The Gems stood, staring at each other. None of the aliens, or the two humans literally caught in the middle, said a word. Jasper seemed to be studying the group in front of her, waiting for a move. The Crystal Gems, gripping their weapons, stared back, prepared to counter anything Jasper tried. Lapis and Peridot just squeezed the children, looking back and forth between the two groups.
"Jasper, be reasonable. You cannot hold against this number," Garnet said finally.
"I seemed to be holding just fine until you threw me into the engine, you shameless display," the large Gem growled.
"Please… just… think about this, there's no need to fight," Pearl begged, grasping her spear tighter.
"I'm thinking just fine. I'm taking Rose Quartz back to Homeworld to answer for what she did. It doesn't matter how much I respect her as a warrior… she betrayed her oath and people. I will not let that stand unopposed," Jasper replied.
"Over our cracked gems," Amethyst said.
"I would be more than happy to arrange that," Jasper said curtly.
"You are outnumbered. Spare us all bloodshed, and surrender," Garnet said.
"You must be joking!" Jasper scoffed. "Did you not notice that I already hold Rose Quartz? I'm happy to see you finally decided on your loyalties, Lazuli. Now, bring Rose with you and let's go."
"I said, it's Steven," Lapis said, stronger. "And he's not going anywhere!" Jasper snorted.
"Enough with the double agent gimmick. We have what we came for, let's get out of here."
"I'm not a double agent. I'm not going to have anything more to do with that… nightmare of a planet, and you're not taking Steven!" Lapis growled as she cuddled him protectively. Jasper stared, uncomprehending, at Lapis for a moment. Then her face became hard set into a terrifying grimace.
"TRAITOR!" she roared, lunging at the smaller Gem. Her fist was cocked back, aiming straight for Lapis' head. Steven managed to throw up his bubble around them just before the blow was struck. Jasper pounded on the shell, causing its occupants to rattle. A blast to her back made her whirl.
"Leave them alone, Jasper," Peridot said, holding Connie behind her with a single arm. Her free arm was cooling from a recent laser blast.
"Treason! I'm surrounded by it!" the orange Gem screamed. Peridot gulped, but stood her ground, preparing to fire again.
"Surrender. You can't defeat us. It's five against one," the engineer Gem continued. The Crystal Gems blinked, looking at each other.
"All right!" Steven cried.
"Shut up!" Jasper snapped.
"You heard her," Garnet said. "Surrender. It's the sensible thing." Jasper grit her teeth, glaring at the Gems arrayed before. She grabbed the bubble, holding it in front of her. The Crystal Gems and Peridot readied their weapons.
"Put it down," Pearl said, icily. "Or else…"
"Or else what, you'll harm Rose?" Jasper smirked. "I don't think so." She began to back away, out of the hole she had made in the wall, keeping the bubble in front of her. The four allied Gems followed with their weapons at the ready.
"It's like the freaking Cuban Missile Crisis," Lapis groaned.
"The what?" Steven asked.
"Nothing, never mind, long story," the watery Gem replied, shaking her head. She glanced through the top of the bubble to see Jasper was focusing completely on the army ahead of her. She made a motion to Steven of poking a round object.
"But…" the boy protested. Lapis quickly put a finger to her lips, and then nodded as she repeated the gesture. Wincing, Steven poked the bubble, and the shell dissolved. Lapis grabbed Steven and rolled away from Jasper, her arms still holding the now gone bubble.
"What…?" Jasper sputtered, looking down at her now empty grasp. Garnet took this opportunity to lunge forward and punch the confused Gem. Jasper grunted, breaking through the railing of the porch and flying onto the beach.
"Lapis, Peridot, stay here and don't let her so much as breathe on Steven and Connie!" Pearl yelled as the three leapt through the broken railing after her.
"Pearl! No! Wait!" Steven cried.
"You heard her, Steven, you and your girlfriend stay here," Lapis said, shooing him back to the couch. "Peri, you got any ideas?"
"Not knowing what we have to work with, I should say not," the green Gem replied, quickly looking around the house.
"Ah. Bolivian Army. Sounds great," Lapis said.
