“Steven keeps the ‘batteries’ inside,” Peridot was explaining to Lapis as they entered the Crystal Temple, escaping the snowy outdoors. “STEVEN? ARE YOU HOME?” Peridot called. "WE NEED MORE-” She stopped, realizing the Temple was empty. “Oh.”
Peridot hesitated in the doorway while Lapis wasted no time in helping herself to a seat on the couch. “So where’s he keep ‘em?”
Peridot put her thumb and index finger to her chin and furrowed her brow while she surveyed the living room. “I have no idea,” she admitted. “I’m really only familiar with Steven’s bathroom. I never made an attempt to study the rest of the rooms here even after I was welcome inside.”
Lapis nodded understandingly. “That’s okay,” she said. “You check the bathroom, I’ll check this space,” she said, gesturing to the kitchen.
While Peridot checked the bathroom, Lapis poked around the kitchen. She opened the fridge, but nothing inside matched what Peridot had described as a battery. She peered inside the oven next, but nothing was inside of it. Maybe they’re in this smaller rectangle, she thought.
She leaned forward to read the buttons on the panel. Popcorn, potato, beverage, pizza…numbers? This doesn’t make any sense.
She pressed some of the buttons on the microwave and watched as a clear, empty plate began to rotate inside the humming box. Taking her eyes off the microwave, she opened a side drawer and pulled out a whisk. Maybe you need to use a tool to access the batteries?
Peridot came out of the bathroom. “No batteries. Just some ‘tooth’ paste and ‘floss.’” She licked her lips and tossed a now-empty toothpaste tube into the trash. “The ‘tooth’ paste is interesting, though. Tastes…good.” She raised an eyebrow as Lapis continued to watch the microwave. “What are you doing?”
Lapis shrugged. “I don’t know.”
Peridot spotted a little blue box on the countertop. “What’s this?” She pulled out a handful of small rectangular packets and shook them. “There’s stuff inside!” The small green gem excitedly ripped apart the packet and watched as a mix of brown powder exploded into the air and fell onto the counter.
Lapis came over to Peridot. “What is that stuff?”
Peridot read the box. “Hot…chocolate. It says it’s a drink. But this isn’t hot! Or even a drink!” She made a face. “Human food is confusing.”
Lapis bit back a small smile. “Let me see.” She took the box in her hands. It was a lighter shade of blue than her. “Swiss Miss. What’s a Swiss?”
Peridot wiped some of the brown powder off her visor. “Your guess is as good as mine.”
Lapis studied the box closer. “It says you have to add water and stir.” With a vague wave of her hand, Lapis used her powers to gather some water from the kitchen sink and release it onto the powder. She waved her finger in a circle in a stirring motion like the box showed.
They both watched as the powder turned a darker shade of brown and splattered haphazardly across the table.
Lapis turned to Peridot. “Now what?”
Peridot frowned. “I don’t think we did it right.” She grabbed the box back from Lapis. “OH,” she exclaimed. “We forgot to add a cup like the picture says.” She opened more cupboards and rummaged through them until she found a mug. “Okay, give me one of the packets,” she said.
Lapis watched over Peridot’s shoulder while she carefully poured the brown powdery mix into a cup. “Now we need water,” she said. “But not that much. Look,” she said, pointing to the image on the side of the box. “Just til it reaches the top of the ‘mug.’ And then stir it…gently.
Lapis did as Peridot instructed. It looked sort of like the picture. It was kind of clumpy, though.
The smaller gem frowned. “It’s not hot. Why isn’t it hot?" she said, exasperated. “We followed the directions!”
“Wait,” said Lapis. “I have an idea.” She took the mug back over to the small rectangular box and put it inside on the plate. After closing the little door, she pressed the ‘beverage’ button.
Peridot’s eyes lit up with disbelief when she saw Lapis working the microwave. “YOU figured out the microwave?”
“That’s what this is?”
Peridot covered her face with a hand and groaned. “I should have known human food like this wouldn’t heat itself. I could have figured that out!” she said.
