Adora had been somber all day. Catra knew why; they were leaving today. For as much as Adora had talked about how badly she wanted to get out of Crystal Castle and see the rest of the world - it was pretty obvious that she loved her childhood home.
They’d spent the entire night prior watching Sword and Shield. It was silly and fun and definitely a show more geared towards a younger audience, but it had its heavy moments and listening to Adora try and explain everything going on without spoiling what was coming made it all worth it.
Everything about their relationship felt real now. Catra couldn't entirely explain why, but neither of them seemed to have any limitations - even with the uncertain future given Adora’s college acceptance.
Funny how communication made everything easier. If only Catra could go back in time and drive that into her younger mind.
Catra found herself in an awkward spot of standing in the kitchen while Adora and Mara shared a conversation. It wasn’t anything serious or heavy, just a goodbye - but Catra knew it was important.
Her phone buzzed, a much needed distraction.
She opened it to a picture of Melog, perched atop Scorpia’s shoulder. There was a time when Catra never could have imagined those two parts of her world colliding. Now, it brought a genuine smile to her face.
Catra : Spoiled brat
“Hey,” Adora said, drawing Catra’s attention to her red, puffy eyes and soft smile.
“Hey Adora,” Catra smiled back. She would have hugged or kissed Adora if Mara hadn’t followed her into the kitchen. “You good?”
Adora nodded, wiping at her eyes. “Yeah! Just hate goodbyes,” she glanced back at Mara, standing in the doorway with her own sad expression. “I’m gonna go see the cows real quick, you wanna come?”
Catra shook her head. “You go, I’ll finish packing up. Gotta find a place in your crappy car for my new axe.”
“You purchased an axe?” Mara’s shock was genuine, her eyes wide in horror. “What on earth could you need an axe for? Are you a lumberjack? I thought you worked at the supermarket!”
“No!” Adora jumped in, laughing. “No, it’s just another word for guitar. Catra bought a guitar. She plays! She’s amazing!”
“Oh, that...makes much more sense.”
“Don’t listen to Adora, I’m not that great.” Catra rolled her eyes at Adora’s pout. “You don’t know! You still haven’t heard me play yet.”
“Soon though!” Adora was backing out the door. “It’s you, of course it’s gonna be amazing!”
There wasn’t enough bluster on the planet to make Catra not smile at that. She simply kept her mouth shut and watched Adora leave the house and race off toward the barn.
When she turned around, having successfully watched Adora run until she was out of sight, Catra turned and found herself eye to eye with Mara.
Much like Adora, Mara was well built - big and strong. Tall, taller than Catra or Adora. She was intimidating - not just in her size, but her presence. She seemed like the kind of person who didn’t put up with anyone’s shit.
“You’re lucky,” she said, pulling out a chair at the kitchen table and sitting down. Mara didn’t suggest anything, but Catra figured out pretty quickly that she should sit down too. “That girl has always had so much love to give - more than the world she was put in deserves.”
Catra nodded, she believed it. “She’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Mara was quiet for a moment, pensive. She hummed softly, then smiled. “Be that for her too.” She said and Catra nodded. “Adora’s had so much taken away from her. Which is only made worse by how much she puts into the things she loves. I fret over Adora every day, but I’m not like my mother...I can’t be what Adora needs. I never was. The way she looks at you, talks about you...she loves you.”
“I know, I love her too.”
“You’re both fairly young.”
Catra smiled. “I know.”
“She told me she was accepted to Florida. That’s her dream school.”
That smile faltered just a bit. “I know.” Her voice was softer.
Mara let out a deep breath. “I’m not trying to scare you or...push you away from her. I would never...Adora’s lost too much already. I just...I know how hard she’s worked and how much this all means to her.”
“It’s okay,” Catra could tell Mara wasn’t used to giving the caregiver talk and it really wasn’t necessary. “I want to be with Adora, forever. I know we’re young and naive and all that - but right now, it’s forever with her.” Mara pursed her lips, unsettled. “But I want Adora to be happy, more than anything. I want her to have both. Me and her dream. If that means that I have to be the flexible one, then I will - gladly. If I have to watch her leave to go to school and only talk to her on the phone and only see her when she visits on break - I will. She’s worth it, a thousand times over.” That goofy smile came back on her face. She absolutely hated it, if only because it was taking over her life. “I meant what I said, she’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I’ll do everything I can to be that for her.”
