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Take the Air That I Breathe

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Here she comes. Finally.

Jasper watched grimly from her fogged car window as her classmate ambled down her slick apartment steps. Peridot poised herself carefully at the edge of the rainy road, she held the straps of her bag tight and looked both ways. Seeing the path was free, she jogged across to Jasper's car.

Peridot's leather gloves slipped across the wet handle as she tugged the door open and all the warmth Jasper had built up was suddenly sucked outside into the cold winter morning. Peridot threw her bag haphazardly in the back and fell into the bucket seat with a sigh.

"Took you long enough." Jasper huffed, cranking her heat up a degree. She opened her bare palms to the vent and watched Peridot do the same.

Peridot plugged her earbuds in and popped her hoodie up around her face before giving her shower drenched hair a shake. "Yellow needed some dishes done before I could go." She excused and pulled her cellphone from her front pocket, hissing to find it completely dead.

Rain picked up outside and Jasper turned her whispers on. "Yeah, well, your mom can start taking you if you're going to make me late." She berated, putting her car into overdrive and wheeling carefully into the road. Jasper wasn't retaking her senior year over again due to some unexcused absences and tardees.

"Christ. Got it. Won't happen again." Peridot replied dryly. She clutched her dead phone tight and bit her glove off. Her face tightened for a second, and at once, power surged from her hand in tiny white-blue arches. Her screen blinked alive- the battery charged 100%.

Peridot slipped her glove back on and leant her tired head against the window. She closed her eyes and cranked her music up loud enough for a dull buzz to be heard.

Jasper cast a side glance her way, ready to make some backhand comment about her skin tight leggings and high top chuck taylors. Her dumbass wool skater skirt and gray hoodie combo. Those red cat-eyed glasses that sat too well on her dark, lovely face.

Jasper's knuckles blanched from clenching the steering wheel so tight.

You'd think the only two kids on the same block with supernatural powers would atleast get along. Peridot and Jasper could scarcely handle their shared morning ride, never-mind friendship. They simply rode together on a mutual sense. Peridot had no other way, and it's not like Jasper was using her empty seat.

The bus never came out this far, not at a decent time anyways, and from what Jasper had surmised over the years- Peridot detested public transit.

Jasper drove on quietly and kept to herself, both of them silent. Neither saying a word the entirety of the way.

Peridot crossed her knees and tucked an ankle up onto her lap. She joggled her leg, and for a moment, Jasper wondered if she made her nervous.

Peridot coughed into her elbow and Jasper heard her chest rattle. Poor kid had the flu over the winter break. Coincidentally enough, their apartment living room windows were directly across from one another. Jasper had gotten a good eyeful over the break of Yellow hurrying into other rooms and bringing blankets for her sickly daughter stuck on the couch.

Jasper's new boots threatened to slip clean across the pedal brake pedal. She'd yet to wear these puppies in. Rolling up to a stop light, she checked the bottom of her shoes. No tread had been worn on the soles. She'd almost busted her ass stepping out the door this morning, much to Steven's delight.

Greg had given her these boots for Christmas and Jasper had nearly teared up when she unwrapped them. Greg was usually the scourge of the holidays, the worst gift giver she'd ever known, but these...well, he really hit the nail on the head. And of course he teased her about his gift win. She smiled quietly.

The car gave a jerk upon taking off from the stoplight and Jasper watched helplessly as Peridot's head smacked into the window. She groaned but otherwise said nothing.

"Sorry." Jasper murmured. Useless, seeing as Peridot couldn't hear a damn thing over her blaring music.

When Peridot wasn't ignoring her, asking her for favors, or insulting her- she was silent. Not in an awkward kinda way. They both preferred to say little words. Neither had pleasantries to share with the other.

Jasper knew Peridot thought she was some big idiot. A fucking meat head lesbian with ham hands only suited for carrying her to and from their school. She'd made it clear in her teasing over the years.

But if Jasper was honest, it wasn't as if she was innocent herself. She loved getting a rise out of the little lightening queen. When her skin turned red with frustration, and her pink lips quirked into that ferocious snarl. Sometimes, Jasper could get her in such a fit, that black her hair would stand on end, static popping between the strands.

Focused on her musings, Jasper failed to see the delivery truck up ahead veer into her lane. She hit the brake, her foot slipping before she slammed the pedal down to the floor just in time. Her right arm swung out hard to cross Peridot's chest, lest she whiplash and snap her slender neck. Jasper had grown used to having little Steven in her passenger seat and protecting him so.

Peridot gasped, her earbuds dangled loosely from her collar, her glasses sat skewed on her face.

Jasper collected her breath. "You alright?" She asked cautiously, bringing her arm back to rest on the steering wheel.

Peridot fixed her glasses and brushed her hair back with a nod. "Yes. Yes I'm fine. That scared the shit out of me." She shivered, taking a deep breath before relaxing again in the seat.

That'd scared the shit out of her, too.

Thankfully, the remainder of the trip went breezily. She even arrived to the school early. Give or take ten minutes. She'd resolved to be a better student this semester. Was the least she could do in her circumstance. Greg was always saying how proud he was of her. Even when she'd been held back last year- he'd offered nothing but support. Just like always. Just like Rose.

The long, wooded driveway to her university was calming. Spanish moss and overhang trees flanked the narrow road to her secluded destination, letting little light through. There was no sign. No plated name on the school's front.

It was a blank, brick building with an enormous front face and two huge iron doors. If you didn't know better, one might assume it was just some sort of textile factory, or perhaps a warehouse.

Jasper drove around to the back and came to the entrance of the submerged parking lot. She dipped inside and parked in her allotted space alongside other student's vehicles. She scanned the lot for teachers and found it to be surprisingly vacant, save for other students heading inside the halls through sealed routes.

She nodded to herself and reached into her ashtray to pluck out half a blunt she'd saved from yesterday. She rolled her window down, leaving a little crack in the pane for minimal air flow.

She brought it to her lips and lit it up. She kicked her seat all the way back and lounged. She rolled her tongue against the roof of her mouth, loving the way her lips tasted from pot in the morning. Her high always made first period whiz by.

Jasper leant up and passed the blunt to Peridot without a word. She hit it gently before handing it back, a surprisingly large cloud of smoke wafted from her lips.

Again, neither spoke as they smoked in silence. Jasper stared at the tattered ceiling, her gaze occasionally fell to the back of Peridot's head. She watched her for a moment, finding more content than she should in her features.

If Jasper held her breath and listened hard enough, she could hear Peridot's music. Something slow and loud was playing into her ears. A man's voice wailing right against her drums.

Peridot looked to her phone and announced the time. "Five minutes till." She informed. She closed screen out and tucked it inside her cinch bag. She opened the passenger door and shut it quickly, letting out as little smoke as possible. She coughed again into her elbow. Muffled and weary.

Jasper looked out at the dimply lit lot. She tucked her keys away and slung her bag over her shoulders, like any other day. Peridot gave her a dismissive once over before striding on ahead. Like usual.

Never a thank you. Not even in the beginning.

Jasper wanted to call her out on it, to get pissed at her and blow her out in the parking lot. Leave her standing there without a ride home. Maybe bring some fat tears to her pretty green eyes.

If her head wasn't floating above the clouds, she might have come down to earth and said something about it.

Just when Jasper was forgetting the entire matter-as she so often did-Peridot tripped right in front of her. Jasper watched as her classmate busted ass on the hard pavement, her knees smacked the ground so sharply it tore her leggings open.

She bound over to Peridot just as she rose to shaky, bloody knees. Tears pricked the corners of her eyes, and Jasper found no satisfaction in that.

Papers had scattered from Peridot's bag, they'd spilled over her shoulders and flew across the parking lot in all directions. Jasper choked a laugh. Christ, Peridot was getting it rough today, wasn't she? Jasper had it rough, too.

She scrubbed her hand down her face, wiping away her smile.

"Goddammit. Could you stop laughing and help me?" Peridot griped, snatching at the papers on the ground.

Jasper rolled her shoulders, her hands fell slack by her sides. She'd have to make this quick, or she'd be late on day one of her final semester.

Not today.

"Come here," Jasper eased. "I've got it."

Peridot came to her side, and Jasper concentrated-not as hard as she used to- and created three perfect duplicates of herself. Same in form, and unified in mind. As if her copies were merely extensions of her arms instead of separate entities.

Her clones made easy work of gathering all the papers together in good time. They trekked over the dim lot and headed back with their payload in a minute's time.

