Amethyst enjoyed snowy days. She liked waking up to fresh powdery white all over the ground. She liked bundling up in her warmest jacket and breathing in the crisp air, exhaling puffs of clouds into the cold. She liked playing in the snow, convincing Pearl to come outside for a few minutes and help her build a snowman, tossing a snowball at her when her back was turned. She liked the impromptu snowball fights, running around until they were breathless and exhausted, holding silly insubstantial grudges as they made their way back inside. She liked watching Pearl make hot chocolate, liked picking out the silliest mismatched mugs in their collection, liked plopping too many marshmallows on top once it was ready. She liked curling up on the couch in warm pajamas, Pearl pressed against her side, warm cup in her hand, blanket draped over the two of them as they watched the fire.
Snowy days were great, but they were a little lackluster when she wasn’t able to share them with her girlfriend. Today, Pearl was away, her dance company performing some suitably seasonal show in the next city over. Amethyst didn’t mind, honestly. She was thrilled when Pearl finally became a principal dancer, all her years of practice coming to fruition. She’d gone to that first performance every night, even though she never appreciated ballet the way Pearl did. Amethyst loved watching her regardless, and she felt proud every time her girlfriend was whisked away to another city to perform. But tonight it was cold and snowy outside, and sometimes Amethyst just missed having Pearl beside her to keep her warm.
She made her own hot chocolate, and it wasn’t bad but it didn’t taste anything like Pearl’s; she was always so much more precise about it. Still, Amethyst let it rest on her knee as she searched the TV for something good. It was getting late and there were plenty of cheery, sentimental holiday movies on, so she let that run and watched halfheartedly. She had spent most of the day pestering Garnet, Jasper, and anyone else she could get hold of via text while trying to hammer out a new menu for the bakery. She'd tested out half a dozen different recipes, eaten most of the results, and thrown a few leftovers onto a plate for Pearl to try when she got back. Now, nothing to really occupy her, she started to drift off, eyes slipping shut.
Around midnight, the doorbell rang, and Amethyst’s eyes flew open. She pushed her hair away from her face and squinted at the clock before getting up to answer it.
“Pearl?” she said in surprise, taking in the slim figure standing in front of her.
“Hi,” Pearl said, teeth chattering as she rubbed at her arms to try and keep them warm. She was only wearing a thin jacket and knit leg warmers with some of her practice clothes, which wasn’t nearly enough to shield her from the wind and snow. “Are you going to let me in?”
“Oh! Yeah, sorry, c’mon.” Amethyst ushered her inside quickly. “What are you doing back? I thought you were spending the night at a hotel.”
Pearl busied herself with brushing the small layer of snow off her clothes and toeing off her shoes and socks, both damp from the trip. “You know that idea of ‘anything that can go wrong will go wrong’?”
“Yeeees?” she replied, helping dust off the back of Pearl’s jacket.
“It did.” She sighed and pressed her hands to her cheeks, trying to warm them.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine,” Pearl replied dismissively. “I’m going to go change into something else, and then I’ll tell you about it.” She took a few steps towards the bedroom, unusually wobbly.
“Whoa, P,” Amethyst said, catching her by the arm. “Are you limping?”
“I twisted my ankle earlier,” she admitted reluctantly.
“Well, don’t walk on it.” She scooped her girlfriend up and grinned as Pearl scrambled to grab onto her. “Damn, you’re freezing. Want me to warm you up?” she teased.
Pearl blushed faintly. “Not like that.”
“Fair enough,” Amethyst agreed, giving her a kiss on the nose. She walked over to the bedroom and set Pearl down carefully on the bed. “I’ll get you something to wear,” she said, opening the closet door.
“Thanks.” Her girlfriend accepted the comfy long sleeved shirt and one of Amethyst’s old college sweatshirts, slipping out of her own clothes and into the dry ones gratefully.
“No prob. Here.” She dug out a pair of pants and tossed them over.
Pearl stood up briefly to change into them and then sat down again, pulling her legs up onto the bed. “Would you mind bringing me the makeup remover?”
“Sure.” Amethyst popped into the bathroom and grabbed the package of wipes, bringing them over to Pearl and sitting down beside her. “So what exactly happened tonight, besides the sprained ankle?”
“Where do I start,” Pearl muttered. “Well, it was by far the worst performance we’ve had since…since the beginning, honestly. I made a stupid mistake just as we were finishing the first act; they had to replace me in the second… Rose was lovely about the whole ordeal, but I was so embarrassed.” She sighed and twisted her hands into the sleeves of the sweatshirt. “There were technical difficulties left and right as well, and Peridot was beside herself. And in the end there was a power outage so we couldn’t even finish. We waited around for about an hour before going to the hotel, which had apparently overbooked its rooms and had no space for us. After that, some of us decided to carpool back here because that was easier than trying to find rooms somewhere else." She drew in a deep breath. "And the car’s heater broke about twenty minutes after we left.”
