As Pearl walked up towards Steven's bed, she sighed at noticing the picture on the wall. She stared up at Rose's face, wondering if there was any way she could see through the gem she had passed onto her son. Pearl hoped that her friend could. She desperately wished it to be… that might have been part of the reason that she visited Steven in his sleep. Perhaps, to see just a shadow of the gem that she once knew…

However, she was broken out of her thoughts by a small voice, and a few growls. Steven and Lion! she thought, panicking slightly. She leapt out of sight from the two quickly, ending up on the couch.

She winced at her shoes on the recently vacuumed cloth, but she held back the urge to do any more sudden movements. Then, in her stillness, she realized she could hear Lion and Steven quite well.

Her mind quickly focused on the noise, making her listen to the seemingly one-sided conversation going on up the stairs. (Although, it was also thinking, Why is he up so late?!)

In that space, the young half-gem was asking, "Pleeeease stay down here tonight, Lion! I really need my sleep…" The pink feline seemed to purr slightly in response, as if saying, I won't. You have seen what I want you to see.

Steven stared at the creature for a moment longer before sighing and slumping down beside his friend. Lion curled up to support the young gem's arm, making him chuckle. Then, Steven looked up at the ceiling, as if he could see the sky beyond. Then he started speaking.

"You know, Lion… you know how the gems always say that my voice moves them? Binds them together? Motivates them? Well…

"Can I tell you a secret? A really big secret? Like, never- tell- anyone- because- you- could- never- be- trusted- again secret?" Lion seemed to nod to Steven, just for a moment, before tucking his head back down again. Steven took a deep breath, and continued.

"Well, then, I guess that's good. I mean, it's not like you could say anything to anyone! Heheh…" Here he paused, suddenly downcast. "I'm… not really the one talking."

Back downstairs, Pearl gasped, wondering what in the world he could mean. Then she realized what she had done, holding her breath as if it could take back the noise. But Steven just chuckled and joked to Lion that the creature had better not be starting to snore. A whoosh of silent air escaped Pearl in relief.

"Anyway, yeah, I mean, it is mostly my thoughts… kind of. I mean, sometimes, it's not my thoughts at all. But, it is my voice, it is my ideas, it is my emotion…

"But it's like… someone else puts them into better words, using my mouth. Like I don't have control over what exactly to say. Just the idea.

"I always get the feeling that someone else is with me, saying those words in a way that people will listen, not the junk that I think, and then think is stupid, that people won't ever listen to. Not always my songs, but a lot of the… motivational speaking? I'm pretty sure that's what Connie called it…

"They say it the way that it sounds SO much better than what I'm thinking in my head, but with the same exact intentions. The same exact ideas. Just… different wording."

He hung his head, sighing again. Then he continued, pulling up his pj shirt to look at the gem that was the only thing that was left of his mom herself. It seemed to glow in the moonlight, and maybe a little more…

"Heh… I can't even think of a song to sing right now. That's how much this is bothering me! Can you believe that, Lion?" he said, patting the mane of his friend. The lion purred in his sleep, shifting slightly towards the young gem. "Yeah, me neither. I guess I'm just too tired." He looked up at the painting of his mother that had been the only thing that let him know what she looked like, until discovering the picture in his dad's storeroom, and the tape in Lion's mane. The video was still stuck with him, having viewed it just a little while ago.

He stood, sighing once more. He gave a weak smile to Lion, only a shadow of the happy boy who shined brightly among his friends. "Good night, Lion," he whispered, making Pearl strain to hear him. "It's too late and I've been thinking too hard to smile too much until tomorrow."

As he headed up to his bed, he paused, turning back to the painting. "Good night, Mom." he called out, still whispery. "I love you," he called, almost too quiet for Pearl to hear.

However, she did hear it, and she was holding back sobs, as her throat choked and her eyes watered. She shut them, allowing a tear to fall. As it landed on the wooden floor and shattered into a million sparkling gem-like pieces, she heard Rose's son shift into bed. Only a few minutes later, she heard him breathing deeply in his sleep, the occasional snort sounding from his slumber.

She looked up, her tears quelled. As she listened further, the two breaths intertwining into an almost-song, she sighed herself, stepping quietly down from the couch. She quickly brushed off imaginary dust from the spot where she stood, then walked back towards the temple door.

As she walking in, she spared herself one last glance and thought, I'll just leave him alone tonight.

Then, she walked into her room, soon to be crying at the top of a waterfall, allowing her tears to mingle in the water, lost probably forever.