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Whispers of the Unheard

Chapter Text

Connie wasn't sure what she'd expect, but if it was anything she had seen already, she'd had taken down mental notes as to what to avoid. The others were the same, surely from their own, horrible experiences of being trapped in the darkness, only to see the one they had cared about had already succumbed to it...or in Connie's ideal vision was busy curbing its influence. It'd be the hardest battle to combat that's for sure.

They'd followed Garnet down the hallways, with Connie walking alongside Pink Steven, their hands together and in sync. He said nothing, as usual. In the space of the silence allowed Connie to ponder the nature of gems. Though echoes of a song she'd never heard of entered her mind; with foreign communication from within her subconscious knew the words while she translated her thoughts. Not from Lillim, but from something...more benevolent.(^1)

Born in a waking world, who's light will begin to seep.

Jasper for example. A gem of highs and lows. A perfect Quartz, as Peridot described. Though still severely limited and struck with the mental disposition and disillusioned with the core nature of change. She'd been thrown around, made to think and made to believe, like any other construct, in a certain way. The talk about Hearts and auras and souls and the like...Jasper's Heart...corroded with self-inflicted problems and issues stemming from goodness knows where that had been born from. 

Pink Steven's words began to make more sense. Gems thought structures were limited in theory...perhaps, made, persuaded or manipulated in the belief of one choice or another, a gems version of right and wrong; black and white. When presented with a third direction, a fourth or fifth even, their mentality changes completely. Pink Steven was based around his human selves experiences and knowledge...his Heart. Alongside Peridots explanation, he couldn't think properly, though was given the default of answering questions in a blunt yet, unabated way. His alien logic was due to the way Gems are normally designed...Just...no, that made Connie's head hurt as she could only make guesses and she'd read too many stories on indoctrination to know the exact answer. But without the environment (Steven's humanity), the gem essence (the 'goo') wouldn't be able to function as it should. Even if the environment was subject to constant change. That much could be considered true, if what they surmised was the most logical explanation. Who really understood anything about his true nature?

Garnet had emphasized that Steven's true power was change. Humans could adapt to change easier. They can learn from their mistakes. It wasn't saying that gems were stupid, far from it. It was their thought patterns. Their lines of thought were limited. It took an organic concept to be able to create new lines of thought for themselves. Born from the influences of the world around them. From others, from people...just like Steven. It took to him to persuade others to perceive reality...in a different light. 

In any which way the darkness dies, remembrance of souls to keep

If what Connie had summed up Pink Steven's desires, it was because he no longer had those creative thought patterns. His instincts drove him on survival and the craving to be able create those thoughts for himself. A shattered gem needed to find pieces to make itself whole. Connie only had learned so much from those IT classes in school, but it was like a line of code that kept popping up with an error message saying that a file wasn't found. It constantly needs to find that line to the file to work. If that was true (to which Connie could be completely wrong which would be fine due to the fact she barely scratched the surface on gem biology.) then Pink Steven had been using Connie was a temporary work around. She was fine with that too. Could gems be offended if they were compared to computers? It sounded like a question that would be outright disrespectful. But Connie, ironically couldn't think of anything else to compare them to. She'd take her explanation, as her own creative expression as per her organic imagination. Her head hurt even more.

Snow would have to be the same. With an organic essence swimming around in her complex gem, her human understandings could be traced back to that very same influence. 

Ugh...Connie wished she had a pen and paper to write these theories down. Could help in the long run in the unlikelihood of her writing a thesis about it. She'd have to speak to Peridot more.

"Peridot, open it up." Garnet ordered.

But for now, they were about the enter the belly of the dreaded beast.

"Affirmative." Peridot replied.

The doors slowly opened the slight shhh from the gears grinding about as they moved, with a glistening dark and chilled mist pouring out the the gap. Connie could feel the goosebumps on her skin rise up. A lot was riding on this, so this would be considered minor. The room was filled with nothing but the thick, fine smoke that was its veil and the scent of something sinister behind it, the smell of chilled metals as Connie could taste the iron in the air. Pearl and Snow went in first and lit with enough coverage that would protect them, their light pushing it back as they took the long stride. Then it was Garnet and Jasper who were their bulk. Connie felt Pink Steven's tug for a warm source of reassurance; a surprising yet touching gesture. Their experiences in each others Auras and Hearts meant he could have been using these new imprints as key to his ability to just attempt to be himself. Amethyst, Dori and Lapis were the last ones to enter, with their current stance cautious, suspicious and wary in that order.

