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Pearl's Choices - Sardonyx's Aftermath

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Pearl jumped as she turned to the door her heart racing as her eyes landed on Garnet. She sighed internally feel her stomach tighten.

The weight of her guilt has been unimaginable and she knows she's made everyone else around her miserable as well. She knew what she did was wrong it had been the ultimate betrayal and she didn't know if Garnet would ever forgive her. She didn't know if she would ever be able to forgive herself. And now what's done is done and she felt like she ruined everything all because she couldn't help herself. It… it just felt so good to feel like that again. Garnet just… She just made her feel so loved and so damn safe. Like everything in the world was okay and she wasn't just one in the millions of pearls soft and pathetic never good enough never strong enough. A thing that would always be alone destined to love for a second then be tossed aside like a common pearl. She loved Garnet and now well she'd never been able to tell her before and she certainly wouldn't be able to now.

Pearl sighed glancing nervously at Amethyst "Garnet your back!" She squeaked out nervously. Her eyes widened as she watched the always aloof Garnet raise her hand. "Not now Pearl." She said as Pearl sadly watched her walk away shaking her head slightly sighing as the doors to her room closed. "Well at least she's talking to me now." Pearl muttered pathetically raising her eyes to the sealing blinking away tears that quickly came into her eyes. She took a deep breath turning quickly to Steven with quick and precise movements. Steven looked up at her almost sadly but it still she had to smile at him because it was Steven, he was her baby and he always had hope in his eyes. She gave him a kiss on the forehead "I'm glad you're home now Steven." She said with a monotone voice moving to make her way to the warp pad determined once again to find Peridot. She couldn't take the look of pity on Greg's and the pout on Steven's lips and plus would do anything just to hear Garnet say she had forgiven her again.

"Pearl it's okay everybody makes mistakes…" Steven says as he grabs her hand desperate to do anything to hold her attention and keep her from running off again for who knows how long on another journey for Peridot's gem. God he had missed Pearl. Amethyst had missed Pearl and they both needed a break some sort of breath of fresh air something different from the tension of Garnet's cold demeanor and angry air or Pearl's dreary miserable air.

"Not like this Steven…." Pearl sighed refusing to face him. She didn't want him to see her crying again. She was tired of being the reason they were all so sad and that had been another reason why she stayed a way for days or weeks bubbling monster after monster in search of the green gem.

"Pearl everybody gets stuff wrong and then you have to keep going and its hard but that's why its so great when you never stop trying!" Steven rushed out wrapping his arms around her wanting to do something, anything at this point to help Pearl.

Pearl let out a small humorless laugh shaking her head "When did you get so smart." She sighed letting herself melt into the hug for a moment before shaking him off quickly making her way to the warp pad before Steven could move an inch to stop her. "I won't give up." She said softly before warping away.

Steven groaned as Amethyst made her way over to him throwing a comforting arm over his shoulder. "It won't help you know. She could hand Peridot over on a silver platter bubbled and it still wouldn't make things better and it won't make up for the stunt she pulled to get Garnet to fuse with her. t

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Steven paced glancing worriedly at the door and the warp pad gasping excited as Pearl finally warped back in. He grinned as he ran towards her giving her a hug. Amethyst rolled her eyes making her way off Stevens bed. Neither she nor Garnet would admit it but they both missed Pearl and they were worried about her. Pearls little quests to find Peridot seemed to be getting longer and longer and she came back more hurt and looking more run down every time she had returned. And this time was clearly no exception. Pearl had been gone for 3 weeks this time and it was the longest she had been away. Her clothing was ripped and covered in dirt, she was littered with cuts and bruises, and Amethyst was sure there was far too much dried blood on her. She bit her lip worriedly as she watched Pearl smile lifelessly at Steven as she melted into his hug.

"You two should go and get Garnet in a little bit while I just go get washed up. You can let her know I found Peridot and I know where she's hiding." Pearl said kissing Steven on the forehead squeezing Amethyst's arm throwing her the same sad but hopeful look she always had when she returned from one of her long escapades.

