He doesn't believe in such a ridiculous concept as fairness - of course he doesn't.
He can sense both Sapphire and Silver moving through the dark and silent museum. Locating them is an effortless action these days, something that has become almost second nature to him. He closes his eyes and reaches out to both of them. Their replies follow instantly - a mental twin reassurance of being safe and being alert.
Opening his eyes again, he looks at the sarcophagus in front of him. It's a large wooden box elaborately decorated with gold and semi-precious stones. It's bathed in the soft glow of a spotlight overhead. Unfortunately, it isn't the source of the disturbance they're looking for.
"Egyptian," Sapphire had said when all three of them had been in this room together. "More than two thousand years old," Silver had added. Steel had looked at them both, then at their hands that had rested lightly on the sarcophaguses cover. He had only nodded and sent them both out to search the other floors of the building.
He had felt a pang of envy and not for the first time. It was an unsettling and unwelcome emotion and he had wanted to be alone to analyze and deal with it.
There is no question about his lead here. In this his role is well established and accepted. During assignments it is his task to be the one to combine their efforts, to make use of their abilities in the most efficient way possible. It is his unwavering determination that always guarantees their success in reaching their objectives.
They need a lot of creativity and improvisation, not to mention tenacity. The situations they frequently have to deal with are highly complex, and often enough they go in without any reliable information whatsoever. Even more often, the information they're been given in advance proves to be false in the end.
Analyzing everything, questioning every conclusion is a necessity, and there lies the source of his feeling of envy. Sapphire and Silver, in his profession as a specialist, are highly gifted with abilities that are perfect in these circumstances. Sapphire's control over the flow of time, the ease with which she is able to attain knowledge about objects or persons - both abilities are such huge assets. Silver's powers to transform and create objects and duplicates of objects, as well as his conjurer's ability to create illusions are equally valuable.
It fills him with deep satisfaction to see them at work as they actually become their very own elements, to see them take possession of their name and nature in the most aesthetically pleasing and functional way possible. Maybe he can go so far as to call it a joy to witness? The thought has an almost frivolous ring to it, but since no one will hear it but himself, he feels safe in expressing it.
Yes, those abilities are a joy to observe. They are also a grievance. He can't help, but compare his own abilities to theirs. Certainly, his strength is useful. And his ability to take his own temperature down to absolute zero is a weapon that they've relied on more than once. It's been the perfect means to stop or even destroy the ghostly remnants of Time's breach of continuity.
Still, there is a certain brutishness to his powers. Raw strength is just that. And his ability to drop his temperature is at its heart a double-edged sword since it leaves him helpless for hours afterwards. Had he believed in the concept, he might very well have considered this as quite unfair. It leaves him feeling inadequate somehow. Yes, he is important. But is he essential? As essential as his two fellow elements are? Deep within him there exists a glimmer of doubt about it. He can't quench it, regardless how hard he tries.
Steel? Silver's voice fills his mind.
There's a door here, a locked door, Sapphire joins in. We can't open it, but we're almost certain that the source of the disturbance is on its other side. Will you come?
I'm on my way, he replies.
Again he reaches out to get their bearings in the building before he heads towards them.
You're not, Steel, Silver's voice once again.
Inadequate. Now it is Sapphire.
How? he asks, confused.
He had been sure that they couldn't pick up on his thoughts. They hadn't been meant to be overheard. Suddenly he feels self-conscious and that is a truly rare feeling for him. He has no idea how to answer.
It's a question of the whole, Sapphire continues.
Yes, Silver chimes in. The whole that is much larger than its parts. The smile in his voice has an almost palpable quality. Not to forget how much your, - a slight pause - your more forceful qualities can be a joy to witness, too. Though myself, I much prefer the direct participation when you exercise them. And I still think it's a silly rule to forbid such things while on assignment.
Amused and, on Sapphire's part, slightly-scandalized laughter fills his mind. There is one role he plays in their triangle he hasn't considered so far, Steel thinks. Keeping his fellow elements - capricious, playful and mischievous as they both often are - in line.
He hastens his steps. He can't wait to rejoin them.