Peridot idly swirled her fingers through the hot sand of the beach in front of Steven’s house as she watched the sunkissed ocean waves calmly ebb and flow before her. It was a beautiful sight; one of many she had come to appreciate since coming to Earth. But this scene in particular filled her with a sense of longing.
It reminded her of Lapis.
Peridot groaned and flopped over on her back in the sand, not caring if the fine particles of pulverized silicate material got in her hair. Things had gotten better since Lapis first fled with the barn - Amethyst and Steven especially had made it a point to be there for her and she was grateful - but she still missed her barn mate terribly. Still wondered where she was. Wondered if she was safe. With another groan she closed her eyes and tried to push such thoughts from her mind; there was nothing she could do about them, so instead she tried to soak in the warmth of the local star and relax.
It was an especially clear and bright afternoon, even through her visor and closed eyes the glare of the sun penetrated. She lay there for awhile until a shadow fell over her, having not heard anyone approach Peridot had her suspicions as to the identity of the intruder. “I appreciate your enthusiasm Lion but my hair does not require grooming at this time,” she mumbled without opening her eyes.
Ever since she had moved back in with Steven it had become a regular passtime for the large feline. The first time it happened Peridot had feared she was about to be devoured, but in time she had come to find the ritual soothing. When the shadow still didn’t move she sat up and opened her eyes, prepared to shoo the pink menace away.
Instead she nearly dissipated her form. It wasn’t Lion blocking the sunlight.
It was Lapis.
“Lapis…” Peridot whispered in disbelief, barely able to draw breath. She quickly lifted her visor and rubbed her eyes, certain they were somehow malfunctioning, but when she looked again the blue gem remained before her. Lapis. Lapis was back.
“Hi, uh...Hello Peridot,” Lapis said quietly, her eyes on her feet and one hand crossed over her chest tightly gripping her other arm. Hearing that voice again was too much for Peridot.
“LAPIS!” Peridot squealed at the top of her voice as she leapt up, sending sand flying everywhere, and wrapped Lapis in the tightest hug she could manage. Lapis yelped at the sudden contact but after a moment's hesitation she returned the embrace. They stood like that, for how long Peridot didn’t know, with her face buried in Lapis’ abdomen as they held onto each other fiercely and gently rocked from side to side. Finally Lapis gently placed her hands on Peridot’s shoulders and pushed her out to arms length.
“Peridot I...I owe you an explanation, I owe you so much more than that actually, but that’s where I’ll start. I was scared Peridot, so scared. The Diamonds, the war, all of it happening again, it petrified me. I lost so much of my life because of the Rebellion War, I couldn’t even comprehend facing it again, or anyone else wanting to, and then you said you wanted to stay, that you wanted to fight…” Lapis was breathing in short bursts and as she looked down at her Peridot could see tears welling up in her cerulean eyes, the formerly tranquil ocean waves behind them roiled and crashed against the shore mirroring the Ocean Gem’s emotional turmoil. “I panicked Peridot, I panicked and I left you even after all you’ve done for me. But I’ve had a lot of time to think up there and I realized that even though I'm still terrified of what's coming I’m more afraid of losing you and everything we have here than I am of facing another war. I know that’s no excuse for what I did and I don’t expect your forgive—”
“Lapis I…” Peridot tried to interject, Lapis was openly crying now, great round tears glistening in the sunlight rolled down her azure cheeks, but Lapis plowed on over her words.
“I’m sorry Peridot, you don’t deserve this, you don’t deserve someone like—”
Peridot cut off this avenue of thought in the quickest and most decisive manner that came to mind. She leaned forward, stretching up on the tips of her toes for every bit of height that she possessed, cupped Lapis’ face between her hands and kissed her. At first Lapis stiffened in surprise and mumbled something indecipherable into Peridot’s mouth but she quickly melted into the caress and wrapped her arms around Peridot’s back.
A few moments later Peridot pulled away and was cursing her stupidity. She hadn’t even bothered to gain Lapis’ consent! What if Lapis didn’t want to kiss her! Stars, for being the greatest intellect on the planet she could be a fool sometimes.
“My apologies Lazuli, I should have asked for permi—” but her words of contrition were lost as Lapis leaned down and captured Peridot’s lips in another long, deep kiss. Peridot wasn’t sure how long they stayed like that but if she had been capable of forming a coherent thought in those moments it would have been to be thankful that gems didn’t need to breathe.
“Why would you forgive me?” a disbelieving Lapis asked after they finally broke apart, the ocean around them returning to its former tranquility.
