As far as jobs went, working at this shitty petrol station in the asscrack of nowhere wasn’t actually the worst gig Catra had ever found. She needed the money, and since jobs were so difficult to come by, it was work the night shifts selling M&Ms to crackheads at 2 in the morning or starve.
The place wasn’t really that bad. It was clean for the most part, and the stock wasn’t expired. The owner was really nice but never there, and the only other worker besides Catra was a big, buff woman named Scorpia. She was the owner’s niece or something, and she worked whenever she could, barely even taking days off. Catra didn’t envy her, and she certainly didn’t even think about following her example, either.
She went to work, did her thing, went home. Rinse and repeat.
This night was supposed to be just like all the others. At 9PM Catra arrived to relieve Scorpia, and she endured a tight hug after Scorpia rounded the counter to greet her.
“Catra!” she exclaimed. “I’m so happy to see you.”
“Dude, we work together almost everyday. How can you always be so happy to see me?”
Scorpia released Catra from her muscular arms and grinned down at her. “I just adore you, is all. Are you ready for another night shift? You sure you don’t want me to stay? I can totally stay! We can play card games and race flies again or something.”
Catra gave her a deadpan look. “No. You’ll drop.”
Scorpia’s look turned sly. “Catra, do you care about my well-being?”
Flushing, Catra rolled her eyes and shoved Scorpia out of her way. “Just get lost already. You’re giving me a headache.”
Scorpia knew her well enough by now to know that the attitude was only her way of reacting to affection that made her uncomfortable. Catra knew that she acted like an entire asshole most of the time, and that meant that she had no friends. But one night, when one of her biting insults had genuinely hurt Scorpia, they’d had a heartfelt conversation. Catra had begrudgingly apologized, and from there on it was like Scorpia thought she knew how her mind worked.
She didn’t, of course. She was just good at letting the insults bounce off of her, since she knew they weren’t meant to stab. Just, pinch a little. Catra could be pretty prickly sometimes.
She went to stash her bag in the staff room at her little shelf and dug around for her name badge. Scorpia was done gathering her things by the time Catra made it back out front, and she hesitated by the door.
“Catra, are you sure—”
Catra sighed. “I’m sure. Now go home and sleep.”
Scorpia gave her one last enthusiastic wave, then she was out. Catra listened to the sound of her bike kicking to life, watched her slip her leather jacket and helmet on, and then she sped out. If Scorpia wasn’t so awkward and didn’t babble so much—and maybe opened up a little less—she would have been such a badass. She already had the looks, the muscle and the stature, she was just too soft hearted. Catra had seen her step on a snail once and cry the entire day. The only way she forgave herself was when they had a tiny funeral for it behind the building. It was ridiculous.
But then, Catra guessed she kinda liked her. She wouldn’t call them friends—wouldn’t admit it—but she didn’t mind Scorpia so much. It was a little bizarre to have someone in her life that imposed so much as she did and basically gave Catra absolutely no choice whether they were friends or not. It didn’t matter if Catra was feeling insecure and like she didn’t deserve the friendship, they were friends anyway.
“Friends,” she muttered under her breath, disgusted, but her cheeks warmed.
Among the many things she was trying her best to work on, her rotten attitude was one of them. Scorpia didn’t deserve so much ire, and Catra also needed to have a genuine conversation with her about personal space and how sometimes too much really was too much.
And so, the rest of the evening carried on as usual. Catra went out when someone needed help pouring petrol, she rang the few customers up and answered a handful of extremely dumb questions. This petrol station was on the Fright highway, an hour from Brightmoon City and twenty minutes from the small town where Catra lived. Usually so far out, it was only the travellers and shady characters that visited the petrol station. Catra was pretty sure that drug deals occasionally happened across the road, but she wasn’t going to say anything about it.
After 11PM Catra was left entirely alone with her thoughts and the gang of flies that fought to death with the nearby window. Come morning they would all have lost, and Scorpia would mutter condolences to them as she swept them away.
“Fallen Comrades,” she would say, a tear glistening in her eye.
Sometimes Catra wondered if Scorpia was actually fucking with her. Like really just trying to be so fucking weird until she got some sort of reaction. It was either that, or she was just the purest person on the entire planet.
At 11:23, two men walked into the store. The bell above the door jingled loudly, drawing Catra’s attention from her phone. The men didn’t look her way and went to the back of the store to the fridges, so she decided to ignore them. She got so absorbed in the thread she was reading about a fascinating sewing pattern that she didn’t realize that the two men were hurriedly whispering to each other, or that they were shooting her looks and definitely not shopping.
At 11:30, the door opened again, bell jingling, the glass of the door rattling loudly when the door slammed shut. The noise was enough to startle her, but she only glanced up with a frown. A nervous feeling settled in her stomach.
The new arrival was dressed in overall pants that looked a little burnt and very dirty, and boots that thudded heavily as they walked over to the fridges as well. They had a hoodie on, the hood thrown over their face.
The new customer grabbed a few bottles of water and then walked over to the counter. They set the bottles down, nearly knocking them over, and Catra saw that their hands were shaking badly. They glanced up and their eyes met for a brief moment, and Catra was struck dumb by the most beautiful blue eyes she had ever seen. They were a little strange, though, but she couldn’t look into them long enough to decide why.
She assumed this was a woman, and her suspicion was correct when the woman removed her hood to gather her long blonde hair into a bun at the base of her neck, and then pulled her hood up again. It was almost like she didn’t want to be seen. Catra was also struck extra dumb by how stupidly hot she was. Her jawline, the soft eyes, the soft looking lips, the—okay, so she was attractive.
Catra swallowed and rang the bottles up. She noticed the woman was overly nervous, and that made her nervous. She was about to rattle off the total when the woman went rigid and the strangest expression washed over her face. Where seconds ago she had seemed nervous, now she looked almost vividly furious. Her nose wrinkled and her lips pulled back over teeth that were way too sharp, and Catra felt a tiny spark of fear—and maybe a little arousal—at the complete change.
She finally noticed the two men from earlier right behind this strange woman, and when they noticed Catra staring they shared a look, and then one pulled a gun from his pocket.
Catra quickly lifted her hands.
“Give me all your money,” the man demanded.
Catra narrowed her eyes at him. “I can’t.”
He stepped closer, the gun tight in his grip. He had his finger over the trigger. “Like fuck you can’t, bitch. Open the fucking till and give me all your money.”
Catra’s heart felt like it would rip right out of her chest. She had experienced some bad things in her life, but being at the end of a gun wasn’t one of them. She considered her life for the briefest second, wondered who would even care—besides Scorpia—if she were to die tonight. Would she have a funeral? Who would even go? Who would think of her years from now and reminisce about who she was, what she did?
The answer made tears press at her eyes. No one.
“I really can’t,” she repeated, her words choked on fear. “I can’t open the till manually.”
The man with the gun grew frustrated and he was clearly nervous as well. As all of this happened, the strange woman stood almost unnaturally still. Her head was slightly tilted, so Catra couldn’t see her face, and it was like she was waiting for something.
“Well I don’t fucking care!” the man yelled. “If you don’t want to fucking die, figure something out!”
Catra swallowed. “Okay! Fuck, man. I can give you all the money in my wallet. It isn’t much.”
“Hand it over.”
She carefully lowered her hand to grab the wallet from her pocket and then set it down on the counter. She stepped back when the man went to grab for it, her mind racing with thoughts on what to do—if she could even fucking do anything at this point.
The second man had a gun as well, this one pointed right at the other woman. He was darting nervous looks outside, but so far out, the police wouldn’t reach them for a while. Probably wouldn’t even come, in Catra’s experience. She’d had a few cases of break ins when they were closed, and some of theft while she was on duty. Most times she just let the kid off with a bruised lip and a stern warning.
As the first man reached for the wallet, the woman suddenly twisted around and grabbed his hand. She twisted it in one fluid motion, sending the gun flying through the air. When it hit the ground, a shot rang off and Catra thought it had fired from the drop. She realized with horror that it was the second man that had pulled the trigger, and the woman had been hit. She didn’t even seem to notice, though.
“What the fuck?” the one holding the gun cried out.
The woman lifted the man in her grip clear off his feet and then tossed him through the front door and out into the parking lot. The second man started to quiver in fear, and he shot a few more times as the woman approached him, but the bullets hitting her didn’t seem to bother her at all. When she reached him, she tossed him too and then she stood there, blood pooling at her feet.
Without thinking, Catra scrambled around the counter and went to the woman’s side. A voice in her head told her to turn tail and run, but another voice said something else entirely.
“Hey! Are you okay? He shot you, like, tons of times!”
The woman turned to her, and Catra saw sweat dotting along her skin. Her eyes widened slightly and she looked down. There were several holes in her torso, all leaking blood through her clothes. From the amount of blood, it was likely fatal.
“I’ll be fine,” the woman told her. Her voice was strained, but still attractive. Catra couldn’t believe that she was still thinking about how hot this strange woman was considering the circumstances.
“You’ll be fine?” she yelled. “You were shot! A lot! How the hell are you still standing?”
The woman chuckled. Her breathing was growing very haggard, and she looked like she was finally starting to feel the pain. She dropped down onto one knee, catching herself with a hand on the floor. Her blood soaked over her long, pale fingers.
Catra heard a snap .
The woman grunted, eyes squeezing shut. When they opened again, they were glowing. Honest to god glowing. That wasn’t normal.
“I’m so sorry,” the woman panted. “I’ll be fine, I promise. Can you please bring my water and then I’ll be out of your hair?”
Catra stared at her, incredulous. “What? Are you fucking nuts? I need to call an ambulance! We need to stop the bleeding before it kills you.”
The woman shook her head. “No, I’m fine. Just, the water, please.”
Catra wanted to argue again, but then she heard another snap and it looked like this woman was struggling to stay on her knee. The blood at least stopped, but there was still so much of it.
Heart thudding with adrenalin, she went to the counter to grab the bottles of water. The woman took them all in one hand and then shakily pushed up onto her feet. She was several inches taller and Catra’s eyes widened. How hadn’t she noticed this woman’s pure muscle and stature? She was huge!
The woman started to limp towards the door. Catra gaped at her.
“Are you just going to walk out of here?”
The woman paused by the shattered doorway. Her hand closed around the frame, where jagged strips of glass pointed outwards. She turned to look at Catra with a sardonic grin.
“I said I’ll be fine.”
Catra glared. “At least tell me your name, so that when I read about your dumb ass in a ditch I’ll know it’s you.”
The woman sighed and for a second Catra thought she would ignore her and just leave. There was another strange snap, like a thick branch breaking in two, and the woman groaned in pain. She almost fell over, but kept her balance and then exhaled shakily. She was sweating so profusely that it was dripping from her chin, and she was so hot that there was steam rising from her body.
“Adora,” she finally choked out. “My name is Adora.”
And with that, Adora disappeared into the darkness of night.
The pain was all Adora could feel. It was fire and death in her bones, and it was all consuming. She knew heading to that petrol station had been a huge risk, and it had been incredibly stupid of her. She put all of those people at risk, herself included, but she needed that water.
She felt bad for leaving Catra—if her name badge was correct—alone with such a mess and a story that was difficult to believe, but there was nothing more she could do. She even left her car in the parking lot and just ran.
She had a small cabin ten minutes from there, nestled deep in the forest and away from people and eyes. Once a month, this was her home for the night. Once a month when the moon was full.
Adora’s bones continued to snap and twist as her body started to change, and many times she howled in pain and collapsed, writhing on the ground. The only reason she managed to make it to her cabin at all was her sheer terror that she would change outside of her chains and hurt someone. She had been resisting the change since 6PM, but at 12 she would be completely powerless.
Drenched in her blood and sweat, Adora tumbled into her cabin and rushed to the basement. She had a secret room built underneath, reinforced and sound proofed. Once she was down there, no one would know it. She locked herself in and then ripped her clothes off just as the bones in her left leg snapped so hard she screamed. Her bottles of water scattered on the ground, one breaking open.
