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The Night Shift

Chapter Text

FALL

“Come on, stupid heater.” Adora smacked her palm on the dashboard a few times. She wasn’t really sure why, it never seemed to do anything - but it made her feel better. 

The only good thing about Adora’s car was that it was hers. Beyond that, it was garbage. Brown, the ultimate essence of the word brown. The paint was brown, the interior was brown, the seats were brown, even the steering wheel was wrapped in a brown cover. 

She was freezing, Bright Moon winters could be brutal, and considering it was only October, she knew it would get worse. The snow hadn’t started falling yet, but it was coming, it always did. That was a fair warning she’d taken to heart when making her choice to come here. Razz made sure Adora knew everything she was getting herself into, but this was what she wanted - what she’d worked towards. 

To most people, it probably wouldn’t seem like much, but for Adora, this was the biggest day of her life so far. 

She was anxious and freezing and because of this she pounded on her stupid brown dashboard a little bit harder. 

The parking lot was fairly empty, which was not surprising at eleven PM on a Wednesday, but Adora still enjoyed people watching. 

At least, from the safety of her freezer box brown car. 

She watched the doors, people moving in and out occasionally, most of them pushing carts or carrying bags. 

The store was small, much like the town of Bright Moon. A mountain town more known for tourism than the people that actually lived here. For the most part, Bright Moon was a town to be visited - passed through on the way to bigger and better things. That was a big reason why Adora chose it. This place was just a stop on the road, before she moved on to, hopefully, bigger and better things. 

Still, it had plenty of perks. The views were beautiful , the whole town was surrounded by mountains. The skies were clear and blue, none of them clouded in smog and tall buildings. There were trees on the sides of every road and only three traffic lights in the whole town. 

It had a vintage feel. Main street was a string of shops all lined together like something you’d see out of the thirties. One movie theater, with a movie that came out in the city two months ago. On the other side of downtown was a river that ran alongside main street. In the summer, people would show up with their kids and their friends and ride inner-tubes down it. 

Adora knew it was a risk, for someone who’d spent so much of her life being rather sheltered, to want to go off on her own. But she was so ready to stop being shy. She wanted a life of her own. As much as she loved Razz and Mara and the way they looked out for her - she couldn’t rely on them forever. She had to find her place in the world, even if that wasn’t going to be Bright Moon forever, it felt like a safe place to start. 

That ride couldn’t be free though, Razz had helped her earn money, doing chores and odd jobs all around the neighborhood. She saved and saved, for almost two years while she finished her homeschooling with Mara. When she was ready, she had enough for a first and last month’s rent on an apartment. 

But that wasn’t enough to keep her afloat for long, so she had to work - any job she could take. 

The night shift at a grocery store seemed simple enough. At least she wouldn’t have to deal with customers or crowds. 

Just her co-workers, and they couldn’t be too bad...right? Probably just like her. Young adults transitioning from school and into the next stages of their lives. 

Okay, so they probably weren’t exactly like her - but nobody really was. Adora had...a story - a hell of a story. Not a very happy one either, but she was here and she was ready and she couldn’t hide in her freezing brown car any longer. 

Stepping outside was a bit of a shock. The wind was chilly and steady, but Adora wrapped her big red coat tighter around herself and started walking towards the entrance. The air was crisp, she could see her breath in front of her and the last customer to make their way out was practically running to try and reach their car. 

As she stepped to the door, Adora’s eyes glanced towards someone standing entrance, a few feet away from the sliding glass door. 

A girl, leaning against the wall with one foot kicked back behind her for balance, she had thick, dark hair that puffed wildly around her head. She was only wearing a leather jacket over a red shirt and black pants. She had a lanyard hanging from her pocket with the store logo on it. 

This one was one of her co-workers. 

She slowed her steps down, hoping that she might get the girl’s attention to let her make a pleasant greeting. She wanted her first interaction to be a good one, with everyone. 

When the girl did finally look up, after Adora had practically stopped walking, their eyes met and Adora lost all train of thought. 

Her eyes were two different colors, and somehow they were both absolutely beautiful. A mixture of green and blue that Adora had never seen before. She didn’t have the most pleasant look on her face, but she didn’t seem angry either. 

Regardless, whatever attempted greeting Adora had in her mind burned away like ash in the fire because this girl was so pretty. Instead, Adora tried to take another step, completely missing the elevated curb and nearly fell on her face. 

Cracking her skull open on the concrete would have been an outstanding way to start her new life, but thankfully her years of yard work and competitive sports gave her enough hand eye coordination to catch herself from falling. 

She regained her balance gracefully enough. Her eyes immediately sought out the girl again, who hadn’t seemed to move a bit. Except, there was the smallest smile on her face. 

Adora wanted to turn around and run back to her car. 

“Hi,” Adora said, not even sure why she was talking at all. 

Fortunately, she managed to earn a head nod and Adora counted that as a victory. 

As she stepped inside, the warmth of the store was like being rescued from the sinking Titanic. Adora felt her frozen fingers start to come back to life as the warm air hit them. She reached up and plucked off her white and gold beanie and tucked it away in her jacket pocket. 

The store was pretty empty, there were only a few customers left in the checkout aisles - of which only two still had lights on. The store was closing and her shift was about to begin. Whatever that might mean, she had no idea. 

They’d asked her about her strength and stamina. They asked if she could follow directions and keep track of numbers and locations. They asked if she could maintain a neat and clear work space. 

Every single one of those things fit her perfectly. She was strong, she was organized (to a fault at times) and she could definitely stay clean. 

They also asked her if she worked well with other people. 

Of course she said she did, but that was the only lie she gave in her interview, and it wasn’t even a lie really - she just hadn’t had the chance to try. 

Mostly of her own doing. 

People were scary.

“Adora?” A voice called out to her, she really had no idea that anyone in Bright Moon knew her name. 

Turning, she saw a shorter girl with purple hair that literally sparkled. “Me? Yes!” She took a breath. “I’m Adora,” she nodded. 

“Great! You’re right on time. Good start. My name’s Glimmer, it looks like I’m gonna be showing you around tonight.” 

“Oh, okay! I’m glad because I really have no idea what I’m doing.” Adora wanted to be honest up front, she was clueless. She knew better than to pretend she knew anything. She didn’t want to mess this up, she couldn’t. If they’d just give her a few days to learn, she knew she could do it well. The best shelf stocker in the store. 

“Makes sense,” Glimmer started walking and Adora dutifully followed. “We’re a few minutes from closing, but some people have already started. They're unloading the trucks now, we’ll start bringing stuff in.” Adora followed Glimmer down a much wider aisle than the others, she could see double doors at the back of it. “We’ve got box cutters and knee pads if you want, you’ll help unload the truck and bring in the low velocity stock. The manager said you were strong, so I hope you’re ready to do some lifting.” 

Adora flexed, despite her huge jacket. “I’m ready!” She needed to calm down. “Are we going back outside?” 

Glimmer laughed. “The back doors are open so yeah, it’s freezing cold out there.”

“Ugh,” Adora groaned. 

“Must be your first fall in Bright Moon.” Adora nodded. “Well I won’t tell you you’ll get used to it cause that’s a damn lie.” Glimmer turned around to push the door open with her back. When she did, a rush of cold air hit Adora right in the face. 

She couldn’t dig her beanie back out fast enough. 

“Holy crap!” She cried, her hands once again shaking. She could see three trucks all lined up side by side. The doors were only open on one and two guys were busy carrying large boxes off of them with electrical trolley

“Bow! We got our new girl!” Glimmer said and Adora saw one of the guys, a broad shoulder ball of energy with a bright smile on his face, turn and meet her eyes. 

“Hey! I heard a lot about you! What’s your name?”

“Adora.” She said, her teeth chattering. How the hell was he not wearing a jacket? Or a shirt with sleeves?!

He moved his trolly off the ramp and sat down his load before giving Adora his full attention. “The pleasure is all mine, Adora. I’m Bow - you’ve met Glimmer,” Adora smiled when Glimmer waved at her again. “The guy on the truck is Sea Hawk. Hawk! Say hello to the new girl!” 

“Ahoy!” He shouted, his voice echoing off the concrete walls around them. “I hope you’ve brought muscle because we’ve got two more trucks to go!” 

God they were going to make her stay out here and freeze to death. On her first day!

“No, no, she doesn’t even have gloves.” Glimmer said, shaking her head. “Do you have gloves?” She asked quietly, Adora shook her head. “See! No loading tonight, not without gloves. We’re not traumatizing the new girl on night one and losing another hand. I have enough work cut out for me tonight making sure Catra doesn't scare her away!” 

Adora didn’t like the sound of that.

“Wh-what d-do we do now?” Adora really needed to adjust to this cold weather like...right now. 

“Okay, let’s get you a box and get started. Tomorrow, you’ll start on your unloading out here, so find gloves and bring a jacket that’s both warm and flexible. We’ll go with something easy for your first night though - ah!” Glimmer walked over and patted her hand on a large box. “Think you can handle this?”

“Toilet paper?” She asked and Glimmer nodded. 

“A shit load of it!” She said with a giggle. 

“That joke still isn’t funny!” Bow chimed in from the back of the truck. 

“It is!” Glimmer argued. “Every time, it is funny!” Glimmer looked at Adora. “You thought it was funny, right?” 

“I did!” She didn’t, but she wanted to get along with her co-workers. 

“Ha! Told you!” Glimmer stepped out of the way and Adora moved towards the box. 

It wasn’t heavy, just big and a little hard to get a handle on, but when she did, she picked it up easily. 

Glimmer’s eyes went a little wide. “Oh, okay...my dad wasn’t wrong, you are strong.”

“Your dad?” Adora asked as she followed Glimmer back inside, box in hand. 

“You met him during your interview, he’s the manager. And yes, before you ask, he did help me get this job. And no, before you ask, he doesn’t give me preferential treatment.” 

Adora followed Glimmer, box in hand, and decided to try a little small talk. “I didn’t think that. I don’t know what parents do - I never really had any.” She said and nearly ran into Glimmer when she stopped suddenly in front of her. “Wh - what?” She asked as Glimmer gave her a look. One she didn’t expect, almost...sympathy?

“Sorry, I - I didn’t know…”

Adora frowned. “Of course you didn’t, how could you?” She just wanted to make small talk. “It’s cool, Glimmer. I promise.” She smiled with as much enthusiasm as she could, hoping to climb out of this conversation. 

Thankfully, it seemed to work. “Okay, well I am sorry for assuming. You’d be amazed how many people find out you work for your parents and assume you never have to do anything. My dad certainly isn’t that way.” Glimmer rolled her eyes as she showed Adora where to set her box down. “So you want to make sure you pay attention to the UPC codes so you know where everything goes. When you finish a box, break it down and put it out of the way. You don’t have to be perfect, but just keep your area clean. When you’re done, go fetch another box and start on it.” 

Adora nodded, her mind already sorting out the plan of attack. “Is it possible for me to bring more than one box at a time? So I don’t have to make a bunch of trips back and forth?”

“If you want, usually with the aisles we do it this way because of space. You won’t always have an aisle to yourself so we can’t crowd. If there’s room and you’re up for carrying a heavy load, go for it.” She was so ready. “You’ll want to go to the back first, put your jacket away and grab a box cutter and some knee pads if you want. Then you can meet some of the others!” 

That was the part of the job Adora was not super thrilled about. She was so bad with new people, with people - the talking and the interacting. 

Even if that was her top selling point to Razz about why she needed to do this - that didn’t mean she was excited about it. 

“Right, of course,” Adora started to unzip her jacket as she, once again, followed Glimmer. 

The break room was wide, with one sad little table in the middle of it. There were four narrow lockers lining the far wall and a few vending machines that had more empty spaces than full. There were only a few people here. Two girls, one who looked like she could pick up a truck with her bare hands and hold it over her head - with short, white colored hair and a young face. She was sitting with a smile, listening as another girl, with long, wavy blonde hair and the most glowingly perfect skin Adora had ever seen. 

“Then the beat drops and I swear, Scorpia, it’s like the world stands still.” 

“Wow, I can’t believe I’ve never heard them before! And I listen to a lot of music. It’s always on in the apartment, sometimes too loud and the neighbors yell at me.”

“This has to change. They’re going to be in concert in Fright City in a few weeks. We should definitely go. It’s an experience you need to feel .” 

Scorpia’s eyes lit up, Adora couldn’t tell if it was at the prospect of the concert or a night out with the pretty girl with flowers in her hair, but if she had to guess she’d go with the latter.  

“Guys, our new girl is here,” Glimmer cut in as she moved towards the lockers. 

Adora was left standing in the doorway as the other two looked her way. “Hello,” she said, with a full wave and everything. 

“Hi!” Scorpia stood up from her chair, at full height she was even more impressive. Adora, as she was apt to do, immediately started to consider if she could take her in a fight. “I’m Scorpia, it’s great to meet you.”

“Adora,” 

“Adora!”  She extended her hand and it engulfed Adora’s. “This is Perfuma, she was just telling me about this new band 21 Guns. Have you ever heard of them?” 

It was a very polite way to start a conversation, unfortunately, Adora had no idea. “Afraid not,” she tried to laugh off her embarrassment. Adora knew so little about music. “I’ll have to check them out.”

“I’d be happy to show them to you on break later,” Perfuma said from her seat, flipping her hair back with a genuine smile. 

“That’d be great,” Adora siad, even though she really had no interest, she didn’t want to be rude. “I...I like your hair,” she practically had to force the words out, they caught on her throat but dammit she just wanted to be able to do more than answer questions and say hello. 

Perfuma grinned. “Thank you, it’s nice that someone appreciates it. If I have to hear Mermista yell at me one more time about wilted flowers in the aisles I’m gonna scream. They don’t fall out that much and even when they do it’s not that hard to clean them up. You’d think I was throwing them in her coffee.”

Oh wow, that was a whole thing, she just wanted to try a compliment. 

“Mermista’s just been a little grouchy since she started dating Sea Hawk.” 

“They’ve been dating for three years.”

“I stand by my point,” Scorpia shrugged. “I’m just saying, he’s a bit much.”

Glimmer snorted from the lockers. “Pot and kettle, Scorpia.” 

She said and Scorpia rolled her eyes and smiled. “Anyway, I should get back to it. It was nice to meet you, Adora. Look forward to seeing how many boxes you can carry.” With that, she squeezed Adora’s bicep and Adora instantly flexed for absolutely no reason. “Oh, hiding a lot under the poofy jacket.” 

Suddenly, Perfuma was right behind Scorpia, pushing her out the door. “You can’t just randomly grab people’s arms, Scorp.”

“Hey she didn’t have anything to be ashamed -” the door closed behind them. 

“You hanging in there?” Glimmer’s voice drew Adora from her wandering mind. 

She sighed. “I’m not super great with stuff like this.” She admitted, she felt like she needed to. If she was awkward and uncomfortable, she wanted them to know it wasn’t because she was mean. 

“You’ll figure it out, and if not, just work hard and be polite and you’ll do fine.” Glimmer opened one of the lockers. “You can put your stuff in here. We don’t have many lockers so you’ll have to share.” Adora stepped up to the locker, examining the few things inside. A bandana, with little skulls on it that hung from a hook, and a notebook that looked like it had seen a lot of use. 

Adora quickly took off her jacket, it was so much hotter in the store than it was outside. Which wasn’t surprising considering it was so damn cold outside. 

She hung up her coat and checked the pocket for her keys. They would be safe enough in there, she didn't think the person she was sharing a locker with would steal her car - even if the skull bandana was a little unusual.

“Glad to see you made it in safely.” Adora turned just in time to see Glimmer exiting the break room and the girl from outside coming in. 

Under the fluorescent lights, she was much prettier than Adora noticed the first time. Her mismatched eyes somehow shined brighter indoors and as she took off her jacket, Adora caught sight of her thin frame and confident walk. 

“I - I’m sorry?” Adora realized she’d forgotten what the girl said to her.

For some reason, this made her smirk, which only added to the cloudiness in Adora’s head. “Last time I saw you it looked like your first time with those legs.”

“Oh,” Adora painfully remembered her near fall outside. 

“I wasn’t too worried though, I figured that big hair poof would have saved you from any brain damage if you fell.”

“You’re one to talk about poofy hair,” Adora said, with absolutely no idea where that had come from.

Strangely enough, the girl laughed. “Fair point.” She pulled out a chair and put her foot on it to tie her shoe lace. “You can move my stuff out of the way if you need room for your big ass jacket.” 

Adora looked back at the locker, this was hers. “I can leave you room for yours, too.”

“It’s cool,” she said before tying the jacket around her waist. Adora had never felt the urge to just...watch someone before. The way this girl moved and how she kept looking at Adora was a bit overwhelming. “You must be the new girl that’s got Sparkles all wound up.”

“Sparkles?”

“Purple hair, bouncy.”

“Glimmer?” 

“Sure,” She gestured for the door Glimmer left through. “She’s been driving us all nuts about it. The way she talked I half expected Captain Marvel to walk through the door.”

Adora frowned. “Sorry to disappoint.”

The girl strode up right beside her, she smelled like lavender and coffee. It was a surprisingly deadly combination. “Never said that,” she grabbed her bandana, tied it around her head to hold her hair back and started for the exit. “Names Catra, by the way. I’ll see you out there…” she let the opening hang in the air but didn’t stop walking. 

“Adora!” She practically shouted her own name as Catra left. 

Once she was alone, Adora let out a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. 

That could have gone worse, not by much, but it still could have. 


Adora was on fire. She’d already taken down four boxes. Stacked them perfectly, label forward and all of her boxes were broken down and neatly stacked. 

This job wasn’t so bad, her station was quiet and nobody really said anything when she kept going back to the store room and grabbing boxes. 

When she finished with toilet paper, she moved onto paper towels and wet wipes. The wet wipes boxes were obnoxiously heavy, but she managed to bring them in on her own, even when Scorpia offered to help. 

Adora couldn’t ask for help when she’d seen Scorpia carrying two stacked boxes marked ‘canned vegetables’. She was too competitive for that. 

It wasn’t until around one in the morning when Glimmer found her again and forced her to take a break. She was hesitant, not really sure what she was going to do for the forty-five minutes she was given for ‘lunch’. She’d made sure to eat before going - that’s what the article she found online said to do when starting the night shift. Eat before you go, snack when hungry and try not to eat anything too heavy or else you’ll have trouble sleeping. 

So far, Adora had been fine, only grabbing a few rice crisps she’d had tucked away in a little baggie for when she felt peckish. 

When she made her way back to the storage room, there were three people in there. 

Bow and Sea Hawk were on the right side of the room, each standing about ten feet about and facing one another. They had a little pink ball that they were passing back and forth to one another. 

The other person was...Catra. 

Catra was not playing ball, instead she was literally sprawled out on the table that Adora was pretty sure wasn’t meant for sleeping. She had her leather jacket balled up and tucked away under her head like a pillow and her bandana pulled over her eyes.

“Adora!” Bow called her name and when she looked, he was holding up the ball at her like he was going to throw it. 

Before she could tell him anything, he tossed it her way and she was quick to reach up and snag it out of the air with one hand. 

“The reflexes of a cat!” Sea Hawk said, throwing his hand in the air. “How’s the arm?”

Adora flipped the ball into the air a little, catching it in a better throwing position and put a little extra behind it when she sent it his way. 

He caught it, but the sound of it clapping against his hands was sharp and his eyes went wide. “Goodness!” He laughed. “You seem to have a rocket attached to your right shoulder!”

“Adora, you should totally sign up for our baseball league!” 

Bow seemed like the kind of person that was hard to say no to. “They have leagues around here?”

“It’s nothing too crazy, we just put together teams to play other teams in town and in a few of the surrounding towns. We get together every weekend, with a little travel here and there and play. It’s a lot of fun.” 

“If I do say so myself, I am the best catcher in the tri-state area!” Sea Hawk pounded his chest for good measure. “You must have played with an arm like that.”

Adora smiled. “No, just football.” 

That drew some eyebrows up, it always did. “You played football?” 

“Quarterback and linebacker.” She shrugged. When she was homeschooled, it was important to Mara that she play some kind of sport - have some kind of interaction with people. Because it was suggested by Mara, Razz was quick to get on board. 

Adora really didn’t know anything about sports, but she knew she liked to run and hit things - she didn’t discover she could throw well until she was in her sophomore season.

Mara had a lot of pull in the town she grew up in, so when she suggested Adora be on the team, it was met with very little resistance from the school board. 

Quite a bit more resistance from the rest of the team. They all kind of hated her, but she was good and when she started playing quarterback she was suddenly the favorite. 

Until she wasn’t. 

“You played linebacker?” The question came from the lounge room table. 

Adora glanced down to see Catra peeking out from under her bandana. “For a couple years, yeah,” she smiled. Even if her run on the football team ended badly, she was proud of it. 

A small smile tugged at the corner of Catra’s mouth. “Badass,” she said before slipping the bandana back down over her eyes.

“So what do you say?” Bow asked, tossing her the ball again. “We could always use a pitcher, and you might not be able to hit people, but you can hit a ball with a bad and that’s always fun.” 

Make friends, that’s why you delayed your future a year, you wanted to make friends. 

“Sounds like fun, where do I go to...do...that?” 

“Well it’s almost winter so we won’t be playing any time soon, but if you sign up now I’ll be able to set it up so you’re on our team in spring.”

“The Bright Moon Bombers will be lucky to have you!” Sea Hawk practically shouted.

Adora couldn’t help but smile a little, she liked the boys’ enthusiasm. They were easy to talk to. “I love anything outdoors. The hiking trails here are definitely a part of why I decided to move here.” 

“So where are you from?” Bow asked, tossing the ball her way. 

She caught it and decided to join in their game. “I grew up in Crystal Castle. Go Stargazers.”

“Ooh, northwestern girl. Decided to trade in the rain for the snow, huh?” 

Adora shuddered. “I think I really underestimated how cold it was here.”

“It certainly adds to the adventure! Just wait until you’re snowed in, call me and I’ll bring Dragon’s Daughter III over and clear you a path!” 

“Dragon’s Daughter III?”

“It’s a shitty snow plow he’s attached to his equally shitty truck.” Catra chmed in again, Adora still wasn’t sure what she was doing. She clearly wasn’t sleeping, how could she with all the noise? But she hadn’t complained once. 

“It’s the third shitty snow plow I’ve attached to my magnificent truck! We’ll see what you think is shitty when I’m rescuing damsels and clearing the road for the good citizens of Bright Moon!”

With a groan, Catra sat up, lifting her bandana. “You two need to get back to work,” she said and when the ball suddenly stopped being thrown, Adora was surprised to see them actually leaving. 

“Adora, hit me up about those hikes if you’re looking for someone to go with,” Bow smiled at her, one that made her chest flutter with happiness - people usually didn’t reach out to spend time with her like this. 

“Of course!” She said, her voice way too high, but it didn’t seem to deter him at all. 

Once they left, Adora was suddenly left alone with Catra, again. She was sitting on the table still. One knee pulled up to her chest, her other leg fully extended. Adora had decided that Catra was one of those naturally attractive people that always looked cool. 

A lot of the comfort she’d had when the boys were around suddenly vanished when she was one on one with Catra. It wasn’t that Catra scared her or upset her, she was just really intimidating. 

Adora couldn’t explain it, but there was this strange pull to get to know her. “That table doesn’t look very comfortable?” 

“I’ve slept on worse,” she said, lifting her arms over her head to stretch her back. “You really played football?” 

“Yeah,” she said simply. 

“Don’t think they’d let anything like that happen here. Not that it matters, local sports here are shit anyway. Still, that’s...pretty cool. You ever make anyone cry?” 

Adora laughed. “Not that I remember. Broke a guy's shoulder once.” 

“Nice,”

“Not really, he was on our team.”

Catra’s brows furrowed. “You get confused?” 

“No, I knew what I was doing.”

Suddenly, Catra swung her legs off the table and sat staring at Adora. “Gonna need you to elaborate on that, princess.” 

“Princess?” 

Catra shrugged. “Blonde hair, blue eyes and I imagine you fill out a dress pretty well.” Adora glanced down at her chest. “Not that, shoulders, arms...you clearly know your way around a weight room.” 

“I guess so,” she didn’t want to nerd out completely and tell Catra about her twenty page workout and dietary plan. 

Thankfully, Catra didn’t push. “So, why break your teammate’s shoulder?” 

“They really weren’t happy when I joined the team.” Adora hoped that would be enough, but Catra kept looking at her. “That first year was hard. They stole my clothes, they targeted me in practice. Called me names - it was even worse when they found out I was a lesbian.” 

Catra’s brow arched. “You being on the football team didn’t set off any alarms?” 

Adora found herself laughing, that was the tamest reaction she’d ever had to that part of herself. “They were football players. A girl that didn’t want them just didn’t register.” 

“So what changed?” 

This was Adora’s favorite part of the story. “I was better than them and they eventually figured it out.” 

Catra grinned like a cheshire cat. “Like I said before, badass.” 

With that, Catra hopped off the table and made to leave the break room. On her way out, she gave Adora a quick wink and bumped her shoulder before exiting. 

Adora only had a minor freakout before Glimmer found her again.

Chapter Text

As her first week came and went, Adora learned the hard way that the night shift was more than just staying up late. Actually making herself functional took a lot more work. 

Of course she’d prepared. She’d bought blackout curtains and planned her meal times the way all of her research told her to. Figured out the perfect schedule to get a workout six times a week. Adora wasn’t about to dive into this new life without a plan.

Unfortunately, blackout curtains didn’t block out the chirpy birds that loved to live around her tiny little apartment. Nor did they stop her neighbors above her from listening to their music at all hours of the day. 

The first few days at home trying to sleep were hard. She tossed and turned, burying her head under as many pillows as she owned. 

On the third day, Adora gave up altogether and just sat in her bathroom and cried. Which made her fourth day of work miserable. 

She messed up a lot that day, and felt horrible about it. So much so that she thought about quitting because it was clear that Glimmer and Bow were working overtime to try and keep her from ruining the rhythm of the rest of the group. 

They were so nice, Glimmer and Bow. They were childhood friends who now lived in a great denial that they were, in fact, in love with each other. It didn’t really seem to do any sort of damage to their actual relationship. It was just an awkward thing that hung over them, almost like a running joke. 

Bow did ask Adora about hiking again, and even gave her directions on where to sign up for softball, and rec basketball which was not as popular but happening sooner. 

Glimmer on the other hand just wanted to be friends. She kept talking to Adora, every day, helped her when she struggled and went out of her way to be kind. Adora was more than a little overwhelmed when she told them about her long day of crying and then the next day they bought her earplugs. Adora wasn’t used to people giving her things. She’d spent so much of her life earning everything. Mara made sure of that. 

Everyone else was pretty nice too, if not a little quirky. Mermista and Sea Hawk were nice enough, maybe a little annoying. Mermista was hard to read, she was the night supervisor and didn’t seem all that interested in what anyone was doing, unless you finished the night short of your goal, and then she would just go completely off. Adora had seen it happen to Sea Hawk and for a tense second she thought they might break up. 

Scorpia and Perfuma worked hard, and always seemed to be together. They’d stock the same aisles, go through risers together and coordinate their breaks together. 

It was cute, and being around so many couples (or almost couples) only made Adora a little jealous. Not that she ever saw herself in any type of relationship like that, she struggled enough with talking to people, let alone being that close to someone. She highly doubted she could be interesting enough for anyone to want to stick around that long. 

Which was fine, she had a plan and she had goals, and as her shifts started to settle in more and she figured out her sleeping patterns, Adora was able to focus on her studies more. 

Online classes were easy enough, the only hard part was finding the time to actually do them. 

One of the saving graces for Adora when she joined the football team was finding the weight room. She loved it, she became addicted to it in a way that hadn’t really happened to her before. She liked the environment and the feeling of putting in a good day of work. Setting goals and routines came naturally to her. She learned to really enjoy the discipline of making sure she did her reps right, and took care of her body. 

It was fun and when she’d come into the gym on her own and see people struggling to get started, Adora would do what she could to help them. It was one of the few places that Adora found herself fully comfortable taking control and talking to people - because she knew what she was doing. 

That was what led her down her current path of sports medicine. She wanted to learn how to help people on a much bigger scale, get the most out of their bodies and take care of themselves. 

She knew she had a long road ahead of her to do that, she wasn’t some prodigy that could jump through school with no problem - it was going to be hard and take up so much of her time.

That was why she chose this, a year away to both save up some extra money and learn how to be better at talking to people and making friends. With a few classes online to keep her caught up. If she was going to truly set out on her own, away from Razz and Mara and the safety of the little bubble she’d created in Crystal Castle, she felt like coming here and doing this was her best chance. 

It was scary and it could easily backfire and set her back years, but she had support back home and she was doing her best to stay focused and keep working, getting through secondary school online. 

Adora always felt more in control when her life was busy, and right now, her life was extremely busy. 

Which was why it was so strange to find herself driving up to the store in the middle of the night, on her ‘day’ off, because she basically had nothing to do. 

Her course work was done for the day, and the last week and a half of night shifts made it impossible for her to sleep. 

So instead, she was drawn here, like a routine, the parking lot of Bright Moon Grocery, debating on whether or not to actually go inside. 

Knock, knock, knock

A sudden rapping at her window made Adora jump and nearly dump her protein shake all over the car. Not that it would matter, a brown shake on her brown dashboard would pretty much go unnoticed, but she actually wanted to drink it. 

When she looked up, she saw a pair of mismatched eyes looking at her through the window. Catra was bundled up in her leather jacket and a big, red scarf wrapped around her neck more than once. 

Adora rolled her window down, but only a little, it was freezing out. 

“What the hell are you doing?” Catra asked, her voice muffled by the scarf. 

“Waiting for my heart to stop beating so fast. You scared me!”

Catra laughed, “good. Serves you right for showing up to work on your day off.”

Adora knew this wasn’t a normal thing people did, dammit. “I didn’t know what else to do! I can’t sleep, my apartment is boring and…”

I’m lonely.

She wasn’t about to say that out loud. 

Catra looked at her for a second before nodding, without a word, and then sliding across the hood of her car. Adora jumped at the sudden movement. Once again, almost spilling her shake. When Catra was at her passenger door and looking inside, Adora pressed the unlock button. 

A rush of cold air hit Adora when Catra opened the door, it was only for a moment and when she was inside quickly shut it, but still, Bright Moon was so cold in October and only going to get worse. 

“Alright, nerd,” Catra rubbed her hands together, trying to warm them up. “Let’s go get something to eat.”

Adora, very clearly holding a protein shake, held it up for Catra to see. “This is my meal.”

“Well did you bring two?”

“Would you drink it if I did?”

“Of course not,” Catra said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. Adora frowned, still not sure where this was going. “Look, I’m on break, you’re bored and it’s not like I’m gonna make you buy me dinner. I’m just trying to help you fill time, Princess.”

Adora looked back at the store, and then again to Catra. “Are we allowed to leave the store to go eat?”

“I was just gonna drive through McDonalds across the street,” Adora must have made a face. “You got a problem with McDonalds?” 

“N-no,” she never tried to push her lifestyle on others. Ever. “I just didn’t know there was one around here.” 

Catra’s eyes grew mischievous. “You’ve never had McDonalds before, have you?” 

Adora didn’t like where this was going. “They didn’t have one in Crystal Castle.” That was a lie. 

“Liar,”

Crap.

“You’re losing your McDonald’s virginity tonight.”

The word, the way Catra said it, made Adora’s cheeks heat up. “Absolutely not.”

Catra gave her the dreaded side eye. “One burger and fries isn’t gonna kill you.”

“You never know. Maybe I'm allergic.”

“To what? Fun?” Adora knew it was light hearted, she’d just heard that before when it wasn’t. She looked away, still not having any idea how to respond to that. “Look, you don’t have to get a burger, but if I get fries you have to try at least one.”

Adora peeked over at Catra and it was suddenly very hard to tell her no. Catra, more than anyone else Adora worked with, was an enigma. She was so hard to pin down. She carried herself so nonchalantly, like she didn’t care about her job or anyone around her. Yet, she managed to have a rapport with everyone. 

Scorpia seemed to consider Catra a friend. 

Even though Glimmer and her fought all the time they were constantly around one another. 

More than that, Catra worked really hard. When it was her downtime, she took it without hesitation. She’d ride out her break to the very last second, but she did her job and Adora appreciated that. 

It also didn’t help Adora’s better judgement that Catra was really pretty. She had the most expressive face and was apparently very good at finding ways to push Adora to do things. 

One fry.” Adora said, finally relenting. She didn’t want Catra to leave. “No sauce.”

Catra scoffed. “McDonald’s fries don’t need sauce.” Adora pulled up the drive through. Somehow there were still three cars in front of her.

“Why is this place always busy?”

“Pretty sure Bright Moon is the fattest city in the state or something like that.”

“How?! The whole town is mountains and hiking trails!”

Catra shrugged. “Weed is legal? People smoke and eat. Also fuck hiking.” Adora couldn’t help but study Catra and wonder if she smoked weed or did...stuff like that. Adora had never, in fact, she’d only ever drank once in her life. It wasn’t some protecting innocence thing, she just never had the chance to. It probably happened all the time at the parties after football games, but she was never invited to those.

She didn’t judge anyone for it, everyone was allowed to live their life the way they wanted to. She just wondered if Catra was a big partier. Not that it mattered, it wasn’t like they were going to be spending time together outside of...well whatever this was. 

“What do you want?” Adora asked as they rolled up one spot closer to the speaker. 

Catra answered almost immediately. “Ten piece nugget and fries. Oh and sweet and sour sauce. Fries don’t need sauce but you better believe my nuggets do.” 

When they finally reached the speaker, Adora gave the order and tried not to scream too loudly. She’d never actually done this before, ordered at a speaker. It was more nerve wracking than she thought. If she was alone, she probably would have practiced a few times on the way up. But with Catra here, she had to at least pretend she wasn’t socially inept. 

It went smooth enough. It helped somehow that everyone inside seemed about as excited to be there as Adora was. 

Once they had their food, Catra directed them to a parking spot that looked out over the mostly empty highway. To their left was the store, about as dead as the rest of the town this late at night. Even the McDonald’s behind them was slowing down. 

“Why does all fast food smell the same?” Adora asked, accidentally expressing her thoughts out loud. 

“It’s all grease and salt,” Catra said as she cracked open her box of nuggets. “You can’t beat a late night nugget though. These things are like crack.” Adora made a sound, she wished she hadn’t because she thought for a second that Catra might be too engrossed in her chicken nuggets and forget she was there. “Okay, one fry, you ready?” 

Adora sighed. “I suppose,” 

“You’re so dramatic.” 

Catra held out the bag and Adora reached in. It was greasy and disgusting already, she could feel her hands moisten as her fingers started digging around. She found one, a big enough one that Catra wouldn’t complain about her getting off easy, and pulled it out. 

In her hand, it didn’t look as intimidating as she’d made it out to be. Still, she played it up, taking a deep breath and closing her eyes. 

“You’re also a dork,” Catra said with a laugh, when Adora peeked one eye open, Catra popped another nugget in her mouth. 

Cute.

When Adora took her bite, the first thing she noticed was salt. It was very salty. That was pretty much the main thing she noticed. It had a decent potato flavor, but she watched her sodium intake almost as much as she did anything, so nothing she ever ate was this salty. 

Unfortunately, it wasn’t nearly as terrible as she wanted it to be. The longer she sat with it, the more the saltiness settled and Adora found herself eating the other half of it. 

“Mmhmm,” she glanced up at Catra, a smug look on her face. “I see you’re not throwing up.”

“It’s salty.”

“It’s a french fry, it’s supposed to be salty.”

“Probably not that salty.”

Catra rolled her eyes. “You know you can get little packets of salt in your order to add to it.”

Adora knew it was true, even if she didn’t want to believe it. “That might actually kill me.”

“Eventually, probably,” Catra grabbed multiple fries and tilted her head back to eat them. One of them strayed a bit and she used her tongue to pull it in. 

It was hard to look away, but Adora made herself refocus on the empty highway. 

They sat together for a while in silence, but not as uncomfortable as Adora had thought it might be. Instead, it was just...nice to sit with someone who clearly wasn’t waiting for Adora to say anything or start any conversation. 

The next thing Adora knew, there was a rustling by her ear and when she looked over, Catra was holding up an almost empty container of fries. “Two left, take one.”

Adora had a really hard time saying no. So she grabbed one and Catra took the other. She saved the bigger one for Catra and they each ate at the same time. 

“So good,” Catra sighed, putting her empty containers in the bag and folding it up. “Thanks for the meal, Adora.” 

“You paid for it,” Adora said with a smile, Catra had no reason to thank her. 

“Well, thanks for the company then,” she glanced over at the store. “I should head back.”

“I can drive you! It’s freezing out!” 

Catra waved her off and unbuckled her seat belt. “It’s fine, cold will wake me up for the second half of my shift. Don’t sit out here in your car all night either. Any chance you can get away from this place, take it.”

A strange disappointment fell over Adora. She...kinda wished she was working tonight. She really didn’t want to go back to her apartment and stare at the wall. 

“If you’re sure, I can seriously drive you.”

“It’s fine, oh…” Catra half opened the door but shut it quickly. “I meant to ask, what’s the story with your license plate?” 

“Oh,” Adora hadn’t thought about it for a while. “I uh...when I joined the football team that’s what they’d call me. I think it was supposed to be an insult. Then I...broke that guys shoulder and we started winning and it just kinda stuck, but in a good way.”

“Huh,” Catra nodded in approval before finally opening her door and letting the cold air come through again. “Well I’ll see you tomorrow night, She-ra.” 

She waved at Catra before watching her begin the long walk across the street. 

Adora smiled the entire way home.


