The Trouble with Time
"You are in big trouble." Future Connie said to the sheepish child. "Time travel. Time travel! Do you realize just how dangerous this is?!"
"I wanted to see you guys when you were my age." Vonvon explained, glancing over at the younger versions of their parents. "You and Papa always told stories of your adventures, and I sometimes imagined being there."
"You know how many times your father could've died during this time?!" Connie continued. One may be foolish enough to suggest that she may be being a bit too harsh on the child, but then, chances are they've never been through a childhood of harrowing ordeals. "He only lived because he has Gem powers! If he was a regular human, he'd be dead dead!"
"N-now, hon..." Steven tried to say, not needing a reminder of the several dozen instances of potential painful death.
"Wait, Vonvon is our child?!" younger Connie interrupted, blood rushing to her cheeks. "When does this happen?!"
"H-How many more times do I almost die?" Steven asked, afraid of the answer he'll get.
"They look exactly like Stevonnie." older Connie said, "Come on, young me, I thought we didn't need glasses anymore. Also, you don't need to know that. And at least six more times, little Steven."
"Seven." Older Steven corrected. "There was that time when I visited you in college and you were at your parent's after your dad had that nasty fall, remember?"
"Right, the space T-Rex. You mentioned that."
"Anyways, you have no idea how dangerous time stuff is." older Connie said, calmer now. "Who knows how many timelines you affected, and how you affected ours."
"But how'd you know I came back here?" Vonvon asked.
"We had memories of meeting you, and now we're getting memories of meeting us." Steven replied. "But your mother's right, time travel isn't something you should be messing with."
"But I, we, did." young Steven said, raising his hand. "That didn't seem to do anything."
"Not exactly." explained his older self. "It took us a few tries to get here with the time machine Peridot made. We found a timeline where we used the hourglass to go back in time, then just never came back. You remember, Steven & The Stevens?"
"Yeah, that'll haunt us for always." older Connie commented.
Young Steven's eyes grew distant and dim as he locked the thought and memory away in the darkest corner of his mind. He doesn't need to know about the timeline where he died. And possibly watched himself die. Not today.
"Oh no." Older Steven said. "I think I just made my late teen years worse."
"Worse?" young Connie worried.
"Just remember, he needs a hug every so often." her older self explained, hugging her Steven.
Young Connie glanced over at her distant-eyed Steven. Slowly and awkwardly, she wrapped her arms around his shoulders, pulling his head to hers, and patted his curly hair.
"There, there." she said, wondering how exactly this will help, not that she's complaining. "Anything else I should know?"
"Yes, we go to college." Older Connie began to list, thinking back to everything she wanted to know back then. "Mom eventually accepts the fact we got a tattoo. Do not let Steven name Vonvon, no matter how much painkillers we are on. The name was a nurse's idea. Yes, the sock puppet the nurse used to try and calm us was weird, but it helped. And no, the guy we meet at college was not flirting with us, he's-"
"No, I mean anything I should know about Steven?" young Connie interrupted, even though she was curious about her own future.
"Three things." older Connie explained. "He will experiment with his shapeshifting powers, and he will get it, but only after a few worrisome days of being a cat. Always remember, he does love you, even if he does turn pink. And there will be times when he needs time alone and other times when he needs a hug, You'll get a sense of them."
"He turns pink?"
But as older Connie returned to scolding little Vonvon while her younger self privately wondered about what a future with Steven holds, a shadow loomed in the distance, watching from the darkness of the lighthouse. It leered at the group with a ferocious, sinister glimmer in its eyes.
"There they are." whispered the ominous shadow. "After all these years...I have you now..."
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