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The Quartz gem could feel her grow tense in their arms, as if she were ready to spring into action at the first sign of duress on their part. They knew exactly why this was, and though the quartz appreciated it, they did so almost ruefully, ashamed that it had come to the point where the sapphire felt the need to look after them in such a way. It was such a reversal of roles, protector and protected, that it was particularly difficult for 7XB, prideful as they were, to stomach.
“I'm okay.” They could not help but insist hushedly, even though she had said nothing about it. It had been many years since 7XB had really thought of their squadmates, or even their commander, in any other scenario than the one they were currently recounting, and they could not help but feel somewhat embittered by this thought. Surely there were many more positive things to remember?
“The tremors kept getting worse, but we kept descending deeper with no luck.” Many of the gems they'd come across at such a depth were already cracked, or outright shattered by the grinding pressure. By the time they had finally realized it was time to evacuate, it was too late. “The whole planet started coming down around us. It was dark and hot and..and.. smothering.”
Their hasty assertion brought her brows together. It at first seemed to come from nowhere, but she was reminded of the fact that they were a gem who took pride in their ability to be unflappable; it was then, with a small start, that she realized just how embarrassing this all must've been for them. Padparadscha wondered if such overt concern from her had itself been smothering for 7XB during this ordeal, nonetheless she couldn't help but to fear for them, especially as their story continued to hurl down into a darker and darker tunnel. She gave a silent sigh, internally she attempted to think of a way to support them without making them feel as if their strength was being questioned. In response, she gave a curt nod, attempting to allow herself to relax more, but retained her determined expression as she listened intently to their words.
The next words of the tale were harrowing. 7XB and their team had delved into a situation where most gems would have run and left their fellows behind; to say it was an unlucky situation sounded to be an understatement, but their words seemed to suggest that the goal they'd set out to accomplish was thwarted despite the team's bold valor.
She knew the clear quartz had been able to escape, as she was sitting in their lap in the present, but she now could see where their fear of being underground had emerged. Something told her the story had yet to reach its most crucial point. "7XB..." She whispered in her despondent tone, losing hope that this story wasn't going where she feared it might. Where she held their hand, her fingers brushed against their palm, and nestled herself against them.
Her touch was therapeutic to 7XB, and they hadn't realized just how rigid they had become until her delicate fingers curled further against their flesh, their closer contact serving to renew that comfort, that warmth that affected the Quartz in such a unique way, unable to be explained away as anything less than extraordinary in composition. “It's okay,” they insisted yet again, though it was a much gentler assertion than the one the stern gem had previously laid down, “I..I am okay.”
The Sapphire seemed almost as frightened as they had been, both in the heat of that true moment so long ago, and in the phantom they had experienced in the midst of their battle. It was plain as day to see what had occurred next..did they really need to say it?
Truly, 7XB didn't know if you they could, a lump bottlenecking in their throat even as that fateful moment sat so crisply behind their damp eyes. “That was the last I saw any of them. We..we could hear each other but with the mud and..everything we couldn't get to each other.”
Were they really okay, or was this their way of saying they weren't? She was a detective, her instinct was to question things, and as an aristocrat that instinct was mingled with the urge to demand that something be done about this. But she could tell that right now 7XB needed to be heard, that they had chosen her to hear them. They had already lived with this for far longer than she could fathom, alone, and the notion was enough to render her speechless as all her thoughts ran together.
As much as she had feared the outcome in her internal deductions, their words were a bolt that shocked her to stillness. Hearing those words, the tension wracking them, the look of despair in their misty, pale eyes, it all piled onto the heavy knot twisting inside of her. It snapped its supports and crushed her heart underneath it. A tidal wave washed over her whole body, rushed with cold despair, hot frustration, and the ever strengthening feeling that 7XB gave her spilled over into the tears she'd been trying to hold back.
They had pointed out the inadequacy of words, which she now felt building up in her. There weren't words to describe how lost and hurt she felt about the fact that something so devastating had happened to them. Her body was heavy as she caressed their hand, and hugged close to their chest, appreciating the warmth of their arms, and having them there with her in the free, clear, open expanse of Earth. The sapphire held a long, quiet moment to think about 7XB and their lost comrades, the gems they were made with and spent their life fighting alongside.
