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Small Shifts

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“Ow! P, I said you could brush my hair, not yank it out!”

“Do you have any idea how tangled this has gotten?” Pearl asked, extracting the comb she was using from a particularly difficult knot.

“How should I know?”

“It’s your hair, Amethyst!”

“I thought this was supposed to be relaxing or romantic or something,” Amethyst groaned. She was flopped down across Pearl’s knees on the couch, playing with the one very small segment of hair that Pearl had deemed finished and twirling it around her finger in boredom. “Aren’t you done yet?”

The other gem tugged pointedly on the mess she was trying to unsnarl. “No.”

“Ugh.” Amethyst gave up and shapeshifted shorter hair. “There. All done.”

“Amethyst! You can’t just shapeshift every time you need to fix your hair!” Pearl stuck the comb back in her gem.

“Don’t see why not.” She rolled over and poked at Pearl’s cheek. “What are you getting all sulky for? Now you don’t have to brush it.”

Pearl gave her an exasperated look and shook her head. “Never mind.” She moved Amethyst off her lap and stood up. “I’ll just go finish Steven’s laundry.”

“You’re really the life of the party today,” Amethyst muttered.

“Well, if you don’t want me to do something, you should just say so,” Pearl burst out irritably. “I was trying to do you a favor.”

“Yeah, a painful favor.”

She frowned and made to leave.

“Hey, wait,” Amethyst said, catching her by the hand before she could walk away. “What’s up?”

“Nothing,” Pearl answered quickly, trying to pull away.


The taller gem stopped, shoulders sagging. “I don’t know. I-I used to do it for Rose, and…”

Amethyst began to let go. “So this is about Rose?”

“No!” Pearl exclaimed. “This…” She took a deep breath. “This isn’t about Rose. I just like being able to do things for the people I love. It helps me feel close to them.” She lowered her eyes. “I know I get a bit carried away sometimes, but I offered to brush your hair because I wanted to spend time with you.”

Amethyst found herself blushing as she looked up at Pearl, a crooked smile finding her lips. “You don’t hafta make up excuses for that, P.” She pulled her back over to the sofa and sat down, their legs brushing against each other.

“It wasn’t an excuse, I just—”

“Yeah, I know. Sorry.” She bumped Pearl’s shoulder lightly. “I’ll grow it back out for you.”

Pearl smiled faintly, touching the ends of Amethyst’s short hair. “It’s alright. You should leave it like this for a little while; it looks nice.”

“Aww, getting nostalgic?” Amethyst teased, resting her head on Pearl’s shoulder.

“It wasn’t that long ago,” she argued, but she lifted one hand to stroke Amethyst’s hair gently.

“What about you?” she asked, tugging lightly at Pearl’s. “You always had it short?”

“Yes, I think the longest it’s been was around here.” Pearl gestured to a spot just above her shoulders. “It’s more convenient that way.”

“Hmm,” Amethyst said thoughtfully. “You could shapeshift it, right?”

“My hair? I suppose,” she said, lifting a hand to it curiously.

“Do it. I’ll brush yours instead.”

“Mine?” she asked, blinking. “Oh. Okay. Just a moment.” She didn’t really like shapeshifting unless she had good reason to, and even then it always required a lot more concentration than it took Amethyst or Garnet. Her face flushed as she focused, and it took her nearly ten seconds before anything happened, but soon her hair trailed to the middle of her back, falling in soft waves. “Does this work?”

“Seems good to me.” She turned Pearl around and tugged lightly at a lock of hair. “It already looks all fancy; it doesn’t even need brushing.”

She blushed. “You don’t have to…”

“Can I braid it instead?”

“You know how?” Pearl asked in surprise, and received a sharp pinch. “Ow! Amethyst!”

Yes, I know how,” Amethyst said indignantly. “Vidalia showed me tons of cool hair tricks back in the day.” She stubbornly began to separate Pearl’s hair out into three sections. “Just you wait.”

Pearl laughed a little and let Amethyst get to work, the fingers in her hair working quickly through the rhythm of braiding. “It wasn’t a challenge.”

“Well, it is now.” She finished it within a few short moments and stuck out her hand for something to hold the braid in place.

Pearl handed it over with a fond sigh. “I think you missed the point of this exercise.”

“Nah, I got the point,” Amethyst replied, kissing the newly exposed part of Pearl’s neck.

The taller gem yelped in surprise and spun around, blushing deeply. “That was not—

“Hmm?” She tilted her head, smirking. “I thought the point was that you love me, you want to spend time together, and you’ve been staring at me like you want a kiss for the past hour.”

“I—I have not!” Pearl argued.

“You even managed to do it while you were yanking my hair out. I was impressed.”

“Amethyst!” she protested halfheartedly. “Yes, alright, I’m certainly not opposed to it, but I wasn’t staring!”

“Whatever makes you feel better,” Amethyst laughed, coming closer. She settled comfortably on top of the other gem with one leg on either side of Pearl’s. “Long hair looks good on you, P,” she said, toying with the braid before leaning in and capturing her lips firmly.

Pearl returned the kiss with equal enthusiasm, moving her lips tenderly against Amethyst’s as her hands came up to tangle in her short hair. “You too,” she whispered when they separated for a moment. “Promise you’ll let me brush it properly next time.”

“Yeah, okay,” Amethyst agreed, knocking her forehead lightly against Pearl’s gem. “And you’ll let me play with yours again sometime too?”

“Within reason.”

“Awesome. Now can we get back to kissing?”

Pearl laughed breathily and pulled Amethyst in closer. “Yes, I think that can be arranged.”