Author's note: For technical reasons, I can't quite promise you'll understand what this story is all about, but I like it anyway. I like it a lot.
There was a girl on a beach and she'd decided to stay there forever. The North Sea was cold and full of the waves of the season, and a wind was blowing over her and there were gulls, but she didn't move because she didn't think she was ever going to move again. She sat on the sand. Sometimes she cried, but more often than that already she was silent. Her family was usually there, but sometimes they weren't, like right then.
She could be excused for a lot of it, because she had lost the man she loved very much and she was human and her world had taught her that you only get to love once if at all, but the days were passing into weeks and soon the season would be changing again, and something was going to have to be done, because she was sitting in a very bad place.
It was called Bad Wolf Bay and it was not a good place to sit down in.
So right then a woman and a man came up to the girl as though they've just been strolling along the beach, even though her ankle-long blue dress and his prim and proper gray suit didn't make very good beach-wear, and they stood on either of her sides. The woman in blue had her arms around her as if she was a little cold and the man in gray stuck his hands in his pockets and his tie went flying in the wind, and the girl didn't look up at either of them.
"You'll have to do it sooner or later, you know," the man said. There was a hint of exasperation in his voice that made it sound like grating metal on metal.
She didn't answer and the man said, "you'll have to move on."
"I don't want to," the girl said without wondering how they knew, because it seemed like the sort of thing the whole world ought to be aware of. "I don't ever want to."
"But you'll have to," the man in gray said. "We can't allow it to be otherwise."
"He'll come for me," the girl said.
Now the woman spoke and she sounded like a deep far bell. "No," she said. "We gave him time for that. Now that we're here, it's too late. He won't come."
"How do you know?!" The girl snapped.
"This is our world," the woman in blue said softly. "We know."
Oddly, that got some life out of the girl. She straightened, she stood. The change in her made the man frown, and the woman stood still and silent. She crashed against them like the waves crashed against the white shore and the wind blew the sand about, breaking its structures and patterns, shouting: "It isn't mine though – it isn't my world! I don't belong here, and I tell you I'm going to get back!"
"No," the man in gray said.
He edged closer, and he did not touch her, but he caught her. His eyes were also gray. His breath was cold. "No, you are not. You're sitting on a weak spot in the fabric of reality already, and your presence in this universe is a disturbance. If you continue to wallow and not fit in here, you will snap the weak point and both universes will be torn to pieces. You must stop lingering here, or we'll be forced to destroy you, right now. Your human mind can't grasp the number of lives or the sheer forces involved."
The girl went very quiet.
The man in gray retreated, and his companion in blue moved past him across the sand, making no sound and leaving few footprints. Her dress and her eyes were bluer than the water, and she spoke very softly.
"You must forgive Steel his roughness," she apologized. "He's arrived where he is now under circumstances that are – surprisingly similar to yours."
"Lost the love of his life, did he?" The girl countered in an angry, human accent.
"Yes," the woman said. "In the manner you think of love – yes."
"I don't believe that," the girl said hotly, after a moment's silence. "I don't believe that, or he'd have understood, he'd have known how I feel and – "
"He wasn't lost, he was taken," the man in gray said dryly. "His name was Jamie."
Everything snapped into silence, except the waves, who did not know, and the gulls, who did not care. The girl's world slowed, crawled down to a halt, shifted and reformed in front of her eyes in a way that almost reminded her of a wash of gold, and neither the man nor the woman moved. The girl hadn't been told long ago, and she remembered clearly even through her grief. She looked at the man in gray as though she was not seeing him.
She opened her mouth to say a word.
"No," the man in gray said, "not for two lifetimes now."
He turned around and looked at the sea. His back was as straight as the mast of a ship, and a hat or a scarf or any spicing of color would've looked sad and eerie on him. The girl knew a lot about colors and movement, and she realized that things were coming to her that by another man's side wouldn't have.
She looked at the woman in blue and risked – "Romanadvo - "
"Sapphire," the woman corrected serenely.
She moved away then and walked to stand by the man in gray, and they were a lot like the sky and the sea together.
The girl breathed in and thought of color, of movement. She thought about change and consequences and potentials. She thought awfully big thoughts, fitting in inside a human mind that was bigger on the inside.
Then she also moved from where she was sitting and she went to look at the ocean. The ground felt oddly solid under her feet once she moved away. Maybe that one place really was weak and close to breaking.
"I don't want to be destroyed," she said to the woman in blue, and the woman said, "well, that's a good start."
And, surprisingly, the man in gray: "Where this is life, there is hope."
And that was the last that Rose remembered of that, because it really had been a very odd dream, and when she woke up she realized she must've been on that beach that whole night, and really rather wanted to go home. Luckily, her family were coming up, one more go at trying to convince herto do just that.
She started walking towards them.
The two Celestial Intervention Agents watched her from Someplace Else. It had been a very odd mission to be fulfilled like this, but the quiet of it all was gratifying. It wasn't a bad way to seal a dimensional rift, and on a beach that was getting sunny, too. Sapphire held Steel's hand.
Nothing visible passed between them, nothing ever really needed to, until Sapphire said "it isn't a bad life."
"Better with two," Steel said simply, and they, like the sea wind, moved on.