Chapter 5: Falls Apart
“You’re losing sight. You’re losing touch. All these little things seem to matter so much…” ~ Here Comes a Thought, Mindful Education
The first time they fell apart, they weren’t sure what was happening.
Fusion was still so new to them and they had only been Stevonnie for literally two hours when Sour Cream had approached them about the rave. Dancing was how they fused in the first place and they had felt comfortable with each other so…
But dancing as Stevonnie was not the same as dancing with Steven and Connie and before they knew it, they were back at school, in the gym, and everyone was staring at her. No one was dancing, no one was having fun, they were just…staring. And the walls were closing in and they were trapped in a bubble, a shiny, pulsing bubble that did nothing to take the attention away from them.
And then a figure stepped within and the illusion broke.
The first time they fell apart, they weren’t sure what was happening.
Fusion wasn’t new to them, at least not the concept for one nor the application for the other, but they had only been Garnet for literally two months when that scout had approached. Sacrifice was how they fused in the first place and they were comfortable with each other so…
But self-sacrifice as Garnet was not the same as self-sacrifice when it was Ruby or Sapphire and before they knew it, they were in the midst of a vision they hadn’t asked for, with multiple paths, and multiple endings. Everyone was fighting, everyone was being shattered, and everyone was just…staring. And as gems, they didn’t actually need the air to breathe, it still felt as though the life was being squeezed out of them.
And with a yell, they fell apart and the illusion broke.
The second time they fell apart, it was due to anger.
An all-consuming flame of rage, hate, and malice that would only be squelched when that axinite was crushed into teeny. Tiny. Pieces.
The rebels had never seen an axinite before; oh, they had heard about them – apparently White Diamond loved to surround herself with them because they were so rare. In fact, most weren’t even sure where these particular gems came from and it was thought perhaps they weren’t created like most of the other Homeworld gems.
That was all the more reason to punch her stupid, rare face in.
It wasn’t just that she had insulted them – it had been two years of what was looking to be a thousand-year war, so they had heard everything they could about their status as a fusion, thank you very much. No, no, it was the insult to the rebellion itself that annoyed them.
It was rude. Completely uncalled for, really. And yes, while they were trying to keep a low profile, it was still a little annoying that she couldn’t even recognize the ‘dreaded fusion’ when she saw her.
It was the principle of the matter.
You. Do. Not. Insult. The Rebellion.
It was that simple.
And then, to add insult to injury, she taunted them. Gave them a sad story about how the rebellion had shattered her friends and that was why she was so angry and they believed her. They believed her! Rose didn’t want a war; none of them wanted a war! They just wanted the destruction of Earth to stop and they wanted to be their own gems.
Oh, but no. No, that wasn’t the end.
She laughed at them. Laughed and stated she would’ve shattered the gems on her own if she could. They were just worthless gems. Worthless.
Oh, it was on.
It was so ON!
They had the upper hand, they thought. It was a smooth fight, probably.
Then the trees and hillside broke apart, the sky split open and fell to the ground. And that stupid, laughing face of axinite was coming towards them…
Biggs found them moments later, sitting together on the ground, just as confused as she was when she saw them.
Axinite was nowhere to be found.
They second time they fell apart, it was due to anger.
An all-consuming flame of rage, hate, and malice that would only be squelched when Kevin was crushed into teeny. Tiny. Pieces.
They had never met anyone like Kevin before. Oh, they knew there were jerks in the world – ahem, Lars, but that was something that wouldn’t be shared – but Kevin…Kevin was…a super jerk.
That was all the more reason to punch his stupid, jerk face in.
It wasn’t just that he had made Connie uncomfortable – she’d been uncomfortable before, though Kevin had brought that to the highest it could possibly go. That should’ve been enough, but no. No, he had to go and insult to his dad.
It was rude. Completely uncalled for, really. And yes, while they were trying to keep a low profile, it was still a little annoying that he couldn’t even muster up an apology for the way he treated them at that rave a year ago.