Born in a breaking world, who's light will begin to sleep.

Amethyst looked the most nervous, cracking through her tough exterior. Garnet, Jasper and Lapis were indifferent, though all had been subjected to the horrors of the Lillim. The clicking and patters of their feet were dulled by the whispers that tensed up the atmosphere. What was worse, was that Connie could hear the different types. Steven's, Liliths and Roses/Pinks. Snow grabbed Pearl's hand as the latter started to shake. Lapis took hold of Amethysts hand, who wasn't so much as stunned, but was subtly freaking out. Dori went to Amethyst's other side to comfort her. Jasper and Garnet were managing okay, but who knew when the very being they were about to face was one of their own.

They stopped as the jingling of chains echoed. Jasper went to walk forward before Garnet stopped her, as she raised a finger to her lips to prompt quiet.

Pink Steven raised his spare hand forward as he begun to walk on his own ambition. Connie followed as the others watched on, unsure of what to do. Steven was close, as Pink Steven could detect him nearby despite the thick fog. Connie felt a shift in the wind then looked up to see a spear heading right for them.

"Steven look out!" Connie called out. She took the gem and rolled him away, then looked towards their attacker. They got up and turned around as they grabbed their spear and turned to the both of them. A Dark Snow Quartz. Snow and Pearl looked over as the Lillim Gem glared and hissed under their light. Snow gasped as the others prepared themselves to fight her.

"The Diamond Child seeks to reunite with its host? Admirable, if not futile." The Dark Snow Quartz said. Connie recognized her voice as Liliths layered with a Snow Quartz gems similar tone, reverberating in the echoes of her shadowy power and almost like Steven's and Rose's voices were mixed in there too, which made it all the more terrifying to hear. 

Those unsung voices, no longer theirs to keep.

"Give Steven back to us right now!" Garnet demanded as she summoned her gauntlets.

Some of the smoke dissipated, revealing more Dark Snow Quartzes that circled them all with their dark, unholy eyes and devilish grins. A horde of horrors, awaiting the chilling commands of their master. Connie pulled Pink Steven off the ground and drew her sword with her spare hand.

"Guys, it's Peridot. A huge clearing has appeared on the map. You're surrounded!" Peridot transmitted.

That much was obvious.

"Connie, take Steven's Gem, we'll hold them off." Garnet ordered.

Not again, though this time they stood more of a chance with more gems...plus they had more room to maneuver. Connie nodded as she pulled Steven down further.


Connie didn't want to leave them behind again, though as she ran, she encountered one Dark Snow Quartz that decided to interfere. The smoke surrounded the two of them, masking the illusion of their loneliness while it muffled the fighting with the other gems. This Quartz snarled and growled as they circled one another, her gem on her left shoulder, with them trapped in the storm of shadows once more.

"It's pointless Hope." She said, as she pulled out her weapon, a spiked mace, out of her blackened gem.

I could have been better, I could have known better, than to sit around In joint thrones left in want

"You can see there is nothing to be gained in this onslaught, An effort; wasted in trying to resist inevitability."

There wasn't need to be cordial about this either. Especially when it was someone who was as pure evil as Lilith. She looked at Pink Steven and tugged his hand, channeling small amounts of her Heart and Aura to give permission to fuse. He gave a court nod, as the pair fused in a short blast.


Stevonnie reflected on their purple shaded design, before summoning their shield and pumping Connie's Sword with their Aura. They fought on as the Quartz charged Stevonnie with aggressive offensive tactics, aiming to the smash them to bits as well as their component gems. Stevonnie kept on the defense as Dark Snow kept throwing over and over, until they found an opening and swiped. Dark Snow dodged and tried out wave after wave of strikes. It was a challenge, but they weren't going to give up that easily.

They moved around until they found themselves alongside a series of steel storage crates. Stevonnie felt cramped with the confines, as they kept up block after block and tried to roll around to swipe occasionally, but she was too quick, retaliating in the fury of rage to guard herself with her mace. They ran up the sides of the wall of the crates and attacked, seemingly surprising the Quartz. Other than that, the fight seemed to go on forever.

It wasn't until they had their back against the wall, that Stevonnie held their stance, glaring at the Quartz as they swung their mace a few times and laughed at them, their uproar filling their ears in an attempt to leak in the dread.

"You're strong." She commented.

