The Earth was a place for gems who didn’t belong. Gems who didn’t fit the mold that Homeworld tried to put them in, gems who were unhappy, or even in danger, on Homeworld.
Rose welcomed every one of them with open arms. She saw the beauty in each of them; that was always real. Pearl would be right by her side as she welcomed each new recruit, smiling and assuring them that they were not alone. Rose could intimidate without meaning to; but Pearl could show with just a few words that they had nothing to fear.
These gems all had things to bond over. Everything they’d went through at the hands of Homeworld, all the struggles they overcame to get where they were, those were common topics of discussion in the Crystal Gem encampment. But inevitably, walls began to rise. Rumours began to spread. Some gems felt unwelcomed, even here.
Some gems had quite literally climbed mountains to join the Crystal Gems. Some had gone through unspeakable tortures to reach Earth, and many had barely escaped shattering.
Some had walked in with no problem, and asked to join, simply because they wanted to protect life on Earth.
Though each gem’s story was different, the urge to classify and put everyone in boxes was still strong in each gem. Thus the walls began to rise, dividing the Crystal Gems into two groups- those who climbed mountains, and those who did not.
Those who climbed mountains were undeniably the larger, stronger group. They shunned those who hadn’t gone through what they had, saying they didn’t understand, that they didn’t deserve to be Crystal Gems, because they hadn’t earned it.
Those who walked in would protest, saying they had all seen the horrors of the battlefield, that they had all sacrificed any chance of a life on Homeworld just by being here. Yet these gems could not help but feel guilty, knowing that they had had such an easy existence compared to these traumatized warriors.
Then there was a third group, who refused to be involved in the conflict at all. These were the gems who were so traumatized that they couldn’t fight, that they remained a part of the Crystal Gems as a means of protection from the past they ran from. These gems would gather quietly when nearly everyone else was off fighting, and they would wonder what life would be like if they had the energy to get up and fight.
Rose was oblivious to all of this. She wasn’t there enough to see what was happening. But Pearl and Garnet, well, they were there all right. And they knew.
Pearl fell into the first group, those who climbed mountains; though she had followed Rose most of the way, it had taken decades of fighting to truly believe she was a rebel. It took her centuries to break out of the mold of a simple pearl.
Garnet fell into the second group. She had quite literally fallen to Earth and became a Crystal Gem almost as soon as she was formed. She hadn’t had a mountain to climb; she simply was, and in the Crystal Gems, no one questioned her existence.
Pearl and Garnet watched as the tension rose, until finally they decided that something had to change.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, they didn’t have to act. The next battle changed everything.
The battle for the Ziggurat was one of the worst in Crystal Gem history. Hundreds of gems were shattered, and many more were cracked. The gems were left devastated for weeks.
In those weeks, the walls disappeared. The gems who climbed mountains found themselves helping the gems who walked in, helping them through pain that they knew all too well.
Helping them climb their own mountains.
The gems who could not fight smiled at this, and rested a little easier. They had known so much pain that they were numb to their losses; only waiting for the next day, the next battle.
In the end, the walls were never rebuilt. Those first thousand Crystal Gems grew closer and closer, forgetting about where they came from or who they used to be. Smaller groups of friends sprang up, and these relations were what kept the Crystal Gems together in the years to come.
Every gem who joined the Crystal Gems after was told by everyone they met that, no matter who they were or what they went through, in the Crystal Gems, they belonged.