Chapter 1: Chapter 1 - Drained
With everything that has happened, Steven was completely drained. Emotionally. It was just him inside his room, sitting on his bed, looking at his phone as he waited for a response from Connie. Who wasn't responding due to a argument between her and Steven when he came back from Homeworld.
The gems were out on a mission, gone to take care of a corrupted gem somewhere in the world. But they had told Steven to stay inside the house since he needed rest from his adventure in space. Greg was out of town talking with someone about his business.
All Steven could think of was what had happened just recently. Finding out that his mom, Rose Quartz, may have not shattered Pink Diamond, Lars dying and then being revived by some miracle by a new power he found out, and then Connie falling out with Steven. He didn't want to not be able to talk to Connie again. She was his best friend and didn't want to think that she hated him and didn't want to talk or hang out with him ever again.
Steven's tears dripped off his cheeks and onto his bed, creating a wet spot on his duvet. He scrolled through pictures of him and Connie. He let out a sob each time he saw them both happy together. He also worried about Stevonnie being gone forever. If she didn't see him ever again, then Stevonnie would be gone forever.
He felt like he wanted to put himself in his bubble, roll out into the sea and then drown himself. He just wanted the pain of having to deal with what his mother left behind to end. But that dark thought left his mind quickly, why would he ever think of that? It was just like one of those stories he read on a social media site where people could write their own stories.
One in particular, was a short story about how a prankster felt about people saying negative things of her because of the jokes she made and the pranks she did and just downright killed herself with a noose. Somehow, it calmed Steven down, like the writer somehow made him intrigued by her one-shot.
But still, Steven felt really drained. He couldn't feel any other emotion other than betrayal and sadness. He didn't want to be a Crystal Gem anymore. He just wanted to be Steven. He just wanted to be a normal human kid and not this... Rose Quartz 2.0 that Pearl tries to make him be.
But he couldn't, he was this hybrid kid with his mother's gem in his belly button. At first, it felt like he had all the power in the world, but now, it felt like a burden. He felt like that she shouldn't deserve the life he lives now. He just wanted to rip out the gem in his navel and get out of the live he currently lived. But if he did, he would probably poof and regenerate back into him. Unless he met his mother in the gem and forced her to regenerate back into the world. Which he felt tempted to do, but couldn't stomach the courage to do it.
Then a new idea popped into his head. Maybe he could run away? He could run away from Beach City and away from his gem family and try to live his life as a human in the open world. He could claim to be an orphan and try to get a better caring and loving couple to take him in. Which felt like the best option for him. Yeah, he could do that.
Steven then settled his idea on running away and decided to place his plan into action. He grabbed his cheeseburger backpack and packed his clothes, phone and some food to eat on his way. He then saw his stuffed animal MC Bear Bear and packed that with the rest of his stuff too. But something that caught his eye: a picture of him and the rest of the Crystal Gems. He picked up the framed picture and took a last look at it. He then threw the picture into his bag with the other stuff, zipped up his bag and walked towards the door.
As he opened the screen door to the outside, he took one last look at the interior of the house he would probably never come back to. A tear escaped his eye as a few words escaped from his lips.
"Goodbye old life..."
And then he shut the door, starting his walk down the stairs and towards the exit of the city. He hoped that Garnet wouldn't find out he was running away through her future vision and get the others to find him through Alexandrite, like the time that him and Connie tried to run away.
And like that, he started walking. Walking to wherever his legs and mind would take him.
Chapter 2: Chapter 2 - Arrival
If you walked a thousand miles and felt your feet hurting, that is how Steven felt after walking for about 15 minutes. He felt like he couldn't walk any further and decided to take a bus and see where it will go. After a bit more walking, he found a bus station a couple of miles outward of Beach City.
Steven went into his wallet, which was a Cookie Cat themed one, to find some money that he took from his coin & money jar and some money he earned himself from his dad for helping around the car wash at times. He counted the amount of money in there. He had $25.15, probably enough to last a week and to afford a bus ticket.
He went over to the ticket booth, where he saw a man with quite hairy hands, a bald head and a short grey beard. "Are you lost kid?"
"No. How much is a bus ticket?" Steven responded.
"It depends. Do you want one-way or return?" The man asked.
"One-way." Steven answered.
"Where are you going?" The man asked again.
"I'm going to see my uncle, it's a family matter." Steven lied, he couldn't tell him he was running away or he'd think that the man would call the police and take him back home.
"Very well then. That'll be $5.19." The man held out his hand.
Steven nodded and paid the man the amount he asked for. It was surprisingly expensive than he usually saw bus prices at but he needed it since he didn't want to walk anymore. The man printed the ticket and gave it to Steven.
"Last call everybody! All aboard!" A voice yelled out.
Steven thanked the man for the ticket and went to the bus. He handed the conductor his ticket and went inside the bus. He walked along the rows of seats with quite a couple of people on there, most being old people but Steven didn't mind. He also saw a mix of other young people, some in black suits, some in just general clothing but Steven didn't really mind.
He then saw an empty seat next to a quite old looking woman. "Is this seat taken miss?"
"Not at all dearie. You can sit here if you want." The woman said, making room so Steven could sit down on the seat. He sat down, clipped on his seatbelt and put his backpack on the floor in front of his feet.
The bus started up and started to drive away from the station, to wherever the bus was going. The voice who yelled out the last call didn't mention a place about where the bus was going but if it was far away from Beach City, it would work with him.
As the bus drove down the road, the whole thing felt similar to a show he watched where one of the characters got on a bus to find someone who was speculated to be her sister. Steven watched the show himself and he felt like that character right now. He couldn't really figure out what the show was called since he hadn't watched it in a while.
Then, the woman sitting next to him turned to him. "So, where are you going?"
Steven froze at this question asked by a complete stranger but he knew she was trying to make conversation, just like how the other elderly do.
"Wherever this bus takes me." Steven responded.
"You know, when I feel alone, I just leave myself in my thoughts and talk to them. It's tough being old but we all can't avoid it right?" The woman chuckled.
Steven chuckled at this too. "Yep, you're right there."
Another moment of silence went by as Steven looked out the window at all the cars on the highway as they had entered it a couple of minutes ago. He watched each car go past with its lights flashing by his eyes. Afterwards, he was getting a little bored and pulled out a book from his cheeseburger backpack he had packed with the other stuff.
The book in question was one of his favourite book series: 'The No Home Boys'. Written by a pretty old guy who passed away after being hit by a train during a book signing at a train yard, the books intrigued him and he still liked them to this day. He read along the pages of the book inside as he tried to waste the time away during his little bus journey down the road.
He was going to be on there for a while after all.
***A couple of hours later...***
Steven had fallen asleep from tiredness and was sleeping in his chair. It wasn't really comfortable to sleep in but since Steven was sleeping, he didn't really mind. The thoughts of today had passed through his mind like data being transferred from one place to another.
He then noticed that the sun had woken up. He left the house at around 11:43pm and probably been on the bus since 12:21am. He checked his phone for the time: 6:32am. He was amazed at how a bus driver can stay awake driving from one place to another.
He then heard the bus driver speak into a microphone. "We are nearing our last stop, so please stay seated until we reach our stop and then collect all belongings before exiting the bus. Thank you."
Steven grabbed the book he was reading from the floor and put the book back in his bag. He also noticed that the old woman who was sitting next to him was gone and most of the passengers in the bus had gone. It was only him, the bus driver and a few other passengers.
As the bus reached its final stop, Steven got up from his seat and picked up his bag before putting it back on his back and walking out the bus. Once everyone, including him was off the bus, the bus departed away from them, presumably to another station.
Steven then started walking again in another direction, only to stop at a big sign that showed where he was.
*Welcome To Lakewood*
Steven then had a confused expression in his face. Lakewood? He had never heard of this place before but it seemed like his mind had taken him here. He also noticed there wasn't really a beach area, it was a averagely sized town with something that caught Steven's eye. A small shopping outlet.
Steven then made his way towards the shopping outlet, hoping to find something he could use there. Like food, which he hadn't had in a while.
Chapter 3: Chapter 3 - Gone
***Earlier, back at Beach City...***
The warp pad in the temple activated, a glowing cyan coloured light shooting down at the warp pad to reveal the three gems who went on the mission: Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl. Who had all been eager to talk to Steven after their mission.
"Steven! We're back!" Pearl called out.
But she was a little surprised to not hear a response from Steven. Usually he would respond back and say hello to them. He was also give them a little hug after they came back as well.
"Steven? Are you here?" Pearl called out again.
Still no response, leading to Pearl to go into confusion. Why wasn't Steven responding? Maybe he was just sleeping in his cozy bed, Pearl thought.
She and the others walked off the warp pad and walked up to Steven's bed. Pearl giggled a little bit.
"Okay Steven, the game is up now! I gotcha now-"
But when she pulled off the duvet that covered the bed, she was surprised to see he wasn't there. "Steven? Why are you hiding from us?"
Amethyst opened the door to the bathroom. "He isn't in here!"
Garnet came out of temple. "Not here either."
The three walked back to the middle of the house. "Where could he be? It's not like this when he isn't in the house during this time. It's nearly midnight and I don't think Steven should be out at this time. Even he should know he is way past his bedtime!"
"Jeez Pearl! Can you stop with the mothering act! Maybe he went to Connie's to have a sleepover or whatever." Amethyst yapped.
"I don't think he would do that without telling us first Amethyst. Besides, I think him and Connie are having some problems right now." Garnet responded.
"Well his novelty storage bag wasn't under his bed like it usually is! Did he go to sleep with Greg in his van again?" Pearl suggested.
"I don't know. I'll go find out." Garnet replied, walking out the house and towards the car wash.
Garnet made it to the car wash, where he saw Greg Universe's van. She knocked on the van's back door and waited for Greg to answer. After a few seconds, Greg groggily opened the door. "Garnet. What is it? It's nearly midnight.."
"Is Steven with you? We can't find him." Garnet asked.
"No... And what do you mean you can't find him?" Greg answered.
"After we came home from our mission, Steven wasn't there to greet us like he usually does and wasn't anywhere in the house. We were hoping if I could find him here." Garnet adjusted her visor.
"Well, he isn't here. You can try to call him if you want." Greg said as he handed Garnet his mobile phone.
Garnet went to his contacts and went to Steven. She then pressed 'call' and put the phone to her ears. The dial tones played, but Steven didn't answer, it just went to voicemail.
"Any luck?" Greg asked.
"Nope. He didn't even answer. He usually picks up after the first two tones." Garnet handed the phone back to Greg.
"Well tough break. Maybe try seeing Peridot and Lapis up at the barn, maybe they've seen him or he's with them." Greg suggested. "Anyway, goodnight Garnet."
"Goodnight Greg." Garnet said before the van doors shut once more. She then made her way up to the barn, which wasn't far from the car wash as it was only a hop over a wooden fence behind the building.
She walked up the hill towards the barn, where she saw Peridot and Lapis up in the truck watching Camp Pining Hearts on their TV. Garnet walked up in front of the barn door and knocked quite loudly since the two usually had their TV on full volume.
Just then, the sounds of feet taping against the wooden floor could be heard inside the barn and the barn's giant door lock being unlocked and finally the sound of the door opening to reveal the short green gem, wearing a red bow tie on her neck.
"Yes?..." Peridot asked.
"Is Steven with you? We can't find him." Garnet replied.
"I don't think we've-"
"Steven's gone missing?!" Lapis yelped out, interrupting Peridot as she floated down to the ground and ran to Garnet.
"Yes. We went out on a mission and when we came back, Steven wasn't in the house. I've gone to his father and he isn't with him. I was wondering if you had seen him or if he came here." Garnet explained.
"Like I was saying before Lapis interrupted me, we don't think we've seen him come over here." Peridot finished.
And then that's what caused her to break down. Garnet slid down the barn's exterior wall and dissipated her visor. "No... He c-couldn't have..."
"What are you talking about?" Lapis asked, confusion in her voice.
"B-But... Why didn't I foresee this?..."
"Foresee what?" Peridot then asked.
"T-That Steven w-would run away...."
Then it all went silent. All that could be heard were the crickets chirping and the owls hooting in the night. If you looked at the three gems right now, you'd see Garnet with tears leaking from all three of her eyes, Peridot with a shocked expression on her face and Lapis with a sad/scared face.
"H-He ran away?..." Lapis said, breaking the long silence.
Garnet just simply nodded sadly. That did it. Lapis broke down crying into her hands with Peridot trying to comfort her. Garnet could only look at the two as they broke down at the news of their friend had run away.
Just then, the other gems had warped to the barn and walked towards the three. "Garnet? Did you find-"
That was when Pearl and Amethyst saw Lapis crying on the ground. Her eyes diverted to Garnet, who still had her visor off and tears leaking out of her eyes.
"W-What happened? Is Steven hurt? Dead?!" Pearl squawked.
"No... H-He ran away..." Garnet stuttered, trying to muffle her small sobs with her hands.
Pearl's face went from concerned to worried really fast. Amethyst only looked at Garnet in disbelief, how could her best friend run away like that? After everything they had been through, he decided to leave Beach City?
"Where did he run off to?" Amethyst asked.
"I don't k-know... And my future vision isn't showing me where he is.." Garnet responded.
Lapis then had a light bulb go off in her head. "Maybe I can find him! I can fly across the world and check each settlement, country and continent until I find Steven! I won't stop until I bring my beach-summer-fun-buddy back safe!"
"Please do Lapis... I don't k-know what we would do without our Steven..." Pearl cried.
"Yeah Lazuli, we aren't the Crystal Gems without him." Amethyst added.
Peridot got up and stood in front of Lapis. "And you'll need some assistance! I propose I come with you!"
Now Lapis didn't really like Peridot much ever since what happened when Lapis and Steven first met. But ever since she became her roommate, she has grown to be more used to her and like her as just a friend.
"Alright Peridot, you can come with me." Lapis responded, summoning her water wings.
Peridot got onto Lapis' back and held onto her sides as they flew up into the air, starting their search for Steven. The gems watched the two set off into the distance, hopefully wondering that he hadn't left the country yet.
"Please find him... Please find my little brother..." Amethyst whispered to herself as they flew off.
Chapter 4: Chapter 4 - The Plaza
***Meanwhile, back with Steven....***
As he walked down the path towards the shopping outlet he saw after getting off the bus and seeing where he was, he was still wondering what this place was. The name of the town didn't really pop up anywhere when he was at Beach City. It was the first time he ever heard of the place.
A lot of walking later, he finally made it to the outlet, which was when he saw what the outlet was called:
*Lakewood Plaza Turbo*
It seemed like a normal outlet, there was a convenience store called Gar's Bodega, a photo frame store called iFrame Outlet, a gym called the Fitness Dojo and some other stores that you would usually see in a shopping outlet.
He then walked to Gar's Bodega and looked through the automatic glass door, it was dark, meaning that the store wasn't open yet. Steven then looked at the opening times for today, 7:00am, he then checked his phone for the time right now. 6:55am, the store was gonna be open in five minutes.
Steven then decided to sit on a bench near the store and wait the time. He then saw a pink haired girl open the door and enter the store, the lights turned on and the open sign was flipped to say open. A few minutes later, a purple coloured van with the words Rad Van on the sides arrived and out of the van, stepped out a muscular, turquoise boy who had curly, dark green hair with antennae popping out of his head, who then walked towards the bodega.
After a while, others cars with other people inside entered the plaza and parked their cars before walking to their respective businesses to open them. And then, Steven saw a tank like car pull up next to the bodega, where someone stepped out of it and he could hear an audible woman's voice.
"Have a good day peanut!"
He watched as the car pulled away to reveal a short, normal looking kid who wore a vest, leg warmers and a headband that held his hair up. The kid walked into the bodega while he kept his eyes on the tank like car that parked near the Fitness Dojo, where a blonde, slightly tanned woman stepped out and walked towards the dojo.
"That must've been that kid's mom..." Steven thought, frowning at the thought of his lack of a mother. Steven's mom wasn't really dead, she was inside Steven, inside her (or rather his) gem.
Steven felt his stomach rumble, he needed to eat something. Maybe he could go into that convenience store and pick up something to keep his stomach from rumbling any further.
He got up from the bench and walked towards the bodega, where the doors opened, sounding a chime as the doors opened. Steven walked down some of the Isles to see stuff you usually wouldn't see inside a convenience store: swords, laser guns, flame gauntlets and... bottom towels? What purpose would a bottom towel give? I mean, you could use it for a cape but who would give a product such a strange name? Steven shrugged and kept walking down the isles, seeing more stuff you couldn't believe are real.
He eventually got to a nacho bar. It was a little bit early for nachos but maybe if he was still around at lunchtime, he could go for some. He read the labels of the sauces, hot, mild, lightning? Wait, lightning nachos?
"What kind of store is this?!"
Steven then found the isle he was looking for: the confectionary isle. He walked down and looked at the rows of sweets and chocolate that Pearl would consider 'unhealthy' but Steven liked them, he also saw some candy that he wasn't familiar with but he then finally found something that would keep him going for the day: a generic looking cereal bar.
He picked it up and walked to the checkout. Steven saw the same pink haired girl from earlier who was wearing black shades and was listening to music while her legs were up on the counter. She looked pretty chill to Steven.
"Uh, miss?" Steven asked.
The girl jumped, she took off her shades and her earphone and looked at the kid in front of her. "What'll it be?"
"Just this." He placed down the cereal bar on the counter. The teen took the bar, scanned it and then gave it back to a Steven.
"That'll be 2 technoes." She spoke.
"Excuse me?" Steven responded, confused at what she said.
"If you want that cereal bar, you gotta pay up."
"Oh, right!" He slapped his head in realisation as he reached into his Cookie Cat wallet and pulled out 2 one dollar bills and handed it to her. She took the money and looked at it, before giving it back to Steven.
"These aren't techno bills. Are you trying to forge money?" She said, sarcastically of course.
"No I'm not! This is legal tender!" Steven argued.
"Look, kid, your other states might use dollars, but here, we use technoes. And if you don't have em', please leave." The teen replied, obviously trying to get the kid to leave her alone.
Steven grunted. "Fine."
He then walked out the store angrily and slid down to sit down on the pavement on the left wall of the exterior wall. He had a slight tear in his eye about how he was spoken to in there, but it was just a measly old cereal bar. Besides, couldn't humans last without food for a long time? I mean, he would feel a bit of pain from not eating but if he couldn't buy anything here, he might as well.
Just then, his eyes drooped from fatigue and he fell asleep again.
Only to be awoken again by an alarm being rung inside the store.
Chapter 5: Chapter 5 - The Attack
The alarms were loud inside the store, along with some visible flashing red lights beaming from the automated glass door. Then, three figures ran out the store: the pink-haired girl from earlier, a muscular cyan alien, and the little boy who Steven saw enter the store from that tank-like car.
He then looked up to see a bright purple hole open up in the sky, only for a box labeled 'BM' to fall from the hole and land a few yards in front of the figures. The box opened up to reveal two robots: a red, one-eyed robot with a brain case and a yellow robot with some female figurative on the metal machine. Those two robots were called Darrel and Shannon, from Boxmore across from the plaza.
"Greetings Lakewood losers! Prepare to be destroyed!" The red robot laughed out.
The three figures ran towards the two attacking robots and started to fight them. The pink-haired girl threw what looked like a fire kick towards Shannon, but the robot ended up dodging the attack and the alien zapped Darrel with a purple beam and threw it across the plaza. Steven thought of it as some kind of tractor beam.
However, Darrel managed to recover easily and prepare its next attack. Steven quickly realised they would need some help, so he took off his backpack and ran towards the battle. He summoned his shield and threw it at the red robot, who was knocked down easily.
"Hey! Who threw that!?" Darrel yelled, insulted at Steven's sudden attack.
Then the two robots and the three workers looked at Steven after saying he threw the shield. He stood his ground while having a determined look on his face with a new shield in his hand.
"Get em' Shannon!" Darrel ordered.
Shannon sped towards Steven with some roller-blade saws on her feet. But before Shannon could even land a hit on him, he jumped up and floated to the other side of the battle zone. Where he then proceeded to throw another shield towards Shannon. The shield pierced the metal chest and Shannon tapped out, deactivating from the shield damaging her power core.
"Curse you boy! You hurt my sister!" Darrel yelled. "Now, prepare to di-"
But before he could even finish his sentence, Steven threw one more shield at Darrel, where the shield ended up decapitating his robot head and splitting his robot body in half.
The three figures behind him couldn't believe what they had just seen. They had just witness a 14-year-old take down two robots without a scratch. And most of all, he didn't even need assistance.
"Holy moly! He just did our job!" The alien pointed out.
"Yeah! And he did it good too!" The girl added.
The little boy beside them had stars in his eyes at what he had just seen. Steven looked at them at how shocked they were at how good of a job he did taking out the Boxmore robots.
"Done and done." Steven said, walking back to his backpack and sitting back down on the wall.
He watched as the alien used his levitation powers to pick up the destroyed robot bodies and dump them in the trash while the other two: the girl and the boy walk up to him.
"Hey kid, how did you do that?" She asked.
"Yeah! C'mon I wanna know!" The boy said, enthusiasm in his voice.
Steven was surprised at how these people were wanting to know how he did what he did, it was the first time he had ever gotten this kind of attention in a long time.
"I was just born with it. No biggie." Steven responded.
The boy got closer to Steven. "What's your name? I'm K.O, and that's Enid!" He pointed to the pink haired girl who gave a shy wave and then held out his hand towards him.
"Steven. Steven Universe." He shook K.O's hand.
"Nice name. I've never heard of someone with the surname 'Universe'." Enid spoke.
"Well, it originally wasn't Universe. It was actually DeMayo, but my dad got it changed to Universe after a disagreement with some family issues." Steven said.
"DeMayo? As in, like, mayonnaise?" Enid snorted, obviously trying not to laugh.
Steven simply nodded. That was when both K.O and Enid laughed their heads off, Steven included. The alien from earlier then ran into the laughing circle.
"What did I miss? What was the joke?" He asked
"Oh, it's nothing Rad." K.O replied, calming down from his laughing fit.
"Who's this little guy, huh?" Rad asked again, poking Steven's cheek a bit.
"This is Steven, he was the kid who single handily took out those two twerps from Boxmore." Enid answered. "And Steven, this is Radicles, but everyone calls him Rad. He's a cool guy at times, but can be a bit lazy."
"He kinda reminds me of Amethyst..." Steven thought.
"Good to meet cha'!" Rad greeted.
"Me too.." Steven whispered.
K.O then walked towards Steven and looked at him. "You don't look like you're from around here. Where are ya from?"
"I'm from Beach City down in Delmarva." Steven responded.
"Beach City?! I've heard of that place!" K.O excitingly yelled out.
"What's so special about Beach City to you? Is it a good place to pick up chicks?" Rad asked.
"No! It's the home of three of the most powerful people in the world: the Crystal Gems! They're so powerful, they don't even have POW Cards!" K.O explained.
"Then how would you know about it?" Enid asked.
"I heard about it online, but I dunno, I forgot. But still! Steven! Are you really from Beach City?!" K.O enthusiastically spoke.
"Yep. The Crystal Gems do really exist there. In fact, I'm actually one of them.." Steven nervously replied.
K.O's eyes lit up like Christmas lights. "WOAH! YOU'RE A CRYSTAL GEM?!?"
"Yeah, I'm... kinda like the son of the leader of the Crystal Gems... Which explains why I could do all that back there." Steven said.
"Wait, who is the leader of the Crystal Gems anyway? They sound like a big deal from where you come from little dude." Rad asked.
"Well, the leader was my mom, Rose Quartz, until a gem named Garnet took over." Steven replied, trying to leave out some detail just in case they found out.
"Wait. If you said you were the leader's son, where is she?" Enid questioned.
Steven froze. He didn't really like telling why his mom wasn't here, it gave him a bit of an emotional sprawl. But maybe he could just say it to them.
"S-She gave up her physical form to make me. Now she's part of me. So she isn't here sadly." He lifted his shirt to reveal his pink gem in his navel.
"I'm sorry to hear that, but I'm pretty sure your mom would've wanted you to live happy." K.O said, putting a hand on his shoulder.
"Thanks.." Steven spoke, smiling for the first time since the whole incident that had happened. He then managed to stand himself upright and get up from his seating place.
"So... Do you wanna be friends?" K.O asked.
Chapter 6: Chapter 6 - 1-800-FIND-STEVEN
***Beach City, Delmarva. One Day Gone.***
After the gems found out that Steven had run away, a national search party was started for him overnight. Even though it had been only a day after he disappeared from Beach City. When Lapis and Peridot flew away to find him around the world, Garnet decided that the whole town should help find Steven and bring him home safe.
Greg, on the night he disappeared, filled in a missing persons report and got the police involved in the search. They searched the fields, houses, surrounding villages and in the woods, but with no luck. Beach City Police Department decided that they should tell other state police forces that they should get involved in the search, which managed to expand their search party.
The gems still went on missions during the day, but by night, they would help to find their little boy. Garnet even tried using her future vision to find him, but had no luck due to the mental stress she was feeling from everything that was happening.
