(A/N: Created off the popular theory that Jasper is a fusion! I think it's entirely possible...but what if she didn't know it either? This is meant to be a one shot, but I'll see if I have any way to continue it. Enjoy~!)
Steven wasn't sure he ever wanted to return to Kindergarden after the things he had seen. He already knew it wasn't a happy place the day Amethyst brought him here, but after the horrors they witnessed last time they were here...
"This place gives me the creeps." he shuddered. He squeaked when Amethyst grabbed him from behind.
"Ouuuu, scared big guy?" Amethyst teased. "Scared of some creepy gem monster coming after you? Or Jasper? Or Peridot? Ohhh, they're gonna eat you!" She tickled the child and he squirmed about, laughing.
"Stop it you two!" Garnet scolded. "This is serious! There's no telling what we'll wind up finding this time! Peridot has likely been back here since we have—and since Malachite unfused...Peridot may not be the only one here."
"You mean Jasper?" Steven looked fearful at the thought. "At least we managed to save Lapis." He thought back to his friend and still remembered the shock they all felt when she washed up on the beach, her dress torn and her body weak. Her gem was currently tucked securely under the covers of his bed. He hadn't wanted to leave her, but taking her defenceless gem to a place where she'd be vulnerable to any danger was a bad idea.
"Yes," Pearl agreed. "But with Jasper on the loose that could mean even more trouble for us... We have to be on our guard, keep diligent. With the clusters running free in Peridot's chambers..." She trailed off.
"It's dangerous for all of us," Garnet agreed. "Steven, you are to stay behind us at all times." They entered the transportation pod. "Do you understand?" The child nodded.
They landed at the panel and already were able to see the white mane of hair hunched over the buttons.
"Damnit, how does she do this thing?" Jasper cursed as she glared at the many levers, buttons, and screens. "Would be so much easier if the dork was with me..." She was a soldier, not a technology freak like Peridot was. ...She didn't know what she was doing. She was supposed to do logs, right?
"Uh..." She pressed a button to the speaker. "Log 1, the experiments seem to be successful, that I've seen. There's still more in progress, and I know there's supposed to be some roaming around here..."
Jasper whirled around to see her enemies in battle-ready positions, weapons sheathed, with the pathetic little Rose Quartz creature hiding behind Garnet's legs. "Oh it's you all. I was kind of hoping you'd show up." She rammed her fist into her palm. "I need some target practice and some punching bags to warm up on after being imprisoned in that cesspool you call an ocean."
"Bring it on Big Shot!" Amethyst snorted. "We'll take you on any time! I was hoping to find someone to BEAT UP TOO!" She lunged at Homeworld gem and all hell broke loose. Weapons clanged, things smashed, and hatred spewed as the group of gems began to viciously attack each other.
"Child's play!" Jasper snorted as her helmet rammed forward and smashed into Pearl's sword. "That little ocean brat was more of a challenge then you!"
Garnet snarled, her gauntlets baring with absolute fury. "How much of a challenge is THIS?!" Her fists rammed forward, and splintered into one of the pillars as Jasper ducked the punch. They group ignored the falling debris until a chilling shriek made their blood run cold. All they saw was a blur of colors and tangled limbs as the enraged mutant burst out.
The gems could only watch on in mute horror as the deformed mass of shattered remains suddenly lunged forward and consumed the orange gem before their very eyes, sending her into the mass. Orange bled into the blob of screaming and suddenly Jasper's own screeches did as well.
"Holy smokes!" Amethyst staggered back with her comrades, and Garnet shoved Steven behind her.
"We've got to get out of here!" She grabbed the child's hand but he immediately yanked away.
"No! Garnet! We can't just leave her like this!" Steven cried. His eyes darted back and forth between the nightmare monster and the panicked gems. "We've got to get her out!" The screams of the separate voices were chilling. "It sounds painful!"
"Good and she deserves it!" Amethyst returned. Her whip wrapped around the child to hold him there. "We gotta go!"
