Pearl stood in the corner of the room, standing on the white tiles as she listened and watched the diamonds talk to each other. Her Diamond was nowhere to be seen, though that was expected, given how the other diamonds viewed her - immature and needy. Which was incorrect, her diamond was kind and loving and sympathetic and she loved Pearl very much. They had played games together and laughed at all of the silly things they had seen on Homeworld. Granted, it was improper behavior for a diamond, but as long as it was behind the scenes, why did the other diamonds care so much about it?
Straightening her back slightly, adjusting her position to be more appropriate for a gem of her type, she watched as Yellow and Blue Diamond quietly explained something to White Diamond. The elder diamond stared at them, her gaze darting between the two of them in confusion, her irises slivers of soft grey. A faint pink blush was present on her face as she glanced around, seemingly not comprehending anything that was happening around her.
Blue Diamond placed a hand on her solder, causing her to flinch and turn around, frowning. The blue monarch retracted her hand like it was on fire, dropping her gaze.
There was a slight tension in the air
Pearl shifted her gaze to the large crater in the center of the room, her eye following the deep crack in the control room. White Diamond watched everything with a dazed expression. What had happened here?
What... had happened to her?
One of her hands moved on its own, rising to her face, fingers brushing the edges of a scar and creeping upward. Pearl could feel the slightly raised edges of the wound, her nerves soaking up information as her fingertips touched the remains of her eye. Pain shot through her artificial nerves and down her spine and Pearl suppressed a whine of pain. The cracks on her body burned as she whipped her hand away from her face.
The was a heavy thud from in front of her, one she remembered from before. Yellow Diamond looked down at her, her eyes narrowed but not unkind. She huffed and turned to Blue Diamond, muttering quietly, "Her eye."
"Don't be rude," the other diamond scolded her, still keeping her voice down. Her dark colored hood was still down and she held her hands close to her chest, to the brilliant blue diamond resting there. With a small tilt of her head, Pearl could see Yellow Diamond struggling not to do the same, she frowned slightly. Something shifted in both diamond's gazes.
They were nervous. Scared of a pearl.
Pearl crossed her arms in a salute, despite not wanting to, and bowed.
Yellow Diamond groaned. "Oh, at ease or whatever," she grumbled, finally talking at her normal volume, rubbing her fingers against her forehead in that way she did when annoyed.
The tension disappeared.
"R-right," Blue Diamond said, quietly clapping her hands. She turned to her companion and asked, "What should we do with the pearl?"
Pearl tilted her head. What did they mean? She was Pink Diamond's pearl, she should return to her at once! She must be so lonely!
Dusting off her outfit, she stood up straight, clasped her hands together like she was supposed to, and asked somewhat loudly, "Where's my diamond?"
The whole room seemed to flinch and avoid her gaze. Blue Diamond worriedly looked at Yellow Diamond, whose face shifted slightly as she rubbed her eyes. Blue Diamond reached for her hood and pulled in quickly over her head, griping both side as she tried to hide her face. Both of their posture shifted to become more... demure. They looked as guiltily as her diamond when she had accidentally flew a dropship into Yellow Diamond's arm ship.
The strange gems an indeterminable distance over looked at her too.
After a few moments of awkward silence, Yellow Diamond smiled much too brightly to be real, and gestured with one hand over to the strange gems. "I do believe that is a question best answered by them."
The undercooked amethyst gave the diamond an annoyed look.
Before Pearl could say anything else, the two diamonds walked across the room. White Diamond met her gaze for a second then looked away.
Why were the diamonds acting so weird? Pearl turned her head to examine the strange gems. None of them wore diamonds on their outfits.
They were clearly not from Homeworld.
The group consisted of a lapis lazuli, a bIsmuth, a small peridot, a small amethyst, a strange gem, two organics, and a pearl.
The pearl slowly stepped forward, glancing back at the group. "I can handle this," she said softly, hold up a hand when the strange gem and amethyst began to follow her. And they listened to her.
The small organic, the chubby one with the fluffy, familiar hair, slowly stepped forward, glancing between the two pearls with a slight frown. The way its eyebrows drooped implied that it was concerned. "Pearl," it said quietly, its voice high-pitched and yet deep at the same time. It spoke their tongue fluently, Pearl noticed and it continued with, "Are you really going to tell her about..." It trailed off for a moment, and leaned closer to the other pearl.
It whispered something, and the pearl frowned.
Placing a hand on the organic's head lovingly, she said, "It's okay, Steven."
"But," Steven protested, their voice tiny. "What if she hates me?"
The pearl smiled softly and chuckled. "Please, if you can convince White Diamond to listen to you-"
"I've been calling her 'Big ol' laser eyes'," the small amethyst interjected.
