Greetings, everyone! Welcome to the final chapter of A Gem in the Rough!

As last chapter served as the ending of the first part of the story, I have decided to bridge the gap between sections by writing up some creator commentary. I will break down chapter by chapter little details about the story, examine story elements, point out references I might have made along the way, and much, much more! For those of you who were hoping for the next part immediately, fret not. There will not be much of a break between this story and the next one, which will continue the story back on the Grand Line. If you wish to skip this write-up, I will not judge you.

For those of you who remained, let's dive right in!

Before we begin, I originally wrote a little bit on my creative process at the end of Chapter Fifteen, but it fits much here now that the story has completed. Here it is for your reading pleasure:

*I started to write this story after thinking of an idea: if, at the end of "Say Uncle," when we see the list of various characters that Uncle Grandpa has visited, what if it wasn't just limited to those characters? Since freaking SWAT Kats are on there, it's clear that the only qualifications for being part of this shared universe is that the show had to have aired on Cartoon Network at one point.

From there it was thinking about what would be the most interesting choice of a crossover. That's where One Piece came in.

One Piece is one of the few anime I legitimately enjoy and I thought Luffy and Steven would be a great pair. The question then became how to set it apart and to think of an interesting hook. The standard is to have the characters meet either right in the middle of a Straw Hat fight or on one of the two ships. What if Steven met with one of the villains first and, being innocent, would start out thinking Luffy and the crew are bad guys?

Enter the practically blank slates of Mr. 5, Miss Valentine, and Miss Goldenweek.

There has always been something about these characters and Baroque Works as a whole. They always gave me a Red Ribbon Army vibe, and I love me some Red Ribbon Army. I loved the Miss Goldenweek cover story and I loved the bond the three of them shared. In addition, the whole Baroque Works saga was always in my top four One Piece sections (along with Arlong, Impel Down/Marineford, and CP9 for those who were curious). I thought a civil war was a good place for Steven to grow up a bit. Of course, he needed surrogates in the One Piece world and these three fit the bill!

I see Steven as a barrel of optimism who will either annoy the crap out of you or bring out the best in you. What better way to show that in this world by redeeming three villains right off the bat? I knew I wanted Miss Valentine to be a sympathetic, maternal type figure who had her own self-doubts once Baroque Works left the picture. She is great to write but I always worry about making her into a Mary Sue. I've had her replace Nami in the current arc not to further give her spotlight but to subvert expectations about Steven's healing powers and to examine how dangerous a Devil Fruit's power could be if one was sick.

Miss Goldenweek was just an extension of the character traits Oda hinted at: bored, lazy, but effective and loyal to the people she cares for. If she's a painter there has to be some kind of soul in there. I'm writing her as someone who knows that the potential is there but hasn't had a reason to think about it before Steven, whom she has connected with in a way that is unfamiliar to her. Of course, she's still bored (which allows Steven a bit of a contrast since he is NEVER bored) but I could use her as a tool to space out during scenes that HAVE to play out the same as in the canon.

Finally, Mr. 5 kind of grew organically. I initially planned him to be guarded and snarky, but I came to realize that he's better as a guy who tries to act reserved but is actually overly dramatic. I've given him a minor rivalry with Sanji as there is no way that both Miss Valentine and Mr. 5 traveled together for years and didn't have some kind of relationship. Since Sanji loves practically everything that has legs, of course he'd fall for Miss Valentine and of course that would rub Mr. 5 the wrong way. Are they actually in a relationship? No. Could they end up in one? Maybe. Maybe not.

As for their names, I didn't want typical common names. Genevieve is the patron saint of Paris, which works since Miss Goldenweek believes that real painters wear berets (apple berets, but berets nevertheless). I gave Miss Valentine the name Petrea after Petrea Burchard, the voice actress for Ryoko from Tenchi Muyo. Mr. 5's name was the hardest since nothing I thought of fit him. I looked at Japanese names, but it wasn't working. Finally, I decided on Damian after Damian Wayne, Batman's son. Why? No reason at all besides it sounded cool.

For the B-Story with the Gems, I knew from the beginning what shows I wanted to include. Dexter's Laboratory and Powerpuff Girls were some of the biggest first original shows the network developed, so they had to at least be seen at the beginning of the journey. Powerpuff Girls in particular was great as the monsters on that show already resembled Corrupted Gems. Samurai Jack was included to continue with my Genndy Tartakovsky love. Plus, how cool is it to imagine Connie and Pearl fighting with Jack?

As for the story itself, I'm constantly amazed at the high level of comments, favorites, and follows it has received. I strive to give you guys the best possible story I can provide that is true to both Steven Universe and One Piece. I hope I am succeeding. I've got some good things planned for the future so stick around and I'm sure you might find something enjoyable out of it. I'd say we are at the halfway point of the story I initially set out to write, but I've since thought of new directions to take it after I reach that point. I'm not sure if you are aware, but I actually write these chapters in real time so things change subtly as I churn them out. Just a fun tidbit.

Now that we have that bit of history reviewed, I want to add a minor elephant in the room: the revelation of the Baroque Works Trio's real names and ages in the 2019 Baroque Works Vivre Cards Booster Set. Obviously, I did not have this knowledge when I wrote this story back in the beginning of 2015 and I have decided that I will continue to keep my original names for the purposes of this story. However, their real names WILL be addressed in the future as well as why the names are different here. I will say that the one change I made regarding this information is modifying Miss Goldenweek's age from fourteen (technically fourteen-and-three quarters) to sixteen (technically sixteen-and-a-quarter).

Finally, I wanted to give a few shout-outs to two people who have helped out or contributed to the story along the way. To begin with, I want to thank my writing partner jmr46718 for all of your support and great ideas that you have helped me with. Finally, I thank CyanideOreo for all of the amazing artwork provided for the story, including the story's cover. Both of you are just wonderful people and I appreciate all that you do.

With that done, let us get into it!

Chapter One:

Ah, the exposition chapter.

Basically, this chapter does not have much substance, but it sets up our story's MacGuffin: the Rifting Stone. Since "Say Uncle" established the concept of dimensional hopping and showed that the Gems could peg Uncle Grandpa as a reality warping character, I felt this fit right in with a world that contained a "Wailing Stone." There really wasn't much to the item beyond its intended purpose in the story, but I have been collaborating with jmr46718 and we actually thought of a really interesting function for the stone beyond the expanded explanation I gave in Chapter Seven.

Onto the One Piece side of things! Again, it is very easy just to have the main characters of the two series meet off the bat; but I thought it would be interesting if Steven landed with the villains of the arc. Miss Valentine and Mr. 5 were my starting off point and I worked on it from there. I basically explained my thought process behind choosing these two and why I portrayed them as I did back in Chapter Fifteen. In this chapter, however, they really are blank slates. I hadn't truly settled on how I wanted to portray Mr. 5 and I only had vague ideas about Miss Valentine.

Overall, this chapter doesn't do much beyond get the ball rolling. It's rather cliché and even ends with the old "main character faints" trope. HOWEVER, it is very important for checking off several steps on Steven's "Hero's Journey," or the Monomyth cycle. What is that? Why, it is a narrative template initially developed by Joseph Campbell which details the steps a hero typically undergoes on an adventure. While not set in stone, you can typically apply this concept to any story involving a protagonist going on a journey. Both Luffy and Steven undergo their own "Hero's Journey" in their respective shows, but Steven is going on his own quest here and, as such, he follows several of the archetypal steps here. There are three sections to the cycle: Separation, Initiation, and Return. Since we are still setting up the story, Steven will be stuck in the first third of the cycle for the first few chapters.

In this chapter, Steven is given a CALL TO ADVENTURE, namely the mission to find the Rifting Stone. Since he is a half-Gem and deals with magical people nearly every day, one can count the Gems as giving him SUPERNATURAL AID. Finally, he CROSSES THE THRESHOLD by activating the Rifting Stone and landing in the Grand Line. Admittedly, he does not have a choice in that matter, but he will make that choice willingly later on.

Chapter Two:

In this chapter, we start to see the hints of how I will eventually portray Miss Valentine/Petrea. I decided that she was a cold individual with a soft side that she repressed after suffering in the past (as detailed in Chapter Nine). Steven was the first person to truly compliment her since that point. Oda made her dream to be a chocolatier, so it makes sense that she would respond to his enjoyment of her food so well. The character development might have been a bit fast, but I tried to balance it out by her having self-doubts on how easily she fell into depression. Of course, that comes much later, but it is worth mentioning here.

In addition, this is the beginning of Petrea's running comments about how Steven needs etiquette lessons. It is obvious she never watched Ronaldo's documentary before it was pulled from TubeTube or else she would see that Steven is actually a gracious host.

Obviously, Steven would need to figure out things about the Grand Line since he is the one truly affected by the crossover status of the story (at least initially). Since he was homeschooled by the Gems and probably did not look beyond what Pearl presumably taught him, I decided that Steven (like several children and teenagers) really only knew about pirates from media. If I had to pick the pirate related shows/movies he watched (since he really didn't read for most of his life until he got grounded), I'd peg him for Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan, Treasure Island (probably the Muppet version. Yes, Tim Curry exists in my Steven Universe world), and Pirates of Penzance. Mind you, all of those have come up in this story so far, so you all knew that.

Speaking of things that come up in the story, here is my one line of foreshadowing that "Say Uncle" is canon in this story: "I don't really know. I think I'm from another dimension. I went to another dimension this one time but I didn't realize that it was actually another dimension until later. It was kind of weird and we don't like talking about it..."

The only other thing of note about this chapter is I really had to look to see if cars existed in the One Piece world. One's first instinct is to write it off immediately, but think back to Logue Town: Buggy used his ability to create a little car! It makes you think, doesn't it?

Chapter Three:

My first little song verse! I wouldn't necessarily say that any of the little lyrics I thought up were very good, but Steven Universe is a very musical show. You need to have some kind of short songs to stay true to the characters. As Greg would say, they all would probably be B-Sides. Still, it allows for Steven to become the crew's musician and would later prove to be a quirk that Petrea would come to like about Steven.

I'm not sure if anyone picked on it, but the bit where Damian mentions that he isn't a florist was intentional. Technically it should be a BOTANIST, but Damian thinks that he is smarter than he actually is. I initially wrote him as sarcastic and full of himself, and while those things are still technically true, he became a bit more rounded as time went on.