Peridot sighed her relief and took the papers eagerly from each Jaspers' hands. The other individuals vanished, faded away now that the task had been completed.

Peridot's shaky hand fell to her chest. "Jasper, thank you." She breathed, rubbing her forehead for comfort as she tucked her papers safely into her bag. She tied the cinch tight and they both started back for one of the school's entrances.

A dark tunnel opened for them as they neared one of the hidden entrances. They strode inside. The air-locking doors sealed shut behind them with a metallic hiss. A gust raced down the tunnel so hard it messied their hair in sporadic directions. Peridot's hoodie fell back. Her tawny face exposed as she combed her tousled hair back into place. She re-clipped jeweled berets, sporting little hearts and stars. And hot glue. Did she makes those herself?

Sometimes these hidden channels sealed so tight it made her ears pop. Thankfully, that wasn't the today's case. Seems the Crossroad's School of Fine Arts finally shelled out some fucking cash for a couple of much needed repairs over the break.

They tread on, catching occasional laughs as other students up ahead chatted in the darkness. Blinding white light flooded in from a circular opening up ahead. Sealed doors yawned wide for them to pass into the expansive gathering room just beyond.

Jasper stepped over the dipped ledge and made her way into the crowds of other students. Never bothering to see Peridot off. Same as ever. Maybe Jasper had expected gratitude at the very start of their relationship, but now she knew better.

Brilliant artificial sunlight beamed above them and from the 'windows' along the walls. If you tilted against a pane it'd be warm to the touch.

Jasper turned sharp into a bending hall that would eventually lead to the gymnasium. She let her hand flit across the wall as she drug lazily to her destination.

Had Peridot looked different today? When she'd stooped to pick up her lost papers, that skirt of hers had rode up a ways. Her too tight leggings had been far more than sheer- hugged tight around her flared hips. Jasper had seen just the tiniest peak of white panties before Peridot could stand back up.

Stop thinking about that nerd.

Class hadn't started yet, but she could already hear her classmates setting up for fitness training. Wooden doors stood ahead and she brushed them open, squinting when the bright gymnasium lights hit her vision.

Before she could even make her way inside, she heard Amethyst calling her name. Soon after, Jasper watched as she bounded over to her. Light lavender hair bundled up on top of her head. Her dark skin already slick with sweat as her sneakers skid across the glossed floor.

Jasper opened her arms for a tackle of a hug. Amethyst clung to her with a squeeze, grunting her happiness. "Jasper! It's been too long."

"It's been two weeks." She laughed, happy to be missed.

Amethyst slumped back to the floor. "That's what I said, aaain't it?" She rolled her tongue and dragged Jasper across the wooden floors to the locker rooms without asking.

Steam rolled from the back of the long room, heavy with soaps and fragrance. Students mulled about in the early morning, they slipped clothes on their shower damp skin, ready for endurance training.

Jasper was more bashful than she'd care to let on, and she preferred showering at home in the mornings. Didn't want the other's to look at her nude anyways.

She stroked the pad of her thumb absently under her shirt, tenderly working the scar tissue that covered her abdomen in thick cords. She held conflict about sharing this part of herself with others. Especially when the others were a soaked group of fellow classmates.

Amethyst pulled Jasper from her musing with a heated cackle. "Y-you have to check this out. I honestly," She laid her jeweled hands across her chest. "I haven't laughed at anything since I've what I'm about to show you. Like, nothing can compare to what I'm about to show you." She was rummaging into her gym bag, and for a moment her face fell blank. That hearty chuckle gone in an instant.

Jasper peered over Amethyst's shoulder as she changed into her gym clothes, back turned to her friend. "Well what is it?" She asked with a laugh, recalling the one time Amethyst had brought a fucking dog in that duffle bag and when Jasper got caught with it, she'd actually been able to convince the principal that Amethyst was the dog.

"No I swear, Amethyst wanted to shapeshift into this dog."

Before Amethyst could answer her question, Jasper belted out a snicker. "Remember when you had that dog?"

Her friend's disposition reverted right back to normal, her face lit up with a grin. "And Dean Yellow Bean caught you? Oh my god I was taking the dump of my life and you were just grasping for straws out there." She chortled. "No, It's Amethyst, I swear!" She imitated Jasper's deep brogue with a frantic expression. Holding an imaginary boston terrier in her open palms.

"Nasty." Jasper jeered playfully, smacking her upper arm before heading to the locker room entrance. She could hear a crowd of voices in the gymnasium. Amethyst was close behind as they strode over to see another class had gathered at the doors. Pearl was at the forefront of those students, whistle tight around her neck and clipboard in her hand. As if her voice wasn't shrill enough for the other's to hear oh so clearly.

Her face was pink with exertion, her shoes, and her students' shoes, were all slathered in mud. She took a deep breath. Already in conversation with Jasper's head coach.

"It's simply too wet. My girls cannot possibly run out in those woods, there are too many hills slick with rain, and that rain has iced over! Would you rather see someone hurt or wo-"

Ruby threw up her hand, gently, as Sapphire would want. Jasper noted a dim wave of heat rolled from her. "Pearl, your class can use the gymnasium with us. Just make sure-" She pointed a finger at the white line bordering the room. "You follow the track line. Please." She said with a nod.

Sapphire made a little grimace. "Yes, our students tend to play rough out there." She added, with just a hint of pride at the end.

Pearl fanned herself with a clipboard. "Oh. Thank you." She pressed it to her chest and sighed, whirling on her heels and nearly slipping in the mud she'd tracked in, she called for her class.

Jasper surveyed the crowd of female students pouring in. Wait, didn't Peridot have track first perio-oh good lord, there she was.

Peridot steered in, with her black hair tied in a sharp ponytail- she looked a peck fearsome. Those cat-eyed glasses brought an edge to her sweetly rounded face. She had her earbuds in per the usual, her feet kicked lazily in front of her. Those chuck taylor's had been swapped out for red and white tennis shoes. She'd changed into a gray tank top and black sports bra, those athletic shorts of hers displayed her freshly cut knees, where scabs had began to form.

Jasper cringed to see the barest sign of a limp in her step. She kept behind the other students and fell in line on the running track-without waiting for any direction, she took off. Pearl hardly seemed to care as she spoke to the other girls, warning them of the other class' usual workout routine.

Jasper could easily kept starring at that scrawny bean pole- till Ruby snapped her little fingers from behind. "Jasper, circle up."

She turned away from Peridot, sure that Jasper hadn't even been seen by her yet. She huddled with her other classmates and listened to their daily instruction. Ruby looked at her own clipboard, scorch marks decorated the edges. A page singed when she flipped it up and she looked to the visiting class with a squint.

"We'll...have to tone down our usual routine." Ruby mumbled, handing her clipboard to Sapphire. "I don't want anyone getting hurt out there. Just watch your moves, and try not to hit so hard. I'm looking at you when I say this, Jasper."

Her classmates laughed and Amethyst snorted from beside her.

"We're serious girls, be careful. Like you always should be. Just. More so." Sapphire relayed, turning as the other class circled the track- running in a loud group behind them.

Peridot glanced at Jasper, she gave a curt little wave and kept her green eyes forward.

Pearl had joined their group after her class seemed to be fairing fine on their own. She tucked her thumb into the band of her blue shorts. "So what's this about your students playing rough out there?" She asked with a smile in her voice. Sounded almost competitive already.

Ruby heard it too, she smirked, crossing her arms. Sapphire looked between the tensing pair with a frown. "My chickadees play hard and fight harder. I just wanted to make sure none of your lovely students-"

"What, you think my girls can't take a hit?" Pearl interrogated, crossing her arms the same.

Ruby quirked a brow. "Well I certainly wasn't saying that."

"You were implying it, though." Pearl quipped, looking to her students hopefully. "What's your class doing today?" She asked suddenly, changing the subject. Or perhaps just pressing deeper into it.

Sapphire was on to it. "Just some endurance training. A little carefully observed sparring amongst themselves. In pairs. Groups."

Jasper didn't like the grouped pairings so much. It made for too many allies to keep up with, and too many enemies to focus on under those circumstances. It'd be much easier to simply have groups of enemies, and do away with the allies altogether. Less to protect.

"We all see what you're getting at, Pearl." Amethyst teased openly.

Sapphire scrubbed her face. "Not this again." She scolded, directing it towards Ruby. For the coach's assistant, she took the lead more often than not. "This isn't healthy. This rivalry you two have. These are students, what makes you think they'd even want to spar with one another? Again."

"Well I don't mind, coach. If I'm being honest."Jasper spoke up with a rub of her own neck.

