This chapter was written in May 2018.
"Of course, this is all, uh, theoretical," Alphys backtracked. "I can't say any of that for…for sure. But if you want, we could also run some tests, put some hard science behind–"
She was cut off by a loud alarm sound blaring from somewhere else in the lab. A light in the corner of the room, which Jasper hadn't even noticed before, was glaring a bright red.
Asriel squealed and tried to cover his ears. "What's that?!"
"The alarm's going off?" Alphys asked. "But that means…" Without further hesitation, she jumped out of her chair and ran out of the room. Jasper gently picked up Asriel and followed after her.
Alphys (and Jasper) continued to run down the hall until they reached a small, easy to miss room. The only thing in this room was a giant machine with several different colored lights flashing. Alphys pushed a few buttons, and a screen in the center of the machine began to display some words. Jasper was able to recognize the word 'report'. Alphys was a much better and much quicker reader, and read everything written on the screen in a few seconds.
"No way…" Alphys whispered.
"What? What's going on?" Jasper demanded.
Alphys looked up at her, eyes wide. "A human has arrived in the Underground."
It was like putting back on a worn, well-used battle helmet. Jasper was always prepared for battle, for war. Without having to think about it, she slipped back into that mindset.
"What's the human's location?" Jasper asked, leaning forward. Quickly, she glanced down at Asriel, making sure she was keeping a firm hold on him. It wouldn't do to drop him, or to put him back on the ground and let him run for himself. The authority had to be kept safe. She glanced back at Alphys, thinking better of her previous question. "What are my orders?"
"The human's in Snowdin," Alphys reported gravely. "There's a huge population there. I'll try to get them the orders to evacuate in time, but who…who knows how much damage the human could cause until then. I don't know what the human's after, or…or how far they'll go, but I'll try to make sure everyone gets the order to evacuate."
Alphys paused, then squinted up at Jasper, as if she'd just heard Jasper's second question. "The Royal Guard is prepared for this. They have a plan. Once everyone gets the order, they'll get to their stations and try to head off the human in any way possible. Undyne…she won't be well enough to do it. She's too sick. So I guess I'll…have to give out that…that order, too…"
That still didn't answer Jasper's question. She frowned. "I'll head to Snowdin and defeat the human as quickly as possible," she decided. "That'll buy some time, prevent some of the damage that will be done." Humans didn't stand a chance against her, but monsters against humans, that was a different story altogether. A story best avoided at that.
"No!" Alphys shook her head. "Your job is different. I need…I need you to take Asriel home. Protect the Royal Family, keep them safe. If the human gets that far…we have to keep the Dreemurrs safe. We can't let the human get their souls. It's really important. If you can… can do that, then it'll help us out a ton."
Jasper's eyes shot down to Asriel again. It made since. She couldn't take him tot he battlefield, it was to dangerous. Alphys' strategy was the best one. She nodded. "
I can do that. You can count on me."
"Thank…thank you!" Alphys said to her.
Jasper made it back to the Dreemurr household in record time. Everything moved seamlessly and fast. This was the first time a human had fallen underground since the barrier had gone up, and there was no call for war against the humans. No demand to take the barrier down by force. The Dreemurrs had no reason to fight. The king and queen took Asriel to a more hidden away part of the basement, and Jasper would wait in the long hallway stretching before it. If the human got that far, if the human was a threat, she would fend them off. If not, Toriel and Asgore would take it from there.
All Jasper had to do for now was wait.
The wait stretched on endlessly, and yet the wait ended all too soon.
Before she knew it, slow, uncertain footsteps began to echo towards the hall. And then, the human walked in.
Or at least, what she was expecting was a human, anyway. Not a…not…
"You," Jasper growled out. She was unable to tear her eyes away from Rose Quartz, still shifted to look like some kind of human abomination.
