The early morning light was choked into darkness by the thick storm clouds that loomed over the still slumbering Beach City.
The sound of rain hitting the windows created a filled the temple with the occasional clap of thunder.
Rose Quartz sighed as she gazed out the window. She was the only one in the temple at the time.
Greg was sleeping in his van as the temple made him feel uncomfortable.
"It's just you and me right now, Steven," Rose cooed warmly as she caressed her rounded stomach.
Rose smile as she felt her unborn child move inside of her. It was an odd feeling, yet one she had grown to enjoy.
"Oh my, you're energetic today," Rose chuckled softly as she felt the child kick and stir. "I bet you're almost ready..."
The brisk rain scented air made the idea of a hot cup of tea sound lovely to Rose. As Rose put the kettle on the stove, she felt something in the room change. To a human or even her fellow Gems, the change would have gone unnoticed. Rose felt a shiver run up her back. Something was behind her, something powerful enough to dwarf even herself. But Rose was not afraid, no, for she had been expecting this unnamed visitor for quite some time.
"Do you like milk with your tea?" Rose asked as she turned to face her guest.
Standing before Rose was a tall woman dressed in classic 1940's funeral attire with a black fishnet veil that covered her eyes. Her bright red lips on her ivory white skin reminded Rose of blood on freshly fallen snow.
"Well...since you're asking...without, thank you," the woman spoke with an icy tone.
"I thought so. When you live as long as I have, you tend to develop a sense for such subtle things," Rose responded as she set out a second tea cup. "The water is not quite hot enough yet. Have a donut while you wait."
"Too many of those will kill you..." the woman stated as she seemed to glide across the room.
"I suppose you would know, wouldn't you?" Rose asked playfully.
Rose's remark enticed a cold chuckle from her guest.
"Are you always this amusing, or just when you're facing me?"
Rose felt a sharp pain in her stomach as Steven shifted inside of her.
"Settle down, sweetie, she's not here for you," Rose assured as she caressed her stomach.
The Gem's face changed to a very serious expression as she glared at her guest.
The woman in black clicked her nails together as she approached Rose. The air became colder and heavier.
"That all depends on you, Rose," the woman hissed. "There is still time to...prolong your existence...for a price..."
"Out of the question," Rose responded as she handed her guest her cup of tea. "I have already come to terms with my decision."
"Oh, have you now?" the woman responded as she swirled her tea. "And what of your friends, have they come to terms with it?"
Rose was silent as she sipped in her tea. She had not yet told the Gems or even Greg what she was about to sacrifice for her child.
"I will tell them when the time comes," Rose responded. "They will understand."
"Will they?" the woman asked skeptically "Will Garnet understand why she didn't foresee your death?"
"Garnet will make a strong leader. I have faith in her," Rose stated calmly.
"And what of young Amethyst? Her best friend taken from her so suddenly. Surly the corruption will take hold of her...poor thing."
Rose felt anther sharp pain in her stomach. Her time was quickly approaching.
"Amethyst is stronger than you think," Rose answered as she tried to calm her child. "Yes, she will hurt, they all will, but they will pull through it together."
"Is that what you told Pearl?" the woman hissed. "Will she have the strength to continue without you? You, the one who gave her a reason to live? You, the one who looked past her defects and saw the Gem that hid beneath? You, the one she abandoned her home world for?"
Rose knew that out of all of the Gems, Pearl would be hurt the most. She trusted Pearl and always could count on her to do the right thing. Rose had faith that Pearl would remember the things she had taught her during their countless years of friendship. But no matter what was to happen, Pearl would need to step up and find the strength to carry on without her.
"Pearl is smart enough to know how to handle herself without me holding her hand," Rose responded with a somber tone. "Of all people, you should know how people respond to the lose of a loved one."
"Indeed...I understand that this is all very personal and probably very unpleasant. But I need to be thorough..."
"Thorough about what?" Rose asked. "You know what will happen to me."
"About whether or not you truly understand what will happen once you're gone," the woman answered calmly. "Given the instability of your comrades...perhaps you should reconsider having the child. As I said before, there is still time..."
Rose's gemstone flash a bright pink as she summoned her shield and held it firmly between her and her guest.
"I am not afraid of you! I have faith in my friends and in my child!" Rose shouted in a booming voice. "You will not claim my Steven!"
"You would dare challenge me?" the woman in black spoke in a thunderous voice.
"Any loving mother would! I love my child far more than I love myself !"
The two stared the other down as a long tense silence filled the room. Suddenly, the woman in black began to laugh.
Her laughter was not cold but filled with warmth and happiness.
"I must say, Rose, I knew you would pass the test!" the woman spoke with a bright smile. "You stood up to me. That's something not even Yellow Diamond could do. You're as pure as the driven snow."
Rose dispersed her shield and let out a relieved sigh.
"So...you know that I understand the price of my child's life?" Rose asked tiredly.
"Anyone with eyes can see that you are willing to pay the price," the deity spoke warmly. "You truly are different than the other Gems. Hopefully there will be others like you..."
"I'm sure that Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl will grow to see things as you and I do," Rose calmly spoke. "They aren't soulless machines after all."
"Well now...I guess they will have to prove that. In the end, only time will tell."
"Trust me, they will prove it," Rose stated firmly. "But, like you said, only time will tell."
"Yes, but unfortunately, our time together has come to an end, and I must bid farewell."
"Aw...but you haven't even finished your tea yet." Rose responded playfully. "I don't get many guests of your caliber these days..."
The woman in black smiled as two large black feathered wings unfurled behind her.
"Don't worry, you'll be seeing me again...very soon"
Lightning flashed and the woman was gone, like she had never been there.
Rose let out a tired sigh as she made her way to the couch. She giggled as she felt Steven stir again. He was growing restless. Rose knew that he was going to grow up to be big and strong. He would become far stronger than even her. One thing was for certain, Steven was worth dying for.
"I love you Steven," Rose said as tears streamed down her cheeks. "But there is no other way..."
Rose began to sob as she felt the hands of the clock move against her. There was so much she still wanted to do. So much she wanted to tell him. So much she wanted to teach him. But she had faith that her friends would teach him everything he would need. But this knowledge did little to quell the pain in her heart. The pain of knowing that she would never see her baby boy take his first breath was beyond words. But the pain was worth it if it meant her child would live.
"Your mommy...has to die...so you can live..." Rose wept as she held her stomach. "That's how much I love you."
An idea that has been floating in my head for a while.