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The Whole Caretaker Thing (Steven Universe, Pearl, F)


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Hi! I haven’t been in the mood to write recently, so I don’t have any new fics (sneeze or regular). I’m hoping to get back into it soon, but, for now, have a draft! This was originally supposed to be the “team caretaker gets sick and no one knows what to do” trope. Did I follow through with that? Eh. Also, of course, it wouldn’t be a SU fic without crying! 


Despite their constant bickering, Amethyst had to admit that Pearl had her strengths. She was undeniably an excellent fighter and strategist in battle, but she also had a domestic side that helped keep the team together. Whenever Steven was sick or upset, she was always by his side. When Garnet had her rare moments of weakness, she was there to help her through it and keep Ruby and Sapphire together. Even when Amethyst herself recklessly cracked her gem, Pearl would rush to make sure she was okay and find Steven to heal her. She was always taking care of the other Crystal Gems, and she never seemed to need any help in return. Sure, she had her little meltdowns, but she always ran off to her room to mope and emerged a few hours later good as new. 

Needless to say, when Pearl stumbled out of the temple one morning looking completely exhausted, Amethyst was a bit surprised. 

“Yikes, P. Rough night?” 

“Good morning to you, too,” Pearl grumbled sarcastically. Amethyst rolled her eyes. Did she always have to be so smug? 

“You look terrible,” she remarked. 

“I’m fine.” 

“See, Steven,” Amethyst turned to the boy sitting next to her. “What Pearl is doing right now is this cool little thing I like to call ‘lying’.”

“I am not lying, Amethyst,” Pearl said, clearly annoyed. 

“Are you sure, Pearl?” Steven asked. “Amethyst has a point. You don’t so look great.” 

“I’m just tired, Steven,” she replied with a sniffle. Amethyst stared at the other gem in confusion. She had seen Pearl in all kinds of moods, but she had never seen her act like this. She was way too reserved, too quiet, too….. uncomfortable? She made a mental note to ask Garnet if she had noticed this strange behavior. Amethyst turned back to Steven and was about to speak before she was stopped by a soft sound. 


“Bless you!” Steven shouted out of habit. “Wait… did-“ 

“Did you just….. sneeze?” Amethyst interrupted. A teal blush immediately spread across Pearl’s cheeks. 

“I- it’s nothing,” she argued. “I just- Ei’kschoo! Hih’schiew!” 

“Pearl, are you….” Steven hesitated, “are you feeling alright?” Before Pearl could respond, there was a flash of light, and Garnet appeared on the warp pad. 

“I figured out what is causing all the commotion in the jungle,” she reported. “There’s a gem creature destroying the trees and rocks, almost as if it’s intentionally terraforming. We have to stop it before it destroys the ecosystem.” 

“Jungle adventure!” Steven shouted before running towards the warp pad. 

Amethyst glanced at Pearl one last time before heading towards the warp pad. She would figure out what was going on with her later. Right now she had a mission to complete. 

The mission went exceptionally well, although Garnet and Amethyst did most of the work. That wasn’t necessarily unusual. Whenever Steven’s shenanigans put him in danger during battles, Pearl would usually stay near him while Garnet and Amethyst did all of the heavy fighting. That wasn’t the case with this mission though. Steven performed incredibly well. He even pulled out his shield and bubble several times to protect the team. There was no reason for Pearl to stay so low to the ground. There were no distractions that would cause her aim to be so inaccurate. She simply wasn’t at the top of her game, and if Amethyst wasn’t concerned before, she definitely was now. Pearl was never the weakest Crystal Gem, never.

When the team warped back to the house, Pearl quickly excused herself and headed into the temple. Steven mentioned something about going to visit his dad and was gone before Amethyst could even process it, leaving her alone with Garnet. The fusion sat on one of the stools in the kitchen, and Amethyst joined her by jumping up and sitting on the counter. 

“That was a very successful mission,” Garnet said. “Steven is gaining better control of his powers every day.” 

“Yeah,” Amethyst agreed. She stared at Garnet in silence for a few seconds before pushing out the question that was on the tip of her tongue. “Does Pearl seem off to you today?” 

“Mmm,” Garnet shrugged. “She was sloppy in battle, but we’re all entitled to our bad days.” 