Rose froze, staring back at Jasper. Her eyes went wide, her face breaking into a smile. "Jasper," she gasped out. Now remembering how to walk again, she began to approach Jasper once more. "Jasper," she repeated. "We finally found you!"
Jasper took a step back, a scowl settling on her face. "So, Rose, you decided humiliating me wasn't enough. You decided to stop laughing at me after sending me into this prison. You're here to finish the job."
"What?" Rose frowned, stopping again. "No, I'm not here to…I'm here to rescue you! To being you back! I've been worried about you, it took so long just to find you!"
"Please." Jasper rolled her eyes. "You don't expect me to actually believe that, do you? After I nearly dragged you back to Homeworld?"
"No, it's true!" Rose insisted. "It was an accident that you fell down here. If I could've helped you then, I would have."
"I know how you operate. I don't need your fake pity," Jasper retorted. "You probably decided it was easier to trap me down here than to fight fairly. And now, you've decided to finally start fighting with some honor."
Rose shook her head. "I'm not here to fight you."
Jasper blinked. She…she knew Rose. She knew how Rose operated. Rose used to fight honorably, fairly before Jasper returned to this wretched planet. She had once been an opponent Jasper had looked forward to facing, someone who would give her a fight worth the anticipation. But since, Rose had changed, refusing to fight, feigning ignorance to her own actions. Though, perhaps not as much as Jasper had once thought. Rose had another modus operandi, another—
"Oh, no," Jasper hissed. "I see how it is. You think I've become defective, useless, like all your other Crystal Gems. You're here to try to recruit me, to use me!"
"I, uh," Rose began, eyes wide.
Jasper's helmet formed on her head. "I know what you've done! I still remember it all! Don't you ever think I'll betray my Homeworld for you, Rose Quartz!"
They were pulled into battle.
Rose, her battle instincts probably kicking in, summoned her shield to her, holding it protectively in front of herself. But Jasper had observed that fighting in the Underground was different than on the surface, or on Homeworld, and it seemed that was the case now. Behind Rose's shield, Jasper could see a glowing green light, around where Rose's gem was supposed to be.
Jasper frowned. She's seen this before; Undyne's magic had once turned her own gem green. But this could 't be Undyne's magic. Undyne was out of commission. So why was Rose's gem acting like that? Regardless, if it was anything like Undyne's magic, she knew what that meant. Rose couldn't move. Rose couldn't escape.
Jasper ran forward. Rose's shield readied in front of her. Jasper took her eyes off the prize. She was going for a fake-out. Her fist flew forward, as if aiming to connect. Rose stood in position. At the last second, Jasper's hand opened up. Instead of being repelled by the shield, she pushed up against it, vaulting herself over Rose. At Rose's backside, she went for the real attack.
Rose's body whipped around, more aware and agile than expected. Jasper winced as her attack bounced off the shield.
"We don't have to fight," Rose pleaded.
Jasper scowled. Rose was holding her own better than the last time they'd met. She must've decided to stop this weak charade, at least to a degree. Well, Jasper would just have to rise to the occasion.
She moved faster. Struck harder. As much as Rose tried, she couldn't keep up. Was Rose never truly as strong as Jasper believed? Or was Rose still denying her the honorable combat she desired? Rose took blow after blow. Jasper was winning. Finally, she could prove herself. Finally, she could…
Rose summoned a bubble around herself. Giant, pink. It was just big enough, but not too big, that Jasper remained on the outside. It caught her unawares. She ran into it, bounced off.
"No!" Jasper screamed. She ran to it again, immediately trying to blast her way through. She kicked, punch, anything she could, but it was no use. The bubble remained intact, separating her from her target. She could…
"Jasper, please, we can talk it out! We don't have to fight!" Rose said.
"I'm not weak! I'm not defective!" Jasper retaliated. "Stop hiding and fight me like an equal!" She punched the bubble again. She could… she could…
What was she doing here?
