squeaklings: (suiko5 - lyon smile)
[personal profile] squeaklings
Title: Sticks and Stones
Wordcount: 720
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: Garnet's turn. I really have no idea how to write Garnet...



She stands on the path to the Temple and watches them play along the beach, her arms crossed over her chest and her mouth set in a firm line. Amethyst chases Steven around the ruins that dot the landscape, his little feet kicking up sand as he trips and catches himself and keeps on running. The pink shirt he wears is too big for him and tangles in his legs and his laughter bounces off the cliff walls as Amethyst grabs him and tosses him up into the air.

Pearl is inside the Temple. She’s always inside the Temple when Greg brings Steven over to visit. Pearl isn’t ready, and Garnet can’t fault her. Thirteen months is no time at all.

“Gaaaaarneeeet!” Amethyst waves her arms and Steven follows suit after a moment. “Come play! You’ll like it!”

“Plaaay!” Steven echoes with a laugh.

Garnet watches them for a few more moments before she suddenly jumps and lands a few feet away, leaving a pit in the sand. The shock sends Steven tumbling onto his bottom, but he picks himself up and waddles over to where she landed. He studies the indent she left on the beach, and then Steven claps and laughs as he jumps and stomps down into the sand. His feet barely leave a mark, and he frowns down at them and jumps again.

“Check it out, Garnet, he’s copying you.”

She adjusts her glasses and reaches down to grab Steven mid-jump and lifts him up so they are face to face. He copies her somber expression, or at least tries to, but he can’t hold it and breaks into a grin. “Jump!” She sets him down by her feet and he stomps around her. After the fifth time he tries and leaves only tiny footprints in the sand he turns towards her and lifts his arms up. “Jump!”

“Yes, you’re jumping.”

He blinks and then frowns and waves his arms. “Jump!”

Amethyst laughs and plops herself down in the sand a few feet away. “Go on Garnet, jump with him!”

“I don’t think—“

“Go ooooon!”

She hesitates, picks Steven up again, and does a little hop. Steven starts to smile and then stops. He looks so despondent that Garnet can’t help it and laughs. She jumps again, a little higher this time, and Steven lets out a peal of laughter that rings off the cliffs.

Garnet always knew there would come a time when the pain of Rose’s passing would fade. She sees the river of time and all its branching tributaries, but she never let herself see the moment when the little boy she held would grab her heart and not let go.

“Jump jump!”

She thinks this might be the moment.

She jumps again, even higher, and the wind pulls at Steven’s hair and shirt and he shrieks out a laugh. “Ready, Steven?” she asks once they land, and holds him tight before she launches herself high into the sky. Steven laughs for a moment, but his smile fades to a frown and then fear clouds his eyes as he looks down and sees the beach far below.

They land moments later and Steven clings to Garnet, sobbing, and she doesn’t know what to do. “Oh, Steven, it’s OK. You’re safe,” she says, completely at a loss. Amethyst rushes over but even she can’t console him. Garnet desperately cycles through the endless possibilities laid out before her and chooses the one thing Steven always smiles at.

He doesn’t hear the song at first. Garnet doesn’t sing like Pearl, but she hums the notes as she settles down on the beach with Steven nestled safely against her. Amethyst joins in; it’s an older song, a little wordless tune Rose made up shortly after humans settled on their shores. Slowly his sobs turn to cries turn to sniffles, and Garnet lets herself relax.

“Maybe a bit too high there, Garnet,” Amethyst teases after Steven’s breathing has evened out and he falls asleep clinging to Garnet’s chest.

“Maybe a bit,” she admits.

When Greg arrives to pick up Steven, Garnet is the one to present the sleeping boy to him. Greg hides his shock well with a wide smile, and Garnet remains on the beach and watches the van long after it drives out of sight.

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