(AN: Steven Universe and all stuff affiliated with it belongs to the lovely Rebecca Sugar. Thank you for allowing me to use it in my fic!
Also this is the 1st fic I have written in a really really long time so if you could give me feedback I would really appreciate it! Thanks
Also I will give put trigger warnings in for each chapter when needed so if you need me to give u a warning for anything please let me know! I would be happy to do so! I hope you enjoy!)
There is something that has remained a truth throughout all of time: Spring is a time for moving forward. But in order to do so, what weighs you down must be left behind. Out with the old, and in with the new. In theory, this is simple. But there is another truth to this universe: letting go of the past is the most difficult part of moving onto better things.
Heavy droplets of rain rolled lazily down the window, sliding into intricate patterns before they finally cascaded onto the outdoor patio with a splash. Pearl was sprawled across the small bench next to the window of her house, tapping her foot rapidly against the cushion as she stared outside. Unfortunately this day was one of those very rare days where she was home alone. Steven was out with Connie, Garnet was out on a mission, and Amethyst was who knows where. Pearl sighed, feeling incredibly bored. It was 11 AM and she had already reorganized the entire temple (including Amethyst's room, which took more time and energy than anything else she had done the entire day). Incredibly enough, Pearl still felt like she had done absolutely nothing at all the entire day. She twiddled her thumbs impatiently as she stared at the ceiling. I certainly hope Steven didn't feel this bored when we left him alone all day, she wondered, feeling a tad guilty.
She tried to think of more productive things to do. Hmm, she thought, did I clean the dishes already? She then remembered accidently spilling dish soap all over her shirt and trying to clean the gooey substance off in a frenzy. Pearl frowned and mentally checked that off of her list. Yes.
Pearl glanced at the bookshelf in the living room. Maybe I forgot to organize those? Her silent hope turned to disappointment when she observed that she had already organized all of the books neatly by surname. Ugh! I am too good, Pearl thought as crossed her arms. There has to be something productive for me to do, I'm tired of sitting here!
And then, it came to her. Maybe there isn't anything to do around the house, but perhaps there is some cleaning to do in my gem? Pearl thought, feeling pleased with herself. She closed her eyes, and focused in on her gem. She felt the weight of all the junk she carried around inside of it and realized that it really could use some cleaning. And although the gem can carry an infinite amount of things, it really couldn't hurt anyone to organize everything within it. Let's see, Pearl thought as she mentally surveyed her gem inventory. There was a wide assortment of things: weapons, trinkets, and books galore. She sorted through the lot of items, carefully organizing them into different categories: keep, put away, and throw away.
Pearl was almost finished cleaning her gem when she stumbled upon an old artifact she hadn't seen in many, many years. She was so surprised that it caused her to snap out of her mental cleaning. The object shot across the room and hit the wooden stairs with a loud thud. She blinked. I'm glad no one saw that, Pearl thought, blushing slightly. That was embarrassing.
Pearl stood up and yawned as she stretched her long arms above her head. She felt much better now that her gem was clean. Something just felt a little lighter, and she enjoyed that. After she finished her stretch, she walked over to the object she had just ricocheted out of her head and gently picked it up. She dusted the cover off and smiled ever so slightly.
Pearl's old journal was in surprisingly good condition considering its age. Even though it had a very dusty scent, very few of the pages were torn and upon further inspection it seemed as if none of the pages had fallen out yet.
"Wow," she spoke nostalgically, "It's been years since I last saw this." She lightly rubbed the leather cover with her thumb, feeling the rough texture of the journal. She glanced around the room, and out the window. The house was still clean and the rain was still pouring. Since I have done absolutely everything that has to be done around here, Pearl told herself, maybe I will take a break and read this?
Pearl walked back over to the bench, lightly flipping through pages of the journal. She propped up a pillow and took a seat. Yeah, I think will read this. I deserve a little break, especially after cleaning Amethyst's room. Pearl opened to the first entry, grinning slightly as she read it to herself.
This brings back so many memories.
