“I said: I don’t wanna fight!”
Fuelled by defiance, Steven triumphantly stepped a foot out before him, crunching it against the floor as instinct took cover and a [irrecognisable] power flood through him.
His shield manifested them, glimmering pink against the ominous blue. It repelled the Water Steven’s attack, the resonance diminishing all of Lapis’s soldiers.
Steven didn’t miss a beat.
“Lapis!” he called, walking up towards the phrasing tower, “I’m coming up to see you… so please don’t drown me.”
Surprising Steven, a water hand formed then. He stepped onto it, not peering back to see the frozen faces of his dearest friend and beloved family as he donned the turf of the water witch.
Living near the ocean his entire life, Steven was no stranger to water. He quickly relaxed into it, and savoured the time to think as he zoomed directly updward. In his head swirled replays of the days prior. One second he had been making a friend, the next he’d been unleashing a prisoner.
No matter how much thinking he did, he couldn’t unpack: why? Why would the gems do it? Steven could almost feel the horror of a concious imprisonment for five thousand years, as his body slickly slid through the water. He knew it was different from a bubble, he knew that a bubble was stasis. He just couldn’t grasp: why would his friends, his family… why would they do that?
Steven’s betrayal was interupted by awe, as the blue above shifted to black and the earth suddenly felt unbeareably distant below him. And then his head broke the barrier. Atop the giant pillar the world twinkled with stars, burning bright against the inky blackdrop of space. A part of Steven couldn’t believe it; another part knew he had to. A small distance away stood Lapis, her hand poised powerfully as it contorted a billion kilos of water, thinning it as they arced further into space. “Lapis!” Her head shot round apon hearing her name, her pupiless eyes staring directly at him, saying nothing. “Lapis! What are you doing? This is crazy!” Lapis’s empty eyes remained hard for a moment, then arced in sorrow as their altitude slowed slightly. “I thought… if I could just stretch it far enough…” Her shoulders relaxed in defeat. “Far enough? What do you mean, Lapis? What do you need our ocean for?” Lapis’s shoulders just fell further. “Lapis! Lapis talk to me! You’re destroying my home!” “Your home? I’m trying to get home. I wouldn’t need to use your ocean, but my gem is cracked…” Steven flickered from distraught to confused in an instant. “Cracked?” “Yeah, my gem was cracked. In the war.” Steven tried to piece this together. He knew from the whole Holo-Pearl incident that the gems weren’t really their bodies, they were their gems. But a gem cracking? Steven looked apon Lapis; Lapis looked apon Steven emptily. Slowly a feeling dawned apon him, a feeling he had never felt before: He felt unqualified. “Steven?” Steven had come up here with the intention to help, with the certainty he could help. He had just thought… that everyone could be… But a cracked gem? Steven had only found out the Gems were really GEMS a matter of weeks ago! He’d only summoned his shield for the first time a month ago! Steven felt a sudden feeling of shortness, like everything interesting he had ever done, everything useful he had ever learned, had been in the past month. Why? Was was this month different from all the other months? Steven tried to reason going backwards. Maybe… maybe there was something really important happening at the end of the month, and he was being trained? But he knew as he uttered this statement that it couldn’t be true. He loved the gems but with Pearl and Amethyst constantly butting heads he didn’t think they’d be able to coordinate something as subtle and specific as that. The only other possibility was that he was being trained by some God, as if he was particularly important to be singled out this way. But why would he be? Because his Mom… … “Steven??” … Suddenly the stars all felt very small, and everything felt so very far away. He couldn’t even finish that sentence! His Mom what? Steven couldn’t even remember why his mom was supposed to be special! He realised with a burning cosmic embarrassment that whether his mom founded america or fought slavery or seeded life on earth or destroyed an intergalactic regime or simply loved his dad; he had no idea. Why had he never asked? Why had he never asked? But Steven realised that the answer was there, seeded in the back of his brain: he never asked because he never needed to know. Flipping back through his memories, Steven realised that