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Adore You

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Adora grinned as the bright spotlight lit up her face. 

She breathed in the atmosphere, letting the cheering fans sound in her ears. She slap-bassed the strings to her bass for the intro, banging her head along to the beat. Glimmer had her back to the crowd, waiting for her cue to turn around and start singing into the mic. Adora played her notes as the spotlights stopped dancing around, lighting up the entire stage in a purple and pink glow. 

Her black mesh shirt was tucked into a pair of dark blue jeans. She swallowed, catching her breath before she sang her backup vocals. She got closer to the microphone in front of her, glancing at Catra right before Scorpia did her guitar rift. 

Want your bad romance, Adora sang, picking her bass to the individual notes. She bopped her head, and Glimmer turned around to start singing into her mic. She began the first verse, and Adora let the music carry her into the start of the song. 

They had played at Lightning In A Bottle before, and the band was more than happy to return to the festival for a second time. It seemed the fans loved it just as much, because they were almost cheering louder than Glimmer was singing. Her pink hair flopped around her shoulders, her white tank top and red flannel contrasting nicely. 

Scorpia played another riff like an electric guitar master. Adora always had to keep her nails short to finger strum, but Scorpia practically had pincers for nails. It was iconic all over Twitter. After every show, there was at least one thread that talked about her acrylic nails and how she was able to play her instrument so well. 

And along with the Scorpia thread, there was always at least one about Catra and Adora. The fans, for lack of a better word, adored them and their relationship. Almost every interview they were asked about the secret feelings they were harboring. 

It was funny to see them get twisted over nothing.

Catra wore a cropped red tank top with a black leather jacket, paired with a grey beanie. Underneath the pink and purple lighting, it was a sight to behold. Adora shook herself out of the momentary ogling of the drummer to pay attention to the song as Glimmer reached the chorus. 

I want it bad, a bad romance, Glimmer sang, her steady and confident voice echoing across the stage and into the audience. 

Adora sang her little backup vocals, harmoniously joining in with Scorpia as they strummed together. While they had very different instruments and played on very different spectrums of the song, they could still merge and read each other like it was nothing. It was a bass and guitar thing. Glimmer and Catra have never understood. 

She bounced on the balls of her feet as Glimmer sang the chorus flawlessly. She got into it as any lead singer would, more so considering this is their most well known song. 

Funny enough, because the truth about the song could ruin their careers. 

Adora had recorded her vocals for the high note a week in advance. Glimmer couldn’t hit anything above a D note, but Adora could. Shadow Weaver wrote the notes for most of their songs, being the involved manager that she is. 

When the band had first formed, Shadow Weaver wanted Adora to be the lead and star. Adora Carerro was going to be the face of The Rebellion, but she didn’t want it. She wanted to play her bass, and she was okay with backup. She loved the fans and everything that came with it, but being the lead was a bit much for her.

Shadow Weaver had struck a deal that made sense when it happened. If she wasn’t going to be the lead, then she would be the one singing the high notes for Glimmer. 

At the time, Adora had blindly agreed to it without thinking of what that actually meant. Now, two years after, as her voice sang the E and F flat notes, she continued to smile on through her cringe. Glimmer lip sang them like a pro, which she was. She’s been doing this for literally two years. 

Not that she had anything against Glimmer. If anything, she was happier with her voice being mistaken for the other girl’s. But she hates hearing her tracks being played live as she finger picked along to her bass. All four of them were always uncomfortable every time it played, but none of them ever let it show on stage. 

Caught in a bad romance, Glimmer continued before gripping her microphone, closing her eyes as Adora’s backing track played. After studying the expressions she made every time she sang, Glimmer was able to perfect her singing face, and no one has suspected a thing within their two years of performing.

Sure, doing the lip singing thing might open the path for haters to tear them down and they could potentially be cancelled. But it’s not like Glimmer didn’t sing at all. She hated having to take credit for Adora’s notes, but she sang the rest of the song beautifully. The little things don’t matter in hindsight. They were perfect the way they were. 

I want your love, Glimmer sang, to which Adora repeated, I want your love, I want your love

Being backup was her ideal plan. Even if turning down the lead made for Shadow Weaver to constantly berate her and make stupid comments every time she recorded her tracks for a show, she couldn’t have it any better. 

Well, there’s actually one thing that could be better, but that’s sort of illegal. 

Adora headbanged to the song, letting Glimmer’s voice carry her to the chorus again. She couldn’t move too far from her mic since she still had vocals to sing, but she traveled whenever she could, drifting to Scorpia or close to Catra before making her way back to her mic stand, singing her part then letting Glimmer take the wheel. 

Everything was perfect the way it was, and even if she hated hearing her E note play as Glimmer pretended to sing it, she still wouldn’t take up being the lead. 

Even as she sang her backups during the bridge, playing her F flat on her bass then humming out her I don’t wanna be friends in a B. Even if she sort of glanced at Catra as she let out her vocals, then focusing on adjusting the strap of her bass on her shoulder. It didn’t matter. She was happy the way she was. 

Scorpia finished the song with an iconic guitar riff, and Glimmer gave a satisfying growl to finish off their performance. “Thank you, Lightning In A Bottle!” She yelled into her mic, settling it back onto the stand. “We’ll see you next year!” 

The cheers were enough indication that they’d be welcomed back. 

Adora, breathless, held onto her bass by the neck, walking alongside Catra and Scorpia as they made their way backstage. Shadow Weaver was waiting for them, her sleek black hair and red blazer looking off compared to the four girls dressed in street clothes with unruly hairstyles. 

Between Glimmer’s dyed hair, Scorpia’s white undercut, Catra’s mane of a brown mess, and Adora’s blond curls she got from her dad’s side of the family, they were truly a match made in heaven. 

She set her bass down in her case, watching Scorpia do the same to her guitar. Catra threw her drumsticks into her backpack, fishing for a water bottle and downing almost half of it before offering any to anyone else. They all politely declined. 

“Good job, girls!” Shadow Weaver congratulated, her clearance badge folding against her chest as she gave Glimmer a side hug. “You were the third to last performance, and they’re having a little party for all performers once it’s over. I expect to see you there and socializing for potential collabs.” 

The four of them nodded. Scorpia handed her a hair tie, and Adora put her hair back up in a ponytail. The only thing wrong with her mixed genes is how her curls got all over the place. She does not want to be meeting other bands with her hair puffed up to the size of a chair. 

“Oh, and one last thing.” The manager smiled at her, making her uneasy. She hated getting singled out, only because she doesn’t want to hear more pleas to finally become the lead. Shadow Weaver looked between her and Catra before finally saying, “Make sure you two get lots of pictures. We need to give Twitter something to talk about if it isn’t Glimmer’s fake singing.” 

“Ouch..” Scorpia commented when the woman walked away. 

Catra bumped Adora’s shoulder, pointing to one of the booths meant for the people backstage. “Want to grab a drink, princess?” 

Adora rolled her eyes, accepting the offer. “Why not, we’ve got some time to kill.” She let Catra lead her to the booth with a tap that wasn’t carding. Not like it mattered, since they were both twenty one anyways. 

“So someone ran over Shadow Weaver’s kitten this morning,” Catra scoffed, examining the taps for what drink she wanted. “That was super uncalled for.”

Adora shrugged. Her mesh shirt with a black bralette underneath sort of matched with Catra’s leather jacket, and she appreciated their outfit choices. “She’s always uncalled for. I’ve never known a time when she’s been nice to any of us.”

“Except Glimmer.” It wasn’t meant as an insult, but it was true. The four of them loved each other like a family, but the favoritism from their manager was obvious to everyone. “But that’s only because it should be you.”

She rolled her eyes. She liked that it wasn’t her. “Shut up and get whatever you’re gonna get,” she said when they got to the front of the line. 

Catra smirked at her. “So… Can I buy you a drink?” 

Adora chuckled. “Get me a Modelo.” She stepped out of line, allowing Catra to pay for the drinks. 

She sighed as she watched the way Catra moved so naturally, talking calmly with the guy working at the booth. It’d be illegal if she acted out right now, so she sedated herself by hugging her bass case closer to her knees. 

After every performance, she swears she’s going to go through her contract to find some kind of loophole. When they signed on with Shadow Weaver, one of the rules printed was that none of the band members were allowed to date amongst themselves. Apparently leaving them single was better for publicity, as it kept them desirable and made the shippers go crazy as they theorized who secretly liked who.

At first, she doubted being single would do anything to get more revenue. But then she saw threads and tweets every night with a picture of her and Catra, or a shot of Scorpia simply looking amazing with thousands of retweets and even more likes. 

Fans were investing themselves in Catra and Adora’s relationship. While they were just friends, Shadow Weaver loved the idea of basically selling them. Every performance, they’d take a picture together to create speculation on what might have happened backstage. For interviews, they would sit next to each other and whisper random things to have people guessing what they were saying in secret. 

It’s all a game, and a bullshit one. 

Adora plastered on a smile when Catra approached her with her drink. She raised it to her lips, ignoring the burn in her throat as she drank her beer. Catra whistled when she finally came up for air. “Were you trying to waterboard yourself or something?” 

“Or something. I can do whatever I want.” 

Catra threw her head back to laugh, even if it wasn’t that funny. She knocked her bass case with her ankle, smiling sweetly at her. “You come here often, or what?”

If she wasn’t so charming, Adora might’ve thrown up. Instead, she took another sip of her beer, adjusting her shirt with her shoulder as she had no free hands left. “Well, you did buy me a free drink, so I guess I’ll consider continuing this conversation.”

Catra grabbed the mesh sleeve, fixing it for her. “You could’ve just asked for my help, idiot.”

“I can do it better myself.”

When she tried to take another swing from her cup, Catra hit her arm, the contents from her beer spilling on her arm. “Woah, be careful there. Compliments aren’t going to pay me back for that.”

Adora glared at her. She’s lucky nothing got on her case, or she would’ve started an all out brawl. Even though she’s pretty sure fights are another thing that’s prohibited in their contract, the protection of her instrument is very important to her. It all seemed careless to a drummer who just threw her drumsticks in her backpack, but her bass is her literal baby. She can’t even stand a water stain on the case, let alone half the beer that’s dripping down her arm. 

“Hey, you put the pin back on,” she said, looking at Catra’s backpack.

Catra adjusted the straps so she could see what Adora was talking about. It was a round pin, with a goose wearing a bow tie saying ‘Honk If You’re Lesbian’. Shadow Weaver had made her take it off to create speculation about whether or not the two of them were fighting. Or whatever crap excuse she’d given them. 

“Yeah. I never got the okay to put it back on. I just did it,” Catra shrugged as if disobeying wasn’t against the law.

Okay, so technically not illegal. But they would get sued for everything they owned, and Adora actually liked the stuff she has. She doesn’t even want to know what would happen if they ever got exposed for the lip singing. 

The sound of a duck quacking rang. Catra fished her phone out of her pocket, reading the text she got. “Scorpia sent me the address for the party. But seeing as neither of us can exactly drive right now…” To further her point, she raised her cup of Blue Moon and took a gulp.

“I came with Glimmer. I’ll make her drive. Problem solved.” She was a great problem solver, especially as she continued to let her Modelo drip down her arm. She swallowed the rest of her drink, closing her eyes when the burn hit her throat. She coughed, then tossed the plastic cup into the trash.

“Are you good?” Catra asked with a quirked eyebrow, patting her back. “You just downed a whole beer in less than five minutes.”

“It was a sixteen ounce, and I’ve finished more in less time.” Adora was a terrible teenager in high school, but she did learn a few things. “But seriously, I didn't have any water when we got off stage and that song just… does things to me sometimes.” 

Catra looked at her with a small smile. “If it makes you feel any better, I think your riffs, both live and recorded, are amazing.”

The little praises like that are the only things that got her through this. She smiled back. “Thank you.”

The Alvin and The Chipmunks cover of Witch Doctor started playing, and Catra rolled her eyes as she grabbed her phone from her pocket again. She has the weirdest ring tones… “What do you want?” A pause. “Yeah, okay. I’ll be there in two.” She hung up, turning to face her. “Scorpia’s with her car waiting for me. I’ll see you there?”

“Definitely.” Adora bid her friend goodbye, then started to make her way to the parking lot where her own car waited for Glimmer to drive.


“Why didn’t you offer her a ride with us!?” Glimmer demanded as she stomped on the gas.

Adora suddenly remembered why they never let the youngest of the four drive anywhere. She liked to go a little too fast, and she often forgets what she’s doing and before she knows it, she’s accidentally merging into other lanes or riding off to a completely different location. 

She should not have had that drink. 

“Because you’re trying to kill me, that’s why!” Adora shouted, grabbing onto the handle on the top of her car. 

“Well, then get out!” Glimmer responded, making a sharp turn. 

“We’re going fifty in a school zone. If I get out my head is coming off.” Adora removed her hand from the handle, gripping the console in the middle to calm her racing heart. She heard her phone ping, and she looked at the meme Catra sent her. “She left with Scorpia, by the way.”

But Glimmer, who had also been looking at the meme instead of keeping both eyes on the road, laughed. “Ha! That one was funny.”

“The road!” 

“Maybe if you told her you liked her, you wouldn’t be this uptight!” Glimmer retorted, pressing the brake harshly when a red light flashed in front of them. 

No dating meant no feelings. It was the unofficial rule Shadow Weaver had given them. If she actually caught feelings, then it’d be bad news and she’d get into more trouble than it was worth. It’s easier to not feel anything at all. “I do not like her. I don’t look forward to getting murdered by Shadow Weaver, thank you very much.” 

Glimmer deadpanned at her before lowering the sun visor, a picture of herself and Catra hugging at Tropicalia after performing on the mirror. 

“Both hands on the wheel!” 

She removed her hand from the visor, settling it back onto the wheel. “I don’t keep pictures of people I don’t have a crush on in my car.”

“I have pictures of everyone!” 

“Where?” She stepped on the gas harder than necessary, lurching the car forward. 

In truth, Adora was embarrassed to admit where she kept the other photos. She opened the glove department to show the polaroid pictures from different rehearsals, festivals, or plain messing around in the studio. “In my defense, they are in my car. You never said they had to be visible.” 

“Quite frankly, I’m more hurt that you hid the picture of me from last year’s Outside Lands. I mean, the pink sweater with the plaid skirt was a look if I’ve ever seen one myself. For all the shit Shadow Weaver gives us, she can choose out good stuff for us to wear.”

‘The shit Shadow Weaver gave them’ was nothing more than bringing Adora down in an attempt to make her so insecure she’ll have nothing left but to become lead singer for their upcoming album. It wouldn’t make anyone mad, seeing as everyone loved them and all it’s doing is changing vocalist. But she doesn’t want to be super up front and center, and she’s still praying for the day that their manager finally realizes that. When will she understand that nothing she says will make her want to give up the bass to sing in her friend’s place?

She cleared her throat, focusing on Glimmer trying to swerve lanes. “So, how’s your mom been doing? You said she’s almost done shooting?” 

Glimmer’s smile widened. “Yes! She still won’t tell me what the movie is about until the trailer drops, but I know it’s some kind of adventure story. When I facetimed her from her dressing room, she had a cool wizard staff in the back. She says it’s not hers and it belongs to one of her costars, but I couldn’t tell you the truth.” 

“I’ve seen the articles about Angella and Micah’s potential off screen romance. You’ve got the scoop on them?” Adora wiggled her eyebrows even if Glimmer couldn’t see. Well, at least she hopes she didn’t see. 

The singer rolled her eyes, but kept a broad grin on her face. “I’ve been asking her and she won’t tell me either! I’m a hundred percent sure they’re dating but keeping it from the press, but I want to know so bad! But his sister is a lawyer, so maybe she knows some legal stuff. It’s probably better for them to keep it a secret, but I’m her daughter! I should know this stuff!”

“Indeed you should.”

“So if two of my best friends had feelings for each other, I’d want to know about it.”

“Here we go again!” Adora slammed her head into the window. Maybe she should’ve accepted the earlier offer to get out of the car. “You sound like the Twitter stans.”

“But I spend more time around the both of you to know when something is up. She calls you princess and everything. Even Scorpia thinks you guys are hiding something. And everything Scorpia says is correct, so you’re going to tell me the secret.” 

Adora stiffened for a second before coming up with her response. “I’m not trying to get sued for Catra.” 

“That’s harsh.”

Well, yeah. But she’s being truthful here. Shadow Weaver isn’t going to show them any mercy in court, should they break any part of their contract. Adora decided that she wouldn’t give any reason to have a case at all. It worked out perfectly, and she wouldn’t deal with anything unnecessary that would come from legal issues. 

“C’mon, we know it’s all a game anyways.” Adora looked out the windshield as Glimmer turned the car off, the building they were parked in front of flashing with bright lights that could be seen from the outside. 

She double checked that her bass was securely in the backseat before climbing out the car, locking her red Subaru Forester. She left her red jacket in the car, but Glimmer pulled her hand to drag her inside before she could grab it. 

Well, looks like the thin mesh and bralette would have to do then. 

Scorpia and Catra found them quickly, both with drinks in their hands. “I’m surprised we got here sooner than you guys, considering how fast Glimmer drives,” Scorpia chuckled as they walked to a table. 

Glimmer groaned, collapsing into a chair. “You guys are impossible people to please.”

Catra grinned. “For sure. Very little things in life actually get me excited anymore. Not even Scorpia letting me drive her Camero would’ve gotten me that happy, and that’s saying a lot.”

Adora whipped her head up from the glass table in front of her. “Scorpia, you let Catra drive your car!? She was drinking! She had sixteen whole ounces of Blue Moon!” 

Scorpia drummed her nails on the glass. “Oh, no. Don’t worry, Adora. She was holding her beer when she asked to drive, so I knew better. I drove us here. We’re fine, you know.”

She exhaled with relief. Getting a DUI (or any charges, really) meant immediately getting kicked out of the band. Shadow Weaver does everything she can to keep them from getting a negative hashtag trending, and despite how stupid most of the fine print is on the contract, she could sort of agree with this one. 

“Because I am the most responsible one here-” Catra started.

“You’re not,” Glimmer cut in. 

“Because I am the most responsible one here, I have taken the liberty of introducing Shadow Weaver to my old friend Sea Hawk. I knew him back in high school, and his band performed this weekend too. I bet their manager is already talking with ours, so can I please hear a thank you from everybody because I just saved us from socializing.” 

One of their least favorite things to do at parties or social events was mingling with other performers. The ones that seem the kindest on social media are the worst to meet online. It sucks, because the four of them are actually genuine and interested in making new friends. But most people just want to profit off their name, or find some kind of secret to expose them. 

No one talks about that one time they almost collabed with the solo artist Light Hope, who wanted nothing more than to trick Catra and Adora into confessing their super secret relationship. Needless to say, they found nothing, and Catra couldn’t look her in the eyes for a month.

They’ve only ever done studio collabs with other bands and artists. They’re not totally opposed to doing any live performances, per say. But there’s a risk of Adora needing to sing something for Glimmer, and they never know who to trust. Studio recordings are just easier, and the safer way to go.

Everyone gave Catra their thanks, which was right on time as Shadow Weaver walked over to the four of them with a significantly shorter woman, and three boys behind them. The five of them all looked like polar opposites, and she paused to determine who was who. 

“Girls, this is Entrapta Woods, Bow Scribner, Sea Hawk, and Swift Wind from Boys Night Out,” Shadow Weaver introduced. 

The one with a mustache gave Catra a high five that turned into a handshake. Needless to say, old high school friend rituals are weird.

“Hi, I’m Bow,” the boy with a cropped white sweater said. He held his hand out for Glimmer to shake, which the girl accepted eagerly. 

“He’s the lead, and I’m Entrapta!” Entrapta’s shouting was heard over the loud music. She pushed her purple bangs out of her face as she thrusted her hand towards Catra, who stared at it for a moment too long before Scorpia took the handshake. “I’m their manager, and the four of us love your work.”

Bow was still shaking Glimmer’s hand. “You have got to teach me how you do that rift in Bad Romance. You mix so easily between the E and F flat. I need to know your secrets, seeing as I can’t hold any flat note for as long as you do, let alone one that high.” 

Glimmer visibly swallowed, and Adora looked away from the interaction. Shadow Weaver interrupted the uncomfortable conversation to say, “I’ve been chatting with Entrapta here, and she says the boys have never done a collaboration.” 

Bow finally let go of Glimmer’s hand to rub at the back of his neck. “It’s hard to find another with the same vocal range.”

The boy with red hair sat down, everyone else following suit except for the two managers. He leaned across the table, specifically looking at Scorpia. “Without a bass, we have to make up where we lack with vocals. Hi, I’m Sea Hawk, also known as the guitarist who’s backup to Bow. Catra has told me you are also the guitarist?” 

Scorpia noticed his glance at her nails, to which she smiled. “Hi! Yeah, I am! My nails don’t bother me, by the way. I don’t do any backup, but Adora does. I’m Scorpia by the way.”

Adora waved. “Hey, guys. I’m Adora.”

Glimmer rolled her eyes playfully. “She’s the bass and the best backup singer I could ever ask for. Seriously, she’s amazing. You guys have to hear her sing properly one day because it’s just the best.”

Catra scoffed. “We get it, the princess is amazing in your eyes. Can we move on now?”

Adora cocked her head at her friend. Catra noticed the table had gone silent, and she cleared her throat. “Sorry, that came out wrong. Uh.. I’m Catra, but Sea Hawk already knows that. I’m on drums, but I don’t sing. I mean, I can sing, I just choose not to. I have more skill in my hands than with my throat.”

“Wow..” Adora whispered under her breath. She looked away to hide her face, suddenly wishing she remembered to bring her red jacket to blend in with her cheeks. 

The boy with colored hair let out a loud gasp. He had an undercut similar to Scorpia’s, with orange, yellow, pink, purple, and blue strands highlighted in his otherwise dark hair. “You’re drums too? I do drums! I love meeting other drummers, especially ones that don’t sing. Wait, that’s not what I mean. I mean like… other drummers have judged me for not being a singer but honestly I just prefer the sticks. I see nothing wrong with it.”

Catra smiled. “Right! I’ve dealt with the same thing! We have Adora and Glimmer to sing, there’s no need for any more of us.” 

“I’m Swift Wind, by the way.” He extended his hand towards the other drummer, who happily took it. “I can do other instruments too.” 

“Is everyone introduced?” Shadow Weaver asked, continuing when they all nodded. “I’m glad. I can see a new friendship blooming. I will be talking with Entrapta, should anyone need me.” 

“Well, Bow finally has a leading lady to sing with him, so I hope she sticks around,” Sea Hawk laughed, making everyone around the table join in.

“Speaking of that, would you want to share a drink with me?” Bow asked Glimmer, only having the nerve to look slightly off put.

Glimmer sighed. “I wish I could, but we have to wait seven more months before I can legally drink. But if you’re really offering… I’ll have a Pepsi.” 

Catra fastened her lips over the straw to her drink. When she put the cup down, Adora grabbed the cup to take her own sip. When Catra deadpanned, she put her most innocent look on. “What? I was thirsty.” 

“Well, that’s what happens when you drink a sixteen ounce in negative three seconds,” Catra whispered. “Your actions have consequences.” 

“Not when it’s alcohol prompted actions.”

“You are so right.” 

“I’m three years ahead of you, it seems,” Bow’s laugh interrupted their whispering. “But I will have one Pepsi coming up.” He turned away from her to address the rest of the table. “Does anyone else want anything?” 

Sea Hawk made a request for something with lime. “Adora wants a Blue Moon because she can’t keep her hands off mine.” Catra hissed when Adora smacked her on the arm. “What’s with you now?” 

“I was perfectly fine just sharing with you,” Adora told her, only momentarily glancing at Sea Hawk’s interested expression. “No need to make the poor boy wait in that huge line.” Catra snickered. “What can you be laughing about now?” 

“One Blue Moon for the bassist, a Pepsi for the singer, a hard lemonade for me, and something with lime for the guitarist.” Bow settled the drinks on the table. Glimmer and Adora stared at him with wide eyes, but Sea Hawk seemed unimpressed. 

“What…?” Glimmer started, but Bow’s chuckle cut her off. 

“His friends Baker, Soda Pop, and Busgirl, are always working the bar and tap at these parties. He always gets to the front of the line super quickly,” Sea Hawk explained. 

“Well, if it isn’t for my two favorite bands!” 

The booming voice made them all turn around to the source of it. Adora recognized the man dressed in a white suit instantly. 

Horde Prime is one of the most vicious interviewers out there. Anybody who ever talks with him is always coerced into giving him some kind of sensitive information that he exposes, and he doesn’t have a super clean record when it comes to women. Usually, The Rebellion steers clear and doesn’t even talk to him. They can’t be rude if they’ve never met him. But without Shadow Weaver to keep him off, it seems today would be the day they finally meet the man. 

The thing is: no one can deny him. If someone rejects an interview, he finds a way to paint you in a bad light. If the press is out for blood, he’s the one that kills you and skins your body to feed the media. Once he talks to you, there’s no backing out. It’s always a lose lose situation, unless you’re a mastermind and can avoid his traps. 

No one has done so yet. 

The seven of them froze as the man grabbed a chair and pulled it up to their table, sitting down in between Adora and Glimmer. “Hello, allow me to introduce myself. I’m Horde Prime. I’m sure you’ve all heard of me, but I assure you I am not as nasty as the rumors make me out to be. I just tell the truth, and wait for the rest of the media to act on it. No hard feelings, really.” 

Adora glanced over to where Shadow Weaver and Entrapta were talking, but neither of them saw the exchange going on. Horde Prime glanced at her glass, picking it up before tracing a finger along the rim of the cup. She resisted her urge to flinch, knowing he’d write her off as a rude narcissist if she did. 

“What is this, a gin and tonic?” Horde Prime asked her. “Or perhaps a Jack Daniel? I don’t know much about drinks, excuse me.” 

She almost rolled her eyes. If his reputation among women was true, he knew way more about alcohol than he was pretending to. She didn’t understand the point of lying in the first place. He placed her glass back on the table, and she raised it to her lips uncomfortably. She took a sip, putting it back down to re engage in the conversation. 

“If you don’t mind me asking, were you at the show tonight?” Bow asked, a polite smile on his face. 

“Oh, no. Well, technically yes. I stay backstage and interview everyone, but I don’t actually watch the performers. These after parties are what I’m here for anyways,” Horde Prime explained, mirroring Bow’s smile. 

“Wow, that’s cool,” Catra remarked. She drank from her own glass, pretending to be interested. “Say, why only the after stuff? I mean, the performers are pretty neat too.” 

Adora rested her foot on top of Catra’s as a warning to chill out a bit, but she couldn’t get her message across clearly. She wanted to dig herself into the ground as Horde Prime responded, “Yes, I agree. The set lists are usually quite nice, too. But I’m not going to lie to you. I prefer sticking around for what’s actually going to help my job.” 

“Wow..” Catra whispered in mock amazement. She could see the boys getting more and more uneasy as their conversation went on. Even Scorpia was beginning to look a little worried. 

Before Catra said something that’d probably ruin her career, Entrapta came rushing over. “Hey guys! We want all of you to take a picture together. So c’mon now, let’s go.” 

Horde Prime grinned at the manager. “Entrapta, I haven’t seen you since last Thanksgiving. How are you?” 

She didn’t say anything to him, instead choosing to usher them off their chairs and to a deserted white wall. “Sorry guys. I didn’t notice, but I came back as soon as I saw.”

“Her husband is related to him, so she knows a lot of stuff,” she heard Bow whisper to Glimmer. Interesting. 

“Okay everyone! Pose!” Shadow Weaver announced. The four girls backed themselves against the wall, and for good measure, Adora swung an arm around Catra, who was on the edge. The boys crouched on the floor, Bow sitting on top of Glimmer’s Vans as Scorpia settled her hands on Swift Wind and Sea Hawk’s shoulders. 

Shadow Weaver let out an exasperated sigh as they got themselves in the ridiculous pose. “I wonder what your parents are doing right now.” 

“Acting!” Glimmer chirped, making the group laugh. 

They finally smiled for the proper picture, Shadow Weaver and Entrapta taking turns. They were all sent the pictures immediately to post to Instagram and Twitter, including a candid one of them all laughing. 

Catra grabbed her by the wrist, pulling her to the dance floor. “Come on, let’s get this shit out of our system!” 

The song changed to one by Light Hope, and they made a disgusted face at each other. The two laughed, and Adora notably stopped giggling first. She watched how her friend’s eyes crinkled, how her highlighter reflected off the blue lights of the party. 

If anyone ever got to have a good look at Catra, they were truly blessed. Even the Catra with no makeup, eyebrows wiped off and hair up in a sloppy ponytail, it was just as mesmerizing. Adora smiled as they bounced to the music, their linked hands in between them. 

She realized her white nail polish was chipping, but that came from the bass. Meanwhile, Catra had black acrylics that have accidentally scratched everybody at least once. Though that one time she clawed at Shadow Weaver’s arm might not have been a mistake… 

Adora was fine one second, thinking about her friend and her long nails. But her eyelids suddenly felt dense, and she stumbled over her feet. Catra laughed at her, but Adora could tell something was wrong. 

Her whole body was heavy, and her knees were starting to buckle. 

Something was very, very wrong. 

“Princess?” Catra caught on, looking concerned. “Woah, Adora. What happened? You had a drink and a half.”

Adora clutched at Catra’s arm, her tongue feeling like dead weight. “I don’t know. I don’t… I..” 

“Okay, we’re getting you back to your car.”

Adora let Catra lead her to her red car, trying her hardest to stay awake. She had an arm around her friend as they walked, but she was honestly more confused than anything. She was completely fine just a minute ago, but she wanted nothing more than to go to sleep now.

She must’ve been shutting her eyes because Catra slapped her upside the head. “Hey, no no. Adora, wake up. Shit…” 

Adora opened her eyes, and she noticed that they were outside the club that the party was being hosted at. She shook her head and tried blinking the sleepiness out of her eyes, but she still felt just as droopy. She could feel a hand searching in her jacket, and she assumed it was for her keys, but moving her arms would be too difficult. 

The second she hit the headrest of her car, Adora let herself succumb to the sleep that’s been calling her for the past five minutes. 

Chapter Text

Adora woke up when she heard a yelp. 

She groaned, turning onto her side. She saw her phone on her nightstand, unplugging it from the charger to check the time. It was already noon, and she was surprised to find herself still in bed. Usually, she woke up around eleven to work out and eat something. 

Sitting up, she tried to remember the previous nights’ antics. Albeit, she could only pick out bits and pieces. It was the Monday morning after a festival and afterparty, so maybe she had a drink too many. 

But if she was drinking, how did she get home? She scanned the room once more, and saw a leather jacket on her desk chair. She recognized it, satisfied she got the answer to at least one question. 

Adora swung her legs over her bed, but recoiled when her vision swam. Getting hangovers was nothing new, but she hasn’t gotten one that was this bad since senior year of high school. She looked down at her clothes, noticing she had a tie-dye T-shirt and blue terry shorts. Her mesh shirt was thrown carelessly on the floor, along with the rest of her clothes.

She took a deep breath before pushing off the bed, standing up with wobbly knees. She was dizzy for a second before regaining her sight, able to make out the shoes strewn about the room. 

Her phone buzzed, but the sound hurt her head. Damn, she really did get wasted last night. If she did anything bad, Shadow Weaver was going to have her head. But then she remembered the manager would’ve already broken her door down if she did anything to tarnish her (or anyone else’s) name. 

She stepped out of her room, glad to see her hallway lights dimmed. She continued walking, making her way to the kitchen to see Catra kneeling on the ground with the remnants of a mug on the floor. 

“What are you doing?” Adora asked, watching her friend clean her mug. 

“Oh. Hey, Adora.” Catra jumped to her feet, the pieces of ceramic forgotten on the floor. “You’re awake. Sorry about the mug.”

She noted that Catra was still wearing her red tank top from last night. In fact, she had the whole outfit, save for the beanie, jacket, and shoes. “Yeah. But… What the hell happened? I don’t remember anything.” 

Catra didn’t respond. Instead, she advanced towards Adora, pressing a hand against her forehead and sighing in relief. “Scorpia thought you might’ve gotten a fever.”

“Again, what the hell happened?” 

She looked back helplessly at the broken mug, leaning against the kitchen island. “Honestly princess, I don’t really know. You were fine one minute, and the next you’re stumbling over yourself. I thought you were just tipsy, but then you were like… about to pass out. You did fall asleep as soon as I got you back in your car, but no one has any idea what happened.” 

Adora took a second to process that. No one knows what happened? How? 

“I see the gears turning in your head,” Catra commented. “It was just weird. You were all loopy for a second. I mean, when you’re sleeping on my shoulder as we walk to the parking lot something has to be wrong. People don’t just knock out while walking when they’re perfectly fine.” 

“Yeah, I get what you’re saying. But what is my question.” She sat on one of her barstools, digging her elbows into the cool limestone of the kitchen island. “I don’t remember drinking that much, but if I was as bad as you say, I guess I had a sip too many.” 

“But that’s the weird thing. You didn’t drink any more than I did, and I was perfectly fine. You weren’t being unusual before or after the performance. There’s something really weird going on, Adora. I don’t like it.” 

Adora settled her hand on top of Catra’s. “I don’t get it either, but I’m okay now. Alcohol poisoning does exist. If I was conscious but unresponsive, it makes sense.”

Catra scoffed. “That’s what Glimmer said. But they didn’t see you when I was taking you back to the car. You were sleeping as we walked, and all you had was a Blue Moon and a Modelo. You didn’t have enough to be anything more than buzzed. You slept the entire time I drove, and you probably would’ve choked in your sleep if it was poisoning. It rules out Glimmer’s theory, and you’re not burning up right now, so Scorpia’s wrong too.” 

During the explanation, Adora only caught the most important part. “Wait, you drove?”

“It’s not that big of a deal,” Catra rolled her eyes. “I got you home safe and in one piece, and if my guess is right, we better be glad you’re here and not dead in a ditch.” 

“No, that doesn’t matter, Catra. You know what would happen if Shadow Weaver knew you were buzzed and driving.” Quite frankly, Adora didn’t want to see one of her closest friends get kicked out of the band. “You shouldn’t have risked it.” 

“I’m a big girl. I know what I’m doing,” Catra defended. “Don’t say thank you then.”

Adora sighed in exasperation. “Thank you, but that’s not the point. Glimmer could’ve driven, or Scorpia if she was sober. You didn’t have to put yourself at risk just because I couldn’t even stand anymore.” 

Catra chuckled humorlessly. “Sure, have Glimmer take care of you instead. I bet you would’ve loved that. Did it occur to you that at that moment, I wasn’t thinking properly either? I mean, because according to you, I was drinking so much.” 

Ignoring the jab about Glimmer, Adora replied, “That’s not what I meant.” 

“Sure sounded like it. Because when you have your friend about to pass out when they were perfectly fine just seconds ago and can’t even get to their car without falling asleep, I want to see you have rational thoughts instead of ones that include getting said friend safe and home.” 

“Why are you getting so upset at me?”

Well, that was the wrong thing to say. It was as if she lit a fuse inside of Catra, and her wild eyes were enough to tell her she shouldn’t have said that. 

“I wasn’t mad at all! I was out of my mind worried because I didn’t know what was happening to you. But then you start telling me that I’m in the wrong for trying to get you home alive. If I was right about what happened, we needed you here as quickly as possible.” 

Adora counted to ten to regain her thought process. Catra was right. In the heat of the moment, she probably didn’t even think to ask someone else for help. It was unfair of her to judge or jump to any major conclusions, especially when she didn’t even remember anything. “I’m sorry, I should’ve listened a little better.” 

Catra scoffed. “Yeah, you should’ve.” 

Adora opened her mouth to reply with a smartass comment, but Catra beat her to it by slamming a two liter bottle of Sprite in her face. “Here, I was going to give this to you but then I dropped your mug. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to go take a shower.” 

She nodded, deciding that staying silent was best to not spark an argument. Despite it being her house, Catra had a red towel in Adora’s bathroom. And if she wanted to be moody, even after Adora apologized, then so be it. She’ll hopefully calm down after her shower. 

Catra practically stomped down the hallway, but not before saying, “And update your social media. Everyone’s freaking out because pictures of us leaving were taken.” 

Fun, another mess. 

Adora sighed when her bathroom door closed. She could’ve been a little more considerate of how Catra handled the whole thing, sure. But she admitted to being wrong, which is Catra’s favorite word, and she was still responding by being angry. 

Maybe she’s still freaking out about everything. Adora stood, grabbing another mug from her cabinet. She poured the Sprite into the cup, raising it to her lips as she continued thinking. 

Yes, Catra had the right to be spooked out. If that was Adora, her brain would’ve shut down and she would’ve started panicking. The fact that they both got home in one piece is enough to tell her that Catra kept her cool while everything was happening. 

But if she got to be worried, then Adora also had the right to be just as alarmed when she found out Catra was driving while intoxicated. It didn’t matter how much, it was still dangerous. Not just for them, but because Shadow Weaver would never let them see the light of day if they’d gotten pulled over and Catra failed the sobriety test. 

Adora doesn’t even know what happened to her. From the way it sounds, she was just majorly drunk. But Catra says she wasn’t, and she trusts her. There had to be something else in play, but no one knew. 

That’s what scared her. 

She got up from her stool, kneeling down to pick up the broken mug. She threw the pieces in the trash, sighing as she took her Sprite back to her room. She passed by the bathroom, the water running as her friend continued to take her shower.

Her pink sheets were a mess, but she didn’t bother fixing them. Instead, she set her mug down on her nightstand, opting to grab her phone. She saw a couple messages from Glimmer, a ton more from Scorpia, one from Shadow Weaver, and a few more from Adam.

She clicked on Adam’s text first before his twin instinct went off and he drove over here. He’s been working at Disneyland for a year now, dressing up in a Boba Fett costume in Galaxy’s Edge. But he wouldn’t hesitate to drop everything if he thought she was in danger. 

Adam: I saw some tabloids saying Catra had to carry you out of some kind of club

Adam: Are you okay??

Adam: Adora 

Adam: Adora 

Adam: Adora are you good??

She sighed at the thought of tabloids. They were always going to be around and it sucked. She decided not to text him back, her frustration at having to publicly address things (even though Catra already told her to) exhausting her. She slammed her head into the headboard as she opened Instagram, mentally preparing her ‘speech’. 

“Shadow Weaver is going to kill me…” She muttered out loud. 

Adora smiled as she started recording for her story. “Hey guys! Adora here. I’m aware of the way things might have looked in the pictures, but I can assure you I’m fine now. I got dizzy from extortion after the show, so Catra brought me back to my house. But like I said, I’m fine. Let’s go back to our regularly scheduled program now.” 

She stopped recording, listening to her voice once more before posting it to her story. It’ll fool the fans, but her bandmates and brother would know it wasn’t true. She cuddled up in her comforter as she opened Adam’s message again, the last one from two in the morning last night. 

Adora: Sorry about making you wait

Adora: We’re not exactly sure what happened last night

Adora: I didn’t get fucked up or anything but everyone says I was fine one moment and passing out the next so we haven’t exactly figured out what’s wrong with me 

Adora: But I’m okay now I promise 

Glimmer and Scorpia will call her when they see her story. If she knew anything about them, she knew they would wait for her to wake up before attempting to talk to her. 

She got a sharp pain in her head again. She slammed her phone onto her nightstand, nearly breaking another mug. She stuffed her face into her pillow, trying to block out all noise and bright lights. She has never been this hungover, not even when everyone called her Lightweight Adora. 

Her phone pinged, presumingly from Adam, but the sound hurt her head. She whimpered, the sensation not a welcome one. She wanted to rip her hair out as she bunched her comforter closer to her body. 

See, this is why she was annoyed with Catra yelling at her. The same way Catra was scared of what happened, Adora was too. It’s her body that’s a mystery right now. Okay, so Catra stayed up to make sure she didn’t choke on her own tongue. But being a good friend one night isn’t an excuse to get mad when Adora questioned her potential drinking and driving the next morning. Who can blame her? She’s a worried friend! 

“What happened with you?” 

Speak of the devil…

Adora slightly lifted her head from the pillow, trying to sit up to address Catra. A pair of soft hands assisted her until her back leaned against the headboard in an upright position. She was about to thank her friend until she saw her in nothing but a red towel, her wet hair dripping onto her carpet. How did she even wash her hair that fast? 

“I feel terrible..” Adora croaked out. Catra helped her get her mug to her lips, sipping the perfect Sprite. “I don’t get this hungover.” 

Catra sat down on the edge of her bed, towel and everything. “That’s because it’s not a hangover, princess.” She had a concerned look, pressing her hand to Adora’s forehead again. “Or a fever.” 

When Adora opened her mouth to talk, Catra stood. “Hey, do you have any clothes? Usually I’d stop by my place but we didn’t really have time for that since you were passed out in the passenger seat of your car.” 

She tried not to smile. Only they would keep a towel at her house for Catra but forget to leave any clothes here. Adora swung her legs over the bed, trying not to let her legs shake as she stood. She walked over to her dresser, Catra’s eyes boring into her back. She grabbed a pair of sweatpants from the top drawer and a striped camisole. 

Catra backed out of the room, taking the clothes with her. Adora realized she didn’t give her any undergarments, but her phone rang when she was going to say something. She sighed, grabbing it from the nightstand and answering it without looking. She assumed it was Adam, so she waited for him to start freaking out.

“Are you okay? What’s happening? Is Catra still with you? Catra better still be with you,” Glimmer’s frantic voice said over the receiver. “We don’t know what happened and Scorpia’s on her way to buy you some tea. Please just tell us you’re okay.” 

Adora held in her wince as she sat down. “Yes, I’m fine. I’m just super tired. Catra’s here, she’s just down the hall.” She paused, thinking of the right way to phrase her question. “Why does nobody know what happened?” 

Glimmer audibly winced. “We don’t know. Shadow Weaver was prepared to do a breathalyzer on you because she thought you got wasted. But when we explained that you barely drank, she got really worried and called Entrapta. Entrapta disappeared after, but Shadow Weaver didn’t leave me or Scorpia alone the rest of the night, and after she made sure Catra had you, she let you guys be. We stayed a bit longer with Bow, Swift Wind, and Sea Hawk, but we left about an hour later.”  

Catra came back into the room, and Adora forgot how much taller Catra is. It’s not a crazy lot, but the top ended right as the sweatpants started, and anytime Catra moved around the right way, she got a clear view of the drummer’s toned stomach and skin.

Adora looked down at her phone when she realized Catra didn’t have a bra on. 

“So Shadow Weaver tried to do damage control?” She asked, hyper aware of the girl sitting next to her on the bed. She brought the phone down from her ear and put it on speaker, trying anything to distract herself.

Catra scoffed. “She didn’t do a very good job. Twitter was blowing up with a picture of me carrying you out.” 

“Oh, hey Catra!” Glimmer greeted. 

“Hey. So anyways.. I assume you addressed this somewhere?” 

Adora nodded. “Yeah, I posted a short explanation on my story. I blamed it on exhaustion, but if someone else finds the real answer, I’m more than happy to hear.”

“Scorpia should be on her way with some tea. She thinks you got a fever, and I thought it was alcohol poisoning,” Glimmer explained. “But now… I’m starting to think Catra was right with her theory.” 

Adora turned to face her. “Oh yeah. You told me everyone else’s, but not yours.” 

Catra took a deep breath before answering. “I’m going to be one hundred percent honest here. I think someone spiked your drink.”

“I think she’s right,” Glimmer agreed. 

Adora considered the possibility. “Glimmer, I’ll call you back.” 

“Okay, I guess…” She hesitated. “But don’t forget about Shadow Weaver’s consultation later today at six. We’re meeting at the studio.” 

She bid a goodbye before hanging up and turning to Catra with a quirked eyebrow. “Spiked? I’m not sure about that. The only person who had my drink was Bow, and I’m pretty sure I would’ve tasted it when he got back.”

Catra scowled. “Not Bow, but those bartenders too. I got you the drink at the festival, so that’s out of the running, but it makes sense everywhere else. What if they have something so you couldn’t taste it? I mean, who knows what would’ve happened if we left you alone.” 

Adora struggled to believe it. Maybe it’s just because she doesn’t want to, but she can’t imagine anyone going through the trouble of spiking her drink. She’s read before that it takes at least half an hour to take effect, and she started acting all wonky almost immediately after having her drink. 

“I mean, the symptoms are all there,” Catra continued. “I stayed up really late last night researching all these kinds of drugs. It makes you dizzy and confused, exactly like you. You don’t remember a lot, and memory loss is another symptom.” 

She could understand the points being made, truly. She still couldn’t find it in herself to believe it, using her ignorance to spare herself the true meaning of someone potentially drugging her. “I hear you, but I really do think there’s no way it could’ve happened.”

Catra clenched her fist. “What’s so difficult to understand? You must’ve left it unguarded at some point and someone slipped something in.” When she heard the words, she stood in front of her. “That came out wrong, I-”

“You do not get to blame this on me,” Adora retaliated. “I had no clue that taking my eye off my drink for one second was going to do anything to me, if it was even that. But this is not my fault, and you aren’t going to make it mine.” 

Now, Catra had a thing for getting defensive when proven wrong. She said something that she didn’t mean, and per usual, she got upset at herself for saying it. But when she gets mad at herself, she takes it out on other people. 

It’s originally what made Shadow Weaver dislike her. When rehearsals were going overtime because she wasn’t playing right, she lashes out when their manager makes a comment about it. 

She’s been working on not doing that anymore, but the sleep deprivation and lingering fear, sprinkling in all around confusion, and it was all a recipe for making Catra freak out.

“Whatever, Adora. Call Glimmer and Scorpia instead. They could tell you what you wanna hear to feel better, but they didn’t carry you out to your car and see you the way I did. So go talk to them instead, I’m sure they’ll be way more help than I did.” 

“Catra..” Adora called out as she turned around, careful with her footing. “Catra, wait!” 

“I’ll walk home!” Catra shouted. By the time Adora was able to get to the hallway outside of her room, the front door slammed. 

She sighed in resignation. After her friend spent all night with her, it felt wrong to let her leave. But when Catra was having one of her episodes, it was best to leave her be and wait to call later. Adora trudged back to her bed, flopping down face first as she dialed Scorpia’s number. 

“Adora! I’m so happy to hear you awake!” Scorpia cried out, hurting her ears. “I’m at the store right now getting your tea in sunglasses and I keep getting weird stares, so I’ll call you from my car when I can cry happy tears and cheer for your okayness. I’m in the self checkout right now, so I’ll be there in ten.” 

Adora smiled at her chipper friend. “Thank you, and I really appreciate what you’re doing. But… Can you do me a huge favor first?”

“Anything.” 

“Catra stormed out right now. Do you think you can pick her up? She’s walking home from my house, so she’s probably taking Badillo.” 

Scorpia whistled a low note. “She hasn’t done that in a while… Yeah, I’ll pick her up from her walk of shame, drop her off, then stop by your house.”

Adora, relieved, let the phone fall from her ear. She pressed the speaker button as she said, “Thank you so much. I’ll pay you back for gas when you get here.” 

“Yeah, we all thought you were gonna die last night. I’m fine paying extra gas to pick up a moody Catra who flipped out on you for no reason.” 

Not for no reason… She’ll explain better when she gets here. “I hear you. I’ll talk to you later.” She hung up when Scorpia yelled her goodbye, replaying everything she could about the previous night. 

Adora was horrified by how little she could actually remember. 


After Scorpia got done hugging her, Adora sat down in the mundane chair. 

The four of them were sitting in the recording studio as Shadow Weaver checked her temperature and swiped a cotton swab in her cheek to 'check her BAC'. She didn’t question it, choosing instead to just go along with it. 

After another nap where Scorpia stayed at her house, they drove down to the studio together so Shadow Weaver could have her appointed meeting. Catra still wasn’t looking at her, despite the six hour cooldown. Scorpia said it was nothing against her particularly, but she was finding that a little hard to believe. 

Glimmer had also assured her that she shouldn’t be stressing out too much. Adora was the one to say she wasn’t getting sued for Catra, the singer reminded. So she shouldn’t let it offend her too much, right?

They were still friends though. She doesn’t like fighting with her friends, but nothing could be done now until Catra swallowed the pill called maturity and talked to her. She shouldn’t feel bad about getting upset that Catra might’ve been slightly tipsy and driving.

“Adora, we’re glad you’re okay,” Shadow Weaver said to everyone. “Myself and Entrapta are trying to figure out what happened, but it may take a while to sort everything out.” 

She remembered what Catra had said about the two managers scrambling around and disappearing at some point. They were the only real adults present when everything had gone down.

Adora nodded at Shadow Weaver’s acknowledgement. “Thank you. The last thing I remember is taking the picture, but it’s coming back to me in pieces.” A couple of conversations here, a moment there, and the list didn’t go on much longer. 

“Catra says that’s around the time you knocked out,” Scorpia chimed in. “After the picture. But it’s just so… weird. I mean, you were completely fine during it.”

“She’s right,” Glimmer agreed. “It all happened so suddenly that we didn’t even see her carrying you out until TMZ uploaded an article about it and they already had a picture. I still think Catra was right about your drink being spiked.” 

“No one else had my drink but me and Bow, and he came back too quickly to pull anything like that,” Adora pointed out. “Trust me, I’ve looked at that possibility at all angles. I just don’t see when it would’ve been possible.” 

Catra wrly chuckled. “We know it seems impossible, but it’s the only thing that makes sense.” 

Adora feigned surprise. “Wow, you’re talking to me now?” 

That only seemed to piss off Catra even more. “Oh, shut up. I already told you that I didn’t mean for it to come out that way, but then you didn’t even want my help.” 

“Only because you suggested that it was my fault!” 

“Girls!” 

The two of them whipped away from each other’s intense gaze to look at Shadow Weaver. She slammed a packet onto the desk in front of them, disappointment written on her face. “Take care of matters on your own time and don’t waste ours. We have business to attend to.” 