“Because I care about you you clod!” Peridot cried in a voice that was halfway between a laugh and a sob as tears began to stream down her own cheeks, the shock of Lapis’ return was beginning to wear off and her emotions were overwhelming her. “What you did hurt me immensely but...but I understand why you fled, I know what you’ve endured. At one point I was a part of the trials you had to endure. I also must apologize for not being completely honest with you before, for holding things back for fear of upsetting you. I see now that wasn’t healthy for either of us. But don’t you ever do anything like this again! Pumpkin...Pumpkin was worried sick about you,” Peridot finished, sniffling and desperately trying to wipe away the tears streaming down her face.
“I...I care about you too Peri, and I won’t; we’ll face whatever comes together, I promise,” Lapis said softly as she pulled Peridot in for another hug.
Peridot stayed like that for a time until she regained some semblance of self control. “So, did you bring the barn and all our stuff back?” she asked in what she was proud to hear was a mostly steady voice.
“The barn might be a little crooked but I put everything back as well as I could,” Lapis answered with a grin. “So, can we be barn mates again?”
“I believe it will take us some time to return to how things were before, to make things better than they were before, but I’m willing to work towards that goal if you are Lapis,” Peridot replied, taking Lapis’ hands in her own.
“I’ve never been more willing for anything in my life,” Lapis answered, giving Peridot’s hands a squeeze. “Hey, where is Pumpkin anyway?”
“She is most likely indoors enjoying a sleep cycle with the shared body heat of Lion and Cat Steven,” Peridot said as she turned towards the beach house.
“Cat...Steven?” Lapis asked, her voice tinged with concern.
“A small feline also named Steven, not Steven himself,” Peridot clarified.
“I’ve missed a lot haven’t I…”
Lapis followed after Peridot as she opened the screen door that lead into Steven’s home. It was quiet and from what she could tell empty. “Are Steven and the others not here?” Lapis asked as she and Peridot began to pad up the stairs to Steven’s bedroom.
“Steven, Connie and the Gems are on a mission, I’m not certain when they will return,” Peridot answered. They came to Steven’s bed then, Lion’s massive pink form was curled up in the center and on top of his fluffy mane rested two forms curled around each other. One was a small calico cat that appeared to be missing an eye, she yawned and stretched out around her sleeping companion as Lapis leaned in. Around Pumpkin.
“Hello Pumpkin,” Lapis whispered anxiously as she lightly stroked a blue hand across her back. Would Pumpkin be happy to see her after everything? Pumpkin cracked her eyes open in response to the touch and then she spotted Lapis. With something between a bark and a yelp she leapt into Lapis’ arms and frantically snuggled against her chest. Cat Steven yawned again and curled in on herself at the disturbance, Lion simply flicked his tail. Lapis cradled Pumpkin and lay her cheek against her head. “I missed you too.”
“Well then, now that we’re all reunited let's get back to the barn!” Peridot cried, pumping her fists into the air.
“Shouldn’t we wait for Steven? To...To let him know I’m back?” Lapis asked.
“As I said they are on a mission and the time of their return is indeterminate,” Peridot replied. “Oh I know! We’ll leave them a note!” Peridot rummaged around in Steven’s things for a moment before producing a pen and a piece of paper, she quickly scribbled out a message before sticking the stationery to Lion’s nose. “You make sure Steven gets that.” Lion huffed once but otherwise didn’t respond.
Lapis leaned forward to read the note, it read: Steven! Lapis has returned, we’ll be at the barn, come visit at your earliest convenience. Wow thanks for letting me live in your bathroom again! - The Great and Lovable Peridot.
“Peri you dork,” Lapis said with a snort filled giggle.
“I am a fearsome creature!” Peridot retorted as she made her way down the stairs. “Allow me to retrieve my tablet and then we can depart.”
Lapis followed her down the stairs, still snuggling Pumpkin, and waited in the living room as Peridot gathered her things. It felt strange being back, but it also felt right. “You didn’t eat anything you weren’t supposed to while I was gone did you Pumpkin?” Lapis whispered playfully to the living fruit in her arms. Pumpkin gave her a guilty look and whimpered in response and Lapis couldn’t help but laugh.
“Alright, let’s go home!” Peridot exclaimed as she returned from the bathroom, her tablet floating behind her, and headed for the warp pad. Pumpkin barked excitedly and jumped out of Lapis’ arms to follow Peridot.
Lapis stared at Peridot with a fondness she’d never felt for anyone in her entire existence as the small green gem bent down to pick up Pumpkin and stepped onto the warp pad. “I’m already home, I’m with you Peri,” Lapis whispered to herself. And with that she joined her barn mate on the warp pad, a chime and a pillar of light later they were gone.
Their family was whole again.