The breeze carried through the grass, a myriad of butterflies fluttering along with it. Crystalline ocean water sparkled with the warm sunlight beaming over it and the green hills rolling into the distance. Then there was a lull in the wind. She wasn't sure she should say anything. 7XB and their team were heroes, they deserved to have their selfless deeds lauded, but she wondered who those heroes had been to one another, who they had been to 7XB. A question escaped from containment and bubbled up from her,"W-what..."She swallowed, and tilted her eyes up toward them, no longer trying to hide the effect their experience had on her,"...what were they like?" Her eyes flicked to the side as she hastily continued,"Y-you don't have to say, of course," Her lips pressed together. These must've been some of the most important gems in 7XB's life, she wanted to know them too.
The question caught them off guard, their foggy, misty eyes descending rapidly to meet Padparadscha's own; At first only surprise shown there, but it was soon replaced by something warmer, and entirely more bittersweet. 7XB made a little noise, a chuckle as sorrowful as it was happy, as much a sob as laughter. This sudden reaction let loose the salty, hot tears the quartz had been holding back for so long, streaming down their face in hot rivulets.
It was not what she said, not so much, anyway, but what it triggered in them. It had been so long since they had even considered such a thing; Their compatriots had lived so much more of a life than that, terrible moment at the end of their days, and while they had been gone so much longer than they had existed, that did not cancel out their existence.
“They were..they.. heh.” They could have explained it away very quickly, had they wanted. 'They were just like me.’ But that wasn't true, not anymore. They were not the same as they had been.
“They were bold, brash. They loved to laugh and brawl and tell stories that didn't make any sense. Brave. Noble and fearless..maybe a bit naive. We all were.” What had happened to that gem, the last of them?
“7XE, XF..all of them. They were..one of a kind, in their own way.” They were all of the same cut, sure, and from the onset the uneducated might consider them identical, but even now 7XB would have known each of them on sight.
When their brimming eyes met hers, she froze, gut churning with uncertainty. Seeing the tears let loose was a shock all on its own, her expression fell agape as she realized her words might have caused them to release. Her mouth moved as she went to apologize, to try to take back her words, but before she did, 7XB spoke. As they did, their eyes glittered with the sunlight on their tears, but she saw something else there too. She allowed herself to try to relax again, and take in the words fully as she peered up to them.
Their voice laden with nostalgic sorrow as they recounted the memory of their fellow clear quartz gems, Padparadscha listened with a heavy heart, and tried to imagine 7XB among them. She once thought of the rubies as being their team, but those gems were their subordinates-- the relationship was clearly different from what they described. She wanted to think of herself as being on their team, but this was different too; they had said as much back in Empire City. A team of equals working toward the same goal, looking out for each other through hardships and laughter, it was something altogether difficult for her to imagine. She could only think of the times she had worked with this clear quartz.
She tried nonetheless to see 7XB surrounded by others who looked something like they did. It was hard to imagine them goofing around like a bunch of Amethysts might, but she found herself glad that they had fun together-- that despite the way it'd ended, 7XB remembered them as the gems they were before. For Padparadscha, imagining that each of these gems had a quirk to them was easy; not only because of words her Diamond had once shared with her about the quality of the gemkind condition, but because 7XB themselves was such an extraordinary gem.
"You'll have to tell me more stories about them," She said softly, trying to give a small smile through the tears slipping down her own cheeks. Perhaps she still had a chance to get to know the team, through the gem who had carried on for them. Imagining the adventures 7XB must've been on with their comrades still brought twinkling stars to her eyes.
“I..” they paused again, another one if those husky, laughing laments catching in their throat and giving them pause, “I would like that. I think they would, too.” Looking back, their fellow clear quartz gems definitely would, as would the gem that they had been in those days. “Diamonds,” they sighed with that same meloncoly, miserable amusement, fingers running through their hair out of long-held habit, “when did I turn into such an agate?” They, of course, did not mean so literally, such a thing would be improper to suggest.
Though they were no less brash and hot headed than they had ever been, they had once been as jovial as their teammates, as quick to crack a joke as they were to scrap with the others. But that part of them had died with their team.. their friends.
