Actions

Work Header

Fragments II

Chapter Text

On the now abandoned stage, Captain Lars and Sadie Killer sit side by side and watch the sun sink into the ocean.

Their pinky fingers touch.

The world feels big enough to swallow them whole.

“You were amazing out there,” Lars says, and his eyes shine with the truth of it. “Seriously. I didn’t know you were such a good singer.”

Sadie bats him lightly on the shoulder, protests.

“Ha, you’re just being nice!”

“Pssh,” he grins, “you say that like it’s a bad thing.”

“Nah…”

She thinks on it.

She tugs on a piece of green hair.

“Just new.”

Chapter Text

“I spy, with my little eye, something… blue! 

Balanced on top of Blue Diamond’s knees, Steven grins up at the three matriarchs, who stare down at him with varying degrees of fondness and exasperation.

“Blue, obviously,” Yellow, the exasperated one, says, tilting her dripping hand pointedly at her companion.

“Sorry!" Steven laughs. "Not that she’s not blue, but she’s not what I’m thinking of!”

“Also,” Blue adds wryly, “you’re going to have to stop guessing me at some point. It’s getting quite unimaginative.”

“If not saccharine,” White Diamond smiles innocently.

Oh, Yellow Diamond harrumphs…

(… but she doesn’t deny it either.)

Chapter Text

In this unquiet night, this night of screamed nightmares, golden lamplight spills across Connie Maheswaran.

And Connie Maheswaran spills the truth.

She took his gem, Mom.” Her hands and eyes and mouth shake with the horror of it. “He almost died, and I… I couldn’t do anything but watch!”

“You felt useless,” Priyanka surmises quietly. 

She skims her hand up and down her daughter’s cold arm.

And doesn’t yell.

Doesn’t betray her own terror wrangling through her like a storm.

“Yes.” 

“And yet, sweetheart, you never turned your back on him.”

“But—”

“But you were brave, and that is enough.”

Chapter Text

Pearl finds her in Pink’s chambers, kneeling on the empty floor.

Even without White’s touch, her right eye remains cracked.

Broken.

“I lost so much time,” Pink Pearl says without ever looking up. “It feels like I saw her just yesterday.”

Pearl wordlessly kneels next to her, hesitates before placing a pale hand on her shoulder.

“My Diamond pleaded with White to fix me, and Her Radiance said that she would. And that’s… that’s all I can remember.”

Pink blinks slowly.

“And now she’s gone.”

“Yes.”

“And… and she’s never coming back?”

This one is harder.

“… Yes,” Pearl whispers anyway.

Chapter Text

In the daylight, Yellow Pearl’s fear is scribbled all over her face in fine ink.

It’s a familiar image to Pearl.

A mirror.

“You don’t have to get in if you don’t want to,” she tries gently.

“B-but my Diamond’s in there! I simply must—”

“—attend to her?” Pearl guesses.

(Pearl knows.)

“Exactly! So I need to—“

“Brave waters you’re scared of just to be ignored?”

“It’s my duty to make her happy!” 

“Take a look at her!” Pearl laughs, all incredulity. (In the pool, Yellow Diamond smiles—smiles!—at something that Blue said.) “She already is! You could be.”

Chapter Text

The night is alive with moonlight and stars; violet waves sip the shore. She presses her white fingertips into the sand and comes up only with grains.

This world is so foreign. 

So strange.

And so beautiful.

The goddess frowns.

Because her world is so not—is depleted and wasted, a breeding ground for parasitism.

If perfection seemed attainable mere hours ago, it is now dust between her hands, grains and delusions of grandeur.

“I was your leader,” she whispers to no one in particular, “and I failed you.” (She could whisper to so many gems.)

An apology seems insufficient.

Chapter Text

The night is not quiet, full of celebration and vigor and life.

Because the war has ended, and so many of its casualties have been undone.

Oh, stars—Pearl laughs so hard that she’s crying—it’s over.

(Isn’t it?)

Hands braced on the balcony railing, Garnet looks poised to fly.

“Look at them, Pearl!”

Biggs and Crazy Lace and Snowflake and Coral.

Steven in the middle of them all, saying hi, hello.

“I never thought I’d see this day,” Pearl admits, sniffing loudly.

“It was such a small possibility.”

It was inconceivable.

“But here we are.”

It is happening now.

Chapter Text

She told herself that she wasn’t going to draw comparisons, but she’s only learning to be human—it happens anyway.

