“Dude, what’s your problem?”
It was a simple-enough question. Steven had seemed off since… well, since the truth came out, and today he had gotten a little defensive. Okay, a lot defensive.
Amethyst had been taking her mind off the whole Garnet situation by finding new combinations of food, and in her absentmindedness, her mess took up the whole counter. When Steven came to the counter to eat, he seemed exhausted, frustrated, and depressed.
“Could you move, Amethyst? I need to eat here because somebody set the couch on fire.”
Ruby, facedown on the charred couch, mumbled something.
Steven let out an uncharacteristic groan.
“Dude, what’s your problem?” Amethyst asked.
Steven’s frustration quickly went away and was replaced by what Amethyst recognized as self-guilt.
“Nothing, nothing. Sorry. I... I’ll just go eat outside.”
Amethyst watched Steven glumly exit the house and start eating on the patio. She decided he could use some company.
“Okay man, open up,” Amethyst said as she shut the screen door behind her, “I think I know what’s bothering you and you gotta get it off your chest.”
“It’s nothing. Just go back inside, Amethyst.”
Steven averted his eyes from Amethyst and tried to focus on his macaroni and cheese.
“It? So there is something, but it’s ‘nothing’?” Amethyst prodded as she got closer to the table.
“Yes? No? No! Just leave me alone, okay?”
“Great, now I’ve made him worse,” Amethyst thought, backing off.
“Whatever dude, just remember that I’m here if you need me.”
Upon walking back into the house, Amethyst noticed Steven’s phone sitting unattended on his bed. She knew she really shouldn’t, but she also kinda knew there were things Steven wouldn’t tell even her. But she did know someone who he could talk to…
“Hey, its Amethyst
Steven needs... emotional support lets just say, and he won’t talk to me”
“I’ll be right over.
Connie ran up the stairs leading up to the Beach House and saw Steven sitting by his food, silently playing with his now-cold macaroni.
“Hey,” she said nonchalantly, with a hint of concern.
“Oh, uh, hey! How’s it going?”
“I’m fine,” Connie said as she sat down next to him, “but what about you?”
Connie knew better. For one thing, it wasn’t like Steven to leave his food half-eaten.
“Steven, you can tell me if anything’s wrong. You know that. So please, if there’s anything bothering you, I’m here.”
A long silence followed. Steven eventually relented and got up.
“Come with me.”
The warp pad on the Temple’s laundry hand activated, Connie & Steven materializing on the platform.
“Do you really want to know what’s wrong?” Steven asked.
“Only if you want to talk about it.”
Steven sighed. This was his chance to finally tell someone… Well, tell someone on his terms, anyways. Garnet and Amethyst didn’t exactly count.
“My mom was actually Pink Diamond!” he blurted out.
He told her the whole story, of how his mom lied to everyone, how she forced Pearl not to tell anyone, and how Garnet split up and now Sapphire was MIA.
“And now I have to be the one who deals with it!” Steven said, pacing back and forth.
“Every time one of them ends up having some big problem, I gotta be the one to solve it! I have to be the one to bring everyone back together! Why do I have to be the one playing therapist for Gems thousands of years old? Why do I have to be the glue holding this stupid family together?!”
Steven breathed heavily, his anger slowly subsiding.
“You don’t,” he heard Connie say.
“You don’t have to be the one to solve their problems!”
“But who else is going to? I don’t see Ruby reconciling with Sapphire on her own or Amethyst helping Pearl get over mom! If I don’t help them no one will!”
“Have you told them this?”
“ No! ” Steven exclaimed, “I mean, no, why would I? They all have their own issues…”
Steven’s voice quieted, and he looked down towards his signature pink sandals.
“I don’t want to be a burden by telling them about mine…”
Connie sat him down on the warp pad and turned his face toward hers.
“Look at me, Steven.”
Steven’s eyes still remained down, fixated on the ground.
“ Look at me, Steven. ” Connie repeated, this time getting through to him. He looked up at her.
“You. Are not. A burden. Your problems are just as valid as theirs.”
“But my problems aren’t as big as theirs! They shouldn’t have to deal with my crap...”
“You’re dealing with theirs all the time!” Connie exclaimed, “You don’t deserve any of this, Steven! If they can’t deal with their own crap, then it’s not up to you to fix them! Not when it does this to you.”
Tears were starting to flow down Steven’s face. He embraced her in a hug.
“ Thanks. ”
They sat up on the hand for a while after that, just talking.
“Sometimes... sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t have problems. Like, I feel like I have to be the well-adjusted one just so there’s some form of stability in the house.”
“You have every right to have problems, Steven. Remember, it’s okay to think about it .”
“I know... but it hurts to think about it,” he admitted quietly, “Sometimes I feel like everything would be better if I didn’t exist…”
Connie nuzzled closer to Steven.
“But then I wouldn’t have met you.”
“Yeah…” Steven said, sniffling, “I guess that’s a good reason to live.”
“You better believe it,” Connie said as she hugged Steven once again.
Connie looked over her shoulder and saw Amethyst’s eyes and ears shapeshifting up to spy on them. Connie gave them a death glare and they quickly went back down.
“Feeling better?” Connie asked.
“Yeah,” Steven said, “Thanks, Jam Bud.”
“No prob,” Connie said with a smile, “Now let’s go get something to eat. You look like you’ve only half-eaten today...”
“Fish Stew Pizza?” Steven suggested as they stepped on the warp pad.
“Sounds good,” Connie agreed, “I’m buying.”
“Oh no you’re not, my dad’s rich! I’m buying.”
“Yes, but you deserve a treat. Therefore, I’m buying.”
“I understand that, but like I said, my dad’s rich!”
“How about we split it?”
“Ooh, like in Holland?”
“Yes, Steven, like in Holland,” Connie smirked as the warp pad activated, whisking the two besties away.
“God gave us our relatives. Thank God we can choose our friends.” - Ethel Watts Mumford