Adora glanced at Glimmer, rolling her eyes in a ‘can you believe this girl’ matter. Glimmer stifled laughter, which Shadow Weaver didn’t notice. Catra did, however. She scowled, turning away to scroll through her phone. 

“After meeting Entrapta and her boys yesterday, I took a liking to them,” Shadow Weaver started, looking at her rock stars. “Entrapta also liked you girls, and we came to the decision last night while talking that we would like to collaborate. Then Adora fainted and we didn’t get to discuss too many details, but everything’s almost there.” 

Adora smiled. If they were going to collaborate with anyone, she was glad it would be them. Bow had been really nice, and even bought a round of drinks. Swift Wind was the drummer, and she had a thing for drummers, so she automatically liked him too. Sea Hawk was Catra’s friend, and any friend of Catra is a friend of hers. 

Or so she thought. 

But no one had a bigger smile than Glimmer, who clapped her hands together. “That’s amazing! I mean, we loved them yesterday. It’ll be nice to collab with people we’ve already made ourselves comfortable with.” 

 “I don’t think anyone likes them more than you..” Scorpia mumbled in a joking tone.

Glimmer turned scarlet, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. “C’mon, I know you guys hit it off with at least someone. Scorpia, you got along really well with Sea Hawk, didn’t you? And Catra was chatting it out with Swift Wind.” 

Adora almost snorted when Scorpia visibly brightened. “I feel like Bow was talking really good with us,” Adora said. “He was sweet. I look forward to working with them.” 

“Entrapta took a big liking to you, Adora,” Shadow Weaver intervened. “She may have mentioned a solo project with just you and the boys alongside our first project. You know, considering they have no bass and you can sing.”

That wasn’t good. 

If they wanted just her, she’d probably be singing with Bow. She’d have to take center stage instead of being slightly behind Glimmer. Her problem isn’t being on stage. It’s being the lead, which is what she doesn’t want. She likes her bass. She likes backup. She wouldn’t trade it for the world, which is what no one understands. 

Just as she was about to voice her concerns (are people going to notice how similar her and Glimmer’s high notes are?), Shadow Weaver gave her a pointed look. “Unless you want Glimmer to take responsibility for you and lip sync again?” 

Adora leaned back into her chair to glare at the table in front of her. She could feel her bandmates staring at her, but she dozed out of the rest of the conversation. They were saying something about the collaboration, but she didn’t really feel like listening anymore. 

“You guys are free to leave,” Shadow Weaver said at the end of the meeting an hour later. 

“Let’s get out of here?” Catra said to Scorpia. 

Scorpia looked over at Adora. “Well, I drove Adora here. I don’t think she can drive yet, so I think I’ll pass. Next time?” 

“Shit..” Catra mumbled. “I didn’t bring my car.” 

Adora sighed, getting out of her chair. She understood what Catra was doing, and was annoyed that it was working. “Glimmer, can you take me home?”

Glimmer nodded, so Scorpia and Catra walked out together. She watched them leave, but she couldn’t decide if she was angry or annoyed. On one hand, Catra can be a little shit at times because that’s who she is. But on the other hand, something bad happened to her, but Catra is ignoring her out of her own recovery from last night.

She has every right to be upset and spooked out, but she can’t be taking it out on her. Especially when she’s still recovering and was having trouble moving around her house up until an hour ago. 

“Adora, can you stay behind for a minute?” Shadow Weaver asked as she shifted through papers, not bothering to look up. 

“I’ll be out in a minute,” she told Glimmer, who nodded and walked out of the recording studio. The door shut behind her with a click, and Adora was stuck in a room with her manager that all but hates her.

Adora awkwardly stood there, regretting her decision to not bring her purse. At least then she could pretend she was looking through it.

Shadow Weaver finally looked up, smiling at her. “I’m working hard to figure out what happened last night. We have very little clue on what it might’ve been, but I assure you we’re trying.” 

She assumed ‘we’ meant Entrapta too, and she acknowledged it. “Okay, thank you for letting me know.” 

“Sit down, Adora.” 

She shifted from foot to foot before sitting, picking at a strand from her tie-dye shirt. “Is there a problem?” Then she realized how stupid that sounded. “Besides the one from last night?” 

“I could tell that you and Catra are upset at each other for some reason, but I’m telling you not to be. You’re a very important part of this collaboration, so when we meet up with Entrapta and the boys again, I don’t want to see you guys arguing. Either make up or stop doing it in front of others.” 

Adora blinked slowly as the words settled in. “Okay… But this isn’t just me. Why aren’t you talking to her about this?” 

Shadow Weaver sighed as she signed more papers. “It’ll go in one ear and out the other with her. I know you’ll listen to me, so I’m telling it to you because, in turn, she listens to you. Fix it, or I will. I would give you more time, but because I have to work around your issue of not wanting lead vocalist, there’s more work to do and not enough time. Make it work, or there’s going to be bigger issues. You’re dismissed.” 

Adora sat there for a second before scoffing and getting out of the chair, leaving the woman alone in the studio. She stormed out of the building to Glimmer’s white Lexus. She opened the car door and slammed it closed behind her, leaning forward to rest her head against the dashboard. 

“That did not sound like it went good,” Glimmer commented as she put her car in reverse. 

The violent jerk was enough to make her sit up. “Seriously, Scorpia is the best driver out of everyone. Get some lessons from her or something.”

Glimmer turned to her as she was backing out. “We were talking a lot when everything went down-”

“Eyes on the road! Don’t look at me!” 

She turned back when she was done reversing and starting to pull out of the parking lot. “-and we were wondering what the press was gonna say. So far, it’s ranged from being blackout drunk to you and Catra trying to hook up so you left the party.”

When she didn’t respond, Glimmer made a face. “Was that not what Shadow Weaver was mad about?” 

“I wish it were a matter of bad press..” Adora muttered out with venom in her voice. 

“Then what was it about?” 

Adora struggled to get the words out as they drove down the street. “I guess Shadow Weaver thinks me and Catra are a liability or something…” 

Glimmer grimaced. “I don’t know what you remember, but we had a talk about Catra last night, me and you. I think everyone is getting to you, and you’re not letting yourself truly feel what you want to.” 

She dismissed the thought. It wavered into dangerous territory, and she was not in the mood for discussing ‘What Ifs’ and ‘Maybes’. “How do you feel about the collab? You are the one that’s going to be doing most of the work.” 

The girl didn’t like that she had changed the topic, but welcomed it at the same time. “You’re not off the hook, but you’re lucky I’ve been dying to talk to someone about this since I was so distracted last night.” 

They all were, but Glimmer continued. “Bow was amazing! Scorpia drove me home, but we dropped him and the boys off. He was the last one to go, and we got some really useful information from him.” 

“Like?” 

“His number. He ordered a pink drink with strawberries in it. He isn’t afraid of being feminine, and doesn’t give into toxic masculinity! He was wearing a cropped hoodie! Adora, this is great!” Glimmer gushed. “I felt bad talking about it with Scorpia last night, all things considered. But this morning he texted me if you were alright, he sent his regards by the way, and then we started talking a bit ourselves.” 

Adora was genuinely happy for her friend. She was actually surprised she wasn’t wallowing in self pity right now because of Catra. “That’s great, really. You guys will probably talk more once we get this whole collab thing started.” 

“I know! I tried not to get too excited because of Shadow Weaver, but I don’t think she’d mind all that much since it’s not within the band. He only mentioned my singing once, which is already a good sign.” 

“I mean, from what I can tell, he’s not trying to uncover all of our secrets.” 

“Right!” Glimmer smiled as they approached Adora’s block. “After the girl from The Crimson Waste screwed me over, I’ve been a little hesitant about everything. Getting involved meant letting them in on some of our secrets and... Well, you know..” 

She did. “Yeah, I get you.” 

Glimmer braked in front of Adora’s house. They all lived alone, which made it lonely at times. She almost found herself wanting to invite Glimmer in, but they had a rough night. They needed some rest. 

“Do you need help getting inside?” She asked as Adora unbuckled her seatbelt. 

“I think I’m fine,” she responded. “Just make sure I don’t die from here to my door.” 

Glimmer groaned. “Oh no, the dark humor jokes begin!” As Adora laughed and got out of the car, she offered a little reassurance. “My mom sends her well wishes. Call us if you need anything.” 

Adora bid her friend goodbye and shut the car door, cramming her key into the lock of her doorknob. Her phone alerted her that the Ring had picked up movement at the door, and she rolled her eyes at the chiming. She waved to Glimmer as she stepped inside, making her way to her room so she could just lie down. 

Given more time, everything will sort itself out. Shadow Weaver would get her results from… whatever the cheek swab was for. Catra would come around once she got over her initial shock, and she’d understand why Adora got worried about her maybe being tipsy and driving. Eventually they’d find out what happened to her, even if the time wasn’t now. They just had to wait things out a bit. 

She flopped onto her bed, pulling her phone out to scroll through Twitter. Bow and Sea Hawk had DMed her their regards while Swift Wind took the time to write her a home remedy for hangovers. She thanked all of them, looking forward to collabing with them if everything went through. 

But then Scorpia sent her a link to TMZ, and her heart dropped. 

Adora Carrero and Catra Michalka Can’t Wait To Get Home

She cursed, but found relief when it wasn’t from Horde Prime. Some random reporter must’ve seen them together and gathered together a bunch of bullshit. Anything that wasn’t Horde Prime could be extinguished, but the man would light a match and let the flame spread. As long as he doesn’t try giving a story on Catra and Adora’s “romance”, they would be fine. 

Especially since it’d be illegal for them to even think about it.  

Chapter Text

Adora nearly flung her phone across the room when she saw the caller ID.  

She hadn’t talked to Shadow Weaver since Monday when they had their meeting. Wednesday evening at eleven, and this is the first she’s heard from the woman. No check up text, no telling her any results from the swab sample. Absolute radio silence, which she did not appreciate. 

Still, she’d been lying in her bed, perfectly content with watching Netflix when her manager called her. She didn’t feel like answering it, but knew there’d be a hundred more problems that would’ve stemmed from her ignoring the call. 

So, instead of doing the irresponsible thing, she actually used her head. 

Adora accepted the call, sitting up in her bed to hold the conversation. “Hello?” 

“Oh, good. You’re awake,” Shadow Weaver’s fake chipper voice said. “Look, we need to go over some things. We’ve got a problem on our hands, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.” 

She had.  

Everything had spiraled out of control. It went from a few bad articles and speculation to a full fledged story about her supposed drinking problems and bad hookup timing. It messed with her mind to see so many people trying to piece together their version of what happened when she doesn’t even know herself, and at this point, might never know. 

“Yeah, I’ve noticed..” Adora mumbled. “What’s going to happen with it?” 

“Well, I’ve been looking into some legal stuff, and we unfortunately can’t press charges for defamation of character. A lawsuit would be dismissed since every defense would just say you put yourself into that situation willingly. We ourselves don’t know if there were any drugs involved, so we can’t use any of that as evidence. We can’t press any charges or start an investigation without knowing for sure what went wrong.” 

She put her face in her hands. It was frustrating that they needed to know all of these unknown things if they wanted to act on it. “What about the cotton swab? Anything come back from that?”

Shadow Weaver stayed silent for a moment. “I sent it Monday morning to get tested for drugs and sorts, but I haven’t gotten any results back yet.” 

Honestly, Adora just wanted to be alone for the next hour and cry a little. 

Everything has been so overwhelming lately. She couldn’t get any straight answers. She doesn’t know what the fuck happened to her when the event took place three nights ago. She’s still in her petty argument with Catra that seems to have no ending. Shadow Weaver has been on her mind since Monday’s meeting that Boys Night Out may want to do a solo project with her, and it’s seriously freaking her out. Then there’s the actual situation of Shadow Weaver just being a dick and about three seconds from forcing her to take Glimmer’s role in the band. 

“The best thing we can do is damage control,” Shadow Weaver continued. “We’ve gotta make people feel bad. It’s obvious you are not just sick, but we also can’t come up with something that won’t make it sound like a drinking problem.” 

“So the opposite of what’s been going around already..” Adora concluded. “Well, I put on my story Monday morning that it was over extortion. I don’t know how much we can change from there.” 

“I wish the fans had latched onto Scorpia and Catra instead..” Shadow Weaver mumbled under her breath. “Okay, so here’s what we’ll do…” 

Adora didn’t pick any of it up.

She brought the phone away from her ear and put it on speaker, but tuned the conversation out. She doesn’t even know if she heard that right since the woman had said it so quietly, but something like that isn’t just something to fling around. 

Honestly, half of their fan base followed them because of her and Catra’s relationship. Everything came from them. It’s the entire reason they’re not allowed into anything real. The more tension and hints, the more publicity. Every interview there’s something published with speculation about them, or a Twitter thread, or an Instagram edit, or- 

Point blank, her and Catra are very important to their fans. Without them, fans wouldn’t be watching their stories searching for clues, stalking their Twitter for the Catra and I are dating tweet, or even an Instagram post with a spicy picture confirming their relationship. A lot of things for The Rebellion revolve around them. 

But she never thought about how she managed to get lucky. 

It could’ve very well been Catra and Scorpia, or Catra and Glimmer. It was almost Adora and Scorpia for all she knows. 

But one thing that’s for sure is that Shadow Weaver doesn’t pull things out of her ass. She sees or hears something and builds off of it, dramatically, yes, but never makes anything up. For as long as she’s known her manager, the woman hasn’t lied to them. That’s all assuming everything they know is the truth, but she likes to pretend that’s the case. 

If Shadow Weaver didn’t know something, and didn’t even think Adora could hear her, why would she wish for Catra and Scorpia? 

A realization hit her like a truck. A big truck full of boulders and a bumper made of knives. In the two years since she’s met her bandmates she had never considered it, but it was more out of her own ignorance. That because the contract said no relationships within the band she assumed all four of them were going to follow it without a question. 

Did Catra like Scorpia? 

“You got it?” Shadow Weaver asked, shaking her out of her mind. 

Adora shook her head before remembering she couldn’t be seen. “Can you repeat it one more time? Please? I’m just a little confused.” 

The woman groaned, but Adora doubted she was nearly as distressed as her. “We’re going along with the over extortion thing. You’re going to say how upset you are at the media taking advantage of the vulnerable position you were in to paint you in a bad light. Apologize anyways, everyone loves an apology from someone who did nothing wrong. It makes them emphasize with you. Let me know when you do it, and don’t forget we have to record some audio tomorrow. Be at the studio by ten in the morning.”

Adora ran a hand through her hair and let it out of its ponytail in her fit of frustration. “Yeah, okay. Sounds easy enough. Thank you.” 

Shadow Weaver hummed before hanging up, but Adora didn’t pick her phone back up. She doesn’t even know why she’s upset. She always knew a relationship with Catra was never going to happen, but something in her heart hurt knowing there was a possibility Catra was willing to risk everything. 

But just not for her. 

Without thinking, she scrolled to her favorite contacts and dialed Adam before she could consider taking a minute for herself. While that option seemed amazing about two minutes ago, now she just needed someone to talk to. 

She didn’t notice when her brother answered, his chipper voice yelling, “You caught me right on time! What’s up?” nearly blasting her ears off.

Adora winced at both his words and how loud they were. “Do you wanna talk? You’re probably getting off work, I get it. I’mma just let you go now-” 

“Don’t you dare hang up on me,” Adam interrupted. “I can tell something’s up. I mean, what are they gonna do with me off the clock? Put me back in the Boba Fett costume?” 

She chuckled, but she didn’t find it funny. “Yeah, you’re right.”

When she got quiet, he somehow got louder. “Okay, something up. I can tell something is up because you didn’t poke fun at Mickey Mouse. And I think I know.” 

She forgets he thinks he’s a detective. “I’m assuming you’ve seen all the shit everywhere.”

“Yeah… It’s not pretty. The Kylo Ren actor loves you guys and he gets mad every time he sees some derogatory post about you. In my eyes, if that were some big rock star man, everyone would be saying he’s living lavishly. But a girl might’ve accidentally drank too much? Nah, the media slut shames her to the max and, quite frankly, I’m sick of it.” 

She’s got to get a transcript of that and hang it on the wall. “You are absolutely correct.” 

“So, I don’t want to be mean and I don’t know if I’m sparking anything here but…” 

“Yes, you can ask what happened.” 

He sighed in relief. “Good. So, what happened?” 

“I have no clue.” 

“What?” 

She wishes she could see his face. “Yeah, you heard right. Catra was the only one there, but she says I was fine one moment and the next I was about to be on the floor passed out.” She cringed, the name leaving a sour taste leaving her mouth. 

He hesitated. “Again, I don’t wanna be mean..” 

“Yes, I was drinking. But I barely had anything, which is the weird part. Shadow Weaver did a swab sample but we don’t know when to expect results. It’s kind of up in the air.” Not just kind of. They know absolutely nothing, but she also doesn’t want to scare Adam. “Nothing is certain, no one had my drink. We’re trying to figure this out as we go along too.” 

Adam wrly chuckled. “Wow, that’s a mess. I know you’re not telling me everything, but for your sake I’m going to pretend you are. But when you get the results, you’re telling me everything.” She opened her mouth to thank him when he continued with, “Catra was the only one with you?” 

Never mind. “Yeah, she was. Stayed the night and made sure I was okay too. But since she’s petty and I can’t handle confrontation, we’re not talking right now.” 

“What!?” She laughed a little at how outraged he was on her behalf, but remembered he was probably in the employees parking lot at fucking Disneyland and it isn’t that funny on the outside looking in. “Wait, what happened?” 

“Well, let’s see. She thinks my drink was spiked and when I told her that’s impossible with all things considered, she accidentally said something about the whole thing she didn’t mean but got all defensive when I called her out on it and stormed out.” 

“I see…” As Adam the detective tried to solve the case, her head started clearing. She didn’t feel like there was a ten pound weight on her chest anymore, so that’s great. “And when was this fight?” 

“Monday morning!” Adora shouted at her phone. “Three days ago! Plus she might like Scorpia now all of a sudden so there’s that! But then Shadow Weaves tells me that I have to fix things because we’ve got this thing coming up. I’m not doing anything until she comes to me. She could’ve done it already, but everyone expects me to go over there myself and fix things! Why!?” 

Adam considered her for a moment more. “I’m going to be completely honest here Adora, the only thing I picked up is something about Catra liking Scorpia.” 

She sighed. “That’s the important part, anyways..” 

“This all sounds like a petty argument that’s just stretching for longer than necessary,” Adam said. “I know you guys have gotten into squabbles like this before, and what happens at the end?” 

She thought back to the last time, when she couldn’t hang out with Catra because Shadow Weaver needed her to record the Bad Romance audio. “She ends up apologizing anyways.” 

“She ends up apologizing anyways. It usually takes three to five business days, so don’t freak. No one except Shadow Bitch is expecting you to actually go over there and apologize for her having another episode, She was probably scared for you and didn’t know how to handle it. Also, aren’t you guys under contract or something not to get crushes on each other? How would she like Scorpia?” 

The sudden change in subject gave her emotional whiplash. “It’s the law, yeah. No relationship of any kind, no drama, and do things to get outlets talking. Genius plan by the legal team, really. But I’ve got my reasons to suspect, Adam the detective.” 

“And that’s not just your insecurities talking?” 

“Adam!” 

“Just playing.” 

Adora found herself smiling. Adam always knew how to make her feel better. It was a connection to the outside world. It reminded her that life wasn’t just The Rebellion, and he can keep her grounded to reality. While she does love the world she’s a part of, she also wishes she could be like him and wear a Boba Fett costume for a job. 

A knock at her door startled her. She got off her bed, grabbing her phone and taking it off speaker. She was already in her PJs, sporting sweatpants and a baseball tee paired with random flip-flops. She grabbed a random zip-up jacket from her closet and put it on as she made her way to the door. “I gotta go. Someone’s at the door.” 

She swears she heard his smirk. “Okay. Goodnight Adora.” 

“Goodnight.”

She hung up her phone, slipping it into the jacket pocket. She peeked through the peephole, and her heart dropped from her chest to the gates of hell. She wasn’t using her head when she opened the door, mind racing at a hundred miles an hour.  

Catra stood in her doorway, a red hoodie and jeans more suited for the wind than Adora. 

“Hey..” Adora greeted, suddenly wishing she put a pair of sweatpants on. 

“Look, about Monday…” Catra grumbled. “I shouldn’t have said what I said. I was heated up. I was spooked, but it wasn’t your fault. None of what happened was your fault, and I’m sorry for implying that it was.” 

She was pleasantly surprised, despite knowing that this was coming. “I had a feeling you were going to come around.” 

Catra chuckled. “Yeah, yeah. I’m sorry. I know I was being annoying.”

They were silent for a moment before Adora swung her door open all the way. “Did you want to come in?” 

Catra smirked. “No.” 

She was caught off guard, but the other girl continued. “I want you to come to my house. Just for a bit, trust me. I flipped out on you at the worst time possible, and I want to make up for it. So…” 

Adora wrapped the sweater tighter around her body, stepping outside into the cool air. “Lead the way.” 


It was almost midnight by the time they got to Catra’s place. 

Catra drove them, naturally. The car ride hadn’t been awkward, which wasn’t surprising. They could always make up after these kinds of arguments that didn’t mean anything. It was a talent for everyone to bounce back easily when Catra had one of her episodes. Adora had a little more work to do, still trying to get Shadow Weaver’s words out of her head, but that was no one else’s fault but hers. 

“So, iCloud or Dropbox?” Adora asked as they got out of the car. 

They always use both apps for their stuff. Whenever Adora needs to send her vocal tracks to Shadow Weaver, they always do it using iCloud. But she personally preferred Dropbox for other uses, as did everyone else. 

“Dropbox,” Catra answered as she fumbled the key into the lock. “It’s reliable, and iCloud has a sketchy side to it. I don’t know, it’s weird.” 

Right before the girl opened the door, Catra turned to Adora. “Okay, this is the part where you close your eyes.” 

Adora opened her mouth to protest, but stopped when she saw Catra’s hopeful face. “Alright..” She grumbled. She shut her eyes, and she could hear the door opening. Catra led her inside, but she still stumbled over the threshold. She latched onto Catra’s arm with one hand to steady herself, using the other to wrap her jacket around her body. 

“Open them.” 

Adora opened her eyes and had to blink back to reality. When she could fully see again, she started laughing. Not at Catra, but in surprise at the living room set up.

Catra’s Nintendo Switch was already hooked up to the TV. There were blankets on the ground next to the couch and pillows around it. For that moment, all her worries about Shadow Weaver and whatever else she was upset about left her. For a second of that moment, she was in a bubble with just her and Catra. 

“So, how about it, princess?” Catra asked as she shut the door behind her. “I know it’s not much, but…” 

Adora turned to face her, the biggest smile on her face. “It is much. Just the fact that you thought of this and did it is just… It’s enough.” 

“Yeah, well, I felt bad. After everything, I kind of blew you off and left you alone when you were going through something and I feel terrible,” Catra explained, tossing her keys on the couch. “I shouldn’t have done that, and I just wanted this apology to be extra sincere.” 

Adora squished Catra’s face in her hands. “Apology accepted three hundred times over.” She let go of her face and jumped onto the blankets, crushing multiple pillows under her. “So, are we gonna play Breath Of The Wild?” 

“I was thinking more along the lines of Animal Crossing..” Adora threw a pillow at her, to which Catra chucked it back at her. “Alright, alright. We’ll play Breath Of The Wild if you really want to.” 

Adora grabbed the console and smiled when she saw the game cartridge already inside wasn’t for Animal Crossing, but the Zelda game she adored so much. She went to click on the game, but changed course for YouTube instead. 

“I’m confused. Are we gonna watch Breath Of The Wild?” 

Adora ignored Catra. She typed ‘The Rebellion Lightning In A Bottle’ into the search bar. She hadn’t actually watched their performance from Sunday, which was something she never did. She always made sure to watch back and see where she could’ve picked up her energy and whatnot. 

“You haven’t seen it yet?” Catra questioned. 

“Surprisingly, no,” Adora responded. “I don’t know how I haven’t. I think it just slipped my mind.” 

A lot of things slipped her mind that night, so forgetting to watch their performance wasn’t the biggest thing on the list of funky stuff that happened Sunday night. She moved the joystick and clicked on the video, lying back to comfortably observe what she did wrong, and what she did right.  

It opened up with Scorpia’s guitar riff and Glimmer’s voice. Adora saw her grinning expression turn into one of more concentration as they got deeper into the song. When it got time for the chorus and Glimmer’s lip singing, she noticed Catra’s small glance at her from her drums. 

“You’ve never done that before,” Adora said as she purposely ignored her voice on the screen. 

“Do what?” 

“What you did there. The look.” 

“What?” 

She gestured to the screen as they moved into the second verse. “When my tracks played, you looked at me. On stage, you looked at me when Glimmer started doing my part.” 

Catra seemed lost for a second. “Being completely honest, if I did that, I didn’t even know I was doing it. It couldn’t have been obvious anyways. Shadow Weaver would’ve already yelled at me for putting the secret in jeopardy.” 

She settled further into the pillow she was on, focusing back on the screen. Her backing vocals were good this time. She wasn’t too strong, but also not weak to the point where they seemed lackluster. No, the only prerecorded part was the E and F notes that Glimmer couldn’t hit. 

Catra cringed when her drumstick almost flew out of her hand during the pre chorus. “Wow, I got a little too into that.” 

“Nonsense,” Adora replied. “It’s better when we get more into it. Makes for a better aesthetic or whatever.” 

“That’s just what Twitter says.” 

“You don’t believe everything on Twitter?” 

Catra shoved her shoulder, and Adora laughed. She watched the screen as they went back into the chorus. Glimmer was having a blast, and Adora was impressed when she paid close attention to her expression during the lip singing. 

She always knew Glimmer was good at copying her facials. She studied her over and over in order to get the perfect singing face down. Adora watched as their expressions mirrored each other, and if she didn’t know any better, she might actually believe that was Glimmer up there singing. 

“Wow..” Adora commented. “We’ve gotten really good at the whole lip singing thing.” 

“I’ve found it best not to call it that. I think of it more as… a guide. She can’t hit the note, so you guide her into it.” Catra did have a point… “Besides, it’s not like you’re singing the whole song. You sing for her exactly six times during the song, and only five people know about it. See, not lip singing!” 

She tried to piece together that logic but got blinded by Catra shoving her phone in her face. “Sing the note.” 

Adora cocked her head. “What?” 

Catra shook her phone. “You heard me. I want to hear it. The note loud and clear, right here in my living room.” 

She grinned. “How about no. I haven’t even warmed up my voice. I haven’t even sang since Sunday, all things considered.” 

“Well, Adora, that sounds like a problem because Shadow Weaver wants to start piecing together out sheet music for Warriors. How are you going to do that when you can’t even sing in my living room?” Catra taunted. 

Adora groaned, shoving her face into a pillow. She completely forgot about Warriors. They were getting an EP ready, and the new song that Shadow Weaver wrote (with Scorpia co-writing) was the very first that they were going to drop. To compose the sheet music was a lot of just standing in the recording booth as the manager had a staring contest with the paper. 

Needless to say, neither won. 

“I was having a perfectly good night until you reminded me of that, you know..” Adora mumbled. 

She would’ve had a much better night if Catra wasn’t right. 

She hasn’t sang in a while. Three days without so much as warming up wasn’t something she did often. She usually did scales when on the road and traveling to keep her voice box from getting abused. Even if she didn’t have a major singing role and spent more time tuning her bass than her voice, it was still a habit to do lip trills or something to keep her voice steady. 

“I guess I could do some kazoos..” She hadn’t even done the simplest of vocal exercises for crying out loud! 

Catra continued waving the phone in her face. “I’m not asking you to do the whole damn song. Just do the one note. It’s been a while since I’ve heard it live and not on voice memos.” 

“This is peer pressure.” 

“You’re always the first one to succumb to peer pressure anyways.” 

She rolled her eyes at the truth. “All I’m saying is this would’ve had a different outcome if I didn’t have to potentially sing tomorrow.” 

Catra pumped a fist in the air as the performance on the TV finished too. Glimmer said her outro, and Scorpia did a cute wave thing. She didn’t even notice when they moved into the bridge and final chorus, let alone that the song was finished. 

Adora sat up, straightening her limbs to get better posture. She gently forced herself to cough to make sure she was engaging her core when she sang. She relaxed her shoulders, releasing the tension in her jaw. She sustained a simple B note for a couple seconds before she was ready. 

Catra raised an eyebrow. “All that for one note?” 

“Oh, whatever.” 

You and me could have a bad romance, she sang. It wasn’t her part of the song, but it would’ve been weird for her just to sing without the beginning. 

She took a breath and let the extended note flow out of her. The E note was easy enough, and mixing it with the F was second nature. When she finished, she did a mock bow. “And that ladies and gentlemen, is the sole reason my career is in danger.” 

Catra laughed. “No, literally. This ever gets out, Glimmer is exposed for lip singing, and everything goes to shit.” 

Adora was surprised to find herself with a huge grin. Every aspect of that song always left a bad taste in her mouth. She never liked hearing it and wanted to crawl into a hole everytime she recorded the tracks. But there was something comfortable here. Something that allowed her to feel safe despite the fact that her biggest secret could be outed at any time. She was content singing for once, and it didn’t make her want to run and hide like usual. 

Catra laughed. “No, literally. This ever gets out, Glimmer is exposed for lip singing, and everything goes to shit.”

“Yeah, so don’t save it to iCloud,” Adora childed. She cleared her throat as she snuggled into the blanket. 

“It’s going to Dropbox, don’t worry,” Catra reassured. 

“Oh, because that makes me feel so much better.” 

Catra went still before pocketing her phone. “I’ve gotta ask… You can hit every note almost perfectly. Your pitch is pretty relative. Why did you get scared when Shadow Weaver said Entrapta might want a solo project with just you?”

She thought back to the previous meeting and how badly the concept spooked her. She thought she had handled it good in front of everyone. “I wasn’t scared.” 

“I saw your face,” Catra deadpanned. “You could’ve said you were an undercover dentist and I would’ve believed that over you not being scared.” 

She was right, but Adora was more focused on Catra still paying attention to her during their little blip. “Okay, maybe I was worried about it all. Can you blame me? We don’t know what they might have planned if they actually go through with it.”  

“You know Shadow Weaver wouldn’t let you be in any situation that might put us in jeopardy. I don’t think she does it for us, but her career would also be ruined if anything got out. She wouldn’t let anything get out, so if Entrapta wanted to do anything crazy, I don’t think she’d go with it.” 

She could get behind that. All five of them were more than guilty. Even if Scorpia and Catra weren’t as directly involved, they contributed by keeping it a secret. They all hated it (except for maybe Shadow Weaver), but none of them ever spoke out about it. 

“Glimmer may have the most aesthetically pleasing voice, but let’s be real here…” Catra started. “You’re the best singer. You can hit any note any time of day and can actually hold them. I’m the weakest singer of all of us, I know that. I can’t even imagine if Shadow Weaver made me do what you do. Glimmer’s voice is nicer to listen to maybe, but I’d listen to you sing all day.” 

Adora tried to hide herself in the blanket. “We sound almost exactly the same. That’s the only reason this whole thing works-” 

Catra grabbed a pillow and hit her over the head with it. “Literally, just take the compliment!” 

Adora grasped onto the pillow and clutched it in her fingers, tossing it to the side as Catra grabbed another one. “I can’t do that! You know how I am.” 

Catra got up on her knees, crawling toward her. “Yeah, I wish you weren’t that way.” 

She faltered. She remembered Shadow Weaver’s wish from earlier. The one that wished Adora hadn’t gotten so attached to Catra and it was Scorpia instead. Would their problems be solved if things had gone the other way? Maybe things would be better if Catra and Adora weren’t one of their selling points. It added more load when she had more than enough with lip singing and whatever else bullshit. 

Her momentary crisis stopped her pillow attack. Catra got the high ground, knocking her onto her back and straddling her hips. The drummer had attained a small, rectangular pillow and started hitting her over the head. “Accept it when people tell you that you’re pretty okay!” 

Adora reached up with her hands to stop the incoming pillow attack. “No!” 

Catra tossed the pillow to the side and leaned down, catching her wrists in her hands. “You know how I’d know if you were cloned?” 

Her hands were shaking. Their current position, her pinned down and Catra on top of her, was nothing short of new. The four of them were always physically affectionate, with traveling and sharing hotel rooms. She’s been in this position before with Scorpia and Glimmer. 

There was something in the air. They were alone with the YouTube autoplay on. The light was dim, and no one was around to make a joke at their expense. This wasn’t their usual goofing off, and with all her thoughts floating in and out of her head, she knew this wasn't just playing around. 

Catra leaned down even lower, her mouth right next to her ear. “I’d ask them about your self worth.” 

Adora gulped. “What do you mean?” 

She chuckled. “You’ll understand once I get you to see how important you are.” 

Adora swallowed the words. Her role in the band was always limited to Glimmer’s back up vocalist, bass, and Catra’s maybe girlfriend (but not really). It was even smaller when looked at from behind the scenes: the one who sings the high notes and is forced into hiding because she’s not ready to be the lead. 

But Catra had her pinned down and was whispering in her ear. When something like that happened, she listened. 

Catra sat up, resting her elbows on either side of Adora’s head. Their noses were close, staring at each other. If one of them made a wrong move, they’d meet in the middle. All they needed was a gust of wind to breeze by. The AC was turned on, but the air around her was hot. 

Except Adora knew she was reading everything wrong. 

They could do whatever they wanted with each other. All four of them, really. The contract made sure it all meant nothing. Realistically, they could shamelessly flirt but never act on it. That’s all this was: something that meant nothing because of the rules set in place.

She was about to push Catra off when the girl pulled away first. Catra fixed her ponytail and got off of Adora’s lap. The only noise was from the TV where Zelda had been long abandoned, the game now a distant memory. Adora grabbed the Switch and went off of YouTube and started up the loading screen for Breath Of The Wild. 

Distracted, she didn’t notice Catra had stood up. She had her hands tucked in her hoodie and was making her way to the back door. “I’ll be right back.” 

Adora glanced at her before turning back to the game. Her cheeks were starting to heat up, and her hands were still trembling. “How come?” Her voice had gone ridiculously breathy, her face pink. 

Catra, perhaps not picking up on her flustered state, proceeded to open the door to the outside. “I left the hose on.” 

“I don’t hear the water-” 

Catra shut the door behind her. Adora sighed, taking off her zip-up. Her body had heated up during their little… whatever, and she didn’t want to sweat all over the place because she can’t handle a pillow fight. 

“It’s too much! I can’t anymore!” Catra whisper shouted. 

Adora turned around, expecting to see Catra standing in the doorway. The door was still shut, but she noticed the curtain on a window next to the door was particularly breezy. She stood and walked over to the window and realized it was still open. The AC was turned on, so Catra must’ve forgotten to close it. 

She put her hand on the window to close it, but she listened closely to the scene outside. 

The hose wasn’t on at all. 

“No, Scorpia, you don’t understand. I can’t do this shit anymore,” Catra continued in a hushed yell. 

Adora moved the curtain slightly. Catra was on the phone, facing away from the house. She was completely oblivious to the fact that her window was open and her conversation with Scorpia was fully within hearing range. 

Closing the window would make a noise, but Adora also didn’t want to listen to the private phone call. She was about to move away from the window when Catra’s frustrated groan rang through her ears. 

“No, it’s not like that! I don’t know how to explain it. I don’t want to make things weird, that’s all.” A pause. “No, Adora would never go for it. I just made up with her.” A longer pause. “It’s not like I have a choice in this.” 

Adora covered her mouth with her hand to hide her gasp. She didn’t want to listen in anymore, and she was wishing she hadn’t moved from the couch. It wouldn’t have made a difference, but she could at least handle her stumbling legs. 

Catra hadn’t wanted to make up with her. What she thought was a petty argument had actually been more. Just like her to assume things and jump to conclusions without any of the facts. She tuned out the rest of Catra’s conversation as she tried to think of a way to get out of there as quickly as she can.  

It was illegal to get romantically involved, but she never thought Catra wouldn’t even want to be friends. Maybe she overestimated their friendship and the ability to bounce back after stupid squabbles. They had too many fights for it to be okay. It would make things weird if Catra was secretly bothered by her. Being famous and in front of the cameras would cause problems if two members from the band didn’t get along. Especially if the two members were always rumored to be together. Shadow Weaver no doubt forced her to rekindle for that reason. 

Adora spotted Catra’s keys on the couch, and made a split second decision to grab them. She practically sprinted out the door, mindful of how much noise she made. She ducked as she ran down the driveway and unlocked Catra’s Prius. She slammed the car door and backed out of the driveway and onto the road, riding away from the house. 

Her hands were shaking on the steering wheel when she realized she practically stole the car. When she got to the stop sign at the end of the block, she pulled her phone out of her pants pocket to send a text. 

Adora: Sorry, wasn’t feeling good :/  I kind of took your keys but you’ll have your car back by morning I promise. Sorry again but I was going to puke so I spared you the sight lol

She put her phone in the cup holder and continued driving. She went to wrap her jacket around herself when she realized she didn’t have it. She remembered leaving it on the couch. 

“Shit..” She didn’t want to go home yet, and she was driving alone at midnight. “Siri, call..” She was about to dial Scorpia, but she forgot she was already talking with Catra in the middle of the night. They were talking about her, and she wasn’t even supposed to know. “Call Glimmer.”

The dial tone rang, but she knew Glimmer would answer. Between her and Catra, the two of them had three hours of sleep every night. 

“Hey, what’s up?” Glimmer answered, no tiredness to her voice. 

“I need to come over.” Before Glimmer could respond, she added, “No questions asked.” 

“Damn it..” Glimmer murmured. “Okay, hop on over.” 

“We also need to return Catra’s car at some point before the meeting tomorrow because I’m driving it right now. I’m verging on commiting grand theft auto right now.” 

“Wha-”

“No questions asked.” 

Glimmer sighed. “Alright, no questions asked. Just get over here already.”

She hung up, and Adora was left in silence. She knew how to work the radio and plug in her aux, but she didn’t have the energy to do so. She was perfectly content sitting in the quiet car and thinking about how her closest friend may not have been a friend at all. 

When she pulled into Glimmer’s driveway, she had to park carefully to avoid hitting the other car in the small lot. Adora got out of the car and shut the door, locking it with a beep. She walked through Glimmer’s front door without knocking and saw the girl sitting on the couch, scrolling through Hulu on the TV. 

“No questions asked,” Adora said as she laid down on the couch. “Wake me up around five and we’ll drop off Catra’s car.” 

Glimmer didn’t interrogate her, which she was grateful for. Adora laid her head on one of the pillows and shut her eyes, already dreading the moment she woke up and ignoring her buzzing phone. 

Chapter Text

Adora groaned when she was woken up way too early. 

“What?” She demanded when she got a mouthful of pillow. 

“Shut your fucking phone up!” Glimmer responded, frustrated. The girl stood in front of her in sweatpants and a T-shirt, hands on her hips and messy hair. “It’s been ringing since you got here!” 

Adora sighed, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. “Well, I’m a light sleeper and I managed to sleep through it so it couldn’t have been that bad. I’m not going back to sleep anytime soon though.” 

“Take the time to please put your phone on silent. Vibrate still makes noise.” 

She sat up on the couch, pulling her phone to her face. She had three missed calls from Catra, along with a whole string of texts. She clicked her electronic box of death off, flinging it to the other side of the couch. 

“Ouch..” Glimmer commented, sitting next to her. “What, cat got your tongue?” 

“Something like that.”

She glanced at the clock on the wall. It wasn’t even five yet, but she knew her body was going to refuse to go back to sleep. She sighed again, leaning back as she put her hands on her face. 

“What’s up with you?” Glimmer asked. 

Adora peeked at her through her fingers, wanting nothing more than to crawl into a hole. Waking up was what she didn’t want to do. Waking up meant she had to think about everything she did the night before and that wasn’t a good idea. She’d just end up stressing herself out even more than necessary. 

“You are a train wreck,” Glimmer said, chuckling. “I’m still trying to figure out why you show up to my house at midnight, with Catra’s car nonetheless, and can barely speak in coherent sentences.” 

She’d love to explain. But then she’d have to mention everything she heard with Scorpia, about Scorpia, and having to do with Scorpia. And Scorpia was one of her best friends! She didn’t want to feel so… frustrated about her friend. 

“Should I call Scorpia?”

“No!” Adora stood, resting her hands behind her head. She took a deep breath, counted to ten, and closed her eyes. When she was calm enough to face Glimmer without choking her out, she opened her eyes and turned back to the very confused Glimmer. “No, that probably isn’t a good idea right now.” 

“Okay..” Glimmer considered. “Should I call Catra to tell her we’re returning her car?” 

“That sounds like the last thing I want to do,” Adora retaliated. 

Even the thought of having to face Catra right now sent her into overdrive. But of course, they had a meeting today to record some new stuff. Maybe Shadow Weaver was onto something with the ‘no dating or feelings’ rule. As of lately, that seemed to be the main source of her problems. 

“Rough night, I get it,” Glimmer summarized. She stood, putting her hands on Adora’s shoulders to steady her. “Do you want to tell me about it?” 

“No questions asked,” Adora reminded. “And I really mean it.” 

“Alright..” Glimmer walked away from her and into the hallway where a large box sat. She must’ve missed that when she came in, too absorbed in trying to get some sleep. “Well, we’re both up now. Do you want to help me move my coffee table and put this new one in? My mom sent it, and I’m going to feel bad if I don’t use it.” 

Being productive definitely seemed like something she wanted to do. She nodded and helped Glimmer push the box from the hallway and into the living room. She and Scorpia had to carry their big blocky speakers all the time, so moving a table sized box was easy enough. 

She nearly stopped pushing when her mind went back to Scorpia. She loved Scorpia the same way she loved Glimmer, but Catra was just a different story. She hated that she loved them so much. Catra hated her, and apparently Scorpia knew.

When had it changed? When had the shift gone from friends to something else? Even at the party, things had seemed fine. She would’ve never assumed it meant one of her best friends hated her. Everything had started out with that stupid fucking argument about her drink. Is that when things took a turn for the worse? When she didn’t want to accept some possibilities of what happened that night? 

“Here is good,” Glimmer said when they moved the box to the middle of the room. “Can you help me move the table? Back in the hallway is fine.” 

Adora moved to one end of the coffee table already in the room. It was boring, just black with glass in the middle. The picture on the side of the box had a burgundy table, the glass in the middle lined with gold. It was better. More exciting. She understood the need to change things up a bit. 

“Ready?” 

Adora slipped her fingers underneath the black, dreary wood and nodded. They lifted at the same time, and she was surprised at how light it was. Maybe it was just adrenaline pumping through her body, but she was able to carry it like nothing. Either that or she gained super strength from yesterday.  

She deserved it, honestly. Maybe then she might be able to actually carry the weight of her problems and face them head on. But instead she had to steal a car and fix a coffee table to make up for it.  

“Turn it on its side,” Glimmer instructed once they made it to the hallway. 

They had to put themselves in weird angles, but they managed to shift the table enough to where it was resting on its side. There was just enough room in the hallway to walk, taking up more space than the box alone. 

She walked back to the other table as Glimmer went into her kitchen and returned with a box cutter. Adora grabbed the blade and dug into the tape, careful to cut away from her. Glimmer didn’t try and take it from her. They both knew she needed to keep busy right now. Given one second alone, she’ll become a full blown mess. 

Once she got the box open, she threw the cutter on the couch. Maybe not the safest thing, but she wasn’t exactly being considerate here. When she was about to pull out the many pieces, Glimmer swatted her hands away. 

When Adora looked at her confused, Glimmer rolled her eyes. “If we start building now, we’re not gonna stop. We’ve gotta drop Catra’s car off.” 

She looked down, considering her options. She could either find sweet relief in building a coffee table or drop off a stolen car.

“I’ll drive Catra’s car, you take yours,” she said as she stood. “Then drop me off at home. Maybe what I need is to make a full blown mess of things.” 

 


 

When Adora arrived at the studio, she almost screamed when she saw Catra walk inside. 

It was inevitable that they were going to run into each other during the meeting (for obvious reasons), but that didn’t mean it was any less hard. She knew now that Catra didn’t want to be her friend. She knew two years of friendship meant practically nothing now.

The hard part was getting out of her car. She waited a couple of seconds after Catra had gone inside to finally take off her seatbelt and close her door. She made her way to the trunk, pulling out her bass case and stringing it across her shoulders. She took deep breaths the whole way to the door, pulling the handle and walking with shaky legs to the recording studio. 

She trudged through the lobby, dragging her feet as she made her way to the door of their recording studio. She wasn’t on her game. She was seconds away from breaking her bass in half and decking Shadow Weaver in the face for making her come so soon.

When she walked into the room, she noticed that she was the last one there. Glimmer, who wasn’t recording any audio since today was purely instrumental, sat at the table next to Shadow Weaver and was scrolling through her phone. Scorpia was tuning her guitar, and Catra was still putting all her stuff down. 

“I don’t know if you guys realize, but it’s nearly ten thirty and two of my members just arrived,” Shadow Weaver said without looking up from her papers. “Hurry up and get your instruments set up.” 

Adora nodded. She put her bass down on the table and began to unzip her case as she started looking for the amp. The amp picked up all of the audio, and hers was already sitting inside of the live room. 

Unfortunately, Catra was the only other person in the live room, kneeling down plugging her drums into her own amp. She glanced at Shadow Weaver, who had stood and walked over to the control panels. She knew if she didn’t get all her stuff plugged in and ready within the next five minutes, she’d be done for. 

Adora considered it for a second more before sucking it up and opening the door to the live room. The door slammed behind her, and she flinched when Catra looked up at her and stood. 

“Hey!” Catra greeted. She seemed to be happy to see her, but it rubbed off on her in a weird way. “What happened last night?” 

Adora opened her mouth to answer, but a feedback noise cut her off. “Girls!” Shadow Weaver called out from behind the glass. “I’m soundproofing the room real quick to see if the instrumentals are going to work better with amps or the mixing board. Adora, you continue miking your bass’ speaker cabinets, but don’t come out until I tell you guys to so I can figure this out.” 

Under any other circumstance, she would’ve been happy to spend a couple of extra minutes alone with Catra. But it filled her with dread knowing that while she had been happy, her friend was secretly hating it. 

“Adora, what happened?” Catra asked again. “You didn’t answer my calls or my texts, and you literally drove away in my car. What happened?” 

She raked through her choices. She could lay it all on. She could tell Catra she knew about her phone call with Scorpia. They could clear the air and figure out when this started and fix it for the future. She could admit to the girl who hates her that she’d been snooping in on a private phone call with said girl’s crush. 

“I was sick,” Adora said instead. “I’m starting to think I must’ve caught something from Sunday and that’s what made me all woozy. I don’t think it’s anything serious, honestly. But I just felt awful last night. I wouldn’t have lasted. I fell asleep as soon as I got home.”

Catra rolled her eyes playfully. “You are too much sometimes. When I apologized, you could’ve told me you weren’t feeling good. I would’ve been fine with it. You don’t have to exert yourself to hang out with me, I know these past couple of days haven’t been the easiest on you.” 

Adora wondered how much of that she meant. Catra might’ve had a small smile on her face, but Adora was hyper aware of every movement. The way she leaned slightly closer to her, or her tight eyes and hands freely at her side. None of it suggested any sort of hatred, but she knew. 

She knew better now. 

“I felt bad,” Adora admitted. “I mean, we had just made up. It made sense to put everything out in the open at the time.” 

Say it, she silently prayed. Just tell me. It’ll hurt, but I’ll be fine. I don’t want to string you along for my sake. 

She had given herself and Catra the perfect out. She could’ve told her what really happened, and Catra could tell her the ill-fated words. As much as she would fall apart when she finally did say it, Adora couldn’t keep Catra miserable like this. If it meant her own downfall than oh well. It hurt her more to think about what Catra had been going through these past two years.

Instead of doing either, Catra ruffled her hair and turned back to her drum set. “A train wreck of a girl, I swear.” 

Adora wanted to respond with another quip. She wanted to make fun of her back and have small banter like they do. 

She went back to miking up her bass, plugging multiple wires into the speaker cabinets as she waited for further instructions. “Sorry about the car by the way.” 

“It’s fine, you needed it.” 

 They continued their work in awful silence when Shadow Weaver knocked onto the glass to get their attention. “Girls, come back. We’re using the mixing board. We need to go over a couple of things before we start.”

She set her bass down on a stool, extra careful about her placement. She followed behind Catra who happily held the door open for her. They sat down next to each other at the table as Scorpia joined them, Glimmer putting her phone down. 

“Oh, shit..” Shadow Weaver mumbled as she continued looking over the sheet music. “I forgot to print out a copy of this page. Girls, sit tight and give me a minute.” 

The four of them watched as their manager walked out of the control room to the left hallway. Adora had been recording at this studio since the band took off and she still can’t make her way around everywhere. 

“I had a really good night yesterday,” Scorpia announced to everyone. “I bought some new resistance bands since I tore one of my old ones last time I was working out, but besides that, yesterday was pretty good.” 

It was definitely random, but she noticed Catra tense up next to her. “What about you guys?” Scorpia continued. “How was your night, Catra?” 

Adora tried not to seem too interested. She wanted to pick apart everything Catra said. 

“Well..” Catra started. “I had a really good night too. Near damn perfect.” 

Catra turned to her with a smile, and Adora couldn’t resist the urge to smile back. She ducked her head when the stupid smile wouldn’t leave her face and she needed to hide it, but she could see Catra’s eyes were still turned to her. 

Glimmer yawned loudly, providing a great distraction. “Sorry, I went to bed late. Adora wasn’t doing anything and we were up at like… four moving my furniture. Thanks for that, by the way. Everything moved like magic.” 