Amethyst added to it. "Yeah we all know each other's moves. We've only took on that class once." She sounded more eager for training than usual.

Sapphire rolled her head with a sigh and Ruby touched a hand to hers. "See they wanna do it." She persuaded so sweetly, batting those thick lashes just for her.

Cold air passed Sapphire's lips with each breath she exhaled. She smiled, reluctantly, and shooed Pearl and Ruby away, barely stifling a toothy grin.

Jasper was sure her coach would have kissed her wife then and there, but for the sake of professionalism- oh. Nope. She kissed her anyway. The class made immature ooohhhs.

Ruby ran to one end of the gym and hollered for her class to line up for pickings. Pearl scrambled, catching herself once again from slipping, and strode over to the opposite end. She called for her students with a resolve in her voice.

Had Peridot looked over here just now?

"Amethyst!" Ruby singled out. "I want you and flame princess over there." She pointed one pyre tipped finger towards Jenny Pizza who was leant against a wall, chatting with her floating twin sister.

"You're always calling me out, Coach!" Jenny teased, half-heartedly. Without pause, or effort, her open hand lit into a soft, constant blaze. "It's cause we're so similar, isn't it?"

Sapphire alone snorted at that one.

"Maybe I just like giving you a tough time, Pizza! Because I believe in yah!"

"I'll let you believe that a little bit longer, Coach." Jenny tilted her unlit hand against her hip, her sister shook her head with a smile.

Amethyst took center between the bickering. "You two just don't know when to stop!" She interjected with a stretch and pop of her spine. She cocked her head to the side, her neck cracking as she tilted.

Jenny focused on her real opponent quickly. Her eyes fell sharp on Amethyst and Jasper could already see her looking for weakness, scanning for a stiff joint or a bruise. Finding none.

"See you eyeing me up, Jennay." Amethyst picked. She punched her open palm and shifted her form larger, thicker. The ample muscle she already sported was swelling larger into even harder cords of sinew. As formidable as she looked now, her size rocketing half way up to the ceiling, Jenny looked unphased. Bored.

She feigned a yawn into her fiery hand, her hair blowing in the warm flames that did her no harm. Jenny gave Amethyst a playful grin. "I think I like what I see." She purred invitingly, catching the dolt off guard long enough to hurtle an unblocked smatter of flame onto her chest.

Amethyst howled in pain momentarily before batting the minute flame out with her massive palms. In that time, Jenny landed more hits on her- though the last of which were easily swatted away.

Amethyst charged after her, Jenny stood her ground but the crowd of students behind her scurried away in every direction.

Jenny flicked another fiery orb right up, smacking Amethyst in her face with it. She covered her singed cheek with a hiss, oblivious to the fire queen darting underneath her legs. Amethyst shrieked at her when another flame licked the back of her neck.

"Come on, why don't you light your whole self on fire!" Amethyst cheered wildly, aching for a fiercer match. "I've seen you do it!" She heckled.

Jenny squinted and fanned to her outfit. "And bad things happen to good clothes when I do that. I like what I'm wearing." She relayed, giving a kick in her yoga pants before rolling out of the way of Amethyst's hammer blown fists. The entire gym floor, though heavily reinforced, shook on its foundation.

"You were trying to squish me, you bully!" Jenny accused, popping Amethyst' muzzle thrice more with hot balls of fire. "That could have caused internal bleeding!"

"I wouldn't have squished yah." Amethyst offered mock sincerely. "I would have mashed yah!" She bellowed with a playfully scary voice. She swung huge, open palms at her. One connected with Jenny's back just as she'd attempted to leap out of the way. It knocked her clean across the gym and onto the floor in a heap.

Pearl gasped, ready to call it off, but Jenny held out a palm engulfed in blue flame. "Nah, nah. Let me finish this up right quick." She spat, kicking off her spotless shoes and rolling off her gray yoga-pants. She tossed them aside without a care as her remaining clothing lofted in a heated wave. Her hair fanned out and she was lifted, just an inch, from the ground. In a flash of lung sucking, acrid heat that pulled through the entire room- her feet landed on the floor once again. Her body now engulfed in flame.

Sapphire absently popped open the two doors behind her for air, the heat dimmed noticeably as Jenny began to stable. Amidst the fire, her shirt was being slowly eaten by the pyre she'd lit around herself. She was beyond formidable in appearance, like some phoenix. Jasper squinted against the brilliance of her center.

Amethyst whooped, cheering as if she'd won something. "She came down to all fours and shifted, in a bizarre twitch of features, into a sleek, black panther. She gave her new limber form a claw curling stretch before scoring after Jenny.

Why did she chose that form? Jasper wondered to herself. Jenny was having trouble keeping up with her size, not her speed.

Jenny came at her unguarded, her entire body a weapon as she charged for Amethyst. The black cat leapt and swatted a heavy paw at her, it struck her face and Jenny spit fire onto the floor. Amethyst landed sharp, quick hits, but Jenny was unyielding.

Without warning, Jenny grabbed Amethyst by the waist and took her to the ground. She struggled to hold the big cat down as Amethyst thrashed wildly against her hold. She shrieked in pain, an eerie sound coming from the throat of a panther.

Jenny was relentless as she pressed against her, and this time, Ruby was ready to call the match.

Before Ruby could begin to intervene, Amethyst roared her remaining fury and shifted too quickly into a massive manifestation of herself, but the form was...subtly warped. She was a gaunter version, so pale, like blood had left her skin. Or she hadn't been able to make any.

This couldn't be healthy. She swayed on her feet, the sound a thunder clap in the gymnasium. She floors shook, but Amethyst caught herself in a moment of pure resolve. She eyed Jenny, with milky eyes and fell on top of her, encased her. Like a tomb.

Kiki gave a frantic shout for Amethyst to let up. "You're gonna smother her!" She berated warning, floating up into the air for Amethyst to clearly see.

Jenny's palm could be heard slapping against the wooden floors as she gave a retching, chest rattling cough. Amethyst's palms smacked lazily against the wooden planked floor. She rose up on her forearms and smoked pooled out from beneath her, with Jenny at the center of it.

Amethyst shifted to her natural form with an odd quiver and a flashing snap. She groaned weakly and her bones cracked as they settled back into place. Her brown skin flushed with color once more, her body back to its normal size.

Jasper jogged over to her for support, and whispered scolding.

"Amethyst, what the fuck was that?"

Kiki landed on her feet and tore after her coughing sister with audible scolding.

"Now why did you have to go o.p. on her like that? You told me that ability was for dire situations." Kiki jeered, sending a cool gust of wing over her sister and pulling all the smoke away. Jenny sat on the floor, a defeated grin on her face. Her shirt was near nonexistent. Singed threads hung from her collar and swayed in the breeze her sister had created.

"Sooo, You gonna keep tearing into me in front of everybody like that or you gonna help me up?" Jenny called, dusting soot and charred fabric off her skin. She plucked pieces from her hair and turned to give Amethyst a worried once over.

"I didn't burn you bad or anything did I?"

Of course hadn't come out unscathed. Jenny had marked her good. Red welts lashed Amethyst's chest. The flame had licked only hard enough to singe. Jenny hadn't been out for blood.

A little to weak to give a proper answer, Amethyst just offered a weary thumbs up. Jasper shook her head and said over her shoulder. "She's good."

Both classes cheered and Jenny was welcomed back into her group with tender hugs. Pearl leant in close to her worriedly, she put her hands on Jenny's shoulders. She murmured in her ear and pulled back with a frown, but Jenny shook her head. "No, I'm good. I'll walk it off, Coach."

With a reluctant nod, Pearl made her way back to the forefront of her students. She scanned the pool critically and pointed right at Peridot, who was leant against the wall, tucked to the back. Preserved and quiet, just like their car rides.

"Diamond child, you're up." Pearl announced, boastfully.

Jasper could count the time's on hand she'd seen Peridot in action. She knew scant about her abilities. They were electric in nature. Jasper recalled that she could manipulate waves of it from the environment around her. She couldn't create it herself. She could lift things. She could hurdle streams of powerful electric currents in any way she desired.

If she could lift things, shouldn't she possess the ability of flight?

Why the fuck am I giving her car rides if she can?

Jasper watched pensively as Pearl leant in closer to Peridot for a subtle conversation. One that brought a smile of genuine happiness on that string bean's face. Peridot nodded to those words with a sheepish grin, her hand flitted to her face. What was that? Jasper had never seen that on her before.

Pearl turned dauntingly towards the other students, standing akimbo, she ushered Peridot ahead.

