The low rumble of the waterfall echoed through the extraction chamber. The sound, combined with the warm steam coming from the many pools of water and the soft glow of the starry ceiling, provided a much-needed sense of calmness and serenity. Sitting on a marble bench near one of the pools, Gray Diamond’s stoic gaze was straight ahead, and her bloody hands were clenched in tight fists. Her mind was still abuzz with the day’s revelations, so much so that she barely recalled the journey from the balcony to her mother’s extraction chamber.
Remembering White’s presence, she turned her head to see her dipping a cloth into one of the warm pools. The elder diamond’s eyes hadn’t strayed from her since they first stood before each other. Gray longed to know what was going through her mind; was she disappointed to see her daughter in the state she was in? Was she really so quick to forgive her for the crimes she had planned to commit? She wished she could recall the words that were exchanged between her mother and Steven before they came down here, but she’d been too distraught to fully pay attention.
White sat down beside Gray. Trying her best to give a comforting smile, she reached her hand out for Gray. The younger diamond complied, giving her her left hand.
“When you were small, Black and I would give you baths in a little tub we had specially made for you,” White reminisced as she began to wash away the now semi-dried blood, “Black had been the one to think of it. I thought it was unnecessary since gems don’t need to wash like organics do, but you ended up being a surprisingly messy infant, so it ended up being very useful.”
Having gotten most of the blood off her hand, she began to scrub upward onto Gray’s arm. The mute gem tensed up, but White was too lost in her memory to notice. “We had our gems start working on it near the end of my pregnancy, but you decided you wanted to be born before it was finished. Since we didn’t have the bath then, we had to clean you for the first time with wet cloths while you were still in my arms. You were still screaming and covered in fluids and sediment, but you were still the most beautiful being we’d ever seen. Black did most of the work cleaning you since I was so exhausted, so being able to keep you in my arms ended up being better than if we had the bath. It was the most –”
Gray suddenly grabbed her wrist, interrupting her sentiment and snapping her out of her thoughts. Gray’s half-clean arm was trembling, and her body was stiff with pain. White was confused, until she saw that she’d been scrubbing on the cracks that trailed down her arm. She felt as if she’d received a blow to the abdomen as she realized she’d been causing her daughter pain.
Releasing her mother’s wrist, Gray held her hand out for the cloth. Without saying a word, White handed it over.
While Gray gently dabbed the cloth against her cracked arm, White sat in a guilted silence. As much as she tried not to, she couldn’t stop her eyes from trailing to the cracks and gashes that were scattered across her daughter’s body. When Steven agreed to use his healing powers on Gray, White had hoped to see these damages fade and heal, restoring her form to its natural glory, or at the very least restoring her ability to speak. Unfortunately, even a diamond’s powers have its limits. While her gem itself appeared less damaged, it couldn’t restore the missing chips or undo the “scarring.” White had suspected this would be the case, but she couldn’t stop herself from hoping. Perhaps if the cessineans had repaired her in infancy things could’ve been different, but nothing more could be done for her now that she’s an adult. White wondered if this was some sort of cosmic punishment, having the constant reminder of her inability to protect her daughter.
“Once you’ve cleaned up, we’ll find you a room you can use until we can get you your own space,” White said, trying her best to shake off her dark thoughts, “My wing of the palace has a large variety of rooms available, so I’m sure we can find something to your liking.”
Pausing what she was doing, Gray placed the now bloodstained cloth on her lap. In attempt to communicate with her mother, she gestured with her hands, drawing out a rectangular shape with two sticks on either side.
“Yes, you can have your pick of any –”
Gray shook her head and made more hand gestures, none of which White could understand. Seeing this was getting her nowhere, Gray let out a silent sigh and pinched the bridge of her nose. Looking back up at her mother, she pantomimed writing in the air.
“You want something to write with?” White asked.
Grinning, White stood up from the marble bench. “Wait right here, I’ll be back in a moment.”
While White went to fetch what Gray needed, the younger diamond went back to cleaning herself, occasionally having to re-dip the cloth into the nearest pool to rinse off the blood. By the time White returned, she’d managed to wash away the last of the crimson stains.
“Here you are, dear,” White said, handing her a digital writing pad and stylus pen. Gray stood up, nodded in thanks, and began writing in ancient gem glyph. Once finished, she turned the pad over for White to read.
A bed. Are there any rooms with beds? I like to sleep sometimes.
“Ah!” White exclaimed, joyed to finally understand what she was asking, “No, I’m afraid not, Moonrise, but we can have one made for you.”
Gray’s good eye squinted with confusion. Turning the writing pad back to herself, she began writing something else.
“Oh, that’s… that’s what I’d call you sometimes when you were small,” White explained, a sad yet nostalgic smile crossing her face, “You always seemed to be the most active at night, always wanting to play when you should’ve been sleeping. After a while, I started calling you Moonrise.”
Hearing this, Gray recalled the first memory Steven helped her unlock in the mind space; the one where her infant-self played in her sensory gym, while her mothers wondered out loud whether or not it was normal for her to be awake at that hour. She smiled as much as she physically could at the memory.
I see. She went to hand the writing pad back but stopped herself. May I hold onto this?
“Yes, of course. Though I’ll warn you, not many gems can read ancient gem glyph. I’ll teach you our modern text. It shouldn’t take long for you to learn.”
Gray grinned. Thank you, mother.
White felt a fluttering in her chest. Mother…
“Let me show you around the palace. We’ll find you a room, and you can modify it to your liking. This is your home now, after all.”
Gray nodded and followed her mother out into the halls.