She grunted, tears spilling from her eyes, and dragged herself over to the chains. It took longer than usual, and her fingers were raw and stained from blood, but she managed to chain herself in. She didn’t even have time to drink—should have at least tried to.
Adora finally stopped holding back, and the shift slammed into her like she was falling from a building and hitting the pavement over and over and over. She screamed in pure agony, her body twisting, steam lifting from her body from the heat pouring out of her.
At 12:01, Adora howled for the moon and tore at the concrete at her feet with sharp, deadly claws. She snarled and whimpered and tried everything she could get out, but she couldn’t.
At 06:01 that morning, Adora woke up, naked on the cold floor. Her body ached. It always did, but she knew this feeling well.
She almost had no strength at all, and wondered how her heart still kept going after all this. She stayed there for an hour before she could even move a finger, then she reached out for one of the bottles that was in her reach, and shakily drained the whole thing.
Rehydrating helped a lot. Adora recovered slowly, and when she was strong enough she pulled the chains off and went upstairs. She showered, ate quietly in her mostly unused kitchenette, and then cleaned up and left.
One more full moon endured. In roughly one month, she would experience this again. And again. And again, and so it had been, and always would be.
Rinse and repeat.
Catra had to put this on her list of Traumatizing Events in Catra’s Life. It wasn’t on the very top, not quite, but it was certainly up there.
After Adora left, Catra called the police. The two men from earlier fled the scene, but she felt too frightened to stay there alone and she was convinced Adora would collapse somewhere nearby.
There was no way someone could survive several fucking gunshot wounds, bleed that much and just, be fine. How could someone even promise something like that?
Catra thought of Adora’s endlessly blue eyes and her chest clenched hard. She could admit that she was worried, which was stupid. She didn’t even know Adora.
When the police arrived, they took down her recounting of the events. When she told them about Adora, they didn’t believe her.
“Well, do you have security footage?” the man asked.
Catra tugged at her long hair. It was all tangled and out of sorts from running her hand through it all night. “No, owner is too cheap.”
The officer lifted a brow. “Right, so no footage to prove that this superhero exists.”
“Like I said, she’s not some fucking superhero. Maybe she was on drugs or something. You need to go and look for her in case she collapsed nearby.”
The officer nodded and gave her a pitying look. “I understand, ma’am, it’s been a rough night. I’m not doubting that something terrible happened here. Sometimes our brain convinces us that things happened that didn’t, to protect us.”
Catra rolled her eyes. “Oh, so you’re suddenly a psychologist now, not a cop?”
His lips pressed together in a firm line. “Thank you for reporting this. We’ve been tracking two men that have been hitting stores out in secluded places like this. Sounds like they’re our guys. If you see them again, give us a call.” He gave his card to her.
Catra watched them, incredulous, as they got into their cruiser and left. The red and blue lights flashed over the only other car in the lot, and she blinked, realizing that it might be Adora’s. Didn’t the cops even care about whose car that was?
No wonder they hadn’t caught those others guys yet, they were fucking inept.
So, Catra hung a ‘ we’re closed’ sign on the window next to the broken door, left the owner a voicemail because he never picked up when she called so late, and then started cleaning the blood. Catra wasn’t a stranger to having to clean up blood, but this was... it was so much . It stank the whole place up, and before long her stomach was heaving. She had to use her shirt tied around her lower face just to keep the smell out.
By the time Catra cleared up all the blood and glass the best she could, it was already morning. She knew this, because Scorpia gasped in shock in the doorway and Catra straightened, wincing. Her muscles ached.
“Oh my god, what happened?”
Scorpia rushed to her side and grabbed her face in gentle, warm hands. Catra didn’t even have the energy to tell her to back off. She just sank into Scorpia’s arms and let out a massive sigh.
“It’s been a fucking night,” she mumbled. Scorpia was shaking.
“Are you okay? Did they hurt you?”
“Why do I smell blood?” She froze. “Catra, is that bucket full of blood?”
Catra pulled away from her. “I’m fine, Scorpia. It’s not my blood.”
“We need to call the police!” Scorpia shot to her feet to rush to the counter, but Catra grabbed her hand and she stopped.
“Already did. Two guys seem to hit places like this. Things went south last night, one guy accidentally shot the other.”
Scorpia exhaled shakily. “Catra, you need to go home. Hell, you need to take the whole week off.”
For once, Catra completely agreed with her. “Yeah, I think that’s a good idea.” She could barely walk, and wordlessly accepted Scorpia’s arm as she was helped to the staff room. She collected her things and set her badge down, noticing a small smidge of blood on its edge.
Her stomach tightened.
“Please text me when you get home safely,” Scorpia told her. “And if you need me to come over, call me. I’ll drop everything, I promise.”
Catra felt a wave of gratitude wash over her. Tears suddenly pushed up against her eyes, but she ignored them and used every bit of strength to resist crying. Somehow, Scorpia seemed to sense the tiny thread she was on. She was pulled into a soft hug, and Catra just burrowed into it. For how annoying she could be, Scorpia was made for hugs.
“Thank you,” Catra mumbled against her shoulder.
Scorpia pressed a kiss to her temple. “That’s what friends are for. Do you need anything before you go, anything at all? I can drive you home.”
Catra pulled away from her arms and shook her head. “Nah, I’m fine. Will you handle the place for a week?”
Scorpia waved her hand. “Don’t worry, we’ll sort it out.”
Catra nodded. She turned and went over to the bike rack, but froze. The car that she vividly remembered being parked right there, the one that must have been Adora’s, was gone.
The first bit of doubt settled in. Catra decided she wasn’t going to even think about it for a while, and just hopped on her bicycle to head home.
The ride there was filled with anxiety, and she couldn’t help but glance over her shoulder every so often.
Adora stayed in a tiny flat in a building of many others, so it wasn’t really ideal for her to chain up there when she turned. She wasn’t exactly quiet when she turned, and she would definitely kill someone if she was allowed to roam free. She had no control over the wolf, and she barely remembered anything in the morning. Sometimes she got snippets of memories, but they were more like haunting nightmares and she preferred to never get them.
Unfortunately, this was just her life.
She had the flat, but she actually spent all of her time at the station. It was just ideal, since she spent every second she could helping people. Thanks to the werewolf curse, Adora’s physical abilities were insane. She could lift a car over her head, rip metal clean in half with her bare hands and she healed very quickly. Her senses were heightened as well, which made her the perfect person to barrel into accidents and fires, since she had no regard for her own well-being.
This was her punishment, her atonement.
After such a messy turning, Adora needed to recharge. She hit the nearest café that served the best greasy food and ordered several meals. The waitress seemed baffled every time she asked for something new, and other customers were shooting her shocked looks. She didn’t really have the energy to try and defend herself.
Yesterday had been a very close call. Adora had been caught up with work and she had lost track of time. That was extremely dangerous on the day of the full moon. She had managed to hold back turning for as long as possible, but it was painful. Everything became much more intense as her body prepared for the shift, so it was difficult to focus on any one thing.
Adora thought of that poor woman at the shop, and she wondered if she was okay. Had she not been about to turn into a massive, bloodthirsty monster, she would have stayed until police arrived or even taken her home. She had been too ashamed to face her again, so she quickly snuck into her car and left.
So Adora was never going to visit that petrol station again. She just needed to make sure she was properly stocked up before the full moon, or just suffer.
The waitress brought Adora’s last order, a big plate of chocolate chip pancakes drizzled with syrup and cream. Her stomach somehow still felt empty, but she was reaching her limit.
“Here ya go,” the woman said.
Adora gave her a polite smile. “Thank you.”
She didn’t leave right away, seemed to linger for something. Adora could almost sense it, so she set her fork down and sighed.
“I have a condition that needs me to eat a lot of food,” she answered. For effect she lifted her arm and flexed her large bicep. “I also have a lot of muscle.”
“Oh! I didn’t mean—”
“That’s okay, I could tell you were curious.” Adora gave her the sweetest smile she could. “Thank you for not asking even though you really wanted to.”
The waitress blushed as she left. Adora stared after her, then she turned to her pancakes and devoured them. When she was done she paid for her food, left a very generous tip for all the staff and headed over to the station.
She collapsed on her bunk the moment she could, feeling slightly better thanks to all the food but still drained. It would take a whole day of pure rest and solid sleep to recover completely, but then Adora knew she wouldn’t really. She let her eyes flutter closed and had her arm thrown over her eyes to block out the morning light.
It was quiet. Just as she realized that the others were likely out responding to a call, she shot up in bed and froze. Mara stood at the foot of her bed, an exasperated look on her face.
“You look like hell,” Mara told her.
Adora let out a breath. “Oh, you know, it’s that time of the month.”
Mara nodded and tentatively sat down on her bunk. There were dark circles under her eyes that Adora knew well, that were likely on her face as well. “You should go home for the day and rest.”
Adora put her feet on the floor. “No, what if you guys need me?”
Mara frowned. “Adora, you need to rest after last night.”
“I’m fine. I had a huge breakfast.”
“You need sleep, too.”
Adora let out an exasperated breath. “What about you? Last night probably wasn’t any better for you, so why are you here?”
Mara wound an arm around her shoulders and tugged her in for a hug. Adora let her and rested her head against Mara’s shoulder. Though Mara was her captain, she was also the closest thing Adora had to an actual mother. It also helped that she suffered from the curse, too. That was the only reason Adora got away with disappearing every full moon.
“I’m the captain,” Mara told her. “I come in so that you don’t have to. We can handle things here without you for a day. Please go home and rest.”
Adora wanted to just collapse on the bed and sleep for days, but there was an itch at the back of her mind that wouldn’t let her. She pulled away from Mara, from her warmth and support, and frowned.
“But what if there’s a fire too big? What if there’s a kid stuck on the top floor? What if someone dies because I wasn’t there to pull them out?”
The same argument. Mara glanced away, her expression darkening.
“Adora, you’re not superman. You put yourself in far too much danger.”
Adora’s fingers sank into the hard mattress beneath her. “Well, I deserve it.”
Another argument often had, and one that Mara knew wasn’t worth pursuing. “You don’t,” Mara muttered softly, more to herself than anything. “Both of us don’t deserve this.”
Mara glanced into her eyes, and Adora saw all of the years of pain and anguish that her mentor had endured, what she had yet to suffer. Mara was so strong and radiant, and she was so good at hiding her pain. Adora wanted to be like her, but she knew that was unlikely. She believed that Mara didn’t deserve this curse, but she did. She did .
“Get some sleep now,” Mara said. “Try and rest as much as you can until we need you again.”
Adora nodded. Mara started to walk away, but then they got a distress call. Bow’s team needed help. Adora’s ears perked as she listened to the call, and her heart dropped into her stomach.
“Captain, Glimmer and the others are stuck inside!” Bow yelled. “We can’t get in, a support beam collapsed and blocked the only entrance.”
Adora could hear the roar of fire. She was on her feet immediately. Mara didn’t even have time to tell her to sit back down, she was already shrugging her uniform on and making her way to their other vehicle. She didn’t bother putting on any of the protective gear. Mara hopped in beside her, clearly exasperated but just as anxious to get to the scene and save their people.
“We’ll heal,” Adora told her as she sped out in reverse. “We’ll be fine. They won’t.”
Mara sighed. “I hate that you’re right.”
When they got there, an entire building was on fire. There was a crowd of people gathered around the street, but their firefighters and other first responders were keeping them back. Bow was at an ambulance, an oxygen mask on his face and bandages wrapped around his chest. When he spotted her, his face flooded with relief. Adora went to him.
“Where is she?”
He pulled the mask away, his breaths wheezing past his dry lips. “Third floor. Where’s your gear?”
Adora gave his shoulder a squeeze. “I’m heading in, don’t worry.”
