Okay but really though the entire world of Steven Universe is so cool and new and just idk… it’s just really fun! And bright! And I think that’s really neat? And it kind of sucks that people are being pretty critical of the whole thing right now, and like, fair game, no one is going to force you to like this show and you have right to point out things that bother you. But I think when you look at the world of Steven Universe underneath the fandom it’s just that this world is super interesting and fun and great and like super neat and imaginative??
It’s streams like tonight’s that I really appreciate how much of a way too much flirt Matt is. Like, he is such a shameless flirt it’s hilarious watching him whip out suggestive statements and compliments and little touches and loving expressions.
If it wasn’t for the fact that Stephanie attempts at some level of work place professionalism the streams would be nothing but flirting.
“What do you mean you’re busy tomorrow? We were supposed to make plans.” “Supposed to. Your little brother got to me first! Isn’t that nice, him wanting to take me out?” “Yeah. Nice.”
It didn’t take long for Yamato to ring Takeru to interrogate him about what he wanted with Sora. The younger boy made a mockery of his skepticism.
“What?! How long have you two been dating now? Is it wrong of me to want to get to know her a bit better?”
There were many things that Yamato could have said to remind Takeru that he’d already known her for years, but he knew this was a battle he wouldn’t be winning. He groaned and hung up the phone.
As it was, Takeru was the only one who knew the plans. Sora hadn’t asked because she figured it wouldn’t be anything much. Yamato, on the other hand, didn’t ask because he figured he’d be better off not knowing. Their one o’clock lunch plans often turned into treks across the city- days spent at arcades, movies, spur-of-the-moment concerts. When Sora mentioned that Takeru would be picking her up at noon, Yamato predicted that she was in for much of the same.
Sora had just finished getting ready when she heard the doorbell ring. Her mother called her name. “Sora!”
She felt the need to take a final glance in the mirror as she hurried out of her room. The relationship she shared with Takeru and all of the other chosen was unique, but she wanted to treat their outing with respect. He was Yamato’s brother, after all, and his opinion was important. Sora wanted to make a good impression outside of their adventures. In a way, she was looking forward to the jolt of normalcy. They probably owed each other their lives, but would he think she was interesting?
Sora’s mother had already welcomed the boy inside by the time she made it out of her room. He waved to her as she scurried down the hall, slipping her feet into her tennis shoes near the door.
“Perfect timing!” She beamed at him. “I’m starving.”
Takeru blinked. “You didn’t eat?”
Sora had leaned down to tie her laces, but she paused to look up at him curiously. “Oh- are we not going for food? Sorry, I assumed-”
“No, no! It’s fine!” Takeru grinned and waved his hands back and forth in front of him. “We’ll definitely have time to grab something quick!” He checked the time on his phone as Sora pulled her bag over her shoulder. “Yeah, definitely.”
The humid summer air clung to Sora’s skin as they stepped outside. She regretted wearing jeans, but was thankful her short sleeves let her shoulders breathe. “So, where are we going?” Sora turned to him and used her hand to shield her eyes from the sun.
“Ah, right.” He pulled two tickets from his back pocket and held them up for Sora to see. “Yamato got me really into this band and he mentioned that you started listening to them too. I thought it’d be fun to go!”
Takeru grinned at her and Sora’s mouth gaped. A concert was the opposite of what she was expecting, but she wondered if it was naive of her to expect him to sit at a cafe and chat. She took one of the tickets and read it over. “Oh, them! They’re great, yeah I-” she paused and furrowed her brow. June 2nd? That was yesterday, and-
“Wait.” Sora stopped in her tracks and peered up at Takeru, sure he’d made a mistake. “This concert’s in America.”
She braced herself for the boy to panic upon realizing he’d wasted his money. Instead, his grin widened. “Well yeah!” he responded gleefully. “This band never comes to Japan. Trust me, I’ve been watching their tour. I figured if I ever wanted to see their show I’d have to go to them.”
