Genre: Sapphire and Steel
Word count: 883
Written for: umbralpilot, who requested Sapphire and Steel, titular characters either / or &, heist at the British museum I hope this fits the bill. My thanks to sparky955 for her beta help
It was a small alcove of no importance. Many of the museum patrons walked by it, either ignoring it or giving it very little attention. Had they, they might have thought it odd that one moment it was empty and the next a man and woman were there, both looking just slightly out of place.
“The museum is now closing. Please proceed to the nearest exit. The Museum is now closing.”
“I don’t like museums.” The man’s voice was hard and without humor at he stared up at the loudspeaker.
“And why is that, Steel?” The name suited him. She moved away from him, intent upon studying a painting. Even without touching it, the centuries called out to her. He caught her arm and pulled her back against him.
“Too many old things.” His voice softened. “Be careful that you don’t touch anything, Sapphire.”
She leaned back against him. “I know. We don’t want to risk being trapped in another dimension.” She smiled at his caution.
“What? No, I was warning about the alarms. Trigger one and we will have all of security down upon us. The last thing I want to do is have to explain us to anyone and why we are here after closing.”
He held up a finger and shook his head. Sapphire fell silent and both froze as a guard walked by. He apparently didn’t notice them as he move past.
That was close.
Too close. We need to do this. Time is running out.
They remained like that for a long time, mentally communicating when need be.
What time is it?
We need to go now. We need to find Room 27, the Mexican artifact room.
They moved quietly, their footsteps soft against the marble. Sapphire had seen to it that they had the proper footwear and Steel had to admit that the sneakers he wore were much more comfortable than many of the other shoes he’d worn.
“Here.” He pointed to a sign and then stepped back into shadows, taking Sapphire with him. Another guard moved past them and Steel waited for a few minutes before leading the way into the room.
In a small display case, the object of their mission gleamed at them. It was almost as if it were mocking their efforts. He pointed and Sapphire nodded.
Her eyes glowed with concentration. “There are alarm heads around the perimeter and a pressure pad beneath it.”
“Understood.’ Steel rubbed his hands together and held them out away from his body. His eyes closed as he focused his energy to them, forcing their temperature to drop. “Minus 180. 200, 300.”
“That’s enough.” Sapphire watched the pain flit across Steel’s brow as the reality of forcing his human shape to bear his will. “They are here, here and here.” He touched in sensor in turn and they immediately crystalized with ice.
“Now the pressure plate.”
“I can’t maintain this temperature much more,” Steel whispered, hands trembling. “Be ready.”
Sapphire reached into the stylish purse she carried and lifted out a duplicate skull. It caught and reflected a cascade of light, almost pulsating with hidden power. “I’m ready.”
The exchange was made with little flair and Sapphire closed the door to the case. Steel almost whimpered as he stepped away and let his body start the slow climb back to normal. It would take him a good hour for his hands to completely warm and repair the tissue damage. Until then, he would have to careful not to touch anything, including himself.
“It’s really beautiful, isn’t it?” Sapphire held up the duplicate skull. She could easily read its age, but it had taken researchers a long time to uncover the truth.
“Crystal does good work.” Steel’s teeth chattered. “But it didn’t fool them, they discovered in the end that it was fake.”
“The real one will be safe here?” She looked over her shoulder as they walked from the room back into the main hall.
“That’s what They hope. Now that the British Museum has proclaimed their skull a fake to the world, no one will be really interested in it except as an object d’art. Where better to hide the real crystal one than in plain view? Safe and away from any trouble.”
“Speaking of trouble, the guard is coming. We need to leave.” She offered him a hand, but he shook his head, almost sadly.
Sapphire laughed. “I will have to remember this moment!”
The guard rounded the corner, frowning. He could have sworn he heard a woman laughing, but there was no one there. He blinked as his vision swam slightly and then he glanced over at the gleaming skull. Heh, there was a sucker borne every minute. It had been easy to get a job here and work his way up. It had taken time, but it would be worth it. He already had a private investor willing to pay him enough money to buy a little island somewhere and retire. He checked his watch and waited for his henchmen to join him. He retrieved a sack from an electrical panel and opened it. The skull was a prefer replica of the crystal skull. Perfect except it was acrylic. This was going to be the perfect heist…