As she finished, Catra could see Adora coming back from the barn, slower than she left, like she was trying to take in every sight she could see.
When Catra looked back at Mara, she was smiling. “Thank you, for taking care of her. She was scared to death when she left. I remember her shaking and trying not to cry - my mom telling her over and over again to just try and see what she might find. So when I see her now and hear her talk about her life and I couldn't be happier for her.” Mara reached across the table and grabbed Catra’s hand. It was a very sweet gesture, but all Catra could focus on was how small Mara made her hand look. These Grayskull women were something else. “Sorry if I was awkward. I suck at serious stuff.”
“You were fine.”
“And I don’t hate you.”
“Oh thank God.”
Once back in Bright Moon, it was Catra who saw her first. She saw her before Adora had even finished making her way around the entrance to the apartment complex.
Weaver looked like hell, sitting on one of Scorpia’s lawn chairs that she’d bought for no good fucking reason and never used - just stuck outside her door because she though it made her apartment look more home-y. Weaver’s hair was a wild mess, her skin paler than Catra had ever seen it before. She was smoking a cigarette and pacing back and forth.
“Stop,” Catra said, sharp and sudden, making Adora jump. The car slowed and when it came to a stop, blue eyes were on her but Catra just kept staring forward.
“What’s going on?” Catra pointed and it only took a few seconds for Adora to gasp in surprise. “What’s she doing here?”
Every protective instinct in Catra’s body started to fire up. She had images flooding her mind of what the next few minutes would entail. None of them were good.
“Let’s get this over with,” Catra said with a sigh. As she opened the door, Adora grabbed her wrist gently.
“We can leave, we don’t have to do this. We can call the police and…”
“I can’t run away from her forever, Adora. I - I have to...do this.”
Adora nodded, looking back up where Weaver had stopped pacing and was staring at Adora’s car. “Okay, well you’re not doing it alone.” With that, Adora unbuckled her seatbelt and together, they exited the car.
The walk up the rest of the driveway was short, but it felt like a mile as each step carried them closer to Weaver - who looked more and more frazzled with each step closer they took.
“Well well, you are still alive.” Weaver’s voice was thick and slow, which made sense when Catra saw the bottle at her feet - a quarter remaining and the wrapper for the lid on the ground beside it. Maybe they should have called the police. “Of course, I should know that, given how my life has been falling apart, of course that’s your doing.”
“You shouldn’t be here.” Catra said, hating her shaky her voice was. “You’re trespassing.”
“Who do you think you are?” Weaver spat, quite literally, as she spoke. “It wasn’t enough that you stole my sister from the world. That you tore my family apart, you had to ruin my life as well?!”
“I didn’t do anything to you! I was a child that you hated for no reason other than you needed someone to blame for how fucking miserable you were!”
Catra wasn’t sure how it happened, but suddenly she was halfway up the steps, closing the gap between herself and Weaver.
“I should have disposed of you when you were young. Sent you away or simply smothered you in your sleep. I would have saved myself and the rest of the world so much trouble.”
“Don’t talk about her like that!’
Adora’s intense shout was startling, Catra had almost forgotten she was there.
As Weaver’s gaze turned slowly towards Adora, Catra’s anxiety intensified. It felt wrong to have Weaver anywhere near Adora. She couldn’t decide if she was worried Weaver might hurt her, or turn her against Catra.
“So...you’re the one who’s taken her in,” Weaver eyed Adora up and down. “You must be some kind of fool to think that there is anything of value in her. How much has she leeched off of you? Are you paying for her food? Her rent? I see you’re chauferring her around town - you’ve jumped from one free ride to the next.”
Adora was suddenly right next to Catra, her body radiating with anger. “You’re the fool, you’d have to be to take someone as amazing as Catra and treat her like you did.”
“Do not speak to me as if you know anything about me or what I went through trying to raise this miserable excuse for family . She was a nightmare.”
“I was a child!”
Weaver’s eyes narrowed and she turned her attention back to Catra. “You’ve taken everything from me.”
“No,” Catra’s hands were shaking, she clenched her fists, begging her heart to stop hammering in her chest. “You did all of this to yourself!”
