A/N: things creep a bit towards M rating in this chapter, but really it's like T+? and very brief
A wedding, apparently, was a ceremony wherein two people - or in this case, gems - vowed to love and cherish each other till death do they part. The Ruby and Sapphire were simply reaffirming how they felt for the other in a way that would ensure they were together even when they weren't fused.
Blue Diamond had cried, just lightly, when Steven better explained everything to them. Yellow Diamond didn't exactly expect any less, but she wasn't sure if it was a very smart choice for them to stay here after all. Yes, they could learn a lot from the Crystal Gems, but Blue didn't seem to have thought about the possibility that what the Crystal Gems had to teach them might not be useful, or beneficial to them as Diamonds in any way.
And how was she supposed to express that to Blue? Her fellow Diamond was entranced by Earth, and a little ceremony like this had dragged her even tighter into its clutches. Yellow merely watched on from the top of the lighthouse hill, their gems dispersed a bit more between the outside and inside the lighthouse itself, as the final preparations were done. More humans showed up and sat themselves down in the neatly ordered chairs. Yellow guessed they all knew each other; they moved from one spot to the next, talking to each other in clumps or one-on-one, and for such a formal ceremony Yellow thought they all looked very... well, less than formal. They were each dressed nicely, elegantly in some cases, and yet they maintained the carefree nature that seemed quite rampant across Earth. It had sucked Pink Diamond in, perhaps because she was just that - dressed the part of a Diamond, but not nearly as rigid as Yellow or Blue, much more willing to adapt than any of them.
Yellow switched her gaze from the humans, to herself - she fidgeted, uncomfortable in this reduced form that brought them so close to the level of most other gems... to Pink's level - and finally landed on Steven's house. He was still in there with the rest of the Crystal Gems as far as Yellow was concerned. After Steven had invited her and Blue inside the evening before, to introduce them to another member of the team, and the Bismuth he'd said was going to be the "made of honor" tried to attack them both, Yellow had decided it might be better for her and Blue to stay a certain distance out of Crystal Gem business. Which included the wedding.
Or so she thought. Hearing the light shuffle of footsteps over grass and guessing it wasn't any of their gems, she turned, meeting Blue's slightly watery eyes, taking in her gentle smile... and a very different dress than the casual, simple dark blue one she had been wearing before in her reduced form, white hair still flowing past her shoulders but not quite connected around the front pulled up in a series of braids, inlaid with tiny flowers. The new dress was frilly and quite shorter than anything she usually wore, colored a pale orange. She stopped before Yellow, reaching up to tug at the fabric of her simpler under-armor around her arm.
"You know this just won't do, Yellow," Blue giggled. "We're trying to fit in as much as we can, aren't we? Let's get you changed."
"Ch - what? Blue, what on Homeworld are you wearing?" Yellow spluttered, recoiling.
Blue's smile notched up into a radiant grin. "Isn't it lovely? Steven said his friends, Connie and a Buck and a Kiki, made us outfits for the wedding." She leaned in close, lips touching the shell of Yellow's ear, and she couldn't help the shiver that coursed up and down her back. "I can't wait to see you in it," Blue husked.
Gently pushing her back, Yellow smiled awkwardly, shaking her head. "We can't go to that wedding, Blue," she said.
"Why not? Steven invited us. He said the Ruby and Sapphire wished us to attend."
"And it didn't cross your mind that he could be lying? Think about it, Blue. Steven is the only one who, for whatever strange reason, isn't bothered by our being here. The rest of those Crystal Gems are uncomfortable with us at best, angry and volatile at worst. Do you really believe that Bismuth is just going to leave us alone now that Steven's told her we don't mean any harm, that we aren't here to cause problems? She's barely taken her eyes off us."
"Now, that just isn't true, Yellow, she-"
Yellow pointed downwards, past the toe of her boot touching the very edge of the cliff face the Crystal Gems' Temple and Steven's home rested in and against. From here they could see the house's porch, where the Bismuth stood at the railing. Gazing up at them. Blue raised her eyebrows, hand tentatively rising in a form of greeting. Yellow grabbed her and spun her around, backing her up a few paces so they were out of view.