Steven has her laugh, round and vivacious and full of light.

And her smile, drawn across his face all playful like.

And her burdens.

Stars, he has those.

They pile on top of his shoulders like kindling; when she or Yellow or White slips up—as they inevitably do—embers languish in the corners of his frown.

Scolded and softened, Blue Diamond tries to be better for him.

It condemns her that she didn’t do the same for Pink.

(Wouldn’t.)

Chapter Text

She thinks it’s a trick at first—some nettlesome Amethyst’s idea to get her riled up.

Holly Blue huffs and harrumphs and discards the notice without so much as a blink.

(The Alpha space station and human zoo are to be terminated within thirty cycles. Begin phase out preparations immediately.)

Oh, there have been rumors, of course—stories about giant robots and perverse fusions, tales of the lustrous Diamonds bathing together in a Terran pool.

Mere dust, she convinces herself.

A fool’s dream, she won’t be sneering any longer when Blue Diamond arrives, carrying a boy.

A catalyst.

Change reconciled.

Chapter Text

On the roof of the beach house—much to Pearl’s fondly exasperated chagrin—Lapis and Peridot make plans for their new barn.

They press their elbows into the corners of the blueprint to keep the wind from blowing it away, and dream of laser cannons and alien aquariums, minimalist meep morps and murals dedicated to Percy and Pierre.

(They dream of home.)

“We can hang hammocks for napping here.” Lapis points at the dead center of the barn’s high ceiling.

“Excellent,” Peridot nods approvingly. “This way, we can drive two automobiles into the wall!”

“Three if we’re feeling creative.”

“Naturally.”

Chapter Text

He stands on his doorstep and fights against the vague sensation that he’s about to announce that he’s dead.

He’s not dead.

(He kind of is.)

He’s just new.

(And that’s… that’s not necessarily a bad thing.)

He raises a pink fist and knocks lightly on a door he used to barrel through.

He’s a stranger.

The deadbolt clicks.

He’s a miracle.

The door creaks to a tentative open.

He’s—

Lars,” his mother whispers before throwing her frail arms around his neck. Her fingers tangle themselves in hair that used to be the same color as her own.

“Hi, Mom.”

Chapter Text

As often and lyrically and sincerely as Steven had tried, her best friend could never quite fully articulate the moment when his feet finally touched this world again, when he found himself home.

It’s like being jolted out of a bad nightmare.

Or… or like the rare happy endings on Under the Knife when everyone lives!

On the beach, Connie digs her shoes into the sand and her fingers into her father’s shirt, and almost cries as her mother’s familiar scent wreathes her like a perfume.

It’s like finishing a scary book.

What pride there is.

“Mom! Dad!”

What relief.

Chapter Text

“Don’t be absurd,” Yellow Diamond snaps. “I don’t want to crush Blue.”

Were it not for the golden wash expanding across the bridge of her nose and the cliffside she’s absentmindedly eviscerating beneath her clenched fingertips, Steven might have believed her.

“No, no,” he laughs, a little smug, a little moved. “You have a crush on her.”

“Same difference,” she scoffs.

“Well, no—not really. One means you want to, like, kill her, and the other means that you like her.”

I certainly don’t want to kill her!”

“Then that definitely means you like her!”

The Diamond looks positively scandalized.

Chapter Text

Tomorrow and the next day, and weeks and months and years after that, they’ll have time enough to sort through it all.

The puzzle of Rose.

The war.

The breaking point.

(The Breaking Point.)

But in the here and now, in this fountain that their leader once loved, Bismuth wraps her arms around Biggs’s neck and refuses to let go.

They dance in the water.

They laugh and cry and cling.

“Stars,” Biggs hums against her ear. “To think I’ve missed six thousand years of your puns!”

Bismuth’s shining eyes could build cathedrals.

“No worries—I’m back in Bismuth, baby.”

 

Chapter Text

Three Shakespearean monologues, two Sondheim songs, and one scene from the Mary Poppins musical later, Rainbow Quartz 2'0 falls back into the grass and revels in the feeling—that glorious, sweeping sensation—of being present in this world.

Alive, loved, and electric.

A laugh bubbles on their lips, and the sunset bubbles with brilliant color—blue and pink and gold.

“You’re spectacular, love,” they murmur, their hands an unshakeable temple on Rose Quartz’s, on Steven’s gem.

