It wasn’t like Rose to run off like this. Time was running short, if they waited any longer, they would lose the element of surprise. Pink Diamond was unobservant when it came to most things, but she became a lot less so when it was her own… things… that went missing. Especially not her pretty little pearly. This would be the last time that she would ever have to see or pretend to take orders from her diamond, shards were in no position to own or control anyone. Pearl, and so many gems like her, will have their freedom, then they’ll move to win the freedom of the gems within the other courts.
Perhaps Rose was at the spot where they first met? That fateful day when Pearl had fallen out of the palanquin and met a beautiful quartz. That same quartz who shed tears over Pearl’s cracked gem, healing her as she shared her dreams of freedom for all gems. One of many after meeting her to talk to her like an equal, but the first to speak to her like she mattered. The beautiful quartz that let her choose her own purpose, and not be an attendant to someone who was formed lucky. The one that brought to attention that she was her own gem.
Sure enough, there she stood in the field. No more than a spec in the distance, but there she was, not much further the spot they first met. She seemed to not notice her approaching, as she kept staring out into the distance.
And then she spoke, “Pearl.” Her voice was heavy with a hesitance and a melancholy Pearl could not place.
“Yes?” Pearl reached out, only to stop and see the expression on Rose’s face as she turned around. She was... crying…? It her brought great pain to see Rose like this, but Pearl had a feeling she knew why.
“I’m going to stay here and fight. You don’t have to do this with me.” She pleaded, as the doubt crept into her voice. They had fought soldiers before, yes, but never a Diamond’s personal army. These were almost sure to include some of the top gems from other courts entirely. Pearl could understand her doubts.
“But I want to!”
“I know you do, but please understand that if we lose, we’ll be killed, and if we win, we can never go back home.” Tears brimming in Rose’s eyes as she looked up and beyond the limits of Earth’s sky. She had always had a gentle heart, it was what made her participation and creation of this war seem so valliant. This was a desperate act to try and keep Pearl out of danger, even if she wasn’t going to say it. She knew Rose couldn’t be mean about it, even if she wanted to. It was one of the things she loved about her.
“Why would I ever want to go home when you’re here?” Rose looked at her for a moment, before closing her eyes and chuckling. A soft smile crossed her lips as she returned her misty eyes to Pearl, holding out her hand. It wasn’t a lot, but it felt as though she had eased some of her doubts.
“My Pearl.” She held out her hand for her. Those words that she had heard before countless times by Pink as she spoke about her as a possession. Who would have thought that all those words needed was context to make her chest fill with a warmth that rivaled the way she felt the day Rose had cried over her, a replaceable pearl.
“You’re wonderful.” Now she could feel herself tearing up. Maybe Rose wasn’t the only soft hearted one here. She took Rose’s hand, and Rose pulled her close, giving her a gentle kiss on the lips.
“Are you ready to have your freedom?” Rose looked down at her.
“I’ve been free since the moment I met you.” It filled her heart back up to hear that bashful giggle and see the blush on her face. Was she what the humans would call an angel?
“Pearl come on. You know what I mean.” Now they were both giggling.
“I know, but you made it so easy, my Rose.” She made sure to put more weight onto the part about Rose being her Rose. It was adorable how she had to let go of her to cover her face.
“Pearl!” She half giggled, half squacked.
“Sorry, sorry. I know you’re trying to get serious. I’ll pick this up later.” She’d have to abandon her fully solid coloured outfit to return to her partially veiled outfit. For the last time she’d had to wear anything associated with this immature tyrant. She’d truly be free with no master out there to worry about finding her. Rose shapeshifted to nearly just the size of her gem, and then Pearl bubbled her. Her sword had already been stored in there, the troops were waiting in the wings, and it was time to truly start this.
She took a breath that she physically did not need (but did emotionally), stepped onto the warp pad, and went straight to where their intel had told them she’d be. She counted down as she traveled. Three… two… one…
“At last I’ve found you!” She exclaimed as the warp magic disapatted. A few quartz guards eyeballed her, then gave her an acknowledging grunts and carried on their patrol of the perimeter. The way to the palanquin was unsettlingly quiet. Perhaps they had waited too long and Pink Diamond had noticed and had another tantrum again, and hopefully only poofing those gems instead of shattering them. Though she didn’t have high hopes that they made it out of this alive.
But for now she’d set aside the fates of those quartz. If they could still be saved, they’d have their freedom soon. Dwelling on the pad would only draw more suspicion. Hesitation would get her shattered, and who’d know what would happen to Rose then. No one knew what happened to the things a pearl carried when they were shattered, and she wasn’t about to force Rose to find out. She gathered her courage and left to enter the palanquin.
