Okay, so Lapis had to keep this under wraps.
There was no way she was going to let this get out, not in a house, not with a mouse, not with a glass of cognac downed in .02 seconds...You get the point.
It wasn’t that she was embarrassed…It that she was extremely embarrassed. Only gems freshly stumbling out of their holes wore their emotions on their gems like poorly constructed mood rings.
Lapis had it happen the first time on the couch, the night was nothing special, Peridot was on her stomach drawing a crude shipping chart with a crayon and smiling to herself. CPH was playing in the background like a smooth record that ran for comfort noise.
She was practicing braiding the ends of her hair and thinking about nothing when she noticed Peridot wince.
Lapis sat up straighter and watched her closely, “How’s your head?” She asks slowly. Peridot’s gem had been cracked in their last battle, Steven had healed it but Lapis knew sometimes there was a phantom feeling afterwards.
Peridot glanced over her shoulder and smiled, “I’m good.” She grimaced, “Next time I’m going to get the clods into….Mushed clods.”
Lapis chuckled and slipped off the couch and crawled over to her languidly.
“They won’t know what hit ‘em.” Lapis says gently.
Peridot’s eyes softened and her cat-like grin widened, she puffed out her small chest as she sat up.
“Hey, you won’t have to protect me next time.”
“I don’t mind.” She looks away. “Steven was pretty sad when you got hurt anyway.”
Peridot looks away too and Lapis sits crossed-legged and watched as Peridot tried to rub her gem, Lapis buried her hand in Peridot’s hair on impulse. She started massaging her scalp with the pads of her fingers, Peridot stiffened for a moment.
Lapis blushed, “Relax.” She says quickly, “This could,” she mutters lowly, “Help.”
Peridot seemed pleased with that, “Really?”
Lapis nods, not facing her as she slowly rubbed Peridot's head through her hair and tried to hopefully ease some tension.
“Thanks Lazuli.” Peridot said in a hush as she settled back down to keep drawing. “You know? You’re pretty great.”
Lapis shuddered and her face flushed, “Just.. Finish your whatever.”
“Of course!” Peridot said happily, “Then I’ll give you a back massage, it’ll be like a thing.”
Lapis didn’t even notice her back had lit up as she kneaded her head and relaxed against her, Peridot talked about CPH ships with Lapis apparently glowing and glowing behind her.
It was only when she saw the blue light reflected in the TV screen did she stop what she was doing. Shit.
Lapis’s hands froze and her eyes went wide, this sort of thing didn’t happen, it didn’t happen to her.
“I have to go.” She says with a sudden rush and jumps to her feet, she had to make sense of this.
“Huh?” Peridot looked up but Lapis was already facing her back to the wall and popping her wings out.
“Uh, I left Steven’s oven on.” She absconded like her feet were on fire. Or at least, her face was.
“Love.” She swore, “I,” she chokes and keeps flying away.
Peridot didn’t understand Lapis recently, she was shifty and one moment she was leaning on her shoulder telling her Peridot was like a little Quartz with an attitude. Then the next she was keeping Peridot out of sight and retreatingbackwards.
“Lazuli!” Peridot called one evening after they were playing ‘stone tossing’ and Lapis flew away. “Ugh.” Peridot looked at their smaller than average lake tersely. “Honestly.”
She sat next to it and tweeted on her tablet, ‘Sometimes.’ She wrote with her brow furrowed, ‘IT’S HARD TO UNDERSTAND PEOPLE.’
Someone @her almost immediately, ‘@Peridot5XG do you have to yell that?’
‘PEOPLE MUST KNOW IT IS CONCERNING.’
Peridot posted several ‘selfies’ of her lounging around and looking confused until she heard a voice behind her.
“Uh, you okay there?” Peridot was lying on the ground and throwing up a peace sign.
Peridot scrambled to her feet, “Lazuli!” She blinks, “I was wondering where you went.”
Lapis was now in an oversized dark sweater, looking as small as a miniature dove in an eagles nest as she swam in the material.
“I was…cold.” Lapis coughed and looked up at the rising moon as she crossed her arms.
Peridot made a face, “Gems don’t get cold.”
Lapis shrugged, “I do.” Lapis puffed out her cheeks and looked obstinate.
Peridot put her hands in the air, “Well. I guess it’s not a bad look.” She picked up another stone, “I thought you ran away when you realized I was winning.”
Lapis started laughing. “Oh my diamond’s foot, you were not.”
They picked up their flat rocks again and continued to try to skip them across the clear water that had expanded for this occasion. Lapis was admittedly somewhat better at it. But Peridot was determined.