"This is not our place, Blue," she huffed.
Blue took her hands in her own. For a few moments she was silent, simply staring deeply into Yellow's eyes. Finally she scoffed, smirking, and said, "You are just so stubborn."
Yellow snorted and turned away, slipping out of her grip - though there was no place she would rather be right now. The Earth was not their home. Going back to Homeworld meant confronting White Diamond. All in all, Blue was currently the only place she felt at home, and safe, and... even cared for. But that didn't necessarily extend to any close interactions with the Crystal Gems and a bunch of humans.
"Are you guys ready?"
Starting, she looked down at the ground, a bit wide-eyed. Steven stood beside Blue, rather dwarfed by her height. He was dressed very nicely. He exchanged a glance with Blue and grinned up at Yellow, more or less proving a little collusion on their parts.
"You cannot really think we're going to join you," Yellow scoffed.
"Ruby and Sapphire want you to be there," Steven insisted - as small and mundane as he looked, his tone left very little room for argument. Yellow narrowed her eyes. "They talked about it a lot, and mutually decided it would be very beneficial for the two of you to witness this Earth tradition up close and personal! You'll be around other humans, you'll see a lot of what being here on Earth means, more than I could show you just by taking you guys around the wild west - trust us, Yellow Diamond. When it comes to Earth stuff, and love, we know what we're doing." He looked up to Blue, grinning, and Blue returned the gesture.
"Come now, Yellow," she murmured, giving her fellow Diamond a softer look. "There's no harm in it. I think the Ruby and Sapphire are right. This is what we need."
She extended her hand. Yellow ping-ponged her gaze from it, to her face, to Steven, and back to her hand. Groaning, she rolled her eyes lavishly and took it. "Fine," she spat. "We'll join you. But, Steven, I want you at least to know we have no intentions on intruding where we're not wanted. We have a truce, but we aren't friends."
Steven blinked up at her. "Aren't we?"
"Pardon?" Yellow spluttered, but Blue whisked her away before she could get anything else out, taking her into the lighthouse. All the way to the top. She ignored the human-gem hybrid for the time being - after all, he was just naïve, ignorant, he couldn't possibly believe they were all friends just because she and Blue Diamond had followed them around a forest and a plain, and sat around a fire with them to talk - and let Blue position her in the middle of the space they were afforded beside the massive light.
"Here," she said. She ducked around a corner and returned with another outfit for Yellow; passing it into her arms, she grinned again, leaning in close. "Would you like help putting it on?" she giggled.
"I can dress myself, Blue," Yellow muttered. She turned her back on her fellow Diamond, as if that would hide her raging blush.
She sensed Blue staying behind her, unmoving, as she removed the simple clothes she was already wearing, grumbling under her breath that there was nothing wrong with them, why did she have to change? Stupid Earth customs. She stood there, unclothed, fidgeting with the new shirt - it was a light, sky blue, with buttons down the front. Felt Blue's eyes raking up and down her body and thought she had never felt more exposed, not in any battle, not around any other gem. Never. Her skin was heating up as her blush crept down her cheeks to her neck, all the way down her long, slender neck. She threw the shirt on and stepped into the navy blue pants. If she could ignore the strange things Steven said, surely she could ignore the warmth and intensity of Blue's unwavering gaze on her back.
She should have known better.
A pair of arms slipped around her waist, and blue-skinned hands brushed over her exposed stomach, the shirt still unbuttoned. Yellow swallowed thickly. Blue rested her chin on her shoulder, humming appreciatively. Her hands glided up Yellow's stomach to her chest, brushing teasingly against sensitive areas and around her gem. Yellow couldn't stifle a soft whimper, and she tensed, spinning around in Blue's hold.