She pushed aside the curtains and courstied upon seeing her Diamond lazily lounging across her seat.
“My apologies, my Diamond. The spot where I fell had been completely untouched by the bismuth. There wasn’t a warp pad for miles.” She put her hands in that awful salute. She just had to remind herself that this would be the last couple of times she’d have to do this. Soon enough they’d have freed the entire court and no one would have to live in fear.
“Oh! There you are, little pearly. I was just about to call up Homeworld and order your replacement. You sure took your time getting here. Maybe we should find a way to fassen you onto the palanquin.” Pink mused, with a sadistic glee poisoning every sickeningly sweet word that came out of her mouth. “Oh! I could even get you fixed to be like White’s pearl! That way if you fell off, I could just make you float back up!”
The idea shook her to her very core. Shattering on it’s own was horrible to imagine, but adding onto it a layer of watching your perfectly good body be used as a mouthpiece for the people that owned you was incomprehensibly cruel. White’s Pearl had been a dear friend of hers. Someone with courage and dreams, both things that were frowned upon for pearls to have. It pained her knowing she was a literal shell of the gem she once was.
“Those most certainly are ideas, My Diamond.” It certainly didn’t shock her to hear that Pink thought that way. The gems most certainly were going to be much better off with someone like Rose at the helm. A gem that actually cared about them, instead of mindless expansion.
“I’ll think of something. Don’t worry your pretty little head about it. Besides, we’ve got plenty of time.” Pink twirled around to sit in her seat properly, and activated the display next to her, showing the progress of the colony. “With those rebel clods messing up my perfectly good colony, we’re way behind schedule!”
Pink gave the display a kick in frustration, causing the whole thing to briefly lose connection before restabilizing on the image of the incomplete kindergarten. “And if I get one more call from Yellow or Blue telling me how I need to stop playing around,” she slammed her fists down on the armrests, shaking the palanquin slightly, “I’m launching this stupid clod planet into the nearest star so no one can have it! Not Yellow! Not Blue! Not White! And especially not those Rebels! I don’t care if it wipes out my whole court!”
In order to keep up her ruse as the clumsy pearl, she stumbled around with every pound of the armrests as Pink continued her tantrum. It’d have to be one of the few times she’d consider herself glad that Pink was in one of her moods, because this gave them the perfect chance for them to enact their plan while she was distracted.
It was the perfect opportunity for her to “stumble” and fall behind the seat of the palanquin. And from there, she could take Rose out from her gem and pop her bubble, leaving in her shapeshifted form and her sword on the ground behind the seat, and giving her a silent nod.
To keep up appearances, Pearl quickly got up and returned to Pink’s side. Rose would be safe until the time was right to strike. She brushed off her skirt and stood upright like a prim and proper pearl should.
“I may not be a sapphire, but I can’t see the rebellion going on for much longer, My Diamond. I’m sure they’ve almost tired themselves out.” Pearl lied. Earth was just step one, and once the other courts could see it could be done, and that they didn’t have to live in fear under the oppression of the Diamonds that they’d be able to revolt, and they’d have the support of the Crystal Gems to help lead them into this new era. She’d finish up by saying another lie. “You have nothing to worry about, My Diamond.”
Pink looked at her for a second, before bursting out laughing.
“A pearl making predictions like a sapphire? That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard.” She was sure she was going to find it a lot funnier when she was struggling to find her other pieces. “Pearls don’t know anything. But you thinking you know things does make me feel better. Thanks, pearly. Don’t you worry though, despite what Yellow and Blue think, your Diamond has this under control.” Her hand reached over and roughly patted her on the head, not caring that her gem was there.
“Anything for you, My Diamond.” The words felt foul in her mouth. The only real comfort she could take in that was knowing that she wouldn’t have to say that again. “So will we be staying here long? Or shall we be returning to the Moon Base soon?”
“Of course we’re going to stay here, silly little pearly.” Pink swung back around to her previous lounging position. “I haven’t even grabbed a new pet for my zoo! I don’t think I’ve gotten one from this area yet. How can I have a beautiful zoo of cute little humans if I don’t have one of every kind?”
Pearl was going to hope that that’s where the guards all were. Pink had never really been one for planning ahead, and it was times like these where it was most evident. The rebellion is in full swing and she’s sitting here without a care with barely any guards to protect her. She could imagine how humiliated her agates must be to supervise human collection. But now wasn’t the time for thinking about recruits. Soon they’d either come flocking to their banner, or make a mad dash to whatever court will take them.