The gems were inside the search HQ, which was the Town Hall where mostly everyone discussed about his whereabouts, the journalists from the press snapping pictures at the gems and volunteers, and police officers trying to figure out paths he could've taken.
Pearl, who was standing near the chief of police drawing something on the blackboard and holding a cup of coffee, saw something. Something strange. But what did she see?
She saw Connie and her dad at the Town Hall. A few days prior from Steven's disappearance from Beach City, they had a falling out which ended up getting him a little depressed from it. He tried on multiple occasions to contact her, but she just wouldn't.
Pearl decided to talk to the pair, who were looking at the leaflets the group printed out.
Have you seen him?
Last seen: The Crystal Temple
Call 1-800-FIND-STEVEN if you have information on his whereabouts
Pearl kept walking towards them, then she cleared her throat to get the pair's attention. Which, she did.
"Yes, can I help you?" Doug, Connie's dad asked.
"I was just a bit surprised to see Connie here after what happened between her and Steven a couple of days ago." Pearl responds.
"Well, she asked me if I could bring her up here." Doug speaks. "And besides, she's just having a little break between her and Steven at the moment, until all the heat burns down."
"Oh." Pearl says. "Anyway, I'd like to ask: do you want to help us find him?"
"Of course we'd like to help find him!" Connie yells, covering her mouth quickly at her loud outburst. "Even if I said some regretful things to him, he's still my best friend!"
"Well it's good to hear that your worried about him, even if he made you kinda mad. It's always okay to be worried sometimes." Pearl said, putting a hand on Connie's shoulder,
"Thanks Pearl." Connie spoke back, a smile spread on her face.
And then, like it was just on cue, the head of the Missing Steven case, Inspector Miles Sycamore, came running towards Pearl. "It's time, we gotta head to the stage."
"It was nice talking with you!" Pearl said as she was being dragged away from Connie.
The two ran to the stage and sat at the podium, which was next to a bigger version of the leaflet. Miles was the first to stand up to the podium, where he tapped the microphone to get everyone's attention.
"I'd like to say this is a wonderful turnout for this event. All these people, willing to help us find young Steven." Miles spoke out, his words being repeated as he spoke them out of some speakers at a reasonable volume.
"Here with me, is one of the caretakers of Steven, who was the last person to see Steven. She'd like to speak out a few words about him." He handed the microphone to Pearl, who nervously took it.
Cameras flashed at her as she squinted at each flash from the camera. She tapped into the mic in a nervous sweat and held it up to her mouth.
"On the night he went missing, I was devastated. I couldn't believe that my little rosebud would run away like that! I love him to bits, even if I can act a little off the rails sometimes. I just..." She started to leak out small tears in her eyes. "I just want my baby to come home.. Where he'll be safe and sound in my company."
Amethyst and Garnet, who were in the audience, cleared their throats to signal Pearl something. "And his other caretakers' company."
"If you'd like to help us find him, or if you have any information at all on the whereabouts of him. You can call this number, 1-800-FIND-STEVEN. Or you can drop it off anonymously here at the HQ of the case, the Town Hall. And if you have any questions, please talk to Miles Sycamore, the head of the case. Thank you."
She walked off the stage and towards Garnet and Amethyst, while cameras flashed and journalists tried to get some answers from her. But she just ignored them and focused on walking to the gems.
The gems followed Pearl walk out of the Town Hall, where she felt hope in her heart that they would hopefully find him.
Meanwhile, with Lapis and Peridot...
The two had ended up somewhere in Canada, where they yelled out Steven's name and walked around in the icy city of Quebec. Even in the fall, it was really, really cold. They even asked the civilians in the Canadian town about if they had seen him, but as always, they couldn't find him here.
"That's all of Canada searched and he isn't here either! We've searched the whole of Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, even Antartica! Where else could he be?!" Lapis said to herself.
"What do you think Peridot-"
But Peridot wasn't really listening, she was looking at this Percy from CPH costume in the window. Lapis walked up to her and grabbed her hand. "Alright! That's enough sightseeing! Let's recheck America again!"
And the two gems flew off into the air, back towards the American border. Where hopefully they'd have a bit more luck of finding him.
Chapter 7: Chapter 7 - Se7en
Meanwhile, back at Lakewood across the street....
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN THERE WAS SOME OTHER KID WITH THEM?!" Lord Boxman yelled at his children, his face red with anger at their loss today at the plaza.
"I-I didn't know! I've never even seen that kid before!" Darrel responded.
"He's certainly more stronger than K.O and that dreaded version of Fink.." Shannon added, shuddering at the memory of a more powerful version of Fink trying to kill them when they looked after her.
"Well? What the heck is that kid?" Boxman asked, still a bit angry at their defeat.
"We don't know! He just appeared out of nowhere and threw a shield at me! Then he took out the rest of us with no problem!" Raymond answered.
Boxman turned away from them and walked back to his office. "I'm going to my office to think about some things. Children, don't disturb daddy for a few hours, alright?"
The three robots nodded and walked away from him and towards their rooms. Boxman shut his door and stomped over to his desk, scratching an itch in his hair with his eagle hand.
"A kid with a shield eh? What kind of people are they hiring over at that dang bodega?" Boxman asked himself, walking over to his window that looked towards the plaza, where he saw K.O and Steven shaking hands happily as they walked back into the bodega. It seemed like that the two had just started a friendship together, but Boxman scowled at this.
"Friendship..." Boxman growled, the hideous thought of it lingering in his friendship hating mind, "And who the heck was that kid with that K.O?"
"I can tell you who he is." A deep, male voice spoke out.
Boxman jumped and grabbed a laser pistol out from his drawer. "Who's there? Show yourself!"
Then, like it was on cue, an average sized man who had black, long hair, a fair skin tone, wore an eyepatch on his left eye and a black trenchcoat with a symbol with three different coloured triangles: yellow, blue and white, in a triforce-like shape on the left side of the coat on the chest. He also wore black pants and boots while on his hip was a scabbard holding a yellow sword.
Beside him, was a tall, thin woman who followed him and had something in her right eye. She stood beside him and bowed towards the dark looking man.
"Don't worry, I mean you no harm." The man held up his hands to show he wasn't armed.
Boxman lowered the laser pistol and placed it down on his desk. "Who the heck are you?"
"Me? I am Se7en. Elite soldier and commander to my diamonds on Homeworld." The man replied.
"Seven? As in the number seven?" Boxman asked again.
"Yes, but my name is spelt with the number seven replacing the V in the word seven." Se7en explained.
"Ah, I see." Boxman said. "Okay, I can get that. But, I need to ask, where do you come from again?"
"I come from the Gem Homeworld. The birth planet for the birth of the Gem species and the home of my leaders The Diamonds." Se7en explained.
Boxman looked at Se7en confusingly. This was new to him. Gems? Homeworld? The Diamonds? But it all seemed interesting to him.
"The Diamonds? As in like the gemstones of diamonds?"
Se7en sighed. "Yes. There are three, Yellow, Blue and White. I serve all three as their three-courted gem. Well, even though I'm not technically all gem. I'm more of a hybrid." He lifted up his eye patch to reveal an Amethyst gem replacing his eye.
Boxman gasped at the sight of the gem in his eye before Se7en flipped his eyepatch back down. "How did you get that?"
"My Diamonds did an experiment with certain humans to test if they could be capable of becoming a gem hybrid. Most of them did, and most of them were killed almost immediately since Homeworld doesn't like 'defective' gems like them. But me, I came out as the most impressive version of a hybrid. So my diamonds took me in as their three-courted hybrid and as I climbed up the ranks, I am now an Elite and a Commander for Yellow's army, replacing my predecessor Mathew Shevelin, and my very own pearl, standing next to me." Se7en explained, his Pearl blushing slightly. "And I have come to you to help you and your fellow 'villain' pals with a little something."
Boxman's eyes lit up and he sat down at his desk. "You are? Well, why didn't you say so? What do you have in mind?"
Se7en got up and pulled out a small rectangle with a small, pink, shallow cutted glass ball in the middle with pink lines going in a positive shape, "This is what my predecessor tried, and failed to, use previously. This is Gemini, a long forgotten Homeworld weapon that has just been found to still work to this day. And I'd like to use this with your villain ally's, do you know anyone?"
Boxman chuckled. "Oh I know someone, he's a bioengineer and a brilliant man with lots of connections. But that can wait."
He then pulled out a bottle of bourbon and poured two glasses: one for him and one for Se7en. Boxman sat down at his desk with his glass while Se7en sat down across from him.
"Well, here's to.. Wait, what's the operation called that we're doing?"
"Main Strike. Operation Main Strike." Se7en spoke,
"Ah! To Operation Main Strike!" Boxman held up his glass.
"To Operation Main Strike." Se7en said, clinking his glass with Boxman and drank a small bit of the alcoholic drink.
"Now, I'd just like to talk with my superiors and then we'll talk over the plan. May I have some privacy?" Se7en asked.
"Not at all! I'll wait for you." Boxman responded, walking out the office to go to the bathroom.
Once the door closed, Se7en pulled out a small diamond shaped object from his trenchcoat and turned it to the left. The screen turned yellow and a picture of a giant, yellow woman appeared on screen.
"So, is the plan on?" She asked.
"Yes My Diamond." He performed the diamond salute, which was folding your arms to create a diamond shape in the centre. "Operation Main Strike is underway."
Chapter 8: Chapter 8 - The Best of Friends
Meanwhile, back at the plaza....
K.O had lead Steven into the bodega, where he just was a couple of hours ago when he was looking for something to eat. Steven looked around the convenience store and the shelves storing healing, defensive and other hero related items. He had never seen a store that contained stuff like that before, especially in Beach City.
"So, you three work here?" Steven asked.
"Yep. It's just general work for us three." Enid stated. "I work the counter, Rad works restock and K.O is the store's helper."
"Working at this place seems cool! How do I get a job here?" Steven said, quite sudden at the last part.
Enid froze a bit. She started to have flashbacks of when K.O first tried to get a job and become friends with her and Rad. It didn't work out a bit, but they got there in the end. But Enid, she liked Steven a bit, especially after what he did in the parking lot just now.
"You'll have to talk to Mr Gar about that. I don't think he'll give you a job just so sudden-"
"WHO IN THE BLAZES TOOK DOWN THOSE PILES OF JUNK JUST NOW?!"
The four of them jumped at the sudden loud voice. They all turned around to see Mr Gar himself. He was very tall and muscular and wore glasses that didn't really show his eyes, a pink tie with white collar and surprisingly, he wasn't wearing a shirt. Probably because he felt confident to do so over his body,
"I'm guessing that Mr Gar?" Steven whispered to Rad.
Rad simply nodded. Then, Enid, Rad and K.O walked up to Gar in a horizontal line in front of the giant man. "Well, who was it? Did your dark side come back K.O?"
"Sir no sir!" K.O responded. "Besides, he hasn't been heard of in about a couple of months now and I kinda don't like talking about him..."
Gar nodded and then turned to Enid. "What about you? Did you ninja kick them back to their scrap heap?"
"Nope." Enid simply responded.
Gar then finally turned to Rad. "You better give me something good or I'll-"
"Wait! It was me!"
Gar looked over Rad to see Steven standing straight and with a face to match his posture. Mr Gar walked over to Steven and looked down at him.
"That was you out there? Were you the shield throwing, robot crushing kid?" Mr Gar asked.
Steven simply nodded. Then, suddenly, Gar bent down to him. "That has been the first time a kid had ever taken down any of those robots from Boxmore here... Not if you count that one time..."
"Hey!" K.O yelled, offended at his mention of a certain event that almost made him kill his friends.
"So, how you like a job here Mr...?"
"Steven." He held out his hand. "Steven Universe. And yes, I would like a job."
"Say WHAAA?!" Enid and Rad shockingly yelled in unison.
Gar then handed him a blue vest like K.O wore. "You're hired. Now get to work! Along with you other three!"
Enid, Rad and K.O saluted, Steven included while Gar walked back to his office. Then, Enid and Rad looked at him, still in shock that Gar just gave him a new job just because of what he did to the Boxmore crew.
"Well, that was-"
"AMAZING!" K.O cheered, hugging Steven a bit. "You now get to work with me and my other friends!"
"Heh, yeah! I guess I just made some new friends!" Steven chuckled.
"You sure have kid." Rad said.
Enid bent down to Steven's level and ruffled his fluffy hair. "Welcome to the team bud!"
Just as Enid said that, a flashback of Amethyst saying that popped into his head. It was from when he was younger, but somehow he could still remember it.
*"And since I have a gem, that means I'm a Crystal Gem too!" A young Steven happily spoke out.
"Welcome to the team bud!" Amethyst said to him, ruffling his hair.*
But Steven quickly shook off the flashback, right now, he had a job to do!
And so, Steven and K.O helped the other two work their jobs. Steven helped with bagging the stuff heroes bought in the store while K.O helped people around as he usually did.
Then it was time to help Rad with restock. Rad grabbed the crates and unboxed them with a crowbar while K.O and Steven put the items on the shelves. They eventually switched placements from time to time as the job went around. Steven even got to see Rad use some of his levitation powers in his job, which he found pretty cool.
Then a few hours later, it was lunch break. The four walked to the break room and ate lunch, while also talking about what Steven did as a Crystal Gem, not mentioning he had run away from them for specific reasons he didn't want to talk about. They also talked about recent events that happened in Lakewood, such as when across the street, the robots had a hard time babysitting a villain's minion who went crazy. Steven laughed at this story since he imagined what they looked like running for their robot lives.
After lunch, it was then time to go back to work. Now Steven and K.O's tasks were to clean the bathrooms, which went pretty good, especially the water fight they had halfway in. Which they had fun with. Steven had never had this much fun alone ever since the whole incident that happened to him back with the Crystal Gems. He hoped that they weren't looking for him.
And finally, after a 7 hour shift, work was over. Enid and Rad said goodbye to Steven and K.O as they walked towards Rad's van. K.O then turned to Steven.
"I had a lot of fun today with you Steven!" K.O said cheerfully.
"Heh, so did I, the most fun I've had in my life." Steven responded.
"So, is anyone picking you up?" K.O asked.
Steven flinched, he just realised he had nowhere to stay or sleep. He couldn't sleep in the streets! It would be too cold or uncomfortable there. And also, it was kinda dangerous to sleep in the streets because... well... you know..
"I don't really have anyone else with me K.O. I don't have anywhere to stay either..." Steven answered.
"Oh. Well don't worry! I'm pretty sure my mom wouldn't mind you staying with us!" K.O said.
And just if it was on cue, Carol rolled up in front of the bodega in her tank-like car. "Hey K.O! Ready to head off?"
"Yeah mommy! But I need to ask you something." K.O replied.
"What is it peanut?" Carol, his mom, asked.
"Well, next to me is a new friend I made named Steven.."
"Oh, I just noticed you there! I'm Carol, his mom if you haven't picked up yet." She said as she reached out her hand towards Steven. Steven shook her hand, which felt strong to his standards.
"Hey Miss Carol..." Steven stuttered, still fazed at her beauty.
"Anyway, Steven is my new friend and a new employee here at the bodega, but he doesn't have anywhere to sleep or stay! So I was just wondering if he could stay with us back at the house. If he could?" K.O continued.
Carol looked at Steven, who had a slightly sad expression on his face and a few bruises from the fight earlier this day. "Maybe this kid really does need some help..." She thought.
"Alright K.O! He can stay for as long as he wants!" Carol spoke.
K.O cheered at his mom's approval and jumped into the back seat of the car, well, technically his kid seat. "Well Steven, hop on board!"
Steven then climbed into the car and sat down on the normal seat, making sure to buckle his seatbelt beforehand. "Well, off to home we go!"
And the car drove away as a new friendship between K.O and Steven began.
Chapter 9: Chapter 9 - Drinks, Promises and Tears
Meanwhile, at Boxmore....
Lord Boxman was walking out of the kitchen after making his robot children some food, which was mostly scrap metal and oil since robots couldn't really eat human food, and was now walking to his office. He was still excited at what his new partner Se7en had in store for Operation Main Strike. He had said he was going to talk to his superiors and talk to him later and it had been a few hours after they first met.
As he reached his office, he opened the door to see Se7en and his boss, Cosma, sharing a drink of hard liquor at the front of his desk.
"C-Cosma! What are you doing here?!" Boxman frantically asked.
"I invited her." Se7en replied. "I need to meet with your allies first before any further action can take place. I decided on this lovely woman to be the first I meet."
Cosma blushed. "Oh stop it you!"
Se7en stood up and lead him to his seat behind the desk. "Come, sit with us and have a drink."
Boxman nodded and sat at his desk chair. He then grabbed a glass from under his desk and grabbed the bottle of liquor on the desk and poured a glass.
"So? Where do you come from Mr Se7en?" Cosma asked.
"I come from the Gem Homeworld. And please, just call me Se7en. The number 7 replacing the 'v'." Se7en answered.
Cosma giggled at his name quietly enough for him not to hear and took a sip of the alcoholic drink. "So, Boxman, what's Se7en's plan?"
"I don't know just yet. He's still planning it. But we have a code name for it, Operation Main Strike." Boxman spoke.
"Yes." Se7en said. "And Boxman, I've spoken with my superiors and they are in with the plan. All I need to know is are you and your allies in?"
"Yep! They're all in!" Boxman quickly responded.
"If it has anything to taking down some heroes, count me in as well." Cosma added.
"Excellent! Now, I shall reside myself in one of your living quarters. Which one can I use?" Se7en spoke.
"Use the one of the very end of the hall, that's for guests."
Se7en nodded and walked to the living residential area. Boxman quickly pulled out his phone and dialled in a number he knew too well.
The recipient picked up, "Yes?"
"Professor Venomous, how would you like to be part of a plan to destroy all heroes once and for all?" Boxman offered.
"Count me in, you still got that chip I gave you when we were on the boat?"
Boxman pulled out the box containing the bio-chip. "Yes. Yes I do."
"I'll be sending in a shipment of them to you. Input them into your robots, and then we shall be unstoppable. You got that?"
"Yep. I got it. Meet me, Cosma and my new friend at Boxmore at 1300 hours tomorrow."
"See you then." The voice on the other end chuckled.
Meanwhile, with K.O and Steven....
"You'll like this game! I play it all the time!" K.O enthusiastically said to Steven, handing him a controller as they sat on the floor in front of the TV.
Steven took the controller and looked at it oddly. It wasn't like the controllers he was familiar with back home. It was more futuristic looking and had almost no buttons or joysticks.
K.O loaded up the game on his console and started up the game with a co-op mode. The game they were playing in question was a game K.O mostly wasted his time on: 'POW Brawl: Heroes VS Villains'. A video game based on all heroes and villains who have POW Cards.
"This seems very different to the games I'm familiar with.." Steven whispered. He then leaned next to K.O. "Uh, how do I use this kind of controller?"
"It's a motion controller! You just move the controller to match what you want to do. Like this!" K.O replied, showing him how to use the controller by mimicking a punch with the controller in his punching hand.
Steven then tried it for himself, and surprisingly, it worked. K.O then selected his character, which was the hero Laserblast and Steven picked Doctor Chemical. K.O selected a stage and got the game up and running. Steven was a little janky with the controls at first but managed to get them down.
"You know, where I come from, there are video games that are more different then what you have. I had a game called 'Golf Quest Mini'." Steven spoke.
"That sounds cool! Most games here are just fighting games but I respect what games you like, even if some people say it's bad." K.O responded.
Steven giggled. "I mostly like story-based ones, just because they have an interesting story to tell."
K.O and Steven kept playing their 1v1 game on the console until Carol called out to them it was time to eat. The two paused their game and walked to the dining room.
Steven hadn't eaten a lot today since the only thing he ate was the lunch that Rad bought for him from a local food truck. So he was looking forward to what K.O's mother had made for them.
They sat at the table and started to eat the meal she had made fresh from the oven. She had cooked some beef casserole which she prepared this morning before they left for the plaza.
While they ate, Carol turned to Steven, who was eating quite fast like he hadn't eaten in days. She placed down her fork and stopped eating so she could talk to him.
"So, Steven. Where do you come from?" Carol asked.
"I come from Beach City." Steven responded.
"Your family just move here today?"
Steven froze momentarily at her second question. He knew if he said he ran away, she would probably call the police and send them back to the gems. But to him, Carol just seemed like a sweet, loving mother who would help people in their dire need. But to be sure, he needed to make a quick lie.
"No, they sadly died in a tragic car crash." Steven said.
"Oh, sorry to hear that kiddo." Carol frowned.
"Speaking of which, K.O spoke of that town you said you came from a few times... Said something about these heroes that protected Earth from dangerous threats. What were they called again peanut?"
"The Crystal Gems. Steven was one!" K.O replied to his mother's question.
Steven nervously giggled. "Yep. Well, was one."
"Before my family's death in that car crash..."
Carol simply nodded. "I see."
Carol then turned to K.O. "Peanut? Could you let me and Steven talk for a bit?"
"Sure mommy!" K.O spoke as he took his now empty plate into the kitchen and shutting the door behind him.
Carol got up from her space and sat down next to Steven. "Can I ask you for something?"
"Yeah, sure miss." Steven responded.
"Please..." Carol held Steven's hand gently, her eyes starting to tear up slightly. "Could you please watch over him... And protect him? I heard about what you did in the plaza today and with that shield, maybe you could protect my son from any other dangers. He also seems to like you as well and I think you'd make a great team."
"And if you do it, I'll let you stay for as long as you'll need. That's a mother's promise."
Steven didn't expect for her to ask such a request. He was familiar with protecting his former best friend Connie and the gems from dangers with his shield but a mother asking him to help protect her son? This wasn't really something he'd be asked everyday.
He then put a hand on Carol's hand and looked up at her. He gave her a small smile. "Of course I will, I'll protect your son from anything that tries to harm him."
"That's a promise. A Steven promise."
Meanwhile with Lapis and Peridot....
As the two were flying overhead the state of Kansas, they looked down to see if they could get a glimpse of Steven down on the ground. They were now going to try double checking the American states. They had looked everywhere in Canada and Alaska and tried to do an overhead search the first time they looked in the states, but they decided to swoop down and see if they could find Steven on ground.
Lapis and Peridot landed in the capital state of movies in the city centre and started calling out his name. Lapis yelled with a worried look on her face as Peridot walked around trying to look for him inside buildings and on the streets.
Lapis sighed. "Oh Steven... Where have you gone...?"
Tears started to glint in her eyes. "P-Please Steven... I want you back..."
"I want my beach summer fun buddy back..."
Lapis then felt a hand on her shoulder, the hand belonging to Peridot.
Peridot gave a worried look to her. "I want him back too..."
Chapter 10: Chapter 10 - Shadowings and Kappas
Lakewood, Two Days Gone.
After a well deserved rest in a guest bed which Carol kept out incase of visitors, Steven woke up and walked downstairs to the kitchen, where K.O was waiting for breakfast to be made at the table while Carol was cooking something in a pan.
"Morning Miss Carol!" Steven greeted, setting down on a chair next to K.O.
"Good morning Steven, you've made it just in time. I'm almost done cooking breakfast." Carol replied. "And please, just call me Carol."
Steven nodded as he folded his hands in front of him as he waited. A few minutes later, he retracted his hands to let Carol place down a plate of waffles in front of him and K.O. She then placed down a bottle of maple syrup, a can of whipped cream, a punnet of strawberries and a bowl of chocolate spread with a knife in it for spreading.
Steven took the strawberries and cream as he sprayed the cream onto his waffles and placed some strawberries onto the waffles while K.O took the maple syrup bottle and drizzled it over his waffles. Carol sat next to K.O with a bowl of oatmeal and poured a bit of syrup into it.
"So, how did you sleep?" Carol asked.
"I slept well. Probably much better than how I usually am." Steven answered.
Carol looked at him. "Hm. Why's that?"
"Being a Crystal Gem was tiring." Steven started, wiping his mouth with a tissue. "I sometimes had missions that were way past my bedtime and also the running, jumping and fighting makes me very tired after a long day of it."
"Hero work always tires people out. Thank the stars that I'm retired, but sometimes, you just gotta do a little butt kicking now and then." Carol chuckled.
Steven chuckled alongside her. Carol then looked at her watch and saw the time. It was almost 8:00! Carol quickly took Steven and K.O's plates and put them aside while she took K.O to get his bag ready for school.
"What's going on?" Steven asked.
"It's time for school for K.O, but I don't know about where you can go." Carol responded, grabbing her shoes and putting them on. "Do you go to school or were you home schooled?"
Steven shrugged. "I was home schooled by the gems before they disappeared. I've been to a school before, but not what kind of school K.O goes to. It was more like a normal human school, but I was told never to come back there."
Carol sighed. "I'll have a talk to the principal about getting you a place during your time here. And don't worry about your abilities, every kid and teacher has powers. You'll fit right in. Now do you have anything to carry stuff in?"
"I have my cheeseburger backpack." Steven stated. "I'll go get it, I unpacked it last night before I went to sleep."
