Catra wakes up one morning to Adora kicking her in the side, not very roughly, but enough to bring her hissing back to consciousness, ready for a fight. No one else in the barracks is awake and she's too sleepy for it to be anywhere near morning
"Watch it," she mumbles angrily, scratching Adora's ankle. Adora yelps and draws her feet away. She's also clearly awake. "Was that on purpose?"
Adora touches her ankle, not that there's any blood to find. "Maybe. You were making some noise in your sleep."
"I don't snore, you snore," she snaps. Someone in the barracks shushes them.
"It wasn't snoring," Adora whispers. "Were you having a weird dream or something?"
"I don't think so," Catra says at her normal volume. "'Least I don't remember."
"Um, can you guys keep it down?" Kyle whispers.
"Can you guys keep it down," Catra mimics. "Shut up! You think battle zones are gonna be quiet? Get used to it!"
Several people groan and someone throws a pillow at Catra's head. She shreds it with her claws, hopping to her feet on the bed
"Sorry!" Adora whispers. She grabs Catra's wrist and pulls her back down. "We're going right back to sleep! Right Catra?"
Catra flicks a handful of fluff at Lonnie's glaring face in the bed beside them. "Yeah, yeah," she says, curling back up. Adora lays back in bed and sighs.
A couple minutes later Catra sits up again. "Oh yeah!"
The room dissolves into groans.
"It was a dream about us sparring," Catra finishes.
Adora's eyes snap open. "What?"
"You know, me kicking your ass."
"No, I heard you. I just...uh. Nevermind. Good night."
Catra snorts. "Kay. Night nerd."
The next night Catra wakes up on her own because she's overheated. She shuffles off Adora's bed and into bathroom where she shoves her head under the faucet. The frigid water helps a bit.
"Catra?" Adora says from the door. Catra lifts her head and shakes it, spraying water everywhere. Adora wipes her face. "What are you doing up?"
"Is going to the bathroom illegal now?"
"No, but you hate water so spending half an hour waterboarding yourself is a little worrying."
Catra gives herself another shake. "Has it been that long? Well, whatever. I'm going back to bed now."
"Hey, are you feeling alright? Catra, wait!" Adora grabs her shoulder as she tries to leave. "Woah, you're burning up."
"Am not." She shakes Adora loose.
"Yeah you are doofus."
Adora sighs and grabs a towel. "Fine, you're not burning up. You're a totally normal not-weird temperature. But you're not getting my bed all wet."
Catra growls as her face and hair are aggressively rubbed down. Adora doesn't stop until she's a fuzzy mess. "Jerk."
"Ha!" Adora snorts. "You look like a cotton ball."
Catra nips her palm and she pulls away with a squeal.
They spar the next afternoon, or rather they team up to destroy a bot, get sidetracked, and wind up fighting. Adora had quietly asked if she was doing okay when they were hiding behind a piece of simulated rubble and Catra tackled her. Before they knew it they were going at it.
"Okay, okay!" Adora says, when Catra pins her. "You're big and tough and more than strong enough to handle yourself. Are you done?"
"No," Catra says. "You forgot beautiful and brilliant."
Adora elbows her hard and slips away. "And arrogant and bratty."
"Potato, tactical genius." Catra aims a kick to sweep Adora's legs out from under her. Adora hops over her leg and goes straight for Catra, knocking her on her back.
Catra growls as Adora pins her by her wrists. Somewhere nearby she hears the rest of the squad finish off the bot they're supposed to be dealing with.
"So this is my win right?" Adora asks.
"In your dreams."
"No, in your dreams. Since that's apparently the only place where you win."
Catra grins and slips one of her wrists free to yank Adora's ponytail. Adora winces and Catra locks her calves around Adora's. She flips their position.
"I'm not feeling so sleepy right now," Catra says. "How bout you?"
"Opportunist," Catra corrects. Her smile slips as heat suddenly moves through her again.
"Catra?" Adora asks, as Catra sits up. Her hair is a mess from being pulled and she's sweating hard. Catra's probably seen her like this thousands of times but she's never felt the need to stare and take it all in. "Uh, Catra?"
Adora starts to sit up but Catra pushes her shoulder. She lays back down immediately, mild confusion on her face but no sign that she's going to move again without Catra's permission.
Catra goes very still, watching Adora lay motionless. Her hands are both laying by her head, loose and empty. Her lips are slightly parted, pupils dark. Catra's tail twitches, both of her hands curling on Adora's stomach.
They both flinch as the buzzer sounds. Catra climbs to her feet.
"Come on," she says, holding out a hand.
Adora takes it. "Thanks," she says quietly.
She can't stop touching Adora.
It's fine—or rather, less observable—when they're in the barracks. She already sleeps in Adora's bed so it isn't particularly obvious if maybe she's sleeping on Adora's calves instead, or wrapping her tail around Adora's hand. Sometimes she wakes up because Adora pulls one of her legs loose to get blood flowing but she always slides it back under Catra without complaint. It's not a huge change.