"NO!" He wormed around desperately in the sparkling binds and looked up to the taller gem with tears in his eyes. "It's wrong! Garnet, please, save her!" He begged. "Th-this isn't a fate that should happen to anyone!" His voice broke, wide tearful eyes staring pleadingly into the leader's. His earnest face was enough to break her.
Untangling the boy from the rope Garnet shoved him into Pearl's arms and then approached the mutant. It writhed in confusion and terror in front of her, a mass of eyes and two very discernible, surprisingly frightened golden ones. Garnet took a deep breath and reeled back with her gauntlets, punching the creature.
With a final agonizing shriek the creature exploded into several smashed up pieces of gems, each taking a humanoid form before dissipating into nothing. The last gem to fall from the mass was Jasper...but the gemstone was in separate shards.
"NO!" Steven cried, fearing she might be dead. To the gems' utter disbelief the three shards flashed a white light, and took on several small shapes of mutated looking silhouettes, before the jasper reformed and Jasper fell to the ground in a heap.
"What on earth?" Pearl gasped, all of their eyes staring at the orange form. "She's a fusion...?"
"No." Garnet shook her head quietly. "She's a forced fusion..."
It was at this point that Jasper finally looked up. The look on the buff gem's face was among nothing that Steven had ever seen before in his short time of knowing the muscled gem. Gone was the malice from her face and the murder in her eyes. Emotions flashed across her face all at once; shock, fright...and then a devastating realization.
The Crystal Gems stood on their guard with their weapons drawn, but they made no attempt to attack. Scepticism crossed their faces, but there was something entirely on Garnet's. Sympathy...and sadness.
Jasper's golden eyes trailed down to the shard on the middle of her face and slowly a hand reached to the gem, brushing over her face like she couldn't believe what what it was. ...And for the first time she really couldn't. This wasn't possible. She looked back at the gems, realizing with horror that she had an audience. She grabbed a large piece of equipment with a ferocious snarl. Garnet reached out and grabbed Steven protectively, but just when they were sure she was about to lob the machinery at them, the machine slammed into the wall behind them, causing the rocks to crumble to the ground. Jasper bolted to her feet and out of the opening.
Blind sided, Steven pulled away from Garnet and rushed over to the opening. "Jasper!" he shouted. "Jasper come back!" The large orange gem ignored every shout and clambered up the rocky cliff side of Kindergarden.
"Steven!" Garnet jumped out to grab the boy but the child dodged her attempts to grab him and barrelled through the opening Jasper created, latching to the rocky wall. It was like scaling a mountain and he had no idea how she did it so easily.
"Steven, get down from there right now!" Garnet shouted up at him. Pearl looked ready to go into a state of catatonics and Garnet looked angry enough to tear him apart. He gulped as he continued to blatantly defy her orders. This was ridiculously hard to do.
"No I can't! I gotta..." He shook his head. "I gotta make sure she's okay!" His feet slipped and he heard Pearl give a shrill shriek as parts of debris gave way from the ledge and Steven began to fall.
A rose bubble came up and encased the boy as he teetered on one of the edges of the cliff, pushing the bubble forward so the weight pressed him against the wall. Scrambling onto all fours he lunged back at the wall and was stunned to find himself starting to scale it inside the bubble. "Whoa!" There wasn't the time to marvel at that right now though, so for now Steven kept running up the wall.
He didn't even want to comprehend the amount of trouble he was going to be in from this. I'm going to lose tv for forever! He sniffled dramatically, tearing up at the devastating prospect. But he couldn't focus on that, so he just kept running up the wall, his scrabbling feet pushing off the cliff like a ramp and sending him hurtling up into the air.
"Whoa!" The child yelped and threw himself against the side of his bubble, tossing himself into the dirt of the cliff's edge. The rose bubble disappeared and he started looking around. He could hear his family's voices shouting at him from below. "Jasper!"
He had never been on top of Kindergarden before. It was not less desolate and frightening then the bottom of it. It seemed even lonelier somehow. Steven walked until he saw a mane of long white hair, picked up casually by a breeze. "Jasper!"
