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Like a drop of water in the sea

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Blue Pearl knew from the moment she met her that White Pearl was different from the others. The realization had made her happy because she herself was also different – not defective, it was not her fault if she was an old version and Blue Diamond never cared to teach her to talk, but still, being mute was a difference – but she could have never imagined, how could she?

She wasn’t the only pearl in the Cloud Arena of Blue Diamond when the rebels arrived. It was there that she saw White Pearl – but she wasn’t White Diamond’s propriety anymore, so she started calling her simply Pearl in her mind – in action for the first time. It was frightening and amazing watching her move so smoothly, so confidently, destroying gems twice her size with a single slash of her swords. She fought and danced, looking beautiful and strong, and Blue’s eyes were filled with tears: in those moments she felt no more shame in being a pearl, no more disgust in herself, she only found pride in being a part of the race of gems that had created such a stunning individual.

When the rebels fled, Blue recollected her thoughts and got scared of herself: strong? Pride? Individual? These words were taboo for her and never should she have thought them in regard of another pearl. They were all the same, servants, masses of gems made to be the base of the pyramid: White Pearl was defective, she had left the side of her Diamond to follow general Rose Quartz and was now a rebel and a renegade. Blue should have shut her image out of her mind and stop think about her.

She tried, she really did, but Pearl’s delicate movements were impossible to forget. And she wasn’t the only one: the Renegade – they started to call her that, pronouncing her name with cautious whispers, like they were afraid to summon her – spread in every pearl’s mind like a drop of water in the sea. In spite of being deleted from the program during production, feelings slowly began to grow in the gems and were impossible to hold back.

Blue was so overwhelmed with these mysterious new sensations that she often found herself crying without even knowing why. The figure of Pearl was indelible in her mind and Blue took as a habit to use her holograms to recreate the scene: Pearl fought and danced in front of her, strong and beautiful, and Blue moved with her, imitating her movements and convincing herself she could feel Pearl’s hands on hers.

«What in the name of the Stars are you doing?!»
Blue jumped, frightened, and her hologram disappeared. Yellow Pearl was watching from the doorway, one hand raised in disgust and her face full of surprise. Blue wagged her hands, trying to avoid a scandal.
«Are you cracked? I can’t believe it!» Yellow lowered her tone of voice, coming closer. «Doing something like this here, where everyone could see you! What if someone else had entered that door instead of me?»
Blue joined her hands together and silently begged for her silence. Yellow Diamond and Blue Diamond saw each other often, and because of that Blue and Yellow had become used to one another. Now that feelings were a thing also for pearls, they could have even said that they cared for each other.
«Of course I won’t say anything» snorted Yellow, slightly offended. «But you need to be more careful. Blue, this is serious: we are in the middle of a war. Do you know how many gems have taken the side of Rose Quartz? Yellow Diamond is so stressed out I need to massage her neck every day. If anyone finds out about your obsession they’re gonna break you».
Blue bit her lip. She took Yellow’s hands between hers and squeezed. Yellow withdrew them quickly.
«No» she said, firmly. «She is defective, do you understand what it means? She does what she does because she is wrong. We must not care about her».
Blue shook her head and projected a hologram of them three together, Blue, Yellow and White Pearl. Yellow held back a gasp.
«I remember» she admitted, waving one hand between the ghostly figure to make them disappear. «But what can we do? She is defective. The fact that we knew her before doesn’t matter. It’s because of these… feelings, it’s their fault if we are confused».
Blue shook her head again, harder. She tried to grab Yellow’s hands again, but the other jumped back.
«No» it was at the same time an order and a plea. «I know what you want to tell me and you’re lucky you can’t speak. You shouldn’t admire her, Blue».
Quieter, with her eyes low, she added: «None of us should».
When Yellow Diamond’s voice came, Yellow Pearl took the opportunity and fled before Blue could stop her.

***

Blue knew that Yellow was right, but she was already too lost. She kept projecting holograms, when she was sure nobody could see her, and in the meantime thousands of years passed and the rebels won the war and The Renegade disappeared.
She stayed on Earth, they whispered around her. With all the other winners and Rose Quartz.
They fused, sometimes, on the battlefield.
Blue heard about that topic from a conversation Blue Diamond was having in front of her, because she often forgot that her pearl was mute, not deaf. Blue remembered to have seen something similar happen in the Cloud Arena thousands of years ago; she then went to ask Yellow, who blushed furiously.
«It's inappropriate!» she screeched. «That’s all you need to know! And we pearls shouldn’t fuse, never. We are not worthy of fusing, not with each other and surely not with other gems. If White Pearl did so she should be ashamed of herself, that’s the truth».
Blue crossed her arms and faced Yellow with a strength she was slowly discovering to have. It didn’t matter what Yellow Pearl said about The Renegade, they both admired her. All pearls did. She was the prohibited wish that they couldn’t dare to desire.
Yellow struggled under Blue’s stare, even with hair covering her face.
«The war is finished» she murmured. «We don’t need to worry about her anymore. Maybe everything will go back to normal. No feelings, no strange thoughts. Don’t you want things to go back to normal?»
Blue shook her head furiously. Yellow sighed.
«Yeah. I don’t even remember what normal is, after all».

