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Title: Phone Hunting
Wordcount: 2097
Fandom: Steven Universe
Rating: G
Warnings: post Last One Out of Beach City
Summary: Peridot tags along as Steven and Pearl go phone hunting.
Notes: Bad ending is bad. This started out based on the prompt "Peridot and VR" and quickly sidelined so far off that track that I don't even know where the track originally was. I will probably rework but here's my first real try at writing Peridot.



The warp pad lit up just as Steven was pushing Pearl out the door with an encouraging smile on his face. “Steven! I came to borrow-- What’s going on here?”

“Peridot!” Steven ran over to the green Gem and gave her a hug, and she looked between him and a nervous Pearl before returning the embrace. Hugging was…nice, but still strange.

“Am I…missing something?”

“Nah,” Steven said as he let go of her and gestured towards the door. “I was just taking Pearl to buy a phone! Would you like to come with?”

“I really don’t think that’s—“

“C’mon Pearl, it’ll be fun!”

“Phone?” Peridot stared at them before she smacked her fist into her other palm. “Oh! Your primitive communication device!” She looked at the beaming Steven and a very embarrassed Pearl. “Why would she need one of those?”

“Steven, it’s really all—“

“She got a phone number!” he proclaimed happily and threw his hands into the air. “From a really cool girl!”

Peridot guffawed and pointed a finger at Pearl. “Her? Seriously?” Whatever this phone number thing was she didn’t know, but she was honest enough with herself to admit she liked to mock and/or tease Pearl when she could. They were friends now (more or less), but she had punched her.

“Yes, seriously,” Pearl snapped, her back straight and eyes narrowed in annoyance. She sighed after a moment, somewhat deflated. “This is all still very new to me. But,” she looked at Steven and then Peridot and her lips turned up in the faintest of smiles, “you’re welcome to come along if you want.”

“I,” she started, and then stopped. Steven looked at her with that starry expression of his. “Very well, I will accompany you.”

The trip into town was relatively uneventful. Steven was in high spirits, Pearl was contemplative, and Peridot was honestly just along for the ride. Halfway there Steven took his own phone out and started pointing things out to Pearl; she held the phone carefully, almost afraid. Peridot walked a little closer, her hands held behind her head as she listened in on their conversation.

“This program lets you video chat with someone. So you can call and talk face-to-face,” he said, and swiped his fingers to the left so another screen zoomed into view. “And this one you can text and send silly pictures.”

“Te…xt…?”

“Yeah, writing short sentences and things.” Steven tapped his chin thoughtfully. “The most important thing is being able to talk, though, so we should focus on that.” He noticed Peridot and gave her a small wave. “Do you wanna learn about phones, too?”

“I am quite content with the tablet you gave me,” she answered, proud of herself for not sounding flustered when she’d been caught eavesdropping. “It is serviceable to my needs.”

“Well, OK then.” He turned back to Pearl and Peridot inched closer. “You could always get a flip phone like Connie has, if all you really wanna do is call and text.”

“I’ll…think about it, Steven.”

“So this human ritual,” Peridot said, and cleared her throat as the two turned to look at her. “What purpose does it serve?”

“Well,” Steven said with a smile, “it’s how we get to know one another. If you like someone, you want to talk to them and learn about them.”

“Like you and Connie.”

He blushed and scratched his cheek. “Y-yeah.”

Peridot pointed at Pearl. “And you and this…girl.” Pearl flushed blue and Peridot folded her arms across her chest and rubbed her chin as she thought. “So what happens after you achieve contact and get to know one another?”

“You become friends!” Steven said, but his cheeks were still pink.

“Yes, but,” Peridot stopped and the others did as well. “I’m your friend, but we didn’t exchange these…phone numbers.”

“We can just warp over to the barn to see you, Peridot. Connie has school and lives outside of town, and we don’t even know where this girl lives.” Steven paused. “Plus you don’t have a phone.”

“So I’m confused. It’s only for certain friends?”

“Peridot.” She looked up at Pearl. “If you could contact anyone in the world just because you wanted to talk to them, who would you call?”

The green Gem tapped her chin as she thought. “What’s the purpose of the call?”

Pearl smiled softly. “Just…to talk.”

“I…don’t know.” Peridot frowned. “I will have to think on this.” She trailed back as they continued towards the town. Human customs were rather ridiculous, but she supposed there was some merit to this…phone number. Although the last time she contacted someone she really, truly wanted to talk to it had ended in her betrayal to her Homeworld and her subsequent induction into the Crystal Gems.

She would definitely have to think on this.

“We’re here!” Steven happily shouted, and Peridot glanced up in time to nearly walk into Pearl’s back. She jumped back hastily as Steven grabbed the taller Gem’s hand and practically dragged her inside.

“Oh my stars!”

Useless junk that (most) Earth technology may be, Peridot couldn’t help the surge of joy that travelled through her gem as she witnessed the sheer amount of gadgets and things inside the place Steven called a store. Imagine what she could do with them! Imagine the morps she could make!

“Ehehe. Ehehehehehehe…!”

Pearl and Steven forgotten for the moment, Peridot dashed towards the nearest shelf. Various items hung on hooks in clear cases, and she rifled through them haphazardly. Most of it was of course useless, and she tossed them to the side as she continued browsing.

“Junk, junk, oooh what’s this?” She held up the box with the long looped cord with little buds on the end and turned it this way and that. There were others just like it in various different colors, and she tossed the pink one she held to grab onto the far superior green one.