Jasper, and the rest of her class, had turned to Ruby expectantly. Pearl seemed to have had a cocky gait about her choice, she presented Peridot adoringly. As if she were the coach's favorite student. Was she?

Ruby sucked her teeth and this time, Sapphire nominated a student herself. "Let me choose, dear." She relayed softly before peering to her class. She looked between them crushingly, with heavy thought and her tongue between her teeth. Her frosted forefinger pointed right at Jasper.

There was no time to gauge Peridot's initial reaction, Ruby was cajoling her forward, cavalier with her wife's choice. As always.

"Coach, I- don't. I don't want to go through with this. With. Her." She hiked her thumb in Peridot's direction. "Not that I can't fight her. I just. Would rather. Maybe, maybe spar with someone else." Like Kiki or Lapis over there.

Sapphire laughed lightly and Ruby simply pressed Jasper further, her hands only coming up to her waist. "I think you can handle her, Jasper."

"That's not what I'm trying to say-"

"Then, what are you trying to say, Jasper?" Peridot accosted, her tawny arms damp with sweat from her jog. She stood wide now, more confidence in her stride. Centered. There was a breezy sort of calm about her for a moment, but then Peridot quickly appeared cold to her. The hair on Jasper's arms stood upright, and the air felt...still and charged.

"I'm not trying to say anything other than..." Jasper growled her frustration. "I just. Think there are more than a few bad things between us and this fight could turn personal for one or both-"

Peridot scoffed. "You think I'll let the way you treat me cloud my judgement here?" She challenged, her eyes narrowing behind her red frames. "What did you expect, Jasper? That I might try and hurt you?"

"Stop interrupting me." Jasper bit out, her fists balled tight by her sides. What the fuck was Peridot talking about? "The way I treat you? What about the way you treat me?" She interrogated, stepping closer to her, closing that wide distance between them.

Jasper thought Peridot would retreat back but she held her ground and drifted towards her without hesitation.

"Are you kidding me?" Peridot sneered through her teeth. "You ignore me on a constant basis. You treat me like I'm non-existent."

"Because when I do pay you attention all you have for me is crude bullshit and backhanded comments about how fucking stupid I am!"

Ruby put an end to their bickering outright. "You two need to can it. Save that drama for your private lives, and conduct yourself as students should while you're in class." She ordered, leaving zero room for argument.

Coach was right. All this arguing was getting them nowhere. Words never worked out when Jasper used them anyways, especially on Peridot.

"Focus, Peridot." Pearl directed from behind her.

"Yes ma'am." Peridot agreed eagerly. She took a more aggressive stance, stabling herself as every light in the gymnasium buzzed. The bulbs flickered periodically and Jasper watched on curiously as Peridot's hair began to stand on end. She promptly removed her cat-eyed glasses and handed them to her coach for safe keeping.

Chills broke on her skin, and one weak bulb popped over Peridot's head and cascaded sparks all around her. Jasper might have been awed if she wasn't so enraged.

All these years of Jasper taking her to and from school, with not even so much as a fucking thank you. Not even once. Jasper had never asked Peridot for gas money. Never expected anything of her, other than some goddamn gratitude.

"Do I need to swap you out, Jasper?" Ruby asked with concern.

"No thank you." She answered cleanly. Jasper was going to teach the Diamond Child a few fucking manners.

She was going to smash her pretty face in.

Peridot wasted no time in launching an attack, she whipped a hot bolt in Jasper's direction. Her mark landing precise, for a locket of Jasper's white hair fell onto the floor. The ends singed.

Was that supposed to be a little taunt? Jasper grit her teeth and manifested three copies of herself on the playing field. Peridot's sharp eyes followed each one and kept them in her view, but Jasper made them scatter at random. She wasn't even sure what direction she wanted them in, so she just ran.

If Peridot had any trouble keeping up with the copies, she gave no sign of it. She chose not attack the entire group, but she singled out one and leapt for it. Leapt for it.

Peridot tackled the copy to the ground and pinned her there with tiny hands. Those hands became super-heated in an instant, and her assailant sent bolts of electricity right through her shoulders.

Each clone gave a scream and clutched at their own undamaged shoulders. They felt the pain, and the injured copy disappeared in flash. With the agony suddenly gone, they all glowered at Peridot. "You were so sure that one was a copy?"

"I can tell which one is the real you." Peridot boasted. She whirled around and whipped a bolt between two copies. It snapped across the floor with a sickening crack and left the ground blackened.

She hadn't struck either individual, but her aggression had been made clear. Jasper came at her with her fists swung back, ready to strike.

Peridot dodged two thrown punches, but stumbled to keep up with one more. The real Jasper popped her right in the jaw, hard enough to snap her head to the side. She hadn't meant to swing so har-

Peridot smacked a copy across the face so viciously that it sent it to the floor. Each clone grabbed at their stinging cheek and rubbed till the pain dissipated.

Jasper kicked a leg out and swept Peridot's ankles from beneath her, making her fall to her rear before scrambling away from her grasp. Peridot must have bit her own tongue, there was a streak of blood spilling from the corner of her mouth. She spit some away absently before sending another whip like bolt straight for the real Jasper.

It cracked her shoulder hard and sent shocks down through her entire body and out her toes. She groaned and swayed on her feet as Peridot landed another hit on her, ignoring the other two copies.

Peridot really did know which one was the real thing.

Jasper sent her other two copies for Peridot and they smothered her between them before she could strike again. She swatted at them and clawed their faces, Jasper winced as the pain relayed to her, but she pressed her clones harder and gripped Peridot tighter. She struggled now with ferocious little growls and Jasper laughed.

"Look how easily I subdued you!" Jasper ridiculed, make her copies gather Peridot's wrists and pin them behind her back. She sent currents through her skin but Jasper gave no quarter.

Peridot kicked at nothing, she thrashed against their hold and amped up the power, to no avail. She gave a fitful shriek. "You can barely hang on to me with two copies, you think you've subdued me?" Her voice shook and her dark hair stood on end once more. "Subdue this."

Jasper chuckled, ready to spit more banter Peridot's way, but her opponent took on a calm demeanor as dozens of lights above them began to pop into sparks. Students moved out of the way of raining glass shards, and Jasper watched in that hurried moment as Peridot's dark skin began to cast a soft glow in the dimmed light of the gymnasium.

Peridot locked still eyes with her, and before Jasper could decipher the growing scowl on her face- Peridot sent a rush of power over her so strong, it sucked the air from her lungs.

Jasper stumbled back on her feet and felt them suddenly lifted from the floor. She gasped as something un-seen clenched around her body like a fist. She looked to Peridot, her pupils blown wide as she was toted higher and higher above an emotionless assailant.

She fumbled for words and could only find insult. "What the hell is this?" Jasper spat, her voice laden with venom as she struggled uselessly against the hold Peridot had on her. That invisible hand clutched tighter and squeezed her till the breath was forced from her. She choked to breathe and Peridot only reinforced the grip.

Jasper could feel her skin burning, where the hand held her, flesh was turning red. It was like thousands of hot pin pricks across her body, tiny spider bites that set her on fire. A pressure was building in her chest. Behind her eyes.

Something was wrong. Something was very wrong...

"Now you have a reason to hate me, Jasper." Peridot relayed evenly, her voice absent of feeling.

Jasper's mouth opened and closed, she tried to force her focus on her two remaining copies, but she could do nothing. They stood there, frozen without command- as useless as her bound limbs.

Peridot was crushing her. Her bones had begun to ache and she could feel her heartbeat in her tongue. In her throat. Her face reddened and a severe burst of pain bloomed behind her left eye. Her vision clouded with maroon and she'd have screamed if there'd been any air in her lungs.

"Peridot!" Pearl called from behind her, but Peridot was unreachable. And she'd begun to speak.

"I know you think I'm weak." Peridot accused, that invisible hand gripped Jasper tighter. "You always thought I was, didn't you? Is that why you never talked to me? You expended more effort in ignoring me than even speaking to me."

Christ she's going to kill me for ignoring her.

Peridot's green eyes became more lucid and she stumbled over her words. "I just wanted to communicate with you...with someone like me." Was she crying?

Jasper could feel her consciousness slipping away. It felt easier to close her eyes than to try and breathe any more. Out of the corner of her dimming vision, she could see Pearl tearing after Peridot. Ruby was yelling something, but Jasper could scarcely hear a thing beyond the heartbeat in her ears

All at once, the vice around her released and Jasper was ready plummet to the ground, but Pearl activated her sole ability-she struck her pale arms out to her sides and she murmured one word.