By deciding that he is coming along on the journey, Steven has willingly CROSSED THE THRESHOLD and set himself on his true Grand Line adventure. Entering the wax house can be considered ENTERING THE BELLY OF THE WHALE, the final part of the Separation section of the Monomyth cycle. From this point on, there is no turning back for Steven. He is a part of this quest whether anyone wants him there or not.

We also are introduced to Mr. 3 and Miss Goldenweek in this chapter. For the most part, this is all taken directly from canon, but it was important to retain. Regardless of what will happen to Mr. 5 and Miss Valentine, they were still members of Baroque Works and would still focus on their mission to retrieve Vivi (and to make a whole lot of money). The only difference is that they would try to hide it from Steven as much as possible. On the other hand, Mr. 3 has no such reservations and would rather make the money and kill the kid.

Overall, Mr. 3 is just a dick.

Chapter Four:

Ah, Miss Goldenweek: the character that reviewer Reishin Amara described as "a character fan fiction writers have never gotten." She really is a hard character to write, since her laziness is her main character trait. As such, finding her voice was very challenging, but is actually one of my favorite things about this story.

This chapter might contain some of my favorite Steven moments. He is just so innocent and Miss Goldenweek just doesn't know what to make of him. At first, she kind of views him as a nuisance and a chore, but slowly she warms up to him. This also marks the beginning of my running character trait for her where she sees something and wants to paint it. If you were a painter and saw something like Steven's bubble or shield (even in a world of Devil Fruits), I feel like you would want to immortalize that. Vidalia has Amethyst as a muse; Genevieve has Steven.

The ending was important because it is the moment where Steven realizes exactly what kind of a situation he is in. He is conflicted about a lot, since he has never met a human criminal or murderer before. How would he react? Well, the answer was already given in the form of Lapis Lazuli. He was the only one who believed in her despite stealing the ocean and breaking Greg's leg. Of course he would not let something like Baroque Works being a criminal organization affect his views on its members so long as they express a will or desire to better themselves, as Miss Goldenweek begins to do here. Steven is like Superman: he is the ultimate redeemer of souls…or at least that is what he wants to be.

Chapter Five:

Our first Straw Hat has arrived: Sanji!

The first thing I thought about was to keep Sanji cursing…and I immediately decided that yes; yes he had to. As such, this became the first true running joke in the story. Sanji coming into the wax house was yet another part of the established canon, but I used this as the first true divergence (discounting Miss Goldenweek's lack of presence at the Mr. 3 fight) from Oda's plot. We actually have a Baroque Works Agent answering the phone, which adds more credibility to the call than Crocodile not realizing that Sanji isn't Mr. 3. This sets up a brick joke that finally paid off in Chapter Twenty-Three: Obi-Wan Kenobi. Why did I make Steven call Sanji Obi-Wan? Simple: I wanted him to be able to say "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi! You're my only hope!" when he would be captured by Crocodile later on. Did you pick up that I am a Star Wars fan yet?

Beyond that, the only other thing of note in this chapter is Genevieve, my own name for Miss Goldenweek. I had liked the names F*ckthesystem125 chose for these same characters in his fan fiction Luffy's Renewed Adventure and had actually decided on not having their names begin with the same letters as their code names to set myself apart. Genevieve was my first choice to be for Miss Valentine, but then I looked up the name and realized she was the Patron Saint of France. That was too perfect not to use for Miss Goldenweek, so I figured why not and let it be regardless if "Goldenweek" and "Genevieve" begin with a "G."

Chapter Six:

This is the chapter where I started figuring out Mr. 5's character.

At first, I thought about making him purely sarcastic, but it wasn't enough. This became even more apparent when I realized that it would fit better for a character like Genevieve to counterbalance when she wasn't being purely lazy. By giving him a "Big Damn Hero" moment with stopping Mr. 3, he changed from snarky to overly confident and cocky. I like to think that he believes that he is playing it cool, but as he spends more time with Steven, his overly dramatic tendencies come out more.

Speaking of Mr. 3, his quip about the "agonizing ruination of a noble spirit" is modified from a quote spoken by Dr. Hurt in Batman R.I.P.

This chapter also introduced the new names I chose for "The Mr. 5 Pair:" Petrea and Damian. As I mentioned already, Miss Valentine was named after Petrea Burchard, the voice actress who portrayed Ryoko Hakubi on the English dub of Tenchi Muyo/Universe/In Tokyo. I actually ran a blog (No Need To Review Tenchi) where I attempted to review in detail every episode of the franchise (I only finished the first two OVAs), so I have a soft spot for the show and Burchard was always one of the highlights. As for Damian…I literally tried dozens of names to see if they would fit. In the end I narrowed it down to Damian and Tomisaburo (named after Strom Shadow from G.I. Joe), but Damian won because I love Batman way too much.

Damian entering the fire to save Mr. 3 and the Straw Hats shows us that he might be a better guy than the canon Mr. 5 might have led us to believe. Given his ability to create explosions, it makes sense that he has a bit of a resistance against fire. It ALSO is subtle foreshadowing of his dream to be a fireman.

By this point, Steven has faced his first TRIAL on his adventure: facing Mr. 3 and confronting Petrea about her actions. Technically, one could count the talk with Petrea as the ATONEMENT WITH THE FATHER/MOTHER, since she has kind of been a small maternal figure for these few chapters, but the real version on this step occurs later on in Chapter Twenty-Five when Steven confronts the Gems about the Straw Hats. For the record, we are now in the second section of the Monomyth cycle: Initiation. Mr. 3, however, is completely different as Steven fails in his plea to appeal to his better judgement. It is his first true failure on this quest, save the fact that it wasn't: he failed at getting to Mr. 3, but he DID reach Damian, which allowed for Mr. 3 to be defeated.

Note that Mr. 3 was not killed. That would have caused problems for both Impel Down later on if traditional canon was followed and for Chapter Sixteen, which I will discuss when I get there.

Finally, I want to thank aara941 (or Un Don Nadie Aburrido on YouTube) for giving me great advice on how to better detail how Genevieve could have Sanji destroy the "Candle Service Set" on his review of the story on YouTube (titled Una Gema en Bruto | Review | Un Don Nadie Aburrido). Check it out! On a similar note, Emma Iveli did her own review on YouTube as well (titled A Look At: A Gem in the Rough). I recommend both of them and am flattered that both would take the time to make such reviews a reality.

Chapter Seven:

This chapter and the one that follows seem to be the chapters that got a majority of my readers hooked on the story. That pleases me to no end. Honestly, if I had to peg the one creative idea I had for this story, it would be the usage of Uncle Grandpa in this way.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

The character interactions are important to show just how out of place Beach City feels without Steven around. He is the glue that seems to keep these people together. Yes, you have had episodes like "Island Adventure" where Steven has vanished for a period of time, but the Gems literally lost him while they were watching him. They have suffered many losses, but losing Steven is hands down the worst possible scenario for any of them.

I will say that I am surprised nobody picked out my reference to Mystery Science Theater 3000 in this chapter: "Usually when I see a giant glowing ball in the sky or something, I just repeat to myself that it is Gem business and I should really just relax." (If you don't know why I included it, just look up Mayor Dewey's voice actor…and then watch every episode you can find.)

The expanded explanation of the Rifting Stone contains a small mention of a Gem named Citrine. This was a name I chose for my Tenchi Muyo/Steven Universe crossover (Steven Muyo…which will be reworked and revised in the future) for a scientist in an extended flashback. I am sure that she will have no further impact on the story beyond that nod to my other work.

Of all the Gems, I find Amethyst to be the hardest to write. This is why I gave her the idea to contact Uncle Grandpa. I feel she would have been the one to reach that conclusion since she disregards the rules far more than the others. Of course, it would not have been thought of if not for the combined efforts of Greg and Connie, who added an outside perspective on things.

Chapter Eight:

Ah Uncle Grandpa. I am not a fan of your show, but I can respect you. Unlike several people, I found "Say Uncle" to be hilarious. It is a modern day "Duck Amuck," especially the moments where the Gems are trapped in limbo. Thankfully, that episode gave me the perfect inspiration for this story and a place for us to go. If it was not for that episode, this crossover would not exist. Hopefully this story can give you a new appreciation for its absurdity.

There are a few references to Cartoon Network shows of the past. Otto Osworth was the main protagonist of Time Squad, and is notable for being one of the few names NOT on Uncle Grandpa's list in "Say Uncle." When Uncle Grandpa "channels his Uncle Fester," that is my lone reference to the 90's animated Addams Family cartoon that aired on Cartoon Network. I loved that show, especially the neighbor that Rob Paulson voiced with a Paul Lynde impression.

Most of the interactions with Uncle Grandpa and his menagerie are lifted directly from that episode, since I do not have any other true exposure to the characters (I tried to watch an episode…yeah, it wasn't my thing). Apparently I did a good job at capturing their voices, so that is a plus. Of all of the Uncle Grandpa characters, I love Pizza Steve because he is basically Adam Devine in everything he has ever done. I included a reference to a "Brownie Ders" as my nod to Workaholics. I feel like Uncle Grandpa would be better if they had the entire cast of Workaholics as anthropomorphic food.

Now the real meat and potatoes of this chapter is my CN Multiverse theory (no relation to Multiversity, the Grant Morrison comic). How I view this is that any show that appeared on Cartoon Network at some point is a part of a giant, spanning multiverse. This explains how things like Transformers and Star Wars can technically exist but Cartoon Network is unable to air them anymore due to rights. The three layers of reality are the traditional Cartoon Network, Toonami, and Adult Swim. For all intents and purposes, Miguzi was just a sublayer of Toonami. Every person mentioned on there was some kind of host of Toonami, with The Joker coming from the April Fools special where he sent a virus to the Absolution. And yes; that was a Hamtaro reference.

Townsville was included here to showcase where some of the Corrupted Gems ended up…I guess that subplot is closed…

Chapter Nine:

As per One Piece tradition, parties after successful missions are a must. This is Steven's chance to truly meet the people he signed up with. Thankfully, they seem to get along. It helps that Steven and Luffy are really similar characters in a lot of ways. The Baroque Works characters…not so much.