(Author's Note: I am fully aware that gems probably do not use common earth time but I'm just doing this to give you a sense of when this took place.)
Date: September 12, 5000 BC
My first day in service has been, well, a bit of serendipity (I would say that I am incredibly lucky to still be functioning!)
Hmm. Now that I think about it, maybe calling my good fortune luck is inaccurate. I really should be giving all the credit to the very benevolent leader of my home district, Rose Quartz. Her kindness knows no bounds, and she is the only reason why I am even around to document this event!
It was a very fortunate accident that she discovered me. This incident started with my faulty genesis, which just so happened to occur on the very day that Rose Quartz was inspecting my place of "birth:" the Quartz district's local Pearl factory.
The memories of that awful place came flooding back to Pearl like a dam that had suddenly burst open. She frowned and looked away from the journal. Pearl had a very different upbringing than most gems. Being an artificially created subspecies of Gem, Pearl and her other clones were not created in a kindergarten like the average gem. Pearl was grown, or rather manufactured in a dingy factory in the days where cloning was very popular in the Gem Homeworld society. This was certainly not something she was proud of. Pearl put her unpleasant feelings aside, and began to read again.
I was grown in a large glass tube, filled to the brim with a very salty brine. The bottom of the chamber was littered with little ocean creatures called "oysters." Once I had fully matured, my caretakers drained all the cold saltwater out of the tube and yanked me out of my tank. All I remember is feeling terribly frightened; all these hands pulling hard on me and dragging my cold, nearly lifeless body onto some kind of bed and being wheeled somewhere else.
I was left to dry in a nearly empty room covered in bright lights designed to warm me up and to help ease me into a higher state of consciousness. The soft heat from the lights spread throughout my body from my fingertips and toes all the way to my most inner core, breathing precious life into my fragile body. For the very first time, I opened my blue eyes. The lights were far too harsh for me; I couldn't help but blink multiple times.
There must have been some kind of camera in that room, because just after I first showed signs of consciousness, my caretakers came rushing into the room. They crowded around me; almost otherworldly creatures that stared down at me ominously. One of them pulled out a flashlight and pointed it directly into my eye. I winced in response and groaned ever so quietly. I assume that this must have been a good sign, because the others began to test my other senses. One snapped their fingers very closely to my ears to test my vision, and another pricked my finger to test for a sense of touch.
"All senses appear to be fully functional," one reported. I stared at her, absolutely nonplussed. My mind was far too foggy to fully comprehend the situation. What are they doing to me? Who are they? What are they? I thought. I remember observing the fact that they all looked identical with their neat strawberry blonde hair pulled back into a long ponytail and their formfitting blue uniforms. All pretty yet practical. I could not tell one from the other even if I tried.
The caretaker to my left bent down to my eyelevel and spoke: "Can you understand what I am saying?" Her voice was the exact same pitch as the other caretaker; both had soft but analytical voices.
"Do you hear me? Reply 'yes' or 'no,'" the caretaker said, seeming slightly impatient with me.
"Y…yes," I replied softly; my voice still weak.
The caretaker blinked at me and wrote down some notes in a small notepad she carried with her. She set the notepad aside on my little white bed and peered back at me. "Sit up for me," she ordered. I nodded, and (very wobbly) pulled myself upright.
She looked at the other three caretakers and nodded. This must have been a good sign, because immediately after she asked me to get up and walk to her. It took me a few good tries before I accomplished this task; falling twice before finally reaching her. I collapsed pathetically into her arms and looked up at her.
She cocked a brow. "Although unit 612 seems a bit weaker than a typical Pearl, all her basic instincts seems to be there," she reported to the others. They nodded as they all wrote that down in their notepads. The caretaker looked back and me and commanded me to follow her.
We weaved our way very silently throughout the dark building; twisting through curved stairways, and traversing through dimly lit hallways that reeked of saltwater. Finally we reached a barren white room with cracked tile floors and suspicious dents in the wall. I felt a vague sense of unease wash over me as I was lead into the room. Something about the damage done to the room rubbed me the wrong way. What could have caused this?, I wondered, clenching my fists.