"There is no need for sarcasm," Peridot replied. "I am sure the Crystal Gems can hold…" Peridot trailed off as a bruised Pearl, her spear broken, flew through the hole, crashing through the wall. She gave a feral growl, summoned a replacement, and charged back outside. "…just fine."
"Peridot, we need to get out there."
"And who will defend Steven and Connie?"
"They need the manpower."
"You heard them, Lapis; we need to protect the kids."
"No, I heard Pearl. And as much as she might think she is, she is not my boss."
"We need to protect the kids!"
"We need to defeat that psychopath!"
"You both need to move apart," a voice said. Not really thinking, Lapis and Peridot separated, still glaring each other down. A blur of pink shot between them, and the two turned in time to see a pink tail vanishing through the hole in the wall.
Jasper growled as she strained against Amethyst's whip wrapped around one of her arms. The smallest of the four Gems held fast, somehow keeping her grip against the walking war machine. Jasper used her free arm to block strikes from Garnet and Pearl.
"The treason… it's so thick I can barely breathe," she snarled.
"None of us breathe," Garnet corrected.
"Shut up!" she roared, knocking the leader back. Her second wind continuing, she yanked Amethyst off balance, flinging her against Pearl.
"…jerk…" Amethyst coughed.
"I think you're the ones who need to go quietly," Jasper replied, summoning her helmet.
"Leave them alone!" a voice roared. Jasper was knocked further down the beach as a large pink object slammed into her. Another object landed in the sand nearby. Jasper hurled the beast aside to see a tall, tan figure in red and blue, a mass of hair flowing behind it. The new fighter gripped a pink sword and a pink shield.
"Steven!" Pearl shrieked, struggling to free herself from her comrades.
"No! I'm not gonna sit there while you guys get hurt! I'm going to fight too!" the being snapped. It bent its knees, aiming its sword at the hulking Gem.
"What in…" Jasper's eyes narrowed as she struggled to her feet.
"Stand down, Jasper," the figure demanded.
"I don't think so, Rose," Jasper replied. Garnet lunged for the orange invader, her gauntlets swollen to the maximum, but Jasper dodged, grabbed Garnet by the arm, and flung her back at the other two Gems. The flailing massive fists stunned all three of the Crystal Gems, and they fell silent. The new arrival looked on in horror before turning back to her enemy.
"It's Stevonnie," the being said simply before charging with its sword.
"The Crystal Gems are not going to like this," Peridot sighed as Stevonnie demanded Jasper surrender.
"I think they're going to not like us just standing here even more," Lapis said.
"Well, what do you propose we do, Lapis?" The watery Gem looked down at her feet, saddened.
"Jasper's not going to stop. Even if we beat her now, she won't rest until Steven is captured… or worse. There's only one thing to do."
"And that is?"
"I trick Jasper into fusing with me, then… I drag her to the bottom of the ocean until neither of us sees the light of day again," Lapis said quietly.
"…are you insane?!" Peridot gasped.
"It's the only way. Jasper's contained, and she won't come back."
"I… I won't allow it!" Peridot snapped.
"Yes, Peridot, you won't allow the person who can control seventy percent of the surface of the planet to do something she wants. Smart." She paused, looking the Gem in the eyes. Before Peridot could respond, she pulled the small alien towards her and kissed her on the cheek. Peridot's eyes swelled. Lapis pulled back, holding Peridot's hands.
"Goodbye, Peridot. Thank you. Thank you for everything," Lapis said simply. She sprouted her wings and turned to dive for the beach, but Peridot held firm and jerked her back.
"You aren't going anywhere without me. Especially with a plan that suicidal."
"Peridot… let me go."
"No. I have a more suitable solution. I had wanted to save this for a happier occasion, after we had discussed things, but this is an emergency." Without another word, Peridot assumed a pose with the startled Lapis…
Stevonnie grunted under yet another blow from the hulking Gem. They were surprised Rose's shield hadn't broken under the massive hits that Jasper had been landing. Jasper, for her part, sported several slashes from the sword, but her relentless attack had prohibited Stevonnie from using their weapon effectively.