“What...is that?” Adora can’t stop looking at this abomination that Glimmer has just brought into the store.

Glimmer waved her off like she was crazy. “It’s a spider!”

“That is not a spider.” It was a huge, plastic thing that kind of looked like a bug. But it only had four legs and she was pretty sure it’s head came from a completely different decoration. 

“It’s absolutely a spider,” Glimmer quickly moved and grabbed Scorpia as she was walking by. “Scorpia, what is this?” She gestured at the decoration with hopeful eyes. 

Scorpia beamed. “A deer!” 

Adora had to bite her tongue not to laugh. Glimmer quickly shooed Scorpia away. “I’m telling you, this is a spider. We’ve put him out the last two years.” 

“I mean, it’s scary enough for Halloween for sure.” Adora helped Glimmer move it to the front of the store by the entrance. 

That was her job tonight, helping to set up the decorations that would be all around the store during the rest of this month. Halloween had never really been one of Adora’s favorite holidays. She didn’t have any real friends growing up and she didn’t like candy, so trick or treating never appealed to her. Costumes were kind of fun, but she never cared much for makeup and Razz and Mara could only appreciate her toilet paper mummy so much. 

Still, Glimmer apparently loved it and Bow was over the moon about it and their excitement was infectious. So Adora was trying her best to get into the spirit. She’d even agreed to go to the store party a week from tomorrow. Her first real party without a curfew or anyone she had to call and tell she would out be late. 

It was a strangely freeing feeling that was only a little bit nerve wracking. 

“Oh you found the spider!” Bow said as he came through the door, wearing his bright pink scarf and big fluffy coat. 

“Yes! Thank you, I knew I loved you for a reason.”

Bow winked at her. “So, what’d you think it was?” He asked Adora when Glimmer was far enough away.

“I honestly didn’t know, there’s only four legs.” 

“Most people guess a bear, like…a really long legged bear.” He started walking towards the employee room and Adora walked with him. “How’s the decorating going?”

“Not bad, pretty sure Glimmer’s gonna make me climb the ladder soon and hang the paper skeletons and colored streamers.” Bow opened the door and held it for her, Adora walked through and saw Perfuma sitting on the table, much like Catra a few days ago. However, instead of relaxing like Catra, Perfuma was sitting cross legged and meditating. “Oh, sorry,” Bow stammered. “Are we interrupting?”

“Not at all,” Perfuma said, her eyes still closed and a smile on her face. “I’m perfectly centered. Please, continue as you were.”

Adora gave Bow a look and he could only shrug and kept walking to the lockers. “So are you going to the party?”

“Sounds like it, I - I don’t know what to expect.”

He shook off his jacket and opened the locker he shared with Sea Hawk. “It’s just like any other party. Mermista has a pretty nice place. With a pool too.” 

“It’s like five below outside right now.”

“Yeah but it’ll empty and people like to hang out in it and do keg stands and stuff.” 

Adora frowned. “Oh,” 

Bow noticed, she liked how observant he was. “Not your thing?”

“I don’t know, I’ve never really been to a party.” 

“Never? I thought you were on the football team? No parties after a big game?” 

“Not for me,” Adora really wondered growing up if she was lame. Being around people more now, people her age, she was starting to realize she absolutely was. “Post game for me was pizza with my Gran and movie night.” 

Even as she said it, Adora was ready for Bow to laugh at her, for Perfuma to slip out of her mediation just to point out how big of a loser she was. 

Neither happened, Perfuma might as well have been in another orbit. 

Bow though, he didn’t do anything like that. No laughs, no sympathetic reaction, just a smile. “I love pizza. What’s your topping?” 

“Pep - pepperoni,” she said - resisting the urge to hug him. “I would make my own and just put so much pepperoni on. It would be such a mess. My favorite cheat meal.” 

“Tell you what, we’ll postgame our first rec basketball game with some ‘za next week!” 

Adora beamed. “I would love that!” 

“Okay,” Glimmer entered the break room with streamers in her arms and around her neck and dangling behind her. “These go over the deli, you’re taller than me so you can climb and I’ll keep the ladder steady.” Adora gave Bow a ‘told you’ look and he grinned. 

“Just tell her you’re scared of heights, Glimmer.” Bow chimed in, earning himself a pretty devastating glare. 

“I will say no such things. You can't be scared of heights if you never go anywhere too high. Therefore I am not scared of heights, I'm simply unaware of my feelings on them and that is how it will be until I decide otherwise.”

"She's scared of heights," Bow deadpanned.

"Anyway," those deadly eyes found their way to Adora again. “Shall we?” 

“Catra’s late,” Perfuma said, her eyes still closed. 

The mere mention of Catra’s name had every bit of Adora’s attention. 

It also made Glimmer roll her eyes. “What else is new,” that didn’t sound right. Catra always worked hard. 

“Is she usually late?” Adora asked, not really sure why.

“Yes,” they all three answered her. 

Oh. 

“Is she...gonna be in trouble?” 

“She should be,” Glimmer sighed. “But she does her job and...I don’t know, my mom seems to have a soft spot for her.

“She’s been through a lot,” Perfuma said and Adora didn’t really like the sound of that. She’d heard that said about her a time or two from people who didn’t think she was listening. 

Take it easy on her, she’s been through a lot.

“How can you tell?” Bow asked, sounding genuinely curious. “She never says anything about her personal life.”

Perfuma took a deep breath and shrugged. “Sometimes you can just sense it in a person’s aura.”

“I’m sensing a lot of wasted aura in this break room right now,” Glimmer clapped her hands together. “Come on, Adora, ladder time!” Adora followed her out of the room.

“How steady is this ladder?” Adora asked, changing the subject. 

“It’ll be fine! It’s great!” 

“Like...actually great or ‘this totally looks like a spider’ great?” Adora watched Glimmer groan and stomp towards her. She wrapped an arm over Adora’s shoulder and dragged her out of the room, Bow’s laughter behind them filling her ears. 

She was happy. 


Glimmer’s ladder was not that great.

In fact, it sucked. It was too short and too shaky and the top of it was jagged with bent metal. 

That was the reason Adora found herself back in the break room thirty minutes later. She was in the process of hanging one of the paper skeletons when the ladder shook a little. Reaching down to grab on and steady herself, she managed to cut her finger on a bent part of it’s top. 

It didn’t hurt that bad, but it was deep enough to bleed. 

Glimmer offered to help, but Adora could tell Glimmer didn’t handle blood that well and everyone else was busy, so Adora asked to come here and bandage it up before returning to ladder duty. 

Which was all well and good, except trying to put a bandaid on with one hand was proving to be a pain in the butt. 

She was already on her third one, the first basically split in half when she tried to tear the little protective covers off. The second attempt was with her teeth and she ended up almost eating most of it. Now, she was on her third and she didn't want to waste anymore supplies from the store’s sad little first aid kit. 

Right as Adora was about to take the plunge, the break room door opened and she came in. 

Catra. 

All hair and leather. Such a sight that Adora couldn’t help but watch her walk to the lockers. She hadn’t seen Adora yet, who was stuffed away in the corner. 

Catra rolled her neck as she reached the locker and Adora watched as she took off her coat, her cheeks and nose red from the cold outside. She reached up, grabbing a handful of her hair and moving it back. When she did, Adora saw a flash of something on the side of her neck. A bruise that looked fresh - that was an odd place for a bruise. 

Adora wasn't about to ask her about it, but she knew she didn’t like seeing it there. She also knew that she couldn’t just sit here in silence and watch Catra like a weirdo. 

Instead, she looked down at what she was doing, to pretend that she was so focused on her task that she hadn’t even seen Catra come in. 

When she did, her elbow smashed into the first aid kit and sent it tumbling to the ground. 

Catra made a sound, somewhere between a scream and squeak and it was the cutest thing Adora had ever heard. 

“Sorry,” Adora looked down at the fallen first aid supplies then back to her band aid situation. She really didn’t want to do this a fourth time.

“What are you doing?”

“Cut myself on a ladder,” she decided to pick up the supplies after getting her stupid band aid on. 

“How do you cut yourself on a ladder?” Adora shrugged, too focused to answer. She managed to take one of the little protective covers off, but when she tried to remove the second, it stuck and stretched and suddenly the band aid folded over on itself and the sticky parts stuck together.

“No!” She screamed, maybe a little too loud. “You stupid little…” 

Suddenly, the first aid kit on the ground was being kicked out of the way and Adora looked up to see Catra hovering over her. “Here,” she reached around Adora, to the desk she was sitting next to. So close that Catra’s hair tickled Adora’s nose a little. When she came back, Catra had a different brand of band aid in her hand. “That first aid kit is like fifty years old. Pretty sure it was here when they built the building.” 

“Oh, well that explains why everything was so dusty,” she frowned and went to grab the newer bandage from Catra, but instead, Catra knelt down in front of her and took Adora’s hand in her own. 

Catra’s hands were softer than Adora expected, especially compared to her own, which were cracked and calloused from years of yard work and sports. But her fingers were strong and skilled. Adora was only slightly fascinated by them. 

Catra was efficient and the moment didn’t last very long, but Adora really enjoyed watching Catra work. Her fingers were nimble and gentle, it was a little bit annoying to see just how easily she slipped the bandage on when Adora had failed so many times. 

Even if the bandaids were old, it was a pretty lame excuse. 

When those multicolored eyes looked up at her, a smirk on Catra’s face to match, Adora smiled. “Thanks,” she drew her hand in close, examining Catra’s work. “You’re late,” she said, and watched the moment die as she did. 

What the hell, Adora?

Catra stood up and went back to her locker. “You sound like Sparkles.” She said. 

“Sorry, I - I think that’s why I said it. She mentioned it earlier.” 

“Of course she did,” Catra put her jacket away and shut the locker. 

Adora really didn’t want to end their conversation like that. “Are you going to the party?”

“Not sure” Catra stopped at the table, grabbing one of the donuts sitting in the box that Scorpia had brought in. Chocolate. “Mermaid and I aren’t exactly tight.”

“I thought it was a company party?” 

“It is, technically, but the company also doesn’t know that there’s gonna be a shit-ton of alcohol there and probably some weed too.” 

That didn’t sound quite as appealing to Adora as it had before. But she could be fine, people could do their thing and not affect her. She just wanted to have fun and spend time with Glimmer and Bow and…

“You should come,” she was pushing her luck and she knew it, but Catra didn’t immediately shoot her down. “It’ll be my first party.” 

Adora knew she was putting her vulnerabilities out there a little. She knew she was sheltered growing up, she knew the world was a little new and scary to her. But she didn’t want to pretend to be something she wasn’t. 

“It’s not a costume party, is it?” 

“Uh,” Adora winced. “I mean, I don’t think it’s mandatory .” 

Catra raised her brows. “What are you going to be?” 

“Wonder Woman,” Adora smiled, she’d bought her costume two days ago and it looked so great. 

This seemed to earn a nod of approval from Catra. “Okay, maybe I’ll show up for that. I’m not dressing up though.”

“That’s totally cool!” Adora said, like what she said actually mattered. “I just think it’ll be fun.”

“I guess we’ll see,” with that, Catra stuffed the rest of her donut in her mouth and went to work. Adora right behind her.

Chapter Text

Scorpia : You’re coming to the party?!!!!!!!

When Catra’s phone buzzed, she should have known it wasn’t worth her time to roll over and check it. She should have just silenced her phone entirely like she always did, but instead she let it go and now she was paying the prince. 

Catra unlocked it, her eyes blurry and unfocused as she swiped her thumb across the keys. 

Catra : Never said that

She laid the phone down on her pillow, it was pointless, it was going to buzz again. She could silence it now, end the conversation, but she kinda wanted to know how the hell Scorpia found out about her going to the party. 

Rolling onto her back, Catra ignored the fogginess in her head, it would go away eventually. Instead, she made the terrible choice of checking the time on her phone - barely past noon. 

“What the fuck, Scorpi -” it vibrated in her hand, a new message. 

Scorpia : You have to come! My hopes are too high! Catra at a work function? Too good to be true!

That made Catra want to go even less, but...she had her reasons. 

Catra : If you make too big of a deal about it I won’t go

There, that should cool this conversation off real quick. Swallowing the lump in her throat, Catra ran her hands over her face and let out a heavy yawn. She was up now, unfortunately, with nothing to do but sit around and wait for her shift tonight. 

Still, she could make the most of it. She did have the place all to herself for the next week and even if she’d be dragging ass tonight, she was up now and hungry. 

Throwing on a pair of shorts and a tank top Catra opened her bedroom door and was immediately met with Melog ramming his head into her ankles. 

“Hey buddy,” she grumbled, reaching down to run her hand over his back. He arched upward to press into her hand and continued his dance around her legs as she walked into the kitchen. 

The rest of the house was much brighter than her room, devastatingly so. She squinted and shielded her eyes from the windows as she made her way into the kitchen. She stepped up to the door to check the driveway, there were no cars outside, which was good. 

She was alone and she wanted it to stay that way for at least the rest of the week.

Enough to get her through the party. 

Scorpia was right, Catra didn’t usually go to work events or parties, or anything that was filled with people. 

Truth was, Catra didn’t really go anywhere at all. She’d turned down enough invitations that most people had stopped inviting her. She couldn’t go usually, wasn't allowed to. Even when Weaver was gone, Catra knew better than to try and sneak out on her days off and not be home when the check in call rang. She’d missed a few before and Weaver made sure to remind her not to do it again. 

So instead, Catra spent most of her free time here at home. Locked away in her room playing on her guitar or just staring out her window getting drunk on whatever she managed to sneak home from the liquor store across the street from work. A sad combination of both two nights ago left a wicked bruise on her neck from the strap after passing out.

It didn’t matter, Catra fucking hated this place. She was so sick and tired of it and when the time was right, she’d bust out and get a place of her own, as far away from this hell hole town as she possibly could. 

That was the plan, had been the plan for a long time now. She wasn’t ready, not yet, but close - closer than she was a week ago. 

With Melog hot on her heels, waiting to be fed, Catra cracked open a can of catfood and dumped it into his bowl. He screamed at her the entire time, relentless, just like Weaver, but she appreciated his screams because when he finally got what he wanted, he’d stop. 

Not like Weaver. 

Once Melog was happily scarfing away at his meal, Catra pulled out a pan and a pair of eggs to start making her own.

Before she fired up the stove, she turned on her morning playlist on her phone and turned it up as loud as she could. 

It sucked ass on her phone speaker, but Weaver would never let her get speakers - even though the bitch was gone three out of four weeks a month. 

It didn’t matter, Catra wouldn’t let it matter. She was determined to have a good day today. Even if she was woken up about two hours too early, she finally had something to fucking look forward too. 

Yes, Catra didn’t go to many parties and yes , she didn’t really do much besides work and sleep - but...something about this one was different. 

She knew exactly what that something was, too. Blonde hair and blue eyes, a little bit taller than her and a lot thicker. 

Adora was...something, she was a deadly combination of soft and rock solid. Like she could kick your ass without much effort, but wouldn’t actually hurt a fly if it was crawling around in her food. 

Catra was...smitten. Yeah, that was the right word. She was really quite smitten with the new girl. How could she not be? Adora was gorgeous and built like a damn tree. She was naive and nice and also somehow smart and disciplined enough to pass on McDonald’s in favor of a protein shake. 

Okay that last one was just sad, but Catra could appreciate someone who stuck to their guns. 

It was just a crush, nothing Catra hadn’t dealt with before. 

The only difference, really, was that Catra had gone out of her way a few times to actually talk to Adora, which she had definitely not done with crushes before. 

It was nice though, Adora reminded Catra of a puppy in a lot of ways. She was cute, like puppies, but also seemed a little lost and confused, also like puppies. The first time Catra saw her, Adora nearly fell on her head and when she tried to keep walking like it hadn’t happened at all, Catra was charmed. 

Of course, seeing Adora later in the locker room, all broad shoulders and firm muscle, Catra was attracted. 

In a lot of ways, Catra knew Adora was out of her league. Adora was the kind of person who Catra would stumble across on Instagram one day with some sports drink in her hand and 600k followers who she sold workout clothes to. 

Either way, life probably had a lot of good things ahead for Adora - who was kind and beautiful and seemed to have everything put together. 

Meanwhile, Catra was here and would be here until she built up the courage to actually walk out. 

She didn’t have any prospects. A mediocre guitar player, a poor singer and a worse writer. All of Catra’s dreams were too big. Weaver had told her that for years and yet Catra never took the time to face reality and actually focus on something she could do for a living. 

Instead, she sat in her room and tried to create something, anything that would steal her away from this house and the woman who raised her - but that miracle hadn’t come yet and it probably never would. 

She remembered the first time she showed Weaver any of her work - she was twelve. She’d written a song about two of her favorite characters from a book series she was reading. She loved them, loved the books and the way they helped her escape how awful middle school was. So much of it was personal to her - so much of that story was a part of her. 

Weaver laughed, it wasn’t loud or obnoxious, just small chuckles and a few eye rolls. When she handed the written song back to Catra, she told her to stop wasting time. 

From that point forward, Catra never shared her music with anyone.

Why put herself through the disappointment again?

Suddenly, Catra’s eggs didn’t seem as appealing, but she made them and she knew better than to be wasteful. So she ate, despite them tasting like ash in her mouth, and cleaned up her mess. 

For the rest of the day, Catra sat around and didn’t do much of anything. Her mind wouldn’t let her function. She was tired and disappointed that her day was already ruined by a few bad thoughts. For as much as someone like Adora coming into her life could be so good, she also brought a lot of bad with her. Without even knowing. 

It just hurt Catra to know that Adora, like everyone else, would eventually see that she wasn’t worth the time and move on. 

Common sense told her to text Scorpia and say she wasn’t going. To never ask her again. It would only take a few more times of Catra being a complete bitch for Scorpia to back off too. 

She didn’t though, she let selfishness take over for once. She wanted to see Adora’s costume. 

She wanted to see Adora. 


“What do you think?” 

Catra looked, or continued to look, at Scorpia’s new haircut. She’d buzzed the sides off and let the grown out top swoop down over her head. It suited her. “It looks good.” Catra said before turning back to her phone. 

“Does it really, or are you just saying that? Because it’s totally fine if you’re just saying that. I know I’ve been annoying about the hair but with the party coming up and all and Perfuma being there, I wanted to make sure it looks good.”

“Scorpia,” Catra cut her off, she had to. “It looks good. I don’t know why you get so worked up about these parties. Everyone’s gonna be so drunk by the end of it they’ll be lucky to not have puke on their clothes.” 

“Come on, Catra, they’re not that bad.” Catra gave her a look. “Okay that one at Sea Hawk’s during Valentine’s Day last year was pretty bad but you’ve never actually been to one! They’re so much fun.” Scorpia was right, Catra had never been to one of these parties, but she’d gotten enough drunk texts from Scorpia that night to get the gist of how the evening went. “Why’d you change your mind on it this year? You always seemed pretty insistent about not going.” 

Catra wasn’t about to answer that question honestly. “Weaver’s out of town for the next two weeks and I’m bored. Might as well watch my co-workers make fools of themselves.”

“What’s your costume going to be?!” Scorpia never missed a beat. 

“I am not wearing a costume.”

“Aw come on! You have to, everyone else will be! It’s Halloween!”

“I’m very aware of what month it is, but still, no costume. I’ll go as a normal human surrounded by idiots.” 

This made Scorpia laugh, of course it did. “Well that’s a great idea! You’ll go as a regular Catra!” 

Catra found herself smiling, every now and then Scorpia’s positivity cracked it’s way in. “Something like that.” 

“Actually!” The sudden voice nearly made Catra drop her coffee all over her lap. “There’s a sixty-seven percent chance nobody will even notice she’s not wearing a costume!”

“Entrapta, what are you doing here? You’re not on the night shift?” 

“I’m here doing maintenance on the self-checkouts! The system is unable to recognize the fruit and vegetable registry numbers and has been charging people double for broccoli and brussel sprouts!”

Catra grimaced. “Maybe it’s trying to send people a message,” she said, sipping her coffee. 

“What were you saying about Catra’s costume?” Scorpia asked because she refused to let anything go. 

“Given the number of people Catra speaks to on a regular basis that work at the store, and the fact that she hasn’t been to a single party since she started working here, a quick run of the numbers in my head suggests there’s a very high chance nobody will notice she’s not wearing a costume. In fact, a fair number will probably not even notice she’s there at all!” Entrapta threw her hands in the air. 

“Aw, I’ll notice!” Scorpia wrapped one of her tree trunk arms around Catra and nearly jerked her out of her chair. 

“Stop,” Catra whined, pushing away. “This is good news, I don’t want anyone to notice.”

Scorpia gave her a look, arm still holding Catra in place. “You can’t be going for no reason. There has to be something that -”

As if on cue, the door to the break room burst open and a gaggle of laugher came with it. 

“You dare challenge me?!” The way Sea Hawk talked would never not be annoying.

“I absolutely dare,” Adora was pointing a finger at Sea Hawk, a bright smile on her face matched only by the sparkle in Sea Hawk’s eyes as they came into the break room with Bow following behind them. “Put your money where your mustache is, Hawk.” 

Adora sat down at the table, almost directly across from Catra and pulled the sleeve of her shirt up to reveal...wow. 

It was moments like this where Catra wondered what the hell she was doing trying to impress Adora. Like going to a party and showing off how anti-social she was could possibly be enough to make this goddess of a woman even give her a second look. 

A heartbeat before Catra was about to drool all over herself, Sea Hawk pulled up a seat right next to her, practically knocking her out of the way, before slamming his elbow on the table. 

If looks could kill, Sea Hawk would be dead, unfortunately, he wasn't paying attention to her and now Catra had a front seat to an arm wrestling match. 

“Let’s not get carried away here, we have more boxes to unload!” Bow tried, but nobody listened. Catra could appreciate Bow in that way because nobody listened to her either. 

“Oh wow! Let’s go Adora!” That was Scorpia, so quick to jump on board anything like this. 

In any other situation, Catra would grab her coat and go back to work, but Adora’s arms were like a black hole keeping her in place - sucking the will to be aloof right out of her. 

Their arms locked, Adora with the most attractively confident look on her face and Sea Hawk was grinning ear to ear, like he’d already won. 

With a resigned sigh, Bow put his hands on their hands to steady them and started counting. With each number, he grew more excited. “Three, two, one, go!” 

The table practically shook when they started the match. While Sea Hawk’s face immediately began to contort and twist in effort, Adora just...smiled at him.  Then a few seconds later Sea Hawk’s arm was planted into the table and everyone cheered. 

Adora was graciously talking about how she got lucky and hadn’t worked her arms that day. Making all these excuses about why she’d just absolutely destroyed this man’s soul. 

Catra had never seen anything like that - sure Sea Hawk was mostly talk and could probably get his ass kicked in arm wrestling by any number of the women that worked here. Scorpia could pick him up and throw him over at least three aisles. 

But something about Adora was so gravitating to Catra that she found herself enthralled with watching her move and laugh with her friends. 

It was too much, she had to get the hell out of this break room before she did something stupid like hop over the table and kiss her. Because that’s not something normal people did, let alone someone as bat shit crazy as Catra. 

So she did just that, she got up and got the hell out of that break room - the sounds of Adora’s laughter filling her ear the entire way out. 

Unfortunately, the world hated her, so the first thing Catra ran into on her way out of the break room was Glimmer. Glimmer wearing a witches’ hat and holding several other witches hats. 

“Catra! I was just looking for you.”

“Hey Sparkles, Mom finally let you into the club huh?” Glimmer gave her a confused look. Catra gestured towards her hat. Why she said these things to her boss’ daughter Catra would never really understand. 

“Oh shush, if you want I could have my mom make you wear one too.”

Catra put her hands up in surrender. “Did you need something?” 

“I do, I need someone to hang decorations in the deli and frozen food sections.”

“Come on, Sparkles. I have risers to get through.”

Glimmer shook her head. “I asked Scorpia and Perfuma to cover those for you.”

“Is there a reason you want me specifically to do this?”

“You’re the only one who never seems to get cold! You’re like...part cat or something, I swear you must be covered in fur.”

Catra rolled her eyes. “You went cat because of my name, didn’t you?” 

“Maybe a little, but I stand by my point. You walk to work, in this weather! It’s insane!”

“It’s called being poor and not having a car.”

It’s called Weaver won’t allow me to get a license. 

Glimmer frowned a little. “Well still, I - I was hoping you’d do this.”

After watching Adora and her muscles take down Sea Hawk, a little time in the cold would probably do her some good. “Fine, but don’t get mad at me if I start eating ice cream while I’m back there.”

“Please don’t do that.” Catra grabbed the keys to the storage room from Glimmer and walked off without a response. “Catra, do not eat the ice cream! Catra!”


Catra: I need a ride

Scorpia: oooh! I didn’t even think about that. Probably would be too long of a walk to Mermista’s. That’s totally cool though! I can pick you up! You can help me put on my costume!

Catra stared at her phone for a minute. She didn’t like the sound of that.

Catra: Ur costume requires help?

Scorpia: It’s an ice cream cone and the third scoop is out of my reach!

Scorpia’s use of the exclamation point had always bugged Catra. But it didn’t matter how many times Catra told her that. 

Still, Catra did need a ride and if that meant helping Scorpia with her big dumb costume, then that was the price she was going to have to pay. 

Catra: Fine.

Scorpia: OK! Be there in 30!!

Seven, that meant Catra had an hour to kill and a step stool to reach Weaver’s good stash. 

Which was why Catra found herself on that very step stool with her hand currently elbow deep in the tallest cupboard of the house. She never understood why Weaver kept this stuff around, probably just to tempt Catra into fucking up so she could yell at her about it later. 

Which, okay, it was clearly working because Catra was currently searching for said alcohol, but still, she was way too nervous about all of this to not have at least a little bit of a warm up. 

It took every bit of lengths she had in her left arm to reach it, but when she did, Catra pulled down Weaver’s big bottle of vodka and gave a little fist pump in celebration. 

Catra already had a glass waiting. She poured herself a small enough drink that she could down it all in one shot. Slow sipping was an absolute waste of time. 

She took her first shot, always the worst one. It burned the entire way down but she’d done this enough times that she didn’t gag anymore. 

The next shot she poured came with her back to the bedroom. She wasn’t going to dress up in any silly costume but she also wasn’t going to go looking like a piece of shit either. 

Not if Wonder Woman herself was going to be there. 

Catra didn’t have a lot of nice clothes. She didn’t have much use for a lot of nice clothes. The only time she ever went to anything that required more than shoes and her leather jacket was obnoxious work functions with Weaver where she could pretend she was some kind of great caretaker and not the awful bitch who bought a land line just so Catra would have to stay home more to answer her calls. 

Because if you missed back to back Weaver calls, there was going to be hell to pay. 

Catra never understood why Weaver tried so hard to keep her here. To isolate her and make her stay in this house under her thumb. Weaver made it clear from the start that she didn’t like Catra. She’d never done anything beyond giving her a home and feeding her. Which, okay, it could have been worse and Catra knew that, but Weaver just seemed to really hate her. 

She yelled at her constantly, nothing was ever good enough and any time Catra showed off any true interest in something, Weaver would go out of her way to try and ruin it. 

That’s why Catra’s room was so sacred to her, it was the only safe place she had. Thank God Weaver was out of town so much otherwise Catra would never get the chance to try any of the songs she’d stayed up through all hours of the night writing. 

As far as nice clothes went, Catra only had a few options. There were the two dresses that Weaver bought her for said events. They were nice and expensive and because it was for Weaver, they were given to her for basically nothing. If Catra was going to be a prize for Weaver to prance around at her little work events, then she had to look her best. 

Yeah, Catra wasn’t wearing that tonight. No, tonight was about her. She wanted to go out and have fun, for the first time in months. Weaver was gone on an extended trip so Catra was going to make the most of it. 

She just had to be back for Weaver’s stupid ass landline call in the morning. 

Eventually, two drinks later, Catra settled on a button down red shirt and a pair of black pants she stole from Weaver, because who was Weaver kidding thinking she could fit in these?

After a few drinks, Catra even threw on a pair of headphones with cat ears on them. She’d be a fucking cat for Halloween. 

By the time Scorpia showed up, Catra was doing her best to put on a little bit of makeup, which was not something she was very good at. 

“Do you want some help?” Scorpia asked and Catra just glared at her. She hated asking for help, for anything. Scorpia just looked at her, a smile on her face. Catra hated her sometimes. “Come on, Wildcat - just one time.”

Catra groaned, it was dramatic and unnecessary, but she was feeling pretty good and really wanted to look nice.

“Fine, help me Scorpia.” She held out the eyeliner brush and Scorpia bounced off the edge of the bathtub like a puppy being offered a treat. 

“Wow, this is a lot of makeup. I didn’t know you had this much.” 

Catra scoffed. “I don’t, this is all Weaver’s shit. She wears more makeup than a rodeo clown.” 

Scorpia laughed and Catra laughed a bit too much, but calling Weaver out was fun, even if she could only do it when Weaver was in another state. 

“Here, sit,” Scorpia directed and Catra sat on the tiny stool by the mirror, where the light could hit her just right. She laid her head back, looking up at the ceiling while Scorpia went to work. 

“Not too much, okay. Don’t make me look like an emo kid - just a little to -”

“Hey, I got this. Perfuma’s been giving me tips for months now.”

Catra knew what this was. Scorpia brought up Perfuma’s name a lot, mostly because she wanted to talk about her. Usually, Catra would let that shit go because if Scorpia started then it was really really hard to get her to stop. 

Tonight though, Scorpia was doing her makeup and had driven all the way out here to pick her up and…

“You two are like...doing...good then?” Catra sucked at girl talk.

Just talk in general. 

“Yes! Things have been going so well! But not like too well that it feels fake, you know?” Catra didn’t know, but she made a noise of understanding. “We’re going to a concert in Fright City in a few weeks. Some band she’s crazy about. I’m so excited, we’re even going to get a hotel and stay the night so we can visit a theme park there the next morning.”

Catra listened for the most part, as Scorpia went on about the park they were going to and the band they were seeing. It sounded nice enough, it wasn’t something Catra could really wrap her head around. The freedom to just go somewhere for days at a time? There was no way she could do that, not with Weaver around. 

Plus who would she even go with? 

Stop it, Catra.

She scolded herself, tonight wasn’t about that. No self pity and no drama. She wanted to have fun. She needed another fucking drink. 

Scorpia actually did a really good job on Catra’s eyes. They weren’t overdone and it looked better than if she’s stumbled through it on her own. 

By the time Catra finished her fourth drink and was fully dressed, she felt really good. 

The drive there was less eventful. Scorpia kept talking and Catra nodded along, not really paying attention. Finding the party was easy enough, there were about twelve cars parked in the driveway and cul-de-sac of Mermista’s place and music could be heard from the street. 

The nerves hit Catra like a truck. She wasn’t used to this. She didn’t go to work parties. Didn’t spend time with these people outside of their shifts. The only one who even knew where she lived was Scorpia and if Catra had it her way that would never change. 

She was suddenly wishing she hadn’t put Weaver’s bottle back and just brought it with her. 

“Come on! I can’t wait to show you the view from Mermista’s back porch!” 

Dutifully, Catra followed Scorpia out of the car and up the crowded driveway. 

The party was in full effect, a few people Catra didn’t know were standing on the front porch, passing around a bottle of something and playing cards. Scorpia said hi to all of them though, calling them out by name. Catra kept her head down, hands in her pocket, she wasn’t here for them. 

The inside was much louder, music blasting from...somewhere, so loud that Catra could barely hear herself think. It wasn’t even good music, either. All bad drums and screaming, no heart. 

There weren’t as many people here as Catra had expected, still too many, and so many that she didn’t recognize. The kitchen was full, people standing around a center island table with beer cans and liquor bottles surrounding four open pizza boxes. 

“Scorpia,” Catra spoke up as loudly as she could, thankfully getting Scorpia’s attention. “Who are all these people?”

“The ones outside were dayshift people. Mermista used to work days before she got promoted. I have no idea who the ones in the kitchen are. Maybe friends of her’s from school. Our crew should be out back.”

That was oddly fitting. Rejects in the back. 

The living room wasn’t anything special, but damn the TV was huge and there were multiple video game consoles connected to it. A group of younger kids were on it, Catra had no idea why they were here but she wasn’t about to ask. One girl in blue was talking really loud, over pretty much everyone, directing orders at the others as they played. 

Eventually, Catra followed Scorpia to a big sliding glass door that stepped out onto a dimly lit back deck. Scorpia was right, it was a hell of a view. From here, you could see the small town in the distance beyond a vast valley of trees. The stars were up in the sky, a moon bright and beaming, doing it’s best from a distance to help the weak chili pepper shaped lights that were strung up along the roof. 

Catra saw her co-workers all sat in a circle, in chairs that looked like they came from the dollar store downtown. 

Bow and Glimmer were right next to each other, chatting away with two people Catra hadn’t seen in a while, Netossa and Spinneralla. They used to work the night shift back when Catra had just started, but they moved on years ago. From what Catra heard, they owned a craft shop in Erelandia and got their happily ever after. 

Perfuma was there, on the other side of the seats where a cooler was sat between everyone that was also serving as a table for drinks. 

They were all here, but Catra could care less. She didn’t come here for them, she just wanted to see…

Adora. 

Catra found Adora huddled up against the wall, a jacket wrapped over her and the slightest peek of a blue skirt hanging down her legs. Why were they outside? It was freezing out here and clearly Adora was suffering. But she stood there, shaking and huddled up, hiding her costume and what Catra could only imagine was a wonderful pair of arms that needed to be set free. 

Maybe it was selfish, but Catra wanted to get her indoors.

“You look miserable,” Catra said, her voice almost completely drowned out by the music and Scorpia’s boisterous hello to Perfuma. 

Still, it was enough to get Adora’s attention. “Oh...h - hey Catra. You came!” She smiled, her teeth chattering a little. 

This was stupid. “You’re freezing.”

Adora shook her head. “I’m fine. Gl - Glimmer wanted to come out and smoke and...it’s fine.” Adora had a smile on her face, but Catra knew uncomfortable when she saw it. Glimmer probably didn’t know any better. Adora didn’t seem like the confrontational type. 

Sure, let’s go! 

I’m fine!

It’s not even that cold! 

She could imagine any one of those things coming from Adora. 

“Come on, let’s go get something to drink.” Adora held up a bottle of water. Catra sighed. “Hey Sparkles?” 

Glimmer lazily turned to look at Catra. “Holy shit, Catra? You...you never come to these.”

“Yeah thanks, listen, I’m gonna take Adora inside before she shakes herself off the deck.” 

Glimmer’s eyes went wide, like she’d forgotten Adora was even there. “Oh no! I’m sorry! Adora, I totally got caught up. I can come in with you.” 

Adora waved her off, as best as you can wave someone off while still clinging a jacket to your body. “You’re fine, I was enjoying the view anyway.”

Catra had a crush on the biggest pushover in Etheria. “Come on,” Catra grabbed her by the arm and pulled her towards the sliding glass door. 

The air shifted as soon as they stepped inside, Catra closing the door quickly to stop anymore cold air from sneaking in. 

Catra couldn’t explain what had come over her. She never did this, she never tried this hard with people, not even people she knew. Adora was basically a stranger, but seeing her out there in the cold, shaking and struggling - not being able to show off the costume she was so excited about, it really bothered her.

Bothered her enough that she spoke up and reached out and dragged Adora back inside. 

The problem was, they were here now and Catra had no idea what to do and it was so damn loud. 

“You gonna show me your costume?” Catra asked, the buzz from the alcohol making her brave. She really wanted to see Adora’s costume. 

There was a pink coloring in her cheeks, but that might have been the cold from outside. It was, thankfully much warmer inside. 

It took Adora a bit, but she eventually shrugged the coat off her shoulders and folded it gently over her arm. 

All of the air in Catra’s lungs escaped at that moment. Adora looked incredible

She was built, Catra knew that from seeing her in her work clothes, but like this, shoulders bare and arms uncovered, holy shit

Catra was staring, she knew she was staring. How could she not? The costume was detailed, way better than something you would find in a basic store. Adora had ordered this one online and it fit her perfectly. 

The center of Catra’s chest felt tight, like she had forgotten how to breathe. She forced herself to stop ogling and find Adora’s eyes again. Eyes that were staring back at her shyly, standing in the middle of someone else’s home dressed like that

“Guess I went a little overboard, huh?” She said, almost with shame as she looked around at everyone else. People had costumes, sure, but most of them were cheesy and lame, a lot like Catra’s “cat” costume which was just a stupid pair of cat ears she found in her closet. “Stupid,” Adora said, with a laugh that was clearly forced. 

“You look great!” Catra said, something she would never say to anyone ever, but dammit all if Adora didn’t look like she needed to hear it. “Fuck these losers who didn’t try. You rocked it.”

Adora looked at her, with the quickest, faintest smile that Catra wanted to see again and again. “Thanks,” she hugged herself a little, which only made her arms flex more. “I still feel silly though.”

“You sh -”

‘Wow!” a tiny voice cried from behind Catra, making her jump. She turned to see all the kids who’d been playing games had turned their attention to Adora with wide eyes and big smiles. 

Catra could relate.

“That’s so cool!”

“You look just like her!”

“No she doesn’t, her hair is blonde!”

They all started to move towards Adora, talking to her and asking her questions, clearly overwhelming her a little. Regardless, she smiled and answered them and even picked one of them when they asked her to. 

“What are you guys doing at a party like this?” Adora asked the question Catra had been wondering. 

“My sister brought us. She’s supposed to be babysitting but she wanted to come to the party.” 

“It’s been so fun, they have Nintendo!” 

“You should play with us!”