Soft, supple lips crashing into hers effectively silenced her. Blue kissed her fiercely, hands resting on her chest on either side of her gem - and a bit lower - and Yellow allowed the wonderful feeling of the gem she loved being so close to her envelop her, losing herself to the sensation, for all she cared the wedding could just go on without them and they could-
She jerked back, just barely registering the bright glow around them before it vanished. Blue stumbled forward a step in surprise without anything supporting her. She frowned, somewhere between hurt and apologetic, and Yellow fought to regain her panting breaths.
"Did I do something wrong?" Blue murmured.
Yellow hastily started buttoning her new shirt. "No, not at all," she wheezed. "I... Blue, I know you said I didn't have to - well you'd said it first, that day we arrived here, and I was so hurt I had to retreat to my gem to heal, you said - I was just thinking, that I, I-"
"Oh, Yellow," Blue half-laughed, half-sighed. She clasped her hands before her chest and a single tear dripped down her cheek. "Yellow, I love you too."
Blushing intensely, Yellow dropped her hands to her sides. "You didn't even give me the chance to actually say it," she mumbled.
Giggling, Blue closed the distance between them again, leaning up to kiss her cheek. "Go on, then," she said. "If you'd like, of course."
"I-" Yellow pursed her lips and exhaled carefully. She placed her hands on Blue's waist and looked her in the eye. "Blue, I love you. And I'm sorry I'm... so stubborn. I know you're just trying to understand Pink, and even Rose Quartz, but this planet and the Crystal Gems still give me pause. No matter what Steven says about us being... friends. Those gems may listen to him, but I do not believe he is their leader."
"There you go, thinking like a general again," Blue hummed. She cupped Yellow's cheek in one hand. "Don't worry, Yellow. Your stubbornness is one of the things I love about you."
Yellow laughed, feeling a small knot of tension and anxiety somewhere in her stomach ease up, making it easier to breathe. "Is it?" she chuckled. Blue nodded. "You're sure? It's a good part of the reason why it's taken me thousands of years to tell you how I feel."
"It was worth every second of waiting," Blue said.
They shared another kiss, this one more chaste, and Blue pulled the last article of clothing over Yellow's shoulders, a jacket that matched the pants in color. She smoothed her hands over the fabric, adjusting Yellow's collar, tucking the shirt into the pants.
"There," she said. "That wasn't so hard, was it? Steven calls this a suit."
Yellow scoffed. "I'm more used to suits of armor, but I suppose this works."
"You look beautiful," Blue said.
"Not half as beautiful as you."
Blue swatted her chest, threading the fingers of her other hand through Yellow's hair, relaxed and swooped back rather than in its usual points. "I like your hair this way," she said. "Perhaps you should have changed your usual form a bit more when you reformed. I do so love your armor, too, but must you always look so intense and grumpy?"
Yellow snorted, nudging Blue back. "Let's just get this little ceremony over with."
They exited the lighthouse, Blue hanging on Yellow's arm, and the golden-skinned gem refused to look anywhere near their gems relaxing around the lighthouse's lower room and just outside its door, though she did catch the Aquamarine do a double-take at them out of the corner of her eye, and the tiny floating gem nudged the Holly Blue Agate, her responding loud gasp cut off by the Yellow Zircon hastily slapping a hand over her mouth. Outside, the Diamonds were instantly met by their Pearls.
"My Diamond," the Yellow Pearl said, saluting and bowing low. "My luminescent, wondrous, effervescent Diamond-" Yellow rolled her eyes "-it has come to our attention that you and Blue Diamond plan on attending the... Earth ceremony."
"The wedding," Blue corrected.
"My Diamond," the Blue Pearl said softly, curtseying, "we know it isn't our place to say this, but we wonder if that is a wise choice."
"Your concern is touching," Blue said, cutting off the considerably more scathing retort Yellow opened her mouth with. "You have nothing to worry about, Pearls. We'll be surrounded by humans. Where's the danger in that?"