Carol nodded as she watched him run up to the guest bedroom and grab his novelty backpack. He ran back downstairs and stood in front of her, K.O included.
"Alright." She clapped her hands together. "Are we ready?"
"Yes mom!" K.O said, Steven following along with a simple nod.
"Good. Now get in the car kids, it's time I get you to school." Carol responded as she grabbed her purse and held the door open for K.O and Steven.
She then closed the door before locking it and walking over to her car, which looked more like a tank, than a... car.
She opened the back doors of the car and helped K.O get seated in his child seat while Steven sat down in the normal seat, not forgetting to clip his seatbelt.
Carol started the car and drove off the driveway and onto the road towards Lakewood School. On the radio was a woman who was speaking about news headlines and weather.
"...And the search still carries on in Delmarva for a 14-year-old who went missing two days ago. Police are getting desperate as the possibilities of his discovery grow thinner each day.."
Steven froze at that headline. They were looking for him now? Were they gonna find him and take him away from his new best friend?
No, he thought, he's gotta keep a low profile from police. If he does, he'll be able to stay with Carol and K.O, and hopefully Enid and Rad at the plaza.
10 minutes later....
The car finally reached its destination as Steven looked up at the tall tower which was Lakewood School. Since when did a school look like this? "I swear, this place keeps on surprising me." Steven thought.
K.O, Steven and Carol got out of the car and walked into the building. It was still 15 minutes until the first bell for lessons to start to go off so that meant that the kids had some times to themselves until school started.
"Have a good day peanut!" Carol said, kissing her son on the cheek goodbye.
"Bye mommy! I'll see you soon!" K.O responded as he walked into the elevator up to his grade floor since the school was divided into floors depending on the kid's grade.
Carol motioned Steven to follow her to the Principal's Office so she could find a way for him to stick with K.O for the day. She knocked at the office door and waited until the Principal, Mr Lawrence, opened the door to let them in.
The two sat down at two chairs in front of Mr Lawrence's desk and Carol started talking about a possibility of Steven being part of the school. She had also told him about how he was home schooled before and to see if he could accompany him at times during the school year.
Mr Lawrence, looked at Steven who really wasn't paying any mind to Carol and Lawrence's conversation since he tuned out after a few minutes of talking.
"Alright. But it'll take a day to get his info into the school system. But for now, I'll get you to shadow K.O in his classroom. Tomorrow, you'll be in your own classes but still be able to be with K.O."
Steven nodded. "Thank you Mr Lawrence."
"No problem kid. Now, he's on the 2nd Grade floor. All you gotta do is shadow him. You can help him with some of his work or if the teacher in the class gives you work, you do it. Got it?"
"Yes sir." Steven saluted, letting out a small giggle from his motion.
"Anyway, you better get a move on, class starts in 5 minutes. Carol, thank you for your time." Lawrence spoke.
"Thanks." Carol turned to Steven. "Alright, I'll pick you two up so I can drop you guys off at the plaza when the school day ends. And remember the promise you made to me."
"Watch over K.O and protect him. Got it." Steven said as he walked out of the office and into the elevator towards the 2nd Grade floor.
As Steven arrived at the floor he was told to go on, he instantly saw K.O in a classroom up ahead. He walked into the classroom to see him talking with a girl wearing a yellow jumpsuit, glasses that looked like goggles and a turquoise backpack on her back.
He walked up to K.O. "Hey K.O!"
K.O stopped talking to turn around to Steven. "Oh, hey Steven. What are you doing here?"
"Mr Lawrence told me that I was gonna be shadowing you for today. He'll have my classes sorted by tomorrow." Steven replied.
"Uh, K.O. Who is this human?" The girl in the yellow jumpsuit asked.
"Oh, sorry." K.O replied. "Dendy, this is one of my new friends, Steven!"
Steven nervously giggled back and gave a slow wave to the girl. "H-Hey there..."
Dendy then stood up from her desk and looked at him. She then reached out a hand towards him. "Hello Steven. I am Dendy."
Steven shook her hand. "Nice to meet you."
"I heard about you and your magic shield that destroyed those Boxmore robots yesterday. K.O described you as a Crystal Gem I believe?"
"That's one of my descriptions." Steven responded. "Well, was."
Dendy went still for a moment before walking closer to Steven and putting a hand on his navel. She then lifted up his shirt to expose his Rose Quartz gem that was in the place a belly button would usually be.
She then pulled down his shirt, then looked up into his eyes. And then she gave a happy smile. "You are amazing. At what you do."
Steven blushed. "Aw thanks!"
Dendy chuckled. "Sorry, I get kinda nervous if a member of a famous and powerful team is near me. Take a desk next to me, no one occupies that desk anyway."
Steven nodded and sat down at the empty desk next to Dendy. Steven then looked at her funnily like he was having a déja vú moment.
"Heh. She reminds me of Peridot. Smart, funny and cute!"
And then finally, the bell rang to signal the start of school.
"Okay Steven, just don't make a nuisance of yourself like before. Just be cool."
Chapter 11: Chapter 11 - Gone Boy
The day went surprisingly well for Steven. Since he had never been actually a part of school, unless you count the one time he went with Connie to a normal one and ended up causing quite a lot of havoc, he felt like this time he belonged here. Almost everyone in the school had abilities and powers, but Steven had some unique ones. No pupil here at Lakewood School could create a weapon, or a bubble shield, or even have healing abilities after helping one kid who had grazed their arm during recess.
The principal had been watching Steven through the camera's in the school playground and seeing how kind he was to everyone, even managing to stand up to K.O when the school's most recognisable bad boy Chameleon, Jr tried to tease him and his friends.
Mr Lawrence smiled. "Never have I seen a kid that almost acts as kind as K.O."
His assistant hummed in agreement. "Yes. He's probably one of a kind."
"Maybe he is Beverly." He spoke. "Maybe he is."
Meanwhile in Beach City, Delmarva....
It was day two of the search for Steven and still nothing had come up, there had been no other clues to show where he could've gone. Greg was getting more and more paranoid by the day that had passed when Steven disappeared, the gems were getting desperate for a way to find him, especially with Garnet's future vision which didn't really help since all it showed was the horrible instances that Steven could've ended up in. She almost unfused because of it, but managed to keep herself together. For her team, for Steven.
But one girl he was once close to had it worse. Connie Maheswaren. She hadn't come out of her room ever since she and her dad, Doug had gone to the town hall yesterday. Priyanka had tried coaxing her out of her room to either go out to get her mind off of his disappearance or something else but she wouldn't come out.
But she wanted to talk to her, she had felt really worried about her daughter after she and Steven had a argument after he came back from Homeworld. So she decided that now could be a right opportunity. Priyanka walked upstairs to Connie's room and knocked on the door.
"Connie? Are you there?" She asked.
"Go away mom." Connie replied, slight anger in her voice.
"Please, I want to talk to you." She answered back.
"Leave me alone to die." Connie harshly spoke.
Priyanka was a little irritated but she managed to keep her cool. "Connie, this is no time for references. Can you let me in please? I promise I won't be mad at you."
There was silence for a moment. Then the sound of a lock retracting at the door and the door opening to show Connie with much shorter hair and slight redness in her eyes, like she had been crying.
"Connie... Your hair..." Priyanka stated.
"I know." Connie interrupted. "It was getting kinda long anyway so I decided to trim it down myself. But... Do you like it?"
Priyanka smiled. "I'd say it looks stunning. I'm surprised you did it yourself without messing up your hair like kids usually do if they cut it themselves."
"I only cut off the long locks. I think I look better with short hair, do you think so too?" Connie responded.
"Of course." Priyanka chucked. "But, I'm getting a little off topic here. I came in here to talk to you about something."
"About what?" Connie asked.
"It's about the argument you had with Steven before he disappeared." Priyanka answered.
Connie flinched. Right now, she was guilty of saying those things to Steven that night because she didn't know what she was saying. She was blind in anger that night they had the argument. But, she did feel like she needed to talk to someone about it to comfort her, as she felt like she'd feel even more guilty if Steven ran away because of her.
"O-Ok mom..." Connie stuttered as she walked over to her bed and sat on it, Priyanka following after her and sitting down next to her.
"Alright. Now, what happened the night you two had that argument?" Priyanka asked.
Connie took a breather before opening her mouth to speak. "It was the night he returned from Homeworld. He told me how, which is where at some point, Lars sacrificed himself to save Steven and a group of gems they met. And then somehow, Steven gave him a second chance by using resurrection tears I think? And then he was like Lion, where his skin was pink and his hair was like a portal to both him and Earth. And when he came back, I was overjoyed, tears of joy were in my eyes. But... When we went out to talk, for some reason I felt this anger. I mean, we made a promise to always stick together in battle and protect each other. But to me on that night, I felt like he had broken that promise. I just... S-Snapped at him. I told him he broke his promise and then I just, walked away from him. I still see myself with that angry expression I gave him sometimes, and all I can just feel is guilt and sadness. I-I'm such a terrible friend..."
Priyanka noticed that Connie had tears clinging to her eyes. "Connie, are you... Crying?"
Connie let out a sniff before continuing. "I now understand why he did that. I wanted to talk to him when he sent those texts and voicemails but for some reason I just couldn't say 'I can't talk right now'. And now... H-He's ran away from here, and all I can just feel is this was all my f-fault..."
The tears in Connie's eyes started to flow down her eyes and onto her cheeks. "Connie..."
She let out a hiccup as more tears were expelled from her tear ducts. "W-Why didn't I understand that he did that to save his family and friends, m-me included that night? I feel like such a terrible person... I don't deserve to be with h-him anymore..."
Priyanka wrapped her arms around Connie's body and embraced her on her chest. "Connie. You are not a terrible person. You just didn't understand what happened before you learnt what really happened. Just because you didn't understand doesn't mean you're a terrible person or friend to Steven. You understand now, and sometimes, people break promises because they don't have much of a choice. If it's to protect their friends and family, sometimes they need to bend the rules. And now that you understand that, I hope that if they find Steven, you can forgive him fully about what you said. I believe in you Connie, and so should you."
Connie sniffed as she looked up at her caring mother's face. "Thanks mom..."
Priyanka kissed Connie's forehead. "You're welcome dear. Now, how about we go get some ice cream to get your mind off things and to cheer you up. My treat."
"But I thought you didn't want me to eat sweet things because of my tennis lessons..." Connie replied.
"I'll make an exception this time." Priyanka stated, looking down at her smiling daughter.
Meanwhile in the town...
Greg was posting up posters of his missing child. He never thought he'd have to go through this, his own son going missing. It was like every parents nightmare, second from seeing them in a hospital gown with wires and machines plugged into them.
Greg rubbed his face as he looked at the picture of his son, rubbing his finger next to the side of his picture. "Where have you gone Steven?"
At this point, most people had dubbed Steven the 'Gone Boy'. Named after a novel with the opposite of the second part of the nickname. Greg didn't like the nicknaming a lot, as he found it insensitive and inappropriate.
All he wanted was his son back, back in his arms, back in safety of his caretakers Steven considered family to him.
But Greg still didn't know why he did it, because he never left anything of a paper trail. No goodbye letters, no signs of ransom notes, nothing.
He just hoped Steven would at some point come back home.
Chapter 12: Chapter 12 - The Rock War
A few hours went by and the day was over. Carol was waiting outside the front doors for K.O and Steven to come out and sure enough, the two kids walked out of the school and down the concrete path from the doors. Carol rolled down her window and called out to them.
"Hey kids! I'm over here!"
K.O and Steven walked towards her car, opened the doors and sat down on the car seats. K.O sat in his child seat as he set his bag down in the space between the passenger seat and his seat, but Steven decided to keep his backpack on his lap.
"So, how was school today?" Carol asked.
"It was great! Steven even stood up for me to that Chameleon, Jr kid!" K.O happily responded, hopping in his seat.
Carol turned to Steven. "That's nice of you. Thank you." She gave him a wink before turning to the road and starting to drive over to Lakewood Plaza Turbo, where K.O, Steven and Carol would be working for the next few hours.
During the car ride, the only things Steven could hear was the radio, Carol humming along to some of the songs that played, K.O turning the pages of his POW Card Collection and the engine of the car making its usual sound.
That is, until K.O turned to Steven. "Hey Steven?"
"Yeah?" Steven responded.
"Do you... Have any other abilities than just your shield and floating?" K.O asked.
Steven was taken by surprise, K.O wanted to know more about him? Well, since he asked politely, maybe he could share a few abilities with him. But not too many, he'd start off simple and then go into the more recent ones he discovered. Like his resurrection tears.
"Well K.O, I can summon a bubble around myself as a secondary shield if my shield doesn't come out, heal wounds with my spit and I can fuse. Those are a few I will tell you now, but I'll get into more abilities of mine later." Steven answered.
K.O frowned as he tilted his head in confusion. "Fuse? What do you mean by that?
"I can merge my body with someone else, like you, into one. It's like a new person but with two minds in one." Steven explained.
"Woah! That sounds cool!" K.O bounced on his seat. "But how do you do it?"
"You have to synchronise yourself with the person you are synchronising with. If both of the people trying to fuse are synchronised, they'll fuse. One way of synchronising with each other is by dancing." Steven explained further.
K.O's eyes lit up in excitement. "You need to show me that sometime Steven! It sounds so cool!!"
Steven chuckled. "Yep, it sure is cool."
And just as Steven finished his talk, the car pulled up into a parking space in front of the Fitness Dojo. "Alright kids, we're here!"
Steven unclipped his seatbelt, same going for K.O and both jumped out the car. They decided to leave their bags in the car since they didn't really need them for work. The two said goodbye to Carol for now and walked the few yards to the bodega. As they walked in, the familiar beep sounded as they walked in and the first sight they see is Enid and Rad sitting at the counter.
"Hey guys, what's up?" Enid asked, plucking an earphone out of her ear.
"Not much Enid, but me and Steven are ready for work!" K.O replied.
Enid chuckled as she replaced her earphone and sat back down at the counter. Steven put on his blue vest and got to work. This time Steven was on restock with Rad while K.O stayed at his position as Bodega Helper. For Steven, it was no big problem for him lifting crates since he had carried heavy stuff quite easily due to his gem strength. It even surprised Rad when Steven picked up one with 2 anvils in them. Something a kid his size wouldn't be able to do.
After a couple of hours of unloading crates full of stock, the four bodega workers went outside and stood in front of Rad's Van, the four of them drinking soda from their drinks cups.
Rad looked at Steven and smiled. "You know, for a kid who we just met yesterday and got hired by Mr Gar on the same day, you've adapted quickly to this place."
Steven lightly blushed. "Thanks Rad... No one has complimented me in a while."
Enid tilted her head slightly. "Why's that?"
"Back in Beach City when I was still living there, people weren't really used to extraterrestrial people doing magic kind of stuff, me included. I always felt like I didn't really belong in a place like that." Steven answered.
"Most of the population of that town were powerless humans I'm guessing?" Rad wondered out loud.
"Yep. I was a human looking kid with a magic gemstone out there. I mean, I could look human, but I didn't feel human. It just didn't feel right. But now I found Lakewood, I feel like I belong here. I don't feel like the only one with special abilities since mostly everyone has them!" Steven spoke.
"I'm glad you feel like that Steven!" K.O said, wrapping his arm around Steven.
Steven smiled. "Thanks K.O."
But just then, Enid had noticed some familiar looking bikes near the forest area of the plaza. "Hey, those bikes looks familiar."
"Maybe it could belong to some kids who wanted to go hiking." Rad suggested.
But K.O just gasped. "That's Potato's bike! And Chameleon, Jr and his goons'!"
"Potato is in trouble! We gotta help them!" Enid spoke.
Rad nodded. "Right."
The four ran over to the forest and ran into it to find Potato. Who was being tossed around by Chameleon, Jr and his goons in the creek.
"Stop it! Y-You're hurting me!" Potato cried out.
"Cry all you want bunny! No one is gonna hear ya!" Chameleon, Jr evilly laughed.
Potato kept being tossed around until a rock hit Chameleon, Jr in the cheek, making him let go of Potato. He turned around to see Enid, Rad, Steven and K.O standing at the other end of the creek.
Potato quickly pushed one of Chameleon's goons out the way and towards the others, where she was picked up by K.O and stood behind him.
"Well, well, well, if it isn't Mr Wannabe?" Chameleon, Jr taunted, looking at K.O in an evil sort of way.
"And if it isn't Star Child? Did you get lost on your way to the baby society?" His goons laughed beside him at his not very hurtful false statement.
"Leave Potato alone! She doesn't have to deal with kids like you!" K.O yelled out.
"Oh, you want to deal with me? Well you can't, because you're just a stupid little wannabe." Chameleon, Jr laughed out manically.
K.O yelled out as he picked up a rock and threw it at Chameleon, Jr, hitting him straight in the face. Enid followed along as she picked up a rock and threw it at the group of reckless young greasers.
Soon, Potato and Steven joined in as they threw a rock at them. Leading to the young goons picking up rocks to hit them with.
"ROCK WAR!-" Rad yelled out before being hit in the face by a flying rock and falling back. The group of bodega workers picked up rocks as fast as they could and started throwing them directly towards the group of reckless children.
The fight was intense as rocks were throw from each side, with most rocks from Steven's side being hits towards Chameleon, Jr. Which he pictured as throwing rocks at Kevin, whom he really didn't like and reminded Steven of Chameleon, Jr.
As the fight carried on, more of Chameleon, Jr's goons retreated in defeat before Chameleon gave up entirely as they were getting pummelled by the others. Potato turned to them before leaving with the others.
"Go cause hooliganism somewhere else you colour-changing jerk!" Potato yelled out before following Enid, Rad, Steven and K.O back to the plaza.
Meanwhile, in Boxmore....
"Are the robots ready?" Lord Boxman asked his client.
"Yep, they sure are." Venomous responded as he pressed a button to open a giant metal door that revealed many new models of Darrel's, Shannon's, Raymond's and many other upgraded robots with purple sparks emitting from their robotic hands and their metal plates shining with black paint and purple streaks of lightning. Their robotic faces grinning with evil.
Boxman giggled mischievously "Perfect... We'll do a test run on that plaza across the street tomorrow."
Just then, Se7en entered the room. "I can see Operation Main Strike is planning to be successful..."
Meanwhile, with Lapis and Peridot...
The two barn gems were looking around in Keystone State and in a familiar motel Steven, Greg and Garnet had stayed in. The motel owner didn't have any memory of those three ever staying here but they both knew Steven had stayed here thanks to him telling the story of the time he was here.
Lapis sighed. "Not here either."
"So is that it? We are just giving up?" Peridot exclaimed, sounding offended at the way Lapis said it.
"No. We're gonna try one more place." Lapis spoke with determination in her voice. "And I have one more place he might be."
"Where is that?" Peridot questioned, confused at what she meant.
"There's a town I think he may have gone to, in the south." Lapis placed a hand on Peridot's shoulder.
"And that town is called Lakewood."
"Well let's get over there! There's no time to waste!" Peridot excitingly said.
Lapis nodded, grabbed Peridot's hand and flew upwards into the sky, flying southwards towards the town Lapis had spoken of.
"C'mon Steven.. Please be there... I don't want to lose you..." Lapis whispered, a tear entering her eye.
Peridot placed a hand on her shoulder. "Let's have hope. Hope he'll be there."
Lapis smiled at the green gem. "Yeah, let's do it with hope!"
And so the two gems flew ahead, hope in their hearts that their precious Steven would be in this so called 'Lakewood'.
Chapter 13: Chapter 13 - The Alter-Ego of K.O
Lakewood, Three Days Gone.
After the intense rock war that occurred yesterday, Potato thanked the four for saving her and rode off on her bike. They then went back to the bodega to continue their work, which went pretty fast since not many heroes didn't need to restock on supplies so that meant that they didn't have much work to do for the next few hours they were there.
Eventually, the day ended and the four locked up the bodega for the day before saying goodbye to each other. K.O and Steven waited outside the store for Carol to pick them up. After she picked them up, drove them home, gave themselves a decent meal and caught up on what had happened today, the three went to bed individually. However, K.O came into Steven's room in the middle of the night due to K.O having a nightmare about where he wasn't being seen or recognised by anyone and eventually he found out at the end he was dead the whole time. Steven comforted the little boy and let him sleep in Steven's bed for the rest of the night, K.O clutching onto Steven throughout.
Once the sun was up, K.O and Steven got dressed, ate a delicious breakfast and went to school. Only this time Steven would be in his own classes separate from K.O. He would still be able to see him though, just only at recess and lunch. It was now recess as Steven, K.O and Dendy sat on a table outside.
"So you, Steven, Enid and Rad helped Potato out with a rock fight?" Dendy asked.
K.O giggled. "Yep! We sure beat some sense into Chameleon, Jr and his goons!"
"I don't like him. He reminds me of someone I knew..." Steven added.
"But I haven't seen him in a while, so it's fine."
Dendy nodded. "I see."
She then turned to K.O. "K.O, I really hope you didn't turn into... him... during your fight..."
"It's okay, I didn't." K.O reassured.
Steven tilted his head in confusion. "Wait. Who is him?"
K.O and Dendy gulped. How could they explain that to Steven? But K.O opened his mouth to explain.
"Well, Steven... Him is...." Steven could notice K.O was hesitating with his answer. "He.. Is..."
K.O sighed. "Dendy, I can't explain it. You have a more detailed explanation, so could you do it?"
"I sure can." Dendy responded. She then pulled out a holo-screen and loaded up a profile on a person that looked almost like K.O, but with more different features.
"This, Steven is him.... T.K.O."
"Who is T.K.O?" Steven asked.
"He's a split personality-like entity that lives in K.O's mind. He is much more powerful than K.O and anyone else in this town. He also tends to have this edgy, emo like personality and isn't very polite with other people. I really hope an innocent soul like you Steven will never meet him." Dendy explained.
"I don't like him Steven... Sometimes, I can hear his evil voice in my head manically laughing and taunting me. I've turned into him twice and I still get nightmares sometimes of those times I turned into him. I-I sometimes fear when he could take control, like he could anytime... But he usually comes out when I'm really angry or something like that.." K.O shuddered, probably because of the memories of T.K.O hurting his friends which almost traumatised him.
Steven wrapped an arm around K.O. "It's okay K.O, it's okay to think about it but if you need to talk to someone about it, me and Dendy are there for you. And from that explanation of him, I don't think I like him either. It reminds me of a dream I once had where as a child, I lost all my memories and got taken to Homeworld. I then became a soldier and started doing things I usually wouldn't do. The dream ended when I was about to attack my former family, which still makes me wake in a cold sweat when I think of it."
K.O chuckled. "We kinda have a lot in common don't we?"
"I guess we do, little guy." Steven responded, ruffling his hair.
And just then, the bell rang to signal the end of recess. Steven said goodbye for now to Dendy and K.O and walked back into the building and into his classroom. The rest of the day wasn't really hard for him since he knew most of the stuff his teacher was teaching the others in the class about. Heck, he even got 100% on a quiz during a Chemistry lesson.
A few hours later, the school day ended as K.O, Steven and Dendy walked down to the bodega since Carol had a fitness class in process and wasn't able to pick them up. The three eventually made it to the plaza and went their separate ways. Dendy waved goodbye to the two and walked back home while K.O and Steven walked inside to start their shift.
This time, K.O was with Rad on restock and Steven was helping Enid with bagging the merchandise heroes would buy. But all Enid was waiting for was for another attack to come since she didn't really want to work all day. An hour had passed and still nothing happened, making Enid groan in boredom.
"Ugh! When is that stupid guy gonna launch another attack here?! I'm bored to heck!" Enid yelled.
And if it was just on cue, the alarms blared inside the store, meaning an attack was coming. "Speak of the devil."
Enid, Rad, K.O and Steven ran outside and looked up, only to see a box fall from the portal in the sky and onto the ground. Only to reveal the new models of Darrel and Shannon.
"Surprise losers!" Darrel taunted.
"We're new and improved!" Shannon added.
Rad grinned with cockiness. "Yeah, to beat you down!"
He then charged towards the two with a flying kick, but Darrel grabbed it and shocked him with his new weapon: electricity with a tint of purple infused into it, causing Rad to fly back into the wall of the bodega.
"What the heck?! Since when did you get that ability!?" Enid yelled at them.
"Daddy upgraded us with a new power chip. Now perish you dirty heroes!" Shannon screamed, running towards them at a fast speed.
Enid tried to grab her and fling her towards a street pole, but it ended up having her being flung into it by Shannon and her newfound strength, which had seemed to have improved. Enid was knocked out once her head hit the pole. Causing two of the four to be out cold.
Steven tried flinging his shield at the new Darrel, but he instead caught it and chuckled evilly. "That trick won't work on me anymore, Star Child!"
He then pulled his arm back, as if he was going to throw Steven's shield towards him. "How about you get a taste of it like I did!"
Darrel then threw the shield towards Steven, who couldn't move due to him being frozen in fear by the new model of robots that were no different from the ones he fought his first day here.
"NO!" K.O yelled, running towards Steven and pushing him and himself out of the way of the oncoming shield.