The retort Catra expected didn’t come. Instead, Weaver leaned back, her eyes narrow as she bore holes into Catra and Adora both. She held her head up high, as if she were on some kind of higher ground in this situation and wasn’t threatening two twenty year olds while drunk off her ass.
She bent down, picking up her bottle and took a deep breath - Catra was ready to step aside and let her go.
Instead, Weaver took her bottle and smashed it against the wall of Scorpia’s apartment. The sound was louder than Catra would have expected and made her jump. She watched Weaver move clumsily forward, with a now jagged piece of glass in her hand. Catra froze, a sudden wave of fear unlike any other she’d ever felt coursing through her.
Weaver was headed right for her. Catra winced, ready to have her life taken away by this madwoman in the blink of an eye. In a weird way, it was a nightmare she’d had more than once - Weaver finally snapping and making good on all her drunken threats.
The blow never came. Instead, when Catra opened her eyes Weaver was gone and there was a loud crashing sound. Catra could barely register what had happened, she just knew that Weaver was coming at her and then she wasn’t, almost in an instant.
In her place, stood Adora, her chest rising and falling heavily and her eyes blazing with more fury than Catra ever thought she could be capable of.
The moment started to repeat in her mind and piece together. She turned, seeing Weaver now lying in the grass, a crumbled mess and parts of white painted wood were scattered around her.
Adora had body checked her and sent her flying through the deck.
As the shock ran through her body, Catra refocused on Adora again and saw her starting to settle down. Her fiery eyes were now wider, and looked almost horrified at what had just happened.
“I...I - I didn’t…” She was having trouble talking, trouble breathing - Catra was too but for so many different reasons. When Adora finally looked at her, she was on the verge of panicking.
“Did I just tackle an old woman through a deck?” Catra nodded, putting a hand on Adora’s shoulder to try and calm her down. She was visibly shaking and some twisted part of Catra’s brain wanted to make out with her right here and now because holy shit . “Oh my god...is she dead?”
That brought Catra back to reality because she genuinely didn’t know. The fall was a good five steps - nothing too crazy but Weaver was old and drunk.
Catra stared down at her, watching patiently and focused - she saw her chest slowly rising and falling. She half expected Weaver to sit up like some kind of movie monster. They never died so easily.
“She’s alive,” Catra said and Adora stumbled backwards up against the wall. She was about to sit down, but Catra grabbed her. “Glass and…” that’s when she saw the blood pouring down Adora’s right arm. “You’re hurt.” Catra’s voice broke a little - Weaver hurt her. Weaver hurt Adora and it broke her heart.
Adora looked at her sleeve, now stained with red, and seemed almost confused. “Huh,” she said, still out of breath. “I didn’t feel it.”
“It’s...it’s probably glass. Fucking Weaver.” Catra dug into her jeans and pulled out her phone. “I’m gonna call for help.”
“I need to sit down,” Adora’s voice was straining, she could barely move. Catra guided her away from the wall and the glass and found a lawn chair - suddenly thankful for Scorpia’s stupid impulse purchases.
The 911 call was a blur, Catra couldn’t remember what she said if asked, she just knew they were coming and she had no idea what that would mean.
As the adrenaline wore down, Catra felt exhausted, her mind was a mushy mess of unanswered questions and feeling she couldn’t explain. How had it come to this? Had Weaver always hated her so much?
What was the point of keeping her around at all if this was how she always felt. Maybe it was twisted, but there was always some voice in the back of Catra’s head that tried to believe that maybe Weaver did care, in her own messed up way. She kept Catra around, in fact, she forced Catra to stay close. Why? For control? For her own personal amusement? Had she really never meant anything to her at all?
Those thoughts all faded when she refocused on Adora, sitting on in one of the lawn chairs, now clutching her wounded arm and crying. Adora, who had never asked for any of this and had pretty much just saved Catra’s life.
Kneeling down, Catra settled in between Adora’s legs, reaching up to touch her chin and draw her attention. Adora really was out of it.
“You okay?” She asked, knowing it was a dumb question.
Adora shook her head, practically hugging herself. Catra felt so guilty. “Are you?” Adora asked, her voice shaky.
Catra could only nod. “I am, you...you made sure of that.”