As Genevieve pointed out in the next chapter, she never really interacted with the Straw Hats, so her forgiveness came much easier. One of the main plot points in my version of the Drum arc was Vivi forgiving Damian and Petrea, which starts here. Damian doesn't necessarily care about it as much, as he kind of sticks to spending his time with Zoro. Petrea, however, needs it to move on. We have now reached her next step of character development: self-doubting resentment of her past. We got a little bit of that in Chapter Six, but the conversation with Sanji is the first to truly get that point across. Also, I made her an orphan, because OF COURSE she would be. Clichés, people; you've got to love them!

The choice to have Steven heal Nami and not Petrea was, again, not to give an increased focus on the new characters but to show how dangerous a Devil Fruit user could be if they were sick. SecondaryShade (a huge help on this story's sequel) made a point on how just having Steven heal Nami but not Petrea showcased a lack of agency in Steven's powers, so I made Steven's emotional state clearer (I really didn't want to lose Nami getting healed, so this was the best way of getting around that). Imagine how dangerous someone with Mr. 5's power would be if he could not stop sneezing…it would be bad. Speaking of powers, the subtle comments about the Kilo-Kilo Fruit in this chapter were actually an oversight initially, but I realized that it could work well for expanding her power set. Several people in other fan fictions already gave Petrea the ability to shift the weight of other objects (Shinobi of the High Seas, I'm looking at you…) so it was not unheard of.

Chapter Ten:

We now get to see Steven at his lowest point here. It is bad enough that his family is out of his reach, but here we see how being unable to save everyone is affecting him. It starts with Petrea, whom he could not heal, and how he is dealing with it. This continues on with his conversation with Luffy about death. He is a young boy who does not care for violence. Being a pirate, as great of a life as it seemed, is probably not the best place for a boy like Steven. He is forced to make a big decision in this chapter and, as such, grows up just a bit.

In addition, we get to see how Genevieve sees everything. I like to think that Genevieve would get a kick about following the Straw Hats because of all of the incredibly things she can later paint. I didn't want to write out how Wapol came aboard the Going Merry, so having her space out due to boredom allowed me to bypass most of that. Wapol is incredibly pompous, but I enjoyed writing him under Genevieve's spell. It's basically a Jedi Mind Trick.

Oh, I almost forgot: Steven is, of course, singing and referencing The Beatles. If you didn't know that, we can't be friends any more.

Chapter Eleven:

The scene with the snowmen and the follow-ups to it in the subsequent chapters are some of my favorite moments in the story. Of course Steven would pine for his family and have them on his mind as he built a snowman. The fact that Genevieve would pick up on that was touching.

For the most part, this chapter only has two things of note to talk about beyond the snowman. The first is Samurai Jack, because why not? The other thing is the beginning of the Damian/Sanji rivalry. While I don't necessarily see Damian and Petrea as a couple, I do consider them to be really good friends. Sanji, however, sees Petrea as a beautiful woman. Obviously the two would have friction.

I think that about wraps this chapter up…oh. The blinding light…yeah…

Chapter Twelve:

Let's talk Lufven:

Lufven is one of the first original characters I have ever made, and to be honest, was not a part of the original story. I had completely disregarded Steven fusing with anyone until the reviewer Skysword brought it up. It was then that I remembered that Wapol combined Chess and Kuromarimo and I realized that it would work thematically to create my own Fusion. As it stands, Lufven remains one of the most memorable moments of this story, to the point where it has been immortalized in fan art (thanks again Betsybugaboo!). I'm still amazed that it a degree.

Being a fusion of Luffy and Steven makes Lufven the second Gem to use male pronouns. That is a pretty interesting concept in itself that wouldn't really matter, but is worth pointing out. The attacks came rather naturally. Steven is not necessarily a character known for fighting, but it is natural for him to create naturally defensive moves. It will not be until Chapter Fifteen that he gets a legitimate attack, which comes from Steven understanding exactly what he would have to do to stop Wapol.

Beyond that…I really don't have anything to say about the chapter. It is kind of self-explanatory. The "Let the slaughter begin" line is from Transformers: The Movie (among other sources, but I will always link it to Frank Welker's Megatron).

Chapter Thirteen:

Oh hai, Chopper!

Part of this chapter was written in Chopper's perspective, which was fun to write…that's about it. Most of this chapter is pretty much taken directly from canon, with the biggest divergence being Petrea instead of Nami and the bit in the beginning where Steven tries to explain fusion.

Seeing Dr. Kureha fulfills another step on Steven's "Hero's Journey:" MEETING THE GODDESS (which is a description only she would use to describe herself). She helps heal everyone in the party as best as she could, bringing Steven back to his whole self after becoming part of Lufven. Of course, the person who she truly tries to help heal is Chopper, as shown in the next chapter.

Finally we have yet ANOTHER reference to Grant Morrison's Batman run: "Backstory? Not interested."

Chapter Fourteen:

Again, most of this chapter is taken from canon, but there are a few moments I am particularly happy with: the snowman and the snow angel.

This is the chapter that shows Vivi starting to work past the fact that Petrea, Damian, and Genevieve were a part of Baroque Works. A small moment like seeing Genevieve (a notoriously lazy character) take the time to create a piece of artwork to bring a smile to Steven's face goes a long way.

The snow angel was something I debated about. Would angels technically exist in the world of Steven Universe if holidays like Christmas do not? I figured it wouldn't matter in the end, since it is a powerful moment that shows Steven's compassionate side and gives Chopper a reason to believe that humans can look past him being a "monster." This part also includes a small part where Steven's gem causes the snow to turn pink…I totally forget when I thought of it, but it fit so well to tie Steven and Chopper together.

Finally, Steven here has finally accepted that he would have to fight Wapol. This is the APOTHEOSIS, or the hero seeing the world in a whole new light after taking in everything he has learned. Does Steven want to take it to the next level? Not at all, but he will do what he has to in order to protect his new friends. This is signaled by Steven using his shield in an offensive manner: throwing it like Captain America…or STEVE Rogers…I'm not the first person to make that connection, nor will I be the last.

Chapter Fifteen:

The first of two Lufven fights…and the one that makes the most sense.

When I remembered that Chess and Kuromarimo were combined, I immediately knew I needed to have Lufven take offense to that. Wapol is a disgrace as a pirate (which pisses off Luffy) and is now disgracing fusion (which pisses off Steven). The two combining here makes sense and Wapol was never exactly an important opponent for Luffy to fight. Heck, Wapol's two biggest contributions beyond serving as the antagonist in this arc were to the Reverie scene and for creating Wapol Steel later on.

The party scene at the end is important for a few reasons. We now have Vivi finally making her peace with Petrea, ending that small subplot on a high note. Petrea was the one actively seeking redemption so it meant a lot to her to be able to get that closure. The other main point of the party is the part with Steven and the painting. The boy is homesick and having a picture of Snow-Garnet really hit home. It allows for Genevieve to have hidden depths to pick up on how to connect with a sobbing Steven, but shows that she has no idea how to react when presented with him uncontrollably crying. She didn't realize that the snowman was anything other than just that. Nami, however, is smart enough to read between the lines and remember who "Garnet" was.

If you haven't picked up on it, I really want to capture all of the characters' voices as best as I can. While the story is important, without good character development and interaction, the story will fall apart and be uninteresting. If you have a good grasp on all of the characters, the revised story beats come naturally and organically.

Chapter Sixteen:

Star Wars and Batman. Bet you weren't expecting to see THAT in this story?

The Star Wars section was included to add to the Gendy Tartakovsky shows that I have been including (Dexter's Laboratory and Samurai Jack…sorry Sym-Bionic Titan. I couldn't fit you in). Tartakovsky, of course, worked on the Steven Universe pilot before the character designs were finalized. This is not The Clone Wars, but rather the one from 2003. General Grevious' quote was taken line-for-line from the last episode of the original run.

The main reason I wanted this was to give Greg a lightsaber for a short amount of time. I knew it wouldn't last long, but I had this image of Greg slicing the Seastone cage open, giving him something to do. It worked out for a nice little moment where he was more aware of what was going on than the Gems, which is rare in a combat situation.

Speaking of Greg, based on his comments in the beginning of the chapter, they have already visited the world of Ed, Edd, and Eddy and Johnny Bravo.

Connie was also a big player here. Though it wasn't truly touched on more in this chapter, this was the first time Connie encountered death. Seeing death in a movie? It is fine because you have no relation to the action. Seeing it in real life? Not so much. This set up her talk with Steven in Chapter Twenty-Eight and her small breakdown in Chapter Forty-One.

Batman…well, Batman: The Brave and the Bold was one of the best shows on Cartoon Network in years and is truly on par with Justice League Unlimited. This version of Batman was no stranger to dimensional visitors, hence his inclusion here. Bat-Mite was the key to moving the story along. Bat-Mite is aware of every version of Batman to exist and since Batman has aired on Toonami AND on regular Cartoon Network, I now had a logical explanation to get the Gems to the Absolution.

The information about the Absolution Sara is spouting comes directly from Intruder II. In addition, if you couldn't figure it out, TOM mistook Greg for Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Tom Scharpling, for those of you who did not know, appeared on the show as Willie Nelson…but not THE Willie Nelson.

When TOM is pulling up various places Steven could be, he lists off a few names. We have got references to G Gundam, Sailor Moon, Transformers, Tenchi Muyo!, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball. Before I decided to have TOM send them straight to the Once Piece world, I was going to have the Gems travel to each of these places. The Sailor Moon section would have had Greg be super excited to meet her, since he is a canonically a fan. This ended up being combined with the Batman section. The Tenchi section would have had them continuously ending up in the Masaki residence with them worrying that they were stuck in a time loop, since the three Tenchi shows are not connected to each other at all. However, the jokes were cut since it made more sense to just get them to the Grand Line, which worked out for the best.

We now have the return of Mr. 3! Honestly, my one regret of this section was having Steven take the painting that Genevieve made of him in Chapter Four back in Chapter Nine. It would have been more powerful if the Gems found the painting on the island and feared for the worst. Bringing Mr. 3 as their guide gave the Gems a good reason to make it to Alabasta. I debated having an additional chapter of them being forced to deal with Mr. 3, but it wasn't necessary to the story and it would have taken away from the reveals in Chapter Nineteen and Chapter Twenty-Three.