"But for a Two Diamond fusion? You're holding back."

I could have listened better, I could have said better, running in circles in empty thrones in font

What were they worried about? Stevonnie tightened their grip on the hilt. 

"Give it to me. Now!"

Stevonnie charged the blade as they poked it forward, then shot out a blast of light from the tip, which sent the Dark Snow Quartz flying back and against crates behind with a sickening thud.  This stunned Stevonnie as they didn't even know they could do that. They shook their head and watched as the dark gem struggled to get up, grinning their sharp teeth.

"Oh yes...that's it. That's the power I'm looking for. Delicious."

Stevonnie charged forward, thrusting towards her and digging the sword into the gems gut. They gurgled black blood out of their mouth, but continued to laugh. It was then Stevonnie heard more footsteps. They looked around to see more Dark Snow Quartzes that surrounded them. How did they sneak up on them like this? Surely they would have noticed something sooner. The Dark Snow Quartz they stabbed poofed, but they were more worried about the oncoming forces. Surely the others weren't overrun...surely.

Stevonnie was forced to go on the quickest defensive strategy they could, with the swarm lunging at them with impunity. It took all the parrys, blocks, kicks and bashes to get them away. The screams and screeches didn't help, as Stevonnie had to concentrate harder to block out the offensive noises. They poofed a few, but more and more kept coming. Even though they were two Diamonds, Stevonnie only had Connie's stamina, mentally and physically. They panted and grunted, sweat dropping off their face and not bothering to check the few scratches they copped from what ever couldn't be avoided. These Quartzes were vicious, ruthless and unforgiving. They even reformed quicker than they anticipated, being charged with the smoke itself to empower them once more.

Death in a sinking world, who's darkness begins to grow

"Stevonnie!" 

They looked up to see Pearl as they dropped in with their own spear in hand as a sense of relief washed over them. They stood back to back, providing Stevonnie with much needed confidence.

"Snow's taken care of the others, Garnet wanted me to check up on you. I see you have your own hands full." She commented, staring at the rows and eyes of the monstrous gems.

She showed her light on the Dark Snow Quartzes which pushed them back, causing them to hiss in reaction.

In the way, words we're unable to throw

Stevonnie did their best to keep them off Pearl as she pushed forward through the outer area of the room, hugging the wall until they saw another clearing. With even more Dark Snow Quartzes. Pearl gulped.

"How many did they grow here?" She wondered.

They could see the others, especially their Snow Quartz, who couldn't focus her gem properly to freeze them. Pearl explained she couldn't risk the others getting frozen in the powers widened range. They fought back towards the main group, with the others, especially Amethyst and Garnet surprised to see Stevonnie...like they were. They were unused to this violet hued form of theirs.

"Woah..." Amethyst said with a stunned expression.

Death in a risen world. who's darkness begins to show.

They were surrounded no matter how hard they fought nor if they tried to split up. Lilith knew exactly what she was doing and how. Hundreds of Infected with the same exact eyes and glinting, disgusting grins. They were tough. Chills ran through their veins as the others appeared to be outright terrified. Snow, Garnet and Jasper remained steadfast, but they too were teetering off the edge in the attempt to hold themselves together. Stevonnie just wished they could do more. They had to continue on, even if it seemed impossible. Was fear holding them back? Was the influence of the Lillim's power too terrifying to combat?

These were some of the most experienced gems Stevonnie had ever known. Loyal, strong, brave and loving. Their Hearts and their auras, together and as individuals, but their minds had been touched, tainted by the grave abilities of those who want more than to infect or corrupt. But to control. Bravado could only do so much...they all looked so warn and exhausted, hours of trying to get through all of this. They had to this for Steven's sake. He fought hard for them just as they fought hard for him and each other. A love Stevonnie greatly appreciated...though they didn't want them to overexert themselves in doing so. Steven wouldn't want that much sacrificed for himself. Not by a long shot. Garnet did say Steven wanted to be saved, but what she saw in his Aura made it greatly difficult to discern if it really was him or Black Diamond speaking.

"Well it was nice knowing you guys." Said a sarcastic forlorn Lapis.

"No! We can't give up yet!" Said Snow in her stance.