“I..miss them. They were my..my friends. The only friends I ever had.” A heavy frown pulled down the corners of their lips..”They day they grow..a bit fainter in my memory. Everything except..for that day. I'm afraid one day that's all ill remember. They deserve more than that, but what can I do?..” The years were long and winding, and as stellar as Padparadscha believe them to be, 7XB was still just a Quartz, lacking the impeccable memory of say, a zircon.
Trying to relax only seemed to make it harder to actually accomplish. They accepted her offer, but it was hard to say what the right next step would be. The sapphire was a bit thrown off by their agate comment, she tilted her head to the side as she tried to think about what they possibly meant by that. Perhaps if she had been a quartz, the joke wouldn't have flown over her head.
Their next words resonated with her sense of confusion in the face of everything the quartz had revealed to her. She shifted to look at them more directly, a determined expression on her face. Her lips parted for a moment before she spoke,"I don't know for sure," She took a pause to think before going on,"--but I think the more stories you tell, the more you'll remember. You can call on me any time, 7XB," The sapphire pulled both of her arms around them, and gave them a tight hug,"If there is any other way you think I could help, please tell me,"
Padparadscha had access to things many gems didn't after all, her mind raced with ways she could help them, but she stopped herself short of making suggestions. There was no telling what they really needed, or what would really help them; she wished she knew better, that she knew someone she could talk to about things like this. She wondered if it would be a good idea to go to the wisest gem she knew, Pink Diamond, with such talk. The closest thing she had to a friend --aside from 7XB themselves-- was her pearl, no less removed from the world of quartz soldiers than the sapphire was herself.
There were other soldiers she might talk to, such as 6UE and 3JJ. She wouldn't reveal details to them, of course, but if either of them could shed light onto that world she had tried so hard to understand, perhaps she could better provide 7XB with the support they needed. As her thoughts passed over 3JJ, and the reminder that time in this moment was short, it became even more difficult to relax.
Perhaps their sapphire companion had a point: it had been at least several years since they had mentioned their lost squadmates, save for this instance and one..other time that they would prefer to forget all about: a disastrous occasion by all accounts. “You are right,” they declared decisively, voice somewhat hoarse as they dab away the troublesome, salty moisture that had trailed it's way down their cheeks, “I should focus on more of the..” what was the word? “Good times.” They looked at the moisture upon the back of their hand incredulously, shaking their head. They must've been getting soft.
“I'm sorry you had to see me like this.” came their regretful response. They could already imagine what she would say in response to that: that it was okay, and that they shouldn't feel bad for breaking down, but they felt ashamed nonetheless. It was something, something deep-rooted and hardwired into the Quartz gem’s nature that bid them to be strong, impassive. It was not in their nature to be so overtly emotional, no matter the circumstances. Even amongst their peers they had always been that way.
Padparadscha nodded; not only did she hope they would be able to push aside the unpleasant memories in favor of the good ones, she hoped to be here to help them create more good times. She knew that not many gems had been privy to this side of 7XB, but as surreal as the connection between them was, she wondered if that might have something to do with it. The sapphire never knew she could feel so much for another gem until she met this quartz, whose effect on her was so tangible that their words and state of mind could draw tears from her. This revelation had an impact on her investigation; Padparadscha quickly deduced something about the ethereal yet corporeal nature of emotions, but pushed the thoughts aside to answer 7XB.
"Don't be sorry," She said, raising her voice to a more stern strength as she used a finger to wipe at her own tears, and she fluttered her eyes in an attempt to clear her vision,"If you condemn yourself, you're condemning me too. Do you think I should be guilty for feeling this way?" She gave a little huff and shook her head,"You have nothing to apologize for," The sapphire would say that as a judiciary officiate if she must, but she had an aversion to bringing up such matters with the quartz. She shifted to get a better look at them, drawn in by their vulnerable eyes as the breeze lightly brushed their frosted hair.
"I don't know how to tell you what I'm feeling, but I know this is important," She stated, wanting to be forthright, and said her next words with all the weight she had accumulated over the course of this story,"You deserve to be heard 7XB, and I'm honored to be a gem who hears you," The sapphire let her lips close, and she leaned back to get comfortable in their arms again.
