A/N: welcome to Gasoline & Matches! (aka. Everyone In This Story Is Salty AF)
this fanfiction came out of NOWHERE. 3 days ago i didn't have the slightest thought about this story, but hey here it is
this was inspired by multiple steven universe romantic fanfics, particularly niigoki's Never Knows Best and Dragon Elexus' one-shots
cover by winter-kid on deviantART
warning: this fanfiction contains mild language and sexual themes in later chapters

Your Average Nerd

"Peridot, are you even listening to me anymore?"

"Um, yeah! Sorry, I'm kinda captivated." Pearl's condescending voice coaxed Peridot out of her sort of trance with her computer, but she refused to rip her line of sight away from her computer screen. She heard Pearl sigh on the other end of the call.

"If you weren't going to listen to what I have to say, then why did you bother to call me?"

"I thought I could multitask."

Peridot heard Pearl sigh again, this time drawing a longer breath, and Peridot followed suit. "Okay, fine, you have my full attention!"

"Why don't I believe you?" Pearl responded with fake annoyance, and Peridot curled her lips into a soft smile. "Aren't you worried about school tomorrow? How can you be so relaxed when our final, and easily most stressful year starts in the morning?"

"Maybe because I don't have to worry about impressing my crush the second I step onto school grounds. Though, your method of impressing seems to be staring at—"

"Peridot!" Pearl's shrill whine interrupted Peridot's teasing, and oh how she wished she could see the bright blush that would be flaring on her cheeks.

Peridot erupted into giggles. "It's true though!"

"I swear to god I'll hang up if I have to deal with a second more of your unfair teasing."

"Oh no, what will I ever do without Pearl blabbing on about school?" Peridot erupted into a fit of laughter again, but quickly fixed herself. "Sorry, I'll stop. Continue telling me all about your educational worries again. Though it's very boring compared to hearing you stuttering about your huge crush."

"Gosh, you are insufferable," Pearl retorted. "What about your crush? Oh wait, you're too self-absorbed to have feelings for someone other than yourself!"

Peridot grinned, despite being clearly burned. Bickering with Pearl never failed to entertain her; she could do it for hours and never get bored for a second. She turned her gaze back to her computer screen, squirming into her chair more comfortably and swapping her phone into her left hand, resting her right hand on the arrow keys. "I can't help the fact that I'm so attractive."

Pearl chuckled softly. "Oh, please. Anyways, as much as I'd love to get teased by you more, I need an early night."

"Aw, okay. I'll keep an eye out for you and your crush tomorrow!"

"Shut up!" Pearl growled and instantly hung up. Peridot's cheeks were hurting at this point from madly grinning. She reached out for the charge cord to her left, hastily plugging her phone in and shutting it off for the night. 10:09PM. Maybe Pearl was right (not like she ever wasn't) - an early night could do wonders. But since when did Peridot ever listen to Pearl?

Tuning her full attention back to her computer again, she navigated through the pixelated purple maze of the Ruins, on probably her 5th play through of Undertale. She could almost hear Amethyst's voice - "Ugh, you're playing that game again? What about playing other games for a change? Plus, that game's old now. Jeez." Well, yeah, she did have a tonne of other games to play, but settling on RPG's and story-driven games was her habit. Plus, she loved games she could make voices up for, especially ones with narcissistic, albeit innocent, skeletons.

Peridot attempted to keep playing, quietly voice-acting the characters as not to wake her parents, until a Skype notification popped up. 'winter nerd' hovered in a white box at the top right of her screen. Undertale could definitely wait for another day.

Quickly saving and shutting down the game, Peridot clicked on the little blue application icon (with only one notification), bringing up her Skype.

winter nerd [10:17PM]: u nervous for school tomorrow?

Of course, it had to be a school-related question. Not like she got enough from Pearl.

space nerd [10:17PM]: I literally just had this conversation with someone else

winter nerd [10:17PM]: oh sorry

winter nerd [10:18PM]: are u tho?

Peridot felt like every time this question would be asked, her answer would change. She ran a hand through her thick blonde hair, pushing the stray wild hairs out of her vision. Wasn't everyone nervous, but for different reasons?

space nerd [10:18PM]: yeah I guess I am. not knowing where to go and stuff

winter nerd [10:18PM]: yea ik the feeling

Peridot mentally slapped herself. Of course her friend - Winter, she nicknamed her - knew the feeling. A conversation from a week ago flooded into her memory as she hastily typed back a reply.

space nerd [10:19PM]: shit I forgot you're starting at a new school

space nerd [10:19PM]: that must be nerve-wracking as heck

winter nerd [10:20PM]: haha yea im trying to stay positive tho

winter nerd [10:20PM]: dont want to fuck up first impressions yanno

space nerd [10:20PM]: you never struck me as someone who cared about first impressions

space nerd [10:20PM]: when I first met you, you were swearing in the chat at some 10 year old so

winter nerd [10:20PM]: isnt that how friendships are normally made? B)

space nerd [10:21PM]: nope

space nerd [10:21PM]: but you and I don't strike me as normal

winter nerd [10:22PM]: right well. dont wanna sleep in on my first day so i think i need sleep

winter nerd [10:22PM]: talk to u after school?