If Catra’s ears could perk up, they definitely did. 

Adora didn’t move. She couldn’t. Her entire body froze. She couldn’t even turn to face Catra. Her gaze stayed on the table in front of her, but she could still feel Catra’s tensed up body and daggers staring into her. 

Catra leaned an elbow on the table, tucking her chin into her hand. “Do you need a nap? You know, since you were up so late and all. Sleepy after all that magic?” 

Catra was looking at Glimmer, but it was meant for Adora. She broke out of her state of shock to see Catra completely ignoring her, all eyes on Glimmer. Her mouth opened and closed as she tried to think of a way to defend herself but she couldn’t. She knows she couldn’t. 

She wanted to slam her fist into the lousy table as Catra waited for Glimmer to answer, but everyone in the room had picked up on the electric energy. Scorpia was purposely not engaging, instead focusing on a clock on the wall. Glimmer kept her mouth shut, confusion knitted in her eyebrows. She knows she had said something wrong but couldn’t figure it out.

Another minute of silence passed as Catra continued staring at Glimmer for explanation. Adora almost said something herself, but what was she supposed to say? That she had left Catra’s house, took her car and went to Glimmer’s, then lied about it? 

She didn’t have to do that, and knowing there was a better option made it all the more worse. She could’ve just told Catra what she heard and sorted it out. 

But that was not how it’d gone down. Adora lied. She lied to someone that already doesn’t like her, and she sealed their fate. She wanted to say something to help her case, to make this somehow better. Nothing would. 

She screwed up. 

Big time. 

“Catra-” 

After at least two minutes of pure silence, Shadow Weaver chose that moment to come rushing back in. The woman was clearly frustrated and slammed the papers she’d left onto the table, which was a pretty accurate depiction of what Adora was feeling. 

“Our copier broke, and we need copies for everyone,” Shadow Weaver told them. “So, I guess we’re just rehearsing today. Catra, Adora, and Scorpia, if you guys could memorize the first verse and step into the live room, we’ll start from there. Glimmer, start warming up or something. Just share the sheet music, please.” 

Adora stared down at the piece of paper, but she wasn’t doing any memorizing. No one was, apparently, because Catra sat back in her chair and threw her hands into the air. “You’re unbelievable, you know that?” 

She didn’t exactly want to have this talk in front of everyone, even more so as Shadow Weaver started paying attention to them. “Catra, I-” 

“Don’t want to hear it.”

“You and Adora can talk about whatever you need to on your own time,” Shadow Weaver wisely cut in. “Right now, we have business to attend to.” 

“We’re already half an hour behind schedule,” Scorpia said. “Shouldn’t we just call it quits? You don’t have your papers. We came way too unprepared. Today just wasn’t our day.”

Shadow Weaver wasn’t one to cancel rehearsals just like that. Especially not when they were all already in the same place. But the woman sighed, stacking her papers. “I need to run and get printer paper anyway. I’ll make more modifications since we’re using the mixing board and we’ll go from there next Saturday.” 

Before they were dismissed, Catra pushed her chair away from the table and stormed out of the room. Adora didn’t hesitate to get up and follow behind her, even as the door was slammed in her face. 

Her shaking hands struggled to get the door open again, but when she finally did, Catra was walking down the hallway on her way to the lobby. She glanced to the empty corridor to her left before turning right, jogging to catch up to Catra. 

“Catra, wait!” Adora cried out. “Listen, I-”

Catra stopped in the middle of the lobby, balling her fist before turning around to face Adora. “What? What can you possibly say that’ll make what you did okay!?” 

“I’m not trying to make it okay,” Adora said when she stopped in front of her. “I screwed up, and I’m sorry. But-”

“Why’d you lie?” Catra narrowed her eyes, stepping into her personal space. “Are you trying to cover up something that happened between you and Glimmer? Because I won’t tell Shadow Weaver, but I guess you don’t trust me enough.”

“No, that’s not what happened at all.” 

“Well, then what?”

“I..” What was she supposed to say? Did she start with the eavesdropping? Or the fact that she lied about all of that? She didn’t see a way to make this any better. She screwed up, and now she had nothing to say for herself. “Look, it wasn’t anything like that.” 

“Oh, really?” Catra rolled her eyes, but this time there was clear malice behind it. “Because a friend wouldn’t lie to a friend about where they were if they weren’t doing anything suspicious.” 

Adora wished she’d stop saying friend. But considering she got them into this situation in the first place, she can’t really complain about Catra’s poor word choice. “I know it looks bad, but trust me. It wasn’t like that.”

“You know, that’s really fucking rich coming from you. You told me you were sick when you weren’t, left me alone for no reason, stole my car and then went to Glimmer’s house. Not only that, but you said you were asleep when apparently you helped her move furniture at four in the morning! And then you lied about it.” 

Adora couldn’t respond. Her mouth didn’t move, her throat clenching up. She wanted to explain, but she just couldn’t. She had a feeling mentioning the phone call would make things worse. Not only because she wasn’t supposed to hear it, but that’s another lie to add to her record. 

“I don’t need to be here for this bullshit. Just go hang out with Glimmer instead,” Catra muttered, brushing past her. She walked out of the lobby and into the left hallway, most likely heading to the parking garage on the other side of the building. 

Adora started to follow after her when she was stopped halfway by the door to the recording studio. Glimmer and Scorpia were whispering when they came out, but quieted down when they saw her. Glimmer looked like she was about to start talking when Shadow Weaver emerged from behind them, gesturing for Adora to come inside. 

The two girls gave her a look of pity that she definitely did not deserve. She mustered up all her courage and stepped into the control room, ready to face Shadow Weaver’s questioning. 

“Tell me, Adora, did you do as I asked?” 

“You ask me to do a lot of things,” Adora responded, sitting at the table across from her manager. “I wouldn’t know what you’re talking about.”

Shadow Weaver was not amused by her sarcasm. “Don’t get snippy. I’m asking if you and Catra made up like I asked you to.” 

“Technically, yeah.” Catra said sorry, and she accepted the apology. It was a stupid fight. 

“Then what was up today? I heard you guys from the lobby and she did not seem happy.” 

“Well, we might’ve just walked into another one.”

Shadow Weaver rolled her eyes. “Okay, whatever. Figure everything out on your own and solve your problems but do not let it interfere with business. We might’ve been able to get something done today, but I knew nothing was going to happen with the way everyone was all tensed up.”

“Why am I the only one who needs to hear about this? Catra’s the one who stormed out.” For good reason, sure, but Adora doesn’t need to be the only one disciplined here. 

“Like I said last time: you’re more mature between the two of you. She won’t listen to me as well as she’d listen to you.” 

She scoffed. “With the way we’re going, you probably have a better shot getting through to her than I would.” 

Shadow Weaver tapped the desk with her nails, a stern look on her face. “Listen to me. All the rules on your contract was set in place so stuff like this doesn’t happen. I don’t want to find out you guys broke it.” 

She understood that now. She gets why everything was so strict. She got attached somewhere attachment wasn’t allowed. She had no one to blame but herself. “I understand. Nothing was broken, I promise. I just… lied to her about something and it got taken the wrong way.” 

“Hmm... Okay. Get your guy’s act together. I know this week hasn’t been easy on you, but we’re finally meeting with Entrapta on the boys on Monday. Tropicalia is in six months, and me and Entrapta want to perform the collab live there. If you guys are still avoiding each other, try not to make it obvious.” 

Adora nodded. Managers have no responsibility to look out for the well being of their clients. She shouldn’t be as put off by the cold behavior as she is.

“One more thing..” Shadow Weaver mumbled, tracing a finger along her papers. “I’ve been refreshing Twitter since last night, but you never posted what I asked you to.” 

She bit back a groan. Between the phone call and getting to Glimmer’s house, Twitter was the last thing on her mind. She almost hoped she wouldn’t have to deal with any of that for a while longer. “I’m sorry, it completely slipped my mind.” 

Shadow Weaver hummed. “Yes, well, we are dealing with lots on our plate here. Make sure it gets up sometime later today and I’ll forget that I asked you to do it yesterday.” 

Forget means I won’t bring it up until I need to use it against you, but Adora still agreed. “I’ll try to have something posted by six.” 

“Perfect. We’re done here.” 

Not bothering to bid the woman goodbye, Adora stood out of her chair and left Shadow Weaver weaving through her papers. She opened the door to walk out the room, and was making her way to the lobby when she heard voices from down the hall. 

The right side of the hall would take her to the lobby. She could leave and escape her problems until she inevitably faced them again and was forced to take control of the situation she created. 

Instead, she followed the voices to the left. She stayed close to the wall, careful not to be too obvious. She stayed a couple of feet away from the source of the voices: Catra in the doorway of the staircase leading to the parking garage with Scorpia. 

Scorpia closed the door behind them, but she didn’t see Adora. She stopped right in front of the door, pressing an ear to listen in. She’s already eavesdropped on them once, another can’t hurt. 

The staircase was echocy, and they barely used it. Usually, they just went through the lobby, but Scorpia and Catra were trying not to be seen. Adora didn’t even wonder why, letting herself believe they just so happened to not park in the main parking lot. 

“...bull! It’s absolute bull,” Catra cried out, her voice echoing through the door. 

“Just stop to consider all the possibilities,” Scorpia reasoned. “If you take a step back to breathe, maybe it’s not really as bad as it seems.”

“She stole my fucking car!” 

“You don’t know why,” Scorpia retaliated. “Besides, she dropped it off-” 

“I surprised her with a super cool apology, she left saying she was sick, stole my car, took it to Glimmer’s house and stayed the night. Then she lied about it! She wasn’t sick, she just left me to go with Glimmer!” 

“Okay yeah, that sounds bad…” 

So they’re talking about her. She knew she wasn’t innocent in this. She didn’t think lying about it would have resulted in something like this, but she should’ve. She knows how Catra is. All it was gonna take was a mistake like this before everything came crumbling down.

“I feel like she doesn’t even care about me,” Catra said. 

Adora nearly tore the door down. Scorpia had her back instead, saying “That’s stupid, and you know it. You know she cares about you, and to say otherwise is an insult to your friendship.” 

“Yeah, well, her way of caring is not my way.” 

She pressed her forehead softly against the door. She’s known this all along. She heard it for herself last night. It still surprised her to hear it out loud, spoken very clearly in front of her and not as a phone call. 

“Just go talk to her,” Scorpia advised. “That’s the best thing you could do right now.” 

“I don’t want to talk to her.” 

“Catra-”

“Scorpia, she lied to me,” Catra growled. “She lied about why she left, where she was, and everything else she could’ve lied about. I’m allowed to be upset about this.” 

“It’s not just about that, is it?”

Adora listened closely as a shaky breath echoed into the hallway. It wasn’t like the shaky breaths from last night as Catra pinned her down and whispered in her ear. It was more choked up, different from anything she’s heard. 

“Look, I don’t…” Catra paused, her voice quieter. “I don’t know what to do. Why would she lie about this? What was so secretive that she couldn’t even tell me? I would’ve been fine, but then she lied to me.” 

“You’re not fine.” 

“Well, she is,” Catra snapped. “I’m not going to mess this poor girl up just because I can’t get my act together. She had a lot happen this week and I wasn’t there for her when I should’ve been. Glimmer has probably been nursing her this whole time... I really shouldn’t be surprised that this happened.” 

That one made her mad. She was in the wrong for pretty much everything, she knows that. But Catra can’t be going around and making accusations. 

Catra was right when she said she had a right to be upset, but she’s wrong for assuming what happened with Glimmer. Honest to god, she did fall asleep when she got to Glimmer’s house and all they did was move the coffee table. She told Catra the same thing; she had no reason to lie about what happened when it wasn’t anything bad.

She has no reason to believe her. Last night was one thing after another, and none of it was the truth. Why should Catra believe her, especially considering she had other negative emotions mixed with Adora? 

“I can’t care about who she’s with but… why Glimmer?” 

Adora shook her head at herself. The last time she stayed and listened to one of their conversations, it broke her. That conversation is what led them into this current predicament, so she really shouldn’t have been doing this. 

She decided she’d had enough when Glimmer’s name kept getting brought up. Glimmer had nothing to do with any of this. She didn’t want to drag anyone else into her mess, but it seemed that every damn person in this band has a part in this now. 

Adora silently walked away, mindful of her shoes clanking against the hardwood hallway. She didn’t have the energy to walk back into the studio with Shadow Weaver and grab her bass. She  wasted no more time walking through the lobby and out the door, practically sprinting to her car. She slammed the door and booked it out of the parking lot, the only thing keeping her from running all the red lights is the fact that it’d go against the contract. 

Now she knows the real consequences of breaking the stupid thing.

The drive home seemed tedious. While it never really bothered her, now it seemed like an outlet for her to just think. Think about how, just within a few days, two years of friendship was being tested. It was her own stupid fault. Everything could’ve been avoided if she’d just been up front and honest.

How the hell did this happen? She’s a terrible liar as it is. She can’t imagine what compelled her to continue lying, even when she had the perfect out. That’s probably why she got caught in the first place. 

It’s not even like she could blame Glimmer. They weren’t doing anything wrong. They weren’t breaking any rules, so Glimmer had no reason not to talk about moving the furniture. But in between the phone call and trying to figure out what any of it meant, Adora hadn’t even thought of coming up with an actual alibi for herself. One that wasn’t going to bite her in the ass approximately two minutes later. 

She skidded into her driveway. She couldn’t bring herself to care as she almost slammed her car door off and stomped inside her house. She didn’t even know what she was angry at.

Herself? Catra? Shadow Weaver? 

Adora went straight to her room and grabbed her laptop from where it lay on her vanity. She plugged her phone into her charger and sat down against her headboard, settling her laptop on her knees. 

Her plan was to pull up some Netflix and watch whatever she could find, but she changed her course of action when she got an email notification. 

Usually, her important business emails went to Shadow Weaver first, who forwarded the email to her afterwards. That wasn’t the case this time; it was one someone had composed themselves and, after finding her email address somehow, got through to her without it redirecting to Shadow Weaver first. 

Adora clicked on the notification. The screen redirected to her gmail, and she read all the parts carefully.

 

Adora, 

I hope you are doing well. When I spoke with you on Sunday evening, everything seemed fine, but I suppose a flu can do that to you. My best regards for you, and I hope you make a speedy recovery. 

What I would like to speak to you about is perhaps a dinner this Saturday. I apologize if it’s late notice, but I know this place in downtown LA that I’d like to share. No worries, seeing as this is not an interview, and merely a gathering. 

I hope to get a response soon. Get well, Adora. 

-Horde Prime

 

Adora shoved her laptop off of her lap and reached across her bedside table to her phone. She unplugged it rather violently and was beginning her call to Shadow Weaver when she noticed she’d gotten a notification from Twitter. 

Not only that, but from Catra’s account. 

She glanced back at her laptop before her willpower crumbled and she was clicking on the notification. She was greeted instantly with a picture of Scorpia’s smiling face and Catra with sunglasses, holding a Happy Meal in her hands.

 

@catramichalka: i swear she is the best person to exist

 

If this were any other tweet with a picture of them, she would’ve retweeted and commented. She would probably check on Instagram to see if it was reposted there and if it wasn’t, then she’d do it herself. 

But this wasn’t any other tweet. It was one that came with double meanings. 

Were they on a date? Was this Catra’s way of telling her that she’d been right in assuming that Catra really did have feelings for Scorpia? That her wishful thinking and pining had been for nothing? That she wasted these past two years chasing after someone who didn’t want her? 

She balled her fists into her bed sheets. She went to her own account to post a new tweet that she should’ve posted last night instead of getting herself into more trouble. 

 

@adoracarerro: hey everyone! i know there’s been a lot of things going around about me and i just wanna say that the whole story is getting twisted. kinda sucks that when i’m in a vulnerable position it’s taken the wrong way :/  i was just tired, but i’m sorry for not saying anything sooner. love you guys !!

 

She didn’t even proofread it before she posted it. She just posted and that was it. Her timeline refreshed on its own, and the first thing she saw was Catra’s latest tweet. It already had a couple hundred comments, but Adora wasn’t going to add to it. 

She went to her contacts to call Shadow Weaver, but she hesitated over the call button. Horde Prime contacting her was not something to be taken lightly, and this was a very delicate situation that would crumble with one wrong move. 

If this were two days ago, she would’ve called. Then, she would tell Catra about it. She’d probably go to Adam next, then maybe Entrapta since the woman knew so much about Horde Prime. She would’ve taken careful precaution and prep everything accordingly. 

But this was today, and Adora wanted to do what she wanted. To do something for herself. To show herself she can make decisions that aren’t going to screw her over. It’s just dinner. There's no interview involved.

She picked up her laptop again and began typing. Because if there’s another decision she’s making, it’s that she needs time. Not just for herself, but away from Catra and the others too.  

 

Horde Prime, 

I would love to join you for dinner this Saturday.

Would 6:30 work? If not, let me know a more appropriate time and we’ll make it work. If you could send me the address, that would be great. 

Also, thank you for the well wishes. I know Sunday was weird, but rest assured it was nothing short of extortion. Being a little extra tired does that to you, especially when accompanied by a performance and a party immediately after. 

Thanks again, and I look forward to Saturday. 

-Adora Carerro

Chapter Text

Adora was lying on Adam’s living room floor when his dog ran over to her. 

Skeletor didn’t exactly like her, so when he climbed into her lap and snuggled into her, she was over the moon. The small matlease puppy always barks at her when she so much crosses the threshold, but even the dog seemed to notice she hadn’t been doing well lately.  

Adam stared at her from the couch when she finished talking about her hectic week. “Wait, back up because I’m confused. Why did you lie to her?” 

Adora nearly threw her hands up in frustration when she remembered she had a dog in her lap. “I can’t explain to you half of the decisions I made.” 

“Yeah… That’s what I’m confused on,” Adam reiterated. “She apologized to you, and you heard some weird phone call with her and Scorpia, and then… What? Why didn’t you talk to her about it?” 

She brought the puppy up to dog level. She couldn’t be bothered to care when it started licking her face. “I wanted to but I panicked! Imagine: you’re hanging out with the love of your life when you find out she has feelings for someone else. Then, you find out she doesn't like you at all and doesn’t want to be your friend?”

Adam considered her for a moment. “And you thought the best course of action from there was to steal her car and go to Glimmer’s, then lie to Catra that you went to Glimmer’s?” 

“Well, when you say it like that it does sound ridiculous…” 

Adam, trying not to laugh at her, cracked a smile when Skeletor barked at her. “Because it is. If you thought she hated you, you wouldn’t have lied to her.” 

She shrugged. “I don’t know what I was doing at the moment. Shadow Weaver was giving us instructions while we were talking so I was all over the place. I just lied because I didn’t want to tell her the truth.” 

“Why’s that?”

“She’d been hiding this truth from me for so long. I don’t know if I did it for revenge or what, but it’s done now. I can’t exactly take it back after she yelled at me in the lobby.”

“Was she…” He stuttered looking for the right word. “Upset? Angry?” 

“She was pissed.” She wishes, above all else, that no one else had been there when everything went down. That Glimmer wasn’t the one to accidentally expose her and Scorpia wasn’t a problem in itself. “But she’s petty like that, so-” 

Adam’s chuckle cut her off. “Look, you know her better than I do. I’ve only met her a couple of times anyways, but I also know you . You avoid confrontation every time you have something to confront.”

He was right, but she still rolled her eyes.

“If she was mad, I don’t think she’s mad for nothing.” 

Adora had considered this when she got home. Catra was a difficult person to figure out, but she also knew her so-called friend wasn’t random. If Catra wanted her emotions to be hidden, they would be. She wants her to know that Adora had pissed her off. 

“I think being mad was her way of letting me know she really doesn’t like me,” Adora pointed out. When he made a face, she sighed. “You didn’t hear her and Scorpia talking about me. If you had, you’d be agreeing with me on this.” 

“I’m on your side one hundred percent of the time. But this is one situation I really do think you’re not carefully thinking about. You’re acting too much on impulse and you’re doing whatever comes to mind. That is what’s going to drag this on for a stupid amount of time. You need to talk to her.” 

When she’d taken Catra’s car, her phone had blown up due to the overwhelming amount of missed calls and texts from Catra. That’s why Glimmer woke her up in the first place on Thursday. 

There was radio silence this time. No texts, no calls. She would’ve thought Catra unfollowed and blocked her if following each other wasn’t part of the stupid contract. She has herself to blame for the silence anyways, but it didn’t make it any easier for her to deal with. 

“Even if I wanted to fix this, I don’t see how. She’s not going to answer any of my texts, and I’m sure if I tried calling it’d go straight to voicemail.” 

“Okay, but why don’t you try? Have you tried calling her and seeing how that went?” 

She hadn’t. 

When she was upset about the drink scandal, Catra had taken it upon herself to go to Adora’s house and apologize. It was most likely because Shadow Weaver told her to, but… 

They had a meeting with Boys Night Out on Monday, and it was Saturday. She has a day and a half to try and make up with Catra, who hasn’t even breathed in her direction since Thursday. It fell on her shoulders to try and fix everything. Herself, her and Catra, Catra and Glimmer, since according to Glimmer, she’s also been getting a cold shoulder. 

“I don’t know why I should try at this point,” Adora said miserably, holding Skeletor closer to her chest. “Nothing’s ever going to happen between me and her. If it wasn’t the contract, it’s her feelings towards me. I’m just chasing after her like an idiot.”

"I've seen the look on the poor girl's face you've been tormenting," Adam quipped. "Maybe the attraction isn't that one sided?"

“Catra doesn’t want me. Not like I want her.” 

“You have the observation skills of a crayon box.” Adam took his dog from her. She looked up at him from the floor, resting her head on a throw pillow as he set Skeletor back in his bed. 

Adora picked at a strand on her flannel. “Why’d you take him? We were finally getting along!” 

He shook his head. “No puppy until you learn how to communicate with real people. You know more than I do, but I know you can fix this if you really try. Just… talk to her. I can guarantee that’ll be the best thing you can do. I’ve been here since the beginning of your friendship. You can’t let anything happen. Not between you and her. Okay?”

She wanted to make things right. She didn’t even know how to go about this. She didn’t know how to start a conversation with someone she used to be able to read like a book. Everything had gotten so fucked since last Sunday. She wants to put all this behind her and the rest of the band, but she doesn’t know the first thing about confrontation. 

“I guess I better start going…” Adora bit her lip. She didn’t want to leave, but she was on a tight schedule. “I have my dinner with Horde Prime at six, and I don’t want to be late.” 

Adam winced on her behalf. “I don’t really know how I feel about that.” 

She rolled her eyes. “It’s no interview, if that’s what you’re worried about.” 

Skeletor ran off of his bed and back into her lap, much to her enjoyment and Adam’s displeasure. “I know you can handle yourself against the big evil media shark. It’s the other rumors I’m a little iffy about.” 

She thought back to what Bow said about Entrapta knowing a lot of things. “I’ll give my location to the girls if it’ll make you feel better.” 

But she knows she wouldn’t. She wasn’t telling them that she was going. They’d try to talk her out of it, and she wants to show her friends that she could make good decisions for once.

He gave her puppy dog eyes that matched Skeletor perfectly. “And me? Even if I have to work tonight?” 

The eyes… They were going to be the death of her. “And you.”

“That’s all I need to hear. At any point, and I mean it, if at any point you’re uncomfortable, you make something up and you go home. Don’t worry about hurting his feelings. He’s a grown man and can handle a twenty one year old girl cutting a dinner early. What isn’t going to slide is you putting out for a couple hours and hating it. Think about yourself if you really don’t want to be there.” 

She had gotten weird vibes from Horde Prime during the party, but she had passed it off as being nervous. Then everything else happened, and she could hardly remember what he was actually like. “If it gets weird, I’ll leave. But if you see my death in the headlines tomorrow, you’ll know why.” 

He cracked a smile. “If you die, I’ll start my villain origin story.” 

Skeletor hopped off of her to run around the living room, and she took it as her cue to leave. She didn’t stand or make any attempt to leave, but she said, “Okay, I actually have to go now.”

“Good fucking luck. You know, I heard from an unknown source that he’s actually an alien god thing from another dimension that makes a bunch of clones of himself, and that’s how he’s able to get everyone’s information all the time.”

Adora shoved her face into a pillow as Adam laughed. “Oh my god. Stop telling me your conspiracy theories, you fucking dick.” 

 


 

I look forward to tonight. I want you to rest assured because this is not an interview or anything of the sorts, but rather a gathering between two individuals. I will see you at six. 

-Horde Prime

 

Adora closed her laptop with a loud slam. Her Macbook wasn’t going to last much longer if she kept hitting it like that. 

After leaving Adam’s house, she’d spent a long time scrolling through Twitter. Too long. She decided to be a detective (just like Adam had shown her) and find out what Catra’s been up to lately. 

She was left disappointed when she found out the girl had done nothing but spend her days with Scorpia. She wanted to play detective and found exactly what she was looking for. Why exactly was she upset?

No, she knows why. She dragged Scorpia into this the same stupid way she got Glimmer involved. If she’d been honest at the beginning, at most, Scorpia would have some play in everything. Getting Glimmer mixed up in the mess was where she’d gone wrong. 

All this, and she still doesn’t understand what Catra’s problem is with Glimmer. It would’ve been easy for her to ignore the side eyes, but Adora heard what Catra said about Glimmer to Scorpia on Thursday by the stairs.

Catra was not only mad at her for lying, but for lying and going to Glimmer’s house after. It had something to do with Glimmer. Glimmer was some sort of root in their problem, but Adora can’t figure it out for the life of her. 

She knew where her issues with Scorpia lay. It wasn't even Scorpia herself, but what she brought. Scorpia is the nicest, most sweetest person she knows! Adora couldn’t even begin to be half of that. They’re so…

Different. 

Scorpia was some sort of angel who only sees the best in people. The one who everyone feels like they can go to. She has something mesmerizing about her. The kindest fucking person while Adora can’t tell her friends the truth when it really matters.

Not like it’d make any difference now. 

Catra’s already made up her mind about her, Scorpia’s known everything all along and never told her, and Glimmer’s stuck in the middle of something Adora created. 

There’s no one else to blame. She can’t get mad at Glimmer for saying what she said, or Scorpia for not saying anything. She can’t even blame Catra for getting angry, although there’s more to that one. 

Because… Why exactly does it matter to Catra what her and Glimmer do? Adam had brought it up, and she took it closer to heart this time when she considered it. Catra said so herself that she wouldn’t have told Shadow Weaver, so she’s not super concerned about breaking any rules. 

Obviously, seeing as she had no problem doing it for Scorpia. 

Why was the problem the fact that she had supposedly done something with Glimmer? She tried to explain it really was just moving coffee tables around, but Catra had stormed off before she could spit it out. 

Catra’s problem wasn’t just with her; it was with Glimmer too. 

Adora had nothing but love for Scorpia. There were a few times when she’d see a picture of them on her timeline and get the sudden urge to dropkick someone (Catra), but she wasn’t taking out her frustration on Scorpia. 

And that’s what pissed her off. 

Catra can get as mad at her as she wants. Adora’s accepted that, at this point, there’s no saving the friendship. No matter what Adam said, there really is nothing left for them. They had one argument too many, and they’ve got nothing left to lose. There wasn’t just a low point anymore. They had a huge wedge between them, and she simply had no more energy to try and break it. 

She was done, and if Catra was fine with that, then so was she. 

Adora pretended she was doing it for Catra’s sake. She was willing to do anything to save everything on Thursday, but two days of no contact showed her exactly what Catra truly wanted. She was fine and doing better without Adora bugging her. 

Dragging her along was hurting everyone involved. If that’s what Catra wanted, Adora would let it happen. She’ll be fine one day. 

She forgot that she was supposed to be getting ready when her buzzing phone forced her to look at the time. 

It was four, and she had to meet Horde Prime in two hours. The time wasn’t what scared her most, but rather the caller. 

“Adora!” Scorpia shouted when she picked up. “Are you busy?”

She was, but she didn’t know how to say it without being rude. She put her phone on speaker and began searching through her closet for something to wear. “No, I’m free. What’s up?”

“I just…” Scorpia sighed. “I want to hear your side of things.”

Adora was taken aback for a moment. Didn’t Scorpia already know everything? “What do you mean? Hasn’t Catra told you?”

“Well, sure. But it’s Catra, and I know you see things differently from her. I mean, if you didn’t, none of this would even be happening right now. You guys are like… the best of friends! I don’t want to see you guys tear each other apart.”

“You sound like my brother,” she grumbled. 

“He’s probably right,” Scorpia laughed. “But before anything, are you okay? Catra hasn’t been doing so hot, so I can imagine what you’re going through.” 

Scorpia really can’t, but Adora didn’t want to correct her. She was mainly grateful someone wanted to talk to her in the first place. “I think I’ll be better given a little time.” 

“That’s not a straight answer,” Scorpia huffed. 

She is angry at herself for letting everything get this far. And Catra because Catra doesn’t know how to keep their stuff between them, but she wasn’t going to say that. “I’ve been doing okay. I’m not terrible, but I’m not doing amazing either.” 

“Catra isn’t doing amazing at all, but she refuses to admit that she’s been terrible.” 

“What does that mean?” 

“She misses you. A lot. I turned on the TV in her house and Zelda was already on. She got all mad and I think she was about to claw out her Nintendo Switch, but she chilled out. She was probably still mad and didn’t tell me, but... She told me some things, but not everything.”

Adora paused, moving from her closet closer to the phone on the bed. “Like what?”

“She’s more upset that you lied about Glimmer than she is with you leaving. She’s convinced herself that something happened between you and Glimmer and that’s why you didn’t want to tell her why you left.” 

“Nothing happened!” She shouted in frustration. “I didn’t want to be there anymore but I couldn’t tell Catra because it’s Catra. I didn’t feel like going home either and Glimmer was still awake, so I just went to her house. Seriously, I didn’t think it was going to be this big of a deal when it happened!”

Except she’d forgotten that Catra can still be a stubborn brat. That when Catra thinks she’s right, she’ll go to the ends of the earth and make everything harder for herself and others around her before she admits she’s wrong. 

At least Adora knows what she did wasn’t right. She had made a mistake, and she tried to apologize. She got squat in return, and now they’re in a worse place than ever. She had no idea where to even go about fixing this, but she doesn’t even know if she wanted to anymore.

“Why does she care? Catra doesn’t even like me,” Adora said bitterly, strolling back to her closet. 

Scorpia didn’t say anything for a second. “What did you do at Glimmer’s house?” 

“All I did was move a coffee table. If I’d known this shit was gonna come from it, I would’ve made Glimmer move her own damn furniture.” 

Scorpia chuckled, less because she found it funny and more for Adora’s sake. “I think she’s just jealous.” 

As if. “That doesn’t make sense. Catra wouldn’t be jealous at Glimmer for no reason.” 

Scorpia paused again. “I mean… You did take her car and leave her when she planned a cute surprise to go to Glimmer’s house and then lie about it all.” 

For no good reason, it seems. “Is the car the worst part?” 

“I’d say the leaving, but-”

“I don’t really know what to do,” Adora admitted. “I tried telling her I was sorry. There was a lot going on that night and I just couldn’t be at her place anymore. I had to get out of there, and I happened to end up at Glimmer’s.”

“Why did you leave anyways?” 

Scorpia should know everything by now, but she wasn’t going to judge her based off of Catra’s choices. If Catra wanted to confide in Scorpia for certain stuff, she could. Adora couldn’t assume Scorpia hated her too, especially when Scorpia’s done nothing but be an angel to her. 

Then again, she saw Catra as a best friend and it doesn’t seem to be working out anymore. 

“I don’t really want to talk about it,” Adora finally said. “There’s a lot.” 

“I understand.” Scorpia drew a loud breath. “I can’t exactly tell you what her problem is, but I do know the only way it’s ever going to get fixed is if you guys communicate.” 

“You and Adam must share a mind,” she groaned. 

“Because we know you guys! I know she’s a little shit who won’t reason with anybody unless you stick her in a guillotine. But I also know you’re never going to do anything about this because you’re going to overthink everything and psych yourself out.”

She rubbed her arm, a little uncomfortable by what’s basically an intervention now. “You’ve given this a lot of thought.”

Scorpia sighed again, louder than the rest. “I feel bad. This is between you and Catra, but Glimmer’s thrown into the mix. I’m on the sidelines here, and I want to help you guys as best I can.” 

She was most definitely not on the sidelines, but Adora wasn’t going to say anything about it. She hovered her finger over the ‘end call’ button. “I have to go.” 

“You need to communicate. It’s going to stay this way forever unless one of you does something about it.” 

She should’ve known Scorpia wasn’t letting her off early. “Everything’s still really fresh. I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon.” 

“Yeah…” Scorpia said sadly. “Yeah, I know.” 

Adora hated to disappoint, but this was something she couldn’t reassure her with. It’s not like she could even promise Scorpia that she’d ever talk to Catra because, quite truthfully, a conversation between them seems far fetched at this point. 

“I’ll talk to you later?”

“See you,” Scorpia replied flatly before hanging up. 

Adora let the air deflate out of her before plugging her phone in to charge and stalking back to her closet. She was on a tight schedule to meet with Horde Prime, after all. 

 


 

She’d heard about Vespertine before. 

It was mainly from others she followed on social media. Peekablue, another popular artist, posted about it a couple times on their Instagram. Adora had made a mental note to try it one day, but she never gets around to her ‘to eat’ list. 

The worst part is that it isn’t far from Catra’s house. Hell, they’d even passed by it on her way here. Catra gets takeout every now and then. It left a small feeling of sadness, but Adora knows it’ll go away soon enough.  

She got out of the Uber with a smile to the driver. He hadn’t murdered her, so she gave him five stars. She didn’t know if she was going to have a drink or two, so she decided the Uber was the safest option. 

The outside of the restaurant was a large glass rectangle with grooves running through it. She walked through the glass doors to the host standing behind a small podium, waiting to take her name. 

She actually had no idea what name it was under, but she was saved from spitting her name out when Horde Prime appeared behind the host. “Ms. Carrero! Glad to see you here.” 

“Hi!” She greeted him as he took her by the arm and led her to their table. She questioned how he knew she was here when she’d just gotten off her Uber, but she didn’t have time when he sat her down at the table in the corner furthest from other people. 

“Forgive me, I should’ve greeted you outside,” Prime apologized. “I was just talking with the wine steward and he was delivering our drinks when you arrived.” 

Adora had failed to notice the two glasses of wine when she sat down. It seems taking an Uber had worked out in her favor. While she had considered telling Glimmer or Scorpia to just pick her up or drop her off, she didn’t want to explain why she’d taken Prime up on a dinner in the first place. 

She smiled and tapped the glass with her nails.

For only being twenty one, she has noticed she drinks a lot when she’s around him. The party last Sunday, and again today. Except he had ordered the wine for both of them, so maybe he didn’t think anything of it. 

“I never checked up on you after the incident at the after party last week besides in an email,” Prime chuckled. “How have you been? I’ve been meaning to ask.” 

Getting sick seemed like a minor foul in all her problems now. “I was just… really tired the next day. That Monday was definitely the hardest, but the flu does come and go.” 

“Have you been up to a lot, Adora?” 

She shook her head. “The Rebellion’s been doing some things. It’s hard to find free time nowadays.” 

“I’m sure, between the band and what I presume a boyfriend, it’s difficult to find time for yourself.” 

Adora visibly cringed, which definitely wasn’t her brightest moment. “No, no boyfriend. I don’t like boys, actually.” 

Prime seemed surprised. “You don’t have a boyfriend?” 

Suddenly uncomfortable, she awkwardly laughed. It was public knowledge that she clearly doesn’t have a boyfriend or is even attracted to boys. For being in everyone’s business, she found it hard to believe Prime had no idea. 

“No boyfriend,” she confirmed. 

Prime laughed at himself. “Of course, silly me. I forget that you’re with your bandmate. The drummer, right?” 

“Well, we’re not actually dating-” 

“Her name is Catra, right?” 

Adora shifted in her seat. “Yep, that’s her. But me and her aren’t dating. We just have a really close friendship.” 

“So there’s absolutely nothing going on being you two?” 

This isn’t an interview, she reminded herself. He’s a big time reporter and probably forgets that it’s weird to talk about these kinds of things off the job.

Adora shook her head, a little irked. “We’re close friends.” 

“But you both like girls, don’t you?” 

What the hell is this? She nodded and grabbed her wine glass and raised it to her lips, drinking the liquid. She didn’t usually drink wine, so it wasn’t an acquired taste. There was a soft burn in her throat, but nothing too mild. 

“I mean, sure. But-”

“What about Glimmer and Scorpia?” 

She nearly got up to leave, remembering what Adam had told her. She looked down at the table and saw the untouched menu. She had just gotten to the restaurant. It would be plain rude to leave right away.  

“I don’t think I can freely talk about their sexuality,” Adora said. Again, more public knowledge that he asked her about. 

“Of course.” 

She cleared her throat and grabbed the menu. She flipped through its pages and found it weird that none of the waiters had come to their table yet. They hadn’t been here for long, so maybe…

“I love your nails,” Prime commented. “Who do them for you?”

She glanced down at her hand. Scorpia loved acrylic nails and did them for everyone. She makes super pincers for herself and Catra, but Adora was fine with keeping them short. 

For more than one reason, obviously. 

“Scorpia likes to do them. It’s terrible when she tries to do them in our hotel rooms, though. The monomer smells so strong, but she hates the cold, so we can’t open a window.”

“You all share hotel rooms when traveling?” 

She pressed a hand to her mouth to stifle her laugh. “No, all five of us get separate rooms. We usually end up in the same one anyways.” 

“You guys are all close, huh?”

“Yeah…” She said fondly. “Glimmer’s the closest thing I have to a sister because I got stuck with a brother. Scorpia is one of the nicest people alive and everyone loves her. And Catra-” her breath caught in her throat. “Catra’s Catra.” 

“You have a brother?”

She nodded. “I was actually hanging out with him today. We’re twins.” 

“I had no idea you were a twin.”

“I try to keep him out of the public eye.” Seeing how much social media has made her friendship with Catra into a strained one, she didn’t even want to think about stuffing Adam into this world.

“Me and my brother, Hordak, don’t get along,” Prime confided. “Thanksgivings are very interesting around my house, to say the least.”

“So are our rehearsals as of lately,” she mumbled quietly. 

“What’s wrong with rehearsals?” 

Whoops. “Nothing really. Between getting stuff organized and actually recording, it turns into a mess sometimes.” 

“A lovely mess in the end, though. My favorite song of yours is Bad Romance.”

Of course his favorite song is the one that she sings for Glimmer. The song that, if Prime figured out the truth about it, he’d end their careers in an instant. But sure, organizing is their biggest struggle as a band.

“How did you hear about this place?” Adora asked before they could slump into awkward silence. 

“Hordak likes to come with his wife, Entrapta. I think you actually met her recently. She manages-”

“Boys Night Out, yeah,” Adora finished. “We met her just last week.”

“She’s lovely, honestly.” She thought back to how Entrapta had hurriedly ushered them away when she saw them talking with Prime and wondered about what happened between them all. What went beyond the surface level. 

Adora was going to ask him if he was close to Bow and the other boys, leaning her elbow on the table to rest her chin in her hands. Her arm suddenly gave out, and she barely had time to catch the table. 

“Woah…” She whispered to herself. She saw Prime quirking an eyebrow at her, and she laughed at herself. “I missed my arm,” she said out loud. 

Besides a quiet hum, he had no reaction. “Careful. We don’t want a young star to get taken out by a table.” 

She grinned and reached for her phone in her pocket. She unlocked it underneath the table and switched her location on to send to Adam, just in case.

When she settled her phone onto the table, she was a little stunned to see Prime looking underneath the table too. He caught her looking and leaned down to tie his shoelaces. 

A rush of dizziness hit her, and she was suddenly floating. 

Adora shuffled her phone next to her glass to make it more visible. When he came back up, he grinned again with perfect white teeth. His white button up and black slacks were vastly different from her jeans and burgundy blouse, but her white jacket did match his. 

She was about to unlock it again, and her eyelids dropped dramatically. She coughed into her arm to cover up her tiredness. “I need air.” 

Without thinking of the implications, she stood quickly out of her chair. She banged her knee against the table and nearly spilled the glass of wine, but her shaky legs carried her outside into the night. 

The wind blew against her skin violently, and she laid a hand against a lamppost to steady herself. Almost all her focus went on staying upright long enough. 

She rapped a hand against her forehead. She had been so stupid. What happened last Sunday was no accident. There was never a flu. She hadn’t been just tired. 

Mainly because she’s feeling the exact same thing right now, except ten fold. 

Adora tried to grab her phone out of her pocket and missed the first time. She steadied her shaking hand before trying to grab it again. Her heart dropped when she realized she had left it on the table with Horde Prime. 

She moved her legs, but they went slowly. Her body was gone. Blanks spots danced across her vision, and she had trouble being able to tell the difference between stars and street lights. 

Adora swore it took her at least ten minutes to get back inside. It took forever but also no time at all. She was in front of Prime too soon, and she caught him putting something back on her side of the table when she walked in. 

“I’m going to the bathroom,” Adora slurred. Her limp hand slammed against the table as she grabbed her phone and dragged her heavy legs to the bathroom. 

There were multiple stalls, but she flung the door closed behind her and locked it. The cold metal of the door handle sent goosebumps up her arm. Ignoring all sanitary consciousness, she pressed her forehead against the metal. She could slump over and fall asleep right there. 

Instead, she got back on her feet and went to the sink. She felt overworked just standing and turning it on. Adora cupped cold water in her hands and splashed herself all over her face. Anything to keep her awake long enough to call someone. 

Once she thought she could muster up the energy to physically pick up her phone, she shakily unlocked it with trembling fingers. She called Adam first, but it went straight to voicemail. She almost started sobbing on the spot when she realized he had already gone to work and had his phone turned off. 

Her body on autopilot, Adora dialed Glimmer next. She fought to keep her eyes open as the dial tone rang, and grew increasingly frustrated when she got no answer. Either Glimmer was dead or showering. Hopefully the latter, but she was starting to feel like the former.

The next option was Scorpia, and she got an answer almost right away.

“What’s up?” The guitarist asked. 

Scorpia’s loud voice made her whimper. When her breath caught in her throat, Scorpia immediately caught on. “Oh my god. What’s happening?” 

“I’m…” She whispered. She knew the words she wanted to get out, but they weren’t coming. “Something happened. I don’t have my car,” she said steadier. 

“Oh my god. I’m not home. Where are you?” Scorpia frantically asked. 

“Vespertine.”

“That’s forty five minutes from me! Oh my god. Oh no… Adora, what happened?” 

Adora rested her head against the sink. “I’ll explain everything later, but I have to get out of here now.” 

Scorpia went silent for a moment, then cheered. Adora flinched. “Catra’s driving home from Burger King and she just passed your location! I’m sending her your way now. Where are you?” 

“Bathroom.”

“Stay put. Text me when you’re home safe, and good luck.” 

Adora didn’t say goodbye when she hung up. She managed to get her phone into her pocket, and it was an even bigger miracle that she was able to walk to the door and open in. A man at another table looked at her weird when she came out of the bathroom a sweaty, wet mess, but she wasn’t really bothered by some random man’s opinion of her. 

She stalked back to the table and saw Horde Prime waiting patiently for her. She wanted to narrow her eyes, but she’d probably fall asleep as soon as she did.

“You don’t look well,” Prime said as he scanned her. 

She bit back her response of well fucking obviously. She slumped back into her chair, groaning at the way the bright lights violently plagued her eyesight. It hurt to look at anything, hurt when everything pounded in her ears, hurt-

Prime stood and walked to her side of the table. He grabbed her arm to help her stand again. She was too weak to fight it off. “Let me help you to your car. You can sleep in there.”

She knew she should be resisting his arms, but sleep sounded so good. She planted her feet for only a second before she let him take her through the glass doors and outside the restaurant. 

“I didn’t bring my car,” she recalled, almost falling over from just talking. 

“I’ll call your Uber,” Prime assured. 

She wrestled her phone out of her pocket, letting it sit in her hand. Prime grabbed it from her and unlocked it himself, password and all. 

Adora looked at him weirdly, but when she opened her mouth to question him, he shushed her. She didn’t find it worth it to argue, so she went along with it. She tried to peep at what he was looking at, but he turned away from her slightly. 

Something in her told her to argue this. That he was doing something wrong and she should fix it. Her brain was mush, her vision slowly dying, and her legs about to give out. If she tried to fight with him, she’d collapse on the spot. 

Adora stayed silent and let him order her Uber. 

It took him a while to order it; longer than she thinks necessary. But he finally passed her phone back, and she swore she heard someone shouting her name. She ignored it, trying her best not to lean on him for support. 

“So-” He started. 

“Adora!” 

Wait, that was definitely her name. 

She turned and saw Catra running towards them. Adora wanted to smile, but all the muscles in her face disappeared. She forgot all her problems momentarily. For a second, time seemed to drag on forever. 

Literally. Everything was moving at a slow pace for her, and she registered Prime’s discomfort five seconds after it already happened. 

“Adora, I was getting takeout when I saw you!” Catra yelled as soon as she approached them. 

“Hello, Catra,” Prime waved. He took a step away from her when Catra put a hand on Adora’s arm. 

“Hey. I had no idea you guys were here,” Catra said, pulling Adora to her side. “What’s wrong with Adora?” 

Adora opened her mouth to answer, but Prime beat her to it. “She had some wine.” 

She could see Catra’s eyes narrow. From her rebellious teenage years, everyone knew she could hold down her alcohol. She may not be the biggest wine drinker, but she only had a sip anyways. 

“I’m taking her,” Catra announced. She didn’t wait for the older man to reply. She dragged Adora away by the arm and led her into the parking lot, making their way to the car. 

She didn’t question it when Catra huffed as she tossed her Burger King bag into the backseat and threw Adora into the passenger’s side. Her breathing grew louder, but she realized that it wasn’t her- it was Catra. 

Catra didn’t say anything. She reversed quickly, hardly bothering to glance at the cars behind her. One hand on the steering wheel was shaking, the other taut on Adora’s arm. Her lips were pursed, her eyes darting towards her every other second as if to check if she were really there and okay. 

“Can you cancel my Uber?” Adora asked before she finally fell asleep.

Chapter Text

When Adora broke out into a heavy sweat and threw up into her trash bin again, it was Glimmer who held her hair back.

She groaned when she lifted her head up away from the contents in her trash bin. Glimmer patted her back, trying to hold her against the bin. “Let it out, you’re okay.”

Adora shook her head and moved the bin back to the floor. Bow came back from her kitchen with a glass of water. She smiled at him thankfully and lifted the sweet liquid to her lips. She was more than happy to wash down the burn in her throat. 

Bow, who had come to her house in the early morning with Glimmer, sat down on the couch beside Glimmer. His hand rested right beside hers, and Adora was mentally saving everything into her memory for a round of teasing later. 

“Do you need any more water?” Bow asked when silence fell over. 

Adora moved her ponytail strands from her face. “I think I’m fine for now. Everything’s getting out of my system.” 

Glimmer’s hands formed fists, digging into the couch cushions. “I’m going to kill him. I’m actually going to kill him.”

“I don’t think that’s necessary-”

“Not necessary!?” Glimmer stood, pacing back and forth in her living room. “Adora, that man has spiked your drink twice now! If anything’s not necessary, it’s his well being!”

Bow got up and whispered something to Glimmer, but Adora wasn’t paying them any attention. Never mind that they were making her third wheel at ten in the morning and hadn’t even realized they were doing it, but just thinking about what had happened the night before made her want to throw up into her trash bin again.

More so, her lack of memory. 

The first time her drink had (unknowingly) been tampered with, she hadn’t believed it. She didn’t want to. She didn’t think it was even possible that night seeing as no one had actually grabbed her drink and put something in it. She had no idea there was more than one way of getting something dangerous into her. 

Her issue had been the fact that she didn’t remember much of that night. Bits and pieces had come back to her, mainly everything towards the end. But if someone held a gun to her head and told her to describe her performance at the festival, she’d die. She has no recollection. 

And it just hurt her in every way because, out of her own ignorance for not wanting to believe the possibility, it happened again. 

Last night left her in a worse spot than ever. She had no fucking clue how she got to the resturant, what she ate or drank, what she said to Scorpia on the phone that made her panic. Hell, she wouldn’t even know how she got home if it wasn’t for Scorpia!

“Get fucked old man!” Glimmer shouted as she sat down rather aggressively on the couch. “I just can’t believe he has the audacity to show his face around us after getting you the first time!” 

She understood the anger entirely. But honestly, she was more defeated than anything. If she had just listened the first time instead of being stupid, maybe something could’ve been done.

Of course, she still wanted to track down Horde Prime and hit him in his stupid fucking face. She wanted to scream and let it out. She showered to try and cool off when she woke up, but it did nothing to calm her down. Instead, the hot water drops had set her off and she wanted to do something to get back at him.

Adora wanted to take a sledgehammer to his windshield. Then maybe she’d tap dance on top of his fancy car with heels for sweet, sweet revenge.

“I don’t think he accounted for anyone being there when he did… whatever he did to your drink,” Bow sympathized. “I can’t believe he did anything at all. He’s really bold for trying again.”

“Yeah, and I’mma kill him for doing anything at all,” Glimmer remarked, her eyes glaring at a spot on the wall. 

Before she somehow got laser vision and blasted the roof, Adora put a hand gently on Glimmer’s shoulder. “I appreciate the thought, but murder isn’t the answer.” 

“Should be…” 

“It almost was last night,” Bow muttered. “I was at her house yesterday when Catra called her, freaking out and yelling. I would think you were dead if I didn’t know better.” 

“Bow!” Glimmer shouted, but Adora was trying to hide her smile.

“A week and he’s already at your house?” Glimmer and Bow both sported twin blushes. Glimmer looked like she wanted to melt because of Bow’s slip up. 