Rainbow slowly blinks their lower eyes, all contentment.

“Takes two to tango,” comes the soft reply. “We’re spectacular.”

You are, Pearl.

I am.

Together.

Chapter Text

When the proclamation first breaks, Jade and Jade skim hands but dare not fuse in the midst of a crowd that swarms with anger and fear, confusion and misunderstanding.

For they’ve made that mistake before.

And they still remember—they cannot forget—the lightning racing across their gems.

(Oh, how they burned.)

Alone, they try to dance—they do—but it’s hard.

Painful even.

A little twirl.

And then a hitched breath.

Hesitant steps and quivering eyes.

Yellow Jade’s lips twist into a devastated smile.

“Five cycles ago, this law would have made me the happiest gem in the world.”

Chapter Text

Not that Garnet will ever like the Diamonds, but she has to admit, she appreciates that they’re trying.

That they’re on the ballroom floor now, stumbling over one another’s feet and cursing and nagging and holding hands and trying.

Trying to understand fusion.

Perhaps wanting to understand each other.

Trying.

“Relationships take work,” she calls up to them (just as Yellow Diamond snags her fingers in Blue’s hair for the umpteenth time).

“Fusions do!” Steven chips in (as Blue extracts herself with a sigh).

“It’s okay if you don’t get it right the first time… you’re halfway there by trying.”

Chapter Text

White Diamond hesitates at the entrance, skeletal in the golden light suffusing from the palace hallway.

There will only be darkness when the door finally closes—darkness and formlessness and dereliction.

(Who will Yellow be in the black—if she is even an entity at all?)

(Nothing and worthless and shapeless and—)

scared.

“I don’t punish you because I want to, Sunlight,” the goddess whispers, “but you simply must control those altruistic impulses of yours. I didn’t create you to be merciful.”

The absence of light is beginning to leech away at her already.

“No… you created me to win.”

Chapter Text

The simultaneous rightness and wrongness of it all electrifies Pearl as she gathers her knees to her chest and leans against the windshield of Greg’s Dondai Supremo.

Next to her, close enough to touch, Sabina’s pink hair splays across the glass in waves.

“I was surprised when you called me,” she teases lightly. (Everything is light with her—simple, uncomplicated.) “Thought ya’d chickened out.”

Pearl laughs. (Pearl is light with her—simple, uncomplicated.)

“Oh,” she smiles, “something to that effect… but when you survive a war that spanned thousands of years, you really run out of excuses to say no.”

Chapter Text

It happens in secret—in the dead of night, in the dimly lit studio of Vidalia’s garage.

Brushstroke over solemn brushstroke, she brings Rose Quartz to life on canvas.

The real one is seven months pregnant now.

She’s positively glowing.

(“She’s leaving me,” Greg choked—only once. It’d been the dead of night then, too.)

It’s this memory that ultimately prompts Vidalia to say it: “You look so serene to be dy—havin’ a baby.”

Ever the consummate model, Rose doesn’t so much as shift on the stool, her smile clandestine.

Unknowable.

“They’d panic,” she simply says, “if I didn’t.”

Chapter Text

“Hear me out,” Peridot begins, pacing across Yellow Diamond’s palm. “The problem isn’t in the methodology but rather in the execution. We’re inherently parasitic creatures—nothing’s going to change that—but we can adjust our technology so that an injector doesn’t merely take from a planet’s resources.”

Skeptical, but not unwilling, the Diamond hums in thought.

“A dual injector,” she finally says, “could potentially leave gem matter and a specialized sustenance formula.”

“You’re just thinking about economic feasibility,” Peridot snorts.

“And practical realities, mind you!”

(“Nerds,” Amethyst mutters under her breath to Steven, who tries and fails not to laugh.)

Chapter Text

He’s not a very good artist, but according to his well meaning but not entirely comprehending of his situation therapist and Bob Ross alike... that’s perfectly okay.

In the studio of Vidalia’s garage, sunlight slanting in through the squared windows, Steven draws White Diamond’s clawed hand out of the darkness and onto a blank page. Her black nails are crayoned in, and he can’t quite capture the manic bend of her fingers or the leering lines of her palm, but that’s okay, too.

“Because this is your truth, kid,” Vidalia had shrugged. “Doesn’t have to be pretty.”

(He almost died.)

Chapter Text

She first tugged me through her hair when she was a young Diamond, newly erupted from a planet’s core, and I came to life in the silvery threads of her wet hair. 