They then charged at the group with great force as Stevonnie took position. They had to have hope. They couldn't give in, they wouldn't let Lilith win. This had to be done, they had to keep on going...but the enemy was relentless, numerous, murderous. Stevonnie's newfound power meant nothing if they didn't know how to use it. They felt useless all the while. Lilith was right. They were holding back. The issue was why. Garnet kept hitting as hard as she could, but even a thousand punches meant nothing. Pearl struggled to aim her spear in the darkness and while some were poofed, they would come right back before anyone could put a gem in a bubble. Amethyst had hardly any room for her whips and kept getting kicked around or barely dodging strikes. Jasper wasn't faring much better even if her size tilted the scales it wasn't by much. Lapis only had her water wings as fists but they barely did anything. Snow must have been hurting in seeing her sisters attacking everyone like that...she was more on the defense trying to reason with them but to no avail and Dori was speedy, but not speedy enough. Numbers...power...taunting. Screaming...enough sweat was gained in those minutes of chaos that Stevonnie would have appeared that they were caught out in heavy rain. Their strength was fading. Their wills were ceding. Their hope was dwindling. What did the Curse of Hope have to do in all of this? What was the point when it did nothing? They couldn't have come here for nothing...this couldn't be where they would fall in the wake of the infecting darkness. None of this could be for naught. Even if they were fighting close, the way the Lillim projected it was like they were dragged hundreds of miles away from each other, separated by the familiar light of their friends were drowning in the same pit of darkness, with their hands reaching out to the only sunlight they could find. The despair would consume...it was only a matter of time...while the whispers tore them apart from within.

DESPAIRDIEUSELESSYOUREJUSTAPEARLYOUREAFAILUREINSECUREDEPENDANTOBSESSEDLOUDRUDEIDIOTDROWNWITHMESTOPLYINGTOMEYOUREGROUNDEDUNACCEPTABLEFILTHYWARMACHINEDISGUSTINGYOUREPREPAREDTODIEYOUCLODTHISISWHATHOMEWORLDTHINKSOFUSIONYOURUNTDONTDOTHISNOONEIFUSEWITHWANTSTOSTAYAMETHYSTATLEASTHESAPPHIREHASSOMESENSEIMJUSTSOMEDUMBRUBYIMSICKOFEVERYONELYINGTOMEPEARLTHISISMYDECISIONTHISISWHATIWANTYOUREJUSTOOMUCHMAYBEYOUREJUSTOOLITTLEPUNOVERCOOKEDRUNTDOESTHATCALLHERSELFAGARNETHOWDOESASNOWQUARTZSURIVIVEINTHISDAYANDAGENOMOREYOUREJUSTSOMEONESSHINYNEWTOYIWASNTSUPPOSEDTOBESMALLPLEASREMEMBERNOWONDERYOUTHINKIDONTCAREIMJUSTAHUMANYOUDOITFORHERITSOVERISNTITSTOPITMAYBEYOUREBETTEROFFWITHHERROSEQUARTZISMYMOMDONTIDESERVETOKNOWTHETRUTHYOUHAVETOIMAMONSTERNOBODYELSECARESABOUTMEWEHADAGOODRUNGEMSCANTDIEFROMAGINGBUTHESHALFHUMANITHOUGHTVIOLENCEWOULDBETHEANSWERWEALLHAVESUCHLITTLETIMEHOWLONGAREYOUGONNAMAKEMEWAITPEARLIWASNTSTRONGENOUGHTODOANYTHINGIDONTUNDERSTANDISITMESTOPITPLEASEWEDONTWANTANYTHINGMORETODEALWITHYOUIMLAPISLAZULIANDYOUCANTKEEPMETRAPPEDHEREANYMORESTEVENICANSEESOMANYTHINGSTHATCANHURTYOUISHOULDNEVERHADLETONEOFTHEMBEMEINEVERASKEDTOBEMADEWHYISEVERYONELYINGTOMEHOWWOULDYOUKNOWYOUNEVEREVENMETHERTHISHAMELESSDISPLAYIDONTWANTHISWHYWONTYOULETMEDOTHISFORYOUROSEBUTWEMADEHIMFEELLIKEITWASHISFAULTYOUDIDNTNEEDMEATALLITISMYFAULTITSALLMYFAULTSTOPLYINGTOMESTOPLYINGTOYOURSELFSJUSTGOIWANTOYOUTOLEAVESNOWYOUGOTTAGOLEAVEMEALONEGOCRYABOUTITSTOPLYI-

 

 

"STOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP!"