"Pardon me, my Diamond, but you will also be surrounded by the notorious Crystal Gems," Yellow Pearl said. She exchanged a glance with Blue Pearl. "We know your mission here is strictly diplomatic, and in all your spectacular wisdom have created this truce. Who is to say the Crystal Gems will abide by your rules? They've already made it quite clear they do not respect you and the Diamond Authority. Need I remind you, my Diamond, of the disgusting, flagrant disrespect the Peridot 5XG showed you, using the direct Diamond Line to contact you without authorization, and calling you..." she leaned in, switching to a whisper, "a clod?"
Blue snorted out a laugh, unsuccessfully covering it with her hand held loosely over her mouth. Yellow rolled her eyes again. "That Peridot is no threat. She's lost her limb enhancers, for one thing, and since when is a Peridot known to be intimidating?" she scoffed.
"All due respect, my Diamond, the Crystal Gems have put themselves outside their rightful molds," Yellow Pearl said. She shrank, just barely, as if expecting an instant reprimand. Yellow merely stared down at her - a good part of her wanted her trusted assistant, her confidant, her Pearl, to speak her mind. The Yellow Pearl cleared her throat, hands fidgeting in front of her stomach. "Pink Diamond's former Pearl answers to no one. That Ruby and the Sapphire have engaged in multiple inappropriate fusions. The Amethyst is so far from code its almost laughable, and Rose Quartz has taken the form of another species entirely! And that Bismuth, she's put all her talents into making armor and weapons for the rebellion, and she was so ready to attack you both! By all means that points to the conclusion that the Peridot of Facet 2FL, Cut 5XG, might be more of a threat than you realize. My Diamond."
"The Lapis Lazuli is quite unusual as well, my Diamond," the Blue Pearl tacked on, hands clasped much more neatly before her chest. "She was stuck on this planet for thousands of years... it would appear that, even if she wanted to, she cannot perform as she is meant to."
"See, Yellow?" Blue drawled. "What can we learn from this?"
Yellow grimaced slightly. She bent forward, bringing herself closer to her Pearl than she believed she ever had been before. "You're so worried for us? Fine. Come with. I'm sure Steven won't mind, he ought to expect us to have our Pearls with us everywhere we go, anyway, if the Crystal Gems taught him anything about everything they abandoned by renouncing their Homeworld." She closed her eyes tight for a second, feeling more than seeing Blue's eyebrow arched in quiet annoyance. Now was not the time for her to preach her frustrations and confusions. For just one day she could at least try to only think about the purpose behind this Crystal Gem wedding. "Are you ready? Let's please just get this over with," she huffed.
"They aren't dressed for it, Yellow," Blue argued.
"Then we'll find Steven and ask if he has anything for them to wear," Yellow snarled. She tugged Blue along, and they walked down the massive hill, their Pearls scampering after them.
The ceremony was short and sweet - Blue Diamond didn't think the Sapphire and Ruby wanted to wait much longer to fuse back together, sharing a kiss before doing so as Steven pronounced them Garnet. They then moved into the reception. Music played, unlike any music Blue had ever heard before. The Crystal Gems danced along with the humans, mostly very spastic, un-orderly movements that would have been labeled as quite obscene in a proper gem court. Where was the synchronization? The perfect steps that fit together just as they were supposed to? Blue watched, fascinated, from her spot seated in the sand a decent ways from the "dance floor" with Yellow and their Pearls wearing suits borrowed from Pink's former Pearl, next to a round table that didn't fit the two Diamonds even in their reduced forms.
Garnet was dancing by herself, though Blue supposed she was never truly alone. Pink's former Pearl was speaking with the small Amethyst and the Bismuth, Peridot 5XG and the Lapis Lazuli swaying together to the music as well. Steven danced with his friend Connie. After a little while he went to get a drink, and Garnet joined him, picking him up to hug him close.
"Look at them all," Blue murmured. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Yellow pick hers up from where they were fixed on her crossed arms, looking first at her and then out at the gathering of gems and humans alike. "They're so comfortable with the humans."
Yellow scoffed under her breath. "Too comfortable, if you ask me."