“B-but Takeru…” Sora stammered, struggling to piece together his logic. She was still thinking in hypotheticals. “How would we-”
“Get to New York?” Takeru finished for her. He was a few feet in front of her now so he paused and turned around. “You have your digivice with you, don’t you?”
Sora mumbled something incomprehensible as she suddenly felt the weight of it in her bag. She never left home without it. It was packed in case of emergencies though, and this was quite the opposite. She nodded hesitantly and shifted her weight on her feet, gripping her bag’s handle on her shoulder like she was guarding a secret.
“Great!” Takeru replied. Sora’s confession seemingly locked her in, but her nerves must have been noticeable. The boy’s grin faded into a reassuring smirk. “Don’t worry about anything, okay? I made sure to loop Mimi in. She showed me the way.”
Sora felt lighter from the reassurance, but it wasn’t enough to be rid of the weights in her feet. She stared at Takeru for a moment as she processed everything. He’d bought tickets to a concert continents away, but had somehow managed to level the craziness of his idea by consulting with the only other person on the planet who used inter-dimensional portals for long distance travel. Takeru’s gaze grew more concerned as she remained lost in thought. The idea was wild, yet thoughtful? Sora bit her lip and felt lighter still.
“Hey,” Takeru murmured, the excitement in his eyes fizzling. “We can just get lunch if you prefer. I don’t want to have you do anything you’re uncomfortable with. I’ve never done this myself, so-”
“No!” Sora exclaimed, shocking Takeru and herself. Had she just jumped headfirst into these plans? The girl could see her friend’s eyes brighten again, so she sighed and composed herself. Besides, she wanted to make a good impression- to be interesting. How could she let him down? “Let’s do it.”
Now Takeru was the one stammering. “Really? You mean it? You want to go?”
“Yes!” Sora covered her mouth to stifle her laughter. “Your plans are so thoughtful. It’d be rude to turn them down. Besides, I haven’t been to many concerts. They must be a sight to see in New York!”
Takeru still looked like he was in disbelief. He asked again, “Really?”
The girl smirked, finally able to pick up her feet to pass her friend. “Really! But if you keep asking me maybe I’ll change my mind.”
“Ah… I… Right!” His grin was back in full force as he jogged to get back to Sora’s side. “To New York!”
“To New York.” Sora sighed, her visage relaxing. She released her grip on her bag and let her hands fall lazily to her sides. “Does Yamato know about this?”
The only response she got was laughter.
Takeru led them to the closet digital gate and opened it with his D-3. They hopped in, one after the other, and landed in the familiar vibrance of the digital world. The portal scanned them as they went through- “digitizing” them- and all electronics besides their digivices ceased to work.
They trailed through the woods a short ways until they came upon the portal to America- a lone, out of place computer. It lit up after detecting their presence and allowed them to pass. The two chosen landed under the moonlight, spat out into a field just outside the city. Sora stared up in awe at the lights. They twinkled like the stars, acting as a mesmerizing replacement for the real ones that hid from a sky that never got dark.
Takeru pulled out his phone and stared at the screen. The pixels were a blur due to the effect of the digital gate. Once the clock settled into New York’s time zone, though, Takeru clicked it off and stuffed it back into his pocket. “We’ve got a half-hour till showtime. We’ll need to hurry!” Sora nodded and hustled on after him.
The girl was pleased to see that Takeru had done his research. He muttered the names of street signs to himself like he’d looked up the route beforehand. She could tell they were getting close when more and more people were dashing past them in band t-shirts. The venue- a large stadium- dominated the next couple of blocks. Sora could pick up fractions of English as everyone in line in front of them chattered excitedly. Takeru’s eyes started to gleam. If Sora felt any lingering anxiety about continent-jumping through the digital world, it had completely vanished. She felt like she’d already made a good impression as a normal human being, and the care that Takeru put into his plans was strangely flattering.
