“Wow, this place is even bigger and more weapon-y than I remember,” Steven said as he walked with Lion through the field full of abandoned weapons and giant strawberries.
Dawn walked in front of the group, always the leader, followed by Sunshine and Moonlight. Steven and Lion were behind them.
“This was an important battlefield during the war,” Sunshine explained. “Each of these weapons was left by a gem over 5,000 years ago!”
Moonlight sighed as she poked one of the weapons with her foot. “I don’t think we should mess with them, but Dawn said we can’t leave them around.”
Dawn stopped walking and turned to them, holding over her shoulder a huge sword longer than she was tall.
“You never know when you might need one of these.”
Steven smiled. That would fit right in with her collection.
“Can I have one too?” He asked.
“You never finished your sword fighting lessons.” Dawn pointed.
“I will finish them if I can have my own sword,” Steven said, making his puppy eyes that he knew the gems couldn’t resist.
“Alright, sword fighter,” Dawn said.
“Try to pick one you can carry!” Moonlight joked.
Steven walked away from then, looking for the perfect sword to call his. It was hard, most of the weapons seemed to be meant for gems the same size as regular Rose Quartzes, or even bigger. Some axes there wouldn’t even fit the door of his room. He thought of Eclipse, the fusion of Sunshine and Moonlight, and how huge she was. Maybe she had fought in the war too. Maybe even bigger fusions had.
He noticed Lion seemed to be trying to pick something up.
“Lion? What’s that?”
The feline turned to Steven with a pink object on his mouth that he soon dropped on the ground by his friend’s feet. Steven looked at it confused, as the gems approached to see what was going on.
“That’s…” Sunshine started but couldn’t finish.
“No way!” Moonlight said.
“The scabbard of Star’s sword,” Dawn said. She quickly dropped the giant sword she was still holding to pick the object up.
“Mom…” Steven said, his hand unconsciously grabbing his gem. Now he noticed the symbol on the scabbard, identical to the one on his shield. “She fought here?”
Dawn nodded. “And we fought by her side.”
It looked very cool in his imagination, the four pink-haired gems standing side by side, fighting to protect Earth.
“I wish I could have seen it.” He said.
“No, you don’t.” Moonlight said, eyes dropping to the ground. “Countless gems were broken here. It was a nightmare.”
“But we won!” Sunshine exclaimed, trying to lighten the mood. “Star was a brilliant leader, and we all fought under her lead against Homeworld’s forces!”
Steven smiled, not noticing the strange expressions on Moonlight’s and Dawn’s faces.
The gems and Steven stepped into the temple. Steven had his hands empty. Sunshine carried an assortment of weapons, Moonlight had the huge sword Dawn had picked up earlier, and Dawn had only Star’s scabbard.
“Do you want me to take this to your room, Dawn?” Moonlight asked.
“Yes, please,” Dawn said, not even looking at her teammate’s direction.
Moonlight sighed. “Help me here, Sun. This thing is heavy.”
Sunshine dropped her weapons on the floor and went to help Moonlight.
Steven looked at Dawn, the way she held his mother’s scabbard.
“So, Mom had a sword?” He asked. “I thought she had a shield. Like me.”
“Her summoned weapon was a shield, but she also had a physical sword.” Dawn explained.
“Where is the sword now?” Steven asked.
Sunshine and Moonlight silently dropped what they were doing to watch Dawn’s reaction.
“I… I don’t know.” She said. “I haven’t seen it since the war.”
“What did it look like?”
Dawn grabbed a notepad and a pen so she could show it. Steven watched her with fascination, and so did Sunshine and Moonlight.
“It was a straight bladed saber with vines etched in the guard that connected to a rose-shaped pommel.” She explained, holding the drawing up.
“Rose.” Steven chuckled as if hearing a secret joke. His mother was a Rose Quartz. It made sense that she had all that rose-shaped stuff.
“And it was pink, of course,” Dawn added.
Steven studied the drawing with more attention. It looked a bit familiar, but he wasn’t sure… ah!
“I have seen it!”
The gems looked at him with varying degrees of shock.
“Wait here!” Steven said, before running out of the house.
After a few minutes, he came back with Lion.
“Watch this!” He said, before pressing his face against Lion’s mane. It glowed a soft pink as Steven sunk deeper into it, before coming back with a pink sword in hand.
The exact sword Dawn had drawn.
“It’s really Star’s sword,” Sunshine said, eyes glowing. “How did it end up there?”
Steven shrugged. Dawn took the sword from him to inspect it more closely. She couldn’t believe her eyes but it was really it, it was really Star’s sword.
“Does Lion have something to do with Star?” Dawn asked.
“Maybe? There is a lot of stuff in there. I think it’s her stuff.” Steven said. “I keep my stuff there too!”