Amethyst gave Steven a hopeful smile picking him up and holding him over her head as she ran to Garnets room making him giggle alerting Garnet to their presence before she could feel their gems. Garnet laughed as amethyst plopped a slightly dizzy Steven in front of her.

"Pearl's back! Pearl's back!" He cheered delighted "She found Peridot and knows where she's hiding for you! She said she's ready to go when you are." Garnet smiled thanking Goddess for her shades the only think that kept them both from knowing how she truly felt about her and Pearl's situation and Pearl being Pearl pushing herself to do anything for forgiveness. She knows she needs to talk to Pearl and set things right but she just needs a little more time. Their trip with Greg and their time split apart had done wonders for her as well as Ruby and Sapphire's bond but Garnet as herself and split apart needed time to process how they really felt about Pearl and the real reason behind why they were ready to talk to Pearl just yet. It was good to know that Pearl was back once again and she was safe though. It had been harder and harder for Garnet to watch what Pearl was doing to punish herself as if she felt like she had punish herself to because Garnet wouldn't do it herself. She knew Pearl struggled with loving herself. She watched as Pearl became a shell of herself the more Rose played with her heart and she just well she felt so much love for Pearl and she wished she could show her how to truly be loved but then Pearl lied and they had all felt so hurt and everything turned into this monstrous mess. She sighed nodding as she picked up both Steven and Amethyst playfully running back to the door giving them a laugh they had all deserved before stepping out to face Pearl and finally get Peridot. They all nodded before stepping out to see Pearl dressed in her new attire of boots a cropped t shirt and combat pants most of her exposed skin either bruised or cut or covered in some sort of bandage. Garnet faltered only for a second as they made their way over to Pearl. She looked so tired. Garnet hid worried eyes behind her shades as she stepped closer placing Amethyst and Steven on the floor next to her patting Steven's head reassuringly. She knew Pearl was out poofing gems but this was going entirely too far. She didn't have to use her future vision to know she needed to talk to Pearl before she destroyed herself.

"Pearl-"Garnet started trying to hide the shock in her voice as she watched Pearl jump nervously spinning to face them.

"I- We should go I believe I found where Peridot is hiding." Pearl said quickly before anyone could say anything more and made her way to the pad. The others looked at each other but quickly followed along the warp pad whisking them away. Steven's eyes widened as he saw the huge ship in front of him "Woah where are we." He asks looking around in wonder. Pearl reaches down running her fingers through his hair smiling softly down at him. "This is an ancient interplanetary ship Homeworld Gems used to use before warp pads were invented to travel to earth. I think she must be desperate to get home after our last encounter if she's hiding out in there." Pearl looked up at Garnet hoping for a sign that any of her hard work had made a difference but Garnet kept her arms crossed and only hummed in response. She sighed internally nodding to herself squaring her shoulders as she

took the lead rushing ahead to lead the group into the ship. As they entered the cave they looked around cautiously and curiously.

"It kind of looks more like a greenhouse then a space ship." Steven said looking around at the overgrown wild plants and the rubble of the ship. "Looks like Earth won this battle." Amethyst observed quietly as they noticed a gem begin to glow a screen popping up with Peridot's face popping up. "You Crystal Clods really are duller than you look."

"You're the dull one if you think you can fly this dump out of here." Pearl said angrily stepping towards the screen her hands angrily balling into fists. Peridot giggles as she watches Pearl get all worked up. "You idiotic clod I'm not using this dump to fly away I'm using it to trap you." Making the gems gasp as the door slams shut behind them. "Isn't this nice. No more Crystal Gems breaking my things and getting in the way of my progress. Looks like I've got you right where I want you Pearl." Peridot says smugly looking down at them knowing she'll get a rise out of the annoying pearl who just kept popping up. How annoying. "How does it feel to be so easily outsmarted Pearl? I mean I don't know what I expected from a common Homeworld Pearl though you're just trophies thousands of you lined up to dressed like pretty dolls to be paraded by your owners. Clods!"

