Adora is wearing a bracelet. Glimmer has never seen it before, didn't even know Adora liked bracelets, but she's wearing one, and it's pink and pretty and it sparkles under the lights of her bedroom.
"Where did you get this?" Glimmer asks her, taking Adora's hand in hers and tracing the patterns on the bracelet with a careful finger.
Adora's fingers tremble in her hand for a moment, and then she looks away, hiding her face. "Oh, there was this booth at the festival we went to yesterday and they were selling them. I thought it was pretty," she tilts her head, looking at Glimmer from under her lashes, "do you like it?"
Glimmer nods, letting go of her hand with a smile. "I love it. I didn't know you liked jewelry, though. I would've gotten you some if I'd known."
"Oh," Adora shakes her head, pulling a strand of loose hair behind her ear. "I don't really like jewelry, I just liked this one in particular, it reminded me of..." she glances at Glimmer, pausing, and her ears turn red, "no, nevermind."
She does this sometimes, stops in the middle of sentences, like she doesn't know if what she's saying is okay to say. Glimmer doesn't push her, doesn't want to make her feel suffocated, but it always makes her wonder.
"That's a shame," she says, pulling her legs underneath her and grabbing a pillow from her side, hugging it to her chest. "I have these earrings that would look gorgeous on you." She leans closer to Adora, who smells sweet and earthy and everything amazing, and grabs one of her earlobes. "Oh, they're not pierced?"
Adora bites her lip and moves away, touching a finger to her earlobe as if the skin Glimmer just touched burns. "No, we didn't really need that sort of thing at the Horde."
Glimmer puts her hand down, unsure, and gives her a small smile. "Oh, right, I didn't think of that."
Adora shrugs, looking at the door. "When's Bow coming?"
"He said he had something to do back home, not sure what. I'm sure he'll show up, eventually."
"Hmm, I hope he gets here soon."
"What, am I not good enough company?" Glimmer asks teasingly.
"Of course you are!" Adora says, looking almost offended at the suggestion. She grabs a pillow from her side and hits Glimmer with it, putting her weight on it to keep her from sitting up. "You're silly."
Glimmer lets out a laugh. "You know I can teleport, right?" She wiggles under the pillow for a moment and then gives up. "Get off," she groans, smiling when she hears Adora laugh. "Okay, you asked for it." She teleports to the space behind Adora, slinging her arms around her neck. "Boo!"
Adora lets out a choked sound and falls into the space Glimmer previously occupied. "That's just unfair," she says, looking over her shoulder, pouting. Her cheeks are red.
Glimmer laughs. "Too bad." She gets off of her and lies down on her back, looking at the ceiling. Adora lies down next to her, their shoulders touching, and the warmth of her skin warms Glimmer up.
“I have a question.”
“Oh?” Glimmer looks at her. Their faces are close, too close, and she turns back towards the ceiling, her cheeks hot. “W-what is it?”
“How does it feel like when you teleport?”
“What do you mean?”
Adora shifts closer, turning on her side. “I mean, when you teleport me along, I feel all tingly, like I’m running out of breath, about to pass out. Is it the same for you?”
“Not at all.” Glimmer leans up on her elbows, looking down at her. “It feels natural to me, like walking. If I were to compare it to something, I’d say it’s like floating through water, relaxing.”
“That sounds nice,” Adora says softly. She hugs her legs to her chest. “I’m tired, can we nap for a bit?”
Glimmer lies back down, turning to face her. “Of course. Never thought the day would come when you’d actively want to nap, though.”
“I’m adapting,” Adora says, smiling. She closes her eyes, and Glimmer watches her for a moment, resisting the urge to reach over and pull her into an embrace.
She’s adapting too, she thinks, to this overwhelming feeling of affection she can’t seem to let go of, can’t seem to bury deep into her chest and pretend it isn’t there anymore. She’s strong, like her mother said, and the fact that she’s managed to keep this burning, devastating want – need – hidden from view is proof of that.
For the sake of their friendship, she’ll hold everything in for as long as it takes.
What a strong girl, my Glimmer is.
