The terrible leader of the Crystal Gem Rebellion, Rose Quartz, shattered Pink Diamond. Millennia later, Blue Diamond still feels the painful sting of that horrible loss. On one of her routine mourning trips to her sister's gravesite, Earth, she meets a wildly gifted human by the name of Mister Universe and falls in love. Her newfound affection for her wonderful human led to Blue Diamond making the ultimate sacrifice to have a child with her lover, naming him Steven. Twelve years later, he must learn to master his powers, learn about his heritage, and keep Cookie Cats from disappearing.
The fic has an official tumblr here, and a story on both AO3 and Fanfic.net.
Crystal Clarity contains the following tropes.
- Adaptational Badass: Blue Pearl learns to fight and forms her own gem weapon (a rapier) under orders from Blue Diamond, and is stated to have fought (and defeated) gem monsters that were attracted to the Universes in the past.
- Adaptation Expansion: It appears that, here, the bubble power Rose used for defense was possibly an extension of the bubbling technique the Crystal Gems use to send corrupted gems back to the Temple (that, or Steven has the same power as Rose).
- Adaptation Name Change: Since Blue Diamond was Steven's mother here, Lion has remained with Rose - and, in place of "Lion" from Steven, his given name from her is "Leo."
- Badass Normal: Connie is able to keep up with two thousands-of-years-old warriors in a heated battle without taking a single wound.
- Big In Korea: In-Universe, while he "wasn't the Beatles", Greg met Blue Diamond while on tour thanks to his music being a minor hit in Asia.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: Stated by Word of God to be why Blue Pearl was so loyal to her Diamond.
- Boxing Lessons for Superman: After Pearl notices that Steven wouldn't be any real help in battle if he wasn't Unskilled, but Strong, Rose agrees with her and tells Pearl to start training him.
- Been There, Shaped History: It's mentioned that Pearl is the basis for most of the world's war goddesses and that she's had apprentices before Connie that include Atalanta, Theseus, and Gilgamesh. She also wrote The Epic of Gilgamesh after he went mad and she was forced to strike him down.
- Break Her Heart to Save Her: Rose ends her relationship with Pearl in Chapter 10, saying that Pearl's love for her is dragging her back into her Servant Race mentality from when she was on Homeworld, with Rose as her new mistress.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Connie gets a downplayed version of this through several months of Training from Hell, which involved nearly hospitalizing her on a regular basis. At least three times a day, to be exact.
- Combo Platter Powers: Steven (and logically, Blue Diamond) have a variety of abilities wide enough to rival Rose or Canon Steven shown in just the first 14 chapters.
- Creepy Child: Onion, as per canon. Pearl's initial instinct upon meeting him is to bow, mistaking him temporarily for Yellow Diamond.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Blue Pearl still believes in most of Homeworld's views - as a result, she loathes the Crystal Gem Pearl for not following her role as a member of the Servant Race, and is disgusted by Garnet.
- Does Not Like Magic: Downplayed - Greg is visibly unnerved by the shapeshifting the gems do, as it brings up memories of Blue Diamond, who had to shapeshift herself to interact with him normally.
- Driven to Suicide: When Greg first met Blue Diamond, she had apparently gone to Earth after hitting the Despair Event Horizon, deciding to stay on the planet until the Cluster emerged. He managed to get her to snap out of it, and the two fell in love.
- Dual Wielding: Connie's preferred fighting style.
- Everyone Can See It: Blue Pearl notices Steven's crush on Connie almost immediately after they meet, and Amethyst teases him earlier about "Finding a girlfriend."
- Extra Eyes: Blue Opal (the fusion of Amethyst and Blue Pearl) has four eyes and four arms seemingly a sign of how new/unstable the two are when fusing.
- Fantastic Racism: Blue Pearl is disgusted by Garnet being a permafusion, referring to her as a disgrace. Steven, on the other hand, has no knowledge of the prejudice towards Fusions found on Homeworld, and is more amazed than disgusted.
- Pearl also appears to have this towards Steven, referring to him as an "abomination" after a long argument with Blue Pearl, though it's seen that she's regretful about what she said afterwards.
