They had been planning on having a date. Garnet and Steven were out for the day on a mission, and it left the two of them with some long awaited alone time. Pearl had come over to Amethyst’s room to find her, but somehow things had ended up like this—Pearl poking at the stars on her knees as long, fluffy hair tumbled wildly around her shoulders and Amethyst pulling at the end of the sash tied around her middle while marveling at the length of her arms and legs. Neither of them really knew where the gem artifact had come from exactly, or why it had made the two of them switch bodies, but its noticeably damaged appearance led them to the conclusion that the whole thing was some kind of bizarre malfunction. Upon closer inspection, it was unlikely the effects would last for any length of time, but it was still not what either of them had expected to have happen today.
“This is all your fault, you know,” Pearl said as she stood up, looking herself up and down in a nearby mirror that was propped against one of Amethyst’s piles.
“My fault? You’re the one who knocked it over.”
“I only knocked it over because it was stuck precariously in that pile of garbage, which you put there.”
“Ugh, does it even matter? Why don’t we just have some fun with this?”
“Fun? Amethyst, we don’t even know what this is going to do to us! It could be dangerous!”
“It already did it. We switched. End of story.” Amethyst straightened up a little too quickly and banged her head on a lamp sticking out above her. “Ouch! Okay, so turns out it’s kind of annoying being this tall, but it’s not actually hurting anybody.”
“Well, it’s incredibly unnatural,” Pearl countered, shuddering a little. “Did you have to eat those fry bits earlier? Your body is still digesting and it’s quite unpleasant.”
“Well, if I had known we’d be swapping places, I wouldn’t have.” She paused. “No, actually, I still would. Hmm, now that you mention food…”
“Don’t you dare eat anything in my body!” Pearl smacked Amethyst’s hand away from an old box of pizza.
“I’m kidding, I’m kidding!” Amethyst relented, holding her hands up in surrender.
“You’d better be,” she huffed.
“How do you think this works? We traded gems, which is kinda weird. Shouldn’t I be, I don’t know, a Pearl with an amethyst on her head instead of you you?”
“I don’t know,” Pearl replied, touching the faceted gem in her chest carefully. “Let’s just wait for Garnet to get home; maybe she’ll have some idea of how to switch us back into our own bodies. Or it may wear off by then anyway.”
“I guess,” Amethyst agreed, looking bored. “Hey, if we try to open our doors to the temple, do you think it’ll work?”
“I don’t know.”
“And if we form Opal with you dancing as me and me dancing as you, what happens?”
“I don’t know.”
“Want to try it?” she asked.
“Amethyst, please don’t exacerbate the situation,” Pearl sighed. She picked up the artifact and bubbled it.
“Okay, okay.” She leaned in close to the mirror, curiously poking at her forehead. “Let me see what happens when I summon my weapon then.”
“Amethyst!” she protested, too late as what should have been her gem began to glow.
“Huh, guess I get your spear,” Amethyst said, twirling it in one hand.
“Wonderful,” Pearl replied, throwing her arms up in the air. “Now perhaps you can tell me how you're able to function when you can only see out of one eye.” Exasperated, she pushed Amethyst’s hair out of her face for the hundredth time.
“Uhh, the same way Sapphire does?”
Pearl gave her a disdainful look and kept one hand tangled in Amethyst’s bangs so they didn’t block her eyes. “This is so much hair; what do you even do with it?”
“Hold on, I’ll get you something,” Amethyst offered, sticking the spear back into Pearl’s gem. She walked a couple piles over and plucked an item from the bottom. She flicked the rubber band in Pearl’s direction, grinning when it hit her on the forehead.
The other gem doubled over laughing. “You sound like you’re mad at yourself, P.”
“It’s rather unavoidable, given the circumstances,” she replied irritably.
“C’mon, have some fun with it,” Amethyst said. “Pretend you’re me, and I’ll be you.” She cleared her throat importantly, then took a deep breath. “Amethyst! How dare you be so careless about leaving gem artifacts lying around in this mess? You need to clean this place up!”
“I do not sound like that!” Pearl huffed, tying Amethyst’s hair back neatly.
Amethyst put a hand on her hip and waited expectantly.
“Fine.” Pearl took on an exaggerated slouch. “I don’t know, I guess I just didn’t feel like putting it away…” She mirrored Amethyst, putting a hand on her hip as well. “I’ve got my own system in here, you know. Stop trying to organize all my junk.”
Amethyst laughed. “Hey, not half bad. You’re standing really weird though.”
“Forgive me for being used to good posture,” she said, straightening up. “Whatever you’re doing looks equally ridiculous on my body.”
Amethyst rolled her eyes. “Well, I’m not used to being tall and stick thin; I feel all wobbly.”
“It would help if you straightened your back. My back.”
“Yeah, no thanks,” she said, wrinkling her nose.
“Do you have a hair clip I could use?” Pearl asked, impatiently shoving her bangs back again.
“Huh? Yeah, somewhere around here.” She rummaged through some small trinkets and eventually held up a sparkly multi-colored clip. “Gotcha.” She helped Pearl tuck her bangs off to the side. “Better?”
“Much,” she replied gratefully.
Amethyst grinned and moved forward to kiss her briefly, leaning down at an odd angle. “Hey, what do you say we just go ahead like we planned? I found some cool movies to watch, and we have a nice cushy bed right over there,” she offered.
“I don’t know…” Pearl leaned away, looking a little unnerved.
“You okay?” Amethyst asked, taking a step back.
Pearl hesitated. “It’s a bit jarring not being in control of my own body,” she admitted. “I mean, I trust you with it, and I realize you’re in the same position, but…it’s still a discomforting thought. I don’t know how to explain.” She wrung her hands nervously. “I suppose it’s because my autonomy was something I had to fight for,” she finished in a small voice.