***

And so Blue kept dancing and fighting together with the hologram of White Pearl over and over again. Years after year she continued to serve Blue Diamond, but even if the war was a far away memory The Renegade was still fresh in every pearl’s mind. There was something different about the pearls, and the high class gems finally started to notice: at first they tried to produce newer and newer versions, but it was no use, because the older ones talked with them and they were incredibly easy to convince; so they started to break every pearl suspected to have a malfunctioning.
Hundreds of pearls were broken every day and thousands were produced. Blue was sure that a defective one like White Pearl would have been immediately spotted now, and felt a warming relief knowing that she was safe, on Earth.
But could she say the same about herself? Yellow? All pearls?
How long would have taken for Blue Diamond to recognize in her malfunctioning a treat and send her to be broken?
She showed that possibility to Yellow with a hologram and Yellow got angry.
«One may think that without a voice you shouldn’t be able to talk nonsense!» she almost shouted. «It’s ridiculous. You won’t be broken, just like I won’t be, because we are good at our jobs. You’re not a treat. Look at you! You could never be one».
Blue frowned and turned away, offended, and Yellow didn’t understand why.
She could have never imagined White Pearl as a treat either, and she became the most terrifying nightmare for warriors and generals. Who said it couldn’t be the same for her?

***

When Yellow wasn’t around, Blue sometimes forgot to be careful. While doing the chorus Blue Diamond assigned her she used to project a hologram of White Pearl and follow her moves, if not only watch her. She didn’t realize she could have been caught.
And she did, one day, but it wasn’t a Diamond or another high class gem. It was a pearl, just like her. Green Pearl, servant of an Emerald that had come to Blue Diamond for some reason she didn’t care to know.
Blue wasn’t sure of how much time Green Pearl had spent staring, because she turned around and the other was there, immobile, surprised, watching.
Panic flooded over her and she automatically covered her mouth, even if there was no scream to hold.
Green raised her hands and came closer.
«No, don’t worry» she murmured. «I won’t say anything».
She glanced around, cautiously, and then projected a hologram: White Pearl started to fight again in the middle of the room.
Blue had the certainty in that exact moment that she was not alone.

***

Yellow wasn’t pleased about it, of course. She thought Blue was playing with her luck, meeting with other pearls in secret when Blue Diamond sent her off to do some errands or when there was a meeting in a Diamond’s quarter. They met and who was able to do it projected holograms of her memories of White Pearl, and they all watched them with amaze on their faces. The small group was slowly gaining members and everyone was fond of Blue, looking up at her because she was the one who had started all of it; Yellow felt a dash of a feeling she couldn’t name.
Blue asked her to join, squeezing her hands together and slightly blushing.
«I like my job» Yellow replied. «Yellow Diamond is powerful and flawless. I’m lucky to serve her. And do you want me to throw it all away? I won’t. And you need to stop, too. This is getting out of hand».
Blue didn’t let her go, squeezing harder and praying silently. Yellow started struggling, attacked by mute questions.
«This is not what we’re supposed to do!» she screamed. «We have been made for a purpose. We have been made to serve. We can’t go against the Diamonds, we can’t go against our nature! Why are you doing this, Blue? Why isn’t this enough for you?!»
Yellow discovered what tears were for the first time. Blue hugged her and Yellow stiffened at the contact, but then let go and hugged her back, crying in her shoulder.
When Blue moved away she smiled softly, pressing a finger against Yellow’s chest.
And Yellow understood why she couldn’t settle.