everything he got, everything he knew — it had just been gifted to him on a silver platter. He’d gotten his surregot mother in fake combat and she simply regenerated before his eyes. He’d faced what could’ve well been a super-slow giant alien grenade and guessed the password to the only thing that could defeat it by accident. He never needed to know anything. Every challenged pushed apon him was just easy enough for him to get by without ever having to think for himself. Not this time. Steven thought again about the oddity of his entire life seeming concentrated into the last twenty-five days, and figured with a chill: if this were all some kind of training simulation by an omnipotent God, then it would all have to be leading up to THIS. Him, here, with a sympathetic but world-ending Gem tortured with boredom for subjective infinity by his sisters and he was about to lose his planet’s ocean ONLY because her Gem is cracked, a problem he did not know even existed, and hadn’t the slightest clue on how to fix it. Steven snapped out of his spiral. “Lapis! I… I don’t know how to help you.” Her shoulders imperceptibly became tense apon hearing this, then she turned back away from him, her fist clenching tighter and her arm raised higher into the air; the pillar seemed to ricocheted into hyper-drive, tripling in speed as it punched through the final layer of atmosphere. But of course, as it tripled in speed, the plaform began shrinking to a third of it’s size… “Lapis what are you doing!?” Steven cried, pinned to the floor of water by the overwhelming force of inertia. “What else do you expect me to do?” Lapis threw back over her shoulder. “It’s the stupid war that cracked my gem, your evil friends that kept me here, and you can’t help me! What choice do I have??” “…Lapis…” The platform shrunk to just a couple meters in diamtre as the water drew thin. The void grew icy as they left the warm atmosphere of earth. The platform had now shrunk with room only for Steven’s floorbound body and Lapis, who was looking with such yearning into the deep sky that she was completely indifferent, oblivious, to the ground shrunking below them. “Lapis please!” The floor ran out along Steven’s head first. The platform shrunk, his head lolling over the end, finding his vision swarmed by the brighest light he had ever seen. He was staring at the sun. He quickly looked away as they zoomed yet upwards, peaking at the bright light Lapis seemed to be aiming torwards. Was that… her… their… our… home? Steven had no time to think. His neck lolled over the side next, then his shoulders too. He summoned all the strengh he could muster in his hands, scrambling to find a grip as they two slipped over the shrinking platform. But of course, it being water, there were none, and soon the weight of Steven’s upper body dragged him over, the deadly slip puctuated by a woosh through the void. “LAPIS!” He screamed, but he could read, even sans-pupils, the total enthralment and tunnel vision she then had for her homeworld. In the freeze frame Steven captured it really seemed like she thought she was going to make it… But then her foot spilt over the platform that was now mere inches in diameter, and she fell out of her trance, and wooshed through the air, and begun falling besides Steven.
Their falling quickened at breakneck speed as the atmosphere began to burn at Steven’s skin. He was oblivious to the pain though, focusing only on one thing: the terrifying frozen expression on Lapis’s face. “LAPIS!” Steven cried, desperate to be heard over the now ear-shattering roar of the air whizzing past his human ears, “LAPIS BUILD US A PLATFORM! LAPIS USE THE WATER, WE’LL BE OKAY!” But Lapis’s expression was fixed frozen, warped only by the giant cubes of water that seemed to whizz updwards as they fell so slowly. The ground was far closer now, too close. A thought too horrid to think flashed through Steven’s head, but that was enough for him to know what to do. But he had to help Lapis. He looked apon her again as the ground neared unbearably close, “LAPIS, COME CLOSER, PLEASE!” At this her expression changed. Each frame lasting a microsecond but living eternally in Steven’s memory, she looked at Steven, then despairingly towards the oncoming ground, then a last time at the stars, the look of remorseful resignation painfully overt. She looked at Steven once more, not as an adversary or a nuisance, but as a friend. “I’m sorry,” she said, and made no effort to reach closer. Steven hiccupped a horrible feeling, but then refocused his attention towards the ground. 3 2 1 BUBBLE! SPLAT.