“Weren’t you at Catra’s house like every other day before you guys started fighting?” Glimmer deflected. 

Adora threw her head back onto her couch, rolling her eyes playfully. “Okay, you win there, but only because I want to change the subject.”

Boy, did she want to change the subject. 

She didn’t know it was Catra who had gotten her home until Scorpia told her. She was surprised to say the least, and very confused above all else. 

Maybe Horde Prime used something stronger on her this time around. It made her want to beat her head against a wall when there were absolutely no memories she could go off of. A little over twelve hours ago and nothing. Last time, she was able to piece together a nonsensical timeline, but a timeline nonetheless. 

And the fact that Catra had been the one to bring her back? Catra had made it very clear she wanted nothing to do with Adora. They haven’t even talked for a couple days now, so obviously it came as a rock to her world at the moment when she found out that, not only had Catra gotten her away from Horde Prime, but driven her home?

It just didn’t make sense. She didn’t understand how Catra even got to the restaurant in the first place. She hadn’t told anyone where she was going, besides Adam. But even then, he didn’t know about what had happened yet. There was no way anyone could’ve found her by chance. 

Something must’ve gone down for Catra to find her. Something she doesn’t remember. 

“Where are we supposed to go from here?” Adora asked. Bow and Glimmer shared a worried look, sitting in silence until her doorknob rattled. 

Bow got up immediately, grabbing a picture frame from her coffee table and lifting it above his head. When the door opened, he had been prepared to swing it down, but stopped when he realized it was just Scorpia coming in with her spare key. 

“WOAH!” Scorpia shouted, dodging the picture frame that almost took her out. She put the key back into her pocket and closed the door, locking it behind her. “Be careful with that thing! You were about to wack me over the head with it!” 

“Yeah, that was the point if it was anyone but you…” Bow mumbled sheepishly, putting the picture back on the table. He sat down next to Glimmer, keeping his eyes off Scorpia as she tried not to laugh. 

Adora not so subtly looked behind Scorpia to see if Catra had come behind her, but it was just her. Adora sunk lower into the couch, hoping it would swallow her whole before she threw up again. 

“How have you been?” Scorpia asked. “I was here with Glimmer really early in the morning, and I really wish I could’ve stayed longer, but I just-”

“Scorpia, it’s okay,” Adora reassured. “I didn’t even know you were here last night?” 

Scorpia looked at her sadly. “You really don’t remember anything, do you?” 

Everyone in her living room was suddenly looking at her with the same expression. She shifted uncomfortably. She didn’t like the way Glimmer was trying to hold back her true feelings on Adora’s behalf, or Bow watching everything he said, and Scorpia sitting across from her on the floor, staring at her as if she were glass. 

“What do you want to do now?” Scorpia asked. “Who do we go to?” 

“Not Shadow Weaver,” Adora ruled out. “She’ll kill me if she finds out I met with him without telling her. It’s a direct violation of the contract, first of all. We have to inform her of all journalistic outings, and I didn’t do that. I’d end up in more trouble than it would solve.”

“So… what? We don’t tell anyone?” Glimmer scoffed. “I don’t think this is one of those things we can just sweep under the rug, Adora.”

“That’s not what I’m trying to do. I just… With the way Shadow Weaver is, she’d probably care more about what I did than what he did to me. Nothing would get cleared up, and I would lose.”

Bow considered her for a moment. “I understand if you wouldn’t want to, but what about telling Entrapta? She knows Horde Prime better than everyone, expect maybe his brother. I think she’d be able to find you a solution without having to tell Shadow Weaver.”

She nodded. “I don’t think I’ll tell her yet, but maybe one of these days I will. We have that meeting tomorrow, so-”

“Oh, shit!” Glimmer cursed. “We completely forgot to tell you!”

Adora looked to Scorpia for explanation, who smacked a hand against her forehead. “Shadow Weaver moved the meeting to today. She said it was super urgent and really important. I don’t know what made her freak out about it, but…” 

On one hand, it’d be a perfect distraction to get out of her own head for a little bit. 

But Adora was paying attention to the other hand.

She groaned loudly, a pit having opened in her stomach. After everything from the previous night, she’d been looking forward to staying in bed all day as she got everything out of her system. She had not been prepared in the slightest to deal with whatever bullshit Shadow Weaver had and everything else with it. 

“I would tell you to skip, but she’d come over here personally to drag you to the recording studio, so it’s better you just come,” Glimmer advised. “She was making it super mandatory, so there’s no getting out of it.” 

“If it helps, me and the boys are gonna be there too,” Bow tried. “Plus Entrapta.” 

Scorpia stood from her place on the floor, going into Adora’s kitchen and searching the cupboards. “Well, if you’re gonna feel any better in the next two hours, you’ve gotta eat. Now where are those bowls…” 

As she fished around, Adora turned to Glimmer. “What’s the meeting about?”

“Something about Tropicalia,” she answered.

“Why? It’s six months away.” 

She shrugged. “Beats me.” 

“Adora, where do you keep your soup?” Scorpia called out from the kitchen. 

“Do you see the cupboard that’s closest to the sink?” She paused. “It’s in the one under that. You’ll see it, all I buy is instant noodles.” 

Bow hummed. “My dads hate that all I like to eat is instant noodles and egg sandwiches. They used to have a gourmet meal every time we ate, but I honestly prefer having small stuff. I dunno, it makes me appreciate everything more.” 

Glimmer has always been into more… thoughtful people. If someone was going to wake her up at four in the morning and have a picnic under the stars just because it’s pretty, she wanted them. So she absolutely swooned over Bow’s proclamation of love for instant noodles that had a deeper meaning.

Adora hid her laugh behind her hand. How Catra thought she and Glimmer would ever work as a couple is a complete mystery to her. Like hell she’s waking up to go look at the stars. She wanted someone that would talk with her, just talk, for so long that it’d be nighttime and the sky is shining bright outside. They’d go outside and continue talking, no picnic needed. She wouldn’t go look at the stars. She’d be looking at whoever she’s with. 

She sighed. A hopeful wish was nothing but that: a wish. One she didn’t think she’d get, but damn it if she hadn’t found herself drifting off to sleep with that in mind a couple of times. 

Scorpia walked back to the living room, and Adora’s dream shattered. It reminded her of where she stood with Catra, how Catra would prefer someone who’d not only take her to see the stars but wrap a lasso around the moon and bring it for her. Adora couldn’t do that for anyone, but Scorpia probably could. 

Yet, it was still Catra who had gotten to her last night.

“Stop it,” Glimmer said suddenly. 

Adora realized she was talking to her. “Huh?” 

“I see it written all over your face. We all know what Shadow Weaver’s gonna think, and what a lot of people are gonna think if this ever gets out, and I see what you’re thinking too.” Glimmer put a gentle hand on her knee. “This was not your fault. You didn’t know what Horde Prime was going to do to you. He had no right to touch your drink. He had no right to do anything but talk to you in a respectful manner. It doesn’t matter who he is; this is about respect, and he disrespected you in every way possible.”

“He was out of line,” Scorpia said. “Not even out of line. He was out of this world! He hurt one of our bandmates! Not once, but twice. I know you feel bad about it happening the first time, but don’t. You had no idea, and it’s nobody’s fault but his. He targeted you and got you to agree to dinner, he put something in your drink and he was the one who hurt you. Nowhere do you have any blame for that.” 

Adora wanted to cry. Their words combined with Bow’s encouraging smile was enough to make her wipe her eyes, launching to try and cover up her tears. “You guys are the best fucking people of all time.” 

Her microwave dinged, but Scorpia didn’t go to the kitchen. She wrapped her arms around Adora, as did Glimmer. No one mentioned their missing member, but no one really felt the need to. 

 


 

She hadn’t been planning on talking to anyone as soon as she arrived at the studio. 

Adora definitely wasn’t going to be able to drive, but she also didn’t feel like catching a ride with Glimmer or Scorpia. It was never anything personal against them, she just really did not want to be stuck in a car alone with either of them and have to deal with their looks of pity.

The Uber had dropped her off a block away from the studio building, to which she walked the rest of the way. It was a bit difficult on her weak legs, but she managed to get to the building without dying. So all in all, a success. 

She stumbled into the recording studio, the lobby completely empty except for Shadow Weaver coming out of the control room. She closed the door behind her and walked over to Adora with a clear purpose.

Adora thought she was going to get chewed out by her manager for everything. That somehow she’d discovered all of the shit that had happened and was going to yell at her for it. She’d be lying if she said she hadn’t ducked her head and tried getting away.

“I have a question for you, and I’m going to need you to be honest with me,” Shadow Weaver said.

Adora swallowed a lump in her throat. “Yeah, go ahead.”

“Last week, when I asked you to make up with Catra… Did you actually do it?” 

She had a decision to make here. Because technically, yes. They had made up after the whole drink debacle. They would’ve been completely fine if it wasn’t for that phone call she’d overheard. But all of that had led into a whole new argument that didn’t look like it was getting resolved anytime soon. 

But still… The original argument that had gotten Shadow Weaver’s interest was resolved. There was no reason to say no and cause more problems. 

“I did,” Adora answered truthfully. “I mean, we did. Everything from last week had been cleared up.” 

“Okay…” Shadow Weaver narrowed her eyes. “You’re actually the last one here, and Catra had come in asking about you. She wouldn’t tell me why, but the others seemed to understand where she was coming from.”

Adora shrugged nonchalantly. If Catra had been asking about her, did it have anything to do with last night’s problem? “I don’t know what that could be about.”

“I just need to make sure. Entrapta and the boys are here, and I don’t want to hear any arguing in front of her.”

“Well, you know Catra…” She trailed off. Catra could argue with her about anything, especially when they’re so delicate right now. Adora knew to keep quiet, but her friend wasn’t as good at controlling her anger when it was directed at her. 

“I do know Catra, which is why I’m asking you to be honest right now,” Shadow Weaver put a hand on her shoulder. “I’m coming to you first because I want to hear it from you and not in there in front of everyone. Are you guys okay with each other?” 

Before she could come up with something, Shadow Weaver continued, “If not, I need to know. I heard you guys in the lobby on Thursday. What was that about?” 

Adora resisted the urge to shrug off Shadow Weaver’s hand. “I feel like all we’ve talked about lately is mine and Catra’s life…” 

Shadow Weaver stared at her. “What was that?” 

“Just sometimes I wish you’d ask about how I am instead of worrying about how we’re going to look in front of others,” she snapped. “We’re not just robots to make you look good.”

“This isn’t just my career in jeopardy here,” Shadow Weaver retaliated, moving her hand back to her side. “If we mess this up, we’re stuck. We’ve got an EP, but this is what’s important. Your and Catra’s mystery relationship is keeping the fans here, but we’ve gotta do more.”

“I’m not worried about myself here!” Adora’s throat scratched when she yelled, and she coughed into her arm. “It’s just stupid that you never ask me how I’m doing unless it has to do with my public appearance in some way.” 

Shadow Weaver scowled. “Are you made up or not?” 

“Did you listen to anything I said?” 

“Are you made up or not? Don’t make me ask again.”

She knew she had lost this fight, and she wasn’t about to get into another one. She was still trying to recover from the one she fought yesterday. “Yeah, we’re fine,” she huffed, walking past the woman to open the door to the control room.

Everyone inside looked at her when she walked in, but her eyes immediately turned to Catra. Their gazes locked for a second before Catra turned to Swift Wind and started talking. Adora crossed all the way inside to the table and sat at the open seat next to Glimmer. 

She may have only met these boys a week ago, but her mood was instantly transformed. Glimmer and Scorpia gave her looks of sympathy that she tried to ignore, but besides that, she found a different joy in being there. 

This band was her life, and even if her manager couldn’t listen to her problems, she knew everyone in this room would be there if she needed it. Bow had been there this morning, Sea Hawk was the guitar and could relate to her (in some way), and Swift Wind was just fun to be around. When she was ready, she could go to Entrapta about what Horde Prime had done to her and someone would finally listen to her. 

Shadow Weaver stood at the head of the table with Entrapta, and they started passing papers between each other. Naturally, Glimmer was talking with Bow, so she turned to Sea Hawk on her other side. 

“It’s been a minute,” Adora said. “How’ve you been doing?”

“Oh, it’s been wonderful lately!” Sea Hawk exclaimed. “Bow and Swifty have gotten sick of me mentioning my girlfriend, Mermista, who has the chance to try out for the Olympic swim team.”

“That’s amazing!” Adora responded, all her earlier worries melting away slowly. “You guys seem like a power couple.”

“Pretty soon, it’s gonna be them two…” He pointed his thumb at Bow and Glimmer, who were laughing at something. “But no worries. Bow’s too soft to be cool.”

“If he’s got Glimmer, I’m sure it’ll even out. If he can put up with her,” she joked. 

“I don’t know how you put up with Catra,” Sea Hawk laughed, throwing his head back. “Back in high school, she cut the-”

“The volleyball net!” Adora finished, smiling way too wide. “Yeah, she’s told me that one, among others. It evens out with my rebellious stage.” Then she realized what he had said. “Wait, do you think-”

“You guys are perfect together! Sea Hawk shouted, grabbing the attention of everyone who wasn’t Bow and Glimmer. “She always doubted me back in the day when I told her she’d find love one day.”

“It’s pretty hard to compete with high school sweethearts Mermista and Sea Hawk,” Catra piped in, much to Adora’s excitement. “But no, me and Adora aren’t together.”

She pretended not to notice Shadow Weaver watching them out of the corner of her eye. 

“Really?” Sea Hawk seemed genuinely surprised. “I’m sorry, I just thought-”

“You’re fine,” Catra reassured, but she wasn’t looking at her. “Everyone makes that mistake until we actually tell them we’re not dating.” 

Adora remembered the time they had to tell Adam, and it shattered him. “My brother took it pretty hard when he found out.”

Catra chuckled, then hid her smile behind her hand. “Yeah, he was devastated. He was so sure it was actually a thing.” 

“Yeah…” Her eyes lingered on Catra’s. “He was.” 

Adora was the first to look away this time. She glanced at Glimmer, who had started paying attention again, then down at her lap. She wrung her hands together, trying not to start hyperventilating in a room full of people.

Because she had realized how wrong she was. She was not ready for this friendship to end. It suddenly seemed too real how close everything was to falling apart; how much more would it take to finally break them? 

She didn’t want to find out. She definitely didn’t. She kept thinking that when the time came, she’d be okay. That it’d be a little painful in the beginning, but eventually she’ll figure out how to adjust the band with her and Catra not being friends. 

But it wasn’t what she wanted. It may be what Catra wanted, and not Adora. Everyone said it was Catra who had come to her last night at the restaurant, but there’s no way Adora had asked her to come. She must’ve gotten there on her own. 

That had to mean something. Right? 

Whatever it was, Adora knew she didn’t want this friendship to be over. She’d be willing to start over and do things again, but she couldn’t completely cut Catra off. 

Adora knew she wanted this to go beyond just friends; she’d always known. But the possibility of them being together was way out of the picture. Just the fact that she wasn't even supposed to catch feelings was enough to make her push that image out of her mind most of the time, but it was impossible right now. 

Glimmer and Bow were talking comfortably. They might have only met a week ago, but they had hit it off right away. One glance, and they were both smitten already. Sea Hawk was happily boasting about his girlfriend, and it was out of love and adoration. 

Adora wanted that. There was only one person she wanted that with, but Catra was already set on thinking something was going on between her and Glimmer. Not to mention her new secret crush on Scorpia, like Shadow Weaver had suggested. 

With her mind moving so fast, she was surprised she didn’t start throwing up again. 

She raised a hand to her mouth and bit her finger to stop herself from shouting something she shouldn't. Her vision blurred slightly, though she was sure that was just another one of her dizzy spells from whatever drug was in her system. 

“Alright!” Shadow Weaver shouted to grab everyone’s attention. “We’ve got a lot of important business to go over right now.”

“First things first, we’ve got bad news,” Entrapta announced to be met with a groan from Swift Wind. “It’ll be a huge problem and we’re all going to hate it.” When Shadow Weaver gave her a look, Entrapta shrugged. “What? No use sugarcoating it…”

Shadow Weaver thought for a moment before agreeing. “Yeah, you’re right.”

Entrapta smiled, but it was cut off by the bad news. “So, Tropicalia has been moved to next Saturday because the venue got confused and accidentally booked something on the day it was originally planned for. Instead of having the next six months to carefully plan, we’ve got a week.” 

The room bursts into complaints, but Adora kept hers to herself. 

A week? That’s how long it took normally to come up with a set list! According to Shadow Weaver, they were also supposed to be writing and producing a whole new song for this collab. They spent a week in itself to get the meeting together! There’s no way they were going to be able to get all this work done in a week .

“I know, guys. I understand,” Shadow Weaver said once the room quieted down. 

“We weren’t supposed to know until tomorrow afternoon, so we got pretty lucky,” Entrapta tried. “My brother in law told me about it all before the news gets out, so at least now we’ve got a little more time to prepare.” 

Adora shivered as Shadow Weaver continued, “The extra day is gonna help us, I promise.”

“They can’t just… change it. Can they?” Swift Wind asked. “They can’t. Right?” 

Entrapta shrugged. “I didn’t think they could either, and especially not this close in time, but…” 

“So we’ve got a week to get everything together,” Adora confirmed. “Okay, so how are we going to do this?” 

“First of all, we need to figure out what Bow and Glimmer are going to sing together,” Shadow Weaver started. “Something a little flirty, a little playful. We want to get people talking about this, so we need to go down the romantic route in terms of songs.” 

Bow avoided Glimmer’s eyes as she hid her blush. “Wait… So we’re going to pull a Catra and Adora?” 

Entrapta stifled a laugh, much to Adora’s displeasure.

It was a marketing tactic, and one that worked. Keeping the entire band single made them more desirable, and dangling her “relationship” with Catra in front of everyone had everyone watching their every move for hints of something there. It was the entire reason their contracts didn’t allow them to have relationships in the first place! 

Many people got caught up in the front they put up for publicity, so she tried not to take it too personal when Entrapta chuckled. They couldn’t trick everyone, and they probably didn’t look the most comfortable around each other right now. 

“No one can live up to their hype,” Entrapta joked. “But we’ll try and figure out how to fit you and Glimmer in there.” 

Adora breathed a sigh of relief, then realized how stupid it’d been to be worried in the first place. She was being ridiculous, overthinking too much, drawing conclusions together too quickly. She needed to take a moment to calm down. Stress was overtaking her from last night, and she had to seperate yesterday from today. If she wanted this week to go by smoothly, she’d have to. 

“I’m going to be working with Glimmer and Bow closely this week so we can figure out how we’re going to go about their song. Scorpia and Sea Hawk will team up with Entrapta for lyrics and music, and Swift Wind will help me figure out how to fit all this within our shared setlist along with blocking,” Shadow Weaver declared. 

Adora couldn’t help but notice her missing role in this. “So while you’re all doing that…”

“What about us?” Catra finished.

Shadow Weaver’s smile tightened, and something turned in Adora’s chest. “I have something… special for you guys.”

“Okay?” Catra’s eyes stayed forward, but Adora continued to look at her. 

“Well…” Entrapta’s hands fidgeted with a stack of papers in front of her. “We have our registration papers, but a big problem. If we mailed them out, they wouldn’t get there by Thursday, which is when the papers need to be in by. The Tropicalia company doesn’t want faxed or scanned stuff, and the papers need our signatures so we can’t email it. Our only option is to drop it off in person at the office.” 

“Okay…” Catra considered. “That doesn’t sound too hard.” 

It didn’t, which made her suspicious of Shadow Weaver’s apprehensive face. There was a catch to this seemingly simple task, especially compared to the others. Never mind that she was going to have to be with Catra on this one. Something was up, and she didn’t know if her nerves were acting up in anticipation or wariness. 

“The office is in New York.” 

And just like that, Adora’s heart dropped to the floor. 

“We’re sending you and Adora,” Shadow Weaver told them. “We’ll stay here, and you guys are gonna drop off the papers at the office. You’ll leave at noon on Tuesday and get there around four. You guys do you from there, but all we need is those papers to get dropped off. All I need you to do is make yourselves seen at least once. Go to a Burger King for all I care, but just do something to get noticed. Your flight back is on Wednesday at seven in the morning, so just make sure to get everything done by that time.”

Catra tensed at the mention of Burger King, but Adora wasn’t about to question that. Not when she had a million other things running around her head. 

“So… It’s just going to me and Catra?” Adora asked for confirmation. She had to be sure. She needed to be sure.

“Just you two,” Entrapta answered. 

Just them two. Alone in New York. Alone for the flight there and back. Alone and traveling and in a whole other state with no other people. She didn’t have Glimmer to go to if things went wrong, or Scorpia’s advice, or Adam to make her feel better. 

If this had been any other time, she might’ve been ecstatic to be alone in a new city with Catra. It just terrified her now. 

“We already have your hotel booked and everything. You guys just need to look pretty on Instagram and drop off the papers,” Shadow Weaver simplified. 

Catra glanced at her, and for that fraction of a second that they locked eyes, Adora swore a shock of lightning went in from her fingers to her heart. Something had brought her back to life, and after trying to convince herself that this was never happening, she was right back to square one: hoping for a chance. Her nerves were jumpy, she wanted to fix everything that second, and her pulse pounded in her neck. 

But then Catra’s gaze shifted, and Adora deflated. 

They went right back to square one: not even being able to look at each other.

“I think we can do that,” Catra nodded. 

Adora didn’t trust herself to open her mouth, so she settled for a smile. Glimmer and Scorpia were watching them closely, and Adora wondered which one of them might speak up and tell the two managers that sending them alone was a terrible idea. 

But they didn’t, and Entrapta clapped her hands. “Great! I just need Bow and Glimmer to stay behind with us for a couple extra minutes, but everyone else can go.”

Adora stood quickly; too quickly. Her legs staggered, and Glimmer stood up next to her to grab onto her arm. Shadow Weaver had caught the scene, but Adora couldn’t bring it in herself to care. She inhaled through her nose as Glimmer steadied her. 

She saw Catra roll her eyes, get out of her chair and exit the room without so much a goodbye. 

Glimmer had been more concerned in her ability to stand, but Adora shrugged her hand off her arm. She turned to Scorpia, asking the question as quietly as she could. Shadow Weaver couldn’t understand silent conversations, and the boys wouldn’t know what she’s screaming about in her head.

Do I give up and leave her, or do I go after her?

Scorpia nodded, and Adora said the quickest goodbyes of all time before running as best she could out of the control room. 

Her legs weren’t working properly, but she went as fast as she could. She peered out the lobby window and didn’t see Catra’s parked car anywhere. She cursed, her knees almost giving out when she stopped to rest against the wall. 

She turned around and saw the other door that led to the parking garage. It was a stretch, but one she was going to try. 

Adora gave herself one more second to rest before she ran back down the hallway and towards the door. 

She slammed it open when she reached it, and Catra was standing on the stairwell. Adora stepped into the staircase and let the door close behind her, and they were suddenly seeing each other properly for the first time in three days. Technically a week if they were counting the other fight. 

The logic left her, and everything she had been planning on saying went through her head and out into the air. She just knew she needed to run after her or go home and hide. 

She made her choice, and now she was actually going to do something about it.

“I’m going to ask this the nicest way I can,” she began, clearing her throat. “What is your problem with me?”

Catra leaned on the railing, looking away from her. “I don’t know.”

“Bullshit,” she rolled her eyes. 

“Adora, I gotta go-”

“No.”

Catra paused, and Adora was just as shocked. “No,” she repeated. “No, you’re going to listen to me this time.”

Catra pushed herself off the railing and stood in front of her. “Okay, what is it?”

She pretended she didn’t care about the stand-offishness. “Catra, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for leaving that night. I was in the wrong for that! I know! But please, just… I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have lied to you. Look, I just..” 

Her words caught in her throat. She knew what she wanted to say: she was really fucking sorry. She had never meant to let it get this far. She couldn’t name a time when they couldn’t even talk to each other. Adora was absolutely speechless, and it scared her to try admitting that this could be what it’s like from here on out.

Catra raised an eyebrow, so Adora tried again. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for leaving and for lying.”

There was silence again, and Adora was slowly losing her patience. “I’m sorry for leaving you!” 

“You made your choice,” Catra scowled. “Now live with it.” 

Adora stepped back as if she’d been hit. “What the hell does that mean?”

“You can’t sprinkle your happy Adora dust and expect everything to be okay!” Catra shouted. “What you did was a dick move, and I’m glad you accept that, but I’ve accepted some things too!”

“I’m trying, which is more than what you’re doing!” A hot ball of anger resonated in her body, and she had to lean against the wall so she didn’t fall over. 

She wanted to fix this. She wanted to move past this and figure out a middle ground. But trying over and over again was getting exhausting, and she didn’t know how much longer she could put up with it for. She’d given it a couple of days, and nothing had changed. Despite her thinking the answer earlier was to just… give up, she knows she doesn’t want that.

Yet, that path was the clearest in her mind.

“I don’t know what else to do,” Adora admitted. “I’ve apologized. I’ve said I’m sorry so many times now and it isn’t enough! What’s the problem!? I don’t understand!”

“Because you fucking left me, Adora!” 

Catra’s shout echoed off the walls of the empty staircase. Adora wanted to say something, but nothing came out of her. She opened and closed her mouth, trying to figure out what could possibly make this better. 

“Where were you this morning?” Adora asked. She could barely talk, her voice hardly louder than a whisper. “Everyone was there except for you.” 

Catra angrily crossed her arms. “You really think I wasn’t there?”

“Yes! I’m not a mind reader, Catra! I don’t remember shit from last night! The last memory I have is leaving my house. I have no idea when and how everything happened! Horde..” She hesitated, her eyesight blurry with tears she blinked away. “Horde Prime is the only one who knows what happened. You really think I’d know whether or not you were there at all?” 

Catra groaned, swiping furiously at her face. “I told Glimmer and Scorpia not to say anything, but I was there until five in the morning when Glimmer finally got to your house. I was awake and literally watching you the whole time, and I made Glimmer and Scorpia swear not to tell you! I was the one who showed up at the restaurant when Horde Prime had you! I was the one who had to see you like… like that, and… Fuck Adora! I’ve done this before on Sunday and you still left me for Glimmer two days later!”

Adora tucked her quivering lip into her mouth, wanting to show at least some dignity. “I’m sorry!” 

“That doesn’t fix this!” 

“Well, we need to figure it out! You’re one of my best friends… If Shadow Weaver’s sending us to New York to work out her paperwork, then we’re never going to survive out there if this is what’s happening every time we talk.”

Catra stared at her for a second before letting out one of the loudest laughs she’s ever heard. “There’s no way… You are so unbelievable…” 

“What now?” Adora demanded. 

“You’re just trying to make up with me because of Shadow Weaver!? Because you want us to get along when we’re out there?” 

It clicked immediately. “No! No, that’s not-” Catra started moving backwards, slowly going towards the door on the opposite end that led to the parking garage. “Catra!” 

Adora grabbed Catra’s arm, but she shook it off with a growl. “You’ve said your piece. Now leave me alone!She slammed the door open, the handle booming against the wall as they collided. 

“Catra… Please stay,” Adora tried once more. If Catra walked out that door, Adora knew it might be the end. She could taste bitterness on her tongue, a sting of betrayal at herself for her misworded reasoning. In a desperate attempt, she admitted, “I need you here…”

Catra shook her head. “No you don’t. You never have.” 

She let the door close behind her, and the pain in Adora’s chest was suddenly so much worse than it had been fifteen minutes ago. 

Chapter Text

When Adora lugged her suitcase off of Scorpia’s trunk, she did not mean to almost get hit by that car. 

Catra had her suitcase on top, grabbed it just fine, and offered no help in trying to help Adora. She huffed as Catra went around to the front of the car where she stood with Scorpia to grab her carry-on bag, leaving Adora to stand like an idiot in the middle of the airport parking lot. 

She hadn’t packed much, considering they were going to be gone for a little less than a day, but they were staying overnight. She was going to need at least two changes of clothes, pajamas, and toiletries. 

Her suitcase was still pretty heavy (or so she thought), so she grabbed the handle and pulled as hard as she could. But it turned out it was way lighter than she had initially believed, and she ended up toppling backwards. 

She hadn’t been watching her footing as she flew back, and she’d left her duffel bag on the floor. She tripped over it and fell to the ground with a yelp, her suitcase going in the complete opposite direction. 

“Adora!” 

She turned her head towards Catra, who was talking to her for the first time today. But just as she was about to celebrate that small victory, the headlights from a car were right in front of her. She didn’t have time to leap to her feet, but an arm had grabbed her wrist and was pulling her out of the way of incoming traffic.

“Adora!” Catra yelled again when the car had passed. “Be careful.” She turned back to Scorpia, who was on the phone with Shadow Weaver and updating her about their arrival at the airport. 

Adora caught her breath, shaking slightly as she bent down to grab the handle of her suitcase. Maybe if Catra had tried helping her instead of just walking away, the whole thing could’ve been avoided, but of course not. 

Because it’s Catra, and Catra wasn’t about to do anything logical. 

She grumbled as she flung her carry-on bag over her shoulder, extending her suitcase's handle to fit comfortably in her hand. She closed Scorpia’s trunk and walked over to the duo deep in conversation, stopping when Adora approached. 

Great. Probably just another conversation about how much Catra was dreading coming on this assigned trip with her. It’s not like Adora was exactly enthusiastic to be here either. 

While Bow and Glimmer got to work together and hash out details of their new song, Scorpia and Sea Hawk are going to produce the music and create something great. Swift Wind is going to get the chance to help make the set list and do the blocking. 

Catra and Adora have to drop off papers. 

As much as she hated to admit it, she saw her role in the band slowly diminishing. Shadow Weaver will never stop begging her to take over as the lead, but besides that, she didn’t really have a real significance. 

The whole point of a bass is to compliment other instruments. Usually when listening to a song, the bass isn’t audible unless the listener is trying to find it. As it is, it’s near impossible to hear without listening to a mix of a song without the bass.

Down tuning a guitar wouldn’t have anywhere near the same effect on the song, which is why Scorpia can’t play the bass and Adora wouldn’t go near a guitar. As a bassist, overshadowed by the drummer and guitarist and lead singer, her only job was to make sure everyone else sounded fine. 

A cloud of grey surrounded her, but she shook it off in hopes that it’ll be clear skies soon. “So, are we ready?” 

Scorpia, who was holding onto the plane tickets for safe keeping, handed them over. Adora turned hers in her hand, glancing at Catra’s to see that they were sitting next to each other in first class. 

She hadn’t expected differently, but it was still a little disheartening to see printed on paper. She patted her sweatshirt pocket to try and think of the other important booklet she had on her. They were traveling in the US and technically didn’t need a passport, but she brought it anyway. It made her feel a little more secure with it on her.

“Yeah, I think we’re good. Let’s get you checked in and I’ll leave you guys from there,” Scorpia said, locking her truck and double checking her trunk.  

“Okay, mom,” Catra rolled her eyes. 

Adora threw up a little in her mouth when Catra affectionately smiled. She didn’t remember the last time Catra seemed genuinely happy to see her. Not even just that: she didn’t know when the line between friends and near strangers had started to blur together. 

They walked carefully from the parking lot to the front of the airport. Catra pushed her away from the street, Adora stumbled over her feet as she was bumped all the way to the side. She opened her mouth to say something when Scorpia stepped in between them and said, “Hey, let’s make sure Adora doesn’t get hit by a car. Just… stay there.”

Adora wasn’t in favor, but she had a five hour flight coming up. She wanted to conserve her energy when she was stuck in a tiny cramped space with Catra and screaming children kicking her seat. 

Not much difference there, being honest… 

Her suitcase dragged on the pavement as they crossed the street from the parking structure to the actual airport, going through the glass sliding doors to the terminal for Delta. She didn’t necessarily like Delta, but it’s what Shadow Weaver had gotten them. 

“...Glimmer and Bow have been working day and night! I’m meeting up with Sea Hawk as soon as I get back home,” Scorpia laughed, bringing Adora back to the present as she stopped thinking about how much she hated Delta Airlines. 

“What?”

“Oh, Catra asked why I didn’t bring anyone with me. I was going to bring Glimmer, but Catra told me-”

“No! Okay, that’s enough!” Catra grabbed Scorpia’s arm as the three of them were going to get in line to check their bags in. “Adora, give me your bag. I’ll take it with Scorpia and we’ll get it checked in.”

Adora got airsick just thinking about giving Scorpia and Catra more time alone. “I can check my own bags in.”

“Give me your bag and ticket. I’ll check it in and get the boarding passes printed,” Catra pleaded, holding a hand out. 

“No.” Adora was perfectly capable of checking her own stuff in. She could get her own boarding pass. There was no point in making her friends work extra for her. 

“Don’t be difficult, Adora. Just give me the bag and ticket.” 

“Oh, I’m being difficult?” 

“Okay!” Scorpia intervened. “I’m not trying to start a scene in the middle of the airport so first of all, both of you need to put your sunglasses on. If the press finds out you two are here, then everything goes to shit.”

Adora looked away as she grabbed her sunglasses from her duffel bag and stuck them over her eyes. “Great,” Scorpia continued when Catra had put hers on. “Okay, I’ll go with Catra and get the bags checked in. Adora, you look like you need to cool off and Catra will kill someone if I’m not watching her.” 

It took everything in her not to throw her stupid luggage, but she hesitantly handed her ticket and suitcase over. Catra and Scorpia didn’t say anything to her as they walked through the empty queue and to the counter, where the attendant had greeted them. 

She watched them carefully. She never had a problem with their friendship up until now. Now, when it had a double meaning. The same way Catra never said anything negative about Glimmer, Adora struggled with accepting Catra moving on without her. 

Why didn’t Glimmer come as a middle man?

The two were back soon enough, but it was still forever to Adora as she stayed rooted to her spot. She brought her passport out, waiting with her hand out for the piece of paper that had caused all this. Scorpia waved her shiny new boarding pass, and Adora grabbed it quickly and tucked it, along with the ticket, into her passport.

“This is where I leave you guys,” Scorpia said as she gestured to security. “I should get going now.” 

She didn’t move, and Adora didn’t know if she wanted her to. Because as much as she’s been complaining about Scorpia’s involvement, once she left, it would be the road of no return. Adora would be alone with Catra, and there’d be no more third party to stop them from lashing out at each other.

“I’ll come back tomorrow when I pick you guys up then! Stay safe.” Scorpia gave them both a hug, and she waved goodbye as she went through the sliding doors and left. 

And Adora was alone with Catra for the first time since their argument on Sunday. 

“Security?” Adora offered, but Catra was already heading over there. She sighed and followed, doing an awkward jog to keep up. 

When they traveled for shows and gigs, it usually wasn’t by a commercial airline. She wasn’t clueless or anything when it came to regular airports, but she sometimes needed a little time to catch up. Just like now, as Catra started stripping her jacket and shoes when they were in front of the metal detectors. 

Adora stared at her blankly before remembering that they needed to go through actual security instead of just getting patted down. She took her laptop out of her carry-on before putting both items down on the conveyor belt. She reached down to untie her shoes and put them in the bin Catra had passed her. Their fingers touched, but Catra had retracted her hand as if it burned. 

Looking down at her socks, Adora exhaled before taking the contents out of her pocket and piling them in the bin. Her phone went in first, then her passport with her ticket and boarding pass. Her sunglasses were the very last thing she took off, and she kept her eyes trained on the floor to make sure no one got a glimpse of her.

The last thing they needed, as Scorpia said, was to make a scene. 

They passed through the metal detectors fine, and she grabbed her bin. She walked alongside Catra to the seating area for people getting through security. She put her sunglasses back on with one hand, using the other to balance the bin that was slowly weighing her down.

“Miss!” 

Catra and Adora turned around to face the TSA agent holding her duffel bag in his hand. “You left your carry-on.” 

She was already about to drop everything in her hand, but she managed to carefully balance the bin under her arm and went to grab her bag. “Thank you,” she smiled before walking back to where Catra sat with her shoes already tied and ready. 

Adora was about to ask her how she got dressed so quickly when Catra stood and took her bin back to the designated area. She shrunk a little in her seat, shaking her head at herself. It was stupid to assume they were going to get through a normal conversation.

She’d hastily tied her shoes and put her passport back in her pocket when Catra came back, pitch black sunglasses perched low on her nose. Adora unzipped her bag and tossed her phone in, standing to take her bin back to security. 

There was something discouraging about her and Catra moving back and forth. She left Catra standing where she was and stacked her bin on the others, careful not to make eye contact with anybody around her. If they recognized a famous rock star in the airport, it would make things a thousand times worse.

Catra was checking the boarding pass and pointed to the departure board. “C’mon, let’s go see what gate we’re going to.” 

Adora nodded and went along with her. The boarding pass read gate C3, but Catra was making it a point to double check. 

“It should be…” Catra tapped her finger against her chin. “...left. We’ve got twenty minutes to get to the gate.”

Shadow Weaver had wanted them to get to the airport as late as possible. It didn’t make sense at first, but then she told them she didn’t want them to be waiting at the gate for too long and risk being seen. If they wasted any time, they were going to miss their flight. 

Considering they spent a bit of extra time deciding about bag check, they had to speed walk alongside each other. They weaved through people, some calm and some sprinting to get to their next destination. Were any of them arguing with the person they were traveling with, or was this a problem only they found themselves in?

They found the packed gate furthest from security. Adora was about to complain about the lack of open seats when she heard the overhead announcement say, “Flight 108, Los Angeles to New York, boarding.” 

Guess they must’ve taken longer than she thought… She gripped the strap to her carry-on tightly and let Catra take the lead as they approached the counter. 

They waited in the line behind the other passengers and handed over their boarding passes to be scanned. The attendant flashed a smile, and in no time, they were being seated in their first class seats.

Adora put her bag in the overhead compartment and sat down in her assigned seat. Catra did everything after, plopping down in her seat with defeat as the flight attendants started the safety presentation. 

As soon as it was over, Catra put her headphones on and turned away from Adora. She pretended not to be bothered as she rubbed her eyes underneath her sunglasses. 

They’d be back in Los Angeles soon enough.

All she had to do was survive the next twenty four hours with Catra.

 


 

The plane ride wasn’t even the worst part.

At least when they were thousands of feet in the air, Catra could fall asleep and Adora could pretend she wasn’t being completely ignored. She watched The Greatest Showman as Catra slept soundly besides her. 

The movie was one she had seen seven times total in theatres when it came out. She’d gone with Glimmer four times, Scorpia twice, Adam once, and Catra all seven times.

She was tempted to wake Catra so they could watch with a dual headphone adapter. They admired the soundtrack in the movie, and she hated the fact that she was scared of tapping Catra on the shoulder to make her watch it.

So she didn’t. The plane landed after Adora watched that and Cast Away which, granted, maybe wasn’t the best thing to watch on an airplane. 

It didn’t take long to grab their bags from the baggage carousel. They immediately had to board the shuttle that’d take them to the hotel, and she knew she must’ve looked snobby to other people. Wearing sunglasses in the evening...

She looked out the window and saw the sun slowly setting over the New York skyline, the bright lights vastly different from the ones in Los Angeles. The cities had everything in common, yet they were so unalike. One roared with life at all times, the people always moving as they held a sense of respect for their city. The other was awake, alive and self aware, masking in a glory that was yet to come for them. 

The funny thing was she’s been here before for shows and whatnot. But this time, something was different.

She glanced at Catra next to her, who was tapping her foot to music on her headphones.

Something was definitely different. 

Her jetlag made all the lights blur together. She hadn’t fallen asleep on the plane, instead choosing to watch movies and eat shitty plane food, and she was having trouble keeping her head upright. It bobbed to the side a couple times. Her head slid down into Catra’s shoulder, and when she tensed, Adora sat up and moved herself closer to the window. She forgot she can’t do that anymore.

The bus ride was weird, and so was the plane and the drive to the airport with Scorpia. Everything about them was just so… awkward lately. Their argument on Sunday had left them in a worse place than ever.

Adora didn’t want this silence anymore. No matter how hard she tried in the time between Sunday and today, Catra’s absence was becoming something unbearable. She didn’t know how to appeal to Catra and get her to understand that maybe they weren’t beyond repair. 

But this went deeper than her leaving for Glimmer’s house. This involved two years of pent up feelings. Not just Adora’s, but Catra’s too. Catra had pretended to be her friend, and she needed to know why so she can figure out how to fix this. 

She sighed, resting her head against the window. The cool glass calmed her body, and she hadn’t even realized she’d fallen asleep until Catra hit her on the arm. 

“We’re here.” 

Adora nodded, covering her yawn with a hand. She straightened her sunglasses, shocked to see it was almost completely dark outside aside from the building lights. She grabbed her phone from her pocket, shocked to see it was already eight o’clock. 

“How long was the bus ride?” Adora asked as the people started to file out. 

“It was supposed to be an hour, but we got stuck in traffic so it took a little longer,” Catra replied, looking straight ahead.

Adora gripped the handle to her suitcase tighter, holding her carry-on closer and keeping her phone against her chest as they got off the bus. She noticed a text from Shadow Weaver, Glimmer, and Bow, but Scorpia had left her a voicemail. 

While she’s sure the voicemail was nothing but probably wishing for happy landings, she didn’t want to open it. Instead, she checked Bow’s text that he sent her on Twitter with safety tips if the plane were to crash. 

She laughed and moved onto Glimmer’s text as they walked into the hotel. Catra glanced at her phone and let go of her suitcase. “I’m gonna go check us in. I don’t want to interrupt you guys.”

“I was texting Bow right now actually, but whatever…” Adora corrected. It didn’t make her feel better to talk back, but she also wasn’t going to let Catra talk bad about Glimmer. At least she kept her thoughts about Scorpia to herself. She could say whatever she wanted to Adora, but she wasn’t going to let her involve other people. 

“Alright, my fucking bad then,” Catra said sarcastically as she walked to the front desk with her wallet. 

Adora took in a deep, deep breath. This was an issue between her and Catra. That was it. Scorpia should have never been involved, and neither should Glimmer. Catra made things up about Glimmer in her head in her attempt to direct her anger towards Adora, and Adora let this go on for too long when she didn’t try talking to Catra. 

She thought she was sparing her. That if Catra truly hated her, and if Adora gave her space, they’d slowly distance themselves. Because as much as she wanted Catra, she had tried putting Catra before herself and lie about what happened the night she left. 

Now she didn’t know how to get Glimmer and Scorpia out of a situation she put them in. She had even less clue how to try and make up with Catra again, and to top it off, having these feelings for Catra in itself is illegal. 

Shadow Weaver and her contract decided when they get to be affectionate, what they work on, and who they love. She tried, but she failed with that last one. 

“We’re on the seventh floor,” Catra said when she came back with two key cards. She didn’t say anything else as she handed one to Adora, grabbed her suitcase, and started heading towards the elevator. 

“Well then…” She rolled her suitcase and passed Catra, walking in front this time. She pressed the button before Catra could and pushed her sunglasses up her nose to hide her smirk when she saw Catra’s face change. 

They entered the elevator silently with a couple and their kids coming in at the last minute. One of the kids hit the button before she could, and she swore the little shit did it on purpose to mess up her plans. 

Luckily, the seventh floor was the first stop. Catra wheeled her suitcase out first, and Adora nearly flung her luggage out of the nearest window. Even walking was a fucking competition now. 

The hotel AC whistled in her ear, goosebumps riding up her arms despite her warm sweatshirt. Catra led them through the hallway, stopping in front of a door that looked like every other door. She swiped the key card through the lock and swung the door open, not even bothered when the knob slammed against the wall. 

Adora winced at the sound. The people sharing their wall will not appreciate that. She knew after years of staying in hotel rooms that the walls were paper thin, and the last thing they needed was someone making a noise complaint about them.

The room wasn’t anything special. Two twin beds took up most of the space with nothing but a night stand in between them. The hotel phone sat on the small stand, along with the TV guide and the remote. The lamp was off, their only source of light being the closed blinds with the city lights shining through.

Catra took her suitcase and backpack to the bed closest to the window, dropping both on the floor with little care. Adora closed the door behind her, turning on the lights and traveling deeper into the room, taking a little extra time to check everything out. 

The bathroom sat on her left. Extremely small, but it was nothing they couldn’t handle. 

“Remember that one time we missed our flight when we were going to Texas?” Adora blurted out as she recalled the smallest bathroom she’s ever seen in her travels. “So we had to take the connecting flight? We flew to Arizona and landed around midnight, but then the next plane out to Texas wasn’t until noon the next day. All five of us crammed into a single Motel 8 room. Do you remember that?”

She remembered that. Vividly. 

After missing the first flight and taking the second to Arizona extremely late at night, they were informed they couldn’t continue their connecting flight. Shadow Weaver booked the last room Motel 8 had, with two beds and a pullout. 

Shadow Weaver had taken the pullout, Glimmer and Scorpia took one bed, and Catra and Adora took the other. 

She chuckled a little as she continued looking at the bathroom. It had been exceedingly frustrating to share a bed with Catra then, and many other times after that. She might’ve been damn well in love with her, but that did not excuse her for taking the blanket every time the AC blasted a little too cold. 

It made her thankful that wasn’t the situation now. God knows she would’ve died if they had to share a bed again, or anytime soon really. 

She looked over to Catra, who sat on the edge of the bed and stared absentmindedly at the wall. Adora backtracked. She had forgotten, for that split second, that it was weird to just… talk. It wasn’t them anymore. 

But she was tired of pretending like this was normal too. 

“Okay.” Adora practically threw her belongings on the floor, only being slightly careful because she had her laptop in her duffel bag. “So… That flight was pretty long, huh?” 

Catra didn’t answer, so Adora tried again. “I know we’ve flown for longer before, and in worse conditions, and this isn’t the worst place in the world to fly to, but… Five hours is still pretty long, right?”

“I mean… Yeah?” Catra’s confusion was evidently laced in her voice. She was unaffected by Adora’s demeanor, not flinching when she threw her stuff or when she started talking. She reached into her backpack and pulled out a white binder, showcasing the various papers that were contained. “We’ve gotta drop this off. Let’s just get it over with now.”

Adora had nearly forgotten about that. She blinked slowly before grabbing her suitcase and duffel bag off of the floor, placing her luggage gently on the bed. Her hands ruffled the soft bed sheets, and a different image popped into her mind. 

That night at Catra’s when she had organized a cute surprise and Adora had disregarded all of it. She left to Glimmer’s, not bothering to come up with a halfway decent excuse. For being a terrible liar, she had no idea why she thought she could pull it off. 

She was so sure Catra had been forced by Shadow Weaver to apologize, but now she was having doubts. All it would’ve taken was a call saying sorry and they would’ve been fine. Why go through all that trouble?

Catra hated it when people told her what to do. The contract couldn’t even keep her in check sometimes, unlike Adora who followed it religiously. It seemed… odd to her now, to say the least. 

Why go through the mess if she truly hated her? 

Adora was suddenly hit by a wall of her own thoughts. No, the only possible reason behind Catra’s phone call with Scorpia that night had everything to do with disliking Adora. There was no way it was anything else. It couldn’t be. Right?

She knew the second she looked at Catra, her resolve would shatter. Catra had the binder tucked under her arm, sunglasses on and waiting for her by the door. She hadn’t even realized Catra had gotten up. She pushed her sunglasses up her face, hoping it’ll hide the revelations she’s trying to piece together. 

Her jetlag made it a little harder to keep up as they went back down the elevator and into the streets of New York. Catra was looking up the address of the office they needed to go to, pleasantly surprised when it was just down the street.  

“Looks like Shadow Weaver actually made our job easier,” Catra muttered under her breath. 

“Wow, that never happens,” Adora laughed. “You know, because usually she just dumps stuff on us and makes life way harder than it needs to be.”

Catra ignored her as they walked, and Adora had to look away to hide her blush. She was just being stupid at this point. No, if she really wanted to be friends again, it wasn’t going to happen through small talk. They needed to sit down and have a civilized conversation. 

That’s all it was going to take. Just one talk. One that they could get through without screaming at each other. From the lobby last Thursday to the stairwell on Sunday, they seemed to be getting progressively worse. 

She had no idea where to even begin, or even why. Catra was clearly not interested. Why should Adora be the one to try and single-handedly fix this? If Catra wasn’t trying to help, then why is it always Adora who’s expected to try and handle everything on her own?

Shadow Weaver came to her first, Scorpia wanted her to try talking first, and Glimmer never asked her why she left. 

But if Shadow Weaver came to Adora first every single time, then no one would’ve forced Catra to apologize. 

Adora pressed a hand to her forehead as they approached a glass building. Her eyes were heavy from her one hour of sleep, her legs sore and arms aching. She was not in the right mindset to start trying to guess everything.

“I’ll take this inside,” Catra said, putting her hand on the handle of the glass door. 

“I could come in with you,” Adora offered, but Catra was already inside. 

She watched from her place outside as Catra drew nearer to the front desk. She talked a bit with the lady there, took off her sunglasses at some point, and handed the binder over. The interaction as a whole wasn’t long, and she was practically skipping as she came out of the building. 

Her sunglasses were hanging off of her shirt. “Shadow Weaver said we’ve gotta make a public appearance. So… What do we do now?”

Adora took off her own sunglasses, wincing at the real world. Granted, the sun was already down and nothing was that bright, but she’s had the damn things on since they got to the airport back in Los Angeles. She’s been tired for the past couple hours, and trying to adjust to a whole new light increased her eye pain tenfold. 

“Shit…” She whispered, rubbing at her eyes. 

“Look, Shadow Weaver will probably kill us for this but…” Catra sighed. “Do you want to go back to the room? I mean, you don’t look so well.”

She tried not to clap because Catra was actually paying attention to her, but she shook her head. “I’ll be fine. I don’t really feel like pissing off more people.”

