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Life Boat

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"Amethyst?" Pearl walked through the junkyard the purple Gem dared to call a room, irritation rolling off of her in waves. One of her swords was missing again and she knew Amethyst had something to do with it. "Amethyst are you in here?"

After a few minutes of fruitless searching she decided to look for the sword herself. It would be a pain, and keeping herself from trying to organize the room in some way would be even harder, but she and Amethyst had been on good terms lately. She didn't want a sword to come between them. She would simply retrieve it and bask in the restoration of order in her room.

Pearl started to sift through the first pile she saw, reaching deep into the mass of junk. "I hope I don't touch anything disgusting," she muttered to herself. When she came up empty she went to the next pile. And so it went for nearly half an hour, moving from one mountain to the next. Just as she was about to give up she touched something that felt smooth, hard and rectangular. Is that the guard of my sword? She tugged at it, pulling her arm out of the stack of trash. She sighed in disappointment. It was just a book. She turned the book over to its front cover, slightly confused at the lack of title. Pearl opened to the middle of the book and read the swooping cursive.

She is sharp angles and gentle arcs

She is haughty gentility and crushing insecurity

She is cruel selfishness and gracious benevolence

She is the fire of hatred and the light of love

She is all that I despise and all that I adore

She is what poisons me and what cures me

She is perfect imperfection

Pearl touched her heart. This is beautiful. Who wrote this? The poem had no author, and Pearl didn't recognize the style. The book itself looked modern, and the language ruled out anything before the twentieth century. As Pearl scanned the text again she noticed something. All of the G's are backwards... She knew only one person who did that. "Amethyst wrote this?" Since when did Amethyst write so beautifully? Since when did Amethyst write at all?

Just as she began to turn the page she heard the door open, followed by Amethyst's voice. "Maybe later, Ste-man! I got stuff to do."

Pearl searched frantically for a place to hide, somehow knowing that Amethyst would not be pleased to find her rooting through her belongings. She stooped behind a wide pile. Once the smaller Gem walked past Pearl slowly crept from pile to pile until she made it to the waterfall that led to her room. She closed her eyes, feeling her body sink into the water. When next she opened her eyes she was standing in the middle of one of the pools in her room. She looked down at the book in her grasp, feeling slightly guilty for taking it. I'm just going to read a few more poems and then I'll give it back. It's not like I'm going to keep it. She waved her hand and a chair appeared behind her. Just a few, she thought as she sat down and opened the book to the beginning.

Three hours later, Pearl wiped a tear from her eye. All of the poems seemed to be about either love or hate, and the majority of them were about the mystery woman from the first poem she had read. Amethyst described her as "delicately strong", a "slender beauty too good for the love of one who could not even love themself". All of her poems were beautiful and haunting, and knowing that it was Amethyst who wrote them only enhanced the emotional impact they had on Pearl. I wonder who this woman is. She turned the page, readying herself for another heartbreaking arrangement. What she found instead was a completely illegible mess of pen marks slightly resembling letters. What is this?

The scrawl was angry looking, completely different than the elegant, near perfect script all throughout the book. She only believed Amethyst wrote this because the one word she could distinguish, 'raging', had a backwards G. The longer Pearl looked at the passage, the more desperate she became to read it. What did it say? Why did it look so different? Every word in Amethyst's journal seemed so precise and deliberate, but this looked hastily put together, words and entire sentences scratched out. The passage went on for two front and back pages, then there was a new poem in Amethyst's usual handwriting. Pearl stared at the words, as if the lines would suddenly make sense if she looked intensely enough. She glanced at date in the top right hand corner. February 5th...

"Hey, P, have you seen-?"

Pearl froze.

"What are you doing with that?"

Pearl flinched. In all the thousands of years Pearl had known Amethyst, she had never heard the smaller Gem sound so angry and scared. She closed the book, gulping as she tried to think of something to say. "Uh..."

Amethyst stomped over to Pearl, her small frame shaking. "That. Isn't. YOURS!" She snatched the book out of the older Gem's hands. "Did you read any of it?!"

"I-I-I didn't know, I jus-."

"Like hell you didn't! You took this from my room! You stole it! And then you read it! What is wrong with you? This is my personal journal, and you knew that! Why would you violate my privacy like that?"

Pearl flinched with every shouted sentence. Amethyst was right, what she had did was a complete infringement of Amethyst's trust. She should have never read the book. But I did, she thought. I did read it and now I have to know what that poem says.

Before Pearl could muster up the courage to ask, Amethyst turned around and stalked towards the waterfall. Pearl called after her. "Amethyst, wait!"