When Adora didn’t say anything in return, Catra moved up and wrapped her arms carefully around Adora’s neck. She didn't flinch or cry out, just sat there, trying to slow down her breathing.
The sirens filled the air, fast approaching as Catra held Adora in her arms.
Catra couldn’t help but be a little worried about how calm she felt. She was afraid she might be suppressing her feelings or some other bullshit she’d heard from Angella or Perfuma - because that was apparently something she did.
But she also knew that if she was suppressing her feelings, she probably wouldn’t be so aware of it. Instead, she decided to just believe that she was, in fact, okay. Yes, Weaver had shown up at Scorpia’s apartment, drunk, and tried to kill her - but that just didn’t seem to bother her.
If anything, it only strengthened the case she’d been building against Weaver over the last month or so. Now, Weaver was in jail with a trespassing and attempted assault charge.
There was a cost of course, and pessimism told Catra she probably wasn’t out of the woods entirely yet, but still, she felt...calm.
She stood outside the bathroom door of Glimmer’s apartment, knowing Adora was on the other side. She had fresh bandages and a washcloth gathered in her arms, ready to take care of her girl.
When she opened the door, Adora was sitting on the edge of the tub, the same tub Catra remembered Adora sleeping in months ago - it felt like a lifetime ago.
Adora was clutching her shirt in her hands, her incredible back fully exposed and if it were any other situation, Catra would be drowning in desire - but the bandage that covered the entirety of Adora’s right bicep was what caught her attention the most.
“Ready to clean that thing up?” Catra asked, taking in the smile Adora gave her.
“Sure,” she said, Adora had been a bit distant all night - not that Catra blamed her. They’d been through a hell of a day. “Did Glimmer stop freaking out?”
Catra cackled. “Not at all, she’s been on the phone with her mom for almost an hour now - something about a restraining order.” Adora smiled, but it didn’t quite reach her eyes. Carefully, Catra stepped over the tub and straddled the edge, taking a seat behind Adora and examining the bandage. “Let’s see if I remember how the nurse showed me to do this.”
The room was comfortably quiet as Catra carefully unraveled the bandage on Adora’s arm. It was red with a bit of blood, but nothing compared to what it had been when they were at the hospital. The cut had required twenty-three stitches and also gave Catra a front row seat to Adora’s fear of needles.
It was shameful to say, but Catra was glad Adora was scared of the needle, if only because it gave Catra a chance to comfort her and make up for everything Adora had done for her just an hour earlier.
Now Catra was continuing to try and pay that back. When the bandage was fully removed, Catra studied the wound. It looked better, but it was still red and puffy and raw. She hated it, she hated so much that Weaver had caused this. It was one thing for Weaver to damage Catra - she’d dealt with it her whole life, but hurting Adora destroyed any deeply buried compassion Catra might have ever had for the woman.
If Catra had it her way, she’d never see or hear about Weaver ever again.
With the sink still in reach, Catra leaned back and ran the washcloth under the water. She then brought it back and rang it out into the tub. The cold water splashed Adora’s feet and she jumped a little.
“Sorry,” Catra apologized, but when Adora didn’t respond, she couldn’t stand the silence anymore. “What’s going on up there,” she asked, using her free hand to gently tap Adora’s head.
She shrugged. “Just tired, I guess.” Catra didn’t doubt that, but the way Adora was fussing with her hands and scrunching up her eyebrows so much, she knew it was more than that.
Catra dabbed the cloth around Adora’s stitches as carefully as she could. “Come on, now. I know you well enough to know when you’re dancing around in that blonde head of yours. Talk to me.”
Adora sighed, her body sagging just a bit. “I - I think I’m going to turn down my scholarship offer.”
“What?” Catra’s own loud response startled her. “You can’t be serious.”
Adora’s frown deepened. “I...I can’t leave you, Catra. What if I hadn’t been here today? What if Weaver comes back? If I left and found out something happened to you, I…” a tear streaked down Adora’s cheek, it broke Catra’s heart. “I’m scared.”
Seeing that Adora’s cut was as clean as it would get, Catra dropped the cloth in the tub and learned forward, pressing her forehead between Adora’s shoulder blades. “I love you,” she said, a smile in her voice. “But shit, Adora. Life is scary.” She laughed, wrapping her arms around Adora’s waist. She was relieved when Adora’s strong hands grabbed her forearms.
