It had been several months since Steven had finally been able to break the order of silence that had trapped the truth in Pearl for thousands of years. Bismuth was back and rediscovering what life on Earth meant now that the war was over and Rose wasn't who she thought she was. Ruby and Sapphire had a beautiful wedding that went without incident. There was tension between Garnet and Pearl for a while that the two refused to tell Steven about, but he gathered enough to figure out it was about Pearl hiding the truth before Pink had ordered her silence in the war. Then, Bismuth, Pearl, and Garnet all went on a mission together and when they came back, the tension was gone.
Steven was still processing the information himself. He had already struggled so much with the thought of everyone expecting him to be Rose Quartz, even though multiple people had told him they didn't and the whole point was to be himself and experience the world as someone new. He watched and re-watched the video his mother had left him while cradling the alternate version for Nora. He went back into Rose's room and sat in the clouds. He didn't ask the room to make anything for him, just sat.
Finally, he started talking out loud, "Everyone used to always tell me how great you were, how perfect you were, I idolized you, wanted so much to be just like you so I could make you proud and be there for the others the way you were, but now… I suppose it's rude to speak ill of the dead and when someone you love is gone it's natural to cling to the positive things, and no one is perfect so I shouldn't be surprised you were flawed, but it's just, so much. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I think I get it now. You certainly weren't evil, but I disagree with how you handled a lot of things. You hurt a lot of people, even people you loved and who loved you, especially Garnet and Pearl, and I don't want to be like that. I'm not Rose Quartz, I'm not Pink Diamond," he stood up and sniffled, then smiled a big, toothy grin, "and I'm still proud to be your son, and I still think you did more good than harm, but I don't want to make the same mistakes. I am Steven Universe, and I'm going to walk my own path."
Steven turned to leave the room when suddenly a transparent projection of his mother appeared before him with a smile on her face and wrapped her arms around him. Steven froze, too shocked to know what to do. Rose said, "Steven, I love you, and I am so proud of you."
Steven felt tears he had been holding in for months pour out as he hugged her back, "I love you too mom."
The shadow of his mother disappeared into a mass of blooming roses that floated away until they burst into tiny specks of pink light. Steven dried his tears and walked out into the house with his head held high and huge smile still on his face.
The next day, he gathered the Gems and told them he want to try to heal Jasper, "She deserves to know! And maybe since Corruption was just passed on to her rather than a direct attack my healing abilities will be able to do more. Please, I know it's risky, but I think if she knew mom was Pink Diamond it may help her turn around. She deserves a chance to enjoy Earth like all of you too, so far all she's known is being trapped as Malachite and fighting us, maybe if I can heal and show her how great this planet really is, she can put the past behind her."
There was silence and then Amethyst sighed, "She was a bully but…I do think she deserves a second chance. Steven is right, she never got to experience fun or freedom, not really. I'm not saying it's gonna be easy, but like, I think maybe it would be worth a shot," she hid a blush with her hair and looked at the ground.
Pearl fidgeted, "Well, I suppose if we never gave Gems second chances there wouldn't have been much of a rebellion. It's is very risky though. Garnet?"
Garnet placed a hand on her glasses and sighed, "There are too many possibilities. There are some futures where Steven is able to heal her and things go well though, and of the futures that don't go well, we can handle any fallout."
Bismuth crossed her arms, "I don't know. I never met Jasper so I don't really have an opinion. I guess from what I've heard about her I wouldn't trust her, but Pearl is right that if we didn't give second chances the Crystal Gems would have never grown. Those second chances didn't always pan out though," she scratched the back of her head and shrug, "do what you think is best. If you need me, I'll be at The Forge."
Pearl placed a comforting hand on Bismuth's arm as the larger Gem passed and then disappeared into the beam of light of the Warp Pad.
The four debated for another fifteen minutes before deciding to give Steven's plan a try. Amethyst retrieved Jasper's bubble and they walked out to a large, clear section of the beach in case Steven's attempt at healing didn't work or a fight broke out. Amethyst took in a deep breath as she held Jasper's bubble over Steven's hands which were glowing with healing spit.
Right before she popped the bubble she looked at the gem closely, "Alright sis, give us a chance, I promise we can show you something awesome."
Then, the gem fell into Steven's hands, he clasped them together and thoroughly rubbed his spit all over it. Steven let go as the gem glowed. Jasper reformed, no sign of Corruption anywhere on her form.
Jasper was still reeling from everything that had just happened. She had failed her mission, she had failed to defeat the Crystal Gems. And now, now, her entire life was a lie. The one she hated and her Diamond were the same, and they were both gone, gone and stuck inside some half-organic brat. But the Crystal Gems were inviting her to join them. Join them. Like any Gem would ever accept her. All the other Gems that emerged from her Kindergarten were beneath her; Homeworld Gems always looked down on her because of her colony and its infamy. Now these Crystal Gems were pitying her. She wouldn't stand for it. She was going to forge her on path, she was going to seize power. She smiled and thought of a plan. As the other Gems walked away, expecting her to follow, Jasper was pleased the one she had in mind was closest.
"Wait, hold on," Jasper grabbed Pearl's arm, "you knew Pink Diamond right?"
"Um, I was her Pearl for a while, so yes. Why?"
Jasper glanced at the other Gems as they got further away, "So you knew Pink Diamond better than anyone here. You knew more of what was going on than any other Gem."
Pearl looked at the ground and fidgeted, uneasy with both the topic of conversation and the grip Jasper had on her arm, "Well, yes. I was at her side almost constantly. We planned battles together, tried to minimize casualties as much as possible, and Pink never stopped trying to convince the other Diamonds to stop and call a truce. Was there some specific thing with that you wanted to ask?"