Outside the barracks the problem is much bigger. Whenever Adora is around other people Catra has to actively stop herself from wrapping an arm around Adora's waist or her tail around one of her legs. Just once she tries to grab Adora by the hips, completely unaware that she's doing it, and Adora has to slap her hand away.
She isn't even sure why she wants it so badly. Romantic relationships, even signs of romantic relationships, are band in The Horde. As soon as Catra hit her teens Shadow Weaver warned her to cull even her playful physical contact with Adora. She can't keep doing this.
Adora always has people swarming around her after particularly hard drills. The other cadets can tell she'll be climbing the ladder soon so they try to befriend her, pat her on the back, ask how she manages to work with someone like Catra. Enhanced hearing certainly has its drawbacks.
But this was normal, Catra would be more surprised if it didn't happen, which is why it doesn't bother her.
"That's nothing," Lonnie says, draping a hand around Adora's shoulders while they talk to some new cadets, "you should've seen her last week! She did this thing with her grappling hook and I swear she took down two bots at once."
Catra bears her teeth, claws digging into her locker. This is all normal, she reminds herself, teeth grinding. This has been happening for years.
She turns to look at Adora over her shoulder and sees her smile at Lonnie.
"Oh shit," Catra mumbles, vision swimming, "I'm going to murder her."
There's scattered laughter and Catra braces herself against the locker. She takes a minute to breathe quietly, hoping it'll pass. Just as she glances over at Adora again, Adora turns to her.
Adora's eyes widen marginally. Kyle starts to turn to see what she's looking at but Adora grabs him by the arm. "H-hey, why don't we all go down to the mess hall? I need something to eat!"
Her voice is high pitched with concern but everyone agrees easily. Adora makes her way to the back of the crowd and practically pushes everyone out of the locker room, only stopping to cast a worried glance in Catra's direction.
When everyone is gone Catra finally relaxes. Now that she's away from Adora the violent stream of her thoughts slows. Catra lets herself sink to the floor and presses her pounding head to the metal in front of her, waiting for whatever is happening to pass.
She sneaks into First Aid once she's able, only blowing up one sentry bot to keep herself unseen. As soon as she's through the door she collapses into a sweating, panting pile.
"... valuable member of the team," she hears Adora say. Even with her eyes shut the room is spinning.
"That doesn't mean you should be wasting your time here," a second voice says. "She'll get better or she won't. Your presence won't change anything."
"I understand that but—"
"Adora." Shadow Weaver's patronizing croon wakes her up all the way. "You've been here long enough. It's time to leave."
There's a shift of weight on her bed and Catra reaches out blindly, grabbing Adora's wrist.
Catra opens her eyes, squinting at how bright the First Aid room is. She can tell that Shadow Weaver has her displeased face on but Adora looks delighted to see her awake.
"Adora..." Shadow Weaver says slowly.
"I've got my free period now," Adora cuts in. "I might have missed long distance weapons training earlier but I don't have any obligations at the moment."
Shadow Weaver turns slowly from Adora to Catra. Catra is sweating and might throw up but she manages a wink.
"Please?" Adora says. "Can I stay a little longer?"
Shadow Weaver sighs.
"Very well. How you use your free time is up to you. To a degree," Shadow Weaver amends. "Do not lose sleep over her. I expect you to be functioning at your best tomorrow."
"I understand. Thank you, Shadow Weaver."
"And you." She leans over Catra. "Don't get Adora sick."
When Shadow Weaver is gone Adora sinks down next to her. "What the heck happened?"
"Beats me. Did anyone see?"
"No. Rogelio asked where you were but I covered for you. How do you feel?"
"Can you be more specific?"
"You know, my head's like," Catra holds her hands by her head and grunts, "and the rest of me is all bleh. And I feel like I'm," she grunts again, gesturing at herself. "Get it?"
"Yeah, think so. Maybe it's the flu."
"It's not the flu. I don't get sick."
"If you don't get sick you don't know what a flu feels like so you can't tell if that's what you've got."
"Stop using your logic at me."
"Don't be angry just because I'm right. And I'm not going anywhere, you know."
Both of them look at Catra's death grip on her wrist.
"Didn't realize I was still doing that," Catra lies. She tells her hand to let go but it's several long seconds before she gets the will power to actually do it. "What time is it? How long till lights out?"
"About half an hour. What? I'll come by tomorrow too."
Catra makes herself stop growling. "I know."
"So stop pouting."
"I'm not pouting."
"No, you definitely are." Adora looks around the room. "I guess I don't have to go back to the barracks."
Catra grins. "Yeah?"
"I can still get my daily scheduled amount of sleep right here."
With Catra sick and both of them technically in her sick bed Adora refuses to let Catra curl up like usual. Instead they wind up on their sides, as there isn't room for both of them to lay on their backs. They're very lucky no one else is spending the night and that there are curtains around Catra's bed.
"Still feel like ass?" Adora asks.
"Mm. Little less ass." Her headache has let up significantly and she isn't as nauseous. Her senses are still out of wack and the lights were making her dizzy. She also can't focus on anything except...
