I ship Lapidot hardcore, but I can't tell if the crew is trying to tell a story of two best friends living together or two beings who started off hating each other then end up falling in love
That’s totally understandable. The line between “best friends” and “lovers” can be an incredibly thin one - especially if you consider that a lot of people in life consider their romantic partner to also be their best friend.
However, I’m very heavily leaning towards “lovers”, in the case of Lapis and Peridot.
I’ve written about this subject at length, of course; but there really are some key points to consider if you’re trying to figure out whether or not their relationship is platonic, which I’m going to try and lay out here.
First of all, people make a big deal about how certain characters look at each other. Peridot and Lapis do smile/grin at other characters an awful lot (it’s perfectly normal to do this to your friends, of course), but there’s something more in the way that they look at each other that truly sets their interactions apart…
Peridot’s not just smiling here - she’s positively beaming in a way that she’s never, ever done whilst looking at any other character before. The way she draws her hands in to her chest while giggling is very typical of how cartoon characters tend to look at their crush/love interest. And those eyes…
Lapis blushes at her and has to look away. Is this because she’s thinking “oh no she’s really freaking cute”? Because it sure looks that way to me. I’m struggling to think of any other reason why she would have to look away like that.
The change of lighting in this scene - with the sun finally coming out in-time with Peridot’s huge smile - makes the whole thing seem rather poetic. Lapis has spent the entire episode, up until a couple of minutes before this fateful scene, behaving in quite a mean way towards Peridot. Her resentment was plain for all to see… and yet, she had a change of heart and saved Peridot from the Roaming Eye, specifically stopping to ask her if she was okay afterwards. And then when Peridot smiles at her and the lighting changes, this could easily be interpreted as being symbolic of Lapis looking at Peridot in a new light.
This isn’t the only time that they give one another loving looks, either.
The three characters in this GIF are all watching Peridot. Look at Lapis here, and compare her facial expression to the other two. She’s smirking in a way that almost looks suggestive, especially when coupled with those half-lidded eyes…
…and this is something that Lapis tends to do quite a lot - but only when looking at Peridot.
…Peridot also looks at Lapis, and only Lapis, in a tender way on more than one occasion (particularly note her hands in the second picture - again, it’s the archetypal “cartoon character looking at their love interest” pose).
It’s worth noting that the pair of them haven’t had a single negative interaction, of any description whatsoever, since the closing scene of Barn Mates. After that episode, they are then shown in Beta to be sharing basically everything - not just a home, but their interests as well. Best friends can be close, of course; but Peridot and Lapis appear to share a bond that goes above and beyond something that’s simply platonic.
Indeed, their interactions in Beta are often compared to those of married couples, and it’s very easy to see why. They’ve become incredibly close in a short space of time, and are very much settled in their new home together. Niether of them has ever appeared as happy and relaxed as they are around each other.
They’re also in absolutely perfect harmony with each other. In the GIF above, for example, Peridot doesn’t even need to look at Lapis to know that she’s going to get a high-five, she just knows. It’s also interesting how her facial expression perfectly mirrors Lapis’ as they’re high-fiving (again, without Peridot even looking at Lapis), further empasising how in-sync they both are.
If Barn Mates had them move in together, Beta had them behave like a married couple - then Gem Harvest had them taking the next step, getting a “child”.
Peridot and Lapis embark on a mutual desire to create a new life together (arguably metaphorical of a couple who have a mutual desire to raise a child together) - resulting in “Veggie Head”, the pumpkin.They both treat it like an actual child in many ways, rather than a pet - with Peridot even trying to teach it to speak!
Steven also says about Veggie - “it’s nice to have a new addition to the family”, meaning that that even he considers Lapis and Peridot to be an actual family unit, rather than simply being close friends.
These reasons (and many more) are why I believe Lapis and Peridot are, in fact, being written as a romantic couple.