Peridot picked up one, stuck out her tongue and tossed it with a flick of her wrist, “neh.” She grunts and it skids across the surface in a hop and skip, she counts the jumps.
“Five, five! Did you see that?” Peridot cheered and jumped up and down. "Ha!"
“Lemme bow down.” Lapis says sarcastically.
“Five! It’s all about being closer to the ground.” She says cheekily and flicks her wrist again.
“I better take out the competition then.” Before Peridot could try to run Lapis scooped her up and held her up higher.
“I’m going to get so many in!” Lapis laughed and carried her in one hand.
Peridot pushed on her face, “Cheating! Cheating! The rock-throwing authority is going to have an investigation.”
Lapis almost twirls her upside down as she struggles in her arms, “Don’t think they’ll catch me!”
Peridot was laughing now as Lapis hovered off the ground and they played like they were free and newly made and nothing in thew world but skipping stones existed.
Peridot saw it before anything else, Lapis’s eyes were closed as she wiped at her leaking eyes. A green light illuminated her dimpled cheeks and Peridot’s breath caught in her throat.
“Oh my stars.” She whispered, she always thought this sort of thing was a rumor, for Pearl’s in a gossip circle and something that happened to other gems with silly responsibilities like throne cleaner.
Peridot’s mouth hangs open, “Lazuli,” She croaks, almost wanted to show her the unmistakable glow that told them everything they needed to know.
Instead, she turns around and struggles in her arms until she wiggles herself free and directly into the lake below, covering her forehead all the while.
“Peridot!” Lapis called as the shock of cold took the other gem in, as well as cooled the light from her forehead, she comes back up to the surface and sighs.
She tries to smile back up, “you threw me. I didn’t even skip once, I think you lose.”
Lapis rolls her eyes and helps her out of the water, “Whatever you like.”
They were smiling but Peridot can’t even risk looking into her face, they hurry into the barn and Peridot reminds herself to keep herself under control, maybe get a hat.
Lapis was having a weird time. Explicitly weird and she knew what was going on without saying it out loud, but maybe the fact was that they were dense as granite and half as good at it expressing themselves.
Peridot started wearing a knit hat and Lapis was attached to oversized sweaters. They may not be getting through this in one piece.
It had been a picnic out on the beach when Lapis should have guessed something was up.
“Lapis,” Steven examined her happily, “It’s 75 out.”
Lapis scratches her chin, “So?”
“So,” Steven shrugs, “Well,” he grins, “I suppose fashion never takes a break.”
Lapis exhales and rubs at her hair and she nods.
She looks over to where Peridot was playing in the serf with Amethyst, Lapis clutches her knees towards her chest.
She watches Peridot get splashed and wonders if she should go help her. She’s relaxing with the sun on her face when a light tap comes on her shoulder, she jumps.
“Garnet,” She blinks as she turns to the fusion, “Hey.”
Garnet suddenly had a look on her face that sent a squiggly feeling in Lapis’s center. It was a knowing look.
“Interesting clothes choice.” Garnet folded her arms across her chest, “It must be hard to fly.”
Lapis examines her nails without looking up, “I make do.” Lapis glances back to the ocean, Garnet raises both her eyebrows.
“How is Peridot?”
“Fine!” Lapis squeaks and something unsaid passes between them.
Steven looks from Garnet to Lapis them curiously, “What is this about?” He whispers loudly in Garnet's ear, Garnet bends over and says something quietly behind her hand.
“Oooooh.” Steven’s eyebrows were very high. “Oh!”
He won’t stop smiling at her and Lapis has a bad feeling about this.
Later that night Peridot is trying to lift an especially large piece of metal (called a ‘fridge’) above her head to place it on top of a flower bed when she hears the creaking door open.
She turns around and tilts her head to the side, “Steven.” She smiles, “You’ve come to the barn! I was just making an ‘ice cold’ meep morp.”
Steven was bouncing on the heels of his feet, “Is Lapis around?”
Peridot looks up and about, “The roof?” She did wonder where her roommate got off to now and then.
“I’ve got her.” Garnet trailed after Steven into the dim barn with Lapis in tow.
“What’s this now?” Lapis asks as she scratched the back of her neck.
Steven grinned at them, “I was thinking, I forgot to take pictures today of us on the beach! I was hoping we could take a selfie.”
“What?” Lapis deadpanned from beside him, “You came all this way for a picture.”
Lapis sighs but she takes on another smile, “Alright, if you want to Steven.”
Steven gestures for them to come over. Peridot inches closer to them and then puts up another peace sign, “Tag me in this one, okay?” She grumbles.
“Of course!” Steven gets out his phone and has them huddle closer.
