(A/N: I am on a writing roll lately. Which probably isn't good, as I'm in college...I should be on a drawing roll. Anyway, it was hard not to write with these past episodes being SO GOOD HOT DAMN. Peridot, my baby, I knew you'd come through. Now we just need Jasper and Lapis next, and then we got the official Shattered Realities family. C: IT'S GONNA HAPPEN DON'T DESTROY MY DREAMS.
Also, a few of you have discovered the implied relationship between Steven and Yellow Diamond and you are right. Even though there is no such thing as the term "Mother" on Homeworld, nor do they even know what it is, her being a Queen and Steven being a Prince is kinda...the earth equivalent. Creepy? Good cause it's supposed to be! Maybe YD should be taking some "Mommy and Me" classes to improve their relationship.)
"Steven..." came an almost other-wordly mumble from somewhere in the vicinity. "Steven..." It carried through the pink skies of the room. Or, what Steven thought was the room. He could never be too sure. The wind carried through the sky, and so did the being's voice.
"What's going on?" Steven groaned. He sat up and looked around. He expected to be in the ship again, but he still couldn't recognize the voice reverberating. Sadly, Jasper was nowhere in sight this time. The room had begun to ripple. The sky looked like a wide screen with a bad signal. Steven could tell a picture was trying to appear.
"I'm glad you can hear me. I've been trying to reach you for so long..."
"What?" Steven jolted up, stunned. He squinted hard, trying to make sense of the voice. It sounded like his mother, but it was...deeper then hers was, and more powerful. It had a strong ring to it. There was no one in sight. "What are you...talking about? Who are you, and what do you want?"
"I have to show you something."
The jumble of moving colors suddenly became clear and Steven realized what he was looking at. Among the screams of pain and battle, the leaping flames, and the electric, hot buzz of lasers, he knew he was looking at the war. Tears rimmed the edge of his eyelids and he shook his head. "Oh..."
A carriage towered over the luscious green land, blue, with curtains tumbling to the ground below. It was as tall as Yellow Diamond's...perhaps even taller. "Rose Quartz..."
There his mother stood. Her brilliant pink curls were tangled and matted with dirt and sweat. The white frills of her dress were blackened and teared. Murder set in her eyes...but more then that...there was sadness.
"Blue Diamond...I'm surprised you're hiding your face behind those curtains like a coward. It's not like you. You'd face me head on normally."
The face from behind the curtain seemed to be sneering. "And it's not like you Rose, to turn on the colony you were always so loyal to. And so it appears we both have changed."
Anger drained from Rose's face. She gave a swallow and a few composing breaths to stave off approaching tears. "It appears we have. You told me that we could talk about this. You agreed to listen to what I had to say! You said I could appeal on behalf of this planet!"
The curtain didn't move and Blue's voice remained cold as ever. "That decision was overruled. You will be punished on the way you betrayed your planet. There will be no negotiations."
Rose let a single tear slip. She withdrew her sword from her scabbard and pointed it threateningly at the other gem. "Leave this planet at once. I am not afraid to fight you, Blue."
"Stop! No more!" Steven exclaimed, clasping his hands to his eyes. "Why are you showing me this? I don't want to see the war! I don't want to see gems dying—ever! I'm already dealing with enough! What's wrong with you?!"
"You need to know the truth!"
"What truth? What's the truth?"
A vibration was what woke Steven from the haze. That and a crippling headache. The images faded along with the voice. He was in his old room...or at least, a perfect rendition of it that the room had created. The bed felt as soft. Golden sunlight poured through the window in his bedroom. The only thing missing was the voices he'd hear downstairs, and the scent of pancakes... Would pancakes ever be good right now...
His bed continued to vibrate and the sky continued to ripple. It didn't take a genius to know that someone-hopefully Spinel-was trying to get his attention somehow again. He threw off his quilt and rubbed his weary eyes. His thoughts were racing. Who was it that talked to him in the dream, and why did she want to show him the war?