Someone was tugging on Catra’s sleeve. “You gotta play, we need more people!” 

Catra had never really been much of a gamer - it wasn’t something Weaver was ever really approving of. She’d played a few with Scorpia and a few on her phone, but any free time Catra had was usually dedicated to music. 

When she looked to Adora again, there was a smile on her face that Catra couldn’t even begin to contend with. They’d just met, had maybe three conversations, but dammit all if she didn’t feel like she knew exactly what Adora was thinking at that moment. 

“You wanna wreck these little brats or what?” Catra asked, which was met with a chorus of high pitched protests and squeals. 

Adora put down the child she was holding and took a step towards the couch. “Absolutely.”

Chapter Text

It was fair to say that Catra’s affection for Adora started mostly on the physical side. She was absurdly attractive. With strong arms, and a sharp jaw, blue eyes and broad shoulders. Adora checked all of Catra’s boxes. 

But the feelings she had now were something else entirely. She knew Adora was kind and soft and they got along really well, easier than Catra had with anyone so quickly. 

Tonight though, sitting on a couch in Mermista’s house with a party ramping up behind them that Catra could care less about, she was having an absolute blast. 

Adora was competitive and would get so frustrated every time her kart ended up off the track or she was hit with a red shell. One time, Catra rolled up right beside her, turned and looked at her in real life, then blasted her with a horn. 

Catra thought Adora might snap the controller in half. 

On anyone else, it might be too much, but Adora kept getting so frustrated and then apologizing when she went too far and using silly non-curse words around the kids who Catra was pretty sure knew all the bad ones already. 

They played for so long, a lot longer than Catra had intended when they came in here. It wasn’t exactly the best way to show off Adora’s costume, but the greedy part of Catra was glad to have Adora all to herself. 

It wasn’t until Catra’s phone buzzed in her lap that she was forced to tear herself away from the game and back to reality. 

WEAVER CALL, ONE HOUR WARNING

An alarm she’d set earlier that day. Shit. She wasn’t supposed to stay out this late. She hadn’t meant to get so wrapped up in all of this. 

“Dammit, I have to go.” Catra said, almost thinking out loud. 

There was only one kid left up, the loud bossy one from before - Frosta. She was barely awake now, just watching and didn’t protest much when Catra shut the console off. 

“This was fun…” Adora was looking at her with a bright smile, and as much as Catra wanted to return it, she really needed to get out of this house and get home. “Everything okay?” 

Catra nodded, while furiously texting Scorpia. 

Catra: Scorp, you here? I need a ride home.

“Yeah,” Catra answered, the grip on her phone as tight as the smile she forced herself to give Adora. “Just a bit late for me.” 

“You work the night shift,” Adora said with a laugh that was annoyingly infectious. Catra was trying to have her tiny little panic attack, dammit. 

“Fair point,” Catra said, distracted as she started to scan the party. There were less people here, a lot less. The music was still loud, but the crowd had slimmed by about half. “Did Sparkles leave?” 

Adora held up her phone. “Yeah, about an hour ago...seriously you look stressed. Do you feel okay?”

“I’m fine.” Catra said, much sharper than she intended. Adora recoiled, it was amazing how someone so strong and well put together could look so much like a wounded puppy. “Sorry, I…” Catra picked up her phone. No response text, not even a notification that her text had been read. “I think Scorpia left and she was my ride and... shit .” Catra could feel the tension burning in the back of her throat. She did not want to miss Weaver’s call. She would only lose more ground if she did. It was bad enough how many things she did without Weaver knowing, but a missed call might make them more frequent and take away even more. 

She had to get home. 

“I can give you a ride.” Adora was already standing up, “I drove here and I haven’t had anything to drink.”

Catra didn’t like having anyone know where she lived. In fact, Scorpia was the only person from work who knew where she lived and even that felt like a mistake sometimes. 

But she really didn’t have a choice, she couldn’t walk home and make it in time - not to mention she might actually freeze to death, which could potentially be a better choice than missing this call. 

Then there was Adora, standing above her with an expectant look on her face, keys in her hand ready to save the day. 

What choice did she have?

“Are you sure?” 

Adora nodded. “Wouldn’t have offered if I wasn’t.” That was a lie. Adora seemed the type to set herself on fire to keep others warm. Nothing was ever inconvenient for her, even if it was. 

Still, Catra was out of options. “I - I’d really appreciate it.” 

“After tonight? Wasting the party to hang out with me and a bunch of eleven year olds playing video games. It’s the least I could do.”

Was that really what Adora thought? That Catra wasted her time? Where did this girl come from?

“Thanks,” was all she could say. It didn’t really feel like the right moment to admit that tonight had been one of Catra’s best nights in years. 

Sending a quick text to Scorpia that she’d found a ride and not to worry, Catra found herself shrouded in darkness, staring out at the empty backroad from the passenger seat of Adora’s little brown car. 

In the moments when Catra wasn’t checking the clock on her phone to make sure she wasn’t late, she took the time to glance over at Adora behind the wheel. She looked a little funny, in her Wonder Woman costume behind the wheel of a crappy car. The faint glow of the dashboard lights colored her face in a faded green. 

She really was beautiful, not at all the kind of girl that Catra imagined spending a night with. Certainly not someone Catra imagined she’d enjoy being around so much. 

The quiet between them wasn’t awkward at all, in fact, it was kind of nice. Peaceful after the exhausting noise of the party. Still, Catra wanted to see if they could still talk and be as playful as they’d been during the game.

“You’re a better driver in person than you are in Mario Kart.” 

Adora shot her a look, playfully offended. “There’s no one throwing shells at me out here.” 

“I don’t think the shells had anything to do with you falling off of every corner of Rainbow Road.” 

“It was not every corner!” Adora shook her head like that was the most ridiculous thing she’d ever heard. “Besides, I almost won a few.”

“You finished third, once.” Catra corrected. Adora was so much fun to tease. “I’m pretty sure Frosta spared you from a few shells and let you have it.” 

“Frosta is ruthless!”

“She really is, it’s kinda scary.” Catra leaned forward a bit and pointed. “It’s this next turn on the left, past the light.” 

Adora nodded, the road was empty besides them and the one car they’d passed a few miles back. The town was quiet at this hour. Peaceful, Catra couldn’t remember the last time she’d been out when this town was actually busy. 

She preferred it that way - the night shift, the calm. It suited her better. People were too complicated. Too loud and too often looking for ways to use others to their advantage.

“So...what are you doing here?” Catra asked as they left the main road and started down the rougher road that led to her home. 

“Uh...driving you home?”

Catra sighed, a soft laugh in her throat. “No, dork...here...Bright Moon? Who moves to Bright Moon willingly?”

“I just...needed a change of scenery. I wanted to try something new.” 

Catra couldn’t stop herself from laughing. “And you chose this?” 

“Not a big fan of Bright Moon, are you?” 

“Have you seen it? This place is a fucking pit. People either pass through here to something better, or stay here forever and die without making any mark on the world. There is no in-between.”

Adora was quiet for a moment and Catra figured she had probably gone a little too hard. She just had very strong feelings about this place, none of them good. With each year that passed, she felt like another year was wasted in a life she hated - in this place she resented. 

A place she was desperate to escape. 

“What kind of mark do you want to leave on the world?” That was the last thing Catra expected Adora to ask. 

She didn’t have an answer. “I...what? I don’t know. I was just saying. It sucks here.” Adora didn’t respond, she just nodded and kept driving. Catra was suddenly not as comfortable. “It’s the next left. Up the hill.” When Adora turned on her road, she still hadn’t said anything and the silence was starting to become deafening. Catra wanted to go back to the banter and laughter. “Look, are you planning on staying here long?” 

Adora shook her head. “Probably a year, I’m going to school next fall.”

“There you go,” Catra felt like her point had been made. She also chose to ignore that weird feeling of disappointment that Adora would be off to some new and better life in a year. She’d known her for less than a few weeks. It was ridiculous. “What mark do you want to leave on the world?” 

“A good one I hope,” Adora had this little smile on her face, almost playful. “The place I came from...the people there...they did a lot to help me get to where I am. To give me the chance to be here. Wherever I go from here, it...it has to be good. It has to be worth it.” There was a lot of unspoken weight behind her words. A heaviness Catra couldn’t understand, but recognized all the same. 

“That seems like a lot of responsibility.” When Adora shrugged, Catra wasn’t sure what else to say. “It’s this one, the house on top of the hill.” 

“You live further out than I thought.” Catra knew, she hated it, but she knew. “I can’t believe you walk from here every night.” 

“Scorpia picks me up when the weather is too rough, and...in the summer it’s not so bad.” 

Sitting in the car, with the lights off and nothing but the dark of the moon shining over them, everything felt more shrouded. Simpler, in a way. “I had fun tonight.” Adora’s voice was soft, and even in the dark, Catra could find her eyes shining just enough. “You didn’t have to spend so much time with me but...I appreciate it.” 

Catra rolled her eyes. “Trust me, Princess - you were the most exciting person at this party tonight.” She needed more, she wanted to say more. She wanted to take a risk. “At least, for me you were.” When Adora smiled at her, Catra fell a little harder. “I should probably get inside. Think you can find your way home?” 

Adora nodded, chewing on her bottom lip. “Can I…” she sighed, like she was summoning courage. Catra tried her best to mind control Adora to take the leap. “Can I have your number? To like...text and stuff? I really only talk to Glimmer and Bow and they’re great, but that group chat can be a lot.” 

Okay, so that wasn’t exactly what Catra was hoping for, but it was a good idea nonetheless. “Sure,” she reached out and Adora handed over her phone. She quickly typed in her number and gave it back. “Cool sword,” she said, remarking Adora’s lock screen.

This was, however, the one thing that made Adora’s eyes go wide and her body tense. “Oh God, yeah I’m....kind of a nerd for stuff like that. It’s...it’s from a show. It’s silly.” 

“Hmm,” Catra found her shyness extremely cute. “Well you’ll have to text me about it.”

“Okay,” Adora giggled. “I’ll see you at work?” 

“Where else would I be?” Catra said as she opened the door, the cold mountain air blowing through Adora’s warm car. For some reason, the chill hit her harder than it usually did. “Text me when you get home. So I know you made it.”

“Okay! Goodnight, Catra.” 

“Night,” Catra said, closing the door and giving a small wave through the window. As she climbed the steps to her front door, Adora’s lights came on as she slowly backed down the driveway. Catra lingered, taking her time going in. She just stayed on the deck and watched Adora drive out of sight and she even waited until she couldn’t hear Adora’s car anymore before finally going inside. 

The timing couldn’t have been better, because as soon as she came in, she was met with the sharp ringing of their landline. Catra nearly fell, tripping over Melog dancing around her feet. Catra practically jumped over the couch to grab the phone. 

“Hello,” she said - out of breath. 

Catra ,” Weaver’s voice, steady and dreadful as always. “ Were you sleeping ?” 

“No,” she answered shortly. “Just in my room.” 

I see,.” Catra never understood why Weaver liked it so much that Catra had almost no life of her own. But she did, in fact, it almost felt like Weaver worked to make sure of it. “ How has your work been?”

“Fine,” Catra felt her foot start to tap against the floor. “I have five shifts next week, so I’ll be busy.” 

Be sure and shower before you go in, and do something with your hair. It cannot be that wretched mess when you’re working .”

“I know,” Catra ran a hand through her hair, she really wished she could just cut it all off. “It’s the night shift, I don’t even see customers.”

It’s no wonder you have no friends with how poorly you care for yourself, ” Weaver laughed, actually laughed, like she’d told some amazing joke.

“I shower every day.” Catra snapped, angrier than intended.

Come now, Catra. Don’t be so sensitive.

Yeah, Catra. Just shut up and take it.

“Anything else?” She wanted this to be over. She wanted to go crawl into bed and do nothing for the next five hours.

“Your disrespect baffles me. All I do for you and you talk to me like I’m some kind of villain.

Catra was not in the mood. “All you do for me? What do you do for me? Take my paycheck. Leave me home alone for months. I don’t understand what you want -”

You’re a grown woman, Catra. A grown woman who cannot take care of herself. If I left you alone to the real world it would swallow you whole and you know it better than I do .” Weaver’s voice raised, Catra’s mouth snapped shut at her words. “ You want to leave, Catra? Then go. You wouldn’t last a day on your own. You stay because you’re a coward and you know that you’re not worth the effort for anyone else to take care of you and you’re not strong enough to take care of yourself. I have dealt with you for years, after you stumbled into this world leaving nothing but pain and misery in your wake, and you want to act like you’re the victim? You are a miserable, petulant child with zero life skills and if it weren’t for me, you’d be on the streets or in the ground."

Angry, hot tears fell from Catra’s cheeks. She should have done what she was supposed to. 

Just shut up and take it. 

Weaver was right? Catra had no value. She was a wannabe musician who shouldn’t even be here in the first place. She just wanted to know if this would ever end. If she would ever find her way out of Bright Moon. Out of this place with Weaver here, reminding her of how worthless she was. Of all the terrible things she brought with her when she was born. 

The only pain equal to what she felt every day, was the pain she caused without even trying.

“Child,” Weaver spoke again, softer now. “ You made me raise my voice, I do not wish to do that again. Sleep, go to work tomorrow. Wash your hair and when I return, we’ll talk more about this.” 

All of Catra’s fight died. She just wanted it to stop. “Okay,” she hated how weak she sounded. What a show she could put on for everyone else when she was just a pushover for Weaver who took beating after beating. 

I’ll call again next week. Hordak will be coming by to pick up his shipment in a few days .”

The mention of his name made Catra’s skin crawl. “Okay.” 

With that, Weaver bid a simple goodbye and Catra wasn’t even sure if she said anything back. She hung up the phone and sat there, tears still falling, but she made no attempt to wipe them away. 

She didn’t understand it. Weaver hated her so much, made it clear multiple times, and yet she did everything she could to keep Catra here.

Suddenly, Catra’s strength and energy were gone. She felt heavy and lethargic. It took everything she had not to lie down on the couch and stay here the whole night. 

Melog climbed up beside her, rubbing their head against her side and purring loudly. When they bumped her elbow, Catra shook out of her haze and forced herself to stand. 

She went through the motions of brushing her teeth and, like the dutiful pet she was, washed her hair. 

By the time she made it back to her room, Catra was exhausted. 

She wanted to play, had planned to, her mind was racing with lyrics and ideas when she came home, but all of her energy was gone. 

Instead, she climbed into bed shrouded in darkness and buried herself under her blankets. She felt so stuck, so lost. She had no reason to believe anything other than what Weaver had told her. How could she survive on her own? She didn’t know the first thing about self-efficiency. She wouldn’t even know where to start. Instead, she was here, waiting for Weaver to come home, making sure not to stray too far or grow too much. What she wanted came second to making sure Weaver was satisfied with her. 

Worse than that, Catra had no idea what she wanted. 

Scooping up her phone, Catra had two missed calls and three unread messages. Seeing missed calls immediately made her panic a little. She knew they weren’t Weaver, she had her precious landline. But the fear of missing a call was deep in her brain at this point. 

Instead, they were from Scorpia, as were two of the texts. 

Scorpia: Yes! I’m so sorry! I should have told you! I went to town w Perfuma and ended up going back to her place.

Scorpia : Again sorry Wildcat! LMK you got home safe!

Catra typed out a short response. 

Catra: I’m fine, Scorp. Have a good night.

From there, she went to the last message, from a number she didn’t recognize. 

970-555-2314: Hey Catra! It’s Adora! I made it home. I also really hope this is actually Catra. Not that you don’t know your own number, but you never know. Sorry, I don’t text a lot. Sorry. I’m home. Thanks again for tonight! 

Catra found herself smiling. Despite how terrible she felt. Adora texted her and without any sort of prompt and it was stupidly cute. 

She knew she had no right to get her hopes up about Adora. If there was one thing Catra had learned, it was that being hopeful never ended well for her. She could count the number of times she thought she was on the cusp of something good, only to lose it and slip back into reality. The times she’d saved money to move away, planned out where she was going to go and what she would do. Only to have Weaver take her money for things Catra never saw. Things that Weaver claimed she was ‘owed’. 

But she couldn’t even blame it all on Weaver. There were so many times Catra had opportunities and chickened out. She made tapes of her music. Had songs written and ready to send to publishers, but every single time she was too scared to go through with it. 

So much of her music was personal and too important. Why wouldn’t they react just like Weaver had years ago? With a laugh and an eye roll. She knew it wasn’t good enough, how could it be? She had no real training. She just felt way too much and wrote it down. She hadn’t even learned guitar properly, it was just long nights alone studying cords and seeing what sounded good. 

Those were all things Catra thought might save her - they never did. Nothing ever followed through, and she was at the top of that list. So why was she tormenting herself with this fixation on Adora? A girl she barely knew, who had told her that she was only here for a limited time before she moved on to something better. 

Because Catra was selfish and wanted to talk to her. She...liked Adora, a lot and if Catra’s life was going to be spent in misery and suffering waiting for Weaver to either die or just give up on her altogether, then Catra wanted to be selfish and see where this Adora thing went. 

How long could she fool Adora into thinking she was worth the time to talk to and be around? 

Catra: Still surprised ur as good a driver as u r considering ur karting skill

She sent it and sat her phone down. It was late. Almost three in the morning, no doubt Adora was probably sleeping, or working out. Catra was pretty sure those were the only two things Adora did when she wasn’t working. 

However, the next thing Catra knew, her phone was buzzing and lighting up the world under her covers. 

Adora: I’ll have you know that I am an outstanding driver. Got you home safe, didn’t I?

Catra: U did

Catra: What do you do at home by yourself?

Adora: Right now I’m Binging with Babish lol. You?

Catra: Lying in darkness contemplating my existence

Adora: That seems pretty heavy :( 

Catra: Typical saturday

Catra: U planning on cooking any of those recipes ur watching?

Adora: LMAO no, I’m a terrible cook

Catra wanted to try something. It was so much easier to take risks like this. In the safety of her own bed. 

Catra: I can’t imagine you being bad at too many things

As soon as she sent it, Catra hid her phone under her pillow. She wanted to hear the buzz and slowly reveal Adora’s response. If she went too far, she could just hide the phone under her pillow the rest of the night and go to sleep knowing she’d ruined this before it even got started. 

It didn’t take long for her phone to buzz, and she dragged it back out slowly, taking in the message. 

Adora: I’m bad at people. You saw that first hand tonight lol

That did not go the way Catra thought it would. She was trying to flirt, but somehow Adora’s response made her feel even better. 

Catra: I don’t know, you were my favorite person at the party tonight

Catra didn’t hide her phone this time. 

Adora: Thanks, but I just...I do this thing where I get myself all worked up and I think I’m doing something that’s really great and then it kinda blows up in my face, lol. 

Adora: I paid way too much for this costume and nobody really noticed or cared. Then I hid it under a jacket because it’s so cold and also because I kinda felt stupid. 

Adora: Sorry, you don’t want to hear me complain lol

If Catra were being honest, yeah, Adora probably went way too overboard with her costume for a dumb work party where people mostly wanted to get drunk and high and have fun. But Adora clearly hadn’t been to many parties.

Catra: I thought u looked badass

Adora: Really?

Catra: Hell yeah you nailed it. The kids loved it

Adora: :)

A stupid emoji had never actually made Catra smile before. 

Adora: Thanks, Catra. You’re sweet

Adora: You working tomorrow night?

Catra: Unfortunately yeah

Adora: Good. Then how about we have lunch together?

Catra: Craving McD’s? 

Adora: EW NO! I was gonna make you something!

Catra: I thought you couldn’t cook?

Adora: Oh I can’t, but I make a mean PB&J sandwich

Catra: Are u even allowed to eat bread?

Adora: Of course! I love bread. I mean sure, it’s sprouted whole grain bread, but it’s actually really good!

Catra: I don’t think anything really good starts with the word sprouted

Adora: :(

Damn her and her stupid emoji’s.

Catra: But it is ur turn since I made u eat a fry so I’ll try your gross sprout bread.

Adora: Yes! I’m sure you’ll like it! I’ll bring you a sandwich then

Adora: I should get some sleep though, been up since noon yesterday

Catra wasn’t about to tell Adora how much she didn’t want this conversation to end. Even if they were talking about absolutely nothing of value. It meant so much to her after everything with Weaver.

Catra: Get some rest princess

Adora: G’night, Catra :)

Catra: Night

She didn’t sleep, at least not until well past sunrise, but Catra hardly thought about Weaver at all.

Chapter Text

A parent rewards a child with 50 cents for each correctly solved mathematics problem and fines the child 30 cents for each incorrectly solved problem. If the child nets $22.00 after 100 problems. How many problems were solved correctly?

"Maybe I'd solve these problems better if someone was paying me 50 cents a pop." Adora rubbed her eyes, staring at the screen as she tried and failed to focus. These math problems were absolutely killing her. She sucked at math, had for as long as she could count. In high school, she barely made it past Math 2 and even then she was pretty sure Mara just passed her so they wouldn't have to go through it anymore.

She'd been at it now for about two hours. It was her weekend, which was technically a Wednesday, but Adora was starting to get restless. She knew it was time to step away from the homework and actually go out and do something but she had no idea what.

The first place her mind went was Catra, but she really didn't know if Catra was the kind of person she could call to hang out with. Truth be told, Adora wanted to spend more time with her, but that was what made it even harder to reach out. She was so afraid of being too forward and too pushy and scaring Catra away. They hadn't texted since that night after the party.

Their relationship at work was great, Adora did exactly what she said she would do and brought Catra a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. They sat together in the break room and ate, despite the weird looks they got from the others.

There was a moment, around the time Adora finished her sandwich, that Catra reached over without saying a word, and brushed her thumb across Adora's lip. Time stood still, Adora genuinely thought her heart was going to hammer out of her chest. For a split second, Adora thought about opening her mouth and sucking on Catra's thumb. She didn't. Thank God, but when Catra drew her hand back, she had a tiny dab of jelly on it and she licked it off.

After that, Adora basically stumbled through the rest of lunch and ran back to work to distract herself. She only snapped back to reality when Bow asked her to show him how to long snap a roll of paper towels.

Then the next hour was spent showing Bow and Scorpia how to throw a perfect spiral.

The point of the story was, Adora had a crush. It wasn't her first crush, but it was definitely one of the quickest she'd had. More than that, Catra wasn't just some pretty girl Adora saw in the stands or a cheerleader for the opposing team who made eye contact with her a few times.

No, Catra was a co-worker and a friend (hopefully) and someone Adora actually spoke to and interacted with. That made it different, because she couldn't be her usual awkward self and just steal glances and daydream. She had to figure out how to maintain some kind of stability and function around her.

As much as Adora loved their lunch together, and the party, and the occasional trip to McDonald's during shift, she wasn't ready for a day together with just the two of them.

So that left her needing a new outlet. She wanted to do something fun and also burn off some pent up energy and frustration.

Adora:  Bow! Are you busy today? I can't remember if you worked last night. If you did, ignore this and if I woke you up I'm so sorry!

It took Adora five minutes to build the courage to send the message. Bow and Glimmer were really good about reaching out to her but she hadn't really started many conversations with them. Especially not ones like this, when Bow might be sleeping and be annoyed that she was contacting him.

She had to try though, she wanted to try - that was the whole point of moving out here. It felt so silly to be this tense about texting someone, someone who seemed to actually like her, but Adora was just a mess that way.

Fortunately, he didn't leave her to suffer too long, his response was quick.

Bow:  Day off! I was just about to head to the rec center to shoot some hoop, wanna join?

Adora was already running to her room to change.

The Bright Moon Rec Center was one of the bigger buildings uptown. All one story, but long as it stretched into three different sections. Not surprising, Wednesday afternoon was not the busiest time of day, but Adora found Bow's car in the parking lot and pulled up next to it. There were a few other cars in the surrounding area, but the only other one she recognized was Sea Hawk's which was not at all surprising.

Paying her eight dollars for a day pass, Adora awed at all the workout equipment she saw. It was so much nicer than the stuff at the gym of her apartment complex. Not that she couldn't work with just about anything, but this was so good. She really wanted to ask and see how much a long term membership would cost.

"Adora!" Bow called out and she saw him with Sea Hawk and three people she'd never met before - which immediately made her shyness come out.

She smiled and waved and was thankful when the three strangers didn't seem to pay much attention to her, instead listening to whatever crazy story they were getting from Sea Hawk.

"Hey Bow, I'm so glad oh -" she was only a little surprised when he hugged her. He did that a lot, with literally everyone. She was getting used to it. "I'm glad you were out, I was losing my mind with math homework."

He made a face. "Wow, hearing you say math homework is like a time machine taking me back to BMH. Crazy nightmares about PreCal and Glimmer screaming at me that she was going to fail and die." He shivered and Adora found herself laughing.

"Way over my head, I barely understand Algebra."

"You should talk to Entrapta, she's one of those people that can take pretty much any equation and solve it in her head. It's wild." Adora would love to talk math with Entrapta, and by talk she meant to ask her all the problems in her assignment and get answers. But Adora never talked to Entrapta. She was always hanging around Scorpia or stuck underneath the self-checkout registers fixing something. "So, you ready for a little three on three?"

That meant the strangers were playing. It was time for Adora to take another leap. "Absolutely! You'll have to introduce me to the others."

"Of course, you'll like them I think. Lonnie is a little rough around the edges, but the other two are nice. Rogelio doesn't talk much, but he's cool and Kyle is...well just...don't back him down too hard in the paint."

"Okay," she was already strategizing the upcoming conversation.

"Guys, Adora's here, we've got six!" A few of them threw their hands in the air, Sea Hawk and the blonde boy. The other two did not. "Adora, this is Rogelio, Kyle and Lonnie. The competition."

"Hi," she waved, keeping her distance so she wouldn't have to do any awkward handshakes.

Thankfully, none of them tried.

"Nice to meet you, Adora." Kyle said and Rogelio gave a head nod.

Lonnie just kinda made a face of recognition and turned to the court. "Let's do this." She said and Bow put an arm around Adora's shoulder.

"You'll be guarding her." He said and Adora made a face. "Just don't be afraid to match her aggression. She's mostly harmless."

Once they were in, Adora shed her jacket and stripped off her joggers to reveal her basketball shorts. She really didn't think she'd ever be able to wear these given how cold it was.

As the others readied themselves, Adora sat on the bench and put on her headband. She was never great at basketball, but it was an excellent cardio workout so she would play on her own at the gym when she could. Running and shooting. Sometimes she'd join a game, but only if she was asked and that wasn't very often. Still, she was always ready.

When she looked up, headband on, armband in place and sneakers tied, she noticed the others were just kind of staring at her.

Lonnie had her head coked to the side, a derisive smirk on her face, but Bow was just kinda laughing. "Wow, you are a jock, aren't you?"

Adora realized then that she probably looked a little silly. With her headband and armband and her whole look. The shorts and jersey that had Grayskull stitched on the back and everything.

"Are those Kobe's?" Kyle's eyes went wide as he practically fell over trying to get to her. "You have Kobe fours?"

"Yeah I uh...they were a present a few years ago." She said, looking down at her purple and gold shoes.

"Okay, those do kinda make up for the rest of it." Lonnie said, still smirking, but it wasn't as degrading as Adora had prepared for it to be. "You look like you fell out of an issue of Slam Magazine."

Adora had no idea what that was, but she smiled. "I like to come prepared."

"You are that! I think you'll all be writhing with jealousy when she's helping us to an inevitable victory!" Sea Hawk was so loud his voice echoed off the gym walls. Still, his enthusiasm made Adora feel better.

"Alright, enough talk," Bow grabbed the ball and moved to center court, everyone followed. "We'll shoot for possession. Remember, we play defense here. Call your own fouls. First to twenty-one, but you gotta win by two." Everyone seemed to agree with that. "Lonnie I assume you're taking the shot for your team?" She nodded. "Adora, how's your jumper?"

"Uh..." He grinned and bounced the ball at her.

"You got this!" He said and stepped out of her way.

She did not, in fact, have it. She missed.

The game was long and exhausting and everything Adora needed. By the time the teams reached ten points, she was drenched in sweat. Lonnie was aggressive, to say the least. Adora was stronger than her, but Lonnie's elbow had found its way into Adora's stomach multiple times. They called their own fouls, but Adora wasn't about to call a single one.

Yes, Adora was shy and struggled with people and was working on it, but in competition, she could be relentless and she wasn't about to bow out of this one.

Instead, Adora found her spot and exploited it. For Lonnie, that was in the post. She could back Lonnie down and shoot the ball over her. After two consecutive baskets, Lonnie started calling for a double team. Kyle would run over, get in Adora's face and try to knock the ball away. It worked the first time and Adora, frustrated, basically screamed at Sea Hawk to rotate when Kyle came at her.

She was afraid she'd pushed it too far, but was instead met with a laugh from Bow and him telling Sea Hawk he'd better listen or he was gonna get dunked on.

The next time Kyle crashed, Sea Hawk moved and Adora found him for a wide open shot.

He missed, but still, it made Kyle hesitate the next time.

On the other end, Lonnie was getting frustrated. She was starting to force her shots and demand the ball.

When the score was 18-19 in favor of Adora's team, Lonnie took the ball from halfcourt and waved to the others to spread out; she wanted to take Adora one-on-one.

She pushed hard to the right, so much so that her left arm stuck out and again found its way into Adora's ribs. This time though, Adora stood her ground, keeping her hands up and her body steady.

Lonnie rose up anyway, her head snapping up to take the shot and driving directly into the bottom of Adora's jaw.

Her teeth snapped together and her head flew back. Instantly, she was dizzy and shaky and fell to the ground.

Suddenly, Bow was over her and Adora was trying to get her bearings back. His voice was distant, but it eventually came back to her as the water in her eyes cleared up.

"Adora, you okay?"

She nodded as quickly as she could. "I'm good," she said, taking his hand and standing up. Her jaw hurt, so did her neck from snapping back. She looked at Lonnie who did look a little bit embarrassed by going so hard, but still pointed up at the basket.

"It went in."

"That's a foul!" Sea Hawk cried. "That must be a foul. She ran through you like a sword through a pirate!"

Adora tested her jaw with her hand, moving it from side to side. It wasn't broken, and as far as she could tell, all of her teeth were still intact.

"No foul," she said, walking back to the other side of the court. "Basket counts."

"Oh snap!" Bow shouted, clapping his hands together. "You messed up now, Lonnie. See that name on the jersey? Grayskull's about to put you down!"

Adora didn't say it, but he was absolutely right.

Bow dribbled the ball up court, but Adora kept herself planted right at the top of the arc. She had no intention of moving. He came around her side, moving to the elbow and backing down Rogelio.

Kyle and Sea Hawk were on the other side, doing who knew what. Adora didn't care, she had one goal.

She clapped her hands, demanding the ball. Bow gave her a smile and passed it to her.

She held it, not dribbling, just waiting for Lonnie to check her.

Adora leaned forward, her right foot dipping inside the three point line. She met Lonnie's eyes, looking right into them. This was familiar, this was what Adora knew, and who she could be in a situation where she was in control. Lonnie wanted to play tough, Adora could too.

She shook forward, just enough to make Lonnie think she was driving and take a step back. When there was enough room, Adora moved back, one dribble, and put up a shot.

"Game!" she called before the ball even left her hand.

She couldn't see it go in over Lonnie's hand in her face, but Bow and Sea Hawk's cheers and shouts told her everything she needed to know.

Bow and Sea Hawk were all over her, practically lifting her off the ground in celebration. When Adora saw Lonnie again, her hands were on her hips, staring at the basket like it had betrayed her.

When she looked at Adora again, Lonnie gave her an approving nod and went back to her team.


After the game, Adora found herself at Bow and Glimmer's place. A nice, two bedroom condo with white walls and pink carpet. It wasn't in the best part of Bright Moon that Adora had seen, a lot of the surrounding places had junk all over the yards. Broken down cars and huge piles of wood scattered all over.

The cul-de-sac they lived on seemed to be first come first serve because there were vehicles of all shapes and sizes parked there.

Still, the inside was nice and felt very homey for Bow and Glimmer. Soft music was playing and the television was on with a movie paused.

Glimmer was in the kitchen, with a blender and two bowls of fruit in front of her. She looked like she'd just woken up. Sleep shorts and a hoodie, she had on the cutest little winged slippers. Purple hair flying all over the top of her head.

"Glimmer!" Bow practically shouted, making Glimmer jump and nearly drop her freshly peeled banana. "You should have seen Adora today. She's an absolute monster!"

Adora wasn't the best with compliments. "It was nothing."

"Nothing?!" Bow shouted again.

"Bow," Glimmer growled. "Inside voices, please."

"Oh right…" Bow winced and gave Adora a look. "Glimmer was taking shots last night during Great British Bake off every time someone dropped a utensil."

"Clumsy assholes," Glimmer mumbled, tossing a whole banana into the blender.

"Okay, inside voices," Bow laughed and stepped over to give Glimmer a hug. "She was awesome though. Looking Lonnie right in the eyes before draining a three over her head. That was so cool."

Adora shrugged. "I had a lot of fun. Thanks for the invite."

"You are totally welcome and now officially on my team no matter who we play or where we play." He said before picking up a strawberry and bouncing over to the couch to sit.

That left Adora in the kitchen, watching Glimmer throw yet another banana into her shake cup. It was...a lot of bananas and she hadn't even put ice in yet. Adora didn't want to say anything, she couldn't. Maybe this was just how Glimmer liked her smoothies to be. Dry and...really really banana flavored.

"What?" Glimmer's voice broke Adora's thoughts and she realized she'd been caught.

"Huh? Oh nothing, it's nothing." Adora took a step back.

"You're staring at the blender like it's personally offended you."

Adora shook her head. "It's fine." She was such a bad liar.

"I'm not living and dying on this shake, Adora. If there's a way to make it better, you can tell me."

That was all she needed.

Adora dumped the contents of Glimmer's shake out and went to work.

"You want to add a little almond butter or coconut milk or even just granola into the shake. It'll make it really smooth and easier to drink." Adora gave Glimmer a hopeful look, but she just shrugged.

"We have granola bars?"

"Oh," Adora shook her head. "I don't think that'll work. Really it's just a bonus. If you have some, put a little in - only up to the blade. Milk will work too but it's not as healthy." As soon as she said it, Glimmer opened the fridge and pulled out a gallon of milk.

"I want it to taste good." She handed the gallon over to Adora who laughed and poured a little in - only up to the blades of the blender.

"Okay, now you add your fruit. Keep it balanced. Go with two bananas and five or six fresh strawberries. Mangos go great with this mix, or blueberries!" Adora dumped the strawberries in neatly. "If you're ever interested in more flavors or mixing in protein drinks or even green smoothies, I have a whole notebook full of recipes I've found and experimented with. It's…" Glimmer was looking at her, almost looking through her, and Adora realized she'd gone off a little. "Sorry," she laughed, suddenly embarrassed. "Now we add ice." She handed the cup back over to Glimmer who put the ice on top.

With far more nerves than she should have for something so simple, Adora watched as Glimmer mixed up her smoothie and waited to see if she liked it.

When it was done, Glimmer poured it into a glass. "Well, it's smoother than when I make it." She said and Adora smiled a little, it looked good.

Taking the first drink, Adora saw Glimmer's eyes light up a little and she pulled back with a surprised expression. "Damn, Adora. You're a smoothie whisperer."

Adora couldn't help herself, she threw her hands in the air. "I'm glad you like it! I meant what I said about recipes. If...if you ever wanted more."

"After this?" Glimmer took another drink. "You are officially in charge of smoothies around here."

"I'd be happy to!"

"Between basketball and smoothies, I'm starting to wonder how we functioned without you," Bow said from the couch, gesturing for Adora to come sit. "You wanna watch a movie? What are we on, Glimmer?"

"According to our ever changing list of 90s classics old people won't stop talking about. We're on the live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

Bow clapped. "Yes! I cannot wait to see bad costumes and overuse of the word cowabunga!" Bow looked at Adora again. "You in?"

"Sure! I don't know what a ninja turtle is, but it sounds fun!"

There was a silence that fell over the room. Adora wasn't sure why, but she was fairly certain she'd said something wrong.

"You don't know about the ninja turtles?"

Adora winced. "I - I didn't watch many movies as a kid."

"What about cartoons? There have been like a billion Ninja Turtle cartoons!"

She hugged herself. "I don't -"

"Well thank GOD you found us! Glimmer! We have work to do!"

From there, Bow went on a rampage of questions. Asking her what she had and hadn't seen. Pretty much every time she said she hadn't seen something, he gasped and acted like she'd just betrayed him in a courtroom.

Glimmer didn't seem to care nearly as much until he mentioned something called The Prince of Egypt - then she went nuts and almost vetoed Ninja Turtles then and there in favor of that.

Adora wasn't sure whether to be overwhelmed or overjoyed at the fact that her lack of movie knowledge mattered so much to them. It was kinda sad how little she knew, how differently raised she seemed to be compared to everyone she'd met here. Still, there was joy in knowing it mattered - that her opinion and thoughts on these things seemed to matter to them.

They were about halfway through the Ninja Turtles, somewhere between Rapheal getting the hell beaten out of him and him sitting in a tub while Leo slept in a chair, that Adora realized she was genuinely concerned about four super buff turtle men.

It was during a particularly intense montage of training, that Adora's phone buzzed in her lap. She looked down to see it was a message from Catra. Not just any message, a photo message.

She opened it quickly, glad the others were so enthralled with the movie, but was immediately confused when the picture was just some random, lanky man. A man who was so pale Adora swore a camera flash would wash him out completely.

He was loading some kind of wide box into the back of an SUV. She could barely make out the label on it - Mystacor Medical.

A moment later, another message came through.

Catra : I can't believe me and this dude are the same species

Adora couldn't really believe it either.