“What?” Peridot’s face drops as a bright pink bubble sprouts around the three of them, both Peridot and Lapis fell to the floor.
“Oof,” Peridot watches as Steven jumped out of the bubble easily and left the two of them encapsulated.
Lapis bangs on the side of the bubble and Peridot worries for her very deeply, trying to grab onto her arm.
“I think you two have something to talk about.” Garnet says with a smile and Steven nods.
“The bubble will let you out when it feels that you want to get out.” Steven chirps and gives them a thumbs up.
Lapis groans next to her, “I want out now.”
“Is this a good idea…?” Peridot asks nervously and her eyes dart to Lapis.
“Don’t worry,” Garnet adjusted her glasses, “It’ll work out, I've seen it. Be brave.” Peridot's mouth falls open and she doesn't know what to say.
Garnet and Steven get to the door, “We’ll give you some privacy.”
They close the barn door and they left in the dark.
Peridot sits cross-legged across from Lapis, the silence stretches out as thin as pulled bubble gum.
“So, Lazuli.” Peridot tapped on her knees. “How’re you?”
Lapis bounced her leg up and down, “Fine.”
Peridot tugged on her skirt, “They must think we’re fighting for some reason.” She bites her lip, “But we were just doing fine. We aren’t fighting are we?”
Lapis bends down and touches her cheek tentatively, “No, no.” It was wistful and they both look away and up at the ceiling. Lapis eventually sits down in the small space, "I don’t like this.”
Peridot tries to grab her hand, “Want me to sing or something? I hear that is very comforting.”
Lapis snickers, “Singing? You?"
"What?" Peridot leans forward.
"Let's save tin-can cat noises for desperate times.” Lapis smiles fondly.
“Uh,” Peridot indignantly touches her chest, “Well then. Don’t hold back on me.” Lapis seemed to stiffen at the phrase.
Lapis looks up between her eyelashes at her, “Peridot.” She takes a deep breath, “I think…I need to be honest.”
Peridot crossed her arms, “You actually love my singing, right?”
Lapis shakes her head and plays with the end of her sweat, “I think,” Peridot watches her face go a deeper blue, “I want to say.”
Peridot leans in, “Yeah?” Her insides fluttered and flew and hurt all at once.
Lapis fidgeted back and forth, “I think…” Lapis seemed to gulp, “we need stars on our outfits.”
Peridot internally groans, “Is that..It?”
Lapis made a weird noise next to her, “Yep.” She squeaked, “For Steven. Stars everywhere.”
Peridot sighs, “Okay. But maybe I should tell you something.” Lapis tensed next to her and Peridot wished she was holding her hand again, “I, uh.”
She reaches for her hat and then hesitates, “I could,” she miserably hangs her head, “I could help you figure out where to put your star.”
They both look at each other with an unhappy frown, maybe interventions wouldn’t work on them after all. Maybe they were denser than dark matter.
Lapis takes a deep breath, “Maybe. Do you think…” It was halting again, “I’m not sure I’ve earned that right now.”
Peridot leaned forward and it feels like she’s being sucked into the sky, “I think you have. I think you’re pretty great, you know.”
Lapis bit her lip, “Then…” She reaches for the bottom of her sweater, “Then maybe.” Peridot’s brain short circuits with pulsating light, she can feel it flickering under her hat.
It tastes like forever, but Lapis tugs the sweater slowly over her head and the room is bathed in a soft blue glow, Peridot’s mouth hangs open.
“Who’s that for?” She asks amazement, the lights filling the room.
Lapis flushed a deep marine and looked around, “Where do you think this star should go?”
Peridot’s fingers shake, she presses her hand onto Lapis’s chest hesitantly where a heart might be, “Right here.”
Peridot takes off her wool hat, a glow as green as seaweed illuminates Lapis’s face, the light of the room mixes into turquoise folding ocean waves, burning like the sun and Peridot purses her lips.
“Right here.” She says again as she pushes against her chest.
Lapis wraps her long arms around her neck, pulls her forward, they kiss like stars and outer space and glowing gems that never ceased to light.
Peridot kisses her back firmly and the bubble around them pops. They really were idiots.
“It’s for you.” Lapis whispers and they tap their heads together.
Weeks later they sit in a silence, backs to each other, Lapis reads a comic and Peridot is on her tablet behind her.
They sit in pleasant companionability and Lapis sighs, her gem glowed and glowed and glowed like a tiny beat of birds wings and wind and pounding feet against soft grass.
Peridot glows behind her and she can feel the warmth filling the room as hot as laptop bottoms, bubbling springs and cups of hot chocolate.
And they didn’t stop glowing.