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It is impossible. It is unthinkable. Only a diamond can cut another diamond. But Rose Quartz kept so many secrets. As the Corruption song rings out across the beach, Steven steps forward and, in desperation, he sings back. And the Corruption...stops.To save the Earth and find out what he really is, Steven makes a deal. Fourteen years of his life. And, oh. What can happen in fourteen years....

Paragon. Noun.

  • 1. A person or thing regarded as a perfect example of a particular quality:
    • 1.1 A person or thing viewed as a model of excellence:
    • 1.2 A perfect diamond of 100 carats or more.

Paragon, written by Kitsune Heart, can be found on Archive of Our Own, here. Not to be confused with the Kim Possible story Paragon.


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Tropes for this work include:

  • A Father to His Men: Steven to the point where he and Greg jokingly talk about how he's his Gems' dad. Considering a number of them were created under his order, the comparison is not too far off.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: In-Universe, Steven's Peridots had this opinion about Platypuses, and are shocked to learn that they are indeed real.
  • Attack of the Political Ad: Ferrin, Connie's opponent in the race that led to her becoming mayor of Beach City after Dewey retired, apparently based his entire mayoral race on the fact that Connie was Steven's best friend before he vanished.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Spinel and Pyrope have the Gem version of this, with Chalcedony even telling them to "go somewhere and fuse already" after they start arguing.
    • There is a lot of this between Steven and Connie as well.
  • Benevolent Boss: After he develops his own "court", Steven becomes this to the Gems who work for him. They're extremely loyal as a result.
    • Mossy Agate, in contrast to Holly Blue.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Besides the Gems themselves (obviously), Steven and the Court Gems run into a species of silicon-based life forms on a trip around space to find ancillary colonies.
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  • Blind Seer: One of the Gems Steven put into the ground turns out to be a Variant in the form of a Green Star Sapphire. She is able to sense every Gem in seemingly the entire universe, knows how many of each type there is, and their exact location. However, with her Gem placed where her normal cyclopean eye should be, she is unable to see anything that isn't a Gem, causing her to be startled when Connie, who'd been in the room silent, suddenly spoke up.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Coral sometimes acts like this, especially when people talk to Steven rudely.
  • Character Tics: While Steven is able to turn his pupils into diamonds at will, they tend to appear when he is angry.
  • Combat by Champion: In this fic, the Diamonds are actually more supporters than front-line combatants (they're still dangerous, of course), and can't summon weapons. As a result, each of them has a Champion, who they use to fight in their place when two or more of them disagree.
  • Constantly Curious: Much like Peridot (after her character development), Steven's four Peridots seem to be excited and curious over everything they see.
  • Deal with the Devil: The starting point of the fic. After Steven manages to stop the Diamonds from Corrupting the Crystal Gems, he meets up with White Diamond and convinces her to leave Earth alone, in exchange for him leaving with her for fourteen years.
  • Death by Childbirth: Due to only knowing of Rose Quartz' situation in giving birth and books that invoke Deceased Parents Are the Best, Coral believes that to give birth one of the parents has to give up their life and fears something like that happening to Steven should he ever have a child.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: It's shown early on that the gems under Steven are clearly different from the gems who serve the Diamonds - fusions are more or less open as long as they don't interfere with work getting done, there are shifts for everyone to work (it's implied the other Diamonds and their gems have near-constant work schedules),
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • The Diamonds were in no way prepared to find out Steven even existed, let alone that he was also a Diamond and capable of stopping Corruption.
    • While he had nightmares of his returning to Earth starting a war, he didn't imagine the war that might be started would be between his court and the Watermelon Stevens on Mask Island. Fortunately, he and Spinel manage to stop it from taking place.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Literally, but also subverted. When White Diamond refers to humans as "amusing creatures" at the start of the story, Connie extends her hand and gives a "gesture that failed to cross species boundaries."