Pearl gasped her cheeks turning bluer with every word that fell from Peridot's mouth. Peridot had hit the nail right on the head with that one and she knew it too. She knew what she was. She knew she didn't matter but for that to be broadcasted in front of her teammates… in front of Garnet. For a moment she almost felt like she could breathe. "N-No…" She gasped out stepping back almost to stop the hurtful words from striking her.

"Ugh this is amethyst and I don't appreciate being called a clod YOU CLOD-"

"ENOUGH! Now prepare for annihilation!" Peridot said smugly pressing on the button as the gems looked around prepared for anything. The gems around them began to glow emitting dangerous beams. "Yes, it worked!" Peridot screamed laughing as she watched them scramble to avoid death. Steven gasped jumping into action without thinking activating a huge shield over them all. They all looked down at him looks of worry relief and pride shining down. "Good job Steven it's a new record for you three shields in a row!" Steven grinned tiredly as they made their way to safety for the most part. "Yeah hehe close one." He said plopping down tiredly before hoping up nervously as spikes began to shoot from every direction a vision of Peridot laughing down the hall as they jumped to avoid them. Pearl growled and shot forward hell-bent on striking Peridot down and ending this once and for all. Garnet gasped as picking up Steven as they chased quickly behind her keeping Steven safe as they got through the hall of spikes.

"Pearl wait don't just UGH!" Garnet growled utterly frustrated at Pearls lack of self-care always diving ahead to stop the next target without even thinking. She was starting to seriously piss her off. "PEARL" she yelled annoyed as she watched the gem continuously strike the talking hologram of Peridot that continued to tease and taunt the girl but no matter how hard she the hologram wouldn't go away.

"Pearl stop! That isn't helping!" She said shaking her head at the panting gem who refused to look at her or acknowledge any of them her embarrassment all over her face. "I-I have to do something this… this is all my fault. I can't believe I walked us all into Peridot's…" she trailed off as the grown below them began to shake and open out "Traaaaaaaaaap" she screamed out as she they began to fall. Amethyst moving quickly whirls down extending her whip to catch Steven catching him before he could fall. "Thanks Amethyst! Huh Garnet and Pearl! Are you okay?" Steven yelled out looking down at them. "Were fine-," was all Garnet got out before the trap closed on the two. Amethyst looked down nervously "Oh crud." She said before lifting them both out of the hole running towards the screen showing their two trapped friends. "We gotta get them out of there!" Steven exclaimed as they watched them fight at the walls making no progress. "No… wait listen they're actually talking to each other!" she said as she watches Pearl give up her head dropping with a sigh beginning to speak to the one gem she had been trying to please as she pounds her fists into the wall over and over. "Maybe we should leave them in there for a while?'

"Garnet! I'm sorry things were not supposed to turn out this way!" Pearl exclaims her shoulders dropped even more. "Don't worry we'll get out of here." Pearl grunts continuously pounding away at the wall.

"That's not what I meant I." Pearl sighs her weapon vanishing "I really wanted to catch Peridot to make up for what I did. I wanted to prove to you that I could make everything go back to normal." Garnet stood still sighing angrily "Catching Peridot isn't going to make things go back to normal. This isn't about Peridot." Amethyst and Steven grinned as they watched "They're actually talking maybe they'll fix this." But he knew he spoke to soon as the ship began to rumble once again and the walls started to close around Pearl and Garnet "Oh crap! Not if they get crushed." Amethyst said as they both rushed forward wondering what they were going to do now.

Both trapped gems began pushing against the walls with all their might. Pearl couldn't breathe she didn't know what to do she felt like she had been going absolutely crazy over the past months pushing herself making herself stronger with each fight trying to find Peridot because she knew she could fix this but now they were both going to be shattered and she couldn't let that happen without knowing how to make things better… how to go back to normal. "What do I have to do to get you to forgive me?" She yelled out desperation laced through her voice. Garnet growled as she pushed against the walls with all her might "You can't just bubble a gem and suddenly everything goes back to normal! You lied to me Pearl! How can I trust you if you lie!? You need to learn that there are consequences to your actions!" she yelled back as the walls pushed them closer and closer together. "I- I do Garnet Goddess I sorry! I am so so sorry! I couldn't help myself" She cried out but Garnet groaned shifting her pushing her foot against the wall trying anything to get it to stop "I don't want to hear your excuses Pearl!" Pearl couldn't hold herself up anymore as she gave up sinking to the ground pulling her legs into her chest.

