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Earth Science

Chapter Text

"Jasper, you're not listening to me!"

"Sure I am."

"Okay, then what did I say?"

Jasper sighed and flipped to the next page in her textbook so she could write down another vocab word. The table shook, and she knew that Peridot was trying to kick her – and if her legs were longer, she would have succeeded. Not reaching only made her friend more irate.

"Do you even care what your cousin's doing to me!?"

"Shhh!" Champaign, Ms. Diamond's most dedicated teacher’s pet, glared over at them from the library counter. Knowing that working in the library would give her some form of authority, Champaign naturally had to take on the job and make herself more insufferable to everyone else.

"Now look at what you did." Jasper looked up from her textbook, smirking. Peridot's face flushed pink.

"Can you please tell Amethyst to stop? Every time I talk she starts laughing at me! Even if I'm on the other side of the room, it's embarrassing!"

Peridot's been bullied heavily before, so it was natural that she'd be sensitive to anything she'd perceive to be mockery - which, in Amethyst's case, most likely is. The worst of it died down about a year ago - the same time Peridot and Jasper sparked a friendship. Now only Amethyst would dare to do anything.

"If I bring it up, it'll only encourage her." If it was completely necessary for Jasper to intervene, she will. But she doubted Amethyst would listen - if anything, she'd take it as a chance to challenge her to a fight out in the parking lot.

"Then what am I going to do? Every time I tell her to knock it off, she laughs harder! .. Jasper? Jasper!"

As unfortunate as Peridot's predicament was, Jasper really needed to study. She continued to write down definitions and pressed her finger against her friend's lips every time she attempted to interrupt her. If she wanted to get into the army, she’ll have to pass her classes. Eventually, Peridot gave up and worked on her own assignments. At last, silence. Surely Champaign was pleased. It almost made Jasper want to cause commotion, but for the sake of her grades, she refrained.

Aside from an occasional locker door slam, clock ticking, and clanking of high heels, it was quiet. School ended half an hour ago, and this was the only time where she and Peridot were more at ease there. Jasper would be more at ease though, if the sun wasn't peeking through the blinds and reflecting off of Peridot's blonde hair.

"Peridot, can you move to the other chair?"

"No."

She's still pissed. Ah.

Jasper sighed and got to her feet, much preferring to just shut the blinds then to start bickering over it. The library windows had the best view of the ocean from anywhere else in the building, too bad she didn't care enough to allow the sun to burn her eyes. With a tug, the blinds fell and covered the scenic view.

Before turning back, she saw that someone else was sitting by the windows, a couple tables down. The girl had her elbows propped on the window sill, her music still capable of being heard despite her headphones - Crystal Castles, by the sound of it. The headphones were just a slightly lighter shade of blue from her hair - which was dyed a vibrant shade. There were books to the side of her, but they weren't opened. From what Jasper knew of this girl, that wasn't surprising. School didn't seem to be a high interest to her, and Ms. Diamond especially gave her a hard time about it in the classes they shared together. 

"Lapis!" 

The blue haired girl turned around, and Jasper quickly retreated back to her seat. A boy that Jasper knew to be a freshman ran past their table. 

"Shhh!" Champaign sounded again. The boy apologized, but still spoke to Lapis with the same volume. 

"Ready to go home?" 

"Sure," her voice wasn't nearly as loud. 

Lapis and the freshman walked towards the exit. Unread books in one hand, the boy's hand in the other. Her skirt swayed with her movements. She always wore skirts, as far as Jasper knew. 

"..Jasper?" Peridot was poking her.

"What." 

"I don't remember this topic being talked about in class." 

"Give me the sheet." 

Quickly forgetting about Lapis and the boy, Jasper took Peridot's worksheet and started examining it. 

 

-- 

 

Lapis traced the lines on the picnic table with her finger while her foster brother, Steven, hummed to himself. The sea breeze moved her skirt around and tickled her ankles, the smell of salt mixed in with the scent of grilled hot dogs. Greg always grilled hot dogs. 

"Alright, kiddos, eat up!" He gave her and his son plates and placed a hot dog on each one. 

While they ate, Greg strummed his guitar in attempt to make a melody out of the crying gulls that flew overhead - hoping to get a bite of their food, no doubt. It went on like that for awhile, until Greg asked how school was. 

"Great! Me and Connie are building a machine in science - we're supposed to try moving a pencil across the room with it." 

"Ah, levers and pulleys, I remember learning about those. Cool beans, son. What about you, Lapis, how was your day?" 

Cool beans? 

"Fine." 

"Not wonderful? Not spectacular?" 

Horrendous. Like always. 

"No, just fine." 

Her grades were plummeting, and Lapis couldn't bring herself to try raising them. She's so far behind that Ms. Diamond said that she'll have to either stay behind after class to work, or she'll have another student tutor her. That, and apparently making fart noises during class was frowned upon and not appreciated. Earlier she was serving detention in the library, but the teacher that was supposed to be watching her left to talk to another employee - so she got away with blasting her music. 

"I gotcha. Hey, whoa whoa whoa!" Greg jumped to his feet and rushed to the grill, which had smoke rising from inside of it. Before Steven ran over to help, he turned to Lapis. 