I loved her already; I whispered hello! against her ear.

For years, I embraced her, all teeth, and smoothed her snarls away.

She laughed in the pool.

She cried.

Together, we hummed.

I knew the very shape of her tall hand, and then I didn’t know her at all.

She stopped needing me one cycle.

(Wanting me.)

The yellow walls mourned; they said that she was wasting away.

Chapter Text

Before she is ever White Diamond, shining ruler of Homeworld, she is a primordial sea undone in the darkness: protons and neutrons, stardust and fragments.

She is a collapsing star, falling apart and coming together—gas becoming limbs becoming a skeleton becoming god.

She is an investment of voices.

The atoms that make up her spectral eyes show her a perfect species unfurling across the galaxy—gems upon gems upon countless gems, all of them extensions of her.

Recreate yourself, the neutrinos shaping her hands insist. 

Again and again.

You will never be alone as long as you have you.

Chapter Text

On the moon base, Yellow Diamond stands before his mother’s mural, hands clasped firmly behind her back.

A statue.

A monolith.

Mourner and mourning.

“We instructed the Spirit Quartz to take liberties with the design,” she says into the silence. “Make her larger than life. More intimidating and angular. More in general.”

It’s almost imperceptible, but her jaw clenches.

“We… I… never accepted her for who she was.”

Her voice constricts.

 “I… failed her.”

Pink Diamond’s shadow falls in rosy splinters across Steven’s face.

He softly, he hesitantly leans his head against Yellow’s neck.

“But you're here with me now.”

Chapter Text

Little by little, reclaimed piece by piece, the Off Colors transform the Prime Kindergarten into home. 

Keen eyed and practical, the Rutile twins design walkways that clamber up from the darkness to find the sun, while Fluorite remains grounded, carving out the hole which will one day become their saltwater pool. 

Amethyst and Peridot couldn’t grow flowers, but Rhodonite and Padparadscha cultivate a garden of varicolored stones, red and blue and amber and gold.

(So many different shapes and sizes, too.)

It had been ugly, the Prime Kindergarten—unnatural and perverse.

Homeworld had once said the very same of them.

Chapter Text

Though she’s seventeen now, Connie Maheswaran still feels like she’s twelve every time she stands across Pearl, who looks the same as she had five years and five millennia ago.

“Well?” The gem’s brow arches expectantly.

In the Sky Arena, memories of them sparring back and forth surround them in a dustless dance.

Block.

Parry.

Thrust!

Connie wordlessly passes the letter over.

You try so hard.

Blue eyes skim it; they devour it whole.

And you do it for you.

“You’re in the tournament?!”

I’m still learning that for myself.

“I’m in, Pearl!”

I’m so very proud of you, Connie.

Chapter Text

It’s hard, but the royal Pearls try to fill in the gaps for Pink Pearl anyway.

“We were all quite rattled after you… ah… left,” Yellow says. (Left is not the right word.) “If it makes you feel any better, we snubbed your replacement for eons!”

“Really,” Blue whispers, “you didn’t miss much... this palace has been a tomb for years.”

Pearl takes her to Rose’s fountain one cycle, where they wade into the still waters hand in hand, foot over foot.

“I was so… hurt when she left me,” Pearl finally admits to her reflection.

(Not merely the water.)

Chapter Text

Much to Harold Smiley’s smiling chagrin, Steven Universe is back—this time with three new alien ladies in tow. 

Three!

Not that Harold doesn’t like the kid, but damn, he sure is a magnet for accidents that involve the tea cup rides flying off their saucers!

Steven clasps his hands beneath his chin.

“Please, Mr. Smiley? I wanna teach the Pearls what fun is!” He gestures to the trio of little colorful birds—one blue, one pink, one yellow. “Look at them! They’ve never smiled a day in their lives!”

Uh-huh. Your pink friend’s been smiling since you got here!”

Chapter Text

Amethyst is testing plates between her teeth when Steven says it.

She isn’t ready.

She didn’t think it’d be her he would eventually talk to.

Thought it’d be Pearl or Greg.

Maybe even Garnet.

The ceramic shatters in her mouth.

He keeps drying the dish in his hand.

(“I thought I was going to die,” he whispered, “when she took my gem.”)

On the front porch, Pearl and Connie are laughing hard over a game of chess.

Amethyst spits out plate.

“That’s rough, buddy.”

“Yeah.”

