The human looked— well, impressive was the word that came to mind. Appreciably sturdy, especially when compared to the others Bismuth had seen milling about the settlement, going about their businesses, or running over to greet Rose Quartz whenever they saw her passing by. Not quite as large as the average quartz, and rather more top-heavy in build.
Bismuth felt a pang of what could only be described as familiarity. There was a wide, wide chasm between her and this human— a divide of thousands of years, a leap between light and stone and stars and flesh and blood and dirt and bone— but in that moment it seemed to have shrunk into a mere crack in the ground, so easy to step over.
So step Bismuth did.
The small structure she found herself in was clearly a workshop of some kind, and equally as clearly the source of the metallic, clanking sounds that had distracted Bismuth earlier. It was far warmer than the already warm, dry, sunny day outside. Darker, as well. The human was busy, muttering to herself, hastily prodding embers to life, and frowning at a long strip of metal in between quick hammer blows.
Bismuth found it hard to look away from the muted glow of the slowly cooling metal, or the tiny licks of flame from under the coal piled nearby. Dancing, like she'd seen Pearl and Garnet try to teach Snowflake to do. Dancing, like the petals Rose Quartz had showered Biggs with. Dancing, like Crazy Lace when—
The hammer stilled.
The human was looking at her a bit strangely, and Bismuth felt every bit of warm, glowy rightness seep out of her. What had she been thinking, following a stranger around, barging in on her work?
"I'm sorry to bother you, I'll just— I'll just go. Get out of your way and let you get on with your..."
Bismuth's uncharacteristically clumsy scrambling to get out of the cottage was interrupted by the loud, sharp sound of the human… laughing?
She turned and met Bismuth's eyes, the twinkle of amusement in them complementing the glint of reflected forgelight.
"You're very quiet— and so still! Hard to call that a bother. Look at you— ha, do you even breathe?"
'Quiet' and 'still' weren't exactly words Bismuth found applied to her very frequently, and breathing was something she hadn't quite figured out yet... Though what that had to do with the matter at hand was anyone's guess.
"You came here with Rose Quartz."
It didn't sound entirely like a question, but Bismuth still felt compelled to answer. "Yeah, I did."
"She carries one of my daggers. I trust her. If she trusts you, I trust you too. And she's helped us plenty, so I'll help you. What did you need?"
What did she need?
"Do you want a knife of some sort? Need tips for your arrows? Needles? Clasps? I do a lot here."
Hearing the pride she took in her work in the human's voice poured a pleasant, familiar warmth back into Bismuth's chest.
She tried again.
What did she want?
"I want to—"
Oh, she knew what she wanted. She'd known for quite a while. The question was more… did she dare? Even with the way everything had changed, the insidious remnants ofthat's not what you're for clung to her and made every step heavy.
"I want to learn. If... if you want to teach me."
The human looked surprised, but not unpleasantly so.
"Oh? I haven't had an apprentice in a while. And you? You look like you might just do."
She clasped a large hand on Bismuth's shoulder, and drew her in with surprising strength.
"Come closer, come on. This is where I do the copper— Wait, no, look out!—"
Bismuth froze, hand deep in the burning oven. She pulled it out at the blatant distress on the human's face and held it awkwardly away from her side as it cooled, a wisp of vapor wafting up from it.
"How did you…? This is— ow!" Whatever the human had been so afraid of had clearly not come to pass, but she now seemed to regret her panicked grab at Bismuth's hand, still tinted red from the heat. Her voice filled with what almost sounded like reverence. "Amazing."
The broad grin that bloomed on her face was infectious, and Bismuth answered it with one of her own, even if she didn't precisely know why.
"The two of us are going to do great things."