They could think of no other way to explain away this..this vulnerability they had allowed to manifest in front of the sapphire, something they had never allowed themselves to indulge in the presence of any other gem, if at all. They had never felt anywhere near comfortable enough to express themselves in such a way, and despite her insistence that they deserved to be heard as much as a more important gem, everything in the 7XB’s natured rebelled against this idea. Still, they were more open than they had ever imagined they would be.
The Quartz wasnt sure as to the truth of her statement, but there was no doubt in their mind that Padparadscha believed her own words, and that was all that mattered to them. Their smile bloomed once again, the Sapphire's stern expression and tone softened by the tears running down her face. It warmed them to see such concern.
“As you say, Your Clarity..” they tease lightly, in reference to her serious tone, wrapping one if their thick arms around her protectively. They mosttt certainly didn't think she was guilty in any way, and she had a point. They could not explain this strange occurrence any better than she, but they knew how special it was.
3JJ, for her party, was begrudging to admit that she lost the Onyx, trudging her way back to the warp pad where, she assumed, Padparadscha and the Quartz would demand and account of her actions.
Seeing 7XB smile had always been enough to make her day, but to see them smile so warmly after knowing what hardship haunted their steps brought a swell of emotions to Padparadscha's heart, and pulled close by their arm, she couldn't help herself from feeling entirely relaxed. The stern aspect she'd tried to take melted with the tension in her shoulders, and her own pearly smile broadened over her lips. For a moment, everything felt right, that it would all be okay despite darkness past.
At their words, she pouted a bit, but sensing the playful nature behind them, she gave a curt nod,"Indubitably, commander," She stated, letting her pouting lips form a small smile again,"As I always say, they don't call me that for nothing," Now she felt she saw her companion with more clarity than she ever had before; she was ever closer to that understanding she craved to have with them, but it was clear there was still much she needed to learn.
The last thing she wanted was for this moment to end, but having 3JJ stumble upon her senior officials embracing each other in tears seemed to be something that it might spark an unfortunate chain of events, one the sapphire didn't particularly want to envision as much as she wished her station would allow her to explain away any such happenstance. It reminded her of the frustration, wanting the clear quartz close, yet wanting them to live fully; perhaps she would never be able to enjoy an uninterrupted time with them, but what time they gave her today had her mind whirling with emotions, which she was sure would stay with her up until the next moment she could see them again, just like time's past.
Her expression settled into a more serious one before she spoke, with some reluctance,"I nearly forgot about 3JJ. We should...probably...ah..." The sapphire was far too comfortable in her spot to move just yet. She gave a frustrated sigh, and peered up at 7XB with a pleading look in her eyes,"I'll hear from you again soon?"
Their thoughts were rather in sync, as 7XB, too, began pondering 3JJ’s impending arrival- surely the Jasper would be returning soon, and they would both need to resume their customary roles- something 7XB had never found issue with in the past, but they had lately been finding such a thing particularly frustrating. It reminded the quartz commander that, regardless of what happened, they would never be able to enjoy this euphoric feeling completely, without the fear of discovery. It was not enough that they were gems of vastly different societal standing, but different diamonds as well- though even if neither of these things were true, their connection would never be sanctioned by Homeworld.
They knew what she meant right away, giving a solemn nod of their head. “She’ll be back fairly sure, I'm sure.” They admitted regretfully, giving her a light squeeze. Unwilling as they were to break their embrace, something told the seasoned gem that 3JJ would soon be returning to them, with the onyx in tow or otherwise. Sighing somewhere, they made to lift the delicate gem out of their lap as the wind began to pick up, sweeping her up with a gentleness they had rarely known and sat her upon the lush grass, before rising to their feet themselves, a grunt accompanying the repositioning of such weight.
Without a verbal answer to her question, a clear truth was denied to her, and her heart began to sink. It seemed the quartz was just as aware as she was of the impending end of this short time together. Her heart sunk faster as 7XB began to move. The sapphire pressed her lips, eyes flicked down as she prepared herself to be set back onto her own feet. As the wind carried over, her gaze wandered up to them, and her eyes widened slightly as she was struck with the sight of them against the backdrop of rolling hills and blue sky, sunlight beaming down through the stronger breeze. Padparadscha's eyes flicked down and away again, and she gave an internal, silent sigh.