 

 

All of the Dark Snow Quartzes stopped mid run and halted, slamming the the base of their long weapons into the ground in a wave of noise shortly after the huge roar. That was Steven's voice that permeated around them in a strong but desperate command. The horde remained still and vigilant and their faces null and devoid of any emotion. The reality changed as the room felt smaller, emptier, despite the only things that changed were movement coming to a dead halt. The silence became the loudest sound in the room. Whether or not it was welcomed, was up for debate.

We can no longer hear ourselves, lost in the snow...

"Steven is that you?" Pearl cried out in horror, on the cusp of tears. All of them just appeared totally worn.

No response, other than the eyes that looked out to them, that turned into Black Diamonds. This wasn't right. Though one turned jet black alone and returned to have a snarl.

"You will not take control of my forces so easily!" Lilith roared, using the lone Dark Snow Quartz as a conduit, then the eyes change back again, with all their expressions doing the same. They were about to move once more, but stopped as their eye designs flickered back and forth.

"I can't have you hurting them anymore!" Steven yelled, using the forces he could control.

Stevonnie had never seen anything like this before. They winced as a pain hit their stomach. It was Steven's gem making a ruckus, detecting his Heart nearby. Their own thoughts were incoherent, but it couldn't have been anything else. It was then only half of the infected gems to the left hand side that went under Liliths command.

"Steven it's us!" Garnet stated, nearly tearing up.

I could have left it better, I could have spent it better.

Stevonnie felt ill, in the same sickness that made them want to vomit.

"We're okay!" Amethyst said as she joined in.

 Again, no response. The atmosphere tensed up as the temperature went down to the point Stevonnie shivered under its influences and seeing their warmth breath for itself. Their heart beat fast in anticipation, though they felt that any sudden movement would have their heart jump through their throat. Instead, Stevonnie just vanished in a flash of light.


 

Connie opened her eyes to see Pink Steven walking towards the other side of the room. The other gems had no idea what to do but watch in both awe and confusion as he wandered down there fearlessly. The Dark Snow Quartzes under Black Diamond Steven's control moved away, creating a path into the smoke. The sheer light that he gave was enough to push the fog away. It should have not come as a surprise, but...if he was out like this then who knows what damage he'd caused before he got what he wanted. His sole reason for being here and his sole purpose to exist. Getting up, Connie soon followed after him, as Garnet ushered the others to do the same. Fear would tremble her nerves to the worried looks on all the gems faces, they were scared too.

They remained still, until one of the Dark Snow Quartzes fell under Liliths control and went to swipe Pink Steven with their axe. Panic rippled through Connie, but Pink Steven effortlessly countered with his rhomboid shield. He then pushed his shield back which sent the infected gem flying, knocking over a single row of soldiers in an instant. The Crystal Gems, Jasper and Snow became wary of any sudden attack. Pearl gasped, as the others couldn't believe their eyes. 

Snowsongs/DIAMONDSONGS life is not at rest

"That Pink nuisance!" Lilith complained, through one of the other Dark Snow Quartzes.

"You're too late. You no longer have your humanity to cling on to. He's my Diamond now."

That wasn't true. Connie was confident in that. Lilith had words to bring the torment, only that Pink Steven would not react...unless...

"Why do you all bother? This sack of flesh is only a means to an e-"

"ENOUGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Pink Steven screamed...with the same, visceral roar as the one he gave to White Diamond with the same exact rattled impact and dent in the floor. Connie knelt over and had to cover her ears with her hand, as did everyone else, not expecting that outburst at all. A lot of the Dark Snow Quartzes did the same, temporarily losing control of themselves. Lilith attempted to wrest control as they all glitched out, as Steven did the same, for a mighty battle of wills. Even if Pink Steven's expression didn't change from its lull blankness, Connie felt the intense anger from his stare alone. 

No longer left in time

Pink Steven went forward, unabated in his desire to reunite with himself. This was a repeat in history, after all. What he wanted, was one thing and that one thing he wanted was imprisoned and that which threatened his goal would be mere insignificant pushovers. They were nothing and nothingness to him is a void of everything but his sole, core desire. 

"That's the true, unshackled power of a Diamond." Garnet commented, teetering on astonishment and cautious fear.

"But that's not a very Steven thing to do. That didn't even sound like him." Said a quite frightened Amethyst.

"He is still our Steven. Just...not himself." Said a very discerned Pearl.

Steven on a very, very, very bad day and pushed in a very, very, very hard way. The kind of pressure that's built over time. A new layer grown under every transgression and let loose at the worst possible moment.