"You made a mistake, Rose, engaging me fused with a human," Jasper growled. "I had thought better of you."
"I'm not Rose! I'm my own person!" Stevonnie shot back, trying to weaken Jasper's advantage.
"Give up now, and I'll make it easier for you… at least until we return to Homeworld."
"I'm not going anywhere!"
"You seem to think I…" Jasper's head was flung back by a crack to her jaw. "…getting tired of this…" she rasped, turning to face her assailant. She expected to see one of the Crystal Gems, but instead…
The pale, white-skinned being was slightly taller than Stevonnie. Wings of what appeared to be frozen material, snowflake shaped, hovered behind her. Her two arms exhausted cold winds, as a green, blue-edged skirt billowed in the breeze. Her top, a light green shirt with a dark blue V running down from the neck, hung tightly to her frame, as greenish-blue eyes glared out from an icy-blue visor. Short cropped light blue hair, vaguely in a triangular shape, was shaken from her eyes, revealing a green gem embedded in her forehead.
"…Lapis? Peridot?" Stevonnie gasped.
"Are you kidding me? You little brats fused? I might have known…" Jasper groaned.
"Enough," the fusion said. "You're beaten, Jasper. Stand down."
"Never," Jasper replied. She lost interest in Stevonnie, reaching for the invader. The pale Gem raised her arms, blasting Jasper's face with icy jets. Jasper roared, clawing at the forming crust.
"You have fought honorably. Now end your struggle with dignity." Jasper scowled.
"Honor. Dignity. You two don't know the meaning of those words. No one on this beach knows."
"Steven, Connie, get behind us," the fusion said, standing in front of the hybrid.
"You can't expend us to just sit here as people we care about get hurt!" Stevonnie said.
"Please," the fusion said in Lapis and Peridot's voices. "We'd be upset if you got hurt."
"Okay," Stevonnie said, reluctantly pulling back to the Crystal Gems. "Go get her, Turquoise!"
"Hmmm. Turquoise. I think I like that," the fusion said more in Lapis' voice. "I suppose it's serviceable," she added with a touch of Peridot's. She was brought back to reality as Jasper lunged towards her. Turquoise stepped out of the way of the charging orange mass, blasting the back of her head with icy blasts.
"Why. Why did you do it," Jasper growled. "Why did you turn your backs on everything you know… everything you are… for this miserable hunk of rock? For these fragile little… worms!"
"Miserable? Fragile?" Turquoise said with contempt. "We can think of few worse words to describe the planet Earth and humanity. We lived among them, learned from them, seen life as they see it. It's an amazing experience, being human on this world. They are capable of so much, have achieved so much… they are something worth protecting."
"You can't be serious. You two spoke of this place with nothing but contempt."
"We've grown up, Jasper."
"Yes. And we've been putting this decision off for far too long. But we're not running anymore. If you want to hurt Steven… if you want to hurt this planet… you get through us."
"So, you will make your stand with them? You will fight your own kind to protect them in a battle you cannot hope to win?"
"Gladly," Lapis and Peridot said as one with Turquoise's mouth. She braced, expecting the hulking Gem to attempt to rip her head off. Instead, Jasper took a deep breath before sighing.
"I have to say, it's admirable. Putting your lives on the line for something you believe in. I respect that, as I respected Rose's tactical brilliance. But you are my enemies… Homeworld's enemies… and I will deal with you as such." Jasper lunged as Turquoise steeled herself.
"Guys… wake up…" Stevonnie pleaded, shaking each of the Crystal Gems in turn. The third time around, the warriors stirred, groaning.
"Oh… wha… Steven! Connie! What are you doing out here!?" Pearl cried. "Go back in the house!"
"No! We're sick of getting captured or threatened and watching you guys get hurt while we just sit there!" Stevonnie snapped.
"Where's Jasper? Where's Lapis and Peridot?"
"Lapis and Peridot fused! It's awesome!" Stevonnie grinned. "She's fighting Jasper now." Stevonnie pointed behind her, and the Gems watched Turquoise gracefully evading Jasper's angry, erratic lunges. Periodically, the slim fusion landed a blow on the hulking alien.