Peridot!

She turned at the sound of her name to see Steven standing a few feet away, his cheeks red and his hands held out in front of him. Pearl stood close by with a phone clutched in her hands and her expression dark. “You can’t throw stuff like that, Peridot! You could break something!”

Green bud thing still in hand, she gestured towards the piles of gadgets at her feet. “They’re all useless anyway. What’s the problem?”

“Peridooooot!” He sighed and waded through the piles of junk to stand next to her. “Just look, OK? Like this.” He took one of the remaining items from its hook, turned it in his hands, and replaced it. “Easy.”

“What if the thing I want is in the back?”

“Then you take things off but put them back after you get the one you want.” He bent down to pick up a handful of rectangular devices and stuck them back on their hooks. Peridot watched him until she felt Pearl hovering behind her. Tucking the green bud thing under her arm, she nonchalantly bent down to pick up some of the junk and placed them on the first hooks she saw.

“There! I fixed it.” She gestured at the now-stocked shelf with a wave of her hand. Steven gave her that smile he did when he was being patient and explaining Earth things, but Pearl just had her mouth in a thin line as her hands twitched at her sides. “What.”

“Why don’t we go look at something else,” Steven said, and lead her away while Pearl started muttering to herself and taking everything off the hooks.

“What’s her problem? I did what you said.”

“You did,” he said, “but you put them all in the wrong places.” He held his hands up before she could retort. “It’s OK, I didn’t explain very well! And it’s fine, Pearl likes organizing things.”

“Of course she does.” Steven gave her That Look, and she glanced away quickly. “Anyway, I take it you found your phone?”

“Yeah! Are you sure you don’t want one yourself? I don’t think Dad would mind.”

She frowned and looked down at the green cord-bud thing she still held. The box was slightly dented where she’d accidentally squeezed it. “Who would I talk to?”

“Anyone, really.” They stopped in front of another shelf, this one with strange oversized goggles. Peridot picked one up and turned it in her hands. “You can call me, or Pearl, or,” he paused. “I guess you’re not that close to Connie.”

“The last call I made didn’t end well.”

Something nudged her side and she looked over to see Steven poking his elbow against her with a smile. “I think it ended just fine.”

“I…” She fumbled with the goggles and set them down quickly. “Thank you.”

“Ma’am, you really don’t need to—“

“It’s fine, I don’t mind.”

They turned to see Pearl over at another shelf, all the various items in piles at her feet as she surveyed the area. A quick glance to the shelf Peridot had disrupted showed that Pearl had organized everything by size, height, and color, and a pair of workers stood around looking more than a little vexed.

“Ooookay, time to go.” Steven dashed over to Pearl, but Peridot remained beside the goggles. His ability to find the good in all situations continued to astound and confuse her.

But…

She had friends now. She had magnet powers! And she was a better Gem than she’d ever been before while on Homeworld.

“Steven.” He looked over at her as he pushed Pearl away from the shelves and towards a woman standing at a counter. Peridot jogged over to him, the box with the pink cord-bud-thing she’d grabbed before held in her hands. “I don’t wish to get a phone at this time. But, I would like this.”

“Ear buds? No problem.” He took the box and set it on the counter beside Pearl’s new phone. The taller Gem looked anxious and kept wringing her hands, but she took the phone back readily enough when Steven handed it to her.

Throughout the walk back to the Temple Steven explained Pearl’s new device and helped her “set it up,” as he called it. For her part, Peridot studied the new “ear buds” she kept turning in her hands. Its purpose eluded her, as it looked like neither ears nor flowers.

She pulled at the surprisingly resilient box, and eventually managed to free the cord from its prison. It was flimsy and tangled easily, and she alternated winding it around her hand and holding it out at its full length.

“Hey, Peridot?”

“Huh?” She glanced up to see the stairs leading up to Steven’s house. Steven himself stood a few steps up, and Pearl was nowhere to be seen.

“You spaced out.” He glanced at the cord she was casually winding around her hand. “Is everything OK?”

Peridot quickly hid the offending hand behind her back. “Everything is fine.”

“You sure?”

“Positive. I was simply thinking of my newest morp and lost track of the time.” She glanced past Steven. “I should really be getting back to the barn now.”

With a small “Oops,” Steven moved out of the way and let Peridot pass. Pearl and the others were nowhere to be seen in Steven’s room, and she heard the door close behind her as the boy in question followed her inside.

“I thank you for taking me along. It was…enlightening.” She stood on the warp pad and turned to face him, the cord still wrapped around her hand. “If you would—Oh I almost forgot!” Dashing off the warp pad, she nearly fell against the wall as she darted into the bathroom to grab what she’d originally come to borrow. Hiding the item behind her as she left the bathroom, Peridot edged her way passed Steven and back to the warp pad.

“As I was saying,” she began, making sure to keep her hands out of Steven’s line of sight. “If you would like to stop by the barn tomorrow, I believe I will have something to show you.”

Steven grinned. “Really?”

“Yes.” Her eyes darted back and forth. “Well then. Goodbye.”

The warp pad lit up and Peridot disappeared in a beam of light. Upon landing at the pad near the barn, she nearly fell over herself in her scramble to rush home. She deposited Steven’s toothbrush in the pile she with her can stilts, bag of chips, electric drill, and inflatable ring, and set the pink cord on top of them all.

She had a morp to make.

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