Return of Cinnabar

Steven Universe: Return of Cinnabar

232000 words, complete @Ao3 by Platon
Genre/What to expect
: Hope around every corner, hearts brimming with love, and a boy struggling with what it entails to grow up and to find himself past what his destiny has in store for him. Also, Amethyst is the f***** best, okay.
Rating: T / General Audience
Pairings: m/f  Stevidot

When a Gem Commander from before the rebellion is found on Earth, Steven Universe and The Crystal Gems have to convince her that Earth is still a loyal Homeworld colony. Yet as Steven learns more about Earth from before the war, he must struggle with the truth of his mother, newfound emotions, and whether or not every enemy can be defeated with love.

Suitable for fandom blind readers? Difficult, I’d say.

There’s a bunch of things that can make a piece of Fan Fiction great. The plot. Its style. The editing work. Or something as simple as your favourite pairing because no one else is bothering to write it for you.
Return of Cinnabar has a lot of the above. It stands on well written shoulders, includes tropes that I adore (We can’t let her know!), and it made me watch Steven Universe.


So, yes, there are a bunch of things that’ll make a fic great, but there is one thing that will set it apart by miles: Getting you so invested in the world, the characters, that afterwards you just have to go check out the source material. Because up until I’d finished reading Return of Cinnabar I hadn’t watched a single episode of Steven Universe. It didn’t appeal to me in the slightest, and if you’d told me that I’d be one day mourning how I can’t get my hands on anything past Season 1 without having to buy a stack of Blu-rays, I would have laughed right into your face. Probably.

Others agree:

I can’t wait for more please continue

– comment on Ao3

This is an amazing fanfiction I hope you continue

– comment on Ao3

Platon introduced me to Steven, who, as I found out later, does this thing where he steals your heart and makes you want to squish his cute, chubby cheeks for being the most precious and sweet and loving and compassionate creature that can possibly exist.

He also brings an original character to the table, Cinnabar, who I would not have recognized as an OC if I hadn’t known about it already. Cinnabar blends in perfectly, and after watching the show itself, I could easily see her being an established member of the cast. Which shouldn’t come as a big surprise, considering how flawlessly he captured each of the canon cast Gems.

But while the characters are familiar, and Steven’s unfailing love, compassion, and young enthusiasm are tangible, the similarities kind of start to fade once we look at how much more impact the plot has than the short, mostly lighthearted, instalments of the show. Suddenly, there are consequences that cannot be erased with a quick break between episodes.

See exhibit A:


– crimsonherbarium

Return of Cinnabar starts out as I’d expect any other Steven Universe episode to. Light and love and song and omg, the people of Beach City must be used to the weirdest of things. The Gems head off to their missions, Steven grows and grows (literally too), and everyone in generally having a relatively good time. There’s even a first date. I love first dates. Watching Peridot slowly climb out of her shell had me clap my hands together and make very unflattering noises.

The peace does not last though, and we are left clicking NEXT CHAPTER as the characters are faced with their fears, their weaknesses, and, yes, their mortality.

No spoilers though. You should go read it yourself.

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