She didn’t even give herself time to think. Mara made a grab for her, but Adora was too quick. She raced across the grounds and burst through the front door, right into the flames. They licked at her skin, but it wasn’t the kind of pain that really bothered her.
The first flight of stairs was still intact, if a little burning. The soles of Adora’s boots started to melt underneath her, and on the second floor she had to take them off entirely. Her feet burned on the molten wood, but she didn’t let that stop her.
Distantly, she heard coughing and heartbeats underneath the roar of fire. The third flight of stairs had completely collapsed thanks to more support beams, so Adora took a leaping jump. She landed in a crouch, and then she went over to the beam pressed against the door.
“Glimmer!” she shouted.
A cough. “Adora?”
Her voice sounded weak. Adora had no idea how long they had been stuck there and how much smoke they had inhaled. She needed to do this quickly.
She surveyed the area for a moment. The beam was really thick and the entire thing was burning, but she could lift it. No, she had to lift it. She wrapped her arms around the beam, got her feet into position and then she lifted with a great roar of pain and effort. She tossed it to the ground the moment she could, and then she threw the door open. Flames exploded outwards, engulfing her once again. She had just enough time to shield her face.
Through the thick smoke, Adora spotted three bodies huddled underneath a table. Nearly the entire room was aflame and there was barely any air left to breathe. Glimmer’s eyes were read and pouring tears.
Adora surged forward. “I told you I’d always come to the rescue,” she coughed as she pulled Glimmer into her arms.
“How did you do that?” Glimmer choked against her ear. “You have no gear on!”
Adora gathered the two children at Glimmer’s side, and once she had them all she made for the door. She barely felt their weight, and Glimmer was clearly in too much pain to really notice. Halfway down her head lulled and their cheeks pressed together, and Adora just focused on every step, on not sending them hurtling to the ground. When she made it out of the building, medics rushed to take the three of them from her.
Bow was at Glimmer’s side as she was given an oxygen mask. Everyone was covered in ash and dark smudges. Mara grabbed her hand and pulled her away too quickly for anyone to see, and then she was shoved into their second truck.
“What were you thinking?” Mara snarled at her, eyes flashing a deep, angry gold.
Adora bristled. She coughed, but already her lungs were healing. All the hair that had burnt off was growing back rapidly, and in a few minutes the only proof that she’d been burned at all would be the holes in her clothes.
“I had no choice.”
Mara rubbed a hand over her face. “Adora, no one can know what you are. You can’t just race in there with no gear, no help. How are you going to explain how you got up there so quickly and carried them all down on your own?”
Adora thought about it, face scrunched in thought. “Uh, I work out?” Mara frowned deeper. “A lot?”
Mara let out an exasperated sigh. “I should fire you for this.”
Adora’s eyes widened. “What? Why? I just saved them!”
“By putting yourself at risk. And not just you personally, but others who are like us, too.”
The realization hit hard. Adora was being so selfish even in her quest to be selfless. She could be so narrow minded sometimes, and she felt her cheeks colour in shame. Mara was absolutely right. She should have stopped just for a moment, or at least tried to cover her tracks.
“I’ll cover you for this,” Mara told her softly. “But you need to promise me that you’ll try and be a little more careful.”
The shame was overwhelming, and Adora just wanted to cry. She was drained, exhausted, nearly broken. Her emotions were fragile, and luckily Mara knew that.
“I’m sorry, Captain. I acknowledge that I was a huge jackass today. I’ll go home and rest for the day. Just, please don’t fire me. I’m needed here. I—” need to feel like I deserve to be alive, and I want to help people to do that.
Mara nodded. “A full day’s rest, Adora.”
“Don’t you dare help people on the way home.”
“Got that too.”
“Or your neighbours.”
Adora pouted. “I hate that you know me so well.”
Once everything was sorted, everyone returned to the station. Glimmer had to spend a couple hours at the hospital and Bow was with her, so Adora could avoid their questions for the moment. The others at the station cheered for her, and they looked at her with so much awe. She was known as their wild card, their superhero.
Adora did not feel like a hero.
She went home and took the elevator up to her floor. No one needed any help, so it was an unproductive walk down the hallway to her door. She could distinctly hear the sound of people having sex nearby, and her ears burned hotly when she realized.
God, she hated her sensitive ears sometimes. She went into her flat, locked the door behind her and just collapsed right there on the floor, just a single step in.
It would be hours before she dragged herself to her bed and finally had an actual day of sleep.
Catra took the week off and did nothing but binge her favourite shows and eat tons of cereal. She tried not to think too hard on what had happened, but at night she kept having weird dreams about Adora. Strangely, not scary ones about the guns and the blood, but dreams where all she could see were Adora’s glowing blue eyes or the sharpness of her teeth.
At one point, Catra nervously typed in ‘ woman found dead adora near brightmoon’ but nothing came up. That didn’t really mean that she hadn’t died in a ditch somewhere, though, just that no one had posted anything about it.
She started to doubt herself a little. Was Adora real? Had all of that really happened? She hadn’t told Scorpia about it, and she decided that she wouldn’t talk about it to anyone else. As far as anyone else was concerned, Catra was saved because two idiot robbers didn’t know how to aim.
When she returned to work, she discovered that in her absence things had changed. There were now security cameras installed at every corner, proper bars over the windows, a gate by the new door and a panic button that would alert the nearest police when pressed.
Scorpia introduced her to their new employee, Kyle, who would be working shifts with her. They had also switched Catra to the day shift, and she was grateful for it. It was all still a little fresh, and she was just lucky that Scorpia was on her uncle’s ass so hard to be sensitive about it.
Catra got into the swing of things quickly, and two weeks after the incident she felt like she could probably put it behind her. The only thing that was still bothering her was the question of whether Adora was real or not. She knew what she had experienced, but the cop’s doubts from that night kept repeating in her head.
Catra was busy sweeping the floor since the store was empty, and Kyle was at the counter playing a game on his phone. He was a little stupid, but she kind of liked him. He wouldn’t shut up about his boyfriend, though, and some of the insults Catra hurled at him were just too sophisticated and all he did was blink in confusion.
She paused when she reached the spot where Adora had bent to one knee. Catra swallowed. Why did she care so much if this Adora person was real?
Because she saved my life and might have died doing it.
Ah, so it was guilt. Catra moved a display aside to sweep, and there was a little smudge of blood that she had missed. Seeing the blood made the whole night rush back at her, so she went to throw the broom in the staff room and shrugged her jacket on. Kyle glanced up at her as she left the store.
“I’m going out for a walk,” she told him.
“Okay, have fun! Stay safe, Catra!”
She stood at the roadside and stared both left and right. She had no way to know which way Adora had gone, but something told her to go left. She did, and that was when she looked into the forest. Without really knowing why, Catra headed into it. She took her time, stepping carefully over rocks and thick tree roots. She could easily get lost, but she didn’t care. A need was driving her.
She walked for what felt like forever until she finally happened upon a small, creepy looking cabin. Her pulse jumped when she saw the smears of blood over the patio and the wooden door. There was a handprint there, and it could only have been made by Adora.
Why had she come all the way here?
Nervous, Catra decided to go inside. She steeled herself to smell a rotting corpse, to open the door and see Adora’s lifeless body on the floor, but she didn’t. The place was actually clean. There was a small kitchenette and a tiny lounge area. In the far left corner there was a single bed pushed up against the wall, but it didn’t look slept in.
Catra knew she was trespassing and she just hoped that there weren’t cameras or anything. This cabin was really small, though. Not even good enough to visit for the weekend. It almost felt like a prison, which made her skin crawl.
She stepped over a mat and paused when the sound of wood turned to metal. She stared at the mat, at the stains of blood all over it. A shiver rocked down Catra’s spine.
She decided she would come back some other time. She left the cabin quickly and made it out. When she returned to the shop, Kyle was still playing the game. He didn’t even notice that she was back.
She felt anxious and confused, and she just wished she could see Adora again so that she could demand answers and maybe thank her.
Definitely thank her.
Catra sighed, grabbed the broom again and continued sweeping.
Thankfully, Glimmer was completely fine after the whole incident. She returned to work after just a few days, and everyone was happy to have her back. Adora couldn’t help but hug the hell out of her, careful not to use too much strength.
When the hugging and celebration was over, Glimmer took her hand and dragged her out of the station. They went around the corner to find Bow leaning against the wall, and Adora knew what this was about before they even said anything. She sighed.
“Can’t you just thank me and be fine with that?”
Glimmer went to Bow’s side. He glanced down at her.
“No, Adora,” Glimmer said. “We need to talk about this.”
“Glimmer’s right.” Bow put a hand on her shoulder and his palm was warm. “You keep putting yourself in danger for us, and we can’t seem to figure out how you do the things that you do.”
Adora rubbed the back of her neck. She had started out as a volunteer firefighter, then eventually she was hired full time. Once Mara discovered that she suffered from the curse too, they grew incredibly close and it was easy to beg her to let Adora join and be a full member, so that she could use her abilities to help those in need. Before that, Adora had been moonlighting as a vigilante. She lost count of how many times she had been shot or stabbed either in confusion by the victim, or by the assailants. She had almost been arrested once too, if not for how easy it was to snap handcuffs off.
“Look, guys, I appreciate that you’re so worried about me. I’m perfectly fine, though. I just... I’m very healthy, and I am pretty strong.”
Glimmer didn’t seem impressed. “Adora, I’m really grateful that you saved us. I might not be alive right now if you didn’t run in there. But... barefoot? No gear? How the heck did you move that beam on your own?”
Adora coughed into her hand. “It was luck. I shoved it a little and it fell away.”
“No way,” Bow disagreed. “We tried to move that thing, four of us. And we’re all pretty dang strong. It didn’t even budge.”
“And yet you moved it in seconds.”
Adora frowned at them. “I really don’t understand what you guys are going on about. Maybe it was just the adrenalin of the moment. That happens to people, right? You know, a woman’s baby is stuck in a burning car and she can suddenly lift that car in the air.”
Bow covered his face with a hand. “That doesn’t even make sense,” he sighed.
Glimmer gently took her hand. “We’re not trying to make you feel like we don’t appreciate what you do. We’ve saved so many people because of you. But we’re worried about you, Adora. You have no regard for your own life. You just storm into dangerous situations without worrying about yourself first.”
Adora gave her hand a squeeze. “Because saving people is more important! And besides, like I said, I’ll always be fine.”
At that, Glimmer turned her hand around to study her palm. She traced the lines of Adora’s fingers, frowning. “Not a single burn,” she said. “Or callus. Or mark. Or scar.”
Adora pulled her hand away. Anxiety started to flutter in her chest. She wanted to be angry with them, tell them that this was none of their business, but she knew that wasn’t fair to them. Mara really had been right. Adora was hurting those around her by being so eager to throw her life away for others.
But... she didn’t know what else to do to atone. It was now a habit that was so deeply ingrained in her that she noticed she was letting it trickle into her everyday life. She let people skip lines ahead of her. She let people step on her. She let people do whatever they wanted, so long as she was not a nuisance to them.
“I have a lot going on,” she finally admitted softly, not looking at them. “I... have this condition that affects me in every aspect of my life. I’ve had if for a few years now, and it... it’s ruining me. I deserve it.”
Their arms wrapped around her.
“Adora,” Bow started, “you’re the last person that deserves ruin.”
“Yeah, you’re our superhero.”
Adora sniffled softly. “You don’t understand, I really do deserve it. I did something I can never take back and this—” She cut herself off, aware she had already shared way too much. A huge part of her really wished she could just be honest with them, tell them what had happened in college, why she was like this, what her curse was. She wished she could share her pain, but she knew that would hurt them. There was no question that it would hurt them.
They were the closest thing she had to friends—would even call them her best friends—and she wouldn’t put them in danger.
“Can we please not talk about this anymore? It’s bringing up a lot of bad things for me, and I just don’t want to share it.”
