Something in Common

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Title: Something in Common
Author(s): rosefox
Date(s): 10 May 2017
Length: 7,447 words
Genre: gen
Fandom: Steven Universe
External Links: AO3

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Something in Common is a Steven Universe fanfiction written by rosefox for Space Swap 2017. It was the subject of a good amount of wank in exchange fandom and is frequently referred to as the "polycon" fic and is the reason many exchange fandom regulars list "unrequested poly" in their DNWs.


"I wonder what it would be like if everyone had lots of parents like I do," Steven said. "Then my family would be normal."

Steven wants to meet other families like his, so the Gems head to the Empire City Polyamorous Families Conference. Hilarity ensues. Also feels, because Steven Universe, but mostly hilarity.

About the fic, rosefox has said:

...once I got bitten by the idea it would not leave me alone. The story is about figuring out how to be happy even when you feel weird and different and alone. It's also a wry love letter to all the polyamorous folks and communities I've known, with their joys and flaws, and has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it alt.poly shout-out. The tags include "fusions use they/them pronouns" and "I didn't mean to write an entire episode". (In fact, I was actively trying not to write an entire episode. But I couldn't really do the idea justice in a shorter space.) It's the first work where I've ever gotten past writer's block by outlining and I am extremely proud of how well I outlined it and stuck to my outline and pulled it together.[1]

Wank & Controversy

"Something in Common" was written for mementomoe[note 1] for the 2017 round of Space Swap. Space Swap is a gift exchange that focuses on canons "related to SPACE"[2] where participants match on characters and worldbuilding concepts.

mementomoe's Steven Universe request asked for fanfiction that matched one of these tags:

  • Worldbuilding: Other worlds conquered by the gems
  • Worldbuilding: Gem fusion
  • Worldbuilding: The gem homeworld
  • Character: Pearl
  • Character: Amethyst
  • Character: Garnet
  • Character: Steven Universe[3]

mementomoe's optional details included information about each worldbuilding tag, a likes list, DNWs, and this:


Steven Universe- I’m putting these four together, because for all four of them, I want the same thing. You can mix-and-match as you please, from solo fic to all four. Basically, just some good old character driven fic. I don’t ship any of them with the others (and in fact, most ships between them are kinda NoTPs. I like good old-fashioned gen here)[3]

Space Swap 2017 revealed works on May 1st[note 2] On May 4th, a nonnie posted this to fail_fandomanon's "Fandom Brattiness" thread:

So, I rejected a gift fic in an exchange, because it was a either completely unselfaware pretentious or trollfic that sticks close enough to what I asked that I can't ask the mods to remove it. It took at least a day after the exchange opened for me to hit the reject button, because I know that's bad etiquette, but I couldn't even honestly say "Thank you for writing for me" and I couldn't finish it.

Today, I got a message from the author, anonymously of course, confused why my name's not attached to it and messaging the mods letting me know it exists.

That message made me a lot less guilty for rejecting the gift. That's my brattiness. I'm not even trying to claim I didn't get a gift. I defaulted, so it doesn't matter, and isn't to cheat the system, either.[4]

This was seen as a break of exchange etiquette by many nonnies in the thread and received 100 comments in reply. FFA nonnies expressed both anger and outrage, calling the recip an "asshole"[5] and a "nightmare participant"[6] and expressed sympathy for the author. Several anonymous commenters expressed sympathy for the author, and one nonny said, "You're not obliged to like the fic you get. It's the pettiness of you rejecting it that's the worst thing."[7]

As the comment indicated that it was a Space Swap fic, one nonnie quickly figured out what fic was being discussed by looking for a fic in the Space Swap collection without a recip and then looking to see who had requested Steven Universe but not received anything. The thread did not at the time discuss that mementomoe was the recip, with one nonnie explaining, "I'm not going to say who, because I don't want to draw more attention to the author."[8] At the time it was not known that rosefox was the author because authors were still anonymous.

Space Swap author reveals happened on May 8th.[9] On May 9th, rosefox posted a Dreamwidth post to their journal talking about "Something in Common" where they mention that their recip rejected the fic:

The only snag is that my gift recipient, for whatever private reason, declined the gift. I've been really sad all week that no one was enjoying the story and I couldn't promote it because author names hadn't been revealed yet. My only goal with fanfic is to make people happy and it stung to have that rejected. So now that the anonymity period is over, I would really appreciate any of you Steven Universe fans taking a little time to read the story, leave kudos or a comment if you're moved to do so, and share the link with anyone who might like it.[1]

On the 10th, a nonnie made a thread on FFA with the title "Anyone know what happened here?" and a link to rosefox's post. It received 349 comments.[10] Many commenters were much more understanding of mementomoe's rejection of the gift this time around, and some of them even thought mememntomoe's immediate rejection of the fic was justified.


  1. ^ This was sleuthed out by fail_fandonanon nonies based on who requested what (see Space Swap 2017 SU requests here) and a post to FFA about rejecting a fic. See discussion here.
  2. ^ Or maybe very early on the 2nd, based on ExtraPenguin's announcement here vs rosefox's May 1st comment.


  1. ^ a b rosefox, "paddled muddled duddled fuddled wuddled fox". May 9th, 2017.
  2. ^ Space Swap 2017's profile.
  3. ^ a b From the Smut Swap 2017 request summary. mementomoe's request is visible on this page along with the requests of the other two people who requested Steven Universe.
  4. ^ A nonnie who is almost certainly mementomoe on FFA's Fandom Brattiness thread here. 2017-05-04.
  5. ^ Here and also here.
  6. ^ Here.
  7. ^ Here.
  8. ^ Nonnie, here, 2017-05-04
  9. ^ According to this Space Swap announcement post.
  10. ^ FFA thread here posted 2017-05-10.