I guess it's someone on Homeworld that wants their new 'Prince' to know all about gem history and how bad Mom was, and how GREAT the Diamonds are... the boy thought bitterly. He was far too exhausted and broken to bother wondering on what was possibly the most important question right now: Who was that?
"Well..." Staring down listlessly at his Homeworld attire and casting one long mournful glance to his bedroom, Steven started to the door. "Right back to the land of chaos..." It felt like he was carrying sandbags on his ankles. The world spun with every movement.
The sounds of birds chirping and the ocean ambiance Room had created was replaced by the mechanical sounds of lifters and computers...and Spinel.
"I told you to stop that!" Steven yelped, pulling the small gem's face away from the door. "You're really gonna hurt your gem." He smiled awkwardly at her. "We've gotta figure out some way for you to get my attention without nearly breaking yourself in the process."
Spinel rubbed her gem and smiled. "I hope you had a good recharging. H-her Majesty is requesting you out by the vessels. Yo-you're going to be exploring outside the castle today, Steven!" The child looked incredibly unenthusiastic and Spinel quickly picked up on it. "Are you alright?"
"I'm great." As good as any child ripped from their home planet surrounded by genocidal aliens, and currently slowly dying from starving would be. "I'm hungry though." His stomach growled and the hollow ache Steven felt reminded him he hadn't eaten in almost a week. He hadn't even wanted to eat, but now basic human functions were becoming far too hard to ignore. Anything he tried to ingest in Room hardly felt filling. That was probably because it wasn't even real.
"What does...hungry mean?" Glimmer asked, tilting her head to the side.
"It's what humans do to keep our energy up," Steven said, rubbing his neglected stomach. "We eat things. If we don't we die. So in gem terms...I'd shatter, I guess."
"Shatter!" Spinel yelped. "Oh n-no! That's not acceptable! W-we can't have that happen to you!" Her eye shone like it might start to tear up. "We'll inform Her Majesty about this right away!" This time she seemed to have no problem abandoning the 'walk behind the monarch rule' as she dragged Steven towards one of the lifts.
Steven was surprised with how panicked both gems seemed to be. He supposed they would be though with their Prince not in good health. ...But the more he looked at the fear on their faces, the more he realized how similar it was to the gems when he was ill.
"Hey, guys," Steven said gently to both of them. "It's okay. I'm not gonna die right away, I just need some food and water. I'll be fine. You guys have...something to eat here right?"
"I...I don't know," Spinel admitted. "Gems don't require s-sustenance so we may not."
The lift went higher then any of the ones in the corridor, shooting up into the air. Spinel and Glimmer had to keep Steven balanced. The boy was losing his coordination so quickly. Everything he had tried to eat in Room didn't seem to be sustaining him at all. He looked sicker by the moment.
The sky was filled with streams of light echoing from every direction and wrapping around the planet. Gems flew through them from warp pad to warp pad. Those that didn't used the lifts they were flying through the streams right now.
"Your Majesty!" Spinel shouted as she sprawled off the disc once they had landed. Glimmer was holding up Steven. Yellow Diamond's eyes narrowed sharply.
"Your Majesty! It-it-it's his...Highness, M-Ma'm!" Spinel spilled out, fighting back tears. "He's...not well! He says he requires f-food! Apparently it's a type of e-essential n-nutrient that h-his kind needs!"
"Food?" Yellow Diamond glared quizzically at the child and started shouting orders at Spinel. Her words were getting harder to hear as Steven felt his senses fading.
Shoulda done more research before you decided to adopt a human... was Steven's final thought before everything went black.
Steven felt fingers pull apart his lips gently as something flooded into his mouth. It was tepid and tasted slightly metallic, but already the boy could feel some of the life returning to his body. He parted his lips. "Water."
There was a huge relieved sigh and a familiar voice. "Oh thank goodness... Th-this is what it looked like in the picture. So I was right!"