The two span as they were pushed out of Darrel's crosshairs like how Ruby pushed Sapphire out the way from a deadly swipe from a Rogue Pearl's sword, but what K.O didn't see was Steven's gem glowing a bright pink. The two were then covered in a bright light as their vision was nothing but white. The only feeling being the feeling of the two merging together.
And then everything for the two boys went black.
Chapter 14: Chapter 14 - Kaiven
Meanwhile, with Lapis and Peridot...
The two landed in the middle of a huge city filled with buildings, skyscrapers and cars flooding the streets like a pack of wolves. Peridot was confused since when Lapis said the town they were going to check was called Lakewood, it didn't seem like the type of place that would be called Lakewood.
"This doesn't look like Lakewood! Where are we?" Peridot asked, still confused.
"New plan: we're gonna search the entirety of The Neutral Zone. Lakewood is in The Neutral Zone but I feel like maybe he might be around here and surrounding cities, meaning that we can finally find him and bring him home safe." Lapis explained.
"I can agree with that." Peridot pulled out her tablet from her hair. "Now, where to first?"
"We search Capital City, then Neo Riot City, and then Lakewood. Do you have a map on that thing?" Lapis responded.
"I sure do!" She then tapped onto a map application to show where they were. Right now they were in the heart of the city.
"We better be careful, as I've heard from a conversation I eavesdropped on while in Kansas, The Neutral Zone is filled with criminals and villains. It's also where I'd heard the town Lakewood and this state I didn't know existed." Lapis stated.
"Got it. Let's check the North side first." Peridot said, leading the way with her tablet.
Lapis put her hands onto her chest, a worried expression on her face. "I sure hope Steven is around here...."
Meanwhile, in Lakewood....
The bright light that had covered the entire shopping outlet died down, causing everyone to uncover their eyes to gasp at what they saw next. Something never seen before here in Lakewood Plaza Turbo.
Instead of just Steven and K.O on the spot the people were looking at, they were looking at a more taller person with a mix of Steven and K.O's hair and red headband, Steven's star shirt underneath a blue Gar's Bodega vest. Of course the shirt wasn't the new person's size and was kinda shrunken, exposing the pink Rose Quartz gem on their navel. He was also wearing pink leg warmers, red sweatbands and had a surprised, star-eyed expression as they looked at themselves.
"Woah! What just happened to me?" The new person spoke, feeling around their body to see what was new.
The new Darrell was beyond shocked. "Did... Did they just...."
"Meld their bodies together?" The new Shannon questioned.
The new fusion stood up and summoned Steven's shield, with a determined look on his face and his other hand glowing a fiery light blue. "I'm a fusion."
"Get that mutant!" Darrell yelled out.
Shannon nodded as she sped quickly towards the fusion of Steven and K.O. Only to be power punched off her feet and then having her face slammed into the ground by his shield afterwards.
"Oh you're in for it now K.O and Star Child!" Darrell angrily warned, running towards the fusion with a newly added laser sword.
But the fusion just conjured a fire sword from K.O's powers and stopped the laser sword hitting them. "The name isn't K.O or Star Child."
The fusion floated back from Darrell, wiping his sweaty forehead. "It's Kaiven."
Kaiven then swung the fire sword towards Darrell, stabbing him straight through his chest and then falling backwards. But before Kaiven could finish Darrell off, Shannon reappeared by trying to fire some energy projectiles at him. Only for them to be deflected by his shield.
"So Kaiven, where were we?" Shannon taunted, replacing her hand to a buzzsaw.
"Right about here." Kaiven responded, flinging the shield towards Shannon's robotic head. Causing the shield to smash into her face and deactivating her.
"One down, one to go." Kaiven remarked, running back towards Darrell.
At this point, the entire plaza was watching this new fusion battle two powerful robots. Even Mr Gar and Carol were watching the fight. Some people had gotten to recording the fight with their phones as the battle continued.
Darrell had gone missing from where Kaiven left him, only for him to try to strike back with a surprise attack. Which failed since Kaiven formed a bubble around himself and then as Darrell was going to ram himself into the bubble, Kaiven created spikes around his bubble, finally destroying Darrell's new body as he collided into the spiked bubble.
Kaiven popped the bubble around him and then walked back to the middle of the plaza. The whole place clapped at him for his performance in the fight. Even Rad and Enid, who had woken up during the middle of the fight between Kaiven and the two Boxmore robots, were surprised.
Kaiven then unfused back into Steven and K.O as the plaza continued to clap for them. "That was awesome K.O! I didn't expect to fuse with you so early in our friendship!"
But K.O was kneeling on one knee, his hand put on his chest. "Steven... That was..."
K.O then turned around with stars in his eyes towards Steven. "SO, FREAKING, COOL!!"
Steven laughed as the two hugged each other. "So that's what fusion feels like... It feels good."
"It sure is K.O." Steven remarked. "It sure is."
Just then, Carol, Mr Gar, and Rad & Enid came up to K.O and Steven. "Are you two okay? What happened?"
"Me and K.O fused together to create an even stronger us!" Steven replied.
"I'm calling him Kaiven. It's my actual name put together with Steven's name!" K.O added.
"That does sound really amazing K.O!" Carol spoke, joining the two hugging each other.
After a few seconds of hugging each other, Mr Gar cleared his throat and motioned Steven to come to him. Steven walked up to the muscular man and looked up at him.
Mr Gar then tilted down his glasses and looked at him with a smile. "You did good kid. I'm proud of ya."
And then, Rad and Enid came up to the two. "So....."
"When can I do that with Steven?" Rad asked.
Steven chuckled at his question. "Maybe someday Rad. Maybe I'll even do it with Enid!"
Enid blushed as she giggled at his statement. "Aw, thanks Steven."
And just then, a huge crowd of people swarmed around K.O and Steven, taking photos of him on their phones and lifting them up into the air. Chanting their fusion name: Kaiven.
Meanwhile, at Boxmore....
Boxman slammed his hands on the desk in anger as he saw the result of the test run of the new and improved robots at the plaza, not expecting the fusion between K.O and Steven.
Boxman growled as he saw Steven and K.O get lifted into the air by the crowd at the plaza. "That was awful!! I swear if the next one goes bad, I'm seriously gonna lose my sh-"
Just then, a hand was placed on his shoulder. Se7en had watched the fight as well and wasn't very happy it didn't go well from what he had seen. "Fusion. Disgraceful. Like it always had been."
"What do you mean by that?" Boxman asked.
"It's considered taboo on Homeworld. It's where two gems, or in this case, a gem hybrid and a human, fuse their bodies together to make a stronger, new gem." Se7en explained. "But don't worry, Main Strike is still underway."
"We just gotta crank up the turbonic energy output on those robots...."
Chapter 15: Chapter 15 - Outburst
Meanwhile, in Beach City....
Day three of the search for Steven in the state of Delmarva and still nothing has come up. Search parties keep on looking for the 14-year-old but due to the lack of a paper trail, they couldn't find a trace of where Steven could have gone. Town Hall had gone crazy since most of the volunteers were trying to keep finding ways on how he could have disappeared.
Connie and her dad had recently joined the search parties in an effort to look for him. They would drive around the state until they would hopefully find him. But it almost seemed like he thought the whole thing through, which explains why there isn't a paper trail of some sort.
But today, the gems were getting involved in the search parties and expanding their search from not just Beach City, but the surrounding areas as well. The gems tried to keep hope that they would find their little boy, but after 3 days of searching, things were starting to get bleak. They depended on themselves and Lapis & Peridot to find him. But if you were a gem who loved a half-human, half-gem person so much that you would dread to see them go missing from your sights for more than a couple of days, you'd probably stress through it since most of the gems were tired from looking around. But they weren't going to give up. Not until they found Steven.
Greg was sitting with Vidalia in her home holding a cup of coffee. It had been a while since he had talked to her and he needed to get away from the press and the operation, otherwise it would've given him such a migraine.
"Still no luck finding him?" Vidalia asked, taking a sip of her coffee.
"The gems volunteered to take over from me to look for him. They said I needed the break after all..." Greg tiredly replied, his voice a bit groggy.
Vidalia's expression changed to a concerned one. "Are you sure you're okay Mr Universe? You sound terrible."
"I'm alright." Greg reassured, lying. "I've not gotten much sleep over the past few days and I'm a little sleep deprived."
"Greg that isn't healthy!" Vidalia concernedly boomed. "You're putting your body over what it usually can't go through!"
"Hey! If either of your sons go missing, what would you do?" Greg yelled back.
"I'd let the authorities handle it!" Vidalia argued back, slamming her hands on her table. "If you did, maybe you'd feel a lot better-"
Suddenly, Greg slammed his hand on his coffee-filled mug, shattering it and cutting through his skin while also scalding his hand with the hot coffee. "YOU DON'T GET IT, DO YOU?!"
Vidalia flinched at Greg's sudden change in tone. "W-What don't I g-get?"
"YOU DON'T GET HOW THIS FEELS NOW! MY SON IS OUT THERE, PRESUMABLY COLD AND HUNGRY AND HOPEFULLY NOT DEAD! AND DO YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE? THE GEMS ARE BREAKING APART FROM EACH OTHER AND I JUST CAN'T DEAL WITH IT ANYMORE!!"
Greg breathed heavily after his sudden outburst, then snapping back to reality as he saw what he had done. He'd shattered a mug, caused his hand to bleed with the gashes in his hand now spewing out blood and just yelled at the top of his voice how he felt about his situation.
He looked at his hand, which was shaking violently with the bloody gashes from the mug. "I-I'm sorry..."
Vidalia stared at him before rushing to grab a first aid kit and wrapping up his hand with the bandages. "It's alright. I think it's natural to feel that kind of way in a scenario like this."
"It's just that... Pearl is having more sobbing breakdowns as the days of Steven not being here increase.... Garnet is freaking out over the bad futures of Steven through her future vision... And Amethyst has kept having rampages in his house over the situation. There is nearly nothing else she hasn't smashed. But when she's finished, I hear her mumble Steven's name under her voice. And it sounds sad too. She misses him. Steven to her is like, her little brother." Greg explained.
"That's a not very natural way people would take it, but since they're gems, they'll do it anyway they can. You just gotta learn how to handle it." Vidalia spoke.
Greg smiled at her as she offered a hand after she had finished wrapping up his hand. He took her hand and stood upright on the kitchen floor.
"Now, let's sit down in the living room and you can talk to me there. Okay?" Vidalia asked, making sure he was okay with it.
"Yeah..... I think I definitely need someone to talk to." Greg replied, following Vidalia into the living room
Meanwhile, With Lapis and Peridot...
The two gems had been running around the city for almost the entire day now. They had totally underestimated the size of the giant city and it was sunset already after they had finished looking around Capital City.
Peridot wiped her forehead. "Well, he isn't here."
"We need to find him, the gems are counting on us. The next city we're looking in is Neo Riot City, then we're onto Lakewood, and if he isn't there, The Danger Zone."
Peridot looked at her tablet map and found Neo Riot City on the maps app. "Thanks the stars, it's not as big as this cloddy city! I think we could get done with Neo Riot in half a day, and then do Lakewood in the other half."
"Sounds right." Lapis said, summoning her wings. "Hop on, let's get moving. And we'd better be careful in Neo Riot City, it's a bit rowdy."
Peridot nodded before putting her tablet in her hair and grasping onto Lapis' shoulders. The two took flight into the air and towards Neo Riot City.
"I know you're here Steven..." Lapis whispered. "I can feel it in my gem... Please, for the love of me and Peridot..."
"Don't be dead..."
Chapter 16: Chapter 16 - The Dream
Later that night....
Steven was just about to fall asleep in his bed after having a nice dinner Carol had cooked for him and K.O after their amazing discovery that they could fuse into Kaiven. And just to say, everyone in the plaza, even Mr Gar, was shocked about what they could do. He had also promised to Enid and Rad that they would try to fuse at some point during the week.
But now, young Steven was tired and was yawning and stretching in fatigue. He was ready to sleep. So, he pulled over the covers and shut his eyes to fall asleep. Only to find himself in a strange dark place an hour and a half later.
The place was vaguely dark, a hint of gray in some spots but it was still a dark place. Below him was a pitch black void, but he didn't seem to be falling. He looked around, dazed and confused about why he was here. It had looked like the place he went before he took over Lars' body but he sure wasn't floating in the space.
But then, the floor below him started to materialise into a familiar floor he had stood on for most of his life. They were white wooden planks arranged to create a floor, and when he looked up from the floor, he saw his familiar bed, shelves full of toys and doohickeys, and his TV with a Nintendo GameCube plugged into it. That was when he realised something:
He was in his house. But in a dream. HIS dream.
Steven frantically looked around for the gems to make sure he couldn't be spotted by them in the house. Until he heard the temple door open, which made Steven quickly run into the small closet that held his board games. He shut the door and held his breath as he waited for whoever was coming out.
As he pressed his ear to the door carefully, he could hear two voices. Two voices he couldn't forget that easily. Those voices belonged to Pearl and.... Connie?
"Why is she here? I thought that she was mad at me?" Steven thought, still trying to hold still as the weight of the board games and the other junk Steven had collected over the years was pressing against his back and pushing him towards the door, which could make him fall out of the small closet and reveal himself.
Again, he pressed his ear to the door to listen to them as they walked towards the middle of the room.
"I'm sorry about how you're feeling right now Pearl. I feel the same way too." Connie stated, sighing afterwards.
"Me and the others hope that Miles, his team of officers and the town will find him. We need to find him. We just aren't the Crystal Gems without him..." Pearl spoke, a tint of sadness in her voice.
Connie sighed too. "I just... Feel really bad about all those things I said to Steven the day he came back through Lion's mane. I don't even know what came over me.."
"Connie, I'm sure Steven will forgive you in time once he has been found. He's usually the forgiving type, after all." Pearl said.
Connie chuckled. "Yeah, that's the Steven we know... Loving... Kind..." She sniffed before continuing. "It's his humanity that makes him such a nice kid. I'm sure you'd say the same thing."
Pearl giggled slightly. "Yep. That's my baby."
Steven held in a gasp as he listened to what they were saying. They missed him? And Connie feels guilty about what she said to him the night he returned? Did...
Did he mean so much to them and Connie?
"Anyway, have a safe walk home Connie!" Pearl said, walking back to the temple door, which was still open.
"Thanks for talking to me Pearl." Connie replied. "Goodnight!"
And then the next sound he heard was the temple door closing before the whole place fell silent. Until the weight behind Steven was too much and made him fall out of the small closet and into the white couch, along with the junk Steven had been holding back behind him.
He groaned in pain before looking up at the front entrance. Only to see Connie with her hands on her mouth and her eyes widened. She was shaking and even had a tear escape her eye and fall down her cheek. The Indian-American girl looked speechless, like she was frozen in place. Steven had also noticed her shorter hair and looked at her in worry.
"Uh oh. Now I've done it." Steven thought. "I'm so dead."
"Steven!?" Connie cried out, running towards him and pulling him into a tight embrace, squeezing him as her grip got tighter. Steven was trying to pull away from her sudden hug but couldn't since she had secured his arms with her tight, vice-like grip on her arms and hands.
Steven didn't return the hug. He just stood there as he watched Connie keep on hugging him. Sure he was in a dream, but it didn't exclude that whoever was in the dream couldn't interact with him. His expression changed from a worried one to a surprised one. He surely didn't expect Connie to tightly embrace him.
Connie had also noticed his expression and his missing return hug from him. She loosened her grip on Steven and held his arms while she looked directly into his eyes. "Steven? What's wrong?"
He then managed to pull away from Connie as her hands slipped off his arms. "C-Connie? What are y-you doing here?"
"I should ask you the same thing! But how are you here!?" Connie responded.
Steven then realised that he forgot that he could enter anyone's dreams and that he must've entered Connie's when he fell asleep. Which must've been the reason why he could talk, feel, hear and see her.
"Dream powers?" Steven answered Connie's question awkwardly. "I think so but I'm just trying to find out why you're here!"
Connie then took hold of Steven's palms. "Steven. This question matters most to me and the gems." She took a deep breath before exhaling. "Where are you? Where did you go?"
Steven gulped. He couldn't say. He didn't want to leave Lakewood and his new best friends. He liked it here. He liked the residents, the people, the job. Heck, he even liked it when the Lakewood robots would attack the plaza. But how was he going to get out of it? There was only one way to do it: lie.
He hated lying. But if it was to protect himself from being taken away from his friends, he'd have to do it. But where would a good place be?
"I'm..." Steven stared.
"I'm scared... I'm in somewhere dark. I can't see anything! Some guy took me while I was going for a walk and now I can't see anything! I've been here for 4 days now..."
Now hopefully Connie wouldn't see it through as a lie. It was the only way to protect himself from being taken away. But did it work? Well, Connie had a terrified look on her face like she had seen a ghost. It seemed like she buyed it.
"YOU WERE KIDNAPPED?!?" Connie screamed, her eyes widening further.
"Y-Yes! I don't know where I am! Please help me!" Steven yelled out in 'anguish', trying to make it actually look like he was kidnapped.
But then, Connie noticed that Steven was starting to fade away. He was waking up.
"Wait, no Steven! Don't leave me!" Connie cried, trying to grasp his arm and only for it to phase through it.
And just like that, Steven faded away into nothing.
Steven woke up in a scared manner as he jumped up from his bed and put a hand to his chest, where he could feel his hybrid heart beating faster than a race car. He had also gotten sweat on his body and his bedsheets from the dream.
Steven sighed a sigh of relief. "Let's just hope that lie works..."
And just like that, he went back to sleep, trying to stop thinking about the recent dream he had dreamt about.
Meanwhile, in BCPD...
Miles Sycamore was looking at a corkboard full of pictures and articles with red threads connected to some of the articles and pictures. He was trying to find out where Steven had gone through recent events and occurrences that had happened in the small beachfront town. While his partner, Jezzie Upshur was looking through some files until she took a break to look at her phone.
Jezzie was currently looking at a video that had recently gone viral and had been uploaded from an IP Address from The Neutral Zone. It was of a male person fighting off a pair of powered-up robots in an outlet plaza.
Miles had noticed this and turned away from the corkboard and to her partner watching the video. As he looked at the man in the video, he made a suspicious face at it and turned back to the corkboard.
"That man in the video looks familiar doesn't he?" Miles asked.
Jezzie turned to him and smiled. "Yeah. Yes he does..."
She turned back to her phone and continued to watch it while Miles continued his work on the corkboard. The video then showed a straight up close up of the man fighting the robots.
Chapter 17: Chapter 17 - Radieven
Lakewood. Four Days Gone.
After a good nights rest, Steven woke up from his sleep, which thankfully had no dreams, and got dressed in his usual attire. Afterwards, he walked downstairs to see Carol in the kitchen, but not K.O. It seemed that he was having a lie-in today after yesterday when they fused into Kaiven. She had some oatmeal in a bowl in front of her but she wasn't eating it. She was tapping her spoon against her fingers in a fidgety type of way.
Steven, now with a confused expression on his face, walked up to Carol and sat next to her on the breakfast bar. She turned her head towards him and smiled.
"Kid. I gotta say, you being able to merge with my son was one heck of a surprise." Carol spoke. "Never once in my life here at Lakewood have I ever seen something like that."
Steven giggled at her comment. "Thanks Carol. Never have I ever met a mother like you."
"Aww, thanks little guy." Carol giggled alongside him as she ruffled his curly hair.
"Now how's about I make you some breakfast? Pancakes?"
"I would love that. Thank you." Steven responded, nodding to her question.
Carol smiled while she gathered the ingredients to make him (and K.O) some pancakes while Steven sat at the breakfast bar thinking about last night.
He thought about the dream he had. He thought about how Pearl was reacting to all that was happening to Steven. He thought about the others possible reactions.
And then his mind shifted to Connie. The girl he called his best friend. The best friend who was angry at his decision to sacrifice himself to Homeworld. The girl he told that he had been kidnapped-
Wait. What? Why would he say that? Why would he scare his best friend like that? That wasn't Steven. That was nothing like Steven.
And that was when Steven realised what he had done.
"Ughhh. Why did I say that to Connie? I'm such a heartless jerk! Why did I say that? That's nothing like me!" Steven thought, now regretting what he had said to Connie last night in his dream. It was like he had done what Connie did to him a day before he ran away to Lakewood.
But he knew what was done is done. He couldn't go back and change his words, and if he did the next time he managed to contact Connie through his dreams, that would really tick off Connie's suspicion about Steven's story. She wouldn't believe he had been kidnapped.
He thought of what could happen if he did: maybe Connie would realise that he had run away and that she would run away herself to find him. Maybe she would tell the gems and that would end the hunt for him once and for all. But he just didn't know. He doesn't have future vision. He is no Garnet.
He slammed his head on the table. "What have I done?"
But his thoughts were interrupted once Carol placed a plate of pancakes drizzled with maple syrup in front of him. She smiled again at him before preparing herself an omelette for herself.
Steven pushed away his guilty thoughts for now as he ate his breakfast. He had a lot of work to do today. And he didn't want his guilt to slow him down.
A few minutes later....
Steven carried a crate filled with produce across the room to Rad. Today was Saturday and he and K.O weren't at school today. So he was working with Enid, Rad and K.O here at the bodega. He placed the crate in front of Rad and went back to retrieve another crate from the back.
While he walked to the next crate in the warehouse, a thought entered his mind. "How can I make this job go faster?" How could he speed up his job so he could move on to the next one?
Wait! Maybe he could do what he did yesterday with K.O?
Steven quickly ran towards the crate he was looking for and ran back to Rad, who was checking his phone for updates on his social media all while digging for gold in his nose. Which, yes, it is disgusting and you should never do it, but it amazed Steven on how he was able to multitask like that. Use his phone and pick his nose at the same time? Now that is impressive.
Steven dropped the crate to Rad, who then used his levitation finger to move it to the other crates. But instead of going back to get the next crate, he opened his mouth to ask Rad the question.
"Hey Rad?" Steven said.
"Yeah? What is it squirt?" Rad asked.
Steven slightly looked away before opening his mouth again. "I was thinking of a way to speed up this job so I could move on to my next one quicker, so..."
He looked back into Rad eyes. "Would you be willing to fuse with me to help me with this?"
Rad's eyes widened. Steven's expression changed to a worried one. Did he mess up? What was his going to be his response? Was he going to approve of what he suggested?
"Sure." Rad answered, smiling at him with his big eyes.
"R-Really?" Steven stuttered, shocked at his reply.
"I mean, if it'll give me some time to bond with you and get me on break quicker, I'll do it." Rad said.
Steven smiled at the muscular alien, happy at his answer.
But Rad's expression changed to a slight frown. "How do we fuse anyway?"
"Usually it's done through synchronisation. For example, dancing." Steven responded to Rad's question.
"I'm not much of a dancer, but I'll follow your lead." Rad spoke.
Steven nodded. He started with a simple dance routine while Rad did a breakdancing-like routine, almost like how Amethyst would fuse with Pearl to make Opal.
The two danced for a while until Steven clutched onto Rad and melted into his body. A bright light encased the two and formed a taller figure, with a muscular body shape.
The bright light faded, revealing a paler cyan skinned man with brown curly hair with blotches of green in it and wearing a mixture of Rad's crop top and Steven shirt, which was way too small for his body shape now and just blended in with the crop top. He still wore the same pants and shoes though.
The fusion landed on the ground and picked themselves up before looking at their arms and hands. "Woah. This, is amazing."
"But the question is, what do we look like?" The fusion answered, in a voice sounding like Steven's.
The fusion walked towards a mirror that was left in the warehouse, only to see once they looked into it their brand new shared body. "Wow. I'm really muscular."
"Yep. We sure are. Obviously coming from yours truly." The fusion spoke in Rad's voice, flexing his arm to pop out his muscles more.
"So what would we be called?" The fusion asked, in a combination of Rad and Steven's voices.
They thought about it for a while, thinking hard about what they should be called. But after a few moments, they got it.
"Radieven." The fusion spoke suddenly, in Rad's voice.
Radieven smiled as he kept looking in the mirror. "It's perfect."
Chapter 18: Chapter 18 - Lost and Found
Radieven was hard at work, shifting crates like it was his job (well, it technically is). It was easy as heck, since he had four arms to lift and carry more crates of produce, thus speeding up the working time. It was a simple system they had set up to get the job done, Radieven would grab the crates and give them to K.O, who would take them into the bodega to restock the shelves.
And in about a few hours, the job was done. No more crates had stocked up their warehouse and it was entirely done and dusted. Radieven high fived K.O in celebration before unfusing, Steven and Rad laughing at their successful job. Rad didn't forget to high five Steven before walking over to the door.
"Dude, that guy we just were, was so cool!" Rad cheerfully spoke.
"Right on Rad!" Steven chuckled, placing a hand on his muscular arm.
Rad then looked at the clock just above the door. "I guess it's time for a break. Food's on me!"
Steven and K.O nodded to him as they walked out of the warehouse and towards the front door of the bodega. Enid had tagged along as they walked out the automatic glass doors. They all walked over to the food truck and bought some burritos for lunch. Now they were in front of Rad's van talking to each other.
