Have your feels been adequately invoked, Steven Universe fandom? The end of the third Stevenbomb is upon us, and while I thought I was ready, there were so many things I just wasn’t ready for—example one being my home state getting a cameo in “Keystone Motel”. While shit is constantly going down in Beach City with only small ups on this emotional roller coaster, I keep holding out for the day where everyone can get a happy ending. Needless to say, one of my favorite things to see on my Tumblr dash are the AUs where Steven, the Crystal Gems, and the Homeworld Gems all somehow coexist together peacefully and Peridot is a huge MLG (that is to say a “major league gamer”). Clearly, I’m not alone in my desire for happiness to be the next invasion on Earth, so while today’s fic isn’t exactly the happily ever after that I’m willing to pay Rebecca Sugar five whole dollars to get, I do intensely sympathize with the author’s aggressively wanting good things to happen to everyone. Especially Lapis Lazuli.
In case you happened to miss the previous situation with Lapis, after an attempted attack on the Crystal Gems by Homeworld Gems Jasper and Peridot, Lapis has fused with Jasper to form Malachite and has, as the one more in control of the fusion, trapped Jasper at the bottom of the ocean (along with herself) with no clear end to either of their imprisonments in sight. During the finale of the last Stevenbomb, “Chille Tid”, it’s revealed that Steven is able to visit the minds of the other gems through his dreams, and manages to see Lapis one more time before she casts him away, fearing for his safety. Picking up where canon left off author BlakeLocked brings us Seven Nights With Malachite, a short fic which does just what its title implies.
Completely in character with the young Gem we all know and love, Steven continues worrying about the fate of his friend, stuck in the ocean with Jasper and not having a great time. Through these seven nights, Steven goes from merely observing Malachite and their internal prisoners, to finally getting to really interact with Lapis and giving her the affection she so desperately needs and craves, despite what she would call her better judgment. Though this fic isn’t at all “Steven saves the day” in any bombastic superhero sense of the term, Steven does save the day in his own manner. Steven’s not the kind of kid who goes around punching bad guys in the face and taking them to jail—even if he had the powers to do so, he probably wouldn’t. So, while Lapis isn’t necessarily saved from Malachite, she is saved from being lonely, and in some ways, from herself. She isn’t judged for what she’s done to protect Steven, but Steven doesn’t allow her to carry the weight alone, and though he doesn’t exactly know how to help, he does what he can, which is one of his traits that makes him so endearing on the show.
“I promised that I’d come back for you, Lapis! And… and maybe I didn’t get the chance to make good on it on the ship, but I’m going to find you and help you! And in the meanwhile–”
“There isn’t going to be a meanwhile!” Lapis shot a spear of water at her friend. Her voice was cracking.
Steven deflected it, a stern look in his eyes. Lapis’ eyes caught his, and she stopped in her tracks.
Lapis Lazuli slumped down again, looking to the water below her as Steven recalled his shield and walked to her. He put a hand on her head, and stroked her hair softly.
“Wh.. what?” she stammered.
“Lapis. Look at me.”
Lapis looked. Steven was smiling at her, warmly.
“In the meanwhile, if I can’t get to you and make good on that promise, I’m going to make sure you have a friend. I won’t leave you alone.”
“Nngh…” Lapis’ arms strained against her chains. She chastised herself, in her head. All of her efforts to get rid of Steven weakened her hold – now she was paying for it, even if Jasper was recovering from last night. “You can’t help me,” she said, defeated. “I’m the only one who can keep us here…”
“Yeah, but you don’t have to do it alone!”
“What are you talking about? I’m doing this for you, by the way!”
“You don’t have to sacrifice yourself, Lapis…” Steven sat beside his friend. “Even if the work is hard, it’s easier if you’ve got someone on your side, isn’t it? Tell me if I’m a strain on your concentration, but… If I can make this a bit easier for you by keeping you company, I’ll do the best I can!”
Lapis… paused. She looked at him. “You’d… You’d do that for me?” she asked.
“Of course! I’m asleep, technically, so it’s the least I can do. We can talk about anything you want!”
“Because you’re my friend, and you’re one of the bravest people I know! I want to help you however I can, Lapis. I really mean that!”
At just under 10k words, Seven Nights With Malachite won’t make you feel fuzzy inside, but it’s a perfect way to curb that Lapis craving with a situation I can see happening in canon. Hopefully if Rebecca Sugar makes us cry with this subplot, it will be from tears of joy at Lapis finally being treated right, and being able to return to her one friend on Earth. And maybe, like BlakeLocked writes, Steven can even take her to the aquarium. I’m just sayin’: that’s what what the people want.