Adora clamped her mouth shut when Catra flinched, but the girl still responded with, “How much did you even sleep? Because you look like you’re about to drop.”

They started walking back in the direction of the hotel. She almost lied again and said she slept on the plane, but she actually thought about her words before she said them this time. “The one hour on the bus, but I swear I’m fine.”

Catra stared at her in disbelief, almost offended. “Are you serious? Okay, no. We’re going back to the room. There’s no way we’re staying out when you’re this tired.”

“I’m not trying to get in trouble. Seriously, I’m fine.”

“No, we’re going back to the room. We still don’t know if whatever Prime put in your drink makes you more tired than usual. It’ll be safer if we go to the room.”

Adora stopped walking for a moment to turn and look at Catra. Really look at her, looking at her lips pressed into a thin line and her slight head tilt. 

She pointed to the restaurant across the street. “There’s a McDonald's right there. Let’s just get something to drink and head back.”

Catra was obviously not happy with this, but neither of them were about to begin arguing in the middle of the sidewalk surrounded by people. They crossed through the crosswalk and entered the McDonald’s. 

A couple of people turned towards them, and she saw a young girl gape at them. As long as at least one person recognizes who they are, then there’d be no problem. Shadow Weaver would be happy, and that’s all that seemed to matter these days. 

Adora approached the counter, smiling at the cashier. “Just a small drink please.” 

She couldn’t tell if the cashier knew who she was, but she also didn’t think they were going to say something. Hey, aren’t you the famous girls from that rock band? That would not be a pleasant conversation. 

The cashier smiled back at them as Catra included, “I’ll take a small drink too.”

“That’ll be two dollars and nineteen cents,” the cashier replied. 

Adora reached into her sweatshirt pocket and was mortified to find only her phone. Catra noticed, taking out her wallet and handing the cashier a five dollar bill. She couldn’t believe herself, making Catra pay for her drink. 

But then again, they always paid for each other. More often than not, they lend money and share. Why was Adora so embarrassed this time? What the hell was up with her head?

The cashier handed Catra back her change and gave them two cups. She handed one to Adora, who took it carefully. She didn’t want to accidentally brush fingertips and make her entire face red.

She heard a phone camera shutter behind her as she filled her cup with ice. She’d been trained for the past two years to recognize when people were taking pictures of her. She also knew what was expected of her when there were pictures taken. 

With one hand gripping the cup as she let plain water flow into it, her other fell by her side. Catra exhaled shakily and reached her free hand down as well, their pinkies linking ever so slightly. Her touch was a ghost on Adora’s skin, her hand shaking as she heard another camera shutter go off. 

Once that one picture was taken, Catra’s hand flew back to her cup and continued filling her cup with water. No doubt it’d be popping up all over Twitter in a couple of hours, speculating what they were doing in New York alone. 

That's the only reason she was here anyways and not helping Glimmer and Bow. They needed some brownie points with the fans. Bow has expressed his interest in Glimmer’s high note, but that’s Adora’s high note and her voice. What happened if he wanted to include that in their song and she was halfway across the country because Shadow Weaver wants to market them? 

Her cup had overfilled, and the ice water spilled onto her hand. She pulled both the cup and her hand away when Catra handed her a straw. She accepted it, but saw the same girl from earlier frantically taking pictures of them.

“Thanks,” she whispered under her breath, taking off the wrapping and poking her straw through the hole. They walked out together and back into the night, but something wasn’t right. 

Catra had her fists clenched, her eyes set forward as she sucked on her straw. Adora followed her lips wrapped around the plastic, and something burst inside of her.

No.

They were going to fix this as soon as they got back to the room. Adora was never going to be able to keep up this… this act. She couldn’t pretend like Catra meant nothing to her when she was slowly dying every time they interacted at all.

A brush of the arm, a sigh in her direction, everything gave her hope. She couldn’t wishfully hope any longer. She was never going to survive being in this stupid band, traveling places and staying up for late night rehearsals, while they were like this. 

They walked back to the hotel in silence, going up to the elevator in silence with strangers, and getting out of the lift and heading back to their room in silence. 

Silence, silence, silence. All fucking silence and no resolutions.

She slammed the door closed behind her, and Catra braced herself. She knew this was coming just as much as her.

“Okay, right here, right now!” Adora shouted. “I am done putting up with all of this when I am trying my hardest to fix things here! So just tell me what your problem is!” 

“Can we not do this here?” Catra responded, walking to the opposite end of the room.

“Do you even hear yourself right now? ” 

“Adora, I mean it !” Catra held her cup in her hand, squeezing it with a death grip. “We can’t do this here.”

“Yes, we can!” Adora crept closer, standing at the foot of her bed. “I’m so sick and tired of this. I’ve tried to talk to you twice now, and you’ve managed to turn it into an argument every time. I understand the first time, but the second one was just plain stupid.”

“Oh, so this is my fault now?”

“That’s nowhere near what I said and you know it.”

“No, because do you want to know what I see?” Catra huffed, leaning against the wall. “The first time Horde Prime went after you, I was the one who had to take you home because you were collapsing in my arms. I took care of you all night, and we got into a stupid argument in the morning. Fuck- I don’t even remember what it was about. But it’s stupid, right? So I back off, and I realize it was fucked up of me to leave you alone when you needed someone. I apologize, and I plan this whole thing. Zelda? Pillows? I did everything to make it up to you. I was nervous that you would still be mad at me for the stupid fight, but you weren’t. So here I am, all excited for you to see what I have planned. You stay maybe fifteen minutes and then… you leave. You left me, Adora! What the fuck was that!?”

Yes! She knows she left! She knows what she did was wrong, and she’s admitted that time and time again. But none of it is enough. It’s never enough. “I’m sorry I left you, Catra, but I don’t know what else to do! I say sorry over and over again and you can’t forgive me!”

Catra laughed as if she couldn’t believe her. “You didn’t just leave. When I asked you what happened the next day, you lied to me! You told me some bullshit about feeling sick and I believed it like a fucking idiot. I find out, not from you, but from Glimmer that you had gone to her house after you were at mine. You left me for… for Glimmer!?”

“Stop bringing up Glimmer every single time we talk about this!” Adora slammed her cup into the nightstand, not caring as some water spilled. “This is between me and you! Glimmer has nothing to do with this-”

“Glimmer has everything to do with this!”

“No she fucking doesn’t! You drag her into this every time you need a scapegoat and it’s stupid. You’re being stupid, Catra! At least I know when someone’s directly involved. Because on the topic of Glimmer, you’re not innocent either! You know damn well Scorpia’s in on this too but because she’s never convenient to you, you never bring her up!”

“What the hell does that even mean!? Scorpia has no involvement whatsoever. She’s not the one who lied to me, she’s not the one who you left me for, and she’s not the one who’s trying to put the blame on other people! It’s actually incredible how stupid it is to try and get Scorpia involved in this.”

“Then what was that fucking phone call!?” Adora swiped at her eyes when the tears threatened to fall. She was not going to cry here. 

“The what? Whatever I have to say to Scorpia has nothing to do with your actions! This is about you leaving my house to go with Glimmer and then lying to me about it! Something happened, right? Because that’s the only reason you wouldn’t tell me. But I guess you can’t tell me anything anymore and resort to lying!”

She clamped her hands together to stop them from shaking. If Catra was unwilling to listen to what she had to say about Scorpia, she’d be just as difficult back. “You can be so stupid sometimes! Well, guess what Catra? I just didn’t feel like being at your house anymore!” 

Catra’s lower lip trembled, but she pretended not to see. “And why not? You were fine with Glimmer.” 

“Would you fucking stop it with Glimmer already? What’s your problem with her? Scorpia’s asked me about her too! She’s got nothing to do with this!” 

“My problem isn’t her! It’s you. It’s you, Adora!”

“That’s a fucking lie!” 

Catra’s cup was flying out of her hand and towards Adora. She barely had time to duck as it crashed into the wall behind her, the water and ice spilling onto the floor.

“Takes one to know one!"

“What the hell was that?” Her eyes stayed glued to the melting ice instead of at Catra. “You are the most petty, immature, stubborn person I think I have ever met!”

“At least I don’t leave my best friends when I’m hanging out with them! Petty and immature is better than being a liar! At least I’ve never ditched you when you were all excited to go hang out with Scorpia! Do you want to know why? Because I’m not an asshole, Adora!”

“You just threw a fucking cup at me!”

“You’re pissing me off! You’re making me mad, you’re being stupid, and you’re dodging my questions. What happened that night you left!? Why did you have to leave me for Glimmer!?”

“Nothing happened between me and Glimmer! I keep saying that! Scorpia’s asked me too and I know you sent her! Nothing happened that night, but Glimmer’s was the only place I could crash!”

“So… what? I’m just so unbearable that you didn’t want to hang out with me anymore? Because if that’s true then stop giving me this stupid hope! It’s nasty, and I need you to stop!” 

Adora took a second to process that. “What the fuck does that even mean?” 

“It means you’ve been messing with me this entire time and you don’t even care! You left because you didn’t want to be there anymore and instead of confronting me about it, you lie to me and make me think you were just sick! That wasn’t the case though, was it?”

“If you had listened to me earlier, then you would know that this does, in fact, involve Scorpia too. I heard you talking with her! I heard what you said!” 

Catra suddenly paled. Her mouth was wide open as she crossed her arms. “What did you hear?”

“Enough.” Adora stalked closer to Catra, her teeth clenched. She looked into Catra’s different colored eyes, remembering how hurt she was that night. What it was like to hear Catra talk about her to Scorpia because she couldn’t say it directly to her. “I know how you feel about me.”

She could hear the sound of Catra’s breath leaving her. She saw the other girl deflate, her eyes shining with tears that refused to fall. They stared at each other, breathless and red in the face, angry and hurt. 

Catra growled, stepping towards Adora. “So that’s it? You know and just… say nothing?”

She didn’t even know anymore. Everything was contradicting, nothing made sense. “What did you expect me to say?”

“I hate you…” Catra whispered. 

It’s what Adora’s known all along. It’s what she heard, and it’s how Catra feels. She’s been waiting to hear it for the past week. Over and over again, she’s been preparing herself for when Catra inevitably told her.

So why did she not believe that anymore?

“So fucking special that Shadow Weaver has to beg you to be the lead singer,” Catra breathed. “You mean everything to everyone and every single person we’ve ever met has adored you.”

But that wasn’t how Catra felt. “And you?” 

Catra didn’t talk, so Adora spoke up instead. “I’m not even joking Catra. I have never given up on anything in my entire life, not even you. I’m not going to start now. So tell me… Do you not want to be friends anymore? Do… Do you truly hate me?”

It’s what she should’ve been asking from the beginning. She could’ve avoided this entire mess if she hadn’t lied and tried talking it out. She was scared of the answer then, but even as Catra spoke, she wasn’t afraid anymore. It wasn’t hatred. She could tell now. 

“I hate you. I fucking hate you and everything about you. I hate how fucking perfect you are, how you manage to attract everyone around us, how much everyone else loves you. I hate how I act around you and how illegal it is for me to see you the way I do. How we’re in the band, underneath a microscope every time we go out into public just because we’re famous. I hate the fact that every time I look at you, I want to be with you.”

Adora drew in a shaky breath. “Tell me you want me out of your life then.”

Instead, Catra leaned up and kissed her.

Adora’s eyes shot wide open, but Catra’s hands found her face and cradled her head in her fingers. Her touch brought Adora back to reality, back to where Catra was kissing her and it was just them two alone in their own bubble. 

No cameras, no Shadow Weaver, and no bandmates that had any idea this was happening. 

Adora shut her eyes and kissed her back when she felt Catra beginning to pull away. She put one hand on Catra’s waist, the other coming up to her neck. Her lips burned where they connected, sighing a little bit into the kiss. 

Catra’s breath from her nose were hot on her cheek, but she wasn’t pulling away to breathe. She couldn’t imagine pulling away now, not when she was moving backwards towards the bed and taking Catra with her. 

She felt when Catra’s knees hit the mattress, and without pulling away from each other, Adora pushed her onto the white bed sheets and crawled into her lap. Her hand on the back on Catra’s neck guided her down steadily as Catra’s hand wrapped around her hair tie and let her golden curls tumble around her shoulders. 

Adora pressed harder into Catra, practically lying on top of her. Catra’s fingers ran through her hair, slightly tugging. The stimulation and sudden heat in between their bodies was enough for Adora to gasp into the kiss. When she heard Catra’s low purr, she knew she was a goner.

Their hands moved everywhere, trying to feel every part of each other before one of them came to their senses. But as her breathing became uneven and Catra was practically panting into her mouth, all judgement was losing and she only had one thing on her mind.

Electricity shot between them, but not just from arguing anymore. The energy in the air wasn’t from how angry they were, or how much they wanted to yell. It was from their bodies moving steadily against each other, how she could feel Catra’s pulse underneath her fingers as her heart drummed in her chest. The steady thumping under the pad of her index finger made her dizzy, lightheaded and wishing for something greater. 

Her thoughts could both heat and cool the room. It could burn a fire in the ground, her overwhelming passion for Catra , and just Catra filling her with the need for more. To go further, but she was also cooled down by that same want for more. The argument before replayed in her mind, reminding her of the ice melting on the floor and the way Catra said her name. She pictured the fight once, clearly singing it on her eyelids, and pushed it out of her mind to make room for Catra.

She no longer cared for the consequences. It didn’t matter to her anymore how many laws they were breaking, or how wrong this was. It didn’t matter to her anymore because this was what she wanted. It’s what she’s wanted for so long now, and now she had it underneath her and wasn’t planning on letting go anytime soon. Not right now, not later, not ever.

Her hands crept onto Catra’s waist, pinning her down as Catra moved from her hair to the exposed skin of her hips where her sweatshirt had ridden up. Her thumb traced circles, pressing harder into the kiss when Catra mewled into her lips. 

One of her hands left Catra’s waist up to her face, pushing her dark hair out of the way and grabbing her neck to pull her closer. Anything to be closer. Her self control was dwindling, especially when Catra used Adora’s hips as leverage to grind into her thigh. 

Her name was a mantra in her head. Catra, Catra, Catra. After weeks of pent up frustration, Adora gave her everything into the kiss. She poured her love that she couldn’t admit out loud, let her apologies spill out of her lips and onto Catra’s, her hurt and betrayal lying with the girl pinned underneath her. 

She couldn’t tell where her body ended and Catra’s started. Arms were traveling everywhere, curious fingers tracing shapes as their legs were tangled together. Her eyes were screwed shut, getting lost in the darkness of her vision as she simply felt Catra. Felt how her body reacted to her nails dragging across her waist, how she sighed so beautifully into the kiss, how they were about minutes away from losing all self control and throwing every rule out the seventh story window. 

The phone rang, and Catra pushed Adora by the shoulders and off the bed in surprise. 

Adora fell onto the floor in a heap, more shocked than anything. She sat up on her knees, watching as Catra scrambled to answer the hotel phone ringing on the nightstand. Her eyes drifted to the cup on the floor, but she brought her attention back to Catra as she spoke. 

“Yeah… Yeah, everything’s fine in here… Yes, we will keep it down. We’re sorry… Thank you, you too.” 

She wiped a bead of sweat off her forehead, looking up at Catra for an explanation. 

“Uh… noise complaint. Apparently our neighbors heard the shouting and called the front desk,” Catra explained, looking at the floor. 

Adora opened her mouth to talk, but she couldn’t. The only thing she wanted her mouth to do was kiss Catra again, but she was picking at a piece of lint on the pillow. 

They had kissed. They just kissed. Catra kissed Adora, and Adora kissed her back. 

Her hand drifted to her lips, and when Catra glanced at her from the corner, she moved from her mouth to her cheek. Her face was hot, her body ablaze, and her brain flaming. They moved so fast. In the calm of now, she had a chance to actually think. 

But when they were both thinking, they sat staring at each other in silence once again. 

“Uh…” Catra cleared her throat and grabbed her suitcase. “I’mma take a shower. Just need to… shower.. and stuff.”

“Good idea!” Adora said from the floor. “Showering is good for personal hygiene.” 

She tried not to shrink under Catra’s confused gaze, but she stayed on the floor until she heard the water running in the bathroom. Then she let herself exhale deeply, getting up from the hard carpet and to her bed. 

That had happened on Catra’s bed. Catra kissed her first. Catra initiated it, despite saying out loud that she hated Adora. Adora had been right to question her, and when she let it play out they ended up kissing.

She undid the sheets and changed into a pair of shorts and a random shirt, tucking herself into bed as she stared at the ceiling. It wasn’t even nine yet, and she hadn’t showered, but she was running off of one hour of sleep and the yelling had exhausted her. Her alarm had been pre set to five in the morning so they could get to the airport on time, but she hoped she slept through the alarm at this point. 

Catra had kissed her. Adora thought she had everything figured out, jumping to her conclusion of Catra hating her and something involving Scorpia, but she had it wrong. If Catra was willing to kiss her, then she’d been completely stupid about the way she’s gone about this.

They were shouting one second, ready to rip each other’s hair out when suddenly they were kissing. The heat of the moment, the emotions flying everywhere, voices raised and practically screaming. A week full of arguments had led up to the kiss. Catra kissed her.

She left, took her car, and wound up at Glimmer’s house. She lied about it all because Shadow Weaver had unknowingly tricked her into thinking Catra was involved with Scorpia, and in doing so, making Catra think she was having some secret rendezvous with Glimmer, despite the fact that Glimmer was getting it on with Bow.

But Catra had kissed her. Catra had kissed her. Adora knows whenever she thought about kissing Catra, it wasn’t platonic. The moment their lips meant, it meant one thing for Adora, and she wondered if it meant the same thing all around.

Did Catra have feelings for her too?

If she thought the first plane was bad, the one going back home was going to be so much worse.

Chapter Text

Adora promised herself a long time ago if Catra ever wanted to break the rules with her, she wouldn't back down.

Her old promise was the first thing on her mind when she woke up promptly at five in the morning. Being the light sleeper she is, the buzzing of her phone alarm was enough to shake her awake and immediately back into the memories of the previous night. 

Catra, stupid and stubborn Catra, had kissed her. 

Catra wasn’t even awake yet and Adora was already stumbling around the room to get everything packed and ready. She didn’t know if she should wake her. Their plane left at seven, but they had to get there at the latest they possibly could. The only good part about being famous was the fact that they didn’t have to sit in the airport for hours in silence. Instead, they could waste time in the hotel. 

Adora ran a hand through her hair. She’d forgotten to put it back into her ponytail after Catra tore her hair tie out. She looked around near Catra’s bed for it, but it wasn’t anywhere she could see. She grabbed her duffel bag and put her hair half up half down. She didn’t have her straightener, so her curls would have to do. 

She should be getting everything back into her suitcase and duffel bag, but instead she grabbed her phone and unlocked it. She checked Glimmer and Bow’s text yesterday. She’d completely forgotten that Scorpia sent her something too. She wasn’t about to seem like a jerk because she forgot to respond. 

For a second, Adora glanced back at Catra’s sleeping form. In another world, they were on vacation in Dublin or some other city in Ireland. They weren’t staying in a hotel room because of band business and they were free to do as they liked. They weren’t grounded by some legal piece of paper and they could kiss whenever they wanted to. 

She pulled at the ends of her hair and shook herself out of her wish. Kissing Catra was enough. She shouldn’t be longing for more. The kiss wasn’t even supposed to happen. It was illegal, they were raging high on emotions, and their fight wasn’t even resolved. All they ended up doing was complicating things even further. 

Adora knew she should open Scorpia’s voicemail. A part of her wanted to delete it and call Adam to explain everything that happened. She couldn’t tell Glimmer. Glimmer would tell her to take the leap and go after Catra immediately.   

She knows what she wants. She just didn’t know if it was possible.

Pondering over the decision for a moment longer, Adora steadied herself before going back to her voicemails and clicking on Scorpia’s. She lifted her phone to her ear in case Catra woke up. She didn’t want her hearing whatever this was. 

“Hey!” Scorpia’s eager voice rang. “First of all, happy landings. Second, Adora you need to know… I know Catra’s not going to say anything, but you need to know something. This might make me a snitch, but I’m not about to let you guys destroy your friendship. Catra’s fully prepared to let you go if that’s what you want. I guess I’m saying… Be careful and start talking about this. I talked to her a lot before you guys left and I know this might seem like I’m just throwing responsibility onto you, but I swear that’s not what I’m trying to say. Be careful, please. We all know how fragile she is and if she says the wrong thing, I also know how fragile you are. I don’t want her hurting you by accident either. I love you guys, and I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Well that would’ve been nice to know before Adora made out with Catra. 

A kiss is a kiss. There was nothing platonic about what had gone down last night. The first thing Scorpia told her was to be careful and because she wanted to ignore the outside world for as long as possible, she didn’t get that helpful piece of advice until the next fucking day.

There was always one thing Adora was sure of, and it was that Catra didn’t like her back. Her first crisis was trying to stay on the diligent path that Shadow Weaver mapped out. That definitely didn’t include kissing Catra. In fact, kissing Catra was the last thing Shadow Weaver wanted! 

Shadow Weaver wanted her to be this cookie cutter, flawless girl. Adora didn’t want to blindly follow orders and present herself as that ideal person; as that icon that people can look to when they want to see what perfect looks like. That wasn’t her. She was tearing her hair out of her scalp because she doesn’t even know how to handle her own feelings. 

Adora finally stood and started putting all her things away. Sorting everything out wasn’t going to happen easily. They had to calm down a little, hopefully be surrounded by others so Adora wouldn’t want to kiss Catra again, and talk everything out without being interrupted. 

It terrified her when Catra’s alarm went off fifteen minutes later.

An awake Catra meant facing Catra who also remembered what happened last night. Of course she remembered. It’d be more alarming if she didn’t. Adora briefly got a mental image of Catra with amnesia and nearly chucked herself out the window when she remembered Catra didn’t have amnesia and this was about to become very real. 

Adora braced herself as she fixed her bed. They stayed for one night and got a noise complaint. She might as well make the housekeeper’s job a little easier for all their troubles. She considered wiping down the bathroom and cleaning the window when Catra shut off her alarm and stretched her arms above her head. 

A loud yawn came from her, and Adora had to duck down and pretend to tie her shoes in order to keep from staring. All she saw when she looked at Catra was her lidded eyes and messy hair, so much like last night. 

How were they going to last on a five hour plane ride?

Adora stood, having untied and retied her shoes with the sole purpose of avoiding eye contact. When she turned to Catra, she was looking expectedly at Adora. So much for avoiding eye contact…

“Hey…” Adora waved. She realized how stupid she looked and put her hand down and gripped the handle of her suitcase. “I’m all packed already, so whenever you want to get up…” 

Catra’s tight lipped smile was hard to read. “I don’t have a lot. I just need to brush my teeth, maybe do my hair.”

The image of Catra’s messed up hair while she ran her fingers through it popped into her head, reminding her once again of last night’s events. Adora had to turn towards the wall to hide the heat rushing to her face. She really had to get her head in control and keep her thoughts to a minimum. 

Catra stood and left the bed undone, her black leggings and red sweatshirt standing out against her dark skin that was slightly flushed. Adora could see her colored cheeks in the morning sun, the small jut of her hip as she stayed in place, her tongue poking out of her mouth to lick her lips. 

Adora bowed her head as Catra moved to the bathroom to brush her teeth. Was she not going to change out of what she wore to bed? They’d seen each other change before. It was really nothing new, but now they had a whole new factor to consider: a fucking kiss. A part wondered how Catra was even able to wear that many layers and not feel incredibly warm. 

The few minutes Catra spent in the bathroom flew by like seconds. Her hair was up in a ponytail, swaying just below her shoulder. Adora got up from where she sat on the edge of her bed, watching as Catra started gathering her things into her suitcase. It reminded her of packing her bass in its case back when she was a tiny senior in high school. 

“You know I was a band kid back in high school?” Catra did know, but Adora asked anyway.”I played the double bass in our orchestra, which isn’t really anything like the bass I play now. It’s a lot bigger, for one… I also hated percussion. I still loved it when I played it though.” 

Catra stared at her for a moment as she put her shoes on, not looking down as she tied her laces. “I was a percussion kid.”

Adora knew this, of course. But she couldn’t help the small laugh that escaped her. One tiny giggle turned into a fit of laughter, and pretty soon she was leaning against the wall. Her breaths were short as she calmed down and she saw Catra doing the same thing. 

“Man, all that shit that happened yesterday and we’re talking about being fucking nerds in high school,” Catra shook her head, crouching down to tie her other shoe. 

Just like that, the brief period of clarity was overshadowed by the truth of last night. It was not just a kiss. A kiss was a wandering hand here, a couple of gasps there. Calling it a kiss was a massive understatement. It was an argument mixed in with their raging hormones that had their bodies moving before they could think it all through. They probably would’ve done more than kiss if it wasn’t for their hotel neighbors complaining about the noise they were making. 

She glanced at the empty cup on the floor, the ice long melted. There were a lot of things they still had to figure out. That wasn’t going to go away because of a little small talk. 

But first, Adora had to ask the question that had been plaguing her mind as she fell asleep. “What did you mean… You said a lot of stuff and I’m just wondering…” C’mon, spit it out. “What’d you mean when you said you wanted me?”

Catra stood, gripping her suitcase close to her body. “What did you mean when you said you knew how I felt?”

The thought of Catra actually liking her back, returning Adora’s feelings, always seemed foreign to her. It’s what made her act the way she did back at Glimmer’s house and why she was so quick to trick herself into thinking Catra hated her. As time went on and she realized how big the hole in her heart would be without Catra, she started making the effort to fix things. 

But then Horde Prime wormed his way into her life, and he just added onto the load. She was already going through the struggle of possibly losing her best friend, then he came and decided to fuck with her for absolutely no reason. Seriously, what did he want? He got his story the first time he spiked her drink. What was the point of doing it again?

Adora looked up to see Catra waiting for her answer. “Well, I thought I knew everything but that was before you kissed me.”

Catra flushed at her bluntness. “I thought I had you all figured out but that was before you kissed me back.”

They stared at each other, and Adora wanted to rush forward and kiss her again. Now that she knew how Catra felt against her, pinned beneath her, sighing into her mouth, she wanted to feel that again. She knows she should say that out loud, and it might even make things a little easier, but Catra started rolling her suitcase towards the door. 

“We’ve got to go. If we miss our plane, Shadow Weaver will hang us alive.”

“We can’t just… ignore this!” Adora protested, her feet planted in their spot. 

“I’m not!” She shouted, whirling around. She had one hand on the doorknob, the other clenched on her suitcase. “I just don’t want to talk right now. We’re sitting next to each other on a plane for five hours. I don’t think it’s best if we- Last time we talked, I’m pretty sure we almost slept together and the time before that, we were yelling at each other on a staircase. Should I be more straightforward, or do you see why I’m a little hesitant about this? Because, and I’m being completely honest here, I don’t think we can control ourselves, all things considered. So maybe this should wait?” 

Adora considered her point, realized it made complete sense, and nodded. “But as soon as we land…

“Yeah, whatever. I hear you, orchestra kid.”

She chuckled and rolled her eyes. Catra walked out the door first, and Adora followed right behind her. She glanced once more at the hotel room, tattooing the memories onto her eyelids, and started towards the elevator. 

Checking out wasn’t hard, and neither was getting a shuttle to take them to the airport. They put their sunglasses back on once they arrived at the terminal and were heading to baggage claim. Catra didn’t offer to go alone this time, and Adora was more than happy to go with her to the desks and check their bags in. 

Once they handed their suitcases over, Adora kept the duffel bag gripped tightly in her hand. She didn’t have to suggest walking over to security because Catra walked with her. She moved towards the metal detectors, stuffing her boarding pass into her passport. She kept her phone in her hand as they strolled alongside each other, their steps in sync as they stopped in front of the metal detectors.

Adora stripped her pink hoodie off, placing it in the bin that Catra handed to her. She took her laptop out of her duffel bag and put it on top of her hoodie, reaching down to slip her shoes off. Her old socks hit the cool airport floor, sending a bit of shock through her. Her phone was next, and the glasses were the last to go. She took those off with her head bowed low. When she glanced back up, she saw Catra waiting for her instead of moving ahead.

She should be thrilled. It should make her jump off the walls, make her ecstatic that they were (somewhat) taking a step forward.

Instead, she was suspicious. 

A kiss isn’t platonic. That kiss for sure wasn’t. But everything was still up in the air. Nothing had gotten solved, Adora managed to spit out the phone call she’d been holding in, Catra shone a light on her perspective, but there was still something that bothered her about it all. 

Catra said she couldn’t even look at her because she wanted to be with her. 

Adora needed to know for sure what that meant. She needed clarification. She needed Catra, outright, to tell her what she was talking about. Adora may be a little slow sometimes, but she could tell what something like that suggested. 

But she’s careful with her heart. After all the fighting and all the baggage coming in from the outside, the last thing she would be able to take was Catra telling her it meant something completely different. She was ready to hear the positive outcome, but she’d be destroyed if this ended negatively. 

And what happened if it was something else? Then what? Their feelings are out in the open. It was still illegal and impossible for them to pursue an actual relationship. As proven from the entire week, Adora is a terrible liar. They would never work in a secret relationship. Their friendship was perfect the way it was. Is it selfish to want more? Was she asking for too much if she asked Catra to break the rules with her?

They fucked up. Bad.

Adora moved through the metal detectors, grabbing her stuff at the end of the conveyor belt. That happy, giddy feeling was still inside her. She wanted nothing as much as she’s wanted Catra for these past two years, wishing from the sidelines that she wasn’t confined to a stupid contract. She was basically commiting a crime just by having feelings in the first place! She balanced her stuff in her hands as she went to the seating area. 

She put her shoes back on, tucking her laptop safely into her duffel bag and pocketing her phone. She shoved her sunglasses back onto her face, sitting so close to Catra. Their arms were touching, even as she stood to take her bin back to security. Once they were through that mess, Catra started to lead them towards their gate. 

“A6, that’s....” Catra pointed to the left. “This way.” 

They walked alongside each other. After exactly two minutes, Adora noticed someone staring at them too closely. Either she was paranoid or they’d just gotten spotted. Whatever it was, she dragged Catra by the arm and ducked into a random shop with overpriced neck pillows and magazines. Sunglasses were the best disguise they could come up with, but it wouldn’t stop anyone from recognizing them if they looked hard enough. She hasn’t been on Twitter all morning, but she imagined the picture of them at McDonald’s yesterday was already circulating. 

Stupid bird app.

Catra went ahead and bought herself two waters while they were waiting out. After a couple minutes, she handed one to Adora. She took it, already taking her wallet out to pay her back when Catra held a hand out. “It’s what friends do, right? Besides, I kind of wasted mine yesterday.”

Adora nodded, trying not to overthink what friends meant. She must’ve meant it in the moment and wasn’t even thinking about the kiss. Friends don’t kiss. Friends don’t kiss. They don’t-

When friends don’t mean it they do. 

Adora opened her water and chugged about half of it as they moved from the store. They went back into the direction of the gate, pleasantly surprised to find that there were hardly any people flying at seven in the morning. It made their job of staying inconspicuous a lot easier. Business men and women in suits littered the seats, and here came Catra and Adora who could ruin their morning if someone caught wind of them there. 

No one but business people ever flew at seven in the morning, so it was really no surprise when the overhead announcement went off for first class passengers to begin boarding and everyone crowded over. Adora’s sunglasses hung low on her nose, Catra pressed behind her as the man with a briefcase stood directly on her heels. 

Catra huffed, and Adora hid her laugh as she handed the boarding pass over to the woman at the desk. Once Catra’s boarding pass was scanned and ready, they were walking next to each other through the jetway. Their duffel bags swung as they boarded the plane and searched for their seats.

They found them easily enough, sitting directly across from a woman and her child. Adora couldn’t help but wonder if that child perhaps took that seat from a businessman that now had to fly coach. The thought made her chuckle as the flight attendants started the safety demonstration. 

Even after flying so much, she always made it a point to watch the women show everyone how to use a seatbelt. Being on the window seat, she had to lean a bit across Catra to watch the demonstration. Their knees knocked together, but neither pulled away. Pulling away seemed to be a problem they couldn’t figure out. 

Once it was done, Adora began scrolling through the small TV in front of her. She pulled her headphones out of her duffel bag, smiling when she saw the familiar movie she loved so much. The duel headphones adapter fell out of her bag and clattered onto the ground. She reached down to grab it, but Catra snatched it first and held it in her hands. 

Adora pointed to the object. “Duel headphones adapter.”

“Yes?” Catra shook her head, looking at her screen and seeing what she was going to watch. “You were going to watch The Greatest Showman?” 

“I watched it on the way over here, but-”

Catra plugged her headphones into the adapter and held it back out for Adora. “I haven’t watched the movie in about a month. It’s about time I rewatched it.”

Adora didn’t try to hide her smile as she plugged her headphones into the adapter and attached it to the small TV. “It has been a while, hasn’t it?”

It’s been much more than a while, but as the opening song to the movie played and the plane began to take off, she didn’t know if she should be terrified or excited for when they finally land. 

 


 

When the two of them walked out to the parking lot, Scorpia tackled them in a hug. 

“You guys are here and in one piece!” Scorpia celebrated. “Oh, I don’t think I could’ve handled it if you guys died in a plane crash without me.”

Catra untangled herself from the hug first, holding her suitcase close to her when Bow and Glimmer came out of Scorpia’s truck. 

“One night away from everyone. How was it?” Glimmer asked as Sea Hawk came out to open the trunk. 

To any other person, Glimmer might’ve been asking out of pure curiosity. Adora knew better. Glimmer wanted to know what happened when the two of them were left alone after a week of being pissed off at each other. Scorpia and Bow looked over as well, anxiously waiting for the answer. 

“Next time I’m going to babysit, I hope they pay me,” Catra joked, loading Adora’s suitcase onto the truck first. “This one is a nightmare sometimes.”

Scorpia’s eyes went wide at the comment, but Adora laughed it off. Had this been a day earlier, she would’ve responded with just as much bite. Scorpia knows this too. They argued over baggage claim with Scorpia there. She whipped her head towards Adora, waiting for a retaliation, but she didn’t have one that was mean. They weren’t trying to throw signs in each other's faces anymore.

“Why? Because I almost got ran over in the airport parking lot?”

“No, because you watched Cast Away on a plane.”

Adora paused as Catra put her own suitcase in the trunk. “I thought you were sleeping the entire time on the way there.”

Catra looked away. “I was.”

She slammed the trunk closed and walked to the front, claiming the passenger seat. Bow and Sea Hawk got back into the truck without much hesitation, but Glimmer and Scorpia stayed outside with her. 

“Well…” Glimmer clapped her hands together. “We will talk about this later but right now we are going to head to the studio. I don’t know how tired you guys are, but Scorpia and Sea Hawk finished the track and it sounds amazing. We wanted to show you guys.”

Adora opened the door to the truck, settling herself next to Bow as Sea Hawk prepped himself against the window. Glimmer got in after, squeezing the four of them into the three seater. Scorpia didn’t get in the driver’s seat right away, staring at Adora for a moment longer before getting in. 

“I haven’t slept for the past two days,” Bow admitted as they started driving, throwing his head back. “I’ve been pulling all nighters with Glimmer and we’ve been rushing to get this song done.”

“I barely slept yesterday too,” Catra added, keeping her gaze on the windshield. “This whole thing is a fucking mess.”

Adora rubbed at her earrings to make sure she heard that right. When she realized that wasn’t working, she barely caught the end of Sea Hawk’s sentence. “...and he got stuck!” 

“What?” Adora asked. 

“Did…. you not hear any of that?”

She pulled her sweatshirt down her wrists, staring at her chipped nail polish. She needed to ask Scorpia if she could redo them. “Being honest, no…”

Sea Hawk didn’t seem to mind repeating what he said. “Swift Wind’s still figuring out blocking with Entrapta and Shadow Weaver. We perform before you guys, then you’ll join us for Glimmer and Bow’s song, then we’ll leave and the stage is yours. He’s trying to make it so the two  transitions are smooth, so he got stuck working. He’s heard the song though, and he said he didn’t mind us showing you guys without him.”

“I can’t imagine how much fun he’s having with that,” Scorpia chuckled, stopping at a red light. “Entrapta seems like she’d be pretty cool to work with, but besides that, figuring out blocking sounds awful.”

“Entrapta got her husband involved too,” Bow snickered, to which Glimmer responded with a smile. “Hordak was over yesterday to help Swift Wind, except we didn’t know he was here and-”

Glimmer reached across Adora to hit Bow in the arm, an obvious grin on her face. “Long story short, I don’t think we’ll see him or Swift Wind until the day of the performance. We’ve got rehearsal tomorrow, by the way. Shadow Weaver wants to make sure everyone knows what to do so we don’t look stupid on Saturday.”

It amazed her that it was barely Wednesday. She was absolutely exhausted, having not slept much the previous night either. Most of it was spent either laying on her pillow daydreaming about kissing Catra again and weighing over her punishments because she kissed Catra. 

She glanced at everyone else in the car. They had no idea. Scorpia was eyeing Catra every time she stopped at a red light. Adora gave herself away when she didn’t respond aggressively to Catra’s “nightmare” comment. Glimmer probably noticed too, but she looked like she was trying her best not to say anything. Understandable, considering Catra blamed her for everything and made it known. 

By the time they got to the studio, Adora was fighting to keep her eyes open. The clock on Scorpia’s dashboard told her that it was barely nine in the morning. The different time zones had screwed with her, and getting out of the car was a considerable feat on its own. She could’ve stayed there, comfortable, but no. She had to listen to a track to a song she no longer had any interest playing. 

“Obviously, it’s not complete because we didn’t have you,” Glimmer explained as she led them through the building. “Sea Hawk down tuned his guitar to try and replicate the sound, but it’s not going to sound the same. Once we get your bass in, I know it’s going to sound way better.”

“Of course we need Adora to make the song sound good…” Catra said off-handedly, opening the door to the control room before anyone else could. 

Adora did stop in her tracks that time. Glimmer walked ahead with Bow, pausing with a hand on his arm to watch. Scorpia and Sea Hawk went ahead and started messing with the sound board, presumingly trying to make it look like they weren’t paying attention. Adora didn’t care who saw this time. She was just lost at this point. 

“What does that even mean?” Adora asked, leaning on the doorway. 

Catra kept her hand on the doorknob. “You just… The band really needs you, okay?”

It was most definitely not okay, but she let go of the door before she could be questioned. Adora barely had time to catch it before it slammed into her. Scorpia and Sea Hawk were watching them out of the corner of their eyes, their hands idle on the sound board. Glimmer squeezed Bow’s wrist, redirecting his attention to a pile of papers that lay on the table. 

Adora moved deeper into the room, closing the door gently behind her as Catra went to stand with Glimmer. That confused her more than anything else so far. Glimmer’s wide eyes and open mouth mirrored Adora’s expression, and even Scorpia stopped what she was doing for a second. 

But Adora still didn’t say anything back. She wanted to make a quip, and something in her told her to, but she stayed quiet. Fighting the flame with more flame wasn’t going to fix anything. When Catra started yelling and she responded, it ended with them kissing. It was probably best if they didn’t do anything that’d get their emotions running high when in the room with other people. 

Scorpia slid the volume key up on the sound board. Sea Hawk tapped the sound board lightly with his hand, smiling at everyone to get the mood back up. “Alright! Well, Catra, Adora, if you would sit here and listen to what we’ve concocted.” 

“We’re not recording vocals yet until after Saturday,” Bow said as everyone sat down at the table. “We’ve got the instrumental done for you guys to hear what the finished product is supposed to look like. We’re putting it all together tomorrow.” 

“You guys did this for us?” Catra questioned. 

“Well, yeah.” Sea Hawk acted like they were being weird. “Entrapta always makes life easier on us and goes the extra mile. It’ll make rehearsal run a thousand times smoother and it gives you guys a better idea of what we worked on.”

That sounded absolutely foreign because Shadow Weaver never made anything simple. She would’ve emailed a PDF of the sheet music to them and make them learn their part two hours before putting it all together. If it didn’t sound right, then they would’ve stayed in the studio overtime to get things done, and it all would’ve been because Shadow Weaver didn’t help them through things the first time. 

It brought her back to Bow’s point about telling Entrapta about Horde Prime. She had a personal connection to him. Adora could tell her about what happened both at the party and at dinner without having to worry about any legal issues against her. Shadow Weaver would tear her apart if she found out. Entrapta would help her fix the mess she had.

“I know. I was shocked too,” Glimmer laughed, leaning her head on Bow’s shoulder. “Here, can you pass me the sheet music…”

Adora was honestly surprised with how open the two of them were about their “relationship”, if that’s what it could even be called. Dating was still going to be illegal for them, and seeing how much they wanted to always be touching each other’s arms or sitting with one another, it’d be hard for them to keep it under wraps. 

Glimmer wasn’t holding back though. She wanted to be in Bow’s company, and he was just as eager to be in hers. She probably had to break down the contract to him, but it seems he didn’t even care. His hand rested on the back of her seat, and even if they looked a little funny because Glimmer had to stretch across the chair a bit due to her height, they were just so comfortable. Maybe she had the gall to ask him to break the rules and he liked her enough to agree, even if it hadn’t been too long ago since they’d met. He stayed, even after knowing her limitations. 

She glanced over to Catra, who was waiting for Scorpia to press play. 

She picked at the table, tucking the memory of the kiss into the very back of her head to pay attention to what was in front of her right now. The band was the most important thing in her life right now. It was accessible. She had to wait until she had seven hours of sleep. Apparently jet lag and anger wasn’t a good mix, and she wasn’t about to stir up the pot. Again.

Glimmer slid the sheet music over to Catra. “Scorpia and Sea Hawk wrote it, so be careful with it. They’ll kill you if you so much as wrinkle the edge or a corner.”

“Yes, I will personally set your car on fire if you mess up my papers. Myself and Scorpia present: the track!” Sea Hawk clapped as Scorpia pressed played on the instrumental. 

It opened with two steady guitars overlapping each other. A drum played afterwards, likely coming from Swift Wind. There was a low hum in the back of the track, and Adora recognized it as Sea Hawk downtuning his guitar to try and match the pitch of her bass. The thumping of the drums continued, the two guitars complimenting each other perfectly as it continued through the song. The bass replication wasn’t flattering, and it was definitely funky when compared to the real thing, but it was an attempt. She could appreciate that. 

She tapped her foot to the beat. She could imagine the parts where Bow and Glimmer’s voices would pay homage to each other. As the chorus dropped and the drums amplified their volume, Glimmer hummed along and mouthed some lyrics off to Bow. He snatched the sheet music halfway through the song from Catra and handed them over to her to Adora.  

She could try and guess what notes were playing from ear, but following along with the sheet music made it easier. Never mind her being distracted by Glimmer’s newfound happiness. She redirected her attention to the instruments, getting lost in the sound of thundering drums and synchronized guitars. The only thing missing is her bass. 

As the track came to an end on a final thump of Swift Wind’s drum, Scorpia and Sea Hawk turned to them with a giant smile on their face. “So?”

Adora clapped, the effort put into creating this masterpiece in twenty four hours unbelievable to her. “That was absolutely amazing! How’d you guys get it done so fast?”

Scorpia slammed a hand onto the sound board. “We have not slept in a very long time but that’s okay!” 

“They really screwed us over with this rescheduling thing, didn’t they?” Catra scoffed, kicking a foot onto the table. “We did all this in a day or two. Imagine what we could’ve done within a couple months?”

“We’ve been writing this song since Sunday night,” Glimmer reminded. “We got dragged away from our work yesterday to help with instruments, but we were at a good spot writing wise anyways.” 

“Yeah, and-” Scorpia lifted her hand from the board. One of the keys had stuck to her palm, and it broke off from the board. When she realized she’d broken the key, she winced. “Oh, shit…” 

Sea Hawk yelped and slapped a hand over his mouth. “Do you guys have any extras laying around anywhere?” 

“Yeah, I know where they’ll be. Come with?” Scorpia started towards the door, Sea Hawk close behind her as she left without another word. 

“Damn, that sucks…” Bow grimaced. “One time, Sea Hawk did shots off of our sound board and Entrapta lost it when she saw.”

Glimmer was about to add something when her phone rang. She pulled it out of her jeans and stared at the ringing screen for a moment. “My mom’s calling me. Bow, can you come with me real quick? She’s probably heard some rumor about us and wants me to confirm it.”

Bow walked alongside her with no hesitation, but Adora swore the name on the screen was not Angella’s. 

They didn’t bid them any goodbye as the door slammed closed behind them. Adora was about to crack a joke about them leaving to go make out when she realized she was alone with Catra. 

Oh. Oh. 

“Did Scorpia really just break the sound board just so she can get us alone?” Catra wryly laughed, taking her shoes off the table. “I’m sure there’s easier ways to get that done.”

“At this point I’m not so sure,” Adora commented, trying not to sound bitter. “What’s up? Why are you acting weird?”

“Adora, not here-”

“Yes here!” Adora turned in her chair so she was facing Catra, dropping the sheet music to the floor with little care. Scorpia might've had a heart attack if she’d seen that, but good thing she didn’t. “You’re being weird and I’m not going to wait until later to find out why. I’m not about to start overthinking everything just because you can’t talk to me.”

“Look…” Catra sighed, looking up to avoid her eyes. “I’m sorry, okay?”

Adora opened her mouth and closed it before responding with, “Huh?”

“I didn’t mean to kiss you.”

In seconds, Adora felt everything around her shatter. The hope she’d been building up, the promises she was making herself, even the small daydreams she’d already been having. They all fell apart as her world rocked, the doubts crawling back into her throat as every uncertainty she had came to life in front of her. That was the last thing she thought she was going to hear. It wasn’t what she wanted, and she had to grip her chair to make sure she didn’t fall out of it. 

“What do you mean?” Adora asked for confirmation. There’s no way that’s what Catra meant. It couldn’t be. 

“We were running high on our temper and built up frustration from the week. I was angry and upset, we were both tired, and I smashed my face into yours. I didn’t mean to. I shouldn’t have let my emotions take over like that. I know how you feel about the rules, and I think I know how you feel about me. I don’t want to make this harder on you. So, I’m sorry for kissing you. I probably shouldn’t have.”

Adora had to catch her breath before she spoke, the wind knocked from her chest. “First of all, you do not know how I feel. If you think I regret any of it or that the contract is what’s holding me back then you are wrong. You are so fucking wrong, Catra.”

“You don’t make this easy!” Catra stood from the chair, nearly flinging it backwards. “You said you knew how I felt about you. If you did, then why didn’t you say anything?”

“Because I did the same thing you’re doing right now!” Adora retaliated, knocking her chair over. She didn’t care about the sound it made when it collided with the ground that the others could probably hear. “I thought I knew how you felt and I never bothered to ask you!”

“And what did you think?” Catra asked calmly. 

“I thought you hated me and that you were in love with Scorpia.”

The words stung her tongue. Catra’s eyebrows furrowed. “Wait… what?”

“Ignoring the fact that you literally said you hated me last night, do you remember what I said about Scorpia’s phone call?” Catra nodded, so Adora continued. “I heard you telling her something about not wanting to make things weird because we just made up. And then I heard you telling Scorpia that I didn’t care about our friendship and all this other stuff after you found out about me lying. I assumed that meant you hated me. Then Shadow Weaver said this stuff about Scorpia and it was just a mess.”

“Look, I have never even looked at Scorpia in that way. From what she’s told me, she recently reconnected with a childhood friend back home. Her name’s Perfuma or something like that and they’ve been talking a lot recently. Whatever it is, Scorpia’s never even been an option for me and I’m just… You thought I hated you?”

“Yes. You ignored me for a really long time and blew me off every time I tried to apologize. Not to mention you said you did.”

“I was emotional! I said a lot of things I didn’t mean last night.”

“Does that include kissing me?”

Catra hesitated. “I don’t regret it. Not by a long shot, and I don’t think I ever will. But Adora… You mean something to me. I don’t want that getting messed up because of something like this.”

Adora had been terrified of what this would mean for their friendship too. She wanted this more than anything of course, but it didn’t stop her from putting a limit on her feelings. She had her responsibilities, and if things went wrong, it wouldn’t be good. Their dynamic would be off, and it wouldn’t take long for Shadow Weaver and the public to realize. Then they’d have to explain to Shadow Weaver that they directly violated their contract, and everything would be over. 

She didn’t want things to be over. Not before it ever really started. 

“I think it was already messed up,” Adora said. 

“We’re best friends! We were talking perfectly on the plane back here when there was a mess we could put off. We were perfectly fine watching The Greatest Showman, we were fine playing Animal Crossing before all this started whenever we wanted to and doing whatever we wanted with each other. There’s rules for a reason, and I know you won’t break them for me. It’s easier when there’s no kiss to deal with.”

“Yeah, well, there is.”

Catra groaned. “Adora! You aren’t making this easy!”

“I don’t get what you want me to do!” Adora replied, throwing her hands up in defense. “You tell me you want me, you kiss me, we almost… you know… And now you’re saying you want to just be friends?”

“I don’t, but I know you do! I’m trying to make this simple for the both of us.”

“Catra, you can’t decide these things on your own! I did the same exact thing and look where it got us!”

“But that’s because you didn’t talk to me first. Look! We’re talking now, right? I absolutely don’t regret anything, and maybe you don’t either, but I don’t want this to be an issue where you do in the future. I don’t want you to hate me because I let this happen.”

“That’s not me! I think you’re talking about yourself here.”

Catra flinched, and Adora’s heart shriveled. Catra could persist and persist when she wanted to, and she would go out of her way to make sure she was heard. But she kept pushing it onto Adora to the point where she was able to find a crack in her resolve. She hit a nerve, and judging by Catra’s crossed arms and glossy eyes, it was a big one. 