"Save it," the younger Gem screamed over her shoulder. "I'm not forgiving you for this!"

"But Amethyst-!"

"I said shut up!"

Pearl clenched her eyes shut. "Amethyst what does that poem say?!"

Amethyst froze. "Y-you read them all," she replied nervously. "You know what they all say."

Pearl took a step towards the purple Gem. "Not all of them," she said meekly. "What does the illegible one say?"

Amethyst clenched her fists around the book. "There's a reason I wrote it like that. So it couldn't be read by nosy bitches like you!" Amethyst whirled around and glared at Pearl, anger burning bright in her purple eyes. But underneath Pearl saw something else. Fear.

Why would she be afraid? Why am I afraid? Pearl had a strong feeling of foreboding. She knew that whatever was written in that book was important, too important for her to ignore. "Amethyst, what did you write?"

"Nothing," Amethyst screeched. "It's nothing! Just leave it alone!"

Pearl took another step forward. "Why won't you tell me? Amethyst, you can talk to me about anyth-."

"There's nothing to talk about!" With a wordless scream, Amethyst tore the pages out. She dropped the book and ripped the paper into the smallest pieces she could. "There, see?! It's gone! There's nothing, now leave me alone!" Tears were streaming down her face, and her body was quaking so hard that Pearl feared that it hurt.

Pearl took another step. "Tearing it out of the book doesn't tear it out of you," she said quietly.

Amethyst was silent but for the quiet sobs escaping her.

"Amethyst," Pearl's next step brought her only a foot away from the smaller Gem. "What does the poem say?"

Amethyst fell to her knees, then quietly began to recite:

I float in a boat
In a raging black ocean
Low in the water
With no where to go
The tiniest lifeboat
With people I know

Cold, clammy, and crowded
The people smell desperate
We'll sink any minute
So someone must go
The tiniest lifeboat
With the people I know

Amethyst screwed her eyes shut, her voice suddenly booming.

Everyone's pushing
Everyone's fighting
Storms are approaching
There's nowhere to hide
If I say the wrong thing
Or I wear the wrong outfit
They'll throw me right over the side

Her voice quieted again as she curled in on herself.

I'm hugging my knees
And the captain is pointing
Well who made hercaptain?
Still, the weakest must go
The tiniest lifeboat
Full of people I know
The tiniest lifeboat
Full of people I know

Pearl stood in shock, the depth of Amethyst's despair nearly knocking her off of her feet. February 5th. That was the day the two of them fought in the Kindergarten. That was months ago. Suddenly everything in Pearl's mind seemed to make sense. Amethyst had become more withdrawn lately, staying in her room all day, only leaving for missions. She was eating less and sleeping more. Her jokes were falling flat when she even bothered to joke at all. During missions she was direct and succinct, not wasting time or having fun with their battles. Pearl had thought that Amethyst was simply maturing in the face of their inevitable clash against Homeworld, but now she knew that wasn't it. Amethyst wasn't well. Is she...depressed? Pearl thought of the poem. We'll sink any minute, so someone must go. They'll push me right over the side. The weakest must go.

Pearl's eyes widened.

She dropped to her knees, wrapping Amethyst in the fiercest hug she had ever given someone. Her own tears made her voice wobbly when she said, "We will never push out, do you hear me?"

Amethyst only continued to cry.

Pearl pulled away and grabbed both sides of Amethyst's face, forcing her head up. "Look at me," she whispered fiercely. "I will never let you go overboard. I will nev-."

"Y-you ca-an't say that," Amethyst interrupted. "You c-can't pro-omise that! Yo-ou can't con-ontrol what happens."

Pearl paused. She's right. I can't control the storm. So what can I do? Pearl's expression hardened. "Then I'll dive after you. You might fall out of the boat, but I won't let you sink. I promise."

Amethyst paused to consider Pearl's vow. Then she wrapped her arms around Pearl's waist, burying her tear slicked face in the taller Gem's neck. "You better be one helluva swimmer, P."

Pearl smiled sadly. "Maybe not as good as Garnet," she attempted to joke. "But pretty good."

Amethyst looked up. "Thank you."

Pearl stroked her mane of wild hair tenderly. "I would do anything for you, Amethyst. Even jump into the ocen in the middle of a raging storm."

"I'm sorry."

Pearl shook her head. "Don't apologize. It's partly my fault that you feel this way." She continued to pet Amethyst's head. "Let's talk about something happier. Who's this mystery woman you're so in love with? Anyone I know?"

Amethyst blushed. "You know her alright..."