Dawn wanted to ask what he meant but Steven jumped into Lion’s mane. After a moment he came back riding his bike.
Sunshine and Moonlight laughed.
“So that’s why Lion is pink!” Moonlight noted.
Dawn frowned. “This makes no sense.”
Steven climbed out of his bike and put it back in Lion’s mane. “Why not?”
“We have known Star since forever, and she never talked of a lion!” Dawn said, frustrated. “What even is it? Did Star turn it pink? How?”
“Star was a one of a kind gem,” Sunshine said. “She had powers we don’t have.”
“But why would she hide it from us?” Dawn asked. “Didn’t she trust us? Didn’t she trust me?”
“Maybe she just forgot?” Steven suggested innocently.
“Maybe she was just a liar!” Dawn shouted. She took a moment to look around and see the shocked faces the other two gems had, and the sad eyes Steven looked at her with.
Cursing under her breath, she dropped the scabbard and ran to the warp pad.
“Dawn…” Steven said sadly. “Will she be alright?”
Sunshine looked at Moonlight, who just looked away.
“Don’t look at me, I can’t deal with her when she is like this.” Moonlight said, turning around to go to her room.
“Sunshine?” Steven asked.
She gave an awkward chuckle. “You see… We all sacrificed a lot to join Star… We don’t regret it, of course we don’t! But some old wounds… take time to close. Just give her some time, okay?”
Steven nodded, though he really didn’t understand. What wounds could possibly still hurt after all this time?
He watched Sunshine leave for her room, and then sat down on the couch and waited. And waited.
It was dark outside and there was still no sign of Dawn. Steven looked up at his mother’s portrait.
“Why didn’t you tell them?” He asked, knowing well that there would be no answer.
Sighing, he stood up and walked to the warp pad. He needed to talk to Dawn, to be sure she was okay.
The first thing he saw when he warped to the kindergarten was Lion, who seemed to be waiting for him. Then, he saw a large shadow, long curls flying with the soft breeze. Dawn. She was sitting on a fallen broken injector.
Steven looked at Lion, who could easily help him get there, but the feline sat down and stared at him, not showing signs it would stand up.
“Alright, I can climb on my own,” Steven said, though he wasn’t very sure of it.
With some difficulty, he managed to climb the injector. Dawn didn’t move at all as he did it, even as he groaned loudly with effort.
It was so unlike her. Dawn never let Steven struggle with anything, she was always ready to help him with whatever he needed.
“Dawn?” He called.
She seemed to wake up from a daydream. “Steven! What are you doing here?”
“What are you doing here?” He asked back. “Are you alright?” He added, worried.
Dawn nodded as she helped Steven sit down on her side, leaving one arm behind his back so he wouldn’t slip. This was more like the Dawn he knew.
It was dark in there, but from the position of the injector, Steven could guess they sat facing the same region of the kindergarten that Moonlight had shown him the other day. The place where she and the Rose Quartzes were made.
“This is where everything started,” Dawn said, her voice distant. Nostalgic. “Your mother stood on this very spot and gave her first speech, over 5,000 years ago.”
She stood up and raised her arm, as she repeated the same words that inspired her so long ago.
“‘Is this what you want: to inject?! to build?! I’ve seen the life that exists for itself, and it lives here. Will you destroy it, or will you join it?!’”
Dawn had a smile as she sat back down. “I made my choice. And so did Sunshine and Moonlight. We wanted to fight for Earth.”
Steven smiled. He felt very proud of the three of them, and of his mother too.
“We trusted Star to lead us.” Dawn continued. “We- I trusted her with everything I had. I thought she trusted me too.”
Steven lowered his eyes. He wished he had any words to cheer her up, but how could he? He never even knew Star.
“Star was… different from all of us. It was not only her powers. She was the first one to speak up against Homeworld. We would never have been able to do anything without her.” Her voice lowered to just above a whisper. “Sometimes it felt like she wasn’t a Rose Quartz at all.”
Steven knew that feeling, he felt the same way about himself. Though in his case it was probably for the exact opposite reason than his mother.
“I am supposed to be the leader now that she is gone, but I am nothing like her.” Dawn wiped a tear. “I wonder what she would think if she could see me now.”
Steven got closer to her, one arm on her back, trying to pull Dawn in an embrace the best he could with his small size.
“I think you’re pretty great.”
Dawn’s eyes widened for a moment, and she cried more tears as she hugged Steven.
Eventually both climbed down the injector, Dawn watching Steven all the time. Lion was still sitting by the warp pad, and Steven used the chance to show her more of the things hidden in its mane. Dawn wasn’t crying anymore, but she was still melancholic.
She shared a few more stories about Star and about the first days of the revolution, and Steven listened fascinated.
The two held hands as they warped back home.