Steven laid down on his bed, his body sprawled lazily on the surface, arms hanging limply off the edges. He was so sick and tired of this awful feeling stuck in his chest, the loathsome thoughts that appeared suddenly in his brain and the pink glow that every so often would engulf his body and make him hurt anything (or rather anyone) nearby. He stifled a sob almost afraid that someone would hear him, even though no one was even in his room. Steven hugged his legs to his chest, pressing himself into a fetal position. Why was this so difficult?!
All that Steven wanted to be was useful, to have a purpose! Was that too much to ask?
He was crying now, his shirt getting soaked from his dozens of tears. Steven didn’t know how long he had been sitting there (after all time didn’t seem to have meaning for him anymore) before he heard a soft knock at his door. He almost didn't hear it, the knock was that quiet.
“Steven?” Pearl sounded worried. Steven looked up from his tear drenched shirt to the door, startling a little. He hadn’t expected that anyone would want to talk to him after what happened with Cactus Steven… (maybe they didn't).
“Y-yes, Pearl?” Steven responded, trying his hardest to keep his voice steady. He was afraid that Pearl would burst in if she knew that he was crying, and that was one of the last things that he needed right now.
“I just wanted to make sure that you were… okay.” Steven noticed that she had hesitated on that last word, though he wasn’t exactly sure why. Perhaps she thought he was just too fragile to say anything other than "okay" to him right now, as if any stronger vocabulary might shatter him.
“Yeah, I’m f-fine.” He answered, wiping his eyes and cheeks with the bottom of his shirt. He had almost forgotten that he was crying in the first place. "Why do you ask?" Steven hoped that she wouldn't notice the slight quiver in his voice.
"...Why don't you come down for dinner, and we can talk about it?" She replied, completely avoiding the question.
The offer was tempting, and Steven was pretty sure that he hadn’t eaten at all today. But… He couldn’t just put the gems through the kind of turmoil that he himself was going through. They didn’t need to feel that type of pain, the kind of pain that hurt every time that you even moved, the kind of pain that hurt every second, of every day, of every year, of every century, of every-
The slight tapping of Pearl’s foot outside his door brought Steven’s mind out of his own thoughts, and back to reality. What did she ask again?
Oh, that’s right. Dinner, wasn’t it?
“Thanks, Pearl, but I think I’m going to skip this one. I’m not really feeling hungry right now.” At least that wasn’t a total lie. His appetite seemed to disappear at the mere thought of talking to the gems.
Pearl seemed to hesitate, on the edge of leaving Steven alone in his room or barging in and talking to him. At last, after what seemed like an eternity, she heaved a heavy sigh and spoke through the door: “That’s alright, Steven. We’ll see you… soon.” Her tone was sorrowful, it made Steven feel guilty for making her feel that way.
It’s always my fault. Why do I constantly have to make things so difficult for the people that I care about?!
Steven heard the stairs slightly creak as Pearl’s petite figure made its way down the stairs. He let out a laborious breath that he hadn’t even known that he had been holding. Finally he could be alone, just like he had wanted to be. This was what he wanted, right? To just be alone?
“Perhaps loneliness isn’t all that curing, after all,” He thought, his mind drifting from reality and into his dark, twisted subconsciousness .
Steven sat on the bench outside of The Big Doughnut, the only signs of life being his chest moving up and down. He seemed to be sleeping, but anyone that knew him well enough would know that he was awake by the way that every so often he would scratch his cheek or even when his eyelids squeezed together like he was looking directly into the sun. Steven’s mind was racing with thoughts, like what he could have done different in the past years to avoid the anxiety coursing through his veins at this very second. Of course, he knew that all of these things were impossible to act on, they already happened. There was no way to fix them now. But, maybe… If he just closed his eyes for long enough… he would wake up from this nightmare that was reality, and find himself in the loving and caring arms of his family. His real family.
Steven opened his eyes slowly, only to find himself in exactly the same place that he had been five minutes ago, outside The Big Doughnut. He groaned and buried his face into his palms, his eyes started to sting with tears.
Why couldn’t he just be happy for once?
Did every horrible thing that his mother had ever done have to pile on top of him?
He just wished that he could disappear…
Steven’s entire body was engulfed in a pink light, slightly lighting up the boardwalk even though it was clear daylight outside. His mind was in turmoil, his brain filled with dark thoughts. He couldn’t seem to stop it, the thoughts swirling in his brain like a tornado, shattering everything in its path.
Then, suddenly, in the corner of his vision Steven saw a small, white light. His head turned, the pink glow immediately fading as he saw what the cause of the light. Right there, in front of him, a small white butterfly hovered, its faceless form still seeming terrifying to him. Steven’s eyes widened, his pupils turning to the size of pinpricks, his heartbeat quickening with every beat of the butterfly’s wings. Maybe he was just imagining it, but the butterfly seemed to come closer, the glow that emanated from its body growing steadily brighter.
His hand grabbed for a part of the bench behind him, but it slipped and Steven fell to the ground, his eyes trained on the flying insect. He stumbled quickly to his feet and bolted towards the temple, not wanting to glance behind him. The butterfly hovered in the same spot for a second, before its from dissipated into nothingness, as if it wasn't even there to begin with.