"Adora. You really smell."
"Sorry. I came right here before I showered so I'm all gross."
"Didn't say it was gross." Catra leans her forehead against Adora's chest. She doesn't know how to describe the way Adora smells. It's the same as always, she just doesn't mind as much.
"Uh. Catra, are you smelling me?"
"Oh look, it's Force Captain Obvious. How could I not?"
"Okay but there's smelling someone and smelling someone and you're definitely doing the latter."
"You're such a nerd," Catra mutters, pressing herself closer and tilting her face up until her nose is pressed to the hollow of Adora's throat. "And a dork."
"T-those basically mean the same thing."
Catra rolls them over, maintaining her position at Adora's throat. She keeps breathing deeply through her nose, noticing at the same time that Adora's body is oddly soothing against hers. "Sounds like something a nerd would say."
"Okay, Catra, what are you doing?"
Catra shrugs. "Feels nice. Trying not to overthink it."
"Do you mean...for your flu thing?"
"Physical contact helps?"
"Yeah. I don't feel like I'm going to explode quite so much."
There's a long pause."Okay then. Maybe we can just." Adora starts to move and a surge of panic rushes through her. She grabs Adora's arm, ears raising in displeasure and a growl in her throat. "Woah, I was just rolling over!"
"Oh." Catra lets go and Adora rolls so she's facing the wall. She does nothing after that and Catra, realizing she's waiting, presses in behind her. "Hm. That's not so bad."
She loops her tail, an arm, and a leg around Adora's body. It's not as though they don't touch each other; between sparring and play fighting they did it plenty. It was only that they didn't hug a lot these days, or have moments of quiet affection after Shadow Weaver began pulling her aside to remind her it was making them both weak.
Most of the symptoms have vanished except for the fever which seems worse. She doesn't see how she can get closer, short of getting under Adora's clothing. An idea which is far too appealing.
"Catra, are you purring?"
"No," Catra says, still purring. She's just discovered how comfortable it is and how nice it smells at the back of Adora's neck.
"Wow. Whenever you come down from this I'm making fun of you so—" Adora nearly shrieks as Catra licks the back of her neck. "Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit."
Catra does it again. She's licked Adora in the past, usually to gross her out, which rarely worked these days, but something about the context makes this very different. It was oddly satisfying.
Catra keeps licking her until Adora goes from extremely freaked out, to annoyed, to mostly ambivalent. She stops only once she starts to fall asleep.
When Catra wakes her fever is gone, her mouth tastes funny, and Adora is very clearly completely awake in her arms.
"Huh," Catra says. "Did you sleep at all?"
"Not really. Shadow Weaver is going to kill me."
"No she won't. Aren't you late for lights on?"
"Not yet. I'd sneak back to the barracks if someone weren't wrapped around me like some weird octopus princess."
Catra yawns and lets Adora go easily. "Guess I'll go with you."
"Are you back to normal?"
She leaps onto the metal headboard, standing on it to pose with her hands on her hips. "Don't I look it?"
Catra is not back to normal.
A week later she wakes up too hot again. She dug her claws into Adora's mattress in her sleep during a dream where Adora and Lonnie were making out.
The fever comes and goes. The next night Catra gives up quickly. She crawls under Adora's blanket until she can rest her head on her stomach. Adora lifts the blanket, staring at her with her mouth agape.
Catra puts a finger to her lips and pulls the blanket over her head. It's a long time before Adora relaxes.
The next time it happens is nearly a month later. Catra walks into the locker room and Lonnie has a hand on Adora's arm. That's all it takes to get Catra storming across the room, shoving Kyle out of her way. Adora sees her when she's seconds away from disemboweling the other cadet and steps between them.
"C-Catra!" She grabs Catra's shoulders. "There you are! I had something to talk to you about so why don't we go and have that conversation?"
She slaps a hand over Catra's mouth as she starts to growl.
"Awesome! Cool! Let's go!" She shoves Catra towards the door and wrestles her through it.
"Just hold one and second Catra," Adora whispers, leading her by the hand. "I'll let you—we just need to go somewhere private."
There are too many sentries between the locker room and the barracks and the bathrooms were rarely empty for long. Adora settles for a supply closet. "There we go. You can't get so cuddly with me in front of the other—"
Catra growls. "That's not what that was!"
"What? Did you not want to?"
"No! I mean, yes. But that's not the issue! Lonnie was touching you!"
Adora blinks. "Come again?"
"Everyone is always touching you! You smell like other people all the time!"
"You're really not making any sense."
Catra pulls on her hair. "I know I'm not! I can tell I'm being weird and irrational! That's not making it stop!"
Adora nods to herself. "Okay, weird. What do we do?"
She starts pacing. "I don't know. It's a stupid problem in the first place. Oh, have you seen that experimental armor that stabs people that get within a ten foot radius of you? Could you wear that from now until maybe forever?"
"Yeah, that's not gonna work." Adora starts to smile. "Wait, are you jealous?"
"Jealous?" Catra says, voice going high. "Why would I be jealous?"