- Foil: The Crystal Gems Pearl and Blue Pearl are this to each other. Whereas Pearl dislikes eating in any way, Blue Pearl enjoys drinks, and says that she would like to eat if it wasn't for the fact she can "feel" said food inside of her after she's eaten.
- And while Pearl has done her best to reject the Servant Race role forced on her by Homeworld, Blue Pearl has remained loyal to Blue Diamond and Steven even after the former's death.
- While Pearl is at first, until Rose breaks it off, romantically involved with her leader/"mistress" Rose Quartz, Blue Pearl was loyal to her mistress Blue Diamond in an explicitly non-romantic fashion.
- Steven is also this to his canon self, being more withdrawn and shy in general, but also being slightly more observant.
- For Want of a Nail: Word of God and the story itself demonstrate that this universe's Nail was that Rose convinced Greg to go to Empire City and follow his dreams instead of staying in Beach City. After he became a fairly popular musician, he went on tour in Korea, where he met Blue Diamond and Blue Pearl, talked Blue Diamond out of her Death Seeker state, and fell in love with her instead.
- Apparently, Blue Diamond was originally considering having Blue Pearl have Steven instead of her. While the exact details are unknown, as are what would have happened, Greg apparently talked her out of it.
- Fun with Acronyms: In-Universe - Amethyst refers to Blue Pearl as "Better Pearl" (since Blue is both more quiet, and lectures Amethyst less than Pearl).
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Amethyst has to yell at Blue Pearl to get her to snap out of her Heroic BSoD after the giant bird from Steven Universe S1E12 "Giant Woman" swallows Steven.
- Gravity Screw: Stevens bubble apparently also shuts off the gravity inside of it whenever he activates it, as Connie found out.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Downplayed. Amethyst is slightly upset in Chapter 5 after discovering Steven's natural skill with shapeshifting.
- Guilt by Association: Averted. While Blue Pearl is less than fond of Pearl, Garnet, and Rose Quartz due to them all participating in the opposite side of the Rebellion, she has no such feelings for Amethyst due to her emerging after the fighting had ended.
- Also, despite being (understandably) a little afraid, Sapphire is willing to give Steven a chance to prove himself despite her fear of Blue Diamond. Rose herself is outright fascinated when she meets Steven.
- Has a Type: Rose Quartz still met Greg in this universe, even if the two didn't fall in love, and she jokingly notes this when they meet up again.
- Heroic BSoD: Blue Pearl briefly goes into shock in Chapter 8, where Steven is Eaten Alive by a giant bird (he survives) until Amethyst's Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!.
- Heel Realization: Blue Diamond apparently had one of these in the backstory about how she had ruled Homeworld after she met Greg, according to comments on the blog, but it has yet to be confirmed in-universe.
She died full of regrets. Her eyes were full of tears, and not from the pain of childbirth.
- Hidden Depths: Blue Pearl is apparently studying art with Vidalia (who has been helping her with more realistic drawings). Becomes a case of Heartwarming in Hindsight in the actual show when Blue Pearl there also admits that she liked drawing, and both versions of Blue Pearls' origin for this stemmed from serving as Courtroom Sketch Artists.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: Blue Pearl, Greg, and Steven moved into Beach City (specifically, with Blue Diamond's palanquin as their house) when Steven was seven years old. While Word of God states that it was done intentionally to show how little the Gems are connected to humanity, the Palanquin was located in Beach City itself, and the Crystal Gems didn't notice for five years.
- If I Wanted You Dead...: Blue Pearl notices in Chapter 12 to Lapis Lazuli that if Rose Quartz meant her or Steven any harm, they would both be dead or bubbled.
- In a Single Bound: Blue Pearl is apparently capable of jumping more than twenty feet from a standing start with seeming ease, much like the Crystal Gems.
- Insistent Terminology: After Chapter 7, where Steven was briefly Eaten Alive by a giant bird gem monster, Blue Pearl has begun to consistently refer to Steven as "my Diamond", despite calling him "my Steven", previously.
