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One Night

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Garnet slipped away, alone when she unfused. It wasn't entirely intentional, but she needed it. Sometimes there were things that couldn't be talked about as herself. And this was certainly one of them.

Ruby spun on her counterpart. “Can we really just… not go?”

Sapphire was staring down at her wedding ring. “I don't…” she sighed, looking up at Ruby. “We should. For Steven. But I don't want to be what I'm supposed to be. I don't want to be apart from you. I don't want it to feel like…” she frowned, curling her fingers over her gem. “Like nothing we did happened.”

“Neither do I.” Ruby agreed. She remembered when they had played baseball with the Ruby Squad. She hadn't been around other Rubies in five thousand years and she hadn't been able to do anything but think about Sapphire. But that had been different. That had been on Earth, where they were the ones holding the cards. Now they were on Homeworld. Only one card was theirs, and it was Stevens job to play it.

Sapphire sunk down on the floor. Ruby sat next to her. Sapphire sighed, leaning her head on Ruby's shoulder as Ruby linked their hands together.

“Did you ever go to any of these things? Before?” Ruby asked. It wasn't something they had talked about. Oh there were plenty of things about Homeworld they had talked about. But everything they used to be had never seemed important. Not as Garnet, not as Crystal Gems. But now here they were. Back on Homeworld. With Amethyst being fitted for limb enhancers, Connie not  considered a person, Pearl once again being treated like an object.

Garnet had never had a place on Homeworld. She had never existed there, never expected to go back. But now they were here again, no place at all except the ones they used to have.

Sapphire nodded. “Some of them. Did you?”

“Nah,” Ruby shook her head. She nudged Sapphire. “I was never assigned to anyone fancy enough until you.”

Sapphire smiled a little. “They're very boring.”

“I always thought they sounded fun.” Ruby rubbed her thumb over Sapphires wedding ring. The rings that meant they were still together even when they were apart from each other. “But not of a lot of exciting things happened to me until you.” Sapphire let out a little laugh. Ruby clasped both her hands around Sapphires gem. “Was White Diamond ever at them?”

“No,” Sapphire said, holding a little tighter to Ruby's hands. “Not at any of the ones I attended.”

“You've never seen her?”

“No.” Sapphire said. “It seems she's even more reclusive than she used to be.” There had been plenty of things White Diamond used to attend, although each one was certainly a special occasion, but now it seemed she never went anywhere at all.

“She isn't going to help us.” Ruby frowned. “Is she?”

“I don't know. Steven thinks he can convince her.” Sapphire looked up, brushing her hair aside. There were too many paths. Too many things that she could have never predicted, that were so outrageous they had been completely impossible, yet somehow they had happened. It was impossible to tell what was going to happen anymore, whether she was watching the future as Sapphire or as Garnet. “And if anyone can do it, it's Steven.”

Ruby brushed a few stray strands of hair away from Sapphires face, letting her hand rest on Sapphires cheek. She liked it when Sapphire moved her hair. Her eye was perhaps the most beautiful thing Ruby had ever seen, from the first time she had seen it in a cave on Earth until now. “I think we should go. Even if it means we’re split up. Even if it means we have to be what we’re supposed to be. Steven needs us there.”

“I hate being apart from you.” Sapphire sighed. “Steven is here because he wants to change things. We shouldn't have to be apart.”

“Yeah but-” Ruby held up their ringed hands. “That's why we have these. So it doesn't matter if we have to split up. It won't feel like nothing we did happened. Because we have these and it did happen. We’re still going to be together. And this time, we aren't going to be split up because they made us.”

Sapphire smiled. “When did you get so romantic?”

Ruby blushed. “Probably when we jumped off the Sky Arena. Or maybe when I gave you a frog.”

Sapphire laughed. She kissed Ruby on the cheek, which only made her blush deeper. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” Ruby said, not noticing that she was certainly leaving scorch marks on the floor.

Sapphire took a breath, even though they didn't need it. “We’re going.”

“It's not going to go well,” Ruby said. “Is it?”

“Probably not,” Sapphire let her hair fall back over her eye. “But you're right. Steven needs us there. We can be a Ruby and a Sapphire for one night.” Maybe it would be fun. She couldn't remember the last time she had spoken to another Sapphire. There had been no others in the Crystal Gems, no others who had been given the chance to leave, who had been willing to give up everything they had. It could be nice.

“One night.” Ruby agreed. “And then we can be us again.”

A moment later, Garnet stood. There was no chance of being sure what could happen tonight. No matter how far she looked into the future, no path matched up, none went far enough to be sure of anything at all. Maybe one day Steven would change Homeworld so deeply that she could have a place as herself. She would never have to infuse to attend a party. Ideally, she would never have to attend a party. Garnet looked down, smiling at the rings on her hands. Garnet wouldn't be at the ball tonight. It would be Ruby and Sapphire, playing at being what they should have been. But for a few more hours, she could stay herself.