"They are a very interesting facet to this planet," Blue went on as if she hadn't heard her, though she did offer her fellow Diamond a coy smirk. As expected, Yellow's cheeks colored in a blush. "I think I understand why Pink loved them, just as she loved the planet itself. She loved how it changed, all on its own... how the humans have decided to make changes for themselves. Don't you think that's wonderful, Yellow?"
"It's strange, and unnatural," Yellow said.
"You don't think it has a beauty to it?"
She turned to her fellow Diamond, and Yellow instantly averted her gaze elsewhere. There was something unreadable in the depths of her eyes, and for a second Blue thought she saw her lower lip quiver. Just her eyes playing tricks on her, surely. Yellow so rarely cried, she didn't even allow herself the bare minimum that didn't have to so much as be considered crying. That was all Blue's department, the matters of emotion.
"I think it would be alright if we left the Earth to the Crystal Gems," Yellow said, in her careful, diplomatic tone Blue knew well enough. "I suppose this is their home now, and if they're really so resistant to ever being a part of our Authority again, then so be it. We don't need gems like them, anyway. We can leave them alone, and accept the experiment of the Cluster will never come to fruition. We can do all this for Pink, in her memory." She leveled Blue with a serious, unwavering stare. "But we cannot stay here, and we cannot be a part of it."
"Why not?" Blue countered immediately. She leaned in, feeling Yellow stiffen though she didn't lean back in turn. "Yellow, why not?"
"What exactly are you suggesting, Blue? That we stay here on Earth with these traitorous gems and leave behind everything else we've ever known? Our colonies? Our courts of gems? We have responsibilities, Blue. So many gems rely on us. We can't just leave them for a single planet, even if it's Pink's."
"We don't have to leave anyone, or anything. We can adopt the ways of Earth into our own Authority. With Steven's help, we could-"
Yellow jerked back, simultaneously taking hold of Blue's wrist in a vice grip. "Listen to yourself, Blue!" she hissed. Her eyes darted around, but it did not appear anyone was aware of them or eavesdropping on their conversation, save for their Pearls, of course. "Doing what Pink did, giving herself to this planet and its ways, isn't going to bring her back."
Blue recoiled like she'd been slapped in the face. She tried to yank herself out of Yellow's grip, but it was much too strong. "Let me go," she snapped. "You don't understand, Yellow. After everything, you still don't understand. Maybe you never will."
"No, Blue, you don't understand. I'm doing everything I can, but I-"
"No more excuses!" Blue succeeded in wrenching herself out of Yellow's grip; she stood, brushing sand off herself, and glowered down at the golden-skinned gem over her nose. "Perhaps the only way you'll come to your senses is if I refuse to talk to you, or so much as see you. It worked the first time."
Yellow's eyes widened, and she scrambled to her feet as well. In the suit and this form she looked so much more like she had ages upon ages ago, when she and Blue first emerged into existence and White welcomed them into their places amidst the Diamond Authority. For whatever reason, it gave Blue a deep sense of grief not wholly unlike what she had come to feel for Pink, more so than the lingering hints of friendship and love she felt for her when she was still alive. Tears bloomed in her eyes and she spun on her heel, stalking away before Yellow could gather herself enough to speak. Her Pearl appeared at her feet, head tilted up to her, and Blue could imagine her frown even though her hair covered her eyes.
Yellow didn't call after her.
She moved around to the other side of the dance floor, facing the ocean, arms loosely crossed over her waist. The sound of the crashing waves did little to stop the tears from sliding down her cheeks, dripping off her chin and the sides of her jaw, and she breathed hard through frustrations and hurt she was struggling to keep in check. After all, Steven and the gems who made Garnet had been so kind as to allow herself and Yellow, and even their Pearls, to attend this wedding. She wasn't about to ruin it.
She glanced down. Steven and Garnet had approached unheard, keeping a respectful - though perhaps just weary - distance from her and Blue Pearl. "Yes, Steven?" she said.