Steven's eyes began to slowly focus into his surroundings. The first thing he saw was Spinel, standing there with a bucket of water sloshing in her hands. Glimmer was off to the side, drawing a yellow laser through the flesh of some gross serpent looking creature that had obviously just been killed. And of course there was Yellow Diamond sitting in front of him as well. Even sitting she was monstrously huge.
"Is the gem serpent almost finished, Pearl?" Yellow Diamond asked the small Pearl at her side. "Feed the Prince before I use you as his sustenance instead!" Glimmer hurriedly rushed over with the cooked corpse.
"Is this s-suitable?" Spinel asked meekly as she held up the cooked serpent to Steven. "I had enough d-documentation on earth to search up wh-what we could feed you that's here and it...said m-meat was accept-" She didn't even get a chance to finish her sentence as the hungry Steven ripped into the serpent. He was too hungry to think about its dead eyes staring at him or the disgusting taste of rock as he ripped apart the snake. Homeworld had drained some of his compassion anyway.
"W-wow..." Spinel slowly smiled. "I guess it is then." She took the empty holographic plate and dispersed it into pixels once the boy was finished. "It's c-certainly good that we're in an area that has these creatures, h-huh, Your Majesty?"
Yellow Diamond looked coldly at her advisor and the Pearl. "Away with you both. Busy yourself on the ship and set the coordinates. I'm sure the Prince doesn't want to be bothered with your company."
Steven glared at her with all the hatred he had in him. "I prefer their company more then yours."
Yellow Diamond ignored the insult. "And how are you feeling now? How often does this...eating...thing need to happen?" she asked, her scowl easily showing her disgust. "It seems like an inconvenience."
"It should happen three times a day, but I'm fine with just once," Steven muttered. Yellow Diamond snorted.
"It baffles me that your mother chose such an inferior species to mate with. At the very least there are more out there in the universe that are worth it."
Anger like nothing else Steven had ever felt before burned deep in him. He could feel his gem flashing with his and his mother's rage from the insult. "Don't you DARE..." He stood up abruptly. "Talk about my Dad like that!" The action caused his legs to buckle, and the very world to start spinning again. Yellow Diamond was easily able to catch his entire body in one claw. Steven was so tired that he sagged against her chest.
"Be careful, child," she scoffed. "You looked seconds away from crumbling to dust earlier. You might want to take it easy." She crossed her arms. "I should have considered that you being a hybrid species would factor in all the weaknesses a human has." She looked repulsed.
"Y-your Majesty," Spinel piped up quietly. "Perhaps w-we should wait until H-his Highness is feeling better to do this."
Yellow Diamond carelessly shoved Steven into Spinel's arms. "As long as he's conscious and aware, I see no reason to put it off."
The ship lowered and the engines gave a hard screech as they came to a stop. Spinel and Glimmer both stepped down the lift, holding Homeworld's prince. Steven couldn't help but absorb the close and affectionate touch by his new friends. It felt like it had been so long since someone held him.
"Don't worry Prince, we won't be doing much today—in reference to your health. But I wanted to show you one of our first projects." The landscape was a vast stretch of barren land. Serpents slithered about but other then that it seemed to be the only life on the land. "This is where we're going to build our new colony. Blue Diamond began it, but sadly she never got to complete it."
Steven's eyes snapped open and he wriggled out of Spinel's arms. His feet shifted as he lost his balance, but he held strong and kept standing. "Blue Diamond?"
"Yes." Yellow Diamond smiled. "She was a member of the Diamond Authority, and governed a separate part of the planet and the first colony created. White Diamond was the main governor, the head of Homeworld. When she was shattered and Blue Diamond went missing I took on the main, heavy task of leading our broken planet." Her eyes fell heavy with sadness, but something in her expression...made Steven question the genuineness.
"How does a Diamond just disappear? You never bothered to even look for her?" He squinted his eyes, suspicious. "That seems a bit...strange."
Yellow Diamond glanced sharply down at him. "The most important thing was keeping the colonies on track," she said coldly. "A planet without a governor descends into complete chaos. Rose Quartz was in line to govern next; her healing abilities were something that came once every 1000 years, if that. We lost her, and we lost White. I couldn't afford to have Blue Diamond's search my main mission. But if you must know, Spinel did send out search parties for her. We never located her."
