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You Left Your Knife In My Back (So Why Are We Both Bleeding?)

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It had taken her months to even get a clue of where Catra was, and another month finding her.

Things had been… eventful to say the least, ever since Glimmer had returned home to them, unharmed, accompanied by a wounded Hordak, the first surprise was not that though, the first surprise was seeing Glimmer teleport to be in front of the often vanishing newest prisoner: Catra, or, well, “Catra”, and giving her a punch to the face that sent her flying back and forced her, well, them to reveal themselves as their troublesome spy who complained about the roughness inflicted on them.

The short conversation that followed left everyone speechless, overall after Glimmer’s two declarations:

-       Catra and Hordak were to be seen as allies until the end of the war with Prime and were not to be harmed in any way or form.

-       There was a way to get Angella back

For the next weeks, things were chaotic, in between Glimmer being back, the news of Micah’s return finally reaching the queen, the hope of seeing Angella back, all guards trying to keep Shadow Weaver confined, everyone paranoid about DT and clones literally knocking at the palace’s door, all of them defectors that introduced themselves saying their names were as strange as “One eye”, “Scarface”, “Nonose”, “Swifter”, “Kyle II” or “Batface” (given by either Catra or Glimmer it seemed).

When Prime began to send his own army to attack it was not only the princesses and Adora who were fighting, it was the Horde under a recovering Hordak’s command, the defectors of both sides and the people of the Crimson Waste under…Catra’s command.

They won the battle and prepared for the war, but while they healed and gathered resources, Adora got away from the army to find answers. No, she did so for other reasons; to find her former friend and finally have a face-off. To confront her once and for all.

Arriving to the Crimson Waste was still a pain on the neck and finding Catra had never been harder, but she did either way… with a lot of help from Glimmer, of course, which kind of hurt, because before it was her who always found Catra, no matter where the feline was hiding.

The queen had the good sense to leave them alone once Adora saw Catra inside that ugly cave, leaving Adora to approach the magicat, which she did with determination, her hands clenching tighter at each step. The younger girl was curled up in front of a sloppy campfire, her ears twitched when Adora came nearer.

The last of the First Ones stopped and waited, teeth clenched and half wincing while she expected fully to hear Catra’s usual greeting, but it never came.

“Catra.” She called, it sounded like a hammer blow and Catra’s ears lowered immediately.

A long moment went by before a reply came:

“o away…”

It shouldn’t have moved her, she should have known better after all this time, she should have learned to act better, be better, but Adora’s anger flared and she stomped her way towards the feline.

“Oh, NOW you want me to go away?! Because months ago you wanted to drag me down with you. Now you THINK you get to decide what happens next?! You nearly destroyed the world!! YOU-YOU are RESPONSIBLE for the Queen’s disappearance, it was YOUR fault that Glimmer suffered as much as she has. You made a choice and you hurt SO many people. You’re the worst!” She yelled, growing quieter with each word. “Y-you’re mean and just cruel . You’re-” She stopped trying to prevent herself from talking any more but the words were there, the accusations were there, as they had been ever since Light Hope had made her notice them. “You’re a monster… You’re just like her …”

The worse accusation she could ever make was out, it burnt her lips and her tongue but it was out, it felt like a weight removed from her back, she stepped closer to the magicat, noticing how Catra had not moved from her position, in her anger she wanted to make Catra stand up, make her face her and face what she had done.

She should know better, she should BE better, and Adora knew that, but right now all she could think about was about how angry she had been… how much it had hurt to be forced to fight her best friend once and over, and over, and how ALL that Catra had to do back then was say “yes”, to just join her in the rebellion, and instead the feline had decided to stay, to fight her, to fight everyone.

Adora frowned and reached to her enemy but stopped before she could even touch her, noticing how the brunette girl was shaking with each breath, how her tail had wrapped itself around her, how soft sobs escaped her form.

Catra was… crying

“Catra.”

“I know!  I know okay! I-I know what I am, just stop- ” There was a hiccup that made the magicat whimper and try to recover her normal breathing. “Just stop…”

She curled up more in her spot, her body trembling as she tried to bite back her sobs. The idea of Catra crying was, how did Bow’s dads say? Propotemus? Proposterous?

Either way, just to think of Catra crying, of her being weak was… Stupid

Illogic

Not right

Simply not right

But

She was

The greatest villain of Etheria was…

No.

The image that came to Adora right away was not of that female armed with a stun baton taking down Salineas.

Or that villain that opened the portal that took Angella away.

This was…. This was not that villain dressed in red and black, this was…

This was Catra.

“I-I didn’t treat them like she did to me. I tried to be different.” The feline muttered, it was a quiet and scared sounding whisper.  “I tried… to not to be like her.”

The image of a little fluffy and disheveled kitten came to Adora’s mind, a kitten trying to hide behind the taller child whenever the looming shadow passed near them, one that tried hard to hide her sobs and tears every day and every night despite how much her bruises, welts and scraps seemed to hurt, one that worried Adora constantly whenever she wasn’t in their bunk because that meant that she was in trouble, or in pain somewhere else, one that mewled quietly to herself whenever she couldn’t find Adora and purred while pressed against the golden cadet, happy to have her near when it was time for lights out. One that wanted to play almost all the time, and that would pounce Adora in order to get her attention, never once hurting her, ready to use her small claws on anyone that even dared to see Adora the wrong way.

Her kitten

The kitten she promised once and over she’d protect and keep safe, and failed so many times that she had to stop trying and focus on becoming strong enough to change the world to do something to guarantee a better place for her, for both of them... and then she failed at that too.

Back then, it was not completely her fault, but this was.

Her kitten, her friend, her bunkmate was crying, and it was her fault.

Adora’s reaction was immediate, she reached out to the other girl and wrapped her arms around her, holding her securely against her, one hand stroking her ears as she whispered soft reassurances against her fur.

“No, you’re not, you’re not like her, that’s a lie, I lied, you’re not like her.”

‘You’re not a bad kitten. You’re not bad. You’re not unloved.’

Bad

Useless

Idiotic

Waste

Insolent

Unlovable

Worthless

The worst

A monster

Shadow Weaver always, always referred to Catra by those names.

And here Adora was doing the same. No matter what Catra might have done, no matter what she had to be punished for, after a life in the Horde, after that life, she didn’t deserve to hear those words directed at her again.

Not now, not ever.

“I’m … I’m not…” Catra whispered against Adora’s shoulder, but her words lacked conviction, as if by herself she couldn’t be sure of who she was or what she was and was in danger of accepting everything that Shadow Weaver had once said about her.

“No, you’re not.” Adora affirmed firmly, making her look up at her. “You never were.”

 ‘I’m sorry it took me so long to see it’