What would fighting Rose accomplish? What would winning do for her? She'd prove herself to Rose, sure, but that wouldn't mean much if Rose was poofed. Win or lose, Jasper was still trapped here. She couldn't turn Rose in, she couldn't return to Homeworld, she couldn't do anything. She was stuck.
Jasper punched the bubble again once more for good measure.
"I just want to help you," Rose insisted. "It'll be okay. It'll work out." She held a hand out towards Jasper.
Jasper blinked. Something in her head hurt hard. Her eyes and ears betrayed her for a moment. She saw Asriel in front of her, heard Asriel talking about help and mercy and family. She blinked again, and she saw Pink Diamond. She heard Her Diamond. Her Diamond, whom she would do anything for, whom she remained loyal to even now. She blinked once more, and Rose was there again, as everything should be.
That was…what… Something in her head throbbed. Jasper knelt down in front of the bubble. Something about Rose, Rose insisting on helping, Rose refusing to truly fight back, reminded her of Asriel. And somewhere along the way, she had started caring about the Dreemurrs, about Asriel, in a way she had only felt towards the Diamonds before. Pink Diamond, especially. Her Diamond.
She thought back to Asriel, trying to convince Toriel to let him go with Jasper on her 'mission' in Snowdin. She thought of Asriel, heir to the throne of this tiny, underground portion of the entire planet. She thought of him, and was reminded of Her Diamond. Pink Diamond.
"You shattered Pink Diamond. You'll never be able to replace what she means to me," Jasper warned. Because it was true. Asriel, for how much he reminded her of Pink Diamond, how much she cared for them both, did not replace Pink Diamond to Jasper. She cared about them both, and was loyal to them both. Divided loyalties like this were bothering her now that she was thinking about it, though, since she'd never experienced this before. But she couldn't focus on that, now, that wasn't the pressing matter.
"I know," Rose agreed. "I'm not trying to. You don't have to join the Crystal Gems, if you don't want to. I just…I don't want to fight you. I want to help. You were trapped down here, and…and I want to help you out of here."
"Even if we could…" Jasper chuckled. "What makes you think I want to leave? I'm trapped on this planet, I have no way back to Homeworld. I'd much rather be down here than go to the surface, filled with the Crystal Gems and the pathetic humans you try so hard to emulate."
"I'm not…" Rose stopped with a frown. "'If we could'? What do you mean by that?"
"You trapped yourself down here with me," Jasper replied. "The humans put a barrier here a long time ago. No one can leave unless they have the power of both a monster and a human. Gems don't fit i to the equation; believe me, I tried."
"Would I count?" Rose asked. "I mean, I'm half-human…"
Jasper ignored that. She was distracted again.
Did she want to stay here?
Well. Of course, if she had her choice between monsterkind, humankind, and the Crystal Gems, she'd easily pick monsters, that was true and obvious. But, she remembered, she wasn't the only one trapped here. The monsters were trapped as well, and unlike Jasper, many of them wished to go back to the surface. They missed it, they wanted it. And maybe going back to the surface would start another war, but maybe…
"Hundreds of monsters wishing all together can't be wrong!" Asriel said, walking by an Echo Flower. "We'll be free someday!"
"What if you manage to leave, and it starts another war?" Jasper asks. It's a weird question, to her at least, because she knows she wouldn't have an issue with it. She was born into war, she was made for war and thrived in it. But monsters were different. They didn't want to fight at all, and though she couldn't understand it, she accepted it as a fact and tried to respect that.
"Maybe it will." Asriel shrugged. "But maybe it won't! Humans put up the barrier because they were afraid. People fear what they don't understand. But if they understand, and know we're no threat to them and we just want to co-exist, it'll be okay! We'll work it out, somehow. There's always a way."
"You want to return to the surface, too," Jasper noted.
"I've never been there, but everyone else misses it," Asriel said. "None of us like being trapped here. And I want everyone to be happy. They all deserve to go back to the surface. And you do, too. We all deserve freedom."
