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Just a Heartbeat Away

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Lars, the teenage pink zombie, lay in the bed of his attic room. An arm rested on his forehead as he stared at the all too familiar ceiling, planning on another restless night.

The whole insomnia thing really hadn't been an issue back on Gem Homeworld. Running, hiding, and living life with the Off Colors kept him on his toes enough not to worry too much about his new condition.

Damn, he missed those gals.

As he was growing even more restless just lying around and doing nothing, he sat up in the messy bed. The blankets were bunched up and half hanging off of the bed from his tossing and turning. He looked to the mirror that reflected himself in the dim light of the evening.

Now back on Earth, he had time to think about the little things. His new skin tone, hair color, and not to mention his complete lack of appetite. At least the scar over his eye was kinda bad ass, along with the one on his chest. Gingerly putting a hand over his battle scar, he felt a beat just below it.

Thu-Thump.

That was something too. The drawn out beat of his heart. So slow, unnaturally slow.

“Urgh…” The teenager flopped back onto the bed. Steven brought up the Gems might be able to help him refine his appetite and sleeping patterns. After all, Amethyst loved to eat and Garnet was know to enjoy the casual nap in her down time.

It was kind of funny... After seeing the Crystal Gems almost his whole life, he barely knew their names outside of Steven’s yammering before everything went down. Heck, he thought the taller one was Amethyst!

It was different with the Off Colors. The moment they knew he was just as different as he saw them, but they didn't care. Off Colors stick together no matter what. They just ‘got’ him.

Giving up, Lars sighed and got up, getting clothes from his dresser.

In the past, they would had been tossed somewhere in arms reach. However, after a few restless nights, Lars began to realize what a mess his room was. It took a full night and morning to sort out the merged mess of attic storage and his things. From Christmas tree lights to dirty socks, he got it all figured out. Once it was all said and done, he couldn’t help but wonder why he never did it before.

Walking down the steps, he could hear that his parents were still up and speaking among themselves. He paused and lowered down, glancing toward the kitchen that still had it’s light on.

“First the hair, then the ears, now he’s pink? He is not going to get hired anywhere like that. I mean, we never expected him to get too far into a career… But, he’ll be stuck working that doughnut shop the rest of his life looking like that!” Lars heard his father’s voice ring out in frustration.

Thu-Thump.

His mother spoke up as her’s contrasted his father’s with a mellow and more optimistic tone. “Now, we don't know what happened when he was gone… Laramie just needs to work things out.”

“Then why won't he tell us?” His father’s voice rose once again before quieting down. “After his grades already being so poor, after his absence, there is no hope in him catching up.”

“We can see about him getting GED.”

Thu-Thump.

He wasn't interested in hearing the rest of this conversation. Sneaking down the steps and out of the door, Lars leaned his back against the house finally able to breath. He reached into his pink pomf as his hair glowed slightly at where his hand entered. Something had come out of all this, the perfect hiding spot.

Pulling out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter, he lit one up. This was something he did miss while away. Taking a drag, he placed the pack and lighter back in his hair.

Now if only he could keep Steven on his own side of his mom’s magical head space, that would be great! Progress had been made though. After Steven popped out to say hi, while the teen was in the shower, they came to an understanding on personal space very quickly.

Only use hair travel in emergency. Now if they could only agree on what an ‘emergency’ was.

He snorted as he rubbed his cigarette holding hand against his eye. If his life was still just worrying about school and the cool kids, that would be great! No kids popping out of his head at any given time, no warrants for being space criminals, and not being pink!

He was in no way interested in being stuck behind a desk for eight hours for mind numbing education with whispers about the weird pink kid in class. Maybe it wouldn't be so weird if school went over the facts that there was an immortal race of aliens with a personal investment in causing the earth to get wretched from the inside out?

Thu-Thump.

Lars frowned as he dropped the remaining bit of his smoke and put it out with his shoe. Last thing he wanted to think about right now was what lied just past the evening skies.

Pulling out his cellphone, he began scrolling. Only one thing stayed the same since he came back. Something he couldn't stop thinking about since he left the Earth’s atmosphere. Nah, probably as soon as he reach the last step of the stairs he ran down to hide.

He paused on his co-workers name. The light of his cellphone illuminated the pink tinted skin of his thumb hovering over the dial button.

Thu-Thump.

It slide over to the text as he began to type.

‘U up? Bored out of mind. Want 2 hang?’

Pushing send, Lars lowered his phone. He glanced back as he noticed the lights go off in his home. Looks like they decided to just talk tomorrow. They had gotten use to him sleeping in and gave him even more space since his space adventure.

They just didn't know what to do with him anymore. Heck, he never knew what to do with himself half the time. His space adventure only made him realize how small he really was in the universe. A buzz from his phone broke his thoughts as he pulled it up.

‘Yah. Mom’s asleep for work, so just use the window.’

A grin came to the teen’s face, he could always count on his Player 2. Stashing his phone back into his pocket, he started down the sidewalk.

