“Do you think we’ll ever locate Jasper? I mean she’s out there with those corruptions, how are we supposed to find her?” a pale hand gently combed through Steven’s curly black hair.
“Don’t worry Steven, we’ll figure something out. It’ll take some time, but we’ll find her soon enough.” Steven sighed, he knew Pearl was right but he still worried. After the whole scenario in the snowy mountains, the Crystal Gems had been trying to locate the large quartz but had no luck. They all knew though that wherever Jasper was, she couldn’t hide forever.
“I hope so.” Steven took a seat at the counter to finish up his special lunch. Steven couldn’t help but think mostly about Jasper lately, how she was easily able to take down those corrupted gems and steal them away. Why did she take them though? What was her purpose? He remembered the smile she had, like she knew something more than him. Of course she did, obviously.
“Hey Steven, you wanna go to the beach with me and Connie later?” Amethyst came barreling in from her room in the temple. Steven was glad for it because it broke him out of his thoughts.
“Yeah sure, Connie’s coming by anyway after she finishes her summer homework.” Amethyst made a face.
“Summer homework? How boring…” the purple gem flopped herself onto the couch.
“She texted me two minutes ago, she’ll be here soon.” Steven put his dishes away and helped Pearl clean up the kitchen.
“Good, I wanna catch a wave or two!” Amethyst laid on her back, and just as Steven was about to walk towards her he spotted Connie coming up the steps. She had her backpack with her and the giant pink sword of Rose Quartz, which she took great care of when it was in her possession.
“Connie!” Steven embraced his friend and she returned it.
“Hey Steven, hi Amethyst, Pearl.”
“Hello Connie, how are you?” Pearl gave a sweet smile.
“Great, I brought the sword can we train today?”
“Oh I’m sorry Connie we’ll have to try another time, Garnet and I are going to scout around for Jasper today. You can practice with Steven and Amethyst if you want though.” Connie nodded eagerly, it’d been a while since she’d trained with Steven and Amethyst together.
“That sounds great!” she turned to Amethyst. “How far are we going on the beach?” Amethyst shrugged.
“Out to where we can see the boardwalk, it’s got the best waves and a great view.” the two kids smiled and pulled Amethyst up from the couch. The group said goodbye to Pearl and ran out towards the beach. It wasn’t too long of a walk, but it felt good to get out with a nice breeze around them.
“So what should we do first? Swordplay or defense?” Connie asked once they reached a good spot. Amethyst just scoffed and placed her hand on Connie’s back.
“Chill dude we can just hang for the day.” Amethyst plopped herself on the sand, luckily there wasn’t anyone else around at the moment.
“But we should train Amethyst, Jasper’s still out there and…” Steven stopped Connie.
“Pearl and Garnet are gonna track her, but yeah we can practice a little. Let’s swim a bit, warm up.” Connie seemed to like that idea, placing her stuff on the shore she and Steven rushed into the shallow part of the ocean. Amethyst laid back on the sand with Lion, who had followed after them and he was playing with a seashell. He liked the soft parts of the sand, despite how messy it made his fur.
“You ok Steven?” Connie and Steven were waist deep, yet Steven’s face had a distant look on it.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” Steven splashed Connie with a little water and she laughed with a ‘Hey!’ Neither could see Amethyst looking pleased with the two, they didn’t know she’d brought them out here to help them relax a bit. Yeah Jasper was still around, but the two kids deserved a day to have fun. She’d already cleared it with Garnet, so why not?
“Grrr…” Amethyst felt Lion’s pink belly shake, and heard him give a faint growl.
“What up pinkie?” she gave her nickname for him yet he didn’t turn, and she saw why. “STEVEN!! CONNIE GET OUT OF THE WATER!!”
“Amethyst?!” Steven looked in the same direction and they started swimming back to the shore. Once they got a better look they could see it was Jasper, but something was off. She was slowly pulling herself out of the water, but she looked like she’d lost a fight. From what they could tell her body was covered in bruises, and based on her movements she was in a lot of pain.