It was the principle of the matter.
You. Do. Not. Insult. Dad.
It was that simple.
And then, to add insult to injury, he taunted them. Gave them a sad story about how he had a sick brother and how not knowing what would happen made him lash out and they believed him. They believed him! They didn’t want to be angry about this; this should’ve been a fun race, something that would show him he just couldn’t do and say things like that without consequences.
Oh, but no. No, that wasn’t the end.
He laughed at them. Laughed and stated that he enjoyed screwing with people and being a jerk. Enjoyed it!
Oh, it was on.
It was so ON!
They had the upper hand, they thought. It was a smooth race, probably.
Then the road started breaking apart, the sky was shooting laser lights at them. And that stupid, laughing face of Kevin was right there in the front windshield…
Somehow, they managed to stop the car before it went over the guardrail, leaving two extremely confused and terrified kids sitting in the driver’s seat.
Kevin was nowhere to be found.
The last time they fell apart, they knew what was happening.
Or at least, she did.
They were literally falling apart and in a few more minutes, they would be human shaped dimes on the ground below unless she could talk him into fusing again.
But it was difficult. He was so upset, so traumatized…she hadn’t even known who two of those gems were before the face of Rose Quartz appeared before them. What kind of best friend was she that she hadn’t known about Jasper’s corruption, the gem called Bismuth, or the one-eyed ruby?
That was neither here or there.
Right now, she had to break through to him so they wouldn’t die. Once they got on the ground, safely, she would absolutely make sure he told her what was going on. She’d be there for him, as she had before and as she always would.
I didn’t mean to.
I know you didn’t. It’s okay, Steven. I’m here.
The last time she fell apart, she immediately knew what was happening.
However, she…they… were too shocked and traumatized to stop the initial cracks from happening. They were literally falling apart and in front of Steven, no less, and in the middle of being attacked by…by an abomination of everything they were.
“So this is what Homeworld thinks of fusion.”
This is what Homeworld thought of them, was the actual thought. Their friends and comrades, probably along with other Homeworld gems who hadn’t managed to escape the corruption when the Diamonds’ released it…Homeworld thought so little of them, of the rebellion, that they had just shattered gems and then pieced them back together in some sort of horrible experiment.
They would need to come back to this, they would come back to this, but right now they needed to pull themselves together in order to protect Steven.
They came back to the topic once they returned home, but she didn’t go into detail with the others. She hated having Steven explain, but the encounter was too recent, too raw to look at objectively, so she took the warp pad to the top of the Temple, where they kept the washer and dryer and tried to calm down.
I didn’t mean to…
It was them. Everyone we looked for, they’ve been right there this whole time, Sapph.
I know. I should’ve…
No. You couldn’t have.
You don’t know that.
It’s not your fault.
Steven will be up in about five minutes to finish his laundry.
Steven would have questions because of course he would.
She’d have to apologize. They’d have to apologize. They never wanted him to see that, not like that.
I’m here, Ruby.
Later, they could decide if they wanted to unfuse…
No. We’re fine.
This wasn’t going to be how they fell apart, how she would fall apart.
We’re here, Garnet.
Chapter 6: First Love
“Love at first sight doesn’t exist. Love takes time and love takes work. At the very least, you have to know the other person. And you literally have no idea of who, or what, I am.” ~ Garnet, Love Letters
Love at first sight didn’t exist.
That was a lesson that had basically undone about fifteen years of television watching. Not that he hadn’t already felt some form of attraction to his fellow knight, because he absolutely did. He could even to try to pinpoint when that moment happened – it was when he saw her watching the annual parade.
It was that beautiful look of wonder and excitement she got when something really interested her.
It would take him another year to actually approach her and give her the glow bracelet she had dropped that day and they would end up trapped in his very first bubble before being chased by a corrupted water gem, but it had proved something beyond what he had known then – he would protect her regards of the situation.