"It's not that hard, I'm sure you'll get the hang of it eventually," Bow says, encouraging. He places a hand on Adora' s shoulder and squeezes, a smile on his face.
"Yeah, you can do this," Glimmer says, patting her on the back. Her hand lingers for a moment, self indulgent, and then she drops it. "I managed it and I was cooked for my whole life."
Adora eyes the bowl. "I don't know guys. When I say I know nothing about it, I really mean nothing."
Glimmer shares a look with Bow, who just shrugs.
"Don't worry, Adora, even if it fails, you can try again another time," she tells her.
Adora frowns, squeezing the spoon in her hand so tight her fingers turn white. "But I need this chocolate ready before tomorrow."
Bow lets out a surprised sound. "Tomorrow? Is this because of what I said about Cupid's day?"
She hunches her shoulders, a dark blush creeping up her neck and cheeks. "I just wanted to try making some, okay? You said everyone does it, to offer and stuff."
Glimmer glances at Bow. Adora must have seen the stores around town filled with chocolate, something she'd never even eaten before she left the Horde, and Bow must've been around, ready to explain to her what it was all for. Glimmer wonders if he told her about the fact that Cupid's day is mainly for couples, or people who want to confess their love. Adora doesn't seem to know about it, or else she wouldn't be trying to make chocolate before the day arrives. (Glimmer would know if she liked someone, Adora would've told her, surely.)
"Yeah..." Bow says, scratching his cheek. "Let's start, okay?"
Adora nods, her blush fading, eyes focused like she's on a mission. Glimmer likes this side of her, so earnest, so sweet, and watching her feels like an arrow to the heart, making her chest grow warm and tingly. She presses her hands flat against the table and sits down to watch as Bow slowly works Adora through the steps, careful and calm.
It takes them two hours, but after a lot of work and frustration on Adora's part, the chocolates are done.
"Wow," Glimmer says, breathing in deep. "Those smell divine. Whoever you're giving them to is gonna love them." She thinks Adora might be planning to send them out to the princesses. She doesn't have any friends outside the Princess Alliance, at least not that Glimmer knows, and the fact that she was so intent on making the chocolates must mean the people on the receiving end mean a lot to her.
Adora smiles, her eyes shining as she looks at the tray in her hands. "You think so?"
"Well, I haven't tried them, but I'm sure they taste great."
Adora looks at her, the prettiest smile Glimmer has ever seen on her face. "Tomorrow," she says. "You can try them tomorrow."
Glimmer clasps her hands together. "Oh, thanks! I'd really love to try one." She looks at the chocolates, her mouth watering. "You really did a great job."
Adora beams at her, what a gorgeous sight.
The next day, Adora shows up at her room with the chocolates. They're inside a pink little bag that she must have gotten from Bow, and they look just as delicious as they did the day before.
"Here," she says, extending the bag to Glimmer, a shy look on her face.
Glimmer takes it from her, already pulling on the string tying the bag closed. "You don't need to look so nervous, Adora. I bet they taste as good as they look." She grabs one of the chocolates and pulls it out of the bag, holding it up in front of her face for a moment, just to watch Adora squirm, before taking a bite out of it. "Hmm," she hums. "It's amazing, just as expected." She closes her eyes, savoring the flavor, before swallowing. "Didn't you try them, yesterday?"
Adora shakes her head. "Was I supposed to?"
Glimmer shrugs, eating the rest of the chocolate. "Normally one would wonder about the taste of their chocolates." She licks her lips. "Can I eat another one?"
Adora looks confused, for a second, before she nods. "Yes, of course you can."
Glimmer takes another one out of the bag and then holds the bag out towards her. "Thank you for letting me have a taste. They're really good. I guess you have an unexpected knack for baking."
Adora stares at the bag, expression unreadable, and then her shoulders drop. "I'm glad you liked them," she says around a sigh, taking the bag back. Glimmer frowns, chewing on her chocolate.
Adora puts on a smile. "Nothing," she looks away, "I'm just happy you think I'm a good baker."
"I'm sure Bow thinks so too. Maybe he's even jealous, I doubt his first time baking went as well as yours did."