- Ironic Fear: Lampshaded; Greg notices in Chapter 5 that the Crystal Gems are more afraid of Steven than he or Steven are of them - and considering Greg is an out-of shape musician, and Steven is a twelve-year old kid who has barely started to understand his powers or family history, there's currently little to be afraid of.
- Kick the Dog: Pearl poofing Blue Pearl during sword training in Chapter 11.
- Klingons Love Shakespeare: It turns out that Blue Diamond was a fan of the In-Universe equivalent of The Legend of Zelda.
- later when Lapis Lazuli begins teaching Steven his hydrokinetic abilities, she discovers that he learned most of the advanced techniques that Gems like her uses from watching Avatar, which she herself becomes a casual fan of that she begins using terms from the show.
- Laser-Guided Karma: While the two are practicing with each other in swordsmanship, Pearl stabs and poofs Blue Pearl while she is partially distracted talking to Steven. After she regenerates, the first thing Blue Pearl does when she sees Pearl nearby is to stab and poof her.
- Lethal Chef: Zigazagged - Blue Pearl apparently refuses to taste-test her dishes at all due to her dislike of eating, which has led to several Noodle Incidents in the kitchen that Steven remembers with dread. However, shes apparently very capable of finding good recipes shes just not good at the making part.
- Literal-Minded: Somewhat justified; while gems all have a universal translation field that allows them to understand any language they hear, Blue Pearl states that cultural or local context for a phrase is not provided.
- Little Miss Badass: Connie: less than thirteen years old, able to kick the the collective ass of Steven, Blue Pearl, and five Holo-Pearls all at once, not to mention how she took out the Holo-Ruby Fusion and her disposal of the Holo-Citrine and Holo-Ruby Commander. She also held her own against Garnet who was making full use of her Future Vision during a sparring match for quite a while.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Steven has no knowledge about the Gem War, Fusion, or almost any Gem things beyond what his canon self knew at the time. Blue Pearl tells Lapis that this is due to Blue Diamond wanting Steven to be happy before he had to take her place as a leader.
- And as it turns out later, Steven is to some degree Obfuscating Stupidity around everyone else about what he knows.
- Amethyst also counts, as she was apparently never told by the other Crystal Gems what exactly the Diamonds meant to most gems. This turns out somewhat positive, however, as it leads to her and Steven becoming friends almost immediately.
- Long-Range Fighter: Steven (and Blue Diamond previously) are stated to be this, due to a scythe being their Weapon of Choice, and Making a Splash not being quite as useful at close range.
- Love Redeems: It's heavily implied that falling in love with Greg made Blue Diamond start to truly develop past the "antagonist" part of Antagonist in Mourning. Whether or not she had a full Heel Realization or a HeelFace Door-Slam has yet to be revealed, though.
- Mama Bear: Blue Pearl is extremely protective of Steven, and will not hesitate to threaten anyone, including his best friend. that could hurt him in any way, regardless of whether she's allied to them, if they're stronger than her, or if they outrank her.
- Meaningful Echo: Steven has an unintentional echo of Garnet's own words from "Love Letters" in chapter 10.
You can't really force yourself to get along with us. Friendships take time and work to develop.
- The Mourning After: While he had a crush (not love at that point) on Rose Quartz when he was younger, Greg is still loyal to Blue Diamond even after her Death by Childbirth, despite Rose's newfound interest in him.
- Mundane Utility: While it turns out to be All Just a Dream that she's having, Blue Pearl is appalled when Steven uses his scythe as a weed cutter/backscratcher.
- My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: Pearl trains Steven instead of Blue Pearl because Pearl is the better swordsgem of the two (with Pearl having several thousand years of experience compared to Blue Pearl having around a decade).
- Noodle Incident: Several Noodle Incidents are brought up in the story. One of which involves Rose Quartz attending a birthday party for James Monroe, where her uniform she had while attending was referred as 'shabby'.
- Odd Friendship: Steven and Amethyst get along almost immediately after they meet each other, despite the borderline antagonism of the other Crystal Gems (especially Garnet).
- One Steve Limit: Because they both are named "Pearl", Steven's pearl is referred to as "Blue Pearl" while the Crystal Gem pearl is named "Other Pearl" in the text to avoid confusion.