She was his knight, sure, but within the year he had already promoted her to his queen and partner. They were better together.
He told her everything and he always knew when she wasn’t telling him something and vice versa. She accepted a part of him even he wasn’t sure about and he was her biggest cheerleader. He had the gems fuse for her, had created a new fusion with her, experienced Garnet’s future vision because of her, discovered the Unfamiliar Familiar series because of her…
And in the end, when asked to give her up, he couldn’t do it.
She meant too much to him. And he knew the feeling was mutual – he felt it every time they formed Stevonnie, knew that the practice they did was done out of love for the other person and every defense of their being was because they wouldn’t dream of being without each other. He was still young, they were still young, but he had known at fourteen that he was going to marry her.
Who else would be First Husband when she became president?
But…but…he didn’t rush into anything. Yes, they tended to wear the promise rings on their left hands more often than their right hands – which, according to her parents, was not at all normal for a teenaged couple to do – but they weren’t getting married right then. He waited like any decent boyfriend/pseudo-fiancée and didn’t marry her until she had graduated college.
By then, they still didn’t have the millennia that was built behind Garnet, but they had managed to outpace the years between his own parents, though Connie’s parents had an additional decade on them. But even after ten years as friends and eight of those being an actual couple, he was still falling in love with her.
They would always put in the time and work.
Love at first sight didn’t exist.
That was a lesson that took about forty years and a war to learn. Not that she hadn’t already felt some form of attraction for her guard and self-appointed protector, because she absolutely did. She could even try to pinpoint when that moment happened – it was after they had found shelter in that cave.
It was that adorable, little smirk she did when she got embarrassed.
All it took was the mere threat of Ruby being shattered and her world had literally turned on its axis. But it had proved something, even when she hadn’t realized what that was until later – she would protect her regardless of the situation.
She was her guard and protector, sure, but that didn’t mean that had to be exclusive. She had already proven that at the slightest provocation, nothing and no one would hurt the little red gem. They were partners and they just happened to work better together.
It was a strange concept on Homeworld – unless you were a part of a certain gem class, most gems kept separate from each other. There weren’t really people around that you could call friends; possible comrades, partners in arms, but not actual friendships. Earth…Earth made everything different. As crazy as it sounded, there was something about the planet – the people, the places, the plants, the animals, just something – that made previously held thoughts and considerations…moot.
They told each other everything, which was saying something in itself. Only those who were high enough within the Diamond courts knew of the rarity of sapphires and even only a handful of those knew of their abilities. Precognition was an incredible, yet often wasted talent, used mostly to see which new planet or star could be made into a colony and what future production time tables would look like.
Most of the military muscle, as it were, knew sapphires to be part of the aristocratic set or at the very least, non-threatening diplomats. They had no idea they could see into the future or if they did, it was a long held – but never proven – rumor. It wasn’t until the rebellion that a sapphire’s abilities became essential – her very duty that day was to deliver the news of the rebels’ defeat.
Not only did she accept her, but she accepted her visions and in turn, she could give the biggest ego boost ever with just a smile. She had thrown away her position for her, had created a new fusion with her, experienced a new aspect to her precognition with her, discovered a new world with her…
In the end, when the opportunity to give that up – to prevent what was to come, presented itself – she couldn’t do it.
And if she could do it all again, she wouldn’t.
She meant too much to her. And she knew the feeling was mutual – even if she hadn’t felt the wave of attraction and emotion when they formed Garnet, she didn’t know anyone who was capable of starting a fire when she looked at them. She was still young, they were still young, but she was fairly sure gems didn’t flirt at the slightest hint of motion from the other.
Biggs and Bismuth never missed an opportunity to tease them on that.
But…BUT…they never rushed anything. Yes, they had a tendency when not fused to flirt incessantly with each other, even during sparring practice – which, more than not, exasperated everyone, even Rose – but when it was time to get serious, they were serious. Deadly serious if you asked any gem, Homeworld or Crystal Gem alike; Crazy Lace had once joked she wasn’t sure what was scarier – seeing Garnet coming your way or the two of them.