"Well Lonnie and I—"
Catra swings, scratching a sharp groove down the wall near Adora's head. Adora laughs.
"I didn't even finish my sentence!"
"This doesn't make sense!" She shoves herself into Adora, pinning her to the wall. One of her legs winds up between Adora's, framed by the warmth of her thighs. She grinds herself forward, trying to find some kind of friction.
Adora gasps but doesn't move away. "Woah."
“You weren't even doing anything," Catra says under her breath. "I know that. But I want—I need to—“
She shoves her face into Adora's neck, pulling her shirt until it tears.
"Hey! My spare shirt is in the laund—fuck!" She shouts as Catra sinks her teeth into her skin.
All at once the anger running through her vanishes. She wraps her arms around Adora's back and her shoulders sag. Just like curling up with Adora this felt inexplicably right.
"Catra?" Adora says softly. Her voice snaps Catra back to the present and she finally let's go. She's calm and satiated for only a moment before she sees Adora bleeding.
"Fuck." Catra starts to reach for her but stops halfway. "You okay?"
"Yeah, I guess. It's just a bite." Adora sounds faintly breathless. "We've both had worse. What about you?"
Catra nods. "Feelin' less crazy."
"Good. Then we're both fine." She raises a hand to her neck. "No offense, but why'd you bite me?"
Catra imagines Adora changing later, in the barracks, in the locker room, and everyone seeing Catra's bite on her shoulder. She shudders. "Dunno dude. Guess I didn't grow out of my teething."
"Right. Shoot I'm getting blood on my shirt."
Unthinkingly, Catra leans forward and gently licks the bite. Adora tenses and Catra does too, tongue frozen. Then Adora relaxes and she tentatively continues.
"You're such a weirdo," Adora says.
"Beats being a nerd."
Catra gets a summons to go to Shadow Weaver's room the next day. She stalls for as long as she can before she finally goes. There's an unpleasant feeling in her stomach.
She knocks on Shadow Weaver's door.
"Come in," Shadow Weaver says.
Catra steps in carefully, like she would a strip of enemy territory that hadn't been swept for mines. Once she's in front of Shadow Weaver she crosses her arms over her chest. "So, what's up?"
Shadow Weaver isn't particularly focused on her. The magic she's working on has most of her attention. "That fever you had last month."
Catra tightens her grip on her arms but doesn't otherwise react. "What about it?"
"I had a suspicion what it was but I wanted to make sure. So I took some time to research."
For it to have taken this long Shadow Weaver must've devoted almost no time to it. "And?"
"I'm going to be blunt."
"As opposed to your normal soothing persona?" Shadow Weaver narrows her eyes. "Sorry. Please continue."
"It's called a heat. It isn't uncommon for creatures such as yourself and it's seasonal."
"Seasonal?! That's going to happen again?'
"Yes. It's a sign of the start of your mating season."
"Shit!" Catra kicks the leg of a nearby table. The leg comes off and the entire thing wobbles before Shadow Weaver fixes it with a gesture.
"It need not be incapacitating. The first time is generally the worst. After that you should be nothing but slightly more aggressive and inclined towards sex. That's all. You should still be rational."
"Oh." Catra deflates. "Good."
"It should only prove to be a problem if you find yourself with a potential mate. Otherwise it shouldn't last more than a week. Was that your experience?"
"Yep. That was exactly it."
"Good. In any event, should you find a potential mate among The Horde—"
"Ugh, I know. I'll keep it in my pants."
"Not at all. Get it over and done with as discreetly as you can."
Catra raises an eyebrow. "Are you serious?"
"It will shorten the length of your heat dramatically if you get it over with. Just be quick about it."
"Wow. I'll keep that in mind." She turns to leave. "Thanks for the pep talk."
"Catra." Shadow Weaver's cold, calculating tone makes her pause. "I don't need to tell you, of course, that this does not apply to Adora."
Catra's heart jumps. "Duh."
"Good." Shadow Weaver crosses the room slowly. "Unlike you, she is prone to silly things like sentiment and attachment. It would not do to cloud her judgement more than you already have."
"Ha, who'd want a goody-goody like her anyway?"
Catra laughs despite her blood running cold. "Jeez Shadow Weaver, not everyone is as obsessed with your precious Adora as you are."
"This is not a game, Catra." Shadow Weaver tilts her head with a finger on her chin. "Her's is a destiny far beyond yours and I will not have your biological instincts screwing everything up. Do you understand me?"
Catra looks at the holes in Shadow Weaver's mask. "You're being ridiculous."
"Good. Now, fill in the blank. Adora is...?"
Catra swallows and looks away. "Off limits."
"That's exactly right." She pets Catra's hair, continuing when Catra leans into the touch. "That's a smart girl."
Catra nods, ears dropping.
"It better not get infected," Adora says in bed later. Catra had considered using her own bed for once but felt it would be too obvious.
"You see me brush my teeth every day," Catra says.
"I also see you skip flossing."
"And yet which of us can rip a branch off a tree with just her teeth? Oh that's right, it's me."