..There's more to life than just conflict, fighting. There can be so much more. There can be wishes, music, drawings. Puzzles, butterscotch-cinnamon pie, knowledge. Family. Freedom. Choices. There were so many things Jasper had seen, had learned about, that she'd never experienced on Homeworld. The Underground had this entire way of life that was new to her, that she'd never considered, but she had almost come to appreciate. She cared about people down here, wanted something better for them.
And maybe, if Jasper went to the surface, she could find a way to truly set them free.
She looked Rose in the eyes. "The barrier trapping everyone down here. Only the power of seven human souls can take it down. We need to take it down."
"We'll find a way," Rose promised.
Jasper reached up, the bubble allowing her hand through, and took Rose's hand. For the freedom of monsters, she could do this. She would do this.
The two of them found Asriel. And after Jasper's reassurances that it was safe, the three of them walked to the barrier.
"I hope this works." Asriel smiled up at Jasper and grabbed her hand. Rose held onto Jasper's other hand, and together, the three of them passed through the barrier and emerged onto the surface. It was nighttime; the sky was dark, a waning moon sat high in the sky, and Earth insects sang a tune all around them. Out here, away from the majority of human civilization, the many stars littering the universe were easy to see. Maybe, if Jasper looked hard enough, she could pick out Homeworld somewhere in there.
She wasn't going back there, though. Not anytime soon.
Jasper glanced down at Rose. No...no, that wasn't right. What had Lazuli referred to Rose as? Steven? She looked down at Steven, and a sigh escaped her. The only way out of that mountain was with the power of both a monster soul and a human soul. Asriel counted as the monster, though. He was still right there, gazing up at the sky as if he'd never get to see it again. Jasper hadn't count as a human soul, but Steven had. That meant...that everything Jasper had considered false about Steven, she was wrong about. He was half-human. Rose had sacrificed herself to create him. He had Rose's powers, but he wasn't her. Rose...was gone.
After everything Jasper had built Rose up to be in her mind, after all the anticipation, hoping to get the chance to fight Rose herself someday, she had to accept Rose was gone. It was hard to swallow. But the proof was right here: she couldn't deny that Steven was half-human, not anymore. With time, she'd have to get used to the idea.
Steven shot them both a smile. "The sky's beautiful, isn't it?" he asked. "Someday, all of you will be able to look at it for as long as you want."
Jasper nodded, clapping a hand on Asriel's shoulder. "We'll find a way to break the barrier," she promised. "We'll set everyone free. No matter how long it takes, we won't abandon you, and we won't forget."
Asriel nodded. "I believe in you. I trust you. I know you can do it." He shrugged away from Jasper's touch and turned around. "I'm going back. I have to stay home, with everyone else. If I went with you, Mom and Dad would be super worried. But I'll make sure everyone keeps hope. And I'll wait for you to come back."
"I'll see you again soon," Jasper told him. "Toriel and Asgore, too. Keep them safe for me."
Once again, Asriel nodded. Then, he began to walk. Away from the inviting sky, and back into the mountain. Jasper watched his retreating form reenter the Underground.
Then, she looked up to the sky again.
It was time to take the next step in her own path.
I've had this chapter planned out pretty much since the beginning, I knew where and how this would end. I've been working towards this point for a long time, and I really hope I pulled it off properly.
Man, though, Jasper meeting Chara was a cool idea, though! I hadn't actually thought of that one. It's a cool idea, though, and I'm sorely tempted to explore it in a separate story at some point in the future. If it happens, it'll show up in the Jaspertale tag, though, for sure!
Thank you all so much for sticking with this, and for reading. I truly appreciate it. This story was honestly very monumental for me, it got me back into writing in a way I never thought I could. I'm so glad I can finally close this off as a finished product, with the entire story told. I've truly enjoyed exploring this old meme, exploring Jasper, and I hope she makes a comeback in the show. If you've made it to this point, it truly means a lot to me. Thank you.
Until next time!