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Jasper manages to defeat an Onyx in a Combat by Champion scenario to save two of the Gems that worked for Steven/Pink Diamond after they accidentally Fused in front of the other Diamonds, and judging by how the other Crystal Gems reacted after learning this, even for a "perfect" Quartz, this wasn't previously seen as possible.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Steven prefers to just be called Steven. Not "Your Radiance", "Pink Diamond", "My Diamond", or anything of the sort.
  • Eating Optional: Much like Amethyst, members of Steven's crew like to eat even though they don't need to. Army of the four remaining members of the Ruby Squad is willing to try anything once, and even when she declares a pepper disgusting she still swallows it, and her first time eating a Cookie Cat was to slam her face into the bowl Steven had given it in and devour it in seconds.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: When it is broken to Sol and Hush that sabertooth tigers and t-rexes don't exist anymore, Hush is then confines that platypuses are not real either, only for Pearl to contradict her.
    Sol: This planet is fractured.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Steven lampshades this after he takes Eyeball, Doc, Leggy, and Army aboard his ship.
    Steven glanced back towards the doorway to the bridge, where four huddling gems watched the interchanges between diamond and crew. This was...really not the first impression he would have preferred. The kidnapped aliens, the bribery, the overly casual attitude towards essential duties.
    Though, to be fair, it was probably the most accurate impression of how things operated.
  • Ethical Slut: Moss Agate is the Gem version of this, having fused with the rest of Steven's Gems and trying to seduce both Amethyst and Pearl as well. Though, as stated by Chalcedony, she knows the rules and will stop if told to.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: As in canon, the Diamonds may be tyrants, and their treatment of other gems besides each other can often be suspect at best (to say the very least), but they do care for each other. It’s just that here, "each other" includes Steven.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: While Connie claims that she is in no way a lesbian, she has considered the idea of dating Garnet, her only explanation being "it's Garnet."
  • Gag Penis: Blue Diamond apparently suggested that Steven's ship be designed like a giant penis (he nixed the idea and is embarrassed that it even happened).
  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: After Spinel kidnaps an alien "dragon", Steven forces her to return it to its planet and family. Said family is extremely upset that Spinel kidnapped their child, leading to the gem having all her hair burned off.
  • Heroic BSoD: All of the Crystal Gems have this after Steven has to leave, but the prize goes to Lapis, who goes into shock a while, tries to leave the solar system several times (being turned back each time by a Homeworld ship) before going to the Galaxy Warp and simply staying there, waiting for Steven to come back.
  • Heroic Seductress: Moss Agate basically tries seducing Amethyst and Pearl, and when Pearl mentions being in a relationship, Moss is more than willing to join them. She often has to be pulled off her targets by Chalcedony.
  • Hero Worship: Based on the stories Steven's told about her, his team of 'perfect' Peridots basically see Crystal Gem Peridot as their hero (for her masterful use of primitive technology as well as being the one to strike the 'final' blow on Jasper during the fight at the Beta Kindergarten).
  • I Did What I Had to Do:
    • Steven is not proud of the fact that he had to leave Earth for fourteen years, and stayed away for another four after an incident with two of his gems fusing, but he saw it as necessary in order to learn how to cure The Corruption, maybe find a better way than draining planets to make Gems, and later, to keep the attention of the other Diamonds away from Earth.
    • This is also why he took Coral (a Pearl) by Yellow Diamond as a gift despite his promise to Pearl, because the only other option was to abandon her to be harvested.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Army is not the cleanest eater.
  • Mama Bear: Pearl seems to have taken this attitude toward Connie. When called at 3 am by a crying Connie, Pearl borrows Sheena's car, drives to where she is in half the time the GPS recommended, and argues with Connie about the situation (even mentioning she couldn't keep her temper because it was Connie). She does the civilized thing and calls the cops, but actually wants to pull out a bastard sword, run back to the house, and challenge whomever hurt Connie.