Adora : Who is that?

"This is my favorite part!" Bow shouted, tugging on Adora's arm. "Rooftop battle with Shredder. The best Shredder, by the way. All the other live action Shredders are lame knock offs of the original."

Unfortunately, Adora's attention was a little cloudy now because she had more pressing matters to attend to.

Her phone buzzed again, and she silenced it when Glimmer looked her way.

Catra : Hordak. He has some weird association with the woman I live with. He's shady af and gives me the creeps

Adora didn't like the sound of that, at all.

Adora : Are you okay? I can come by if he's making you uncomfortable

Thankfully, Catra's response came quick.

Catra : Nah it's cool he's already gone. Just freaks me out. He doesn't even speak to me just takes his shit and leaves

Catra : What r u doing?

Adora looked up just as Splinter was throwing Shredder off of a building. With the sound of Bow's cheers in the background.

Adora : Watching a rat fight a cheese grater to protect some turtles

Catra : Fucking love TMNT

Adora smilled, not even caring that she was missing the end of the movie.

Adora : It's pretty good. The costumes are neat

Catra : Future Halloween costume?

Adora : I don't even like wearing lipstick, I'm not about to paint my whole body green.

With another cowabunga and a lame high five, the credits rolled and Adora found herself smiling.

"You loved it? Tell me you absolutely loved it?" Bow was practically bouncing from his spot on the couch.

Adora nodded. "It was pretty great. Kinda made me want pizza."

"That's a standard effect of the Ninja Turtle movie. The pizzas look so good. I did promise you one after our first rec league game. We could stop and grab one from the Hut on our way to work."

She couldn't help herself, it was such a nice offer, but Adora found herself cringing. "I… I don't know."

Bow frowned. "Don't like Pizza Hut."

"Come on, Bow," Glimmer cut in, Adora honestly thought she was asleep. "Adora drinks protein shakes for lunch on shift. She carries rice cakes around with her to snack on - original ones - no flavor. She's not eating greasy fast food pizza."

Okay, Glimmer was spot on and Adora was so thankful for her for speaking up. Adora certainly wouldn't have and then she would have been forced to choke down sub par pizza that would probably have her up all night vomiting.

"I thought you said you loved pizza? Cheat meal and all that."

"I do!" Adora answered way too quickly. She just really didn't want to come across weirdly. "I do, I just...I like to make my own, you know? Cauliflower crust and low fat cheese. Fresh veggies and chicken." She felt shy for some reason she couldn't really explain. So much of her push for health was out of place in most of her experiences with people. When the football team would have team meals from various restaurants in Crystal Castle, Adora was always the one who got a side salad with every intention of eating something at home.

It was just her way, for better or worse.

"Oh well why didn't you say so?!" Bow rose from the couch in a flurry. "We can pick up the ingredients tonight and make pizza this weekend! Sea Hawk's birthday is coming up, so we could invite some friends over and chill, eat some good food and watch more badass 90s movies."

He was so excited, Adora wanted to be excited too. It was the kind of thing she should be excited about - but before Catra showed up, the Halloween party was kind of awful and Adora wasn't sure this sounded much better.

"I - I could make pizza for you guys, sure." She said, trying and failing to match Bow's excitement.

Unfortunately, he noticed. "I mean, you would be able to have fun too. We'll play cards and listen to music and stuff. It'll be a blast."

"I know," she smiled. "I'm all for it. Just...the last party was a lot," she couldn't look at him, but this was part of her process. Saying how she felt, she had to do it, she had to be better at it. That was something she was determined to work on. "I guess I'm just not used to that many people and all the music and noise and stuff." She laughed, mostly at herself. It sounded somehow worse out loud.

"No, no, no," Glimmer was up now, shaking her head. "That shit might fly at Mermista's cause she has that 'i don't care' thing going on, but any party at my house -"

Bow coughed. "Our...our house."

"Right, any party at our house, will be low key, fun and free of things randomly breaking." Glimmer walked over to Adora and put her hands on Adora's shoulders. "It'll be chill, I promise, and not chill as in cold. I won't make you stand outside and freeze to death."

Adora laughed. "That really wasn't that bad."

"Please," Glimmer sighed. "You know it's bad when Catra has to save you."

That made Adora frown. Why did people always talk about Catra like that? Like she was so heartless.

The thought brought with it another thing that was suddenly on Adora's mind. She really wanted Catra to come to this party.

Before Adora knew it, it was time for Glimmer and Bow to go to work, which meant she had to go home. She showered, made herself dinner (baked tilapia and sweet potato fries would always be her favorite) and then settled in for a very long night.

She had to work the next night, so going to bed now would only keep her up all day, her planned schedule had her sleeping by six in the morning, which would have her up at two, with plenty of time for a few assignments and a trip to the gym.

Because Adora wasn't used to texting anyone, she had completely forgotten about Catra's texts from before and was lost in the conversation with Bow and Glimmer about the party.

It wasn't until after she was showered and in her itty bitty kitchen preparing her fish that Adora checked her phone again.

Catra : U could pull off the muscles tho

Catra : Who wouldn't wanna see Michaelangelo with a hair poof?

Catra : You could always go as Splinter instead

Adora found herself smiling, hands coated in lemon juice and fish as she looked at her unread messages. It was strangely comforting that Catra kept texting her even though she forgot to respond. To know that Catra actually wanted to chat with her was nice - but still, Adora needed to keep the conversation going.

She cleaned up, put her fish in the oven, and decided it was best to try and explore more about who Catra was.

Adora : What do you do on your nights off?

As Adora made her way to the couch and waited for her dinner, she pulled up her computer and started going through her list of assignments. She was almost done with her week of work, about four days before any of it was due. She'd finish these and have a good amount of time to relax and maybe study ahead.

Just as she opened up her last math assignment, which given her hatred of the subject might literally take her all night, her phone buzzed again.

This time, the picture message from Catra wasn't some strange man carrying a box. It was Catra.

The picture cut off just above her mouth, and Adora could see down her neck a strap hanging over her shoulder. From there, it connected to a guitar that looked really cool. It was straight black with a bronze handle and silver strings.

As fancy as the guitar was, Adora was hyper focused on what she could see of Catra. Her thin frame wearing a tight gray tank top and she had a smirk on what Adora could see of her face. It was such a casual photo but something about it just stuck in Adora's head. She was half tempted to make it her phone background - but that was probably a little too much. She didn't really want to save the photo either, again that felt like too much.

If she never erased the messages they shared then the photo would just live there forever, right?

Yeah, that would work.

So there was one problem solved, but that left Adora with another - coming up with a response.

She wanted to push it, if only a little. She wanted to test and see where Catra was in regards to their friendship - if they could even call it that.

It would be easy to be friendly and say something lame like 'wow, you play guitar?! That's so cool!'.

But Adora wanted more than that, she wanted...something.

Taking a deep breath, she typed out her message carefully.

Adora : If you play it as good as you look wearing it then I can't wait to listen

She stared at the unsent message for a long time. Adora had no idea how to flirt, absolutely none and she wasn't even sure if it was right to flirt with Catra. She didn't know if Catra would even be interested or not. Something in the back of her mind told her that...maybe...possibly, Catra might be interested in her in that way, but she really had no clue.

In any other situation, Adora would never do anything like this, but Catra was different. She was some kind of enigma that Adora just couldn't shake. She made Adora want to stretch out of her comfort zone and take risks. She was so easy to talk to, especially for someone who didn't do a whole lot of talking. Whenever she did though, Adora enjoyed listening and beyond that, she felt like she could talk to Catra about things. Deeper things than she'd ever really spoken about with anyone.

She wanted to take a risk. She wanted to flirt. She pressed send and threw her phone against the couch before sprinting into the kitchen.

Chapter Text

About halfway through her first glass of rum and coke, Catra’s phone buzzed with a message from Adora. 

She read it, stared at it for far too long and then finished her first glass and a second after that. 

Adora : If you play it as good as you look wearing it then I can’t wait to listen 

Catra was having a stroke, she had to be. This kind of thing didn’t happen to her. Nobody talked to her like that. Nobody said those kinds of things to her. Sure, it was her own damn fault, she never gave anyone the chance. But here she was now, home alone, up all night and this girl she had a huge crush on was sending her text messages like that ?

She had no idea how to respond to it. For a hot second, she thought about just Googling ‘how to flirt’ and seeing if anything gave her any ideas, but she knew she couldn’t do that. 

Adora was unique, she deserved more than cheesy lines and lame dating strategies. 

Maybe, more than anyone else, she deserved Catra’s best effort. 

It was stupid, she knew it was. Adora was a temporary part of her life. A year here in Bright Moon and then she’d be gone, to bigger and better things. 

If Catra was smart, she would tell Adora off and end this back and forth right now. Then they could go back to being co-workers at best who barely spoke to each other, and then Adora would leave and nothing would hurt. 

And everything would stay the same.

And the crater in Catra’s heart would grow bigger and more painful. 

Either way, she’d end up hurt. At least if she tried, she could potentially give herself one good year to remember before Weaver and the shit life she’d been handed swallowed her whole. 

So Catra took a chance, fuck it. Worst case scenario Adora wouldn’t talk to her and she’d be where she expected to be when all this was over anyway. 

Catra : I’m good. I have very nimble fingers. 

She sent it, she was almost angry about it too because of how damn long she spent in her head trying to decide if she should even say anything like that.

A minute or so passed, Catra poured herself another drink and let her mind continue racing. She’d sent her stupid flirty response but realized she hadn’t given Adora any opening to respond. So she picked her phone back up and sent another message. Why not? She was neck deep already.

Catra : What about U? What do you do on ur downtime?

As far as she was concerned, the rest of the world was dead right now. All that mattered were these text messages. And Melog’s belly rubs, but that was simple enough. 

Adora : Just dinner tonight

Attached to the message was a picture of a freshly cooked and seasoned fish with some fries scattered around it. It looked good - even if it could use some butter and sauce to go along with it. 

Not exactly the flirty response Catra was expecting after her moronic leap of faith with the pic and the innuendo, but it was so very Adora. 

Adora: Pretty lame lol

Catra frowned and felt herself typing without even thinking. 

Catra : U say that about urself a lot

Catra : Having ur shit together doesn’t make you lame

She debated whether or not to get too personal, but the flirting didn’t do the trick, maybe this would open things up a bit. 

Catra : I envy that. My life is a mess

Adora : But you’re so confident. You don’t care what people think of you and that’s so awesome.

Catra was smiling, a big dumb goofy smile. At least she’d fooled someone. 

Catra : I don’t care what people think but I’m far from confident

Catra : If u don’t care about people around u eventually they stop caring about u too

Catra : It’s easier that way

After she sent her message, Catra was so thankful for Melog’s purrs, anything to distract the noise in her head. 

Unfortunately, a moment later, Catra’s phone started to ring. Not a text, it was fucking ringing. Adora’s name popped up on the screen and at first Catra just prayed Adora accidentally called her and would hang up, but it just kept ringing. 

By the fourth one, she knew she had to do something . She liked Adora, she wanted to get to know her better and see where that went. It wouldn’t go anywhere if she just ignored her. She hated talking on the phone more than just about anything, thanks in no small part to constantly being belittled and yelled at over the phone by Weaver. 

This was different though. This was Adora and she had to take the chance. She had to. 

“Hello?” She said, almost a whisper. 

The response was equally as soft. “ Hi ,” Adora’s voice carried gently over the line. There was a smile in her tone that settled Catra’s nerves a bit. “ Sorry to call, I just...it’s really quiet here and I wanted to talk...to you .” 

Catra swallowed the heavy lump in her throat. “Don’t apologize. It’s fine.” Silence hung between them. “What do you want to talk about?”

How long have you played guitar ?” It was clearly a question Adora had thought about beforehand - a conversation starter. 

A pretty good one. 

“Since I could hold one. My...the woman I live with had one and she let me have it. A decision she regrets every day of her miserable life.” 

Adora laughed on the other end of the line, an absolutely beautiful sound. “ Do you write your own songs?

For as scared as Catra had been her whole life to share her music since Weaver rejected it entirely, she knew deep down that it was a safe secret to share with Adora. “I try.” It was quiet again for a beat, but not entirely uncomfortable. “How was the fish?” 

Good, but the fries are the best part .” 

“Not better than McDonald’s though.”

Oh, a thousand times better. I peel and slice these myself. They’re amazing. ” 

“Huh, well I guess you’ll have to show me sometime.” Catra hung that out there, a softball on the tee. She knew Adora played football, she just hoped she knew how to swing a bat. 

Only if you let me hear you play guitar. ” 

Adora hit the metaphorical ball on the tee right back in Catra’s face. “I don’t know, that’s asking a lot. I feel like you’d have to up the ante a little.” 

I make really good chocolate chip cookies .” She said, with just a touch of bravado. 

Catra settled back on the couch, why was this so easy? “Can you even eat those?”

Only on special occasions. ” 

There was an opening, Catra had to take it. “So, dinner with me counts as a special occasion?” 

A moment passed, the longest moment of Catra’s life. She was starting to wonder if any of this was actually happening. “ Yeah, absolutely .” Adora said, her voice was shaky, but there was not a shred of doubt in her words. “ Especially if you’re serenading me with a song .” 

Catra found herself laughing. Unexpected but welcome. “I don’t know if my sad emo music could serenade anyone.” 

Doesn’t matter, I want to hear your voice. ” 

She couldn’t remember ever feeling this way before. It felt like it had all happened so fast, but now she was grinning from ear to ear. “You bring me cookies, and I’ll sing for you.”

Adora sighed. “ Deal. ” She said simply enough. “ I should probably get started on some of this schoolwork I have. ” Adora sounded as disappointed to hang up as Catra felt. “ We can keep texting though, if you want. ” 

“Get your work done, nerd. I’ll be here if you need me.” 

“Good to know. Goodnight, Catra. ” 

Catra closed her eyes, trying to picture Adora’s face. “Goodnight,” she said and listened for Adora to hang up. It took her at least five seconds to do it, but when she did, Catra audibly groaned. Loud enough for Melog to chirp and climb up her chest. “I’m in so much trouble, buddy.” 


“Are you and Perfuma dating?” 

The question really shouldn’t have been a big deal. It didn’t feel like it would be a big deal. Scorpia and Perfuma were around each other constantly . It was kind of a surprise that they weren’t working together right now, but Glimmer had assigned them to restock the pet section together. 

Which Catra was now regretting a little after asking her question, which immediately led to Scorpia dropping a big bag of dog food on the ground. 

Thank God it didn’t bust open. 

“Oh wow, uh,” Scorpia scrambled to pick up the bag. Catra could only watch with cans of wet cat food in her hands as Scorpia hauled the bag over her shoulder and placed it on the shelf. “I don’t...we haven’t...maybe?” She really looked surprised. “That’s not a question I’d expect from you, Wildcat.”

Once everything settled, Catra shrugged and went back to stacking cans. “Just curious. Figured you had your shit together and wanted to know how it was going.”

“I mean, we have it together. We just haven’t labeled it yet.”

Catra glanced over at Scorpia, who was staring at the stacks of dog food bags like they had hieroglyphics on them. “But you two are together?”

“Yes,” she said, matter-of-factly. “I think so...yes...it’s...yes.” 

“Geez, I didn’t mean to give you an anxiety attack.” Catra laughed and hoped that would settle Scorpia down a little. 

“Why though?” Scorpia asked, grabbing Catra’s attention. “You...you never care about that kind of stuff?” 

“That’s not true,” Scorpia didn’t say anything, just stared blankly at Catra. “Okay, maybe it’s a little true. It’s not that I don’t care, it's just...I don’t know anything about it.” Catra rolled her eyes. “Love and dating and stuff is dumb. It’s stupid and pointless.”

Shut up, Catra .

“Are you...interested in someone?” 

God dammit, Catra.

“No, of course not.”

“Oh my gosh is it me?!”

“Scorpia,” Catra was tempted to throw a can of cat food at her and run away. “It’s not you, it’s not anyone. It’s...forget I said anything.” 

“You forgot one!” Catra turned just in time to see Adora carrying over a box of cat food. It was heavy, and had Adora’s arms working overtime. Catra was dumbfounded and annoyed and completely broken. She just stared at Adora as she came over, bright smile and flushed red face from being outside in the cold loading area. 

Stars, she was beautiful. 

She sat the box down with a thud, her hair sticking a bit to the top of her head, Adora worked so hard - always.

Catra knew she had to say something, she couldn’t just stand here like an idiot. “Th - thanks. You...you didn't have to do that.” 

Adora shrugged. “The box seemed lonely out there all by itself.” Catra smiled, Adora kept making her smile. “My break is coming up, you want me to get you something? I can go by McDonald’s for you?”

She really wasn’t hungry. She had noodles before her shift and had been sharing gummy bears with Scorpia all night. “Sure,” but apparently telling Adora no was impossible and now Catra was fishing out her wallet and giving Adora ten dollars. “Just...nuggets and fries.” She was not hungry, but apparently she was eating more tonight.  

Adora smiled again, and Catra realized she could easily pay for some nuggets if it gave her that smile. “You got it! You want anything, Scorpia?” Adora asked and when Catra looked up at Scorpia, she had the most shit eating grin on her face. 

Catra was absolutely going to throw cat food at her. “No thanks, Adora. It’s really nice of you to do this for Catra though. She doesn’t eat enough.”

“I know!” Adora laughed. “I mean she does, but it’s all junk. One day I’ll show her the wonderful world of fresh greens.”

“Hey, I’m right here and also hell no. Go,” Catra waved Adora off, who was laughing the whole time. “A pain in my ass, the both of you.” 

As Adora left, Catra refused to look at Scorpia, who she knew was staring a hole in the back of her head. Instead, she knelt down, unsheathed her box cutter and sliced through the tape on the cat food packaging before taking out the first handful to stock. 

“I will cut you,” she said, still not looking at Scorpia. 

“Adora’s neat, huh?” Scorpia was terrible at being coy. “Pretty too, and strong. Pretty strong,” she laughed at her own dumb word play and nudged Catra with her elbow. But Scorpia was also built like a tank and nearly knocked Catra over. “Do you…”

“No.”

“Okay,” there was silence between them for about thirty seconds. Just long enough for Catra to think maybe the subject had been dropped. “Because I think she’s into you too.” 

“You what?” That was not what Catra expected to hear.

“Oh come on, Wildcat! She’s always smiling at you.” Scorpia started counting on her fingers as she spoke. “She carried in your last box for you! She offered to pick up food for you! Didn’t she make you lunch a few days ago?” 

Catra’s heart fluttered at the memory. The sandwich was absolutely disgusting with it’s sprouted bread or whatever the hell that sponge she’d slathered peanut butter and jelly on was, but dammit all if the sentiment wasn’t wonderful. 

“So what if I like her? She’s a Bright Moon part timer. Why should I even bother?” 

Scorpia frowned. “What does her being here part time have to do with anything? All you ever talk about is leaving Bright Moon.”

That old sinking feeling washed over Catra again. The one that reminded her of how badly she wanted to leave this place and start a new life somewhere else. To have control over her own future and chase some kind of crazy dream that had zero chance of succeeding. She wanted that, she wanted to leave. 

But she couldn’t. She knew she wasn’t strong enough to and even if she was, a part of her knew that Weaver would never let her go.

“Just drop it, Scorpia.” Catra snapped, sharp and final. 

“I’m just saying -”

“Don’t ‘just say’ anything! I’m not talking about this.” Catra returned to her work, suddenly feeling miserable. 

Scorpia finished her shelf of dog food and left quietly. Catra knew she should apologize. She wanted to, but it was easier this way. She’d had her hopes dashed too many times to let herself get excited about Adora. 

When Adora returned with Catra’s nuggets, she took them and thanked her and then made up some dumb excuse about having a little more work to do and left. Adora didn’t seem at all doubtful of Catra’s story and left her alone with a smile and ‘hope you enjoy!’

Catra felt bad, she wasn’t hungry, but she didn’t want Adora to know that. So she took the nuggets out back to let Bow and Sea Hawk devour them. It was kind of disgusting, but Catra took the empty containers and made sure she was the one who carried them into the break room and threw them away. Because she was a neurotic mess and didn’t want Adora knowing she didn’t eat them - even though she paid for them. 

It was about three in the morning when Catra found herself perched atop one of the self checkout aisles, watching Mermista and Glimmer have a conversation by the lottery tickets. She didn’t know what they were talking about, didn’t care, they both had very serious looks on their faces.

She was tired, ready to go home and lie around in bed for the rest of the day, waiting for exhaustion to consume her. 

When her phone buzzed, she almost ignored it. It was prboably Scorpia ready to press again. She hoped, just so she’d know she hadn’t officially driven Scorpia away for the last time.  

Adora : You okay?

Looking around, Catra spotted Adora standing behind the giant stack of watermelons in the produce section. She gave a little wave and a smile. 

Common sense told Catra to go over there and talk to her - be an adult human that wasn’t shy and awkward. 

Instead, she looked away and typed out on her phone. 

Catra : Just a little sad. No big deal. 

Adora : Anything I can do?

The words hung heavy in Catra’s head. She didn’t understand why Adora was so good to her. It didn’t make sense. She wasn’t anything special, she wasn’t worth the time or the effort. It’s not like she could tell Adora her fucked up life story. That was too much, too heavy, too tragic and empty. She couldn’t...she needed to let Adora down gently and spare her the time. 

She needed to, but some string of hope that refused to snap in her chest suddenly had control of her fingers. 

Catra : Ur doing it already

After sending her message, Catra stood up from her spot and glanced over to see Adora still lingering near the fruit, reading the message she’d just received. She smiled a little to herself and Catra felt a swell of something she couldn’t really explain. A warmth in her chest that spread through her whole body.

It was so wild how one person could make Catra’s whole world feel less empty. 


When Catra woke up the next day, the world was white. 

Literally. 

Snow had started to trickle down when her shift ended. It wasn’t very much, not even enough for Scorpia to turn the wipers of her car on, but it had apparently picked up a lot of steam as the morning dragged on because Catra woke up to a blizzard. 

It decorated the trees with blankets of white. The roads had been plowed but even still had new snowfall covering them. 

Catra poured herself a cup of chocolate milk and pulled one of the kitchen stools over to a window to watch it. 

She actually loved the snow. She loved what it did to the town - snow made everything quieter. In a strange way, Catra loved how it made the rest of Bright Moon more like her. Stuck at home, waiting and hoping for a break to let them be free. 

Snow was much more fun now though, when she was alone. Back when she was younger and it would snow and cancel school, that was no fun, because Weaver would have to take the day off to stay with her. Something Weaver would spend the entire day berating Catra for. Blaming her for missing work - calling her a nuisance and a burden and a flat out pain in the ass. 

For a little girl who already dealt with so much distance from the rest of the world, to have the one person she was stuck with be so disgusted by her company was a hard pill to swallow. 

If she were to be completely honest with herself, Catra knew deep down that no one in this world had ever truly loved her. She had a very small family, no cousins or aunts and uncles. 

Her father was the only person who Weaver seemed to hate more than her. Weaver told her that he left shortly after her mother became pregnant. That he was lazy and worthless - funny how often she’d used those adjectives on Catra herself. That was all Weaver would ever say about him - the more Catra pressed, the angrier she became. She didn’t know if it was entirely true or just Weaver projecting her own hatred, but she wasn’t brave enough to ever find out on her own. 

So Catra grew up alone, every relationship she’d ever attempted in school was affected by the way she’d been raised - to believe she just wasn’t worth it. That maybe, her being alone, was punishment for what she’d stolen from the world. 

The only person who ever fought through all of that and stuck around was Scorpia - and even then Catra kept her at a distance. 

Catra wondered for a long time if her mother had loved her - she liked to hope so. It was a question she’d never asked Weaver, knowing well enough to know that Weaver would tell her what she didn’t want to hear. Because of that, Catra left it alone and instead wrote songs to her mom. Asking her for forgiveness and hope and love, apologizing for things that were completely out of her control. 

Love was too strong of a word, maybe, to describe how she felt about Adora. Perhaps she didn’t understand the word well enough to know if it was proper, but she found herself thinking about Adora way too much. 

Which led Catra to grab her phone and scroll through her messages. 

Adora : Anything I can do?

It was such a sweet gesture, so unexpected but entirely fitting with who Adora was. She was kind and bright, the kind of person who lit up any room she walked into - but there was a weight behind her past, one that Catra was curious about but hadn’t been brave enough to dig into. 

She was so buried under her own bullshit tragic upbringing that she hadn’t taken the time to learn more about Adora. She wanted to, more than she ever had with anyone else. She wanted to know where Adora came from, what she grew up around and what she was like when she was younger. 

So the best way she could think to drag herself out of the gloomy rut she felt herself falling into, Catra started typing. 

Catra : What was Crystal Castle like?

Catra sat her phone down and finished off her chocolate milk. The snow continued to fall and she had about two hours before she’d have to start really preparing to go to work. So she was content to watch the white pile up on the ground, bend the branches of the trees all around and block out the mountains in the distance. 

When her phone buzzed again, Catra was halfway through pouring herself another glass of the good stuff. 

Adora : Well it certainly didn't snow like this! LOL

Adora : It was quiet for me, I know the city is pretty big but I didn’t go into it much. Spent a lot of time on my Gran’s farm, working with the animals and taking care of the horses. I liked it a lot, I miss it, but I knew I needed to see more of the world. 

Catra smiled, something Adora constantly made her do, and typed her response. 

Catra : U wanna see more of the world and chose Bright Moon? Bold choice Grayskull

Adora : Lol it’s beautiful here. I’m easing myself in. I’m not the best at dealing with people. 

Catra : U and me both. Seems like ur making friends tho. Sparkles loves u

Adora : Glimmer and Bow have been great. Everyone is really nice. I guess I just spend most of my time trying to make sure I don’t mess it up. I stress about that a lot. I was homeschooled, so I don’t really know all the cues of what I’m supposed to do or how I’m supposed to act. When Mermista got everyone talking about prom and all that I had nothing.

Catra : Prom blows u didn’t miss anything

Catra : I suck at the people stuff too

Catra : Didn’t really stand a chance tho

Catra knew she was diving into some pretty deep territory, but for some reason, she wasn’t all that scared about it. Maybe because Adora was temporary, she was going to leave Bright Moon in a year and then Catra would just be the sad girl she used to know. 

If anything, Catra would consider it a win if Adora remembered her at all in a few years. 

Adora : Why’s that?

Catra stared at her phone for a while, trying to decide what to say. Her instincts told her to be cryptic. To say something vague and depressing and leave it at that. The story sucked, she knew it did. It was sad and not fun to talk about and probably not the best way to draw in a girl that she had a pretty major crush on. But she’d never actually told anyone before. 

Some people knew - Glimmer’s dad did because he used to work with Weaver forever ago, but the way nobody ever said anything to her she figured he’d kept it to himself. 

They all just knew her as the quiet cranky girl who was late most of the time and never did anything extra. She just showed up, worked, collected her check and went home. They never asked and she never told. 

Now, Adora was asking. Adora, who kept dragging Catra out of her comfort zone and making her do things she never would have before. 

If she was going to tell anyone, this made the most sense. 

Catra : My mom died when I was born. Complications or something. I guess I’ve always felt like I don’t deserve anyone’s attention because of it. Why should I be happy when I took away any chance for her to be you know?

The phone made the sent message sound and Catra took a deep breath. There were tears falling gently down her cheeks and she wiped them away, still fixated on the snow outside. 

Catra wasn’t sure how long she sat there, but she was very aware of the fact that there was no reply from Adora in that time. She felt that sinking feeling in her stomach return - the same one she felt whenever she thought she might finally be stumbling onto something worthwhile. A light at the end of the tunnel. Only to have it torn away from her. 

She wouldn’t blame Adora. Who drops something like that to a girl they only met a few weeks ago? That was probably way more than Adora had bargained for, more than anyone should have dropped on them. 

Catra picked up her phone and lazily texted Adora. 

Catra : Sorry, that was too much lol

Catra : It’s not a big deal

Catra : Tell me more about Crystal Castle

Her phone buzzed a moment later. 

Adora : My parents died too, when I was little. Car crash. I was in the backseat. I was too little to remember it, or them really. I just remember my Gran taking care of me and telling me they protected me and that they loved me

Adora : You don’t have to apologize for anything. I asked, you answered and I’m glad you did

Adora : If you’re up for it, I’d love to learn more about you

Now Catra was crying, a flood of tears falling too fast to catch. It was risky and she knew it, to pin so much on Adora, but so far Adora had been so...steady. She showed up at fucking Bright Moon Grocery and somehow had become this random emotional support for Catra that she didn’t even know she needed.

That voice in the back of her head was still there, screaming at her that it was too much - that she’d push too hard and ruin this. Drive Adora away. Too needy, too tragic, too much baggage. Weaver was still here and she’d show up and ruin it. Tell Adora how much of a curse Catra was. 

You ruined lives the moment you came into this world. More than you’ll ever make up for.  

But Catra always tried to believe that somehow, if there was a heaven or not, if her mother had any sort of feeling for her, that she’d want Catra to be happy. She held onto that, used that to survive for years. The idea that she deserved to be happy too, and that was something her mom would want for her. 

Maybe now, after so many years of pain, that’s what this was. Her one chance. It was too much to pin on Adora, who had her own crosses to bear, but maybe she could help Catra and Catra could do the same for her. 

She could, she could help Adora too. 

Catra : Only if u do the same for me. It goes both ways. I wanna know more about u too

The response was sudden and simple.

Adora : I’d like that :)

Chapter Text

Adora was going to get Catra in trouble. 

Not by any fault of her own, but she was such a bad influence. Adora was the sweetest, kindest person Catra had met outside of Scorpia. She would never do anything to intentionally put Catra in the way of trouble, but dammit she was a bad influence. 

Because Catra was breaking the rules. More than that, she was pretty much guaranteeing herself an hour long ass chewing by that bitch Weaver because somehow, someway, Weaver would find out that Catra was out at a party. 

Yep, another fucking party. 

This was a new thing. Catra didn’t get invited to parties. She had done a lot of work to make it that way. The only thing worse than going to a party she didn’t want to go to, was telling someone she didn’t want to go for the hundredth time. Because that made people talk. That made people look at her and think that she was lame or weird or somehow strangely broken. 

Worse than that, it made Catra feel that way. Because Catra didn’t like having to turn down any and every opportunity presented to her to go out and have fun and meet people and escape the suburban prison she’d been in for decades. But Weaver didn’t want Catra doing that, and had gone above and beyond to convince Catra that she was better off passing on those things and staying home. 

Then along came Adora. Buff, beautiful and kind Adora who texted Catra all the damn time now. Adora, who sent smiley face emojis and hearts to her, asking if she wanted to go to a birthday party for Sea Hawk. 

Sea Hawk - easily one of Catra’s least favorite people. 

If anyone else asked her that, Catra would shut it down without a second thought. A quick “hell no” or “I’d rather chew on a razor blade” and then conversation would end and they’d think twice about inviting her out again. 

Then she wouldn’t have to tell them no. 

Then there wouldn’t be anymore guilt about ignoring people who were just fucking trying to give her a chance. 

But Adora...Catra physically couldn’t say no to her. It was like a sickness. Even through text, her tone carried such softness and compassion that Catra had no defense for it. 

So here she was, dressing up again for another party. 

Catra had lied to Weaver, told her that she had picked up an extra shift and wouldn’t be home to answer the landline call that always came on the weekend. She hated lying to Weaver, mostly because it always seemed to blow up in her face. It was like the woman had spies all around town. 

Even if she did, Catra was banking on the hope that not one of them would be lame enough to go to Sea Hawk’s birthday party. 

Just as she was slipping on her leather jacket, Catra’s phone buzzed. 

Adora : Almost there! I’m so glad you’re coming :)

Oh yeah, that was another thing. Scorpia and Perfuma were out of town so Catra had to get a ride from Adora. Again, something that would never have happened just a few weeks ago. 

It would be so easy to end this now. To save herself from the guilt of lying to Weaver. The fear of Weaver finding out. The pit of anxiety at knowing that this crush on Adora was only going to lead to heartbreak and pain and more misery piled on top of Catra’s pathetic life. 

One text, one vicious and spiteful text could shut all of this down and save her so much trouble. 

But she thought of Adora, in her shitty brown car coming to get her, and she might as well have been riding a white, winged horse to save her from the tallest tower of a castle. 

Catra : U owe me for this

That was what she sent instead, she even had to talk herself out of using an emoji of her own. 

Her palms were sweaty by the time she saw Adora’s car rolling up into her driveway. Catra turned to see Melog a few feet behind her and sighed. 

“I’ll be home before morning, okay? Wish me luck.” Melog meowed and made Catra smile. If she ever made it out of this place, Melog was the first thing she was taking. 

Catra stepped outside into the cold. Turning off the kitchen light before locking the door behind her. 

Adora’s driver door opened and she stepped out. She was wearing her big red coat with the puffy sleeves and huge gold zipper. She looked like she was wearing a crash test suit. 

Her hair was down, it looked a little fuller than usual, like maybe she’d done something to give it some more life. She was, as always, absolutely beautiful, even with the dumb jacket. 

“Look at you in your leather jacket in below freezing weather.” Adora smiled and Catra nearly slipped on the bottom step. 

“I have an image to keep up, okay. I’m fucking cool. I can’t show up to parties in a jacket that makes me look like I sell marshmallows.” 

Before Catra could make it to Adora’s car, Adora walked around, in the cold, and opened the fucking door for her. 

She wasn’t real. She couldn’t be. “Cool or not, you’re the only one whose teeth are chattering.”

Catra glared at her. “Being cool comes with a price.” She said before climbing into the car as Adora closed the door behind her. 

The interior light shut off and she had only a few seconds for Adora to make her way back to the driver’s side. 

In that one short moment, Catra let out a tiny little squeak and smiled. Adora just picked her up, opened the door for her and smiled at her. Catra’s night was already better than she could have ever imagined. 

When Adora slipped into the car, it suddenly felt warmer. She gave Catra a look as the interior lights slowly dimmed and raised her eyebrows. “Wow,” she said but when she didn’t finish the thought and instead put the car in drive, Catra couldn’t help herself. 

“Wow what?”

Adora turned the wheel and made her way out of the driveway. “You just...you look really nice.” Adora’s voice barely carried the distance between them. It was pretty clear that she was hesitant about making such a compliment. If she only knew how much it meant to Catra, who struggled mightily to put on even a sliver of makeup on her own without Scorpia. “I am really glad you decided to come. Glimmer promised me this party wouldn’t be like the one at Mermista’s but even still, I’ll be glad to have you there to rescue me just in case.” 

Catra could easily see Glimmer making promises like that. Anything to convince Adora that Catra didn’t need to come. “Kinda surprised Sparkles wants me there. Never actually been to her and Arrow Boy’s precious apartment.”

“Arrow Boy?” 

“Yeah, you know, bow . Come on, I thought you liked weapons.”

“I do!” Adora laughed. “You just...you have so many nicknames for people.” 

Catra shrugged. “It’s more fun that way. Plus it usually pisses them off and then they talk to me less.” 

As Adora turned onto the main road, she peeked at Catra out of the corner of her eye. “Is that why you called me Princess? Hoping I’d hate it and leave you alone?” 

Don’t lie to her.

She wouldn’t...couldn’t if she tried. “Pretty much. I mean...look at you.” Adora’s brow quirked. “Blonde hair, blue eyes, all muscle and perfect skin. I just assumed you were a cheerleader who got a little too into the gym.”

Adora visibly shuddered. “No...no cheerleader. I - I would never.” Her voice wavered a bit, more so than it should have. Catra wasn’t sure whether to press on that or not. “Hitting people was more fun than leading chants and doing pyramids.” 

“Hitting people is always fun.” Catra had been in so many fights in school. They were never worth it, even when she got in good shots on shitheads that totally deserved it. The end result with Weaver usually ruined whatever vindication she felt. She needed to change the subject though. Tonight was about fun, not that evil bitch. “So what are we expecting tonight? Besides Sea Hawk getting drunk and telling us all how much he loves us?” 

This made Adora laugh, which was Catra’s best accomplishment all week. “Bow’s promised card games and Glimmer wants to play something called Drawful? Which is a really fun play on words, but if it’s drawing then I’m in trouble because I can barely draw stick figures.” 

“What?” Catra gasped. “Something you’re not good at? I don’t believe it.” 

“I’m not good at lots of stuff!” Adora was quite defensive about this. Like she had to prove that she wasn’t perfect. It was kinda cute. 

“Oh yeah? Tell me. Show me your imperfections, Grayskull.” 

Adora pulled up to a stoplight and tapped her fingers on the steering wheel. “Okay well for starters, I suck at math. Like I’m not entirely sure how I got my diploma because I’m so bad at it.”

Catra chuckled. “Math sucks, and it’s pointless unless you get into like...accounting or cryptography.”

“Yeah, I don’t see any of that in my future.”

“So that’s one,” Catra held up one finger to count. “What else do you suck at?” 

Adora shoved her playfully just before the light turned. “This is an awful game,” she laughed. “But I guess I suck at people, which you already knew. I’m the kind of person who has to rehearse my order at the juice bar like five times because I’m just sure that the person behind the desk will tell me to leave them alone and stop being so annoying. Even though their job is literally to take my order.”

It was crazy how much Catra could relate to something. The number of times she’d rehearse conversations was pretty much endless. “First of all, the fact that you said ‘juice bar’ and not ‘drive thru’ is so funny to me because you’re literally an alien.”

“Hey I might be,” Adora took a hand off the wheel and flexed. Even though it was buried under her big puffy jacket, Catra imagined it was wonderful. “They don’t build them like this on planet Earth!” It was so nice to see Adora like this. Playful and funny, she was never really like that at work. She was kind and friendly and polite, but so rarely was she ever just...silly. 