There was a notable moment of thoughtful silence, one where Adora felt like the two of them were communicating. Eventually they nodded and hugged her one more time before pulling away.
“Of course,” Glimmer told her. “I’m sorry we interrogated you.”
Adora gave her a little smile. “I understand, I would have too.”
Any further conversation was halted by a call for a fire. They immediately rushed inside to pull their uniforms and gear on, and they slipped into serious mode as they piled into the truck.
Adora’s body started to tingle with excitement. Time to put herself to good use again. Hopefully she wouldn’t be mortally wounded—again—but then she couldn’t promise.
Adora was terrible at thinking of herself first.
“So how are you feeling, Wild Cat?”
Catra stuck her spoon in her mouth and savoured the frozen yogurt as it melted on her tongue. She waited after she’d swallowed before replying.
“I’m fine. Mostly over it.”
Scorpia hummed and finished her cup off. “You sure? I can always help you find a good therapist if you need one.”
Catra snorted on a surprised laugh. “Thanks, Scorpia. If I ever feel like there’s no other way, I’ll get your therapist’s number.”
Scorpia beamed at her. “Great! Man, I’m so glad my uncle let us off for today. I’ve always wanted to bring you here. The frozen yogurt is delicious.”
They were in Brightmoon for the day. At first Catra had rejected Scorpia’s offer to go out for the day. She knew it was just a friend’s thing—Scorpia wasn’t very subtle about anything—but then there was the offer of food, and Catra wasn’t one to say no to free food. She also loved sweets, and Scorpia was right, this yogurt really was damn good.
“Hey, my girlfriend lives in the city if you’d like us to sleep over,” Scorpia mentioned. “Heading back home feels kind of depressing.”
Catra grabbed Scorpia’s hand. “Wait, you have a girlfriend? ”
Scorpia went red in the face. “I—well, yeah! Oh gosh, this is so embarrassing. It’s really new, and she’s so great, and I really love her so much. I didn’t want to blabber on about her, you know? But really, she’s so great.” She let out a big, gay sigh. “I’m so lucky to have her.”
A little knot of jealousy settled in Catra’s stomach. She knew her face must have shown it by Scorpia’s sudden frown, but she forced herself to give her hand a squeeze and smiled.
“You know what? I’m super glad for you. You deserve it. All the love and disgustingly fluffy shit.”
Tears formed in Scorpia’s eyes. “Thanks, Catra.”
“I don’t think I’m up to third wheeling, though.”
“Oh, that’s alright. I can drive you home.”
“Actually, I’ll catch an uber. You head on over to your girlfriend.”
Before Scorpia could stop her, Catra was out of her seat and out the shop. She didn’t want her bitterness to seep out onto her face, which it would. Catra could be shit at hiding her emotions. Scorpia didn’t deserve to feel guilty that her happiness only made Catra hyper-aware of her loneliness. It wasn’t just that she was single, but she had no one.
No family. No friends. Just a clingy, too sweet co-worker. And maybe Kyle.
Catra shoved her hands into her jean pockets. Why did she have to feel so awful about this? Couldn’t she just get over it, accept the fact that she would be alone for likely the rest of her life?
There was a deep, intense longing deep inside of her. It made her angry, which made her want to lash out, but Catra was working on that. She didn’t get into physical fights anymore, which was a good thing. Since working at the petrol station and knowing Scorpia, Catra really was trying to become a better person. Not for anyone else but herself, of course. And for no other reason than she was tired of being a piece of shit and not giving a shit. Catra did give a shit. A whole huge shit.
She mulled this over with a deep frown as she continued to aimlessly wander down the busy sidewalk.
Up ahead Catra noticed a woman walking, and what caught her attention was the uniform. Was she police? She looked like it. Something official. She was tall, built like a powerhouse. Catra really liked women with muscle, and god, her shoulders were amazing in that uniform shirt. There was a patch sewn onto the sleeve, but she was too far away to see what it was. Did police have patches? Catra didn’t think they did.
She continued to admire this woman’s profile, her lean figure and firm backside, when she stopped suddenly to crouch down and pet a dog.
Catra’s breath immediately left her lungs.
It was Adora. Even though it was just her side profile, Catra knew that it was her. She gave the dog little kisses on the head and scratched under its chin, all the while giggling like an idiot.
“Hey!” Catra called out, breaking into a job. “Adore. Hey, Adora!”
Adora’s head turned towards her curiously, and seeing her front profile confirmed it. Those eyes, that jawline... those lips. Catra had a really good memory, and the events of that night were seared into her brain. Adora’s blue eyes widened to saucers and her pale cheeks flushed a dark red.
Catra didn’t even think. Adora stood, opening her mouth to say something, and Catra just barrelled into her. She circled her arms around Adora’s neck and squeezed tightly, hardly believing this was real.
“Whoa!” Adora exclaimed, stumbling back just a step. Her arms went around Catra’s waist to steady her. “Catra?”
She was breathing hard, flushed from excitement, grinning. She pulled away and let go of Adora’s body. “I can’t believe I bumped into you.” Her smile dropped away immediately. “You’re Adora, right?”
Adora glanced away, a hand going to rub the back of her neck sheepishly. “I don’t suppose you’d believe me if I said no?”
Catra frowned at her. “You owe me some answers.”
Adora regarded her seriously. “You’re right, I do. I’m so sorry for what happened.”
“Yeah, you should be. But not for saving me. I’ve wanted to thank you this whole time.”
Adora blinked at her. “Thank me?”
“Adora, you took bullets for me! You literally threw those men away.”
Adora nervously glanced around them. She grabbed Catra’s hand. “Look, let’s talk about this somewhere private.”
She didn’t protest as Adora started guiding her away. Her hand was incredibly warm, almost unbearably, but her grip was strong. Catra admired her as they walked, and images from that night kept flashing behind her eyes. She was sure Adora had been much taller than this, and much more muscular. Her eyes weren’t glowing, either, and her teeth were normal. Catra knew it was crazy, but Adora hadn’t seemed normal that night. By her behaviour now, she knew that too.
At least she wasn’t trying to ignore this and run away, which was what old Catra would have done.
They entered an apartment building and Adora stabbed the button for the elevator to close. Catra missed the warmth of her hand, so she crossed her arms over her chest and just stared at the side of Adora’s face. The tops of her cheeks were still a little red, but she seemed to have regained most of her composure. Catra loved how official she looked in uniform, and she realized that she was painfully attracted to her.
God, why’d she have to be into the weird glowing eyes lady? Was it never enough to just fall for normal people, normally? Nothing in Catra’s life had ever been normal.
They left the elevator once it opened, and Adora turned to her once they stopped in front of a door.
“Please message someone to tell them where you are. Give them my address. This is my door number.”
Catra frowned at her. “What? Why?”
“Just... for your own safety, please.”
Catra couldn’t believe her. “You’re... are you going to do something to me?”
“No! No, of course not. It would just make me feel better if someone knows where you are. Please.”
Her earnest expression was enough to make Catra nod and sigh. She sent Scorpia a quick message to say she met up with an old friend, and shared the location. She showed Adora, who smiled in thanks, and then they headed inside.
The flat was a dump. There was barely anything in here and it didn’t look like someone lived here. There were no personal items, nothing that could give her a deeper insight into Adora’s personality and habits. It was like... this was just a shell of a place. A front.
Adora gestured to a camp chair. She didn’t even have a couch. “I know this place is awful, I’m so sorry.”
Catra sank down into the chair, relieved that it wasn’t too uncomfortable. “Damn, you live like this?”
“I’m barely here, so there was no point making it comfortable.”
“That’s really weird, Adora.”
They grew silent, Adora threading her fingers together nervously. Catra had so many questions and she could tell that Adora wanted to answer none of them. But dammit, she needed to know.
“How did you survive?”
Adora sighed. “I was lucky.”
“You were shot. I saw it happen. Your blood is still on the floor.”
Adora’s jaw clenched. “I... really can’t tell you.”
“Because—” Adora glanced up at her, frustration creasing her brow. The blue of hers eyes was mesmerising, even when not glowing. Catra could feel herself drawn to them, and she wondered what Adora’s fingertips would feel like skating across her skin. She swallowed thickly and Adora’s nose twitched.
“I can see that you want to tell me. Don’t you think you owe it to me? I thought you died, Adora. I thought I was the reason some heroic idiot went and died on the side of the road.”
“What?” Adora perked up. “No, you never needed to worry about me!”
“You. Were. Fucking. Shot.”
Adora threw her hands up. “Fine! Yes, I was shot. Okay? I acknowledge that yes, I was shot that night. It wasn’t a good night, okay? Being shot wasn’t even the worst of it.” Her lips immediately clamped shut, and Catra knew she had said something she never meant to.
“Your eyes were glowing,” Catra told her. “You had huge teeth. You were much bigger than you are now.”
Adora scoffed, but it wasn’t a convincing sound. “You sound crazy.”
“Yeah, I’ve been wondering if I’m just losing it. But you’re acting really weird, so I know that I’m not crazy. Something happened to you that night, and I want to know what.”
“Why?” Adora’s face hardened. “It’s not like it affects you. Sure, you felt a little bad because someone got hurt trying to help you. You were lucky I was there. But as you can see, I’m fine now.”
“Show me the wounds.”
“The gunshot wounds. You’ve admitted that you were shot, so show them to me.”
Adora furrowed her brows. “No.”
“Because... that’s... it’s private!”
Catra grinned at her. “If you show me the wounds, I promise I’ll walk out of here and you’ll never see me again. I’ll accept that it was just a strange night, and be done with it.”
Logically, since Adora had been shot, she would have healing wounds, right? Scars? So why was Adora so against this? She could just lift her shirt and it would be over with. Instead she glanced away, her jaw muscles bunching up. Her hands clasped together so tightly that they went bone-white.
“I can’t,” Adora finally grumbled out.
Catra shot to her feet. “Bullshit.”
Adora wasn’t expecting her to do it, so Catra managed to grab her shirt and lift it before there was any retaliation. She saw smooth, unbroken and uninjured skin before Adora’s hands clamped around her wrists. Adora stood, baring her teeth.
“What are you doing?”
Catra sucked in a startled breath. Adora’s eyes flashed a bright blue just for a second. She exhaled shakily. “You... aren’t injured.”
Adora swallowed. “I’m not injured,” she agreed.
“You were shot.”
“I saw you get shot. But... why aren’t you injured?”
Adora released her wrists. “I can’t tell you.”
“Well, what if I go and ask some forum, then, huh? Whatever you are, there must be more of you.”
Adora’s head jerked up. “No! You can’t. Please don’t tell anyone about this.”
Curious. Adora had just confirmed that she wasn’t human, wasn’t the only one and that whatever she was, it was a secret.
Catra firmly believed in science. She believed in what she could tangibly see and touch in front of her. What she had seen Adora do that night defied logic. Normal people didn’t toss grown men through the air like that. Their eyes didn’t glow and they didn’t survive gunshots with no injury to even show for it.
“What are you?” she whispered, suddenly desperate to know.
Adora opened her mouth. She closed it, and there was a flash of emotions over her face. Loneliness. Regret. Anguish. Anger. Longing . Catra had a feeling that Adora was lonely, that she had no one to confide in about this, and that made her heart ache.
“Adora, you can trust me. We don’t know each other, but you saved my life. You took bullets for me. I can see that you’re lonely. I mean, look at the place!” She gestured to the flat. “You’re too scared to put roots in here. You look so tired. When last did you even sleep?”
Adora self consciously rubbed at her eyes. “I don’t need to sleep.”
“You can tell me. Who would believe me anyway?”
For a second, Catra really thought she would tell her. She looked like she so badly wanted to, but then her hands curled into tight fists and Adora frowned deeply.
“Catra, I appreciate it, but this is something I need to deal with on my own. I hope that you can move on now that you know I’m fine, and you don’t have to worry about ever seeing me again.” She smiled sadly. “Whatever I am.”