"Hmmm. Ice. It suits them," Garnet said.
"Stand still, you brat!" Jasper growled, lunging at the almost dancing Turquoise.
"Make us," Turquoise responded. Jasper glared, and then kicked sand at the fusion. Turquoise cried out, clutching at her face. The orange Gem took advantage of the fusion's distress to grab her by the shirt, hoisting her so they were eye to eye.
"Nighty night," Jasper chuckled, cocking her head back. Turquoise blasted the helmet with her ice jets, causing it to shatter. Jasper instead found her head cracking against Turquoise's fists. The loyalist released the fusion and sprawled backward, falling among the broken shards of her helmet. Silence pervaded the beach, broken only by the lapping of the indifferent tide.
"…is she done?" Amethyst asked.
"I think so," Turquoise said as she approached the body. She leaned over Jasper's still form, inspecting it. "We should find a way to restrain her." Turquoise turned to the Crystal Gems. "Do you have a means o—" Before she could finish her question, Jasper's eyes snapped open. She grabbed a jagged piece of her helmet and shoved it as hard as she could into Turquoise's chest. The fusion gasped, shock registering on her face before she exploded in a flash of white light. Lapis and Peridot flew backwards, landing hard on the sand.
"No!" Stevonnie cried.
"Here's what happens now," Jasper growled as she advanced towards the stunned aliens. "Rose watches me beat your pretty little bodies to a pulp, and then I slowly grind your Gems to sand." She planted a knee on both of their chests, causing them to gasp. "Who's first?"
"Enough!" Stevonnie yelled in Steven and Connie's voice. The pretty fusion melted back into their constituent parts, which ran up to Jasper.
"Kids!" Pearl screamed, lunging for them. She was stopped… by Garnet.
"Garnet, I swear let me go, or I'll…"
"I believe in them."
"Well, any last words, traitors?" Jasper snarled. She was perplexed. Instead of pleading for mercy or spitting a last curse on their conqueror, Lapis and Peridot instead did a bizarre action with their hands. "What… exactly is the purpose of showing me a finger?"
"Oh, there's plenty of purpose," Peridot wheezed under the knee in her chest.
"Soak your head," Lapis added, raspy.
"Fine. Since you spoke first, nerd…" Jasper grunted, aiming the crystal chunk for the green Gem's head.
"Jasper, stop!" The orange Gem looked up and saw Steven, still carrying Rose's belongings, walking towards her, Connie following close behind.
"What, Rose, you're going to beg for your army's life?"
"I'm not Rose. I'm her son."
"You heard me. I'm not Rose. My name is Steven." Steven dropped the sword and shield. "Let them go." Jasper's eyes widened.
"You are either incredibly brave or incredibly insane, Rose Steven."
"Let them go," Connie added, standing alongside the boy. Jasper's eyes narrowed, looking the two over.
"Your bravery and devotion is admirable. I will allow you to speak," Jasper replied. She rose from her haunches, letting her captives sit up.
"Steven… what are you…" Lapis coughed.
"Jasper, why do you hate me?" Steven asked.
"You must be joking, Rose Steven. You betrayed your oath as a general. You slew my friends… OUR friends. You turned against everything you were raised to protect and respect. You…"
"Aren't Rose," Connie said. "Steven is his own entity."
"That's nonsense. I can sense Rose right in front of me. I'd know that Gem anywhere."
"You want to see Rose?" Steven asked. "I'll show you Rose." With that, he raised his shirt, revealing a large rose quartz stone embedded in his stomach. "That's her."
"I knew it!" Jasper growled. "You're Rose!"
"No. I'm Steven. Rose is… gone. She gave up her physical form so that I could exist. I'm my own person. I did nothing to you, or your friends. I'm sorry for your loss, but—"
"Sorry?!" Jasper roared. "You're sorry? That is the best you can do? You even dare to—"
"I'm sorry that that's all I can do, and how meaningless it is to hear me say that." Jasper's eyes narrowed.
"What are you getting at?"
"I had nothing to do with what happened to your friends. There is nothing I can do to make up what was done to them. So… if that's the case… why do you hate me?"