"Yeah..." Adora looks at the floor, rubbing a hand on the back of her neck. "Uh, anyway, I should go." She lifts up the bag. "These guys won't eat themselves."
"You're sending them to the princesses, aren't you?"
"The princesses?" Adora looks at her, surprise etched on her features. "Oh, right! Yeah, I'm sending them to the princesses, definitely!" She lets out a shaky laugh.
She's so awkward, it's endearing. Glimmer knows she hates failing, so the fact that these chocolates could be disliked by the princesses is probably making her nervous.
"Don't worry, they'll love them." She pats her on the shoulder.
"Thanks." Adora looks at her hand on her shoulder, the smile dropping from her face. "I'll see you later, okay?"
"Sure," Glimmer tells her, rubbing her thumb softly against the end of Adora's collarbone before dropping her hand to her side. "See you later."
The room is colder than usual because princess Frosta is visiting, so Glimmer has a blanket over her shoulders to put off the chill. Adora is in her jacket, and she seems comfortable enough, has even said so herself, but the way she keeps fidgeting in place makes Glimmer think that she's colder than she's showing. She has a tendency to hide her weaknesses, even when it's something as small as feeling a little chilly.
"Adora," Glimmer says, shifting closer to her. "Get under the blanket."
Adora looks at her, surprised. "I'm not cold," she says quickly.
Glimmer raises an eyebrow. "You keep moving in place, that makes me think you're trying to keep warm." She lifts the edge of the blanket. "Come?"
Adora looks at her open arm, eyes wide. "That's not why- I'm not cold, I swear. This jacket was made to stand cold temperatures."
Glimmer lowers her arm, feeling stung at the rejection and not really knowing why. "Okay," she says, slowly. "If you're sure."
Adora nods, looking down at her hands. She's been strange today, quiet, and Glimmer thinks it has something to do with their mission yesterday. Bow got hurt pushing Adora out of the way of a knife slash, and she seems to be blaming herself for it, even though he's fine and the wound on his arm wasn't too deep.
"Hey," Glimmer whispers, touching a hand to her knee. "Want to get out of the palace?"
Adora looks at her, confused. "But it's almost 10p.m."
"Yeah, that's the point. The Whispering Woods will be filled with fireflies." She grabs Adora's hand, getting to her feet and pulling her along. "You'll love it."
Adora stares at their linked hands, a strange look on her face, but she doesn't break Glimmer's hold on her, which means she must be okay with it.
Glimmer teleports them right into the middle of the woods, and they land on a patch of soft grass, legs tangled together.
"We need to get better at this landing thing," Adora says, quickly getting off of Glimmer and dusting her clothes off.
Glimmer stays on the ground, looking around at the bright little lights flying all around them, between the trees, over the grass.
Adora does, and her eyes grow wide, a soft gasp leaving her mouth. Glimmer wants to commit the look on her face to memory, get it on a painting, hide it in her chest and never let it go. The way her eyes shine, the small smile that falls on her lips, everything about her makes Glimmer want to press their lips together, feel her hair on her skin, smell her all around her, breathe her in. It's crazy, everything she's feeling is crazy, Adora makes her feel crazy. She wishes she could just pull out a plug and let all these feelings flow out like water.
"It's amazing," Adora says, almost a whisper. She slowly sits down next to Glimmer, her eyes not leaving the fireflies for a second. "I've never seen something like this before."
Glimmer chuckles, lifting a hand and bumping a firefly with her finger. "Yeah, I can't imagine these little guys liking the Fright Zone very much."
Adora looks at her. "Thanks for bringing me here, Glimmer. It's so-" she stops, suddenly, her mouth falling shut with a click. Glimmer frowns, about to ask her what's wrong, but Adora slowly raises her arm before she can, bringing her hand up to Glimmer's hair, a look of soft wonder on her face. When she moves her hand away, a firefly is sitting on her index finger. "It landed on your hair," Adora whispers, looking at Glimmer like she's the most precious thing in the world. "Glimmer, I-" she cuts herself off, watching the firefly fly off of her finger. Glimmer watches it too, as it disappears among the rest of the fireflies.
"What is it?"