"That's how he beat White Diamond, right Hope?" Jasper commented, using Connie's...well, kind of official gem name...wait. Connie froze. Stevonnie told Jasper. The other gems still didn't know. Oh....no.

The other gems turned to Connie who gulped and forced her hands to her face as she didn't want to say anything.

I could have lived it better, I could have sung it better.

"You're saying that Steven defeated White Diamond?" Pearl queried as she eyed the other half-gem while pointing towards Steven's Gem.

Oh no, no...they weren't supposed to find out this way. 

"Connie." Garnet worded coolly. 

In come the sobs. Guilt and anxiety attacked her throat in the causation that slipped her mind. 

"I-I promised Steven I wouldn't tell anyone." Connie cried.

It was a power even White Diamond could be toppled with.  They continued onward, but Connie knew the idea that the others were to outright afraid of Steven's real power. Not just Pink Steven, but Black Diamond Steven as well. Two opposite ends of the spectrum, but two incredibly unstable and powerful beings that could decide on their fates at any given moment. No wonder Garnet had trouble with her future vision. It wasn't just the shrouded darkness, but the blinding rays of two Diamonds. Forces beyond their understanding and above all to be all of gem kind. 

"Oh I remember the Pyrope and the Black Pearl showing me the feed from White Diamonds ship. You Crystal Gems were either possessed or incapacitated, as White Diamond pulled out the Gem from his body, throwing the host to the floor and unleashed Pink Diamond to the world. An uncaring, unthinking and feeling force of nature with the same exact screams and abilities that could make the biggest diamond into the greatest fool for underestimating them. Is that what you saw Hope Diamond? As you brought Steven's body to his gem to re-fuse? On how he grovelled and bawled to be reunited with his gem but could not do so under his own power? It's the feed that gave me the inspiration for Black Diamonds creation."

Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl looked at one another in shock. Pearl couldn't help but stare at Pink Steven and cry, though she was more angry than sad.

"White used you all to try to bring Pink Steven down as well. You were made to hurt him. Because you were weak."

"That wasn't their fault!" Said Steven from one of the Dark Snow Quartzes he got back.

"White Diamond didn't understand. You don't understand!"

"I understand enough, Black Diamond." Lilith claimed.

"You have repressed enough that your gem contains the truer aspects of your conscious behavior. You hated how they treated you. You secretly buried it all away..."

Aura's recollection in dispute

That was not true. None of it.

"No. It was the real Steven who brought her down like he's tried to do with so many others." Connie roared, having none of of Lilith's attempts to bring them down.

"He proved a point to her. With words and by being himself. The real Steven Universe would not hurt others on purpose...because he's a good person and just wants everyone to get along."

She then looked at Pink Steven who then stared at her blankly. Deep down, his mind was racing for concepts it could never access.

"Getting along is a nice premise. It would be easier to get on the level where I can help everyone be happy. Don't you want that? Black Diamond?" Lilith asked him.

Happiness is made on their own terms. No one elses. Individuals should be the ones to choose their own happiness. Lilith was trying to get them to see the positive aspects. But it brought them nothing but pain and anguish that nobody wanted. Steven didn't answer.

Or else their voices would be mine.

"Steven, you know we love you." Said Garnet. She seemed to be trying so hard to not burst in tears or let anyone down.

"Clear the path so we can get to you."

It took a moment, until a response was sounded. The Dark Snow Quartzes got out of the way in near synchronicity, moving away to the chilling smog to reveal a giant onyx box that was chained up against the wall, connected to various apparatus and wires. Connie could sense something within it. It had to be Steven. Pink Steven walked towards it in the calmest pace he could. Once he got there, he looked at the cube continuously. He needed his Heart, desperately. The other gems came across and unanimously agreed to get him out of there. Each gem brought out their weapon and sliced each of the four chains one by one. Garnet and Pearl with the top left, Amethyst and Jasper with the top right, Lapis and Dori with the bottom left and Connie and Snow with the bottom right. The box hit the ground with a mighty thud, as they then frantically tried to get the box opened to no avail. It wasn't until Pink Steven helped out that it had started to crack. A few more hits until it finally opened, with a oozing ink coloured liquid pouring out of it. Connie gasped at the horrific sight before them.