"B-but its true!" she cried out "I couldn't help myself! I can never be strong like you or better like you or loved like you! No matter how hard I train or fight... no matter how hard to be good... to be better... I try but... I'm just a pearl... pathetic and easily tossed aside and… and you just made me feel strong and wanted and loved and warm for once and Goddess I could drown in it I have never felt that not even with R-her and... and I just I got hooked on it and I didn't want to stop and I just I need someone to tell me what to do…." she cried out her eyes closed as she clenched her fists frustrated at herself and how idiotic and pathetic she must sound. Garnet looked down at Pearl in shock but didn't get the chance to reply as the walls stopped. Steven and Amethyst, she thought relieved as it seems they were okay and saved them both.

Pearl knew she didn't have much time she needed to say this. "When we fuse I can feel what it's like to be you." She says wrapping her arms around herself almost like that was all that was holding her together as she continued in a hushed tone "Confident and secure and and complete. I look at you and goddess im so in lo-." she cut herself sighing heavily, "all I see is perfection. You're perfect, you're the perfect relationship, you're always together and feeling that feeling like I was loved and really wanted for once I just I wanted to be a part of that again. I am so so sorry" She whispered out refusing to meet garnets eyes.

"You're wrong!" Garnet said strongly and Pearl looked up shocked "I'm not as strong as you think. I feel apart over this Pearl!" she sighed her weapons disappearing as she balled her fists in front of Pearl "Ruby and Sapphire were couldnt handle how you deceived me! I came apart because of it. It's not easy being in control all the time I have weakness' to but I choose not to let them consume me. I choose to be strong because I know the impact I have on everyone. I do it because I love you, all of you! Please understand Pearl you're not weak and you have an impact too. You have no idea Pearl how much you mean to me! There are times that I look up to you for strength and warmth the same way you do for me." She said softly cupping Pearls face wiping her tears from her adorable blue tinted cheeks "You are your own gem Pearl you control your destiny not me, not Rose, not Steven, not any of us just you Pearl but you have to choose to be strong on your own too and were all here... I'm here to help you. Fusing with me won't make that happen nor will it make you love yourself. You have to choose to be strong moving forward so I can trust you again. We all love you and see you for who you really are. I… I really do love you Pearl and I see you okay?" Garnet saw the shift in Pearl as she nodded and looked away wiping her tears "I understand I won't give up anymore." She knew they still had more to talk about but this was a start. They both gasped startled as the walls began to close on them again "Pearl… there's only one way out of this." Garnet said looking down lovingly at Pearl even though she noticed her hesitation "O-only if you're okay with it." Garnet smiled and the two began to fuse Sardonyx bursting through the holes stretch before the two unfuse with down casted looks.

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The gems charge forward as they bust through the wall finding Peridot in the control room. Pearl with renewed determination to prove her strength, not ready to let go of the attitude she'd had these past months as she charged forward with her weapon attacking Peridot with her spear. Her anger getting the best of her as she continued to charge forward, clouding her mind as she carelessly tried to strike before Peridot blasted her side activating the flight mechanism in her fingers laughing as she begins to fly away. "PEARL NO!" Garnet yells charging forward knowing even with her future vision she was too late to stop this. Peridot waved her hand two metal beams sharp flying towards Pearl before she could react one piece pierced her stomach and the hitting her gem hard. Peridot flew away as the others gasp watching Pearls body poof and her Gem fall. "PEARL!" Garnet screamed as she surged forward catching the cracked Gem in her hands Steven and Amethyst right behind her all with tears in their eyes as Garnet clutched the gem. "Dammit Pearl!" Garnet cursed as they gems ran to the warp pad hoping they could still fix this.