Catra swallowed. She was reminded of herself as an angry, lonely teen. She hadn’t had anyone growing up, and that just made her so angry at the world, so desperate for any type of attention. Back then, she would accept attention from the worst people, and that got her into so much trouble. She had done a lot of fucked up things for those people, things she would always regret.
Adora’s eyes were begging for her to listen, to keep pushing, but the way she was holding herself stiffly told Catra to let it go. Whatever Adora’s reasons, she was sticking to them.
“Fine,” she finally breathed, disappointed and not understanding why. “I’ll leave it alone. But one day you’ll tell me.”
She shoved Adora gently by the chest to get her out of the way, and then she left her flat. She didn’t stick around to explain what she meant, and Adora didn’t chase after her.
Catra’s heart was thrumming fast the whole uber ride home.
When Catra turned and left, Adora caught herself reaching out for her like she would actually open her mouth and stop her. She didn’t, of course. They didn’t know each other, and it was better that they didn’t. Catra was just confused and curious, but that would pass. Adora would be very careful not to go too near her work place again.
She was shaken and exhausted from the interaction. Catra’s beautiful mismatched eyes stayed in her mind, and she hated the way loneliness settled heavily on her shoulders. She really had almost told her the truth. But she couldn’t, no matter how much she wanted to.
Adora decided to go to sleep after that. She ordered some food when she woke up, ate quietly on her pathetic camp chair and remembered what her life had been like before college, before this curse, before her mistake.
Remembering only made her depressed, so she headed in to work and ignored everything.
Days turned into weeks, and before Adora knew it the full moon was once more upon her. She grew more irritable as the days crawled closer, and on the day specifically everyone knew to give her space. She still went to work, still went out to battle fires and save people. She tried to do as much as she could before Mara forced her to leave.
Her skin was already dotting with sweat as she made the drive out to her cabin. Maybe she should invest in a place a little closer. No, the farther from Brightmoon she was, the better. If she ever managed to break out, then hopefully she would just wander around in the forest and hunt animals, not people.
Adora parked in her usual spot where her car was hidden and made the trek through the trees. She was prepared this time, with enough food and water to help rejuvenate her afterwards. The entire time her stomach fluttered with fear and nerves, and she could already feel how fragile her body was becoming, how quickly it was going to break apart.
When she got to the cabin, she realized that she never cleaned all the blood on the outside. She still had a couple hours left, at least, so she set all the food inside and grabbed a bucket. The air was cool, but not enough to help with her internal temperature. The sweat was dripping from her chin
Fuck, she hated this. She hated the fever—everything about this fucking curse.
Adora was angrily scrubbing at the handprint on her door when she heard twigs snap and she whirled around, heart thundering.
Someone was approaching slowly, she could hear their breathing, their heart. She could pick up a scent on the mild wind, and it made her stiffen. No.
Catra stepped out from the trees, looking at her not with surprise, but suspicion. She didn’t seem shocked to see the cabin or Adora there, or the blood smears still on the patio. The bucket at Adora’s feet was dyed red.
“Catra,” she choked out, licking her lips. “What are you doing here?”
Catra shrugged and stepped closer. She had her hands shoved into her leather jacket. Adora couldn’t help but admire how beautiful she was. Her eyes were mesmerizing and her brown skin looked so soft. Adora could feel arousal smash into her with the intensity of several jackhammers, and she swallowed thickly as she stumbled back until she was pressed to the wall of the cabin.
“Just out for an evening walk,” Catra drawled casually. She hopped onto the first step. “What’re you doing here?”
Adora glanced at her watch. It was 09:43PM. She didn’t have time. “That’s none of your business.”
Catra laughed. She took the second step. “You’re right, it’s not. I’m just curious about why you’re here so late, all on your own.” Her eyes widened and she gasped. “Are you disposing of a body?”
Pain rippled through Adora’s body and she clenched her teeth so hard that one of them cracked. The pain must have shown on her face, because when she opened her eyes again Catra was right there in front of her, eyes roving over her body.
“Shit, you’re incredibly hot. Just like that night.”
Adora felt like she could barely breathe. “Ha, are you flirting with me?”
Catra at least flushed at the joke. “What? No!”
“Why are you so obsessed with me?”
“I’m not obsessed.” Catra stuck a finger against her chest, and the pressure of her touch ached. Adora winced. “What are you hiding?”
Adora knocked Catra’s hand away. The pain was starting in steady waves, but this was way too early. She started turning from 6PM, but she would only be fully changed at midnight, when the moon was highest.
“Catra, you need to leave.”
Catra frowned at her. “You’re not my boss.”
Desperation filled Adora to the brim. She tried to think of what she could do. If Catra didn’t go, if she stayed, she was in so much danger.
“Please,” Adora begged her softly, hoping there was enough urgency in her voice. “I really don’t want to hurt you.”
Catra regarded her for a moment. Her eyes narrowed ever so slightly, and then widened when a loud snap startled her.
Adora cried out in pain and collapsed to her knees. A rib has just snapped. “Please,” she begged, breathing in haggardly. “I’ll explain it to you, I promise. Just, only if you leave. Please go, now!”
Catra backed up quickly, her expression confused and worried. Adora watched her disappear back into the trees and then exhaled in relief. She abandoned the bucket and sponge and went inside. She was so frantic that she forgot to lock the trap door after she’d climbed in, and her hands were shaking badly as she pulled her clothes off and chained herself up.
Another of her bones snapped and she convulsed, yelling in pain. And so it went on, the pain climbing higher, her body pulling apart. Her screams masked the sound of the trap door opening, even of the footsteps that hurried inside, and she gasped aloud when hands cupped her cheeks and lifted her face. She stared into mismatched eyes that were filled with tears.
“Catra,” she gasped out. Her voice was barely above a whisper.
“What the hell is happening to you?”
Adora had just enough strength to knock her away. She screamed in pain again, collapsed to the ground. The chains rattled loudly as she pulled at them, as her muscles bulged and the sweat steamed off of her. She felt Catra’s eyes on her, and anger boiled warmly in her gut.
Adora knew that she already looked like a monster. Her eyes were glowing brightly and her teeth were long and sharp, cutting into her gums. Catra just stared at her, shocked.
“Please leave,” she managed to gasp out. “I don’t want you to see this.”
Catra inhaled shakily. “No.”
Adora curled in on herself, arms straining hard to try and pull the chains out. She screamed in pain, screams that turned into sobs of agony. “I’m a monster,” she cried out.
“No! You’re not a monster, Adora.”
“You’ll see,” she laughed bitterly. “I don’t want to hurt you. Please don’t make me hurt you.”
Catra felt sick. She wanted to throw up, but there wasn’t anything in her stomach to begin with. Adora’s screams burned into her ears, and they hurt Catra more than anything ever had. This was not what she had expected, and it made her so fucking sad.
Adora had been suffering for hours. Catra could hear her bones breaking, could see them shifting and poking against her skin. Hair started to slowly sprout over her body as her limbs elongated, as her mouth turned to a snout and her sense of self seemed to disappear.
Catra refused to leave. She was terrified and unsure what would happen, but something deep inside of her told her not to go. Adora sobbed, screamed, scratched at the ground. She was in so much pain . How could any person ever deserve so much suffering?
Catra wanted to hold her, to smooth her damp hair back and tell her that it would be okay even if she didn’t know if it would be. She was scared, yes. But for some reason, she knew Adora wouldn’t hurt her.
She didn’t know how much time had gone by exactly. It felt like she had sat there for hours on the cold concrete. There was nothing in the room besides Adora’s discarded clothes, the chains, and the two of them.
Adora’s change finally finished at midnight. She was... terrifying. Nearly double her size, with thick, black fur and muscled limbs. She looked like a bipedal wolf, but her snout was shorter than a normal canine. Her glowing blue eyes regarded Catra across the room, and she pulled her lips back over incredibly sharp teeth.
Adora growled at her. The sound was so loud that Catra flinched and covered her ears.
“Hey Adora,” she tried, licking her dry lips. “It’s still you, isn’t it?”
The wolf glared at her. There was anger and pain on her face, but she wasn’t lunging forward. Catra stood, careful not to do so too quickly.
The wolf tried to tug at the chains, ignoring her as she did the single most stupid thing in her life. She took a step forward. Abruptly, Adora froze. Her massive head swung around and those bright eyes settled on Catra’s face. She growled again, loud and deafening.
Catra reached out with a shaky hand, wanting to press it to Adora’s big chest. Instead a fist smacked into her, a single claw slicing a line against her cheek. She crashed into the wall and blacked out. She was woken by the sounds of terrible howling, and she blinked heavy eyes open.
Adora was pulling at the chains with all her might, but they wouldn’t budge. Catra could hear her bones breaking again, so she knew that it was over. The wolf was frightened and in pain, and Catra didn’t care that she had been knocked back.
If Adora’s wolf really wanted to hurt her, she would have been torn to pieces, not just shoved back.
“Hey Adora,” she called out casually. “That looks like it really hurts.”
Adora startled at her voice and then lunged, slamming into the ground when the chains stopped her momentum. There was another loud snap and she roared in pain.
Slowly, the hair started receding and the inhuman sounds turned to Adora’s. Her body started to shorten and lose muscle.
Catra carefully approached again. “Let me help,” she said. “I won’t hurt you. Just let me help you, Adora.”
She had no way to know if Adora was herself yet. She was still screaming and convulsing, pulling at the chains. She looked right at Catra as she approached, but she showed no aggression. Eventually Catra was close enough to put a hand on her, so she did that. The touch burned from Adora’s body heat, but Catra endured it.
Adora nearly collapsed into her arms, sobbing a little more humanly as the change continued. Catra stroked the rough fur along her thick back until it was just smooth skin slicked with sweat. When the last bone snapped back into place, Adora was limp in her arms. Catra very carefully unclipped all the chains and then gathered Adora in her arms.
Why was she doing this? Something about Adora’s solitary suffering just... touched some part of her soul. There was something inside of her that hurt a lot, and the only way to soothe it was to try and soothe Adora.
Catra ran a hand through her damp hair to get it off her face. Adora’s blue eyes fluttered open, exhausted and confused. She tried to lift a hand, but it just dropped down on her chest. Her body temperature dropped and she started to shiver, so Catra shrugged out of her jacket to drape it over her.
“Hey Adora,” Catra greeted in the softest voice she had ever used.
Adora blinked slowly up at her. It was a while before she could speak, and Catra guessed that she couldn’t really move that soon after changing back. She took in slow, shallow breaths and Catra felt the way her heart was beating erratically fast. She just rubbed soothing patterns against Adora’s jaw and cheek, wiped sweat from her brow and rocked her gently.
“Catra,” she finally croaked. “Why are you here?”
Catra sighed. “Honestly? I don’t know. That was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen.”
Adora visibly winced. “Yeah.”
“Not because I was scared of you. I mean, I was at first, but... that was painful to see. You suffering like that.”
Adora glanced away. “I hurt you.”
Adora suddenly sat up, the jacket falling away. Catra pointedly looked away from her naked breasts. A warm hand cupped her cheek and tilted her face. Adora studied her profile, frowning. She brushed a thumb over Catra’s cheek, flaking some dried blood off her skin.
“I scratched you.”
Catra sighed. “Is this thing infectious?”
“No. You don’t catch it.”
“Then see? I’m fine. Besides, you were protecting me, I think. I was close enough that you could have bitten my head off.”
Adora’s face paled. “You came that close to me?” She was almost yelling. “Why the fuck would you do that?”
Catra bristled. “I do whatever the hell I want, you don’t own me.”
“I could have killed you!”
“And I knew that! Do you think I’m stupid?”
Anger flushed over Adora’s face. “Yes! Incredibly stupid.”
Catra stood, grinding her teeth. She wanted to just leave, but she knew that she couldn’t. Begrudgingly, she held a hand out. “Well, are you going to let this idiot help you up or not?”
