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“What is the earth like?”

 

“Huh?”

 

Lars lifted his head to glance at Rhodonite, who had abruptly turned to him in the middle of an idle chat. There wasn’t much to do in the empty cavern, so talking took up a lot of their time.

 

The perpetually nervous fusion tapped one pearl hand against another, as if planning out her words.

 

“Well, the earth wasn’t decimated, like Steven said. He told us there was life there, and they make... boxes?”

 

“And sandwiches!” supplied the left Rutile, seeming slightly proud of herself for remembering the word. The other smiled and nodded in agreement.

 

Lars looked a bit unsure of himself.

 

“Eh, you should really be asking Steven. He’s the one who noticed how nice everything was back home. I... just wanted to be upset all the time.”

 

“Why would you want that?”

 

“No- I didn’t mean it literally, I just… It’s complicated, okay?” Some of the old edge had crept into his voice, and he regretted it immediately. Thankfully, none of his companions seemed upset, and Fluorite nodded understandingly.

 

“That’s all right. You’ve had quite the experience in the last few days.”

 

He nodded gratefully, thinking for a moment.

 

“Well, alright then. I guess the earth is pretty big. I mean, it’s probably smaller than this place, I dunno…”

He suddenly felt a bit self-conscious about his rocky start, but the Gems surrounding him were crowded together now, listening intently. That is, except for Padparadscha, who stood in place for about thirty seconds before settling down next to Fluorite.

 

Lars sat and watched for a moment, not bothering to hide his smile.

“Okay, so, the earth is full of humans, and lots of animals, I guess. Oh, and plants too.”

 

The Rutiles began whispering to each other. “What are plants?” “No idea. Human allies maybe?”

 

“Oh, yeah, I guess you don’t really… have plants here. Everything’s made outta rocks, even the people.”

 

To the Gems’ confusion, Lars chuckled, finding this funny for some reason.

 

“But no, plants aren’t allies. They don’t think, not like humans do. They mostly just grow out of the ground and look nice. Humans eat some of them, I dunno.”

 

This only launched the Gems into more conversation.

 

“They sound like wonderful lifeforms.”

 

“Look nice? What’s the point then? They’re not dangerous , are they?”

 

“What does eat mean?” “This is getting confusing.”

 

A pause. “Please, Lars, describe ‘plants’ to us!”

 

Lars looked down at the small gem. He couldn’t help but think that the old him might have gotten annoyed at the delayed Sapphire, but now he just stared into her cheerfully earnest face and smiled.

 

It seemed all it took to bring out his best was to die defending a group of wonderful outcasts from space.