He places the dish on the drying rack.

Amethyst places an arm on his shoulder.

Chapter Text

“Garnet?”

“Mm?”

The night dances across Peridot’s face—starlight on her visor and a midnight blue blush. 

“Hypothetically speaking”—she’s not speaking hypothetically at all—“what if I can’t fuse?”

She’s thinking of Opal and Smoky Quartz and Obsidian—their hugeness, their might, their love.

She’s thinking about feet made from tin cans and a failed dance with Garnet beneath the stars.

(She’s drowning in her own inadequacy.)

“What if I’m... broken?”

Garnet doesn’t hesitate.

“Nah,” she says quietly. She wraps an arm around Peridot’s shoulders. She smiles. “Fusion is an experience, but not all experiences have to be universal.”

 

Chapter Text

The first movie they project onto the cliff side—Fluorite can’t fit into the theater and Lars likes this ramshackle setup anyway—is Infinity War.

Which was very much a mistake, the teenager quickly learns.

“Captain Lars will cry over the disintegration of the tree called Groot!” 

Rhodonite and the Rutiles get a real hoot out of that Padparadschaism, giggling as the Sapphire continues to watch the movie, blissfully oblivious to it all.

Assholes, he scoffs and sniffs noisily, all indignation, all fondness. 

“Yes, Captain Lars is crying over a tree, dang it, and he’s not ashamed to admit it!”

Chapter Text

“I’m having nightmares,” Connie admits, absently plucking at her violin. “The tower… White Diamond… you.”

He’d been small in her arms.

Fragile.

Steven plays a chord on his ukulele.

It’s the quietest, most plaintive G major she’s ever heard.

“To be honest,” he murmurs to the strings, “I’ve been dreaming, too.”

The tower… White Diamond… the gems… those claws—he doesn’t say these things, but he doesn’t have to.

They haunt his very eyes.

Thinking fast, Connie slides her bow through a light note, a lovely one.

“But hey—we’re awake now.”

Steven smiles at her gratefully.

“Eyes wide open.”

Chapter Text

“Little alien lady...” Andy begins, staring faintly at the gaping pit where his barn used to be. 

(Holy hell, they even got rid of the piping!)

“Peridot,” the green bean supplies, a mischievous smile tilted at the corners of her mouth. Her pointed hair barely comes up to his elbow.

“Peridot,” he repeats uncertainly, scratching his balding head, “what in the world happened to my—er, the barn?!”

“Well, technically, Lapis threw it at a fifty foot tall intergalactic dictator, but we’ve retroactively claimed it as a kinetic meep morp entitled Yeet.”

“.... Yeet?” Andy asks weakly.

Yeet,” Peridot nods solemnly.

Chapter Text

They’ve been tracking a corrupted gem for hours now, traversing the arid canyons near the Beta Kindergarten in the hopes that the Agate turned giant, blue land snake will pop up and… well… hopefully not eat them.

Biggs is quieter than any Jasper Steven has ever known, but when she does speak, she makes every word count.

“I don’t really remember what it’s like to be corrupted,” she says. “I just have vague flashes of it—pain ’n fear ’n confusion.”

Absentmindedly, she touches the horns on her forehead.

“No one deserves to feel that way, not even an Agate.”

Chapter Text

Homeworld’s nights are red and lonely, so Steven does what he’d do on any bad night in Beach City.

He searches out family…

… and finds White Diamond in the observatory, mapping out sundry coordinates on a star map.

“Hi,” Steven says as she lowers her hand for him.

(She holds him quite gently.)

(It’s a far cry from how she held him before.)

“I’m looking for collapsing gas giants,” she replies in quiet greeting. “We could potentially harness their massive energies to revitalize Homeworld.”

“No more colonies?” The question is hopeful.

“Only stardust and nebulae.” White Diamond’s smile is slight.

Chapter Text

“LAZULI!”

Lapis glances up from her book to find a pointed, green nose in her face—Peridot, her eyes alight with excitement.

“‘Sup?” 

“Did you know”—and now she plants her tablet three inches from Lapis’s own nose—“that there’s an online infrastructure dedicated to humans who also want Percy and Pierre together?!”

From her vantage point, Lapis can only make out a blue background and a word that sorta looks like tummy.

“Apparently, it’s called shipping, which makes no linguistic sense given the function of a ship, but nyehehe, who cares? Humans are weird!”

“Ha, I’ll cheer to that.”