“You’re such an idiot.” It was Catra’s turn to shove her. “I guess we’ll add humility to the list of things you suck at.” 

Adora laughed again, Catra just kept on winning. “Okay, so now it’s your turn.”

“My turn? I’m not flexing.”

“No,” Adora turned onto a dirt road, making the inside of the car louder so she spoke up. “To tell me something you suck at.”

Catra wasn’t entirely sure why, and she would go to her grave not understanding why this exact moment was when she first admitted this to another person (even though some already figured it out, like Scorpia), but her answer was simply…

“Well I suck at being straight,” she left it out there, waiting for whatever response might come - fully prepared for it to be awkward. But Adora was so wide open with her sexuality before, why would it be a big deal now. 

It wouldn’t be, it couldn’t be. “Ha! Dude, same.” It wasn’t and now Adora knew and could do with that what she pleased. “I think it’s better to look at it and say heterosexual people just suck at being gay.” 

“I like that,” Catra laughed. “I’m also bad at people, as you know.”

“You’re not bad at them, you just don’t like them.” 

“You don’t like math, so it’s apples and oranges.” 

“Math is literally the devil.”

“So are people.”

“Not all people.” 

Catra’s eyes lingered on Adora a little too long for her not to notice. “Not all people.” Adora gave a little half smile, eyes still focused on the road. “I suck at makeup.”

Adora made a face. “That’s a lie, you look amazing.” She shook her head. “I suck at makeup, that’s why I don’t even bother.”

“Again, you hate makeup, you’ve told me this. Hate doesn’t equal suck.”

“So what does equal suck?” 

Catra noticed they were fast approaching Glimmer and Bow’s apartment. “Spending the night at the heiress to the Bright Moon Grocery throne’s apartment.”

As Adora pulled her shitty little brown car up behind Sea Hawk’s obnoxiously large truck, she patted Catra on the knee. “You’re spending the night with me,” her eyes went wide as soon as she said it. “I mean...the party. Not the night, I mean it is night and you’re with me but…” Adora honked the horn. “Whoops! Let's get inside.” She opened the door and raced around to open Catra’s door for her. 

It was so clumsy and full of panic, she looked like a complete mess and nearly slipped on the ice trying to get to the other side of the car. 

Catra wasn’t sure she’d ever liked another person more than this one. 


The one nice thing about Mermista’s big party was that when Catra showed up, nobody gave a shit. They didn’t notice, they didn’t care, most of them were already too high or drunk to even comprehend that she’d arrived. 

This time, when she came staggering in just behind Adora, everyone noticed. 

They were all, of course, thrilled to see Adora. They smiled and waved her in, making her blush and hug herself a little because she wasn’t comfortable with so much attention. It was cute and also kicked in a protective instinct Catra didn’t know she had. So much so that when Sea Hawk was really going on about how happy he was that Adora would celebrate his birthday with him, she spoke up. 

“You know Bright Moon sucks when Sea Hawk’s birthday party is the place to be.”

Everyone looked at her and away from Adora, and even though the attention was not what Catra wanted either, it was a win nonetheless. 

“Catra...you came,” Glimmer said, soundly only mildly excited. At best. 

Still, Catra knew well enough to know that Glimmer didn’t hate her. She’d just tried and failed too many times to include Catra in things so now it was more indifference. “Turns out the best way to get me to a party is to hire some muscle and drag me out.” Catra gave Adora a look, she smiled behind the watchful eyes of everyone else. “So, what are we drinking?” Catra was already tired of this kitchen entrance meet and greet. 

Eventually, thankfully, everything moved out of the kitchen and people started to spread out a little. There weren’t many here, but enough to make it fairly loud. 

It shouldn’t have been surprising that Glimmer and Bow’s apartment was so... colorful . The carpet was pink, the furniture was a mixture of purple and orange and blue. 

Catra found herself seated on a particularly soft purple couch with Adora next to her, as the two of them watched Bow and Sea Hawk lying on the floor, leg wrestling. It was ridiculous and they looked like idiots and Catra was sure that Adora could beat them both if she wanted to. 

Unfortunately, it was these idiots leg wrestling that distracted Catra long enough that she didn’t notice Adroa finally taking off her big stupid coat, and revealing the red flannel shirt and jeans combination that Adora was wearing. So when Catra turned to see what she thought of the stupidity in front of them, she was met instead with Adora’s forearms sticking out from a rolled up sleeve and a few top buttons that were undone, showing off her collarbone and just a peek of cleavage. 

At that point, Catra’s brain stopped functioning. 

“Catra?” Adora’s voice called out to her, hopefully that was just the first time and she hadn’t been staring or drooling like an idiot. 

“Huh?” She said dumbly. Adora tilted her head a little. 

“I asked if you wanted me to hang up your jacket,” she laughed because Catra probably looked like a love struck idiot and Adora didn’t recognize it. 

Catra shook her head. “I - I’m cool. You want something to drink? We need drinks.” She was ready to jump up and guzzle down the first clear liquid she saw that wasn’t water, but something in Adora’s worried expression stopped her. “What? You don’t have to drink, you know. It’s cool either way.”

Adora’s grip on her jacket tightened. “I don’t know. I… never drink. But I...I adjusted my diet today because I wanted to give myself room to drink, but I don’t…” she sighed, now hugging her big jacket like a full sized baby. “I’ve never done it before.” 

“You don’t have to, first of all. Drinking doesn’t make you cool or anything like that. But if you really want to, I can set you up with something simple and give you a good buzz.” 

She earned a smile, and fell in love a little more. “Okay, I trust you.” 

Now Catra had to make the best drink of all time because Adora trusted her. 

So she went to the kitchen, taking Adora’s coat so she could sit and continue watching the idiots leg wrestle. She passed by Mermista, Netossa and Spinerella who were all sitting at the kitchen table chatting. Catra wasn’t sure what they were talking about but she was fairly certain she heard Spinerella use the word ‘foodgasm’ so Catra walked a little faster. 

That’s when she found Glimmer in the kitchen, she was wrapping strips of bacon around jalapenos stuffed with what appeared to be cream cheese. She was moving back and forth with the soft music that played through the house. Catra could easily sneak up on her and scare the hell out of her, but Glimmer was a fight or flight kind of person and she was fairly certain Glimmer might punch her. 

“Hey,” she said instead, still making Glimmer jump a little, but no punches were thrown. “What kind of drinks do we have tonight?” 

Glimmer licked a bit of cream cheese off her thumb and opened up the cupboard. “Vodka, Rum and some Makers for Mermista. You can drink it but I’d ask first. She gets really protective of her alcohol.” 

“This is for Adora so...no Makers.”

“Adora?” Glimmer was suddenly very curious. “I thought she didn’t drink.”

Catra shrugged. “She wants to try.” Glimmer kept staring at her, waiting for more. “What?”

“Adora’s pretty great, huh?” 

Catra’s eyes narrowed. “She’s fine...why?” Glimmer shrugged. “Will you stop that. What are you getting at?” 

This time, Glimmer smiled. “Nothing, it’s just interesting to see you at a party is all. Now you’re making Adora’s drinks and she drove you here and it’s just...interesting.” 

“You know what’s not interesting? This conversation.” Catra scooped up a bottle of vodka and made her way to the fridge. She grabbed a can of vanilla coke and a glass from the cupboard to her left. 

When she turned back around, Glimmer was no longer staring at her, and instead arranging her jalapeno poppers on their baking sheet. 

It was quiet between them as Catra poured the drink. As quiet as it could be with Abba in the background. Still, she could feel Glimmer stealing looks at her. 

“Just say what you want, Sparkles.” Catra said, not looking away from the drink she was mixing. 

Glimmer picked up her sheet of poppers and slid them in the oven. When she closed the door, she walked behind Catra and stopped for a moment. “Just...be careful with her. I may not understand it, but she likes you and I don’t think that’s an everyday thing for her.”

It would be easy to turn around and yell at Glimmer. Yell at her for assuming the worst. For assuming that Catra was flippant and ignorant of the fact that she was so damn lucky Adora gave two shits about her. 

But she didn’t, because the truth was, it was nice to know that Glimmer cared enough about Adora to say anything at all. 

So Catra just nodded. “I’ve got her, Sparkles. Don’t worry.” 

That was all that was said, and Glimmer went on her way and Catra finished making Adora’s drink. 

Once it was finished, she immediately went for Mermista’s Makers for her own drink. 


Catra tried so hard to be careful with Adora. She really did. She made sure Adora’s drink only had a splash of vodka in it. She told Adora to take her time with it and that seemed to work pretty well. 

Then Adora asked for another, and instead of Catra popping up to get it (because she was enthralled in Mermista’s horror story about a cruise ship trip with her family where someone was legit stabbed), it was Netossa who made it for her. 

Apparently, Netossa didn’t know the ‘protect Adora’ rules because now Adora was drunk. Like, not driving herself home drunk and Catra had a pretty good buzz going on herself and even though she had no idea how they were getting home, she was just too damn light headed to care. 

Instead, Catra was sitting on the couch, leg hanging over the side, watching Adora play Twister with Glimmer, Bow and Sea Hawk. 

Adora’s shyness was completely gone, instead replaced with a giggly, happy mess that talked way too loud and had zero filter. It was really funny and cute and somehow still stupidly attractive. 

Every time a color was called out, Adora would make a big show of touching a hand or foot to the appropriate spot and looking back at Catra like the cat that caught the canary. 

She looked mostly like a goof. A big, buff, silly goof, and Catra loved the attention. 

There was one particular moment where Adora went to put her hand on blue, a blue spot was wide open in front of her, easy, but instead of taking it, she went the long way and turned so she could lock eyes with Catra and just... stare at her. 

Catra’s buzz suddenly felt like it doubled and the world around her went fuzzy. All she could see was Adora. Drunk and watching her. 

It was too much. Catra was moments away from standing up, walking over there and kissing Adora on the mouth in front of everyone. How could she not? Adora was so good at making Catra feel like the most important person in the world, without even trying. Nobody had ever done that for her before. Not one person in Catra’s life had ever made her feel as special as Adora did. 

Unfortunately, they weren’t the only people in the room because Sea Hawk fell over on the Twister board and every one went down with him in a fit of laughter and shouting.

Snapping back to reality, Catra stood up from the couch, ignoring the way her head was spinning and slipped off to the bathroom. She wanted Adora, plain and simple. She was buzzed and her filter was compromised, but she just really wanted to kiss Adora. Tonight. 

She couldn’t though, she knew she couldn’t. For starters, she didn’t know if Adora wanted to kiss her back. Even if the looks Adora was giving her seemed far from friendly, she was also pretty drunk and that was the second reason Catra knew she couldn’t do it. She didn’t want her first kiss with Adora to be some drunken misstep that she might regret the next day. 

Catra had very little experience with relationships and dating and anything like that - but she knew enough to know that she wanted it to mean something. 

Once alone in the bathroom, that was also somehow pink, Catra turned on the sink and filled her hands with water. She needed to clear her head, to think straight and get the rest of her night sorted. She had to find a way to get home and get Adora home. She had to stop thinking about kissing her and touching her and telling her that she loved her. They’d known each other barely a month, it was ridiculous to think this was more than a crush. 

It was just Catra being so damn starved for love that she was taking the simplest affection from another person and running with it. 

Taking a look at herself in the mirror, Catra ran her hands through her hair and groaned. She was drunker than she thought, the bathroom was still spinning and her fingertips were tingly. She took a few deep breaths, willing herself to settle down. 

That didn’t last long though because there was a sudden thud on the bathroom door that made Catra jump. If it weren’t for her fast reflexes, some of Glimmer’s glitter and shit would have fallen all over the floor. 

Before Catra could say she was inside, the door opened and Adora was there. Her face was red and her smile was dopey. It lit up even more when she realized Catra was there. 

“Hey! I found you!” She stumbled forward into Catra’s arms, if Catra wasn’t there Adora was absolutely going to face plant onto the tile floor. The bathroom wasn’t very big and the momentum almost sent Catra into the bathtub behind her. 

“Easy there, Princess.” The words struggled to come out, just like Catra’s thoughts. Because Adora’s arms were around here, strong and comfortable - like they were designed just for her. “You really can’t hold your liquor, huh?”

Adora giggled, actually giggled and Catra couldn’t stop herself from smiling. “No practice!” She was a screamer when she was drunk. “It’s so spinny. I can’t decide if it’s fun or if it’s not fun. It’s kinda fun but only when I’m not trying to move or think or anything, you know? Just sitting and doing nothing - then it’s fun.” 

Catra sighed, still holding onto Adora. “Can you sit?” Catra asked, moving away from Adora and looking around the room. She pulled back the shower curtain to reveal the edge of the tub. A nice, square shape and guided Adora to it. “You sit here,” she was so careful putting Adora down, holding onto her shoulders while she tried to find her balance. “Don’t move, okay?”

Adora saluted. “Yes ma’am!” 

As quick as she could, Catra darted out of the room and made a beeline for the kitchen. The party was still going strong, they were playing some video game and everyone was watching Netossa and Spinerella go at it with one another. Catra grabbed a glass from the cupboard and stuck it under the sink, letting it fill to the very top before, much more carefully, making her way back to the bathroom. 

When she made it back however, Adora was no longer on the edge of the tub, but had fallen all the way into it. Her butt was on the bottom, legs hanging over the edge and she was staring up at the ceiling. 

“If I turned this on I’d get wet.” She said, reaching for the handle to her left. 

Catra swooped in and grabbed her hand, spilling a little water on herself. “Let’s not do that,” she’d moved too fast, her head starting to ache a little now. She’d stopped drinking too soon. Right in the sweet spot of being buzzed and being drunk, now it was coming back to bite her. 

Adora smiled at her again. “You’re cute.”

Oh how she wished those words were said to her sober. “You’re wasted,” Catra used her free hand to guide Adora’s legs into the tub. It had to be more comfortable. “Here,” she offered up the water. “Drink this, all of it, okay?” 

This earned her another salute. Thankfully, Adora then followed that up by drinking the whole thing. “Drinking gets easier, huh? That tasted just like water!”

“That was water.”

Adora frowned, like a deep, emotional frown. “That’s no fun.”

“You’ll thank me tomorrow.” 

Then she smiled again. “I’m gonna see you tomorrow?”

Catra took a breath, the night had been fun, but she had no exit strategy. “Probably, you’re my ride home and...you can’t drive now.”

“Are you gonna climb in the tub with me?” Somehow, even drunk, Adora could sound so damn vulnerable. Like asking this was taking some great leap of faith that she was certain might kill her. It was sweet and all Catra wanted to do was sink in between Adora’s legs and lay back against her, falling asleep in her arms in Sparkles’ bathtub. 

“Not tonight,” Catra couldn’t help herself, she reached out and ran the back of her hand over Adora’s cheek. It was warm and soft, and the way she leaned into it only made Catra’s heart race more. “I’m really glad I met you.” She said it, she meant it. So much. Adora had changed her life in such a short time, in ways Catra never could have imagined. She gave Catra courage. She made Catra want to reach out and do more. It might all crumble when Weaver came home or in a year when Adora left, but in this moment, right now, Catra felt so happy. 

“Me too,” Adora said, sounding as sober as she had for a while. But she still was fading, leaning back further and further into the tub. It was kind of unfortunate because Catra had no way to get her out of there and even if she did there was nowhere to put her. 

“You stay here, okay? I’m gonna go talk to Glimmer and I’ll be right back.”

Adora nodded, her eyes barely open. “I won’t turn on the water.”

Catra smiled. “Good girl.”

When she found Glimmer, she was flicking mini marshmallows into Bow’s mouth from across the kitchen. Her aim was terrible, but Bow seemed ready to throw himself all over the place to try and catch them. 

“Hey Sparkles,” Catra grabbed her attention, or tried to, but Glimmer was still very focused on her little game. 

“What’s up Catr - oh! That was so close! Open your mouth wider!”

“My mouth doesn’t get any wider!”

“That’s what she said!” Mermista shouted from the other room. 

Catra pinched the bridge of her nose. “Adora is passed out in your bathtub.”

That stopped Glimmer and Bow, who had a marshmallow sticking out of his mouth. “Is she okay?”

“She’s fine. I gave her some water but...she’s really in there and, as you know, she’s kind of a beast so it’s not like I can carry her out.”

Glimmer groaned. “I hope she had fun. Do you think she had fun? She’s hard to read, cause she’ll tell you she’s having fun even if she’s not and I know the last party wasn't her favorite but this one was smaller and- “

“Relax dude, I think she had fun. She might not be having as much fun in the morning with her first hangover, but she laughed a lot and danced and played Twister. You did good.”

“So did you,” Bow said after he swallowed his marshmallow. “Seriously, it was good of you to come out tonight.”

Catra rolled her eyes. “Yeah well, don’t get used to it.” There was so much less vitriol behind those words than there used to be. Probably because he knew deep down that it wasn’t true. If Adora asked her to do this all over again tomorrow Catra absolutely would. “Listen, she was my ride and...I’m kinda buzzed to and I was just wondering if...maybe…”

“You can totally crash here,” Glimmer shrugged. “I was planning on most people doing that anyway. Sleep where you fall, don’t steal my bed and we’ll make breakfast in the morning.” 

She said it so casually, like it was something they did all the time. That’s probably because it was, but for Catra...it wasn’t. A night like this was so rare, but it was so freeing. To just...be out and be with your friends, then sleep where you fall and make breakfast and not have to worry about phone calls and curfews and rules. 

This was what she should be doing. This was what she’d been missing out on for so long. Even now, the voice in the back of her head was screaming at her that Weaver was going to find out and she’d pay for this. For having fun and enjoying herself. Finally. 

She couldn’t think about that tonight. Weaver was gone and she was here and Adora was in that bathroom.

“I...th - thanks Glimmer.” She said, not really able to look Glimmer in the eyes. 

“No worries. There’s a shit load of blankets in the closet across the hall from the bathroom. Grab as many as you need and give one to Adora too.”

Catra nodded and smiled as best she could and retreated to the hallway despite hearing Bow make his stupid ‘aw’ noise as she left. 

She settled on two blankets for herself. The thickest one would be on the floor and the lightest one would cover her. The third, a very fluffy little blue and white flower design was for Adora. 

When she made her way back into the bathroom, Adora was out like a light. She’d somehow sunk even deeper into the tub, her knees tucked into her hair all over her face. Catra took out her phone and snapped a quick picture. It was too damn cute and she’d have way too much fun teasing poor Adora about it tomorrow. From there, she carefully laid the blanket over Adora and moved her foot a bit so it wasn’t anywhere near accidentally turning the water on. 

Catra made sure she wasn’t blocking the toilet or in line to get hit with a door should it fly open, and nestled herself right up against the tub. It was not comfortable and she’d be sore as hell in the morning. But her head hurt and her body was tired and somehow she was as happy as she could possibly remember. 

The sounds of Adora’s soft snores and the rumble of the music through the floor lulled Catra to sleep.

Chapter Text

WINTER

Adora wasn’t sure how she ended up here. Granted, that was a line she’d been saying to herself a lot lately. Like standing on Mermista’s back deck dressed as a very cold Wonder Woman or waking up in Glimmer’s bathtub feeling like death - but this one was right up there. 

Snow came fast in Bright Moon. Really fast, like overnight and now her car was snowed in and her driveway was snowed in. She was bundled up tight, her feet buried in said snow, waiting for Sea Hawk to pick her up in his truck. 

The whole world was white, and beautiful. It was like nothing she’d ever seen before. The snow was still falling, though not as fast as it had been a few hours ago - even still, the mountains in the distance were shielded by the storm. 

As beautiful as it was, it was a little scary. There was so much of it and she could only imagine how many people were in the same situation as her with no way to get out. She’d texted Catra to see if she had a way into work, but so far hadn’t heard anything back. 

It was... strange . They’d had so much fun at the party, all of what Adora could remember was good and the next morning they’d had breakfast together in Glimmer and Bow’s apartment. Then they went there separate ways and Catra went home and things were...fine. But then Catra started to shut down a little. It wasn’t anger or tension, just quiet.

She would still text Adora every now and then. In the early mornings right after their shifts ended, Catra would be her most talkative, but when she’d come into work she was somber and hard to read. 

Unfortunately, Adora wasn’t brave enough to really ask what was wrong. She’d give the usual ‘are you okay?’ in a text, but Catra would say she was fine and the subject would change and that would be that. 

Adora felt bad, like maybe she should be doing more or trying harder to reach her, but she didn’t want to push. So she did what she could, texted regularly, but not too much (she hoped) and when they were at work Adora sought her out as much as she could. 

Sea Hawk arrived only a few minutes late and Adora really couldn’t blame him. The roads looked...bad and the plow on the front of his truck was working overtime. Still, it seemed to be doing well enough and far better than her own car that was buried. 

He opened the driver door, standing up with an arm extended in the air. “Your rescue has arrived!”

Adora resisted the eye roll, he was so dramatic and a little annoying, but he’d done this for her without hesitation. “Thank you again, really. You’ve saved my butt.”

“Nonsense!” He cried, his voice echoing in the air. “What’s the point of having a pickup truck built for snow if you’re not going to use it in the snow !” 

Adora could only nod. “Fair enough, where should I sit?”

“I’d pick a spot near the window, because you’re only my first stop and you’ll want to be at least somewhere comfortable.”

Adora frowned a little. “You’re picking up more people?” 

“You, Glimmer, Bow, Perfuma, Scorpia and Catra!” 

He just kept rattling off names, all the while Adora looked into his truck that did not look big enough to hold them all. 

“You know where Catra lives?” 

“Nope! Scorpia is going to give me directions when we get her. It’s quite exciting, really. No one but her knows the location!”

Adora shrugged. “I do,” she felt a little proud being in such a select company. 

“That is the least surprising thing I’ve heard all day.”

Adora said nothing. Just smiled and tucked herself against the window in the passenger seat. 

Driving in the blizzard was nothing short of scary. Even Sea Hawk kept his chatter to a minimum as he navigated the slick roads and slow traffic. It was beautiful, in it’s own way. Nothing like the place she’d grown up in - which was just rain and sunshine and the occasional tornado warning. 

When they arrived at Glimmer and Bow’s, they were already outside waiting and arguing about who ate the last of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It was one of the more intense and real arguments Adora had seen them have and it didn’t really end when they got in the back of the truck, they just kinda went eerily quiet. 

Scorpia and Perfuma were next and they were the exact opposite of Glimmer and Bow, just a bright and cheery pair that wanted to go on and on about the night they’d spent together. When they first brought it up, Adora was terrified they were going to talk about sex or something, but instead it was just about how they redecorated Perfuma’s bedroom around a bunch of new plants she bought. 

Then they were on their way to Catra’s and Adora was suddenly becoming a little nervous. She and Catra hadn’t been in communication as much the last few weeks since Sea Hawk’s birthday party. They talked and it was fine, at times it felt normal, but Catra had been distant. 

She knew it was silly, but Adora couldn’t help but think her drunken state at the party chased Catra away. She hadn’t intended to be like that, but she really had no idea how she would react to drinking. She’d spent that whole day looking up what she might feel if she had a few drinks and she had a plan of what kind of drink she’d ask for and how she’d pace herself and make sure to eat. Then Catra offered to make her a drink and Adroa couldn’t say no and apparently she was weak when it came to vodka. 

Maybe she was too much. Maybe she said something stupid or out of place. The worst thought Adora had was that maybe her crush showed too much and Catra noticed and wasn’t at all interested in her that way and now it was awkward. 

That thought made Adora’s stomach hurt because Catra had very quickly become one of her favorite people and someone she found very easy to talk to, about things she couldn't talk to with anyone else. 

A problem is only a problem if you refuse to find a solution

She could hear Mara’s voice in her ear and she knew it was true. She wanted to talk to Catra, she needed to - for her own sanity, to make sure things were okay between them. If they weren’t, then she could fix them. 

So she could do that at some point tonight during their shift. Not right now, with everyone in the car, but later for sure. 

Unfortunately, right now was when they were pulling up to Catra’s house and it became painfully obvious to Adora that everyone had scrunched up together in their respective spots and the only open space was right next to Adora. 

When they pulled into Catra’s driveway, it was heavily snowed in, so much so that they couldn’t even make it all the way up. 

Adora saw Catra just inside her screen door, she had her back to them and just beyond her was a shadow of someone else in the house. Catra mentioned a woman she lived with, usually with a lot of negative words and disgust. Adora really didn’t know anything about her, other than she was always away on business. 

Now though, she appeared to be home and when Catra came out, her head was cast down and she took very fast steps towards the truck. Like she was trying to get away. 

Adora felt something unfamiliar bubble up in her chest. She couldn’t describe it, but Catra looked very small and suddenly Adora couldn't imagine her sitting anywhere other than right next to her. 

“Wildcat!” Scorpia greeted her with a loud hello and everyone else followed. She looked a little bit like she wanted to turn around and run, but instead she just sighed. 

“Is there even room for me in this clown car?” 

“There’s a spot next to Adora, if you squeeze in real tight!” The spot was small and it was right between Adora and Sea Hawk. 

Catra nodded, giving Adora only the slightest look before climbing over her legs. 

While Catra settled in, Adora stole another glance towards her home. That woman still lingered inside, just a shadow, but she was there...watching. 

Before she knew it, Catra was next to her and Sea Hawk was backing out of the driveway. 

The truck was a diesel and loud on the road, so much so that it was next to impossible to talk to anyone that wasn’t right to you without screaming. 

Adora took this as a chance to take. 

“Hey,” she said, her voice barely carrying, but it caught Catra’s attention. 

Those multicolored eyes looked at her and she smiled just a bit. “Hey, Adora.” 

“So...snow huh? Pretty crazy.”

Catra rolled her eyes. “This is the place you wanted to take a year off and relax in?”

Adora laughed. “I’ve always been a bit of an odd duck.”

“No kidding,” Catra shifted a little, these seats sucked. “It’s a shame you don’t own a truck.” 

“I’ve always wanted one.” She admitted and Catra raised her eyebrows. “I drove them around a lot back home. Mara had one and I used it to haul things back and forth from town, mostly water.” 

“You...hauled water?” 

Adora nodded. “Yeah, we lived too far out to get town water, so we hauled our own.”

“I thought you lived in Crystal Castle?”

“Near it, like a fifty minute drive. Gran’s farm was a ways out there and...Gran was a little weird about relying on the town for anything. We didn’t have internet until I was seventeen.”

“Jesus,” Catra grimaced. “That sounds...what did you do?” 

Adora shrugged just before her body shook as they hit a rough spot in the road that made Glimmer scream in the backseat. Bow was quick to calm her down. 

She spoke up a bit as Sea Hawk’s truck picked up speed on the highway. “I worked a lot. Lots of chores at Gran’s place!”

“No hobbies? No video games or favorite shows?” 

“Sword and Shield!” Catra made a face so Adora picked up her phone and showed Catra the lockscreen. “It was my favorite show growing up and it just kinda...stuck with me. Also there’s like two hundred episodes and...well...it’s really gay.”

That made Catra’s eyebrow quirk. “Oh? Well shit, I might have to check it out then.” 

Adora couldn’t help herself. “You totally should! I’d love to have you over to watch it! I have all the episodes downloaded and we could probably get through season one in…” Catra seemed a bit overwhelmed. “Sorry,” Adora backpedaled quickly. “Sorry, I get excited about Sword and Shield.”

Fortunately, Catra’s smile came back. “I can see that.”

She suddenly felt kind of immature. Going on and on about her favorite childhood show at the girl she had a crush on. “If...if you ever want to check it out, let me know.” 

Just as Catra was about to respond, the truck started to slide on the ice. Sea Hawk gripped the steering wheel tightly, letting out a joyful chuckle as the rest of the passengers squealed. The back of the truck swung hard to the left as the rest of it went right. 

A weight landed on Adora’s lap and out of instinct, she grabbed onto it. She watched as Sea Hawk, somehow, managed to right the truck, slow it down and steady it back on the road.

“Okay that was terrifying!” Glimmer shouted.

“I hate the snow!” That one was Perfuma. “First it buries and kills all my flowers, then it tries to kill me!” 

“I have everything under control.”

“That’s more than I can say for myself, I almost shit my pants.” That was Bow, and it made Adora snort with laughter. 

It was only after Bow’s joke settled her heart rate down that Adora realized there was something clutching onto her arm.

Catra was holding her, eyes fixated on the road with a mixture of fear and anger. She was  practically sitting in Adora’s lap. 

That feeling Adora had had before, when she saw that woman in the shadows behind Catra, washed over her again. Only now she understood it - it was protectiveness. She felt...protective of Catra. 

So without even thinking, Adora took her free hand and placed it on Catra’s shoulder. She looked at Adora, eyes still a bit wild, and Adora smiled at her.

“We’re okay.” She said, her voice just loud enough for Catra to hear. 

It was then that Catra seemed to register that she was clinging onto Adora. She didn’t immediately let go though. “F - fuck Bright Moon.” She said and Adora let out a breathy laugh. When Catra finally let her go, Adora was disappointed, but she knew Catra was still a bit shaky so she decided to take a risk. 

She reached out and grabbed Catra’s hand, this earned her a look but Adora didn’t focus on that. She couldn’t look at Catra or she’d lose her nerve - this was already more than she’d ever done before. Catra’s hand was small in her own, soft and cold. She held it, brushing her thumb along the back of Catra’s knuckles. When she finally built up enough courage to look at her, Catra was wide eyed again. 

Adora worried her jaw was trembling, and if it was she hoped Catra would blame the cold. “We’re almost there,” Adora promised, putting her smile back on. 

Catra didn’t let go, didn’t tear her hand away and tell Adora to back off, she didn’t do anything Adora was afraid of. Instead, she squeezed Adora’s hand and scooted a little bit closer to her. 


“So many turkeys…” Bow sighed, staring at the stack of boxes, all of which weighed a ton and were currently sitting in the loading dock. “These were all birds once, you know? Living, breathing happy birds. Now they’re just carcasses. We’re literally dragging dead bodies into the store and stacking them up pretty for people to buy.”

Adora made a face. “That’s a pretty horrific way to look at it.” She then stepped over and popped open her box cutter. “I love turkey.”

“Of course you do,” Glimmer sighed. “You want me to get Scorpia to help bring these in?” 

Bow nodded. “We could probably use her.” He said and Glimmer started texting. “But, I don’t want you and her making it a competition.” Bow pointed a finger at Adora. “Because then I look bad.”

Adora simply laughed and sliced open the box on top. Inside were about thirty tightly wrapped turkeys all piled up together. They were various sizes, but most of them were pretty big. Adora grabbed the handles on two of them and picked them up to test the weight. She turned around, holding them over her head while Glimmer and Bow stared at her blankly.

“Who do you think could throw one of these the farthest?”

“No.”

“I bet I could throw it farther than Scorpia.”

‘Adora,” Glimmer warned again. “No.”

“Scorpia did Shot Put, I think she could throw it pretty far.” Bow’s claim overruled Glimmer’s warning. 

“I was a quarterback. I could throw the ball sixty yards flat footed.”

Glimmer sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose. “We’re not -”

“Oh! Turkey time!” Scorpia said as she burst into the loading dock. “You ever thought about throwing one of these things?”

“Guys!” Glimmer shouted, making everyone jump a little. They all looked at her, Adora still holding two turkeys over her head as she sighed, again, and spoke calmly. “Please, don’t throw the turkeys. Just take them into the store and put them where they go. We’re expecting to sell a lot of them and I’d hate to be low on stock because of a throwing competition.” 

They all agreed because they were all a little bit afraid of Glimmer. 

Hours passed pretty quickly as the three of them worked to bring in and stock all the turkeys. Adora’s whole body was cold, especially her hands - despite the gloves she wore, as she brought in one of the last boxes and started cutting it open. 

She was just about to dig in when her phone started to ring. It scared her, it was almost one in the morning. Nobody called at one in the morning for a good reason. 

When she drew it out of her pocket, she saw Mara’s name and immediately she knew. She couldn’t explain how, but she knew. 

She almost didn’t want to answer it, like if she didn’t answer it wouldn’t be true. 

But she knew better, she had to. She answered. 

“Hello?” Her voice was already a little shaky. 

Mara took a moment to respond. “Adora...hi...I…” Mara sighed. “Adora, it’s Gran.” Adora’s shoulders sank, her heart dropped. “She’s gone, Dora. She went peacefully. Napping in her chair.”

Adora suddenly realized she was sitting in the middle of the deli and that Scorpia or Bow would be coming at any moment. She didn’t want them to see her. She didn’t want to explain it or talk about it. She just wanted to process. 

She stood up and started running, sprinting to the break room. She thanked the stars that there was no one in there when she busted in and slipped off to the tiny attached bathroom and closed the door. Adora sat down on the closed toilet seat, the room small enough that she could stick her knees on the door to keep herself locked in. 

“Adora?” Mara spoke again, concerned. 

“I’m here,” she whispered. “I...I don’t know what to do.”

“Just breathe, okay? We both knew this was coming. She knew this was coming. She was ready.”

Adora choked back a sob. “I wasn’t.”

Mara laughed softly. “She knew that too, that’s why she pushed so hard to make you go. To start your life and stop worrying about her.” 

Adora stayed quiet, crying and trying to remember the last meaningful conversation she had with her Gran. They said their goodbyes and hugged and everything, but Gran was so good at just letting Adora talk. So often, Adora would get lonely and feel left out, like the rest of the world was too fast and too crazy for her to keep up with. But Gran was steady and quiet and just...listened. She was encouraging and fun. 

When Adora was smaller she and Gran used to play all the time. Back when Gran’s body was still in decent shape and she could, for the most part, keep up with Adora. 

Then the years went by and she slowed down, their relationship changed. Suddenly Gran was in her chair and Adora was telling her all about her day. Going on and on about the work she was doing. The things she was learning. The way she was feeling. 

Gran was the first person Adora came out to - she was so scared. But there was no hesitation, no moment to think or ponder what Adora had said. Instead, Gran laughed and started telling stories about a woman she knew growing up that liked girls and how Gran would try and set her up with everyone. 

She was Adora’s best friend. Her confidant and her hero - and she was gone and Adora didn’t know what to do. 

“I can come home tomorrow. I can…”

“Adora, no,” Mara was soft but firm...clearly she was struggling too. “I know about the storms where you are and I don’t really think there’s much you could do here. I’ll be busy all week dealing with her estate and her wishes. She didn’t want a funeral or anything fancy. She’d want you to stay where you are and keep thriving.” 

Adora looked up at the ceiling, tears still clouding her vision. She hoped her Gran was in the room with her, she didn’t know if she believed in stuff like that, but she hoped so much that Gran could feel how much Adora loved her. 

“Okay,” she said, if she were being honest with herself, she didn’t want to go back to Crystal Castle. It would feel empty in that house without Gran there. “If you need anything, you can call me.”

“I know, Adora. You take care of yourself too, okay? And call me more, please. I - I want to know how you’re doing.”

“I will, I’m sorry.”

“Don’t apologize, you’re not at fault. You’re doing what we always wanted you to do and we - I’m proud of you. So was she.” Adora couldn’t say anything, if she tried, she’d just sob again. “Love you, Dodo.” 

“Love you too.” 

The call ended and Adora sat her phone in the tiny sink next to the toilet. She stayed still for a long time, just staring at the brown door in front of her and studied the pattern of the wood. 

She kept trying to wrap her mind around the idea that her Gran wasn’t here anymore. That she’d never see her smile or hear one of her sarcastic and silly jokes. No more pies or hot chocolate. No more pizza nights or card games. 

Nothing, just the memories and Adora had so many. 

Knock knock

Adora jumped. She’d completely forgotten where she was and how long she’d been in here. 

Without thinking, Adora flushed the toilet for no good reason and stood up on shaky legs. “Hang on, I’m sorry. I’ll be out in a second.” She looked at herself in the dirty mirror, eyes red and puffy, tear streaks on her cheeks. There was no way she could get out of this without someone knowing she was crying. 

“Adora?” Glimmer’s voice carried softly through the door. “Are you crying?” 

She sighed, knowing there was literally no escape, and picked up her phone to put in her pocket. 

She opened the door and Glimmer was looking up at her, with worry in her eyes and then genuine concern when she took in the sight of Adora. “What’s wrong?” 

Adora gnawed on her bottom lip, tears threatening again. “My Gran died. I just found out.”  

“Oh sweetie, I’m so sorry.” Adora had a feeling she would be hearing that a lot in the next few days. Still, Glimmer sounded genuine and Adora was thankful. “Here, come sit…” Glimmer put a hand on her back and guided her into the break room. She sat down on one of the uncomfortable chairs and exhaled. She really had no idea what she was supposed to do. “Was she sick?” 

“On and off for a while, just...she lived a lot of life, you know? Good life. She...she was so good.” 

Glimmer nodded, rubbing Adora’s back. “She sounded good. Do you want to go home? Or...do you need anything?”

“I don’t want to go home,” Adora said simply. The idea of going back to her apartment alone was terrifying. Just sitting there in the quiet and letting herself feel all of this - she didn’t want that. She didn’t want to be alone. No. 

“Okay, well the turkeys are pretty much done so we can just hang out in here, okay? I’ll keep you company.” 

Adora looked at Glimmer, who was smiling at her and didn’t seem the least bit obligated to be there. It relaxed her and helped more than she could ever express. When Glimmer reached out to her, Adora slowly let herself be embraced and comforted. It was nice. 

She didn’t move when Bow came in, all smiles and laughter until he saw her. 

“What’d I miss?” 

Glimmer didn’t say anything and Adora figured she wasn’t sure if she should share. “My Gran died tonight,” she said, the words already tasting like ash in her mouth.

