Steven Universe fanfiction, take two! Headcanons ahoy in regards to how timing works, as well as tiny/newly formed Amethyst. Tried to make it obvious that Pearl’s feelings for Rose are a little more than just friendship or devotion, as well as allusions to Rose possibly having been a mother figure for Amethyst following being found. Given that Amethyst wasn’t at the final battle and lived on her own for awhile following being ‘born’…hey man, I tried. :3
Not a one-shot. I don’t generally ask this, but mind a bit of feedback on this one? Character voice and all that. : )
Amethyst was a surprise, in more ways than one.
Her arrival came on a spring afternoon when the sky shed tears as it had for days, leaving small pools outside the sanctuary in the spots where the stone had worn down over the years. The flowers that grew within the cracks stretched their necks out to partake, and the vines that twisted along the arms of the figurehead flourished. Pearl liked this kind of weather; she sat beneath a stone outcropping, clutching her spear attentively while listening to the soothing shuu of the rain. It did little to soften her nerves, coiled tightly to the point of bursting. It was, after all, the first time she’d been allowed to stay behind to guard the sanctuary all by herself, and while her heart fluttered at the responsibility granted to her by Rose Quartz the very possibility of something going wrong was enough to keep her from relaxing in the slightest.
Not that there was much to worry about, these days. Perhaps the sky was weeping for the gems that littered the battlefield, shattered beyond repair; the remaining homeworld forces had gone, leaving the three of them (Rose Quartz, Garnet, and herself) to pick up the pieces of a world reeling from war. The humans that knew of their presence revered them as deities, keeping their distance out of fear, and while Rose was fascinated by them Pearl preferred it that way. She had Rose, and Garnet had herself, as the Crystal Gems, guardians of an underdeveloped world whose inhabitants were barely more advanced than the creatures they hunted, for the most part.
She wasn’t expecting Rose Quartz and Garnet to return from a survey of the one of the now deactivated Kindergarten sites with a bundle of lavender hair with a purple gem set between her tiny collarbones, clinging to Rose’s shoulders in a way that briefly made Pearl twitch with envy.
Pearl blinked. And then she gripped her spear even more tightly, rising to her feet. “Lady Rose Quartz!”
Rose sighed, plucking the bundle of lavender fluff from her shoulders. “Pearl.”
“Sorry…Rose.” Pearl flushed, still embarrassed by the informality; as usual Rose smiled in her unwavering gentle manner.
“I appreciate the diligence, Pearl,” she admonished, “But as of now we are equals."
The very concept of being on the same level as someone she lo…admired so much was unfathomable to Pearl, but if it made Rose happy she was certainly willing to give what she viewed as impropriety a shot. "Yes, La…I mean Rose.”
The tiny figure in Rose’s arms flailed. “Mama Rose! Can I go down?"
The taller Gem placed her on the ground, where she immediately fell over with a soft oof before pulling herself up by clinging to Rose’s dress and toddling a few feet away to splash in a puddle while laughing gleefully.
Pearl took a few steps backwards, looking up at Rose Quartz and Garnet questioningly. "Is she a gem?” She asked, careful to keep her voice down.
Garnet answered the question, folding her arms over her broad chest. “She is. We discovered her at the defunct manufacturing site. We’re calling her Amethyst.”
“She’s so…small.” Pearl wasn’t too well-versed in how manufactured gems were created, having only faced them in combat. She knew about Kindergarten, and had seen it once or twice since its inception and being rendered defunct, but that was the extent of her experience with the gems that were less than natural, bred as homeworld forces and little else.
“As far as we know she’s the only one of her kind that managed to survive the deactivation of Kindergarten.” Garnet leaned down to ruffle the tiny gem’s hair with an uncharacteristic fondness. “As it is we think she’s underdeveloped. I suspect the site was deactivated before she could undergo whatever indoctrination the other manufactured gems were subject to.”
Pearl took another step back, eyes trained on Amethyst; she’d tired of the puddle, inspecting a vine heavy with deep pink flowers curiously, as if she’d never seen such a thing before. Perhaps she hadn’t. “Is it safe to keep her around? Won’t she be like one of them, when she’s older?”
“No gem is born bad,” Rose said, firmly. “Manufactured or not.”
The three of them turned to watch Amethyst. The rain had slowed to a light drizzle shortly before Rose and Garnet’s return, and the sun was beginning to peek out from behind the thick blanket of clouds. Amethyst stared up at the clearing sky in a state of wonder.
“She’s never seen the sun before, not like this,” Rose murmured. “This is her first time seeing the world beyond that canyon.”
“Oh.” Pearl fell silent, overwhelmed by a sudden rush of pity. She couldn’t imagine only knowing darkness, never feeling the vegetation beneath one’s palms, the light chill of spring rain, or the warmth of the sun. After a moment she spoke up once more. “Is she staying with us?”
“Of course!” Rose walked over to where Amethyst stood transfixed, sweeping the small gem up in her arms once more and carrying her back to where Garnet and Pearl stood at the entrance to their sanctuary. “We couldn’t leave her there alone. She’s one of us, now. Just think of her as a younger sister.”
“But La..Rose, that term suggests a biological connection that’s simply not possible for either of us.” Pearl stated, matter of factly.
Rose scoffed at the idea, holding Amethyst close much like a child of her own. “Pearl, you of all people should know that sharing a ‘biological connection’ isn’t a requirement for family. We’re family, aren’t we?”
Pearl was now skilled enough to keep her face from falling as it had before, feigning a smile as if she were perfectly satisfied with that designation. She had to be. “Yes.”
“You’re not related,” Rose continued, cuddling the smaller gem before placing her on the ground once more. “But Amethyst needs someone to look up to, a role model she can learn from. And if anyone’s up to that task it’s you.”
The vote of confidence in her abilities was a sufficient balm for Rose’s unintended slight, and Pearl nodded once more in affirmation. “I’ll do my best.”
Amethyst sneezed into her hands, then wiped them on her dress. Garnet glanced down at her, then back up at Pearl. “Yeah, I’m going to let you handle this one.”
As if noticing the unfamiliar gem for the first time, Amethyst made her way over to Pearl, who forced herself not to back away. “You’re tall.”
“That’s…that’s true?” Pearl fumbled for a proper response. She wasn’t used to speaking with children, if that’s what Amethyst even counted as. “Relatively speaking. Reconfiguring height is simply a matter of…” She trailed off with a heavy sigh. “You didn’t understand any of that, did you?”
“No!” Amethyst chirped. She took a step forward, reaching out to Pearl with her chubby arms. “Can I come up?”
“Up?” Pearl met Rose’s gaze, nervous. “Oh…you want me to pick you up?”
“Mama Rose does!” Amethyst stared up at her with a brilliant smile that rivaled the sun. Her soft lavender hair was damp from the drizzle, and her eyes shone with a level of trust that caused something in Pearl’s chest to twist. It wasn’t the ache that she felt when she looked at Rose, nor the sense of camaraderie she felt for Garnet. This…this was different.
“Okay. Just for a moment, though.” She lifted the tiny gem in a light embrace; Amethyst was warm, and she fit into her arms neatly as if she already belonged there.
“Mama Rose said you’re my sister,” Amethyst said, nuzzling against Pearl’s chest happily. “What’s a sister?”
“Um…well…” Pearl paused, searching for the words once more. She had a feeling she would be doing so a lot more often, now. “A sister is someone that takes care of you and teaches you all you need to know about the world.”
“Oh. Are you my sister?”
Pearl held her close, smiling into the soft hair brushing against her chin. “Yes.”