Chapter Seventeen:

Steven is totally the kind of kid who would "play" a musical in his spare time. This is my bit of foreshadowing to show that this musical is on his mind when we get to Chapter Twenty-Two.

The training with Zoro is unseen for the most part, but I hope to expand upon that in the next section of the story. Steven is not inherently a violent person, so beyond throwing his shield, he needs to become more creative with his bubble and shield. We see some of his newfound creativity in Chapter Twenty-Three and Twenty-Six, but there is so much more he can do. Reviewer Fox Boss actually has some creative ideas on how to give Steven some new abilities, so we shall see what I can come up with them in mind.

This chapter also sees the discussion about how to handle Crocodile. It became clear that purely taking out Crocodile in the desert before he made his move and without any witnesses would not exonerate Cobra at all. I managed to work my way around that particular issue in the later chapters, but if Luffy took down Crocodile in regular canon during his first fight, it would have solved nothing. The people would not have believed Cobra's story, the government would just see it as a pirate fighting a Shichibukai, and Baroque Works would continue to plague Alabasta.

It makes you think.

Chapter Eighteen:

Oh hai, Mr. 2!

Before we jump on that, we have two minor references in the beginning of the story: the names of the potential island. "The Land of Chocolate" is from The Simpsons, but "Oatmeal" is (from all things) Frosty the Snowman. A random reference to be sure, but I am curious if anyone picked up on it.

Beyond introducing Mr. 2, we also have the follow up to Steven's call with Crocodile back in Little Garden. "Tiger Millionaire" was one of my favorite Season One episodes and I continue to reference it because it is Steven's only alter ego. Of course he would use it when put in a tense situation. Genevieve (being one of two people who were in the room when the call was made) would remember it because it was a decisive moment for her. I like to think that she has a really good memory that she doesn't acknowledge just because it is too much. If you look on the story's TVTropes page, she is mentioned as being "Brilliant, but Lazy."

Genevieve and Steven also have a nice moment together where she tells him to focus on his feelings for Connie. I know I put the two in a lot of situations, but I wanted to make it clear that there would be no pairing between the two. That does not mean that she does not have feelings for Steven, but more in an older sister kind of way. The two are the youngest ones on the Going Merry and it is only natural that they would form a bond, especially since it was Steven who turned her life around.

Chapter Nineteen:

There is not much to say about this chapter except Steven's overly complicated plan was kind of a response to Luke Skywalker's plan to rescue Han Solo in Return of the Jedi: absurd and overly reliant on chance. Seriously, if you have never thought about the opening of Return of the Jedi (which who hasn't?), do so. Everything is reliant on Jabba making stupid mistakes time and time again. Steven (being a young kid) has no idea how the real world works. He looks at everything in terms of archetypes and stereotypes, yet can understand that there are morally grey characters like Lapis and Mr. 2. He's an interesting kid, that Steven Universe.

Um…anything else happen in this chapter? I like when Damian and Zoro get drunk. Beyond that, there isn't much to talk about.

Chapter Twenty:

Oh hai, Tashigi and Smoker!

As with many One Piece fans, I love Smoker and Tashigi. You always know you are in for a treat when they show up. Thankfully, the two were included in this part of the manga, so I got to write them too. At this point, Tashigi and Smoker were only going to be side characters in this section of the story, as in the manga. However, between this appearance and their later resurgence in Chapter Twenty-Three, I thought of the idea to take them back to Beach City (returning to Beach City was always a part of the plan…how we GOT to that point changed from my early ideas to what was actually written. More on that later).

I liked the idea that Steven would befriend Tashigi, because OF COURSE he would. As stated in the story, he had no idea what the Marines were or even thought two seconds about being a criminal. He has an optimistic outlook on life and everyone in it. When he sees Luffy and the gang on a noble quest to do what is right, he takes their status as "good guys" at face value. This almost came to bite him in the ass back in the beginning of the story and very nearly did the same here.

I think I kind of modified just HOW a Black Den Den Mushi works, but since they have barely appeared in One Piece itself, I feel somewhat justified in it.

Chapter Twenty-One:

Oh hai, Ace!

Good old Ace…doing nothing! No, I did not change his role in the story at all. I must have disappointed at least one person. Still, I used his appearance to do two things. The first was to acknowledge that there actually existed a Blackbeard in the "real" world. Will this seemingly trivial mention come into play later on? Perhaps…perhaps not. What is the second thing you ask? "I can't! I have to go now! My planet needs me!" Get the joke? (If you don't, finish the quote...).

Steven here is starting to understand just what exactly he signed up for. This adds to his APOTHEOSIS, realizing that he is a criminal in this world. Though he dwells on it, he comes to accept it thanks to Genevieve, who pulls him out of a potential depression rather fast. This works out well for Steven, as he is given a reward (this may or may not be a step of the Monomyth cycle depending on which version you are looking at): a new ukulele. With his instrument in hand, he is now officially the Straw Hats' musician. But what about Brook? Wait and see...

Chapter Twenty-Two:

This chapter was a hassle to write.

The beginning with Damian and Petrea arguing was something I rewrote more than any other part of this story. It kept seeming too cliché for my liking. I finally found a tone that I liked, but it still seems a little forced. However, it shows that Steven is now starting to take the lessons learned from watching the Gems and adapting them into his new environment. Character growth people!

We have finally reached Spiders Café and the rest of Baroque Works. It made sense to have Paula be the most suspicious one of the group. She seemed to be the one member of Baroque Works who actually seemed sensible, so of course she would be the one to question why a young kid with paint on his face who sings an impromptu song is asking questions about a criminal organization.

Speaking of the song, it is my first attempt to do a parody of "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General" from Pirates of Penzance. While the later song is more akin to the recap at the end of the third season of Reboot, this instance is a more direct version of it. Fun fact: I actually wrote this while I was on my way home from a wake to keep myself in a positive mood. Take that as you will.

I debated on having Steven sing another song on the way to Rainbase and have Mr. 1 secretly enjoy it, but I didn't want to overdo it. Besides, we had to get to Crocodile!

Chapter Twenty-Three:

Crocodile is one of my favorite One Piece villains (if not my favorite one) and writing him was a joy. He is one of the truest villains in the show but is actually both smart and a legitimate threat. Writing him as a cocky bastard up until he realized that he was played was great and bouncing him off of Steven gave way to a lot good material.

Steven calling Crocodile a "codfish" is, of course, a reference to Disney's version of Peter Pan, as is the song "Never Smile at a Crocodile."

One might wonder just HOW Nico Robin can lock up Steven and the gang in a Seastone cage. That is a very good question. The answer might surprise you.

The banana gators were, of course, first referenced back in Chapter Four to be set up for here. In addition, we also have the payoff to Steven calling Sanji "Obi-Wan Kenobi" all the way back in Chapter Five. We've got quite a few callbacks in this chapter, don't we?

Steven's dedication to his friends is truly shown here by almost dying in the water. Steven has been growing since he started out on his quest. He has started to master his bubble, but he is still half-human. He has to push himself to his limits to free his friends. Thankfully, Genevieve did not eat a Devil Fruit or else Steven would be a goner.

Speaking of Steven, our boy has suddenly gained quite a confidence boost. He is not afraid of Crocodile at this point. He is just the representation of Vivi's pain and is treating him like a villain on a Saturday Morning Cartoon. Damian and Petrea are (obviously,) worried that Steven is going to do something stupid, but Crocodile is just the tiniest bit fascinated by his audacity. Beyond that, he dismisses him as nothing more than a child.

The chapter ends with an image that I had in my head since I thought about writing this story: the Crystal Gems ready to face down Crocodile in the hidden room. Overall, this chapter was IMMENSELY satisfying to write and to reread. A lot of great moments all around.

Chapter Twenty-Four:

All plot points have finally converged in Alabasta (well…save Vivi, I suppose, but she IS in the country). The Gems have arrived and are pissed. They have literally traveled across space and time to find their boy and where do they find him but in a cage. Crocodile beware.

This is probably the best fight sequence I have ever written and probably will ever write. I am not the best at writing descriptive fighting, but I can actually visualize this fight and see how it could turn out. Of course Crocodile would dominate the Gems initially since they haven't exactly figured out how this world works and are basing him just as another human. Garnet, however, could easily stop Crocodile in his tracks. It allows for a callback to the "Beach Party" episode of Steven Universe, where they created glass by striking Amethyst down as hard as possible in the sand. Lightning works the exact same way. Also, kudos to CyanideOreo for recreating this scene as fan art!

Meanwhile, we finally get our touching reunion between Steven, Connie, Greg, and Lion. Connie, of course, gets along great with the pirates right off the bat (much to Tashigi's disappointment). Greg…well he is just happy to see his son again. The Gems, however, are not happy about ANYTHING…save Amethyst, I suppose. As the chapter goes on, Garnet warms up to the Straw Hat crew a bit more, but Pearl will remain apprehensive about them for some time.

Oh, and Steven gets jealous of Greg. Fun times.

Chapter Twenty-Five:

Continuing on Steven's journey, we now have the true ATONEMENT WITH THE FATHER moment: where Steven confronts the Crystal Gems about his friends. They manage to see just how attached the pirates are to Steven, and Steven to them. When Garnet says that pirates are "awesome," you do not question her.

Pearl is the odd Gem out. She does not care that much for her company and feels awkward and out of place. Zoro sharing a small moment with her went a long way, which in turn will allow for Pearl to fight with him during Chapter Twenty-Nine. It makes sense that the two would have a connection given their love of swordplay.

I like the idea of Greg being eternally out of the loop. He has had a hard time coping with the loss of his son and literal dimensional hopping. This turned out to be a good framing device for my second "Major-General Song" parody, which I wrote on New Year's Day. I'm actually happy with how it turned out. I'm not sure how many of you actually like the musical aspects of this story, but this one ended up being okay. It was too much to truly be included as part of the actual story, so it being an omake worked around that.

Chapter Twenty-Six:

We have now reached the biggest part of Steven's quest: THE ORDEAL…or at least the first part of it. I refer to his fight with Crocodile. This moment is hands down the most controversial part of this story, and for a good reason.