She wished she’d noticed it sooner. Catra actively made Adora see how frustrated she was, made a thousand little side comments to get on her nerves, tried not to make it known that she was worried about Adora. She’d been blinded by her own denial and guilt of having these feelings in the first place that she hadn’t taken the time to pause and lay everything out in front of her. She didn’t like seeing Catra like this. If she hadn’t left that night, or even if she reached out, they wouldn’t be stuck together in a tiny room that was getting smaller by the minute.  

“I could never think of a scenario where I hate you,” Adora tried, her hand ghosting on Catra’s arm. “I only left that night because I made all these assumptions and I was scared of talking to you. We kept that going for too long and it got us nowhere. Maybe screaming at each other was the best thing for us?"

“I can’t imagine that’s a good thing…” Catra mumbled, her eyes trained on her shoes. 

“It probably isn’t, but I’m an idiot and you’re difficult. But see, that’s what I mean! If I had confronted you way earlier about this, we wouldn’t have reached that point. It would’ve gotten settled that same night and we might’ve been able to enjoy ourselves yesterday.”

Not that Adora didn’t enjoy what had gone down, but she could’ve gone without the yelling. She was beyond annoyed at the airport, pissed off at all the snarky remarks and side glances. She thought about what their experience might’ve been like if they were alone in that big city for a night, completely unsupervised and having all that time for themselves. 

Or maybe having no supervision was what went wrong. 

Catra glanced up at her and rolled her eyes. “C'mon, don’t look at me like that. I know you'd never give up the band for me. You're Adora! You don't break rules.”

“I want you here! Why don’t you get that?” 

“Because no one’s ever wanted me!” 

Adora drew in a shaky breath as Catra wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. “Do you want to know why I’m still here? Shadow Weaver likes the publicity I bring. What we bring. If you’re not here, then I’m not here. I wouldn’t care if I’m kicked out or whatever, but I can’t take you down with me. They can’t even make a song without you! You’d hate me if I get you mixed in with me.”

Adora’s fingers found Catra’s jaw, lifting her head to look at her. “What if I didn’t care either?”

Catra swallowed. “We have this collab coming up. They’re probably all outside listening to this. We can’t… Not when we have something important coming up. We should wait until after.”

“Just tell me one thing. Please.”

“Anything.”

“Did the kiss mean something to you?” Adora whispered. She bit her tongue in anticipation. She hated confrontation. She hates it more than anything because it meant coming to terms with the truth. But she set her fear aside this time, the thought of not getting this answer far more scary. 

“Yes.”

That was all Adora needed to lean down and press her lips to Catra’s. Catra didn’t take any time responding, kissing her back when Adora’s arms wrapped around Catra’s neck to keep her close. 

She didn’t know what Shadow Weaver had told Catra that made her think Adora returning her feelings would end their friendship, but she made sure to pour every ounce of love and assurance she had into her lips in hopes that Catra would understand that Adora wanted this too. Even if Adora had never been more terrified in her life about anything, she was sure about one constant. 

Kissing Catra was something she wanted to do way more often. 

Adora gave her everything into this. Her arms were wrapped around Catra, Catra’s hands on her wrists to gently hold them in place. Catra didn’t pull them away, but Adora didn’t think she would. She was content and perfect the way they were, her eyes screwed shut with the only feeling being Catra’s lips on hers. 

They weren’t moving with the fast pace they were last night. They weren’t seconds away from ripping each other’s clothes off and doing something that would’ve fucked them over even more. Catra’s soft sighs sounded through the room as their unspoken words flowed between their bodies. She meant every word of what she said last night, and she hoped Catra did too. 

She wanted to wait. She wanted to wait until after Saturday was over to try this again. Adora was okay with that. As long as Catra was willing to talk to her about these things, she was okay with it. 

Adora was the first to pull away, catching her breath as she pressed her forehead to Catra’s. She tugged her close with her shaking arms, hugging her as tight as could. Adora kept her eyes closed and savored what it was like to have Catra in her arms. The delicate touch of their foreheads didn’t waver, even as her fingers dug a little into Catra’s neck. 

“What the fuck are we doing?” Catra asked, a little breathless. 

Right when Adora was about to answer, the doorknob was starting to jiggle open. Adora had to pull enough of her senses together to step away from Catra. That was just about the last thing she wanted, and she already craved to have her near again. 

Glimmer and Bow came barreling back in first, pausing in the doorway. Scorpia came in afterwards with Sea Hawk, holding a bag of extra keys for the soundboard. All of their faces dropped when they saw the papers and chairs scattered around the room, standing in silence at the scene they came back into.

Scorpia saw her sheet music on the floor and sighed. “I hate gay people.” 

Chapter Text

Adora held her bass in one hand carefully, turning the tuning knobs right where they needed to be.

She sat alone and off to the side, away from Scorpia’s guitar and Glimmer’s vocal warmups and definitely Catra. She didn’t think she’d be able to control herself if they were alone together for more than five minutes. 

At rehearsal, she was going insane. She had to keep her thoughts to herself, pretending as if Catra wasn’t fueling her imagination every time she brushed her arm or tapped her shoulder. As if she was perfectly fine working so close to her friend that she’d been fantasizing about for as long as she’s known her.

Now, when they were finally performing their collab for the first time, she knew it was in her best interest not to kiss Catra in front of thousands of people. It doesn’t help that every night for the past three days, she’s had the same dream. 

The two of them would be lying in Adora’s bed. Catra had her head tucked into her chest and they weren’t even talking. They were simply enjoying each other’s company, no fear of any contracts or miscommunications. They’d finally gotten everything out into the open and they weren’t scared of being together. 

Catra would lift her head, and Adora would marvel at her for as long as she wanted to. She’d think of her bass and know that nothing she could ever play would be as beautiful as Catra. No amount of songs she sang would be able to capture the light and vibrancy this girl had in her life. It would be impossible to even try, so she didn’t. They would stare at each other in silence with goofy smiles and hold hands.

Adora would lean in to kiss Catra, caressing her cheekbone with a gentle thumb and pouring all her love into the touch, only to wake up just as their lips ghosted over each other. And every night, she shifted in her bed and screamed into her pillow. 

It ended abruptly, and Catra faded away.  

From where she sat backstage, she glanced over at her. She could remember what the other kisses felt like and try to think of those in the moments when she missed Catra, but it would never be the same.  

Somehow, Catra had something about her that was impossible to replicate in her thoughts. Nothing she could concoct in her mind could ever compare to the real thing. Catra managed to ruin every fantasy and daydream she used to have. Her head was flooded with wishes of kissing her again. They weren’t going away.

Distrust and miscommunication had gotten them into their lowest point. After tonight, they’d be moving forward.

The backstage area was an open field where the bands in the queue would wait until it was their time to perform. They were the only two bands at the moment, which called for much more privacy. She sat on top of one of the speakers, away from the others to tune her bass in peace. If she was focused on Catra the whole time, she would never get anything done.

But then they made eye contact from across the field. The entire world around them paused, Adora drawn into Catra’s gaze that melted her heart into a puddle of mush. They get to decide what they want. She’s been given a choice, and she’s already made up her mind. Shadow Weaver and her rules weren’t holding her back anymore. If she wasn’t alone in wanting Catra to be her girlfriend then she wasn’t backing down from this. 

Catra was dragged away by Swift Wind before a silent conversation could break out. Adora touched a finger to her lips for a moment, wiping the sweat from her brow as she found sudden motivation in her task again. 

Once this was all over, they were going to sort everything out. She needed to power through this performance and she’d be okay. 

That was going to be harder than she wanted. Just thinking about the performance made her turn her tuning knob too hard. She’d forgotten that Shadow Weaver’s set list included Bad Romance. Only by chance would her hardest song come on the hardest night of her life. It wasn’t even a hard song to perform! She and Glimmer had the lip syncing down to perfection, but it didn’t stop Adora from cowering whenever her voice got projected into the crowd. 

When she emailed her audio to Shadow Weaver yesterday, it ended up taking an hour to fully send. She always deletes her audios permanently off her iCloud once they’ve been used, but one of her old ones had restored by itself last night after permanent deletion. It freaked her out, even more so when her email wasn’t sending and Shadow Weaver was having trouble downloading her newest audio. 

Everything about performing Bad Romance made her want to cut the strings to her bass and strangle herself, but she wasn’t about to do all that for dramatic effect. Maybe it’ll turn Shadow Weaver into less of an asshole though… 

Bow was doing his vocal warmups with Glimmer, moving a little quicker seeing as him and the boys were the next to go up to perform. Sea Hawk had been frantically running around, checking to make sure everyone knew their part for the collab song when the time finally came. She’d caught wind of Entrapta with her husband earlier, but they were nowhere to be found anymore. 

Come to think of it, she hadn’t seen much of Shadow Weaver either. In between thinking about Catra and trying to get her bass tuned, she hadn’t realized all of the responsible adults had disappeared. From the looks of things, no one else had noticed either. 

Shadow Weaver would leave without telling anyone, but Entrapta? This was a huge deal for them, and things were bound to go wrong considering the amount of time they had for preparation. Would they both really just… disappear?

She was about to stand to look for them when she felt something hit her over the top of her head. 

First believing it to be a random photographer who somehow made their way backstage, she stood quickly and started backing away. But when she saw it was just Catra, she managed to catch her breath and calm down. 

When it fully occurred to her that it was Catra, her breathing picked up again.

“You okay there, Adora?” Catra asked. “I didn’t think hitting you with a drumstick was going to be that bad-”

“No, no. You’re fine,” Adora assured. “I wasn’t paying attention. Did you notice that Shadow Weaver and Entrapta are gone?”

Catra chuckled, tugging Adora by the arm towards the others. “I did notice them go AWOL. That’s why I came to get you to take a goddamn break.”

Adora tried not to think about how her ideal break would be away from the band completely and alone with Catra in some deserted place only they knew about. “I mean, I’m not done tuning my bass and I still have to warm up my voice.”

“So? The band playing still has two songs left, and then it’s the boys, and then we start getting on stage. You still have a good while to get all that done.”

“But Shadow Weaver-”

“-isn’t here,” Catra finished. She was suddenly looking less sure than when she hit Adora over the head with a drumstick. 

Catra’s entire fear about everything was that Adora was going to regret breaking the rules and run back to Shadow Weaver. She wouldn’t. Nothing could hold her back at this point. She wanted to hug Catra steadily and not anticipate the moment she’d pull away. She still needed to help convince Catra she was serious about this, and it seems she wasn’t doing a very good job at it.

She inhaled deeply and exhaled out her wariness. If she constantly looked over her shoulder because of Shadow Weaver, they were never going to make any progress. She wanted this, and she had to show that she did. 

Her actions were going to speak louder than words. She could say the same thing over and over again but Catra wouldn’t listen if she already had an idea formed in her head. She was going to show that she was ready to move forward with this, even if she didn’t know specifically what this is. 

Adora settled her bass on top of the speaker closest to Scorpia, who paid them no mind. The blaring speakers played the song from the band on stage, where the music slowed from an upbeat tune to one of tenderness. It was calm, tranquil as gentle piano keys opened the song with a girl’s booming voice speaking into a microphone.

“This is a song our keyboardist here, Kyle, wrote for his drummer boy. Rogelio, even though I’m singing it, this one’s for you,” the girl said before the piano cut into her words and she started singing. 

Adora put her arms around Catra’s neck, swaying from side to side with the soft love song. Catra raised an eyebrow but didn’t complain as her hands went to Adora’s waist and she followed her movements. 

When the verse faded and the pre-chorus started, the song sped up by just a fraction. Catra stepped on her toe in an effort to keep up with Adora. She laughed, not even upset by the little speck of dirt that got on her shoes. One little imperfection wasn’t going to kill her. Not anymore, like she used to believe. 

She used to be terrified of letting others see when she wasn’t at her best. Of course, the others had seen her in all sorts of different and embarrassing situations. But to the public, who whispered whenever she passed by them, who waited for her out in the open to flash a camera in her face at random only to get angry at her when she didn’t appear perfect for their photo, who picked apart her entire life in an attempt to figure out her insecurities just so they could taunt her with their knowledge. To them, she’s never had a hair out of place when she went out into the open. 

They could say whatever the hell they wanted for all she cared anymore. She has the girl she’s been yearning for dancing in her arms. If she didn’t look perfect now, then she never would. This girl liked her flaws, and in her eyes, that was just as perfect. 

It was never about the fame that came with the band, but rather the girl. It was Catra. It was always Catra.

The song dropped into the chorus. Adora took a step back from Catra and held her hand delicately in hers, lifting their joint hands above her head to spin Catra. She laughed as she spun in a circle, and laughed even harder when she went around a second time. The sound was intoxicating, filling her ears with that sweet noise as she tried not to choke on her own air.

The second verse slowed down again, and Adora sighed with the temporary break. The singer’s voice rang through the wind, but it couldn’t stop the world. No, the world stopped because of her and Catra. No song that anybody ever sang would do justice to what she was feeling in her body right now. She got that rush in her stomach that went all the way down to her toes and spread everywhere, Catra’s fingertips sending electricity through her that shocked her into oblivion.  

When the pre-chorus sounded through, Adora pulled Catra in so there was no more space in between them. She wanted to feel her as close as humanly possible without kissing in front of all these people. While they probably wouldn’t mind, that was something she wanted to save for just the two of them. They deserved at least some privacy. 

The chorus came back around, the words repeating from earlier. It made her think of the new song that Glimmer and Bow wrote. They created an upbeat rock song that was vastly different from the melody this current band was playing. While this song took things slow and carefully, the other went at a rapid pace meant to excite and energize. 

Bow and Glimmer’s bridge was short, mostly consisting of their impressive vocals. Bow wanted her to sing the same high note as Bad Romance, but Glimmer somehow managed to talk herself out of that. But the bridge to this song wasn’t about showing off their vocals. It was a love song, through and through. It came from the heart, and the bridge that was filled with warm harmonies was enough proof of that. 

With Catra’s head against her chest, she hummed along to the slow rhythm. She was out of tune a couple times, and her throat was itching to finish her vocal warmups. The rumble in her chest tickled Catra’s face, laughing as she ran her fingers through Catra’s hair. If humming along to a random band’s love song was all the warm up she got, then she’d be pretty okay with that. 

The chorus dipped with a strong piano tune that started the outro. There was no music playing as the girl sang the last two lines of the song. She was content staying like this as the song ended the instrumental, but she felt Catra already begin to pull away. 

She panicked for a second before Catra was bringing her back in, holding on tightly to her hands. They were at arms length before Catra put one hand on her waist and the other on the back of her shoulder. She pulled her closer, and Adora was parallel to the ground as Catra dipped her backwards. 

Her knee went in between Catra’s legs, their faces inches apart as the song came to a complete stop. Their breathing matched, small pants coming out of their mouths. Adora studied her eyes for a moment before continuing downward, staring at the plush lips that she could reach up and take for her own. They haven’t been this close since Wednesday at the studio. It took everything in her to remind herself where they were as all her thoughts traveled to an unsafe place.

She imagined they were in her kitchen and dancing to random songs and Catra had just dipped her, making sure with absolute certainty that she wouldn’t hit the ground. Except in the alternate universe where it was only them two, she didn’t have to be brought back to reality. This was what her life consisted of. 

The applause from the audience on stage shook her out of her head. Catra pulled her up from the dip and back to her shaky legs that were about to give out. They looked at each other and Adora couldn’t keep in her laughter. They were absolutely ridiculous sometimes. 

“Thank you, Lonnie, for that!” Announced the boy from the band. “I can’t sing for shit, but at least my keyboard skills are amazing. I thank you guys for all your support. Not even Rogelio has heard that song yet, so I hope you liked it. Anyways, enough with the cheesy love songs! We’re closing with a bang, and then you’ve got Boys Night Out coming up after us!”

“I’ll let you get back to tuning your bass then,” Catra smirked. “I’ve got some things to go over with Swift Wind. See you on stage, princess.” 

Her breath caught in her chest. “It’s been a while since you’ve called me that.”

Catra saluted her as she walked backwards towards Swift Wind. Adora tugged at the ends of her hair where it tumbled around her shoulders, giving herself ten seconds to wrap her head around what’s happening in the present. 

She looked back to where she left her bass on the speaker, putting the strap on over her shoulder. She carefully steadied her bass on her knee, picking at the strings and doing her vocal warmups at the same time. Not ideal, but practical considering everything she’d just done.  

Glimmer and Scorpia came over to her after two minutes of being alone. Scorpia had her guitar strap on, the sleek red wood shining in the backstage lights. Glimmer had her ear monitor in, passing a second one to Adora. 

“I completely forgot I needed this,” Adora said as she moved her hair from her ear. The ear monitor was used to hear herself singing. It might’ve been a little disastrous if she couldn’t hear what she sounded like on stage. “I’m forgetting everything lately…” 

“I can’t imagine why…” Glimmer chuckled, stepping forward to hold Adora’s hair away from her face. She put the earpiece in, the wire annoyingly running down her back. 

“Yeah, I have no guesses as to why either of you would be acting weird after your day in New York all alone,” Scorpia scoffed, brushing her hand up and down her guitar strings with her guitar pick.

“I have no idea what either of you are talking about,” Adora sarcastically said. Glimmer handed her the bodypack next. She plugged the monitor into the bodypack and slipped it into her back pocket. Now that she’d gotten all her technical stuff done, she could focus her attention back on her friends. 

“Bow said he was going to find Entrapta because his monitor was acting up,” Glimmer recalled with a smile on her face. “Of all days, I didn’t think they’d go MIA on this performance. Swift Wind might’ve been able to nail the transitions between songs, but there’s a lot of other stuff that could go wrong.”

“By other stuff, we mean Bow’s monitor not working when his band is next to go on stage?” Scorpia raised an eyebrow playfully. “If he has to perform without being able to hear, that song is not going to sound nearly as pretty as it should.”

Adora fidgeted with the wire that trailed from her ear to the bottom of her back. “He could use mine. He has a bigger part to sing in your duet and I’d only really need it when it’s our turn to perform. If he could give it back right before we start our performance, then I think it’d work out.”

“I nearly gave him mine but he ran off before I could give him any suggestions!” Glimmer crossed her arms, already exhausted by how it works when love begins to take over. If only she knew the full extent. 

But then again, maybe she and Bow wouldn’t need to yell at each other and dodge their feelings. Sometimes Adora forgets that not everyone has these types of problems. 

“It kind of sucks, you know?” Scorpia plopped down onto a speaker, shifting her guitar to hang off her back. “He didn’t hesitate to go ask Entrapta for help. We all would’ve panicked and tried to fix the damn thing ourselves before going to Shadow Weaver, and even then she’d tell us to figure it out.”

Glimmer drummed her fingers along her thighs. She wore brown cargo pants that she cuffed at her ankles, a belt strapped around her waist. The wire from her monitor ran along her grey long sleeve shirt, paired with random tennis shoes on her feet. 

Scorpia’s baggy pants and plain white shirt clashed well with everyone else’s outfits. Her oversized red flannel wasn’t as eye catching as Catra’s leather jacket, but it was definitely more flattering than the red jacket Adora kept in her car at all times. 

She looked down at her pink crewneck sweater with a white collared shirt popping up at the top. They all appeared grunge, but sleek. She thought about what Catra was wearing and all the leather she had on, promptly stopping when her mind started wandering elsewhere. 

They’d seen the complaints online from random journalists who claimed they needed to have a cleaner image. She’d taken it to heart then, even after Shadow Weaver assured them their aesthetic wasn’t changing. She hoped she saw that journalist tonight. She would raise her hand and flip them off and it’d feel great. 

“Being stuck in this whole thing sucks…” Glimmer continued. “We’re not allowed to do anything without permission. We are grown adults and we still have to ask if we can go out on the weekends. Even worse, we have a curfew! I’ve had curfews my entire life! My mom’s famous too! I already had her rules, and signing this contract just gave me more.”

“I was adopted and got a little more leeway with stuff like that. Of course, I still had rules and all that. They were just…” Scorpia thought for a tick. “..different. But when I signed on, I was suddenly restricted by all these limitations. For once in my life, I wasn’t allowed to be the free spirit I’ve always been. I’m one of the most loving people out there! So what I like to hug everyone and show my affection to every person I meet? It’s what I’ve done my whole life! But then all of a sudden, I wasn’t allowed to do any of that anymore.”

Adora understood. She may not always be the most open or the easiest to communicate with, but generally speaking, she was a pretty loving person. She had a lot of love in her that she always wanted to spread to others. She just loved one particular person a different way from the others. It made her lightheaded at times, or increasingly frustrated, but she never gave up. She never wanted to. 

“I get it…” She mumbled. “Yeah, so I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic. I want to have someone to hold and kiss and steal all their sweaters. I depend a lot on love from other people to keep me going. I’d put everything on the line for the people I love and they know it. But not being able to show it? It’s fucking awful! It’s awful when you feel like you’re just giving and giving with no recuperation because it’s banned for all of us.”

The three of them sat in a circle, gazing down at their feet. She’d been dancing a minute ago with Catra, and now she was ranting about how unfairly management treated them. Those two go hand in hand more than she thought. 

“It just sucks feeling… trapped with certain things,” Adora mumbled. 

When she looked up, Scorpia stared dead into her eyes and said, “I know.”

Glimmer and Scorpia know about her feelings towards Catra. There’s no way they didn’t. Spending every minute of the past two years together meant knowing almost everything about each other. It’s really no secret, even if she tried to hide it sometimes. Catra went to Scorpia for a lot of things, and she went to Glimmer. Adora shouldn’t be surprised that she knows. 

But a thought continued springing into her head, and it wasn’t getting pushed out. 

Did Catra tell Scorpia everything?

She didn’t tell Glimmer or Adam anything. She thought they had a silent agreement on keeping everything to themselves. Something only they would know. She thought it’d be private until at least tonight.  

Adora opened her mouth to ask what Scorpia meant when Shadow Weaver came barreling over to their small group. “Glimmer, Adora. Now.”

She glanced over at Glimmer, pausing for a second before standing up to follow Shadow Weaver to a clearing on the opposite side of the field. She was about to question where the hell her manager had been when Entrapta ran over with a frantic look, dragging Sea Hawk over by his wrist as another man stood close behind her. 

Adora assumed that this was Hordak, Entrapta’s husband and Horde Prime’s brother. She waved at him before snapping her attention back to the adults who had finally shown up. Shadow Weaver and Entrapta both appeared a mess. She swore Shadow Weaver had tears welling up in her eyes. 

“Sea Hawk, first things first,” Entrapta started. “How big is Adora’s part in your song and is it possible for you to take over for her?”

Adora furrowed her eyebrows, her eyes shifting to an anxious Shadow Weaver. Entrapta was tugging at her hair, waiting apprehensively for a response. She could sing her part of the song just fine. Why were they asking if Sea Hawk could do it for her?

Sea Hawk was just as confused, rubbing the back of his neck as he answered. “I mean… I guess? We did write her backing vocals for her, but if absolutely necessary then… Yeah, I’d say it’s possible for me to sing for her.”

“Can you play for her too?” Shadow Weaver replied immediately. “Can you downtune your guitar? Just- What can you do to replicate her bass?”

“Wait, wait.” Adora waved her arms to grab their attention. She was perfectly fine during rehearsal. There’s absolutely no reason for Sea Hawk to be questioned about taking over for her. “What’s going on? I’m fine playing.”

Entrapta’s face screwed up as Hordak walked away from their group. “There’s a problem, to say the least. We’re going to need Sea Hawk to play for you. You’ll be fine to play once it’s just you girls, but we need you while they’re performing the collab.”

Right when Adora was about to ask why the fuck she wasn’t going on stage, Shadow Weaver impatiently gestured to his guitar. “So? Is it possible? Can you take over Adora’s parts during the song without it sounding like she’s missing?”

Sea Hawk glanced quickly at her. “If I have to, yes. It’s not going to sound the same as the bass, but our sample track didn’t have her either. It’ll probably sound like that, but her backing vocals would obviously be replaced by mine.”

Entrapta let out a huge sigh of relief, letting her shoulders rest before tensing up again. “Alright, that makes things a little easier. Sea Hawk, go update the others and tell them Adora isn’t performing with the group.”

Sea Hawk awkwardly sprinted away to where the others were huddled in a circle as they prepared to get on stage. She and Glimmer should be there now. 

Adora turned on Shadow Weaver, not even knowing where to start. “Okay, what the hell? You guys have been gone this entire time! You can’t just come back and tell me I’m not getting on stage for the song everyone worked hard on!” 

“You’re still going to perform. You’re just missing the one song,” Shadow Weaver said. 

“Okay. Why?”

“Because your audio for Bad Romance is broken and we have to come up with something.”

Adora was about to argue that she should still be allowed on stage when the words settled in. “Wait… What?”

“What do you mean it’s broken?” Glimmer asked, absolutely bewildered. 

“I was trying to get the audio hooked up to the speakers when the file got corrupted. I called Entrapta and Hordak over to help me fix it, but we ended up frying the entire speaker.”

“So I’ll send it again.” Adora was already pulling her phone out of her pocket when Entrapta held a hand out to stop her. 

“Did you send her the audio on your phone?”

“Yeah, I always do.”

“Something’s wrong with the phone then. The file’s corrupted, so that particular audio isn’t good anymore. It was enough to completely burn out the speaker, which means we can’t use preexisting audio either.”

“I’ll send it on Glimmer’s phone, or just grab a new speaker.”

“That speaker was what made the audio sound like it was live. Otherwise, it’ll sound like a studio recording and some jackass in the audience is going to notice. Without that speaker, the audio can’t play properly. The corrupted file was one mess, but then it broke the goddamn speaker. There’s no way we can use any type of recording this time.”

“What are we supposed to do?” Glimmer gripped the bottom of her shirt in clenched hands, and Adora braced herself for the next answer. 

“Adora… You’re going to need to sing the notes live.”

She shook her head. Shadow Weaver wasn’t affirming one of her greatest fears right now. They didn’t try hard enough. There had to be something to fix the speaker. Or maybe another speaker that could make the audio sound the same. Of course, they had to fix the corrupted file first. But now she’d gladly stay off stage for as long as necessary to fix the file. There had to be something they didn’t know about. Anything. Just anything that meant she didn’t have to sing live. 

Glimmer drew a shaky breath, clearly trying not to show how much she was freaking out. “I have to lip sync to Adora’s live voice?”

Entrapta nodded, though it looked like she didn’t want to. “That’s the only way it’s going to work. It’s too late to pull Bad Romance from the setlist now.”

“I don’t need Catra and Scorpia suddenly freaking out on stage. They’re not the ones singing, and having them look nervous is the last thing we need right now. That’s why we’re only telling you two. Glimmer, you’ve perfected the lip syncing. It’s the same exact thing. Adora’s just going to be on stage and singing it with you.”

“How the ever-loving fuck is this even going to work?” Adora demanded. “It’s not like I can just get on stage and sing the notes.”

“That’s why we’re keeping you off during the collab. We need to figure out some blocking so we can hide your mouth without making it obvious.”

Entrapta pulled a headworn microphone from her pocket. The mic itself was smaller than a dime with a wire to wrap around her head. “We found this lying around with some tech in the sound booth. It’s usually used on Broadway or just theatre in general, but if we’re going to be hiding your mouth, you might be moving around a lot. We’ll get it stuck onto your forehead, use the wireless bass and amp set I just made my husband go buy from the Guitar Center down the street, and the technical stuff is done. You guys would just need to figure out blocking.”

Adora stared at the tiny mic, at the bass hung around her shoulder that she’d spent so long tuning, then at her manager. Never in a hundred million years did she imagine a situation where she’d be singing this song live. Live with Glimmer still lip syncing over her, where the other members of their band didn’t even know. 

Bow appeared behind Entrapta. She jumped at the sight of him. He followed her movement as he faced the two managers. “Sea Hawk just told us about Adora, but we’re on in a minute and we need Glimmer.” 

“Give me fifteen more seconds,” Shadow Weaver assured. Bow’s gaze fixed on her, specifically on the new microphone in her hand. He ran back to the others who waited expectedly for Glimmer. 

Catra was staring at her, a mix of confusion and worry written on her face. Adora wished she could go over and tell her that everything was okay, but quite frankly she didn’t know anymore. She could conjure this scenario a thousand times in her head, and not one of them ended with this going well.

“Glimmer, it’s the exact same thing as usual. You’ve done this every single time we perform this song live. It’s the same as lip syncing over a prerecorded audio. Do everything the exact same way as before, and we’ll be okay,” Shadow Weaver said, taking a deep breath. “You’ve got this. Go with the others. Adora will be there in time for Bad Romance.”

Glimmer reached over and squeezed her hand, her eyes relaying a message of comfort that she wouldn’t emit in front of Shadow Weaver. Adora squeezed her hand back, grateful for the reinforcement, before Glimmer had to let go and run to the others. She might as well have just performed a two hour concert with how heavy her eyelids were. 

Shadow Weaver turned to her and said, “Okay, so here’s what we’re going to do.”

 


 

She passed the boys on her way onstage.  

Bow had just finished shouting his goodbyes to the crowd, the loud cheers too loud for her ears. The volume never bothered her before. It was deafening now, the sound making her all the more nauseous. Entrapta had to give her some stomach pills to ensure she didn’t throw up on stage. She was about to do so anyways. 

The crowd cheered as Bow and the others walked off the stage and she stepped on. She avoided Bow’s gaze specifically. He’d been the one to find Shadow Weaver and Entrapta once they’d gone missing. He probably saw them frantically trying to fix the speaker or uncorrupt her audio file. Regardless, there was no way he didn’t know. She didn’t dare even try looking at him as she got to her spot on stage. 

Their smiles were the first thing she noticed. Sea Hawk and Swift Wind were full of energy, hyped after performing the song they had put together in a week. She wasn’t allowed to share their excitement. Not when she’d been pulled out of the song at the very last minute and only returned now to sing for Glimmer.

She noticed the crowd begin cheering loudly once they saw their bassist return. The collab song had been a surprise for fans of both bands, and it made sense for the audience to wonder why one of the members was missing. She hopes they’ll never find out it was because she was figuring out her blocking to sing the high notes to a song she’s never sang live before. 

Glimmer walked up to her mic stand, the small pink crystals glittering under the bright lights. Adora squinted, holding a hand up to shield her eyes. Her head was a mixture of trying not to pass out and being stable enough to sing live. 

She’d always been okay with being the backup singer. Being front and center was going to kill her. 

“Let’s go everyone!” Glimmer shouted into her mic, pointing a finger in the air to cue Scorpia for her beginning guitar solo. 

Glimmer took a step away from her mic stand as the guitar ripped through the air, glancing behind her to make eye contact with Adora. Her heart pounded out of her chest, her breaths heavy and fingers frozen. The tiny mic on her forehead burned a hole on her skull, steam rising in the darkness of the night.

Glimmer turned back to her microphone as she began the intro to the song. A part of her wanted to turn her head a little to the side to catch Catra’s attention. She knows she can’t. She didn’t know what she’d do if she had to hold Catra’s questioning gaze for more than two seconds.

They were dancing earlier. They were in tune. Even in the band, they played off of each other. She hated thinking she was telling another lie that only her, Glimmer, Shadow Weaver, and Entrapta knew about. Lies were the last thing they needed as they flipped their turmoil. 

Want your bad romance

Glimmer’s voice sounded clear and healthy, Catra’s drum falling in line afterwards. Adora froze on her bass again, her fingers and mind doing completely different things. She wanted to pick at her bass to play properly, but her thoughts were plagued with singing live, singing live, singing live, singing live-

Catra’s drums shook her back into reality. The clanging and banging vibrated loudly, loud enough that she thawed out and her fingers were finally picking at the bass strings. She was ready to sing backup just like she always was. She didn’t know what she’d do when the high notes came around. 

Shadow Weaver and Entrapta had blocked her perfectly to the point where no one would ever see her mouth moving. Everyone would remain completely oblivious, and she’d be living with the knowledge of knowing she did that. Knowing that she had lied to her fans on stage because something went wrong with her phone and fried all of the tech backstage. 

I want your ugly

I want your disease

I want your everything

As long as it's free

I want your love 

I want your love, Adora sang, her voice a compliment in the background to Glimmer’s. Just like it’s always been, just as it should be. The words spilled out of her mouth easily enough. It was only her first line. She would be okay until the chorus.  

Love, love, love

I want your love 

I want your love, I want your love, Scorpia did another riff with her guitar, the sound dipping in tone ever so slightly. The change in sound made Adora falter. She nearly missed a string, her finger slipping off the instrument. She had no wires attaching the bass to an amp and she was still tripping all over the place. Nothing was right. Nothing felt right. 

I want your drama

The touch of your hand

I want your leather-studded kiss in the sand

I want your love 

I want your love

 

Love, love, love

I want your love 

 

I want your love, I want your love

 

You know that I want you

And you know that I need you

I want it bad, a bad romance

She sang out her background riff, the cheers making it nearly impossible to hear herself. The ear monitor was working fine, the tiny mic echoing her voice perfectly across the audience. Her own nerves and anxiety as Catra’s drums sped up to transition into the chorus was hindering her performance.

I want your love and

I want your revenge

You and me could write a bad romance

 

I want your love and

I want your revenge

You and me could write a bad romance

Despite what she thought earlier, that she didn’t care what the media said about her anymore, she knew she’d been lying to herself. She cared deeply. Their words could cut her down to her muscle and bone if they found out what their band has been doing for the past two years they’ve been singing this song. She was kidding herself if she ever thought she could handle their criticism and backlash. 

Adora took a step back, holding onto the neck of her bass tightly as she headbanged. It wasn’t ideal to sing with this much head movement, but she had no choice. It covered her enough to the point where no one could tell she was singing at the same time. The note flew out of her naturally, just as it always did. She thinks Glimmer was able to lip sync over her perfectly, just as she always did. She kept her head down low, her hair itching over her face. It just covered her mouth even more. 

Caught in a bad romance

She came up for a breath as Glimmer sang the one line, immediately going back to bobbing her head back and forth aggressively. Headbanging wasn’t necessarily something they did often, even as a rock band, but right now they only had one image to worry about. The image of  Glimmer being the lead singer that could rip this note out every concert. To keep it up, Adora headbanged as she sang her note. She continued until the note was over and she could stand up straight, her hair an absolute mess and the blazing lights sensitive to her watering eyes.  

Two notes down. Four to go. 

Caught in a bad romance

Want your bad romance

Want your bad romance

 

I want your horror

I want your design

'Cause you're a criminal

As long as you're mine

I want your love 

I want your love, Now with the combination of the verses and chorus, she could hear how raspy her voice was sounding. She always prided herself in sounding the same live and in the studio. She was breathless purely from trying to calm herself down. Her legs had been shaking since the moment she heard about her broken audio, her arms aching from holding up the bass. It’s never hurt her before. 

Love, love, love

I want your love 

 

I want your love, I want your love

 

I want your psycho

Your vertigo stick

Want you in my rear window

Baby you're sick

I want your love 

I want your love, Her eyes caught a particular audience member, standing in the very front with a camera around his neck and a notepad in hand. Was that-

Love, love, love

I want your love 

I want your love, I want your love, She was taken off guard when Horde Prime made eye contact with her as she sang her backups. She didn’t know if the others had noticed him as well. Shivers went up her spine as she remembered what he’d done last time she saw him. Even with the breeze of cold wind brushing her skin, a drip of sweat dropped down from her head to her neck. 

She couldn’t remember what happened last time. 

She took the opportunity to listen to the pre-chorus again, preparing herself for the next round of singing. Singing that wasn’t supposed to be there. Singing that she usually recorded on an audio to be played during the performance for Glimmer to lip sync over. She hated hearing herself over the speakers every time. It was nothing compared to hearing herself with the ear monitor as she sang live.  

I want your love and

I want your revenge

You and me could write a bad romance

Adora unwrapped the bass strap from her head, shrugging it off her shoulder. She had a death grip on the neck, placing her hands exactly where Shadow Weaver had told her to put them. She’d been letting it hang the entire time, her energy too sapped to truly hold the bass correctly. 

I want your love and

All your lover's revenge

You and me could write a bad romance

She spun on her heel, facing the back. She stared at nothing as she put her bass behind her, her fingers dancing across the strings expertly while she sang the godforsaken note. She couldn’t see her bass, or her bandmates, or the one person she wanted comfort from. She stared at the black curtain that separated her from backstage. 

To others, it may look like she’s showing off. That they’d look at her and say, “Oh look! Adora can play with her bass behind her back!” But Bow was standing in the wings, watching her closely as her third note ended.

Caught in a bad romance

He might be the only person she couldn’t trick. She knew, as her eyes watered and she forced the note from her throat once again, that he was aware of everything. She sounded normal in her ear monitor. She wanted to see what Glimmer looked like. At least Adora got to hide her face. Glimmer had to plaster on her own mask to appear normal to the loud audience. She could hear herself make a choked noise when she finished the note, wiping her unshed tears on her shoulder.

Four notes down. Two left. 

Caught in a bad romance

Want your bad romance

Want your bad romance

Want your bad romance

She put the bass strap back on, turning around to see Scorpia staring at her, the steady guitar leading them into the bridge of the song. Scorpia was trying not to stare at her with wide eyes. Adora could see the gears turning in her head. She had caught on. 

She allowed a small peak at Catra, who appeared normal. Albeit, a little frowny, but nothing to suggest that she knew yet. 

I want your love and

I want your revenge

I want your love

I don't wanna be friends

 

Je veux ton amour

Et je veux ta revanche

Je veux ton amour

 

I don't wanna be friends

I don't wanna be friends, She bit her lip, the bass strap digging into her shoulder as she started traveling across the stage. 

I don't wanna be friends

I don't wanna be friends, She picked the strings until she was standing in between Scorpia and Catra, the two of them evenly spaced apart. Shadow Weaver told her what to do during the next note. She didn’t think she could.

No I don't wanna be friends

I don't wanna be friends, Their spacing looked off. She could tell. The three of them were huddled on the left side, Glimmer standing dead center. That’s why she always stayed by herself on the right. When Shadow Weaver told her to screw spacing, she understood the next part of the blocking. It should be her favorite part. 

Want your bad romance

Want your bad romance, She wasn’t looking forward to it. 

Want your bad romance

 

I want your love and

I want your revenge

You and me could write a bad romance

She walked from her spot, stepping closer to Catra. She stopped right beside her, the other girl turning away from her drums to look up at her. Catra’s mouth fell open when she saw her tear filled eyes.

I want your love and

All your lover's revenge

You and me could write a bad romance

Adora dipped to her knee, drawing her bass forward as she pressed her forehead against Catra’s. The body of her bass covered their faces, well enough that everyone would be speculating about what they were doing while they were hidden from view. 

She kept her gaze on the ground, letting the fifth note out of her lips. Catra was still playing her drums, she could hear that much. She listened to Catra play this song so many times that she heard when Catra wavered. It wouldn’t be noticeable to anyone else. The mistake she made when she realized where Adora’s audio was coming from was obvious to her.

Adora stood when the note was over, a small smile on her face as she withdrew from Catra. Her mouth was agape, Scorpia throwing her a pointed look to continue on as nothing happened. Catra caught her attention for a second more before she went back to her drums, playing as normal. 

Caught in a bad romance

She walked back to her spot on the right side of the stage, facing the back once again. Bow was still in the wings, watching as the sixth and final note tumbled out of her. This time, it was over sooner than it started. She faced the audience once more as Glimmer delivered the closing lines with one final mini riff from Scorpia.

Caught in a bad romance

Want your bad romance

 

Want your bad romance

Her fans clapped. They applauded her, but they didn’t know that she had lied to them as well. All she was doing lately was lying. Lying and running circles around her own feelings, thinking criticism and hate wouldn’t affect her anymore. She’d been so, so wrong. Her heartbeat pounded more than ever, the tears finally falling down her face as the cheering continued. 

Adora did not hesitate to walk off the stage. 

She could hear some gasps as she took off the bass, wiping her eyes before Catra or Scorpia saw them and tried running off stage with her. She brushed past Bow in the wings, laying down the instrument Entrapta had given her for this exact moment and stormed over to Shadow Weaver. 

The woman was watching the performance on the monitors backstage. Her mouth was wide open when she saw her bassist not where she was supposed to be. “What the hell are you doing? Get back up there!"

She didn’t realize she was full on crying until the sob escaped her throat. Entrapta came over, a pitying look in her eyes. Adora covered her mouth with her hand, trying to shove the sound of her crying back in. She just stood there, shoulders shaking with the overwhelming feeling of what she had done. 

The line between a soft cry and sobbing was crossed within five seconds. She clutched her arms tighter around herself, any attempts at slowing down her tears futile. She never cried in front of Shadow Weaver, let alone all the other people backstage. She could see Bow making an effort to make it seem like he wasn’t staring at her. She appreciated it, nonetheless. 

She’d gotten four minutes to prepare herself to sing on stage, live. Four minutes to nail the blocking and memorize everything she needed to do. There was no time to fully process what was happening until now that she’d done it. All the panic and anxiety from earlier flowed in all at once, slamming into her like a pile of bricks, wrapping her in a blanket of her own doubts about the performance. 

Was she too obvious? Did she show her mouth where she wasn’t supposed to? Had someone seen through the cracks of the song and realized something wasn’t right?

The thoughts of everything that could go wrong flooded her body, her knees shaking and arms weak. She leaned against the monitors, nearly knocking Shadow Weaver off her feet. She felt a pair of hands grasp at her to keep her upright, but she couldn’t see who it was through her blurry vision. Her sobs were making it impossible to breath, her pants coming in at shorter intervals. She was inhaling more air than she could exhale, a choking feeling crawling up her throat. 

She sunk down to her knees, guided down by the same pair of hands. She turned her head as much as she could to see Bow behind her, rubbing her back as gently as humanly possible. His hands were under her arms, holding her up as best he could. 

Entrapta dropped to the floor with her, her senses barely able to register the woman’s fingers trying to tie her hair up into a ponytail in a tender manner. The lights obscured everything in her line of sight, but she could clearly see Shadow Weaver was the only one still standing. 

Glimmer’s booming voice sounded from the monitor, too loud and too happy. Adora’s guilt suddenly increased tenfold. She could run off the stage and her absence wouldn’t deal too much of a blow to the girls. Glimmer couldn’t step away from her mic for the life of her. What was she thinking? Glimmer had just done the exact same thing she had. She shouldn’t be here on the floor, gaining the sympathy of others. The two of them had gone through this together, but she was the only one not strong enough to stay on the stage. 

Adora tried to stand, but her legs gave out when she put weight on them. Bow pushed her back down to the floor softly, and out of the corner of her eye she could see Sea Hawk running over to give something to Bow. She couldn’t hear what they said, the sound of her pounding heartbeat and wretched sobs blaring through the air.

“Here, drink,” Bow instructed, holding a water bottle up for her to grasp. 

With shaky hands, she managed to lightly grab ahold of it. She felt two other pairs of hands on top of her own as she drank the water, getting lost in the cool sensation that ran through her body. Some of the liquid spilled onto her sweater, and above all the noise and ruckus, she could hear Shadow Weaver’s small gasp. 

She’d finally done it. Singing the song live just like she’s always wanted, appealing to the crowd while keeping everything bottled up so she could play properly, only to end up a broken mess on the ground. It was all she ever asked of Adora, and she’d done it.

All that, and Shadow Weaver was worried about her spilling water onto her sweater. 

“Are you fucking kidding me?!” Adora shouted, regaining feeling in her tongue. She held onto Bow’s arm as she started standing up on her unsteady legs. She took a couple steps forward until she was right in front of her manager, wiping her face clean of all the tears. “There’s no way you’re upset about my sweater right now!”

“I just…” Shadow Weaver paused, shooting a quick glance at Entrapta. “It slipped out.”

“How fucking flawless does everything have to be that you see one small imperfection and you freak out on us?”

“I gasped, Adora,” Shadow Weaver scoffed. “You know what? No, I’m not sorry. You’re not even supposed to be here right now. If Glimmer had to stay on stage, you should’ve too. I don’t know why you ran off.”

Entrapta shoved Adora behind her as if to shield her, but she mustered up all the strength she had left in her body to push past her. “You’ve been begging me since day fucking one to be the lead in this stupid band! And I finally did it! I thought I’d be excused from small mistakes for the rest of the night! But of course not! Because when is that ever enough for you? Even when I do everything right, it’s not enough! I sang in front of people because some shit went wrong with the audio, cried my heart out and being the lead still wasn’t good enough to make up for spilling some fucking water on my sweater!?” 

“Adora-” Shadow Weaver tried to step towards her. 

“No! Fuck this! I’m going home!”

She turned on her heel and stumbled towards the exit. She tried to make her breathing sound as normal as possible as she flashed her stage crew pass at the security guard. He let her through to the parking lot without a hitch, where she found her car parked in the well lit area. She could see the other performers, including the band that had played while she danced with Catra. 

It seemed like that was ages ago. The trio were sitting in the back of a pickup truck, sharing alcohol and having the time of their lives. None of them even noticed her as she swung her car door open and slammed it closed behind her. 

Adora leaned her head down onto her steering wheel, careful not to accidentally honk at anyone. She took the time to regulate her breathing, inhaling deeply in her nose and exhaling out her mouth. The tears had stopped, her face sticky and wet. Her throat was raw, not hoarse from singing but from the crying. She wiped the beads of sweat off her forehead, ripping the tiny mic off and throwing it into the backseat. She had to remember to thank whoever was in charge of sound for turning off her mic. 

Her bass was sitting somewhere abandoned. She hoped someone would grab it for her and return it later. It wasn’t even her true bass. Her bass was in its case and safely tucked away with security. The one she left behind was the one Entrapta had given her to use for the specific purpose of being able to sing without any wires making her stumble. 

She didn’t know how long she was there for. Time wasn’t moving at the same pace she was, which was both way too slow and not quick enough. She sat there with her head pressed against the steering wheel for who knows how long when she heard the door to her car open. 

Adora shot up ridiculously fast, nearly banging the back of her head against the headrest. She sighed with relief when she saw it was Bow sliding into the passenger seat, closing the door as he got in. 

She ducked her head again in both shame and embarrassment. He knew exactly what had gone down on stage and why she ran off like that. Besides the girls, he knew her biggest secret of all time. She’d been hoping it would stay confidential forever. Just one last thing to take with her to the grave.  

But after tonight, she now held the risk of someone discovering what she and Glimmer had been doing. She burned herself out every concert when they performed this song, but she started a wildfire tonight.

Lying seemed to be the only thing she’s done lately, which is why she plastered on a smile as best she could. “Hey…” 

Bow chuckled, not at her, but at their situation. Two of the biggest rock stars in the world and they were hiding away in her car because she couldn't be seen right now. She didn’t know if this was ironic or iconic. 

“I saw something very interesting earlier,” Bow started, rubbing his hands together. “My ear monitor wasn’t working, so I went to go look for Entrapta to see what was wrong with it. Do you want to know what I found instead?”

“I have a feeling I know what it is…” She mumbled, setting an elbow on the console. She rested her chin on her palm, looking up at him for an explanation. 

“Shadow Weaver and Entrapta were running around like headless chickens in the audio booth. They were shouting at each other about some kind of problem and that you were going to have to sing live. I guessed what it could be about, but I didn’t know anything for sure until I was waiting in the wings and saw you singing.”

Adora sighed, running her hands along her tired eyes. At this point, all she wanted to do was go home and sleep for a very, very long time. Her breakdown earlier had sucked all the energy out of her, exhausted from the singing and the yelling. It’s a funny thing, really, how she’s never hated performing yet she despised it with every fiber of her being. 

“Look…” She started, thinking how best to break it to him. “Glimmer sings everything. It’s not like she only lip syncs or anything like that. When we first joined the band, Shadow Weaver wanted me to be the lead singer because of my vocal range. I denied, and she let me, but solely on the condition that I’d lend my voice to Glimmer when she needed it. So far, Bad Romance is the only song we’ve had to resort to lip syncing for.”

“Wait, what?” Bow’s flabbergasted tone didn’t surprise her. “You don’t even want to be the lead. Why the hell would she make you get up there on stage tonight and perform the one song that could literally end your careers? It makes zero sense.”

“She had a bunch of reasons why, but I couldn’t have been bothered to listen. Honestly, I was making sure I’d be able to breathe on stage. Hell, I’m still trying to steady my breathing.”

He patted her back, rubbing small circles on her sweater. She tried to sync her breathing with his hands, waiting a few more seconds before continuing. “She’s just… She’s a bitch. You heard what she said. As if I wasn’t feeling guilty enough about leaving Glimmer alone on stage and was sobbing on the floor about it, she went and made it worse.”

“Glimmer won’t care, I promise. I know she’d probably feel better about you getting away from the situation before it stressed you out. And I know Catra and Scorpia feel the same way.”

Oh shit. 

Catra.

“I forgot about Catra.” The sentence felt all sorts of wrong leaving her mouth. She had completely forgotten that tonight was the night Catra wanted to talk about everything and let all their shit out in one place. If they were going to have to delay it again, it would be because of her this time. 

“As soon as you stepped foot off the stage, Catra stood up to follow. Scorpia had to hold her back.”

Adora lifted her head from the console. “She did?”

“It’s already been posted on Twitter. I saw Shadow Weaver watching it before I came over here.”

Fucking hell!” She slammed a fist against her steering wheel. She didn’t flinch when she pressed the horn. “That’s another one of her problems! To her, me and Catra are just free advertisements! We make people start talking about us and the band because they speculate about our supposed relationship that, at this point, I’m not even sure exists anymore! It’s just…” A calm settled over her, the fight suddenly drained from her body. She’s done too much yelling for today. “I love her, Bow. I really do. But there’s so much keeping us apart that it might not be possible to ever move forward.”

She buried her face into her hands. She couldn’t stand to look at the sympathy written on his face. “We’ve been created to be this perfect image. We’re human beings that are being made palatable to a mainstream audience. We’re marketed in the same way you'd market a product. I may be young, but I know for damn sure that is not how you treat a person.”