Adora stared at her hand for a moment, then finally took it with a sigh. She was wobbly on her feet, but Catra helped to support her weight. It was difficult helping her up the ladder, but once they were out the prison Catra shoved Adora down onto the bed.
“You need to drink and eat,” she told her tersely. “You have stuff in your kitchen?”
Adora crossed her arms over her chest. She didn’t seem concerned that she was naked, and it was getting very distracting. Catra would simply blame it on her raging lesbianism that she had just discovered this sexy stranger was a fucking werewolf—had watched her transform in the scariest way possible—and she was thinking of her as the Sexy Stranger. Big gay sigh.
Who could blame her? Adora was ripped even without the werewolf part. Her muscles were more pronounced because of how dehydrated she was, and with the sweat still slicking her skin—okay, Catra needed to get a fucking grip.
Ignoring Adora for the most part, Catra went to scour her kitchen. She found enough ingredients to make a big breakfast, since it seemed logical to her that Adora would likely need to eat a lot after that. At some point Adora disappeared into a tiny bathroom to shower, and when she came out she was clothed in pants and a t-shirt that hugged her form. She approached Catra from behind, enveloping her in heat, and stared over her shoulder at the oven.
“That smells really good.”
Catra turned and shoved her by the chest. “Of course it does. Sit down.”
Adora glared at her and sat down at the small kitchen table. There were already plates of other foods there and the bottles of water Catra had found. Adora started to down several of them before Catra was finally finished cooking, then she dished the last of the food and dropped the plates on the table.
“Eat,” she ordered.
Adora stabbed into a pancake with her fork. “You know, you’re a jackass.”
Catra sat down heavily in the only other chair. “Yeah? Tell me something I don’t know.”
Adora shook her head. Her hair was still damp, all brushed to one side and cascading down against her chest. She was... incredibly beautiful. After everything and with a little more energy, she seemed to be glowing. Was it because of the change? She still had dark circles underneath her eyes, but she at least seemed very alert.
Catra helped herself to a little food, just to get rid of the scratch of hunger. Adora was an absolute animal as she shoved heaps of food into her mouth, abandoning cutlery and just using her fingers. Catra watched her with wide eyes, and when she was done she let out a massive sigh of relief. And then she burped.
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” she hurried, covering her mouth with a hand. Her pale cheeks blossomed.
Catra leaned her elbow on the table and rested her chin against her palm. She snorted. “I’ve seen you turn into a giant wolf. I don’t think a burp is the most embarrassing thing at this point.”
Adora rubbed the back of her neck. “I mean, still.”
They fell silent, and Catra could tell that Adora wanted to say something. She seemed to be hesitating, staring down at her empty plate. Finally, Catra sighed.
“I’m not doing the dishes,” she said plainly. “Miss me with that shit. Besides, I think you owe me big time for holding your buff, crying body as you turned back.”
Adora’s brows furrowed. “You held me?”
“Yeah. Wolf you didn’t mind. Actually, it looked like you really needed it.”
“Why are you so... cool, about this? I don’t understand why you’re so stubborn about helping me.”
Catra’s cheeks flushed slightly and she looked away, refusing to meet Adora’s accusing eyes. How could she admit that there was just a tug in her heart? That she cared about Adora, and that she wasn’t able to just ignore her suffering and leave? That she also found her incredibly hot? And stupid?
God, Catra was realizing she kind of really had a thing for hot and stupid.
“Because I can,” she admitted in a mumble, shrugging. “Get over it.”
Adora stared at her, looking flummoxed. Then tears started to spill down her cheeks and Catra grew worried. Adora didn’t cry, just wiped at the tears as they streamed and dripped from her chin. She laughed softly as if she really couldn’t believe it, and then she reached out across the table. Her eyes were glowing with warmth.
“All I can say is thank you, Catra. You didn’t rat me out, or think I’m a monster, and you actually comforted me during the worst part of it all. What can I do to repay you?”
Catra stared at her hand. She had long fingers, and they looked strong. The flush deepened, clawing up to her ears and down her neck. If Adora saw her embarrassment, she didn’t bring attention to it. Her face was just soft with appreciation and affection and Catra had never had someone look at her like that before.
“You can tell me,” she croaked out, mouth dry.
Adora tilted her head. “Tell you what?”
Hesitantly, Catra took Adora’s hand in her own. Their fingers slotted together perfectly, and despite her apparent strength, Adora’s grip was gentle.
Catra took in a steadying breath.
They didn’t know each other. She now knew something extremely intimate about a complete stranger. Somehow, she had entangled herself in something messy. But Catra wasn’t afraid. She didn’t know why, but she wasn’t scared. Adora made her feel safe. Comfortable.
They locked eyes and stared for a long, charged moment. Finally, Catra replied.
Was this because she was still wound up and exhausted from the change? All she knew was that she looked at Catra and felt an intense rush of warmth. Memories from when she was a wolf flickered behind her eyes, very brief. She felt a phantom hand against her chest, running along her back, and it made her want to shiver.
Adora’s heart ached for this, which frightened her, but she knew that there was nothing she could do now. Catra could go to the authorities—not that Adora thought she would—and she could leave, but she wouldn’t. It was a little frustrating and it definitely baffled her.
But it also felt incredible. Maybe she was just hyped up on that. She couldn’t let herself read too much into it.
Catra asked to be driven home and had to call into work that she would take a day off sick. Adora thought that would be it, but Catra snagged her car keys and gave her a little smirk.
“Come on, wolf girl,” she drawled. “You have a long story to tell me.”
And Adora just blinked stupidly at her as Catra got out the car and sauntered over to her house. Adora took in a breath, gathered her strength and then followed her inside. The neighbourhood looked run down and sketchy, but the inside of the house was really neat and clean. It was spacious too, which wasn’t really what Adora had thought about when she considered where Catra lived. Maybe she was just so used to her own sparse way of living.
“Do you need anything to drink?” Catra asked her.
Adora shook her head. “Nah, I drank enough. Thank you.”
They sat down on a very comfortable couch, and Catra stared at her. Unblinking. Waiting. Adora felt like she was starting to sweat. “What do you want to know?”
“Everything,” Catra repeated. “But why don’t you start off by telling me how you became a werewolf. Were you born like this?”
Adora winced. The only other time she had explained this was to Mara, but that had been easier because Mara had it too. This was entirely different and Adora didn’t know how this would be taken. But, Catra earned it, she guessed. Even if she kind of forced it. Adora exhaled a long breath.
“Sort of. I was born this way, yes, but the curse had to be triggered.”
“Triggered by what?”
Adora rubbed her hands together. “We have no idea where it comes from or why we are like this. Sometimes we can sense others who haven’t turned at all yet, who have the potential but just haven’t triggered the curse yet. We don’t know if it can be reversed or stopped.”
“There are more of you?”
Adora nodded. “I have a mentor. She found me when it was the worst and she helped me figure stuff out.”
“Okay, so there are many of you. So wait, you didn’t tell me what you did to trigger it.”
This was the thing Adora dreaded and hated the most. She could feel her face turn stoney so she looked away from Catra, so that she wouldn’t have to see her reaction, either.
“I killed someone,” she bit out quickly. “The curse is triggered by your first murder.”
“How did it happen?”
Adora looked to Catra in surprise. She didn’t seem disgusted or afraid. She just looked... curious. Adora’s brows furrowed. “Didn’t you hear me? I killed someone, Catra. My punishment is this curse. My atonement is this suffering.”
“Oh, bullshit. You probably didn’t even kill on purpose, right?”
“How... did you know that?”
Catra rolled her eyes. “Because you’re too goddamn nice. There’s no way you would actually murder someone with intent. What happened?”
“It was a few years ago when I was in college.” Adora rubbed a hand across her face. The memories were rushing in, making her stomach churn. “I was in the foster system until I aged out, and I worked my ass off and managed to secure a full ride scholarship. I was a bit cocky, too. I thought I was the hottest jock out there.” She let out a soft sigh. “A lot of the guys there picked fights with me because their girls looked at me and I maybe, sort of, occasionally slept with them. I just didn’t care at the time. So then at this party, we were all drinking a lot. One of the guys started a fight with me. My group got pissed at his, and before anyone knew it fists were flying. I tackled the guy to the ground, but I put too much pressure on him and he couldn’t breathe. I was too drunk and I was enjoying the chaos of my buddies throwing punches. By the time anyone realized he was dead, it was far too late.”
She wanted to throw up. Talking about it made her feel like the most repulsive person on the planet.
“That night,” she continued, “was a full moon and my first turn. I don’t know how many people I killed, actually. When I woke up in the morning, I was covered in blood. After that, I dropped out and disappeared. Spent a long time just dedicating myself to helping people until Mara found me and let me volunteer at the station. She eventually hired me full time, and here we are.”
Without warning, Catra was pressed against her side and held onto her hand. She was looking away, clearly embarrassed, but Adora’s chest still filled with warmth.
“It was an accident,” Catra told her. “You never meant to do it and you don’t deserve to suffer because of it.”
“It doesn’t matter if I deserve to or not, I’m already suffering.”
Catra’s grip tightened. “Well, now you don’t need to suffer alone anymore. I’m here for you, Adora.”
Adora felt emotion choke her up again. Tears rushed up at her but she held them back. “Why?”
Catra’s thumb brushed softly against her skin. “Because I know what it’s like to be alone. I was a foster too, but my foster mom was really abusive. I ran with the wrong crowd for years, got into a lot of bad shit. This whole town thinks I’m hot garbage.”
Adora chuckled softly. “I mean, they’re kinda right.” Catra gave her an offended look. “I mean the hot part, not the garbage part.”
Catra’s frown turned into a long, lecherous grin. “Adora, are you flirting with me?”
“I... I mean, if that doesn’t gross you out.”
“Why would it gross me out?”
“Didn’t you just watch my body break apart and then turn into a giant, angry dog?”
Catra just shrugged. “Yeah, so?”
Adora couldn’t help it, she started to laugh. It was laughter from deep in her belly and she ended up falling over onto her side, clutching at her sides. It was so absurd that it was funny, and then it was so sweet that she wanted to cry. When Adora finally got control of herself again, she sat up and let out a long, satisfied sigh.
“I feel like a tremendous weight has been lifted from my shoulders.” She looked into Catra’s eyes. “Catra, I’m a werewolf.”
Catra furrowed her brows. “I know.”
She started to giggle again. “I just wanted to say it. It feels so good to say it! I can lift a car over my head, too.”
Catra’s eyes popped open in surprise. “No shit, seriously? Show me.”
Adora grinned at her. “Take me to something really heavy.”
Without hesitating Catra shot up and guided her to the garage. There was a beautiful convertible sitting underneath a tarp, but Catra didn’t seem to care about it.
“Was the foster’s,” Catra told her. “Can’t bring myself to drive this thing.”
Adora went to the side of it and bent down. She reached underneath to press her one hand to the belly of the car, and then gripped the edge with her other. With an effortless move, she stood and lifted the car up high. She could hear the way Catra’s heart started to double in speed, and a curious scent touched her nose. It made her whole body warm and tingle, and she set the car down gently before she dropped it.
“That was incredible!” Catra yelled, jumping into her arms to give her a squeeze. “You’re like, superhuman.”
“I can see in the dark too,” Adora added. “I heal really quickly. Look.” She raked her nails down her forearm, drawing blood. Before she was even done her skin healed up. Catra blinked at her arm in surprise. “My senses are also like, insane. I can see really, really clearly. Did you know that there are colours the human eye can’t see? I have no name for them, but they’re everywhere. Sometimes I even think I can see electronic waves? But that freaks me out. Oh! I can smell so many interesting things, which kind of sucks sometimes, actually. Like right now, I can smell—” She froze. Catra was staring at her in wonder, waiting for her to continue.
Adora’s nose twitched. She inhaled again. She didn’t really like relying on her extra abilities, and she tried to ignore them most of the time. Which was difficult, considering she couldn’t just switch them off.