When they reached the front of the line, a security guard motioned for their tickets. Takeru pulled them front his back pocket and handed them over. Sora watched him peer around the large bouncer and into the entrance like the bustling energy of the place was pulling him inside. Sora wasn’t normally excited by that sort of energy, but she understood it. Takeru impatiently shifted his weight back and forth on his feet as the bouncer scanned their tickets. Sora waited for the familiar ‘ding’ of approval that granted everyone in front of them access. Her companion’s elation was starting to rub off on her and it was becoming difficult to tell whether she was excited to be a part of the crowd herself, or excited about the fact that Takeru was so happy.
The line had been moving smoothly, but for some reason the security check was taking longer for them than it was for everyone else. The scanner made a dissatisfied buzzing sound as it read their barcodes. Frowning at the tickets, the bouncer tried to scan them a few more times to no avail. He handed them back to Takeru and pointed down towards the back of the line.
“Sorry kid, no valid tickets no entrance.”
Takeru blinked in disbelief. “W-what?”
The bouncer repeated himself in the same monotone voice. “No valid tickets no entrance.”
The boy looked at Sora like a lost child. The people behind them were starting to grumble, so she stepped out of line and pulled him with her. “What happened to the tickets?” She asked, furrowing her brows in confusion.
“I… I don’t know.” He stared at them in disbelief. Had he been scammed? Seemingly not, as a look of realization came over his face. “No…”
Sora frowned. “What?”
“The portal!” Takeru slapped a hand to his forehead. “It must have invalidated the barcodes! But how!”
Any hope that Sora had about fixing their dilemma hissed away into the humid night air. They couldn’t exactly explain what happened, but she wasn’t about to let Takeru beat himself up over this either. He’d thought through everything he knew could have gone wrong, but with adventures like these, there was always something unpredictable.
“Hey…” Sora muttered, eyeing Takeru’s drooping shoulders. “It’s alright! We’ll find a way! Here, come on.”
The girl motioned around the corner of the stadium and the two of them dashed off. There had to be another entrance. Sora wasn’t sure what conditions it would take for her to trespass, but Takeru’s defeated visage was certainly convincing. It seemingly didn’t matter, though, as every back entrance they spotted was under careful watch. The blonde eventually leaned against the stadium wall to catch his breathe. “It’s useless.”
“No…” Sora began, trying to sound as reassuring as possible even though she knew they’d checked each side of the stadium for open access. There was nothing, not even a fence to climb.
“Sora,” Takeru glanced up at her apologetically, “I appreciate it, but I really don’t think we’re getting in there. I’m sorry I dragged you all this way for nothing. Man… I was really hoping to see them too. In New York, no less!” He sighed and pushed his hair out of his face, sliding down against the wall until he was sat on the ground.
Sora crossed her arms over her chest and looked down at him. The look of defeat on his face was heartbreaking, even if Sora was secretly relieved that the opportunity to do something morally ambiguous hadn’t presented itself. “Well, we’re still here!” she said, trying to cheer him up. “We might as well do something! Why don’t we act like tourists for a bit? You know, go around and see the sights. I bet there’s places we can see the whole city from!”
“The whole city…” Takeru mumbled under his breath. His eyes suddenly lit up. “Sora, that’s it!”
“What?” Sora asked, crinkling her nose, “What’s it?”
“Seeing the sights!” He jumped to his feet and pointed behind her. Sora spun around and saw what’d caught his attention. There was a bridge a few blocks away that connected Manhattan to the next borough. She could make out the designated pedestrian side of it. Unlike the half that accommodated cars, it was empty.
“Er, Takeru…” she began, struggling to understand how her tame suggestion had led him to this idea.
Music started up in the stadium behind them and Takeru excitedly grabbed hold of her arm. “Come on!”