"Stop."

Jasper was on the brink, but she could still perceive the happenings around her. She could feel it. The very floes of time had halted to Pearl's command. The universe came to a standstill in this moment, just because she wished it to. Sometimes Jasper could forget how frighteningly powerful Pearl truly was.

Seemed she hadn't froze Jasper in time, because she could still feel pain, especially pooling behind her right eye. Pearl ran for Jasper-still slumped in mid air, held loosely by the palm of Peridot's abilities.

"It's alright, Jasper." Pearl eased as she reached for her and plucked her free, her thin frame lined with more muscle than one would think. She laid Jasper on the ground for inspection, her hand flitted to her damaged eye.

Jasper's head lolled to the side and she could barely make out beyond the red cloud in her vision- her peers frozen in place. Coach had her hands over her mouth in horror, and Peridot...had tears staining her cheeks. Her eyes held wide with realization.

With Peridot's retention on her gone, Jasper could feel her blood pumping again. Her hands and feet ached with warmth and she could suck in a breath once again, though the air in the still room felt stagnant.

Pearl chuckled when Jasper spat at the taste of unmoving air. "Breathing is different when time is frozen." She noted. "Can you feel your limbs?" She asked calmly before touching Jasper's knees and applying pressure to her collar.

Jasper nodded weakly, and even found the strength to prop herself up. Her head was spinning but her vitality was returning. She felt her paled face flush with color, her ears no longer echoed with her own heartbeat.

"She really did a number on you, are you feeling alright? Tell me if anything hurts." Pearl suggested, before flipping her finger nonchalantly. Time began to move once again, and Jasper peered around to see both classes had all eyes on them.

Ruby's short legs ate up the distance between them and she skittered to her knees beside Jasper. "Holy hell! Jasper! A-are you alrig-look at your eye!"

"A blood vessel must have burst, I'll get her to the nurse, just watch my class till I get back." Pearl asked Ruby and looped Jasper's arm over her neck. Though, she was recovering surprisingly quick from Peridot's handiwork, she let Pearl lead her to the door.

"Of course." Ruby agreed diligently as she came to a stand.

Peridot had her hands clasped over her mouth, she gasped from behind them and hurried over to Jasper.

She'd never seen emotion like that on Peridot's face before.

"Im-I'm so sorry, Jasper." She stammered, words just falling out of her mouth. She touched her warm hands to Jasper's arm tenderly. "Please, I did not mean for- oh god. I'm..." Her face was ashen with regret and Jasper could hear the sick in her voice.

Pearl motioned for her to return to class with the others, but Jasper protested she stay. She wanted to hear what Peridot had to say.

Jasper looked down at her indifferently, a mix of things she wanted to say, but for now she'd just listen.

"I was only..." Peridot began, her words trailing off as she craned her neck to look eye to eye with Jasper. "I only tried to...scare you." She admitted, her hands fidgeting as she confessed the root of her actions.

Scare me?

Jasper shook her head in disbelief and held up her hand before Peridot could continue her tiresome explanation. She gave a laugh but Peridot persisted.

"Scare me. You wanted to. Scare me." Jasper repeated back to her. Slowly.

Peridot's mouth gaped uselessly as the words she'd scrambled over now fell quiet. She had nothing to say to that. Did she?

Jasper leant in closer to her, kept Peridot in her looming shadow. "Well you did a great job of it, Peridot. I mean. Wow. I was scared shitless out there. Is that what you wanted to hear from me? What-" She scanned around and gestured to the class. "You wanted an audience to terrify me in front of? Well, I admit it Peridot. I was fearing for my life out there. I mean just. Great job. Really. I was crying, could you tell that, too?"

"I'm sorry-I never meant to hurt you-"

"No, but you damn well meant to frighten me, and now I'm terrified of you." Jasper offered sincerely. "So terrified in fact, that you can find your own ride home."

"Jasper, please-"

"No, Peridot. I'm done with you, and I don't want you asking me for rides any more. You've got friends. Ask one of them." Jasper finished cleanly before heading to the gymnasium's exit. She didn't need Pearl to lean on anymore, and she told her she could make it to the nurse just fine.

"Peridot, come back to class." Pearl instructed calmly, motioning for her to follow, and forget about Jasper. There would be no reasoning with her.

Jasper pressed open the doors herself and cupped her throbbing eye. The entrance clattered shut behind her, but not before she heard Peridot cry out one more apology.

"I'm so sorry."


The rest of the day went by like clockwork. Jasper was in auto-pilot for the remainder of each class, just bidding her time till school let out. She just wanted to go home and take a nap. Doctor Maheswaran had insisted that Jasper return home early, but something had convinced her to stay.

Her out-lash at Peridot had been well needed mentally, but afterwards, it hadn't felt as good as she'd initially thought it would. Peridot's tear stained face had been more painful than satisfying.

Peridot's words repeated over and over in her mind. Her viscous intent in the gymnasium had all but been undone with just a few whimpered apologies. Jasper had never seen Peridot like that.

'I'm so sorry.'

One more sorry and Jasper would have taken back her cruel promise.

Maybe.

When the final bell rang, Jasper made her decision. Let Peridot mull back and forth to school for a couple of days, make her appreciate the favors Jasper did for her. Give it thirty minutes on that public bus and Peridot would be crawling back to her.

For. Rides.

She shook away those insolent thoughts and fell into the halls with other students. She tried to keep her focus ahead, not side to side. Scanning for her. To make sure she's actually okay.

Jasper ambled past groups of her peers and made a beeline for one of the sealed exits. She didn't spot Peridot amidst the crowd and she was angry with herself for being upset about that.

The dark tunnel opened up before her and she trekked through it faster than usual. Running from an encounter with Peridot, or her own guilt, she wasn't sure, but she came to the entrance of the parking lots and jumped through with haste.

She expected to see Peridot waiting there for her as per the usual, her hoodie already popped up and her earbuds in. Leant against the car door for Jasper to unlock it.

But her car stood by itself at the end of the lot. More than half of the other students had already dipped out and left for the day. It was quieter in here than most days, minus the steady rainfall pounding constantly overhead.

Peridot was nowhere to be seen.

Jasper strolled to her car and unlocked the driver's side before slipping in. She started it up and rolled out of the submerged car lot like nothing had ever happened. Her eye was still sore, and her vision a hint impaired from the patch Doctor Maheswaran had applied to her, but was far better than before, and her pounding headache was all but gone.

Though, there was a sinking pit of guilt blooming wider and wider in her stomach. Why did all of those words Jasper said to Peridot now taste like bile in her mouth? Like something bitter on her tongue.

Jasper righted herself with knowledge that Peridot hadn't crossed her path another time that day. She wasn't crying in the rain like Jasper dreaded, she was safe in a friend's car. Dry and warm.

She was ready to forget about Peridot for the time being, and was almost positive someone had given her a ride already. She had friends. Right?

The rain was coming in harder now, as if a constant downpour all day hadn't been enough. The streets were drenched and dips in the road were filled with puddles. She drove slower than usual to avoid any hazards. She kept her focus straight ahead, never took her eyes off the road.

A stoplight blinked yellow and she slowed to brake.

Christ, was that someone walking on the sidewalk?

Jasper drove past them at a snail's pace, so not to splash road water all over this person. Who...had no umbrella, and was wearing a hauntingly familiar hoodie and soggy converse.

Peridot.

"Geez."

Jasper kept driving and didn't turn around, didn't look in her rear-view mirror for even a second. The sky was dark as night at only three in the afternoon, and the red light ahead burned bright in her eyes. She flipped her headlights on and chanced a look over her shoulder.

Peridot had her focus forward, her cat-eyed glasses fogged up, her hair dripping wet. She was soaked to the bone and trudging on through inch deep water. It'd be a couple of miles before she made it to her apartment complex. That'd be a good hour's walk for her.

The stoplight above her flipped green, and thankfully there was no one behind her. She jerked the gearshift in reverse and pulled back till she was beside Peridot. Who looked like a sopping wet cat.

A part of her said no, but an even bigger part of her said yes. Jasper cranked down her window and unlocked the passenger door before swinging it open. "Jesus Christ, get in."

"Jasper-thank yo-"

"You're getting my seat wet, now get it!"

Peridot tossed her bag into the backseat like usual and slumped into the car seat with a wet slap. She jerked the car door shut and the both of them sat perfectly still beside each other.