See, the biggest complaint (outside of my typos) I have gotten for this story is robbing Luffy of important moments and for shoehorning Steven into them. This has best been articulated by reviewer BemmyBean, who pointed out that Steven riding on Luffy's coattails is rather pointless. I can easily see everyone's point and I agree with it. It worked out well with Wapol, because fusion actually MEANT something in the fight. There was a reason for fusion to occur. This fight…less so. I know Steven being there and the fusion between them was forced and awkward.

But that's the thing: the fusion was supposed to be out of place.

This chapter was supposed to show the dangers of overly fusing. That is why the first thing that happens to Lufven is he gets stabbed like canon Luffy did. Lufven would have and should have lost. The sole reason Lufven worked for this chapter was because of the healing spit.

No, SARDONYX is the one who robbed Luffy of his moment.

Lufven did not win the fight against Crocodile. He just helped Sardonyx win. I will say I liked the idea of Sardonyx playing croquet with Crocodile and the electricity from her hammer is what stopped him, not Lufven's bubble. Sardonyx made sense to me to beat Crocodile because of Garnet's powers (while stealing a quip from X-Men). Does it take away from Luffy? Yes; I promise that in the future I will be more mindful of that, but Crocodile was the one person the Gems actually had a stake in fighting. This is why Garnet later sits out on her fight: she did her job and it is now up to the One Piece characters to fight their own battles.

Still, I understand the controversy behind it and will keep it all in mind as I continue to write the story.

On a completely different topic, we get our first true look at Nico Robin. She was already intrigued with Luffy's presence before the story began, but Steven was a completely unknown quantity. The boy was respectful and seemed to treat her with more kindness than anyone she had ever met at this point. I thought it was natural that Robin would become attached to the half-Gem, which would strengthen as they continued to interact.

Another tiny thing: the opening description of Steven in the sand is practically word for word how Anakin Skywalker describes it in Attack of the Clones.

Finally, we have Smoker and the Marines. Bringing it back to them allows for Steven and Sardonyx to get bounties and for reasons that have only been hinted at. The presence of a giant woman like Sardonyx is troubling for the World Government and, by this point, Smoker hasn't realized exactly WHY it would be an issue. He would be more focused on why Luffy would give Crocodile to him. The ramifications of this have yet to truly be explored…

Chapter Twenty-Seven:

Mr. 1 pulls a Boba Fett in the beginning of this chapter. When in doubt, reference Star Wars.

This chapter was more on the humorous side than most of the other Alabasta chapters. We get to see just how the Gems react to the odd world of One Piece, including a bunch of giant ducks. I might have cheated by saying two people can fit per duck, but I stand by it.

We get to have a nice little Connie and Genevieve moment, which compliments several of Genevieve's interactions with Steven in this arc. She has this big sister instinct for the boy and is genuinely happy to see that Connie is as good of a person as Steven thinks she is. I had to go back to "Full Disclosure" to see what type of phone Connie has. It makes sense that Priyanka gives her a flip phone. I agree with her on that front.

My favorite moment in this chapter was Greg getting picked on by Amethyst. I can just picture Tom Scharpling screaming about a giant sea cat. Actually, Greg was probably the easiest character to write in this whole story. The Crewniverse team created such a distinctive character that it is hard to screw him up.

Chapter Twenty-Eight:

Our first fight chapter!

It was very important to me to let the One Piece characters retain variations of their big moments in these fights while still keeping the Gems in character. A character like Garnet could easily stop these people in two seconds. This is where the idea of the Gems kind of acting like mentors came into play, especially Garnet. She realizes more than anyone that this is not her fight and allows Usopp, Chopper, and Damian to do their stuff. It is also an opportunity to see who these people are and gauge the integrity of Steven's friends.

Of course, Damian having bomb powers puts him at a MAJOR advantage to the likes of Lassoo. He can handle the explosions because he IS an explosive-man. This is brought up in the story with Usopp, who is able to retain a variation of his speech from this fight. It is not necessarily referring to Luffy's dreams, but to the crew as a whole.

We get a few more references in this fight: Miss Merry Christmas tells the fighters that they are in "[her] world now, not your world" which is from The Princess Frog. In addition, Damian says he has "better things to do today than die," just like Springer in Transformers: The Movie.

The second part of this chapter deals with Connie's growth and Steven's utter horror. This is a big moment for the two of them. They have never experienced true human deaths before this adventure began. Connie came to this realization back in Chapter Sixteen, which is why she is able to adapt to it a bit better than our hero. Steven is helpless as he watches all of these innocent people die around him. It takes Connie to snap him out of it, much to the amazement of Genevieve. He just has to accept it as a natural part of life, the final moment that could be counted as his APOTHEOSIS.

One thing that is brought up time and time again is the show's theme song. It is either done in full or is quoted by the characters. It serves as the overarching theme for the story. When someone believes in another person, it inspires them to do great things. Steven believes in everyone, and everyone believes in Steven.

Chapter Twenty-Nine:

The last chapter I wrote as an unmarried man. I literally finished this the night before my wedding, and I have to say I am pretty proud of how it turned out. If Chapter Twenty-Four contained the best fight scene I have ever written, this contains the second and third best scenes.

The Zoro/Pearl/Mr. 1 fight was the biggest part of the chapter. Unlike Garnet, Pearl actually engages in combat. She has been a swordfighter for centuries, so she would believe that she could wipe the floor clean with warriors like Mr. 1 and Zoro. The key factor, which is brought up even more in Chapter Forty-One, is the human factor. Humans can be far more unpredictable than Gems, especially in this world. Devil Fruits are an unknown factor to Pearl and she doesn't yet know how to react to them. The moment where everything clicked was when I decided to have Pearl attempt Santoryu, which showed the level of respect she had for Zoro. No matter how much blood he shed or how many times he is hurt, he keeps going. Pearl (a resilient knight in her own way) would connect to that rather easily.

We are also treated to a Greg/Nami scene. These two are the two most useless characters in a situation like this, so to have the two of them boost each other's confidence was important to me. Greg here quite literally brings up the trope of "The Load," which for my non Tropers out there can be considered as the liability. Think of how Greg was a major liability in the fight against Lapis. This is actually brought up in One Piece canon during this point, as it is Nami's first TRUE fight scene.

Greg, for his part, has lost the lightsaber. Retaining it would have made him MASSIVELY overpowered during the fights, so this forced him to be rather pragmatic in how to handle the situation. Regardless, you cannot have a lightsaber without causing injury to a hand, so poor Paula is involved in an unfortunate accident. Note that they did not collect the lightsaber pieces...

Speaking of, having Paula fight Amethyst came about purely because the two have hedgehog fighting techniques. Amethyst would naturally get herself involved more than the other Gems and would be the one who would push herself too far. I was not sure exactly how long to wait until she would be reformed, especially since her longest time in canon to reform was only a few hours. Is this technically considered an example of "Stuffed in the Fridge" if it is perfectly in line for the character?

Finally, we continue to see more growth in Petrea as she takes on Miss Doublefinger for Amethyst's sake. It does not matter how battered she is; she will fight to save Alabasta and to avenger her new friend. Paula's quote about "throwing away your life" is from Transformers: The Movie and Petrea's response is from the sixth episode of Tenchi Muyo! (my favorite episode in the franchise).

Chapter Thirty:

I wrote the first section with Tashigi on my honeymoon during a moment of downtime. It is just a fun fact.

Koza was important to have to the story as originally conceived by Oda, but I really had nothing for him to do otherwise. I decided to merely use him as a way for Steven and the girls to navigate the palace. One thing I am unsure anyone picked up on was his nickname for Cobra: Nebra. I don't blame you if you didn't catch it, but Nebra was the 4kids name for the character. Why they did it I have no idea, but I believe it had to do with them being in charge of the G.I. Joe license at the time. I mean, when I look at Vivi's dad, I immediately confuse him for Cobra Commander or Destro. I guess that makes Pell Raptor, Cobra's bird-man accountant.

The main purpose of this chapter was to explain just how I could resolve the Baroque Works situation without Crocodile being involved. By convincing Mr. 2 to surrender himself and explain what was truly going on behind the scenes, I could still have him retain his friendship with the Straw Hats and get him to Impel Down. Since Miss Goldenweek's cover story does not occur in this version of One Piece, this lines things up perfectly for the Impel Down arc later on (that is, if it gets covered).

We also are given a new glimpse of Damian's emotional side. He might not be in a relationship with Petrea, but he cares deeply for his partner. He has turned from a no-nonsense assassin to a truly emotional character who likes to act "manly" but is prone to cry at things he reacts strongly to. He would never admit it to anyone, but think about it. He wants to be a fireman even in canon. That shows that he has a strong desire to save lives and help people. It makes sense that he would have these hidden depths.

Oh, Usopp quotes The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy. That is all.

Chapter Thirty-One:

The Initiation section of the Monomyth cycle comes to a close as Steven retrieves THE ULTIMATE BOON, or the salvation of Alabasta from Baroque Works. This has been the reason why he put aside his quest to return home all the way back in Chapter Six. Amusingly, he does not really do much to affect the outcome other than what he did all the way back in Chapter Five: redeeming Genevieve.

Genevieve has her own "Big Damn Heroes" moment where she casts aside her laziness to save the kingdom. The technique she uses here (making a "Colors Trap" large enough to affect an entire crowd) comes from her cover story. This was a simple way for the Baroque Works members to be separated from the citizens of Alabasta, though I think Luffy would be offended by the thought of it.

Petrea also has her own big moment in the story where she realizes she can actually alter the weight of other things. Could Garnet actually lift up the bomb by herself? Yes. However, she saw Petrea helping in one of the many splintered paths provided to her through Future Vision. Since arriving, Garnet has been used to give advice to the Straw Hat crew and, as such, felt it would be a good way to leave a positive impact on Steven's friends. If anything, she could easily have stepped in to save the day.

One might argue that Luffy is a bit too quick to want to have Robin join the crew. I thought of it as Steven's feelings about Robin rubbing off on Luffy when they fused, especially after how she saved them in the desert. I mean, he didn't have too many reservations in the actual canon as well, so I felt justified.