And knowing Rose, they’d work on freeing captives of Pink’s zoo from the other rose quartz and the humans, to possibly even the agate working there. A final act of fully dismantling Pink’s tyranny, and another act of kindness from Rose to the humans. Pearl had a feeling that even if human care hadn’t been part of her programming, Rose would still go out of her way and risk her own life to save them.
And speaking of, from the corner of her eye, she could see the faint glow of Rose shapeshifting. A smile crossed her lips, knowing that this would be over soon, and she looked down to avoid looking suspicious. She was greeted with some shards that sat worse than they normally did. It wasn’t an uncommon sight to see shards in a Diamond’s palanquin, especially one like Pink, but there was something about these ones that just felt off.
Suddenly she knew exactly what Pink meant when she said under control. It wasn’t just some boast said by a dull clod.
“ROSE LOOK OUT!” Pearl reached out, as if she could stop Rose who was already airborne and unable to dodge out of the way. But it was too late. A wicked smile flashed across Pink’s face as she took the pose of a diopside. That vampiric clod had planned for this. She somehow knew this was going to happen.
But despite taking over Rose’s body, Pink had done nothing to stop the swing to take the diamond out. Her moment of brilliance turned out to be a shortsighted fluke. Pearl was completely powerless and was forced to watch the knowing smirk on Pink’s face turn into a look of horror as Rose was forced into the body and was too stunned to do anything as she watched as she took herself out.
Silence filled the palanquin as the shards that were once Pink Diamond sat on the seat and the gem that was once her Rose stood triumphantly in front of it, holding the sword in the air. Against everything she would’ve thought, Pearl stood there in shock and horror, staring down at the gems. Knowing that despite how they looked, they were Rose’s. The first person to care for her, to treat her like an equal. The first gem that she loved.
And now she was gone. Pearl felt herself get misty eyed as she gently stroked the shards. This wasn’t how the plan was supposed to go at all. How could it have gone so wrong?
“Ha HA! Take that you Crystal Clod! Not so mighty now as shards, are you?!” The reason this had all failed cackled, failing to realize how spectacularly she had failed herself. The grief in her soon grew into a boiling rage. Rose might not’ve been there anymore, but Pearl was still there, and she was just as much a Crystal Gem as she was. Her fighting skills might not have been up to par with hers, but sometimes you didn’t need to fight to win.
“Shall I ring up the other Diamonds, My Diamond? I’m sure they’ll be thrilled of the victory you had here.” Pearl struggled to keep the rage from bubbling out of her. If they were going to shatter a diamond. She was going to make sure that she was shattered. No matter what she looked like she wasn’t going to let her hurt anyone else.
“That’s a great idea, pearly.” The fake Rose said in that sickeningly sweet voice that Pink Diamond had become known for, before sweeping aside what had once been her body and what had once been Pearl’s lover as if it were nothing more than a little dirt, none the wiser of what was going to transpire.
Pearl reached over and took the Diamond communicator and twisted it to get both Blue and Yellow’s channel. She already knew that White would not pick up. The device twirled and flashed, before floating up to the front of the palanquin and displaying both Yellow and Blue Diamond, both dropping what they had been doing prior and staring at Pink.
“That’s right! Guess who finally did it!” Pink announced triumphantly, forgetting that she had swapped bodies.
“It was terrible! This brute came out of nowhere and slew her!” Pearl dramatically dropped down to her knees and covered her face. The only regret (aside from incurring the wrath of the Diamonds down onto Earth), was that she never got to see the look on her face when she saw that she had lost.
“What? That’s not-” Pink started.
“Enough. Let it be known that your transgressions here will not go unpunished. When we are through with you, you will wish that we were so merciful as to let you be shattered.” Blue boomed, with a rage that Pearl herself had never heard before. The transmission came to an abrupt halt before the device exploded.
Pearl was about to make her escape, when she was roughly grabbed by the arm by Pink. There was just something so wrong about seeing her upset face on Rose’s body. Pearl’s hands were grabbed, and forced over her mouth.
“You will never speak of what you saw here today. In fact? Forget you even saw anything here. From now on, I’m Rose Quartz, leader of the Crystal Gems. I’m gonna get my colony back, even if I have to use you rebels to do it.” Her grip tightened as Pearl felt that familiar weight of orders restraining her down to her very core. “And don’t you ever forget, that I own you.”
Things started to get hazy, as the room came out of focus, then back into focus. Pink Diamond’s shards were on the ground, and they were both here in one piece. From outside she could start to hear the chaos start to unfurl. “Of course, Rose. But we need to get out of here before we’re shattered.”
“I’m glad we’re in agreement.”