Yellow was out first. She was as stoic as always, but the moment her gaze lighted on me, a variation of hate, excitement, and sadness rushed across her face in an amalgamation. Yellow opened her mouth to say something but couldn’t seem to find the words. So, she cinched her mouth shut and made her way down to the beach.
The next was Blue. The moment she left the ship, her blue aura engulfed the entirety of the beach. I was dragged down to the beach, tears rushing to my eyes in an unending stream. Pearl was by my side in an instant, but not because she was being forced down. Her eyes were rushing with tears as usual, but otherwise, she was fine. I peered over at Garnet and Amethyst and found them in the same situation. Tears, but they were withstanding the pressure of her aura.
I looked back at Pearl, but it seemed she had already read my mind.
“We’ve experienced the worst sadness imaginable. Her aura doesn’t have the same effect.”
I looked back to the Diamonds and found Blue had joined Yellow on the beach. Blue’s tears hit the beach in powerful dollops, splashing across the sand. She hiccuped before responding to Yellow.
“I’m sorry, Yellow. It’s just… we had him for such a short time.”
Yellow nodded in agreement and even made a point to grip Blue’s hand. I don’t think I had ever seen Yellow show such empathy before. Had they become more human, too?
“I know, but just imagine. If it feels short to you… how is it going to feel for-“
But before she could identify anyone, White’s heel clicks pulled everyone’s attention back to the ship. Her radiance was beyond anything in the known universe. Even as she stood in the daylight, her brilliance outshined the sun, and in all honesty, it was hard to look directly at her. I couldn’t stop staring at her, though. Where there had once been an unbreakable grin, there was now a frown.
That is until her eyes lit onto me, still crouched on the beach.
“Steven? No, Rose Quartz… or, are you Pink Diamond now?”
I wasn’t sure how to answer. I looked to Pearl for help, but she was staring at White. So, I did my best to stand back up, and rather than answer her question, I asked her one of my own.
“How are you all still alive?”
There was no way they could be. Not when the earth was so perfect. I didn’t want to destroy them, but no matter how much I wanted them to understand, I knew the earth may never find true peace as long as the Diamonds existed.
As usual, White seemed amused. Her frown turned up into a grin.
“I could ask the same thing of you, Pink.”
It was decided then. To the Diamonds, I was Pink Diamond once more. It was then I took stock of my form. I was positive that when I had awoken, I was Rose Quartz. However, now, it seemed my form took on a mind of its own among the other Diamonds. I was now Pink Diamond. It was a form that didn’t feel comfortable but wasn’t wholly uncomfortable either. It was too familiar to feel uncomfortable. I had spent most of my life in this form, but now I towered over all of my… friends?
As I looked around my feet, all three of the Crystal Gems were staring up at me. In Amethyst, I saw unrecognition. I was a stranger to her now. With Garnet, I saw anger and betrayal. With Pearl, it was… love and fear. This form was familiar, but it was wrong, too. Even so, I was in no shape to be reforming at will. Even just standing felt like too much work for me. So, for now, Pink Diamond I stayed.
While White was interested in Pink, that was not the reason she was here. Her gaze drifted to Pearl, who had distanced herself from my Diamond form, but as White’s gaze fell upon her, Pearl stepped forward. Unconsciously, I reached out as if to stop her but caught myself before I dared touch her.
“Steven’s gone. I am sorry. I thought we had more time, but… he was ready to go.”
It was then something occurred that I never imagined I would ever see in all my time. White made her way down from the ship entrance and stepped onto the beach. Once she was a mere foot away from Pearl, she knelt down and cupped her hand around her. She formed what seemed to be a protective barrier, and Pearl instantly melted into it, whimpering quietly into the Diamond’s hand.
“No, no. Don’t apologize. Thank you for letting us know.”
Tears were even forming in White’s eyes. I couldn’t decide if this was beautiful or horrific to watch, and ultimately I decided to look away, instead focusing on the sand grains shifting along the beach.
Thankfully, the moment between Pearl and White ended a few seconds later, with Pearl clearing her throat and speaking plainly.
“We are going to Little Homeworld for the ceremony. Steven had a final message for everyone. We have to get Rose, then we will meet everyone there.”
I couldn’t help looking up when my name was said. As if on queue, my form altered itself of its own accord, now reforming back to its Rose Quartz self. All eyes were on me in an instant, and once again, I was forced to look away.
White’s voice boomed as she spoke.
“Interesting. Are switching forms on purpose, Pink?”
I shook my head, but I still refused to meet White’s gaze.
“Interesting… a problem for another day, though. We will go on to Little Homeworld.”
With that, the Diamonds made their way down the beach toward what appeared to be a whole other city. It was on the edge of Beach City, separated by a stone wall. That was certainly new, and the name could only have come from a gem. I looked to Pearl, who was already off fetching my wheelchair from the back of the van.
I flexed my toes in the sand, questioning whether I should try walking or not, but by the time I had decided, she had already unfolded the chair and was taking my arm to help me into it.
“Why did you tell them you needed to get Rose?”
“Rosemary. You’ll meet her in a minute.”
Another Rose? Rosemary? At least the name Steven was familiar. Rosemary had no familiarity to me. It felt as if I had been transplanted into another person’s life. My hand unconsciously found my gem. That empty part of me was burning again. I wondered then if that was how Steven felt. Did Steven feel thrown into someone else’s life?
Sadness was soon replaced with guilt as Garnet took her place behind my wheelchair, and we made our way painstakingly through the sand to the beach house.