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Space was a welcome freedom, stars and nebulas surrounding Lapis as she flew. Earth, while beautiful and everything Homeworld wasn’t, was suffocating now. But Space? Space hadn’t changed from before Lapis had been trapped, and she clung to that familiarity as she passed by planets that had once held life. From up here, it was almost easy to ignore now they were hollow shells of what they once were.

Homeworld had spread so far since Lapis had been placed into that mirror. Once lush planets, drained to husks. And so many colonies, all looking similar to one another. Bright, seamless. Manned by gems of all shapes and colours, without a single deformity in sight.

Once, Lapis had welcomed the sight.

She’d known her place, how to play her role as a Lapis Lazuli. While they weren’t common gems, like a Peridot or a Ruby, they weren’t rare like a Sapphire either. They were terraformers, often sent to conquered planters to shape the landmass to what was needed. Helping to spread the glory of Homeworld in her own way so more gems could be made.

Lapis had loved doing that. Dancing through the sky, waving her hands gracefully to move the water to her whim. She had been powerful and beautiful, like all Lapis Lazulis. She had been one of many, happy to not stand out. And then she had been placed into a mirror by Homeworld, unable to move or speak.

Only able to look into darkness as she was stored into a Pearl’s gem, aware of every second that passed slowly. And then there had been the crushing weight of the ocean, and Lapis being fully aware that she could free herself at any moment. A single twitch of her finger, and Malachite would have been able to leave.

The knowledge that she had imprisoned herself that time… Lapis shivered at the memory of the weight of shackles on her wrists, the too many arms that moved without her control at times and the eyes that had blinked out of sync.

She would never be imprisoned again. Not by any Gem, including herself.

Now though, as she flew past planets that she may have helped terraform, the sight of the colonies made her feel sick. She avoided them as she searched for the items Peridot needed, although searching for the items was difficult. All the rocks Peridot had described looked similar to her, one shiny black rock like another. But Peridot insisted they had different mineral quantities, that they caused different reactions and had different… something.

Lapis had zoned out at that point and had merely started to gather everything that seemed to match her description. Peridot would know what she was looking for and, hey, extra rocks and liquid that she could use. Plus Lapis didn’t need to worry about carrying capacity as she travelled, which helped. She just had to worry about hiding from Homeworld and not think.

Originally, she hadn’t wanted to think about what they could be doing to Steven. The awful, awful tortures they could be inflicting. It was good he was part organic, because otherwise they could have found him inside a mirror as well. Or… or something worse. Trapped alone on Homeworld, torn apart slowly for information on the Crystal Gems. Gem slowly ground to dust, now just material to be used for anything else Homeworld could think of. Lapis had had to try so hard not to panic when she learned he’d been taken, but all she had been able to remember was the mirror.

The mirror and the crushing weight of the ocean bearing down onto her.

But now she had something new to not think about.

She was trying to help the Crystal Gems rescue a Diamond. Peridot had told her the last time Lapis had returned to Earth. Bright, excited smiles as she talked about how Steven was Pink Diamond and how that could change everything. It meant that Steven was guaranteed to be alive.

Then Peridot had mentioned wanting to add a pink diamond to her uniform, because Steven was part of the Crystal Gems and so was she, and Lapis suddenly had needed to leave the planet again. The weight had become too much to bear again. It was suddenly grinding her down to dust, wearing her away.

And Lapis was happy Steven was alive, she was, but… Lapis didn’t want to be near Homeworld or the Diamonds. She was scared, even if Steven seemed to reassure her whenever she was near him. Steven was Steven, but Steven was apparently Pink Diamond. And the Diamonds were the worst, destroying everything they touched.

But if he was Pink Diamond and Rose Quartz, why had she been hurt?

If Pink Diamond had been Rose Quartz, then what had been the point of the war and the colonisation of Earth and Lapis beings trapped in a mirror for thousands of years? Had all of her suffering been for nothing?