“What?” Catra asked her, impatient. “What can you smell right now?”
Adora flushed bright red. She looked at everything besides Catra. Wow, how could she be so fucking stupid? She set herself up for that one, and she was making it painfully obvious.
Catra might have realized, because her cheeks reddened slightly and she looked away. There was a silent, heavy moment between them, where Adora was intensely aware that Catra was turned on by her, could smell it, taste it at the back of her tongue. Maybe it was the werewolf in her, but Adora really wanted to pull Catra in close and kiss her.
She found herself staring at Catra’s lips. Without consciously thinking of it, Adora moved closer. She ended up backing Catra up against the wall, and then she pressed her palms to the wall, trapping her in. Well not really trapping her, she could duck out and run away if she wanted to.
“Adora,” Catra mumbled.
Adora licked her lips. Catra’s arousal, her own arousal, burned in her nose. But it burned in a satisfying way. Her blood was pumping hard and excitement filled her every cell. This was the first time since she triggered the curse that she felt so into someone, and certainly the first time she even thought about acting on it.
“Catra...” She licked her lips again, felt the sharp edges of her teeth that never really went back to normal.
This was wrong. She couldn’t do this, expect this from her. She was just hyped up from finally telling someone, from feeling like she wasn’t alone. She used every bit of strength she had to pull away, but Catra suddenly grabbed her hands and tugged her back. Adora had to catch herself against the wall or she would have knocked her head into Catra’s. She gasped softly, her face inches from Catra’s.
“Before you go on deciding you’re not good enough or some shit, what do you want right now, Adora?”
Adora’s breath stuttered. “I... what?”
“You can tell how I’m feeling right now, right?” When Adora blushed harder, so did Catra. But that only made her arousal deepen. Adora couldn’t help but drop forward to nudge her nose against Catra’s throat. She realized what she was doing and froze, but Catra’s hand pressed to the back of her neck, keeping her in place. “What do you want?” Catra asked again.
Adora’s body was buzzing. “I... Right now, I just...” She sighed shakily. “I’m sorry, I’m still worked up from the turn and from telling you and I just, I don’t mean to presume, I mean...”
Catra roughly cupped her face and pushed her away to stare into her eyes. She didn’t seem impressed. “Stop dodging the question. I didn’t run away when you turned into an angry mutt. I won’t run away now. So, what do you want, Adora?”
Adora’s nostrils flared. “You,” she answered truthfully and without hesitation. “I know we’ve just met, and we don’t really know each other, and you don’t need to—”
Catra stopped her babbling by kissing her. Adora groaned at the touch of her lips. Catra’s skin was soft and warm, and it all felt way more intense than Adora remembered. When Catra’s tongue grazed across her lips and then slipped into her mouth to glide across her own tongue, Adora’s entire body tingled. Catra’s fingertips made pulses of electricity spark along Adora’s skin wherever she touched her.
Adora suddenly pulled Catra up into her arms, and she growled softly when Catra’s legs tightened around her waist.
“Easy there, girl,” Catra joked against her lips. “Remember that I’m fragile.”
Adora kissed her again. “Mm, yeah, sure.” She lost herself completely.
For a while she just had Catra pressed to the wall as she devoured her lips, suckled on her tongue. Occasionally she pulled away so that they could catch their breath, but then she pressed her lips and tongue to the sensitive skin of Catra’s throat and left gentle bruises with her teeth. When she suckled hard on her neck, Catra’s hips jerked hard against her.
Adora could smell it, how wet she was. It made her mouth water, made the heat between her own legs almost unbearable. Catra’s hands sank into her hair and tugged softly, which only sent more waves of arousal crashing through Adora.
“My bedroom, now,” Catra gasped into her ear.
Basically on autopilot, Adora left the garage. She headed to the room that held the strongest scent of Catra’s, correctly guessing that it was her bedroom. The bed was unmade, but the sheets smelt clean and with a hint of Catra. She’d likely washed them the day before.
Adora gently dropped them down onto the bed, and then they were kissing hungrily again, and she moaned when Catra scratched down her back.
“Catra,” she mumbled into the kiss. “Wait.”
Catra pulled back, panting. Her eyes were lidded and her face was fully flushed. “What?”
Adora’s heart skipped a beat. “Are you sure you’re okay with this?”
Catra rolled her eyes. “Adora, if you don’t fuck me right now I’ll call the police.”
Adora laughed. “What? The police?”
“You can’t be so extremely hot that seeing you literally lift a car over your head turns me on, and then you keep hesitating to take responsibility, and expect me not to call the authorities.”
For the first time in years, Adora smiled from pure happiness. The emotions in her chest were just warmth and light, and she smiled stupidly down at Catra’s annoyed expression. Her face quickly turned to embarrassment when she saw the look on Adora’s.
“Understood,” Adora told her and bent down for a very soft, very sappy kiss. Catra responded just the same, her hands coming up to cup Adora’s cheeks, her lips so soft as they brushed against Adora’s.
It was all so tender. Adora wanted to laugh and cry, but she decided that if she did either of those things Catra might strangle her.
“I need to warn you.”
Catra whined and bucked her hips up against her. Adora reached down and cupped her hip just to hold her down, but that only seemed to turn her on more. She rubbed her thumb against the exposed strip of skin above her jeans. These clothes would need to go soon.
“Warn away,” Catra gasped.
Adora chuckled. She bent down to scatter more kisses against Catra’s throat and collar bones, then she carelessly ripped her shirt and pulled it off. Catra gasped loudly.
“I’m strong,” Adora warned, laughing. “And I have incredible stamina.”
Catra shivered beneath her. “Oh yeah? So show me, hot stuff.”
“If you need me to stop at all, just tell me to, okay? I don’t want to hurt you, but I’m very strong.”
“Yeah, yeah. Stop talking, Romeo. I’m pretty sure I understand by now.”
Adora narrowed her eyes, then surprised her by dipping down and drawing a nipple between her teeth. She bit down gently, but that elicited the exact response she wanted. Catra gasped and arced into her. Adora smirked at her.
She covered Catra’s other breast with her hand and focused everything on her lips and tongue. She swirled her tongue, but noted that Catra really liked it when she suckled hard. She had Catra absolutely quivering below her by the time she started on the other nipple, and Catra’s ragged breaths were music to her ears.
She lost herself in showering Catra’s body with attention. When she was done with her breasts, she pressed a kiss between them and then slowly started downwards. Catra quickly reached down and grabbed her hair.
“Please don’t rip my jeans,” she said. “These are my favourite.”
Adora lifted a brow. “Okay, fine.”
She used one hand to pop the button of her jeans and then lazily pulled the zipper down. Catra’s heart was thundering. It was the loudest thing in the room. Adora trailed her tongue all over Catra’s stomach, kissed against the point of her hips. After she tugged the jeans off with only a little difficulty and tossed them aside, she eagerly spread Catra’s legs and inhaled deeply.
Her scent was overwhelming. Adora didn’t have the self control to even try to tease Catra more than she already had. She pulled Catra’s legs over her shoulders, got a good grip to keep her in place, and then she went to work.
She swept the flat of her tongue across Catra’s entire pussy, groaning loudly at how wet she was and the intoxicating taste of her. Catra bucked against her, but she couldn’t move a single inch, trapped by Adora’s steel arms.
Adora lost herself in the swipe of her tongue, the soft noises Catra let out. She didn’t even focus on any specific rhythm, she just wanted to try it all. Wetness dripped from her chin and she was so grateful that it took a lot to tire her out. She eventually focused on Catra’s clit, and though it was so small that she couldn’t even see it, she found it easily by the way Catra convulsed when she slid against it.
Hah , Adora thought, smug. Time to make you scream.
“Adora,” Catra begged. She had her back arched, fingers tightened in Adora’s hair. She tugged hard, but Adora barely felt it.
“Ready?” Adora mumbled against her.
Catra snorted. “Oh my god, you’re so fucking aro— ah .”
The moan she let out was the most sinful and attractive sound Adora had ever heard, so she continued to rub her tongue against the same spot, and when she circled her lips around the small bundle of nerves, she sucked hard and Catra came. Her eyes screwed shut and her mouth fell open. Adora stared at her, watched as she twitched and shook, as her muscles locked up and eventually relaxed. She continued to gently lick her until she collapsed against the bed. Adora pulled away and licked her lips.
“Mm, the snack I never knew I needed,” she joked.
Catra glared at her. “Smug bastard.”
“But was it good?”
“Shut up and hold me.”
Adora crawled up on the bed to gather Catra into her arms. She was almost boneless and covered in sweat. Her scent was overwhelmingly comforting. Adora buried her nose in Catra’s hair and inhaled, and it sent a shock to her heart.
It probably should have concerned her, but she was too content.
“Are you sniffing my hair?” Catra asked against her throat.
Adora smiled. “Yeah,” she answered happily.
Catra didn’t respond, and Adora fell asleep before she could eventually say anything.
Now that her secret was out, it was like Adora didn’t know how to hold herself back anymore. Catra was actually delighted by it, and after they both spent the entire day sleeping, Catra ordered some food for them and they ended up just staying in bed and talking.
There was just something about Adora that was intensely compelling. They shared their lives, from childhood traumas to future aspirations. Catra realized that Adora really was trying so damn hard to make up for what she had done, and she truly felt like the suffering she experienced was her punishment that she deserved. They nearly had an argument when Catra strongly disagreed with it, but they quickly changed topic and Catra made a mental note not to bring it up so bluntly again.
They were in a little bubble of happiness, where the outside world couldn’t harm them. Catra didn’t want it to end, but of course it had to. While Adora dressed, Catra lazed in bed, watching her.
“You can just sleep over.”
Adora sent her a little smug grin. “Can’t get enough of me, huh?”
“No! Brightmoon is an hour out and it’s dark.”
“I can protect myself, Catra. But thank you for being concerned.” She tied her shoelaces and then stood.
She looked a hell of a lot better than she had when she’d woken in Catra’s arms after turning, which helped to ease Catra’s worries. Another subtle kind of worry settled in, though, that this was just a one time thing. It was a little ridiculous, but she could tell that her feelings were not just physical attraction. She really wanted Adora to stay, but she didn’t know how to make her.
“Thank you so much for helping me,” Adora told her, giving her that gorgeous smile that made Catra’s heart skip a beat. “Walk me out?”
Catra pulled a silk robe on and followed Adora from her home. Before she climbed into her car, Catra tugged her close by the hand. She kissed her, hoping to wordlessly convey that she definitely wanted to do this again sometime soon. Adora leaned into her, kissing back with just as much passion. She let one hand sink into Catra’s hair, cupping the back of her neck. They both leaned against Adora’s car, losing balance and knees weakening.
Adora pulled away, breathing hard. “You’re amazing,” she mumbled softly. “I’m still freaked out about everything, but... thank you.”
Catra gave her a genuine smile. “You don’t deserve to be alone.”
For a moment Adora looked like she would argue, but her furrowed brows smoothed out. Her smile was dopey and she looked beautiful with a happy smile.
“So, will I see you again?”
Catra crossed her arms. “Sure, if you want to.”
Adora nodded. “Right. Can I have your number?”
They exchanged numbers, lingered for a moment longer, and then Adora kissed her one last time before getting into her car and leaving. Catra stood in her yard, watching the car leave and feeling as though her heart was going with it. Her face burned hot with embarrassment, so she hurried inside and tried to ignore it.
An hour later, she received a message.
Hey Catra! :D I got home safe. Just thought I would let you know. Thank you for everything
Yeah sure. Thanks for not eating me I guessing
Don’t you dare
I’m pretty sure I did eat you tho ;))
Ugh, you’re an idiot
Haha! But you think it’s hot, don’t you?
Else why would you force me to change into a werewolf in front of you and then hold my shivering body as I come back to myself
You make it sound so lame
I think it’s pretty romantic. I still don’t understand why you’re still so cool with this
You’re not the only one that thinks they’re human garbage, you know?