"So you and Steven fused to speed up your job?" Enid asked, sipping on her soda she bought from the food truck.
"Yeah! He suggested we could do it, and it worked!" Rad answered, taking a bite of his burrito. "Seriously, Steven coming here was the best dang thing that ever happened to us!"
"He's not wrong Steven! Ever since you came here, I've had no problems with bullies anymore!" K.O added, wrapping his arm around Steven's shoulders.
"Same here. Our work is done much quicker and your amazing abilities are almost one-of-a-kind." Enid also added, lifting up her shades to wink at Steven. "And just when I thought the first time I met you, you were just some kid who wandered in to just buy a simple item."
"Heh. Thanks Enid." Steven said, blushing. This had been the first time in forever that he had ever felt appreciated in a while. His status here was getting quite big as well. Since the video of Kaiven that was uploaded yesterday went viral overnight, people had been more kind and generous to the hybrid teen. It was like he never wanted to leave this place.
His thoughts were interrupted by K.O tapping him on his back. "You know what I've just realised?"
"What?" Steven asked, confused.
"You don't know if you have a POW Card yet!" K.O exclaimed. "C'mon, let's go to the POW Card machine and see if you've got one now!"
K.O grabbed Steven's hand and ran towards the bodega in almost a full sprint. Steven could barely keep up with the little tyke, but still managed to keep hold of his little hand as they ran to the POW Card Machine. Enid and Rad had also tagged along, just since they had finished their food and drinks and we're ready to head back to work.
Meanwhile, with Lapis and Peridot...
"Quickly! Down here Peridot!" Lapis yelled, beckoning Peridot to run down the alleyway she had ran down. Peridot, holding her tablet tightly in her grasp, ran towards Lapis as she ran the other way down the alley. They kept running until they eventually reached a dead end.
"Oh stars! We're trapped!" Peridot yelled, frantically looking around for another way out of the alley. But they couldn't do anything but hold on to each other as a figure walked towards them, holding a switchblade in his right hand.
"I finally got my hands on ya, you slippery little maggots. You're my girls now, now come with me or I'll thump ya!" The figure spoke, clutching the blade in his hand.
Peridot looked at the switchblade and noticed it was metal. She quickly lifted her hand and used her metal powers to thrust the switchblade out of his hand and into his ankle, where he screamed in pain and fell to the floor clutching his bleeding ankle.
Lapis summoned her water wings, grabbed Peridot and flew upwards into the sky. The man looked up at the pair as they flew off into the horizon. "This isn't the last of me! The names Cecil Little and I'm not gonna deal with people like you!"
The man sighed, still holding onto his wound. "My brother had better one-liners than me. At least I wasn't a psychopath like him though."
Lapis turned to Peridot. "That was a close one."
Peridot nodded. "Indeed. You weren't wrong when you said Neo Riot City was rowdy and tough."
"Yeah, but right now we gotta head to our last destination: Lakewood." Lapis said, turning back to face the front.
Peridot took a look at her tablet's map app and searched for Lakewood. She smiled at the result she got. "Good news Lazuli! It's not that far from here!"
"Then let's get there and find our Steven!" Lapis yelled in joy, flapping her wings faster to build up some speed and get to Lakewood quicker.
Back in Lakewood...
K.O and Steven were cleaning the floors at the bodega, but in a very interesting way. They had tied sponges with soapy liquid absorbed into them and were riding around the store like figure skaters. They skidded through the store at a steady pace before moving into a synchronised skate routine.
K.O swung Steven around before letting him go so Steven could spin around a table and back to K.O, who took his hand and started doing a ballroom type of dance. They were in perfect sync, and before Rad and Enid, who were recording the performance that K.O and Steven were doing, they finished off their routine with Steven's gem glowing a bright pink and their bodies fusing together for a photo finish as Kaiven.
Kaiven skidded on the tiled floor to slow down, and once they stopped, Kaiven raised their arms in the air and smiled brightly. Rad and Enid clapped and cheered at their little show while Kaiven took a bow before unfusing. K.O hugged Steven, him returning the hug.
"That was so good you guys!" Rad praised.
"Who knew we could spice up our work with a little improvisation and some fun?" Steven spoke.
"Yep!" K.O responded to Steven's comment.
The four were laughing until the alarms started blaring, along with the red flashing lights. The four gasped at the sudden alarm as they ran outside the bodega to see a giant box fall from a portal in the sky. The box was its usual silver with Boxmore's logo on it. The box opened to reveal the new models of Darrell, Shannon and Raymond. Painted black with purple streaks on their robotic bodies and purple energy radiating from their hands.
"We're back Lakewood losers!" Darrel announced, as usual.
"And this time, we ain't gonna lose to your 'Kaiven' trick now!" Raymond sneered, holding up his hands sparking with turbonic energy.
Steven summoned his shield while the others got into their fighting stances. "You all know the drill. Let's get 'em!"
The four charged towards them and so did the robots. Steven tried to throw his shield, but again, like last time, Darrell caught it, but this time, he charged it with energy and threw it back towards Steven. Which was about to strike him in the chest, but Rad caught in just in time with his levitation ability and threw it to Raymond. But all he did was decimate the shield with one heck of a powerful blast from his blaster.
"Rad! Let's fuse!" Steven called out to the cyan alien.
"Right on dude. I'm coming over!" Rad yelled back to Steven. But when he tried to run towards Steven, he was tripped over by Shannon and her new turbonic-charged whip. Which gave Steven a throwback to one of his family members who had a similar weapon.
"Dang it! K.O, where are you?!" Steven called out.
"I'm over here, but I'm kinda occupied here!" K.O yelled back, who was trying to fend back Darrell and his deadly saw blades.
"Oh no! How do we beat these guys?" Steven thought. "There's got to be a way, there has to be..."
And just then, he spotted Enid being thrown back by Raymond and into the curb. She was fine, but the way that she landed on the curb seemed bad.
And just then, Steven had an idea. He ran up to Enid and helped her up.
"Thanks Steven." Enid said, about to run back into battle. But was stopped by Steven who held his arm out to prevent her from running in.
"Wait! I have an idea!" Steven said to Enid.
"It better be a good one!" Enid shouted, who then threw out a fire kick to save Rad from being hit by a flying saw blade from Darrell.
Steven motioned Enid to kneel down to his level and listen to his idea. She did so and bent down to his level.
"I was thinking. Maybe if we could fuse, and that way, we could defeat those robots together!" Steven explained briefly, hoping that Enid would consider it.
"I don't know Steven. I mean, you may have abilities I have never seen, but with my abilities mixed with yours, I don't know..." Enid spoke, rubbing her arm in uncertainty.
"Enid, I know it sounds weird." Steven said. "But if it could be the only way to defeat those robots, then we got to try!"
Enid looked into Steven's eyes, which were in a worried expression. And she didn't need a split second to think about it. "Alright Steven."
She held out her hand. "Let's fuse."
Steven smiled as he took her hand and twirled around in a circle. Enid then mixed in some club dancing into her dance while Steven did a dance almost familiar to the one he did to make Stevonnie. The two held hands once more and did a dip before Steven's body fused with Enid's. A bright light consumed the two and once it died down, it revealed a new person in their place.
The fusion had brown/purple-ish coloured hair, which was a bit longer and curlier but also tied back like Enid's normal hair. Their body shape was thinner like Enid while their stomach was exposing Steven's pink Rose Quartz gem. Her clothes were almost identical to Radieven's: a blue crop top that went over Steven's star shirt, black pants and Enid's footwear.
The fusion opened their eyes and looked at their hands before looking at the parking lot, which currently had Rad and K.O fighting the three turbo-charged robots.
"Ready Steven?" The fusion spoke to itself.
"Ready as always, Enid."
The fusion narrowed their eyes as they ran towards the action. They summoned a shield while their feet lit on fire as they sped towards the robots. The fusion took a leap from the ground and smashed their shield into Raymond, who was charging up a charged shot towards K.O. When Raymond slammed into the ground, the fusion, now called Stenid, slammed their fire lit foot into Raymond chest, deactivating him.
The next one to go was Shannon, who was still swinging Rad around with her whip. Stenid ran towards her and flung their shield towards her. Of course since she was occupied swinging Rad around, when the shield struck her, she let go of Rad and was then met with a punch to her robotic face and then a roundhouse fire kick to the back of her neck, which made Shannon's head rip off her body and onto the ground. Shannon's body fell to the floor with a thud.
And the last one to go was Darrell. Stenid ran and then turned into a log. Darrell was looking for where they had gone, angrily looking for them. But was to meet a sudden shield slam into the back of Darrell and then a foot slam into Darrell's brain case. Which finally deactivated him.
Stenid smiled before unfusing, leaving Steven and Enid in their place. Steven was smiling while Enid was slightly blushing, holding a hand to her chest. "Wow. That was..."
And then suddenly, without warning, Enid picked up Steven and embraced him in a hug. "Amazing! That was a really good idea Steven!"
Steven nervously chuckled as he returned the hug. "Aww, thanks Enid.."
And just then, Rad and K.O ran up to the two, still a bit scuffed up from the fight. "Are you two okay?"
"Yeah, we're fine. And we've discovered a new fusion!" Enid replied.
"Yeah! That fusion rocked! You two were perfect!" K.O complemented.
Steven chuckled at his complement. "Thanks K.O. Now, let's get this cleaned up before-"
"Steven?!" A familiar voice spoke out.
Steven instantly froze. That voice.... He could know it from anywhere. It was the voice he heard when he freed her from the mirror. The voice he heard in Beach City. That same voice who would always sound like an angel to him. And now, it was here.
He, and the others slowly turned around to see two people that Steven would never think would come here. He stuttered as he tried to speak out.
Chapter 19: Chapter 19 - The Press Confrence
Meanwhile, in Beach City, Delmarva....
After Connie met Steven in her dream the following night, she then reported to the head of the case, Miles Sycamore, that she had gotten a 'call' from a man who had Steven with him tied up somewhere. She couldn't say she met him through her dream or else they would say it was all in her head since most of the citizens of Beach City didn't know Steven had dream powers.
And after that, the whole town went crazy the following morning.
Doug Maheswaran woke up after a long shift of doing both his security guard job and his volunteering for the search for Steven Universe. The alarm next to him blaring out an annoying sound, signalling him it was time to get up. He unraveled the covers to get out of bed, but his wife, Priyanka, pulled him back in a playful manner.
"Oh come on honey, can't you stay with me for a bit longer?" She tiredly spoke out.
Doug chuckled, removing his wife's hand from his shoulder. "Priyanka, I've got a busy day ahead of me today."
Doug attempted to get up again, but Priyanka just pulled him back again. "C'mon Doug, you've had a long night, just one more hour?"
"I'm sorry Pri." Doug responded to her plead, removing her hands once more. "Like I said, I have a busy day ahead. Which involves me getting to Town Hall early today."
"Oh, alright then." Priyanka said, in a defeated sigh. "I've got work in a few hours anyway."
Doug smiled before giving his wife a kiss on her lips and walking to his wardrobe to grab his clothes. He put on his usual getup before walking downstairs to the kitchen to grab something for breakfast.
As he walked to the kitchen, he noticed Connie, his daughter, asleep on the couch in the living room with a photo of Steven and her and her phone beside her while a blanket draped over her body. Doug must've known she must've collapsed on the sofa after she went out last night to see Pearl at the temple.
"Must've been a long night for her." Doug mused to himself.
He walked into the kitchen and grabbed some sliced bread out of the bread box before putting it into the toaster. While so, brewing up some coffee for his long day ahead of him. He then turned on the radio to listen to whatever was going on in Beach City and the world today.
"And that was Elton John's 'Rocket Man' here on BCR, tuning up your mornings since 1975. And now it's time for the 6:00am headlines." The radio presenter spoke out, clearing his throat before moving into his next segment.
"This just in, a new development in the search for the local missing teenager Steven Universe has come in. It seems that the story of him supposedly running away was false and has now turned to him being kidnapped by an unknown person."
When those words spoke out the radio's speaker, Doug froze. But instead of saying anything, he turned up the radio a bit more to hear more about what he had just heard.
"This has come in after Steven's best friend, who is currently unnamed, got a call from a unknown number on her landline from a mysterious person who had claimed to have Steven in captivity. Inspector Miles Sycamore, the head of the case, hasn't given a statement about the situation, but has said that in an hour's time he will give one at Town Hall later on, which we will be live at during that time. In other news..."
Doug quickly grabbed his phone and called Greg Universe, who he had as a contact in case Doug found Steven. He quickly punched in Greg's number and hit the 'call' button. He put the phone to his right ear and waited for him to pick up.
After a few dial tones, Greg picked up, and answered with a groggy voice. "Hello? Who is this?"
"Greg, did you hear about what they just said on the radio just now?" Doug asked, a serious tone in his voice.
"Yeah, I did. Some little lowlife kidnapped my son! My innocent, happy son!" Greg replied, anger in his voice at the last parts of his answer.
Doug held the phone in between his shoulder and head as he went into the living room and picked up his keys for his car. "I'm heading to Town Hall now, meet me there."
"I gotta go there anyway, Sycamore wants me to do a part of the statement later today." Greg replied.
"Good. See you there." Doug said before hanging up and putting on his work shoes. Just then, Connie woke up from her sleep.
"Dad? Where are you going?" Connie asked in a tired voice, probably still from being up so late overnight.
"I'm heading to Town Hall. You stay here with your mother." Doug answered, tying on his laces on his left shoe.
"But I want to come! I want to hear what Miles says about this whole thing about Steven being kidnapped!" Connie begged, in a slightly worried tone.
Doug sighed. "I know you're worried about him but I don't think you'd want to listen to what Sycamore has to say about it. It could upset you."
But Connie decided to try the desperate worried look on her father. Doug just looked at her before groaning in defeat, if she's that desperate to go, she can go.
"Alright fine, but you need to get changed quickly, I'm leaving in 5 minutes." Doug explained.
Connie nodded before running up to her bedroom. She shut the door and quickly took off her clothes she wore yesterday and put them in her laundry hamper before going to the closet and grabbing a fresh, clean pair of clothes. She slipped them on before grabbing her shoes and getting up to head to Town Hall.
She ran back downstairs to the living room to meet back with Doug. Luckily she had a minute to spare so she wasn't too late. Doug nodded before yelling out to his wife.
"Priyanka! I'm going out with Connie to Town Hall! Don't wait up!"
Priyanka replied with a somber, but still tired 'okay', right as the two walked out of the house and towards Doug's car. Connie hopped into the passenger seat, clipped on her seatbelt and Doug started the engine before driving off to Town Hall.
10 minutes of driving later...
Doug and Connie Maheswaran finally reached Town Hall, and once they entered, the whole place was blooming with chatter. People, volunteers, news teams, journalists, and a few police officers had filled the main hall of the Town Hall. All the voices couldn't be marked out since the whole room was full of chatter, mostly about the new development about Steven's disappearance.
Doug and Connie were amazed at the number of people at Town Hall after Connie called Miles on her cell phone last night about the 'call' she got on her landline phone from a unknown person who was holding Steven somewhere. She already knew that she couldn't say it was a dream because no one would believe her for that.
Connie then saw the gems near the stage. She asked Doug if she could go over to them and talk to them, in which he allowed but would need to go back to him straight after talking to them. Connie agreed and walked over to them, who were standing there with their hands on their chests, Amethyst covering her face with her long, lavender coloured hair.
"What are you doing here?" Connie asked.
"Miles asked us to come over to make a statement on the situation during his statement." Pearl simply answered.
"I still don't get it... How did it turn from Steven running away to him being kidnapped?! It doesn't make sense!" Garnet commented.
"Hey, a lot of unexpected things can happen during missing person cases. One thing can turn into another, it's really unexpected." Connie reassured. "And Garnet, I think the stress and sadness of his disappearance is making your future vision go all over the place."
Garnet sighed. "It could be that, or something else entirely. This is like an alternate timeline just shifted into the place of the previous one. But I don't know where this case or this timeline will go."
"Did you have any luck seeing anything about Steven in your recent visions?" Connie asked, placing her hand on her Sapphire gem.
Garnet shook her head. "Sadly not. The only things I've seen in them are just possibilities of many different outcomes. There's a short chance of Steven being found, short chances of him being found, but dead," Garnet shuddered in fear of that outcome. "And a large chance of him never being found. It's horrible seeing those last two possibilities in my eyes tons and tons of times, especially if they contain the person you love the most in them. I just can't deal with it now..."
Connie rubbed her finger around her Sapphire gem to calm Garnet down of her paranoia of her future vision's outcomes. "It's alright. Trust me, you need to stop thinking about those possibilities and focus at the task at hand. You're a leader, which means you gotta act strong for your team. Maybe one day we can find him and bring him home, where this whole thing will finally blow over."
Garnet turned away from Connie for a moment. And then suddenly, she took off her visor, revealing her three teary looking eyes looking back at Connie. "Thanks for that, I really needed it."
"No problem Garnet, I'll see you guys later." Connie said before shaking hands with Garnet and walking back to her dad.
Doug had been watching his daughter interact with the three gem warriors, and even seeing her comfort one of them when it looked like one of them was breaking down. As she walked back, he smiled at her.
"You're really good at comforting people, Connie." Doug commented, patting her on the head.
"Thanks dad." Connie said, smiling a little herself.
And at that moment, cameras had just staring clicking and flashing, which meant the press conference was about to being. Doug and Connie turned to the stage, where Miles Sycamore walked towards the podium with multiple microphones on them that linked to many different news stations. Behind him was his partner Jezzie Upshur, who stood by as an extra bodyguard.
"Thank you all, the people, volunteers, officers of the law, members of the press and national news teams for coming here this morning." Miles started, clearing his throat afterwards.
"Overnight, there has been a new development in Steven Quartz Universe's disappearance. It seems that the fact he has run away, is now out of the picture. Now, with the new developments from a close friend of Steven's that shall be unnamed, it seems that he has been kidnapped by an unknown perpetrator."
The room remained silent, only with the clicking and flashing noises from the cameras filling the room. Pretty much everyone had heard the news on BCR this morning.
"Now before you pull out your tinfoil hats in fear, BCPD has stated that we are doing all that we can do so far to help find him. We tried looking through the call list on the landline phone the friend received the perpetrator's call from, but it seemed that the perp had used a payphone in an unlisted location. Which is why from now on, until the case is closed, all payphone's will be tapped to record back to us in order to help us identify the perp."
The room started murmuring a bit, mostly about disagreements on the payphone's tapping idea. Doug wasn't a big fan of phones being tapped, but if it was to help find Steven, it could work.
"Now I know it's controversial, believe me I hate the idea, but this is only temporary for however long the case will go on for." Miles cleared his throat once more. "Okay, now I'm going to hand over the microphone to Gregory Universe, the father of Steven Universe, to give a statement on the situation."
Miles stepped away while Greg, who had got to Town Hall before Doug, walked towards the podium. That is when Doug heard the most unexpected thing he could hear in a press conference's audience.
"Murderer!" A woman yelled out.
"Child abuser!" A man shouted out.
"Quiet in the audience!" A police officer shouted back at them.
Greg cleared his throat, and then opened his mouth to speak.
"Now I know some of this town doesn't like me since they think of me as the reason why my son is gone-"
"Awful parent!" A mother yelled.
"Quiet in the audience or I will arrest you!" The officer yelled back.
"Anyway... I know no matter how much some people might not like me for the so-called rumour about me kidnapping and murdering my own son, I, and I will repeat this, am not the perp. I repeat, I am NOT, the perpetrator. So please, for the love of stars, just stop with the comments, please. I have enough to stress about right now. Thank you."
Greg walked away from the podium as Doug watched him as he walked to the side of the stage. He looked at him, Greg looked completely drained, and very tired.
"Poor Greg, I'll have to talk to him after the conference." Doug thought.
Miles then walked back to the podium. "Well, I guess that is all for now. I will release another statement later today. But I am adding something to the case to the public. We are offering $5,000 for anyone with information about Steven or the kidnappers whereabouts, identity, and any of the sort. As always, if you do have that info, call 1-800-FIND-STEVEN, come into BCPD HQ, or hand it into me privately. Thank you for your time."
Miles walked off the stage with his partner as all the journalists rushed towards him and started to ask him their questions. He answered a few, but Jezzie managed to push some aside as the two walked to their car in the parking lot.
Doug and Connie then walked towards Greg, who still had his head drooped from the hateful comments in the audience today.
"Hey Greg, you alright?" Doug asked.
"Yeah I'm good. I'm just tired, that's all." Greg responded.
"Me and Connie were just about to grab a drink down at the café before we head out to find Steven, you wanna come?" Doug offered.
"Nah, I'll be fine. Besides, I'm helping Vidalia with moving some stuff around while her husband is out fishing. It helps me get my mind off the hateful comments and the stress." Greg spoke.
"Very well then, don't work yourself too hard. Come over to my place tomorrow and we can talk there." Doug said.
"Sounds good." Greg simply replied.
Doug nodded before walking out of Town Hall and towards his car with his daughter in tow. Connie looked back as some of the press were now talking with the gems.
She turned back forward, since they were done here for today.
Meanwhile, with Miles and Jezzie....
"$5,000, are you insane?!" Jezzie screeched, drinking some coffee from her thermos.
"Look, people are starting to put this case aside, if an award is put out, then people would start looking again! I'm sorry, Jezzie, but if we're gonna find him, we sometimes gotta play hardball." Miles replied.
Jezzie sighed, taking another sip from her thermos. "Very well then, you do you, I do me, and we won't do each other."
The rest of their car ride back to the station was silent. As they hadn't have much to say after the press conference.
Chapter 20: Chapter 20 - Reveals
Meanwhile, back in Lakewood....
Time almost froze for Steven. His two friends, Lapis and Peridot, had found him here in Lakewood. He thought no one would find him. But now apparently that isn't really true as they were now standing in front of him.
"Steven!" Lapis and Peridot happily yelled in unison, running towards him and engulfing him in a hug. Enid, Rad and K.O backed away a bit slowly, confused about who those two people who are hugging Steven are.
Lapis felt some tears forming at her eyes. "Steven, where have you been? Why did you run away from us? From your family!?"
"Yeah, why did you do that?!" Peridot added, joining the conversation.
"Uh, I'm really confused here... Who are you two?" K.O asked, tilting his head sideways in confusion.
Lapis looked ahead of her to look at K.O once he spoke out. Her eyes narrowed in anger. "You..."
K.O gulped as he saw her eyes. "You stole our Steven from us..."
"W-What?! I never did that!" K.O exclaimed. "I didn't kidnap Steven! He came here to us!"
"Stop lying!" Lapis yelled, her anger rising further. "I know you took him away from us, you and your friends here!"
"What is she even talking about? How are you even related to Steven here!?" Enid called out.
"I am Lapis Lazuli, and I will not allow you to keep Steven for yourself! I will protect him!" Lapis yelled, summoning a water hand from a nearby lake a few yards from the plaza.
Peridot then stepped in. "If you clods think you're gonna get away with this, I think not!" She then picked up an entire car with her metal abilities, ready to fight.
"Wait guys! We don't need to fight!" Steven yelled out, only to get pushed aside by Lapis behind another car.
"Stay here Steven! I'm gonna teach these dirtbags a lesson!" Lapis spoke, turning her head back to Enid, Rad and K.O, all ready for what was coming next.
"Get ready guys! This is gonna be one heck of a fight!" Enid called out.
"Let's get this over with." Rad spoke, readying his levitation powers.
Instantly, Lapis swung her water fist directly towards Enid, but was saved by Rad with his levitation finger, which caught the water fist before it could strike her. But was instantly knocked back with the car Peridot had flung at him. But it didn't take long for him to recover, which resulted in Rad using his levitation power on Peridot and throwing her into a car while she was laughing at her hit at Rad from earlier.
Enid took a running start towards Lapis but when she tried to swing a punch with a new water fist, she disappeared into a log. Confused, Lapis looked all around the plaza for the purple haired teenager, only to get kicked at the back of the head as a surprise attack. Lapis fell to the ground but instantly recovered and slammed a water fist into Enid, knocking her back into a wall.
Just then, Mr Gar and Carol, who were talking in the bodega before the battle started, ran out of the store to see the carnage happening outside.
"Sweet mother Mary of Joseph! What the heck is going on here!?" Mr Gar exclaimed.
"It seems that some new opponents have entered the plaza." Carol suggested. "And it seems that our team is losing!"
"Shall we? Like old times?" Mr Gar asked, not nervous when he said it to Carol.
Carol nodded. The two ran towards the action where Carol ended up attempting to drop kick Peridot into the ground, but was stopped by Lapis, who slapped Carol out of the air and down to the ground.
Mr Gar jumped into the air and used his signature elbow slam move to try to get a hit on Lapis. But was, like Carol, knocked out of the air by Peridot and another car she picked up.
Just then, Steven was running out into the battlefield. "You guys! Stop this!"