The microwave beeped after another few seconds and Peridot hurriedly opened its door. “HEY! It’s HOT!”
She set the mug down in front of them and beamed. “We did it!”
Lapis chuckled and rolled her eyes. “You forgot the last step. You’re supposed to enjoy it.”
Peridot looked up at Lapis, confused. “I am enjoying it.” she said. “I’m admiring it!”
The sound of the screen door opening caught the attention of both gems, and they looked up to find Steven, Amethyst, and Pearl coming in from the cold.
Amethyst set down some boxes of Christmas decorations and Steven grinned. “Lapis! Peridot! What are you guys doing he-“
“WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY CLEAN KITCHEN?” exclaimed Pearl, looking at the half liquid, half powdery chocolate mess all over the table and counter.
Peridot blushed a bit and held up her mug. “We…we made ‘hot’ chocolate,” she explained.
Amethyst burst out laughing and came over to examine the mess. “After how many tries? You guys actually followed the directions?”
Pearl gasped. “Amethyst, you’re tracking snow into the house!”
Amethyst looked down at her own snowy footsteps. “Oops.” She reached for a packet and ripped it open. “This stuff is so good.” She dumped the contents and empty paper packet into her mouth. “Mmm. Steven, you want some?”
Peridot furrowed her brow, watching Amethyst chew the powder and paper packet. “Is that how ‘hot’ chocolate really works?”
Steven shook his head. “No, you guys did it right. You’re supposed to heat it and drink it.”
Amethyst swallowed and shrugged. “Whatever, it all ends up in the same place!”
Steven went back over to the door. “Come on guys, we still have more boxes of decorations to get from Dad’s storage unit!” He tugged at Pearl’s arm. “Before the roads get icy!”
Pearl tore her wide eyes away from the counter. “Right, all right. Just…please clean up this mess! Amethyst, come on, Greg’s waiting in the van.”
Amethyst grabbed a couple more packets of hot chocolate mix for the road before following after them. “See ya later!” she called as she shut the door behind them.
Lapis turned to Peridot. “See? That’s not how you enjoy hot chocolate.”
Peridot pushed the mug toward Lapis. “Fine! Be my guest and ‘enjoy’ it first!”
Lapis pushed the mug back toward Peridot. “Oh, where are my manners? After you.”
Peridot grumbled a bit, but picked up the mug curiously and raised it to her lips. If Amethyst liked the drink in solid and liquid form, it had to be good!
Peridot made a face and pushed the mug back toward Lapis. “It’s…nyeh, you try it.”
Lapis smirked. “I don’t think so.”
“WHAT? But I tried it!” Lapis ignored Peridot’s comment and focused on using her powers to clear off the table and counter, unceremoniously dumping the chocolatey water into the sink. It was good enough for her. She left the mug of now-lukewarm chocolate on the table for Amethyst to finish later.
“C’mon Peri, let’s go back to the barn. We can ask Steven for batteries tomorrow.”
Peridot sighed and followed Lapis out of the Crystal Temple and onto the snow-covered deck.
They paused to lean on the rail and gaze out over the snowy terrain before them. “It’s…pretty,” Peridot decided. “I like ‘enjoying’ snow more than the ‘hot’ chocolate.”
Lapis chuckled and turned toward Peridot. “Oh yeah?”
Peridot took a deep breath. “Yes. I think you’ll agree, too,” she said.
“Wha-“ Lapis was cut off suddenly by Peridot- or rather, Peridot’s lips.
Before she could react, Peridot was stepping away from her and looking back out at the snow, trying to hide a proud smile.
All the snow had melted around Lapis.
So that’s what…chocolate tastes like?
“Peridot,” said Lapis, finding her voice after a minute.
“Why doesn’t your mouth taste exactly like the scent of hot chocolate?”
Peridot blushed. “Uh, I think that’s the ‘tooth’ paste I tried earlier. It has a lasting…flavor.”