Thunder clapped overhead like an omen, and Jasper drove on with white knuckles. The tension in the car was palpable. She glanced over and saw Peridot had no earbuds in, the strings dangle loosely around her neck. Ruined.

"Jasper..."

"You don't have to say anything."

"I...your eye..." She trailed, her hand reached for her bandage and Jasper didn't pull away.

"It's fine." Jasper murmured, her eyes on the road as her breathing hitched. Peridot smelled lovely, even soaked in rain water. Like vanilla and chai. She wanted to lean in to her surprisingly warm touch, but she restrained and let Peridot simply graze her fingers over her bandage.

"Does it hurt?"

Terribly.

"Not anymore." She lied, Peridot's voice already too heavy with guilt. "Steven will kiss it better." She laughed lightly. He'd probably cry to see Jasper had a boo-boo. Big fat pink tears, just like his mother.

Peridot frowned, her hand fidgeted in her lap. "I never meant to hurt you. I'm...so sorry I did."

Jasper sighed. "You need to stop apologizing."

"I need to hear you say that you forgive me." Peridot confessed, her voice already borderline pleading.

"It doesn't work like that, Peridot. I'm pissed off right now. The only reason I'm giving you a ride now is because of this rain." Jasper berated sincerely. "It's going to be a while before I can forgive you. I want you to understand that."

A long silence paused between the two.

"I...I know." Peridot began. "I should have known that myself, I'm sor-"

"Don't. Just." Jasper sighed and rubbed her face, buffed her nose for comfort. "Everything is fine. Nothing's changed. You still have your ride."

"That's not what I'm concerned about." She insisted, quietly.

Before Jasper could get an explanation from her on that, their apartment complexes came into view. Clouds on the horizon looked darker than the ones overhead, promising a hard thunderstorm for later. Lightening flashed off in the distance. They might be using the kerosene heaters if the power went out.

Jasper put it in park near the sidewalk and cut the engine off. Peridot opened her door and hauled herself up and out. The rain was heavier now than ever, but she still stopped in it to offer another thank you.

"So...I'll see you tomorrow morning, yeah?" Peridot asked sheepishly.

Jasper rolled her head with a nod and locked the car doors behind them "Yeah, just. Try and come out a little earlier in the morning."

"Y-yeah."

Jasper thought that for once they'd share some kinda heart-felt goodbye, but Peridot tore off across the street towards the steps of her complex, eager to get out of the rain again as quickly as possible. Jasper watched her, made sure she made it up there safe without busting ass on the slick stairway.

Jasper headed to her own complex and made her way up the winding stairwell till she came to the fifth floor. Coincidentally enough, Jasper's apartment was on the adjacent side of the street to Peridot's. Their living rooms faced one another.

Jasper strode to her locked apartment and found the spare key in the light fixture. She slipped inside the cold, empty living room and flicked the ceiling fan light on. She turned the heat up immediately, the chill in her fingers already starting to numb them.

There was a hand written note on the fridge from Greg, scribble about how Steven had a doctor's appointment after school, a regular check up. They should be home by six.

The brick walls of the home made for fantastic insulation, and the apartment warmed up in no time.

She pulled off her gloves and kicked away her frigid boots. She tossed her jacket on the coat rack and chanced a look over the way to Peridot's home. The windows were unlit. No light on in the house. Odd.

Jasper didn't give it another thought as she put a pot of water on to make tea. She reached on top of the fridge for the ceramic jar Steven had made for her in his kindergarten ceramics class. It had a hand turkey smacked crudely onto it and Jasper's misspelled name scrawled on the front. She adored it.

She tugged a tea bag free and set it in her favorite mug for later. Jasper let her palm rest across her eye for a brief moment. She made an attempt to peel the bandage away but the light made her eye water and sting painfully. She hissed between her teeth before placing it back with a tender press.

Just as her water came to a boil, the door bell tolled. She turned over her shoulder to look at the clock. Too early for Greg.

She poured her water and set the pan in the sink before flicking the oven off. She hurried to the door and jumped at the sudden sound of thunder. The bell rang again, and this time there was a knocking from the other side. Weak and hesitant.

Jasper reached for the knob, with bated breath.

She opened the door and was overcome with the urge to slam it right back. It wasn't Greg and Steven, it was a soaking wet Peridot. Drenched to the bone and popping static with frustration.

"What are you doing here?" Jasper asked blatantly.

"My mom-" Peridot breathed, pointing limply to her complex across the street she said, "My mom isn't home yet. She isn't picking up her phone, it just keeps going to the voicemail." She was letting words fall aimlessly out of her mouth again.

"Hey- it's, it's probably just dead." Jasper eased, her grip on the doorway loosening. "When does she usually get home?"

Peridot brushed damp hair from her face. "Midnight." She bleated, her face in a tight frown.

"And you don't have a key?" Jasper asked.

Her cheeks flushed and she rubbed the back of her neck sheepishly. Her hoodie fell back and rain water spilled from it onto the pavement. "I left it on the coffee table. I can see it when I look through the window. I feel so stupid."

You're not stupid.

"You're going to get pneumonia." Jasper warned reluctantly. She peered over Peridot and out into the hallway. When she pulled back in, she looked at Peridot hard. "Do you want to come in and dry off?" She offered kindly. "There might be something of mine that will fit you."

Peridot put her hand on her chest, water dripped from her rain logged jacket. "Thank you. Please, I won't bother you after this."

Jasper pointed to her hoodie indifferently. "Leave that outside." She instructed, worried about tracking in that much water. "The shoes too. I'll put them in the dryer for you."

A smile spread across Peridot's lovely face and Jasper felt her foolish heart skip tune. "You're probably saving my life right now." She laughed pleasantly before she kicked off her shoes and peeled off her drenched socks.

Jasper ushered her already shivering body inside and closed the door behind them. She turned up the heat a few degrees to make things more comfortable.

"Let me get you a towel and a change of clothes."

"Thank you."

How many times is she going to say that?

"It's no big deal. The remote is right there if you want to watch something. We don't have cable so..."

Peridot shrugged. "It's okay, we don't either."

Jasper turned down her dimly lit hallway and came to the narrow linen closet. She pulled out a couple of clean towels before she made a stop in her room to snag a shirt and boy-shorts. These should fit, loosely.

She came back to find Peridot hugging herself close, she rubbed her arms for warmth in her flimsy black tank-top. Those leggings had to be ice cold on her skin, her soft mouth was turning a shade of blue. You could hear teeth chattering in the quiet room.

Peridot was looking at the portraits hung on the wall. One of Rose in particular. She went to say something, but said nothing when Jasper handed her the towels. She took them graciously and immediately wrung out her frigid hair and bound it tight.

Jasper wasn't expecting Peridot to undress in front of her but she fucking did. Without a hint of hesitation, Peridot hooked her thumbs in the waistband of her tights. She pulled them down...down, carefully over her scrapped knees.

With a dainty step, she tugged them free before she tried on the ones Jasper offered. She turned and gave Jasper her back and pulled her thin tank-top up and overhead.

Was Jasper supposed to be watching this? Not a thing was compelling her to look away.

She wore no bra, and now no shirt. Her vibrant skin was exposed and Jasper was more than inclined to touch it. Peridot's back stretched and her muscles tightened beneath her tawny flesh.

Jasper scrubbed a hand down her own face on a silent groan.

Peridot tugged on Jasper's t-shirt and it swallowed her whole. The hem came just to her knees, making the boy shorts a bit redundant now. It appeared as if she weren't wearing any bottoms. Why did the thought make her face flush?

"Fits great." Jasper noted teasingly.

"These smell like you."

Jasper swallowed hard. Her heart was hammering in her chest. Could Peridot hear that? Now her fucking palms were sweating. She tore her gaze away from her surprise guest and slumped into the worn leather couch. Peridot sat gently beside her on the far end, she tucked her ankles underneath her.

"Andy Griffith is usually on." She advised.

Jasper cut on the t.v. to find it already on the right channel. The intro blared in the quiet apartment and black and white light flooded the room. Lightening flashed outside and Jasper prayed the t.v. wouldn't cut out.

Thunder cracked, shaking the ground momentarily. The signal blipped out but cleared back up, thankfully. Neither said a word as the episode commenced. Jasper couldn't focus on the screen, something about pies and a fishing trip, but her eyes were on Peridot and she found it impossible to pull away.

She was frustratingly beautiful. Her pretty face illuminated in the light and she plucked the towel from her head. Her hair was much drier now, atleast not dripping with ice cold water.

Peridot looked right at her in that instant and Jasper's lips parted. The power blinked out on a clap of thunder and the two were left in the dark. Just staring at each other and breathing.