"Just wait a couple years and I bet they'll all be falling out." Adora rubs at her shoulder, over the bandage and stitching Catra had helped her with. "It'll probably scar."
A thrill runs down Catra's spine. Adora doesn't sound very upset either.
With the bite on Adora's neck Catra's heat seems to be over and at once she begins worrying about her next heat. There's little chance of Shadow Weaver seeing the bite but if Catra's behavior is as obvious as it was last time they'll probably be in trouble.
And then Adora finds a magic sword, and all her worries vanish.
The next time Catra has her heat she completely forgets about it. She wakes up warm but it isn't suffocating so she goes right back to sleep. Throughout the day she goes harder on her soldiers than normal, but nothing that's unheard of. She's dislocated a trainees shoulder in the past. This isn't much.
On the second day Scorpia comes to her with a stack of papers to talk about supplies and Catra strongly considers ripping her head off. She gets as far as shoving Scorpia face first into the wall before she thinks about having Adora in a similar position, how badly she'd needed it, and stops dead.
"This is new," Scorpia says with a nervous laugh.
Replacing Adora was an option she'd considered before Adora left. She had no reason to believe it had to be only her. If proximity was why she picked Adora then the "who" doesn't matter, she thinks, boxing Scorpia in with her arms and leaning into her back.
Scorpia shivers. "I was kind of hoping we could get lunch together or something first but this is nice too."
Scorpia doesn't smell bad. She enjoys it even, but she's in control of herself, not lost under that cloud of lust that consumed her around Adora.
She groans and Scorpia twitches at the warm breath at the back of her neck. "Forget it. Probably be a waste off time."
"Are you sure?" Scorpia asks, turning. Catra is already across the room, headed for the door. "Okay then! Next time maybe? If you feel like it. I'll be here!"
Catra waves vaguely over her shoulder, thinking about Adora running around Bright Moon with a Force Captain's bite on her throat.
It's over in a few days, just like Shadow Weaver said. It's far easier than it'd been around Adora. And then things in The Horde are back to normal.
"Whatever you're planning, it won't work," Adora says at Princess Prom. Her hand is floating up against Catra's on the dance floor, eyes hard and firm.
Catra laughs. "You sure about..." She trails off, eyeing the collar of Adora's dress. She tugs at the stretchy fabric at her neck.
"What are you—" Adora starts to say.
"Where is it?" Catra hisses. They're both frozen while the princesses dance awkwardly around them.
"Where's what?" Adora touches her neck and then notes the smooth skin, the lack of any scarring. "You mean—oh. The transformation heals wounds, especially if they're new." Her expression shifts back to suspicion and anger. "Not that it's any of your business."
"Not my business?!" The crowd turns and Glimmer bumps right into them. Catra shoves her and then pulls Adora away.
Adora drags her heels before remembering that she's trying to keep an eye on Catra in the first place. "Where are we going?"
Catra yanks on her.
"Catra?" Adora asks, voice softer.
The next hallway they find doesn't have any guards, which is more than enough. She shoves Adora into the wall, hand fisted into the front of her dress.
"Stop looking at me like that! Go back to glaring all self-righteously if you're on the side of goodness or whatever!"
"Are you okay?"
Catra bristles. "Will you shut up?"
"Maybe when you stop being such a confusing asshole."
"Stop being all concerned! It's annoying!"
"If you don't want me to worry about you then don't start a fight over me not having a bite mark!"
"Why wouldn't I be angry about that? I don't care if you are a traitor, that doesn't mean you can get rid of it!"
"What?" Adora's look of pity and confusion makes her blood boil. "It's just a scar. And you didn't even mean to bite me."
"Of course I meant to bite you!" she snaps, pulling Adora forward. "I was marking you, stupid!"
Adora flounders a bit before frowning at her. "Marking?"
Catra laughs. "Like when you find a favorite laser gun and carve your name into it. Or lick a ration bar in front of everyone so no one tries to eat it. That kind of marking."
"But you said—"
She presses her head to Adora’s chest. "Come on Adora, don't be naive. I was lying! I knew what I was doing, even if I didn't get why I had to do it."
She can feel Adora breathe faster. Catra knows she isn't in heat but just being near Adora is driving her insane.
"And why'd you have to do it?" Adora asks.
Catra bites her. Adora flinches, arms raising like she's planning to shove Catra away only she doesn't. She lets Catra sink her teeth in a little harder and withdraw in her own time.
"Just...shut up," Catra says.
"Hey Adora," Catra says, twirling Adora's ponytail, "not so off limits now, are you?"
Adora blinks at her, eyes focusing on her slowly. Her sword is off to the side, infected with Entrapta's cursed gem. If they didn't leave, Adora's friends would probably find them but for now it was just her and Adora.
Carefully she tugs Adora's jacket aside, checking out her neck. As she suspected the bite mark healed again. Adora giggles. "Catra, did you get fuzzier?"
Catra frowns. "Oh right, you're extra dumb now."
Adora puts both hands on her head and ruffles her hair. "And you're extra shaggy."
