"I should go first." He took off his brown trench coat and tossed it over the branch of the TARDIS. It shifted slightly to catch the garment and he nodded his thanks.
"Why?" Steel sat quietly, eyes still scanning the console in front of him. The writing was very old, but so was he.
"I'm over 900 years old." The Doctor flopped down into a beanbag, one of his favorite souvenirs from the 60's. "And a Time Lord."
"I'm an Element. Parts of me predate you by centuries, but very well, Doctor, you may go first."
Sapphire watched from the wings, wondering if either man remembered she was with them. She'd heard about such things, males posturing for the attention of a female and so forth. It both amused and flattered her that Steel felt the need to stake his territory as it were.
"Very well, I will take…" He reached forward and dinged a bell. "Truth."
"Do you fear death?"
"What? What sort of question is that?"
"The sort I want an answer to." Steel leaned forward, running his fingers over a series of characters etched into the metal. Ross kan in tate. The words formed unbidden in his mind. Emergency brake?
Sapphire started to laugh and hid her mouth behind a long-fingered hand. Steel glanced over at her, obviously delighted that he'd made her smile.
"Oh, no fair! You two think back and forth like that!"
"You are, I believe, the term is, waffling, Doctor." Steel turned in the seat to study the lanky brunet. "Do you fear death that much?"
"What would you know about it? It's not like you can die!"
"I can cease to be in this state. Is that not death?
"You have no idea."
"I'd always heard that death is a bit like a long restful sleep." Sapphire stepped from the shadows and moved forward, so gracefully it was almost as if she glided instead of walked.
"Don't forget to put forever into that mix." The Doctor sat forward in the beanbag, clasping his arms about his knees. "No more regenerations, no more chances."
"I thought that's what you were famous for, Doctor. Or at least this version of you. No second chances and yet you've had… ten, now?"
"All right, I think we've established that I fear death." The answer was clipped. "Now, my turn."
"Very well." Steel's lips curled into a small smile. "The truth."
"Don't you ever get tired of it all?"
"Define the phrase' it all,' please?"
"Saving humans from themselves. You never get any thanks, never any appreciation. There's never a slap on the back or an atta, boy for a job well done. Doesn't that rankle you?"
Steel stared at him, brow furrowed "This is my job," he said after a long minute. "I still don't understand."
"Oh, that's right, no emotions, at least not for anyone, except her." The Doctor nodded to Sapphire. "Now who's waffling?"
"The answer to your question, Doctor, is, yes. I do grow weary of protecting an unknowing and uncaring populace, but I shall continue until my services are no longer required or I can no longer fulfill my functions."
"Fair enough. Truth."
"Have you even wanted to be human?"
"Been there, done that, got the broken heart to prove it." The Doctor glanced up at the Chameleon device. "No more," he whispered. "My turn. Have you ever wished you were human?"
"No," Steel said simply. "This game is beginning to wear, Doctor. Do you have a point?"
"It's a game, Steel. Games don't always have a point."
"They should." Steel looked to his partner who had frozen in place, her eyes glowing a brilliant blue. Trouble?
We are being summoned.
For once, I am in appreciation of Their timing. "Enough game playing, Doctor." Steel stood and held out his hand to Sapphire. "We are needed."
As they vanished from view, The Doctor rolled out of the beanbag and got to his feet. He reached out to stroke a branch of the TARDIS and sighed. "And isn't that the ultimate truth in the end? Isn't that all any of us ever want? Just to be needed by someone or…" He felt the branch grow warm beneath his hand. "Or something? It's time for us to go as well, my love."
With a grinding whine, the TARDIS groaned into action and, as with the Elements before him, they vanished from sight.