Jasper couldn't look away from her. Peridot's enchanting green eyes were glowing in the dark room. The only sound either could hear were their own heartbeats and the rain outside. She couldn't tell which was louder.

If her face had burned before, now it was on fire. Was Peridot tilting closer to her?

"What do we...do now?" Peridot murmured. Those fascinating eyes smoldering a shade deeper. Their glow undeniable now. Jasper was lured to her and her throaty voice.

"What do you want to do?" Jasper asked her. She was aching between the legs and they were just looking at each other. She dabbed her tongue against her lips to wet them and caught Peridot's eyes riveted to her mouth. "It looks like you want to kiss me."

Peridot's breath hitched. "Why would you think that?"

"Why wouldn't you deny it?" Jasper asked honestly as she scooted closer to her. Fuck, what was she doing?

Her lips parted as she exhaled a bated breath and Jasper had never wanted to kiss someone more. "I don't have to deny anything." She retorted as sharply as she could manage. Her lucid eyes seemed hazy now. "You wouldn't believe me either way."

"I would."

More lightening struck outside, neither even blinked.

Jasper palmed the leather beneath her hand and casually leant in further. Peridot watched her every move, but made none of her own to avoid her.

"I'm sorry." Peridot murmured.

"Why are you apologizing now?" Jasper wondered as she took in Peridot's scent. Definitely vanilla.

"Isn't that what you want to hear?" She asked, her voice nearly a whisper. "Isn't that why you're teasing me? Because you're still mad at me."

Jasper pulled back from her. "You think I'm teasing you?" She inquired, a little dumbfounded. I like you Peridot, I've always liked you. "I'm not mad at you."

Peridot blanched. "Then you've forgiven me?" She piqued hopefully, a smile hinting on her peckish face.

Jasper wanted to kiss her so badly, she could see Peridot's little breasts straining against the fabric of her too-big t-shirt. Her nipples hard and surely aching to be pet. Jasper fisted her hands by her sides to keep from touching her.

"I told you, it doesn't work like that."

Peridot sat up on her knees. "I can make something work."

Jasper tilted her head to the side. "There's nothing yo-"

Before she could finish her reply, and thorough scolding, Peridot had taken Jasper's mouth with hers. She whined a breath against her and clutched Jasper tight, Peridot's lips pressed deeply against hers and she groaned helplessly.

Jasper pawed at her sides, she grabbed her and tugged her in- closed the distance between them eagerly. Peridot mewled into the kiss and Jasper's eyes nearly rolled back. Through will she hadn't known she possessed, she pulled away from Peridot with a gasp. Their mouths connected by a thin line of saliva.

Now it was Jasper who was stammering. "W-why did you?"

"You really are an idiot." Peridot mumbled. "I like you." She confessed with a loll of her head.

Jasper scoffed with her thoroughly kissed mouth. "No you don't."

Peridot scowled at her. "Oh yes I do." She insisted quite matter-of-factly. "You've always been the one that brought it on. With your fucking...slow eyed glances." She murmured.

"What?"

"You know!" She squawked accusingly. "T-the flirting!"

Jasper glowered at her. She was being ridiculous. "There was never any flirting. I wouldn't have ever flirted with you."

Peridot crossed her arms defiantly, her mouth agape. "Really? I see! I saw you looking at me, Jasper. I catch your lovey dovey eyes on me. You stare at me! I-I thought you...I thought that maybe-"

"Did you want me to like you?" Jasper asked breathlessly, already on the verge of taking her mouth in another kiss. If only to get her to hush with these baseless accusations.

Peridot's hands flew into the air with her frustration. "Yes!" She cried, relieved. "I just wanted to be friends with you. I just wanted...someone to be friends with."

Had she been alone all these years? Confined to her apartment with no companions. The only person she'd ever be able to connect with on a personal, intimate level treated as if she didn't exist.

Jasper wanted to shake her head still. "So that's how you treat someone you like?" She accosted with a laugh.

How can I say any different?

"It's not like you treated me better..."

Jasper let that sink in deep like it should. "You're right." She agreed. "I didn't know you...felt that way. I thought you hated my guts or something. I mean, you never talked to me, you never said good-morning or-or anything." She droaned out aimlessly.

Peridot's face fell as she too let those words hit home. "I...it was so hard to talk to you. To anybody." She toyed with her own hands, and let them flit across the couch to hold Jasper's. "I'm so bad at communicating. I couldn't even see how I was hurting you."

Jasper squeezed her little hands tight, regret over her own actions over the years overcoming her. "I could have said something to you. I should have. I'm...sorry." She admitted freely. Feeling ignored...being ignored was the worst treatment. Jasper never wanted to make another feel that way, especially Peridot.

"Please forgive me." Peridot murmured low. She leant in close to Jasper.

"Kiss me and I might-"

The electronics around them lit up for a brief moment before dying back down. Peridot captured Jasper's face in her two fitful hands and kissed her hard. Desperately, like she'd been saving that one for a while.

Jasper grinned like an idiot into the kiss and pulled Peridot in her lap. She gasped when Jasper clutched the back of her head to deepen the kiss, enough room for Jasper to slip her tongue inside.

Peridot kissed her back vigorously, nearly clicking their teeth together as a light-bulb buzzed with power and burst suddenly. It didn't stop their ministration, and Peridot only kissed her more. She lapped her warm tongue against Jasper's, her little breasts were mashed against Jasper's own.

Jasper dipped one hand beneath Peridot's shirt, she grabbed her slender waist and made circles on her abdomen with her thumb. Her belly was so soft and warm to the touch, and Peridot worked her body into her touch, demanding a deeper contact.

Her hands flew to cup Jasper's and she led her rough palm up and up her stomach and to her slight breasts. Her little nipples strained against the rough fabric of her shirt and she hissed in a breath when Jasper brushed against them.

They puckered to her touch, and Jasper found satisfaction in pinching the throbbing tips between her fingers and tugging them till she gave a minute squeal. Peridot's head fell back and Jasper licked her exposed neck hungrily, she gave a little bite, hard enough to earn a low groan from her small lover.

Peridot cried out her name for the first time. "Jasper! What are we...are we going to...?"

Jasper placed a searing kiss to her flushed collar. "Do you want to?" She finished for her. She moved her hand to each of Peridot's plump breasts, making sure to leave neither neglected. She thrummed her sensitive nipples once more before she did away with Peridot's shirt entirely.

Peridot didn't see it, what with her pretty eyes squeezed shut, but Jasper manifested another copy of herself to leave no part of her lover unexplored. Peridot moaned loudly when Jasper's mouth fell to her left breast. She sucked her nipple past her lips and laved her tongue slowly against her. Long, teasing strokes to each breast. She wanted Peridot squirming for her.

Jasper sent her copy to the other side of the couch, to hold Peridot while she touched her.

"There's two of you." Peridot gasped, her voice laden with arousal, and excitement. She was shivering underneath Jasper's palms. She pressed her mouth to Peridot's neck and lapped at her warm skin, she trailed a kiss to beneath her ear.

That vanilla scent was strongest here and Jasper divulged herself on it. She inhaled her audibly.

"Tell me if it's too much." Jasper murmured against the column of her fluttering throat. She kissed Peridot softly before handing her over tenderly to her double.

The copy pressed Peridot's back to her chest and wove hands over to cup her little breasts. One hand dipped between Peridot's trembling legs and found her already wet through the fabric of her shorts.

The real Jasper pulled her own top up and over her head before tossing it to the ground, unabashed. Peridot's eyes fell to her smattering of scar tissue without judgement. She even stroked her fingers gently across the ropes. Jasper cupped her restrained breasts and let them drop heavily. They swayed as she dipped betwixt Peridot's knees.

"I-"

"Too much?" Jasper asked hurriedly, wanting Peridot comfortable. Didn't want to scare her off.

"N-no." Peridot stammered. She looked up to the duplicate and it grinned back at her before stroking her sex gently through the fabric. "Please, don't stop. I'm just nervous." She bit out, her words sounding slurred as the duplicate stroked her harder.

The real Jasper captured Peridot's wrists and kissed her mouth swiftly. "Don't be nervous, just relax. I've got you now." She released her hands and took to peeling off Peridot's thin shorts. Her white panties were already slick with arousal.

Peridot closed her legs, but the duplicate merely opened them even wider, her fingers worked over her wetness and stirred her evenly. The copy murmured deeply her ear. "I'm going to take these off of you now ." She rubbed her thumb against her aching clitoris and Jasper hooked one finger in the waistband of her panties.