His loud sigh resonated in the car, summing up exactly how she was feeling right now. “That’s most definitely not how anybody should be treated. I seriously can’t believe she’d do that to you guys. Glimmer told me about the contract that bans all things romantic, but I didn’t know how far it went.”

The stupid contract. The stupid, stupid piece of paper that she wishes she could burn in the fiery pits of hell. “Fun fact: I’ve broken it twice in the past week! The first time, Catra kissed me and the second time I kissed her. We literally committed a crime because we fucking kissed. Granted, it almost escalated into something else the first time, but it was still just a kiss. We were going to try and sort everything out tonight, but seeing as recent events have taken place, I don’t know how appropriate it is. We only stalled for today because of the possibility of Shadow Weaver finding out. Neither of us exactly want to be kicked out of the band for breach of contract in the middle of something important, but now that something important is over. It’s… Well, we’re done putting it off.”

“What about you? What do you want to do, Adora?” Bow asked, staring straight at her. “You and Catra have the patience of saints if you’ve been dealing with this for two years and still want to be with each other. There’s no deadlines for these kinds of things. After everything tonight, you know she’d wait until you’re ready. Are you?”

All she wants is to be with Catra.

Never mind the fighting with Shadow Weaver, the pity from Entrapta, or her own stupid jealousy that twisted her mind. The ounce of life Catra gave Adora when she kissed her so hard she forgot her own name was worth more than worrying about her slip ups.

She nodded. Between dancing with her and singing that song on stage, she was only going to remember one of those things with a smile tomorrow. “Yeah, I think I am.”

Adora sat up, properly sitting in her seat this time. She looked over to him gratefully. He didn’t need to be here with her right now, talking her through her problems. He could’ve gotten just as angry at her for leaving Glimmer alone, but instead he comforted her while she was full of panic and fear. 

“Okay, when the girls are done performing, I'll take you and Glimmer home. Neither of you are in the right mindset to be driving right now. From there, you can make your choice. Is that alright?”

She nodded again, already climbing over the console to switch sides. Through a bit of struggle, Bow managed to successfully make it into the driver’s seat. She chuckled as her foot almost went through the windshield, but she was alive and in the passenger’s seat. For now, that would have to be enough. 

"Your band needs couple therapy, by the way. As a group," Bow murmured. She went to slap him on the shoulder and immediately drew back her hand because he wasn’t wrong in the slightest. 

The clock on her dashboard ticked slowly. She counted a full thirty minutes before there was a knock on the back window, looking over to see Glimmer glancing back and forth between them and something in the distance. 

“Press the button on the side.” Adora directed Bow to unlock the doors for Glimmer. He pressed it, and Glimmer did not hesitate to get in. 

Her tidy pink hair was now identical to a rats nest, her shirt untucked and looking an absolute mess. Adora imagined she didn’t look any better. 

Glimmer threw herself into the backseat, sitting in the middle and leaning forward to rest her elbows on the console. “Just fucking drive. Please.”

Adora fished her keys out of her pocket and handed them to Bow, who started the car and backed out of the parking lot. She watched out the window as Catra got in her own car. She turned away before the guilt could begin crawling up her throat again. She stared at her shoes, for much longer than she thought, because she hadn’t realized they were already far from the event venue and on the freeway.

She could hear Glimmer’s soft crying behind her. “How the hell did this even happen? Why couldn’t we just use a different audio from a different day? Why couldn’t they go buy another speaker? And what the fuck is wrong with your phone that it broke everything?”

Adora shrugged. She had no tears left in her. She just wanted to get home, drink some water, and never see Shadow Weaver again. The woman wouldn’t put her own career in jeopardy. It wasn’t done on purpose and she knows that. But it sure didn’t feel like it. 

“Did you see who else was in the crowd too?” Glimmer continued. “Horde Prime. Yup, I saw him as soon as I got onto the stage. He was just standing there as if we didn’t know what he did.”

“Glimmer, I’m sorry,” she began. “I went on complete autopilot when I walked off and I didn’t mean to leave you alone. This wasn’t easy for either of us, and I-”

Glimmer’s wry laughter filled the car. “No, don’t apologize. I almost did the same. I don’t know if you guys were here for it, but Catra took over the singing at some point because she saw I was starting to freak out. We were both a mess. I don’t blame you, and Catra doesn’t blame me for making her sing at some point.”

Adora tried to imagine what that looked like. How Glimmer must’ve moved her mic stand in front of Catra’s drum set so she could sing while playing at the same time. She wishes she had seen that, but she was already losing her fucking mind as it was.

Bow took one hand off the steering wheel and reached back to hold Glimmer’s shaking hand. “You guys are going to be okay. It probably doesn’t seem like it now, but you’ll feel so much better tomorrow after a good night’s sleep. You’ve got people in your corner over here.”

Glimmer squeezed his hand. “Your car is still at the venue, by the way.”

Adora had completely forgotten that they had driven together, but Bow already had a solution. “I’ll drop Adora off first because I think she’s having some company, then I’ll take you home. I’ll bring your car back in the morning, Adora. Sea Hawk drove with Swift Wind, so I’ll probably ask him to leave mine in my driveway. Neither of you should be driving for the rest of the night anyways.”

In a way, she was extremely thankful. She probably would get the urge to drive if things with Catra didn’t go the way she wanted them to. Considering the fact that her hands were still shaking, she thought it was best if someone else had her keys for a bit. 

“Yeah, that sounds fair,” Adora agreed.

“Wait…” Glimmer smiled at her. Adora could tell that it strained for her to smile as big as she did. “Who are you having over tonight?”

She bumped her shoulder against the window, staring out at the freeway lights and passing cars. “Catra. We have some stuff to talk about and if it doesn’t get done tonight, it’s never going to.” 

A moment of silence passed before Glimmer said, “Catra helped me a lot today. When Shadow Weaver was about to start yelling at me for making her sing, she jumped in and started defending me. She started cussing Shadow Weaver out and Scorpia had to step in, then she started yelling, but nonetheless, she was on my side. She hasn’t been on my side a lot lately.”

She was asking for an explanation, but Adora didn’t know if she really had one. Catra may have cozied up to her again, but she assumed her prejudice against Glimmer would keep going for a while. After all, she was the one Adora had gone to when things started going awry. She was surprised, but it made her happy to know.

“I told her more about what happened the night I left,” Adora started. “There was a simple fix to everything but instead of staying and talking about it, I stole her car and lied about why I left her.”

“Why did you leave that night?”

The question caught her off guard. “What?”

“You don’t have to answer right now if you can’t. I’m just curious, mostly. You showed up to my house at midnight and the next thing I know, you and Catra are furious with each other and for some reason I was in the middle of it.”

“Yeah, sorry about that. It was my wrongdoing, honestly. Basically, I thought she was hiding something pretty freaking important so I left and went to your house. The next day when she asked me why I left, I lied and said I was feeling sick. I don’t know why I did so don’t ask me, but then other stuff started coming out after that and it made things way more complicated. Long story short, we’re going to try and fix the shit we messed up.”

Glimmer put her arms around her neck, and only then did she realize that they were parked in front of her house already. She turned and hugged Glimmer back, holding her as tight as humanly possible. 

Bow was there for her, Catra might be here later, and Scorpia would show her the most sympathy, but only Glimmer truly understood. They were the only two that had to smile through the sting of lip syncing every time they performed that song, and they were the only two that had their hearts shattered just minutes before going on stage. 

She could feel her eyes welling up again. She wasn’t in the mood to cry again, utterly devoid of any energy. She only had one more goal to complete before the night ended, and she was sure it could help cure the ache spreading in her body. 

Adora dislodged herself from the hug and dabbed at her eyes to stop the tears from streaming down her face. “Thank you guys so much.”

Bow’s crooked smirk as she started getting out of the car reminded her that she really did have people in her corner. Glimmer was already climbing over the console to get in the passenger’s seat, wiping her face of any leftover tears. 

“Good night,” they both said. Adora nodded to them, slamming the door as she watched her car pull out of the driveway and in the direction of Glimmer’s house. 

She took a deep breath and walked into her house. It was just as she left it; pristine, tidy, and orderly. Well, except for the cereal bowl in the sink. She went over to it and started washing her plate, the silence of being alone creeping in her ears. 

Usually, she might’ve taken her bass to her room and polished it. After a big performance like this, she always cleaned it until perfection. She didn’t even know where it was at. She never let it out of her sight. Her instrument was her literal baby, but she didn’t think she could even look at it right now without bawling her eyes out again. 

Once her bowl was washed, she opened her refrigerator to grab the coldest water she had. Her trembling fingers had no trace of strength left, but she managed to successfully get her water bottle open and down the entire thing. She was about to grab another one when her sweater suddenly became too restricting. 

She pulled at the collar to no avail. She traveled to her room and took her sweater off, standing in her jeans and polo shirt. She grabbed at some random tank top and sweatpants, changing into her pajamas for the night. It may only be eleven, but sleep was already sounding pretty good. 

But not yet. She had one last thing to do.

She threw her phone onto her bed, not checking to see where it landed. It could’ve cracked and shattered and she really wouldn’t have cared. She grabbed her laptop and pulled it onto her lap, getting all her unseen email notifications. She groaned at the seven she’d gotten in the past half hour. Did Shadow Weaver really email to get her attention? And she thought Horde Prime was the bad one. 

The notifications were disheartening to look at. She closed her laptop after about fifteen seconds. The internet was just about the last place she wanted to be right now. 

Adora buried her face into her pillow. She’d been so confident earlier that nothing could get to her anymore. She thought that the press had said their worst about her, from drinking stories to hookups. If anyone caught even a whisper about what had actually gone down, she was bound to be sent into anguish by all the enemies she's given free bullets to. They were going to gun her down without a moment’s notice.

When her breathing started to become labored again, she got up from her bed to her kitchen. She wasn’t getting enough air lying face down on her mattress. She swung the fridge open to grab the next free water, twisting the cap to pour the cold liquid down her throat. It cooled her down significantly, and her breathing regulated again. 

She swung her cupboards open, reaching up to grasp the first mug that she touched. It was a plain black one. No sentimental value. This mug held nothing of importance to her, which is why it was so easy for her to send it flying across the room with a grunt. 

The mug crashed into the door just as it was opening. The shattering sound was accompanied by a shriek that echoed across her walls. Adora rushed forward as quickly as she could, slamming the door before the person could reveal themselves. With what Glimmer said and the emails, she didn’t put it beneath Shadow Weaver to track her down to her house. 

Nothing was beneath her, which is exactly why her first reaction was to panic. 

“Adora?” 

That voice definitely did not belong to Shadow Weaver. She slapped a hand against her forehead, her eyes trained on the floor as she opened the door. Catra was standing there, her eyebrows furrowed as she walked across the threshold. 

“Sorry, I was taking out all my anger on some random cup when you came in,” Adora explained as she closed the door. “I swear I wasn’t throwing anything at you.”

Catra didn’t seem bothered. She thrusted herself forward into Adora, engulfing her face into her chest. “How are you feeling right now?”

Adora was brought back into their dance earlier that night and what it had felt like to have Catra so near, not needing to watch her back or make sure what she was doing was right. A few minutes ago, all she was worrying about was the right thing. 

In the present, she wrapped her arms around Catra and hugged her back.  

“Oh my fucking- I don’t even know,” Adora admitted. “I don’t. I can’t explain what I’m feeling. I’m all over the place. I’m still freaking out about everything. I’m sorry.”

She wasn’t apologizing for the performance. She was apologizing for being too caught up in her head that they probably won’t make any real progress. She wants to talk. She wants to figure things out between them before it’s too late and they never talk about this again. The last thing she wanted was for things to be ruined because of Shadow Weaver’s shitty attitude and some sketchy stuff going on with her phone. 

“No, don’t apologize,” Catra said, tangling her hands in her hair. “I know it’s hard. Even I sang today and I’m the weakest singer of the four of us! But I understand. I know why you’re upset. You don’t need to apologize.”

Shadow Weaver always expected her to fix her mistakes. To get everything back in order so nobody would know she messed up in the first place. She wasn’t used to being told it was okay for these things to happen.

Her hands traced Catra’s spine. Shadow Weaver was just as fucking awful to her as well. She only wanted Catra for the sake of making money and pushing her weird narrative of them being in a relationship. She’d gone as far as to make her feel that, without Adora, Catra didn’t have a place on this band. Adora was blinded by the contract, and Catra was trying to save them both. Neither of them were brave enough to try and pursue each other without fear. 

To Shadow Weaver, they weren’t important. The only thing that mattered was how much they could benefit her. If Catra or Adora got hurt in the process, it was only collateral. Never mind that they’re real people with real feelings. 

“What’d Shadow Weaver say after you left?” Catra asked. 

The words came back to her as she tucked her face into Catra’s neck. “She was pissed off at me, just as expected. I spilled water all over the place and she got mad. There was never going to be a different outcome.”

“What about now? Do you need more water?”

She shook her head as best she could. “I think I’m fine. I mean, besides the panic attack and ugly crying, I think I’m good.”

Catra pulled away to look at her. “Funnily enough, I almost ran off the stage with you. I didn’t notice anything going on until you came over to me with your bass. Obviously, we were all weirded out when you suddenly got pulled from the first number, but it all came together in those five seconds you were singing.”

“Shadow Weaver would’ve had both of our heads if you’d done that,” Adora chuckled, dragging her feet over to her couch and plopping down. “But thank you for thinking of me.”

“I’m literally always thinking of you, but you’re welcome.”

She chuckled again, throwing her head back to look at the ceiling. She felt the couch dip besides her where Catra sat down. Their knees were touching, sitting so close together. A small smile creeped onto her lips when it fully occurred to her what intention Catra had come to her house with. 

“After being stuck in the friendzone for two years, that’s the best thing I could’ve heard right now,” Adora admitted. 

Catra sighed beside her. “About that…”

Adora sat up. She turned to Catra quicker than she should’ve, her neck aching with the fast movement. Heat trickled down her back, every bone in her body tensing with anticipation. She expected to see an apologetic look as Catra explained she didn’t want anything from her anymore. 

She wasn’t expecting Catra to laugh. 

She waited for a moment as Catra’s laughter subsided into a small giggle, her confusion shooting through the roof. 

“I swear I’m not laughing at you!” Catra reassured. “I realized how fucked up that sounded as soon as it left my mouth and I was about to take it back when you were already about to pounce on me. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say it like that.”

Adora pressed a hand to her chest with relief, snickering when she imagined how she must’ve looked from Catra’s point of view. Soon enough, they were leaning on each other and laughing with nothing but delusion. Tonight had been taxing on her mind and body, but if this was what she came home to every night, then it must be worth it. 

The risk is worth it. They might ruin their friendship and all the fame they’d built up over the years, but that was a mere afterthought. They could get kicked out of the band and it wouldn’t matter. 

Maybe the band wasn’t what she needed anymore. 

Instead of getting validation from strangers on the internet and doing everything she could to make Shadow Weaver proud of her that she’d stop bothering her with the lead singer nonsense, she could get all of that from Catra. She didn’t want to manage the cameras and paparazzi anymore. Tonight was enough for her to decide she never wanted to deal with that again. Tonight was enough for her to decide Catra was all she needed. 

When it came down to singing in front of a crowd of thousands of people when she didn’t want to and slow dancing with Catra, slow dancing won every time. There was never a scenario where she wouldn’t pick Catra. She was almost positive Catra felt the same way.

“Look…” Adora started, her heart pounding out of her chest as she searched for the right thing to say. “I meant it when I said I was never giving up on us. I didn’t try before, but now I’m pushing through until something happens.” She reached over and took Catra’s hand in hers. “I’ve almost got you where I want, and I don’t want to let go.”

“I’m going to keep this short.” Catra squeezed her hand, her words shaky. “It's been two years and I can't think of a better way to say this besides just saying it. I have so much more to tell you, but we have the world to ourselves right now. It can wait a little bit. Adora, I love you. I have since we met, and it's only escalated from there. I love you, and I'll keep saying it if I have to.”

Adora couldn’t stop the small gasp that came from her mouth. When the tears pricked at her eyes, it wasn’t out of sadness. For the first time in years, a sense of ease settled over her.

Catra loves you. She loves you back. She wants this too. You were never alone in this.

“Catra-”

The shrill ringing of Catra’s phone cut through the air. Catra brought it out from her pocket and declined it without even checking who it was, focusing all her attention back on Adora. “Sorry, keep going.”

Adora swiped frantically at her eyes. She didn’t think she could cry anymore, but maybe it was just because she’d been so stressed. She was swimming with happiness, and judging by Catra’s watery laugh, they were swimming in the same pool. 

“Catra, I love you too.”

She’s never dared to utter the truth out loud. She’d always been limited to keeping it in her daydreams and simply wondering what it’d be like to tell Catra one day how she felt. Saying it now was both suffocating but also gave her the same euphoria of breathing clear air for the first time. The enjoyment of being on stage made her happy enough, but it’d never live up to what she was feeling right now. 

Catra’s phone rang again just as she opened her mouth to say something. She paused, laughing when Catra groaned and checked her screen. She stopped when Catra’s face completely dropped.

“Who is it?” Adora asked, trying to sound as nonchalant as possible. 

“Adam.”

Adora watched as Catra answered the phone and put it on speaker. She didn’t know if she was more baffled or concerned. Why wasn’t Adam calling her? Why did he go to Catra?

Catra tried to greet him, but Adam was already talking. “Is Adora with you?”

“Uh..” Catra stuttered. “Yeah? She’s right next to me.”

“Where’s Glimmer and Scorpia?” He asked next. “Why aren’t you answering, Adora? Have you seen anything I sent you?”

“Wait, hold up,” Adora cut in. “Glimmer and Scorpia are probably home. I didn’t have my phone on me so no, I haven’t seen anything. What’s going on?”

“I’m sending it to Catra.”

The line went dead. Adora shifted uncomfortably, the hot air of the room turning icy with the drop in energy. So cold it burned her skin, leaving goosebumps to run along her arms. She just confessed her love to her best friend: the same friend who reciprocates her feelings. She wanted to elaborate more on that so she could leave her petrified state, but a weird feeling was churning in her gut. Instead of talking about the bombshell they dropped on each other, they sat with their hands laced until Adam sent them a link to one of Horde Prime’s articles. 

Her heart went still when she saw the headline. 

BREAKING: The Rebellion Has Been Lip Syncing This Whole Time

Chapter Text

When Adora first joined the band, she had the same nightmare for a month straight.  

The fame and publicity had caught up to her before she could fully process everything. They’d been an instant hit, one that she wasn’t prepared for. She thought they were going to struggle a bit at the beginning, but she had no plan for the one in a million chance that they blew up. 

Their formation was a weird one. She was halfway through her freshman year of college in a little garage band with people whose names she can’t even remember. Shadow Weaver had found her and offered her a guaranteed spot in a band that was already signed on with a record label. She never finished university, which sucks because she might’ve gotten her backup degree. 

The records sold. Their social media presence surfaced and they quickly had to adjust. Meeting Glimmer, Catra, and Scorpia had been the highlight of the entire beginning experience. They were the ones that got her through the initial anxiety that came with being out there on display for everyone. 

Her nightmare would start with her on a beach. She didn’t know where it was or how she got there. She’s never liked the beach much. The sand made her body uncomfortable, getting everywhere and making her life a mess. The water was too cold to actually swim in, and the sun burned her pale skin. She never relaxed, the screaming children and squawking seagulls causing too much of a ruckus. 

The beach has never been good to her, making it the perfect location for a nightmare. Except there wasn’t anyone to bother her or make her want to rip her hair out. She was in absolute solidarity, and for a moment, that’s what she believed.

Being alone wasn’t for her. She enjoyed being isolated on the beach for only about a second before the painful loneliness hit her and she started breathing too quickly for her own good. 

Once the panicking feeling of being alone had sunk in, the bright sun would change to thundering clouds. Her pajamas weren't enough to cover her skin from the blaring heat rays of the sun, never mind trying to protect herself from overgrown raindrops that hit her arms hard enough to make her lose her balance. 

She stumbled towards a pier in the distance, searching for some kind of shelter that would protect her from the lightning that was beginning to strike. It came down and set a nearby palm tree on fire. Something told her that she was next.

Adora sprinted towards the pier. The lightning struck twenty feet away, then ten, then five. It hit her in the back of her ankle, causing her to trip over into the sand. The irritating grit feeling of tiny rocks spread all over her figure, her loose shirt and pajama shorts doing nothing against the weather that was trying to kill her.

She lifted herself onto her elbows, peering at the dock that was a short run away. She tried to stand up again, but the lightning struck in front of her. It was warning her not to take another step forward. She complied easily, laying in the sand as the rain pounded around her, keeping her trapped in one spot.  

But she’s impatient. She pushed onto her knees, her damp hair dripping onto her back. She shivered when she heard a crackling noise, and the lightning struck her in the heart. She woke up, sweaty and hot after she disobeyed and died in her nightmare. 

At the time, she assumed it was the universe telling her a cautionary tale. It was telling her not to fuck up in this world of fame, to stay ahead and not to shoot herself in the foot.

She took a risk, one that was too risky. She always woke up just as the lightning hit her, but never stuck around to see it finish the job. She was there this time to see everything fall apart; to see the results of her mistakes instead of waking up to take the easy way out.

She only thought of it right now because she was transported back to those nightmares. To her initial anxiety of being thrust into this world of celebrations every night, a camera at every corner, for just about the entirety of the internet waiting for either her downfall or the next great thing she’s going to do. 

But what if she didn’t have the next great thing? She’s been struck by the lightning. She was sinking in the sand, unable to move because of the obstacles in her way. She didn’t know how to get herself out of this captivity to escape before she died without being able to wake up. 

She wasn’t that little freshman who left college to pursue her band dreams. She’s not the same person she was last year, or even last week. She spent a month with this nightmare before Catra guided her through it, Scorpia tied it to a specific meaning in her life, and Glimmer found ways for her to have nights where she didn’t have to dream at all. 

It had only lasted that very first month they really started blowing up, but the meaning has stayed with her up until now. She ignored all the warning signs that were thrown at her.

Stay in your lane. Don’t mess up in front of anyone. Keep out of trouble. Reel it back whenever necessary. Just listen to Shadow Weaver and make life easier. Follow the rules.

That includes not falling in love with your bandmate. 

Adora lifted her head from Catra’s phone to look at the girl sitting right next to her. That suffocating feeling was there again, but not the same as earlier tonight. The performance had knocked the wind out of her, but the pouring rain and roaring wind sapped everything out of her until she just laid there and waited for the moment she got too irritated and started doing her own thing.  

“Oh fuck…” Catra mumbled. 

Oh fuck indeed. 

“Oh, fuck!” Catra stood, stumbling over Adora’s shoes that were haphazardly strewn across the floor. “How the fuck-”

Adora leaned forward, her elbows resting on her knees. She stared at Catra pacing up and down her living room, but she couldn’t hear what she was saying. She couldn’t hear anything. She’d been hoping for a nice evening after all the shit she’s done for everyone else, but it passed by her before she could take a pause. 

She was going to lay everything out. She had this whole thing planned, she’d found that Catra one hundred percent reciprocated her feelings, and she might’ve never had to hear Shadow Weaver ask her to be the lead singer again. After one loss, she had won again in the most beautiful way. 

Catra had told her she loved her too, but the brakes turned on before she could take this road and drive down to see where it leads her. They were making progress, but within the span of a ten second phone call, it was ripped out from right under their noses.

Funny, considering a phone call is what started everything and is now the thing to end it. 

“Okay, what does the article even say?” Adora asked, standing until she was in front of Catra. “Is it just a clickbait title? Because there’s no way Horde Prime found out by the performance alone. He might be talking about something else for all we know.”

Catra brought her phone out, handing it to Adora. Skipping over the headline didn’t help calm her down, and neither did the photo of her walking off stage. Who even took that? Who thought to take a photo of it instead of leaving her be and do what she needed to?

Her eyes skimmed the article. She was searching for evidence in particular, ignoring the way he slandered her singing and Glimmer’s ability. What gave them away? What about the performance made it obvious that it wasn’t Glimmer singing those high notes?

After going through the article, she found that his claim was overhearing Shadow Weaver talk about Glimmer’s lip syncing to someone else. He compared the audio to Adora’s backup vocals and discovered that they were the exact same voice, and decided to report on it to “stop any more lies coming from the girls who claim to be transparent”. 

She doesn’t remember ever claiming to be completely transparent with her fans. He wasn’t being any more honest than she was. She knows damn well he didn’t overhear anything. Bow was the only one around when Shadow Weaver spoke about her to Entrapta. So what exactly did tip him off?

“Fucking hell!” Adora threw Catra’s phone onto the couch, letting it land softly on the pillows. “He’s a lying piece of shit and we need to know the truth!” 

She buried her face into her hands, blinking back the tears. It had to have been her fault after all. He wouldn’t know unless she did something during the performance that made it obvious. 

A pair of arms wrapped around her waist from behind. She took her hands off her face, turning around to see Catra standing with her nose pressed into her shoulder. She could see Catra’s eyes screwed shut, her lower lip tucked in her teeth, her hands that were shaking ever so slightly. 

Adora was grateful that there was one thing Prime hadn’t found out about. He questioned her about Catra a few times, but he never knew how much this girl actually meant to her. He tried to wiggle his way into their situation and find answers, but he had no clue how far this truly went. It was something he’d never report on, something he didn’t have all the information on. 

Catra let out a shaky breath, the air refreshing on her neck. Adora shifted around in her arms, moving to press her forehead against Catra’s. She felt the jerk in Catra’s knees as they crumbled, sinking to the ground with her. 

Adora’s arms wrapped around her neck, holding her close when she heard a soft crying sound. She pulled away for a second to see Catra, swiping at her eyes to try and conceal that she was crying. 

“It’s okay,” Adora said, rubbing her back. “You can cry. Don’t pretend like you’re not, you can cry.”

Catra’s sniffles and warm body against hers distracted her for a moment. She could almost imagine they were in a completely different situation, another one that would warrant hugging as the air surrounding them turned icy. 

“I don’t even know why I’m crying…” Catra mumbled. “It’s not like I’m the one who was singing.”

Adora’s hand traced the back of her neck, curling her fingers around her hair. “I don’t know why I’m not freaking out right now. We’re processing this differently.” 

Catra winced in her arms. “Was it really bad? Being on stage and singing when you didn’t want to?”

“One of the worst things I’ve ever done.”

“One of?”

Adora squeezed her tighter. “Leaving you is up there on the list too.”

She had no idea how long they stayed there for. How long her mind was in two different places at once, bringing her back to her nightmare that was forming into a reality in front of her eyes. How long they anxiously awaited for any sign of life other than them: a call back from Adam, a voicemail for Shadow Weaver. After being on the floor for however long, a harsh knock that might’ve been a kick finally resounded in the room. 

She didn’t have to look through the peephole to know who it was. The loud pounding, followed by a moment of silence and soft knocks, told her everything. It seems Bow and Glimmer had a detour on their way home, and she knew exactly what had caused it. 

Adora turned her head to look at Catra one last time, savoring their final time alone before opening the door to reveal a hotheaded Glimmer with pacifist Bow behind her, shutting the door much gentler than anyone else would’ve. She wasn’t the same tear streaked, on the verge of her latest breakdown Glimmer from about fifteen minutes ago. Her anger was evident, lying in the way she clenched her fists and how loud her stomping was on Adora’s carpet floor. 

“My mom called me, and when I told her we were driving, she told us to pull over,” Glimmer  started, plopping down onto the floor next to Catra with a loud thump. “We weren’t even at the next light yet when she told us the news, and we turned our asses around and came here.”

“Have you guys seen yet?” Bow intervened. “Check Horde Prime’s website.”

“Yeah, we saw…” Adora rubbed the back of her neck, sighing with what little energy she had left. She sat back down on the couch, Catra leaning her head against her knees. “And we don’t know what to do.”

“Shadow Weaver’s no doubt on her way over here already,” Glimmer said, chewing her bottom lip. “Scorpia already called me and said she was halfway over. Apparently the article’s went out only five minutes after we performed, and none of us had seen it until now.”

“Between being pissed off at Shadow Weaver, the mess of a performance, and…” Catra caught herself before she could expose her and Adora’s ulterior motives from tonight. “Anyways, we didn’t have a chance to see anything. It’s not like we could’ve prevented this.”

“Me and Adora were in a car the whole time and you guys were on stage,” Bow added. “If anything, Shadow Weaver should’ve been the first to know.”

“We called Entrapta too, by the way,” Glimmer continued. “She has more connections to Prime and whatnot, and we knew she’d help us figure out what happened.”

But what did happen? There’s no reason for Prime to think they were lip syncing in the first place. He wouldn’t have known to compare the audios, or what to look for in terms of evidence, or even that this specific night was going to be the one that Adora would sing at. 

Unless… 

“Shadow Weaver said the only reason I had to sing in the first place is because the audio file I sent her was corrupted,” Adora started. “How would it have gotten corrupted at all? That’s never happened before in our years of performing, and it surely wouldn’t have happened the same day this article goes online.”

Glimmer thought for a moment, drumming her fingers on her knee. “From what Entrapta told us, your phone messed up the audio and fucked up all the important stuff.”

“Adora, let me see your phone.” Bow held a hand out, waiting expectantly. 

Catra looked up, placing a hand protectively on Adora’s thigh. She welcomed the warmth, smiling quickly at her before passing her phone to Bow. She interlocked her hand with Catra’s, choosing to ignore Glimmer’s glance at them. 

“Where do you usually store your audios?” Bow asked. 

“ICloud,” Adora said, letting go of Catra’s hand to open the app for him. She hid the app as best she could with other mundane apps, such as the calendar and clock. He didn’t say anything about how sneaky she was being with it, and for that she was grateful. 

He opened the app and began scrolling. She threw her head back onto one of her pillows, waiting for him to do whatever he needed to.

“He’s really good at technology stuff,” Glimmer said randomly. “He built a really cool PC. You guys should see it one day, just saying.”

Catra turned her head to look at her, her face cracking into a sarcastic smile. “One day, maybe.” She took a deep breath. With Catra’s hand still on her thigh, her other one went around Glimmer’s shoulders. “I’m sorry, Glimmer.” 

Even Glimmer’s eyes went wide with surprise. “What?”

“My problem was with Adora and I got unnecessarily mad with you,” Catra shrugged, moving out of the embrace. “Adora’s apologized for all her shit, but it seems a little unfair for me not to say anything to you.”

Adora saw what was coming before Catra did. She rocked forward, a hand on Catra’s back to keep her in place as Glimmer tackled her in a hug that sent them both sprawling out onto the carpet. Catra squealed with displeasement, but Glimmer’s hips kept her in place on the floor. She swore she heard Catra hiss, but Glimmer’s excited laughter and Adora’s delighted sighs was much louder.  

“Glimmer!” Catra clawed at her back, but Adora could see the grin creeping up on her face. “Sparkles, off!” 

Glimmer shook her head, instead slapping a kiss on Catra’s cheek. She yelped in shock, but Glimmer still wasn’t budging. Adora covered her mouth to stifle her laughter, but she didn’t do too well. She saw Catra glaring at her as Glimmer’s hands ran through her hair, untangling any knots from their little wrestling session. 

“You have no idea how happy I am to hear that!” Glimmer sat up, clapping her hands. Catra laid out on the floor, subjecting to her fate of Glimmer perched on her lap. “I was so scared that you were going to stay mad at me and I have no idea what I even did.”

“It wasn’t anything you did, which is why I’m apologizing!” Catra reached up and playfully swatted Glimmer over the head. “I was too angry for too long. I got mad at the wrong person, and I shouldn’t have given you the cold shoulder.”

Adora couldn’t keep in her giggles, even as Bow looked at her with pity. Their moment of harmony was interrupted by his deflated shoulders and long expression. Glimmer got up from her place, grabbing Catra’s hand and pulling her up to a sitting position. Whatever Bow found, it was enough to shatter the peacefulness in the room. 

“Well…” Bow flipped the phone to show them the screen. “There’s duplicates of everything in your iCloud. There’s double photos, double videos, and double audios.”

“Audios?” Adora grabbed her phone, looking through the trash folder first. She always deleted the audios after a performance to avoid something like this happening. There shouldn’t be any audios at all, least of all double. “Those shouldn’t be there.”

“They were recovered somehow. “Is there anyway for Prime to have gotten access to them? Because I seriously can’t think of any other way for him to have the audios and to know to compare your voice to the performance tonight.”

“Not that I know of? Honestly, I don’t know. Every time I’ve talked to him, I’ve forgotten most of the exchange.”

Catra’s ears practically perked up, her hand clutching Adora’s thigh with a death grip. “When you guys had your dinner, he had your phone.”

Adora’s eyes widened, racking her brain for any memory of that moment. She couldn’t think of one, no matter how hard she concentrated. Just like before, she had no recollection of anything. The frustration didn’t come from Catra knowing more than she did, or Prime having all the information, but from her own inability to provide anything useful to the conversation. 

“I hate to break up this revelation, but Scorpia just texted me that she’s outside with Entrapta,” Glimmer cut in. “We should tell them what we know.”

Adora sighed. “Let them in.”  

She watched as Glimmer stood from her spot on the floor and went over to the door, glancing back once more at them. Catra got up and sat next to Adora on the couch, keeping one hand on her thigh and the other on her wrist. Bow stayed in place, rooted to his spot and watching carefully as Glimmer opened the door. 

They were expecting an apologetic Entrapta and a frantic Scorpia. They definitely weren’t expecting Shadow Weaver to come barreling in first, shoving Scorpia from the threshold and treading heavily into her living room. 

Adora welcomed Catra with open arms every time. She welcomed Bow and Glimmer, who had come to her house on instinct. She welcomed Scorpia, who was there for her every time something went wrong and could confide in Adora whenever she needed to. She welcomed Entrapta, who was only trying to help ease the pain of their situation. 

Shadow Weaver was not welcome.

She nearly jumped away from Catra when she realized she didn’t want to anymore. They had many moments that were secrets, made just for them, but this didn’t need to be one. If it pissed Shadow Weaver off to see them this close, then quite frankly, she couldn’t find it in herself to give a fuck anymore. 

“How the hell did you know we were here?” Catra demanded. 

Scorpia walked in fully, Entrapta right behind her. Shadow Weaver had already stopped in front of them, not looking at them first, but at Bow. 

The other boys weren’t here. If they were, it might’ve looked like they were hanging out amongst themselves after a tough performance. But it was only Bow, and Shadow Weaver’s imagination was just as active as Adora’s. Adora could piece together what was going on between him and Glimmer, and she’s as oblivious as it gets. If she could do it, do doubt Shadow Weaver was figuring everything out. 

“What are you doing here?” She asked Bow, pointing an accusatory finger at him.

Bow, looking unsure of what to say, glanced at them for help. Catra cleared her throat, grabbing the attention of the room. “My question first. How’d you know we were here?”

“I’m not answering anything until I know why he’s here.”

Entrapta stood between Bow and Shadow Weaver, a protective hand on his shoulder. “You are not going to interrogate him while we have more pressing issues than your bullshit contract that makes your girls miserable.”

“I have my contract that way to do what’s best for them. You can’t speak on behalf of my girls when I’m the only reason they ever made it out of their college garage bands and on stage performing in front of millions.”

“There’s no point in performing when we hardly enjoy it!” Scorpia shouted, shocking the room with her fiery voice.

Adora can count on one hand the amount of times she’s heard Scorpia yell, and yell angrily at that. Scorpia could get upset, and she’ll get aggravated and irked just like everyone else. But she wasn’t one to shout at anyone backstage, or stomp all over the living room. She especially isn’t the one to interrupt an argument between two people when one of them holds some power over her. 

“It’s so idiotic that we have to follow every single thing you say!” Scorpia continued, gradually making her way closer to Shadow Weaver. “We don’t want to just blindly follow orders! Sometimes we want to do our own thing! I’m twenty-two and can’t even hug people without getting permission first! You’ve never done what’s best for us, but for you!” 

“Do not talk to me that way.”

“I think she can talk to you however the fuck she wants to talk to you,” Catra defended, leaving her place by Adora’s side to stand alongside Scorpia. “But like Entrapta said, we aren’t here about the contract or anything like that. We need to figure out exactly what happened and that’s not going to happen if we’re all fighting about different things.”

They all turned to Entrapta, who could tell them the most about Horde Prime and his antics. Adora was almost scared to get to the bottom of this, to know exactly what he did to expose her biggest secret. 

Catra tilted her head sideways, her mouth in a thin line as they waited for a possible answer.

Well, one of her biggest secrets at least. 

“Okay, we need to start from the very beginning,” Entrapta said. “How do you send the audios? In what format? A zipped file? Just an MP3?”

“Usually it’s zipped and I’d unzip it right before the performance,” Shadow Weaver answered for her. “Adora sends everything from iCloud and deletes it as soon as it’s hooked up to the speaker.”

“I actually want to hear Adora explain.”

Adora took a second to regain her grounding. Talking back to Shadow Weaver wasn’t exactly new, per say. When someone like Catra is in the band, it’s bound to happen at least once a week. She can’t think of a time when another adult said something to her in their defense, to work with them instead of against. 

“Well, I have a mic setup in one of the rooms and I record the audio on there, send it to my phone and save it on iCloud. I’d email it to Shadow Weaver afterwards as a zipped file, and when she gives me the green light, I delete it. I don’t know what happens after that, but it’s completely removed from my iCloud.”

“Which is why we’re confused as to why there’s now duplicate copies of all her audios in her storage.” Bow coughed, sheepish for his interruption. “I know you wanted to hear from Adora, sorry.”

“Wait… What?” Entrapta stormed over to Bow, her eyes wild. 

“We just checked her iCloud right now and there’s duplicates of just about every audio the band has ever had. If they were deleted, there shouldn’t be any way to recover them at all.”

“Adora wouldn’t even be able to recover the audios if they were completely deleted off her phone. Someone got them back, and I’m willing to bet my entire inheritance that it wasn’t any of you guys.”  

“Not even that…” Adora groaned, the feeling of hopelessness sitting at the bottom of her stomach. “There’s duplicates. Why are there duplicates?”

“There’s something missing!” Catra shouted. “Listen, something happened and I think Adora needs to be the one to explain.”

She knew this was coming, of course. Her dinner with Prime was never going to stay a secret. It’d be impossible to with Shadow Weaver digging into her life at her every action and the public eye on her whenever she leaves her house. Quite honestly, she wonders how it hasn’t leaked already. But with everyone expectedly looking at her, she couldn’t stall for much longer. Her only chance at leaving this conversation unharmed was for Shadow Weaver to be more upset about literally anything else.

Considering she got badgered every time Shadow Weaver even suspected she broke the contract, it seemed unlikely. 

Adora took a deep breath, going through her memories one last time to recall each and every last detail she could remember. “You have to know I only did this to prove something to myself and it didn’t even work. You just… Hear me out first before getting angry, okay?”

Shadow Weaver raised an eyebrow, and it was good as any cue to begin. “Horde Prime had emailed me about a week and a half ago asking if I wanted to have dinner with him. I accepted, but only because he said it wasn’t an interview. And… I don’t think it was.”

She waited for the inevitable yelling. Maybe even to be kicked from the band on the spot, banned from ever talking to the other girls to keep up a certain appearance. 

The silence that followed her confession wrecked her nerves. Catra’s mournful look went between her and Shadow Weaver, waiting for the woman to respond in the worst way possible. 

Scorpia inhaled deeply, redirecting everyone’s attention from her. She smiled gratefully, Scorpia returning the gesture for a millisecond before putting on a serious face. “Prime has drugged her twice now. The first time when we all met at that party and Catra had to carry Adora home. The second being the dinner.”

“We took care of her and everything,” Glimmer assured. “We made sure nothing had any lasting effects on her or anything like that. But we didn’t know what had happened the first time until after the dinner and-”

“How the hell did you manage to hide all this from me?” Shadow Weaver asked, almost impressed. “If he had you stumbling from another restaurant, he would’ve jumped at the opportunity to report on that for evidence of ‘Alcoholic Adora’ or ‘Drunk Adora’. I can’t imagine why he wouldn’t say anything.”

“Because he wasn’t after a story about a drunken celebrity losing her shit,” Catra interrupted, newly found anger audible in her voice. “He was trying to get something else. When I found Adora with Prime that day, he had her phone and was going through it. All of a sudden he knows about the lip syncing and just so happens to release this story on the night the audio from her phone completely fries up and she has to sing? That’s not a coincidence.”

“I just can’t believe you didn’t tell me anything about this!” Shadow Weaver cried out, throwing her hands in the air. “All four of you knew and hid this?”

“Five, actually.” Catra’s lip quirked up in a smile, her smart attitude clearly enraging their manager much more. “Bow’s known this whole time and didn’t say anything.”

“You can't do things like that without letting me know! Now look what happened! If I had gotten a heads up, we would’ve known Prime was behind all this and I would’ve pulled your entire performance from the show to prevent exactly this from happening!” 

“If he knew, this was going to come out at some point. We were going to perform Bad Romance at some other concert, music festival, whatever. The same thing that happened tonight was going to happen the next time we played that song. He was waiting for us. Knowing wouldn’t have made a difference, and it’s stupid to try and blame us when we were just trying to protect ourselves.”

“Protect yourselves from what?”

“You!”

Shadow Weaver backed up, her posture changing with the shift in mood. “What? That’s ridiculous. Everything you guys are in the first place is from me. Who got you that nice record deal that lets you hang up those shiny platinum plagues on the wall?”

“You know, that’s so funny!” Catra threw her head back to laugh. “You’ve been telling me that the only reason I’m… well, anything, is because of Adora. You never mentioned yourself in those situations. Why are you saying that now?”

“Don’t be an idiot. Adora got your name out there. You know damn well it didn’t happen because you’re good at drums.”

She saw the snarkiness leave Catra, replaced by an aura of disappointment. Adora wanted to reach forward, grab her arm and assure her again and again that it wasn’t true. Adora couldn’t even name the different drums, or adjust to singing in such short notice like Catra did for Glimmer. 

Adora could kiss her right now with zero regard for anyone else in the room. Help her understand why Shadow Weaver lies were meant to mess with her head. Show her that they weren’t true. Bring a thumb up to her face, stroking her cheek. Brush her hair out her eyes, her lips all the more accessible. 

She was thinking about the wrong thing here, and she needed to get out of this fast before she exploded.  

Her mind wasn’t all that focused on being outed for the singing. Quite frankly, most of her stress was from the thought of keeping it a secret, ignoring it for the rest of her life with that small inkling in the back of her head that this would come out at some point. With the news coming out this early, it gave her an ultimatum. 

It could be her the way out of the band. The one she’s been waiting for this entire time so she could just be free and happy. She wouldn’t have to look over her shoulder, or smile whenever a finger pointed at her. She wouldn’t have to be polite to every single person she met, or constantly checking her social media to see how many likes she got. There wouldn’t be any more journalists like Horde Prime, willing to do whatever it takes to get his bold headline paired with a controversial story. No more staying out late on the weekends, entertaining whoever she needed to in order to keep up her appearance and spitting image.

No, on the weekends she could stay in. She could sleep in until noon, eat whatever the hell she wanted for lunch, and maybe cuddle with the girlfriend she’s always longed for. Stupid, gushy stuff that’d been withheld from her that she might finally get to do.

“Catra doesn’t need you, and neither do any of us,” Adora began, her throat closing up ever so slightly. “Glimmer has always been talented with her singing, Scorpia’s always been a badass with her guitar, no one could ever play the drums like Catra can, and I was able to perform a song I’ve never done live with my bass at the same time. I don’t give a flying fuck about your definition of success. We’d be winning life right now if we weren’t stuck under your thumb.”

Shadow Weaver scoffed. “Don’t put this on me. I’m not the one who released the details about the performance tonight.”

“No, but you’re the one who forced me onto the stage and got mad at me afterwards for no reason.”

“Shadow Weaver, I think you’re going to have to leave.” Glimmer smiled as she spoke, but there was no trace of kindness on her face. “We’re going to figure this out with Entrapta.”

“Yeah, no. Listen-”

“I will literally call my mom right now, and you know how she feels about you.”

Shadow Weaver finally showed an ounce of regret for the first time that night. Before she could respond, Entrapta moved to the door and opened it for her. “I wouldn’t want to deal with an angry Angella at one in the morning. Hordak is already with his brother and I’m more than willing to stay with the girls and Bow to sort out where they want to go from here. We will let you know what they come up with when a solution is reached, but that’s never going to happen with you here. So get out, and we’ll tell you everything later. Okay, bye now.”

“You can’t do anything with them without my permission first.”

“Considering the fact that they’re people and not property, I think they can do whatever the hell they want.”

Glimmer’s smile changed to one of fondness. “I’m about ten seconds away from calling my mom and she won’t be happy if I tell her some of the things you’ve said. Just get out.”    

Shadow Weaver wasn’t pleased. Her defensive nature wasn’t being met with the same reaction it usually did. They always did what Shadow Weaver told them to, blindly obeying without objection out of fear. The energy wasn’t the same tonight. That same scare tactic isn't working. Maybe it’s because the band has been doomed from the moment they stepped on stage earlier, or maybe from something else.

Whatever it is, Adora’s grateful for it.   

Shadow Weaver started over the threshold, but not before pointing a finger at Entrapta. “I leave, and you tell me everything first thing in the morning.”

“I’ve got this covered,” Entrapta reassured. “Get out.”

The door slammed behind her, and nobody was sad to see her go. Entrapta rewarded them with a small clap, smiling to each of them individually. “Now that we’ve got her out of the way-”

“Do you have this covered?”

Catra’s question caught everyone off guard. 

“What?” Entrapta asked for clarification. 

“Well…” Catra made her way over to Adora, grabbing her wrist and taking her across the living room. “I have to borrow her.”

Adora tucked her lip into her teeth to hide the smile that tried to slowly creep onto her face. She had no clue what Catra was planning, or why she’s doing this in the middle of something important they should be here for. 

But Entrapta’s eyes softened, gesturing to the door with a nod. “Go ahead.”

“We probably won’t be back by morning, but oh well!” With that short notice, Catra swung the door open and waved goodbye, closing it behind her without giving Adora the chance to wave or… anything. 

Once they were out, Catra turned to her with the widest smile she’s ever seen. Adora’s heart might as well have melted, seeping into the ground to never be uncovered again. But honestly,  that’d be pretty okay with her. 

“What?” 

“Nothing…” Catra sighed. “I just love you so much.”

Adora took it as a challenge, raising an eyebrow playfully. “Yeah? Prove it.”

She didn’t expect Catra to start pulling her towards her car by the wrist, laughing with their entire stomachs down the driveway. But Catra’s unpredictable, and her nature was just one of the many things Adora loves about her. 

 


 

“What are we doing at your house in the middle of all this?” Adora questioned once they reached their destination.  

Catra got out of the car first, leaving her keys in the ignition. Adora couldn’t see why that was a good idea, or any of this, really. She reached over the console to grab the keys, the metal lightly scratching her skin. She never understood why Catra keeps all of her keys on one keyring. 

“Oh, yeah...” Catra chuckled as Adora hopped out of the passenger seat, handing the keys back. “I forgot I needed those.”

“We’re losing our minds right now,” Adora reminded. “I don’t exactly blame you for it.”

Adora walked alongside Catra, stopping on top of the soft welcome mat. She had a distinct memory of Scorpia buying her that for her birthday.  

Catra unlocked her door, strolling inside without checking to see if Adora was behind her. She saw the Nintendo Switch still on the floor as if it hadn’t been touched since the day she left. She wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case, but she wouldn’t exactly feel great about it. 

She’d made her choice to go that night. She was finally doing right by it. 

Adora was the one to turn on the lights, squinting as the brightness flooded her vision a little too quick for her liking. She saw the blur of Catra moving around her living room, grabbing something from a bookshelf on the wall. She moved her box sets of books she never had the time to read to get something from the very back. 

She let Catra do her thing, walking over to the Switch strewn on the floor. She picked it up gingerly with her hands in a last effort to wash out what happened last time. She held it in her hands, her chipped nail polish clashing with the blue and red controllers. She glanced at Catra, shook her wiggles out, and put the system to charge. 

Once she let go, a sense of relief flooded over her. She’d just thrown the game on the floor and ran out without a second thought. Putting it back in its place, knowing she wasn’t going anywhere anymore, solidified everything she’s said since New York. 

When she turned back to Catra, the girl was still collecting something from her bookshelf. She waited patiently, wandering around the house for a couple minutes. She hadn’t realized she ended up in her bedroom until Catra’s breaths filled her ears. She likes having that reminder that Catra’s real, and she’s right in front of her despite everything that’s happened today, and yesterday, and last week. 

“So…” Catra cleared her throat. “This has been in the making for two years now and I never thought I’d be showing you this, but it looks like the band might never see the light of day again. I’ve got nothing to lose, so better now than never.”

Adora waited, and Catra sat on the edge of the bed. Adora mirrored, sitting next to her. Their shoulders touched, their knees clanking together. She wanted to silently curl up at her side and stay like that for a while, but her curiosity was getting the better of her. Catra had a stack of papers in her hand, her handwriting running along the white sheets from top to bottom. 

“Scorpia and Glimmer usually write the songs. Composing is more their thing, you know? But a couple times here and there, I tried it out for myself. These were probably written within like… I don’t know. An hour? I wrote these to vent, more than anything. Just a way to take out my feelings when I knew they were wrong. They aren’t anything super good or mind blowing, so don’t expect too much out of this. I just…” She paused. “I feel like I need to show you.”  

Adora wasn’t following. “Okay. But what is it?”

Catra laughed. “Just take a look at them, idiot. You’ll see what I mean.”

Adora took the papers from Catra’s hands, the title at the very top bigger than any of the other writing: Sweet Creature. 

She read the words that danced across the paper, careful not to crease the paper anymore than it already was. The other papers underneath made a crinkling noise as she held it up closer to her face, squinting through Catra’s dim bedroom light to get a better look at everything and take it all in.  