“You two stay here.” Amethyst took Lion and they ran towards the fallen quartz. Steven only watched as Amethyst slowly approached Jasper, and then he saw Lion nudge at an orange hand but no movement. They lifted her onto Lion’s back and made their way back to the kids.
“Is she ok?” Connie saw the bruises and they looked worse up close.
“I don’t know, we should get her back to the temple. Garnet and Pearl might still be there.” Steven couldn’t help but cringe at the sight of Jasper, the quartz warrior who fought against his mother and the Crystal Gems, a complete battered mess.
“What could’ve done this to her?” the boy whispered and they walked back towards the temple. Garnet and Pearl saw them coming, and they met them at the bottom of the stairs.
“Amethyst! What happened?” Pearl gaped at Jasper’s body.
“She was on the beach, looks like she put up a fight and lost.”
“To what though?” a pale hand touched Jasper’s unconscious but anguished face, feeling her gemstone.
“No idea, we just found her like this.” Amethyst watched as Pearl took a quick look at the orange gem, feeling it for possible cracks and nicks.
“Her gem is intact, that’s good.”
“So should we poof her?” Amethyst asked and the others, including Connie, all stared at her wide eyed. “What? We’ve been tracking her down and…?” Garnet stopped her.
“Amethyst, it’s obvious something did this to her but we need to find out what. If there’s a corruption stronger than Jasper then we need to locate it soon before it hurts anyone else.”
“And only Jasper can tell us.” Pearl concluded for Garnet. “Let’s get her inside, Steven you and Connie stay out here until we say it’s clear.”
“But she can’t hurt anyone like that…” Steven wanted to help.
“Steven, don’t argue just let us do this.” Garnet touched his head. “Don’t worry, she’ll be fine.” Steven relaxed and nodded. He could only watch as Lion and the other gems carried Jasper inside the house.
“Steven, why don’t go to Fun Land?” Connie grabbed his hand, and Steven went along with her. The two kids knew whatever was going on they would find out later, but for now let the others do the work.
Inside the temple:
“Set her there.” Lion and Amethyst managed to place the still sleeping Jasper on the couch, which she took up entirely.
“Garnet, do you really think a corruption did this to her?” Pearl felt uneasy, this looked like the work of more than one corruption or as Garnet said, a stronger one they hadn’t seen yet.
“It’s possible, but there’s more to this.” Garnet kept her focus on Jasper’s body. “Look at her waist.” Pearl and Amethyst did, and what they saw made them both gasp in horror. Jasper’s pants were torn in several places, but the biggest hole was in between her legs and there was nasty bruising and liquid seeping from a very private area.
“She’s…she was…” Pearl couldn’t speak, her hands closed over her mouth.
“Raped.” Amethyst’s fists clenched. “Who would do this?” what could do this? Jasper was a tough gem to beat, if the evidence weren't right in front of them none would believe it was possible.
“We won’t know until she wakes, but we should clean her up before Steven and Connie return.” Garnet made her way towards the kitchen, but Pearl and Amethyst didn’t move.
“But we…” Pearl suddenly felt sick. “Garnet it’s completely inappropriate!”
“Maybe, but we can’t just leave her like that. Steven will be back and we should at least fix her up.”
“Garnet if we touch her and she wakes she’ll...” Pearl stopped when Garnet’s gaze fell on her.
“She won’t, her body is weak so she’ll likely wake tomorrow; now get some towels and warm water.” it surprised the other two gems how their friend could remain so calm after seeing that, but they didn’t say anything else as they gathered the necessary materials.
“I don’t know if I can do this Garnet.” Pearl held the sopping wet rag in her hand.
“You and Amethyst focus on her arms and upper body, I’ll do the rest.” Amethyst wet her rag and started on Jasper’s chest, careful not to aggravate her wounds while Pearl cautiously cleaned her arms.