They’d had a millennia together and they were planning for another, with no regrets. Yes, being unfused meant she could watch her eternal flame do what she did best, but being Garnet meant they could be closer than anything in the universe combined and could still experience the world with new eyes. At this point, Garnet ran most of the show, while they sat back and watched, giving a few comments or suggestions here or there.
But they still took time and they still needed to work on themselves, their issues, and their love. They would still have minor flare ups – they often stated the other was the most infuriating gem they had ever met – but it was never anything that they couldn’t come back from. Their relationship was stable and always would be.
Chapter 7: First Kiss
Their first kiss happened on watch.
Well, on her watch, to be honest – the blue gem had just shown up just because. Two decades into the longest war ever against Homeworld and the Diamond Authority, the Crystal Gems were nearly seasoned at their offense and defense. Kindergartens never knew what hit them until their injectors were broken, ships were grounded before they even left the ground.
The war may have been twenty years in the making, but there were a number of years where it had just been Rose and Pearl alone, upsetting the precious balance their society struggled to hold on it and then when Garnet joined them, it was like everything fit into place.
And speaking of Garnet…
The two smaller gems spent a lot of time as the ‘Formidable Fusion’ now, though on some occasions – like this – they needed to be their separate individual selves. That was actually was she had come to sat and share watch – it was becoming harder and harder to stay away from each other. It wasn’t just that they loved fusing together, it was more than that.
They…just didn’t know what it was exactly.
They were inseparable, even when not fused. Only the few in Rose Quartz’ inner circle knew the two were components of a fusion and they were of course the first ones to point out just how much time the two spent together, how they never could take their eyes off each other, even when across the camp from each other.
Bismuth would never stop commenting on the one time they interrogated a Homeworld Gem, from nearly setting them on fire to freezing them.
And of course, there was that one time they destroyed Rose’s setting for a garden grove.
Yes, they brought out the best and worst of each other.
But that night, under the stars, they had just come to realization of what they meant to each other. Gems from Homeworld had no concept of love or affection – if anything, such closeness was frowned upon. The only relationship where reliance and need was paramount was between an owner and their pearl and even that didn’t go into the territory they willingly entered.
It would be another seventeen years before they discovered the word that explained how they felt about each other, but that night, when cold met heat, lips touching for the first time, they didn’t need any words.
Their first kiss happened on their spot.
It was the same spot on the beach when he had tried to impress her with his brand-new bike and his, laughable, skills at riding it through sand. It was also the same spot where they had fused for the first time. Best friends for nearly three years and they were seasoned warriors, in terms of comparison to their peers.
He had been an official member of the Crystal Gems since he was thirteen, the same age she was made an official member herself. They had fought against gems together and there was a pretty good likelihood, they would need to do it again in the very near future. While they enjoyed protecting each other and loved the fusion they created together, at the end of the day, they just liked…being together. They had been inseparable since meeting each other and more often than not, those around them – ahem, Amethyst – never missed a chance to comment on it.
They spent most of their moments together, sometimes they couldn’t even tear their eyes away from the other, even when across the room. They were each other’s knights and at some point, they had each elevated those titles to how they saw the other. They had been aware, for a while now, that their feelings for each other went well past that of friendship, but they hadn’t discussed the matter. The knowledge was still new and a little scary – if things went south, what would happen? They couldn’t lose each other.
But that night, under the stars, it didn’t seem to matter. Nothing could tear them apart from each other, nothing. When king and queen moved closer, lips touching for the first time, they didn’t need to be scared or worried.
Several years later, the king would ask the queen to share his throne for all time.
Chapter 8: First Baby
When Steven Quartz Universe was born, it wasn’t a happy event.