The orange gem had her back turned to him and was on her knees in the dirt. Her confident form was hunched in a way Steven never thought he'd see her as. Quiet...broken. The danger in her eyes had been replaced by bewilderment. She looked utterly lost and dazed.
"Jasper...?" The large gem didn't respond and Steven was certain that she didn't even realize he was there until he made the mistake of touching her arm.
She sprung to life with a vicious snarl and the boy squeaked as she summoned her helmet into place, smashing the spot he would have been if he hadn't rolled away. "Wait!" He held up his hands in surrender, but she charged again, viciously. "Jasper!"
Her devastation channelled into the only emotion she really knew: rage. And the only target she had right now was him, so she continued the attack. She rammed at him again and again, but again and again Steven avoided her. That made her angrier. When she finally struck him his bubble came up and she bounced off it with an enraged scream.
"Jasper..." Steven began meekly. Jasper whirled away from him, her voice coming out in one fierce, hateful bark.
"BEAT IT, BRAT! BEFORE I CRUSH YOUR GEM UNDERNEATH MY FEET!" That might have been enough to scare Steven away if he didn't hear the crack to her voice and the way it broke from pain. Her form hunched again, staring down at the vast lands of the deactivated facility.
A moment passed and the wind blew through the air. Steven slowly shuffled forward. He looked down at the dirt and back up at the woman.
She sensed his presence still and her teeth bared. Large fists clenched in frustration. "What do you want?" she snapped, frustrated and pained. Why couldn't the little parasite just leave her alone?!
Steven shrunk underneath the glare of her golden eyes. He fiddled with his fingers. "You...you didn't know, did you?" he mumbled. Her shoulders hunched over before she bristled.
"Know?" She gave a furious and manic cackle. "Know what? That I'm nothing but a science project? That my entire existence and everything I've lived for is a lie? That I'm just a mash up of gems blended together? No." Her jaw set. "No I did not. I never knew that." Her fist slammed down on a rock and she smashed it to dust. The closer Steven looked the more he was sure that Jasper's golden eyes seemed a little glassy.
"I'm really sorry."
Jasper snarled and swiped at him, sending him onto his back. "I don't need any sympathy from YOU, Rose!" she seethed.
Hesitantly Steven got up and bravely scooted closer. He was so close in fact that his knee nearly brushed the larger one. "I...I'm not Rose Quartz," he said quietly. "I'm her son, Steven. St-Steven Universe." He held up his shirt. "I just have her gem! See?"
Jasper scowled at the pink gemstone and looked back out to the sky. "Oh, so that's where she went." It was quiet for a long moment. Both Jasper and Steven sat in silence, almost a rare tranquillity. It was so strange sitting next to the big scary gem and not have her try to do anything to him.
"Is this why you called fusion stupid?"
"No, I called fusion stupid because fusion IS stupid!" Jasper snarled. "Stupid and weak and pathetic! And now I definitely know why I never tried it!" But now she knew that she was a fusion... A forced together mash of other life forms. Just an experiment. Her knees came up to her chin, a rare and vulnerable position. She shut her eyes.
"But when fusion isn't a forced thing...it can be really beautiful," Steven told her, smiling.
"Don't start with the sappy crap," Jasper snarled. "It's what weaker gems do to hide the fact that they're too pathetic to make it on their own. It's just a cheater's way out instead of training in the military like an honorable warrior."
The child was quiet for a long moment. "Is that the only point to Homeworld? Is that the only thing that matters to them is strength? If all you do is fight then when is there ever the time to live and enjoy life?"
"We enjoy in the middle of our conquests," she said coldly. "After every successful battle, and every successful invasion."
"All you do is kill?" Steven's face fell. "Haven't you ever realized how wrong that is? Haven't you ever wanted to stop it?"
"You don't go against Yellow Diamond, brat," was all Jasper said. She jerked a thumb over to the bottom of the canyon. "Not unless you want to end up like those broken pieces of glass glued together." Her face fell. "Then again, that's what I am..."