"This is really killing my mood." She lets go of Adora's shirt and the fabric falls back into place. Adora scratches her behind the ear and her eyes fall shut. "You know I hate when you do that."
"That's because you're a stubborn dummy." Adora puts a finger to her lips and then giggles again. "I promise I won't tell anyone your weakness."
"Hmph." She leans into Adora's hand and lets the rest of her body relax. "I'll get you back for this later."
Adora is very badly singing a song that consists entirely of the word "fuzzy" and doesn't respond.
Adora's friends get there sooner than planned and break the piece of First One's tech that's screwing with Adora. The fight that breaks out once she's back to normal is welcome—she was starting to feel way too comfortable.
The next time they see each other Catra is hardly thinking about the First Ones’ tech they’re there to find. She leaves that to Entrapta and Scorpia. Instead she sneaks up on Adora and grabs her before she has time to transform.
"Catra?!" Adora yells. Catra's holding both of her arms back, mouth right by her ear.
"Hey Adora," she whispers. At this point Bow’s pointing an arrow at her so she uses Adora as a shield. "And hey third wheel. You can have your hero back once I'm done with her."
Bow moves in closer. "I'm not going to let you—"
Catra rolls her eyes and sinks her teeth into the junction of Adora's neck and shoulder, straight through her clothing. Adora yelps.
"Uh, do that," Bow says.
This time Adora actively pushes her away. Catra growls once before letting her go.
"What's the matter?" Catra asks, licking her teeth. "Feeling shy 'cause your friend is watching? You think I won't bite you where everyone can see?"
Bow takes aim again but Scorpia chooses this particular moment to get between them. Adora finally draws her sword, pointing it in Catra's direction, but not transforming.
"Go ahead Adora, I don't care. No matter how many times you heal I'll bite you all over again." She laughs. "Maybe I'll bite you while you're She-Ra too. Maybe if I do it hard enough it'll stay."
Adora's angry glare fades into annoyance. "You know you keep trying to kill me but the love bites feel like mixed signals."
"None of my signals are mixed, Adora. Just because I hate you, doesn't mean you don't belong to me."
She's been approaching steadily and is well within Adora's range now but Adora doesn't move. "What are you even talking about?"
"You know what I mean." She wraps her fingers around Adora's forearm, feeling the tension where she's holding her sword too tight. That same tension is running through her, it's always there around Adora now.
"I'm not sure I do." Catra's considers giving up and punching her but Adora adds, "I don't think it counts as hatred if you want me that much."
"Oh Adora, I wish I were half as simple as you are." There's an explosion somewhere behind them. Adora starts to turn but she grabs her face. "Ignore them."
Adora drops her sword and it sheathes itself in the dirt by Catra's feet. She takes Catra's face in her hands as well. Catra nearly jumps out of her skin.
"What are you doing?"
"Catra," she says softly. Catra is paralyzed, unsure what to do when she isn't going to hurt Adora. Adora is looking at her like she's the naive idiot.
Catra's throat hurts. "What?"
She wants to go back to fighting Adora instead of feeling whatever this is. Adora's face is right in front of hers, eyes soft and earnest like they aren't enemies in the middle of a fight. Her lips are so close to Catra's.
"Catra, I don't want to—"
A ball of magical energy hits Catra in the back of the head and they break apart. Catra relaxes.
"Great, it's the fourth wheel," Catra says, relieved.
"We're still going to talk about this!" Adora yells.
The next time she’s face-to-face with Adora she doesn’t realize anything is wrong. She's dodging her sword when that same fog comes over her. She hits the ground hard. It takes a while before she remembers her heat.
"Catra?" Adora lowers her sword.
"You've got to be kidding me!" Just being around Adora with her smell was making her shake.
She starts at the hand on her shoulder. "Are you having your heat again?"
"What do you care if—" Catra freezes. She lifts her head slowly, voice going cold. "How do you know what my heat is?"
"What? No, I don't—what’s a heat?"
"Who told you?!"
Adora flinches. "Shadow—"
She grabs the front of her jacket. "Shadow Weaver told you?!"
"She wanted to make sure we didn't bond or anything!" Adora looks away. "I... was supposed to avoid you during your heat. I wasn't very good at following that order."
Catra starts to laugh and then keeps laughing until her ribs hurt. "Oh, that's rich! What'd she say? Tell me, what was her warning?"
"It doesn't matter."
"I don't care! Let me hear it!"
Adora’s shoulders sag. "She told me that if I let you bond with me she'd...get rid of you."
She laughs again. "Yeah? She’d just toss me aside?” She turns, using her hold on Adora’s coat to throw her to the ground. “Like a disobedient pet?!" she hisses.
"I wouldn’t have let her! And would you stop trying to fight me right now?!”
She rolls backwards, avoiding a slash from Catra's claws.
"You can stop fighting if you want,” Catra says. Adora puts her guard up before Catra can kick her in the head. “But I’m not going to.”
"Seriously Catra? You don't feel sick or anything?"