The return of Mr. 3 was something I played around with a lot. Initially, I had Mr. 3 fight Steven and Connie in an elaborate sequence, but it didn't really work. After I scrapped that, I had Sanji fight him on equal terms. Again, I couldn't get it to work as well as I would have liked. Instead, I used him as a way to show that Genevieve's powers work and as a gag. Like Mr. 2, in order for the Impel Down and ESPECIALLY Marineford arcs to work, Mr. 3 needed to be sent to prison. This was accomplished rather nicely here.

The ending of this chapter raises two very important questions. Why was Garnet concerned about the reappearance of Sardonyx? Why is the World Government that interested in the Gems? The answers will come in time…

Chapter Thirty-Two:

We are now in the final third of the Monomyth Cycle: Return. Part of this chapter deals with Steven's REFUSAL OF RETURN. He argues why the Crystal Gems need to leave the crossover since the Gems abandoned their home. He doesn't want the adventure to end just yet. Our boy is still very much a child and needs to be reminded of everything that is waiting for him.

This leads to an extended reference to Tenchi Universe, which is the story about the carnival. The carnival represented (in that story) how the various characters parted ways after a lengthy adventure. However, even though they were separated, Tenchi was reassured by Ryoko that each of them would return in time. That is Steven's hope here: that he will see his friends again after the adventure ends. Fate, of course, has specific plans for our hero…

This chapter contains the famous bath house scene, known primarily for Nami's "Happiness Punch." Initially, I thought about having it play out like in canon, but having Steven just be confused. All of that changed when I realized that Connie and Genevieve would be in the bath too, making it in VERY poor taste (admittedly, the original scene isn't in the best taste either). This allowed me to give Greg a legitimate parenting moment, something few and far between.

Finally, we get the bounties. As I said before, jmr46718 thought of Sardonyx's bounty. My original idea was "Giant Pompous Magician," whose bounty I raised after the initial publication of this story. Speaking of bounties, I had originally put Zoro's epithet as "Demon Hunter." I'm not going to lie…that was an error. I tried justifying it to myself as the Marines and World Government seeing the Gems as "demons" but since Zoro didn't hunt them, it did not make sense.

I'm not perfect folks. Just ask my wife.

Chapter Thirty-Three:

Goodbye, Vivi and Karoo.

Her departure is largely unchanged as in canon. I debated on having her join the crew, but I had no real reason to do so. If you would like a good story that gives a valid reason for having Vivi join the crew, look no further than Luffy's Renewed Adventure.

However, it is here that shit gets real. At this point, Steven is getting ready to return home after one final party. This is the MAGIC FLIGHT. However, they have no idea that Garp is inching forward to them. This leads to another step: THE RESCUE FROM WITHOUT, which is getting aid from an unexpected source. In this case, we get Smoker and Tashigi.

Clearly the World Government's actions have caused Smoker to have serious concerns about this entire situation. Smoker is the kind of person to put aside his own vendetta if the situation warrants it and the rescue of an innocent child is clearly worth it in his eyes. In addition, Tashigi would be the most concerned for them, as she is the one with the clearest emotional connection to the boy. The most important thing to make clear is that this was not meant to be a truce with the Straw Hats, but rather a means to getting Steven and the Gems away from Garp before they got hurt.

I originally had a much different idea for how this chapter would have played out: instead of sending Garp, KUMA was sent out to deal with the situation. He would have used his abilities to transport the Going Merry away to Beach City. jmr46718 explained to me just why that wouldn't work and how I was misinterpreting Kuma's abilities. The two of us tossed some ideas back and forth until we realized Garp would be a good substitute. I am sure some people were upset that Garp didn't do anything yet by that point, but it was necessary for the story. This same conversation is also where the "Plot Contrivance Mode" was developed, but I will explain that more in Chapter Forty-Two.

Chapter Thirty-Four:

Oh hai, Ronaldo!

I am in the camp of people who actually like Ronaldo, but I know he is not everyone's cup of tea. Regardless, of course he would be the only one to notice Uncle Grandpa's shenanigans all the way back from Chapter Seven, which shows us how much time has actually elapsed in Beach City.

Robin being interrogated by Garnet is a reference to Monty Python and the Holy Grail (though I replaced "quest" with "dream"). Initially, Garnet asked everything in the form of a question, but I learned that Garnet is unable to ask questions due to her confidence as a Fusion. As such, I edited the entire story to reflect that. It wasn't easy.

We also have our one time usage of the "F-Word" in the story. Given Smoker's situation, I hardly blame him. This is his literal hell right now and one has to feel for him just a bit.

This chapter marks the beginning of Petrea's fear of Onion, which was based on her thoughts all the way back in Chapter Two about the boy. As we see, Onion actually has a crush on her, making it a rather interesting dynamic.

Beautiful Girlfriend Satan is taken directly from the Keep Beach City Weird blog. His cries of "A good ship or a bad ship" are, of course, a reference to The Wizard of Oz.

Steven returning to Beach City and talking to his neighbors is the CROSSING OF THE RETURN THRESHOLD. His final task is a simple one: convince the citizens of Beach City that the pirates should stay.

Chapter Thirty-Five:

This is the chapter where I really get to try to emulate the voices of the majority of the supporting cast of Steven Universe. Personally, I love the Cool Kids (Buck, Sour Cream, and Jenny) since they have very distinctive characteristics. Buck in particular is great and really hilarious as a whole. For someone so laid back, he seems to have a greater understanding of the world.

Pay no attention to Ronaldo's rantings. I am sure that it has no significance whatsoever.

Since this is a Cartoon Network show, I felt that Beach City would HAVE to be a no drinking or smoking environment. It is very similar to Ocean City, New Jersey in that regard. Poor Smoker and Sanji.

I rewatched "Lars and the Cool Kids" and "Joy Ride" before writing this, which got me thinking about Sour Cream wanting to rave on the Going Merry. Buck's comment about the rave is similar to his "baker's dozen" line in "Joy Ride," but I still find it funny.

Finally, we have Vidalia. Why Vidalia? Well, she is an interesting character who barely any appearances in the modern day episodes of the show and is typically seen as a cameo at best. She is the only actual human friend of a Crystal Gem. There are stories that just NEED to be told about these two. Heck, she even realizes that the Gems are rocks. She might not be the most important character in this story, but she deserved a bigger role than in the show, including being responsible for bringing back her Gem buddy. I might have cheated with how she brought back Amethyst, but we are still in "Plot Contrivance Mode" from the previous chapter (though that isn't made known for several chapters).

Chapter Thirty-Six:

Steven has returned to his home a MASTER OF TWO WORLDS. He is still a pirate and Straw Hat, but has the FREEDOM TO LIVE in Beach City. With that, his technical "Hero's Journey" has concluded. There is still the little matter of getting the Straw Hats back home, but Steven has done what he set out to do: he saved Alabasta and returned home.

As I am sure readers picked up, Steven quotes Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when he shows the Straw Hats (and Tashigi) inside. Speaking of references, I am glad Daxen123 picked up on my Matt Foley reference about Greg's van. God, I miss Chris Farley.

Initially, the Game Cube were called just that, but I revised it after the official canon name for the gaming system was revealed: the Sumy Dolphin. That itself was a reference to the working title of the system. I once saw an image of Sanji and Chopper playing Wii (I think it was on a Google Search) and it stuck with me. The idea that the pirates get competitive when playing Super Smash Bros. is inherently hilarious to me, but TASHIGI being drawn into the game makes it so much funnier. If she is going to be stuck in this crappy situation, she might as well make the most of it. Also, Tashigi plays as Samus, Zoro as Link, Sanji as Captain Falcon, and Connie as Kirby. At some point, I need to have these characters play Mario Party. I just do. Speaking of, the story was revised after the second series of shorts revealed the Steven Universe version of some of the games. I just went with it and created my own variations.

At this point we get the dreaded confrontation between Priyanka, her daughter, and Greg. Honestly, she has a right to be concerned. How would you feel if your daughter was hanging out with a bunch of older strangers in a house where known magical entities live, especially after just finding out that your daughter is a part of said magical world. She is not that upset that Connie is out doing things with the Gems; she is mad that she wasn't kept in the loop. She makes valid points and is rather reasonable all things considered.

Tashigi also steps it up to come to Connie's aide. She hates the Straw Hats with a passion, but is dedicated to assisting Steven and Connie. They are the innocents who risked their lives to save her and the people of Alabasta. TASHIGI: FRIEND TO ALL CHILDREN!

Chapter Thirty-Seven:

Remember when Sadie was featured in every other episode? I miss those days. I loved the Lars/Sadie dynamic and I hope it makes a return in upcoming episodes.

Smoker balancing rocks on his arm was a result of me misremembering his rock balancing hobby back in Logue Town, but I found it to be interesting enough to retain. He is a man of intense dedication and practice. He could find a way to balance two sets of rocks on each arm while keeping perfectly still.

I found it important that Smoker should find someone in Beach City to relate to, even in the smallest way. I thought about Buck, but the relationship would basically be his lone comment in Chapter Thirty-Nine about how he respects Smoker for doing what he was doing. Sadie came to play when I realized I was depriving her of her character development from "Sadie's Song." There was no reason for her to take the stage since Steven never discovered her singing in the back of the Big Donut. She gives Smoker hope in the people of this world. They might be overly optimistic, but their hearts are in the right place.

The reason why there was a delayed reaction to seeing the portrait of Rose Quartz is a simple: I forgot to include her in the previous chapter's descriptions of the interior of Steven's house. However, it allowed me a perfect segue into giving the pirates (and technically Vidalia) some exposition about what Gems are. This also shows Smoker that maybe this world isn't as kid friendly as he first thought.

We also address Steven's age in this chapter, which came about in a very interesting way. When the story started, I had Steven pegged for ten years old. I was wrong (with a good canon explanation to boot). I edited it as I was writing Chapter Twenty-Six to make his age ambiguous, though the characters assumed he was ten (save Luffy). I debated on saving this joke for the upcoming SECOND PART of this story, but this was a good moment to use it. As a bonus, it preserves the Connie moment from "Steven's Birthday" since she does not know his age yet.

Chapter Thirty-Eight:

Pearl does not like foul language, no matter how badly Luffy wants to express his desire to "kick someone's ass," which occurs at least once per arc.