She crossed her arms and pinned them close to her body as she began to wander over the grass, taking a few steps that were long for her usual stride to get a better look over the hill. The sapphire gave a little start, body suddenly tense as she spotted 3JJ already trudging her way up the hill. A hand moved to her forehead, she felt dizzy as the revelation hit her-- the two of them had been moments away from discovery. A second longer spent in that off-color scene could have ended it all. Still in a high state of distress, it was easy for her to feel overwhelmed now, and she hoped to hear good news from the jasper at the least.
3JJ's eyes flicked up as she caught the movement, her set jaw and hardened eyes attempting to mask the fact that she was still reeling from the fact that Onyx had gotten away from her. What would she tell them? The truth, of course, but the truth was rather humiliating and hard to say, especially after what had happened. The jasper stepped up as she glanced toward the grass and gave a salute to her fellow gems. She kept her posture poised, but the gem seemed to be slumping with the look of defeat on her face,"Your clarity, commander. The suspect has escaped,"
What they would have given to be able to give her an answer, to have just a moment longer to give her an assurance they could not make, a promise to replace the look of sorrow that already lingered just beneath her delicately sculpted features, but time was something that they had just run out of, as the Sapphire had just now figured out by the Jasper's reappearance- Had they indulged any longer in the comfort of each other's arms, they would have definitely been found out. Fresh-cut or not, 3JJ was no fool; In fact she seemed rather sharp, and perfectly suitable for what Padparadscha was looking for, though they wouldn't be the one to tell her that- and she was definitely sharp enough to know something was amiss, has they been caught.
Fortunately, that had not been the case, the quick action on 7XB’s part allowing them both to save face, and more. Tactful as ever, 7XB had slipped behind their usual mask of decorum, arms crossing over their chest as the orange gem rose up over the ridge of the hill. “I see..” Mused the Quartz gem lightly in the wake of the Jasper's embarrassing admission. It wasn't truly her fault, not entirely, as Padparadscha and 7XB had left the other Quartz to deal with quite a formidable foe, and she had done quite well, all things considered.
“Your Clarity, I'd say we did..acceptably well today, wouldn't you say?” Even to complement the Jasper's work they could not bring themselves to say they had done well. “Two out of three gems, recovered to face judgement?” They turned to her, raising a brow.
This Roleplay is a prequel to Steven Universe to an extent with some slight retconing and its own progression to the story that will turn out differently to how stuff plays out in the show.Thanks to the message by Rose Quartz several gems are rising up to protect Earth and have labelled themselves as the Crystal Gems. Others on earth are remaining aligned to Homeworld though despite the isolation of Earth from Homeworld
All gems on earth are still stranded, the communication hub is still offline and all the space warps are shattered, it has now been revealed that this is the work of Rose Quartz and her small group known as the Crystal gems. They have rebelled against Homeworld and have chosen to protect the Earth (Trapping themselves on Homeworld to keep the warps down).
Now both sides are fighting among themselves along with fighting against the 'Corruption' a virus is infecting many gems turning most of them into mindless monsters, but those with a stronger will seem to becoming something more sinister.
The Game has changed now. The question has finally been posed, are you against Homeworld or allied with them. Or do you have your own agenda that may or may not been assisted by the ‘Corruption’. Regardless the seeds have been placed down and although it is only the beginning the fight for or against Earth and the corruption has begun. The choice is yours for how it is shaped on the Original Steven Universe Roleplay Site.
Orginal Opening Plot Here Thread That Changed Everything
Differances Between the Roleplay and the Show
*Thanks to Rose Quartz' message the Gems on Earth are entirely aware that the Homeworld Gems intend to wipe out the human race.
*The "corruption" is being treated like a virus due to lack of info about it on the show.
*Garnet, Pearl and Rose are assumed capture on Homeworld
*Garnet,Pearl and Rose broke the space warps to delay Homeworld
*Thanks to Roses Message gems now know what the Kindergarten was used for