“Are these…” Her loss of words came when she reached the next paragraph. “Lyrics?”

And, oh, we started

Two hearts in one home

It's hard when we argue

We're both stubborn

I know, but oh

Catra nodded, a small smile on her lips as she pointed to the chorus. “Yeah. Yeah, they are. I think I wrote this after I got mad at you for the whole ‘spiked drink’ incident. Honestly, that argument seems so unimportant now compared to everything now.”

The implication settled in her stomach, the air suddenly very hard to inhale. “Wait… You wrote these about me?”

Catra’s hand over hers answered her question. She flipped to the next page, and the next, reading the titles at the top to get an understanding of everything Catra could feel about her. She put it into words, and if recent events were anything to go off of, the ink hasn’t dried yet. 

The band’s song titles weren’t anything special. Their writing process went more into the lyrics than it did the titles. But the ones Catra had written were nothing like that. There was creativity and delicate thought put into every part of these songs, and the titles were proof of that: Two Ghosts, Sunflower Vol. 6, Canyon Moon, Fine Line, Golden. 

When she got to one called Ever Since New York, Catra squeezed her fingers. “I wrote that one after we got home from listening to Scorpia and Sea Hawk’s demo. We were going to wait until Saturday and I wanted to kiss you again so bad. So, instead of doing that, I wrote this and got it all out of my system.” 

She flipped to the one called Medicine, her cheeks reddening as she read the lyrics more carefully. Catra’s flustered laugh cooled her down a bit. “Well, not all of it.”

“When did you even write this?” Adora asked, trying not to giggle too much like a schoolgirl. At least she wasn’t the only one who had these thoughts. The ones that kept her up at ungodly hours of the night, that had her reaching for the waistline of her pajama shorts and ignoring her guilt as her mind slipped into the gutter. 

“I had this dream one night,” Catra recalled. “It went on for about a month. It didn’t help that we went to Paris to perform at that one event. Honestly, I can probably describe it in detail, but I’ll spare you for now. It was when you and I shared a hotel room and Glimmer and Scorpia took the one across from us. You paraded around the room with your tank top and tiny shorts and I swear I was about to switch with Glimmer because I couldn’t handle it.”

“So what’d you do?” 

Catra hit her over the head, her smile bright. “I wrote the song! It’s not exactly the most family friendly, as you can see, and Shadow Weaver would’ve killed me if she’d seen it.”

And when I sleep, I’m gonna dream of how you tasted

Yeah, Shadow Weaver would’ve had her head for that one line alone. 

“I thought I was taking these with me to the grave,” Catra admits. “Because of the content and what the songs are about, I knew I couldn’t bring them up with Scorpia or Glimmer, never mind ever showing them to Shadow Weaver. They were always going to be my secret. But now…” Her arm wrapped around Adora’s shoulder, pulling her in closer. “I think I have a better one.”

The words stuck. Secret. Catra didn’t plan on showing her this. It wasn’t her intention, and it wasn’t meant for her to see. But she’s right here, sitting next to Adora with their arms around each other, talking things through instead of assuming what the other meant, showing her something that used to just belong to Catra.

It was theirs now. Adora’s eyes watered ever so slightly. “Hey… This is the most important takeaway from tonight, okay?” Her head settled into Catra’s shoulder. 

She started flipping through the pages again, stopping to read lyrics and wipe her unshed happy tears. She was nearly at the bottom of the pile when one in particular caught her attention, the title looking oddly familiar. She thought it was her name at first, but upon closer inspection, she saw it wasn't that at all. 

Adore You

“So these are all about me?” Adora asked once more for clarification. 

“Yeah. Yeah, they’re all about you.”

She couldn’t imagine hiding all these papers in a bookshelf where anyone could find them. She couldn’t imagine having written something like this, planning on keeping it for herself, and then working up the courage to show someone else. 

Not even just anyone. Catra wrote these songs in private about Adora and trusted her enough to see them. 

“You’re insane but I love you so much,” Adora muttered, sitting up to lean her forehead against Catra’s. “I can’t believe I can say that now.”

Catra pulled away from her, much to her displeasure. Catra rolled her eyes at her pout. “I just want to lie down.” 

She watched how Catra fell against her pillows, her head bashing softly the pillow, her mattress taking the shape of her silhouette. Every detail of her was one she couldn’t look away from, and she was more than happy to sit here and decipher all of it. 

“What do you think Hordak’s doing right now with Horde Prime?” Catra wondered out loud. “Getting answers? Maybe a prison sentence for drugging you?”

Adora collapsed onto her side, facing Catra. Her arm underneath her head wasn’t the most comfortable, but the moon dancing over Catra through the window made her forget the temporary problem to focus on something more permanent. 

“I’d hope for both,” Adora replied. “But I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”

Catra’s heavy breathing resonated louder than her pounding heart. “You know, I used to think I was impossible to love. That no one could ever look at me with sweet eyes, or kiss me or want to hold me. Even with you, I thought it was completely platonic or I was getting led on, but I know you aren’t cruel. You’re one of the best people I know, and I love you for that.”

“You’re worth the world to me, Catra…” She whispers. “I didn’t let myself love. I wanted to be that good girl that listens all the time and didn’t get into trouble. I wanted to do more for other people than I did for myself, and that meant not indulging in my feelings. I don’t know when the line between just friends and love of my life blurred together, but it did. And I felt awful for it.”

“You gave up too much for other people.”

“And you gave in too much.”

She could feel Catra’s low chuckle on her cheek. “I did… I really did. As much as I hated Shadow Weaver, I still did everything I could to stay on her good side.”

“I got forced onto her good side. She made me into what she wanted to be and I blindly followed.”

“God, imagine how much crap we could’ve avoided if we’d just left the band earlier?”

Adora laughed as she remembered a memory from the festival that started all of this. “I used to tell everyone I wasn’t getting sued for you. In reality, I had promised myself that I would pursue this relationship if you ever wanted to take it further. I just didn’t want anyone else to know.”

“Secrets, secrets, whatever. I’m just glad we won’t have to deal with this anymore.”

It settled in about an half hour ago that the band was doomed. Hearing it out loud solidified everything. This was something they couldn’t recover from. Besides the fact that Adora’s getting kicked out regardless for her dinner with Prime, it’s not like they could continue from where they stand now.

“We’re really going to have to disband, aren’t we?” Adora waited for Catra’s slow nod before continuing. “I wanted to leave. It just sucks that it’s not going to be on our own accord.”

Catra smirked. “Was it ever going to be?”

Quite honestly, no. Either Shadow Weaver was going to kick one of them out or something was going to force their hand at it. She didn’t think it was going to be both. “Shadow Weaver’s going to hate us after tonight. For some reason, I don’t really think that’s a bad thing.”

“It feels like it should be…” Her ears barely picked up Catra’s whisper. “Like maybe she should care that she’s going to get rid of us because we talked back to her with more attitude than normal, or because you went on a dinner on your own and didn’t inform her.”

Adora reached forward and latched onto Catra’s hand with her own. “That night… You said you were the one taking care of me and made Glimmer and Scorpia swear not to tell me. What was it like?”

She expected a bit of resistance, but Catra’s small smile was a welcome surprise. “Do you remember that one time when we did that show in Chicago? The one where-”

“-Shadow Weaver wasn’t supervising us and flew back to California at the last minute?” She knew exactly where Catra was going with this. “Yeah, somehow I do remember that.”

“I’m surprised because you were very black out drunk after having half a bottle of vodka and maybe… Four shots?” Catra chuckled. “It was kind of like that. I was the sober one taking care of you because Glimmer wanted to cruise the city with Scorpia. I made you eat an entire box of crackers after, which was stupid of me because I didn’t know you’re supposed to have them before drinking.”

“Well, it evens out.” The gleam in Adora’s eyes and Catra’s dreadful groan meant she knew what story Adora’s recalling. “I think it was Idaho? The most random place of all time, and you somehow got alcohol poisoning.”

“In my defense, Shadow Weaver literally put me on time out at the concert and I was pissed off!” Catra said in between laughs. “My decision to get wasted that night came from sitting in a corner for fifteen minutes because I forgot my drumsticks in the hotel room.”

“We’ve forgotten everything in the hotel room. We left Glimmer there one time, and Scorpia was the one to notice but we were already at the airport. Shadow Weaver boarded the plane because she didn’t want to put up with our bullshit, but the three of us caught an Uber and went to go pick her up.”

“Oh yeah! I remember that one!” Catra’s fingers tightened around hers as threw her head back in laughter. “The driver was an asshole and tweeted out where he was dropping us off! It felt like every paparazzi in existence was there, and we all came out of this little Uber and dragged Glimmer out of the hotel room and back to the airport.”

“Then the flight we got after missing the first one was delayed!” She shook her head. She still couldn’t believe stuff like this happened. “On top of that, we had to deal with a pissed off Glimmer because we didn’t notice her showering.”

“She was so bitter for so long. She refuses to take showers last, but she’s also the one that takes the longest.” 

“I swear Scorpia takes the shortest showers ever.”

She paused. “I still can’t believe I thought you were in love with Scorpia…”

The sudden topic change caught Catra off guard. “What happened with that?”

“Shadow Weaver called me one day and said that she wished it wasn’t you and me as the marketable couple, but you and Scorpia.  I took it as ‘they have feelings for each other and I’m the one in the middle of it’. You were on the phone with her the night I left and I could swear I thought you hated me. It’s the reason I left. Plus you latched onto Scorpia after ignoring me and I started overthinking absolutely everything.”

Catra’s steady hand moved a strand of hair from her face. “She was always a sister figure to me ever since the band started. I’ve never had any type of romantic feelings for her, and there’s never been a time at any point since I’ve met you that I hated you. Angry and jealous? A hundred percent. But I don’t think I could truly hate you if I tried.”

Adora shifted off her side, crawling over to Catra’s side of the bed. Catra moved from her side to her back, watching as Adora propped herself into her lap and straddled her hips. “What about everything with Glimmer?”

Catra sighed, even as Adora brought her forehead down to rest against Catra’s. “You’d disappeared that night, and I was confused, but left it at that. You texted me that you were sick, and said the same thing the next day. Then Glimmer says you guys were hanging out the whole time you were gone? I thought you left me to go hang out with her and we all know how much of a bitch jealousy is.”  

Adora’s finger stroked her cheek. “I really am sorry for that. I was too caught up in my own mess with Scorpia that I disregarded you. But know that Glimmer is, and has never been, on my radar. She’s been halfway in love with Bow this whole time, and I couldn’t look at her the same way he does.” 

“Damn, we really were a mess…” Catra comments. 

“But without that mess, I wouldn’t be in your lap right now.” Adora’s voice lowered dangerously. “I wouldn’t be in your bed, on top of you, whispering in your ear. Maybe I need to kiss you so hard you can’t remember your name.” 

Catra leaned into her. “You’ve already done that. Do it again.”

Their lips connected in the middle, so hard and so fast that Adora’s dizziness hit her square in the face. Her hands went from Catra’s hips to her wrists, gently pinning them next to the pillow. Catra wasn’t complaining. She knew she wouldn’t.  

Her hair tie was getting looser by the second, strands of her blonde hair ticking Catra in the nose. Adora groaned and sat up when she realized Catra was about to sneeze, ripping the damn thing out of her hair and tossing it to the other side of the room. In her frustration, she’d managed to throw it way past the door and out into the hallway. 

Cata’s laugh ended her. “What? Are you really that eager?”

Adora had a feeling she knew how to cut off her laugh.    

She rushed forward again and kissed her, pressing into her body more than she had the first time. The cackling promptly stopped, but she still wasn’t satisfied. No, she wouldn’t be content with this moment until she had Catra sighing underneath her, panting and at a loss for words because there was only one thing on her mind. 

Adora moved from Catra’s lips to her throat, experimenting with different spots along her neck and collarbone to see which had the most reaction. She found a little area of skin right where her shoulder blade started. She kissed the small patch, and the rewarding exhale told her to do it again. 

“You’re gonna leave a mark!” Catra complained, though her voice sounded more raspy than usual.  

Adora smiled. “I think it’d look good on you.”

The deafening silence that followed was accompanied by a chuckle. “You are too much to handle sometimes, you know?”

“Yeah, I know.” She lifted her head from Catra’s neck back to her face, a stupid grin splitting her apart. “But now you get to deal with it for however long you’ll have me for.”

“So... Is this it?” Catra’s hand on hers ignited a fire in her stomach. “Is this our future?”

A future for them was something limited to her dreams. She didn’t think she’d see the day when it came true. “Sure does look like it.”

“Darling…” When Catra kissed her again, everything vanished until it was just the two of them. “I adore you.”

Chapter Text

THE REBELLION’S NEXT STEP

By: Double Trouble   

The Rebellion, one of the most talked about bands of the past two years, have since come forward about the lip syncing allegations that former journalist, Horde Prime, has made against the band one week ago. 

The Rebellion consisted of four members: Glimmer, Scorpia, Catra, and Adora. Three of the four play the various instruments seen on stage, however one of these girls also happened to be the backup vocalist for lead singer, Glimmer. 

The allegation made against the girls was that Adora, the backup, has been singing the high notes for their most notable song: Bad Romance. The band’s manager has gotten back to us with a statement to defend herself and her girls against Horde Prime’s words:

“This is the only instance where the girls have ever lip sang,” Shadow Weaver told us. “Glimmer is a very talented individual, but for this certain song, Adora was the only one who could hit those notes. They never liked it, and I’m deeply sorry for all the fans we’ve hurt since this has come out."

Unfortunately, we’ve also heard back from the guitarist. Her news was not as optimistic as the manager’s. 

“We came together and decided we didn’t want to make music anymore,” Scorpia says. “There’s a lot of stuff that went down backstage and behind the scenes, and maybe one day we’ll tell the rest of the story. For now, we want to leave it at that. We love the fans and their endless support, but we know we can’t keep going after something like this.”

Boys Night Out manager, Entrapta, has almost come forward with a statement of her own: “Horde Prime did not get this information ethically. He got it by tricking one of the girl’s into an interview, drugging her, and getting into her phone and sending himself all evidence of lip syncing.”

Authorities have been called, and this is not the first set of performers this has happened to. Other members of various bands have spoken out against Horde Prime and his way of manipulating situations to get his story. 

[Photographed on the left: Horde Prime being escorted out of his home by the authorities]

We can reassure the world of Hollywood and paparazzi that he won’t be bothering any performers anytime soon! 

With the unfortunate news of The Rebellion disbanding, there’s still one question fans have been dying to know since the beginning of the band’s formation: Are Catra and Adora, the bass and drum players, dating?  

The question goes unanswered, but photographed on the right is a photo of the two girls walking down a sidewalk in Los Angeles while holding hands. They’ve been seen in public before, but they sport bright smiles and loving faces. Are the two dating? Here’s what Adora had to say:

“All I’m going to tell you is that we’re in a much better position now than we ever were when the band was together. I love her very much, and I’ll let you guys decide what that means.”

We wish the girls good luck on whatever their next journey may be. 

 

Adora put her phone down on the pillow next to her, a smile creeping up on her face. Double Trouble’s article could’ve gone in a completely different direction. It could’ve focused on the fact that they lied to their fans and addressed every single rumor that’s ever come near the band. 

But it didn’t. It was very kind, and she couldn’t help but laugh a bit about the quote they used from her interview. She had a feeling it was going to be one of her last interviews for a while, so she decided to be as vague and mysterious as possible. Her and Catra have been trending for the past two hours now, but for once, she couldn’t find a complaint. 

She lied on her side, facing the door to watch when Catra walked in with a glass of water. “Hey, guess what?”

Catra stood in the doorway, raising the glass to her lips to think about her answer. She lowered it, a mischievous glint in her eyes. “Glimmer and Bow announced their relationship?”

Adora scoffed, but only playfully. “One of them has to ask the other out first. No, come look.” She sat up, moving to sit against the headboard. She unlocked her phone, traveling back to the webpage with the article. “Double Trouble wrote a really nice article. They even used my quote about you.”

Catra sat down next to her, setting the water on the nightstand. “Wait, so that’s why my name has been all over Twitter?”

Instead of answering, she passed her phone to Catra to read. She decided to get comfortable, laying down against the pillows and throwing an arm on top of her eyes. She felt Catra’s hand on her wrist, their legs intertwined at the edge of the bed. She’s never been one to fall asleep at random times, but she's pretty close to knocking out any second now.  

Catra moved her arm from her eyes, and the smile crept back onto Adora’s face. She leaned against the headboard, a finger tracing the pattern on Adora’s palm. “We can always count on Double Trouble to respectfully report about us.”

“The only media outlet I’ve ever trusted.” 

Catra nodded her head at the small clock they had on the wall. They’d bought it yesterday for no reason besides being able to make purchases on their own. It wasn’t necessarily an act of rebellion anymore, but it still made them feel a little better after all the chaos and mayhem. 

“It’s kind of late.”

It’s three in the morning. “Kind of?”

Catra lied down next to her. “We’ve stayed up much later these past couple of days.” She wasn’t wrong. Catra dug her nose into her neck, tickling the spot right above her collarbone. “What’s wrong? You’re all red.”

She hadn’t even realized her face flushing up. She moved her head to where she was facing Catra, swatting her lightly on the shoulder. “I think you know why.”

“I do.”

Adora sighed, her eyes slightly dropping. A yawn escaped Catra’s lips, though she tried to cover it up with her hand. It’ll take a while to get rid of the habits Shadow Weaver drilled into them, but it’ll happen eventually.

“Are you happy that Horde Prime’s gone?” 

Adora’s been waiting for his arrest ever since she found out he’s the one responsible for her random fainting spells. “Of course. But there’s other things I’m much happier about now.”

Catra’s small smile and soft chuckle had Adora craving to hear that sound again. She swung her legs over Catra’s, waiting for her to comfortably press her face into Adora’s chest. When she did, Adora’s fingers settled on her waist, right where her sleep shirt exposed a sliver of her skin. It’s become her favorite thing to touch nowadays, wanting her hands on her at all times just because she can. 

“Your hands feel nice.”

Adora went higher, ever so slightly. If she squinted enough, she could see the dark spot she left on Catra’s collar bone last night, hardly visible anymore. She was right when she said the marks would look good on her. 

Her other hand traced the spot peeking out from the edge of her shirt. She heard a sigh of frustration from Catra. “This looks nice.”

“What? Do you want a matching one?” Catra teased, her lips finding her neck. 

Adora shook her head. “Maybe later. I am pretty tired right now. I just wanted to stay up to see when Double Trouble uploaded their article.” Catra pouted, and Adora flicked her on the nose. “We can do whatever you want in the morning.”

Catra raised an eyebrow, throwing her head back onto the pillow underneath her. “Whatever?”

“At this point, it’s going to be morning by the time we go to sleep.”

“Fine…” Catra settled back into Adora’s chest. “But aren’t we meeting everyone tomorrow?”

“We’ll find time,” she reassured. “I promise.”  

“I’m holding you to that,” Catra mumbled against her. “As long as we get to kiss for a very long time, I’m cool with it.”

It still boggled her mind to hear something like that come from Catra. 

Adora angled her head down, lifting Catra’s chin with her thumb and pressing their lips together. Her eyes slipped shut, and she didn’t have to open them to know that Catra had closed hers too. She knew she enjoyed these moments where only the two of them existed just as much as she did. 

Unfortunately, the lack of sleep (especially from these past couple nights) were starting to catch up to her. Adora had to pull away first, pressing her face down into the mattress to yawn into it. She heard Catra’s low laugh, a familiar hand rubbing circles on her back. 

“You are so tired,” Catra commented. “C’mon, let’s just go to sleep.”

Adora nodded in agreement, moving her phone from the bed to the nightstand. She left it on vibrate before turning away from it, the view of Catra’s half asleep form much more pleasant than anything her phone could show. 

“Do we need an alarm?” Catra asked. “I can’t remember what time we said we were going to meet everyone at.”

“I think we’re fine. Even if we’re late, it’s not like they can do anything without us.”

“Scorpia does wake up at seven in the morning, and she might get Glimmer up with her.”

Adora threw an arm on Catra’s waist, the other sliding underneath the pillow. “There’s no way we’re waking up any earlier than ten tomorrow.”

Catra’s leg bumped against hers. “You owe me that promise now.”

Adora’s eyes were already slipping close, but she wanted to stay awake for a couple minutes more. Catra noticed her fighting off sleep and brushed a hand behind her ear, toying with a strand of hair that had fallen out of her ponytail. 

“The earlier we fall asleep, the earlier we’ll wake up.”

“That’s the kind of stuff you tell a kid who’s over excited to go to Disneyland and refuses to listen to their parents.”

“Yeah, and you’re an adult. That should tell you everything.”

Adora chuckled, her tiredness finally getting the best of her. She closed her eyes, that feeling of slowly slipping away hitting her square in the chest. The relaxation had settled over her, though she was all too aware of Catra’s nails scratching her scalp, holding her head in place for Catra to stay as close to her as possible. 

She rested her chin on the top of Catra’s hair, the tickling sensation on her nose hardly bothering her. A random memory of sharing a hotel room with only one bed and having to fight over the blanket the entire night popped into her head. At least they’re a little more coordinated now, although they did have a debate the other night about who gets to sleep on the left side. 

Catra totally won that one. Adora couldn’t resist the puppy dog eyes she flashed.

Right as her tiredness started overtaking her, Catra’s low whisper drew her back into alertness. “Do you think we’ll stay here forever?”

Adora yawned. “What do you mean? I’d love to stay like this forever.”

Catra chuckled, but Adora could tell that she was holding back. “No, I mean…. Do you think we’ll stay in Los Angeles forever?”

She considered for a moment. The city gave her some good memories, but there’s plenty of awful ones that she still carries with her. The only reason she stayed in Los Angeles is because of the band, and there’s none of that anymore. “I haven’t really thought about it.”

“I’m just saying because… There’s nothing really keeping us here, right? We can leave at any time if we really want to.”

She considered for a moment. “New York was nice.”

“It was… Maybe we could go there.”

“I’ll go anywhere as long as I get to have you there.” Adora’s yawn was much louder this time, earning another hearty laugh from the beautiful girl next to her. “Alright, I’m about to knock out. We’ll continue this in the morning.”

“Okay, fair. Goodnight,” Catra said, her voice worn from the hour. “I love you.”

Adora held her tighter, ignoring the awkward way their knees clanged together. This whole thing is still going to take a little getting used to. She wasn’t super used to sleeping in the same bed with anyone, but she’s willing to take the time to get used to it. 

“I love you too.”

When she drifted off into sleep, she found herself back on a tropical beach. She wasn’t in the sand this time, but sitting on the edge of the pier. She felt a pair of familiar arms wrap around her shoulders, and she didn’t mind being in the location of her nightmares for once. Her daydreams made up for it.  

 


 

 

“Well…” Glimmer dumped a pile of random junk onto the table. “This is everything.”

Over the years, the amount of belongings they’d left at the studio had accumulated. They didn’t necessarily mean to leave beanies and hoodies and other stuff, but it just happened. It’s not like they ever went back for it, but if they had to clear out, then it was worth getting some of it back. They noticed that the lack of Shadow Weaver’s items meant she’d already been here. 

Adora picked out a green pullover that she wore when she was sick once during a recording session. She’d recorded her vocals a week before, and her only job was to play her bass for the instrumental. Although it had been absolutely freezing at her house, she started sweating buckets and coughing all over the place.

Taking off the pullover didn’t help, only working to have her shivering on a barstool. She pulled it out of the pile as Scorpia ransacked the heap, tossing aside one of Catra’s blankets and Glimmer’s old Hunger Games book she was reading during a session that Shadow Weaver took away. 

“Are you really still looking for those headphones?” Catra asked her with a raised eyebrow. 

Scorpia sighed when she got to the bottom of the pile and didn’t find her black headphones that she swore she left in the studio one day and never saw again. “I know they're here!”

Glimmer shook her head, exasperatingly grabbing her book off the floor. “You know damn well you left them at the airport when we were coming back from Arizona.”

It’s been a little over a year since Scorpia lost those headphones. They’d gone from the airport after a performance straight to the studio, and by the time they were released, Scorpia realized she didn’t have her favorite pair of headphones anymore. She swears on her life that they were still at the studio, but she’d been wearing them at the gate before boarding and Adora doesn’t remember seeing them after that.

“I never got to finish this book,” Glimmer commented as Scorpia continued filing through the mound. “I was only like... halfway through. I’ll probably restart the series one of these days if we’re going to have infinite time on our hands.”

“Why didn’t you just buy a new book?” Catra asked. 

Glimmer considered that for a moment. “Huh… I don’t know. I never got around to it. I was only on the second one anyways. It probably is time for a reread.”

“I liked the second one the most,” Adora inputted. “It was the most entertaining for me.”

“You guys read?” Catra smirked. “I don’t think I’ve touched a book that wasn’t filled with sheet music since this band started. The time hasn’t been there.”

No wonder Catra hid the songs in her bookshelf. If nobody was even thinking about searching in there, they were never going to be found. 

She turned to see Scorpia, sitting defeated at the end of the table. “Well, the headphones aren’t here.”

“I told you-”

“Are you sure you looked everywhere?”

Glimmer scoffed. “I’ve been here with Bow since six in the morning because neither of us could sleep, and we went through everything here. I assure you that there’s nothing we didn’t find.”

“So how long did you spend searching?”

“About…” Glimmer paused. “Four hours? This studio is huge and we’ve lost a lot of shit over the years. We went out for breakfast after and I dropped him off at his house, and I guess that’s when Shadow Weaver came and grabbed her stuff.”

Scorpia started mumbling under her breath about her headphones, but Adora smiled when she saw Catra with a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. 

“I can’t believe I’m barely finding this again...” Her nail toyed with the tag. “I haven’t seen this blanket in so long.”

“Oh, I remember that one!” Scorpia pointed to it. “Wasn’t it from that one time we were in the parking garage until five in the morning because Shadow Weaver wanted us to brainstorm song lyrics but we couldn’t leave or go back into the studio?”

“Yeah! And we grabbed the blanket from my car and sat huddled in the trunk for warmth.”

Adora has a distinct memory of having to cuddle close to Catra, their shoulders bumping and their breaths creating fog in the air. The most vivid moment from that night was Catra ducking underneath the blanket, Adora diving in after her and their faces inches apart as they were hidden from their other bandmates. 

If she tried hard enough, she could probably come up with over a thousand of small gestures or instants where they could’ve done something about the unspoken thing between them and didn’t. All it took was a trip to New York, an argument that went too far, and five minutes where everything around them disappeared. 

“You know the ugly red jacket that Adora lost, but for some reason she likes it so much that she bought an identical one that she keeps in her car?” Catra grabbed something with the tip of her  hand, lifting it for everyone else to see. “I just found the original.”

She didn’t even remember leaving this jacket at the studio. She reached forward, seizing it by the sleeve before Glimmer could try and grab it. Everyone but her hated this godforsaken red jacket just because it’s all she wanted to wear for a couple months, and she was sure one of them had stolen it from her and never admitted it.  

“Okay, be honest here.” Adora stared down each of them individually. “Which one of you took it and left it here thinking we were never going to see it again?”

Glimmer raised her hand immediately. “To be fair, I wasn’t expecting you to buy another one. I thought that by leaving it on the roof of the parking garage that we would’ve rid the world of the stupid red jacket, but Adora over here didn’t understand that! Security must’ve found it.”

“We were so close to getting rid of it…” Scorpia saluted Glimmer in a mock fashion. “We thank you for trying, but your efforts were futile.”

“There've been many futile efforts to keep us away from the stuff that interests us for the sake of avoiding distractions,” Catra pointed out, her nose wrinkling is disgust. “Good fucking riddance to Shadow Weaver. We’re all glad you aren’t here.” 

“Amen to that,” Scorpia agreed, lifting a random piece of tableware in the air. No one had any clue who that had belonged to. “I’ve already reached out to my moms and we’re working on filing a restraining order against lots of people we’ve met.”

“Lucky for us, we all have one against Horde Prime now that he’s in prison and the court has a reason to give us one.” Adora couldn’t explain the relief that flooded her when she’d gotten that filed. He might be in prison, but he’s also a very rich man who could probably get out if he wanted to. At least she knows there’s no possible way for him to hurt her. 

“I wonder if we’ll still be chased down the streets when we walk outside and stuff.” Catra drew the blanket over herself tighter. 

“In a year's time, no one’s going to remember who we are,” Scorpia pointed out. “We’ll probably be spotted for a while in the beginning. It’ll get better eventually.”

Good. Adora could handle her relationship being public, but she didn’t exactly want pictures of her every single time she went out with Catra. There’s no stopping paparazzi, but it’d be nice to have it limited. 

“I might be in this world for a little while longer…” Glimmer smiles cheekily, her face dusted with a light rosy tint. “Bow finally asked me on a proper date after we get done here.”

Adora’s heart swelled with excitement on Glimmer’s behalf. They’d really hit it off instantly, and it gives her hope going forward that they could recover from this. Glimmer’s always been one of her biggest supporters (and instigators) for her relationship, and she’s more than happy to return the same energy. 

“I thought that happened a while back,” Scorpia laughs. “Considering the fact that when I went over on Tuesday and he’s the one who answered the door-”

“Anyways! We’re going on an official date and-” She cut herself off, staring at her phone as it lit up with a message. “He’s outside?”

Scorpia’s eyes went wide as Glimmer started grabbing her stuff off the table. “Wait! You drove me here!” 

Glimmer stared back playfully, her intentions clear in her smirk. “You’re better off driving with Catra and Adora. I’m terrible at the wheel, remember?” She gathered the last of her things, the book stacked at the very top. “I guess I’ll see you guys later. Are we still down for tomorrow, Adora?”

She flashed her a thumbs up, having been looking forward to these plans since they made them. “Go! He’s waiting for you!” 

Glimmer took one last look at the studio. They were coming back to lock up in a couple days, but Adora understood the nostalgic pain of it all. She waved goodbye, running out the door to go meet Bow. 

“We’re taking the next step, aren’t we?” Catra mumbled to no one in particular. “We should probably start heading home.”

Scorpia watched as they picked up various jackets and hoodies, along with Glimmer’s old retainer that she’d left behind. This wasn’t the last time they’d be here, or even that they’d all be together, but that pang in her chest hit her all the same. 

They stood by the door, a mess of junk in their hands as they prepared to head out. Catra randomly cursed out, her hand on the door handle. “Didn’t Glimmer have the keys?” 

Scorpia came to the realization before Adora did. “We gave them to her because she wanted to come early and we forgot to ask for them back.”

Adora groaned, but then found that she didn’t really care. “At least we’re not the ones getting sued if someone breaks in and steals our shit.” 

Catra’s smile brightened. “I like what you're thinking. Let’s get out of here.”

Scorpia took the lead, walking in front of them with a baseball cap she had found. They left too many of their possessions in the studio, and it’s a miracle that Glimmer managed to find them all.  

“We’re parked out front,” Catra instructed when Scorpia started towards the parking garage. 

“Obviously…” Scorpia shrugged it off. “Just remembering when you and Adora argued in the stairwell that one time.”

Adora nearly slipped on the marble flooring of the lobby. “How’d you know about that?”

“When you’re yelling in an echoey stairwell when the building is almost completely empty, your voices are going to carry over just a bit.”

Catra pushed the door open. The three of them spilled out into the parking lot, a look of dread on her face. “That wasn’t even the worst argument, but this is still mortifying.” 

Adora sighed. She never accounted for mistakes like that. “And we still got sent to New York alone.” 

“What happened there?” Scorpia stood by the car door as Catra unlocked it and got in the driver’s seat. “You guys came back different and we never got an explanation.”

Adora hopped in the passenger seat, Scorpia following suit in the back. “There’s a story behind all this and it’s not as bad as it sounds, I swear.” 

Catra started backing out of the parking lot. “I threw a cup full of ice at her.”

Well, that’s one way to start. “Catra!”

“Start with the worse, progress into the better.”

Adora rolled her eyes, leaning back against the seat. In the rearview mirror, she could see Scorpia’s confused expression sprinkled with interest. “Come to think of it, that probably was the worst of it.”

“What about the part where I told you I hated you?”

Scorpia was seriously bewildered by now. “Huh?”

“Oh, come on! You heard us on the stairwell. Everyone should’ve known that something like this was going to happen.”

“It was expected, but-”

Adora put a hand up to cut her off. “That’s the worst part. Don’t worry, the story is much longer than that.”  

Catra smirked. The longer part of the story may be one of the best parts. “We didn’t really talk at the airport. I pretended to be asleep for a good portion of the plane but I was secretly watching The Greatest Showman with her. But then she played Cast Away on a plane and even I can’t handle that, so then I actually went to sleep.”

“I don’t know why a plane would have Cast Away from the movies you can choose from in the first place…” Adora mumbled. “Don’t worry, the plane anxiety isn’t super high for me in situations like that. I was more nervous about getting Catra to talk to me.”

“And she tried! She tried very hard, but I was being stupid and I don’t like to admit when I’ve gone too far, so I didn’t. We did the business stuff Shadow Weaver needed, and Adora was fed up with me.” 

She nodded in agreement. “I made us start piling out all our problems right then and there. Granted, things escalated when I got a cup thrown at me. But…”

“I kissed her, we made out, it went on for a while until we got a noise complaint. It was pretty awesome, looking back on it.”

Adora looked back, expecting to see Scorpia on the floor with confusement. Instead, she got a cheeky grin that her friend doesn’t usually sport. “You don’t seem that surprised to hear about this.”

Scorpia shrugged. “I guess I’m not. We all suspected something was up when you left barely being able to look at each other and came back acting all weird.”

“You’ve been all giddy lately too,” Catra teased. “What’s happening with that girl back in your hometown?” 

Scorpia’s blush didn’t hide the innocent look she plastered on. “I just recently reconnected with her. It was an impulse thing, but I like where it’s going so far.” She pointedly tapped Adora on the shoulder. “Her name is Perfuma, so no, I am not secretly in love with Catra.”

Adora groaned, though she couldn’t contain a laugh that came straight from her chest. “Classic case of overthinking, I’m sorry.”

“I think Catra’s case was worse, considering Glimmer and Bow were just waiting for the day they could finally make things official.” 

“In my defense,” Catra cut in. “Jealousy was very mean to me.”

“Amen to that,” Adora agreed. “Perfuma? What’s she like?”

Scorpia reclined in her seat. “She’s one of the prettiest girls I’ve ever met, and as soon as I move back, I’m going to tell her that. I was always kind of into her when we were kids, but the reconnection really brought old feelings back to the surface.”

“Have you seen her lately?”

“I’ve snuck out a couple times, but nothing too crazy. She’s a gardener and enjoys the country life. I think I’d be down for something peaceful like that.”

Catra turned into Scorpia’s street. “Yeah, I want to get out of here too. I fucking love this city, and it loves me too…”

“But…” Adora waited. She’s reminded of Catra bringing up the topic of moving last night, and the serious undertone of her voice that seeped through her tiredness. 

“I want to get away for awhile.”

Catra parked in Scorpia’s driveway, looking back at their friend with hope in her eyes. They were free to do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. If they wanted to leave Los Angeles and start again in a rural area like Scorpia, then they most definitely could. Or, they could go to a more urban setting like Catra mentioned. 

Scorpia cracked the door open, but before she went out, she threw an arm around both of their shoulders. “I’ll see you guys later.”

“We love you!” Adora called out as Scorpia climbed out of the car. Scorpia waved at them from her door, and Catra waited until she was inside to begin pulling out of the driveway. 

Catra turned to her as best she could. “So I’ve been thinking…”

Adora stopped her there, putting a hand up to cut her off. “I get it. Staying here after everything feels wrong in a way.”

Her eyes lit up. “I was born and raised here and I’ve only ever left for the band stuff.”

“Getting away might be good for us. All the bad shit happened here. I’d be down for leaving for a bit so we could be us again. We’d just need to prepare a little more.”

“Have we ever been prepared for anything that we’ve ever faced?”

They weren’t exactly prepared for New York last time either. That much is obvious, considering how it’d gone. She doesn’t know much about moving, but she’s sure they could figure it out. “What would we need to do before we go?”

“An apartment, maybe?”

Adora smacked herself on the forehead. Having somewhere to live should’ve been on her priorities. “Right, right. That sounds important.”

Catra couldn’t contain her chuckle, reaching across the console to grasp at her hand. “Damn, we’re really going to do something like this…”

“If it means that we get to be happy and away from the drama and memories from Los Angeles so we could come back happier than we’ve ever been,” Adora paused, lifting Cata’s hand to plant a kiss on her knuckles. “Then yeah, we’re really going to do something like this.”

When Catra turned on the radio, it had one of their songs playing loud and clear. There’s no doubt in her mind that it’s going to announce the band breakup once it’s over, and she didn’t want to hear that. Adora switched it off, squeezing Catra’s hand tighter, and smiled.

 


 

 

“You’re Adora, aren’t you?”

She settled her bass on top of the counter, casting her eyes up ever so slightly. She’d caught the Guitar Center employee’s attention, and she could tell, by a small twinkle in his eyes, that he knows who she is. She glanced at his nametag, Jewelstar, and tapped her fingers on the neck of her bass. 

“Hi! Hey, yes.” Being spotted has always been a part of the job, but it still surprises her when they outright ask her instead of awkwardly staring.

“Wow… This is kind of insane,” he responded. “My younger sister loves you and she was super disappointed when she heard the news.”

She’s been involved in two different news scandals these past couple of weeks. “Which news?”

“The band breaking up. She didn’t care for the whole lip syncing thing, honestly, but she almost cried when she saw you weren’t making music anymore.” He looked down at her bass on the counter and realized what she came in for. “And now you’re here…” 

Adora knew that they’d have fans until the very end. She knew the younger ones wouldn’t understand the full weight of what they did, and she knew no one would understand why they’d use this as an out. They want to leave, and it wasn’t really a sad thing for them. 

“Yeah, I want to sell my bass,” she confirmed. “We’re moving on and I’m not going to have much use for it anymore.”

“Wow…” He whispered. “That’s pretty crazy.”

The sleek bass used to shine under the gleam of spotlights, its sound heard across thousands of people. The flickering lightbulb on the ceiling still illuminated the room, but it was only a slight glare. She found that she didn’t really care about how sparkling the light was. 

“It’s a big step, but we’re ready,” she said.  

He picked up her bass by the neck, examining the shine and color. She checked for other employees: a girl restocking a shelf, another guy standing by the ukuleles. Scorpia knows how to play one, and Adora tried it once, but she couldn’t find the enjoyment in it. 

“We could give you two hundred for the bass.” 

Her eyes widened. “What? That’s nowhere near the price I bought it for.”

“I know, but-”

“It was a hundred and fifty. I’m completely fine getting the same thing back, I swear.” 

It was actually two hundred, but she didn’t want to demand that of him. She loved this thing, she really did. But she didn’t want it anymore. No one but her should be paying the extra price for it, and the only thing that’s costing her is the nostalgia. 

“I’ve always found the bass a really depressing instrument,” he admitted as he searched for some papers. “It’s so low and only used to compliment other instruments. I don’t think I could play something that’s only ever meant for background usage.”

She grinned. “That’s the case most of the time. There’s a couple songs where you can hear me pretty clear, but it doesn’t happen very often. I like it, though. It’s a nice instrument that suits me. I’ve never heard it described as depressing before, but it’s pretty interesting.” 

“I can tell you love it. It’s not hard to see a performer’s passion when they play.”

“Did you say your sister was a fan, or you?” She teased. “Kidding. Yeah, this thing was my baby. I only ever let the girls grab it when I needed them to. They were the only ones who went near it. With all this happening, I want to move forward. I love my bass, but I feel like it’s a necessary step.” 

“Are the others selling their stuff?”

She knew Scorpia wasn’t. She wanted to keep playing, even if that meant strumming her guitar in her backyard with no one in her audience. Catra was giving her drums to a close family friend, and Glimmer doesn’t have much to sell. 

“That’s for them to decide,” Adora finally replied. Their business was theirs, and not for her to share with the employee at Guitar Center. 

“This is crazy….” He whispered as he scribbled something on various papers. He stapled them together when he was done, circling a box on the bottom. “Alright, just sign here. The bass for a hundred and fifty.”

He passed the papers to her. She grabbed a pen that lay on the counter, hesitating for only a second before pressing the tip to the paper. She signed her signature, which happened to be very different from her autograph. She hasn’t done an autograph in a while. 

Once she finished signing off the papers, she slid them across the counter. She tapped her fingers in impatience, glancing outside the door quickly. She left Glimmer standing out there all alone, and the last thing they needed right now was for somebody to notice them at a random Guitar Center. 

He checked everything over in no time, opening the register and filing through the cash underneath the cash drawer. He produced the hundred and fifty dollars, handing them off to her. She knew he felt like it was too little, but Adora wasn’t going to overcharge him just because she’s the owner. She accepted the money graciously.

“Thank you,” she said, a smile on her face. She held her breath as he picked up her bass and took it to a room behind him. She assumed they had to renovate it a bit, despite her attempts at keeping it in perfect condition.  

Once her bass was gone and he gave her the receipt, she turned right around and walked out the store. She didn’t know what she’d do if she stayed any longer, and the temptation to buy it back was already overwhelming her. She probably would, given enough time left by herself, so she left as soon as she could instead. 

She swung the doors open, having entered with her most prized possession and leaving with some money in her pocket. She found Glimmer leaning against the wall, sunglasses perched high on her nose as she scrolled through her phone. 

When Glimmer saw her, she pushed off the wall and walked towards her. “How much did you get?”

“A hundred and fifty.” Adora started towards the direction of Catra’s house. She didn't feel like driving, and the Guitar Center being only a block away was a perfect walking opportunity.

“I know you paid more for that thing,” Glimmer scoffed. “They always undercharge at places like this.”

“Actually, the guy recognized me and wanted to pay me the full two hundred dollars,” she shrugged. “I felt bad. I basically asked for the hundred and fifty.”

“So…” Glimmer latched onto her arm. “How does it feel? Any different?”

They stopped at a crosswalk, waiting for a second before crossing the street. She thought she’d have some kind of pang in her chest, or a sense of loss that hurt her the whole walk home. She could still feel the dread, but it wasn’t as severe as she thought it’d be. She’s been ready to move on from this for a very long time. It wasn’t hitting her like she thought it would. 

“A bit, yeah. But not how I thought I’d feel.”

“A good difference?”

She nodded. It was definitely a good difference. “For sure. It’s just… It’s crazy to me. We started off in this amazing position, thinking we’d won life by joining this band. And now we’re… Well, not happy about losing everything we’ve worked for, but it’s for the better.”

“You got a badass girlfriend, I’ve got a boy that went on a date with me yesterday, and Scorpia’s going steady with Perfuma. I think it has been for the better.”

A relationship was never going to survive under the pressures of the contract. If this is what it took for her to pursue Catra, then yeah. This was for the better. 

“How’s it going with Bow?” Adora asked. “I want to hear about the date.”

A giddy smile spread across Glimmer’s face, and that was all Adora needed to know. “You would not believe how amazing he is when we’re not sneaking around all the time. He’s been over to my house a couple times and we’ve ordered takeout, but this was the real thing. We went to Subway, so not the most romantic, but best care scenario because it was practically empty.”

“So for your first date, you guys ate sandwiches?” 

Glimmer swatted her on the arm. “How did your first kiss with Catra go? I never heard about that.”

She’d have to explain it in detail to Glimmer later, but she’s interested in a different story today. “We were arguing in the hotel room and ended up making out in the end. It was great, she kisses exactly how you’d think she does. How was the date?” 

Glimmer rolled her eyes, but it was obvious she wanted to gush about Bow more. “We went to Subway, right, and we shared a little more about ourselves. I told him about my mom, he told me about his dads. He loves them so much, it’s adorable. He’s adorable. Adora, I’m so excited to see where this goes. I really like him and I think this is going to last.”

Adora could tell this was going in the right direction. Bow’s an amazing guy, and he offered some of the best support throughout the entire disbandment. Glimmer’s head over heels already, and that meant something.

“I know this is going to be a good thing. I know it,” Glimmer continued. “You know that feeling when you meet someone, and after getting to know them for a while, you can feel it in your bones that it’s going to work out?”

She did. “You do know I’m dating that someone right now, right?”

Glimmer scoffed at her own oblivion. “Right, right… That feeling? I’m feeling it right now. And I really like it.”

“As you should,” Adora confirmed. “I’ve had that feeling since we met, and only now are we acting on it. Fucking crazy.”

“It is crazy. I didn’t have to wait two years to date Bow. How did you and Catra handle it?”

They didn’t exactly have the patience of saints, but they somehow lasted. Her feelings never faded, only growing and eating her up as time went on. Eventually, they got to where they wanted to be. It might’ve taken ages, but it worked out in the end. It seems it always works out, considering the four of them were now on the pursuit of happiness. 

“We broke a lot of rules, to say the least,” Adora said in shortened terms. “It was necessary to get to this point, but we stood our ground against time.”

“And now you guys are going to leave for a little bit?”

“For a bit. Staying in the city isn’t the best for us, and we want to get away for awhile. It’ll be better for us, and surprisingly, we liked New York a lot.”

Glimmer grasped onto her arm as they walked into the driveway of Catra’s house. “I like it here. Bow has to stay for band stuff, and I don’t really mind it all too much. I think I’d be happy here now that we don’t have all the restrictions and rules.”

Adora led her to the door, her hand loosely gripping the doorknob. “Yeah, I think you would be too.” She turned the knob, swinging open the door to the sight of Catra on the couch. She had a cheeky grin, her laptop prepped on her lap as she caught wind of them. 

“I was just saying bye!” Glimmer waved, but stayed rooted to her spot. 

“Well, I have some very lovely news about a decision that I sporadically made that I know Adora’s going to love,” Catra announced. 

Adora raised an eyebrow, leaning on the doorway. “Yeah? Let’s hear it.”

“I bought one way plane tickets to New York for five in the morning.”

Before Adora could begin to process that, Glimmer burst into laughter. Glimmer and Catra combined truly made a chaotic pair. “You guys are crazy. I’ll go and let you guys pack then if that’s what’s happening!”

Adora watched in astonishment as Glimmer grabbed the doorknob and closed the door behind her. She chuckled for a second before remembering what Catra had said. 

“You bought one way plane tickets for five in the morning… today?” Adora asked for clarification. 

Catra’s cheeky smile returned. “Yep! I was looking, and same day flights are usually the most expensive.”

Adora waited. “But…”

“No buts. These tickets were expensive so that means we have to go.”

“Catra!” She walked over to the couch, peering over Catra’s shoulder to look at her laptop screen. Sure enough, there were two plane tickets that had already been paid for that are set for five this morning. “It’s already four!” 

“Then we better hurry up and start packing! You heard Glimmer.”

She surprised herself when a loud laugh rumbled from her chest. She ran a hand through her hair, fishing for the hair tie on her wrist to put her blonde locks in a ponytail. “You’re fucking crazy. You’re absolutely insane.”

Catra’s eyes found hers. “You still love me.”

Adora sighed. She was defeated every time by the sight of her. She could already picture it: Catra standing on the balcony of the apartment they wanted, the sunset making her skin glow more than it does. When it turns dark, she’d be brighter than any of the city lights. Adora’s heart skipped a beat just thinking about it.

“I do. But I’ll love you so much more if we had a place to sleep when we get there.”

Catra moved to a tab with hotel reservations. “We’ll stay here until we can get a lease on an apartment that’ll be easy to get out of when we want to move back here.”

“Oh my god…” Adora sat down next to her, pressing her face against Catra’s shoulder. “How did you get all of this done? We were only gone for half an hour at the max.”

“The art of moving fast, my dear.”

She couldn’t find the words to thank her, or to explain her gratitude for getting all of this done. She stuttered out syllables, but she knew Catra could understand her. “So… we leave tonight?”

“That’s the plan.” 

Adora stood, waving her hands frantically as she realized the extent of what she would have to do in the next thirteen hours. They’d have to pack, get to the airport, and make it to the gate without difficulty. And they only had thirteen hours to get everything done. 

She went to Catra’s room, considering everything they’d have to take. They could always buy stuff over there, like cleaning supplies and bed sheets. They probably only had about five or six hours to pack and use the rest of the time to drive and get there with some sense of calm. Although calm isn’t exactly the word she’d use to describe herself right now.

Catra wrapped her arms around Adora from behind as she continued to stand in silence. “We don’t have to leave the house until at least one or two, right? We could get to the airport at around three or four and be fine.”

Adora twisted in her arms, facing her until their noses were touching. The opportunity to finally clear their minds, to get away from the chaos that’s been fucking with them for years, to be together. Thirteen hours was enough time to get to where they needed to be. They did spend two years dodging each other, after all. She’s sure they could be speedy when they wanted to be. 

And that’s how they found themselves in Catra’s car at one in the morning, loading suitcases into the trunk and keeping carry-on bags in the backseat. The hazy glow of the street lights added to her adrenaline, and it only made her pick up the pace. She plopped herself in the driver’s seat, her nails running over the steering wheel. 

The last time she sat here, she stole the car and spiraled out of control. She prefers these circumstances much more. 

“So we’re telling Glimmer and Scorpia to pick up the car from the airport, right?” Catra asked, opening the door to the driver’s seat and sitting. She had her hair in a braid to one side. Catra noticed her staring and smirked, propping her feet on the dashboard. “I know you adore me, but we should probably get going.”

“Alright, Wild E. Coyote,” Adora joked.  “You’re blowing up your roadrunner here.” She put the car in reverse, pulling out to the street and pausing when she got to the edge of the driveway. 

“Are you ready?” Catra’s hand grasped hers softly. 

Adora reached across the console and kissed her for a moment before pulling away, Catra’s smile being the last thing she saw before settling her eyes back on the road. “Yeah, I’m ready.”