Lapis swooped down onto a planet which hadn’t been colonised, looking at the purple landmass sadly.

She could leave Earth.

She could take Peridot and run. They would be safe on a planet like this. Peridot could do her experiments and Lapis could enjoy the peace. And when Homeworld came for this planet, they could move on. They could keep moving and avoid everything. The Diamonds would never leave the Earth in peace, and when they came…

Lapis shivered.

When they came, it would be better for everyone if the Crystal Gems weren’t on Earth. How could they fight the Diamonds? The might of Homeworld?

But Lapis already knew Peridot would refuse. That was what Lapis respected about her, how Peridot never gave up. Peridot was brave, and she thought Lapis was brave too.

Lapis leant down, starting to collect whatever seemed usable. She wasn’t made for science, but she could do this. She even giggled as she tried to pick up an odd looking rock, which shone like light through water as its carapace moved to defend itself. The rock, actually a small alien, waved six legs angrily at her before it scuttled off.

Once, Lapis wouldn’t have cared that this planet had life on it. She would have torn the landmass into chunks and laughed happily. She would have called her work beautiful if asked, not that anyone ever had, and been proud of herself. She would have been proud to serve. Proud to merely exist.

Serving a Diamond she had only seen pictures of, but knowing deep inside her that she only existed for that one gem. Wasn’t that pathetic? And what was even more pathetic was the knowledge that, if she had ran… Steven would have understood. He would have been sad, but he would have understood why she did it.

That was why Lapis kept gathering the numerous rocks and plants. She couldn’t fight Homeworld. She would be too afraid to step through the portal, too afraid to even consider it. But she could fight back by doing this.

The light purple grass was ripped up in chunks and placed in the box she had floating behind her. It had been designed by Peridot to be able to store more items than it should be able to. Peridot had explained the science behind it when placing the box in the barn all those months ago. Lapis had been too busy reading manga to listen, but the attempt had been appreciated. Peridots were just happy to be able to tell anyone about their work. It was how they were made.

Like how Lapis had enjoyed dancing with water before something inside of her had broken.

Because she was broken.

She was a Lapis who didn’t want to terraform.

She didn’t really want to do anything anymore, except read and watch tv. She didn’t have a place anymore, and that was ok. It had taken a long time to acknowledge that it was ok to just… not do anything for a bigger goal. That she wasn’t worthless because she spent all her time reading.

Farming had been fun though, even if it was a pointless activity. She might do more of that one day. When Steven was back and Lapis could return to pretending that the Earth wasn’t going to fall to Homeworld one day. Ignoring the fact that one day she would lose everything she had.

Lapis ran a thumb over a strand of grass, leaving a small layer of purple dust on the tip.

Could she grow some of this grass on Earth?

She pulled up more plants. The orange flowers tipped with silver, she pulled the branches off the trees, having to be careful so the pink flowers didn’t disappear in a cloud of petals. Picking up all the rocks and dirt she could.

She wasn’t sure what Peridot had needed, but the small green gem always smiled so brightly when Lapis presented her new organic matter. Anything helped, so Lapis kept gathering all she could get her hands on. The one thing she didn’t do, was try to catch the small organics.

The rock-like organics that rolled past her sometimes. The flying organics with four wings that fluttered over to her and pecked at her hair curiously, the wings changing colour in the dying light of the sun setting. Lapis didn’t try to collect any of them, because Steven wouldn’t want to be saved at the cost of organic life.

Lapis paused, and smiled sadly.

Yeah, that was right. A Diamond didn’t care about the planets or the life on them, but Steven did. Steven wanted to protect everyone, even if they were a Homeworld Gem who everyone thought was an enemy. Homeworld Diamonds didn’t care about things like that, they just wanted results.

Feeling lighter, she kept working.

She’d never belong to a Court again, but she was fine with that. And Steven would never force her into one. He would never ask her to terraform a planet either. For now, Lapis focused on that and not the uncertain future ahead of her.