It looked like Steven from his Aura but much, much worse. Gaunt, bony cheeks with black veins popping out from his neck to his arms and hands and his body looked larger; older than they were used to seeing him conventionally, to where his stomach had the Black Diamond gem in full view. Knowing that his body reacted from his state of mind, what ever the living stars Lilith did to it had rendered him damaged to the point where his body reflected it in the worst way possible. Connie did want to see him be older than he was, but not like this. Not like this.

He wheezed and splattered as he could barely breath. Connie made a soft whimper as Garnet pulled him out and carried him in her arms. Pink Steven stood before her. She should have felt relief, but Connie clenched her chest, still feeling that something wasn't right.

"We need to take the Black Diamond Gem out first before you can be yourself again." Garnet explained.

Or else their voices would be mine.

Connie heard whispers,; Pink Steven's whispers at the back of her head. A sense of dread came over her, seeing Pink Steven as he looked up at Garnet. He wanted his human back. As soon as Garnet turned around, Pink Steven tugged her leg gently.

"Steven you'll just have to wait, I'm sorry." She said.

A justified feeling from someone who would want to be be whole again. Connie would have to try and grab his hand to let him sync with her Heart again until this was over...

That was until Pink Steven punched Garnet which sent her flying across the room and crashing against the nearby wall.

"Garnet!" Connie called out in fear.

The others were outright stunned by Pink Steven's sudden assault, unable to verify on what they just saw.

"Steven what are you doing?" Pearl yelled.

Or else their voices would be mine.

Pink Steven ignored them as he went to Garnet, who was dazed from the punch, as he picked up his human counterpart and pulled him away before Garnet could get herself back together. Connie's breath hitched in her throat. Knowing exactly what he was going to do. Garnet got back up in an attempt to get Steven back, but Pink Steven raised a shield before she could do so.

"Steven don't you dare!" Garnet roared.

Human Steven couldn't fathom what was going on right now, his eyes batting open a few times before staring at his actual Gem. Amethyst tried using her whip, but Pink Steven effortlessly pulled on her whip and slammed her down into the ground. Jasper and Lapis freaked out as they went to go fight as well, only for Pink Steven to rebuke them too.

Connie stood beside Snow, terrified at him rampaging like that, as well as Pearl who didn't know what to do. 

Words left unsaid, unheard.

"He sees them as threats to his other half." Snow commented as she readied her axe.

Connie should have known. Her heart broke at seeing this display of brutality. She'd seen it before. She had to stop this before it got worse. She ran forward in an attempt to communicate with him, only for him to put her in a bubble and throw her away. Connie broke the bubble shortly after, but then became worry as Snow clicked twice, before her eyes widened.

"No...no don't do it!" Snow called out.

"Dori quickly!"

The Wolf Gem bolted and glared its teeth to Pink Steven, only him to attack back with his telekinesis before she could even use her abilities. Peridot called out over the comms about the huge surge of light energy pouring into the area. But it was too late.

Connie could only watch as Pink Steven embraced his weakened human counterpart as the room suddenly became a lot warmer than before. A red aura enveloped them as Connie felt immense amounts of energy enchanting from him. The blast soon faded, as Steven was left writhing on the floor as he covered his stomach. Connie noticed from his snarl that his canines had extended into fangs. His eyes shot open, revealing his blood red irises with black diamond pupils like cat eye slits, with ebony fang like markings pointing down from beneath the sides of his eyes that curved down his cheeks and his black hair longer and straighter. What just happened? Was this a fusion? He looked at Connie with a stare that pierced her stomach. No one had idea what just happened.


 

Kept in whispers left behind


 

"Well, this is surprising...." Lilith said from afar.

Steven growled, then let off a horrific, pain induced scream that knocked everyone over, instead of Connie who dug her sword into the ground to keep her balance as the waves were dispersed. The Dark Snow Quartz behind them were poofed instantly. He went still, then stood up and raised his hand to lift them off the ground with telekinesis, then bubbled each of them from afar, then summoned them away.

"It's too noisy in here." He said, voice was oddly calm and eery...inhuman in inflection and deeper than what they were accustomed to. Almost as alien as his gem logic. Connie then noticed the two gems on his belly as his shirt hitched up too. Both of them, coloured in crimson. An aura was felt from his presence as it radiated from his gems.

"Steven, are you okay?" Connie asked as she cautiously approached him in small steps. Her gem started to hurt as well as she rubbed her forehead.

The others would not want her to do this. He looked at his hand as he clenched and unclenched it.

"I need to find where she's hiding." He said, ignoring her question.