Greg is, of course, referencing Ghostbusters. However, he realizes that referencing these things in the Burning Room might be rather off topic.

We have yet another made-up magical item: the Talisman of Cloth! Steven pointed out in "Lars and the Cool Kids" how he had no idea where any of his clothes came from, so I came up with this! Since he has a giant assortment of the same shirt, it made sense that they were literally magical by design. Of course, Greg would only realize that the Gems have, yet again, kept him out of the loop and never once considered helping him out. Poor Greg.

This chapter introduces us to Doug Maheswaran, who is another character I wish appeared more. Since he is married to Priyanka, I can assume that he is an academic in some capacity. His love of Les Misérables mainly stems from the Javert/Valjean relationship that Luffy and Smoker have. I thought it would be interesting for Smoker to evaluate just how far his vendetta could go. Smoker is a very interesting character as he is defined by his concept of Justice, particularly something that could be called "Situational Justice." Given the amount of times he has had to work with Luffy, he knows that there is something more to him than any of the other pirates he deals with. Does that ever deter him from trying to arrest him? Not at all, but looking at their relationship from an outside perspective might have caused our Marine to reevaluate the situation.

Finally, I initially misremembered Zoro as being twenty-one before the time skip. Betsybugaboo pointed out that I was mistaken. As such, poor Zoro was doomed to endure time without his precious sake or beer.

Chapter Thirty-Nine:

This might be the funniest moment in the entire story: Steven creating the 4kids rap.

It was a moment that I had envisioned from the beginning of the story. Of course Steven would create a rap about his crew. I initially thought about using it for when they landed in Beach City back in Chapter Thirty-Four, but I held off on it to use it for Beach-A-Palooza. I know some people were hoping to see Luffy in drag, but this was so much better. Plus, it gives Jamie something to do in this story.

The song Connie plays, "Tanguera," is a beautiful piece for a tango. Some of you might know it as the counterpoint song in the Moulin Rouge! version of the song "Roxanne" ("El Tango de Roxanne").

At the end of the chapter, we see Robin start to break out of her shell as Luffy and Steven begin to act around like fools. As a person who only knew her mother for a short amount of time, I felt that she would feel strongly about seeing Connie connect with her family. This provides the Straw Hats for a moment to realize that there is more to Robin than just Miss All Sunday. I mean, WE all know that from reading One Piece, but they don't.

Chapter Forty:

A very special chapter for me: the one I finished while I was waiting for my daughter to be born (and polished when my wife was sleeping and the baby was being cleaned up).

This is basically a slice-of-life chapter designed to show just how well the One Piece characters are integrating in a world like Beach City. Some things came naturally, like Usopp's love of tall tales meshing with Ronaldo's outlandish theories. They mesh well. Other things (like Robin and Nami at a bookstore) are good for character examination. Robin is 100% the kind of person who would love Edgar Allan Poe. It was also a continuation of the previous chapter showing Robin coming out of her shell. Her journey would, of course, continue on throughout the time in Beach City. Fun tidbit: initially I wrote that Beach City did not have a library anymore (which was a plot point in the cute Steven Universe comics. I recommend picking them up or buying them on Comixology), but then the episode "Buddy's Book" showed that it had reopened at some point. When I revised the story to remove Garnet asking questions, I took the opportunity to rectify that.

The training with Zoro, Tashigi, and Pearl was always something I had planned, be it as just sparring partners or as her taking them under her wing. It might be argued that Pearl is portrayed as being far too advanced than Zoro and Tashigi. The key thing to remember is that Tashigi was literally battered around by Robin and Zoro lost gallons of blood not even a week before this chapter. Of course they would not be on their A-Game. In addition, Pearl has CENTURIES of experience on them. The best way to defeat her would be to use ingenuity, something neither of them were attempting to do.

For the Luffy/Smoker/Garnet section, I was amused to see that the Crewniverse gang picked out real jobs for the Gems. Garnet's job was life coach, which is EXACTLY how I have been writing her. She is in a different league to most of the things that have happened in this story so far. She would rather help everyone around her achieve their full potential indirectly, if only because they mean something to Steven.

Ronaldo's mention of "schwarbage" is a reference to Batman Beyond. Actually, his rant about the video game is appropriated from the Keep Beach City Weird blog.

I chose not to think exactly WHAT Sanji was doing, but there is plenty implied…

The other big thing that happened in this chapter is, of course, Star Wars. At first, I was just going to include it as part of a throwaway gag, but then I realized the parallels of Robin and Princess Leia's situation. If I was going to include a scene of them watching Star Wars, I was going to make it relevant to the plot and characterizations, damn it. This provided a good contrast between Robin and Tashigi's views on the world.

I would like to point out that I initially had Robin compare the Marines to the Empire and not the World Government. jmr46718 pointed out my error and, as such, I modified it to be more accurate.

Chapter Forty-One:

The long-awaited return to this story! The first few lines were written along with Chapter Forty, but I realized that the chapter was getting very long and figured it would do better as the beginning of its own chapter.

Smiley's is, of course, a reference to Cheers. Greg is, of course, Norm. I guess that makes Mr. Smiley-Sam, Barb-Carla, Nanefua-Coach, and Mayor Dewey-Cliff? Would Smoker be Fraiser? These are important questions. Mayor Dewey asking Smoker to be a "cooler" is a reference to Road House, which is the greatest American movie of all time. It was also a favorite of the entire MST3K crew, so of course Bill Dewey would love it. Basically, if I included a direct reference to the Mos Eisely Cantina, Paddy's Pub, Moe's Tavern, The Prancing Pony, Swerve's, or the Three Broomsticks, I would have covered all of my favorite fictional bars.

Hmm…there is Shakky's and Blueno's bars in the future…there is still hope…

Connie's miniature breakdown about Star Wars is something I knew had to happen. Regardless of how mature she is, there is no way a girl that young could just have comprehended all of the death and destruction she experienced in Chapter Sixteen without either having an anxiety attack of burying it down in her. Since I don't believe Connie is one to repress feelings like that, it made sense for her to have some kind of a reaction to it. Steven (being Steven) brings her back by initiating a pillow fight, which really is the last thing you do to someone having an emotional breakdown. However, this is Steven. He does it out of love, so of course it works.

We now have some much-needed attention to Damian's dream of being a fireman. There really has been no mention of this at all save some vague guessing during the Drum section of the story and him saving the Straw Hats in Chapter Six. This was always planned and serves as the beginning of Damian's choice to remain in Beach City while he assists with the reconstruction of Beach Citywalk Fries.

Amethyst saying "Up and at them" is a Radioactive Man quote from The Simpsons.

The rest of this chapter is basically a verbal beatdown of Tashigi courtesy of Robin. Basically, everything that happened occurred because Tashigi could not let her preconceived ideas about Robin stop her from making a rational decision. Robin (for her part) was doing something constructive for the group and had turned a poor movie experience into a fulfilling achievement. This moment was taken away yet again by the lapdogs of the World Government, namely Tashigi. The young Marine was already in the dumps about the Alabasta incident so this just compounded her guilt. Will it strengthen her resolve and allow her to be a better Marine or will it make her continuously sullen and depressed? Time will tell.

Chapter Forty-Two:

This chapter was interesting to write, as I wrote from both Peridot's and Onion's P.O.V. This isn't the first time I have written from a character's perspective, but both were uniquely challenging.

Peridot's was a bit challenging as she had no true concept of humanity by this point (and even quite beyond this point in traditional canon). It was annoying to refer to everything as a "human" for the most part, but it allowed for an in-depth view on how she would view something like a Devil Fruit enhanced human. She would have no way of knowing if all humans could do what Robin or Luffy did.

Still, poor Greg and poor Peridot.

Onion…damn. I think the decision to write this with only referring to him as "He" and Petrea as "Her" is just downright creepy. Onion is just a downright odd character in Steven Universe and I wanted to exploit that beyond a running gag. Of course, this leads right into…

Greg and his Devil Fruit. This was not an idea I had when plotting out this story, but when jmr46718 suggested it, I realized that I needed something for Greg to contribute. When the next part of the story begins, Greg would just be a liability. I initially tried to give him the lightsaber, but that would make him too deadly, which isn't in his character. This is why I got rid of it all the way back in Chapter Twenty-Nine. jmr46718 came up with the name and the general outline of what he could do (namely create the Steven Universe and One Piece background music) and, from this, the "Plot Contrivance Mode" was developed. Having a musician eat a musical Devil Fruit is just hard to swallow on its own, but having it travel across dimensions randomly? That does not fly unless you add an outside factor: Uncle Grandpa. He is the perfect deus ex machina, but one that has truly been used to its potential. The next section of the story is going to have to stand on its own for the most part…

Chapter Forty-Three:

I definitely played with people's expectations with this chapter. Everybody probably thought I would have Steven unbubble Peridot immediately and get into the events of "Catch and Release." Given the tightness of the drill story arc, it would be impossible for the One Piece characters to get home until they left the barn, which I did not want to do. The question is this: where will the next part pick up in the Steven Universe…well…universe? You'll just have to wait and see.

Greg has started to explore his Devil Fruit. This scene is a reference to Wayne's World, of which I have no doubt Greg is a fan. If you have a musical Devil Fruit and came from the kind of background Greg had, why wouldn't you immediately think to play air guitar?

The next section has Steven and the gang watching Crying Breakfast Friends, which I think got the biggest reaction in this chapter. The characters are all taken from the show and I specifically checked the Steven Universe wiki to make sure I got the names right, especially for the second set of references. The first set of references is lifted almost verbatim from South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. The second, and the one that no doubt raised eyebrows, was dialogue taken from one of my favorite episodes of Steven Universe: "Sworn to the Sword." Just a joke or subtle Uncle Grandpa manipulation?

Speaking of Uncle Grandpa: though he does not appear, Uncle Grandpa himself has started to truly loom over the story. I have always said that this is not an Uncle Grandpa story, but he is the catalyst to get the One Piece characters back to the Grand Line. This had me utilize him as an unsettling presence in background, even though he is not an evil or malevolent person at all. In fact, he is a nice soul. As Nami is probably the most practical of the Straw Hats, I found it funny to have her question the very nature of reality thanks to his unintentional manipulations.