"Fusion can still be incredible-"
"Countless gems on our planet have been SHOVED together against their will, ME INCLUDED! We're in the process of sticking the rest of the gems that died on this miserable earth together as well!" Jasper barked at him. "How could that possibly be beautiful?"
"It's not." Steven shook his head. "But fusion isn't just a military tactic. Why do you think Ruby and Sapphire are always fused together? We're not even under attack most of the time."
Jasper shook her head, brows furrowed deep. "I never understood. And I don't care."
"It's because they love each other." Steven smiled and Jasper's lips curled down in disgust. "They love each other so much that they don't want to be apart. They want to always be together as Garnet! I mean, sure Garnet I guess is obviously stronger 'cause she's a fusion—with cooler weapons maybe, but that's not why she does it."
The larger gem snorted. Her golden eyes glinted with bitterness. "I can assure you, I'm not fused out of love," she mocked. "I don't remember even being mashed together. In a...shameless display that I'm constantly belittling." She was disgusting. "How could they do this to me?" It was a ludicrous question. She knew what her planet was capable of, she remembered the daily thrashings and torture she watched other gems endure. But for some reason she still couldn't wrap her own head around the fact that...she was a fraud.
"Maybe it doesn't have to be so bad." He yelped as Jasper grabbed him by his short collar and yanked him to her face. Her bared fangs made him pale. Their faces were inches away from each other.
"I'M A MALGAMATION OF MUTANTS, YOU ROSE QUARTZ HUMANOID!" she roared at him. "HOW IS THAT NOT SO BAD?!" Her angered scream nearly deafened him...but Steven could see the tears in the corner of her eyes. Her lips trembled and her eyes blinked rapidly, mouth drawn up tight. And somehow he stayed completely calm.
"Because it's not you." She glared at him questionably. "Fusions are different from the gems that make them. You're not a bunch of gems smashed together, and you're not one person. You're the best of what makes you up! Whatever makes you up, you're their strength! You're their bravery...and their scariness and meanness!" Jasper almost smirked. He smiled. "You're Jasper!" He pumped his fists excitedly. And you're an experience!"
Jasper didn't respond, but she suddenly seemed less hateful. Maybe Steven had just gotten used to her scary face, but she almost looked less angry. She almost looked more...observing. She released her hold on his shirt collar and he tumbled to the ground, close to the edge. The moment he scrambled up, the ledge broke.
He fell in slow motion, unable to even properly react it all happened so fast. Debris fell with him, and suddenly Steven realized that someone had his arm. He couldn't believe it when he looked up.
Jasper yanked him up and tossed him onto the ledge beside her without a word. Steven just stared at her. She had saved him... He stood, his eyes starry with hope and confusion.
Jasper scowled down at him and jabbed a finger towards him. "Just this once, brat," she said coldly. This changed nothing... but maybe for a moment...they could see eye to eye.
"Steven!" The child turned when he heard his family call to him. They were closer, obviously almost to the top of the cliff. If they found Jasper they'd try to hurt her. She was their enemy, he knew that. She was bad and wanted to hurt the earth. He couldn't hope to be friends, as much as he wanted to. It hurt his heart so bad. He wanted to keep talking to her. Maybe he could make a difference, and make her see that the earth wasn't so bad...
The sounds of the gems drew near and the boy was conflicted. He was rooted to the spot with his desire to both stay with Jasper and go to his family. He didn't want them to find her. He didn't want them to think she kidnapped him. He didn't want her to die. He didn't want her to destroy the earth and be evil. He didn't know what he wanted.
Jasper stood up quietly and she turned away from him. "Your Crystal Jokes are coming. And I've got stuff to do." She started to walk away without a word but Steven continued to stare back at her. He opened his mouth to call her back, but the words died on his tongue and he touched his arm, where she had grabbed him. He shut his eyes and they teared.
This was her way of thanking him. Even though she said it was just this once and even though they were still enemies, Steven still had hopes. Jasper saved him. Maybe one day...he could save her too.