As Sora kept pace behind him, she secretly wished that there would be no manageable way to gain height on it. To her disbelief though, there was a runged ladder that went up one of it’s columns. It was clearly meant for workers who’d need to gain access to the large structure. The ladder lead to a flattened landing that looked like the size of a small room. She stared up at it with anxiety. Takeru stared up at it like a mountain waiting to be conquered. In a way, Sora felt like the stars had lined up to push her towards danger. The ladder was perfectly accessible, no one was around, and she was sure there wasn’t a single thing she could say that would convince Takeru to keep his feet firmly on the ground. If she refused to go up, he’d probably still want to check it out. She watched him test out the first rung before hoisting himself up. “Takeru,” she tried meekly, “this looks incredibly dangerous.”
As if on cue, he said what she’d expected him to. “Well, let’s just take a look! We can come right back down!” he paused and turned to her, offering up a reassuring grin. “It’ll be fun. Besides, I won’t let you fall. Yamato would never forgive me, and I can’t live with him nagging me for the rest of my life.”
Sora failed to see the fun in any of it, but as Takeru climbed higher and higher, she felt a responsibility to follow him. She steadied herself on the ladder, took a deep breath, and let herself leave the ground.
As she neared the top, Takeru held his hand out to help pull Sora onto the ledge. The moon reflected off her skin the same way it illuminated the water below them. A blinking tower in the distance covered them in shades of red every time it lit up. As Sora hoisted herself over the edge and scrambled towards the center of the landing, she could hear music playing in the background. It was energetic yet muffled, sometimes struggling to differentiate itself from the city’s hustle and bustle. Spotlights came from inside the stadium and lit up the sky, reflecting off the clouds and shining back down on earth.
Takeru had turned around so he could sit and dangle his feet over the ledge. He looked over the city like he ruled it, but he was a darkened silhouette absorbed by the height of the skyline before him. Wind tousled Sora’s hair and she instinctively reached for something to grab onto, but there was nothing near her besides the flat concrete surface. Her stomach lurched with feelings of vertigo, but her eyes fell to Takeru. He’d leaned back on his palms and shut his eyes like the breeze made him feel more in the moment. She furrowed her brows at him. Wasn’t he scared to fall?
Sora sighed. Her mind told her to stay put, but her body pulled her towards the ledge. What was this feeling of longing? She crept up beside him and slowly twisted her legs so she could let them dangle like Takeru’s. Her stomach lurched again, but this time it was with a feeling of weightlessness. Over the honking of car horns, Sora could hear a new song start in the distance. The spotlights turned from white to dark blue to match the tone of the music.
Sora wanted to look down but she couldn’t will herself to do it. Instead, she glanced over towards Takeru. He’d opened his eyes and had gone back to looking over the city. His calm visage nagged at her curiosity. She waited a few moments to see if his sense of peace was an illusion before speaking up.
“Aren’t you scared?”
Takeru glanced at her out of his peripheral vision and raised a brow. “Of what?”
Now the boy turned to look at her. There were a million other fears she could have listed involving bridges and heights, but that one felt most appropriate. The look Takeru gave her, though, made it seem like he couldn’t think of a single one.
“Not really.” The boy responded, leaning forward to look towards the ground like he needed to confirm he was actually a hundred feet from it. “I suppose I should be. Most people are, right? I couldn’t imagine getting Jou up here.”
Takeru leaned back again and Sora felt her heartbeat steady. She let out an amused sigh. “What about Yamato?”
“Heh.” Takeru chuckled himself. “Depends on his mood.”
Their words dissolved into silence again, but there was so much stimuli around them that it wasn’t bothersome. They took a minute to people-watch before Takeru decided to speak up once more. Sora turned to listen. Part of his face was visible in the light, part of it not. Still, the girl could tell he was deep in thought.
“I used to be afraid of heights, you know.” He matched her gaze for a moment before scanning the skyline again. “When I was a little kid I wouldn’t climb anything. I was kinda smothered. Mom always kept a close eye on me, and Yamato…” his voice trailed off, but there was an unspoken understanding that Sora didn’t need an explanation. “The digital world helped with that, though. I’ve never been farther out of my comfort zone. There were mountains to trek, spires to climb… it became kind of thrilling.”