Without looking away from her glowing eyes, Jasper tugged them down and off her lithe legs. She kissed her exposed inner thighs gently before cupping them and propping on her elbows. She leant in brazenly close to gaze between her lover's quivering legs.

"Stop looking so hard..." Peridot whined half-heartedly as Jasper spread her drenched folds with her thumbs. Her mouth watered for that shimmering wetness. Her glossy black curls damp with need.

Jasper's voice was ragged as she spoke. "So beautiful." She praised before setting her mouth upon Peridot in a frenzy.

Peridot screamed and the duplicate smothered it with a desperate kiss. Jasper reveled in her strong taste, and she worked her tongue over her throbbing clitoris in slow strokes. She lapped at her possessively, greedy for more. She sucked against her loudly and Peridot's hands flew to snatch at her white hair for anchorage.

"Jasper!"

Her hips snapped up to meet Jasper's thorough kiss. She whimpered between licks, shameless in her need for release. She worked her sex against Jasper's mouth erratically, her little hips spasmed in Jasper's grip and she fought to keep her writhing body pinned to the cushions.

"Come against my tongue, Peridot. I want to know what it tastes like." The duplicate growled, before clambering on top of Peridot for her own orgasm. Jasper's body was strung tight and ready to snap if she didn't come soon, but she needed Peridot to first.

The duplicate situated itself over Peridot's abdomen and brought her soft little hands up to her own sex. She snatched her slender wrist and ground her clitoris against Peridot's open palm, but she needn't work long before Peridot took the lead.

Jasper suckled her clitoris harshly past her lips before drooling against her to lick harder. Peridot was shaking in her hands now, her moans near constant. Peridot wasn't slack in her pleasuring, she dipped one finger inside of Jasper's slick entrance and groaned to find how wet she was.

"You're dripping wet..." Peridot gasped, her words lost momentarily when Jasper licked her particularly hard. Her little toes curled and she added another finger inside to stir her deeply. "Just from licking between my thighs?" She teased heatedly before her voice died on trembling cry.

Jasper's duplicate gave a throaty laugh, her head fell back and Jasper could feel Peridot's fingers wriggling inside of her, the heel of her palm working against her clit. Her massive body shuddered as her orgasm mounted swiftly in the core of her abdomen.

She'd never have imagine in her wildest dreams that it would be Peridot bring her to orgasm, and she'd be coming while her mouth was burried between her shapely thighs.

The lights began to flicker wildly before every appliance surged to life. In an instant, Peridot's body snapped tight as her release washed over her. The duplicate bent down to kiss her mouth and swallow up her heady moans.

Jasper licked Peridot harder as she came, she wanted to draw out her orgasm till she whined for Jasper to stop, but before she could, her own body was racked with release.

Both forms of herself buckled before Jasper belted out a deep groan. She felt her duplicate orgasm against Peridot's hand, wetness pooled from her in a rush and soaked her lover's twining fingers. The sound of static cracked between them and Jasper dimly noted her hair was standing on end.

Her duplicate slumped over Peridot, nearly defeated in a physical sense before it disappeared in a flash. Jasper's body hummed with satisfaction and she gave Peridot another deep taste to lick away her decadent orgasm.

Peridot was mumbling praise and swirling her fingers languidly in Jasper's hair. A terribly goofy smile was plastered on her reddened face, her dark hair fanned in all directions. She looked mesmerizing her her afterglow and Jasper was nearly ready to fuck her all over again, but they both needed rest. Jasper's body was demanding it.

Greg would be back soon, and the last thing Jasper wanted him walking in on was...well, this. Peridot was exquisitely spent, her electrified body lay relaxed and pliable against the cushion. Jasper gathered her up and simply held her in her arms.

Clean sweat mingled between them and Jasper dimly noted a love bite blooming darker on Peridot's neck. She'd tasted good everywhere, and had brought Jasper to orgasm with just a few flicks of her delicate wrists.

She inhaled their scent and took to redressing herself before the apartment's growing chill seeped past her freshly heated skin. Peridot did the same, though much slower. She toyed with the wetness between her legs and gave a delighted shiver. A spark popped off of her.

Once clothed, they both slumped uselessly against one another on the couch. Jasper drug Peridot closer for warmth and tucked her into her side. She was all but purring in her soft hair.

Jasper was content to pass out right there, but she knew she needed to move them into her room.

"Come on. You can rest in my bed." Jasper offered sleepily, her tongue heavy in her mouth after her thorough licking. She could still taste Peridot's arousal and she rather liked that.

"I can't sleep too late. Yellow doesn't want me staying over on school nights."

"I'll set an alarm." Jasper promised as she led Peridot by the hand to her humble bedroom, she glanced at her now chilled cup of tea sitting useless on the counter top before opening her door.

She kicked a pile of dirty laundry away and gestured for her messied bed. Pillows were skewed about, but Peridot hardly seemed to care as she snatched on and brought it to her stomach to hug tight. She curled on her side with absolute content, a heavy sigh escaping her throat.

Jasper was held in place for a moment, rapt to the vision of Peridot laying in her bed. She mumbled a thank you to the universe before crawling under the chilled sheets with her.

They turned to face one another, Peridot's eyes were fluttered shut, but Jasper looked at her a little while longer. She gazed at her features more closely now, and was pleased find new things about her. A dark freckle was dotted on the crinkle of her left eye. Subtle freckles were scattered across her gently sloped nose.

Jasper brushed her finger lightly across her cheek, earning herself a pleasant smile.

Peridot's eyes remained shut as she murmured. "Am I forgiven now?"

"Almost." Jasper promised.

 


 

~Epilogue~

 

"Okay, just-just don't let go."

"Why would I let go, you fucking dork?" Jasper asked with a squeeze. Peridot was clutching her hands tight, lest she float up and away into the clouds. Her green eyes were blown wide with fear, and maybe a few little tears.

Peridot was gripping her like a goddamn vice, and Jasper could feel her fingers falling asleep. She chuckled as her girlfriend's feet pointed straight up in the air. This flying lesson had gone better than the last ones, and Jasper considered their progress more than exceptional. Considering she had zero flying skills of her own and was coaching this shaky newbie up into the sky.

"P-pull me back down now! I'm done for today!" Peridot stammered, her feet kicking at nothing as she tried to float back down to the ground.

Jasper laughed louder, tears pricking her own eyes as Peridot's skirt threatened to slip down.

There was no one around the park on a Tuesday evening, but Peridot was modest and Jasper was teasing the hell out of her.

"But we were doing so good. Look how far you got off the ground!"

Peridot squawked her frustration and clawed at Jasper's forearm. She clambered down Jasper's chest and released herself from her abilities. She would have fell to her knees, but Jasper scooped her up diligently and clutched her in a tight embrace against her chest.

Peridot grunted and weakly attempted to hug her back before Jasper placed her on her feet.

"Honestly though," Jasper started. "You did wonderful."

Her girlfriend grinned sheepishly. "You say that every time."

"Because you're doing wonderful every time!" She praised sincerely.

Not months ago, the hand of Peridot's abilities was choking the life from Jasper's body, and now she could grasp her own self with it. She'd be flying in no time. Once she learned how to...stop going up.

Jasper had to take off after her more than once as she bobbed terribly useless a few feet above the ground. Jasper only had a hard time catching her because she couldn't stop laughing at her fitful wiggling.

Peridot reached for her hand to hold, her fingers so little weaved between Jasper's.

Summer break was nearly over and they'd both be off to college in the fall. Peridot was more than excited, but Jasper was a little nervous if she were being honest. College classes for the supernaturally gifted included out in the field action. There was a chance they'd be fighting actual crime. Or fires.

She was ready for it though, Peridot liked to spar- and to win. She made for a challenging match and Jasper adored her for it, among many many other things.

Jasper was beyond content simply to have Peridot, and she only prayed Peridot felt the same for her. Something told her she did.

"You know, my mom isn't going to be home till midnight." Peridot hinted, her voice sing song as she leant playfully against Jasper.

"And you know-" Jasper mocked teasingly. "We need to start looking for our own place."

"In due time." Peridot insisted as she led them hurriedly to the car. "But for now, I want you to take me home, and then I want you to take me to bed." She purred accordingly as she nuzzled Jasper's flustered neck.

"And I want you to say please." Jasper yawned, faking indifference as she unlocked the car doors for them.

Peridot snatched her face in both hand and brought her in for a demanding kiss before she pulled away only for air, and to murmur, "Please."