Adora shakes her head, rubbing a hand down her arm. "No, nevermind, it's nothing." She takes Glimmer's hand in hers. "It's beautiful, thank you."
Glimmer smiles, feeling her heart beat fast against her rib cage. Thump, thump, thump. It burns.
Glimmer always knows when Adora slips into her bed. She's gotten used to the feeling of her mattress dipping under Adora's weight, making her body shift closer to the middle of the bed.
Today, Adora comes once again, her feet quiet against the ground but the soft press of her body against the bed giving her away.
Glimmer turns towards her, eyes squinting in the darkness. "What's wrong? Did you have a nightmare?"
Adora shakes her head, trailing a hand over the stitching on the sheets. "I couldn't sleep."
Glimmer shifts closer to her, tangling their legs together. Here, under the safety of the night and the darkness of the room, she can get close enough to touch, close enough to let Adora's scent surround her. It's not scary, at night. It's not dangerous if it's in the dark.
"Do you think you'll be able to sleep here?"
Adora shrugs, rubbing her cheek against her pillow. "I don't know, I always do."
Glimmer grabs her hand, rubbing her thumb against her pulse-point. "Then close your eyes, I'll wait until you fall asleep."
Adora smiles, small and pretty. "Thank you." Her eyelashes are so long, brushing against her cheeks when she closes her eyes, and Glimmer wants to kiss her, dip her head in and feel the soft flesh of her lips against hers, feel her breath against her skin.
But she doesn't. Instead, she watches her with half closed eyes until Adora's breathing evens out and she's sure that she's asleep. She touches a hand to her cheek, wanting, needing, and then turns around, pulling the covers over her shoulders and letting sleep embrace her like a lost lover.
When she wakes up again, it's to the feeling of soft fingers on her back. She doesn't immediately realize what that means, thinking back to her mom doing it to calm her down from a nightmare when she was a child, but then she remembers the previous night, and she realizes it's Adora, tracing the wings on her shoulder blades. Her heart attempts to break out of her chest, and she presses a hand to it, closing her eyes and letting out a shaky breath, pretending to still be asleep.
"Patience is a virtue, Adora," she hears Adora whisper to herself, her finger slowly moving over Glimmer's skin, raising goosebumps along the way. "I can be patient."
Glimmer stays still, breathing in and out, her hands trembling against her chest. She waits until Adora moves her hand away, what feels like an eternity later, and then pretends to wake up, raising her arms in a long stretch.
"Good morning," she says around a yawn, trying to keep the nervousness out of her voice.
Adora smiles. With her hair splayed out against her pillow, she looks almost angelic, the gold shine of it against the white of the sheets making her almost look like she's glowing. "Good morning."
Glimmer clears her throat, looking down at her hands. "Did you sleep well?"
"I did. Did you really wait until I fell asleep?"
Glimmer looks at her. "Of course. I told you I would."
Adora rubs a hand over her eyes, her smile twisting on her face. "You're really too sweet, you know that?"
Glimmer thinks it's the opposite, actually. Adora is the one that's too sweet. Tooth rotting, bad for your health, shouldn't-have-too-much-or-you'll-get-addicted sweet. Glimmer should've known from the moment she first laid eyes on her. Her first thought had been, this girl is gonna be trouble, and she'd been right, in all the wrong ways.
"You're too sweet."
Adora giggles, soft and quiet, almost like she's trying to hold it back. "We should get up, go get breakfast."
"Yeah," Glimmer holds out a hand to her. "I'll take us downstairs."
Adora takes her hand, her fingers soft against Glimmer's palm. The fingers that just a moment ago had been tracing the shape of wings against her back.
Glimmer swallows, looking away. "I hope they have milkshakes."
"I love it when it rains here," Adora says. The raindrops glitter as they fall from the sky, sun rays shining down on them, and she raises her hand to catch the droplets falling from the trees above them.
"Maybe a rainbow will appear soon," Glimmer says, running a hand through her hair, shaking off the excess water. "Have you ever seen a rainbow before?"
Adora shakes her head, looking at the sky with shiny eyes. "It's always dark in the Fright Zone."
Glimmer pulls on her arm. "Hold on, then. We better get somewhere higher if we want to see this potential rainbow."