“Oh man that awful, Adora I’m so sorry.” She couldn’t help but smile a little through the tears. That was the third person who’d apologized to her for no reason. Before she could process why she found that funny, he was hugging her and Glimmer at the same time. Adora was suddenly sandwiched between the two people she was quickly growing very attached to and she suddenly wondered how in the world she would have handled this without them.

She went through the same questionnaire with Bow. If she needed anything. If she wanted a ride home. If her Gran was sick. It was kind of cute how similar he and Glimmer were. 

Scorpia came in a few minutes later in search of her turkey crew and got the rundown. She apologized, of course, but Adora didn’t laugh that time - it just kind of made her feel bad. 

She wasn’t sure how much time passed when her phone buzzed again. But she knew that Glimmer had left to go help with a few things in the frozen foods section and Bow was there watching over her, going over some inventory reports. 

Catra : U get lost in the break room?

She smiled at the message and stood up. “Hey, I’m gonna go get some air,” she told Bow who stood up almost like a reflex. 

“You want some company?” 

Adora shook her head, but made sure to hug him because she loved how much he cared. “I’m good, I promise. I’ll be back.”

He nodded against her shoulder. “Okay, I’ll be here and then we’ll wrangle up Sea Hawk and go home, you can crash with me and Glimmer if you want.”

She didn’t have the courage to ask, but she really didn't want to be alone tonight. “Thank you, really. I...I really appreciate it.”

“That’s what friends do,” he said proudly, and Adora’s heart swelled. 

She left him to finish his work and typed out on her phone. 

Adora : Are you busy? I could use some company.

Catra : Meet me by the pharmacy

Adora laughed, Catra loved the pharmacy because it was in the far end of the store and nobody was ever there. The lights in that section were half busted and it was darker than the rest of the store. It fit Catra perfectly. 

When she got there, Catra was already waiting, sitting on a few stacked grocery baskets and spreading cheese on crackers with a little red stick. She looked incredibly endearing. 

“Is that your lunch?” Adora asked, and Catra glanced up at her with a smirk. 

“Once I combine it with the snack pack and Mountain Dew over there then yes, yes it is.” 

“Could use some protein.” 

Catra lifted up her food. “Cheese has protein.” It wasn’t until she finished that Catra gave Adora that look, the one that recognized something was off. Adora must really look like crap. “What’s up?” She put her little red stick down and sat the crackers aside. 

Adora exhaled slowly - saying this was becoming second nature. “My Gran passed away. I got the call a little while ago.” 

Catra’s expression was hard to read, she seemed almost angry, but it was something else. Before Adora could really read it, she stood up and closed the distance between them. 

When she hugged Adora, there was no other choice but to sink into it. They hadn’t shared this much physical contact and yet this was the second time they’d been this close today - two very different circumstances. 

“Shit, Adora, that sucks.” Catra cradled the back of Adora’s head in her hands, it was...nice. “I wish I’d had the chance to meet her. Everything you told me...she sounded awesome.” 

No apology, Adora hugged her tighter. “She was,” she said. “She would have liked you a lot.”

Catra pulled away, but stayed close, Adora tried not to think too much about the fact that they were still holding hands. “Death fucking sucks,” Catra said, no hestiation in her voice at being so blunt. 

“It really does,” Adora felt the tension in her shoulders relax. “I knew it was coming, like...she knew too, but still doesn't make it fair.”

“Hell no it doesn’t.” Catra squeezed her hands. “You going home?” 

Adora shook her head. “Glimmer and Bow are letting me crash at their place. I - I feel like I’m still in shock a little. I don’t know when I’m going to actually process it and, you know, break down, but I don’t want to be alone for that.” Adora laughed. “I have no idea how to handle something like this.” 

“I don’t think you handle death at all. It’s just a tidal wave that takes you and you see where you are after you survive it.” That really was how she felt, like she had no control over what was going to happen or how she felt. She was just there, waiting to see what was next. “I still have a few more hours on shift, are you leaving now?”

“Not for another hour or so. Sea Hawk is still pretty busy with stuff and he’s the ride home. Glimmer said I’m off duty though. Just waiting.” 

Catra nodded, looking up at the clock on the wall. “Well I have some more time on break, you...you wanna sit with me? I’ll share my snack pack.” 

Adora smiled, how could she say no to that? “I’d love to.”

“Good,” Catra unstacked her seat made out of shopping baskets and put a couple of them down next to where she was sitting. She sat and Adora took the spot next to her. She handed Adora the cup of pudding and Adora peeled it open, she took the plastic spoon she was sure Catra had stolen from stock and dipped it in the chocolate. 

“Here,” she said, holding the spoon towards Catra. 

This earned her a frown. “It’s for you, I gave it to you. Big comforting gesture and all that.“

Adora shook her head. “It’s not on my diet.” Catra rolled her eyes. “Take it.” She offered it again and this time, Catra took the bite off the spoon Adora was holding. It was a much more intimate moment than Adora had anticipated. 

Catra swallowed and nodded. “S’good,” she said, picking her cheese and crackers back up. “So...tell me about her?” It came out as more of a question, a gauge of where Adora was. The wound was still so fresh, but she wanted to talk about her. 

“She was vicious with a broom.”

“Oh yeah?” 

Adora nodded. “I saw her take out flies mid flight with one. You said something stupid or tracked mud on her freshly clean kitchen floor, broom to the head.”

“I like it, people needs a good brooming every now and then.” 

“Pretty sure she used it as a weapon more than an actual broom.”

“Sounds like she was getting the most out of it.” 

Adora laughed, Gran really would have loved Catra.

Chapter Text

“Fakesgiving?” 

“Yes.” Glimmer acted like that was a real word. 

“What is that?” 

“It’s a classic, annual tradition of ours!” Glimmer was practically beaming. 

Bow chimed in. “The first one was last year.”

“All annual traditions have to start somewhere!” 

Adora sat in Bow and Glimmer’s living room, where she’d been sleeping for the better part of the last two weeks, and listened to the two of them tell her the story of last year's Fakesgivivng. 

“It’s the best, we just hang out all day, we cook and drink and play games. Nothing too crazy because it’s like...the middle of the day.”

“That doesn’t stop Perfuma from smoking too much or Mermista from drinking too much and starting fights.”

Glimmer groaned. “I’m not fighting her. I don’t care how many times she asks.” Glimmer then looked to Adora. “She’ll come after you too, by the way. Especially you because, you know,” Glimmer flexed and pointed at Adora who just laughed. “It’s so much fun though. And it’s a good way to have all our friends together since we’re all usually with family and stuff during normal Thanksgiving. Scorpia and I do the cooking, well...I do the cooking and she does the helping and I yell at her to stop eating the raw potatoes.” 

“I love raw potatoes!” Adora couldn’t help herself and this earned her some confused looks. She really was so weird sometimes and she knew it. “Sorry, I just...when I would try and cut weight I would just eat cans of tuna and raw potatoes.” 

Bow was making a horrified face. “Your life is so sad sometimes, Adora. Tuna and potatoes?!” 

“And water?” She shrugged. “It wasn’t so bad.”

“Yes, yes it was.” Glimmer walked over and put her hands on Adora’s shoulders. “I am going to bless you with the gift of amazing thanksgiving food.”

Then suddenly, as had happened endless over the last few weeks, Adora was hit with visions of her Gran and the big thanksgiving meals they’d make together. Gran was not traditional, in any way. Thanksgiving to her was ham and mac and cheese, but the homemade kind with her own noodles and so many cheeses and baked perfectly in the oven. She’d make rolls and chocolate pie. Adora would spend weeks building up to that meal - eating as healthy as she could to prepare herself for the onslaught.

“You okay?” Bow asked and Adora realized she’d been quiet too long. 

“Huh? Yeah, just...just thinking about all this food. I’m gonna have to bring out the tuna cans to prepare for it.”

Glimmer threw her head back. “No tuna cans in this house. We’ll get you some fish at the store.”

“I’ll get some,” Adora said quickly. She already felt guilty that she’d stayed here so long. Her own apartment was starting to feel less and less comfortable. It was so small and the heating sucked and the windows didn't look at anything nice. 

She’d slept better on Glimmer and Bow’s couch than she had at the place she paid for. But she hated feeling like a leech, just clinging onto them and the comfort they gave her but not giving anything in return. So she bought meals. She woke up early and cleaned for them. She did whatever she could to feel like she was earning the hospitality they were giving her. 

“Do you guys need anything? Bow? More of those chips you eat that make you cry?”

“Hey, they don’t make me cry!” He protested and Glimmer giggled behind her hand. “They’re really spicy okay!” 

“They’re really not,” Glimmer deadpanned and Bow looked utterly betrayed. “So, are you in for Fakesgiving?” 

Adora nodded. “Of course! I’ll have to buckle down on the diet and get in some more cardio, but yeah, it sounds fun!” 

“Good! Now we have to sort out the foods and I swear if Perfuma wants anything vegan she has to bring it herself!” 

As Glimmer spilled off into her rant about Perfuma, Adora settled back onto the couch and pulled out her phone. 

Adora : What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?

It was a lame approach, but Adora really wanted to invite Catra so why not see what she’d like first?

Since her Gran died, the one good thing that had come of it was Catra finally opening back up to her. They’d resumed their texting like before and even had a few late night calls about absolutely nothing. The calls were fun because both of them had to be so quiet. Glimmer and Bow were asleep in the other room for Adora and Catra had her...whoever it was that lived with her sleeping across the hall. 

Adora had tried to dig into that, to get some kind of read on this person who lived with Catra. Unfortunately, Catra wouldn’t give her anything. Just the same ‘I live with her’ and ‘she’s gone a lot’. The closest bit of information Adora had gotten was ‘she’s a real bitch’ but even then Catra was quick to change the conversation. 

Catra : Don’t think I have one princess

Catra : No wait

Catra : The orange things with the marshmallows

That answer made Adora smile.

Adora : Sweet potatoes! They’re so good. I still need to make you my homemade SP fries

Catra : So many things u want to do for me ;)

It didn’t happen all the time, but when Catra sent Adora emojies, especially in that context, it made her day. Adora didn’t know if this was flirting, she just didn’t know and she was too embarrassed to ask because she didn’t want to look like the innocent child so many people saw her as. Still, she wanted it to be flirting and more than that, she wanted to flirt back. 

Adora : If only I could get you alone :)

She debated far too much between the winking emoji and the smiling one but settled on the smiling one because it felt softer. Plus Catra used the wink and Adora was seriously over thinking all of this. 

She couldn’t sit here on Glimmer and Bow’s couch and flirt terribly all day so she decided to take a shower and get ready for her shift that night. 

Catra : Ur all talk Grayskull

Adora dug into her small bag of clothes she’d brought for what was supposed to be a short few days staying with Glimmer and Bow and grabbed a few items. She nearly ran into multiple walls as she walked to the bathroom staring at her phone. 

Adora : You name the time and place and I’ll cook you an amazing dinner

Adora : Speaking of...Glimmer and Bow are doing something called Fakesgiving day after tomorrow and you should come!

Adora : :)

Adora put her phone down and quickly stepped into the shower. Bow’s shower was really nice. He had the fanciest shower head Adora had ever seen. It had so many settings and the massage setting did wonders on her sore muscles after workouts. 

She let her mind trail off to her Gran and that was never a good thing. Adora didn’t know if she was grieving properly. It hurt so much, but at the same time her life just kept going. She had so much support here, more than she’d ever expected and it had helped immensely. When Adora left Crystal Castle, she knew that her Gran wasn’t doing well and the thought of losing her was very real. She didn’t know how she’d handle it. She imagined it being a tremendous blow, and it was, but there was a distant guilt in the back of her mind at how easily she’d just kept going. 

Gran was gone and yet here Adora was giddily texting the girl she had a crush on and acting like everything was fine. 

She knew it was silly and she knew deep down that her Gran would want this from her. She’d want her to press on and live her life - that’s what Gran told her before she left whenever she had doubts. She knew how important this was to Adora. 

When her shower finished, Adora stared at her phone, the little light in the corner blinking that she had a new message. 

Adora loved and hated the nerves that came with texting Catra sometimes. She would send things that were scary and risky and so far she’d found nothing but rewards, but the nerves were still there that she’d say something wrong and mess everything up. 

With a free hand, Adora tapped her screen and read the message. 

Catra : Sorry can’t this time. I’m sure Sparkles will be devastated

A wave of disappointment washed over Adora. She really wanted to see Catra outside of work again. Glimmer’s party felt like forever ago. 

Adora : I could have Glimmer reschedule if a different day works for you?

As soon as she sent it she regretted it a little, it was too pushy. Too intense. Too much. It was what she always was, too much. She tried too hard and expected more than was necessary. Catra said she couldn't come, Adora should have left it alone. 

Catra : Not about the day. Just can’t make it.

The sentences were short and to the point, Adora knew she should have let it go.

Adora : Okay, sorry...just want to see you.

Catra : U saw me last night dummy

Adora smiled, Catra called her that a lot. Dummy, idiot and stupid, but it was never insulting, it never felt that way, if anything, it was almost affectionate. Adora kind of loved it. 

Adora : It’s not the same. I’d love to hang out sometime. Maybe get that song you owe me

Adora went about getting dressed and she heard, of all things, Christmas music start blaring from the living room as she did. 

Catra : I don’t owe u shit lol

Catra : Not until I get my sweet potato fries

Adora : Time and place ;)


If there was one thing Adora was learning about Glimmer was that with her, parties happened fast and often. This time, it was Fakesgiving and somehow, Glimmer had set up pretty much everything in a day. 

Now everyone was coming over and Adora had to wake Glimmer up when she usually got up so Glimmer could start cooking the turkey and Glimmer at five AM was terrifying. 

Still, the morning was nice once Glimmer had an hour or so to actually wake up and they watched infomercials about cookware. 

When Bow finally woke up, Glimmer immediately sent him to the store to buy stuff for side dishes. Adora was on furniture duty. Glimmer and Bow’s kitchen table was not big enough to seat everyone, but Glimmer had a spare table from her parents that was stored at her parents place. 

Adora was nervous, because of course she was, but they were very nice people. 

The drive out to their house was really nice. Now that the roads had been mostly cleared of the big snowfall from a few weeks earlier, everything was so white and fluffy. The trees still drooped with snowfall and the mountains in the distance looked like paintings with their white tips. 

Glimmer’s parents' house was pristine. Everything you would imagine in a perfect family home. All the way down to the white picket fence. 

Adora hesitantly walked up the three steps that lead to the front door and knocked softly. She felt a wind pick up a bit, biting the back of her neck and forcing her to put up the hood of her coat. 

When Glimmer’s mother answered the door, she looked warm and comfy in a big pink robe - it was still really early but Glimmer had assured her they knew she was coming. 

“Adora, it’s lovely to see you.”

Adora smiled. “Hope I’m not waking anyone up.”

“Not at all, come in, it’s freezing out there.” Adora stepped inside and immediately felt the warmth of the air change. The inside was really nice. With tall ceilings and a wide staircase that led up to the second floor. It was so bright and colorful, it really did show where Glimmer got her tastes from. Adora loved it. 

“Can I get you anything to drink? Micah made cinnamon rolls this morning if you’re interested.”

“Oh no thank you, I’m okay. I have to save up room for all the food Glimmer is making.” 

Angella laughed. “My daughter and her cooking. She always hated it when I tried to show her anything when she was little. Then she found it on her own and suddenly it was her favorite thing to do. Stubborn, that one.” 

“Adora!” Micah waved at her as he came in the room, he wasn’t quite as bundled up as his wife, but the purple shirt and flannel pants told Adora he hadn’t planned on going anywhere anytime soon. “Here to collect the big table?”

“That’s the command I was given.”

Micah laughed. “Glimmer is good at giving orders.” He gestured for her to follow him. “It’s out in the garage, come on - I’ll help you get it tied to your car.” 

Though it took a lot of effort to get the thing down from the storage area above the garage, Adora and Micah managed to secure the table on the roof of her car. Micah was very worried about the scratches it might leave, but Adora really didn’t care or think they mattered at all. Her car already looked like it had been flipped about sixteen times - a few scratches wouldn’t really change that. 

They both insisted that Adora take a cinnamon roll and a thermos full of hot chocolate that they had made too much of that morning. Because two grown ups in Bright Moon apparently drank hot chocolate instead of coffee in the morning.

And since Adora was not the kind of person who could tell others no, she was now driving back to Glimmer’s with a thermos and a little napkin with two cinnamon rolls she would never eat. 

When she made it back to Glimmer’s, there were already people showing up. Scorpia was there, thankfully, to help Adora get the table inside and set up. Perfuma was happy to prance around the kitchen, checking on the food and chatting with Glimmer while she worked. 

Bow wanted an authentic feel so he pulled up a YouTube video of a parade from the 70s and let it run on the TV over Glimmer’s Christmas music. Which was apparently acceptable because ’it’s close enough’. 

Then Spinerella and Netossa showed up and Mermista and Sea Hawk shortly after and suddenly the apartment was full and everyone was laughing and having fun. 

Adora was too, really. She was enjoying herself and she’d grown quite fond of everyone - but something was clearly missing. At least for her. 

Nobody else seemed to notice Catra’s absence, probably because they were used to her not being around. From what Adora had learned, Catra tended to stay away from anything like this, but she’d made the mistake of spoiling Adora and actually coming to a few parties and now without her here it just felt a little empitier. It probably didn’t help that everyone else was paired off and that left Adora as a very awkward ninth-wheel.

As the house started to fill up with wonderful smells and everyone relaxed and had a few drinks (Adora very politely passed on drinking), she found herself on the couch watching the old parade and fiddling with her phone in her hands.

Adora had sent a hello to Catra early this morning, but so far she hadn’t gotten anything in return. She hated it, she hated the way she worried about Catra, like maybe she didn’t have the right too or maybe it was too much and would scare her away. 

It was just frustrating how fast Catra could switch from being down to do pretty much anything to all of the sudden she was on lockdown. Adora didn’t know the relationship Catra had with the woman who lived with her, but she had a feeling that was why Catra was acting differently. 

“Hey, you,” something kicked her foot and Adora looked up to see Glimmer staring down at her with hands on her hips and flour on her cheek. “I need your strong arms to knead some dough.” 

Adora smiled, grateful for the distraction and followed Glimmer into the kitchen. 

She rolled up the sleeves of her shirt and washed her hands, taking in all the glorious smells of the kitchen. A kitchen that was also blasting hot because the oven had been on all day. 

Just as Adora started kneading the dough, Glimmer settled in beside her and started chopping onions. 

“You’ve been kinda quiet today,” Glimmer said and Adora looked over at her, hand still full of dough. “Staring at your phone a lot.”

Uh oh

“I’m just worried about her,” Adora knew better than to lie. She wasn’t very good at it. 

Glimmer nodded. “Makes sense, but your aunt seems like a pretty strong person.” 

Unfortunately, Adora also wasn’t any good at hiding her emotions and the confusion on her face was evident. “My...aunt? Yeah...yeah, my -”

“Wait,” Glimmer stopped mid chop. “Who are you talking about?” 

Adora’s eyes went wide. “I...I don’t know.”

“Adora,” Glimmer insisted and there was no escape. 

“Catra…” she sighed. “And now I feel guilty that I'm not worried about my aunt.” She laughed humorlessly at herself. She felt so incapable of properly handling emotions. Like she kept fumbling around in the dark trying to be normal and deal with things the way she was supposed to. Her Gran had just died a few weeks ago and while she’d cried and hurt, she couldn’t help but worry she’d gotten past it far too quickly. “It’s stupid.” 

“It’s not,” Glimmer nudged her with a shoulder bump. “You’re into her. I may not understand it, but anyone with eyes can see it.” 

If she were being honest with herself, Adora hadn’t really considered her feelings for Catra - not realistically. She knew they were there, but she hadn’t taken the time to sit and ponder what they actually were or what they might mean. Adora had never had a girlfriend. She’d barely had a first kiss - just a quick thing with a cheerleader after a big football game. She remembered how fast her heart raced and how much that moment sat with her. 

After that, there was never a chance for Adora to try again. A lot of that was because of her schedule and the work she had to do at home and with school - saving to move. But also because she was just shy and awkward and wasn’t great with people. 

Now, she’d moved and her goal was to fix her shyness and the first thing she did was find a girl and immediately fall hard for her. So naive and stupid, but that’s where she was. 

“Why are you worried about her?” Glimmer’s voice broke Adora’s thought and she realized she was aggressively kneading the dough in her hand. She calmed down and fell back into a steadier routine. 

Adora shrugged. “Do you know anything about who she lives with?” 

Glimmer’s knife hit the table hard on the last chop. “Sharon Weaver. She’s some big wig saleswoman at a pharmaceutical company. She’s one of those people that has a default condescending tone and thinks the sun rises out of her ass.” 

“Oh,” Adora’s initial instinct on her was right. Even if the only time she’d actually seen her was in the shadows behind Catra. “Catra’s kind of a different person when she’s around.” 

“Catra’s hard to read. She tries really hard to be distant and snarky and just...hateful sometimes. Like she doesn’t give a shit, but I’ve never really bought it.” Glimmer pondered what she said for a moment, twirling the knife in her hand. “She’s just really good at it. Good enough that most people leave her alone.”

“But why is she like that? She’s…” so good to me. “She’s not that.”

“I don’t know, Adora. Catra and I don’t really talk much outside of work stuff. You could maybe talk to Scorpia. As hard as Catra tried she can't seem to shake Scorpia off. But I don’t think she’s pouring her heart out to her either.” 

All Adora could do was sigh and laugh and lay the freshly kneaded dough down on the table. Her hands covered in flour and stiff from the work. “I don’t know what to do.” 

“Look, if you’re really interested in her and you think it’s worth it, then give her time and keep trying. Keep pushing and see what happens. Just be careful. Both of you are a little…”

“Emotionally stunted?” 

Glimmer laughed. “Very well put, and yes.” Then suddenly, Glimmer was hugging her and while Adora still wasn’t entirely used to the physical contact Bow and Glimmer constantly gave her, she was really starting to appreciate it. “You’re getting there though, and also stop cleaning my house every morning, okay? I know you feel guilty about staying here but I’m going to have to pay you if you don’t stop.” Adora chuckled and nodded into Glimmer’s shoulder, hugging her back. When Glimmer pulled away, she looked up at Adora. “Seriously, you’re more than welcome here. Bow and I love having you and I swear I’ve lost two pounds because you’ve cooked dinner a few times. I don’t know how you make boring food taste so good.”

“Lots and lots of failure until I got lucky.” Adora shrugged. “That’s the title of my autobiography.” 


Fakesgiving was nice, Adora ate a lot and she was certainly going to be running her butt off tomorrow morning, but she let herself enjoy it and enjoy the company and try her best not to worry too much about Catra. 

It worked, for the most part and she ended up having a really nice time. The night shift group was actually a ton of fun and she enjoyed spending time with all of them. It was nice to be around people more or less her own age that actually seemed to enjoy her. She was so alone growing up, even on the football team where most of the guys didn’t like her and didn’t hesitate to tell her that. 

Now though, she had this group that she really enjoyed and a few of them, Glimmer and Bow, that she felt like she could really depend on. They’d been so good to her the last few weeks and she knew she had to go back to her apartment eventually but she was really dreading it. 

She hated sleeping alone, she hated being alone. She always had someone with her. Gran or Mara were so consistent and steady - Adora knew moving away was part of building up that ability to be independent but it was hard.

Despite how nice the day had been and how good the food and company were, Adora couldn’t quite shake those thoughts of the pretty girl she wished had been there with her. 

Which led to her making another very questionable decision. 

It was late, really late, far too late to be secretly getting dressed in Glimmer and Bow’s living room and preparing to go outside in the below zero weather. 

Still, Catra had never responded to Adora’s text this morning asking how she was. 

It was silly to worry, she knew that. Catra had survived just fine long before Adora ever showed up, but she couldn’t shake the feeling of worry and she just...wanted to see her. It was such a powerful and unexpected feeling, one she’d never had before. It drove her to do out of character things like this - she was not the kind of person to sneak out in the middle of the night. 

Not that she was really sneaking out, she doubted Glimmer or Bow cared where she was - they had their own problems. But still, she was quiet and really didn’t want either of them to notice. 

It was so cold outside, and dark, damn it was dark. There were no street lights in Bright Moon. The backroads might as well have been black holes at night, especially when the moon was cloud covered. 

So Adora used the light on her phone to find her crappy car and climb inside to escape the cold. 

She didn’t start it right away, it would be too loud and too bright. So instead she put it in neutral and let it slowly roll out of the driveway and into the street. Only when she was safely on road did Adora finally start the engine and turn on the headlights. 

The drive to Catra’s was nice, there was absolutely nobody out this late. All the buildings were closed, their big signs along the street dimmed. A few of the buildings had Christmas lights strung up that stayed on all the time, making it all a little cheerier than normal. 

The street to Catra’s house brought darkness again, and awful gravel covered roads that made Adora’s teeth rattle. The sun also didn't hit a lot of them because of all the trees alongside of them so there were so slick, icy spots that had Adora slowing to a crawl. 

She was nervous, to say the least. And she had absolutely no plan or idea what the hell she was doing. For all she knew, Catra would be furious that she was here in the middle of the night like this - just sneaking over to see her. 

It didn’t matter now, Adora was here and it was freezing cold and she wanted to see Catra. 

The closer she came to the house, the slower she drove. When she turned off her headlights, she felt like a real weirdo, but that didn’t stop her. 

She parked a ways out, only praying it wasn’t slick outside and that she wouldn’t fall flat on her butt. 

Adora : Don’t be mad

Adora : I’m outside

The house was dark, the porch lights were all off and she could see the living room and kitchen through the front windows and all those lights were off too. But Catra was a night shift girl, she was absolutely awake. 

Catra : UR WHAT

Adora winced, the all caps were not a good start. 

Adora : I didn’t hear from you today so I got worried. Sorry, I can go.

She waited, maybe a minute, but it felt like an hour. She was moments away from leaving thinking that she’d completely messed everything up and ruined their friendship because she was too overbearing and too weird and it made her hate herself a little bit more. 

Then her phone buzzed again. 

Catra : Window around the back. Be careful and quiet

Adora climbed out of her car without a second thought. It was freezing cold and the ground was, in fact, slick. Adora walked slowly, as quietly as she could and made her way around the side of Catra’s house. 

She saw the light coming from one of the windows and went towards it. Just as she was about to peek inside, it opened and Catra leaned her head out. 

“Adora, what the fuck?”  

Ouch. “I’m sorry, I had this bad feeling all day. I’m sorry…” she sighed. “I wanted to make sure you were okay.” Don’t cry. 

Catra sighed and rested on her forearms on the windowsill. “Come on, it’s freezing out there. You can come in.” 

Adora looked up, wondering if maybe she’d really heard Catra say that or if her mind was playing tricks.

Then Catra opened the window up more and Adora moved quickly. 

Getting in was easy enough. She planted her feet on the small trellis that lined the bottom of the house, careful not to press too hard and break it. She then used her arms to push herself up and through the window. 

The temperature change was amazing and Catra quickly closed the window behind her. 

“You have to be quiet,” Catra whispered. “She’s sleeping across the hall.”  

Adora stared towards the closed door, glaring at it. Weaver. “I will.” She stood awkwardly by the window, still shaking a bit from the cold. When her gaze found Catra again, she rolled her eyes. 

“You’re such an idiot, you know that?” 

“I know,” she nodded, looking down. “I told you I was bad at people.” 

Catra’s room was a bit of a disaster. There were clothes strung all over and a lot of record cases from bands and albums Adora didn’t recognize. Her walls were covered in writing, a lot of what Adora could make out were song lyrics. She had no idea if they were from music she didn’t know if just things Catra had written on her own. 

The one that caught Adora’s eye was written in bold letters right across from Catra’s bed - the first thing she must see every morning. 

Only good people feel guilt

“I like your room,” Adora said, feeling shaken by the quiet. 

Catra laughed softly. “It’s a mess. I’d say you caught me at a bad time, but it’s always like this.” Adora smiled, stealing a glance at Catra. She looked tired, but somehow still...beautiful. That word kept coming up in her mind when she thought of Catra. It was far too late to pretend that there wasn’t something going on here. At least on Adora’s end. It was a crush, yes, but it felt like more than that - it was something else. “What’s going on, Adora?”

Right, why had she snuck over in the middle of the night. 

“I missed you today. The Fakesgiving stuff was fun and everything but they all had people, you know? And I just...I wanted you there.” 

A very small smile played on the corner of Catra’s mouth. If it wasn’t for Adora’s hyperawareness of Catra, she might not have seen it. 

“There are just some times when I won’t be able to do stuff, Adora. It’s not because I don’t want to see you.” She laughed bitterly. “It’s the exact opposite in fact. It was a hell of a lot easier to turn down Sparkles and her clan when she didn’t have you as a bargaining chip.”

The flutter in Adora’s chest was new, but not at all unwanted. “Is there...are you…” she sighed, how was she supposed to ask this?

“Why can’t I go out?” Catra asked for her and Adora nodded. Catra sighed. “Because Weaver is...strict and she’s...I just can’t disobey her. I have to live with her and it’s her house and her rules and I can’t.” Catra groaned. “I know I’m twenty-one and I know it’s fucking lame but it is what it is and I can’t change that.” Catra went from quiet to embarrassed to downright angry in the matter of a sentence. 

There was a lot more to this than what Adora had been told, but she wasn’t about to press. Instead, she stepped closer to Catra’s bed and pressed her knees against it. “Okay,” she said simply enough. “When you’re here and she’s here, then I’ll just...wait. I won’t do this again, or be weird. But I’ll always be around if you need something. And work days are going to be even more fun now because I’ll need to make up for lost Catra time.” 

“Catra time sounds like a waste of time,” she said it half jokingly, but Adora still didn’t like it. 

“No it isn’t.” Adora defended Catra against...Catra. 

Which only made Catra laugh and stand up from her bed. Adora was now very aware of the fact that Catra was wearing a white tank top and short shorts. 

“You’re a dork,” she said, suddenly very close. Before Adora could say anything, Catra put her arms around Adora’s neck and pulled her in for a hug. “But you’re sweet too, I suppose.” 

Adora was never more aware of the fact that she had a big stupid puffy jacket than she was right now. Because it was absolutely in the way of what could have very well been the best hug of her life.

That didn’t stop her from wrapping Catra up in her arms though and holding her. She was warm, Catra was somehow so warm that Adora could feel it through her coat. 

The hug lingered, far longer than either of them had probably intended. But Adora knew that when they pulled apart, she would leave and that wasn’t something she wanted to do. 

Apparently, Catra didn’t want that either, because she held on just as long. 

When Catra finally shivered, Adora pulled away. Her cold coat was too much for Catra and her sleep clothes. She resisted the urge to apologize. Catra was always telling her to stop. 

“See you tomorrow night?” 

Catra nodded and smiled and Adora wanted to kiss her. She really did. “Thank you, Adora. For...for caring.” She was shy again, barely able to look up. “I don’t get a lot of that.” 

Adora couldn’t stop the joy from reaching her face. “Well get used to it.” She stepped towards the window, one foot already on it’s way out. “Goodnight, Catra.” 

“Goodnight.”

Chapter Text

I never promised you a ray of light

I never promised there'd be sunshine every day

I give you everything I have

The good, the bad

Catra’s song was interrupted by the sound of Weaver cackling like a hyena in the other room. She’d been drinking for a while now, which was typical and usually if Catra stayed in her room it wasn't a problem. 

What was the problem was that Weaver wasn’t alone. Her friend Hordak was here and he was drinking and it was making the whole night even more obnoxious than usual.

She sighed, listening as Hordak spoke loudly and told his story - she couldn't hear exactly what he was saying, but whatever it was had Weaver howling. He’d been coming around more often lately - when she was home. Catra had no idea what their association was and she honestly didn’t want to know. All she knew for certain was that she didn’t like him and he made her uncomfortable. 

He never spoke to her, not even when he first stopped by to pick up something from here and Catra tried to say hello. He just...stared at her for a moment before turning away and gathering his things. 

She couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was she disliked, but his vibe was bad - she knew that. She knew there was more to him than just a dude who picked up prescription meds. 

Taking a breath, Catra shifted on her bed, repositioned her guitar and prepared to start trying to finish these lyrics. Unfortunately, after the first strum, there was a hard knock on her door. 

“Open up, girl,” Weaver called and Catra threw her head back. 

“What do you want?” She really didn’t want to open the door. 

“Hordak is hungry and we need you to order food and pick it up before your shift.”

Catra looked at the clock, she had to work in forty five minutes and she hadn’t even showered yet. “I don’t have time!” 

“I don’t remember asking if you had time, Catra. I asked you to get us food. Is that so complicated that you can’t figure it out?” 

Against her better judgement, Catra put her guitar down and went to the door. When she opened it, Weaver was there, she had a glass in her hand and she smelled of alcohol. She was really going after it tonight. 

Catra hated that, she hated the smell because it made Weaver volatile, more so than usual. And with Hordak here, there was a good chance Catra would become a verbal punching bag in some psychotic attempt to humor him. 

“I can’t get food and get to work in time. I’ll be late.”

Weaver scoffed, rolling her eyes. “You’re so useless, Catra. Fine, we’ll have food delivered, but you will pay for it.”

“I don’t have any money! I don’t get paid for a few days and I - “

“Don’t lie to me, Catra. I know very well how much money you have saved away. You will buy us food, and you will cover the cost. It would be cheaper if you picked it up, but since that is apparently too hard for you, then it will cost extra.” 

Catra glared at her. “Fine,” she wanted this conversation to be over. “I’m going to shower and go in early then.” 

“Please wash your hair, you look like you’ve come off the streets.” 

“You’re such a bitch…” She hadn’t meant to say it, but she was so tired of being put down. 

Still, she really really shouldn’t have said it and when Weaver’s head tilted to the side, Catra knew she’d messed up. 

“Excuse me?” 

Her heart started to race. “I’m sorry,” she took a step back. “I shouldn’t have said that.”

“I have put up with you for twenty-one years and yet, every day I wake up and find myself even more disappointed and disgusted with the person you have become.” Catra wasn’t sure why it mattered. Weaver had said these things to her before. But every time she did, it hurt all the same. “Your life for hers was the biggest waste I’ve ever seen.” Weaver took a step towards her and Catra backed up into the wall. “Go, shower and go to work and when you come home be grateful that you have a home to return to because you certainly do not deserve it!” 

Catra stood frozen in the hallway as Weaver turned and left her. She managed to see Hordak in the other room, staring down the hall and laughing at what was happening. 

“You’re quite impressive,” he said and Weaver sighed as she sat back down. 

“I’ve been dealing with that pest for far too long. My family’s curse burdened onto me.” 

That was all Catra could stand. She went to her room and grabbed a change of clothes then quickly showered and left for work.

It was way earlier than she’d planned to leave, so Catra found herself standing at the bottom of her long driveway, in the freezing cold, watching the sunset as she waited for Scorpia. 

She sniffed, determined to stop crying, and took a deep breath to let the cold air settle in her chest. 

Weaver had never hidden her disdain for Catra. She’d never let Catra forget what she’d taken out of this world upon entering it - as if Catra had any choice. She wanted to leave so badly, but admittedly, she was scared. Weaver had gone above and beyond to make sure that Catra knew her place, and knew that she would be nothing on her own. It was something she actively thought about and knew deep down wasn’t true, but every time Catra had come close to walking away, she couldn’t. 

There was a whisper in the deepest section of her heart that kept telling her she wasn’t worth it to anyone. She wasn’t worth the effort, she wasn’t worth the time, she wasn’t worth loving. 

It was a truth Catra had come to terms with a long time ago, she wasn’t meant to be loved in her life. 

Instead, she hoped to find love in her music and her art - in the things she enjoyed. She hoped and dreamed that one day they would save her.

She wasn't naive, her songs weren’t just going to magically find their way to music labels and recording studios. She’d have to be brave enough to send them in - but she wasn’t. It hurt badly enough when Weaver rejected them, to hear it from people that knew music and mattered might kill the love she had for it all together. 

And that was the scariest part. She didn’t want to lose music - it was all she had. 

By the time Scorpia showed up, Catra had composed herself and didn’t show any signs of the small breakdown she’d had on the street waiting. Which was good, because the last thing she wanted to do was explain all of this to Scorpia. 

“Hey Wildcat, you know it’s freezing cold out, right?”

Catra shrugged as she climbed into Scorpio's Jeep. “It doesn’t bother me.”

“Well I don’t know how you do it. Because I was pretty much running to my car leaving the house this afternoon and Perfuma just flat out refused to come in tonight because she’s already under the weather and she said if it’s cold weather and I’m under the weather then it’s the universe trying to send a message.” 

“It’s pretty crazy how often she’ll use the universe to make up excuses, huh?”

It was probably a shitty thing to say, but Catra was in a shitty mood and just didn’t care. 

Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, Scorpia was very talented at letting things like that slide. “She just knows things I don’t, she feels things, you know? She’s so good at making sense of the crazy stuff that happens. Like the other day -”

Scorpia started and Catra tried to focus on what she was saying, but her head was such a mess that it all kind of blurred together and before she knew it, Scorpia was still talking and they were pulling into the store. 

As stupid as it was, Catra’s mood immediately changed when she saw that ugly brown car in the parking lot. It wasn't like she didn’t know Adora would be here - but knowing she would definitely see her now made her happy. 

That’s what stood out the most to Catra, how happy Adora made her. That night Adora snuck into her room was the most exciting night Catra had had in...maybe ever. She had a real life girl in her room and as lame as that made her sound, it was memorable. Even if they only hugged and Adora was only there for like five minutes, Catra wanted her back there again. 