“Yeah, but she wasn’t just sloppy. She was completely out of it,” Amethyst said. “Seriously, I’m shocked she didn’t get poofed. Any idea what’s going on, Miss Future Vision?” 

“Let me think,” Garnet said slowly. “Oh, I saw a possibility of Pearl getting sick. It could be that.” 

“Yeah, that sounds about right,” Amethyst agreed, remembering the sneezes she witnessed earlier. “I don’t know, G. I’m just worried.” 

“There’s no reason to worry, Amethyst. Pearl is a strong gem, but she wasn’t made for fighting like us. You know she gets sick once in awhile.” 

“But not like this!” the smaller gem argued. “She always hides it expertly. She’s never exhausted like she was this morning, and she’s never anything less than perfect in battle.” Amethyst forced out all of the air in her form in an effort to calm down. “I just- what if this is something more? What are we supposed to do?” 

“We help her,” Garnet stated plainly. “Maybe it’s nothing, maybe it’s not. Only time will tell. Either way, we will be there for her.” 

“Yeah,” Amethyst released the breath she hadn’t realized she had been holding, “I guess you’re right.” 

The two gems eventually retreated to their rooms, Garnet to make sure all of the gem shards were in order and Amethyst to rearrange her garbage piles. By the time they both ended up back in the kitchen again, they hadn’t seen Steven or Pearl in hours. 

“Where are they?” Amethyst turned to Garnet. 

“Steven is probably still with Greg. They like to wait until night time to watch movies together,” Garnet explained. Amethyst nodded. 

“What about Pearl? Is she seriously still in her room?“

“Eh, you know how she gets,” Garnet said. “She’s probably polishing her swords or something.” 

Suddenly, the temple door opened, revealing a wary Pearl. She somehow looked way worse than she did earlier. There was a teal tint under her eyes and nose, and she was clutching a handful of tissues. Amethyst glanced towards Garnet and saw she shared her worried expression. 

“You uh- you good, Pierogi?” 

“Yes……….. no,” she admitted. “I think I- I- Hiiiihh’ktschh! Ht’eschh! Ei’kxghh!” she sneezed miserably into the tissues. “I think I’m sick,” she sighed, voice thick with congestion. 

“You think?” Amethyst snorted. “I hate to break it to you, P, but I could’ve told you that.” 

“Yep, definitely sick,” Garnet agreed. 

Pearl’s only response was a series of ragged coughs that made Amethyst frown even harder than she already was. 

“You should lie down, Pearl,” Garnet stated. 

“But Steven-“ 

“Is with Greg,” the fusion interrupted, “and will be for a few more hours. Until then, get some rest.” 

Amethyst expected Pearl to push back a bit more, but she merely walked over to the couch and curled up onto the cushions. It seemed as though all the life had been drained out of her and she didn’t have anymore energy to argue. 

Garnet walked over to her and placed a trash can and box of tissues by her side. She pulled out a blanket from behind the couch and draped it over the shivering gem. 

“Thank you, Garnet,” Pearl murmured.

“You’re welcome. Try to rest until Steven gets back.” 

Garnet headed towards the temple and shot Amethyst a look, signaling that she wanted her to follow. When they arrived in Garnet’s room, the fusion turned to face the small quartz. 

“Okay, I’m starting to understand your concern,” she said. “I didn’t think it would be this bad.” 

“I’ve never seen her like this,” Amethyst shook her head. “I’m glad you know what you’re doing because I’m completely lost.” 

“Oh, I have no idea what I’m doing. No clue,” Garnet stated. 

“What? But- you did the whole thing- convincing her to stay on the couch?” 

“Yeah, that’s pretty much all I’ve got.” Amethyst had to stop herself from physically slapping her palm to her face. She had the tendency to forget that despite being a strong leader, Garnet could lack maternal instincts. Not that the purple gem could complain. She certainly wasn’t any better. 

“We could ask Steven,” Amethyst suggested. “Illness is more of a human thing anyway, and Pearl takes care of Steven when he’s sick all the time. He’ll probably know what to do.” 

“Wait, she’s sick?” 




“As in…. Pearl Pearl?” 


“She’s…. sick?” 

“It’s pretty cut and dry, Stee-man,” Amethyst cut in, exasperated. 