space nerd [10:22PM]: definitely, you'll have to tell me all about your day!

winter nerd [10:22PM]: haha yea night nerd

space nerd [10:23PM]: goodnight nerd no.2

The coloured circle at the bottom right of winter nerd's icon - a drawing of a deer in snow (how appropriate) - became white. Peridot sighed happily, propping her elbow on her desk and resting her chin into the palm of her rather small hand. She couldn't help but like online friends more than offline friends. Whilst she did love Pearl, Amethyst and Garnet for being really good friends, they could be quite tiring. Well, offline friends in general, were tiring. She had to constantly watch her tongue and filter her words so she didn't accidentally slip out something mean - though, she usually did anyway (but she was getting better - that was something, right?)

Typing to online friends gave Peridot time to think of what to say, lowering the risk of something malicious being said. As much as she pretended not to care about what came tumbling out of her ranting mouth, she didn't want to hurt anyone. Or, in the worst cases, lose someone.

Plus, Winter, as she'd habitually called her closest online friend, was always around to chat. They would stay up late on weekends together, rambling about the newest game, playing co-op and multiplayer, and just generally chatting until the early hours of the morning after.

Sure, Amethyst sometimes came around and binge-played games with Peridot, but she ended up being a sore loser around the girl with the mane of hair. Not that it wasn't fun, having a challenge, and sometimes the odd dare about who could win the game and whatnot. And Amethyst did laugh at all her stupid jokes and bittersweet sarcasm, so that was a plus.

Garnet, on the other hand, was a girl of mystery to Peridot. They didn't talk much, and only really knew each other through Pearl, who in turn knew Amethyst and Garnet. It wasn't that she was intimidating (though sometimes that was the case), or that Peridot didn't like her, it was just that she was almost always quiet. It seemed the tall, dark-skinned woman with the eye-drawing afro never really had much to say, except for words of wisdom which seemed uncharacteristic of a teenager. That, or words of slight mockery, hidden under a deadpan but positive tone.

Peridot shook the thoughts of her friends (and the concealed nervousness for tomorrow) out of her head, quite literally. If everyone else was going to sleep, maybe she should too, with nothing else to do but play more games.

Switching off her computer monitor, the small blonde girl tumbled into her bed, crumpling into a ball and flicking her glasses off onto her bedside table (which was also a stereo). The feeling deep in her gut - Peridot couldn't pinpoint what feeling it was - faded away as she drifted off into slumber.

Peridot's peaceful dreams were suddenly catapulted out the window and into the sunrise as some hellbent figure came crashing through her door, jolting her awake.

"You're going to be late for school!" her mother snapped, and slammed the door as she made possibly the loudest entrance and exit a parent ever has. Peridot, heart racing and mind throbbing, rubbed the drowsiness in a hurry to wake up fully before stumbling out of bed and probably tripping over the scattered belongings of hers on the floor. This always happened. She hated alarms, and would always rely on her body and the sun to wake her up before her mother barged into her room, but it would never work for the few days of school instantly after holidays.

Placing her glasses that were twice the size of her eyes on the bridge of her nose carefully, Peridot staggered over to her computer desk briskly, ripping out her phone from the charger and quickly glancing at the time - 8:07AM. Mumbling something negative about school, Peridot rushed into her clothes drawers, dragging out a suitable outfit. Green in colour, of course.

Throwing off her pyjamas - a black singlet and white shorts with alien heads patterned on them - she almost literally jumped into her clothes for the day in a rush to get ready.

Launching out of her bedroom and bolting into the bathroom down the hallway, she quickly did her business and brushed her teeth (who ate breakfast anyway?), staring at herself proudly, despite the bags under her eyes that never seemed to disappear.

"Bra - check," Peridot muttered. "Oversized white shirt with a really cool alien on it - check. Those worn out blue-black jeans you always wear - check. Green check hoodie that totally doesn't stand out - check. Black Vans because you're plain as heck - check."

Satisfied with her clothing (although it wasn't exactly fancy or 100% matching), Peridot glared at her hair, which no matter how much she brushed it, it was always messy. Her friends always claimed that her messy hair was cute, but well… she would never admit that she liked being called cute. She left her hair nonetheless.

Dashing back into her room, Peridot swiped her phone into her pocket, checked the contents of her bag (which was a shit-tonne of books and her tablet), and darted back out the room again.

Chucking last night's leftovers (fried rice ordered from the Chinese restaurant in town) and a couple of snacks into her lunch box, which then in turn was stuffed into her already-full bag, Peridot charged out the front door, hurriedly calling out goodbye to her mum.

She had 10 minutes to get to her bus stop.

The school was more chaotic than ever; hundreds of students were cramped in the yards and hallways, the newbies had no idea where to go and fretted anxiously over it, teachers stalked the school grounds - the list could go on.

