Now we’re only falling apart - Indigo AU
Amethyst had already forgiven Peridot, but her words kept bugging her.
“You’re a Quartz. They’re huge, loyal soldiers. You should be at least Holly Blue Agate’s size. Broad-shouldered, intimidating. But you simply stayed in the ground too long.”
She knew she shouldn’t be giving any thought to it. She had heard the way Peridot spoke about Pearl earlier, and even before the green gem came to Earth she had already decided, just from the things she heard from Garnet and Pearl, that Homeworld was full of bullshit. What should Amethyst care for what they thought she should be like?
As she watched the others working on the drill, she realized it wasn’t about Homeworld, but about a single gem.
True, Holly Blue joined the Crystal Gems an eternity ago, and the fact that she was still loyal to Homeworld when they first met never meant a thing for Amethyst. But now that she knew how Homeworld would see her, she needed to know how Holly Blue truly saw her.
After Steven was born, Amethyst saw herself becoming more and more insecure. It didn’t help that Pearl became impossibly annoying too, which made Amethyst feel like she wasn’t good enough to be in the team. She would never admit it out loud, but she was hurt. Holly Blue was the only one she felt safe with. To learn that it had been false would break her.
Later, after Steven was in bed and while Pearl and Peridot discussed some nerd business, Amethyst called Holly Blue for a walk outside.
“You have met all the gems from our kindergarten, right?” Amethyst asked, trying to sound casual.
“Why are you bringing this up now?” Holly Blue asked, defensive. “Did Peridot tell you anything when you went there earlier?”
“Why, is there anything she shouldn’t tell me?” Amethyst asked back.
Holly Blue shrugged. “You just should remember that despite our truce, she is still our enemy.”
“So, sides matter to you now?”
Holly Blue stopped walking. “What did she tell you?”
Amethyst stopped as well, and turned to face her. “You know what she did. You know everything about how Homeworld gems think. You were just like her, right?”
Holly Blue’s face darkened. “That was a long time ago!”
“Why did you never tell me?” Amethyst asked.
“About how I was supposed to be!” Amethyst was glad they were far enough from the barn that Steven and the others couldn’t hear her, because it was hard to keep her voice down. “Back when we met, did you also think I was defective?”
“No! Never!” Holly Blue exclaimed.
“Are you saying you never even noticed my size?”
“Well, I did, but it never mattered to me.”
“Didn’t you still have Homeworld’s mentality back then?”
“Mostly, but…” Holly Blue sighed. “When we found you, I had already been on this planet for a while. I thought I would never see any of my soldiers again, and I missed them. And then we found you. You would have been one of my soldiers if Homeworld hadn’t left. I was so happy that I got to meet you-”
“That you just ignored my flaws.” Amethyst felt her heart sinking. “I was just a replacement for the gems you lost. Gems… like Jasper.” She was a Quartz too, right? And she and Holly Blue sounded like they knew each other. Was that what Amethyst was supposed to be like? “That’s the sort of gem you were surrounded by, before you had to settle down for me.”
“That’s not what I said!” Holly Blue exclaimed. “Each gem is… unique. Even when they are not supposed to be. None of my soldiers was exactly like the other, even if they were supposed to be the same, and even if we had to hide any individuality in front of our superiors, we knew how to use them in our favor when it really mattered.”
Holly Blue paused, waiting for Amethyst to say anything, but as she remained quiet, she continued:
“Yeah, many of those gems were like Jasper in many ways, but many of them were more like you.”
“Why did you never tell me any of this?” Amethyst asked, voice low and sad.
“Garnet never wanted you to be influenced by Homeworld’s values.”
“And you just did whatever Garnet told you to?”
“Yeah.” Holly Blue shrugged. “She was the leader. There was no point in telling you this stuff, anyway. Circumstances here have always been different. I had to unlearn everything I knew to fit in.”
“Hm.” Amethyst decided not to press the issue anymore.
Amethyst furiously kicked the sand in front of her. She was done with it all, with Homeworld, with Indigo Diamond, and especially with Holly Blue Agate.