"Because… because…" Jasper chewed her lip. "What manner of mind control is this?"
"It's not mind control, it's just reason," Connie replied. "You've spoken a lot about honor and loyalty…"
"They are values I see as absolutes," Jasper replied. "My friends died for their home. They fought for a cause they believed in. One of them gave their lives so that I may live. I owe them far much than I can ever hope to give. And these… traitors demean them."
"I can see how upset you are," Connie continued. "But… how do you honor them by killing someone who had nothing to do with their suffering? How do you reward their loyalty by slaying someone unarmed?"
"Perhaps the small one is… but they are not!" Jasper snapped, pointing at the Crystal Gems. "They must answer for what they did!"
"Rose wanted to heal everyone we lost," Pearl said suddenly. "Loyalist and Crystal alike."
"You're lying," Jasper growled.
"I would never lie about Rose Quartz."
"She called you her Pearl. You would easily lie to protect her."
"I would never dishonor her memory like that. I'm speaking the truth." Pearl closed her eyes, and projected a memory of Rose Quartz onto the sand. Jasper recoiled slightly at the sight of her sworn enemy.
"Pearl… gather our fallen. All you can find," the projection said.
"They're scattered far and wide, Rose. It will take time," the pale Gem said in the real world.
"It is worth the time. We must hope we can help them."
"Our comrades knew the risks."
"Not just our comrades. Our opponents as well. We are all from the same planet, nurtured from the same soil… we cannot forget that, or we will truly be lost."
"We should just bury these Gems where they lie," Pearl said far more sotto than she had thousands of years ago.
"Oh, my Pearl… if only life were that simple," the Rose projection smiled ruefully. "Gather the fallen. Perhaps… in a better age, a nicer age… they can come back." The projection faded.
"We've been recovering Gems ever since," Pearl said quietly. The beach fell silent once more, again broken only by the uncaring tides.
"I… did not know Rose valued her adversaries so much," Jasper finally said.
"She was a great leader," Garnet replied.
"I respect her as a tactician. As I said," the orange Gem replied.
"So… Rose is gone; valued the sacrifice of your friends; and you're fighting a war that ended millennia ago all over again. Why are you fighting? Where is the honor in that?" Connie asked. Jasper fell silent, staring off into the middle distance.
"There… there is none," Jasper said, more to herself.
"So, if you value honor so much… what do you want to do?" Steven asked. Jasper regarded the small boy. She flicked her eyes over to the Crystal Gems, then over to her former comrades. She looked back down on Steven… then without a word, quietly dropped to her knees and put her hands behind her head. Seeing her chance, Lapis quickly fashioned chains of water to restrain her. Jasper winced slightly as they clicked home.
"I am at your mercy, child of Rose… I ask for you to be honorable in your triumph," she said simply.
"So, what do we do with her," Pearl asked. "I half expected a battle to the death…"
"Yeah, I know, right?" Amethyst huffed.
"We would do no honor to Rose's memory with summary execution," Garnet replied. "Or with bubbling her indefinitely."
"But we can't just let her wander Earth!" Pearl gasped.
"And no one is saying that, Pearl," Garnet replied.
"Oh, I know, let's send her home," Amethyst said sarcastically.
"Then what, Garnet? What do you propose?" Pearl urged.
"A middle ground. Bring Peridot over, and take her place watching Jasper." Pearl nodded, and left the house. Moments later, Peridot entered the battered structure.
"Yes, Garnet," the engineer said simply.
"Steven and Connie told us what you and Lapis said as Turquoise… nice name, by the way. Did you mean it?" Peridot hesitated before nodding. "Excellent. I have a request for you…"
"…done," Peridot replied, summoning her robonoids away from the repaired Homeworld warp.
"Excellent," Garnet said. She turned to Jasper. "We can't let you go home. But nor can we hold you here against your will indefinitely. We have decided on a middle ground. The warp pad has been aligned for a non-Gem planet where you will be able to survive comfortably."
"So, you're stranding me," Jasper said simply.