Lapis landed on the ground and looked at him, she then formed a sort of water whip and flung it towards Steven. "Stay out of this, Steven!"
The water whip tied itself around his body, tying his arms and his chest together to render himself unable to move. The whole predicament seemed like déja vu to him since a similar thing happened to him a few years ago, but it happened in the Prime Kindergarten.
Lapis went back to summoning her water fists and swinging them towards the Lakewood crew. Enid and Rad were trying their best to try and get another shot at Lapis, but just ended up getting swung back into a wall. K.O was trying to find a way to stop Peridot from using her metal powers. But all he could come up with was jumping on her head and covering her eyes. Which he did by jumping onto her head behind her and grappling onto her like a climber on a cliff edge.
"Get offa me you clod!" Peridot hissed, picking up K.O and throwing him away from her.
Mr Gar and Carol were trying their absolute hardest, their veteran experiences as heroes coming into full effect, but as such, were no match for Lapis and Peridot unmeasurable power.
Eventually, the Lakewood crew were then pushed into one place and were all tied up with a water whip Lapis tied around the group of heroes. Lapis then summoned a giant water hand, which made Steven's restraints dissipate and allow him to move again. When he saw what his friend was going to do to his new friends, he gasped and ran towards her.
"STOP IT!" Steven cried out. "STOP IT, DON'T HURT THEM!!"
Lapis responded by pushing Steven to the side. She then readied her giant water fist and was about to swing it down for one final blow that would probably end the Lakewood crew once and for all. Tears filled Steven's eyes as he only had one solution left. And as the fist swung down towards the Lakewood crew, Steven stepped up and yelled out the words he'd never think he'd ever say about what he did to get out of Beach City.
Lapis froze. The water fist stopped right as it was about to strike them. Lapis turned around to see Steven, tears filling his eyes as they streamed down his cheeks.
"I'm sorry Lapis.... I'm s-sorry for running away..." Steven sobbed. "P-Please don't h-hurt them..."
Lapis looked at what she was about to do. She was about to kill a group of people in cold blood. Something she'd never do, and especially never in front of Steven. She let go of the Lakewood crew and dissipated her water fist. Peridot then lowered a car that she was going to use on them back down and the pair walked up to Steven.
"I'm sorry too." Lapis spoke. "I was about to do something horrible. And to make it worse, it was going to be in front of you."
Steven wiped his tears. "Thanks Lapis...."
"But I still need to ask you something." She added. "Why did you run away?"
Steven was about to answer, until he saw that Enid, Rad, K.O, Mr Gar and Carol were watching him. A thought then entered his head.
"I think it's time..." Steven thought. "It's time they learnt the truth.."
"Before I answer that. I need to ask everyone to please come with me into the break room in the bodega. I think it's time that you guys know the truth." Steven spoke out.
The group nodded, and followed Steven into the bodega and into the break room, where they all sat down as they listened to what Steven would have to say.
Steven took a breather before beginning. "I'm going to tell you guys something. Something I have lied to you about, so please listen."
"Lied? Steven, what are you talking about?" K.O asked.
"There wasn't a car crash that ended with my family dying. And I am not homeless." Steven started. "And I didn't leave the Crystal Gems because of my family's 'death'."
"Then when made you leave? What's the true story?" Enid asked, concern in her voice.
Steven went silent for a few seconds, took another breather, and opened his mouth to tell the true story.
"Okay. To start off, the Crystal Gems are still alive, they're still in Beach City. I've lived with them for 7 and a half years. And back then, I always loved the gems. They would take me out on missions, we would fight monsters, we would hang out if we could, or we would just love being a family. And they were the best family I had in my life. But as time went on, I discovered some not so great stuff about them. They did some bad things I still can't describe about how bad it was."
Steven took another breather. "About a year ago, I found out that my mom, Rose Quartz, the leader of the Crystal Gems, shattered a diamond. The diamonds are these matriarchs on an alien planet called Homeworld who set their eyes towards Earth at one point to create a colony that would've destroyed this planet's life. But my mom started a rebellion, known as the Crystal Gems, to stop Homeworld from destroying Earth. The colony's owner, Pink Diamond, was shattered by my mom in order to end her reign on the Earth's destruction. When I found that out, I felt a little betrayed. I always thought my mom would never shatter anyone. But apparently she did."
"Dang. Steven, that's gotta be hard for you." Rad said, showing his rarely shown comforting side.
"Yeah, even as a mom myself, that is seriously unlike someone." Carol added.
Steven sniffed a bit. "And then a few months later, two Homeworld gems came to abduct some humans I gave a list on to Peridot when she used to be my enemy." Peridot flinched at that. She still regretted sending in that list of names after she found out she was the reason why they came.
"They were about to hurt my friends and family, so I decided to give myself up to them. I ended up getting put on trial in front of the diamonds and discovered that maybe my mom didn't really shatter Pink thanks to one of the Zircons thinking that one up. The end of the trial didn't go very well, which lead to me and a friend who got caught up in the ship escaping. I then met some new gems and having to watch my friend die in my arms. But somehow, I managed to revive him with my tears. He's pink now and helped me get home. When I got home, my family were there and all comforted me. But another one of my friends, who was my best friend, got mad at me for letting myself get abducted. She then walked away and left me alone. And after that night I came back and had the falling out with my closest friend, I tried for the next few days to try to contact her. But she wouldn't respond back to my texts, no matter how many I sent. And then one night, I just couldn't handle it. I couldn't handle the stress about the lies the gems told me and about me and my best friend falling out, it was so bad I wanted to end my own life."
The group gasped, including Lapis and Peridot. Was he really suffering that much?
"But I got those dark thoughts out of my head, and decided I needed to get out of Dodge. So I packed up everything I had and then ran off. I didn't leave a single goodbye note, or anything, I just ran for the hills and never looked back. And here we are. That's the whole truth about me and why I ran off."
The room was silent afterwards. Enid, Rad and K.O had their hands over their mouths in shock, Mr Gar and Carol looked at him with wide eyes and Lapis and Peridot had slight tears in their eyes.
K.O uncovered his mouth, and wiped a tear that was clinging to his left eye. "Steven... I-I didn't know you went through all that..."
"Holy cob." Carol spoke, touching her hand to her heart.
Lapis got up from her seat and walked up to Steven, she bent down to his level and placed her hands on his shoulders. "Steven..."
And then, without warning, Lapis smiled pulled Steven into another tight hug. "Thanks for telling us. Thanks for being honest."
Steven returned the hug from Lapis. The rest of the group watched them hug it out, their hearts warming at a reunion of two well known friends.
Peridot then walked up to them, Steven looking up at her. She then reached her arms out. "Room for one more?"
Steven giggled. "Get here you!"
Peridot laughed as she joined the hug as she wrapped her arms around Lapis and Steven. "It's been so long since we've done this, eh?"
"Yep." Lapis snorted.
The three continued to hug it out before Lapis and Peridot pulled away and sat back down after a minute of hugging. Then, K.O got up and walked up to Steven. Then he hugged him.
Enid and Rad shrugged and decided to join K.O by walking up to him and picking them both up and embracing them too. "Like those two chicks said, thanks for being honest with us Steven."
"Heh, thanks for understanding you guys." Steven said, returning the embrace.
After a few seconds of hugging, Enid and Rad set down K.O and Steven and let them go. But K.O and Steven were still hugging. K.O was hugging Steven tighter than anyone else he had ever hugged. But he soon loosened his embrace on Steven to give him some air.
"Steven. Thank you. You're a really good friend and a great role model. Thanks for being my friend." K.O spoke, smiling at him.
"No prob Bob." Steven replied, releasing himself from K.O.
After their little hug session, Carol walked up to Steven. "So, now what will you do?"
Lapis took a look at her, and then looked at Steven. "Steven. What do you want to do? Do you want to go back home to the Crystal Gems or do you want to stay here?"
Steven looked around the room before making his decision. He saw all the expressions around the room. Happiness, hope, many different emotions changed the atmosphere of the room. And then finally, he made his decision, but with a little extra thrown into it.
"Lapis, I kinda like it here, so I want to stay here." Steven answered.
Enid and Rad gasped. "Is that what you really want?"
"I like it here. I can relate to everyone here since I'm in a town where I'm not the only human or humanoid figure with powers. And I've got my new good friend K.O here too, and the bodega, and a good living space. Heck, I even go to school now! So yes, this is what I really want." Steven explained.
"Okay then..." Lapis spoke, her head drooped and her expression now frowning. "I guess me and Peridot should head back to Beach City then..." She and Peridot were about to walk out of the room until...
"You don't have to!" Steven called out.
Lapis and Peridot froze. "W-What?"
"You can stay here with me and the others!" Steven said.
"Say whaaaa'?" The whole room exclaimed.
"Lapis and Peridot can stay with me and K.O, that way they don't have to say goodbye to me!" Steven briefly detailed.
"R-Really?!" Lapis happily asked.
"Yeah!" Steven replied. "Oh... but, the gems might be waiting for you.."
"To heck with them! They've probably forgot about us!" Peridot mused
Lapis giggled. "If that may be the case, I guess we'll stay!"
Steven's eyes lit up into stars. "Really!?"
"Yep. Me and Peridot are staying here in Lakewood." Lapis said. "If it's okay with your friends."
"Of course it's okay! I like meeting new people!" K.O responded.
"I guess they can stay, besides, they might be good people I guess..." Enid added.
"Some new chicks in the plaza? Guess that would work well." Rad spoke.
Carol took a while to respond, but opened her mouth to speak her answer.
"Sure! I don't mind at all. You can stay at my place and sleep in Steven's room."
Steven smiled. "I guess it's settled then."
"It sure has." K.O said.
And so everything was settled with everyone. Lapis placed a hand on Steven's shoulder and smiled at him. Knowing that he didn't have to worry about Lapis and Peridot trying to find him now since they were now staying with him during his time at Lakewood.
And nothing could change that.
Chapter 21: Chapter 21 - A New Development
Lakewood, Five Days Gone
Steven awoke from his sleep with a slow yawn and a stretch as he raised himself up from his bed. Beside him were Lapis and Peridot, who had decided to sleep with him in his bed since Carol was going to find sleeping bags for the gems to sleep in. Even though they didn't need it, she thought it would be needed.
The two gems were still both asleep, Lapis snoring away while Peridot breathed slowly as they slept. Steven smiled and stroked Lapis' hair. It was soft, like a bundle of feathers. He then slowly, and carefully, got out of his bed and walked towards his dresser.
He then proceeded to get dressed into his usual attire of his pink and yellow star shirt, blue jeans and his flip flops. He then put over his Gar's Bodega vest since even though it was Sunday, he still had to work. But at least they were getting off early since they were gonna be off work by 2:30pm.
Steven then opened the door to leave his room and walked out. He slowly closed the door behind him, as to not disturb Lapis and Peridot from their sleep. He then walked downstairs towards the kitchen, where he saw K.O and Carol, up bright and early surprisingly for a Sunday morning.
"Morning kiddo!" Carol greeted, with a smile of course. "How'd ya sleep?"
"Great, actually." Steven replied, yawning one more time. "It was made even more great with my other friends staying with me here."
"I'm glad you slept well." Carol stated. She went back to cooking something in a skillet. "I'm guessing they're sleeping in this morning?"
"Yeah." Steven affirmed. "Especially Lapis, she usually sleeps in back in Beach City."
"Hey Steven!" K.O cheerfully called. "Come sit here with me! Mommy's making waffles!"
Steven smiled at K.O's usual cheery mood and sat down on a seat next to him. "You ready for another day at the bodega?"
Steven smirked. "Ready as I'll ever be."
"I'm also looking forward to getting to know your friends!" K.O added. "They sound really cool!"
"They sure are K.O." Steven affirmed. "Lapis can do some amazing water manipulation while Peridot can bend and control metal!"
"Sounds like Lapis and Peridot have some unique abilities up their sleeves." Carol said. "I've never heard of someone who was able to manipulate water."
Carol then placed down two waffles on two different plates and gave them to K.O and Steven. Steven took the strawberries and whipped cream while K.O had maple syrup with his. Steven then dug into Carol's delicious waffles, which tasted better than the ones he bought from the store since Carol's were homemade.
"So." K.O stated. "Today I think we should talk to Dendy about why the Boxmore robots are a lot stronger than usual."
"I think so too. It's kinda suspicious to me about how they are so powerful all of a sudden. When I first came here they were no sweat, and now they're a lot tougher to fight!" Steven responded, taking another bite of his waffles.
"You're actually kinda right there." Carol spoke. "I've noticed it as well. But the colour of their powers now is really familiar to me but I just can't put my finger on it."
And just then, Lapis and Peridot walked into the kitchen, with Lapis rubbing her eyes and smacking her lips a bit. "Hey guys."
"Morning Lapis!" Steven greeted. "Sleep well?"
Lapis chuckled. "When you were with me, I sure did."
"As did I." Peridot added. "We were so worried about you when we were looking for you around the entirety of this country! The worst thing is that we almost gave up hope that we would find you."
"It's okay now, you've found me and there's no need to worry anymore." Steven assured.
"Thanks Steven." Lapis smiled, ruffling his hair. "But there's something else to worry about..."
"Like what?" K.O asked.
"The other gems back down in Beach City..." Lapis whispered, clutching her arms. "What if they find out where you are and they take you home by force?"
"I don't know about that." Steven said. "Garnet may have future vision, but it only shows possible outcomes not actual outcomes. And besides, if she's under stress, it's very blurry."
"I guess we better watch where we step in this town." Peridot stated. "One wrong move and if anyone from Beach City who was here recognised Steven, we're done for."
"Don't you worry about that." Carol spoke. "Me and the whole of the plaza will make sure that you're protected from them. And if they did find us, they'd have to get through us to get him."
"But the gems are quite strong and I don't know if heroes like you Carol would be strong enough to hold them back." Steven said, putting his plate to one side as he faced Carol. "I've seen how they are against a normal human."
"Then we'll just have to keep our strength to protect you and your friends here." Carol assured, placing a hand on his shoulder. Then she looked at her watch and realised what the time was. "Holy smokes! K.O and Steven are nearly late for work! Listen, you two, I'm gonna head down to the plaza to drop off these two. You don't mind waiting for me right?"
"Not at all Miss Carol." Peridot replied, giving a thumbs up.
"Just don't destroy the house while I'm gone." Carol said before putting her shoes on and walking to her car before closing the door once Steven and K.O were outside.
"Don't you have work today Carol?" Steven asked.
"Nah, the Fitness Dojo is closed on Sunday's. I got a little day off today." Carol answered, opening the car and sitting down in the drivers seat. "Seatbelt's on you two."
Steven and K.O clipped on their seatbelts and Carol drove off to the plaza to drop them off for work. Since it was Sunday, she didn't have to leave them there for long since the bodega closed at 2:30pm.
Once Carol reached the plaza, she dropped them off and said goodbye to them before driving off. Steven and K.O then walked into the bodega, managing to clock in on time. And so they started their shift with Enid and Rad, who were already in and at work.
Meanwhile, in Boxmore...
Boxman and Se7en were watching some footage from yesterday when Lapis and Peridot fought against Enid and Rad in the plaza. Boxman was heavily confused as he watched it. "A water manipulator? HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?!"
"It's because she's a Lapis Lazuli, that's why." Se7en said. "They are terraformers that manipulate the landscape of my Homeworld's colonies. This one experts in water."
"And that green thing, I've seen one of those in my factory lately, what is that one?" Boxman asked.
"Peridots. They work as technicians and are very skilled in technology and repairs." Se7en answered. "There are Era 1 and 2 Peridots. The ones you see in your factory currently are Era 2's, you can tell with their limb enhancers."
"But why are there these strange people in my factory? Only my robots are supposed to work!" Boxman asked again.
"They are just gems from my superiors who are here to assist you with your robot development. There's no need to worry." Se7en replied.
Boxman smirked. "And how is Main Strike coming along?"
"Very well. We still need a few more things before we announce our plan to the other villains here." Se7en spoke.
An hour later, back at K.O's house..l.
"So when is Steven going to come back?" Lapis asked.
"Around 2:30pm. He doesn't have a long work day today." Carol answered. "Anyway, are you two busy?"
Lapis turned around to see Peridot tapping away at her tablet in the guest room and then looked back at Carol. "No, why?"
"Do you think you two could help me with cleaning the house?" Carol nicely asked. "The cleaning flys aren't available today so I've gotta do it before they come back."
"I guess so..." Lapis replied. "I mean, I don't have much on right now so..."
"Great! Downstairs in the kitchen is a bucket and a mop. Could you just mop the kitchen?" Carol said.
"I can do that." Lapis spoke, getting up and walking to Peridot in the guest room. "Peridot, can you help me for a sec?"
Peridot paused her video and placed her tablet down on the bed. "Of course Lazuli. What with?"
"I need your help to 'mop' the kitchen floor." Lapis stated.
"Ok then." Peridot said, getting up from the bed and walking downstairs to the kitchen with Lapis.
Meanwhile, back at Gar's Bodega...
"Did you call Dendy about yesterday?" Steven asked.
"I did. She should be here within a few minutes." K.O responded, placing a chip into his mouth and eating it.
"Actually, I'm already here." Dendy's voice called out, making K.O and Steven jump as she suddenly appeared behind K.O.
"I got your message K.O. And when you told me about it, I decided to take a look into it myself." Dendy stated. "I took the Supercharged Darrell's motherboard and found some unusual things on it that were different to how a usual Darrell's motherboard should look like."
"And what are those unusual things?" K.O asked.
Dendy pulled up a blue holo screen and showed pictures of some unusual looking electrical chips that Dendy had found. "These are the components I found on the Supercharged Darrell's motherboard. Three of them were unidentifiable since I don't have any record of any chip making company that made these three chips. But the one I found was kind of suspicious."
She then brought up a small chip with a green LED attached to it. "Apparently this is a bio-chip. This is what's causing the robots from Boxmore to be very strong. But the maker is interesting."
"Who made the chip?" Steven asked.
"You won't believe this." Dendy said as she opened her POW Card compartment on her HackPac and pulled out a familiar card. K.O gasped as he saw that the card was of the one Professor Venomous, with a power level of -7.
"Professor Venomous made the chip!?" K.O yelped.
"Apparently so. His emblem is on the chip but is very small. I'd like to get into some more detail at some time so I was wondering if that we could use my Holojector to show a more detailed explanation about this chip and what Venomous is working on." Dendy spoke.
"We'd like to hear it." Steven said. "When can you do it?"
"Maybe tomorrow if you're available, of course." Dendy replied.
K.O nodded. "Sounds good to us. We'll come to your lab tomorrow after school."
"Can I bring two extra people?" Steven added.
"I guess so. Who are they?" Dendy answered.
"You'll meet them tomorrow. They're back at K.O's place." Steven said.
"Very well then." Dendy's holo screen dissipated and she grabbed her HackPac's straps. "I shall see you two, and the plus two, tomorrow. Have a good day you two."
"Bye Dendy!" K.O called out, waving to her.
Chapter 22: Chapter 22 - The Crystal Pariahs
Meanwhile, in Beach City...
Miles and Jezzie swung open the doors as they left the BCPD building and walked towards their car. "Five days and nothing has come up. I swear to god this might be the hardest case to tackle since the 'Doe Killer'."
"Well you never know how these kinds of cases can go." Jezzie responded, taking a sip of her coffee. "Ever hear about that whole case about that missing kid over in San Fransisco?"
"Yes I did and I don't want to hear it." Miles said, opening his car door. "I'd like to focus on other things today."
Miles then sat down in his drivers seat while Jezzie sat in the passenger seat. They both buckled their seatbelts before Miles started his car and drove away from the BCPD building.
"Where are we even going anyway?" Jezzie asked, taking another sip of her coffee from her thermos.
"Town Hall." Miles answered. "Got a call that there's some guy there parading about the gems and how they're responsible for Steven going missing and all the other stuff they've done to Beach City."
"Guy has a right to free speech, right?" Jezzie remarked.
"Not if it involves slander against the people affected by the case." Miles said, keeping his eyes on the road as they drove to Town Hall.
At Town Hall....
"These Crystal Gems have caused damage to our community!" A man wearing a beige jacket and black shirt yelled.
The crowd in front of his yelled in agreement to his statement. The man speaking was named Arthur Thompson, a local fishing partner of Yellowtail's and a former army marine. He grew up in Kentucky before moving to Beach City after the war, but after he found out about what the Crystal Gems and what they've done to the town in the past, he wasn't a big fan of their activities. And even after hearing the rumours about them and Steven's father being involved in kidnapping and possibly murdering Steven, whom he saw as a innocent kid who was pulled into their activities at too young of an age to be doing such things, Arthur didn't hesitate to join those people who believed those rumours.
"They may have protected our homestead and our world from those weird monsters, but think about all the bad things those aliens have done." Arthur spoke. "They've been responsible for damages to our buildings in the past, they've been responsible for that invasion a few days ago, and they've been responsible for putting a kid they were supposed to protect into the battlefield at such a young age!"
The crowd yelled in agreement again. "Steven Universe. I've seen this kid sometimes when he walks around our town some days, some of them being with one of those gems. And most of the time back then, I saw that he was happy. He must've been the happiest kid I saw. But then as time progressed, he seemed a little less happier each day I saw him. Sure, he still helped out with the civilians around him, but still, he didn't seem happy each time I saw him pass by as the clock moved on forward."
"It's like these gems are pressuring him too much!" Arthur remarked. "Hell, even my fishing partner Yellowtail told me one time that his kid Sour Cream was told by Steven that he felt like he didn't feel that appreciated by his caretakers. Do you know how I felt when I heard that? I felt remorse for the kid, but anger against the gems. Why would they make that innocent, pure kid feel insecure about himself? It's madness."
"So tell me, do you think that the gems are truly protectors of our homestead?" Arthur asked. "Or are they guilty of making a kid feel so bad about himself and then possibly kidnapping and murdering him? Because I'm sure, that in a few days, his body is gonna turn up anytime now somewhere in our fair town."
Then, Miles and Jezzie turned up and called him out. "Alright preacher-man, your times up. Get off the stage."
Arthur turned to him. "Well, if it ain't Miles Sycamore, the head of this so-called kidnapping case of Steven Universe. Tell me, why do you defend those aliens and that innocent kid's deadbeat father?"
"I don't need to tell you anything because you've got no evidence to prove that either Greg or the Crystal Gems had anything to do with what happened to Steven Universe. Now get off the stage or I'm placing you under arrest." Miles responded, holding up a pair of handcuffs.
"Greg could be lying!" Arthur answered back. "And those gems too! Sometimes, these kinds of criminals hide away their crime by acting like they want to get involved. Maybe Greg and those gems could all be sociopaths who are trying to pull off the perfect crime.."
"Arthur Thompson, this is your last warning." Miles said. "Either get off the stage or else I take you down to the station."
Arthur grunted. "Fine. But I'm not done with my point! People, if you would like to come with me to their base and help me drive them out of our humble community, by so join me."
Arthur walked off the stage and out of the building, while a massive group of the people listening to him followed him out. Miles just sighed and rubbed his head. "God, this day has already made me feel sick of society."
"Tell me about it." Jezzie remarked, taking another sip of her coffee.
At the Temple...
Pearl was pacing left and right while Garnet sat on the couch looking through different paths in her future vision. Amethyst was currently out looking for Steven in The Great North but hadn't come back yet.
The house was very silent with the only noise being Pearl's feet tapping as she continued to pace. She stopped for a moment before turning to Garnet. "Can you see anything about where he went?"
Garnet turned to look at Pearl, didn't say anything for about a few seconds, and then took off her visor to show her sad eyes. "I still can't see him. It's still fuzzy."
Pearl let out a sad sigh and walked over to Garnet and sat next to her on the couch. "Why is your future vision acting like this? It usually doesn't do this sort of thing..."
"I still don't know... Is it because one of us is unstable?" Garnet questioned, clenching and unclenching her hands.
"It could be. Maybe either Ruby and Sapphire is still very worried about what state our Steven could be in." Pearl suggested. "Garnet, how does Ruby and Sapphire feel about this situation?"
Garnet was silent. She then looked at her gems in her hands and then looked back at Pearl. Garnet placed her visor back on and rubbed her eyes underneath it. "Ruby is a little upset about him being gone while Sapphire is just feeling absolutely worried about Steven and is very concerned about where he is. She just feels so terrible that just after we got him back from Homeworld, he disappeared again."
"So you're saying that Sapphire is the possible candidate of the one being unstable in Garnet?" Pearl asked.
"Presumably." Garnet responded. "It might not be but I just feel the same way Ruby and Sapphire feel about this. I'm surprised I'm still holding it together."
And just then, the Warp Pad glowed a bright blue as Amethyst returned from The Great North, her hair having a few spots of frost covering it. "He's not there either. So you can cross The Great North off the list."
"Right..." Pearl said, pulling out a notebook from her gem and crossing it off the list of places she wrote. "I think tomorrow I'll check the next location."
"Good. That whole placed pretty much frosted my hair." Amethyst spoke, shaking off the frost on her hair.
