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Fanfic / Faded Blue

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Once, a Gem ran away from Homeworld, adopted Earth as her home, fell in love with a human rockstar, and had a child.

That Gem was Blue Diamond.

Now twelve years old, Steven is coming into his power... but the more he learns about it and his mother's legacy, the less he may actually want it.

Faded Blue is a Steven Universe fanfic written by CompletelyDifferent, Swordtheguy, and airamcg (or under the joint FF account 0TheCluster0).

It can be found on Archive of Our Own right here and on FanFiction.Net over here. They also have a Tumblr found here

Faded Blue is the first story of the How I Wonder What You Are series. It explores the life of twelve-year-old Steven Universe as he learns about his Gem powers and his heritage as Blue Diamond's son (mostly with Blue Pearl teaching him), while Greg is spying on the Crystal Gems in Beach City.

This story also currently has two prequels:

This fanfic provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Superpower Change: Steven has different powers from his canon version. He can talk to animals, see into the past, and he can have an effect on corrupted gems, though not the same as canon Steven's healing spit- Blue Steven's powers just make them not animalistic anymore, though doesn't bring back their memories.
  • All Just a Dream: The entire story turns out to just be one of canon Steven's dreams. As the April Fools chapter would have you believe.
  • Alternate History: In a geography class, Steven tells Lapis there are 194 countries- two fewer than in real life. This is because Russia doesn't exist, and Korea never split into two countries.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Rose says that the Gems would never hurt a human, Greg replies with this.
    "Really? So you're saying that if I'd come to you, two years ago and gone, 'Here's my son, he has the gemstone of a person you waged a war against', you wouldn't have thrown him in a cage?"
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Lapis chooses to stay even after discovering that Steven is not her Diamond because he released her from the mirror.
  • Born into Slavery: All Pearls, as in canon. Blue Pearl was offered freedom by Pearl during the rebellion, but rejected it due to not knowing anything else. Even with Blue Diamond gone, she treats her son as her new master. One of the ongoing plots of the story is Blue Pearl, Greg, and Steven dealing with the reality of this.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Lapis calls out the Gems for being imprisoned for thousands of years, which they fire back that they weren't the ones who imprisoned her, Homeworld was. Lapis states that the Gems didn't even try to free her, but the Gems thought that all Gem-based items (like Lapis' mirror) were "dead" gems that didn't have a personality or memories, so they had no reason to do so. Lapis being imprisoned when she could have been freed was wrong, but the Gems didn't know she was there.
  • Brick Joke: In chapter 3, Steven gets a fish from a bird in the Lunar Sea Spire, and Blue Pearl stores it in her gem. In chapter 9, it shows up again – as a melee weapon against Garnet.
  • Broken Pedestal: Steven and Greg's opinion of Blue Diamond takes a serious hit when Blue Pearl reveals she was essentially her slave, and much of what the Gems said about the Diamond is true. Greg admits that while she was gentle and kind with him, she was like that with only him.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Rose Quartz has a tendency to flirt with most humans she meets, trying to kindle something with Greg and then flirting with Priyanka and Doug. Granted, it is very likely that she does not even know that she does it half the time due to having No Social Skills despite her natural charisma.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • In terms of physical strength, Lapis and Blue Pearl are no match for Garnet, who defeats and captures them pretty quickly when she catches them at the healing fountain. It doesn't help that the only ammunition that Lapis has, in terms of water to manipulate, are Rose's healing tears- which heal wounds. It's like getting into a fight where the only weapons you have are healing potions (and the enemies aren't the undead, of course).
    • Later in the story, Lapis and Blue Pearl storm the Crystal Gems' after some careful planning. This time, Lapis is armed with a decent quantity of seawater, and overwhelms the Crystal Gems quite easily.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: Blue Pearl is outclassed by Garnet in both strength and combat skill, but she does take the Fusion by surprise at one point by... hitting her with a fish.
  • Dead Man Writing: Before she gave up her physical form to have Steven, the very pregnant Blue Diamond left holographic messages for her son and fellow Diamonds within the database of her spaceship.
  • Disappeared Dad: Downplayed – while he isn't dead, and still sees him regularly, Greg left Steven with Blue Pearl when he turned 10 to spy on the Crystal Gems to fulfill one of Blue's last requests.
  • Emotion Bomb: Like his mother, Steven can immobilize Gems by overloading them with negative emotions. He also has a lightning attack that forces people to listen to their own worst fears about themselves.
