Over five-thousand years ago, after the dust of the Gem Rebellion had settled, only four Gems still stood on Earth. Steven Universe, the son of the Crystal Gem's heroic leader, Pearl, the determined protector, Amethyst, the Earth-made Gem, and Spinel, the kind-hearted Gem, who tends to fade into the background. And together they continue that legacy, even today.
Or at least, that's what Steven always remembered being told. However, as Steven and Connie are quickly finding out, what you remember and what is really true, are sometimes two separate things.
Long-Term Memories is a Steven Universe fanfiction by Swordtheguy. It's on on Archive of Our Own, here, and on Fanfiction.net here. It's part of the series The Continuing Adventures of Steven and the Crystal Gems, but it can also be read independently.
Tropes for this work include:
- Alternate Timeline: The series is divergent from the show's canon, continuing from the episode Super Watermelon Island.
- Backstory Invader: Spinel replaces Garnet and imposes fake memories on the other characters so that they believe she's always been there instead of her.
- Broken Masquerade: Steven, Connie and Amethyst from Chapter onwards manage to break free from Spinel's grip on their minds, and can see through her entire farce.
- Contrived Clumsiness: Garnet "accidentally" snaps the Gem Distabiliser used to poof her in half.
- Fake Memories: Spinel implants fake memories in everybody's heads, to make them think she's always been there, and to make them think Garnet was shattered during the Gem War. In reality, Garnet was poofed and trapped by Spinel, hidden within an old laboratory.
- Fighting Down Memory Lane: Spinel exacerbates the anger surrounding Lapis's memories about the mirror, Homeworld and Malachite to get her to attack and restrain Amethyst and Peridot prior to editing everyone's memories.
- Fusion Dance: Spinel's mind control can be undone by fusing with someone. Garnet later supposes that its mostly the increased energy output that results from forming a fusion, meaning that poofing and reforming would also do the trick.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Peridot, to an extent. She allows herself to be poofed and her gem to be used to power a machine that will decipher the access code for the mysterious storage box. It's too an extent because it ultimately ends up being meaningless, as the box turns out to be empty.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: After breaking free from Spinel's mind control, the person whose memories were altered can't remember anything from the time they were under her control. Connie can't remember an afternoon, Steven loses two days worth of memories, and Amethyst forgets nearly the entire previous week.
- Masquerade: Spinel's ability to implant fake memories and hide the real ones.
- Original Character: Spinel and Atlantisite, the fusion of Amethyst and Peridot.
- Out-of-Character Alert: Everyone is way more relaxed and at ease under Spinel's control, as Spinel wished them to be as happy as possible while she carried out her plans. Lampshaded in Chapter 5, when Amethyst declares that Happy Lapis is very creepy.
- Psychic Powers: Spinel is a telepath.
- Ret Gone: Garnet is not only missing, but only Steven, Connie and later Amethyst remember she survived the Gem War, much less that she's the team leader.
- Sugar Bowl: Downplayed. The world isn't perfect, but Steven does note that everyone seems way happier under Spinel's control. Spinel later confirms that she gave the group their greatest desires because she'd be uncomfortable doing anything else.
- The Talk: Pearl attempts to give it Chapter 3, though she stops as soon as the book she's using as a guide begins discussing sex, much to her and Steven's discomfort:So, Pearl began. I was thinking last night and well, now that you and Connie are, uh whats the word? Dating? I think we should have er, a talk (...) Now Ill admit Im learning myself, Pearl said, opening the book. But after looking through this book last night, I believe I have a fairly good grasp on what youre going through right now.Steven fidgeted uncomfortably in his seat. He had seen enough daytime television to know when The Talk was coming. He knew that he would have to endure it at some point, but hed just hoped that Pearl wouldnt be the one giving it
- True Companions: Steven and Connie.
- Un-person: Garnet is believed to be dead by everyone except Steven, Connie and Amethyst.