"Would you prefer being our prisoner?" Garnet asked, adjusting her visor.
"No," Jasper said.
"I thought as much. Once you're on this planet, you will be free to go as you please and where you please. I think you will enjoy the challenge of mastering your own world."
"Perhaps I will," Jasper admitted.
"Then good luck," Garnet said, stepping aside. Jasper climbed up the short staircase. She raised an eyebrow, and rattled her watery chains. Raising a suspicious eyebrow, Lapis dissolved them. Jasper gave a grunt of thanks, rubbing her wrists before the warp gate activated and sent her away. Peridot squirmed.
"…must we?" she squeaked.
"Yes," Garnet said simply, inflating her gauntlets to a huge size. Lapis held her close and turned her away, covering where her ears would be as the leader Gem smashed the warp gate to bits.
"Is it over?" Lapis asked.
"Yes," Pearl nodded. "Jasper should not be a problem to any of us anymore, and she can have the life she wants on a world where she will harm no one."
"You guys did great!" Steven beamed.
"Okay, good. Sleep now," Peridot said. With that, she and Lapis passed out, the shock of fighting, fusing and guarding having finally caught up with them.
They came to on the couch of the beach house.
"Well, that was fun," Lapis grumbled. She saw Peridot to her left. "You still with me?"
"Apparently so," Peridot mumbled.
"Good. That being said… I think I enjoyed being Turquoise."
"I… could be convinced to do it again, but not for some time. I am still quite sore and drained, and I feel like something is pressing on top of me."
"Yeah, me too… but, I literally feel… uh, Peri. Look straight ahead." Peridot raised her head to see Steven had draped himself across the small Gems' torsos.
"Er, hello, Steven," Peridot said. The boy just smiled.
"Let me guess… you've been here the whole time." Steven's smile widened.
"And… you will not release us until we have agreed to join the Crystal Gems," Peridot added. Steven's eyes swelled into stars.
"And you are willing to do whatever you need to until we agree," Lapis finished. Connie popped up from behind Steven, lying on top of him with a giant grin of her own. The watery Gem started laughing as Peridot wearily rubbed at her temples… but, she couldn't suppress her own small grin.
"They are a determined sort," Peridot sighed.
"Yes, and we are defenseless. Steven… Connie… may we have some time to talk alone?"
"Can you hear anything?" Steven pleaded.
"Just them talking… normal voices," Connie frowned, holding a cup to the door.
"No more," Garnet said, gently picking up both by the scruff of their shirts and depositing them on chairs.
"Aw, c'mon, Garnet, use future vision or something!" Steven sighed.
"This is their decision to make, Steven. They should be allowed to make it with privacy and dignity," the fusion said.
"I know, but… the waiting…"
"You will no longer have to wait," Garnet said simply. The door swung open, and Lapis and Peridot entered the room. Lapis fluffed her skirt, and Peridot nervously drummed her fingers on her thighs.
"We, um, we've discussed the idea…" Lapis said. She looked pointedly away from Steven's intense eyes.
"And, although we are still somewhat nervous about the concept… we have decided to accept your offer of membership," Peridot finished. Steven shrieked with glee and hurled himself at the small Gems, who barely managed to scoop him up in lieu of being bowled over.
"Figured you'd like that," Lapis said while giving the boy a squeeze.
"However," Peridot added, "we have to point out there's still… an unease being around you three, although we are aware you mean us no harm. As a condition of joining, we ask for your patience and understanding during this transition."
"It shall be done," Garnet said. "Welcome, Lapis. Welcome, Peridot."
"Also…" Lapis said, "is there, like, a ceremony or something?"
"Oh, yes," Pearl trilled.
"Then we request a witness."
"Dear me, is that how you girls travel at home?!" Agatha gasped as she stumbled off the warp pad.
"Yeah, pretty much," Lapis smiled sheepishly, steadying the old woman.
"I think I'll stick to things that don't fold and spindle me, thank you," Agatha replied as she was led over to the waiting group.
"Agatha, thank you for coming," Peridot said. "This is Garnet…"
"A pleasure, Ms. Stockwell."
"Hi! And this is my friend Connie."