  • Fantastic Racism: Steven was raised by Blue Pearl, who taught him that Fusion is meant only for fighting, and that hybrid Fusion is wrong.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Blue Steven arguably fits this trope even better than his canon counterpart, since he inherited Speaks Fluent Animal from his mother.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: The Crystal Gems (or at least Rose and Garnet) understand by Chapter 11 that Steven is probably not Blue Diamond – however, they are having trouble understanding why Blue Diamond would fall in love with a human, or have a son at all.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The Crystal Gems are this even more so than in canon, likely because of the absence of Steven's influence.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Having spent a considerable portion of his life is Korea, Steven sometimes uses Korean words and honorifics.
  • Grief Song: "Sky Blue Goddess (dark reprise)" in chapter 23 is a variation where Greg mourns the Blue Diamond he knew, after finding out that she had kept Pearl a slave, among other things she had done as part of the Diamond Authority.
  • Happiness in Slavery: A complicated case with Blue Pearl. She clearly was not happy in Blue Diamond's service, just numb. She's in a much better state with Steven and Greg, but is still struggling under that weight, and it's unclear how much they truly understand the situation. Once Steven and Greg make it clear that she is not their slave, Pearl has trouble figuring out what to do with herself. A major subplot is the three of them trying to work out exactly how to deal with this information, eventually deciding on letting her help out (but not doing all the work herself or doing all the work for her) and trying to foster her individuality.
  • Heel Realization: Greg and Steven are both horrified when they learn that Blue Pearl is essentially a slave, and they didn't realize for over a decade.
  • I Choose to Stay: Blue Pearl is offered the chance to leave by Pearl after Garnet captures Steven. Her response is that she is happy with Steven.
  • Image Song: "Faded Blue" for Blue Pearl.
  • The Infiltration: Greg moved to Beach City to spy covertly on the 'bad guys', the Crystal Gems, made all the easier when Rose Quartz develops a crush on him. Only Greg starts realizing that for supposedly violent, evil warriors, they're quite likable and protective.
  • Innocently Insensitive: It's not that Steven is trying to insult Pearl or Garnet. It's simply that all he knows about Gem culture he learned from Blue Pearl. And once he does learn what he's done is not correct, he does try to make up for it.
    • He openly tells Amethyst and Garnet that he thinks Kindergarten is a good thing... before it's established that he means "The level of school before first grade," and not the Gem Creation center.
  • Insert Song: "Sky Blue Goddess" is a song Greg wrote about Blue Diamond and is often mentioned and sung in-universe.
  • It Is Dehumanising: Pearl hates Steven referring to Blue Pearl as 'his Pearl'. Though it's more a subversion since he considers 'his' Pearl to be family, and this attitude towards Pearls was something Blue Pearl herself taught him.
  • Literal-Minded: Blue Pearl. When asked "What's up?", she refers to the branches above her. Greg notes this is a problem with Gems, and tries to avoid figures of speech with them.
  • Mama Bear: Blue Pearl is extremely protective of Steven and, although she has no combat training, she is still willing to fight to protect him.
  • The Mole: Justified with Greg. He only comes across Rose Quartz - leader of the Crystal Gems, shatterer of Pink Diamond and Blue Diamond's enemy - by pure coincidence. He tried to keep his distance but Rose seems to be fascinated by him and quickly becomes friends. He then uses her as an unwitting informant in order to keep Steven and Blue Pearl safe, and later uses her to find Rose's fountain so that Lapis can heal her cracked gem.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The Crystal Gems were caught off guard by Steven's entire existence - Garnet specifically states in Chapter 11 that he's a walking blind spot in her Future Vision.
    • It's expanded on in canon that Future Vision also requires at least some bias at what the user is looking for, otherwise Sapphire or Garnet could have found out about Rose being Pink Diamond much earlier. Garnet in this story says that now that Steven is something she knows about, she can predict him again.
  • Parental Substitute: Blue Pearl acts as Steven's primary caregiver, and while she is as loyal to Steven as she was to Blue Diamond, she is treated more like a mother and friend than a servant.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Rose and Pearl have a difficult time communicating. This becomes a plot point when Rose ignores Pearl's suspicions about Greg on the assumption that Pearl is jealous of the attention Greg is getting. The author has even commented that Pearl and Rose genuinely care for one another, but are just really bad at communicating their feelings.
