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Steven and Greg fuse less than ten times in Greg's life.

 

=<>=

 

There was the first time.

 

The first time was incredible. There was an deep seated exhaustion, the first time- Greg had never fused before, and Steven- Sten, really, at the time, with Vendan being so shut down as he was- was riding the edge of withdrawal from his powers and probably dying. But they really were incredible together. He'd never felt like that before in a fusion, except with Stevonnie.

 

This fusion had been the bone deep feeling that no matter what happens, everything's was going to be okay.

 

=<>=

 

It was five years before they fused again.

 

Dad had been asked to do a soundtrack for a sci-fi movie, and the director asked if he wanted to do a cameo.

 

One wink and a nudge later, Mr. Multiverse was playing music for an alien bar in a scene of Passions of Xanxor.

 

It was fun.

 

Mr. Multiverse had enough self-assured charm to bolster the whole crew when he was around. Always ready with a tune, a hand, a spare lunch or twenty, or a kind word. He'd swarmed Instagram and Twitter for a few days with a few delightfully bemused selfies taken by the cast and crew.

 

And maybe, just a little bit, Steven wanted some record of this. Some proof, far in the future, that this had been real.

 

But that had hardly mattered.

 

It had been nice to play with Opal again.

 

=<>=

 

Mr. Multiverse meets Greg's grandkids once, to help teach them about fusion.

 

There's a picture of him, flexing all four of his arms with the widest, goofiest smile on his face, a child perched on each arm.

 

=<>=

 

There's a few posters for a Sadie Killer and the Suspects reunion concert, signed by the opening act, Mr. Multiverse.

 

=<>=

 

Mr. Multiverse never sees the battlefield. That is the one line Steven will never cross.

 

=<>=

 

It's not that he doesn't like to be Mr. Multiverse (Steg, to Amethyst).

 

He loves it. Really, he does. He loves being with his dad, he loves fusion, he loves that he gets to share that with his dad. And he knows that Dad loves it too.

 

But there's something so irrevocably precious about this fusion, to Steven. Something almost sacred. Something so all-encompassing and unfathomable that he's almost afraid to touch it.

 

So he never, ever asks for it, and simply enjoys the moments when they last.

 

=<>=

 

Gems know grief, and they know it well.

 

They know it in loss, and they know it in fusion.

 

Because when a Gem is lost, it is not the loss of simply one Gem. It's the Gems they were with ones who live on, Gems now forever gone, even if the rest of their components live on. It's every Gem they have ever been, every Gem they could have been, with everyone they have ever known.

 

The loss of even a single Gem is the death of an entire world.

 

=<>=

 

Steven looks down at his father's grave.

 

A century later, a decade later, seventy days or seventy years too soon and too late, it does not matter. Time is nothing to him, and hasn't been for a while- a day is a decade is a century, all equally distant and yet always present in the back of his mind.

 

Steven looks down at his father's grave, and wonders if he should have been less afraid.