"-I'm sure everything with be fine," she finished, then turned and rolled her eyes at the amethyst, who stuck out her tongue in a teasing manner. A pearl who disrespected a quartz.
Steven nodded and finally stepped back, glancing up at their friends.
Pearl looked at the other pearl carefully. Her outfit didn't give much information on her owner, since she had never seen a gem wearing a jacket like that before. The gem that owned her must be a very high ranking elite to own such a beautifully crafted pearl, she noted, examining her physical form with a careful eye. Her elongated gem - the pink hued pearl - rested on her forehead.
She was almost intimidating, she thought.
The pearl gave her a disarming smile. Holding out a hand as pale as snow, she greeted, "Hey."
Pearl hesitated a moment, glancing at the other diamonds, then reached forward to shake her hand. Her hand closed around empty air, and she felt herself flush with shame.
The other pearl frowned slightly and reached forward to grab her hand. Her hand felt icy and rough from wear.
In her mind's eye, Pearl fixed her mental picture of the scene slightly, still confused about the distance between them.
Muttering a mild curse to herself - startling Pearl - the other pearl reached a pale hand upwards, towards her damaged eye. Almost brushing against the wound, she muttered, "Oh, right." Glancing behind her, directly at the organic with hair painfully familiar named Steven, she made a hmm sound.
She sighed. "Right," she said finally. "You want to know about-" She paused for a second. "-Pink Diamond."
Pearl nodded, feeling panic burn her stomach.
The other pearl swallowed nervously and repeated, "Right." She inhaled a deep breath - a strange organic habit - and exhaled slowed through her nose. She glanced quickly at the other diamonds, though other than a side glance by Yellow Diamond and White Diamond's half grimace, there was no reaction. "I..."
Pearl found herself messing with her outfit nervously.
"I am Pink's second pearl." Her voice was tense and rigged.
She had been given another pearl.
"Losing you..." she continued slowly. "It hurt her and she was unhappy..."
"I think that might be the understatement of the eon," whispered the organic Steven sadly, fiddling with their fingers.
The other pearl - her second pearl - nodded sadly in agreement, and she said, "Blue and Yellow Diamond noticed and soon I was made." She took another breath. "And a few thousand years later, she received the planet Earth."
Her diamond had gotten a colony? Pearl couldn't help but smile.
"But where's my Diamond?" she asked without thinking, her tone laced with slight impatience, then she covered her mouth reflexively.
Pearl barely had time to register the grimace that flashed across the other pearl's face, before she felt icy hands grab onto her arms, pushing them down with impossible strength.
Releasing her, the other pearl said carefully, "She's not here."
"She's... gone," offered White Diamond from the corner of the room and Steven flinched.
After a moment of awkward silence, Yellow Diamond suddenly snapped, "Oh, stop with technical truths." And with that, the diamond stormed out of the room, boot thudding heavily against the marble. Just before she left, she said, in a hoarse and almost steady voice, "Pink's dead."
And her entire world fell apart.
Pink Diamond's old room was cold and empty.
It was alive with movement, small pebbles walking all over the place as they tinkered with strange items. One was an odd brush, but alien to the touch and colored purple.
If not for the cut curtains - and she said cut, not torn because she noticed the fabric wasn't very frayed. It was debilitate - she would have said the room had been frozen in time. Pink bubbles floated at the top of the room, hovered nearing the ceiling, far from reach. The room had been tampered with.
("She can go to Pink's old room," Yellow Diamond said, extending at gloved hand to Pearl. When she had refused to move, her shoulders shaking, she was gently picked up.)
Pearl was confused. And very, very scared.
Her diamond couldn't be dead, right?
("Once we fix them," Blue Diamond had said to reassure the organic, "we'll send her to Earth."
Steven had nodded sadly. "Is she gonna be okay?")
Pearl stared out at Homeworld, so unfamiliar and alien. The remaining diamonds had traveled to her diamond's first and only colony to help some gems. They were... corrupted?
Everything in the last few days had been very confusing for her. Unreal. Luckily, she had been mostly excused from doing any work for the few days she was to stay on the planet. The other diamonds - Yellow and Blue - had called her once or twice to retrieve gems placed in bubbles - a zircon and a pair of jades - even generously lending her a map to navigate the confusing streets of Homeworld.
Pearl had found herself misjudging the distances to the panels once or twice, but she hadn't said anything. The diamonds had enough to worry about.
("What happened to our ships?" Blue Diamond asked, staring at sliced pieces of her arm warship in confusion. The ship was sliced cleanly, the damage of a sharp piece of metal perhaps.
"The fusion," White Diamond had muttered.
"Obsidian," Steven had said, gesturing to the gems behind them.)