She kicks Adora in the back of the knee and she stumbles. "Shut up and stop going easy on me! I’m not your friend.”
She gets an arm around Adora's throat from behind and takes them both to the ground.
"You're so...freaking stubborn," Adora grunts, trying to pry herself out of Catra's hold. Catra's on her back now, Adora on top of her, legs wrapped around Adora's. Adora's sword is within reach but she doesn't go for it. "It's not the end of the world if you need my help with this!"
"Have you been getting dumber Adora? Of course it is!"
Adora huffs. “But it doesn’t matter, does it? That bite means we’re bonded doesn’t it?”
Catra squeezes tighter.
Catra is expecting a head-butt or an elbow but instead Adora relaxes in her arms.
Catra still has her in a chokehold and doesn't loosen up until it becomes clear that Adora isn't going to fight her way out. Adora takes a few deep breaths but doesn't try to escape.
"What are you doing Adora? What's your game?"
Adora lies still, both hands resting at her side.
"Alright, have it your way." Catra runs a hand down her chest. She waits for Adora to recoil or struggle again but there's nothing. She shivers but doesn't move. "Come on, what are you even doing?"
Once again there's no answer and this time Catra gropes her through her shirt, startling a surprised, needy noise from Adora. Catra's mouth goes dry.
Her hand trembles as she slides it carefully under the fabric of Adora's shirt and they both gasp at the sudden skin to skin contact.
"A-Adora," she says warily. Adora turns as best she can. She's got that same vulnerability about her, that same openness and eagerness that made Catra want her the first time. "I don't want—I don't want a favor from you so if you're doing this because you feel guilty or something I'll rip your fucking head off."
Adora manages a small smile. "As if. You're way too horny to do that."
"I'll do it later," Catra snaps, hand slipping higher. "I don't want your pity."
"Good news then, you don't have it." She takes a deep breath. “Just because you hate me doesn’t mean I don’t belong to you, right?”
Adora's craning to look at her and it's too much. The tenderness and the way she can feel Adora's heart pounding. "This is your fault," she says quietly.
"Oh, come on! How is this my fault!"
"Because it doesn't happen around anyone else!"
Adora sputters and goes quiet. Sensing that she's made another mistake Catra shoves a hand into her pants before either of them can think too much. "Fuck! Catra, Catra, claws!"
"I know I've got claws!" She gives Adora a rub through her panties and Adora jerks. "You think I don't get off?"
Adora starts to respond but it ends in a hitched breath.
She drags her fingers back carefully—it’s tough when she can't see what she's doing, but Adora's legs are spread and her hips are lifting closer. She drags her fingers upwards, pressing down and hoping she's anywhere near her clit. Adora makes that noise again, breath coming in faster. Catra really wants to make fun of her but the smell of her going slick under her fingers is occupying most of her thoughts.
One of Adora's hands finds its way to Catra's hair but Catra can't bother doing anything about it. Her other hand is squeezing Catra's thigh. Adora's getting wetter under her attention and when she touches them, her nipples have gone tight. Adora's skin is so hot that even with Catra's fever they're the same temperature. Catra wants to touch all of her, and skims her nails over her flank and then her ribs gently. If Hordack himself showed up she wouldn't be able to stop.
She bites at Adora's ear and Adora moans quietly. She's down right shaking in Catra's hold, hands going tight. Catra doesn't remember letting go of her legs but her thighs close around Catra's hand and her body goes taut. For a while Catra is just frozen, mind as empty as Adora's, just listening to her gasp.
"Take these off already," Catra says, once Adora has finally gone still.
"Seriously?" Adora says, voice breathy.
"I'm not done with you."
Adora makes an annoyed sound but complies, kicking off her boots and pants. She pauses when she's got her hands on her underwear.
"You think I've never seen you naked before?"
Adora flushes. "Excuse me for feeling exposed when I'm supposed to take off my underwear out in the open."
"I'm pretty sure the only ones watching are me and some squirrels." She kicks Adora in the thigh. "Take them off."
"Jerk." Adora tugs them down and then stands there looking vaguely uncomfortable. "Okay, now wha—"
Catra grabs her and hauls her down. She lands on Catra's chest and Catra scoots down until she's right under her.
"Fuck," Adora whispers. Catra grabs her thighs and pulls her onto her mouth. "Fuck!"
Catra hums her agreement as she licks her. She's already so slick from her fingers and from coming once. Adora is swearing up a storm, alternating between trying to slip away like it's too much and pressing herself harder into Catra's tongue. Catra closes her eyes and obliges her easily. Adora's hand is back in her hair and she's shaking like she might topple over at any moment. Catra's never wanted anything more than she wants to make Adora come again.
"Damn it," Catra says, trying to catch her breath, "why does it have to be you?"
"C-Catra," Adora says, rolling herself into Catra's face. Catra holds her hips down and sucks at her again. Adora says her name and then just keeps going. A litany of Catra and curses like a prayer from her mouth.
"Catra!" she yells one last time. She throbs and shakes under Catra's tongue as she comes. Catra isn't even thinking about making fun of her.