"Hello, Ms. Stockwell…"
"Ah, so you're the Steven the girls keep talking about," Agatha grinned. "Such a sweet young man, and such a nice friend of his," she added, patting the two on the shoulder. The two children blushed.
"Thank you for coming, Ms. Stockwell. If you would please have a seat…" Garnet said, motioning to a chair. Agatha nodded and seated herself next to Steven and Connie. They were gathered in front of a large door with five gems embedded in it in a star pattern. A sword lay on a pillow placed atop a small stand. Garnet cleared her throat.
"We are gathered here to welcome two friends into our ranks. They came to us as enemies, both of our team and our world. But they have come to see another path, and we gladly welcome them into our midst. We appreciate their skills, their passion, and their struggle to go from enemy to friend. Lapis… Peridot… please come forward."
The two Gems shared a look, inhaling sharply as they rose and walked up to the Crystal Gem.
"Lapis Lazuli… Peridot… do you promise to fight with honor, integrity and wisdom; to stand for what is right; to protect the earth and her people; to always save the day; and if someone thinks you can't… to not rest until you find a way?"
"We do," the duo said as one.
"Kneel, please," Garnet continued as she took Rose's sword. The two small Gems knelt before their soon to be leader, and she tapped them gently on both shoulders with the sword. "Then with the authority invested in me as leader of this team, I recognize you as Crystal Gems. You may stand." The two did so as the small audience burst into cheers.
"Thank you, Garnet."
"No, Lapis. Thank you. Both of you. For having the courage to have an open mind. Now, please put your hands on the door." The two did so. "Synchronize…" The Gems on the Crystal Gems themselves and the door glowed, and the points of the star neatly spread away from the bottom as two more, one carrying a peridot stone and a lapis lazuli stone, grew outward. The star finished shifting, and the glows faded away.
"It's done. Welcome aboard," Garnet said, shaking their hands with a small smile.
"Thank you," Peridot replied. "We should probably get going back with Agatha though, we promised to have dinner with her…"
"Girls, I think your place is here now," Agatha said quietly.
"But, Agatha, we can't leave you alone out there… you've been so happy …"
"I've taught you everything I can. It's up to you two now to do something with it. But I know you'll do fine. Having said that… I think I wouldn't mind an odd visit from you two when you find time."
"…we will, Agatha. We promise," Peridot said quietly.
"Good. But now, I think it's time we had ourselves a nice big dinner to celebrate!" Agatha said loudly. "I think you've all had a long tough day, and this poor thing… look at her!"
"Who, me?" Pearl gulped.
"Absolutely!" Agatha chided, flexing one of Pearl's twiggy arms. "You're skin and bones, dear, just wasting away!"
"Oh, I'm quite fine, really!" Pearl squeaked.
"Nonsense! We are putting some meat on those bones right now! To the kitchen! I'll tell you what I need once we're there…"
"Gladly," Amethyst smirked. Pearl, seized by the thought of her projection and mind groaning with… food, whimpered as she followed.
"I think I'm going to like it here," Lapis smiled.
"Yes, I think I will as well," Peridot said with her own grin. They moved to follow the rest of the group when they felt Garnet's hands rest on their shoulders.
"One more thing, Lapis… Peridot."
"Yes, Garnet?" The fusion looked down on them, though her expression was hidden by the thick reflective visor. Finally, she spoke.
"Be true to yourselves, and honest with each other."
"I beg your pardon?"
"That's all, Peridot. Just… be honest with each other. Now, let's catch up with the others before Pearl has a seizure. We don't want her to miss the feast, after all," she added with just the slightest hint of a smile. Grinning, the three left the hallway and rejoined their comrades.
Somewhere in the vastness of the Milky Way, a warp effect faded on an isolated planet. Jasper looked around, her eyes scanning the distance. She spotted a bunch of cracked branches, the telltale sign of a recent visitor. The Gem inspected them closer; due to their placement and the way they were broken, it suggested something big had passed by. Something far larger than her. Jasper grinned and silently followed the trail… she wouldn't have it any other way. Perhaps exile would be more fun than she had thought.