Steven's footsteps began to grow heavy as exhaustion settled in again. When it did he fell back into Glimmer's arms. It was hard to keep his eyes open. One meal and a drink didn't make up for nearly a week's worth of starvation. That nagging voice from his dream echoed in the back of his head...
You need to know the truth... What was the truth? The more Steven thought about Blue Diamond's mysterious disappearance, the more he had to wonder if...was that her that was trying to contact him?
"You told me that we could talk about this. You agreed to listen to what I had to say! You said I could appeal on behalf of this planet!"
What had changed her mind?
"You guys are so advanced here, didn't you have any way to contact her?" Steven pressed. "I thought you all had built in communications into your gems."
"Not quite." Yellow Diamond smirked. "There is the Diamond communication line that we all used on separate planets, but she never attempted to contact it." She shrugged. "After this long I can only imagine she's met an untimely demise. Or perhaps one of your Crystal Gems captured her in the war like they did many of my soldiers. One you'd know. Your Lapis Lazuli."
Steven's fists clenched, anger making his strength return. "I don't believe you. I've seen the way you brainwash other gems. Who knows how many you've experimented on besides our Jasper?! You're not to be trusted."
Finally it seemed all his nettling had riled the monarch as she grabbed his cheeks fiercely in her clawed hands, golden eyes searing into his soul. "Everything I do..."she hissed softly. "Is for the good. Of the future."
Steven wriggled her off. "The good of your future," he said, meeting her fierce gaze. "I bet you haven't even asked if this is what everyone else wants."
"You know nothing about governing a planet," she hissed. "And nothing about our kind. They're feeble minded gems. They don't know anything about what's best for us, and you don't either, Steven. Don't forget your authority here does not surpass me."
Steven bared his teeth. "Maybe not, but when I do govern my own colony, I'll make the rules! And they'll be better off then anything you ever do. For everybody!"
Yellow Diamond looked amused. "I wish you luck on that, child." They came to a stop near a spiralled blue staircase, leading up to a large pillar in the center of the planet. "You can do that sooner then you think."
Steven stared up at her. "What?"
"This is your first mission. You will create this planet's Kindergarden and start a new colony. You will govern Blue Diamond's planet. You will do this with your advisor and your servant. Spinel knows all about creating colonies. She will teach you what you'll be doing." She summoned a floating yellow screen that held the planet's database. "I will see if this planet has anything that will be of use to us while we prepare for its destruction." She turned and made her way back to the ship.
Glimmer gently set Steven down, still keeping a hold under his arms. "Are you okay to stand, Steven?"
"I'm fine." The boy stood unsteadily, the queasiness his head felt no match for the turmoil his stomach was in. "Spinel, how do you know so much about governing planets? How long have you worked alongside Yellow Diamond?"
Spinel blinked. "Oh, well, a v-very long time." She smiled and her eyes suddenly had a sparkle Steven had never seen before. "I was once the advisor...of the entire Diamond Authority, and the partner of Blue Diamond..." Her face fell. "She was...quite different from Y-Yellow Diamond. Easier to talk to a-and negotiate with. D-didn't hurt me as much. O-or ever." She looked even sadder and stepped away from Steven.
"I...I'll admit...I was q-quite metaphorically br-broken when we lost her. Sh-she treated me more of a part-partner then a servant. My f-feelings run deeper f-for Blue Diamond th-then I could ever say. Spinels are co-considered throw-aways. We can't d-do as much as other gems can, but...th-that never mattered to White and Blue. Blue especially. We have a different power th-then most gems do. It isn't very useful." Her one magenta eye filled with a tear.
"I know H-Her Majesty has w-wanted to throw me a-away for a long time, and just kept me because I kn-know more about the Diamonds then anyone else. Sh-she probably wanted to throw me away even more a-after I got my stutter. She gets angry w-with me if I take too long to get...a sentence out."