“Oh,” Amethyst said, guilt pooling in her chest. “Um, listen, if you’re not cool with this then we can just, you know, not do the whole date thing.”
Pearl smiled faintly. “Thank you, Amethyst, but I’m alright.” She hesitated, then slipped a hand into Amethyst’s, fumbling with fingers that she wasn’t used to. “I’d still like to spend time with you, but…I’m not really comfortable being intimate when we’re like this.”
“Yeah, no, you got it.” She squeezed her hand. “You make the calls today, P.”
Something in her expression softened. “Thank you,” she repeated with a warm smile. “Shall we go find somewhere safer to relax?”
“Suuure,” Amethyst agreed, rolling her eyes. “Your room, or back at the house?”
“The house, I think.” She began leading the way back to the door, picking a careful path through the mess as she carried the bubbled object securely in one hand.
Once they were outside of the temple, they gravitated to the sofa. Amethyst stretched her legs out along one side and Pearl settled carefully beside her, resting her head on Amethyst’s lap.
“Okay to hold you?” the other gem asked.
Pearl nodded, guiding Amethyst’s arm around her middle and leaving her own layered comfortably on top of the slender one.
“We’ll be fine,” Amethyst said, squeezing her gently. “I’m sure its weird magic powers will wear off soon.”
“I know,” she said, turning her head a little to look at Amethyst. “I love you.”
“Huh?” Her face went a faint turquoise. “What’s that got to do with it?”
Pearl laughed a little and shook her head, bringing her hand to her lips and pressing a small kiss to the back of it. “I appreciate what you’re doing, even if you were looking forward to a real date.”
“This is totally a real date,” Amethyst argued, purposefully mussing the ponytail Pearl had made. “I mean, it’s definitely one of our weirder ones, but it still counts.” She poked her lightly in the nose. “I think I prefer regular you though. I feel like I’m dating myself, and it’s not nearly as fun as I would have thought.”
“There is a reason pair bonding occurs in a number of Earth species and—”
“And you’re making me sound like a nerd.”
Pearl gave her a fond, exasperated smile. “My apologies for ruining your reputation.” She moved so she could look up at Amethyst more comfortably. “Could you pass me that book on the coffee table? I think I might just read for a while, if you don’t mind.”
“Sure.” Amethyst nearly shapeshifted to grab it, but caught herself just in time, leaning forward over Pearl awkwardly to reach the book. “Here you go,” she said, dropping it into her hands.
“Thanks.” Pearl flipped it open to the page she had marked.
“No offense, P, but that looks like the most boring book on the planet.”
“It’s intended to be informative, not entertaining.”
Amethyst gave an exaggerated yawn.
“Stop doing that with my face,” Pearl told her, poking her playfully with the corner of her book.
“Fun police,” she retorted, sticking out her tongue.
She rolled her eyes and settled in with her reading.
“Wanna try and trick Garnet and Steven when they get home?” Amethyst asked before she could get very far.
“Garnet has future vision and Steven would notice right away.”
“Okay, I guess you have a point, but we could try it.”
“Or we could try just having a quiet afternoon,” she said pointedly, not looking up from the book.
“Alright, alright.” Amethyst wriggled around a little, trying to get in a more comfortable position. “Why are you so tall?”
“Well, all gems have—”
“Nooo, I take back my question, I don’t want a science lesson.” She slid a little farther down on the couch, making Pearl resituate as well. “There, that’s better.”
“Your posture is horrendous.”
“I think you mean your posture, Pierogi.” She grinned down at Pearl, sliding an arm back over her waist and squeezing. “Read me some of your nerd stories.”
“What, to put you to sleep?”
“Exactly,” she laughed. She tickled Pearl’s side lightly, knowing exactly the right spot to make her squirm. “If that’s okay with you.”
“Yes, yes, that’s fine.” Pearl grabbed Amethyst’s hand to stop her, smiling involuntarily. “Are you really comfortable like that?”
“Yep.” Amethyst tilted her head back and closed her eyes, relaxing.
Pearl looked up at her affectionately, then curled up a little closer to her as she began reading in a steady, quiet voice. It didn’t take long for Amethyst to fall asleep, even in Pearl’s body, and she only finished a few pages before stopping and setting the book down, one finger holding her place. She watched Amethyst in silence, surprised by the soft glow that began to emanate from her gem.
Pearl didn’t sleep often enough to really know whether these projections always happened or if it was a more sporadic occurrence. These images, though, weren’t her own. She blushed as she appeared in the projection and began to dance with Amethyst. It was probably impolite to stare—Pearl always got incredibly embarrassed when Amethyst mentioned seeing one of her dreams—but it was hard to tear her eyes away after the first look. It was a sweet, lighthearted dance, relaxed and drawn out. Not rushed in the face of imminent danger like it so often was.
She wished they could dance like that more often. Maybe they should try to, maybe she would ask Amethyst once they were back to normal. She’d love to form Opal like that with her and, if the look on Amethyst’s face in the dream was anything to go by, Amethyst would love it too.
Pearl smiled, leaning up and placing a gentle hand over her gem, disrupting the image before she could see any more. Amethyst stirred slightly at the touch, but her eyes remained closed.
“I love you,” Pearl whispered before settling back onto her lap and curling up with a book in her hands and Amethyst’s arms around her.
Amethyst smiled sleepily. “Love you too, Pearl,” she mumbled.
It still felt backwards, but there was a comfortable familiarity to it as well and Pearl was more than content to wait it out in the reassuring warmth of Amethyst’s presence.