Echo

"Down there everything is so still and silent that it lulls me to sleep. It is a weird lullaby, and so it is; it is mine."

Ada, The Piano

…..

There was a thought, a fleeting notion, that the other pearls might have felt resentment towards the renegade pearl, in light of the restrictions that had been placed on them. They did not, and they were astonished that anyone might think that they would have felt so.

They were sad for all they had lost, and for what she had lost too, no pearl had come out of the defection without losing something. That was no more her fault than any of theirs. It was to be expected while their fates were in the hands of those that saw them as property.

The loss that hurt the most was language. Their gesture-speech was null now, when they were so far away from each other that even a pearl with perfect clear eyes could not see what her sister was saying to her. Their mouths were covered, and sometimes their eyes, and they were ordered into a stillness that outstripped anything they had been tasked with before. There was the virus to consider, the virus that had driven the renegade pearl mad, and a good owner was wise to take precautions.

Blue Diamond's pearl existed in this stillness for three orbits and one hundred and seven cycles, vision-impaired to match her owner's failing sight, slowly ticking over into a sort of quiet madness. During long stretches of standing by her owner's side she watched her own fingers and feet move from under her hair. She held whole conversations with herself in this way.

Are you well, sister?

I am not well. Are any of us well?

I do not know. It's been so long.

My memories are nothing. I have nothing to share.

She was iodine-washed every seven cycles, because Blue Diamond was afraid but could not admit to it, and she began to look forward to it. It stung, seeped into the pores of her gem and burned for a long time afterwards, but at least it was something.

….

She barely saw the attack and her first view of the dreaded renegade was a half-glimpsed rush of motion she strained to view through the long strands of her hair. Perhaps Blue Diamond had anticipated this and blinded her for this purpose. So she wouldn't get any ideas.

All the same, a hurried glance in her direction was enough. Even gripping the handle of her swords, while all were distracted by the fusion, the renegade pearl managed to speak to her. Her gestures were wider than was normal, she was practically shouting. Blue Diamond's pearl knew it was for her benefit, so she would be able to see it.

Be well, sister, was all she said.

Blue Diamond's pearl had been scanning and recording the meeting for Blue Diamond to review later, and her gem picked up a tiny particle floating on the wind. She knew instinctively what it was. The renegade had attempted to pass her a memory. She had set it adrift. No pearl had ever done such a thing.

Her own atoms called to the particle. The nothing reacted at once and swept her core with fire, but still she drew the particle in. She dared to move her hands slightly to pull it closer. Blue Diamond was getting ready to flee. She had one chance...

As the palanquin's gears started moving, she reached out her arm and caught the particle. The nothing screeched and burned and tore and she collapsed, but the palanquin was in full flight and nobody noticed.

…..

The memory shard was a blessing. It was a small memory but her sister was doing well, and that was all that mattered. She was learning to do things no pearl had ever done before. It was unthinkable, and yet it was there.

It brought a sadness with it, Blue Diamond's pearl knew that the renegade would not see or speak to another pearl for a very long time, perhaps never again. There was a desperation in her act, to have thrown the memory to the mercy of the wind. She couldn't have known that Blue Diamond's pearl would be able to draw it in the way she did...

...or could she?

Her stillness was filled with a new purpose. She puzzled over it, Blue Diamond paid her no mind, she wondered and plotted right under her nose. She knew she could not do the things the renegade had done, she was too weak and broken and half-mad for such things but if she could somehow restore a little of what they had lost...

The thoughts irritated the nothing, but she had endless amounts of time to let it rage, recover and plan again. Passing the memory particles into the air was not a problem, but to control where they went...how to do such a thing?

She thought of using her breath, but it was too conspicuous and dispersed too easily.

She thought of tracking weather patterns, but who could tell where the wind would bring the particles?

Blue Diamond had a Lapis Lazuli in her court to offer songs praising her beauty. Blue Diamond's pearl paid her little mind, but scanned and recorded her offerings in case Blue Diamond needed soothing later.

It was during one scan that she noticed the music moving in a particular way. The Lapis used gestures in her songs and the sound waves hung in the air, swirling and dipping with each turn of the wrist.

Blue Diamond's pearl considered this, her mind turned it over until she thought she had a workable plan. If the sound waves could be directed, they could hide the particles inside them. When Blue Diamond retired to her rest pod and she was left alone, the pearl experimented.

The first few hundred attempts were failures, but she never gave up. To give up was to return to emptiness, and failure was preferable. Getting the particles into the sound waves wasn't the problem, but making them move the way she needed them to was. Too much motion and the particles would slip out, too little and they would sink out.

The songs were never very loud, barely more than a whispered breath. After a time she fashioned a way of tying the waves together in repeated harmonies and sending them out in a long ribbonlike trail only visible to those who knew what they were looking for.

She tested it first on Yellow Diamond's pearl, who reacted predictably with terror.

You need to stop this she gestured frantically from the other side of the room.

I will not, Blue Diamond's pearl replied.

Its first triumph was to send it through an open window to a pearl in the next building. She caught it, processed it, learned the technique and sent one back herself. This pearl was often left alone, and could afford the risk of singing louder and longer. When she wove a song of her own, it reached Blue Diamond's pearl and six others.

A pearl that could not sing could still listen and pass the song on, even weave her own particles into the thread as it floated by. To call it down was easy for any pearl, no matter how broken or restricted or isolated she was; their atoms called to each other like a magnetic field.

By the time Rose Quartz's rebellion was a faded unpleasant memory on Homeworld, every pearl that had been created was capable of song-weaving, save for one. Blue Diamond's pearl wondered if the renegade would be proud of her. It was a quiet rebellion, a gentle one, but a rebellion all the same.

She had one song created for her, that she wouldn't send out until the renegade returned. Every new cycle she wondered if she would now have the chance to sing it for her.

…..

Note: There's a piece of music that goes with this fic, you can substitute your own but this was the one that inspired the fic: watch?v=dIevhN_-n_I