Spinel wiped her eyes and straightened after a moment. "B-but I know she works h-hard for all of us! She's just...under a lot of stress r-right now! We should make her job as easy as-as we can!"
She climbed the blue spiralled stairs and typed something into the floating keyboard. A large hologram filled the sky around them, showing what the planet would look like at completion. "All we have to do is drill into the core and rid the planet of any life it has." She looked over when she noticed tears building in Steven's eyes."It's alright, Steven," Spinel assured him, patting his back. "I promise that before we...we destroy this planet we'll harvest enough serpents to breed back in Homeworld for your feeding!"
"It's not that!" Steven pushed her hand away. "I don't want to govern a planet!" He sobbed. "I'm only a kid, I'm not even allowed near a blow torch! I don't want to do any of this!"
Glimmer and Spinel exchanged worried glances. "But you...you would be helping your planet," Glimmer said gently.
"THIS ISN'T MY PLANET!" he roared, effectively shutting them both up. "This isn't my home! My planet is earth! My family is on earth! My friends! My house! Even my own BED! It's all on earth!" He completely broke down, falling into the dirt. He was so tired, he was so hungry, he was so homesick. "I just want to go HOME! I didn't ask for any of this! I didn't ask to come here! I didn't ask for...gross, slimy...snakes to eat! I didn't ASK for a creepy yellow giant to ADOPT me as her Prince! I didn't ask for a servant or an adviser! I just wanna go hoooome!"
The two gems were at a loss of what to do as their small leader broke down into uncontrollable sobbing into the dirt. They exchanged worried glances and Spinel hesitantly made her way forward.
"I...I know wh-what you mean," the gem whispered softly, putting a hand on the boy's shoulder. "W-well maybe...not exactly what you mean...but...no one here a-asks for anything th-that we do. And..." She shifted uncomfortably. "Honestly...I really didn't ask to have...her...as my partner." Steven looked up through his tears.
"Like...I mean, I r-really, REALLY didn't ask to serve her," Spinel whispered very softly. "I m-miss my old Diamond and I-I've been waiting...th-thousands of years to-to serve someone as n-nice as you."
Glimmer smiled at the boy and very hesitantly put her hand over Spinel's, on the child. "I've never had my own name. I've never had anyone that would protect me from Yellow Diamond." Steven just stared at them through his teary eyes.
"We may not...have...all n-necessarily wanted where we're at now," Spinel said gently. "B...but...Glimmer and I will do our b...best to make your time here a-as happy as we can."
Tears further filled Steven's eyes but they were for a different reason. He reached out and brought both gems into a tight embrace. "Thank you..." he whispered. The two only waited a second before returning the gesture.
Yellow Diamond was interrupted through her reports to have an emergency call beep in. "This better be important," the royal hissed, turning to her own Pearl. "Send them through."
Through the static and noise, one of Yellow Diamond's Topaz guards could be seen through the monitor.
"Your Majesty, I apologize for the intrusion and the terrible signal of this call...damn thing!" A punch and the screen became slightly clearer. "I'm reporting from the prison cells! We caught some rogue gems we thought might be of interest to you." Topaz stepped aside and there behind the gem proof barriers were the exact prisoners she was hoping to see. All seven of them.
"We're here, you pee colored tyrant!" Lapis yelled, shaking her fist at the woman. "And we're bringing back our Steven!" Jasper kicked and punched at the cell like an angry convict.
"Remember me, Your Grace?" Jasper sneered up at her former leader. "I'm here to beat your face in on behalf of me and every other gem you've betrayed!"
"PREPARE TO BE SHATTERED, CLOD!"
"We are going to destroy you on behalf of our little boy you took and the thousands of years of pain you have caused us!" Pearl snarled. Ruby and Sapphire said nothing, but the red gem banged her gauntlets together with a furious screech.
"Why do you even NEED that much eyeliner!" Amethyst roared.
Yellow Diamond merely smirked. "Hm...things just got a little more interesting."