The corner’s of Sora’s mouth twitched upwards with nostalgia.
“Not to say that I became fearless…” Takeru quickly added. “I think I just learned that there are scarier things than heights.”
The boy saw Sora’s smile fade, and guilt coaxed him into correcting the melancholy tone his speech had taken. He nudged her and smiled reassuringly. “Hey, how lucky of us to always have someone to catch us though, right?”
“The digimon?” Sora questioned, recalling the handful of times Birdramon or Garudamon had plucked her from the sky.
“Yeah,” Takeru responded, tilting his head up to look to up at the stars. “but our human friends too. After the mishap with the tickets, today could have really ended up being a downer. I’m glad you were willing to climb up here though! To be honest, this morning, I didn’t know if you’d come along.”
“Well,” Sora said, leaning back to look up at the stars herself, “I’m certainly glad I did.”
Takeru smiled whimsically and at nothing in particular. He normally didn’t like to speak on his brother’s behalf, but there was something about the moment that pulled the words out.
Sora tiled her head to acknowledge him. He was looking at her like a long lost friend- one that you never thought you’d see again but were thankful to have around. She narrowed her eyes with concern.
Takeru sighed, his exhale carried away with the wind. “I think you’re good for my brother.”
Lines of surprise sprang up on Sora’s forehead. She hadn’t expected him to say something like that, so she was slow to form a response. Luckily Takeru carried on with his thought before she would’ve had a chance to.
“My brother and I didn’t have a ton of friends growing up. I thought he was my best friend until our parents got divorced. It’s unusual for kids of divorce to see each other back in Japan, you know? So we truly were lucky. I was so small when everything happened- I think Yamato shielded me from most of it. He was always there to catch me and to this day I struggle to return the favor.”
“But you’re such a good brother-” Sora quickly interjected.
“I know.” He broke their gaze before continuing on. “I’ll always be there to catch him when he needs it, but he’s too stubborn to acknowledge that sometimes a younger sibling has to look out for his elder. His thanks used to come in the form of taking the blame when we’d get in trouble, or giving me his blanket when I was cold.”
Sora smiled. She’d been fortunate enough to see that sort of softness from Yamato every once in awhile. Their exchange caused her to wonder what she still had left to learn.
“I guess what I’m trying to say,” Takeru continued, “is that I’m glad he’s got someone like you to rely on. I can tell you make him happy so, er… thanks.” He looked at Sora out of the corner of his eye and caught her blushing.
“It’s… noticeable?” she stammered. “I make him happy?”
“’Course!” Takeru laughed. “It’s not my story to tell, but he’ll find the words one day. In the meantime, I guess I’ll just have to learn to share him, huh?”
Sora burst out in a fit of laughter, covering her mouth with her palm so as not to be rude. Takeru was pleased with her reaction. For being so far from Tokyo, there was something about their shared moment that made him feel closer to home than he’d felt in a long time. He could easily imagine her laughter filling either of his parent’s apartments at dinner. Maybe she’d start to come over more. Yamato would try and cook an extravagant meal to impress her and he’d get to reap the benefits. Their father would sit at the table instead of in front of the tv. His mother would look at Yamato’s happiness and nudge Takeru to silently remind him that he’d need to find a girl like that too. The boy felt his lip quiver as Sora’s laughter floated off into the night. Their silence grew again, and if it was possible, it was more content than before.
But, as surreal moments like that go, it was interrupted by a voice from below.
“Hey!” A gruff voice called up to them in English. “Whaddya two doing up there?!” A flashlight illuminated their hiding spot.
Sora snapped her head around to look at Takeru. He was already scanning for an alternate exit. Luckily, he noticed rungs similar to the ones they’d climbed up trailing down the other side of the column. “I guess it’s time to make our exit.” he whispered as he pointed urgently towards the opposite end of the landing. Sora nodded at him and crawled over towards it, still nervous to have less than four points of contact with the surface.