But just then, they heard a faint chanting from the right side of the beach house, causing Pearl to be a little confused about what that was. "Now who could those be?"
She then got up from the couch and walked to the screen door and opened it before heading over to the porch and looking over to her right. She then saw a group of angry people lead by Arthur Thompson who were chanting a mantra of something she couldn't make out.
"Garnet, Amethyst, I think you need to see this..." Pearl said, motioning them to come out onto the porch.
Garnet and Amethyst did what Pearl asked them to do and went onto the porch to see the big group of angry people waking over to the Temple chanting the still-unintelligible mantra they were chanting. Once the whole group was in front of the house, the chanting stopped and Arthur stood up to the front.
"What are you all doing here?" Pearl asked. "Aren't most of you supposed to be at your so called 'jobs'?"
"I am Arthur Thompson." Arthur introduced. "And these are the people who believe you have something to do with that boy you take care of going missing!"
"W-What?!" Pearl squawked. "Why would we have anything to do with our Steven getting kidnapped?!"
"I'll tell you why!" Arthur yelled. "Because you made him so insecure about himself that you decided to have him get kidnapped just to get rid of him!"
The crowd riled up in agreement as they yelled at the gems, who were a little annoyed that a group of people believed that they were responsible for Steven going missing. "W-We didn't make him feel insecure! We love our Steven and we'll never back down on that statement!"
"Oh sure you love Steven." Arthur sarcastically spoke back. "Enough for him to tell one of his friends that he felt like you only loved him for his gem!"
Ouch. That statement was almost harsh enough to make Pearl and the others cry. They even had to bite their lip to prevent themselves for doing so, even when they felt a tear forming in their eyes. Even Amethyst was also hurt by Arthur's statement since she was the closest to him and didn't love him for his gem, but rather himself in total.
"We love Steven for who he is!" Garnet cried out. "What makes you think we loved him only for that?"
"Didn't you hear what I just said?" Arthur called back. "And besides making a boy you were supposed to take care of and making him feel insecure about himself is worse than all the crap you caused to our community!"
The crowd riled up again. "You damaged our buildings, you got some people nearly kidnapped by some aliens, you even almost pulled away the tourists that help us fund our town after that whole 'ocean is gone' fiasco!"
"We had nothing to do with that last one!" Amethyst yelled out. "Now what do you want ya jerk?!"
"One word: Leave." Arthur said. "Leave our town for good and never come back! Go bother Ocean Town, go traumatise Keystone, or better off yet: LEAVE OUR PLANET!!"
The crowd riled up once more. Pearl's expression then changed to a very angry one and she then slammed her hands onto the balcony.
"Now listen here human! We've shown you townsfolk nothing but gratitude since we've come here and we've been protecting your homestead ever since we first came here! You should be thanking us since we're the gems that have prevented your town from being nothing but rubble if a corrupted gem ever attacked here! So maybe you should be showing us some respect in return for us protecting this town! And here's an extra thing, We. Have nothing. To do. With Steven. Going missing!" Pearl screamed back.
The whole area was silent for a few moments. Arthur just stared at Pearl with his brown, stern eyes as he decided his next plan of action. But then, he just pointed his finger at her and kept staring at her, his eyes narrowed.
"You know what?" Arthur said. "We're gonna go now. I'm done wasting my time here arguing with you."
Arthur motioned for the crowd behind him to go, which they did as they walked away from the Temple while Arthur kept on looking at her. "But just one more thing before I go."
"What?" Pearl asked, her tone still annoyed.
Arthur lowered his finger. "Maybe you should think about what you did to Steven before you guys caused him to disappear...."
Arthur then turned around and walked away from the Temple. Pearl just stood there, thinking about what he said before he started to walk off. Were they really the reason why Steven was gone?
Pearl just kept the thought in mind as the gems walked back into the house, closing the screen door behind them.
Chapter 23: Chapter 23 - The Lab
Lakewood. Six Days Gone
After talking with Dendy the other day, the three agreed that they'd discuss her findings in her lab under the school. She also allowed Enid and Rad to come along since K.O thought they'd need to know why Boxmore's robots were more powerful than usual.
So after the talk, they'd gone back to work as usual, locked up early since it was a Sunday, and decided to just hang out for the rest of the day since Steven, K.O, Lapis and Peridot didn't have much to do so they decided to just do a movie marathon on K.O's laptop. They'd spent the day watching films back to back until it was time to go to sleep.
Steven did have a strange dream during the night about meeting White Diamond and then suddenly losing his memories and becoming some kind of version Steven never wanted to be. He apparently had all of the 4 Diamond's abilities and had a new name. The dream did end however right as he was about to kill Connie. It confused Steven, but he just shrugged it off and went back to sleep. The amazing thing is that he didn't wake up Lapis or Peridot from their slumber.
Now, K.O and Steven were about to head to school but they were talking to Lapis and Peridot about the plan and what to do for when they're about to head to the lab and discuss the new modifications to the Boxmore robots.
"Okay, so me and Steven have planned to meet my friend Dendy down in her underground lab after school. We're gonna discuss what is up with the Boxmore robots." K.O explained.
"This 'Dendy' person seems to be one of intellect if she has a lab." Peridot responded, tapping her chin. "Also, who are the 'Boxmore robots'?"
Steven gulped. He forgot to tell Lapis and Peridot about who the robots were and why they were going to talk about their recent changes. But in a flash, Steven Universe managed to come up with a way to answer the green gem's question.
"We'll explain who the Boxmore robots are when we're all in the lab." Steven said. "Anyway, now for the time you want to be at Lakewood Public School by is 3:30pm. That's when the final bell of the day goes and all the parents/carers come to pick up their children. My idea is that you two act as my sisters and that you've come to pick me and K.O up, but instead, we'll sneak you guys in and then we'll get you inside Dendy's lab. That sound like a good plan?"
"It sounds pretty good, Steven." Lapis agreed, giving a small smile and a thumbs up. "Small question though, how will we know what time me and Peridot have to be at this 'school' for?"
"My tablet has an alarm function." Peridot said. "I can set an alarm for then and that way we'll get the signal to come to you guys."
"Good thinking Peridot." Steven complemented.
"You kids ready? You're gonna be late!" Carol called out.
"We're coming mommy!" K.O yelled back.
"Alright, I'll see you soon. Remember the plan." Steven said, hugging Lapis and Peridot.
"We will. Don't worry about it." Lapis assured, stroking his curly hair.
Steven nodded as him and K.O walked out the house and towards Carol's car. They both got in, clipped in their seatbelts, and let Carol drive the two towards the school.
During the ride, it was mostly silent since neither Steven, K.O or Carol had anything to talk about. The only sounds around them was the radio playing some kind of music and the car traveling down the road. Steven just fidgeted with his fingers while listening to the generic-sounding music on the radio. Meanwhile, K.O was just looking straight ahead of him while he kept to himself.
*"Hey faker....."* A familiar dark voice whispered in K.O's head.
K.O yelped in shock as the voice was so sudden in his head. This caused Steven to look over to his friend in concern and check what was up with him. "Are you alright, K.O?"
"Y-Yeah..." K.O shuddered. "I'm a-alright..."
The dark voice chuckled. *"Oh I know you're not alright! You're scared, aren't you?"*
K.O just clutched onto his head and whispered something unintelligible from either Steven or Carol. "Please go away, please go away, please go away, please go away-"
"We're here!" Carol announced.
K.O gasped again. This time from the suddenness of Carol's words while he whispered to himself. Carol took notice of this and turned to him with a concerned expression. "Peanut! Are you alright?"
"I-I'm fine Mommy, really!" K.O replied, his voice sounding a little nervous.
Carol nodded and then allowed Steven and K.O to exit the car. They both said goodbye to Carol and she drove off to the plaza to head for another day of work. The two kids then went their separate ways and went to their respective floors; K.O heading to the Elementary level and Steven heading to the High level.
Steven then walked into his first class, which was Geography. He set his stuff at his desk and waited for the lesson to start. Most of the kids in the room were either on their phones, talking to each other, or just messing around as some kids were running around the room like a lightning bug high on some energy drink.
He then felt his phone vibrate, which then made Steven pull out his phone and check what it was. It was only Peridot, who had texted him through her messaging app on her tablet. He opened up the messages app and checked to see what it was.
Peridot 👽: Hey! What are me and Lapis supposed to do while we wait for 3:30 to come?
Steven tapped on his keyboard a quick response.
Steven ⭐️: You can probably just do some sort of movie or CPH marathon. Maybe you could do that?
After he hit send, it wasn't until a half-minute until he got a response.
Peridot 👽: Oh. Thanks for the suggestion!
Steven ⭐️: No prob Peri. Love you guys!
Steven then put his phone into silent and back into his backpack. It was just in time for when the school bell went and everyone was pretty much at their seats. Steven pulled out his pencil case and awaited the school day he had to currently face.
Meanwhile, back with Lapis and Peridot...
"So, what are we watching?" Lapis asked. The two were now in the living room in front of the TV. Lapis was sat back on the couch while Peridot surfed through a menu screen of various movies and tv shows with the remote.
"Well, after my discovery of this so-called 'streaming' service called 'Netflix', I decided we should pick something from here." Peridot answered. "Besides, didn't we finish watching CPH a long time ago?"
"You always like to rewatch them. It's surprising you haven't gotten bored of CPH yet." Lapis stated.
Peridot's face flushed in embarrassment. "Well... I... I.."
Lapis giggled. "It's alright Peridot. You don't need to feel embarrassed about something like that."
Lapis then sat up. "So what are we gonna watch?"
"There's so much choice here..." Peridot said. "I think it's gonna be hard to pick one."
Back with Steven and K.O, six hours later...
Steven was finishing up a evaluation for a physics experiment the class had done and had managed to get it done just before the final bell rang. He handed it in to his physics teacher, grabbed his stuff, and made his way to the bottom floor to meet up with K.O, Dendy and the others.
He took the stairs down, which were long as heck since the school building was very tall and nothing like how Connie had described school back when he was in Beach City. Heck, this school was very different from when he visited Connie's school for a day that one time until he was told never to come back there again. But on the bright side, he did somehow manage to obtain an A on a English paper he did while he was there.
After walking down the long stairway, he finally made it to the bottom floor, where K.O and Dendy were waiting. Once he got up with them, the two turned to him.
"You're a bit late, how come?" Dendy asked.
"I took the stairs. Elevator was rammed as heck." Steven responded, wiping his forehead since he was sweating from running down all those stairs.
"Well, at least you're here. Enid and Rad said they'd be here in a few minutes." K.O stated. "Where's Lapis and Peridot?"
"They should be coming now." Steven said.
And if on cue, the green and blue gems entered the building and walked up to them. "Speak of the devil."
"We got here as fast as we could." Lapis spoke, wiping down her dress. "Thanks to my wings, we were able to get here much faster than we could if we walked."
"And thanks to the alarm I set, we weren't late." Peridot added. "So I have to thank you for that idea."
"No prob Peridot." Steven said. "So what did you two do today?"
"Peridot got this idea to use this 'Netflix' thing to watch something on, but all it turned into was just us scrolling through the select screen." Lapis replied.
"There was just simply too much for us and almost none of it looked like it would entertain us in any way." Peridot added. "So we just went back to CPH, but we were only able to watch about 2 episodes until the alarm went off."
"Maybe we should have a movie night for all of us." K.O suggested. "I could bring the snacks, Steven could choose the movie and we all can relax together! How does that sound Steven?"
"It sounds like a great idea, K.O!" Steven agreed, giving a thumbs up.
Then, Enid and Rad entered the building. "Are we late?"
"Not at all Radicles." Dendy stated. "Now that we're all here, follow me."
The group nodded and they followed Dendy into the elevator and went up to the Elementary level. Once they got there, the whole floor was deserted, no kids or teachers were out in the hallways. Dendy found this perfect since no one would be able to find her hidden lab if they were watching her.
Dendy then activated the secret way to get the transportation to her lab open and the group all jumped into the pipe that lead straight towards the lab. And it was cramped, very cramped.
And a few seconds later, the group reached the lab, crashing onto the floor from the impact of the pipe launching them out of it. There were a few groans but most of them were alright, including Lapis and Peridot who didn't seem to enthralled about being crammed into a very narrow pipeline that lead to a secret lab. It almost reminded Lapis of where she was before she was free, which made her shudder in fear.
Eventually, Dendy and the rest of the group got back up on their feet. "Alright, everyone just follow me and we'll start the explanation."
The group nodded and followed Dendy once more, this time into a small, little, dark room with a few chairs and a Holojector at the far back of the room. Each of the group then sat down into the chairs and awaited for Dendy to start her explanation.
"Hey Dendy?" Steven said to the kappa.
"Yes Steven?" Dendy asked.
"Before you go into what the Boxmore robots have had done to them, can you explain to Lapis and Peridot who they are first? They're gonna be kinda confused if you go straight to the point." Steven pleaded.
"Of course, Steven. Since your friends haven't come face to face with them yet, I'd be glad to give them the full rundown of them." Dendy agreed, smiling at the hybrid.
Steven nodded, in a way that clearly meant 'thank you', and sat back down at his chair.
Then, Dendy picked up a little remote and pressed a button on it. This activated the Holojector and caused one wall of the room to light up with a light blue aura that currently showed a picture of Venomous' power chip. "Alright, before I go into this explanation, I'd like to talk to Lapis and Peridot about who the Boxmore robots are."
"I've heard of them, but I surely don't know what they are." Peridot stated.
"Well that's why I'm going to give you two a rundown of who they are." Dendy said back.
She then went into detail about how they were created and who their creator was. She went into each of the robots' abilities, personalities, all the stuff about them. She then talked about their strange new changes and why they were going to be talking about them today.
Once she was done talking, the two gems simply nodded and looked on at Dendy and the image being projected by the Holojector. "Now, onto the main reason why the rest of you are here."
"You may see this as a simple chip. A chip usually used in technology or any other thing comparable with tech like this." Dendy started. "But this isn't just some chip, it's a biochip. A chip that can be implanted into a human cranium or in the spinal cord that can give certain things. Think of it as like a pacemaker, but with a different use instead of regulating a heartbeat."
"This biochip is not made by the most common bioengineers here in Lakewood. It's made by none other than Professor Venomous himself." Those words caused Enid and Rad to gasp. "Yes, I said that correctly. The infamous bioengineer villain who has never been caught and is one of the most deadly villains out there in this world of heroes and villains."
"What surprises me is that Boxman recently ordered a large shipment of these chips from Venomous himself. But what really surprises me is that there was another chip inside the robots' motherboard." Dendy pressed the button on the remote she was holding, switching the hologram from Venomous' chip to an unfamiliar chip that no one in the room could figure out who it was made by. "This was found next to the biochip, it looks simple enough, but I've not been able to get inside what is on this thing. But there is a symbol on it though."
She pressed the button once again and it caused the hologram of the chip to zoom in at one position of the chip, where the symbol of three triangles arranged in a tri-force arrangement was in full view. Steven, Lapis and Peridot instantly knew what the symbol was of and who they represented.
"This symbol obviously resembles some kind of new group, but I've not been able to make heads or tails of what it is." Dendy said. "I was thinking it could be some new group of villains, but I doubt it is-"
"It's Homeworld." Lapis spoke out, interrupting Dendy mid-sentence. The blue ocean gem then stood up and looked at the symbol. "The symbol represents The Great Diamond Authority of Homeworld."
There was silence for a few seconds, until Rad asked, "Who are they? They sound like a big deal."
Peridot was the next one to stand up and speak. She cleared her throat and looked at Rad with stern and serious eyes. "They are a big deal, they're the matriarchs of Homeworld; the home planet of the Gem race. It is made up of three diamonds: Yellow, White and Blue. There was a Pink Diamond, but she was shattered by Rose Quartz, the leader of the rebellion against Homeworld."
"How do you know all this?" Dendy asked, her head tilted in confusion.
"Me and Lapis used to serve Homeworld. However, Lapis got caught up in a war and ended up being lost for several thousand years and I called Yellow Diamond a clod, which makes us no longer part of the Homeworld regime." Peridot answered. But Lapis flinched at the mention of how she ended up in the mirror she was trapped in.
"I see." Dendy said. "Anyway, what I could conclude with for this so-called 'Homeworld Chip' is that it doubles the energy input and output and increases power levels. And that's when it's combined with the biochip from Venomous."
"But my question is this: why would this... Homeworld get involved with Lord Boxman's business and plans?" Enid asked.
"That I do not know." Dendy responded. "The only info I've gotten is through tapping Boxmore's calls and video feeds. Not much from calls except for orders for more biochips, but the video feed I got recently gave me something interesting."
She pressed the button once more and showed a video feed of inside the Boxmore factory. In the feed was Boxman talking to a figure no one could make out or even recognise. Then, in the feed, the figure turned away from Boxman and towards the direction of the camera. Dendy paused it there and looked back at the group.
"That figure there. I think they might have something to do with what is going on with the robots." Dendy said.
"They probably do." Steven stated, turning to K.O afterward. "What do you think, K.O?"
K.O was a little silent, he hadn't even turned to Steven when he asked him his question. K.O was just staring at the hologram. Steven, now very worried for his friend, tapped his shoulder, making K.O jump and yelp in surprise.
"K.O? Are you alright?" Steven asked again, it was like déja vu since he had asked this to K.O when they were riding to school.
"I'm fine. I just... Zoned out for a second there." K.O answered, rubbing his eyes.
"Ok..." Dendy whispered to herself. "Well then.... Shall I continue?"
"Please do." Lapis said.
Dendy cleared her throat. She then continued to speak about something else related to the topic at hand and about the figure in the video. However, K.O was a little zoned out. He was anxious. There would be only one reason why he would be anxious.
He heard him while in the car, taunting him. K.O knew what T.K.O was like and judging from how he acted this morning, something was bound to happen. But his thought were then interrupted once a voice spoke out again.
*"Ya there, faker?"*
K.O's heart skipped a beat when he heard his voice again. "What do you want T.K.O? Can't you just leave me alone?"
*"You know, I've been watching that new friend of your and I've seen how powerful he is."* T.K.O pointed out. *"I've even seen your so-called 'fusion' together. Which made me wonder, how cool would it be for me to fuse with that kid?"*
"You're not taking control T.K.O! Not after last time!" K.O mentally yelled back.
*"Oh K.O...."* T.K.O whispered.
*"Do you really have a choice if I take control or not?"*
Then, K.O's hands started to twitch. His expression quickly changed to a very scared one as he saw his hands twitching and his wristbands turn to spiked bracelets. "T.K.O, please! Don't!"
"Oh I love it when I see you struggle to keep me back..." T.K.O taunted. "It just shows you that you're powerless to stop me..."
K.O then started to feel a powerfully painful headache, and he knew what this meant. T.K.O was about to take control. Purple sparks started to emit from his hands and K.O knew now that there was no stopping it now. He could feel his control being stripped away.
*"Now it's time to formally introduce myself..."*
And then, without warning. The whole room went dark, causing the whole group to scream in surprise. Apparently, the bulb in the Holojector had blown and caused the whole room to lose its light and go entire pitch black.
"Wait, what's happened to the lights?" Enid asked, confused.
"Did we blow a fuse?" Rad added.
"I doubt it." Peridot said. "I think that maybe something else has happened."
"Wait! Steven! Where are you?" Lapis called out.
Peridot then activated her gem to give off a beam of green light, creating a flashlight for her. "Steven! Where are you!?"
"K.O! Are you alright? Where are you?" Dendy yelled out.
Peridot then felt a hand clasp onto her. "Oh, Steven! I'm glad you're oka-"
But when she looked down at the hand she was holding, it had a spiked bracelet. It wasn't Steven's hand. This caused Peridot to feel at risk since she had never seen a hand like this before. "S-Steven?"
Peridot then looked up at who's hand she was holding, only for T.K.O to jump out at her and scare her, causing Peridot and the entire room to scream. Peridot got so scared that her gem light went out.
"PERIDOT, STEVEN!? WHERE ARE YOU?!" Lapis screamed.
Lapis couldn't see anything, but then felt Peridot's hand grab her and pull her out of the room. "I CAN'T SEE ANYTHING!"
"Guys! Where are you!?" Enid called out, grasping for anything in the darkness.
"Hang on, I've got a flashlight!" Dendy spoke, reaching her hands for her flashlight mod on her HackPac. She managed to grab it and turn it on, illuminating the rest of the group's faces and causing them to scream.
"Guys! Calm down! We're fine!" Dendy yelled, trying to calm down the group.
And as if they were students in a private school, the group tried to take easy and slow breaths to try and calm them down. They were still breathing heavily (probably from screaming and running out of the room they were in) but overall they were a little bit calmer now.
Peridot and Lapis were shuddering however, especially Peridot, who was hugging Lapis as tight as she could. "W-W-What w-was t-t-that..?"
"That was T.K.O.... K.O's dark and edgy side." Rad briefly explained. "He broke all of my bones in my body last time I met that little punk..."
"Oh my..." Lapis whispered, covering her mouth in shock.
But then, the sound of shuffling around made the group jump and turn to where the sound came from. "What was that?"
Then, Peridot then noticed the absence of one of their group. "Wait, where's Steven!?"
Enid then turned to the group and noticed that Peridot was right, Steven was missing from their group! "You're right! Steven! Where are you!?"
"Hey little dude! It's me, Radicles!" Rad yelled out. "Come on out!
"Steven!" Lapis called out.
But then, the sound of loud footsteps entered the room. Dendy slowly pointed her flashlight at the source of the sound and saw something (or rather, someone) walking towards them. And as they got closer to the light, some of the distinctions of them were very familiar to someone they knew best.
They wore a red and yellow star shirt (now slightly ripped), under a blue Gar's Bodega vest while it had purple spiked bracelets on the wrists. They still wore some familiar leg warmers, blue jean shorts and some salmon pink flip-flops. It's hair was long and not so curly anymore and didn't have a familiar red headband all while under their eyes was purple eyeshadow and they had some sharp teeth to go along with it. But in its navel, was a pink Rose Quartz gem.
The group gasped, covering their mouths while their eyes went wide as they looked at someone that resembled the familiar Kaiven, but it wasn't really Kaiven. Lapis looked at them with pure horror in her eyes while Peridot clutched onto her.
For the first time, Turbo Kaiven (or T. Kaiven, for short) had been formed.
Chapter 24: Chapter 24 - Lab Hunt
The group kept looking at T. Kaiven, who was giving a quite creepy smile which flashed his sharp teeth as his smile widened. But then, he started to walk toward them, purple sparks flickering in his hand. The group backed up as the fusion kept walking forward toward them, his evil smile growing as he approached them.
Dendy then quickly switched to a strobe option on her flashlight, blinding T. Kaiven as he covered his eyes and hissed at the sudden action. The group then ran away from the forced fusion and toward a secured section of Dendy's lab. The fusion uncovered his eyes, then growling at the sight of the group now gone.
"Where did they go?" T. Kaiven spoke, clenching his fists. "I swear when I find those twerps I'm gonna-"
He then groaned in pain as he felt the Steven side of the fusion trying to push away from T.K.O's side. But T.K.O managed to put himself back into a more stable condition as he forced the Steven side from taking over and splitting the two up.
"K-K.O!" Steven cried internally. "Please stop! They're your friends!"
"I'm not K.O, punk." T.K.O replied. "I'm T.K.O. And I'm gonna give your and that faker's friends a little scare..."
Steven internally whimpered. This was T.K.O? This was how he acted? And also, just like how Lapis lost control over Jasper when she was Malachite, it seemed that he had no choice but to watch as his friends were going to be hunted by this dark and edgy alter-ego of his new best friend.
Meanwhile, with the others...
The group were now in a more fortified room inside the lab, where Peridot was still a little freaked out about seeing T.K.O for the first time while Lapis, Rad, Enid and Dendy stood around the room looking at her pace around and clutch her shaky arms.
"Who was that?!" Peridot cried out, still a little bit scared about what she had just seen. "I'd like a little more info on who that... Thing was!"
"That was T.K.O. K.O's turbonic form. He's sort of like an alter-ego of K.O, where instead of being nice and friendly, T.K.O is the opposite." Dendy explained. "I've been studying him for a while now and I've come to fruition that he's powerful than any of us. Even Mr. Gar at the plaza can't even beat him."
"What happened the first time he appeared?" Lapis asked, curious about the news about K.O's alter-ego.
"First time we met him, he destroyed the plaza and kicked all our butts." Enid answered. "He even broke every bone in Rad's body and almost killed his own mom."
"I can still feel the cob forsaken pain I felt that day sometimes." Rad shuddered, holding onto himself at the memory of what occurred on that day.
"T.K.O nearly killed his own mother?" Peridot gasped, her hand covering her mouth at the information.
"Yes, but thankfully K.O retook control and managed to beat T.K.O back into his cage." Enid added. "It took him a lot of time to recover from the experience, however. I remember having to hug him one day when I found him in the break room crying about it. It just hurts my heart to even see him crying, he's a sweet kid, he doesn't deserve to feel that way."