The group around Blue didn’t stop growing. They started to organize discussions about White Pearl and their positions and Blue calmly watched over them, explaining her theories with holograms and making sure everyone had their time to talk.
Aquamarine Pearl, who was one of the older members, once told that there was a room, near her owner’s quarters, that was always empty because a certain Lapis Lazuli had disappeared since many years. So they began to meet there. They all invested themselves in finding a way to go to the meetings and usually never failed. Even who could not be there was nominated by those presents, and the number of pearls that agreed with their ideals was because of that only rounded down.
They talked about lots of topics. They talked about White Pearl, the rebellion, sword fighting, their situation, Earth. They talked a lot about the Earth, how to reach it. It was clear that the general desire, even if rarely expressed, was to leave Homeworld and flee to Earth.
Yellow commented that it was only getting worse, that their owners would have realized how much they went missing and that it was starting to look like a cult, like the old rebellion.
She showed up to some of the meetings anyway.

***

«Pink Diamond ordered a new pearl».
Blue and Yellow were in the adjacent room when they heard Yellow Diamond’s words. They stiffened.
«Oh! Why is that?» Blue Diamond asked.
«Looks like the old one didn’t obey to her anymore. She found her trying to materialize her weapon! She sent her to be broken immediately».
Blue Pearl held the gem on her chest with one hand and with the other grabbed Yellow’s arm.
«It was the right thing to do» Blue Diamond commented. «These pearls are losing their respect for us».
«They are» agreed Yellow Diamond. «Maybe we should get rid of them all and extirpate the problem».
«Maybe, but then who would do our chores?»
Tears streamed down Blue Pearl’s face, her chest jumping in silent sobs. Yellow awkwardly put an arm around her.
«It’s going to be okay» she murmured. «They’re just talking. They know they need us. If we keep being careful, they’re never going to break us».
She hoped.
«Come on, stop crying» Yellow tried an encouraging smile and wiped away Blue’s tears. She met a glimpse of her eyes and felt her cheeks warming.
Blue projected a hologram over their head: she showed rows and rows of pearls sent to be broken; then the image changed and became the Earth, the planet where White Pearl lived and where she was free to be whoever she wanted to be.
Yellow bit her lip.
«I know» she carefully admitted. «The Earth seems like an amazing place, but how do we know? We don’t have an idea of how it’s like. We don’t know anything, Blue».
Blue didn’t answer. Her hologram showed dozens of pearls descending on Earth, and Yellow sighed.
«It would be great» she murmured. «But it won’t happen. How could we find enough spaceships for the travel? And would the Diamonds let us go? It’s all just talking, Blue, just like it’s only talking when they say they want to exterminate us. We should stop, it’s only hurting us to imagine it».
The hologram disappeared. Blue tormented her fingers for a while and then took Yellow’s hands between hers, the gesture Yellow was so used to. It was like her questions transferred from Blue’s palms to her.
Yellow knew she couldn’t change the way she saw the world all of sudden. Blue had been able to, and also other pearls, but she was too much attached to what Homeworld had taught her. She missed what her life used to be but longed what it could have been.
Blue squeezed her hands and Yellow felt like she could have stayed like that for a long time.
«Yes» she answered the silent question, «I’d come. You know I’d come».
Blue smiled and Yellow felt a warming feeling that she didn’t understand, but she liked it.

***

«We can’t go on Earth».
It was the first time Yellow talked in a meeting. She walked next to Blue and said those few words. All the pearls went silent, looking at her some shocked, some surprised, some angry.
Blue put one hand on her shoulder, confused, but Yellow faced the silence and kept talking.
«One Peridot called Yellow Diamond from Earth today» she revealed, and waited for the gasps to end. «She talked about something named the Cluster and tried to convince Yellow Diamond to stop it. Naturally she got scolded. But the point is, Yellow Diamond said that the Earth will be destroyed with the arrive of the Cluster, and from the words of the Peridot it looked like it was a matter of time. We can’t go on Earth anymore».
Yellow would have lied if she had said that she didn’t feel the slightest relief: she didn’t have to choose anymore between her old life and a new one. They all would have stayed on Homeworld, these reunions would have come to an end and everything would have been okay, and even Blue would have recognized it.
But Blue didn’t seem ready to accept such a news. She covered her mouth with one hand, shocked. The other pearls’ voices covered each other, in desperate “what should we do?”.
Then one voice came stronger than the rest: «We need to get to Earth before this Cluster arrives!»
«What?» screeched Yellow in disbelief. «The Earth will be completely destroyed, and if we’re on it we’ll die too!»
«But White Pearl is there» another voice pointed out. «She surely is trying to stop it!»
«We can help her!»
«We must help her!»
«You don’t even know if she’s there at all!» Yellow shouted. «We may be going to a world about to be destroyed with no way of coming back! And how do you think we can reach it? Do we have a spaceship? Do we have orders?»
«We don’t need orders!» Amber Pearl exclaimed from the back. «I’m sick of taking orders! I-I just want to go away! I don’t want to be a thing anymore!»
«She’s right!»
«Well said!»
«Me neither!»
Yellow shivered. A part of her wanted to scream her agreement, but she fought it with all her strength.
«Blue» she turned around. «Blue, do something. They listen to you».
And Blue did. Everyone else went silent and Blue did something. She took a step forward, stopped and inhaled deeply.
When her gem glowed there was a gasp of surprise. Yellow almost moved to check if she was okay; then a hint of something started to be visible on her gem, so Blue brought one hand to the chest, grabbed it and pulled.
What she raised to the sky was a sword.
A blue sword, with the blade shiny and sharp.