"Do you want me to..." Adora says slightly later, pants back on. She doesn't finish her sentence but gestures at Catra's crotch.
Catra thinks about it for a moment. "Nah. I'm good."
"That was enough for your heat then?"
"Think I just needed..." Catra holds her tongue. She almost said she needed to know her mate was hers. "Anyway I bet you'd be terrible at it."
"I was paying attention! I can figure it out."
"Next time then. You'll have to prove it."
"...yeah. Next time."
Adora starts to get up but Catra yanks her down, folding in behind her. She realizes now that she'd been so caught up in getting her off that she'd forgotten to bite her again. She sweeps Adora's ponytail to the side and tugs at her shirt.
The last bite is still there.
"Well, well. What have we here?"
"I haven't had a chance to transform since I saw you," Adora says. "So it's been healing naturally."
"Oh yeah?" She licks at the bite mark. The sutures are rough on her tongue but seeing the scarring makes something warm settle into her stomach. "Destiny far beyond mine, my furry ass."
Catra wraps her arms around Adora and pulls her body closer again. "Nothing really. Just thinking about ruining your life and your destiny and stuff by fucking you."
She feels Adora go hot. "I don't know if I have a destiny. Or if sex with you is enough to disrupt it."
"Might be." Catra grins. "If I drag you back to the Fright Zone and keep you around to do this all day."
"T-that's. Aren't you supposed to be taking over the world or something? Sounds like it'd screw with your destiny too."
"Fine. After I take over the world I'm keeping you as my sex slave. Happy?"
Adora makes a very small noise of disagreement.
"You're totally into that."
"I am not! At least not the evil taking over the world stuff." Her face is very red. "If you weren't so evil I might not mind the rest. That much."
Catra's own face heats up. She's very glad Adora can't see it. "Shit. Why didn't you say that when you were trying to get me to leave the Fright Zone?"
"Well, I'm saying it now." She leans back tentatively. "Come with me to Bright Moon."
Catra stamps down the warm rush of optimism that threatens to overtake her. "Why don't you come back to the Fright Zone?"
"Because I can't condone what The Horde does."
"And I can't stand a bunch of high and mighty princesses with their destinies and their magical powers telling me what to do."
Adora goes stiff and sits up straight again. "Oh."
"I'm not a different person just because I want to fuck you sometimes. This doesn't change anything Adora."
"Honestly, I was kind of hoping it would," Adora says. Catra bristles. "Not like that. You're the manipulative one."
"I knew that."
"Then the next time we see each other are we fighting again?"
"Of course we are. But." Catra presses her face to Adora's shoulder, muffling her voice there. "Don't get me wrong, I still hate you. And you're a traitor. But...."
Adora waits for a while for her continue. When she doesn’t Adora turns, throwing her arms around Catra's neck. Catra is expecting an attack not for Adora's lips to crash into hers. Immediately she grabs Adora, her jacket, her shoulders, anywhere she can hold, and drags her closer until Adora is basically in her lap.
The kissing is messy and she probably shouldn't bite Adora so hard but she's reluctant to stop.
"Hey," Adora says, "you know if a certain evil Horde minion lays low for a few weeks I can probably get this thing to heal normally."
Catra smiles slowly. "Are you offering to lay off being a hero for me?"
"No. Just the She-Ra stuff. If you try anything I swear I'll still transform and stop you but..." Adora coughs. "If you don't then. Yeah, I guess."
Catra laughs. "You're so bad at being a good guy."
"I am not." Adora's face lights up. "Oh! When She-Ra and the rest of the princesses defeat The Horde you're coming back to Bright Moon and you're joining the Best Friend Squad."
"Woah, when you what I'm joining the what?"
"When we win. Me, Glimmer, and Bow make up the Best Friend Squad."
"That's a terrible name."
"Too bad." Adora puffs out her chest. "Once the original Best Friend Squad has kicked all the evil out of you you'll have no choice."
"Like hell!" She knocks Adora over, bearing down on her. "Once me and The Horde take over you're coming back to the Fright Zone and I'm keeping you as a pet."
Adora grins back at her. "You can try. I'll have Bow make you a best friend sweater in the meantime. You'll hate it."
Catra kisses her until they both start to run out of breath and Adora has to pull her away. "Maybe I'll get you a collar," Catra pants. "That'd be kind of cute."
"Ew," Adora says.
"What? It's less permanent than a bite; it's just a lot more embarrassing." She strokes Adora's neck, savoring the memory of her teeth on Adora's skin.
"We're also getting you a therapist."
"It's a Bright Moon thing. It's like a doctor for your brain."
"A what for your brain? Actually, fine. Whatever. It's not like you'll win."
Adora's hand covers hers, both of them resting on her neck. "I've got a magic sword. I think I can handle one mean cat."
"As if." Catra moves their hands and kisses her neck. "But until then..."
"Yeah." Adora nods frantically and pulls Catra's mouth back to hers. "You can hate me until then."
She smiles against Adora's mouth. "Oh I will."