Upon arrival, Peridot breathed deeply, trying to flush out the nervousness in the pit of her stomach, and sauntered with fake confidence to where the school's seniors would camp, hoping to find at least one of her friends. Amongst the flurry of students hurrying about, catching up with their friends and talking skittishly about the new school year, Peridot glimpsed the familiar peach-pink hair of Pearl.

"Hey, Pearl!" Peridot almost rammed through the students in her way, and jumped to her side.

Pearl, whom was anxiously threading her fingers together and standing by herself, blinked in surprise when the smaller-than-average nerd bounded over to her. She tried for a relaxed smile, but Peridot instantly saw the stress in it.

"You know, most of our classes are the same as last year," Peridot attempted to calm the other's nerves.

Pearl only hummed timidly in response.

"Or is it your crush that you're so anxious about?"

Her eye's fluttered wide open, a deep blush quickly seeping into her cheeks, and playfully slapped Peridot on the shoulder. "Shush! That's not the problem."

Peridot laughed her characteristic 'nyeh heh heh'. "It's good to have you back, Pearl."

"You too."

The bell suddenly sounded throughout the entire school, drawing students into the largest yard for the beginning of the school year speech. As if she was in a trance, Pearl shook her head slightly, and stumbled off in the direction they needed to go. Peridot stared, but followed nonetheless, bag heavy on her shoulders.

"Oh, thank the stars. We've got English first," Pearl muttered, scanning her new timetable. Peridot stared at her own, soaking up all the information - like she confirmed earlier, most classes were exactly the same.

"And we're in the same class!" Amethyst snuck up behind Peridot and noogied her head, despite her thick hair. Peridot hissed, weakly trying to throw the ecstatic girl off her shoulders.

"Oh how fun," she countered sarcastically, but a big smile grew on her lips anyway. "It's good to see you too, Amethyst."

"Ditto, P-dot."

"You too, Garnet." Peridot directed her gaze to the woman leaning against the wall next to Pearl, a small smile tugging her lips. She merely offered a thumbs up.

Peridot's eyes wandered over into the distance, catching a familiar flash of pink in the hallway. Grinning from ear to ear, she hauled Pearl's shoulders down to her measly height of 5'1" and whispered, "Look, it's her!"

Pearl followed her line of sight and blushed the slightest. "Yes, I am very well aware of that."

"Hey, isn't that your English classroom? Oh my stars, it is! She's in your class!"

"Peridot!" Pearl snapped. "Please, for the love of god, be quieter!"

Peridot, whom was pointing at the girl with the massive pink curls of hair walking into the classroom next door, slowly let her arm fall and smiled sheepishly.

"Dude, you should totally sit next to her!" Amethyst joined in, snickering and patting - or more like shoving - Pearl harshly on the back.

"Would you guys stop?" she barked in a hushed tone, and stalked off to her class with her cheeks burning. Garnet stared at Peridot and Amethyst - at least, it seemed like she was, it was hard to tell when she wore shades that hid her eyes - and trailed behind Pearl.

"Aw, c'mon!" Amethyst called out to Garnet, trying to suppress her laughter. Peridot eyed her, finding the whole spectacle amusing, but vouched on not teasing Pearl too much.

"Come on Amethyst, we have our own class to attend," she urged, grasping the other girl's arm and tugging her into the class.

The two took a seat at the back of the classroom, as both of them didn't like people staring at the back of their heads, and enjoyed the seclusion. Peridot watched the other students filing through the classroom, observing who had changed over the summer, and who looked exactly the same, picking out every piece of information she could from the way they dressed and lumbered to their chosen seats.

He's tired, obvious by his hands tucked lazily into his jacket pockets, and the bags under his eyes. Not to mention the complete lack of concentration in the way he's walking.

She's obviously a bigger nerd than me, actually seeming excited to be here. Or maybe she just likes English. Maybe she had a date on the holidays?

She's… unreadable. No, wait, she's bored. And pretty. Wow.

Peridot stared wide-eyed at the girl who walked into the classroom last, baffled by the thought that entered her mind.

I've never seen her around before. Is she new? Has to be.

The girl, slightly tall and lanky (but nothing like the spindly limbs of Pearl, Peridot noted) wandered over to a table to the opposite side of the classroom door, and in effect, Peridot and Amethyst. She wore a completely bored expression; eyes droopy, lips slightly apart, brow relaxed. Peridot observed her sink into her seat, turning away from everyone in the classroom (even the teacher whom had finally strolled in), to blankly stare out the window, chin rested in the palm of her hand.

"Dude, you're staring," Amethyst's warm whisper into her ear awoke Peridot from her daydream. She whipped her head around, staring at Amethyst straight in the eyes, and a faint blush crawled to her cheeks beneath her thick glasses.

"Oh," was all she managed to splutter in the softest of voices, and instantly diverted her attention to the teacher.

But she could see it, out of the corner of her eye, not only Amethyst's growing cheeky grin, but that flutter of brilliant blue hair.

A/N: heck is a rlly cute word and im going to be using it all the time
also i bet half of the readers stopped the second i mentioned undertale so congrats for making it this far