“I don’t want to leave, Catra. I don’t want to be away from you.”
“I don’t want that either, but...I know how much this means to you. How hard you’ve worked.”
Adora shook her head. “I can find somewhere closer. I can…”
“You got into your dream school, Adora. You busted your ass to get it done and I am so proud of you.” Catra drew back, grabbing the bandage and going to work. “I love you, Princess. More than anything and anyone else. I love that you want to protect me, and I feel the same way about you, but...we’re not CW characters.”
Adora sniffled, wiping her nose. “C...what?”
Catra rolled her eyes. “Okay, we’re starting One Tree Hill tonight.”
“Okay,” Adora was so cute.
“What I mean is that we can’t just throw away the rest of our lives to be together. I’m a fucking disaster, Adora. I have so much life I haven’t been able to live. Going with you to Crystal Castle is the first time I’ve been out of Bright Moon in my entire fucking life. I’m twenty-one, Adora. How fucked up is that?”
Adora looked back at her. “It’s pretty fucked up.” She said with a soft smile.
“You, without a shirt on and dropping F-bombs...did the doctor say anything about you not being able to do...stuff?”
“I can’t workout for a few days.”
Catra shrugged, “I can do most of the work.” That made Adora’s face and shoulders turn a deep shade of red. “You’re too easy.”
“Shut up.” Adora laughed, a beautiful sound.
“I don’t have a lot to go on, but when I think about my future - the only thing that’s certain about it, is you.” Adora reached back and searched for Catra’s hand, she reached the end of the bandage and tucked it in to keep it wrapped. Then grabbed Adora’s hand and squeezed it. “But, when I do think of that, it’s a version of you that’s lived out her dream. That went to the school she worked had for, got the job and the training and shit that she wanted - barely passed her math classes.”
“Ugh, don’t remind me.”
“I found one thing you’re bad at, Adora. I will always remind you.” Adora rolled her eyes, Catra pressed on. “I want you to go, and I want me to...I don’t know, write some shit and email that shit to people and just...see if it’s worth anything. I want us to both do cool stuff and then stay up all night talking to each other about it on the phone or on video chats. I want to get that feeling of seeing you on holiday’s and stuff for the first time in months, where I run into your arms and you always catch me because you’re a buff nerd.”
“Always,” Adora said, flexing her back just a little.
Catra wasn’t going to let Adora put her shirt back on tonight. “I know it’s scary - I’m scared too, but we can do this, Adora. Everything we’ve been through, together or apart - nobody is more equipped to do this than us.” That made Adora smile. “Besides, I’ve to Scorpia to look out for me and apparently Sparkles and I are friends now. I’m the one who will be worried about you down there in gator country all by yourself.”
“I won’t be alone, I’ll be video calling you every day.”
Catra laughed. “You better, and who knows. I have all this money saved, maybe I’ll make a few surprise trips down there and we can break in your new dorm bed.”
“I - I’ll have a roommate! We can’t if they’re around.”
“Maybe they can film it for me.”
“Catra!” When Adora started laughing, Catra felt everything rebalance again. Adora’s laugh was the best medicine.
“You’re so goddamn cute.”
Adora leaned back against Catra, who wrapped her arms around Adora and held her.
“It’s going to be hard,” Adora’s voice was soft, but more confident than before.
Catra hated the cheesy bullshit that was about to come out of her mouth, but she knew she had to say it. “You’re worth it.”
This time, Adora’s smile was bright and wonderful. “You’re such a softie.”
“It’s you, you’ve tainted me.”
Adora shrugged, “good.”
“Also you’re really heavy,”
“Oh, I can get up, let me get my shirt and…”
“Nope,” Catra used her foot to scoop up Adora’s shirt and throw it out the open door.
“You won’t need it!”
Adora tried to pull away, Catra held tighter. “Catra I sleep on the couch, Glimmer and Bow are home!”
“I’ll tell them to leave.”
“We’re not doing...that on the couch!”
“Why not? We did it in your childhood bed.”
Adora blushed again, her cheeks read and her smile giving away how much she was enjoying this silly argument.
Leaning up, Catra kissed Adora’s jaw and neck, then her cheek.
When their eyes met, Catra felt something she never thought she would - she was happy.