“Right, right, I just- Pearl doesn’t get sick. At least not sick enough that she would admit it,” Steven said. 

“Exactly, that’s why we need your help. Tell us what Pearl does when you’re sick,” Garnet demanded. 

“Well….. she makes me stay in bed,” Steven started. 

“Okay, cool, we’ve got that down. What else?” Amethyst asked. 

“She makes sure I drink lots of water, but gems don’t have to drink. She always makes me soup, too, but-“ 

“But Pearl hates eating,” Garnet finished. 

“Yeah,” Steven said. “I don’t think you guys should try to recreate what I like when I’m sick. You should try to do what Pearl wants instead.”

“Yeah, we could do that if we had any idea what she wants,” Amethyst rolled her eyes. “I mean, how do you help someone who has literally never shown physical weakness until now?” 

“Well, did you ask her?” 


“Did you ask Pearl what she needs?” 

“I- no, but- I mean-“ Amethyst stuttered. Steven shook his head with slight amusement. 

“You guys are helpless,” he said. “Why don’t we just go inside and talk to her?” Steven didn’t wait for a response before opening the front door. 

Pearl immediately stood up at the sound, wobbling slightly. 

“Steven! You’re home!” she plastered on a fake smile, but her voice didn’t come close to portraying the joyful tone Amethyst knew she was going for. 

“Sit down, Pearl,” Garnet ordered. 

“No, no, I’m-“ 

“Pearl, I know you’re sick,” Steven interrupted. “You don’t have to pretend to be fine.” Pearl didn’t even attempt to argue with him. Her smile dropped, and she curled back up on the couch. Amethyst felt uneasy witnessing the uncharacteristic behavior. 

“Tell us what we can do to help you, Pearl,”Garnet said. 

“Nothing, I’m fine,” she mumbled. 

“Okay, first of all, you are a terrible liar,” Amethyst started. “Second, even if that was believable, you look awful.” 

“Amethyst,” Steven threw her a cautionary glance. “But really, Pearl. Let us help you.” 

Pearl stayed silent, clearly not planning on giving in. However, her stoic demeanor was quickly ruined as she was forced to turn away to muffle several harsh sneezes. 

“Hih’tschh! Ht’etschh! Ei’ktXghh!” She sniffed afterwards and sighed in defeat. 

“Fine,” she groaned. “I could use some more tissues.” Garnet silently picked up the empty tissue box and headed towards the kitchen. 

“It’s late, Steven. You should go to bed,” Pearl said as she rubbed her nose. 

“No way! I’m not going to leave you like this!” 

“It is way past your bedtime, little man,” Amethyst said. “Go to sleep. Garnet and I can handle this.” 

“Okay,” Steven said hesitantly. “Just…. let me know if I can help at all.” Amethyst gave him a reassuring look, and he reluctantly headed up to his room. 

“Here, Pearl,” Garnet said, returning with a new box of tissues. 

“Thank you,” she punctuated with a few coughs. “You guys don’t have to stay here. I’m all set.” Garnet nodded. 

“Call me if you need anything,” she said before heading towards the temple. Amethyst considered following her, but she couldn’t get herself to walk away. 

“Amethyst, really, I’m okay.” 

“I know,” the purple gem sighed. “I just- I hate this, P. I’ve never seen you like this before.” 

“You’ve seen me sick plentyyyy…. hhhih’ktschh! Et’kschoo!” Pearl sneezed into her arm. 

“Excuse me,” she blushed. “You’ve seen me sick plenty of times.”

Amethyst feigned confusion, and Pearl picked up on it immediately. 

“Come on, Ame. You really think I don’t know you guys notice?” Amethyst blushed lightly before responding. 

“You just try so hard to hide it,” she answered. “I didn’t want you to feel-“ 

“It’s okay,” Pearl cut her off. The two sat there in silence for a moment before Pearl broke into another coughing fit. Amethyst felt her stomach drop at the painful sound. 

“I just wish I could do more,” she admitted. 


“I- What?” 

“Stay with me,” Amethyst stared at her dumbfounded. 

“I know you don’t want me to be alone,” Pearl continued. “And, if I’m being honest, I don’t really want to be alone either,” she admitted quietly. 