She just had to survive long enough for Weaver to go on another business trip and then Catra would make her move. 

The inside of the store felt like a tropical island compared to the weather outside and while Catra wasn’t as wrapped up in how cold it was as the rest of Bright Moon, she was grateful for the warmth. 

Glimmer was the only person in the break room, she was sitting at the big table with a clipboard and a few notebooks and Catra knew what that meant - she was going to be handing out assignments. 

Without a word, Catra walked to the lockers and hung up her coat, admiring how it looked next to Adora’s like some kind of lovesick nerd. 

When she turned around, Glimmer and all her purply pink hair were right in Catra’s face.

“Easy there, Sparkles. You’re creeping into my bubble.”

“Oh? Space in that bubble is only reserved for blondes, huh?” 

Catra’s eyes narrowed. “Don’t you start.”

“Start what? Teasing you about your huge crush on Adroa?” 

“You and I do not have this kind of relationship.” Catra tried to be aggressive, but her heart wasn’t in it. Maybe, in a way, she wanted to talk about Adora and these stupid feelings that were slowly consuming her. 

Glimmer smirked at her. “You’re going to love me.” 

“Doubtful.”

“Oh no, you will.” Glimmer picked up her clipboard and her smile grew. “We’ve got a huge stock of stuffed animals in to decorate the store with.”

Catra was not used to this from Glimmer or...anyone. People didn’t tease her - she didn’t know what to do with all of this. “Okay? I’m twenty-one, not ten. Why would I be excited about stuffed animals?"

“Because I need them to be placed atop the frozen aisles and I’ve decided to pair you up with Adora to do it.” 

Oh .

“That’s…”

“Don’t you dare say you don’t want it. I already told Adora and she’s excited.” 

Suddenly Catra’s heart was racing. “Really?” 

Glimmer squealed. “No! But now I know you are!” Now Catra found herself wondering if she could take Glimmer in a fight. “But seriously, you’re going to be paired up with her tonight and you’ll be using the work assist vehicle to get them on top of the freezers. She’s already in the back waiting for her help, so...go get her.” Glimmer winked and turned to leave, but Catra stopped her. 

“Hey, why are you doing this?” She wanted it to be accusatory, but it wasn’t. Instead it was just...confused and maybe...thankful?

In return, Glimmer shrugged and smiled. “Maybe because in spite of how awful you try to be, I think you might deserve something good in your life and Adora’s really great and she deserves something good too.” 

Catra stared at her for a moment, not sure how to process what was happening. She’d known Glimmer longer than anyone in this store. Weaver and Glimmer’s dad had history, they worked together once upon a time. When they were younger and Catra hadn’t been completely broken, they might have even considered each other friends. 

Now though, this was so out of the ordinary and even more so was how badly Catra wanted to take advantage of it. 

So instead of an insult or a surly remark, Catra swallowed her pride. “Thanks.” 

Then Glimmer had the gall to poke her on the nose. “She’s making you soft.” 

Catra growled, “get out of here, Sparkles!” 

“Catra and Adora sitting in a tree!”

“I will burn this store to the ground!”


When Catra found Adora, every ounce of anger with Glimmer evaporated into thin air. Because as she rounded the corner to the first frozen food aisle, she found Adora holding a giant white teddy bear and she was dancing with it. Holding its hand in her own, and her arm around it’s waist, she spun and slid across the tile floor so dramatically it was almost like she’d forgotten there was anyone else in the store. 

Catra couldn’t help herself, she pulled out her phone and started filming. It was the most ridiculous and adorable thing she’d ever seen. Adora was a goof, and Catra knew this, but to see her like this was somehow even more attractive than seeing her hoisting a big box of canned beans or arm wrestling with Sea Hawk. 

It was only when Catra thought she heard someone else coming that she decided to put an end to it. She could be front and center for this show, but nobody else deserved it. 

Catra loudly cleared her throat and Adora stopped, turned, bear still in her arms, and screamed. 

“Catra!” She threw the bear on the ground like it was on fire. “What...I...how long were you there?” 

“According to my phone, I was recording for forty-five seconds.”

“You erase that right now!” Adora stormed in Catra’s direction, she was so much faster than she looked. 

But Catra had no intention of moving. What was the worst that could happen. Adora runs into her, falls on top of her and then they’re lying on the ground together? She welcomed it. 

Adora stopped just before she reached Catra, and all Catra could do was smirk. “Relax, princess. I’m not gonna show it to anyone. This is just for me.” Adora stopped trying to grab her phone, but that pout on her face was as cute as ever. “What exactly were you doing?”

Her face went red as she looked back at her bear friend on the floor. “I don’t know...I - I guess I was just in a good mood. Glimmer told me we’d be working together tonight and…” Adora’s sentence trailed off, but boy oh boy was it not lost on Catra what she’d just said. 

Now it was Catra’s turn to blush and look away. “You’re such a dork,” that was her only defense when Adora did this to her. “Were you gonna try and get me to dance with you like that?” 

Adora’s eyes went wide. “What?! No, not...not here in the store. That’d be a lame first dance!”  

Catra smirked. “So you’ve thought about a first dance?” 

“Will you stop that,” Adora swatted her arm. “Come on, we’ve got fifty bears to put up and I wanna drive that fork lift thingy.”

“Whoa whoa whoa,” Catra shook her head and stepped in front of Adora. “Why do you get to drive it?”

“Uh, because I called it.”

Catra shook her head. “Mmm, no, that’s not how this works. I have seniority over you and besides, you always drive.”

“Do you know how to drive?”

Catra rolled her eyes. “A car? No. A work assist vehicle? Like an absolute badass.”

“So you’re gonna make me ride the little lift thing up?”

“Scared of heights?”

Adora’s scoff was far too dramatic - she absolutely was. “No, I’m not. I just don’t see why I should. I’m bigger - it might not support my weight.”

“Oh please, you’re bigger, but you’re…” Catra couldn’t stop herself from looking Adora up and down. “You’ll be fine.” She had no idea where that sentence was going, but it somehow ended with her openly checking Adora out because that was apparently where their relationship was now. 

“Ugh, whatever, you drive. But you’ll have to hand the bears up to me. I don’t want too many up there and adding to the weight.”

Now Catra had to laugh, Adora really was scared. “You’ll be fine. The weight capacity is like...600 pounds. Between you and the bears it’ll only be like 450.”

“Catra!” Adora squealed with a laugh. Catra swore it was the best way she’d ever heard someone say her name. 

It didn't take them long to find a rhythm. Adora was up on her perch and Catra drove as slowly as she could before Adora would freak out. Then one by one, they would do their work. Catra would hold up a bear for Adora, who would slowly reach over and pull it up. She’d place it very carefully on the top of the shelf before they moved a little further down. 

After the first ten or so bears, Catra had to tell Adora to stop taking so much time making sure the bears looked a certain way. 

“It’s not sitting steadily. What if it falls over on a kid and kills them?” 

“That literally couldn’t happen.”

“It could! These bears are big and kids are small and squishy!”

“Adora, we’ve taken almost an hour on ten bears - we have forty more to go.”

So the process sped up a bit, and they made it through the next ten relatively unscathed. There was only one incident where a bear fell and Adora caught it’s hand on the way down, hanging not very dangerously over the edge of the assist vehicle. 

“I’m gonna fall!” 

“You’re fine!”

“Lower it Catra, please!” She did. Laughing the entire time. 

“You could have just dropped the bear, you know?” 

Adora shook her head. “No man gets left behind.” 

She was such a dork, Catra was in so much trouble. 

It wasn’t until the third set of bears that Catra’s brain really started to turn. “Hey, move that one there a little.” Adora hesitated, looking at the bear she’d just placed. It looked fine. 

“Move what?”

“Just put its head down a little.” Adora did, moving it’s head down just a bit. “A little more, like more on the other bear next to it.” Doing as directed, Adora kept lowering the bear more and more against the other bear. “Just a bit more, like down in his lap.” 

It was only when Adora put the bear's head in the crotch of the other bear that it all clicked. “Catra!” She screamed and immediately righted the bear back to its proper spot. “I can’t believe you!”

Catra was laughing so hard she nearly fell off the cart. “Come on, you just ruined the best thing that ever happened to that bear!” 

Adora glared at her, but there was the touch of a smile on the corner of her lips. “You’re the worst.”

Catra looked up at her. “Come on, Grayskull - only twenty more bears to go.” 


In the end, it was harder to explain to Scorpia why she wanted Adora to take her home than it was to actually convince Adora to take her home. 

In fact, it wasn’t hard at all to convince Adora to take her home. 

Still, Catra was beyond pretending she wasn’t in deep. She just wanted to spend time with Adora, period. So she asked and Adora quickly accepted and now they were in her car talking about her favorite subject - music. 

“So what kind of music do you like?” Catra asked, because every suggestion she’d brought up went right over Adora’s head. 

“Uh like...movie soundtracks, video game scores...you know...stuff like...why are you looking at me like that?”

“You really are a huge nerd, aren’t you?” 

Adora laughed as she turned onto Catra’s street. “I guess?” She shrugged. “I don’t really play any of the games I listen to music from, never had a game player thing like Glimmer and Bow have, but...the music is really good and gets me hyped up. It's great for working out.” Adora cast a look in Catra’s direction. “You should work out with me sometimes?” 

The laugh Catra let out was almost inhuman. “Not on your life, Princess!” Now all Catra could see was Adora, all sweaty and lifting heavy things and punching people. Maybe that last part didn't happen at the gym, but Catra had never been before so that’s what she chose to believe.

“Come on, you play guitar for me. I take you to the gym. It's a win/win!”

“How is that a win/win? You get to hear my music and I get to go to the gym and literally die in front of strangers? I don’t think so.”

Adora frowned. “You wouldn’t die. I wouldn’t let that happen.” 

Catra chose to ignore the soft look she was getting. “I’m still gonna pass. Besides, you don’t...owe me anything to hear my music. I just haven’t had the chance to show you yet.”

That made Adora smile, which was really all Catra needed. “Next time you’re free we have to do something…” Adora gripped the steering wheel a little tighter. “Just the two of us.” 

The words hung in the air between them like a storm cloud. Catra knew this was an opening - it had to be. Adora wasn’t going to straight up ask Catra out on a date and she knew Catra probably wasn’t going to do that either, but this...this was something. 

Adora had taken a leap, clearly and Catra had to decide if she wanted to leave her hanging or not. 

It was only when Catra realized that Adora had slowed the car almost to a stop that she was trying to extend this car ride as long as possible. 

Her mind worked so fast, trying to decide if she really wanted to do this. If she really wanted to jump into something more with Adora. Things between them had been so good but there was this weight between them that kept building and building. So much so that if it went untouched for too long, it might do more damage on it’s own than if they actually acknowledged it. 

So Catra took a deep breath, and looked forward, not quite brave enough to actually look at Adora. 

“We should go on a date.” It was not the smoothest way she could have said it. But the word ‘date’ was in there so Catra considered it a win. Adora was quiet for a moment, long enough that Catra had to look at her. “If you want, or not, whatever.”

Adora nodded, suddenly smiling. “Yes,” she said. “I’d like that, yes. I don’t know how to date. But I can learn. I can look it up and we’ll...do that.” 

Then the tension was gone, as happened so easily with Adora. She made Catra smile and all of that fear of the unknown vanished. Catra chuckled as they pulled into her driveway. 

“You do that, and when I’m free again, we’ll...make it happen.” 

Adora put the car in park and focused her attention on Catra. “Tonight was fun.”

“We were literally at work.” 

Adora shook her head. “Doesn’t matter. You make work fun. You…” she sighed. “I don’t know what I’m trying to say.” 

Taking a chance, Catra reached over and put her hand on Adora’s over the gear shift. “I get what you were going for.” Their eyes met, and the whole world stood still. “Get some sleep.”

“Y - you too.”

With a soft rub of her thumb over Adora’s knuckle, Catra exited the car and made her way to the front door. 

As was routine when Adora brought her home, Catra lingered, watching her back all the way out of the driveway and only going inside when Adora’s lights disappeared through the trees. 

When she stepped inside, Catra was surprised to see a few lights on. The sun would be rising soon, but it still felt too early for Weaver to be up - especially if she kept drinking as much as she was when Catra left. 

Melog was there, as always, to greet Catra when she came home. She picked Melog up and gave them a good cuddle. 

Catra threw together a quick snack because Adora picked lunch today and Catra had to force down a grilled chicken wrap thing that Adora had hand made herself. It was actually pretty good, just way too much chicken and not enough cheese. 

So Catra made a quick cheese sandwich and a small glass of milk. By the time she sat down to eat, she was suddenly not alone anymore. 

“Good morning, Catra.” Weaver said, sounding a bit tired. 

Catra could only remember their last conversation, where Weaver pretty much told her that she didn’t deserve to exist. 

“Hey,” she said back, taking a bite of her sandwich. Weaver would not ruin this for her.

Slowly, Weaver poured herself a cup of coffee and pulled up a chair across from her. Things were quiet for a while, Catra refusing to look at her - just eating her sandwich as fast as she could. 

“I apologize for earlier today,” Weaver said and Catra looked up at her. This wasn’t the first time Weaver had apologized for saying something hurtful. They just stopped meaning as much when she constantly kept doing it after the fact. “I shouldn’t have lashed out at you like that. You just frustrate me so much sometimes. You’re so...misguided. I fear you’ll be stuck here forever, making nothing of your life.” 

Catra put her glass of milk down and sighed. “I’m doing the best I can.” She finally looked at Weaver directly in the eyes. “You don’t always make it easy.”

“True,” Weaver sipped her coffee. “But the real world would be far harder on you than I am.” Weaver stood up, taking her mug with her. “I do have something you’ll be happy about.” She disappeared out of the kitchen, just long enough for Catra to finish her sandwich and clean her plate. When she turned around, Weaver was there with an extended hand holding...money?

“What’s this?” 

“Fifty dollars, for you.” 

Weaver never gave her money. “Uh...thanks? What...what’s this for?” Something wasn’t right. 

“It’s your cut, Catra.”

She held the money like she was holding something stolen. “My cut of what?” 

Weaver turned around to leave the kitchen. “I sold that old guitar in your room. Hordak has a cousin who plays and he offered to take it.” 

Catra felt her heart break in her chest. 

That guitar was like a lifeline for her. She’d had it through so many of her worst nights and found the only thing in the world she was truly passionate about with that guitar. 

She stared down at the bill in her hand, looking at it like it was toxic. “You...you sold my guitar?” She wanted this to be a joke - just a sick game of Weaver’s to get a rise out of her. 

“No,” Weaver said, sitting down on their couch. “I sold my guitar.” She crossed one leg over the other and looked up at Catra with a smirk - like she knew exactly what she had done. “Get some rest, Catra. You look dreadful.” 

Catra left the fifty on the kitchen table. She went to her room numb and nearly broke down when her guitar wasn’t on the bed where she left it. 

She wasn’t allowed to be happy. She never would be.

Chapter Text

Catra felt ridiculous, like she was mourning the loss of a loved one. 

It had been over a week since Weaver had sold her guitar, and it was still hard for Catra to find the energy to go to work and do anything. She did, because at least if she worked it kept her busy and gave her a reason to leave the house, but it was hard. 

She no longer had her outlet - the thing that kept her up at night writing and practicing. She missed it so much, and the one time she looked at guitars online to purchase she almost bought three of them but chickened out each time. 

It didn’t make sense to try. Why go through the trouble of buying a guitar if Weaver would just find a way to take it from her?

More than that, what if Weaver was right? She’d had that guitar for years and done jack shit with it. So what was the point? Why get a new one and waste even more time and money?

The only solace Catra had now was that Weaver had left this morning, a two week trip to Fright City that would give Catra plenty of time to sit in her home and scream at the top of her lungs. 

For now, Catra found herself lying on the couch, trying to figure out what to do. That first night Weaver left always used to be her favorite. She would take out her guitar, bring it to the living room and put on a show for Melog and the house plants. She could play as loud as she wanted to, sing whatever she wanted to and be herself completely. 

Now she didn’t know what to do. Christmas was coming so she would have the pleasure of spending that alone, which was fine - she never did anything special for it anyway. It wasn’t like Weaver was showering her with love and presents every year. 

The buzzing of her phone drew Catra to the other problem she was currently having. Adora was still very much Adora and still very chatty and happy and wonderful. The problem was that Catra just didn’t feel right and it was hurting...whatever their relationship was now.

It wasn’t that Catra was upset with Adora, the exact opposite. Adora was the bright beacon of light in Catra’s miserable life, but the problem was that the rest of it was dragging her down. 

Grabbing her phone, she read the message. A question, Adora always had so many questions. 

Adora : What is ‘cruising town’?

Catra rolled her eyes. No doubt she heard it from Glimmer. 

Catra : Cruising town is what the super cool kids in school do when they get to borrow their mommies car and drive the loop around town fifty times running into other kids who are doing the same fucking thing

It was an aggressive response and Catra hoped Adora wouldn’t take it personally, but she fucking hated that local pastime. 

Probably because everyone would constantly talk about how much fun they’d had doing it all through high school and not once had Catra ever been allowed to go. Even when Catra figured out what it was, and it was pretty damn lame, she was still jealous because at last it was something and everyone seemed to do it and she felt...left out. 

Sure, she didn’t have friends in school and none of them would have probably wanted her there anyway, but deep down she knew that she wished it was different. 

Adora : Glimmer says you’re just jealous and that you should come with us

One day, Catra and Glimmer would actually fight and it would probably destroy this shitty little town. 

Catra : Sparkles didn’t say that

Adora : Okay, that last part was me, but she said you could :)

Catra weighed her options. She could sit here all night, on her night off, and cry about her lost guitar, drink Weaver’s vodka, eat ice cream and watch dumb videos on tiktok until she passed out. 

Or...she could see what all the fuss was about with cruising town and spend time with Adora. 

Honestly, if it wasn't for Adora she’d already have the vodka and cookie dough out. 

Catra : Fine but Shimmer’s car had better have a badass heater

Adora : Yay! She says it does, but even if it didn’t I’d keep you warm :)

Adora was either a black belt at flirting or Catra had very low standards, but damn she could do some serious damage to Catra’s heart in her text messages. 

Adora : We’ll pick you up in forty!

Catra sighed, lying her phone on her chest and staring up at the ceiling. Forty minutes, she just had to get up and get dressed...maybe wash her hair. Probably not, just put on a beanie. It was too damn cold anyway. Who went out in town willingly on a night like this?

“Cool people,” Catra said to herself. Or to Melog if anyone actually heard her talking. “Fun people...me...apparently.” Taking a deep breath, Catra forced herself to start getting ready. “The things I do for you,” she said to her phone as it lay on the couch where she’d once been. 

Almost on the dot, Glimmer’s shiny purple SUV pulled into the driveway and Catra stood in her kitchen watching them arrive. She looked back at Melog, perched on the kitchen table staring at her.

“Wish me luck,” with that, she opened the door and was met with the sound of music coming from Glimmer’s speakers. “Here we go,” she mumbled to herself, this was already annoying. 

Then the back door of the SUV opened and Adora climbed out in her big red coat and a hoodie on with floppy ears in the side and Catra just crumbled. Her scowl shifted into a smile and when Adora walked up to her, she felt such a strange sense of relief. 

“Hey, Adora,” Catra said, her voice a bit lost under the vibration of bass from Glimmer’s car speakers. 

“Hey, glad you could come out tonight. I - I...don’t know if this counts as a date.”

Catra shook her head. “It doesn’t,” hell no was her first date with Adora going to include her best friend squad. “That comes later.” 

Adora smiled. “Can I...hug you?” 

Oh how Catra wanted it, she so badly did. But she looked towards the car and saw Bow and Glimmer laughing and dancing inside - they could see every single bit of it if they did and that was not something Catra wanted to be teased about all night. 

“In front of the Bright Moon Brigade?” 

Then Adora did something unexpected, she covered her heart with her hand and took a step back. “Are you ashamed of me?” She was teasing, very clearly, but the words hit something deep in Catra’s chest. She thought of the way Adora talked about herself and how she valued herself so little sometimes. The names she’d call herself and the way she’d berate herself for the simplest mistakes. 

She didn’t want Adora to ever think she was ashamed or disappointed in her for being herself. For being the kind of person who sought out hugs and wanted physical affection. Especially when Catra’s own stupid pride was the only reason she didn’t want to return it. 

So she said fuck the best friend squad and moved into Adora, wrappnig her arms around her and making her squeal in surprise. 

The next thing Catra knew, she was being lifted off the ground and spun around. Now she was the one squealing and Adora was laughing. 

“I’m so glad you’re here!” She said. “I feel like we’ve barely talked this week.” She put Catra down when Glimmer honked the horn and saved Catra from having to explain why she’d been so sad. She hadn’t told Adora about the guitar, it felt dumb. To say she’d been mourning the loss of a guitar like someone would mourn the loss of a loved one - especially after Adora had just recently lost her grandmother and had, for weeks, struggled to truly grieve for her. 

It was a touchy subject for Adora, one Catra had spent more than a few nights reading text after text from Adora about. She felt guilty that she hadn’t cried enough or felt bad enough. That she’d continued on with her life and had so many good days, when she felt like she should have been having bad ones. 

Adora’s belief that she should suffer more was a weird internal struggle that she seemed to carry with her through a lot of things. Catra wasn’t great at helping her deal with it, but she always listened and did what she could. 

She must have been doing something right because Adora kept coming to her about it. 

“Okay, first thing we have to do when we get to town is stop at the gas station and get white powder donuts because I have been craving them all day.” Glimmer was talking very loud as she tried to speak over the music. 

Catra settled in next to Adora in the back, watching Glimmer and Bow dance in the front seats to the song that played as he pulled out of her driveway. It was annoying how many people knew where she lived now. One of the many things that had changed in the last few months. 

Not much was said as they made their way to town. It was early enough in the evening that there were still a ton of cars out and the town was busy. Bright Moon was actually really pretty during this time of year - the kind of thing you’d see in a postcard. The ground had deep layers of snow and there were Christmas lights decorating almost every building. 

It was...nice and definitely something Catra needed to shake up what had really been an awful week. She hated how much losing her guitar had affected her, but it had. It had made her surly and sad and distant - which she knew bothered Adora because Adora would text her random pictures to try and start conversations and Catra would struggle to keep up. 

Weaver’s actions made her doubt what she and Adora had. Not that she doubted Adora or the way she felt, but that it was anything worth giving her heart to. Because inevitably, like everything else in her life, it would be taken away. She knew that going in, she knew that Adora was going to leave her - she’d said so. She was only here for a year, and at the rate Catra’s life was going, there was no escape in sight. 

Normally, that would be enough for Catra. She could shut down their relationship on the spot, push Adora away and be more alone than ever. She’d done it before, over and over again - but Adora was different. She was so hard for Catra to say no to, to disappoint and impossible to hurt. 

So when Adora texted her, even if Catra felt her worst, she always responded. Sure, it was often a short response and an empty answer, but it was more than she’d ever given anyone else. Even now, being here, this wasn’t something Catra did.

When they reached the gas station, there were already a few cars there that Catra recognized. Scorpia’s, with Perfuma no doubt at her side. And Sea Hawk’s big truck with the snow plow attached to it. 

They were already inside the gas station and Bow and Glimmer went in to get snacks. 

That left Adora and Catra alone in the back seat, sitting side by side and staring out separate windows. There was a strange silence between them, not entirely uncomfortable - but lingering heavy with something Catra couldn’t quite figure out. 

She felt Adora shift beside her and looked in her direction, Adora was staring out the window, but didn’t seem to be looking at anything, just staring and thinking - it was something Catra picked up with Adora. She had a tendency to get lost in her own head, like the thoughts would consume her and she’d forget what she was doing or where she was. Nothing too crazy, not enough that Catra couldn’t easily bring her back with a poke on the shoulder or calling her name.

“Hey,” she said, drawing those big blue eyes in her direction. “You planning to rob this place?”

Adora’s brow furrowed. “Why would I rob…” she looked through the windshield at the big name displayed atop the building. “Pyke’s Gas and Go?” 

“Don’t know, but you’re gawking out the window like you’re plotting something.”

“I am not gawking !” Adora protested playfully. “I’m just staring...thinking.”

Catra reached up and touched Adora’s big forehead. “That’s a dangerous thing to do with that little brain in that big head of yours.” 

“Hey!” Adora snagged Catra’s hand, she was way faster than she looked, and held her by the wrist. “Pretty sure only one of us spent their day learning about anatomy and muscles.”

“Like I said, I’m the smart one. You spent your day doing that and I spent my day sleeping.” It sounded way cooler than it was. Catra did spend her day sleeping because it was easier to ignore the empty pit in her stomach that way. 

Adora scoffed. “I slept a little too, but I also spent my day learning. Like, did you know the gluteus maximus is the biggest muscle on the human body?”

“You mean the ass?” Adora nodded. “I mean, I see you in those tan pants of yours and I kinda assumed.” It was supposed to be a joke, a tease like she had done so many times. But Adora’s eyes went wide and her mouth clamped shut and Catra realized what she’d said. “Not that I’m looking at your butt or anything. I’m not. I wouldn’t. I hate butts.” 

Shut up, Catra .

It took a second, but eventually Adora’s shocked expression faded and her eyes softened. She looked down at her lap and Catra mentally kicked herself for making things awkward. 

“You could look at my butt.” Adora’s voice was soft. Mixed with the words she said it almost made Catra burst out laughing. 

Almost. 

“What?” 

Adora shrugged. “I mean, we’ve talked about how…” Adora sighed, still staring at her hands in her lap. “How we like each other and stuff. So if you...looked at my butt, I wouldn’t be mad. I’d be, I don’t know, flattered...maybe?” 

Now Catra couldn’t contain it. She just started laughing, a sharp laugh that made Adora jump. 

“Why are you laughing?!” Adora shouted incredulously. “Ugh, I hate this, and you. I hate cruising town. This was…”

“Adora,” Catra stopped her, reaching over and taking Adora’s hand in her own. It was a risk, but she’d wanted to hold Adora’s hand for a while now and why not do it after getting butt staring permission. “It would be my honor to stare at your butt.” 

Even when Adora rolled her eyes, she was smiling and wrapped her fingers around Catra’s hand. “You really suck, you know that?” 

Catra nodded. “I do,” for the first time in weeks, Catra felt happy. “So look…” It was Catra’s turn to look away. “I just...thanks. Thank you.” she was so bad at those words. 

Adora was looking at her, Catra hesitantly looked over at her. “For what? Letting you stare at my butt?” 

“No, you dork.” She was really going to make Catra say it. “For...for being here and reaching out to me. Worrying about me and...talking to me.” Adora squeezed her hand and Catra found strength in that. “You’re pretty great. And...you have a nice butt.” 

Adora smiled again, this one full and toothy and beautiful. “I know.” She said and Catra couldn’t believe it. 

“Adora!” 

Now it was Adora’s turn to laugh. “I mean, I do know! I workout my glutes constantly!”

Catra rolled her eyes, she wondered if anyone would notice if she flung Adora out of the car. “You’re such an idiot.”

That was when Catra felt something soft press into the back of her knuckle. She looked over to see that Adora had lifted the hand she was holding to her lips and kissed it. Suddenly, all of Catra’s vitriol was gone. She was just...staring at Adora, who looked about as nervous as Catra felt. 

“You’re really great too. Everything I’ve done in Bright Moon has been better when you’re around.” 

There was no time to say anything else, barely time to think.

Bow and Glimmer came back, with bags full of snacks and drinks. Adora and Catra let each other’s hand go and the night went on. It was fun, if not really silly to run the same loop around town with the same five or six cars passing each other and occasionally stopping to chat. 

Some voice deep in Catra’s chest told her how stupid this was and how pointless it all felt and that she should have stayed home where she belonged. 

But that voice had no chance against the way Adora made her feel. The way Adora dragged Catra out of her shell and into the world. 

All of Catra’s insecurities had no shot against this new feeling that had bloomed in Catra’s chest. 

Love. She was falling in love with Adora.


The night moved to an end when everyone found their way to McDonald’s for an extremely late dinner. It was basically empty and the poor old woman working behind the counter seemed more than a little put off when a group of twenty-somethings came stumbling in looking for food and a place to hang out. 

Catra didn’t say much, at the end of the day she was almost as much of a stranger to these people as Adora was. But Adora was much better at fitting in, most likely because Sparkles did her damndest to drag Adora into every conversation. 

Still, Catra didn’t mind. She got nuggets and was sitting next to Adora in the booth - it was the best night she’d had since she slept on the floor next to Adora in the tub. 

It was all but set in her mind now, this girl next to her mattered - a lot. More than anything else had in a really long time.

She made Catra want to…

“Scorpia,” Catra stood up in a hurry, drawing more attention to herself than she wanted and startling poor Adora next to her. “I uh...I need to go to the bathroom.”

Scorpia looked confused, of course, the one time Scorpia can’t read her damn mind. “Okay, go for it!”

Catra glared at her, as dangerous a glare as she could muster. “Didn’t you say you had to go too?” She hoped her expression was telling Scorpia to just fucking go with it. 

It didn’t. “I don’t think -”

“I think you did, sweetie.” That was Perfuma who had somehow randomly saved Catra’s ass. 

Scorpia looked a little confused, bubt stood up all the same. “Huh, I guess I do?” She then put on a huge smile. “Let’s go!” 

With that, Catra practically ran to the bathroom with Scorpia in tow. She opened the door and waited, when Scorpia came in after her, Catra turned, grabbed her by the shoulders and pushed her into the door to close it. 

“You have to help me,” she sounded desperate, she was desperate. 

Worry painted Scorpia’s face. “What’s up, Wildcat?” 

Now she had to actually say it, and prepare for the onslaught. She opened her mouth and closed it again, why was it so hard to admit these kinds of things? 

Because good things don’t happen to you and usually when they do you fuck them up.

Adora was worth the risk. “I have feelings for Adora.” She closed her eyes, ready for Scorpia to squeal and scream, maybe hug her. She really didn’t want a hug. 

It didn’t come, instead, she opened her eyes and saw a very obnoxious smirk. “I know.”

“Well if you know everything, then tell me what the hell I’m supposed to do now!” 

“Have you told her how you feel?”

Catra glowered. “If I had, do you think I’d be freaking out right now?!”

Scorpia nodded. “That’s fair, that’s fair. So...why don’t you just tell her?” 

“Because she might hear me!” That made Scorpia laugh and, with ease, she stepped out of Catra’s grasp on her shoulders. “Where do you think you’re going?!”

Scorpia shrugged. “I’m in here, I might as well pee.” Catra sighed and walked over to the sink, leaning against the porcelain and staring at her reflection in the mirror. Here she was, in a McDonald’s bathroom, talking about her crush to another girl.

Adora had completely flipped her life upside down. 

Once Catra knew Scorpia was behind the closed stall door, she found the courage to talk again. “I think it’s pretty serious. I think…” she didn’t want to say it, mostly because she was worried it would be too soon and admitting it out loud would come off as ridiculous. “I want to be with her.”

The toilet flushed and Scorpia came out a few moments later, looking at Catra through the mirror as she came up to wash her hands. “You want it to be spectacular though, right? A big moment, something huge! Oh! You should tell her at the Grocers Ball!” 

Catra grimaced as she looked over at Scorpia. “What the fuck is the Grocers Ball?” 

“It’s a ball, well...it’s called a ball, it’s really just a get together with free food and drinks. Glimmer’s parents do it for the employees on New Years every year!”

“Every year?”

Scorpia frowned. “Well they did it last year, and also this year. So every year since last year!” 

“But like...it’s a party with adults and stuff.”

“Aren’t we adults and stuff?”

Catra looked at their surroundings. “We’re in a McDonald’s bathroom talking about my crush. I don’t think so.”

“You know, that’s a great point. You make a lot of really great points. Still! The party will be great, and you can invite Adora as, you know, your date!”

Date...that was what Catra wanted. She wanted to date Adora. In fact, she’d told Adora this and Adora had said in return that she wanted the same thing. So if she asked Adora to go with her, there was a very high chance that she might just say yes. Not a certainty, because Catra was too emotionally fucked up to ever let herself be completely sure things were going to go her way, but it seemed like a pretty safe bet. 

“I - I could do that. I could ask her.”

Scorpia threw her hands in the air. “Heck yes you can!” 

The ride back was nice, it was quieter. Late, but not so much for them. Glimmer and Bow were arguing in the front seat, something about what the outcome would be if you flipped a coin three times. Bow was trying to explain his reasoning and Glimmer was bunkered down with hers. Catra didn’t really listen to the logistics of it all - she was too busy playing the conversation she wanted to have with Adora in her head. 

She kept going over it again and again in her mind - trying to decide if this really was what she wanted to do. Yes, she wanted to ask Adora out and be with her like that so very much, but she was also scared of giving her heart out like that. She knew Adora’s time here was temporary and that was scary, because Catra didn’t believe in her own ability to be strong and leave. 

It wasn't like she could just latch onto Adora and go with her. Adora had her own future to worry about and that certainly didn’t include housing and taking care of a twenty-one year old nobody who had very few life skills and no real future. That wasn’t fair. If Catra was going to leave, it would have to be on her own. 

But even that seemed dimmer now, because her music was gone - Weaver made sure of that. Catra had no creative outlet, she could write, but her heart wasn’t in it because she couldn’t hear the music and feel the song. 

The only ray of hope Catra had left was Adora and she wanted to see how far that would go. It would, in all likelihood, break her heart in the end, but if she could squeeze even a fraction of real happiness from it, then it felt worth it. 

When they reached Catra’s, she was glad that she didn’t have to say anything for Adora to walk her to the door. If she had, she might not have found the courage to do it. 

Instead, she said her goodbyes to Bow and Glimmer and walked up her steps with Adora in tow. The overwhelming desire she had for Adora to stay with her was tremendous. 

Turning at the door, Catra saw Adora shiver, it was cold out and their breath was visible under the small porch light Catra had left on. 

When Adora rubbed her hands together, Catra grabbed a hold of them. Adora froze, staring into her eyes. 

She could do this. 

“I want to go to the Grocers Ball with you.” God it sounded so stupid. 

Adora tilted her head to the side cutely. “Grocers Ball?”

Catra groaned. “I know, it’s such a stupid name. But Scorpia says it's a thing they do for New Years. A big party thrown by Glimmer’s parents with free food and drinks and stuff and...I’d like to be...your...date.” Catra cleared her throat. “I’d like you to be my date.” 

Adora’s eyes went wide for a second, like maybe there was a moment of panic and Catra felt it. She resisted the urge to run inside and shut the door in Adora’s face. 

Then her expression changed. It softened and she smiled, the kind of smile that made Catra feel safe - like she could completely be herself with Adora. No matter how awkward and antisocial she might be. 

“I’d love that,” she said, her voice soft and her eyes sparkling. 

If Catra were a braver person, she’d kiss Adora right here and now. But Bow and Glimmer were just down the steps and it was freezing cold. That wasn’t how Catra pictured it. 

“Okay, it’s uh...a date.” Catra laughed as she said it, the joy in her chest threatening to consume her. 

They stared at each other for a good ten seconds before Adora exhaled and moved her hand between Catra’s. 

That’s when Catra remembered the car and what Adora did - she wanted to return the favor. So she took Adora’s hand and pulled it to her lips, leaving a soft kiss on her knuckles. Adora flushed and smiled and Catra felt like she’d won the lottery. 

When she let Adora’s hand go, Catra looked towards the car and saw Glimmer and Bow staring at them wide eyed inside. 

“You get to deal with them now,” she said, and Adora looked their way. When she did, both of them turned their heads like they weren't watching. 

Adora laughed and took a step back, readying to leave. “Totally worth it.” She said and Catra had to fight the urge not to beg her to stay. 

Instead, she said goodnight and watched Adora climb back in Glimmer’s car. She stood, as always, on the porch and watched the car disappear down the driveway until she couldn’t see it anymore. 

Adora was right, it was worth it.

Chapter Text

Adora wanted to cry. 

After spending the last three weeks staying with Bow and Glimmer, guilt and anxiety had driven her to go back to her apartment. Both Bow and Glimmer went on and on about how okay it was for her to stay. She believed them when they said they liked having her there, and she could almost believe it was okay that she kept eating their food and using their couch, but it just didn’t feel right to leech off of them when she had her own place. 

That was part of this whole thing - to find independence. Not go from one comfortable live-in situation to another. 

So she went home two days ago, and not once since returning home had she slept. 

After coming home from a very long shift at work, where she was already tired and irritable and basically on the verge of melting down by the time the sun started to rise - Adora went home ready to lay down and put all of this behind her. 

Then she laid down, willing herself to fall asleep. Her mind tried so hard to force her down, so much so that every time she felt close to actually drifting off, her brain would jolt awake and leave her laying there in misery. 

Frustrated and exhausted, Adora threw her blankets off and climbed out of bed. Her apartment was dark, despite it being almost noon. She’d put blankets up over the windows and had a heater running to keep her room warm. It was the perfect environment to sleep and she wanted it so desperately, but she knew well enough to know it wasn’t going to happen. 

So she did what she always did when she couldn’t sleep, she went to her bathroom and sat on the edge of the tub.

Sleep had always been a challenge for her, ever since she was little and would slip into Gran’s room in the middle of the night and just sleep at the foot of her bed. 

Adora didn’t like being alone. 

She wished she could pick up the phone and call her Gran right now. She knew what she’d say, the same thing she’d said when Adora was younger. 

Stop thinking so much.

Stop worrying so much. 

Think about all the fun things you’ll do tomorrow. 

I’ll be right here, no need to worry, Dora dearie.

She could text Mara, but for as much as Adora knew Mara cared - she was never much for comfort. 