I will be the first to admit that the subplot with the Beach Citywalk Fries is weak. There isn't much substance necessarily, but it accomplishes two things: it gave the conflict between Tashigi and Robin two chapters prior to this and allowed Damian to rekindle his passion to be a fireman, his canonical dream. Obviously, not a single person knew that at this point, but this was me attempting foreshadowing and character building. By vowing to see the Frymans' project through, I had a valid reason for him to wish to remain in Beach City, especially since there were not any firemen in the city. The question is this: what will fate have in store for him in the next section?

Steven is totally the kind of person who would text Connie to make sure she got home okay. He also uses yet another Willy Wonka quote upon opening the Temple Gate. Gotta love Steven; he's consistent.

The end section of this chapter was half-pulled-out-of-my-ass/half-planned. I knew I wanted to have Connie train with Zoro and Tashigi, but I was stretching the Beach City arc a bit too much. I could not keep Peridot bubbled any longer than I already had, so I thought of giving Connie the challenge of dueling them as a last ditch effort to get Uncle Grandpa's attention.

Chapter Forty-Four:

I read and take in every single review I get on this story between its posting on and on Archive of Our Own, but no review has ever made me think more than this review by Gammaman: "When will we get back to the plot?" It is a good question: one could have viewed this entire section as filler, which in the greater Grand Line narrative, it was. However, I really wanted to incorporate more of the Steven Universe world into the story. There are two types of crossovers: the dimensional crossover and the historical rewrite crossover (a term I just made-up). The dimensional crossover can be something like A Wand for Steven by ShayneT, where Steven crosses through the Veil into the world of Harry Potter. The other option, historical rewrite crossovers, are in the vein of Transforming the Universe by Dalek Prime, which recasts The Transformers and Steven Universe all existing in the same world, as shown with the Gems invading Cybertron before The Great War began.

Dimensional crossovers tend to focus pretty much entirely on characters from one medium being sent to another location. Take the recent Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters crossover from IDW, which had the Turtles get sent to the world of the Ghostbusters. Were there occasionally scenes from the Turtle's dimension? Sure, but it mainly a chance to see Ninja Turtles in a world where ghosts exist. I wanted a better balance of the two shows, including giving me a reason to shake up the status quo, specifically by being able to introduce Peridot (your first exclusive for the next section.) I love writing the Beach City stuff, but I knew that there was no way to conceivably stretch out the scenario presented by "Catch and Release" any longer than I already did.

At this point, the majority of the main plot threads introduced in this story had resolved itself, some of them in this chapter: Steven returning home, the quest to save Alabasta, "Operation: Discover Damian's Dream," Steven owing Damian for his clothes, the Gems searching for Steven, Beach-A-Palooza, the capture of Peridot, and the summoning of Uncle Grandpa. The sole remaining plot threads that were introduced but not touched upon in this chapter were the explanation of what P.C.M. was, where Greg's Devil Fruit came from, the freeing of Peridot to learn about the Cluster, returning the Going Merry to the Grand Line, and the completion of Beach Citywalk Fries. Discounting the Beach Citywalk Fries plot, everything else was addressed in the next chapter. Of course…there is still far more that I want to do regarding the world of One Piece, so fret not, Gammaman.

I am sure there are other settings that the duel could have taken place, but the location from "Sworn to the Sword" was just so well-designed. This also allowed for the cute joke about Luffy thinking a flying island would be fun…which if you know One Piece than you should know exactly what I am referring to.

Everything Pearl says about Klaripayattu (save the bit about Gems, obviously) as well as the type of sword Connie is using are all true. Check it out online. I'll even let you look it up on Wikipedia.

We have a few small references in the first half of the chapter. Greg quotes G.I. Joe, which honestly brings up some disturbing implications as though World War 2 was not fought; I suppose the Vietnam War was. Interesting. Steven laughing at Pearl talking to Robin was supposed to be him thinking of Batman, specifically of the Adam West variety. Finally, we have Pearl's announcement to begin the fight, which was modified from the beginning of every episode of G Gundam.

Pearl and Genevieve calling Pearl a "Bird Gem" is my nod to her status as the "Bird Mom" in the Steven Universe fandom.

The fight was hard to write, as I wanted to portray Connie as an intense fighter like she was in "Sworn to the Sword." The difference was that she had her self-worth, but was rushing into everything to make things genuine. However, Connie is a bit of an overachiever. If she is going to do something, she is going to give it her all, no matter what happens to her.

It was hard to let Priyanka conceivably find a reason to be okay with Connie fighting after sustaining the amount of damage she received. She should have every right to freak out at the implications of Connie wielding a sword. I justified it by her getting mad more with Connie's recklessness and her using a sword itself. She is truly trying to accept what her daughter is doing and (though she might not like it) has to hope that the Crystal Gems will protect her just as much as they do Steven and Beach City.

The souvenirs were supposed to be the true signal of the end of the Straw Hats' time in Beach City, but it was mainly there to set up the Damian backstory. Steven's favorite superhero is Captain Marvel because Zach Callison is the primary voice of Billy Batson in recent DC media (plus he really is the kind of superhero Steven would love the most). Smoker's gift (the Newton's Cradle) is a nod to Learning to Breathe Underwater by RoadsandBurrows, the first Steven Universe fan fiction I read.

Now let's talk about the character of the hour: Damian. I knew I wanted his dream to be a fireman be a joint revelation with his desire to remain in Beach City. I feel like I put as much foreshadowing as I could into this plot point. He made it clear that he was never an "official" Straw Hat, although he does at the section's end, regardless of where he is living. As with Petrea, he is an orphan, but a self-made one to boot. His mother is technically out there but, for all intents and purposes, she is dead to him.

I don't know if it just me, but I find the concept of Pearl and Connie concerning themselves with things like Damian not having insurance or a Social Security Card to be hilarious. These are minor details that almost never get brought up in crossover fiction. Of course, Damian handwaves it and tells everyone not to worry about it.

We now have the beginnings of Petrea and Damian furthering their friendship beyond the standard Baroque Works partner/friend relationship they had up until this point. Will they be romantically involved? I can't say yet, but if they aren't, then they truly are best friends. Either way, I like to keep this story as somewhat innocent as I can be given the constraints of One Piece. The sheer fact that I have implied that Turkish baths exist in the world of Steven Universe is about as far as I plan on going on that front.

Our chapter ends with the third time Uncle Grandpa's name has been used as a plot hook. I apologize for the repetition, but it should be the last time I do so.

Chapter Forty-Five:

This is it: the final chapter of the first section of this story and the finale of the story I initially set out to write. It was not until I started having correspondence with jmr46718 that I figured out a good starting out point for the next section, which in itself changed a bit from when we started planning it. I guarantee you there are still plenty of surprises for all of your favorite characters that I have not created.

Uncle Grandpa is simultaneously easy and hard to write. It is fun to think of all kinds of gags to write for him, but the hard part is writing people's reactions to him. It is very easy to just have people repeat over and over how absurd of a situation it is, but you have to keep everything moving in order for the plot to progress. Still, it allowed for gags like Doctor Uncle Grandpa and Uncle Grandpa acting like a Pokemon Gym Leader with the Steven Badge. (Get it? "Bubble Beam?" Eh?)

I am sure that my convoluted explanations about how I justify the ability to connect the Grand Line to Beach City can be seen as an ass-pull, but I think it makes sense considering who is involved plus everything I established about the Rifting Stone and the Belly Bag Badge. In the end, the adventure gets to continue so who cares how we do it? The important thing is that we did it.

The conversation with Zoro and Tashigi shows just how far Tashigi has come on this journey. She is still an antagonist to the Straw Hats, but she has come to realize that they aren't as bad as she initially wrote them off, especially Zoro with his hidden depths. This scene contains a reference to Harry Potter…I am sure you can figure it out without me spelling it out for you...

I knew from the beginning that Genevieve was going to stay with the Straw Hats. As early as Chapter Nine, I made it clear that her dream was to be the best painter of HER world, not just in both worlds. It wouldn't make sense for her to abandon that dream when Steven reignited her own desire to achieve that goal. I decided to make her the sole member of the Baroque Works trio to not be an orphan. Of course she would be so lazy that she would not mail her parents regularly; it fits her character.

When Sadie was saying goodbye, I had the idea of her giving Smoker a Lion Licker, which he would have eaten off-screen in Chapter Forty while he was brooding. This would have offended Steven quite a bit. I cut it when the section was getting too convoluted.

I was having trouble figuring out what to do with Garp, as I knew how to get him away from his fleet and how he left the Straw Hats, but not what to do when he was on the Going Merry. jmr46718 came up with the idea of him antagonizing Pearl about Sardonyx, making fun of the fact that Gems are basically naked, and Luffy asking if Gems poop. Truly jmr46718 is the unsung hero of this story. I cannot express my thanks enough.

The song Steven and Greg sang was, of course, "The Greatest Adventure" from the Rankin/Bass version of The Hobbit. I thought it fit the overall theme of a continuing adventure.

Our story began with Steven, the Gems, and the "Mr. 5 Pair" and now it bookends with them. Think of the Smoker scene as a post-credit sequence.

The Steven Universe ending was something I envisioned fairly early on, with Steven deciding on releasing Peridot. This set up a hook for the next part of the story, which will feature Peridot as a main Gem character. Of course, the fun for all of you waiting will be wondering WHEN the next part will take place. Will it follow up in the middle of "Catch and Release" or will we meet our heroes around the time of "Message Received?" You will just have to wait and see. Oh, Steven's dialogue ("If only I could sleep...if only I knew..." ) is lifted straight from another Rankin/Bass Christmas special: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

The final scene with Smoker was something I went back and forth with jmr46718 about for a bit, but this is what we like to call a sequel hook, kids. Since the Gorosei do not have names in canon yet, I just looked up their Japanese voice actors and gave them their names. What is the significance of this scene? How do the Gorosei know about Gems? Why are they afraid of them? How will Smoker take this information? What will happen if the government discovers if the Gems ever return to the Grand Line?

Find out in the sequel to A Gem in the Rough: Gems Without Measure; A Pirate's Treasure!

Hopefully you learned something new about the story. Give it a reread and maybe you will pick up on some details you might have missed the first time. Until the next time, true believers!