It was tiring. Holly Blue was usually nice to her, didn’t judge her like Pearl (though she had gotten a lot better during the last months), she was her sister. But only until her own pride was hit, then she lashed out at Amethyst and became super rude and mean. It had been like this when Steven was taken to Homeworld and Holly Blue felt like it was her fault. It had been like this when Peridot first showed up and none of them knew what to do. It had been like this when Steven was born and Garnet…
Ugh. Garnet had been the only one who could make that team functional, even through just her memory, but now she was a liar? Sapphire was a Diamond, one of their greatest enemies? It was no wonder Holly Blue was freaking out, Amethyst felt like freaking out too, and she didn’t know how Pearl and Steven managed to keep calm. Well, Pearl had known all along, but what about Steven? Poor little guy.
They were supposed to be supporting him, yet he was probably there putting a band-aid on Holly Blue’s feelings, because that’s what he did, because he was so nice! Why were they such a mess?
Amethyst was done being a part of this.
Steven and Pearl decided to go after Holly Blue first. Pearl had guessed she would be in the kindergarten, and Steven focused hard so his future vision could guide them.
They found her curled up inside a hole. It was much larger than Amethyst’s, big enough for Holly Blue to fit inside even if she stood up.
“Holly Blue?” Steven called softly.
He saw her trying to wipe all her tears. She really took the reveal badly.
Could Steven blame her? He was also upset at Sapphire and at his mother for lying to everyone.
“I thought it was my fault… what happened to Indigo Diamond. I thought I had failed her.” Holly Blue whispered. “I used to only care about doing what my Diamond would want from me. Even after the war was over. And then I followed Garnet… of course I did! I had to!”
“I’m sure Mom never wanted you to feel this way…” Steven said.
“I doubt she ever gave a thought about my feelings. I was just another… another piece in her game. Just like every other soldier she made.” She raised her eyes, probably thinking of all the Famethysts up in space.
“That’s not how it was,” Pearl said, kneeling near the hole. “You deserve to know the whole story.”
So, Pearl started telling everything. About how Indigo Diamond first fused by accident with one of her Ruby guards and how closed they became since then. About they fusing in secret in Indigo’s room, keeping it a secret from everyone because they knew what the consequences would be if they were caught. About how Pearl was the first one to see that fusion, by chance, and how she decided to keep their secret. About their arrival on Earth.
By then, they had convinced Holly Blue to leave the hole, but she wasn’t exactly pleased with what she was hearing.
“She was a Diamond. If she wanted a place to play fusion, couldn’t she just make one? Why involve us all in it?” She asked.
Steven was wondering the same thing.
“Indigo and Ruby were both resigned to the nature of their relationship. They wouldn’t have any hopes of being out and open about it until much later. The fight was never about themselves.” Pearl said.
“What was it about then?” Steven asked.
“When we left the kindergarten, Garnet had a vision…”
A vision of what gem colonization would do to Earth. She was horrified by it. Indigo Diamond tried to stop what she started, but she didn’t have the power to do so.
“She was a Diamond!” Holly Blue complained.
“But her status meant nothing to Yellow and Pink,” Pearl said.
The endless denial frustrated both Indigo and Ruby, who would spend more and more time fused on the surface so they could figure out what to do. One of these occasions, Garnet had a vision that took them to the worksite of one of the colony’s visions, where she and Pearl caused a bit of a commotion.
Thus started the rebellion, made bigger by rumors and gossip. A fusion and a servant with no master, defying the Diamonds' orders.
“The plan was to disturb work in the colony as much as we could, until the other Diamonds were convinced that continuing it was a waste of resources,” Pearl explained. “It was only the two of us. We never went around recruiting more. But the gems that saw us felt inspired. Soon some of them started running away to join us. Garnet couldn’t abandon them. She couldn’t simply give up anymore, not with them all counting on her.”
“A war was inevitable.” Holly Blue said.
“Both Garnet and Indigo Diamond did everything they could to minimize the damage. Garnet finding out about her healing powers helped a lot on our side, but on Homeworld’s side… Indigo was still bound by the other Diamonds.” Pearl sighed. "She wanted to end it all already, but as long as Indigo Diamond was around, Homeworld wouldn’t back off…
“I suppose it was Indigo Diamond who came up with the plan, but when they told me about it, both her and Ruby had already discussed it, and made their decision.”
Steven had seen the next part when he was in Pearl’s pearl: Ruby shape-shifted as Garnet, Indigo gave Pearl her last order, and they faked Indigo’s shattering.
Holly Blue still had her arms crossed, even as Pearl finished the story. Steven wiped a tear from his eyes.
His mother wasn’t evil, not even partly evil. She was trying her best, she just… made some mistakes. It was a relief.