"I can help you with your homework if you want, we can be study buddies." 

Lapis smiled. He always referred to them as 'buddies,' of some sort. Earlier that year, it was 'beach summer fun buddies.' Last week it was 'movie buddies.' 

"Thanks Steven, but I don't need any help. Besides, it senior stuff, you probably won't understand it yet." 

Steven shrugged, but nodded. 

"Well, okay. Let me know if you change your mind - coming dad!" 

"No, no! You'll get hurt, stay back!" 

Eventually, Greg managed to put the fire out without Steven having to do anything. Lapis couldn't quite remember how he did it, having spaced off during the ordeal. Always spacing off. Never alert enough. One of the many complaints Ms. Diamond had regarding her. Lapis Lazuli - the worst student ever. Was once the best student ever. Those glory days are gone now. 

Sliding away her barely eaten hot dog, Lapis pulled out her MP3 - courtesy of Mr. Greg Universe - and tuned out the gulls and waves to the beats of electropunk. 

 

Chapter Text

The air kicked on with a roar, and Jasper shivered before she could even feel the chill. Her seat was directly below one of the vents, so she made sure to always bring her jacket to biology.

Jasper reached up and removed her hair tie, letting her hair loose for more warmth. From the seat behind her, there was a groan. Lars whined more than Peridot did - and he detested her hair. Something about how strands of it always wound up on his desk. If he complained, Jasper would say that it might be his hair, knowing full well that it wasn't.

"Are you kidding me? I'm not blonde! You know it's yours!"

And then she'd flip her hair back and wink. Needless to say, Lars hated her.

Flipping her notebook to a new page, Jasper readied herself for the day's lesson. Ms. Diamond stood at the white board and began jotting down notes. "Ecosystems are controlled by external and internal factors. An example of external factors, would be climate. Climate - "

Pfffbbt.

Their teacher looked over her shoulder and scowled. Most of the class didn't bother to scan the room for the source of the noise. Everyone already knew.

"Lapis, you're testing my patience."

Pfffbbt.

Champaign, who to Jasper's misfortune sat in front of her and to the side of Lapis, leaned over to the blue haired girl and told her to stop. Lapis looked at Champagin with a bored expression, then to their teacher. She did it again, clearly not caring about the consequences. Ms. Diamond, while strict, gave many chances - Lapis was a good example of that. If she continued though, her chances would soon run out.

Without a word, Ms. Diamond grabbed a slip from her desk. Another detention awaited Lapis Lazuli. She did it again. Ms. Diamond sighed.

"Alright, I've had enough.." she walked over to Lapis and handed her the slip. "Until you've decided to act appropriately in my class, you'll be spending the rest of this period in the office."

Finally. Maybe now they could move on. More delays only stressed Jasper out more, with so much else to do.

"Jasper, escort Miss Lazuli to the office, please."

Wait, what?

"..Why me?"

"Because I said so."

"But I don't want to."

"Jasper, just do it."

For fucksake.

She huffed, but stood up and walked towards the door. This was a random and unfair selection. Where was the justice? The troublemaker responsible for this bullshit dragged her feet, but was eventually walking side-by-side with Jasper down the hallway. The taller girl couldn't help but be angry at Lapis - she liked to cause a little chaos now and again, sure, but not to where it's utterly inconvenient. As opinionated as she is, she couldn't hold her tongue for long.

"Do you have to do this every other day?"

Lapis said nothing.

"I didn't care before, but now I've been dragged into it and it's pissing me off."

Pfffbbt.

Holy goddamn shit.

"Knock it o-"

When Jasper looked in Lazuli's direction, she realized that the other girl left. Her flipflops were smacking against the tile floor as she made her escape. Jasper was just worked up enough to chase after her. She wasn't going to be blamed for this, and she wasn't going to stand for being mocked either. 

By time Jasper caught up with her, Lapis was already close to the south exit of the school. She managed to grab one of her arms before she could push against the doors. Jasper was startled by how light she was compared to her, and was uncertain for a moment if she actually succeeded in catching her. The jerking and yelling, however, proved that she had. 

"Let go, let go, let go!" 

"You're just going to be in the office for one goddamn hour, why do you have to throw a tantrum about it?! But as much as you act out, maybe you deserve to be in there longer - OW!" 

Lapis bit her. This girl is nearing 18 years old, and she actually resulted to biting

Her hand was fucking bleeding too. 

The doors slamming shut snapped Jasper's attention away from her hand. Lapis was gone. She made it outside and was probably running for the hills. 

Fuck it. Jasper had enough. She went to her locker to get some gauze, wrapped it around her hand, then headed back to class. Normally she'd be rushing so nothing important would go unheard, but with her temper flared up, Jasper wouldn't be able to fully concentrate until she was calm again. 

1.. 2.. 3.. 

1.. 2.. 3.. 

 

 

Lapis was trembling. She could still feel that girl's grip on her, and submerging most of her body in the ocean didn't distract her from the sensation.

'Why do you have to throw a tantrum about it?'

She wouldn't have known where to begin. How to explain the terror she felt. 

