Fandom: Steven Universe
Characters: Rose Quartz, Amethyst, Pear, Garnet
Summary: Pre series. Spoilers for episode 1x40 "On the Run". How Amethyst joined the Crystal Gems.
Notes: Written for the "It is the way of my people: Traditions" prompt of the genprompt_bingo card.
Rose Quartz toyed with the idea of telling the other Gems where she planned to go. Not for long, though; even without future vision she could see all the possible scenarios ending badly. That's why she just sneaked to the warp pad while everyone else was resting.
They had just won their latest battle, and it would be some time before the enemy regrouped. Or maybe even before they wrapped their heads around what had happened to them. However, Rose didn't allow her hopes to get too high. To obtain a full victory wasn't going to be that easy—and that was why she needed this.
The kindergarten was just as they left it. Big, empty, and unable to function. Exactly how they wanted it. Nevertheless, Rose walked among cold rocks and dead machinery in a nostalgic silence, taking in all the memories around her. Forgetting what kindergartens were and why they existed was a luxury the Crystal Gems couldn't afford. To lose sight of what this planet was so close to become could push it again in that direction, and it would be harder to get it back a second time. The last thing Rose ever wanted to happen.
The sound of pebbles falling to her right startled her. It was as if someone had lost their footing while trying to climb the canyon walls.
Rose turned around, looking—although not specially nervous. No one knew she was coming, and in a place like this, with just one path in the middle and several places to hide on the sides, if this was an ambush whoever it was would have attacked already. Which in turn would result in them learning how good Rose Quartz was at defending herself.
She sighed and shook her head. It had to be something else.
"Hello?" she called, but only the wind blowing through the canyon answered. At first, anyway.
After a few seconds, more noise came from further away. Someone was trying to scurry away. Naturally, Rose followed.
The footprints she found made her frown. They made a path all the way to one of the holes in the canyon wall, and looked like they belonged to a bipedal creature. More precisely, by their shape, to a human —or even a Gem.
Rose shuddered. Humans couldn't reach this place with their current technology—or lack thereof; it hadn't been long since they discovered the wheel—, so that only left one alternative. But the kindergarten had been abandoned for so long...
While Rose weighted the possibilities, trying to decide which disturbed her the least, a small figure peeked out the hole. It was, as Rose feared, a Gem born right there where she stood. The little one, purple in color and with her Gem incrusted in her chest, looked around, making sure it was safe to go out. To see how scared and nervous she was proved too much for Rose.
The possibilities of that Gem never having seen another one were high, so Rose moved carefully and slowly to have her presence known. "Hello," she said with the same tone of voice she used whenever she met wounded animals.
The other Gem jumped, startled and, as expected, launched forward to attack. But Rose surrounded herself with a bubble. Despite bouncing against it, the Gem kept trying to burst it using her teeth, climbing all over it. She lacked all kind of technique and style.
"Oh, poor thing," Rose murmured. "You truly were all alone."
It took a long while—hours, as a matter of fact—until the small Gem fell to the ground, exhausted. Rose then burst her bubble and addressed her again.
"Hello," she said again.
The Gem's eyes widened and she crawled backwards until she was against a rock and couldn't move anymore.
Rose remained where she was, and only crouched down. "It's all right. I'm not going to hurt you."
"Go away!" the Gem yelled, looking away. That was good. Gems were supposed to start knowing language, so even if this one was a later arrival, it was and excellent sign.
"I'm Rose Quartz. I'm a Gem, like you," she pointed at her belly. "See?"
Despite herself, the small Gem opened an eye and looked at Rose's Gem, which seemed to calm her down. She approached in all fours.
"Mine is different," she said, eyes glued to the quartz.
Rose chuckled. "The are many types of Gems, you know?"
"There are? I've never seen one before."
"Yes." Rose smiled sadly. "We just... stopped coming here as often as we should." She reached out with her hand, although she stopped actually touching the other. "So, what's your name? Can I see?"
The small Gem pressed her head against Rose's hand like a cat would have done before letting her see the Gem on her chest.
"Can you show me how to do all that?" Amethyst said. She was grinning and bouncing enthusiastically, her attitude a remarkable contrast of the one she presented when Rose found her.
Rose had just turned back to her usual form after showing Amethyst an array of the animals living on Earth.
"Of course!" Rose said. "I can teach you all about the Gems if you come with me."
Amethyst jumped forward to hug Rose. "Yes! I want to! I want to! Take me with you!"
Rose began by petting Amethyst's head, but she couldn't help herself and picked her up as she'd seen humans did with their young. It felt nice. Specially when Amethyst took advantage of her position and clung to her neck.
A bright light coming from the warp pad signaled the arrival of other Gems. Rose noticed then how much she'd lost track of time; the sun was already setting. She began to mentally prepare an apology and started to walk.
"What was that?" Amethyst asked, still in her arms.
"Friends," Rose answered. "Other Gems."
"Are they like you?"
Rose chuckled. "Not exactly. But that's only each one of us is different. They are nice, you'll see."
"Rose!" Pearl exclaimed as soon as she was within sight. Garnet followed her with a calmer stride, as usual. "Are you—" Pearl froze as soon as she saw Amethyst. Frowning and pouting and with arms folded, she added, "Who's that?"
Rose put Amethyst down again, facing Pearl and Garnet, and put her hands on the new Gem's shoulders. "Pear, Garnet, this is Amethyst. She'll join us from now on."
While Garnet nodded in silent acceptance, just as Rose expected, Pearl began to protest.
"What? But—But where did she come from? Are we sure she's not a spy? Rose, are you sure about this?"
"What's your problem?" Amethyst protested. She pointed at Rose. "If she says I'm coming, then I'm coming and that's it."
"What do you mean what's my problem?" Pearl began to twitch as her hand formed a fist. "Do you even know what are we going through? Rose—!"
Garnet's hand on Pearl's shoulder stopped the rant. "She doesn't know," Garnet stated in her most matter of fact tone.
Pearl looked from Garnet to Rose and then to Amethyst, her expression changing from panic to sorrow and then pity as she understood. "Do you mean she's been here, in the kindergarten, all this time?"
"Where else was I going to be?" Amethyst asked, arms akimbo. Pearl's tone gave her enough clue to feel offended even if she otherwise ignored the story behind her origin. "If you don't believe me, I can show you where every rock is!"
Rose squeezed Amethyst's shoulders and addressed the other Gems. "She may not know now, but she will. We'll teach her all about our ways. The ways of the Crystal Gems, and all about life and Earth and everything that's worth protecting."
"I—" Pearl looked at Amethyst again, who was currently busy picking her nose, and sighed. "As you say, Rose. I guess it won't hurt to turn her into a civilized being."
Amethyst stuck her tongue out to Pearl, which prompted the later to tense up and growl.
This is going to be interesting, Rose thought, smiling, as she guided Amethyst to the warp pad. Garnet and Pearl followed.
It had to be significant that when Rose set out to regain some of the past, she found a small piece of the future. It told her she was on the right path. Very well, then. She would keep going.