"I'm just checking in," Steven said, frowning. His line of sight followed the tears cascading from her face to the sand. "Are you okay? Yellow Diamond looks pretty upset, too." He pointed over his shoulder at Yellow, still standing in the exact same spot, just in her typical militaristic stance. Watching Blue closely, frowning, lips pursed. Blue turned away.
"I'm fine, Steven. Thank you," she said curtly.
"Did we make you uncomfortable?" Garnet asked. There was a challenging edge to her rich voice, and with the glasses over her three eyes, Blue couldn't read her very well.
She crouched down to get closer to them. Her Pearl shuffled a bit to the side, as if she needed to make room for her. "Not at all," she murmured. "I'm so sorry, I don't mean to make a scene. Yellow is just being... obtuse. Again. I thought we were on the same page, with the Earth - just in general, really. I see now I was wrong. And I just wish she would stop trying to break my heart even harder than the times before."
Steven shuffled awkwardly. "Sometimes, it's the people you love the most who know just how to do that," Garnet sighed.
Blue smiled at her. "Other than Sapphire's upset, and Ruby's fear briefly driving you apart... you seem so perfect," she said. "The perfect relationship. I've never seen a gem get along with another as well as those two do."
"It isn't easy," Garnet said. "This isn't the first time they split during a disagreement. It takes a lot of work, Blue Diamond, and the question is whether both of you are willing to put that work into your relationship. A healthy relationship is about balance, openness, and communication. About flexibility, love, and trust. Most things will follow those."
"Did you teach Pink that?" Blue asked, sighing.
Garnet dipped her head just so. "I never knew her," she said. "Pearl said I'm the reason Rose fought as hard as she did, why she wouldn't stop fighting, and she wouldn't have. Even if Pink betrayed her. I don't think she did. I'm not sure exactly what happened. All I know is that Rose believed in love - loving whoever else you please, loving yourself - and that's what she taught the Crystal Gems."
Sighing again, Blue glanced back out at the water.
"Who did Pink Diamond love?" Steven asked, and the timidity to his voice prompted a breath of a laugh from Blue.
"She and I were close, but not like I am with Yellow. She loved White. I think." She met Steven's kind eyes and smiled sadly, a fresh wave of tears streaming down her cheeks. "I can't say that anymore with absolute certainty. If she really was so afraid of White... and if White actually..." Trailing off, she reached up to wipe the tears away with the back of her hand.
"Well... what did White say to either of you? After... after you lost Pink?"
Blue's smile twitched. Now it felt bitter, sardonic - perhaps even a little cruel. "That's a long story, Steven, and a dower one not quite befitting of this occasion."
"I'd like to know," Steven insisted gently. He glanced up at Garnet. "I think we all do."
Blue looked around at the assortment of gems and humans. Pink's former Pearl was staring their way while the Bismuth laughed, seemingly at Peridot 5XG's expense, the small Amethyst nudging her with her elbow and smirking. They all acted so very differently from all her own gems... But, in the Pearl's gaze, she could see the hurt. The uncertainty. In that moment, she believed the Crystal Gems were as lost as she and Yellow still were.
Across the dance floor, Yellow continued to watch her, expression cleared of any emotion, features relaxed. Blue quickly averted her gaze back to Steven.
"Alright," she said. "If you'd all like to hear it, then I'll tell you."
A/N: So I'm gonna remind y'all I'm taking a lot of inspiration for how the Diamonds look in their "reduced forms" from drawings by the artist happyds. You can find them by that handle on tumblr and from there find their twitter, where you can look at those drawings of Blue and Yellow I mentioned a few chapters ago (they've done a lot of really awesome SU/SU movie/SU Future art that's totally worth checking out).
Also, I know gems technically don't wear clothes, they just appear to and it's fused to their bodies, but for the purposes of my story I'm going to say that while gems do maintain the same "outfit" they chose when they reform, it can be removed and changed if they want, they just rarely do.
Also also, I made some very small edits to chapters 12 and 13, just to clean things up a bit, so if y'all want you can go reread those.
Hope y'all liked this chapter! It's quite a bit longer than usual lol. Don't forget to review!