Adora grasps the hand Glimmer has on her arm, smiling. "Go on, then, take us to that higher place."
Glimmer laughs, shaking her head, and does just that. They reappear on the top of a small hill, ways away from where they'd been. She can see the palace from here, and the large runestone hovering on the edge. It's a beautiful sight, and even better is the rainbow stretching across the sky right over it, making everything look like it's out of a fairytale.
"Wow," Adora breathes out, a pretty happy blush on her cheeks. "It's so pretty."
The rain water sticks to her lashes, fat droplets rolling down her cheeks and neck. She's so beautiful, Glimmer can do nothing but stare.
"Adora," she whispers, entranced. She lifts a hand to Adora's cheek, wiping a rain drop away with her thumb.
"What is it?" Adora asks, looking at her with wide eyes.
You're the one that's pretty, Glimmer wants to say. You're shining, radiant, like the sun, burning everything that comes close enough to touch. But instead, what comes out is, "I love you." She freezes as soon as the words leave her mouth, shocked at herself, at her own carelessness, impulsiveness. She never meant for it to come out this way, a slip of the tongue, a stray thought she couldn't hold back.
She pulls her hand away, moving to take a step back, but Adora reaches out and grabs it, stopping her from moving.
"Glimmer," she chokes out, as if on the verge of tears. She brings Glimmer's hand up to her cheek, turning her face to press a kiss to her pulse point. Glimmer shivers. "Glimmer," Adora says again, looking at her, eyes full of love. "Me too, I love you too."
Glimmer allows her lower lip to wobble, her eyes to well up, her hands to press against Adora's cheeks like she's all that's tying her to this world. "I love you, I love you, I love you," she says, almost desperate. It feels liberating, to finally say it out loud, to finally express how much this feeling has been burning her inside out. "Adora," she whispers, and then stops speaking, because Adora has dipped her head and pressed their lips together into a soft kiss. Glimmer can feel her lashes against her cheeks, the way their noses bump, the way their soaked bodies are pressed together, making everything hot, hot, hot. It's cold outside, but Glimmer still thinks she might explode, her heart racing against her rib cage, begging to be let out, to slip inside Adora's chest and never come out.
They break apart after a long moment, foreheads pressed together, breaths mingling.
"I didn't know," Glimmer whispers. "I had no idea you felt this way too."
Adora softly brushes her hair out of her face, cupping her cheek with one hand. "I know you didn't. I tried to tell you, but you're surprisingly oblivious when it comes to this stuff."
Glimmer lets out a shaky laugh, holding herself up against Adora, her hands on her shoulders, knees weak. "Sorry."
Adora shakes her head, a fond smile on her face. "It's okay, you're worth the wait." She leans forward, pressing another kiss to the corner of Glimmer's mouth. "I'd wait forever, if that's how long it took."
Glimmer slings her arms around her shoulders and pulls her close into a hug. "Who knew you were such a sweet talker?" She squeezes her eyes shut, breathing in Adora's scent and the smell of the rain. "I love you."
Adora squeezes her, gripping the back of her shirt with both hands. "I love you too."
A thought hits her, suddenly, and she pulls back, just enough so they can face each other.
"Wait, you said you tried to tell me before?" She licks her lips, stopping herself from leaning in for another kiss. "Those chocolates, on Cupid's day. Were they for me?"
"Yes, they were."
Glimmer lets her head fall forward, bumping against Adora's collarbone. "I'm so sorry, I didn't realize!"
"It's okay, I know you didn't reject me on purpose," Adora says.
"I would never reject you," Glimmer tells her, kissing her neck. "Ever."
Adora shivers, pulling her closer. "We should go back to the palace. You might never get sick but I probably will if we stand in the rain for much longer."
Glimmer laughs. "Oh, I'd forgotten about that." She pulls away from Adora, looking down at her soaked clothes. "Yes, we need a bath and a change of clothes." She grabs her hand. "And we're girlfriends now. You know what that is, right?"
Adora shifts closer and steals another kiss. "I get to do this more often, right?"
Glimmer giggles. "You do."
"Then yes, I know what it is."