The caretakers reported together quietly amongst themselves, their voices hushed whispers so I would not hear. Finally, one stepped away from the group towards me. My eyes met with her cold blue ones, and I couldn't help but feel intimidated and insecure. They stared into my very soul, picking me apart for all my flaws. I looked away from her.
"You will now begin phase two of our testing program, Unit 612. Please summon your weapon," she ordered me in a monotone.
I stared at the caretaker blankly; I was completely uncertain of what she was asking me. I looked down and grabbed my right arm with my left hand. "I don't know what you are asking of me," I frowned, "I'm sorry."
She pulled out her notepad and jotted down some quick notes. The caretaker gently put the notebook in her bag and gave me her full attention.
"Do you think you could summon your weapon if I showed you an example of it?"
I nodded, too disappointed in myself to respond. The caretaker closed her eyes, and the perfectly circular gem in the center of her forehead glowed too brightly to look at directly. An elegant spear materialized, shining bright white. She grabbed it firmly, spun it and pulled it to her side. The sharp end of the spear clicked as it tapped the tile floor.
"Now that you have seen an example, please summon your weapon," She commanded me. I gulped. I still did not have the slightest idea of how to produce the weapon, but that didn't stop me from trying. I took a deep breath and shut my eyes, feeling determined. I felt my gem heat up a little as it began to glow. I held the glow for a good five seconds before it flickered out and I was left with nothing to show for my efforts. I fell to the floor, defeated. "I can't do it," I muttered, biting back tears.
"If that is how you feel, then I have no choice," she said as she dematerialized her weapon and peered over to the others. "Unit 612 has failed phase two. Change her status from functioning to defective. She lacks the knowledge necessary to function properly, and she lacks strength. Take her somewhere hidden; cut off her ponytail and smash her gem," she commanded, emotionless and unaffected.
I stared back at her, hot tears streaming down my face as I realized my fate. "No! P…please. Give me another chance!" I pleaded desperately, "I know I can do it!"
"If you had the ability to summon your weapon you would have done it the first time," she spoke coldly, disgusted by my petty groveling.
I sobbed into my hands, absolutely inconsolable. I had been alive for less than an entire day, and my fate had already been sealed. It was all too cruel for me; they hardly gave me a chance to prove myself and I hated them for it.
The caretaker nudged me with her foot. "Get up," she commanded. "The leader of our district is inspecting our establishment today, and we must make sure that everything is in order. There cannot be any defects that would put a stain on our factory's reputation."
I refused to get up. The caretaker bent down and grabbed my face tightly with her pale hand. "I will not allow you to be that stain," she breathed, her tone low and dangerous. Then she shoved me away from her, and her gem began to glow as she summoned her weapon.
"Please! Have mercy on me!" I shrieked as I pushed myself away from her.
Just as the caretaker grabbed her spear and prepared to strike the ending blow, the only door to this room flung open. A giant gem with the thickest pink hair I have ever seen burst into the room, looking absolutely horrified at what had just happened.
"Stop!" she yelled at my aggressor, "Don't do anything to her!"
The caretaker's spear hit the ground with a loud clanking sound. She blinked at the sight of this mysterious gem, and then fell into a low bow. "I am so sorry. Please forgive me," she spoke lowly.
"I watched everything that has happened here and I am truly disgusted by your harsh actions towards this pearl. You should have given her as many chances as she needed to get it right; she did not deserve to be killed over something as simple as this!" she yelled, her face turning lightly pink. My caretaker blinked in disbelief.
She came rushing over to me. "Are you okay?" she asked gently, her eyes swimming with tears. I was too stunned to even reply. The gem grabbed my face with her big, soft hands and inspected my gem for any signs of injury, and found none. She sighed in relief.
"Oh you poor thing," she sniffled and wiped a tear from her eye, "I'm so lucky I found you in time. I'm deeply sorry this even happened to you in the first place!" She offered me her hand and helped me stand up. The gem looked coldly at the other pearls.
"If you are not going to give her the care she deserves, then I will take her and she will live with me. Is that clear?" she said to them. My caretakers nodded and then bowed to her.