- The One That Got Away: Rose and Greg still met in this timeline, and while Rose is genuinely interested in Greg now, Greg has shown no romantic interest in her.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: As revealed in Chapter 13, "Stormfront," Steven is somewhat aware of the truth of his mother's previous actions, and has a vague idea of the situation on Homeworld. He simply enjoys being a kid too much to let that go even as he matures, knowing that all of that is going to vanish as soon as he has to take command.
- Only Friend: Amethyst is currently this to Steven and Blue Pearl among the Crystal Gems, (Pearl and Garnet do not trust either of them, and while we havent seen much of Rose, shes apparently convinced Steven is a Defusing the Tyke Bomb scenario).
- As in canon, Steven is also this to Connie.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Rose is slightly panicked when she reminds everyone that they need to be careful at the Sea Shrine when they're picking which hourglass to take - due to the Shrine's setup, if they pick the wrong one, it collapses on itself, and they have to wait a century to try again.
- Original Character: Sort of - instead of Pearl and Amethyst fusing during the Spire mission, Blue Pearl fuses with Amethyst instead, forming Blue Opal.
- Parental Substitute: Throughout Steven's life, Blue Pearl has acted as a surrogate mother to Steven. This is cemented to both the other gems as well as the reader after Pearl poofed Blue Pearl during weapons training.
! (Crystal Gem) Pearl:
Oh, don't be dramatic. That was simply a demonstration of the amount of mercy and tolerance for shenanigans you'll find on the battlefield. She'll Steven:
You - You killed her! Pearl:
You killed my mom! Just because you didn't like her?! Pearl was twice the pearl you will ever be!
- Reality Ensues: Vidalia already knew that Blue Pearl was an alien when she was told by her and Steven, due to her friendship with Amethyst, and gems being a Amazing Technicolor Population compared to humans.
Vidalia: I mean, yeah. I figured. I mean, the blue skin was kind of a dead giveaway.
- Also, besides Amethyst (who never participated in the war), the Crystal Gems are all extremely cautious around Steven, due to his status as a Diamond, despite him being half-human.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: When Pearl says that Blue Pearl could be free to do whatever she wants on Earth, instead of just staying and serving Steven. Blue Pearl replies that she is free, and that she chose to stay and serve Steven of her own will.
I chose to stay, and listen to my Diamond. I am free on Earth, and I choose to aid my Diamond in his endeavors, whatever they may be. She offered me her ship
, eternal freedom to do what I choose
, and I chose this
. Perhaps freedom isnt just sniveling at the skirts of a tittering war criminal like shes the Diamond that cast you away like the filth you are.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Sapphire and Ruby are this when Steven is around and they're unfused (no guesses to figure out who takes what role), due to Blue Diamond bringing up a lot of bad memories.
- Shout-Out: plenty of the characters make shout outs to other franchises:
- Plenty of characters are into Avatar: The Last Airbender, which becomes useful as a learning method for Steven to master his hydrokinesis, (Lapis herself is intrigued by the show, and steadily becomes a fan that a few chapters later she is using terms from the show)
- At Stevens' birthday party, he told Other Pearl that he had finally memorized the Ataru Form
- Sinister Scythe: In moments of stress, Steven is able to summon his mother's weapon; a giant, ornate scythe which is capable of firing energy blasts, according to Word of God (and is also apparently evocative of The Grim Reaper).
- Sins Of The Mother: Averted. While Garnet and Pearl are both extremely nervous around Steven (and Pearl advocated bubbling both him and Blue Pearl), the Crystal Gems are willing to let him do what he wants, more or less.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Since she never gave birth to Steven here, Rose Quartz is still alive.
- While it's not a person, the Sea Spire was spared from falling apart due to Blue Pearl seeing Steven accidentally leave the statue behind, and bringing it herself.
- Stating the Simple Solution: When the Crystal Gems, Steven, and Blue Pearl go to the Sea Shrine to find the Hourglass of Time, Steven asks why Garnet can't just use her Future Vision to find the right hourglass. Garnet's only response was to shrug.