Her stunt distanced herself from the present, but Lapis knew that she'll have to face the consequences soon. 

Until then, she chose to stay in the water. Away from that school. Away from that town. Away from that girl. 

No one was going to lock her away. 

 

 

Chapter Text

It was approaching 10 o'clock by time Jasper made it to her apartment. Her hands were aching and bruised, but she wasn't about to let herself put down the groceries she was carrying. She deserved the pain, she caused it herself. Besides, if she took any longer her roommates would throw a fit.

Before Jasper opened the door, she checked her reflection in the window. Her eyes weren't puffy like before, but they were still red-rimmed. She could make excuses, say that dirt got in her face, or she hadn't been sleeping - but, she didn't want to waste her breath. If she hurried, maybe no one would notice. 

At this point, she probably would lose sleep. She couldn't possibly squeeze in homework, a shower, and a full night of rest. Oh well, even if she had the time, she couldn't sleep with all of these thoughts swarming her head.

"You're late," Emmy said from the couch. She and their other roommates - Emmy's three daughters, and one of their friends - were all watching what Jasper could only guess was a sporting event. Judging by their dejected expressions, the team they were rooting for wasn't doing too hot. It seemed like they were able to feed themselves without her, at least, as there was an empty pizza box on the coffee table. 

"No shit." 

Jasper finally set the groceries on the counter and grabbed herself a hot pocket from one of the sacks. She tossed it in the microwave and tapped her foot impatiently. There was no way she was going to digest it well, but she already wasted so much energy - she needed something

Emmy came in the kitchen and leaned against the fridge. When Jasper refused to look her way, she snapped her fingers. 

"What." 

"Why are you late?" 

Jasper glanced her way briefly, noticing she was still wearing that tacky green bathrobe - then back at the microwave. Just a few more seconds.

"Jasper - " 

"JROCT. That's why I'm late." 

Emmy snorted. The microwave beeped. Jasper knew that it would burn if she grabbed the hot pocket with her bare hands, but she didn't care. They already hurt, and she just wanted to leave the kitchen faster. Before she made it to the hallway, however, her aunt stepped in front of her. 

"Move." 

"Why. Are. You. Late?" Emmy raised her arms so it would be more difficult for Jasper to nudge past her. She was testing her patience. 

"I. Just. Told. You.

"Yes, and you lied." 

Jasper winced and switched the hot pocket to her other hand. If Emmy didn't get out of her way, she might just shove it under her robe. 

"The grocery store was crowded, also. You're welcome, by the way." 

"Another lie. You're only late when you're brawling or sulking, so which one was it?" 

Sulking. Fuck this - fuck her. So what if she was? That was her business, and it would've harmed no one but her own damn self. She didn't deserve to be interrogated like this. It had been months since she got in any serious trouble. This was a small lapse. A dumb, small lapse. It almost never happened. 

"If you don't get out of my face, there will be a brawl." 

Emmy couldn't take her, not without her stun gun, anyway. She was tough but she wasn't nearly as strong as she used to be. Meanwhile, Jasper was in her prime. If the others got off their asses and helped they'd at least be able to pin Jasper down. Fat chance of that happening.

Jasper threw the hot pocket, which bounced off a wall and very likely created a mess, then managed to push Emmy aside so she could get by her. She stomped to her room and slammed door behind her. No need to barricade it - they wouldn't dare open it. 

The adrenaline was making her sweat, so she slipped out of her pants and emptied her pockets. First she pulled out her phone, which alerted her of several new messages from Peridot, then her wallet and her car keys. Dammit. She'll have to get her car door fixed tomorrow - she can't have her aunt seeing the fist-sized dent in it. Jasper will be up before her, so unless she bothered to look outside, she wouldn't notice that the car was missing. Hopefully Jasper will also be early enough to be sure a tow truck won't haul the hunk of junk out of the grocery store parking lot. 

Her phone buzzed. Another message from Peridot, who wanted to know what they were doing for the next biology project. She was about to message her back - only to say 'I don't know' - but she went to images instead. She ought to just get rid of all of those pictures, they took up too much space. Just be done with it and move on. That was productive, wasn't it? 

The desire faded immediately when her finger hovered over the image of girl with short pink hair, who was posing in front of a Lynx exhibit and winking at the camera.

A lot of the pictures were of just one person. Some included Jasper, but only if the other girl was there too, wrapping her arm around Jasper's shoulders or kissing her cheek. All of them dated back at least a year. 

Only one was recent, taken a few hours ago. A picture of a grave with fresh flowers placed in front of it.

Our beloved Mallow Rose Diamond, who made our lives brighter. You will be deeply missed. 

Fuck. 

Jasper's eyes began to sting again. She pulled up Peridot's text messages, knowing damn well she couldn't bring herself to delete anything. 

'I don't know - I can't talk now.' 

Before Peridot went spastic, she followed with, 

'Busy with other work.

That was the best thing she could do, focus on the work she's been given. It felt a lot like she was stalling, but she had to. If she didn't, it'll get bad again. Everyone was watching, and they'll notice her slipping. Jasper doesn't slip. She doesn't fail

What's the use in feeling blue, anyway?