As they cleaned Jasper up the evidence of rape was worse up close. There were huge prints on Jasper’s arms and legs, like something had held her down and forced her limbs apart. Gems didn’t need to eat, but Pearl felt she could vomit as she watched Garnet wash Jasper’s nether region and clean away the mess. The large quartz twitched and moaned in pain, but didn’t wake. Gems didn’t bleed either, but it was still sickening as the remaining evidence was wiped away. Amethyst focused on cleaning Jasper’s face and neck, removing the dirt and whatever else caked the dark skinned quartz.
“This is disgusting…” Pearl whispered, it felt so wrong doing this while Jasper was out cold.
“Of course it is, whatever did this I hope we find them soon.” Amethyst’s attitude changed, she had wanted to poof Jasper minutes ago but after seeing all this feelings changed.
“We need to remove her suit, but we need some clothes first.”
“Oh! Hold on…” Amethyst quickly left to her room and came back minutes later with some giant clothes.
“Amethyst what on earth…?” Pearl knew Amethyst had a lot of junk, but she never thought she’d have clothes, giant ones at that.
“Found’em at a yard sale, guy was huge they should fit her fine.” Amethyst threw down a XXL black t-shirt, some grey sweatpants, and a pair of red plaid boxer shorts. “No girl stuff, sorry.”
“It’ll work.” after they removed the last of Jasper’s torn clothes Garnet took the boxers and pants, carefully pulling them over Jasper’s legs while Amethyst and Pearl pulled the shirt over her. Once Jasper was fully dressed the gems stepped back as she moved and twitched again.
“No…n-no…” she whimpered a few times, and Garnet touched her arm which seemed to calm her. Jasper’s face relaxed, but there was still a hint of distress.
“I think we should wake her, if Steven sees her like this during the night…”
“No.” waking Jasper was not an option, she’d have to wake on her own.
“We’ll send Steven to stay the night with Peridot and Lapis, they’ll be fine with it but we’ll have to tell them about Jasper. You are right Pearl Steven can’t see her like this, so until she wakes up it’s best he be away.”
“Why not Greg?” Amethyst kept her eyes on Jasper.
“Greg would be fine, but Lapis and Peridot can watch over Steven until we figure out what to do.”
“What if she tries anything?”
“She won’t Pearl.” even with that visor over her eyes Garnet’s intense stare could shake anyone down. “When Jasper comes to we must be there, and we will help her regardless. Is that clear?”
“Garnet she’s…” Garnet stopped Pearl again.
“A gem who needs our assistance whether she wants it or not; this won’t be easy for any of us, especially Jasper. However…our feelings won’t matter for now.”
“Garnet.” Amethyst had a tear in her eye. “This feels like we violated her, just like whatever else did.” Pearl’s face paled and she looked away, trying to stifle her own cries.
“I know.” Garnet ran a finger across her visor. “But it was the best we could do in this situation.”
“We can’t exactly go to the cops.” Amethyst agreed. “Or to a hospital.”
“Even so, it still feels wrong.” Pearl wiped a tear from her eyes.
“Let’s just make her comfortable, we’ll deal with the rest in the morning.” Amethyst put some pillows behind Jasper’s head, and Pearl grabbed a large spare blanket Steven used for guests.
“I’ll take the first watch over her.” Garnet sat down next to the couch. “You two go call Peridot and Lapis, and one of you find Steven.”
“I’ll go.” Amethyst volunteered.
“I’ll go too, I just…I can’t look at her right now.” it wasn’t out of hate, Pearl couldn’t get the previous image of Jasper out of her mind.
“Go on.” the other two gems quickly left the temple, but not until after Pearl grabbed Steven’s pillow and blankets plus a change of clothes for the night. Garnet stared at Jasper’s face and felt the angry thoughts of Ruby and Sapphire flow through her mind, but altogether the thoughts formed to one sentence.
‘We’ll find out who did this to you, and we will protect you.'