“Wow, Pierogi, I think you might be cursed,” Amethyst told her.
“It certainly feels like it,” she sighed.
“C’mere, I’ll get your makeup,” she offered. Pearl scooted forward a little and Amethyst started rubbing the cloth over her skin with care. “Don’t beat yourself up over the sprained ankle,” she said lightly. “It happens. Besides, nobody’s even going to remember you have an ankle after that fiasco.”
Pearl snorted. “I suppose so.”
“Close your eyes.” She waited for her girlfriend to shut them before gently swiping across her eyelids. “Did you put ice on it?”
“Yes. It doesn’t hurt much anymore, but that might just be because everything was starting to go numb.” Her eyes flickered open as Amethyst’s hand pulled away. “How was your day?”
“Downright boring compared to yours,” Amethyst laughed, getting a clean wipe to go over Pearl’s face one last time. “Are you hungry?”
“No, we stopped at a diner on the way to warm up.”
“You want some hot chocolate? Tea?”
“Hot chocolate sounds wonderful.” Pearl smiled and gathered the used wipes in one hand. “Thank you. I’m going to rinse my face off first.”
“Mmkay.” Amethyst helped her up and watched her limp to the bathroom before heading to the kitchen and preparing a quick cup of hot chocolate.
When Pearl joined her a few minutes later, looking a little more refreshed, she handed her a fresh mug and arranged some pillows so she could elevate her ankle. “Sorry about all this,” Pearl offered softly, cupping the mug in her hands. “You were probably expecting a quiet evening.”
“Since when do I like quiet evenings?” she asked lightly, nudging Pearl’s shoulder. “I was kind of bored without my disaster of a girlfriend around, actually.”
Pearl gave her a half-indignant look.
“I missed you, P,” Amethyst said honestly, leaning over to place a kiss on her forehead.
Her eyes softened. “I missed you too.” She took a small sip of hot chocolate. “Even if you put in too much milk and too many marshmallows.”
“Everybody’s a critic,” she said, rolling her eyes. “Sorry I don’t measure up to your fancy hotel.”
Pearl smiled. “I think I prefer it here anyway.” She rested the mug in her lap and leaned against Amethyst’s shoulder, eyes closing.
“You wanna sleep now?”
Pearl shook her head wearily, reluctantly lifting it again. She took several long sips from the chocolate, making a small pleased sound when Amethyst cuddled up beside her. After a few minutes, Pearl set the mug down, stretching to reach the table without dislodging her girlfriend. She wrapped her arms around Amethyst loosely, resting her cheek against soft hair.
Amethyst dragged a blanket down around them, making sure it covered Pearl’s shoulders.
“Thank you,” Pearl murmured, hands tracing Amethyst’s soft curves, no particular goal in mind. “For taking care of me.”
“Well, you always fuss about me, gotta even it out,” she whispered back, trailing light kisses over Pearl’s shoulder. “Do you need anything else?”
“No, I’m alright,” she answered softly. She lifted her head a little and touched Amethyst’s face to get her to look up. Pearl pressed a small, lingering kiss to her lips.
Amethyst kissed her back, and then again, several long, gentle, drowsy kisses that would inevitably get interrupted by their decline into sleep.
“I love you,” Pearl whispered against her skin, one hand loosely tangled in Amethyst’s hair.
“I love you too, P,” she replied, stroking a thumb over her cheek. “Let’s get you to bed.”
“Mm,” she agreed faintly, letting Amethyst lift her up again. The blanket was tangled strangely around them, but they made it to the bed without any trouble.
Amethyst laid her down and crawled under the covers beside her, arms settling around Pearl’s thin waist and cradling her body against hers. Her breathing was already deep and even, and Amethyst smiled, pressing one last kiss to her cheek and letting her own eyes close as well.
In the morning, Amethyst would have to go to work and Pearl would get frustrated about having to rest at home and they would probably just be texting back and forth until Amethyst got back in the evening with dinner. But right now they were here, together, and Amethyst knew she could look forward to more of these tiny, quiet moments snuggled safely away from the cold. Being with Pearl was a rapid succession of lots of tiny moments and Amethyst was happy in any of them, wherever and whenever they were, but sometimes she craved these. Peaceful, soft, dreamlike in-betweens that gave her a security she had never expected. And Pearl...Pearl would always, always feel like home.