You’re not human garbage!
And I’m not human, but I am garbage
Deal with it, wolf girl
Fine, maybe I will
Catra grinned at her phone and didn’t reply. She wasn’t tired since they had slept all day, so she made herself something to drink and sat down in front of her TV. She couldn’t help the little pull of loneliness she felt that the spot beside her was empty, and Adora was so far away.
Adora felt like herself again. Almost like her self from before college, before she grew arrogant and did stupid things. She didn’t have so many negative thoughts anymore, and Catra was always on her mind. They texted every single day, sending selfies and memes and sometimes delving into deeper topics.
When Adora’s next full moon hit, she was incredibly nervous. Part of her wanted to ask Catra to be there, but she also didn’t. It was selfish. Luckily for her, when she got to the cabin Catra was already waiting for her, lazily tossing some pebbles onto the gravel.
“What took you so long?” Catra asked her.
Adora smiled despite the pain. “Work, actually. Do you really want to do this?”
It was dark, but the moon was unusually bright. It made Catra’s dark skin glow golden, and Adora didn’t stop herself from striding forward and kissing her. She was a lot bigger already, several inches taller than Catra, so she had to bend down to reach her mouth. Catra sighed and caressed the side of her face.
“Yes. Let’s get this over with,” Catra told her.
Catra followed Adora down into her werewolf dungeon and watched as she stripped and chained herself up. She would have made a joke at Adora’s expense if she wasn’t already in so much pain.
“This is weird,” Adora panted out, on her hands and knees on the floor. There were droplets of her sweat scattered on the concrete. “Someone watching me like this. It feels weirdly intimate.”
“Adora, you’ve had your mouth on my pussy.”
Adora flushed brighter at the words despite the fact that she had done exactly that. Catra finally laughed at her. She thought it was adorable, how she could be so smooth and confident one moment and then embarrassed the next.
“This is different! I—” Adora’s words choked off as she convulsed in pain, and Catra watched her arm twist at an unnatural angle. It made her flinch when Adora screamed.
Tears gathered in her eyes, but she refused to look away or to leave Adora alone. She stayed there and they swapped conversation back and forth whenever Adora was able to respond, and it helped her a little bit. When the change was complete, Catra felt like she had been the one with breaking bones, she was so exhausted.
The wolf huffed on exhausted breaths, gusts of air pouring from her open mouth and nostrils. She stared at Catra with big, hungry eyes, but there was no anger like last time.
“Hey Adora,” Catra greeted her with a hesitant smile. “Remember me?”
Adora’s wolf huffed and scratched at the ground. Catra inched closer slowly with her hand outstretched. Adora stared at her hand, but she didn’t move away from it or try to bite. When Catra was close enough, she pressed her palm to her big, furry chest.
The wolf’s eyes closed and she let out a soft breath, almost like a sigh. Catra’s heart soared.
Who knew she could tame a werewolf?
Maybe Adora still remembered her in this form, and that made the wolf like her too. Catra wondered what Adora’s feelings for her really were, and she was lost in thought when a wet tongue suddenly swiped across her cheek. She shrieked and bounced away. There was drool on her skin.
“Adora!” she yelled. “Gross!”
The wolf dropped down onto her belly, tail swishing back and forth. Her tongue lolled out the side of her mouth and yep, this was definitely still Adora. Even if she didn’t remember this in the morning, it was still Adora at the core.
Catra continued to spend the hours testing her limits. She petted the wolf all over, got her to roll over onto her back and it made her laugh so hard that she collapsed in a heap and Adora worriedly nudged the side of her face with a wet nose. She whined deep in her chest, so Catra rubbed a hand against her jaw.
“I’m fine,” she sighed, wiping the tears from her face. “These are happy tears.”
The wolf tilted her head, not understanding at all. So Catra just scratched behind her ears. When it was time for Adora to turn back, Catra continued to hold her even as her wolf started to whine and claw at the ground. She never once tried to hurt her. Strangely, Adora shifted a lot quicker this time. The room filled with steam as it lifted from her body, and Catra knew that this was supposed to go on a lot longer.
Adora, in human form, collapsed in her arms. She was gasping for air, but she was awake and conscious of her surroundings. There was still sweat slicked all over her skin and Catra wiped her hair from her face.
“Hey Adora,” she greeted softly.
Adora’s fist curled against her chest. “Hey Catra,” she croaked. “Do you want to know something weird?”
Weeks quickly turned into months. Adora didn’t realize how much she had changed until they were called out to a fire and she didn’t run head first into the flames. Mara was with them, giving them a brief rundown of what was happening and what was expected of them. By the end of her speech, someone in the crowd screamed and they all glanced up. On the top floor a window was open, and hanging on the window ledge was a little boy.
Adora’s pulse jumped. She could scale the building and reach him. Hell, she could jump and catch him if needed. But she knew that she couldn’t do any of those things. There was media here and a lot of witnesses.
She didn’t notice the looks Mara, Glimmer and Bow were sending her.
“Alright, let’s grab a tarp to hold underneath him in case he slips,” Mara said, “and then send someone up by ladder. Adora, will you volunteer?”
Adora immediately nodded her head. “Of course, Captain.”
Mara smiled at her. “Alright, everyone. Team A, get ready to prepare for the boy falling. Team B, head on inside and start clearing out the fire.
Everyone scattered to do as they were told. Adora managed to rescue the boy just in time, catching him just as his grip finally failed. She was inches away from him and reached out to grab his arm with one hand. It didn’t take much strength to pull him into her arms and signal for them to lower her, and it was at least believable that she was just that strong. People were cheering as the machine lowered her down, and the boy happily ran to his crying mother when Adora set him down on his feet.
They returned to the station excited from another successful day of saving lives and stopping fires. Many people clapped Adora on the back and she accepted the congratulations with a genuine smile. Both Glimmer and Bow tugged her in for a hug, and Adora’s chest swelled with warmth for them.
“Adora, can I see you in my office?” Mara called out for her.
Adora pulled away from her friends. “I’ll see you guys later.”
Once seated across from Mara, Adora’s stomach fluttered with nerves. She was so used to being lectured when she was in here that it was difficult to picture Mara needing her for anything else.
“I’m really proud of you, Adora.”
Adora blinked, surprised. “You are?”
“You listened to me today and you didn’t put everyone in danger by racing out to save that boy. I wish we could have done more, but our hands are tied. You wouldn’t show this kind of restraint before. You’ve also been taking care of yourself.”
Adora felt her cheeks warm. Mara was right, of course. Ever since getting with Catra—whatever their relationship was—she tried to put more effort into looking after herself. To start off, she’d bought an actual couch. She took her off days so that she could drive down and visit Catra whenever she could, and her changes weren’t so brutal anymore.
It was weird but, after that first time with Catra, Adora could feel that something had changed. It was still painful, but she turned a lot quicker and she started remembering more of what happened when she was the wolf. Sometimes Adora even felt like she was the wolf, and that was a little weird. She was used to her and the wolf being separate, but now she was realizing that it wasn’t the case at all.
“Thanks, Captain.” She sheepishly scratched at her cheek. “Actually, I’ve been seeing someone.”
Mara’s eyes widened, then she launched out of her chair and pulled Adora into a crushing hug. Since Mara was just as strong as her, the hug actually hurt. Adora choked on her laughter.
“That’s incredible, Adora!” Mara laughed. “I’m so happy for you. I really thought you’d never let yourself feel love again.”
Adora couldn’t help her bright grin. “Thanks. She accepts me for who I am, and she’s a bit of an asshole but I kind of love it, and I love her and—” Adora cut herself off, eyes widening.
I love her.
She hadn’t even entertained that thought yet. Yeah, she knew her feelings were getting out of hand. The sex was amazing, and Catra did comfort her through every full moon, and okay it made sense that she was in love with her.
Catra had to feel the same way, right? It wasn’t just some... sick project for her? Something to pass the time?
Mara seemed to sense her sudden inner turmoil, so she let Adora go and told her to take a couple days off. Adora did so happily and drove out to Catra. She forgot to let her know that she was coming over, so when Catra threw the door open with her usual annoyed expression, her eyes widened in surprise.
She was a bit rumpled like she had been asleep, with red lines across her cheek and her hair in a very messy ponytail. Adora always wondered how she got her thick hair tied up at all. Adora sucked in a breath.
“Catra, I think I’m in love with you.”
Catra’s mouth opened. Then closed. She stared.
Adora let herself in and closed the door. She took Catra’s hand in her own and guided her to the lounge. They had spent many hours in this lounge, on that very couch, doing both innocent and sinful things. Adora’s body warmed at the memory. She was almost buzzing with emotion even though she was growing a little worried that Catra wasn’t saying anything.
“You don’t have to say it back if you don’t feel it,” Adora told her. They sat down together, fingers still interlocked. “I just... realized it today, so I wanted to tell you.”
Catra blew out a long breath. “Adora, you dummy.”
Adora furrowed her brow. “Why am I a dummy?”
Catra crawled onto her lap and drew her in for a slow, soft kiss. It was hungry but wasn’t filled with the lustful passion most of their kisses had. This one radiated love.
“As you’ve said before, I’ve cradled your sweaty body in my arms as you sobbed from pain. Of course I love you too. I have this whole time.”
Adora stared at her in awe. “You love me?”
“Yes, I love you, idiot.”
Adora’s cheeks hurt from her massive grin. They kissed again, but it was tender and loving, and then they decided to watch a movie until they fell asleep. Adora couldn’t remember the last time she had been so happy.
The next full moon, Catra accompanied her as usual. Adora undressed, chained herself up and waited. The only problem was, she felt completely fine. Usually there was a buildup that started deep inside. Her internal temperature would double, her emotions would fly all over the place and her skin would feel sensitive.
But this time, Adora just felt... normal. Midnight came and went, and Adora sat with her legs and arms crossed, waiting.
“Are we sure it’s today?”
Catra stared at her. “Dude, you know the full moon like it’s in your blood. Yeah it’s today.”
Adora stared at her hands. “I feel completely fine though. I’m not changing.”
“Has this ever happened before?”
She shook her head. “No, never.”
Catra came over with her clothes and helped Adora out of the chains. They were both aching and tired from being down in that cold basement for so long. When Adora was dressed again, they headed back up, but she felt unsettled.
“What if I still change?”
Catra took her hand. “I’m here, and I’ll keep you from rampaging.”
“But what if I hurt you?”
“Catra, what if—”
Catra shut her up with a kiss. “Adora, what if you’ve finally forgiven yourself and now you’re free of the curse?”
Adora blinked at her. “What?”
“What if love set you free?”
Adora mulled it over the entire ride back to Catra’s. It was still dark out and she felt very uneasy being outside of her cabin during this time. The moon was bright and full, but it didn’t call to her like it used to. Adora didn’t feel the change at all, not even bits of it creeping up at her. She felt entirely normal.
“What if love set me free?” she asked herself.
Catra snorted. “God, I can’t believe those words actually left my mouth.”
“Yeah, what are you, some dork with emotions?”
Catra pretended to be sick, but she was grinning. They stayed up together, Adora still nervous that she would turn suddenly. If she felt even a tiny brush of the change happening she would rush back to the cabin, but nothing happened, she stayed in her human form and fell asleep with her head nestled on Catra’s lap. Later, Adora woke up in bed with her face between Catra’s breasts and two arms wrapped tightly around her. Her arm had gone numb from being underneath Catra’s body, but she was far too comfortable to move.
She would need to tell Mara about this.
As the months went by, Adora didn’t change again. Her love for Catra kept deepening, and even though Catra kept acting like she was above feelings like love and affection , she acted just as dopey as Adora did.
She still kept her strength and senses, she just didn’t suffer the change again. Maybe Catra was right, and maybe the key had been forgiveness all along.
All Adora knew was that Catra was her realization, and love was her salvation.