squeaklings: (suiko5 - lyon smile)
[personal profile] squeaklings
Title: Sticks and Stones
Wordcount: 708
Fandom: Steven Universe
Rating: G
Warnings: prequel
Summary: It's never easy to say goodbye to someone you loved. But Steven has a way of healing the pain, even if he doesn't know it.
Notes: The first (hopefully) of a series looking at the moment the Gems realized that even though they missed Rose, they loved Steven, too. I named the series after the song, and while it doesn't necessarily match the lyrics, it's the feeling the song gives me that inspired this series. I hope it's the feeling Steven gives to them, too.

And I don't care if it's sappy.



The baby squirms around in Greg’s arms like a worm in dirt. Amethyst watches him from her place on top of the broken hand on the beach, a safe ten feet up and away.

“He won’t bite, Amethyst,” Greg says with a smile that doesn’t reach his eyes. He sets the baby down in the sand on his hands and knees and watches him slowly crawl in wobbly circles. Amethyst peers over the tip of one of the fingers.

The baby looks nothing like Rose, except for the gem on his belly. She doesn’t like looking at the gem, though, so she looks at his black curly hair, at his chubby cheeks and chubbier hands covered in sand. Amethyst looks at her own hands and shrinks them down to mimic the baby’s and wriggles her fingers.

“It's been awhile. I thought you might like to see him,” Greg says and expertly redirects the baby from crawling too far away. “Are the others in the Temple?”

Amethyst reverts her hands to normal and shrugs. “Yeah. They’re, uh, busy.”

“I see.”

Greg stares at the ocean for a long while before he scoops the baby back up in his arms and carries him over towards Amethyst’s safe place. She ducks behind the finger she’d been sitting on as Greg holds the baby up towards her. “Won’t you please say hello?”

Amethyst peeks her head out. The baby wriggles in Greg’s hands and laughs. It’s a nice sound, and she inches closer and finally slides down the back of the hand to land beside Greg. He holds the baby towards her and she hesitates before she takes him.

“He’s wriggly,” she says, and Greg laughs for real.

“It’s how babies are.”

She pulls her arms in closer to her body and brings the baby within inches of her face. His cheeks are red and his eyes are bright as he giggles and reaches for her hair. He has Rose’s eyes as well as her gem, but Amethyst finds she doesn’t mind looking at his eyes.

The baby laughs and tugs her hair. “It looks like he likes you,” Greg says, and Amethyst stares at his big smile. Rose used to smile at her like that. She’d smiled like that when she found Amethyst and invited her to come live with everyone. She’d smiled like that the first time Amethyst learned she could shapeshift.

She’d smiled like that as she said goodbye and told them she loved them and asked them all to please take care of her little son.

“Hi…Steven.”

Baby Steven gurgles and pats her cheek as he tugs her hair with his other hand. Amethyst smiles and makes a silly face and he laughs. His giggles are infectious and she spins around with him held out in front of her, her own laugh bubbling up from deep inside. Greg watches them with tears in his eyes, and Amethyst realizes she’s crying, too. But for the first time in a long while they’re happy tears.

They play on the beach as Greg sits in the shade of the hand. Amethyst crawls in the sand with Steven, and she makes silly faces for him to laugh at, and she dances in the surf with him on her shoulders, her hands holding him steady. He claps and laughs and grabs at her hair but she doesn’t mind that last part. But eventually his laughs turn to yawns, and Greg gently takes his son back and cradles him in his arms.

“What’s wrong with him?” Amethyst watches Baby Steven closely, her eyes full of worry, but Greg just smiles.

“He’s tuckered out. Babies need a lot of sleep.” He heads towards his van parked on the Boardwalk and Amethyst follows along curiously. When they reach the van Greg lays Steven down in a weird basket and Amethyst crawls in to sit beside it.

“Can I stay awhile?” she asks.

“As long as you like,” Greg says, and Amethyst curls up beside the basket. Greg wanders away to grab them some food, but she doesn’t even hear him. Steven smiles even in his sleep, and the pain she’s felt for half a year eases just a bit as she closes her eyes and falls asleep beside him.

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December 2016

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