  • Mildly Military: Steven and his crew place very little emphasis on the Diamond Authority's rules when they're on The Blade (Steven's ship), only putting up appearances in military installations to minimize arguments.
  • Moment Killer: Right as Steven and Connie are talking in the former's room, and starting to repair their relationship, they're interrupted by one of the Ruby Squad slamming into the ship, to Steven's rage when he finds out.
  • Morton's Fork: While downplayed overall, Steven's choice when he was presented with Coral (a Pearl) by Yellow Diamond, despite promising Pearl that he would never make a Pearl - abandon Coral to be harvested, or take her with him despite his promise.
  • Mother Makes You King: How Steven got the title of Pink Diamond, despite technically being the second/(third?).
  • Naïve Animal Lover: Spinel has a habit of becoming attached to wild-life to the point of absurdity.
    Squealing at the suggestion, Amethyst morphed once more, becoming a fluffy, purring creature in Spinel's arms.
    "Oh no," Spinel breathed, pressing a hand to Amethyst's fur. "I want one!"
    "You want a t-rex, too," Chalcedony snickered.
    "I do!" Spinel sobbed, pressing her face into Amethyst's coat.
    Jasper looked to Steven. "You know we're not getting off-planet without getting her an animal, don't you?"
  • Nature Lover: Spinel, to the point where Steven has the rule for her that "If it moves on it's own, you're not allowed to move it". She comments under her breath about a fern, and Garnet forsees Spinel kidnapping a Watermelon Steven. She also wants a cat, a pig, and a tyrannosaurus (and is disheartened to learn that tyrannosauruses no longer live).
  • The Nicknamer: Most of the Gems under Steven have nicknames besides their "Gem code."
  • Never Live It Down: In-Universe, Jasper has yet to hear the end of how she was beaten by Peridot.
  • No Badass to His Valet: Steven's Pearl Coral isn't afraid to comment when she feels Steven's being 'useless' or 'lackadaisical' in matters (such as in regards to the upcoming Beach-a-Palooza event).
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Pearl had a temporary job as a coffee barista, which led to her quitting two weeks later after an incident that led to her Pointy-Haired Boss manager leaving their job for good.
    Pearl: "I got a lot out of that position! I learned the pride of a job well-done, the value of a dollar, and the utter joy of completely ruining your manager’s life."
    • During an argument, Spinel remarks that Pyrope exploded a T Tauri Star her first week on duty as pilot, and in return Pyrope remarks that Spinel forwarded White Diamond's last call directly into the toilet (which apparently has a screen inside it for an unknown reason, and resulted in Steven being unable to go in there for a month without first telling Spinel to hold his calls while he's in there.)
  • Not So Different: Steven, while he still loves his friends and family, as well as the Gems who work under him, is starting to become a little more like his mother Rose Quartz/Pink Diamond in how many secrets he keeps.
  • Ontological Mystery: It's established by the Diamonds that Steven is indeed Pink Diamond via one of their "songs", and Steven himself has been shown to possess the ability to use said "Diamond Songs" that only the Authority's members can use normally. However, Steven got his gem from his mother Rose Quartz, who Greg points out obviously wasn't Pink Diamond. It's also stated by Pearl that, aside from her, literally hundreds of gems directly witnessed Pink Diamond's death... at Rose's own hands. As a result, how exactly Steven and Rose are connected/are Pink Diamond, has yet to be revealed or explained. Well, as of A Single Pale Rose, mystery solved...
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: If Steven draws on his Diamond powers, his pupils become... well, diamonds. However, it's also stated that they tend to show up whenever he's acting this way.
  • Picky Eater: Laz can is very picky about what she eats.
  • Planimal: One of the planets visited by Steven and Connie on their exploration trip is inhabited by dragon-like plant creatures that breathe fire. Spinel kidnaps a young one, forcing Steven's ship go back to return it, and Spinel gets her hair burned off for her troubles.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!"/Big "NO!": Sapphire, after she realizes that Steven has left Earth with the Diamonds.