"I haven't finished dealing with her yet."

This sent shivers down her spine. This wasn't Steven. This was someone else. This was a new fusion that had a new focus. Aggressive and ruthless. This was not him at all.

"Steven we need to get that other gem out. This isn't good for you." Pearl pleaded as she clung on to Garnet. Connie couldn't help but agree. Her having his Diamond was fine...but when you involve an infected gem crossed with a normal, albeit ultra rare and valuable one, their expectations on how that could turn out didn't require future vision to see how bad it could become. This was all wrong on so many levels....levels never reached before. 

"Pearl's right." Said Garnet.

"We want to save you."

His family so desperately wanted him back. Connie did too, although she wouldn't expect to go as easily as they hoped. Connie then noticed the other gems were in pain too. 

"You already did." He replied.

"You got me out of that prison...you got me my gem back. I'm the only one who can defeat Lilith this way."

Not if it caused them pain. The others fell over and started to cry, even Snow and Dori. They weren't tears of sadness, they were tears of pain. Steven turned to see them writhing on the floor in agony, then he saw Connie, who then was looking at her bloodied hand. He ran up to her in haste to check it out, but the intensity was beyond anything short of a migraine. He didn't know what to do, then looked down at his pulsating gems.

"Am...am I causing this?" He said, in horror as he connected the dots.

Or else their voices would be mine.

"No...I'm doing it again. I'm hurting them. No...I can't do this...Connie I'm sorry I'm just-"

"You're hurting more than you're helping..." Lilith commented from afar.

Connie fell to her knees, coughing up blood. Garnet had de-fused from the amount of agony that this caused them, as each of the gems struggled to maintain their forms underneath his painful, agonizing yet powerful Aura.

"Lilith stop it! Make it stop!" He roared, his shout sending shockwaves around him.

"I'm not doing anything Black...or should I say, Blood Diamond?" Lilith noted.

"How appropriate...how marvelous. I'm loving every inch of this...."

Connie gasped as she heard the gems poof from the intensity of his Aura, but Snow was still holding on as she was dragging herself to collect them, until Steven fired a red blast at her. By what must have been pure instinct calling in, he used his power to collect the gems and put them all in their own, red bubbles, then sent them on their way as well. Presumably safe at the temple, Connie hoped. He walked up to her and went down on one knee as he sat her up.

"I'm really sorry Connie...I don't know what to do." He cried out in desperation. 

The young half-gem felt herself fazing in and out of consciousness. Then her eyes widened as she felt wind on her cheek and a clang into the ground. She saw Snow in front of her as Steven moved away, in a stance with her arm out. She'd thrown her axe to get Steven to move out of the way. 

"Get away from her." Snow called out. She too was in pain, but she was dwelling it a lot easier than the other gems. Steven was furious as he charged up his Aura. Snow's form had begun to turn brighter, her eyes turning their glistening white.

Or else their voices would be mine.

"I was going to take Connie somewhere safe." He said, he then looked at her limp form.

She raised her hand to touch his face, seeing him cry dark red tears. He didn't mean for this to happen. It had to be his Gems...his Aura. He then gave her to Snow to hold.

"You take her." He said, defeated, as he lifted her up.

Snow as left stunned by this, but nevertheless took Connie from him. He begun to walk backwards.

"Get up to the surface. I need to find Lilith....I can't......"

He was at the center of this. This center of what was causing them grief. She hated Steven punishing himself for things out of his control and now he couldn't control himself. Now he was going to fight her alone? Connie tried to move, but to no avail. There just had to be something they could do. They could solve this if they just worked together. Had he forgotten their promise? He slowly walked backwards to the entrance, keeping his eye on the pair, his distress apparent. 

"What are you going to do?" Snow questioned, her tone stern, calm like a mother. Connie was impressed by her being relatively stable in all of this.

"What are you going to do when you find her?" 

That was the million dollar question, wasn't it?

No response.

"Steven." Connie muttered under her breath.

His Aura was messed up from what Connie would sense. Lilith subjected him to be this way, wanting to change his crucial moral compass. He was one to want a peaceful resolution and it most cases it worked. Lilith's evil magic had wormed its way into his Heart, warping it in its entirety.  His stare became creepier than that on Pink Steven's. He then turned around and ran off,  letting the black smoke fade before them. Connie called out after him as he ran off, pleading for him to reconsider.

"STEVEN!"


 

Instead my voice is left behind.