Hands folded in front of her skirt, eyes wide and beaming, mouth stretched into a happy smile, Spinel stood, still as stone in her spot in the Garden. Waiting.
She kept her eyes up to the top of the altar where the warp pad sat. Any moment now, her Diamond would come back and tell her she had won the game and that she was so proud Spinel had followed orders.
Any moment now.
She had been gone an awfully long time. Spinel had lost track, but she knew it had been at least a century. But Pink Diamond had been so happy to get her first colony, and Spinel was nothing but happy for her. Yes, she had wanted to come along, but Pink had given her a new super fun game to play.
“Here’s how this game goes,” Pink said, lightly tapping Spinel’s nose, prompting a giggle. “You have to stand very still right here until I come back, okay?”
Spinel bobbed her whole body up and down, barely able to contain her excitement. “Oh boy, that sounds like a great game!” She then realized she was bobbing. “Wait, wait, we didn’t start yet, did we? Hold on, I gotta get a good pose!”
So, Spinel took her position, looking on happily as Pink stepped up to the warp and was beamed away. It was hard not to wave or shout goodbye or good luck. But Pink would be fine. She was a Diamond. Of course, she wouldn’t have her Best Friend Spinel there to make her laugh or play games or lift her spirits when she was sad or talk to…
Spinel almost frowned. But that would be breaking the rules. But how could her Diamond go on without her? Why couldn’t she come with her to Earth? Didn’t Pink need her best friend?
It is super important Gem stuff. Maybe she thought I would have more fun playing this game instead.
But what about Pink? It was a Spinel’s job to entertain and make Gems laugh, and this Spinel had the super rare, ultra important task of being best friends with Pink Diamond! She couldn’t do her job from here, could she? But she was playing the game Pink told her to. So, she was making her happy, right?
Spinel tried not to think too hard about it. Still, the thought would creep in every once in awhile until she thought of something else to keep herself distracted. She had hundreds of plant jokes for Pink when she came back.
Because she would come back.
The Garden was getting overgrown. Vines spiraled down the pink columns, spilling onto the promenade. Several had even encroached upon the altar, climbing up the walls and railings. The air was pungent with the sweet smell of thousands of flowers, some in bloom, many dying.
Pink was always the one to manage the plants, Spinel would just watch and race her from planter to planter. Pink tried to explain how to care for them once, but Spinel didn’t really understand. When she tried to pour water onto a flower, Pink told her she was pouring too much and drowning it.
So, Spinel let her do all the hard stuff and then help relax with one of her impromptu comedy acts. Pink always loved those. Though, she had smiled and laughed less and less as time went by. She had barely batted an eye during Spinel’s last juggling routine.
Spinel had thought maybe her routine was getting a bit old. But there were only so many things she could juggle here! Still, an entertainer did the best with what they had. Standing in one spot for years on end had given her a lot of time to come up with new ways to dazzle her Diamond.
Her eyes drifted up to the stars, visible through the transparent ceiling. So many glittering dots amongst the black canvas. Spinel wondered which one was Earth. She wondered if Pink was thinking about her. Was she having fun?
Is… that why she’s taking so long? Is she having too much fun to come back for me? Spinel gave a mental shake of her head. Bad thought! Yellow and Blue Diamond had made it sound like running a colony was very serious business. Pink was probably too busy to have much fun.
Which made Spinel long for her even more. All work and no play made a Gem very dull.
She’d come back. Then Spinel could tell her all the jokes and new game ideas she had come with. They’d dance and laugh and have fun just like they used to.
Because Pink would come back.
Sleep wasn’t something Gems needed, but standing in place for so long, smiling until her cheeks hurt, Spinel admitted she was feeling a little tired. Tired, not bored. She couldn’t be bored; she was playing a game Pink had come up with. Standing in place doing absolutely nothing. Happily waiting for her best friend to return. She was having so much fun.
That’s what she told herself.
Besides, she was so close to winning. Pink would warp back any moment and be so pleased she had played the game so well.
Just a little longer.
Just a little longer.
Any minute now.
Maybe it was serendipity, or maybe her best friend heard the mental call Spinel put out. Either way, her eyes widened and lit up, just like the warp pad at the top of the altar. A beam struck down, and when the light dissipated, there she was.
It took all of Spinel’s self-control to not jump for joy or shriek in delight or do anything that would get her to lose right at the finish line. All she could do was widen her already huge smile, straining her cheeks. She watched Pink step down the stairs, graceful and elegant as always, her poofy pink hair bobbing with every step.
She reached the bottom of the stairs and walked down the promenade toward Spinel. Her steps were slow, and she looked weary. The smile on her lips didn’t reach her eyes. Spinel knew she had a lot of work to do.
Finally, at long last, after countless hours, Pink stopped in front of Spinel, knelt down, and lightly tapped her nose. In a soft voice, she said, “You did it. You won.”