They say that the line between love and hate is as thin as strands of hair in the wind, a mirror image made by flipping the world over water. Love, and hate, and love again. Arguments that made relationships stronger, silence that withers it down to dust.
Love. Hate. And love again.
It’s an awful shame that there’s nothing but hatred in Pearl as she stares at the water’s edge, watching it slip over to drift away into nothingness. Theoretically, she knows, it will leak into Amethyst’s domain, and perhaps after that into Garnet’s, finally arriving to the center core, bubbled gems aplenty. She draws a shape into the water, the beginnings of a heart. Instead, she finds herself distracted, just one finger divvying the flow, creating a small crease that immediately fills when she lifts her finger.
A hole, of her creation, and then immediately gone. She wishes her heart would heal just as quickly, and even so, she knows it may be another millennium more before she can stand on unsteady feet, hands cupping the shards of her gem.
Letting them scatter. Watching them fly.
The remains of Rose, of Steven, of what was once herself. Pearl sees it flash by the ripples, the shattering, the tears, the denial. Betrayal. Watching Rose become something unlike herself, something beyond the comprehension of gem, something… human. Odd. Her natural curiosity, compassion, joyful mannerisms, gone. In her place, Steven.
The sky twinkles above her, artificial, as organic as her skin, her form, the materialization of her hopes in physical form. Pearl reaches out, sees the sky bend, sees the stars twist and curve, forming a familiar face. Pink Diamond.
Her beloved, once, before Greg had sung some silly song and she had been stolen away, an arm around her waist, a lip pressed to her cheek. It had been fun, fine, a silly game, once, a play that Pearl had known step by step until it had been the last. Until Pink Diamond had become Rose, Rose become Steven, and Pearl had stayed the same. New hair, new clothes, a shiny new smile. Yet, the shards stay with her still.
She remembers, once, when Rose had been that, just any other gem, holding Pearl close, whispering her lovely nothings.
“Oh, what beautiful eyes.” She had said, once, when Pearl had reformed with glassy eyes and a fluttering skirt, a tad smaller, a tad thinner, more akin to the blue pearl who Rose had praised. She had been Pink Diamond still, a ruler worthy of the name, and when she had cupped Pearl’s face she found herself unable to quell the sudden heat flaring inside her.
“You look like a real pearl.” She did, and she does, doe eyes glassy still. She swaps out her skirt for a dress, a gentle fluttering thing, reminiscent of the one’s sapphire’s adorn. It swept the floor, as elegant as any sapphire, and Rose had played with the tail of her skirt and called her pretty.
Lace up flats and knee high stockings, yellow roses on pink lace. A tulle sleeve, an ornament of glass and flowers, a comb in her hair. Anything, and everything, details briefly dusted over by her diamond a decade before, cleaned, caressed, reimagined within Pearl.
“Lovely,” Rose had said, their feet gentle patter on beach sand, “you are so lovely.”
They had embraced, like that, not as Pink Diamond and her Pearl but as Pearl, as Rose, as two gems who had seen a millennia and lived one more. A gem, another gem, breaking rules. Embracing. Laughing. Kissing.
A Rose and her Pearl, just two gems who had met on this beautiful planet named Earth. Walking the blue seas, wandering cracked marble. Frozen in time, sculpted into stone, smiling faces hidden along fifty others in the columns that once made up a castle. Two gems.
Her, and her, discovering human love.
Pearl sighs, shifting to her side, her hair wet as it drifts with every pull of the water. Reminiscing about Rose does her no good, nothing more than a reminder of the regrets that rear their head to her with every blink of her eyes in the outside world. And yet, and still.
The water shifts around her, warming, warning. She shouldn’t, not really, not when Amethyst is wandering some levels before, not when Garnet may be walking the paths of their rooms, not when Steven and Connie are outside, smiles wide, oblivious. They think Garnet cool, amazing, for what she is. For who she is. A fusion, in her everyday life, embracing.
Pearl doesn’t think she would have minded, if she had spent the rest of her time as Rainbow Quartz.
“I love you.” Foreign words, foreign tongues, trading secrets and murmurs that they couldn’t understand, stumbling onto the planet. There had been girls, people, humans, like them, who embraced and kissed and wandered somewhere in love, pink cheeks, pink lips bruised red.
“I love you.” For something, for someone, for the hugs they had laughed over, for the kisses they had shared. Love, for the stars glittering overhead, for the sand shifting between their toes. Love, for the flora, for the fauna, for the notes Rose had sung to her under palm trees, for the smell of cooking meat, fresh from the bazaar, long robes covering their forms. Love, for the moment they had spent together building a home.
“I love you,” Rose had said, and then she had gone, leaving Steven in her place.
Pearl digs within her gem, fingers scratching at the open space, sharp edges scratching along her palm before she finds herself cupping the fragile pink remains. Falsified shards, awfully realistic, and even though she knows them fake she treasures them just as well. They are real, to her, to her heart, beating fast. On Homeworld, she would have been sent away for such thoughts.
On Earth, they find her cool. Empowering. Dizzying strong, as weak as she is, and Pearl presses the shards to her chest as she stands on wobbling legs.
Bow. Pirouette. Walk, and turn, her legs crossing and uncrossing, back bent back. The shards glitter in her hands, warm, and Pearl shifts them from hand to hand, dipping as though they can hold her in their arms. Shifting, her arms pulling them close, embracing herself. Kissing the air, her fingers, the shards.
Her form grows loose, hazy, conscious fading out. White, blinding light, overtakes her as she recedes, legs bowing as light bends over the shards. Wanting, needing, fusing.
A confession of long love.
Pearl gasps, her eyes snapping open, as her legs fall out from below her. The shards fall into the water, caught onto the ripples expanding out, and then they slip over the edge, tumbling far off into the depths below. Pearl stares, frozen, her limbs shaking.
Gone. In Amethyst’s hands, surely. Yet, gone, from her eyes, from her hands, off into another plane, another world. Gone, far from her.
Her fingers make slits in the waves, just little holes. They heal up when she lifts them, and redoubles in size when her hand slams down, wrists shaking.
Love, and hate, and love again.