“Okay, I’ll stay,” Amethyst said, sitting down on the floor next to the couch. 

“You don’t have to stay awake. I know you like to sleep at night,” Pearl said. 

“Yeah,” Amethyst smiled at the thought of Pearl remembering her sleeping habits. “Good night, P,” she murmured before quickly falling asleep. 


Amethyst was usually an incredibly heavy sleeper. Not even Steven’s shouting could wake her, so she was surprised when she woke up in the middle of the night. It took her a moment to register where she was, but she immediately remembered when she heard the sound of dry, raspy coughing. She sat up slowly and turned towards the figure on the couch. 

“Are you okay?” she whispered. 

“I’m fine,” Pearl responded between coughs. “Go back to sleep.” Amethyst laid back down and closed her eyes, but she was too worried to sleep. She stayed up for hours listening to the periodic coughing fits. She wished she could get her some water or tea, anything, but she knew the process of drinking would be far more unenjoyable for Pearl than the coughing itself. 

At some point she must’ve fallen asleep because when she opened her eyes, it was bright outside. She slowly stood up and glanced at Pearl, who was wide awake. 

“Hey,” she greeted. “How are you feeling?” 

“Like Greg ran me over with his van,” Pearl rasped. Her voice was almost completely gone. 

“Oh, P,” she sighed sympathetically. “You sound horrible.” Pearl didn’t respond. Instead, she sat up, rubbing her temples methodically. 

“Where do you think you’re going,” Amethyst asked as the pale gem stood up. 

“Connie will be here any second for training,” Pearl replied. 

“Are you kidding me? You are not training like this.” 

“Yes, I am.” Pearl responded adamantly. 

“Oh my God, Pearl. You literally just admitted to feeling like shit. Sit down.” 

“I’ll be fiiii-ih’eischh! Hih’ktschoo!” she lost her balance and fell on the couch. 

“Yeah, you are not going anywhere for awhile.” Amethyst crossed her arms authoritatively. Suddenly, she heard the front door swing open and whipped her head around to see Connie with a large grin on her face. 

“Sorry, I’m a little early, but I was so excited to-“ she paused as she noticed her mentor on the couch. “Pearl, are you okay?” 


“No,” Amethyst interrupted. “She is sick and will not be handling any dangerous weapons.” 

“I’m so sorry, Connie,” Pearl sighed. “I hate to cancel on you.” 

“You don’t need to apologize! I’m sorry you’re not feeling well.” Pearl smiled. Whether it was because of genuine affection for the girl or her use of proper grammar, Amethyst wasn’t sure. Her thoughts were quickly interrupted as Steven ran down the stairs. 

“Connie!” he exclaimed. “Ready for training?” 

“No can do, Stee-man,” Amethyst said. “Pearl is still sick.” 

“Aw, man,” Steven said. 

“It’s okay,” Connie said to him. “We always have next week.” 

“Yeah,” he agreed. Suddenly, his eyes lit up. “Wait, I have an idea! What if we practiced on our own? We could spar! Then we wouldn’t need a trainer.” 

“No, absolutely not,” Pearl cut in. “You two are not fighting without supervision.” 

“I will supervise,” a voice said from the kitchen. 

“Garnet! How did you even get here?” Steven asked. 

“A magician never reveals their secrets,” she smirked. 

“Can we train with Garnet? Please, Pearl?” Steven begged. 

“Fine,” she replied. “Just be careful.” 

“We will!” Steven promised as he headed towards the warp pad. Connie nodded in agreement and followed him. 

“Amethyst, stay with Pearl and make sure she doesn’t do anything stupid,” Garnet ordered. Amethyst laughed. Her, making sure Pearl of all people wasn’t being reckless. 

“Sure thing, boss.” 

“I hope you feel better, Ma’am,” Connie added before the three of them warped away. 

“Well, P, looks like it’s just you and me for awhile.” Pearl grunted in response. 

“I am not an invalid, Amethyst. You guys can stop treating me like one.” 

“What?” Amethyst questioned. 

“I know you think I’m a mess, and, honestly, I can’t blame you. You and Garnet are so much physically stronger than me. Steven is stronger than me emotionally and-“ her voice broke, and she buried her head in her hands. 


“Don’t! Don’t try to act like I’m crazy or overreacting! Every single thing I do is a constant string of mistakes,” she burst into tears. 

