Prêt-à-Porter

This is a wee birthday ficlet for lunatictobelle, she wanted to hear more about Almandine. Hope this is to your liking.

…..

"Floor-length is done," Almandine growled. "We need something that's...beyond floor-length."

The beyond was said with an elegant flourish of her long, tapered fingers, followed by a hard swallow of her compound mix.

"Maybe you should think of slowing down on those," Aquamarine suggested gently.

"Aqua, sweetness, I don't know how long you've been here, but surely you know inspiration doesn't just pop out of thin air!"

Almandine punctuated this little comment by chugging her compound and cracking open another out of pure spite. Aquamarine sighed a little but said no more, turning back to the yards of fabric she was clutching.

The pearl had stayed stock-still during this exchange, and didn't even flinch when Aquamarine draped the end of the fabric halfway across its face.

"Beyond floor-length," Almandine moaned. "That doesn't just mean extra-long, you clump!

"Well, what else do you suggest?" Aquamarine asked with a pleasant trill masking her irritation.

"Bring in the other one, it might help with my vision," Almandine said, sprawling across the couch.

The other pearl was retrieved from the windowledge it had been sitting on and stood beside its partner. Aquamarine draped the fabric across both of them. Almandine tilted her head to one side and squinted.

"Maybe I should get another one," she said, swigging compound absently. "I swear these two are not identical. The one on the right looks taller."

Aquamarine measured the pearls from the top of their heads.

"No, they're the same height."

"I said it looks taller, Aqua," Almandine groaned. "They don't look the same. And if they don't look the same I should have three. It's a better balance."

"Fine," Aquamarine sighed. "When do you want to place the order?"

"We'll have to do it in person, I need one that looks like both of these, but different."

Aquamarine knew better than to ask her if that was even possible. She picked up the fabric and draped it another way, this time leaving just enough at the hem to skim the floor.

"Oh this is pointless!" Almandine screamed at the ceiling. "I'm such a hack! Everyone knows it, I have no good ideas left! Might as well let the pearls design the new line!"

If it was possible for the pearls to look confused, they did, in their strange blank way. Aquamarine rolled her eyes. She was all too used to outbursts like this.

"Why don't we get out for a little while," she suggested. "You might find inspiration out there somewhere."

It wasn't the best idea; Almandine had been downing compound all afternoon and was buzzing. But she groaned as though it were a huge inconvenience and dragged herself off of the couch to stomp towards the door.

Aquamarine left the fabric draped across the pearls and followed sharply after her.

…..

"I don't know why she insists on all that froth," Almandine said haughtily. "I mean, she's got the mass to pull it off, there's no disputing that, but it's all a bit gauche really."

Aquamarine cringed a little internally, because she liked Pink Diamond's dress and she didn't know what Almandine meant by 'gauche'.

"And her pearl was positively drowning in it all. It's far too swampy for a small-frame gem," Almandine continued.

The tracer was almost empty, thankfully, with just a few gems to look away awkwardly as Almandine launched into a detailed deconstruction of each of the Homeworld rulers' outfits.

"...I do understand the need for so much yellow, but there are different shades of yellow, and that tone just makes her look boxy, it would be far more elegant with a touch of pale yellow or even a touch of orange for contrast..."

"Are you inspired yet?" Aquamarine asked hopefully.

"No," Almandine replied bluntly. "Now, White's is quite interesting, or at least it would be if she hadn't gone for such a conventional shape..."

"I like the shape," Aquamarine said quietly.

"You would," Almandine said without missing a beat. "I don't even know what to say about Blue. Just threw a cloth on herself one day and said 'That'll do," I expect..."

Suddenly, the tracer ground to an unexpected halt.

"Urgh," Almandine groaned, lurching dramatically towards the floor. "This is all we need."

"It looks like a riot," Aquamarine said, looking out the window.

Sure enough, it was. A group of Rubies and Spinels had swarmed on the tracks, refusing to let the tracer go any further. Some of them had even fused to prevent the tracer from running anyone over.

Almandine sat up and peered out the window with her usual ennui, only perking up a bit when she saw some Amethysts racing towards the riot site.

It was a scrappy affair then; some of the other grouped Rubies and Spinels fused hurriedly, but the Amethysts were on them before many got a chance. Half of the rioters were poofed in parsecs. Then a second set of rioters got behind the tracer and pushed it towards the Amethysts, knocking a group of them right into a wall.

The door of the tracer whooshed open and the panicking driver ushered the onboard gems off on the quiet side. Almandine strolled lazily off the carriage, despite Aquamarine's attempts to hurry her on.

Just before they left the scene, one Ruby climbed on top of the tracer, two Amethyst gems in her hands, raised them skyward and bellowed a victory cry. Almandine watched with a single raised eyebrow as the Ruby was effectively poofed by a thrown Amethyst truncheon, and then turned and walked away.

"We can go home now," she said coolly. "I have my inspiration."

…..

Aquamarine's private opinion was that it was hideous, but that probably meant it was genius and Aqua was just too dull to understand. She's been told that enough times to believe it.

"So...this is beyond floor-length?" she asked timidly.

"Yes," Almandine answered triumphantly.

There was a small section of the outfit grazing the floor, suspended from a half dozen tracer-like wires hooked into a diamond formation, but the actual skirt was so short it barely covered the pearl's bottom (thank goodness pearls had no sense of shame). It was Ruby-red, hooked onto the shoulders by two purple sections and draping in folds all the way to the first hem. The pearl's skin had been airbrushed with a light spray of scarlet.

There was probably a cohesive look in there, somewhere.

"I truly am brilliant sometimes," Almandine sighed, taking a triumphant sip of compound.

…..

Naturally, it was a huge hit.