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The Magical Mystery Tour

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Dr. Priyanka Maheswaran was a woman who valued order. That was no surprise to anyone who had ever spent more than five seconds in her presence. Part of her resistance – the largest part, if she was honest – to Steven Universe's presence in her daughter's life was the very chaos of his world. Greg, she could actually deal with. Sure, he wasn't exactly high class but he meant well and loved his son. He had proven he knew how to be a responsible parent when it was required. And if he'd truly been a single father, perhaps that would have been easier for Priyanka to wrap her mind around. But that bizarre trio of guardians, the Crystal Gems...they gave her pause. Clearly, they had figured out how to keep the boy alive and reasonably well cared for. And, honestly, she could have cared less what the exact nature of their relationships with each other entailed. Well, she was mildly curious, but she didn't feel it impacted their ability to be competent caregivers. But for all the times she had judged them – oh, and she'd silently judged them; she couldn't deny it – there was never anything firm enough that she could pin down as to what made them so strange.

 

Until the week following a certain hellish shift at work that changed her life.

 

Fusion monsters, her daughter the swordfighter...it all seemed too much. And, for one evening, it was enough to try to mend her relationship with Connie and swear to herself she was going to be a little more open-minded. About the sword training. About the pink lion. About that Universe kid. And she was actually quite fond of Steven. He was kind and polite and there was nothing personally objectionable about him, really. Was he everything she'd pictured for her daughter's first friend-who-might-become-more? Absolutely not. But, honestly, that person was too perfect to actually exist. Steven was a good fit for the role. But getting closer to Steven meant getting closer to his family and that terrified Priyanka just slightly. Greg would have been fine, but it wasn't just Greg.

 

That had been Friday night. The weekend continued without much fanfare and, actually, gave her a lot of good time to catch up with Connie. She thought she was ready to face the week ahead, armed with new knowledge.

 

She could not possibly have been more wrong.

 

On Monday, Priyanka went to pick Connie up from her sword training lesson. She'd anticipated any number of things, most of which she expected to terrify her. Of all of the many scenarios she'd envisioned, Steven and Connie ducking and weaving around a four-armed, twelve foot tall woman armed with a bow was not one of them. On the way home, Connie had cheerfully explained fusions. Apparently, that one was Opal and she was some amalgam of Pearl and Amethyst and, "It's not like you're thinking, Mom, I've done it too.”

 

Priyanka nearly drove off the road at that revelation.

 

On Tuesday, Priyanka met Stevonnie.

 

On Wednesday, she finally stopped freaking out because Doug – that sweet, adorable dork she'd married – likened the process to some anime he'd seen and, however far-fetched, it was frankly the least disturbing explanation of them all.

 

Later Wednesday night, Priyanka also learned Garnet was one of these “fusions” and those two actually were lovers who found the process strengthened their bond. It was kind of sweet once she thought about it. It also validated her, in a strange way, because she'd just known at least two of them had to be a couple. Connie had been a little too concerned initially with presenting them as a nuclear family for that not to be the case. (And while Priyanka could admit that a good portion of Connie's initial worry about the matter had been her fault, she was too delighted to be right about at least one thing in all of this to beat herself up too much over it.)

 

Thursday, another of those experimental nightmares showed up at the hospital's outpatient clinic, but so did the Gems and they actually handled the matter with minimal violence, so Priyanka had to give them credit where it was due.

 

Friday, she was presented with more answers and even more unexpected feelings to go with them. To be honest, Priyanka had always wondered which, if any, of the Gems was Steven's biological mother. (Greg's contribution the boy's gene pool had never been in doubt. Steven looked just like him.) Priyanka had been curious, but it wasn't a polite question to ask, and she'd thus managed to keep her curiosity to herself. Initially, her bet would have been Garnet, if based on the color of the gemstone Steven had, but the cut mirrored Amethyst's. Pearl seemed to act in a more traditional motherly role, but that also fit her personality once Priyanka got to know her a little better. And then Connie told her the story of Rose Quartz. Of course. Steven Quartz Universe. Suddenly, everything about the Gems and their odd ways of relating to Steven made more sense. And his story became even more bittersweet.

 

Over dinner Friday, Priyanka announced she was unofficially adopting Steven. Doug, bless him, merely smiled and shrugged and went with it. Connie paled a little bit before Priyanka assured her, no, it wouldn't make them siblings. Priyanka had just decided to make it a priority to expose the boy to a little human mothering. It might benefit them both emotionally.

 

It also gave her a sure-fire way to dodge those “evil mother-in-law” jokes. No harm in planning for what seemed to be an increasingly obvious future, after all.

 

Saturday was, blessedly, incident-free.

 

Sunday nearly followed suit, but was snatched back from the mundane late in the evening with a series of texts from Pearl using Steven's phone – all of which seemed to be questions about the limits of the human bladder. There was also the apparent addition of yet another player in this continuing drama, one named Peridot? It had the potential to be a huge mistake, but Priyanka was tired, so she texted back a handful of links to her favorite anatomy and physiology sites and went to bed, resolving to ask Steven about it in the morning.

 

Monday morning, Priyanka had a sudden revelation on the way to work. Magic was, at its core, unpredictable – and, thus, hard to incorporate seamlessly into a life as organized as her own. But some give and take was necessary. And just as the Gems had learned to make things work somehow for them in the human world, she too could adjust a bit and learn to live in the Gem world. At least the one here on Earth.

 

Two months later, Peridot showed up on her porch at three am, wanting to discuss caste systems and human social development. Priyanka smiled kindly and shut the door in her face, heading back to bed with muffled protests of, “What is it with you humans and your obsession with sleep, anyway?!” in the background. Give and take. She was getting the hang of it.

 

By the time Connie and Steven showed up, breathless, with three identical Gems in tow that looked vaguely like Pearl and explained they'd become accidental abolitionists (except not all that accidental), Priyanka had almost learned to go with the flow. After all, she really should have expected this when giving her daughter a name that meant, essentially, “storyteller of the universe.