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Talk to Each Other (Just Give It a Try)

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Bismuth reforms on a battlefield with Pearl and Garnet watching over her. For a moment, she thinks that she's gone back in time or that maybe the whole thing with the Breaking Point was a particularly demented dream (though that begs the question of why they're waiting for her to reform out here in the open, with no cover for miles upon miles, and not at their base or some area where Homeworld can't see them), but even a casual glance at her surroundings proves that to be untrue. The field is carpeted in strawberries, some larger than her head, that twist around weapons laid down long ago; Pearl's stare is nervous and her sword deadly still; the battlefield is utterly silent except for the unceasing tap-tap-tap of Garnet's fingers against her other arm.

"Bismuth," Garnet says, her voice carefully even. "We need to talk."

"Yeah," Bismuth says, "we do." She sits quietly for a moment, waiting for Garnet or Pearl to say something. Neither do; just because they let her out of her bubble doesn't mean they planned this far. Bismuth decides to address the conspicuous lack of half the Crystal Gems first. "Where are Steven and Amethyst?"

"Not here," Pearl snaps.

"They went to the Beta Kindergarten," Garnet says as Pearl frowns (Bismuth is guessing that location came from Futurevision and not Amethyst and Steven), "and we wanted to talk with you alone." She looks guilty; Bismuth bets that Steven and Amethyst don't know that this little discussion is taking place.

"So you got Biggs and Crazy Lace to babysit?" Pearl sucks in a sharp breath.

"Bismuth," she says softly, "Biggs and Crazy Lace are gone. All of them are gone; we're only here because Rose's shield held up against the Corrupting Light."

"Right," Bismuth says. "You told me the last time we were here. We were nearly wiped out by Homeworld's last attack; they're all gone now." Bismuth wishes they weren't; Biggs might not have understood why she did what she did, but Crazy Lace definitely would've. She should never have told Rose about the Breaking Point, should've just taken it and run; with it, she could have taken the war to Homeworld, could've shattered the Diamonds themselves-

"This mess was caused by shattering a Diamond!" Pearl shouts, and Bismuth realizes that she's been thinking aloud. "Rose shattered Pink, and the other Diamonds did this!" Bismuth is about to argue back when her brain begins to take in what Pearl just said.

"Rose shattered Pink Diamond?" Garnet nods, and Bismuth's mind reels. That's not right. That can't be right. That doesn't make any sense, not with the way Rose reacted to even the idea of shattering enemy gems as a tactic. Pearl starts speaking again before Bismuth can begin to really rage about (or, for that matter, really grasp) Rose's apparent hypocrisy.

"Yes, and look where it left us! Alone, vastly outnumbered and outmatched by a single battalion, stuck waiting like sitting ducks for Homeworld to ret-"

"That was going to be the result anyways!" Bismuth yells. "I made the Breaking Point because we kept getting shattered. On this field alone, we lost over a dozen gems, half of whom were barely out of the ground! Were their lives worth less than the quartzes from the same Kindergartens on the other side?"

"No! Why would you-"

"Because we were treating them that way." Bismuth can feel old anger bubbling up, old rage from an old, neverending argument, and she lets it consume her, lets it remind her why she chose this path. "Homeworld kept decimating our ranks; if we were going to win this war, we needed to do the same!"

"In case you haven't noticed, Bismuth, we did win the rebellion, we did shatter a Diamond, and a hundred thousand gems were corrupted for it!" Bismuth blinks as her rage is diminished by confusion; that number doesn't sound right.

"Where'd we get a hundred thousand gems? Last time I checked, there were at most fifty thousand gems on Earth."

"The Kindergartens had finished maturing by then," Garnet says, "and Homeworld didn't evacuate before the Corrupting Light began. "

"They wouldn't; to them, a hundred thousand gems is just a number." Bismuth stopped doubting the lengths Homeworld would go to for a (pyrrhic) victory before she even landed on Earth. Still, something about this story isn't right. "Why was Pink Diamond on Earth?"

"What?" Garnet asks.

"By the time she was shattered, the Rebellion had been going on for centuries, and Pink gave orders from a safe distance after we sabotaged the Gamma Kindergarten. Why did she come back here?"

"You think Rose was set up?" Pearl is frowning the way she does when she's thinking a problem over. The last time Bismuth saw this expression, she'd figured out a way to destroy Homeworld's primary armory; Bismuth doubts the resolution of her current chain of thought will be less destructive.

"It makes more sense than Pink taking a trip to an active warzone she'd made a habit of avoiding. I'm not saying it's true, but this story doesn't add up. The Rose I remember started the rebellion because she believed all life had valued. She bubbled me for even suggesting shattering enemy gems! You two knew Rose better than I did." Well, Bismuth is unsure she knew Rose at all, but Pearl was her most trusted lieutenant, so the point still stands. "Was she ever one to change her mind?"

"No," Pearl says, "she wasn't. She always did what she wanted, and she never looked back." They sit for a moment in comfortable silence, shared grief and shared doubt filling the space between them. Finally, Garnet stands.

"We need to get back," she says as she walks towards the warp pad, Pearl hastily following her. "Bismuth, let's go home." After a moment's hesitation, Bismuth goes to join them.