As Sora swung herself over the side and started her descent, Takeru turned back to keep an eye on the worker. His light was scanning for them, so maybe if they stayed hidden they’d have a chance to get away. After one final sweep of his surroundings, Takeru followed Sora’s path. He landed on the ground next to her with a quiet thump. Heavy footsteps turned the corner and the light fell on them once more.
“You there! Stop!”
Sora and Takeru exchanged knowing glances. The yellow light emphasized their wrinkles of worry. For a moment, Takeru felt bad. Just when Sora was able to convince him that he hadn’t pushed her too far out of her comfort zone, they’d gotten caught. This isn’t how Takeru wanted the night to end. What would they do if they had to explain how they’d gotten there? Just then, though, Sora flashed him a mischievous smirk. It reminded Takeru of the time he first climbed a mountain and looked out in awe instead of fear. She wasn’t going down like this either, and just before the man reached them, the two of them took off.
“Hey!” he called after them, his heavy footsteps fading into the background.
Takeru let out a heap of laughter once he felt safe enough to do so. As the music played on behind them, he almost missed a turn. Sora reached out and grabbed his arm just before he started off down the wrong street. “This way!”
The sidewalk eventually morphed into grass and the two of them ran through the dirt towards the abandoned piece of hardware they’d originally come through. Takeru yanked his D-3 out of his pocket and held it out, opening the portal. As Sora waited for his form to disappear before jumping in after him, she turned around and took a good look at where she came from. The bridge stood brightly over the river and the music quieted down. Nothing that day had gone according to plan, and oddly enough, Sora felt more like herself for it. She let out a sigh of relief as the portal pulled her in.
Sora and Takeru decided to stop by Yamato’s apartment on the way home to let him know they were both alright. Yamato stared down at their muddied shoes. “I don’t even want to know.”
“Ah, thanks for today, Sora-san!” Takeru exclaimed as Sora headed out. “Let’s actually get lunch soon, alright?”
“Mmm.” she nodded, “Definitely.”
Yamato shifted his gaze back and forth between the two of them, eyeing Sora carefully as she left. He sighed and followed her out, closing the door behind him.
“Hey.” he called out to her before she got too far away. She turned and raised a brow. “Alright, I’m curious. What’d you two get into today?”
Sora stifled her laughter. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. Why don’t you ask Takeru?”
1) When I was little and had imaginary friends, I gave myself an imaginary friend’s little brother to hang out with too.
2) Because I wanted a little brother, but never got one (my sister is 3 years older than me and had no interest in digging for worms, catching snakes or hunting for goblins).
3) The closest I ever came to asking where babies came from was when I was 4 and asked for a baby brother for Christmas
4) All my invisible friends lived on the roof or in our attic
5) My sister and I once tricked a couple of her friends into briefly thinking they’d drowned me by pushing me into the pool. (Ok this probably needs elaboration: I was like 8 or 9 so she was probably 12 and there were driving bricks at the pool, so i just swam and got the brick I’d been arguing with them about after they pushed me in, but they didn’t know i could swim and my sister did not enlighten them until I snuck up on them and enacted vengeance by pushing them into the pool…..)
6) I started playing the violin when I was 7, after pestering my parents for probably at least 2-3 years if I could because I was obsessed with Fantasia (don’t ask me how I knew the difference between the instruments, I have no idea).
7) I have never watched The Fox and the Hound and have no intention of doing so!
8) We had a creepy af shed in our backyard for years growing up and I was terrified of it because I was convinced I saw a skeleton walking out of it (this is probably one of the reasons my parents wouldn’t let me watch anything remotely scary)
9) My friends irl call me the cat whisperer because strange kitties will come and greet me and I’m the person that normally anti social cats come out to greet (give me all of teh kitties)
10) Speaking of pestering my parents, I pestered them about getting a cat FOR YEARS until I was 11 and one of my friend’s cat’s had kittens and I just flat out told them I was getting one one night at dinner. My sister laughed at me, but joke was on her, I got a kitten finally.