Amethyst merely stood there, stunned. The sudden change in behavior came out of nowhere. Granted, that wasn’t unusual for Pearl, but normally something provoked her dramatic mood swings. Amethyst reached out to touch Pearl’s gem and found that it was significantly warmer than usual.  She frowned, remembering Pearl mentioning that fevers had made Steven more emotional in the past. 

“I should be better than this. I’m supposed to be better than this,” Pearl said between sobs. 

“You are strong, Pearl,” Amethyst argued. “You are stronger than all of us in so many ways. I mean, take this for example.” 

“W-What do you mean?” 

“The whole… caretaker thing, you know? If Steven or Garnet or I were in your position, you would know exactly what to do,” Amethyst said. “But we are…. we are completely lost, man. None of us can do it like you can.” 

Pearl stared at her, trying to comprehend what the smaller gem had admitted. 

“I didn’t- I didn’t realize I was good at that,” she whispered. “Usually I just instinctively take care of things out of stress.” 

“I know,” Amethyst said softly. “That’s why I- we- want you to rest. You’re always working and stressed out. You need to take it easy if you want to get better.”

“You’re right,” Pearl agreed. “You’re right a lot of the time. I’m sorry I never tell you that.” 

Amethyst’s eyes widened. This was a side of Pearl she rarely saw. Her apologizing and complimenting Amethyst? The purple gem wasn’t sure if she should be flattered or worried. 

“That’s okay, P. Just rest,” she said. 

Pearl nodded and curled up on the couch, closing her eyes. She sneezed weakly into the blanket. 

“Hih’tschhh! Ei’ktschhoo!” 

She sniffed harshly and reached for a tissue. She blew her nose wetly, which ended up inducing a coughing fit. The coughs sounded worse than yesterday, deep and bubbling. Amethyst sighed. 

“I know you don’t like drinking, but are you sure I can’t make you some tea or something? It might help.” 

“I’ll try it,” Pearl muttered. 

Amethyst nodded and walked to the kitchen. She pulled out the kettle and stared at it for a moment, trying to remember what she was supposed to do. Usually, Pearl was the one that brewed tea despite the fact that she never drank it herself. Amethyst followed the steps she remembered and hoped for the best. 

When she heard the kettle whistle, she pulled it off the stove and poured the tea into a mug. She inspected it for a moment to make sure it was acceptable. It looked and smelled like it usually did, so she figured she must’ve done it mostly right. 

“Here, P ,” she said, walking over to the slender gem and handing her the mug. 

“Thank you,” Pearl mumbled as she sat up and accepted the drink. She took a small sip and closed her eyes. 

“Mmm,” she hummed. “It’s lovely, Amethyst.” 

“Oh, uh, thanks. I just copied what you usually do,” the purple gem blushed. 

Pearl nodded and took another sip. Amethyst sat down next to her and put her legs up on the table. 

“Man, it must be killing you to go a full 24 hours without cleaning,” she joked. 

“You have no idea,” Pearl smiled. 

The two sat in silence for a moment. Amethyst had to admit it was pretty nice. This was the longest the two of them had gone without fighting in a long time. She had forgotten how enjoyable Pearl’s company was when they weren’t at each other’s throats. 

“Hah-hih’schiew! Huh-huh’ktxghh!” 

“Bless you,” Amethyst said. 

“Thank youuu hih’eischoo! Ei’ktsghh! Hah-hah-kXghh!” 

“You okay?” Amethyst asked hesitantly. 

“Ugh, yeah,” Pearl replied. She grabbed a tissue and blew her nose loudly. 

“I’m sorry. I’m so gross right now,” she mumbled. 

“No, it’s okay,” Amethyst assured. “You’re sick. You can’t help it.” 

“Still,” Pearl rasped. “I’m usually a lot more graceful with handling illness.” 

“You can’t exactly compare the sniffles to the flu, Pearl,” Amethyst argued. 

“Flu is a bit dramatic, don’t you think?” Pearl deadpanned. “It’s a cold, Ame.” 

“Look, I know I don’t know as much about sickness as you, but I’m pretty sure a cold doesn’t bring a raging fever.” 

“What?” Pearl asked, bewildered. She reached up to touch her gemstone. 