  • Red Herring: When Steven failed to return in Chapter 2, it was implied that he was potentially taking place in a Great Offscreen War. It turns out that he was participating in a Combat by Champion scenario.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Peridot and Amethyst start dating after Steven leaves, and Pearl moves in with Sheena (Mystery Girl) after several years. Also, three years before Steven comes back, Lars and Sadie get married.
  • Required Secondary Powers: While modern Gem ships are, in this fic, near-unrivaled in speed, even in sci-fi (crossing several hundred light-years can take less than an hour), it is explicitly stated that, due to the massive speeds and distances between their destinations, Gems have to plan out their destinations and routes down to a matter of seconds or risk death due to a high-speed impact. Also, they have (and require) a massive array of satellites spread across the entire galaxy in order to collect the data they need to travel safely.
  • Series Fic: The author has made two additional Spin-Off stories in the series, and has stated they plan to release more as time goes along.
  • Servile Snarker: Coral, Steven's Pearl, is not afraid to let her feelings be known (particularly in regards to Pearl and her preconceived notions in regards to her status).
  • Smug Super: While this is a standard attitude for Homeworld Gems, Onyx, Yellow Diamond’s Champion, deserves special mention. And given that she was stated in her Establishing Character Moment to have taken on 20 quartz trained by Yellow Diamond’s top Agate by herself and won, she’s pretty justified in her confidence.
  • Stealth Insult: After discovering that Yellow Diamond never sent anyone to pick up Doc, Leggy, Eyeball, and Army, Steven makes one of these to Yellow Diamond. She either doesn’t notice, or doesn't care.
    Steven: "Well, not all of us can have so many gems we just...forget where we left them!"
    Yellow Diamond: "You’ll get there, someday."
  • Support Party Member: Word of God and what we've seen in the fic implies that this is actually the main power of the Diamonds; they actually can't summon their own weapons (except for Steven, who is part-Quartz in addition to his abilities as a Diamond), but they can use their "songs" for various purposes beyond The Corruption, such as calming down, strengthening, or healing other Gems.
  • Taking the Heat: Eyeball tries to do this with Steven, asking him to only kill her and spare the rest of her squad, and Doc tries to do the same. Since it's Steven, however, they didn't really need to ask at all, and he had to convince them both that he wasn't going hurt any of them and that he didn't blame them for their past interactions, seeing it as them obeying Yellow Diamond's orders.
  • The Teetotaler: Steven's first time drinking apparently coincided with the gravity systems on his ship going offline, and him learning what it was like to throw up and have a hangover in zero-G. Also, when he reappears, Peedee has spent ten years as a member of what is implied to be SU's version of Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • Token Good Teammate: Steven is this to the Diamonds as a whole, and has, overall, seemingly held to his old beliefs fairly well. However, it's also implied that the other Diamonds, as well as his mother Rose/Pink Diamond, have rubbed off on him at least a little...
  • Twin Telepathy: The Feldspars (QR-57a and QR-57b) have this as an ability, which they use to speak in unison as well as allows one of them to investigate a planet while the other remains on their ship.
  • Undying Loyalty: After discovering that Steven is apparently Pink Diamond, Jasper swears to protect him for life. The rest of the Gems who later join his court are also extremely loyal.
    • Laz has gained undying loyalty not to Steven, but to Greg, after learning he owns the recipe to make Cookie Cats and thus can make more.
  • The Un-Smile: Jasper attempts a reassuring smile for Steven in Chapter 6. It's described as "something crooked and awkward with her lips. It was unpracticed and a bit unsettling."
  • Woman Scorned: The story uses this exact phrase to describe Connie's Unstoppable Rage after Steven returns four years later then he was supposed to, and the first time he sees her he mistakes her for her mother.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After Steven retrieves the rest of the Ruby Squad besides Navy, Yellow Diamond tells him that he can "keep them", since she got back the only "useful" one.

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