The night sky on Earth was so different from the one on Homeworld, she noticed as she stared out at the void, sitting in the sand. Visiting this planet was most surreal experience she had ever had in her entire existence. Her fingers brushed against the pale yellow sand, grains slipping pass her fingers as she pressed a hand into the ground. Her body had returned to it original pink color, she thought, though she didn't remember it ever being any different. Grains of sand were stuck underneath her fingernails, and Pearl began to clean them carefully. She didn't have much to do now - so she just sat and thought and tried to comprehend this foreign reality.
The sky was speckled with stars, so unlike the pink sky of Homeworld. She had been informed the color was from the pollution of the factories created throughout the last few thousand years of Era 1 and Era 2. Earth could have been just like it - dead and empty. But her Diamond - Rose Quartz? - had sought to protect it from harm. And thus started a planet wide civil war against her home.
Pearl shifted around, trying to look at everything around her with her one pink eye, and noticed the absence of gems from the beach. Usually, newly healed gems roamed the place at night, their scars and horns hidden in the inky darkness. They mostly left Pearl alone, though some of the gems, like the partially corrupted uvarovite garnet, had tried to have conversations with her. She had been surprisingly understanding when Pearl had said she felt uncomfortable talking to anyone, so she might have been part of the Crystal Gems. Other than that, a few quartzes had greeted her, seeming at ease around her, despite her marred eye.
The cracks haven't healed yet, and she was slightly afraid they wouldn't ever. Still, it was grounding in a way; a constant reminder of this reality.
The beach she was sitting on with her legs tucked under her was private property, she remembered, so the humans in the nearby settlement would must likely stay away. Behind her, a colossal statute towered above her, multiple arms reaching out to the sky above, and if she remembered correctly, a splitting image of the first Obsidian. Large curls of hair were craved into the cliff side.
Just a bit further along the beach was a human home, being repaired by the bismuth, peridot, and lapis lazuli with Steven's human sire supervising the project. Apparently, it had been destroyed when Blue Diamond's warship had... blown up? She hadn't gotten a clear answer as to what had happened.
There were a few white lights from inside the structure as the gems worked through the night. The human had gone somewhere to rest. Organics had no gemstone to receive energy from - the energy from Steven's couldn't be converted - so they had to eat and sleep. Inefficient, but everything here worked like that.
Traveling to Earth had felt like distant dream. It had taken a few hours to arrive on the planet's surface - she had been hurried on to a shuttle by Yellow and Blue Diamond, who had said that she had no use here.
She was, after all, an ownerless pearl.
Pearl suddenly heard the sound of sand shifting on her blind side, and whirled around to find herself looking at the feet of Pink Diamond's second pearl. Her gaze traveled upwards slowly, until she finally saw that pearl's azure eyes looking at her.
The corners of her mouth curled up and Pearl let her form relax. It was only another pearl.
"Hi." The greeting was formal and the pearl waved her hand at her. From her milky complexion, her blue jacket, her pink hair, the yellow star she had glimpsed at, Pearl assumed that all four of the diamonds played a role in her creation - normally the diamond's crafted their pearls on their own.
But she had been told that she was defective - enabling her disorderly behavior, how could she? - so perhaps that explained the colors. A mess of the diamond's traits, battling for dominance, competing for perfection.
The other pearl crouched down beside her in the sand, and offered a small smile.
She simply said, "You're her second pearl."
The pearl's brows shifted. "It's almost a was, given the circumstances."
Oh. Yes. Past tense, because her diamond was... dead. Pearl stayed silently after that. Pink Diamond was dead.
She wasn't shattered, she wasn't hurting, according to Yellow and Blue Diamond, but that hardly mattered. Her coding was simply overwritten be Steven, and she had known it was going to happen. Pink Diamond had done it with knowledge that it would kill her.
"But," the pearl said, "yes, I was."
When Pearl didn't say anything, she continued, "I was with her throughout her life on Earth and her pregnancy - the organic incubation period - and with her in the last few days.
"And, during the last few months, she talked about Homeworld a lot. About the colors, the fancy balls, the gems she used to play with." She paused and turned to Pearl. "And you."
"She talked a lot about you. All the games and jokes," the pearl continued, her voice soft and demure now. Pearl felt her throat beginning to close up, tighter until if she was human, she would surely be suffocating. She already was.
"She's gone," Pearl said softly, her voice barely audible as she continued to try to comprehend the information.
The other pearl paused. "Yeah.."
She sniffled. She took a shaky breath. "I..." Her body began to tremble slightly.
"I know..." The other pearl shifted her body closer to her. When she finally reached out and brushed her fingers against her cool skin, Pearl flinched and turned her head. After a moment, she leaned against her, deciding she liked the comfort.
Pearl pulled her legs close to her chest, arms wrapped around herself, and closed her eye.