The months and years that stretched after the boy’s birth were hard on those who were closest to his mother, whose loss they could feel even as he had grown from a baby to a man. The gems loved Steven, they just didn’t know or even think they would when he first made his entrance into the world, but it’s been twenty-five years since then and those who knew and loved him, couldn’t imagine life without him.
Seeing Steven so soon after his mother had left them had been hard and…mistakes were made. In hindsight, yes, kidnapping a baby from right under his father’s nose was in terrible taste, but they were all a little distraught or disorientated, mostly just trying to be happy about something that equally grieved him.
It was that kidnapping that caused a decision that, at the time, seemed a great idea.
Garnet had been convinced that Steven was just a fusion of Rose and perhaps he was just afraid or worry to unfuse in front of Greg. So she showed him it was okay. She unfused into Ruby and Sapphire and that’s when Steven started crying, clearly upset to see them.
It would be several years before Garnet – and thus Ruby and Sapphire – would understand his initial reaction; he was a baby, after all, and seeing Garnet disappear in front of him would of course be upsetting. Still, the ordeal was enough that all three agreed that they wouldn’t tell Steven about themselves until he was much, much older.
However, the night he fused with Connie seemed to be the perfect entry way to introducing themselves.
And then stupid Jasper had to dissipate them, in front of Steven no less, and then the teen had to save them. A better introduction would have been to tell him about their fusion, their relationship, and talk openly and confidently about fusion. Instead, Steven had to watch Ruby’s frustration, Sapphire’s impatience, and both of their single-minded focus on just finding each other.
And then he had to ask if he had made a good first impression.
As if they didn’t already love him.
They loved being Garnet, of course they did, but there were times – when Garnet had held a happy baby Steven or when she saw how happy the toddler was at seeing them – when they wished they had been a bigger part of his childhood, not just as Garnet, but as Ruby and Sapphire.
But they would never regret the happiness they saw on his face when they did unfuse, especially when they started making a point to do so just to spend time with him.
When Lisa Kahaani Universe was born, it was a joyous event.
She was the second human/gem hybrid ever born, though she was more human than gem, considering neither parent had to give up their forms or gems in order to facilitate her existence. She was perfectly healthy – ten fingers, ten toes, chubby cheeks – and loved immediately.
Despite Lisa technically being their second baby, everyone involved knew what and what not to do when it came to caring for a baby. Lisa – and later her siblings – was surrounded by love, from her parents to her grandparents (and make no mistake, the gems may have been ‘godparents’ on paper, they were totally and absolutely grandparents).
With a second chance, a grand idea was planned.
Ruby and Sapphire – and thus Garnet – all agreed they didn’t want to miss things the way they had with Steven and neither parents wanted their daughter to not know who their gem family was. So, the two smaller gems made a point of trading off watching Lisa and it didn’t take them nearly as long to introduce themselves.
Lisa Universe – and thus her sister and brother after her – not only had a fascination with fusion, but understood it in such a way that made perfect sense to a three-year old. Like her father, Lisa loved the concept of “gian’ woma’!” and was ecstatic whenever she saw Stevonnie walk off the warp pad. And like her father, they all seemed to agree that birthdays were the perfect time to introduce their young charge to the various fusions.
Except, Garnet cheated.
She couldn’t help it – Lisa held the excitement of her father and the curiosity of her mother and that was a triple threat to someone who was number one spoiler of Universe children (which she resented, because Pearl spoiled the kids way more than she did, thank you very much!). So while they were supposed to tell her about themselves on her next birthday, they were just so excited about her excitement when Stevonnie made her appearance, that they just went for it.
So they told her she was a ‘giant woman’ before unfusing into Lisa’s favorite babysitters of Ruby and Sapphire.
And like her father, Lisa’s eyes had grown wide and starred as she realized two of her favorite people made up her another favorite person. When she threw her arms around both them – much in the same way her father tended to do – the two gems chuckled as they hugged her back.
“So did we make a good impression?”
“Yes! Love Ru and Sapphy!”