in the air. Silver sat down on her bed and stroked her head.
The tears, which she had held at bay for so long finally started to flow and she threw herself into Silver’s arms, letting all her sorrow come out.
“Now, now, none of that,” she heard someone say and sat back. Santa was standing there. “I’m sorry it took me a little time, Astra. Yours was an especially hard wish.”
“I still say I would have gotten it without his help.” Astra’s eyes grew wide at the sound of her father’s voice.
“Steel, you’d been working on it for a very long time.”
Mommy? Astra tore away from Silver and lunged for her parents. Steel caught her easily and the trio hugged, a little family back together again.
“I will remember this,” Silver said to Santa. “How you were able to do what eluded the rest of us is beyond me.”
“Nothing to it. After all, I’m Santa Claus.” And Santa winked, then he was gone.