    • The two Pearls try to talk a few times, but the first time they do, it's from the perspective of a Pearl who values freedom highly and has had thousands of years to get used to the idea of "I can do what I want," and Blue Pearl who still sees herself as property of Steven and Greg- albeit willing property. This leads to an argument between the two and helps kick off Blue Pearl's character arc of learning how not to be a slave.
    • White Pearl is constantly disgusted when she hears the things that Blue Pearl has to do for Steven- carrying him, making his food, reading to him, calling her "His Pearl"! Part of it is that she's incredibly biased against Blue Diamond, but she doesn't understand that these are normal things that one needs to do for a young human.
  • Point of Divergence: Greg didn't go to Beach City, but went on to become a major music star. Not only does this mean that he meets Blue Diamond in Korea, it means that they way that the residents of Beach City look at him is completely different from canon- instead of "Steven's Dad" or "That guy who runs the Car Wash," they see him as a literal rock star.
    • It's implied that since Greg didn't go to Beach City, Marty never went either, thus never met the future Onion family, and therefore Sour Cream doesn't exist in this world.
  • Posthumous Character: Blue Diamond fills this role in place of Rose Quartz.
  • Pushover Parents: Blue Pearl has a hard time saying "no" to Steven when his natural stubbornness kicks in. Justified because Blue Pearl still partially views Steven as her Diamond, and is trained to obey orders without question.
    • Subverted with Greg, however, much to Blue Pearl's continued surprise (and slight envy).
  • Seers: Steven is capable of Past Vision.
  • Selective Obliviousness: As a tactician, Rose really should've been able to pick up on the clues that Greg was less-than-trustworthy, but was having too much fun with him to notice.
    • A broader version of this is why Garnet and Sapphire didn't see Steven's arrival, or that Rose is Pink Diamond- there's an element of bias to Future Vision, and if they don't expect to see something, or look for it specifically, they can miss important details (like a certain Ruby trying to sacrifice herself for her Sapphire and creating a fusion).
  • Shamu Fu: Blue Pearl smacks Garnet with a fish during their fight.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Steven is captured and imprisoned by the Crystal Gems because of the actions of his mother, partially because the Gems do not realize that he is actually a separate person.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Steven does, but does clarify that this only counts for animals that communicate verbally. Things like insects, which communicate via pheromones or through motion, he can't speak.
  • Spoiled Brat: Steven zigzags this trope in a very strange way. In his words, "Whatever a Diamond wants, they get." However, he hasn't really been shown as actually wanting that much, relatively – he loves Earth as it is, and his "end goal" when the story starts is to tour all of Earth before eventually exploring space.
  • Squee: It turns out that Connie's dad was a big fan of Greg Universe from back when he was a rock-star, so he goes to great lengths not to fanboy on him when they invite the Universe family over for dinner.
  • The Stations of the Canon: Downplayed. Since Steven is living in Korea at first, most of the stations either don't happen, occur in the background, or are radically altered.
    • In the Bubble Buddies equivalent, Connie is saved from being crushed via rock by the Crystal Gems, loses a finger, and befriends Amethyst instead.
    • Lapis gets released from her mirror a fair bit earlier. Since she immediately meets up with "her Diamond", she never even attempts to return to Homeworld.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Blue Diamond learned to empathize with others because of her relationship with Greg.
  • Wham Episode: In Chapter 9, Garnet finds out Greg was spying on the Gems, and captures Steven, Lapis, and Blue Pearl.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Lapis is unable to defeat Garnet when confronted at the fountain because the most readily available body of liquid consists of Rose's healing tears, which instantly heal whatever damage she deals. Lapis herself quickly realizes this and decides to retreat, but Garnet manages to grab and poof her when she tries to fly Steven and Blue Pearl to safety as well.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: When he explores his mother's ship for the first time, he is given the chance to receive a message left to him from his mother, similar to the video tape left to his canon counterpart in "Lion 3: Straight to Video". Unlike Canon!Steven, Steven does not take the message his mother left for him nearly as well, Blue Diamond bringing up how she expects him to become a Diamond, with his own court and his own colonies and his own legion of followers. With all of the character development he has been through and learning about who his mother really was, he is left in a near sobbing mess by the time the message ends. Even though Blue's words came from a place of unconditional love, "Innocently Insensitive" does not even begin to cut it.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Steven has no idea why the Crystal Gems started a war. When he asks, Blue Pearl doesn't even attempt to give an answer, so he assumes they were just power hungry and were evil for the sake of it.