“Pearl?” Tooie stared at her in surprise. He knew she had a different style from when his dad showed him the old music video, but it was still weird. She narrowed her eyes at him. “How do you know my name? And-“ Coren threw his hands up in the air. “Paw!” Her eyes widened as she noticed Coren’s presence.
“Unhand him right now!” She summoned a spear and pointed it at Tooie.
“Wait, Pearl, I can explain!” She charged him, trying to swipe Coren out of his hands. He dodged and put his free hand up in submission. “Pearl, I’m Steven! Steven Universe!” He barely managed to jump out of the way as a spear stabbed the sand where his leg was. Coren started wailing loudly, frightened from Tooie’s jarring dodge and the sight of Pearl charging them. “How dare you try to fool me, human! Hand over Rose’s son!” She thrust her spear at him, only to be shocked as a familiar pink shield diverted her attack.
“What? Rose’s shield?” She turned to look at Coren, who was thrashing and crying in Tooie’s arms. “But, he’s too young to summon…” Tooie snapped his fingers, dematerializing the shield. “Are you going to let me talk now?” Her jaw dropped at the action. “How did you summon Rose’s shield?”
Tooie shushed Coren and brushed his hand through his fluffy hair. He smiled at his baby brother as he calmed down. “My name is Steven Universe, but your Greg and Steven call me Tooie. I accidentally ended up in this timeline after messing with one of the hourglasses from the Sea Shrine.”
Pearl sagged in relief. “Oh, thank Stars! When we found out that you were born corrupted, I was so worried that you’d be that way forever! I’m so glad to know you’ll become normal eventually.” Tooie glared at her. “Excuse me? For your information, I’m from a time where I was never partially corrupted. Second, I don’t appreciate you acting like Steven’s sick. He’s fine the way he is, and besides, you can’t have been that worried since you couldn’t be bothered to visit.
The young man stormed past her. He couldn’t bear to be around her any longer. Maybe after he calmed down, they’d be able to talk again. “Wait! Where are you going?” He didn’t bother turning around or stopping. “I’m going home. If you really want to talk, meet me there in a couple of hours.”
After storming away from the beach, Tooie made sure that Coren was adequately covered by his hoodie. His baby brother was still sniffling, but he no longer seemed scared. “I’m sorry for raising my voice Sunshine. Now I have to treat you to a Cookie Cat.” Instead of heading to the market, he walked to the Big Donut. A bell chimed as he entered.
“Hello! Welcome to the Big Donut!” He greeted the employee with a nod and pulled two Cookie Cats from the little freezer by the coffee. “Ring me up for two Cookie Cats and a Chocolate with Sprinkles, please?” He paused. “Add on a Strawberry with Sprinkles.” She grabbed the two donuts and bagged them.
“Your little brother is so cute!” She waved at Coren and awed when he happily waved back. “I can tell from the purple paint on his face that you guys have been having a fun day. I hope you enjoy the food!” She handed him his change and waved again as they bid her goodbye. Tooie unwrapped their ice cream and handed one to Coren. They both smiled in bliss as they ate the sweet treat. “Stars, I’ve missed this so much.”
It didn’t take them long to get some groceries from the store and for Tooie to make them lunch. He was washing dishes when the doorbell rang. “Doors open!” He dried the last dish as the gems walked into the kitchen. Tooie blinked a couple of times when he saw Amethyst. He forgot that she used to wear her hair short, and it was weird seeing the style on her now.
“Garnet, Amethyst, Pearl! Glad you could all make it. I’m guessing Pearl filled you in?” Garnet hummed in agreement and sat down. “So, you’re from the future? That would explain why my future vision went crazy a couple of days ago.” Tooie grabbed the donut bag from the counter. “Amethyst catch!” She snagged it out of the air, and her eyes went starry when she saw the Strawberry donut inside. The chocolate was safely hidden in a tall cupboard for when his dad came back from work.
“Thanks, dude! I like you already.” She chomped away at the baked good. Pearl walked over to the hourglass that was sitting in the farthest corner of the kitchen by the wall. “So this is the hourglass of time? Such an odd design.” He shook his head. “No, that’s a different hourglass. It’s why I’m not from your timeline’s future. I’m from the future of an alternate universe.”
Garnet walked over to inspect it as well. “Good thing it didn’t break. The only ways I know to fix it are off-planet. It looks like it just needs to recharge. You should be able to go back to your time before you know it.” Tooie sighed in relief. Even though he liked being here, it’d be nice to go home.
The gems started walking towards the door. “Hey, wait! Where are you guys going?” Garnet turned back to him. “Back to the temple. We just wanted to know what your intentions were and how you arrived here.” Tooie’s face pinched in anger and disbelief. “You’re not going to even say hello to Steven? What is wrong with you, guys? Is Rose the only thing that mattered to you, and now you want nothing to do with Steven?”
Pearl glared at him in annoyance. “Of course, we care about Steven. He’s Rose’s son.” Tooie narrowed his eyes further. “Then, that’s the only reason? Because he was Rose’s?” She flinched. Amethyst watched in silence. Garnet pinched her nose between her fingers. “Look. We’re not very comfortable with him because he’s partially corrupted. I’d rather he stay with Greg. We’re too busy to watch over him, especially since he’s more unpredictable like this.”
That was the wrong thing to say. “Get. Out.” Pearl glared at him. “Excuse me?” Pink glowed across Tooie’s cheeks. “I said, get out! You’re not welcome here until you apologize for how rude you’ve been to Dad and Steven.” Amethyst winced but started walking out the door. “You’re okay, Amethyst.” She turned in surprise. “You haven’t been rude, and I know you kinda have to follow what the other two do. You can still visit if you want to.”
She looked between the annoyed gazes of the other two gems and Tooie. When no one said anything else, she awkwardly tiptoed past the others and disappeared into the living room. Garnet stared at him for a moment longer before walking out the door. Pearl followed along with a huff, leaving Tooie alone in the kitchen. He rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands. He knew they were stubborn in the past, but this was infuriating. The sound of laughter broke him from his thoughts.
A peek into the living room showed Amethyst had shapeshifted into a cat and was playing with Coren. His baby brother was swishing his tail back and forth while Amethyst was trying to pounce on it. He smiled at the scene. At least he could depend on one gem to be there for Coren when he left.