She looked back at me and smiled pleasantly. "C'mon then," she said as she grabbed my hand, "Let's get you out of here."
I nodded, and followed her out of the miserable building. As we reached the outside, I looked up at the beautiful night sky and was wonderstruck by the undeniable beauty of the stars. I could see two large moons in the sky, one a light grey and the other almost pinkish in color. They were both full, and colorful stars twinkled around them softly. Little shooting stars danced across the horizon, and I was suddenly hit with the feeling that maybe, just maybe everything was going to be okay now. I was so overwhelmed with relief and joy that I sniffled a little bit, and began to cry again.
My mysterious savior turned around, her concerned face illuminated by the soft light of the moons. "Oh Pearl," she cooed, "What's the matter? Did I do something wrong?"
I shook my head and looked her straight into her warm brown eyes. "N…no, it's actually the exact opposite," I sniffled, "I'm just so very thankful that you did this for me. Being defective, I don't think I deserve your kindness or pity at all and yet you still saved me. You are so wonderful and kind. Tha… thank you so much!"
"It was nothing, Pearl. I am happy to help you out and I am so glad I found you!" she told me, her eyes twinkling as she gave me a warm smile. "I had heard rumors of how bad these factories treat their Pearls, and I wanted to see if these rumors were true. That's why I came to inspect this factory today. And upon further inspection, I realize now that I can't have a place as cruel as this running in my district! What kind of leader would I be if I let this injustice go on? If you would like me to, I will shut down this place so that no other pearls are mistreated like you had been."
"Yes," I agreed eagerly as I wiped my tears from my eyes, "Please shut it down. I don't want anyone else to go through the horror I went through today."
"Alright! As soon as we get back to my estate I will deliver a special message to the public: All Pearl factories in the Quartz district will be shut down, effective immediately. No more will ever be allowed here as long as I rule. Does that sound good to you, Pearl?"
"Yes! Absolutely," I replied excitedly, "Thank you so much! Really…" I paused, "This means so much to me!"
She smiled sweetly at me. "It's no problem at all, Pearl. It's the least I could do."
A small wind picked up and I could feel it flow through my long, sleek ponytail. I gave her a small grin. She giggled softly, her voice like little bells in the wind.
"Oh!" she exclaimed suddenly, "I'm sorry, I completely forgot to introduce myself!" She placed her hand on her forehead. "How rude of me!" she mumbled. Then, she extended the hand that was previously on her forehead to me.
"Hello, Pearl!" she said as her curly hair flowed gently in the wind, "It's great to meet you! Allow me to introduce myself."
I extended my right arm, and grabbed onto her beautiful chubby hand. She gave my hand a quick squeeze and a light shake.
"I'm Rose Quartz," she smiled.
Rose Quartz, I thought, what a fitting name. The ends of her curls almost looked just like little pink roses, and she smelled of them too. I thought that she was really lovely in so many ways.
Suddenly, the clear diamond on my uniform began to glow softly, first white then quickly transforming into a light pink, just like Rose's gem. I let go of Rose's hand and stared down at it wordlessly.
She giggled. "Well, it looks like you are loyal to me now… I appreciate it a lot. Thank you for choosing me, Pearl."
I grabbed her hands and looked straight into her elegant brown eyes. "It was the least I could do after you saved me, Rose Quartz," I exclaimed, "I'm glad to be loyal to you. Even though I am defective, I will do my absolute best to help you! I promise will repay you for the kindness you have shown me this day!"
After that, Rose Quartz took me back to her lovely estate. She excitedly gave me tour of the place, and even gave me my own magic room! After the little tour, she told me that she would take me to a friend she knows that is very good with explaining how to summon weapons. She told me that I would probably get along very well with her.
I remember thinking in that moment that I, Pearl number 612, must be the luckiest Pearl in existence. Even right now as I lay down in my room documenting this, I still think this is the case. I may be wrong, but I have the feeling that everything is going to be all right.
Pearl closed the journal and shook her head. She was so naïve back then.