Steven didn’t know what to expect when he hit the road, heading to points never before seen, but he had forgotten that a large part of driving involved sitting in traffic. Which was fair, considering his daily commute for over a year was just driving from Beach City to Little Homeworld, and he’d barely been...anywhere else.
“Ugh, c’mon!” Steven groaned. “I wish I could just be at Jayhawk already. Why, traffic gods, why?” He hit his head on the steering wheel. He then sat back up, putting his hand on the radio dial. “Maybe I should listen to some music…”
“Good morning!” a cheery voice chimed in through the radio. “Today’s gonna be a balming 71 degrees out there, with cloudy skies and a touch of rain. But don’t worry friends, your old pal UG’s gonna fix that up real soon!”
Steven cocked his head in confusion. “Wait, UG?”
“Anyway, coming up next is the back of Steven’s car!”
The Dondai was then rear-ended by a large RV, its driver being propelled out the windshield and through Steven’s back window. Said driver?
“Uncle Grandpa?!” Steven exclaimed as the man rammed his way into the Dondai’s passenger seat. “I can’t believe it! I haven’t seen you since I was 12!”
“Nobody’s seen me since they were 12, kid,” Uncle Grandpa nodded. “Only a special set of people get regular checkups like this. By the way, isn’t this traffic awful?”
“Oh yeah, it sucks—”
“Belly Bag, we need some wide open space!”
“I’m on it!” Uncle Grandpa’s trusty fanny pack said, generating a white circle wipe.
Steven and Uncle Grandpa suddenly found themselves sitting in a white void. Well, Uncle Grandpa was standing, as Steven fell from his sitting position onto the floor of th white void.
“Heh, I remember this,” Steven mused, standing up.
“So Steven, how’re things going?”
“Things are going…” Steven hesitated as he thought of the right word, “Good!”
“That’s great, Steven! Life might be hard, but that doesn’t mean you can’t greet every day with a hearty ‘good morning!’”
Steven laughed. “So what’s up with you?”
Uncle Grandpa shrugged. “I dunno. I got cancelled, kid. And not in the internet drama way, in the ‘Cartoon Network has ceased ordering episodes’ way.”
Steven pondered if this made sense, and then decided not to ponder it anymore. “I guess the same thing happened to me. Though I’m in a good place now, I think.”
“You think?” Uncle Grandpa asked.
“Well… You never really know if you’re in a good place, right?” Steven continued. He and Uncle Grandpa were walking and talking now, even though Uncle Grandpa stood in one place as Steven walked alongside him. “Maybe I’m not in a good place, but right now I think I am, and that’s good enough for right now... Or at least that’s what my therapist says.”
“Pretty deep, Steven,” Uncle Grandpa remarked, before suddenly appearing underneath a manhole cover. “But not as deep as this!” he called out, his voice echoing down below.
“Uh, you okay down there, UG?”
Uncle Grandpa climbed up out of the manhole. He was carrying a pizza. “Nah, just met some Ninja Turtles.”
“...Were they of the teenage and/or mutant variety?” Steven asked.
Uncle Grandpa shrugged. “I dunno kid, the writer of this fanfic wanted to move onto the next bit. Wanna finish this pizza?”
“Sure!” Steven said, grabbing the slice of pizza and taking a bite. It tasted so good, his eyes started to water. Tears flowed from his cheeks, hitting the pizza. Suddenly, the pizza started to glow pink. It sprouted legs and arms and grew eyes, dropping out of Steven’s arms and onto the ground. It was pink, like Lars and Lion.
“Hey, don’t eat Pizza Steve!” the slice said, pulling out a recognizable pair of sunglasses.
“Pizza Steve?!” Uncle Grandpa exclaimed, grabbing Pizza Steve and pulling him into a hug. “I thought you were dead!”
“Nah, Pizza Steve’s never dead as long as his friends remember him!”
“...That and as long as I cry on you afterwards,” Steven noted.
“Don’t get hung up on such minor facts,” Pizza Steve continued. “The point is, I’m back and I’m better than ever!” He looked down at his hands. “Wait, I’m pink?!”
Steven facepalmed, not wanting to do another “These are my powers, they are terrifying in their intensity but I am in control of them so don’t worry” speech, which every one of his friends eventually got.
“I like it,” Pizza Steve nodded. “Call me salmon and coat me in cotton candy, ‘cause I’m back and I’m pink!”
Steven sighed with relief, and then wondered what that meant for the inside of Lion’s mane. And Lars’ hair for that matter.
“Ew, what’s with all these pepperoni slices falling out of my hair?” Lars asked, sitting on the bridge of the Sun Incinerator.
“I predict Steven will resurrect a pizza slice!” Padparadscha called out.
“...Of course he did.”
Lion kept finding bits of cheese and crust in his hair, but he didn’t mind. He was just lazily rolling around on the quad at Jayhawk. Suddenly, Steven and Uncle Grandpa stepped out through his mane.
“Whoa, cool, I skipped all the traffic!” Steven said. “Thanks, Uncle Grandpa!”
“No problem kid,” the strange man nodded. “Now what’s with your lion? He looks like he’s missing someone!”
“...Me?” Steven asked, looking to Lion for confirmation. Lion shook his head. “Dammit.”
“Oh I know!” Uncle Grandpa realized. “It’s Giant Realistic Flying Tiger!”
Giant Realistic Flying Tiger soared through the skies on a cloud of rainbow farts, tackling Lion and rolling around with him in the grass. It had been a long time.
“Don’t let those two get a room,” Uncle Grandpa warned. “Or else you’ll have to babysit a litter of Mid-Sized, Semi-Realistic Floating Ligers. Anyway, thanks for the catch-up, Steven!”
Uncle Grandpa then soared through the sky, taking Giant Realistic Flying Tiger with him. Lion growled at the prospect of his friend leaving, but he supposed she had a life too. Perhaps someday, their paths would cross again…
Steven waved to Connie as she was heading to class. “Hey, Connie!”
“Steven?” Connie said, taking her earbuds off. “I thought you were over an hour away!”
Steven debated explaining to her his little shortcut, but decided against it.
“I had some help,” Steven began. “From an old friend.”
Connie soon realized her boyfriend wouldn’t elaborate further, and let the matter slide.