Tooie smiled nervously as the gems walked into the kitchen. “Good evening, Tooie! It smells absolutely divine in here!” Pearl clapped her hands together as she looked at the neat spread on the table. Although she did not enjoy eating, she loved the dinner’s presentation. Amethyst was drooling as she took in the multiple dishes on the table. Garnet waved as she made her way to a free chair.
“You did a wonderful job, Tooie. What did you make for us tonight?” Tooie transferred the chicken to the plate in his hand and set it down on the last open space on the table. “I made chicken with green beans. There’s also a salad, as well as pie and cake for dessert. Can I get you guys anything to drink? We have water, juice, or soda?” He’d bought the salad last second at the store, and thank goodness he did. Amethyst looked ready to eat everything. The rest of the family sat down with Dad placing Coren in his high chair. Tooie made sure the stove was off before he grabbed a couple of cups from the cupboard.
“I’ll be fine with a soda, son.” His dad chimed in. “Juice, please!” Amethyst requested as she started filling her plate. “I’ve fine with just water, and Pearl doesn’t want anything.” Tooie nodded at Garnet. He set the cups down at the table and headed back to the stove. While the chicken was cooking, he had boiled some water in a kettle. “I know you said you didn’t want anything to drink, but I think you’ll enjoy this. It’s called tea.”
He set the steaming mug of tea in front of her. “I know you don’t like eating either, so don’t feel pressured into trying anything you don’t want. I did make a pie, just in case, since it’s something you like in the future.” Pearl nodded at his thoughtfulness and took a sip of her drink. “My this is very nice. Thank you, Tooie!”
Tooie and Greg started the conversation, just asking about missions the gems had been on. The time passed quickly. Everyone was enjoying themselves, and eventually, Tooie moved onto dessert. Amethyst almost cried as she hugged Tooie for baking her a cake. The others laughed while she smiled happily with each bite. Pearl had impressed them all by serving herself a slice of pie. All in all, the dinner was a success!
“You know what? Since Steven is part gem, we should train him on how to use his gem powers as he grows.” Tooie looked at Garnet with wide eyes. He paused in his task of feeding Coren to watch the other’s reaction. “But don’t you guys stay in the temple? That’s not habitable for a human, let alone a child.” Dad interjected. Tooie looked over at the gems while he resumed feeding his younger brother. “You could always build a house around the temple?” Everyone startled at his idea.
Pearl started writing something out in the air. “It’d certainly be possible. There is plenty of space outside the temple, and we could always build stairs.” She clapped her hands together. “Yes! I really think that will work! We’ll need lots of wood and- and furniture! We’ll need plumbing…” She started muttering to herself, with Garnet and Amethyst smiling as she got lost in her own world.
His dad nodded to himself. “That’d certainly be better than living in the van all of the time. I love the freedom, but it’s probably not the best living arrangement for a kid.” He smiled and reached his hand out across the table. “Alright, Garnet! I’ll help you guys build the house too! I know what needs to be in a general house and how to furnish it. You guys are going to be better at handling the actual building. Let’s work together to make a house for Steven!” A cheer resounded through the house. Even Coren cheered and clapped his hands at their excitement.
With dinner done, Tooie and Greg cleaned up the table. The gems continued planning out where they would get materials for the house and once the dishes were in the rack and the food was in the fridge, everyone moved into the living room. Tooie stayed out of the planning, for the most part, deciding instead to play with Coren. The little baby was getting frustrated with the lack of attention but calmed down when his big brother brought out his favorite plushie.
Amethyst quickly got bored of the discussion as well and joined them. She and Tooie passed the toy between each other in a game of keep-away. Coren was great at pouncing on the toy as they slid it across the ground, earning a couple of laughs from the rest of the family. Tooie was happy to know that Coren would be alright now. The gems were now actively trying to help in his little brother’s life. They were going to build the beach house, so Coren had someplace to stay.
He frowned, though, as the thought about how lonely he was in the house at times. Would the gems still stay by themselves again? He hoped not. ‘I should probably make sure they know more about taking care of humans before I leave. I love them, but my Crystal Gems had a hard time caring for me.’ Before he could talk to them, he felt something tug on his hoodie sleeve. Coren had crawled over to him and raised his arms. Tooie smiled as he picked him up. His baby brother snuggled into him, yawning tiredly.
“Okay, Sunshine. Time for bed.” He turned to the others, who were watching him curiously. “I’m going to put Steven to bed. You guys continue without me.” He smiled as they nodded and carried Coren to the bathroom. He gave him a quick bath, brushed his teeth, and dressed him in his PJs. His brother sleepily rubbed his eyes while Tooie looked around Coren’s room for his guitar. “Found it!” Tooie set his brother down in his crib, then maneuvered the guitar to rest comfortably in his arms.
He didn’t hear the gems knock on the door, nor notice when they poked their heads inside. “We had a fun day today, didn’t we?” He chuckled when Coren sleepily smiled at him. “I’m glad the gems are going to take care of you now with Dad. I was so worried I’d leave before they did.” He started strumming a melody. “I’m going to have to leave soon. The hourglass is almost charged, and I have no idea if I’ll ever see you again.” He paused a moment to brush his hand through Coren’s fluffy hair.
He blinked a tear from his eyes as he went back to strumming the guitar. “We’ll always have our memories. And our secret song.” He took a deep breath, smiling as Coren watched him play. “Goodnight, goodnight. It’s time now to sleep. The moon’s watching over, you and your dreams. Goodnight, goodnight, my sweet little one. Tomorrow, your eyes, they will light up the sun.” Coren’s eyes started to drift shut. He clutched his raccoon plushie in his hands as he was lulled to sleep. Tooie smiled fondly at how adorable his little brother was.
“Goodnight, goodnight, sweet dreams for now. Drift off to sleep on your pillow of clouds. Goodnight, goodnight, my sweet little friend. Tomorrow’s adventures will soon begin. Tomorrow’s adventures will soon begin.” Tooie listened to the last note echo softly in the room. He quietly checked on Coren, making sure he was actually asleep before getting up. He jumped slightly when he saw the gems smiling at him from the door. With an embarrassed blush, he shooed them from the room and closed the door.
Pearl had her hand against her cheek as she stared at Tooie. “You care so much about him. That was really sweet to see.” Dad chuckled and clapped a hand against his eldest son’s back. “Tooie does a lot for Steven. He’s always making him meals, reading stories or playing with him, and he helps him go to bed with a story or a song.” He smiled at the fond look in his Dad’s eyes. “I’m really proud of him. He does so much for his little brother.”
The gems laughed softly at the flush that crept up Tooie’s neck at his dad’s blatant praise. “Well, we’ll have to make sure you teach us how to care for him before you go.” That was good to hear. Now he wouldn’t have to worry about remembering to tell them. He smiled as they said goodnight and walked out the door. His dad stood beside him with a hand on his shoulder. “You did great, Schtu-ball.”