- Stop Helping Me!: Like in canon, Steven can sometimes get in the way of the other Gems when they're fighting monsters.
: "If you two had taken your feet away from the water, I could've electrocuted it
and finished it sooner."
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Blue Pearl does not like the Crystal Gems, and makes no secret of the fact. However, shes willing to tell them about the Cluster and work with them to stop it from emerging to spare Earth.
- In turn, Garnet/Ruby and Pearl are not happy that Blue Diamond (Steven) and Blue Pearl are being allowed to walk around free. Sapphire is willing to give Steven a chance, but is mostly concerned with keeping Ruby from flipping out.
- In particular, Blue Pearl and Pearl get along
very badly, to say the least.
- After she's released, Lapis is shown to despite the Crystal Gems, and doesn't attack them only because Steven doesn't want her to.
- Tempting Fate: After they manage to get away from the Sea Shrine before it "caves in" on them, Steven says this:
"Well gang, I'd say that we all did a-"
The Warp Pad flashed once again, delivering hundreds of gallons of water directly above the group. For a moment reminiscent of Eccentric Toons, the mass simply hung in the air.
- This Cannot Be!: Garnet has a brief Heroic BSoD when she sees Stevens gem and realizes who he is, to the point that she briefly defuses.
- Token Human: Zig-Zagged; due to how Connie's inability to defend herself had the potential to lead to chronic damseling and how Steven's selfless nature could endanger him in the pursuit of protecting Connie, Blue Pearl gives Connie a choice: either shape up or get out of Steven's life. Connie chooses the former, and goes through Training from Hell to get Charles Atlas Superpower. However, due to her still being puny compared to the Gems and her idolization of Steven, she thinks that Steven is going easy on her rather than realizing that he's just that bad at swordfighting, and when he does finally get his act together during a large battle Connie takes that as proof that Steven's been patronizing her and has a huge blowup with him before storming out of the Sky Arena.
- Took a Level in Badass: Connie takes several levels, courtesy of Pearl's training and her own spunk.
- Training from Hell: Connie goes through this courtesy of Pearl so she can hang out with the Gems without getting herself killed by the Monster of the Week. Through Min-Maxing the properties of Rose's tears, Pearl repeatedly puts Connie through a training routine that would hospitalize her in normal conditions, only to knit the basically liquefied muscle back together with the tears, strengthening them in the process. The two of them do this around three times a day for almost a month before moving on to the actual sword training.
- Tranquil Fury: Blue Pearl becomes practically glacial when Pearl insults Steven.
- Undying Loyalty: Blue Pearl is utterly devoted to both Blue Diamond and Steven, even over a decade after the formers Death by Childbirth. (Apparently, when Blue Diamond decided to stay on Earth until the Cluster emerged, she offered Blue Pearl her freedom, and the chance to take her ship and leave Earth behind. Blue Pearl decided to stay on Earth and die with Blue Diamond instead).
- Said loyalty is also explicitly non-romantic: Blue Pearl admitted to loving Blue Diamond, but denied having any romantic feelings.
Blue Pearl: What? No! Such feelings would be highly inappropriate!
- Unskilled, but Strong: Due to being a Diamond, Steven has Combo Platter Powers, Super Strength that appears to rival Rose's even before his powers stabilize, and Voluntary Shapeshifting good enough to match Amethyst's the same day he discovers it exists. However, he has no idea what most of his powers even are, let alone how to use or control them.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: Ruby tries to attack Steven to protect Sapphire after Garnet defuses out of fear after realizing Steven has Blue Diamond's gem (Sapphire manages to calm her down, however).
- Volleying Insults: Blue Pearl and Pearl get into one of these contests when they go on the Sky Spire mission.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Steven is actually quite mature and thoughtful when he wants to be, but he likes being an immature kid too much to let that dominate his personality. After all, in only a few years, Steven's going to have to replace Blue Diamond on Homeworld, and all of his opportunities for fun are going to vanish after that.
- Weak, but Skilled: Connie has this in spades, but only compared to the Gems. To normal humans, she's at peak physical fitness as well as having near-total mastery over the sabre.