“Stars, is that why I feel so hazy? I hadn’t even considered it.” 

“Probably,” Amethyst said nonchalantly. “I’m not sure. I’ve never had a fever before.” 

“It’s been awhile for me,” Pearl admitted. “Not since the war.” 

Amethyst perked up out of curiosity. 

“How did you manage that?” she asked. 

“I…. didn’t, honestly. I just kept pushing through no matter how much Rose insisted I take a break,” she explained. 

“So, what’s different this time?” 

“I… don’t know,” Pearl said. “I guess with no immediate danger, it’s easier to admit how I feel.” 

“How do you feel? It’s kinda hard to tell with you considering you’re always grumpy,” Amethyst smirked. 

“Very funny,” Pearl rolled her eyes. “But like I’m dying,” she groaned. 

Amethyst’s playful look fell to sincerity. 

“I’m sorry,” she said. “Believe it or not, I don’t like seeing you this miserable.” 

“I believe it. As much as you get on my nerves with your shenanigans, you have a good heart, Ame.” 

“Damn, that’s pretty impressive considering I don’t even have a heart at all,” Amethyst joked. 

Pearl rolled her eyes, but a small smile creeped up on her lips. 

“So, do you want to do anything? I think Steven has some books lying around if you want to read,” Amethyst said. 

“I’m pretty tired actually,” Pearl mumbled. “I think I might try to sleep.” 

“Oh, okay,” Amethyst said, a bit taken aback. “Pearl” and “sleep” were words that were pretty much never used in the same sentence. 

Pearl closed her eyes and nuzzled her face in the blanket. Amethyst got up and stood there awkwardly, not sure what to do with herself while the others were gone. She looked around and noticed that the house had gotten considerably more messy without Pearl’s constant cleaning. She decided she would tidy up a bit while the other gem slept. 

Amethyst cleaned the kitchen the best she could considering her typical messiness. She glanced over at Pearl as she was wiping down the counter and noticed a soft glow surrounding her head. She walked closer to the couch and saw that Pearl’s gem was glowing. She began to feel nervous at the sight. She had only ever seen Pearl’s gem glow like that when she used it to summon items. Amethyst had no idea what it was doing now. 

Suddenly, the warp pad activated, and Garnet, Steven, and Connie emerged. 

“Aw, man! That was awesome!” Steven shouted as he ran off the warp pad. “Thanks for letting us train with Garnet!” 

“Shhhhh!” Amethyst glared at the boy, but Pearl was already beginning to stir. 

“Oh, sorry!” Steven whispered. 

“It’s okay,” Pearl murmured as she sat up. 

“Connie and I are going to head down to the beach! Garnet, do you wanna come with us?” 

“No, I’m good. I have work to do in the temple,” she replied stoically. 

“Okay, come on, Connie!” 

“Thanks again, Garnet,” the girl said before following Steven out the door. 

Garnet wordlessly turned towards the temple door. She opened it and walked in, slamming it shut behind her. 

Amethyst turned her attention back to Pearl, who appeared to be examining the room. 

“The place looks good, Amethyst. Did you clean?” Her voice was no longer raspy and congested like it was before. 

“Uh, yeah,” the purple gem replied. “I figured I might as well help get everything in order while you slept. Speaking of which, your gem was glowing. I’m not really sure what it was doing.” 

“Oh!” Pearl said with surprise, reaching up to touch her forehead. “It must have had enough energy to heal my form. That explains why I’m feeling so much better.” 

As if on cue, her breath hitched, and she turned away to sneeze. 


“Well, almost better,” she blushed. 

“You definitely sound a lot better,” Amethyst agreed. “I was getting a bit worried. I mean, what was I supposed to do when you didn’t have the voice to squawk at me?” she joked. 

“I do not squawk,” Pearl crossed her arms. 

“Sure you don’t, P,” Amethyst smirked. “But I’m glad you’re feeling better,” she added. 

“Me too. Thank you, Amethyst, for taking such good care of me. I wish I could return the favor.” 

“Don’t you worry, Pearl. You already do.”

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  • 3 months later...

Ooh! This one was an interesting read! I'd admittedly never thought of the gems being able to get sick, but this is super cool! I like the way it's written! Good job!

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