“She was an awful leader.” Holly Blue said. “She lied to her team. She couldn’t even trust them.”
“I think she was really ashamed of everything that Indigo Diamond was and did,” Pearl said. “She wanted to leave this past behind and be just Garnet forever.”
“She could have left that for after the war was over!” Holly Blue insisted. “Didn’t she ever think of the strategic advantage she could have with Indigo’s identity? Tsk. Of course not. For someone with future vision, she was incredibly short-sighted.”
Steven was almost offended by how she was speaking, but then he realized that she didn’t sound mad or sad anymore. She sounded just like the Holly Blue he was used to.
“I guess we could have used some other perspective on the situation,” Pearl said, a small smile on her lips. “You know, she was lying when she said she didn’t care.”
“You don’t need to try to make me feel better…”
“I’m not. It’s the truth.” Pearl said. “For a long time I couldn’t figure out why Garnet treated you the way she did, but then I realized: she didn’t want you to just blindly follow ‘your Diamond’. That’s why she never told you. She wanted you to make your own choices, and that was the only way she knew.”
Holly Blue blushed slightly at this. “I guess being here right now is my choice. In truth there’s no other place I would rather be than leading this messy team.”
Steven hugged Holly Blue, who put one arm around him and the other around Pearl. If only Amethyst was there too.
He gasped, eyes wide open. Amethyst. He just had an awful vision.
“I have to find Amethyst!” Steven stood up.
“We’re going with you.” Holly Blue said.
“No. You two can’t come. I have to go alone!”
“Is that a vision?” Pearl asked.
Steven nodded before running to the warp pad.
Steven had seen three scenes with his future vision. If he and Holly Blue went, she and Amethyst would have a serious fight and would end up hurting each other. If he and Pearl went, she and Amethyst would argue a lot and say mean things, and Amethyst wouldn’t hear him.
If he went alone… she would give him a chance to explain things, but that’s all he knew.
As he warped into the temple, he saw her piling up stuff from her room. He knew what she would say if he asked, but his experience with future vision taught him he had to do everything exactly like he saw if he wanted the outcome to be the same. A change of words could have an unpredictable result.
“Yo, Steven.” She greeted, cheerful as always.
“Amethyst, what are you doing?” He asked.
“Packing up my favorite stuff to move out!” She replied, still cheerful.
“Yeah, you know… I need a change of air.” She chuckled.
And that was as far as his future vision showed him.
“Is this because of Mom?”
“Huh? Nah. I don’t really care about what gems made up Garnet. Do you?”
“You sure? Because it’s alright if you do. She’s your Mom after all.” Amethyst said.
“It’s alright,” Steven said. “But why are you moving out?”
Amethyst shrugged. “Why not? Beach City can be really boring sometimes.”
Steven was pretty sure she wasn’t being sincere. This was a good time for a new vision. How could he get her to give up on it?
“I will really miss you.” He said, making puppy eyes. Maybe it would work, maybe not, but at least he was buying himself time.
“Aw, Steven. You still can visit me whenever you want!” She said.
“To visit you I need to know where you will live.” He said. “Could you show me?”
Amethyst rubbed her chin. “I guess I can. Come on, we have a train to catch!” She took his arm and led him out.
“What about your stuff?” Steven asked.
“I will grab it later.”
This was perfect. Last time Steven and Amethyst took a train together, only the two of them, she took him to the kindergarten, and there she realized that the temple was her real home. He was sure she would take him to the kindergarten again, and maybe there he could get her to talk about her real reason for leaving. Well, Holly Blue and Pearl were still there, but maybe with all of them together it would be easier.
The two took the train, and during all the way Steven tried again asking her how she felt about his mother now and even about how she felt about what Holly Blue said earlier. Amethyst would only say she was fine and change the subject quickly.
At the point where they usually got off the train when going to the kindergarten, Amethyst gave no signs they were near their destination. Steven wondered if she missed it.
“Amethyst? Shouldn’t we get off the train?”
“No,” Amethyst said, a little confused. “I didn’t even tell you where we’re going. Come here.”
He sat closer to her. Amethyst pulled an old magazine from her shirt. On its back, there was an ad with a picture of a happy family in front of a nice garden.
“The city of dreams.” Steven read. The city’s name was familiar.
“It looks nice, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah…” The picture was nice. Steven wanted to believe she could be happy there, but something told him things would not go like that. And his future vision still wasn’t coming to help.