It was only about a fifteen minute walk to the Miller residence. The town of Beach City was actually pretty small. Glancing to see the light off in Ms. Miller’s room, the teen crept around the place to see a basement window open. Smirking, the walked over as lowered his head to get a view in.

“Hey Sadie, yah decent?”

“Sheesh Lars, don’t say that so loud. Do you even know what my mom would do to you if she caught you here this time at night?” The blonde teen greeted with a hissed in a hushed tone to her window visitor.

“I could think of a couple of things.” Lars commented offhandedly with a shrug.

“Just get in here.” Sadie commented, looking to him through the tiny basement window. “Do you need a hand?”

“Nah- I got it.” Lars’s thin frame slipped through the basement window, landing on his feet.

Sadie snorted, standing in a monster horror shirt and shorts, shaking her head. “You never change, you string bean.”

“I don't know about that, I mean.” Lars shrugged then flopped back onto the girl’s bed. “Thinking about getting a new piercing.”

“Don't you dare.” Sadie huffed before ringing her finger with Lars’s extended ear lube. “Last ones you got grew inside your skull. What gage are you now?”

“19mm.” Lars grinned as he sat up and pulled them slightly. “They aren't going to stop till their at least a full inch though.”

“Seriously? Your ears are going to be longer than your chin soon.” Sadie smirked as she shook her head, taking a seat on her bed. “You’re really going to be doughnut guy.”

Thu-Thump.

Lars quickly turned away and moved toward the movies. So quickly that it caught Sadie off guard, but she noticed his expression change in the quick passing. She frowned and placed her hands on her leg and looking to them. Well great, guess that killed the mood.

This was the first time of really hanging out for just a movie night since his return. She had been so mad at him for ditching his cake. Terrified when she saw him merged into that huge yellow gem like a really bad horror movie. Disappointed with him for running off when she needed him. Finally, worried. So overwhelmingly worried for him when the space ship sped off with Steven and Lars in tow… And why did she put on shorts having not shaved her legs? Why didn't she put on some sweatpants?

Not wanting to think about his place at the Big Doughnut, Lars looked through Sadie’s horror movie collection. Most of the movies he and Sadie had watched. He stopped at unfamiliar title.

“Hey- This is new isn't it?” Lars stood up and turned with a case in hand. He noticed Sadie quickly pulled a blanket over her legs. “Uh?”

“Chilly, isn't it?” Sadie gave a nervous chuckle before noticing the DVD case Lars was holding. “Oh yeah! The Swing-Hacker right? Kinda got onto a movie binge a while back and picked it up.”

“Is it any good?” Lars leaned back to read the backside of the DVD case.

“Hm, I would rank it around the same as The Organ Pickler Part VII.” The look of Lars’s face said everything. “Come on! You'll never know how good it is until you watch it!”

“Fine!” Lars sighed exasperated as he pulled another DVD, the DVD in question.

“Wait, really?” Sadie asked in surprise. “I've been trying to get you to watch it for years! They are already making a Part IX!”

“Don't make me regret it.” Lars frowned as he went over to the television and turned it on. “If I like Swing-Hacker, I’ll watch it.”

Sadie could feel excitement raise in her chest. Was actually going to watch the movie she had tried to get him to for years? That was certainly new.

Thu-Thump.

Seeing the blue light bouncing off the television screen bounce off the boy’s new pink skin created purple hue. How he held his newly scarred eye slight less open than his other. Sadie would be lying to herself to think everything was the same. There was a lot new about her old friend.

So much must had happened in space. Her imagination could only go wild with her vast collect of space horror movies she had watched. So many questions that she held back.

All to keep up that lie. A lie her and Lars both shared, that everything was still the same. At least until he was ready to talk about it. The movie began to play as Lars backed up and sat on the bed behind him. “Better not be a dud.”

“It totally isn’t!” Sadie defended the movie, however decided to add a warning. “Just, best not to think too much on the plot. It’s kind of one those movies you just got to relax and enjoy for what it is.”

“Urgh.” Lars flopped back on the bed.

“Ssh! It’s starting!” Sadie nudged him to pay attention. He slowly raised up and shifted onto his stomach with head resting his chin onto his folded arms to watch.

Just don't think too much about it, right. His eye lids began to lower as the movie began.

Thu-Thump.

It was only fifteen minutes into the movie, a light snore caused Sadie glanced over to her company. The teen boy resting on his arm with closed eyes, out like a light. “Oh Lars…”

She sighed and turned off the movie right before the second murder and turned off the television. “Don't think this is going to get you out of Organ Pickler.”

Just like that, the change of hue seemed to disappear in the darkness. The boy’s punk hair style, thin arms and frame. It was Lars once again, not the space surviving pink Lars, just Lars.

She slowly put a blanket over the teen, looking way too relaxed to wake up. Not only that, he looked like he needed it. Her heart fluttered inside her chest. There wasn't any way he wouldn't know that she didn't just fall asleep too, right?

Sadie took her pillow and slowly shuffled herself close to the other. When Lars didn't seem to awaken with her curled up against him, she felt able to relax. Her head nuzzled up to his chest slowly as she closed her eyes. A soft slow beat coming for the other.

Thu-Thump.