The instant before he hit the ground, Steven channelled every ounce of his power from his gem into his body, wrapping himself in a bubble just in time. The bubble still hit the ground at a ferocious pace, sending a giant shockwave that launched his dad’s van into the air, punching its way deep into the surface of the ground. On impact, Steven felt a force the size of a thousand Water-Steven punches put together. The bubble promptly shatterd, a buried Steven lying in a crater 40 feet deep. “Steven!” cried the panicked voices of Garnet, Amythest and Pearl. They leaped down into the hole, and their worried faces peared into view. Dazed, Steven said to them he’s fine. “Steven! Are you alright?” I’m fine, guys. Steven suddenly realised that nothing was coming out. What on earth? More tired than he had ever been in his life, Steven strew together every ounce of energy he could musuter and uttered: “SLJLSKJgLIAJLK jALKUDLkjALKj,” Pearl’s hands wrapped around her mouth. Garnet’s visor vanished in a puff of smoke, revealing three eyes of frozen shock. And Amethyst… Steven couldn’t make out Amethysts face, for she had reached for his shirt and was pulling it upwards. “Your g-gem,” spluttered Amethyst, more flustered than Steven had ever seen her.
"Your gem is cracked." --- "It's okay!" said Pearl somehwere far, far away. "Your mother had healing tears, she could heal cracked gems, maybe you do too!"
Before Steven could even begin to process what that meant, a more pressing matter took over: he felt something pressing behind is head. He lifted his head, and a blue arm popped out. What? Steven hadn’t seen a blue arm like this since… Since that time they formed the secret team to hunt down… Oh no. Oh no no no—— Pearl’s face turned from shocked to horrified as she dawned what happened. Steven began to convulse in the dirt. Steven was cracked, and Lapis was shattered. Steven was cracked, and Lapis was shattered. Steven was cracked, and Lapis was shattered.
And his mother had healing tears.
A part of Steven far away could vaguely feel the sensation of something pocking out the side of his head.
But a part of Steven all too nearby watched another blue shard levitate and glow, this time forming a distorted blue leg that hopped aimlessly along the surface.
Steven Universe felt stupider than he ever had in his entire life.
His lack of asking questions had killed his friend.
He had a magical destiny, there was something special about him. And even if he wasn’t, he was a gem. He learned that day he couldn’t rely on his family to be moral, he couldn’t rely on them to tell him what he needed to know when he needed to know it.
Maybe him before had thought it was okay to not ask questions. Maybe he wasn’t curious because he assumed the things he didn’t know corresponded to spots of no information, out there in reality.
But whichever Steven that was, that Steven was dead.
Steven was cracked, Lapis was shattered, and his mom had healing powers.
Steven realised that day that this wasn’t a world where he was looked after by a loving overlord, one where every lesson he needed would be shoved effortlessly in front of his face in a minified version before he had to start trying for real.
He was in charge, and he was responsible for everything he didn’t know.
When they had eventually gotten home, and Steven had processed enough of the emotions to not be a wreck, Steven finally started asking some questions.
He sat the gems down and asked them where they all came from. He asked Garnet and Pearl what homeworld was like. When they said they all had set roles he asked what they were for. When Garnet tried to dodge that question he pressured her, and she conceded Garnet’s had no role because there were no Garnet’s like her on homeworld.
She then held up her two hands, and began to grow, shrink, and became two people.
Steven’s mouth hung open.
Eventually, the shock wore off and he said “no more secrets. Lapis died because we didn’t talk to eachother. I need to know everything.”
After Ruby and Saphire explained everything about themselves, they refused and Steven turned to Pearl, who said she was a servant. Steven asked of who, and Pearl dodged the question.
Steven pressed, asking what possible benefit could get from her keeping it secret.
Garnet became curious, and used future vision to go into the reality where Pearl figures out how to tell them with a mobile phone, and realises Pearl belonged to Pink, and Pink was Rose.
NO SECRETS OF YOUR OWN.
A BLANK MAP DOES NOT CORRESPOND TO A BLANK TERRITORY.
— Steven cracks his gem from the fall and gems take him to rose’s santuary, steven almost dies and eralises lapis could’ve thrown him down.
OR lapis has to stay home?
Lapis shatters herself to death? Steven just gets cracked and can heal himself.
Steven has to make lapis angry anyway, maybe lapis thinks Steven is being more of a crystal gem, doesn’t hurt him but gets them both hurt. A la Adventures in Light Distortion
Add more steven wanting to help lapis at the beginning.