“I will get to see all the people, and the lights, and I will have so much junk to eat!” Amethyst said, sounding excited.
“I didn’t know you liked people so much.”
“Humans are so much better than gems.” She said. That made Steven look at her in worry. “I mean, they are not trying to kill us all the time.” She laughed. “I don’t think there’s a warp pad nearby, but you already know how to take the train on your own, right? You can visit anytime!”
Steven nodded, but her words wouldn’t leave his mind. He knew she was not talking about Homeworld. Who was she referring to? Holly Blue? His mother? Pearl? All of them? Could… could that include him too? He was a gem too.
Eventually, they got off the train, and walked on a road until they found the sign for the city.
The white letters said “Ocean Town”, but someone sprayed the word “Nightmare” in red paint over it. A wooden board was put over the number indicating the population, with only the number 0 on it.
Also, all around them were smaller signs warning people to stay away. There were even obstacles on the road to stop cars from approaching.
It didn’t look like it was a city of dreams anymore.
Steven suddenly remembered why the city’s name was familiar. Mayor Dewey had mentioned it to him once. He never told him what exactly happened there, but it sounded bad. It looked bad.
“When is that magazine from?” He asked.
Amethyst just shrugged, before she sat down on the empty road. That would usually be dangerous, but it didn’t seem like any cars were coming this way, so Steven sat by her side.
“It doesn’t matter. I can go literally anywhere else.” She said.
“Is that what you really want?” Steven asked.
Amethyst sighed. “I’m just… tired. I didn’t ask to come out late, you know? Both Holly Blue and Pearl have all these memories of the war, and it makes me feel like an outsider. I can’t even help them.”
“I know what it’s like,” Steven said, eyes lowering.
“I know you know,” Amethyst said. “That’s why I am telling you. You’re the only one here who knows.”
Steven showed her a small smile. He had thought they were past feeling like the worst gems, but it seemed like they still shared some pains.
“It seems like old stuff always comes back to haunt us.” She continued. “And I feel like I can’t even do anything to help. Now there’s this thing with Sapphire being a Diamond…”
Steven sighed, and looked at the gem on his right palm. “At first, I wasn’t sure how to feel about it. But after hearing Pearl’s story, I think… I think I’m fine.” He wasn’t lying. Part of him was still confused, but mostly he was fine. “How are you feeling about it?”
“What is there for me to feel? She’s your Mom. Holly Blue and Pearl knew her forever. I wasn’t around when things happened, I have no right to feel anything about it.”
Steven frowned. “Is this what you really believe or is it just because of what Holly Blue said earlier?”
Amethyst groaned. “Is it too obvious?”
Steven nodded. “You weren’t around for the war, but I never even met Mom. You were her friend. You are still affected by what she did… we both are. You have every right to feel anything about it, Amethyst.”
“I want to hear Pearl’s story too.” She said, as if ashamed of admitting it.
Steven stood up. “Can you bear keep living on boring old Beach City?” He reached out his hand.
“I think I can.” She took it.
It was dark when they arrived back at the temple.
Holly Blue and Pearl were there. Steven imagined they must be worried, considering how long he and Amethyst were away. Pearl didn’t even organize the pile Amethyst left outside her room.
The greetings were awkward. Amethyst and Holly Blue stared at each other for a few seconds, not sure of how to start.
“We need to talk.” Amethyst finally said. Holly Blue nodded. “In private.”
Steven tensed. Was this a good idea? Would they end up fighting?
“We’ll be fine,” Amethyst said, turning to him and smiling. “Besides, it’s about time we solve an issue without you babysitting us.”
Everyone in the room blushed, Steven included. He never thought of it as babysitting.
Amethyst and Holly Blue walked to the temple, and Steven sat with Pearl on the couch.
“I’m sorry for keeping this for so long,” Pearl said.
Steven shook his head. “It wasn’t your choice.”
Suddenly, he went still, his eyes closing. Pearl knew it was a vision, and apparently a big one.
Steven stood outside on the beach. The sun was up. A strong impact sent sand flying to his eyes. When he opened them, he saw Pink Diamond’s legs-shaped ship standing right in front of him.
In the distance, he could see Yellow Diamond’s arm-shaped ship punching the ground.
When was this? He needed an indication of time. The sun was up, it was closer to the… West? Steven reached for his phone in his pocket.
A door on Pink Diamond’s ship opened.
“The Diamonds will arrive tomorrow afternoon.” He said as he opened his eyes in the present.