Yellow knew, she knew it before all the other pearls started screaming, claiming Blue their leader, the new Renegade, the one who would have freed them. She knew she was no match for Blue, and that Blue didn’t need her. That nobody needed her if she wanted to refrain things from changing.
Maybe she was the one defective, after all.

***

The revolution did happen. The voice spread like a fire and a little while later thousands of pearls found swords to hold, or managed to materialize their own, and rebelled. All together, like the single mass they should have been, but all different, like the individuals they wanted to become.
They recreated the technique of White Pearl, fighting their way against Jaspers and Amethysts and Topazes and Corals and aiming for the spaceships. Numbers were on their side.
And while the others fought and the Diamonds ran in panic, trying to stop the inevitable from happening, Yellow Pearl was quietly hidden in Yellow Diamond’s quarters, sitting next the giant throne.
She wasn’t surprised at all when she heard footsteps. She smiled, a sad smug smile.
«Shouldn’t you be out there guiding the revolution?»
Blue Pearl, sword in one hand, stood in front of her demanding explanations with her silence.
«Seriously, you should go. There will be no victory without the leader. Plus, you may get caught if you stay here».
But Blue didn’t move. Her stubbornness was irritating and Yellow raised her head to look at her, showing her teary eyes.
«What do you want me to say? Congratulations? You will become a legend like Rose Quartz and the Renegade, you, who guided the pearls to freedom and erased a step from the social ladder of Homeworld. But I can’t be part of this legend, Blue. I just can’t».
Blue frowned and recurred to her holograms: she showed a memory of the conversation between them two and Yellow’s own words echoed in her ears, “I’d come, you know I’d come”.
She hid her face in her hands, finding herself shaking.
«I know what I said!» she screamed. «I know what I promised, but I can’t. I can’t. I have all these feelings, all these desires, but I have no idea who gave them to me because they don’t match with what I thought I was meant to be. I want to run away, but I can’t. This is my home».
Blue shook her head. No, it was not, and she knew.
«I’m not strong enough, Blue. I probably never was. What they taught me since I was made holds me back. My purpose is to serve and obey and I have already broken so much rules. Go away. Go to Earth without me, I’ll be fine».
Blue pointed at her and then closed her fist in a very clear gesture.
«Of course I will be broken. It’s okay. It’s for the best».
Blue stirred on place, searching for something that could change Yellow’s mind.
Blue herself was the one thing that could change Yellow’s mind, but it was just as clear as unthinkable for both of them.
«You know» Yellow murmured, «I remember the first time we met. You were so timid and I was so arrogant. White Pearl was there, too. We changed a lot, didn’t we?» she laughed sadly. «I’m very proud of you. You say more than you’d ever say if you could talk. I’ll miss you a lot, Blue».
Blue searched for something else, but she didn’t find nothing. Yellow could swear she saw a tear sliding down her cheek before she turned around and walked away, towards the doorway.

Then Yellow Diamond entered. She screamed for Blue Pearl to stop and before she could realize it Yellow was holding Blue’s hand tight and was guiding them both along the hallways, running as fast as she could, escaping what was holding her back before it could reach her and stop her again.

They exited to find the rebellion going on, and Blue handed her one sword and they fought together. They reached the space ships and in between the pearls that had been broken and the ones that had retired in their gems five ships completely full of rebels sailed off to the sky by the end of the night, leaving not a single pearl behind.
Blue and Yellow sat together, hand in hand. Blue never stopped smiling.

***

The ships were faster than they imagined. Lots of them had never been on a spaceships before and it was only the first of their new experiences. The pearls that knew how to maneuver them never left their spots, communicating with the ships behind them and making sure everyone was okay. Homeworld wasn’t after them.
They were free.
Yellow spot the Earth before everyone else. She was with Blue when she looked out of a window and saw it, and felt a pure overwhelming feeling of joy. She grabbed her gently by one hand and pointed at it.
«Look» she whispered, and suddenly everything made sense, and she made sense, and they made sense. «It’s blue».