"Same way I think about Steven." Lapis spoke, pressing her hand against her chest. "He freed me from the mirror and showed me the great things about the Earth. But in my way, I've... Always felt these funny feelings ever since he saved me..."
"Is that so?" Enid asked. "It's almost like you have a crush on him."
"Okay, I know this is light-hearted and all, but have we forgotten that there's a fusion between Steven and that edgy boy out there!?" Rad butted in. "I mean, we're sitting ducks here!"
"Rad's right." Dendy said. "If they're still out there, we have to do something."
"But if that fusion between T.K.O and Steven is more powerful than us, how are we going to stop them?" Peridot asked.
Dendy tapped her chin while tilting her head to the side, as to show to the others that she was thinking of something. She was silent for a few minutes until she eventually thought of an idea. She then walked to the other side of the room and shone her flashlight at a black box attached to the wall, where she then inputted a code into a keypad on the box which caused a compartment to open up, showing two pairs of red goggles with metal frames and two black tranquilliser guns.
She then grabbed a pair and a gun before removing her current eyewear and replacing it with the red goggles. She placed her normal glasses/goggles in her HackPac and cocked her gun, loading a tranquilliser dart. The others looked a little afraid of the intention of what Dendy had in mind as she held the tranquilliser gun.
"Uh, Dendy?" Rad asked. "Are you implying that we shoot him?!"
"Only with a harmless tranquilliser dart." Dendy reassured, causing the whole group to sigh in relief. "These tranquilliser guns have darts in them that can probably settle down the so-called 'fusion' between Steven and T.K.O and probably cause them to separate. That way, we can revert T.K.O back into K.O."
"And the goggles?" Peridot asked.
"These are thermal goggles." Dendy pointed to the goggles she was wearing. "Since T.K.O cut the power to the lab, it'll be harder for us to find them in the dark. So these thermal glasses should be able to help us navigate my lab safely and be able to lock onto the fusion's heat signature."
Dendy then looked at the group. "Any questions?"
"Yeah I have one." Rad stated. "How do you own these things? Aren't you about, 6 or something?"
"I created them myself inside this very lab for the sole purpose of in case T.K.O ever goes rampant in the lab when I'm testing on him." Dendy answered. "I got the idea after the first time T.K.O destroyed my lab."
"Makes sense." Enid remarked.
"Anyway. Gear up. We've gotta find them before they find a way out this lab and out into the surface." Dendy said, moving over to the other black boxes in the room and unlocking them for the others. Enid, Rad, Peridot and Lapis grabbed themselves a pair of thermal goggles and a tranquilliser gun each and met at the reinforced door that lead to the main part of the lab.
"Alright. Everyone ready?" Dendy asked.
The group nodded. Dendy nodded too and cocked her gun. "Remember, you only have ten darts in the gun. So don't waste any."
She then slowly and quietly unlocked the reinforced metal door and very slowly opened the door. The group then switched on their thermal goggles, showing them a more clearer path throughout the lab. Each of the group came up as a full-body heat signature except for Lapis and Peridot since they didn't really need heat much since they were pretty much aliens and that their forms were made of light.
The group made their way forward through the lab as they looked around the place in search for a heat signature of T. Kaiven. So far, nothing had come up in their goggles. Which was a bit of a worry for Dendy since she didn't even want to think of the thought that T. Kaiven had already escaped and was already causing chaos on the surface. But she put the thought out of her mind in order for her to not lose focus on the task at hand.
Her focus was lost for second, along with the other's, after they all heard a clang come from somewhere in the lab. They all held up their tranquilliser guns just in case T. Kaiven decided to jump them and take them by surprise. They then heard an evil chuckle, which caused Peridot to yelp and waste one of her darts by firing it toward the place she thought she heard it.
They continued to move on as they kept their weapons drawn and aimed to spots in the lab where T. Kaiven could take them by surprise. The atmosphere was tense, like in a horror movie where the protagonists are trapped in a small space and are trying to run away from the killer/monster. You know, in movies like 'Alien'.
"Have either of you found anything yet?" Dendy whispered to the group.
"No, no signatures of them." Enid replied, whispering back to Dendy.
"You too?" Rad whispered.
"Negative." Peridot added.
"Nothing." Lapis spoke.
Dendy sighed. "Well where in the cob could they be-"
Dendy couldn't finish her sentence right after a bolt of purple lightning almost struck her, causing her to shriek in surprise. The others also gasped as the bolt flashed past them, one of them almost hitting Peridot as she shot another dart into the direction of where the bolt came from.
The group looked around them as they heard clattering and evil laughter all around them. Each of them pointed their tranquilliser guns in all 8 directions as they frantically looked all around them for T. Kaiven. "Do you see him?!"
"I've got a signature!" Enid called out. "12 o'clock!"
"Form a circle formation! It'll make it easier to find and shoot him if all of us are looking in different directions!" Rad suggested.
"Rad's got the right idea!" Dendy said. "Form a circle!"
The group all then formed a circle, with each of them facing a different direction and holding their tranquilliser gun out. It was like they were all in a carousel but stationary in the way they were formed.
Lapis then spotted T. Kaiven in her sights. "Found them! Over here!"
She then pulled the trigger to fire the gun, only for the dart to miss and for T. Kaiven to move on. "I missed!"
"6 o'clock!" Rad called out.
He pointed it in the direction and fired his gun. Again the dart missing the target and hitting the wall. "Missed him!"
Enid moved to the right, pointing her weapon in that direction. "3 o'clock!"
"Can you keep it simple, you clod!" Peridot complained, firing a dart into the direction she thought was '3 o'clock'. "Me and Lapis still don't fully understand these time directions!"
"Top left!" Lapis yelled, firing her gun toward the more simplified direction. Of course, missing.
"He's moving too fast!" Rad spoke. "We'll never land a hit on him!"
"Bottom right!" Dendy called, firing the tranquilliser gun. But again, missing.
"In the middle!" Peridot called out, firing her gun.
And this time, when she fired it, she and the others heard a grunt come from the forced fusion, showing that Peridot had managed to land a hit on T. Kaiven. "I think I hit him!"
"Perfect!" Dendy said. "With the sedative inside him, the fusion should start to feel tired. I think I can see him now, over there."
She pointed over to where Peridot shot T. Kaiven, where the group saw a heat signature of a struggling T. Kaiven trying to stay awake but failing. The group ran toward him and pointed their sleep dart guns at the forced fusion. "It's over, fusion!"
"Y-You think a lousy sedative will beat me?" T. Kaiven spoke, his voice obviously showing that the sedative was taking effect. "Heh, it takes a lot m-more to-"
The fusion then groaned once again as he felt Steven's side starting to overcome T.K.O's side. It was being shown clearly as T. Kaiven's face stated to distort and his arms were flailing around the place. The group stood back as they watched the forced fusion start to come apart.
"What are you doing!?" T.K.O mentally yelled. "You're ruining my plan!"
"They're my friends you're trying to hurt." Steven mentally replied. "And besides, now I think our time together is over!"
The fusion let out one final screech as the fusion became undone as a slightly bruised and beaten Steven and T.K.O was left instead of T. Kaiven. T.K.O snarled as he got up and turned toward the group, who took a step back after seeing his very angry face. While Steven was collapsed on the floor due to exhaustion from attempting to hold back the edgy alter-ego.
"You may have ruined my plan to use this hybrid to my potential..." T.K.O smirked, clutching his first as purple sparks flickered around it. "But I can sure as heck destroy you anyway!"
T.K.O then jumped into the air and attempted to power slam the group, only for them to jump out the way in time right as T.K.O crashed into the floor and created a purple energy blast as he made impact. Enid and the others threw their tranquilliser guns to the side and put up their fists while Lapis summoned her wings and Peridot using her ferrokinesis to hold up some metal tools.
"We're not gonna let you kick us around, T.K.O." Enid said. "You may have beat us before, but we'll make sure you don't this time! I know you're holding K.O against his own will, but we'll free him from your control!"
"Your funeral, Enid." T.K.O smirked.
He then threw a purple energy punch toward them, only for Rad to use his levitation power to catch it and throw it back toward T.K.O, which he managed to dodge with a quick slide to the right. Enid fired back with a fire kick toward him, which did knock back T.K.O but not enough to knock him down.
T.K.O retaliated with a power punch toward Dendy, but was then caught off guard by a flying metal panel flung toward him by Peridot, causing T.K.O to fall back a few yards and for Peridot to give a confident smirk at the edgy boy. "Always look before you attack!"
"Don't get too cocky, green goblin!" T.K.O taunted, launching himself toward Peridot. "Because I'm coming for you!-"
But his launch toward Peridot was stopped by Lapis, who had turned on a sink and used the water from that to create a water hand to catch T.K.O mid launch. Enid then threw a fire kick toward T.K.O, which caused him to grunt in pain but then suddenly broke out of Lapis' water hand and attempted to fire a bolt of turbonic energy toward Lapis.
But thankfully, Peridot managed to deflect the bolt with another metal panel she found in the lab and deflected it toward T.K.O, who got shocked by the bolt's impact and flown back into the wall, where he fell onto the floor and groaned in the sudden pain.
The group then walked up to him, but just as T.K.O was going to launch himself at them again, Dendy pressed a button on a remote control pointed toward T.K.O. Which then caused a purple energy field to form around T.K.O. It was the same design as the force field Dendy used the first time against him but a more improved design.
T.K.O gave a confident smirk to Dendy. "A force field eh? Well, it's no problem to break out of this like last time!"
T.K.O then charged up a power fist move and swung it toward one of the walls of the force field, only for it to do to T.K.O's surprise, nothing! The force field was still up and running. Last time he was held in something like this, T.K.O easily broke out of it, but not this time.
"W-What the?" T.K.O stuttered in shock. "H-How did you-"
"Trial and error, T.K.O." Dendy answered. "Ever since our first encounter, I improved this force field I tried to use on you and thankfully it's been able to withstand all of your turbonic energy attacks and moves. Now it's impossible to escape, which is great since now you're unable to destroy my lab like last time."
Dendy then walked up to a wall panel and opened it, where a fuse box was. She fiddled with the fuse box until all the lights in the lab lit back up again. Dendy and the others took off their thermal goggles and put them to one side. She then took out her normal goggles and looked at T.K.O, still trying to find a way to break out of Dendy's new force field made for him.
"Now that you've had your fun and terrorised Steven, can you let go of K.O and bring him back to us?" Dendy requested.
"Never!" T.K.O stubbornly responded. "Besides, wouldn't you rather have the stronger, cooler version of him? Look at me, I've got more power, better looks, and a better personality."
"You're more psychotic than Jasper!" Peridot remarked. "I'd rather have the normal K.O here than that orange jerk!"
Enid and Rad looked at each other in confusion at who 'Jasper' was but pushed it aside since they thought that it was probably not that important to them anyway.
Enid then stepped up and kneeled down to T.K.O's height. "Please... We want K.O, not a edgy alter-ego of him."
"K.O. If you can hear me, know this." Dendy took a deep breath before exhaling. "You are loved and appreciated. Please come back to us."
T.K.O evilly chuckled. "Nice try, science baby. But I don't think that-"
"Come back to us, K.O." Steven's voice suddenly spoke. This caused T.K.O to gasp as he turned around and saw Steven now conscious. He had woken up during the fight but hid just in case T.K.O tried to force fuse with him again. "T.K.O is a jerk but you aren't. You're my friend, my best friend. Please K.O, fight him!"
Then, T.K.O started to twitch. K.O was starting to fight back. "N-No! Stop t-this K.O! I-I-"
T.K.O groaned as a purple light engulfed him and quickly flashed away as K.O, the one with his familiar red headband and sweatbands, replaced the edgy alter-ego. Dendy lowered the energy field as K.O, his eyes filled with tears, began to walk toward his hybrid friend. Steven walked up to the small child and hugged him, all while K.O cried out his tears as he hugged Steven back.
"S-Steven... I'm so sorry I hurt you!" K.O cried, his tears creating a wet spot on the shoulder of his shirt, which didn't matter to Steven as he kept hugging K.O as he sobbed into his shoulder.
"K.O, it wasn't you. None of this is your fault." Steven reassured, rubbing the child's back in an attempt to comfort K.O.
"B-But if I was stronger enough... I-I could've stopped him from taking control in the first place. Then he wouldn't have forced you to fuse with him and almost caused you to hurt your f-friends..." K.O sniffed, wiping away a tear on his cheek.
"K.O, it's okay." Steven said. "Even if you couldn't hold him back, there's always other times you can stop it. But I think the better solution is to train you to prevent T.K.O from taking over again."
"Yeah! I have a few books about that kind of stuff and maybe we could train K.O to prevent T.K.O from taking over control and trying to kill us." Enid spoke.
"And not getting me stuck in hospital for a week for breaking all my bones..." Rad added.
"How's that sound, K.O?" Steven asked.
K.O turned away from Steven. This felt like déja vu a little bit, like he had gone through something like this before somewhere, but K.O had no memory of ever doing something like this before. K.O then looked back at Steven, smiled and nodded.
"It sounds like a great idea, Steven." K.O agreed. "I believe that with this, I'll be able to control T.K.O a little bit better!"
"It should do." Dendy spoke. "And we should also keep digging deeper on how T.K.O works too, K.O."
"Well, if these methods help me control T.K.O from taking over, I think they'll work out great!" K.O said, smiling at the group.
Dendy then pulled out her holo-screen and typed down on it. "Anywho, I'll keep a note on 'further research on T.K.O needed'. Enid, keep a note on books that can help K.O control his alter-ego." Enid nodded and took out her phone and typed down a note for that such thing.
"And Steven?" Dendy asked.
Steven turned to Dendy. "If you see any possible signs of T.K.O trying to take control of K.O, you know who to call."
Steven nodded. The group made their notes before heading out the lab and back to their respective homes, where they could all rest easy as their short battle inside Dendy's Lab was now over.
Chapter 25: Chapter 25 - Meeting of the Minds
A few hours later... In Boxmore...
"Are the new batch of turbo chips ready yet?" Boxman asked to his client, Professor Venomous. "Me and Se7en here are ready to make another batch of turbolised robots!"
"They're coming, Boxman. They're just in the process of some tweaking and testing." Venomous answered. "You'll have them by the end of this week."
"Main Strike commences in 5 days. We'd better have those chips ready by then." Se7en spoke. "Are you aware of that?"
"Of course I am. I've spoken to your representative many times and I've told them that they're nearly ready." Venomous responded. "Don't worry. Operation Main Strike will be on the go in no time. Venomous out."
Venomous' video feed then cut off. Lord Boxman and Se7en made their way out of Boxman's office and back into the factory, where they looked upon the huge numbers of turbo-enhanced models of Darrels, Shannons, Raymonds, et cetera. Se7en smirked at the progress that was being made and turned to Boxman.
"I have to say. Teaming up with you was one of the best decisions I've made in my career." Se7en said. "Sure, you've got some flaws and my superiors may not favour to you since you're a organic, but your links to some quite smart villains and your robot production skills are good. But I got an idea to make them even more stronger."
"And what would that be?" Boxman asked, titling his head.
Se7en evilly chuckled. "You are aware of how advanced Homeworld's tech are, right?"
"I've heard things from the new 'gems' that work here from time to time." Boxman replied. "Why'd you ask?"
"Since I'm an Elite commander to my three main diamonds, it means I have access to much advanced tech than usual." Se7en answered. "What I propose, is that I take some tech we use to create our droids for Homeworld and put them into the 'turbo-enhanced' robots you make. I have access to many different types of combat and defence chips that would rival those in other robots."
"Like what?" Boxman inquired.
"Chips that can produce unbreakable force fields, chips that can give the robots advanced targeting systems, all sorts of chips! It depends on what you'd want for this project." Se7en replied. "I can get all those to you, without a single hiccup in their programming. What do you think?"
Boxman thought long and hard about his proposal. Sure, the robots were already powerful with the chips he got from Venomous, but with what Se7en spoke about Homeworld's electrical chips, it would put them as almost invincible. He envisioned it in his head, those Lakewood losers charging toward them, only for them to be utterly incapacitated by their advanced technology. Boxman evilly chuckled at the idea of it and opened his mouth to speak his answer.
"Its sounds great, Se7en!" Boxman commented.
"So are you on board?" Se7en asked.
"Of course! Once those chips are inside my beloved robots... Nothing will stand in our way between us and Main Strike." Boxman laughed, in a stereotypical villain sort-of way.
"Yes. I believe that is the point." Se7en said. "Anyway, I'll let my superiors know about this and ask for the parts immediately. And besides, I think it's time you went to recharge yourself."
Boxman looked at his watch, seeing it was about 11:20 at night. He then nodded to Se7en. "I guess you're right. I need the energy for tomorrow if we're gonna insert some new chips into these robots. Fare thee well, Se7en."
He then walked off to the domestic part of the factory and closed the automatic door that lead to it. Se7en then walked back into Boxman's office and pulled out his diamond communicator. He twisted it to the side and therefore, activated a yellow screen to contact Yellow Diamond.
And in an instant, Yellow Diamond appeared on the screen. "What is it, Se7en?"
Se7en then kneeled down, giving the diamond salute. "My diamond. I have called you to request something that could benefit Main Strike."
"And what would that be?" She asked.
"I was proposing to Lord Boxman that we should use some of our tech into his robots. And I was inquiring that could we use some parts from some of our Homeworld drones and training robots?" Se7en explained.
"And why should we mix our perfect tech, with that organics outdated tech?" Yellow Diamond responded, her voice sounding quite disgusted.
"Because I think it would help us in the long run." Se7en spoke back. "Trial and error helps get them improved enough and if we don't have suitable robots for this project so that we can prevent anyone from stopping it, there won't be any colony to create."
Yellow sighed, and tapped something off screen. She then turned back to Se7en. "Fine. I'm requesting that my Peridots collect the parts you ask for. What kind of parts are you looking for?"
"Any kind of in-tact attack or defence chips we use for the droids and training robots." Se7en answered.
"Very well. I will have them collect the requested parts immediately and have them sent over to you in a short while." Yellow spoke, tapping a few more things off screen in her control room.
"Thank you my diamond." Se7en kneeled and gave the diamond salute one more time. "Se7en out."
The screen then flashed away and retracted back into the three-dimensional diamond shape it was previously. Se7en caught it in his hand as it fell and placed it back into his black coat. As he was about to head out the office, he heard a rusting noise come from somewhere in the room.
Through instinct, Se7en pulled out his yellow sword and pointed it outward, waiting for the intruder to reveal themselves so Se7en could take them out for trying to possibly assassinate them. "Who comes here? Reveal yourself."
No response came. Se7en walked forward and tapped his yellow sword on the wooden desk. "I know you're there, so just come out."
It was still silent, but not for long as a familiar figure wearing yellow nightwear and having brown, curly hair crawled out from inside a cabinet at the side of the room. Se7en recognised the kid. It was the same kid that somehow managed to be here at the same time as he was. It was the kid that managed to fuse with that K.O boy. But he 'knew' who he was face to face with.
"Rose Quartz." Se7en simply spoke, his sword still drawn toward him. "Traitor to the Gem Homeworld and was the one who killed Pink Diamond. How are you here? How did someone like you find me here?"
"I-I'm not my mom..." He responded. "I'm Steven."
"I know I might be half of what you are. An organic, I call them. But in my blood, I am Gem. And so may you be like me." Se7en said. "How else would you have managed to summon that unforgettable shield? How else would you have what lies on your navel?"
"Who are you?" Steven inquired.
"They call me Se7en. Elite Commander to White, Blue and Yellow Diamond. One of the survivors of the Artificial Hybrid Experiment. Why do you want to know?" Se7en answered, sounding confused, with a mix of anger at his last sentence.
"Curiosity." Steven replied to his question. "Why are you here with Boxman here in Lakewood?"
"Classified information, Rose." Se7en spoke. "Nothing you should know."
"I already know." Steven stated. "I already know parts of what you're trying to do."
Se7en froze for a few seconds before answering again. "How long were you listening?"
"Since you started your conversation with that purple guy." Steven answered.
"And how did you hide from the security? The cameras?" Se7en then asked.
"I'm not really here. I'm currently asleep. And when I started to dream, I probably picked you up from where I am now." Steven responded. Apparently, after the long as heck day in the lab when he was forced fused with T.K.O, he went to sleep and somehow managed to use his dream powers to meet with Se7en.
"Dream powers..." Se7en whispered. "So that is how you managed to hide from them."
He then slowly lifted his sword toward the still-dreaming Steven. "And as I've heard from human dreams, once you perish in them, you wake up. And since you've heard too much, it's back to reality for you!"
Se7en charged at Steven and slashed his sword at him. Steven didn't have enough time to defend himself, which caused the blade to slash at him and cause him to awaken from his dream state. In Se7en's eyes, he just flashed away. No gem was left on the floor, no blood, just nothing.
Se7en let out a sigh and holstered his sword. "Now that's done. I should probably warn the Diamonds and Boxman. But I've bothered them enough today. Now is the time I get back to work on the next batch of 'turbo' robots."
Se7en then made his way to the door and opened it before stepping back into the factory and closing the door behind him.
Meanwhile, in Beach City....
"Are you sure that you're okay after what Mr Thompson did today?" Miles asked, taking a sip of water from his glass.
"I may have snapped at him, but we'll be fine Inspector." Pearl replied, fiddling with her fingers.
"If that's the case, so be it." Jezzie said. "We will take him into custody tomorrow for questioning about why he said such things to people who just want their kid back and is blaming them for the kidnapping of them."
"I just don't know why they're blaming us! We love our Steven! We would never kidnap our baby!" Pearl exclaimed.
"Society is screwed up nowadays, Miss Pearl." Miles responded, gulping down the rest of the water before placing it on the coffee table. "Anyway we should take our leave for now. But if anymore problems surface, call us."
"I will, Inspector Sycamore." Pearl spoke.
"Have a good evening, Miss Pearl." Jezzie said as she followed Miles outside and closing the door behind her. The two then made their way to their car, which was parked on the beach outside the house. The two entered the car and sat down at the seats.
Miles pulled out a notebook and wrote a few things about their visit down while Jezzie waited for him to finish and start the car so they could head back to the station.
Suddenly, Jezzie got a huge headache, causing her to yelp out in pain as she clutched her head. Miles instantly took notice of this and put his notebook down to assist his blonde haired partner. "Jezzie! You alright?"
Jezzie hesitantly nodded. "I-I'm fine, it's just that-"
She yelped again, but now covering her eyes as she rocked back and forth on her seat. Miles took a hold of her and looked into her baby blue eyes. "Hey, hey! Calm down Jezzie! It's gonna be fine!"
Jezzie looked back into Miles' hazel brown eyes as she calmed herself down with some deep breaths. Miles' expression then changed to concern. "It's that again, isn't it?"
Jezzie nodded. Miles instantly knew what to do next as he started his car and drove off the beach as they made their way to the station. Jezzie was still taking deep breaths, but shaking a little bit as she also rubbed her eyes.
Miles looked at her a few times during their drive and made sure she was okay. Thankfully, she was okay. And after a couple of minutes, they reached the station. Miles lead Jezzie inside and into his office, where he sat her down in one of his chairs and draped the windows with the blinds that hid them from the rest of the office. Miles then locked his door and sat in front of Jezzie, placing his two hands on her shoulders.
"It's alright now, Jezzie. It's just the both of us." Miles assured.
"I'm still seeing it.." She spoke, her voice a little scared and quiet.
"Tell me what you see." Miles said, brushing some of her long, blonde hair from her face to the side.
Jezzie nodded and shut her eyes. She started shaking and shuddering a bit until she calmed herself down and limited herself to her taking deep breaths while keeping her eyes shut.
"What do you see, Jezzie?" Miles asked.
"Just... Flashes... Flashes of some place far away from here. Flashes of that Universe boy. And some other people..." She replied. "Some other people I don't recognise or even seen before. I don't know what they mean, Miles! I don't know what they mean!"
"Hey, hey, Jezzie." Miles spoke in a calming voice. "It's alright."
"I know they're not hallucinations. They're just.. Things you can sometimes see. But you haven't gained full control of it yet."
A blue glow emitted from Jezzie's wrist. Miles slid up her right arm sleeve to reveal a slow glowing triangle-faceted Sapphire gem. Miles then placed his hand on it and another hand on her shoulder. Jezzie then opened her eyes and looked at Miles.
"We can't tell them... I'm worried about what they'll say..." Jezzie whimpered.
"No one knows. Not the gems, not the chief, just me." Miles assured. "I know the gems will think you're a threat since you have this thing on your wrist and if the other cops or the chief know, you'll be on the run from the government."
"Jezzie, I made a promise to you. I promised to keep your secret safe and I'll continue to do that." Miles spoke. "Maybe this so called 'future vision' might help us in finding Steven and his kidnapper."
Jezzie smiled, wiping away a stray tear. She knew Miles was a great friend to trust. "Thanks Miles."
"Now, if this is over and done with for now, I think we should clock out. It's nearly 1am." Miles suggested.
Jezzie nodded. Miles then unlocked his office and the pair walked out of the room and toward reception to clock out and head home.