Jasper grinned, "No reason, I just needed to distract you while the others put distance between us."
Jasper yanked Pearl to her chest and held her tight with both of her arms. Her gem glowed and her body reverted more to its light form, then started to combine with Pearl's.
"S-stop it! What are you doing?! Agh," Pearl tried to pull away to free her hands but they had already turned into light and began phasing into Jasper's chest, "No! I don't want to fuse with you!" Involuntarily her body was releasing its physical form and merging with Jasper. Pearl tried to focus on reforming her own body and getting away, but between Jasper's desperate thirst for power and what she believed was companionship, the pain that was spreading through what remained of Pearl's body, and the shock from being pulled into such an unexpected situation, Pearl was losing. Pearl screamed in pain, fusing usually didn't hurt, but because Jasper was forcing it and Pearl resisting, it caused Pearl to feel like her whole body was on fire and being ripped apart a little at a time.
"Jasper! Let her go, she told you she doesn't want to fuse!" Garnet yelled as she charged.
Pearl panicked. She didn't know what to do, and she was being overpowered. She froze with this uncertainty and Jasper enveloped her. The two's monstrous form began taking shape. She was even more hideous than Malachite. She had two sets of arms and legs. There were two arms at her shoulders, the right one slender and the left muscular. From her midsection sprouted two legs, the right one muscular and booted, the left slender with a high sock and ballerina-like shoe. She was quadrupedal. On her right side, her limbs were a muscular arm and slender leg, and on her left she had a muscular leg and a slender arm. She wore a sleeveless bodysuit that initially was a vee neck but then turned upwards and went around her neck. The top half of the suit was bright orange with a black band around her waist, and the lower section of the bodysuit was a dark brown. There was a yellow symbol centered on her chest, the top half the three points of a star, but the bottom a singular point of a diamond.
Her face, instead of combined features, looked more like Jasper's face sandwiched between Pearl's. She had two sets of eyes, the top set light blue and the bottom bright orange with jet black pupils. Pearl's nose was above Jasper's gem, and below were two fanged mouths. Her skin was orange-brown with darker brown stripes randomly on her body. Her messy short hair was white with a few streaks of light pink. Bangs outlined Pearl's gem and her entire face, and the rest spiked around her head to about shoulder length in the front. The back of her hair was a similar length, but it traveled down the center of her neck and back like a horse's mane.
The top set of eyes started crying. Jasper's mind decided a name for them, based on a Homeworld gem with similar coloration: Tiger's Eye. Tiger's Eye easily intercepted Garnet's attack and then swatted her away. She laughed, her voice was mostly Jasper's with Pearl's barely audible under it, "That was even easier than I thought."
"Stop this right NOW!" Garnet yelled, "You're hurting Pearl with this abomination you've made!" Her glasses had been knocked from her face and all three of her eyes were narrow with rage, her blue eye had also started to cry.
Tiger's Eye summoned her weapon, the combination between Pearl's spear and Jasper's helmet created a horn on her head. It started spinning as a powerful drill. Tiger's Eye dove into the ground with a cloud of dust kicked up from the sand on the beach. Amethyst, Garnet, and Steven couldn't see for a moment and the giant gem combination disappeared.
"G-g-garnet?" Steven was shaking from shock but trying to stay focused, "where did they go?"
Garnet strained and her red eye started crying as well, "I-I don't know! This was so unpredictable. I never imagined a Gem could force another Gem into that twisted form of fusion, even in the worst case scenarios for healing Jasper I didn't come close to predicting this. I don't, I can't know where they've gone!"
Amethyst snapped out of her own horror and ran over to the crater Tiger's Eye created, "Fine, let's try to follow them through this tunnel then!" She considered Jasper to be family, in the sense that blood relations worked for humans. However, she considered Pearl family too, not by "blood," but by choice. She had seen Pearl as a big sister for thousands of years now. They fought, they laughed, they bickered, and they loved each other. In this situation though, Amethyst felt the fact that Jasper was made here on Earth instead of Homeworld meant nothing compared to her bond with Pearl.
Before the trio entered the recently dug tunnel, the ocean started filling it, Tiger's Eye was escaping into the sea. Steven hastily made a bubble to follow Garnet and Amethyst under water. They followed the tunnel until it opened into the vastness of the ocean. From there they tried to search, but there was no trail, no trace for them to follow. The three of them continued to search, even though they knew it was hopeless. Night fell and then morning broke. Steven started falling asleep despite his best efforts to remain conscious and focused.
Garnet grabbed Steven as his bubble popped from exhaustion and started swimming to the shore.
"What are you doing? P. is still out here!" Amethyst demanded.
"We lost her Amethyst." Garnet looked away from the purple quartz, "we lost her, but I won't lose Steven too."
Amethyst opened her mouth to continue to argue but no words came out. She knew Garnet was right. Tears started streaming down her face as she followed Garnet with the unconscious Steven back to the shore.
Author's Note: I decided to replace this chapter and will replace Chapter 2 as well. I ended up really disliking how I opened it both tonally and narratively and had what I think is a better idea come to me for the start. Note, this is a very damaged version of Jasper, way worse than canon Jasper, so if you are looking for a healthy redemption arc for her, this is not going to be it. Also, this fanfic is rated M for a reason and will include abuse, physical violence, rape and PTSD. I am not aiming to romanticize any of these things, they are all horrible. Writing and reading about these topics is difficult, but they do exist in real life and although for some it is triggering, for others it is cathartic. Proceed with caution and discretion.