So Adora sat in her bathroom, knowing her whole day was basically ruined and that her trip with Glimmer to buy outfits for the Grocers Ball was less than a few hours away. 

Eventually, Adora slid off the edge of the tub and moved to the floor. Her back leaned against the porcelain, mind racing and eyes heavy. She tried to get her body to fall asleep, even here on the floor - anything was better than nothing. 

At some point, she must have drifted off because when she opened her eyes again, it was due to the sound of her phone vibrating on the table in the other room. Adora knew she’d have no chance to answer it in time, but she still forced herself to stand, ignoring the ache in her hip from the hard floor and shuffled back into her room. 

A missed call from Glimmer, and a text. 

Catra : Just a heads up I’m wearing a suit to this thing. Me and dresses don’t get along. Do what u want with that information.

Adora smiled and read the message a few more times. Her upcoming date with Catra had carried Adora through the last few days. She was so looking forward to it, she just really hoped she could find some sleep, real sleep, so that she would be able to actually enjoy it. Because if she went now, feeling as empty and exhausted as she was, she was worried she might ruin it. 

Adora : I can’t wait to see it :)

She then took a deep breath as her message was sent and called Glimmer. 

“Adora! I’m almost at your place!” Glimmer was loud and Adora held the phone away from her ear a little. 

“Okay,” Adora said, moving to her closet. “I better get dressed then.” 

“I figured we’d stop and get food at Marcos after we pick you out a dress, you are wearing a dress right? Is Catra wearing a dress?” Glimmer laughed at nothing. “So weird to me that you’re going to this thing with Catra. Like I know it’s not as weird for you, cause you haven’t known her as long, but Catra going to this at all is weird - but with a date ? So weird.” 

A suddenly painful weight settled on Adora’s chest. How big this was, how important this was. How much she wanted to make this matter to Catra - because it mattered so much to her. God she just wished she could get some sleep and shake herself out of this funk, but it just kept piling up one thing after another. 

“That sounds good,” she was barely paying attention - she only vaguely remembered Glimmer mentioning something about food. 

“Everything okay?” 

The room was spinning now, Adora had been here before - she just needed to take a few deep breaths and everything would be okay. “Yeah, see you soon.” She managed before hanging up, she didn’t even know if Glimmer said anything. Adora heard a thud and realized she’d lost the grip on her phone. 

Taking a deep breath, or trying too, Adora slid down to pick it up and ended up just sitting on the floor in her closet. It was dark and quiet and Adora huddled up with a blanket she’d kept from back in Crystal Castle. It was Gran’s, soft and it smelled like her childhood - nights spent cuddled up at her Grans’ feet, watching TV and while Gran listened to the police scanner and did crossword puzzles. 

It was overwhelming, suddenly, that she would never see her Gran again. The woman who had loved her and cared about her more than anyone else in the world. Who accepted her when she wanted to be different. To play football and spend all of her time working out at the gym and not looking or acting like girls were ‘supposed’ to.

There were a lot of things about Adora that didn’t fit, and Gran accepted every single one of them. 

“Adora!” The sudden voice startled her, but Adora couldn't find the strength to drop the blanket and stand up. So she huddled her knees to her chest and closed her eyes. 

“I’m in here!” Her voice didn’t carry well, but she hoped Glimmer could hear it. 

Then the bedroom light turned on and shined through the crack in her closet door. It took Glimmer a second to find her, but when she did, there was worry in her eyes. “Adora? What...what’s going on?” 

“I’m sorry,” she hated being like this. Such a burden. “I...I don’t think I can go shopping, Glimmer. I - I haven’t really been sleeping and I can’t…” she sighed, closing her eyes and trying to get the room to stop spinning. “I’m sorry.”

Glimmer knelt down in front of her and Adora felt a pair of hands touch her shoulders. She opened her eyes and Glimmer smiled. “You don’t have to apologize. Well...maybe for not telling me about this sooner. How long have you been like this? Not sleeping?” 

Adora suddenly felt very childish, but she looked up at Glimmer and frowned. “Since I came back here.” She laughed at herself. “Guess I got used to your couch.” 

“I’ll be honest, we’d gotten used to having you there.” Glimmer ran her hands up and down Adora’s arms. “You know you didn’t have to leave, right? I hope we didn’t make you think -” 

“You didn’t,” Adora did not want anyone to feel guilty about her stupid self-doubt. “I just felt like I was taking up your space and eating your food and…”

“Adora, you’re our friend, and you paid for a lot of meals and cleaned up after yourself...and us...a lot.” Glimmer pursed her lips together. “The place was actually a lot cleaner when you were there.” 

That made Adora smile. “You and Bow both kind of explode after your shifts. Wherever the clothes go, they stay.” 

“That’s because we’re both divas.” Glimmer tilted her head as Adora felt her eyes grow heavy. “Okay, how about we cancel our shopping trip for today and head back to my place? Bow’s out all day with Sea Hawk before his shift and I can call in sick and we can have a girl’s night?” 

Adora wanted to cry again, but this one felt so much better. “You don’t have to…”

“I know what I don’t have to do, Adora.” Her words were sharp, but with so much care in them. “I want to - to make sure you’re okay.” 

Before she could stop herself, Adora pulled Glimmer into her arms and hugged her. Glimmer squealed and laughed but eventually she hugged Adora back. 

The trip to Glimmer’s was a blur, Adora fell asleep twice in the car and had to be practically dragged inside. 

Of course, it was harder to fall asleep when she was actually trying to, but Glimmer was there and sat with her. Adora really didn’t know how to feel - when she moved here she really just wanted to try and meet some people and have a few friends she could chat with during work. 

She never imagined all of this. Friends that cared about her this much, that would put up with so much from her and give her so much effort. It warmed her heart but it was also a little scary - she wasn’t sure if she could truly earn it and deserve it. So far all she’d given back to them was a win in a basketball game, a few shake making tips and someone to wear a hole in their couch. 

Adora wasn’t sure when it happened, but at some point she did fall asleep because the next thing she knew, she was waking up to the sound of pans rattling and water running. She opened her eyes, taking a moment to remember where she was and why she was hanging over the edge of something. Then saw Glimmer in the kitchen with a bunch of stuff on the counter in front of her.

As the fog of sleep faded, Adora realized how much better she felt. She had no idea what time it was, but from the window in the kitchen she could tell that it was dark outside. She took a deep breath and rolled over, grabbing her phone off the back of the couch.  

1:27 AM

She’d been asleep for almost ten hours. The joy that sparked in her almost brought her to tears. 

Then, of course, she saw she had three new messages. 

Catra : I hope what u wear shows off your arms

Catra : Sorry that was shitty to say. Wear whatever u want

Catra : Actually fuck that give me the arms

Adora laughed out loud, it was soft, but enough to get Glimmer’s attention. 

“You’re up!” Glimmer was practically bouncing towards her. “You snore like a train when you’re tired.” 

Adora winced, she’d heard that before. “Sorry, I -”

“Don’t you dare apologize! I’m glad, it means I’m a good hostess.” 

“You are,” Adora sat up and stretched, her back popping in multiple places. “I don’t know what it is about this couch but it’s so much better than my bed.” 

Glimmer sat down next to her, crossing her legs and patting Adora on the knee. “Well it’s yours, if you want it.” 

Adora frowned. “I’m not gonna steal your couch.”

“No,” Glimmer rolled her eyes. “I mean, you can stay here. You can live here .” She said it so assuredly, like it would be so easy. “I talked to Bow about it and of course he agreed, Bow loves you and I do too and we would love to have you here.” 

Adora was not going to cry, she was not. She’d cried enough. The water in her eyes was as far as she was going to let it get. “You guys want me to live here?” 

“Yes! Adora, you're our friend and there’s nothing wrong with not wanting to be alone. You can drop out of your lease and start paying rent here, it would lighten the load on all three of us and we’d have even more extra money to get the good internet!” 

It made a lot of sense and Adora wanted it so badly - but that stupid little voice in the back of her head kept telling her this was just Glimmer being nice. She’d found Adora curled up in her closet in tears, cuddling a blanket of her dead grandmother, of course she’d offer something like this. It wasn’t because she actually wanted Adora here. 

Then why’d she say it, dummy?

That voice, the one in her head trying to stop her from the vicious self-doubt, sounded a lot like Catra. 

Adora wanted this, more than that, she felt like maybe it was okay to be a little bit selfish. All she could see was more nights like this, hanging out with Glimmer, watching movies with Bow. Seeing them every day when they woke up and having quiet chats and planning parties and trips together. 

It made her happy. 

“Okay,” she said, a weight lifting off her chest. “Thank you so much,” she gathered Glimmer up into her arms, trying and failing not to squeeze too hard. “Thank you, I - I promise I’ll never miss rent and I’ll keep cleaning up and…”

“Adora,” Glimmer laughed in her ear. “I know you will, don’t worry - we’re thrilled to have you.” Before Adora’s mind could play more tricks on her, Glimmer stood up and took her hand. “Now come on, I’m in the mood for cake, so we’re baking a cake!” 

How could Adora say no to that?


“So, are you nervous?” Glimmer asked, a bite of cake hanging off her fork. Adora, already with a mouthful of cake, tilted her head in confusion. “For your date with Catra?” 

She gasped, and gasping with a mouthful of cake was a bad idea because now she was only kind of choking. She coughed and took a big drink of milk, all while Glimmer laughed at her. 

“Glimmer!” 

“What?” Glimmer took a small bite of her forkful. “It’s not like this is new information.”

“I know but...hearing it like that is just...wild. I have a date with Catra! It’s crazy!”

Glimmer nodded. “No doubt about that. Catra is the last person I thought I’d see at any Grocers Ball, let alone with a date.” 

Adora frowned. “Why do people talk about her like that so much?” She hadn’t really meant to ask it out loud, but it was a genuine curiosity. People acted like Catra was this terrible, bitter person and she certainly had sharp edges, but all Adora had ever gotten from her was someone who just needed a little love. 

“Because she’s one of the crankiest people I’ve ever met. Like, I went to school with her and she was a disaster, Adora. She got in fights, she didn’t pay attention in class, she just didn’t care about anything or anyone. She actively drove people away. If Scorpia wasn’t such a saint, I don’t think anyone would be in Catra’s life at all.” 

She hated it, she hated the idea of Catra being alone and she hated that Catra tried so hard to make it that way. Adora wasn't sure what had changed, but she knew that Catra didn’t deserve that and she knew just enough to assume that the woman Catra lived with had a lot to do with it. 

It was in the way Catra freaked out when Adora came to her house that night, the quiet tone Catra spoke in, the way she kept checking her bedroom door to make sure it was closed - she was afraid. 

“What do you know about Catra’s aunt?” 

Glimmer visibly shuddered. “Weaver is awful. I haven’t interacted with her much, but she’s...she gives off really bad vibes.”

“I get that but like...Catra is so different when she’s here.” Adora wasn’t really sure what she was looking for.

“I don’t know, Adora. What are you getting at?” 

She really didn’t know, she did, but saying it out loud felt...big and scary and maybe more than was necessary. 

But if it wasn’t and she didn't say anything then wouldn’t that be worse? 

“Do you think she...hurts her?” 

Glimmer was quiet for a long time, studying Adora as she sat her fork down and pursed her lips. “I think she could be,” Glimmer finally said and it rotted in Adora’s stomach. “But I don’t know, and there’s no way Catra would tell anyone about it.” Glimmer had a look, Adora couldn't really describe it but it was not a pleasant look - it was almost disappointment. “I guess I’ve never really thought about it. Catra’s just so surly and I just thought...she was mean. But…”

“What should I do?” 

Glimmer sighed. “I have no idea. I - I guess you just...keep an eye on her and poke around if you have to, but you know Catra and how guarded she is.” Suddenly it was all Adora could think about. She had no idea how to approach it or what to do about it, but something in the back of her mind wouldn’t stop screaming at her. “Hey,” Glimmer brought her back down. “For now, let’s focus on the ball and your dress and you and Catra having an awesome first date.” 

That was something Adora could do, knock Catra’s socks off and help her forget about Weaver and whatever she might be dealing with. 


Adora was absolutely overflowing with nervous energy by the time the night of the ball finally arrived. She was only about a quarter of the way moved into Bow and Glimmer’s apartment and trying to get out of her lease was proving to be a huge pain in the butt. But she had her dress and a pair of heels that weren’t too terrifying and wouldn’t completely destroy her ankles. 

She found herself sitting in Glimmer’s pretty pink bathroom, on a stool from the kitchen counter, with Glimmer touching up just a hint of makeup on her. Adora hated makeup, she hated the way it felt on her skin and how it tickled her nose and cheeks. But tonight was about stepping well out of her comfort zone and trying something new. She really did like the way she looked in her dress, all red and sleek. She felt pretty, which was something she had never really been able to say about herself before. 

Not to mention she had every intention of trying to impress Catra. This was, after all, Adora’s first ‘first’ date ever, so it was a big dang deal. 

“Okay,” Bow stepped up to the door of the bathroom, adjusting his tie. “I’ve started our car and yours Adora. I won’t lie to you guys, it’s freezing.” 

Adora sighed, Bright Moon was so freaking cold all the time. “How do the roads look?” 

“I don’t think they’re too bad, I’m sure the main roads are good. Catra’s road might be tricky, with the big hill and all, but so long as you don’t spin your tires in the gravel you should be fine.” 

Adora nodded, mentally taking notes. 

“Stop moving,” Glimmer chided and she froze. “I’m almost done and if I poke your eye out with this pencil the blood will ruin your dress.”

“But the dress is red.” Adora teased gently. 

Glimmer’s grip on her shoulder tightened just a bit. “You’re not funny.”

“I’m kinda funny.”

“Definitely not.”

“Bow?” 

“Don’t ask him.”

“A little funny,”  he said and Adora smiled. She loved it here. “I have claw and edibles for pre-game and I think Perfuma is…”

“No,” Glimmer cut Bow off sharply. “No, my parents are going to be at this thing, we are absolutely not pre-gaming.”

Bow visibly pouted against the doorframe. “Aw come on, Glimmer! We’re not going to get completely wasted, but there’s gonna be so many speeches and stupid games and stuff - we need this.”

“We don’t. You can order a drink with your meal.” 

“But they barely give you any alcohol at The Vista!”

“No,” Glimmer pointed her little lash pencil at Bow. “We can be chill for one night.” Glimmer sighed. “Okay, I think we’re good. You look great, by the way.” 

Adora opened her eyes and looked at herself in the mirror. She actually did look nice, way better than anything she could have ever done on her own. The smokey eye makeup Glimmer had given her made her eyes shine. Also her skin somehow looked even smoother and clearer than usual.. She really liked it, even if she had no idea what all Glimmer had done. 

“Thanks, Glim. Do you think I can woo Catra like this?” Adora stood up and spun in a circle, her dress fluttering all around.

Glimmer rolled her eyes. “I’ve seen the way that girl looks at you, you could woo her in a potato sack.”

The words made Adora smile, she genuinely had no idea what dating was like or how relationships went, but the very thought that Catra was going out tonight with her was almost surreal. 

Adora knew she was falling too fast and way too hard, but she had absolutely no point of reference as to what she was supposed to be feeling. All she knew was that Catra filled up pretty much all of Adora’s thoughts from the moment she woke up. 

“I think I’m gonna try and kiss her tonight.” 

“Oh snap!” Bow threw his hands in the air. “That is so romantic. Adora, you have to do it at fake  midnight.”

“Fake midnight?”

Glimmer groaned. “It’s a stupid thing they do at these parties every year because if they actually had it on the 31st nobody would come. So they fake midnight with the whole countdown and sparklers and shit. It’s dumb.”

“But it will be so much less dumb if you and Catra have your first kiss!” Bow grabbed Adora by the shoulders and started bouncing up and down as they made their way to the front door. 

Adora couldn’t help but bounce a little too. “I haven’t even decided if I’m gonna yet!” She laughed at his joy. 

“But you want to?” Glimmer asked, hand on the doorknob. 

The smile on Adora’s face couldn’t be stopped if she tried. “I do,” she clapped her hands, making Glimmer jump. “Sorry, I just...ah!”

“Okay, well, you need to be cool. Don’t be all…” Glimmer gestured up and down Adora’s bouncy stance. “Like this.”

“You guys, I’m totally cool.”

She was totally not cool. 

A funny thing happened when Adora made it to Catra’s and started walking up the steps to her front door, reality set in that she was about to go on a real life date. She was wearing a dress, she was wearing heels and makeup and she was going on an actual date with a girl she had major feelings for. 

So Adora found herself standing in front of Catra’s door, ready to knock, but her hands were sweaty and shaking. When she came to Bright Moon this was not in her plans. Yes, she intended to make friends and expand her horizons and learn how to interact better with people, but this ? No, this was never what she imagined. 

While it was far better than anything she could have hoped for, it was in this moment standing in front of Catra’s door that Adora suddenly realized everything about Bright Moon was supposed to be temporary. It was all a part of her plan. The crappy apartment and the job with a lot of turnover so it wouldn’t be too hard for her to work and then leave. She chose Bright Moon because it was so well known as a place people passed through. It felt like a great place to stop and create some stories to tell years down the road to her clients when she was training them. 

Now, all she could imagine was her time coming to an end here and one of her dream colleges accepting her and then she’d have to leave and...the idea of leaving physically hurt. 

She’d already started to build such a wonderful little group here, without even really trying. These people had taken her in and accepted her and...cared about her. Glimmer and Bow were so fantastic and she absolutely adored them. Then there was the rest of the night shift crew who were eclectic and wild and fun . She didn’t want to work nights at the store for the rest of her life, but she wanted to know those people for it. 

And then there was…

Adora’s phone buzzed. 

Catra : U gonna stand out there all night?

Taking a breath, Adora forced the wild train of thoughts into the back of her mind and knocked on the door. 

Her heart hammered in her chest when Catra suddenly came into view. She could see her through the glass of the front door, in a purple and magenta suit that looked absolutely incredible on her. Her tie was undone, her sleeves were rolled up and she was wearing black, fingerless gloves. Her hair was tamed only a little by the ponytail she’d put it in. 

She smirked as she opened the door. “You look silly with that big red coat over your dress.”

Adora swallowed down the thousand or so ‘you’re hot’ related comments that were tickling the back of her throat. “It’s cold,” she said, not really sure why. It was cold, but she wasn’t cold. She just knew she needed to say something. 

Catra nodded and stepped back. “Well come in, I still need to find my damn shoes.” Nodding dumbly, Adora moved into the house and let the door close behind her. “How’s life at Sparkle and Spice’s house?” 

“One day you’ll call them by their actual names.” Adora said with a smile and Catra shrugged as she left the kitchen.

“One day,” she disappeared around the corner and Adora had no idea if she should follow or not. She really didn’t trust herself walking on this tile floor in these shoes so she stood still and waited. “You didn’t answer my question?” 

It took Adora a few seconds to remember the question - she just kept seeing Catra in that suit and her brain malfunctioned. “R-right, uh...it’s fine. Good, it’s good. They wanted to get me a bed for the living room but I think I like the couch better.” That wasn’t entirely true, but they’d already done so much for Adora; she wasn’t about to make them turn their living room into a bedroom for her. 

“What’s happening with your place?” 

Just as Adora was about to answer and go over all the painstaking detail of her god awful landlord, a beautiful little kitty hopped up on the counter next to her. “Oh my gosh!” Adora squealed. “Who is this?” She risked a few steps to move over and give them a pet. 

Catra laughed, suddenly peeking her head around the corner. “That’s Melog. An attention whore if I’ve ever seen one.”

“Well they deserve it!” Adora rubbed the kitty's chin. “So soft, you’re a good kitty, aren’t you? Aren’t you?”

“Why do people talk to cats like that?” Catra asked, still watching. Adora had lost control and scooped Melog up into her arms. She held them, looking at Catra with a shrug. 

“Because they’re all babies who need cuddles and treats and love.” 

Catra rolled her eyes. “You’re a nerd.”

“I’m a nerd with a cat.” 

“My cat.” Adora held Melog up and touched their noses. “I’m gonna get jealous, you know?”

Adora looked over at Catra. “You want me to pick you up and boop your nose? Cause I’ll do it.” 

They were quiet for a bit, Adora holding Melog and staring at Catra who was happily watching her from the entranceway to the kitchen. Adora couldn't explain the way Catra made her feel, it was a sensation she’d never really experienced before, but it was a happiness that was otherwise unmatched. She just loved being around her. The world felt more colorful, smells were better, her smiles were brighter - it was like magic. 

“You ready to go?” 

Catra nodded. “You can’t take the cat, though.” Adora frowned. “I know, and I can’t even promise him a song when I come back.”

“You’re gonna deny this little baby a song?” 

At that, Catra seemed a bit uneasy, glancing down the hall to her room and back at Adora. “I - I don’t have my guitar anymore, so me singing without it is kinda lame.” 

That couldn’t be right. “You what? What happened to your guitar?” 

Catra hugged herself, looking as vulnerable as Adora had ever seen her. It stirred something in Adora she couldn’t explain, anger. Catra should never look so upset. “Technically it wasn’t mine.” She shrugged. “It was Weavers, she just...let me have it and then decided to sell it a few weeks ago.”

“Weeks?” Adora felt a wave of disappointment. “Why didn’t you tell me?” 

Catra wouldn’t look at her. “It’s not a big deal, Adora. I was just goofing around with it. Pretending I’d ever actually do anything special.” She laughed at herself and Adora hated it. “It’s all good, not something I want to ruin our night.” 

Adora didn’t want that either, and she knew it would only make things worse if she pressed. She wanted to, so badly. She wanted to know why Weaver seemed to be the sole reason Catra always seemed to be so upset. 

“Okay,” she carefully put Melog back down and held out her hand for Catra. “Shall we?” 

Catra smirked. “You’re a dork.” But she took Adora’s hand and closed the gap between them. 

Without even thinking, Adora hugged her. She couldn’t entirely explain why, but she just felt like Catra needed it. Try as she might to make it seem like losing her guitar wasn’t a big deal, Adora knew better. She remembered how much Catra talked about her music and how passionate she was about it. She knew it mattered. 

“Your jacket is so loud,” Catra said into her shoulder. 

Adora laughed. “Just wait till you see what’s underneath it.” She had no idea where that came from - Catra just brought these things out of her. “The dress, I’m wearing a dress. I’m not naked or anything.” 

“I figured as much, you’d be cold as hell if you were.” With that, Catra took Adora’s hand. “Come on, princess. This grocery party isn’t a party until we get there.”

Chapter Text

As it turned out, their presence did not suddenly turn the Grocers Ball into a party. 

The Vista was a nice building, with a party room decorated to look like the big New Years parties you might see on television with the crowds of people and the ball dropping at midnight. Instead, the ball was made out of paper mache and Adora genuinely wondered if there was candy in it. 

Everyone was dressed up and there were a lot of people here that Adora didn’t know who worked in the day shift. Daywalkers, as Catra and Glimmer both called them, were treated very much like the enemy by the night shift. It was mostly fun and joking, but then when the seating arrangements were handed out, there was a very distinct line in the sand where the night shift crew and the daywalkers sat. 

Adora didn’t care though, she was glad to be where she was, next to Catra with Bow and Glimmer a few seats over. Perfuma was busy picking at her salad and digging out all the things she didn’t like about it and handing them over to Scorpia who happily ate all the little bits of chicken and bacon. Mermista was people watching. Pointing out how hideous everyone’s outfits were to Sea Hawk, who Adora was fairly sure wasn’t paying attention, but she was also pretty sure Mermista didn’t care. 

Glimmer and Bow were both watching the speeches, each of them wearing the exact same bored expression and rolling their eyes when every old stuffed shirt stepped up to talk about how great their department was. The meat department in particular had visual aids showing off how good the cuts of beef and chicken had been this year. It was gross, but everyone clapped for them because it was polite. 

Except Catra, of course, because Catra didn’t do things like that. 

“It wouldn’t kill you to give them a little clap. They brought rib eyes!”

“To stare at, not to eat. Instead we’re eating garbage salads and finger sandwiches. I’m not clapping for that.” Catra sighed as yet another head of department made their way up to the tiny little stage. “We’re gonna have to put in a lot of work to save this first date.” Catra whispered and Adora felt a hint of disappointment wash over her. Catra wasn’t entirely wrong, so far their first date had peaked at seeing each other’s outfits. 

She kinda wished they’d just stayed at Catra’s place with her cat and each other. “How about this,” Adora whispered as another speech started. 

She then reached under the table and took Catra’s hand in her own. Catra hesitated for only a second before flipping her hand over and opening it up for Adora to hold. Their fingers entwined, Catra’s hand small in her own. 

A moment later, Catra leaned over. “Be careful, okay?” 

Adora’s brow furrowed. “What? Why?”

“Hand holding in public? I might get pregnant.” 

The snort of laughter that escaped Adora was, unfortunately, not quiet. Poor Dove Clovington from the bakery stopped talking when he and everyone else heard it. 

Adora wanted to crawl under the table and hide for the rest of the night. 

Thankfully, Dove recovered and started talking again and the attention slowly turned away from her. When Adora looked at Catra again, she was smiling like a cheshire cat. “You’re the worst!”

“You’re adorable.”

Adora glared at her. “Stop it.” 

“See,” Catra squeezed her hand. “Date is already improving.” 

Eventually, Dove finished his speech and the only one left was Glimmer’s dad. He stepped up and everyone went quiet, for the first time, Adora was genuinely interested in what someone on that stage had to say. Micah was such a nice guy, he was likable and approachable and genuine. 

“I don’t have a speech prepared. We’ve heard enough of those, I’m sure. I just wanted to say how proud I am of all of you, all of our departments have worked hard this year and tonight, we’re trying our best to repay you with free drinks and food. Though that doesn’t mean we won’t laugh at your dancing.” Everyone laughed a little while Adora had a panic attack. 

Would Catra want to dance? Could Adora dance in these shoes? Could Adora dance at all? 

“So thank you all for the hard work, please enjoy the rest of the night!” 

This time, everyone clapped and cheered - whether it be for Glimmer’s dad or the end of the speeches. All Adora knew was that a moment later there was music and people were getting up from their assigned tables.

“Well that was painful,” Mermista sat down heavily next to Adora. “It’d be different if the food didn’t taste like ass.”

“At least the drinks are good.” Bow said, a glass in his hand that looked like alcohol with a eyedropper of soda splashed into it. He took a drink and grimaced. “Well, good in theory.”

“How drunk are you planning on getting, Arrow Boy?” Catra asked, still holding Adora’s hand under the table.

He looked out at the dance floor. “Not too drunk that I can’t bust a serious move.” He shook his hips with the music. “Just waiting for Glimmer to finish talking to her mom and then it’s my time to shine!”

The conversation carried on but Adora lost focus. She couldn’t stop her mind from going back to her thought from earlier - of how happy she was here. In her wildest dreams, she never imagined finding a place like this. She knew in coming here, the plan was to try and make friends and come out of her shell, but instead it felt like she’d found so much more than that. 

She was so comfortable with everyone. She felt like she could be herself and there was no judgement. They were all just as lost as her, just as silly as her and they accepted her. 

It should have been a great feeling - a feeling of relief and joy and it was to a point. But there was something else there too, a sadness she couldn't explain. 

This wasn’t the plan. She wasn’t supposed to feel this attached.

“Hey, Adora?” Catra called. 

Catra, the strongest coil she’d formed here. Adora’s eyes found her, sitting next to her with a tilted head and a curious look on her face. 

She was so pretty. “Sorry, it’s…”

“A lot,” Catra smiled. “We could go outside for a bit if you need to clear your head.” She was so sweet. It was crazy when people talked about how much Catra didn’t care or how distant she was - because all Adora knew was this. A girl who knew that Adora struggled with crowds, checking in to make sure she was okay. 

“I’m okay, it’s too cold out there anyway.” Catra nodded and squeezed her hand again. Adora wanted...more. “Do you want to dance?” She genuinely wanted to know if that was something Catra would even be interested in. 

Catra looked out at the dance floor, currently littered with their friends and colleagues. Bow was going absolutely crazy while Glimmer laughed and did her best to keep up. Sea Hawk was right there with him, while Mermista was actually smiling as she watched him. 

Adora wouldn’t admit it aloud, because she didn’t want to force Catra to do something she might not want to - but she really did want to try dancing with her. 

“Can you dance?” Catra asked and Adora opened her mouth to answer, but then it clamped shut. “I’ll take that as a hard no.” Catra laughed and Adora couldn't help but smile a little. “I’m down to give it a shot but if you step on my foot I’m gonna bite you.” 

“Bite me?” 

With that, Catra took her bottom lip between her teeth, and winked. Adora swore her seat was sliding out from under her because the room was spinning. Before she could properly return to a functioning state, Catra stood up and dragged Adora to her feet by the hand. 

Once they were out on the dance floor, surrounded by people Adora knew and a fair amount she didn’t, her whole body started to tense up. She had absolutely no idea what she was doing. A few months ago, the idea of being out in public like this, dressed like this and dancing would have seemed completely unreal to her. Then again, so would the idea that she would be on a date. 

But she was, both things, and even though Adora’s mind was still filled with doubt about the future - her right now was pretty dang awesome. 

So she took a breath and looked up, only to find Catra staring at her, hand up and waiting for Adora to take it. 

“I don’t know about you, but I am having a blast.” Catra said as Adora took her hand and they started to move. Adora tried her best to follow everything Catra did. 

“Really? You looked bored the last hour or so.”

“Oh it was terrible during the speeches,” Catra lifted Adora’s hand up and then spun, and suddenly she had her back pressed against Adora’s chest. The close contact made Adora’s heart race. “But I think we can make the most of it.” 

Adora laughed shakily. “I have no idea what I’m doing.”

“Do you trust me?” Catra asked, still pressed against her. Adora nodded. “Good, then just stop worrying about how you look and focus on how you feel.” Catra turned, putting her hand on Adora’s hip and drawing her in close. “And for the record, you look amazing.” 

Yep, Catra was trying to kill her. “You same...you do the same.” Adora coughed, what the hell was happening to her brain? “You look great, too.” She finally managed, her face red and her hands trembling as Catra started to sway her back and forth. 

Catra smiled, moving a bit faster with the music. Adora followed her lead and let her hips sway and her feet shuffle. She wasn’t doing much, but Catra seemed pleased. 

So they danced, and Adora stopped thinking and let herself have fun. Which it was, so much. She laughed and bumped into Glimmer who was letting loose and having a blast. 

As the dancing went on, Adora felt herself loosening up and feeling a bit more confident. She had Catra in her arms, spinning her around and laughing. Catra kept telling her to slow down, that she was going to break something. 

Adora was careful and made sure to stay far away from anything that might be knocked over and kicked through. What she was not prepared for was for her heel to slip under her feet and her ankle to buckle like a shoddily built folding table. 

She cried out, tumbling to the ground in the most undignified way possible - literally smacking her face on the dance floor. Catra shouted her name, so did Glimmer and others were gasping and the music stopped. 

Adora’s ankle hurt, her face hurt, but her pride was irreparably damaged. 

When she rolled over, trying to smile and let everyone know she was okay, Catra was right above her with Glimmer and Bow flanking either side of her. 

“Adora, are you okay?” 

She nodded. “I’m fine, just slipped. I knew these shoes would betray me.” 

Catra’s concerned face hovered over her, a hand reaching out and gently touching her face. “Your lip,” she said and the contact made Adora’s breath hitch. But then she drew her hand back and there was blood on her thumb. “Are you sure you don’t have a concussion or something?’

“If she did I don’t think asking her would be the best way to find out.” Glimmer earned herself a deadly look from Catra for that one. “I’m just saying!” 

“All right,” that was Angella, Adora knew because everyone except Catra moved out of her way. “Adora, how do you feel? Is the room spinning? Do you have a headache? Are your ears ringing?” 

Catra looked annoyed. “Slow down,” she said, clearly forgetting who she was talking to. “Ma’am,” she finished but thankfully Angella just smiled at her. 

“I’m simply checking for concussion.” 

Taking a breath, Adora tried to calm herself down. There were a lot of people around her and she was on her back and she felt a little overwhelmed. She wanted to get up and have everyone stop looking at her. 

“I’m okay,” she said, her voice shaky. “No headache, no spinning. Just...want to get up.” She rolled over and tried to stand, Catra helping her.

“Why don’t you go sit in the hallway for a bit, away from the noise.” Angella said as Catra pulled Adora to her feet. Her head was fine, but her ankle hurt really bad and when she looked down, she saw that her shoe heel was broken. 

“Glimmer, I’m so sorry.” She apologized, she’d borrowed these. 

Glimmer waved her off immediately. “It’s fine, they were way too big for me anyway. So long as you’re okay?”

Adora nodded, her ankle really hurt. “I’m okay.” She smiled, thankful that Catra was keeping quiet about how much of Adora’s weight she was carrying. 

“Alright, Princess, let’s go get some air.” Catra said as she started to take Adora out of the room. They couldn’t move fast enough and Adora knew everyone was still watching them. 

Once they were out of the party room, Adora let out the breath she’d been holding and slumped against Catra. 

“Easy, I kept your secret, but don’t knock us both down.” 

Adora steadied herself as best she could. “Sorry, I’m so sorry.”

“Stop apologizing,” Catra’s voice was soft.

Tears were brimming in Adora’s eyes, she was ruining their date. “I’ll be okay,” she said, not even really talking to Catra. 

Eventually, they found a bench far enough away from the party that the music was barely audible, just a low rumble in the distance. Adora sat down and reached for her ankle, it was sensitive to the touch, but not unbearable, she rubbed it and tried to stop her eyes from watering. 

“Hey,” Catra called and Adora hesitated to look up. She felt so bad. They were having so much fun and she worked herself up too much and made a mess of it. No wonder nobody ever invited her out to parties. “Adora,” Catra called again and this time Adora looked up at her. 

She was looking down, a soft smile on her face, and she knelt down in front of Adora. “You’re okay. I promise, you didn’t ruin anything. You were having fun, you fell. You’re a big uncoordinated goof and I’m surprised you don’t fall more.”

This made Adora laugh, for reasons she couldn’t even begin to explain. “You’re a punk.”

“I know,” Catra put her hands on Adora’s knees. “I’m just glad your dress didn’t go flying up when you fell, give all those geezers in the checkout department a show.” Catra tilted her head to the side, reaching up and brushing her thumb along Adora’s bottom lip again. It had the exact same effect as before, shutting down a part of Adora’s brain. “You’re gonna have a fat lip for a few days, I think.” 

Adora frowned. “Well, there goes my plan.” 

“What plan?” 

She wondered for a second if she should keep it to herself, but if she couldn’t actually do it, she wanted her intent to be known. “I was going to kiss you, but not like this.” She smiled sadly. “It was going to be a big first kiss at fake midnight.” Adora sniffled. “Stupid heels.” Things were quiet in the hallway between the two of them for a moment, so much so that Adora looked up at Catra again. When she did, Catra was smiling at her, a softer one than she’d worn before. “What?”

Catra reached up and tucked a stray bit of hair behind Adora’s ear, it was entirely too gentle and sweet, Adora’s stomach started to flutter. “You’re my favorite.” 

In that moment, Adora realized she was falling in love. She leaned into Catra’s hand, letting her cup her cheek and she reached up to hold Catra’s wrist. For as hard and as scary as the world had been to Adora her whole life, and as lonely as she’d felt for so long - finding Catra made all of that worth it. 

“How’s the ankle? Honest answer.”

Adora wanted to cry again, for entirely different reasons. “It hurts.” She admitted. “I think I probably sprained it, which means I won’t be able to run for a while which really messes with my workouts.”

“You’re such an idiot,” Catra said. “But...if it’s sprained, we need to get you some ice and get it elevated. I learned this binge watching ER.”

“ER?” 

“It’s a very old show about doctors and it was fucking fantastic.” 

“Like Grey's Anatomy?” 

“Grey’s Anatomy wishes it was as good as ER.” Catra sighed. “It also bothers me that you’ve heard of Grey’s Anatomy and not ER.” 

“I thought you said it was very old.”

“It is, but...that doesn’t matter. We’re watching ER together.” 

Adora nodded. “Okay,” she pushed on her left foot a little. “Ow, okay...ow…”

“We just went over your injury.”

“I know! But I have to be able to walk and, you know, drive us home!” 

Catra seemed to realize this as well. “Shit, yeah I didn’t think about that. I - I mean...I can kinda drive.”

That didn’t sound reassuring. “Kinda?” 

Catra shrugged. “How hard can it be? Plus it’s late, so there won’t be much traffic.”

“But it’s dark.”

“I see great in the dark. People with Heterochromia have natural night vision.”

Adora narrowed her eyes. “Really?” 

“Of course not.” 

“Why are you like this?” 

Catra laughed, “you love it.”

She really did. “We’ve hardly been at the party though, I’d hate to end our first date so early.”

“We don’t have to end it just because we leave. We can be lame at your place or mine.”

Adora was not prepared for that, to be alone with Catra in one of their homes - that was an incredibly intriguing idea. “Really?”

Catra shrugged. “Sure, my place is empty, your roommates are here dancing like idiots. We could go to your place and wait for them to get home, then one of them can drive me home when they come back.” 

“That…” Adora couldn’t think of any reason why they couldn’t do that. She could think of a thousand reasons why they should. “That sounds great.”


The ride home was uneventful enough, except for the death grip Adora had on the seat had left her hand cramping when they made it back to her apartment. It wasn’t that Catra was a bad driver, she just had very little understanding of how sensitive the brakes were - so she would come to jarring stops that nearly threw Adora onto the floor every single time. It probably didn’t help that Adora’s foot was raised up on the dash to keep it elevated.

Still, they made it and after Adora apologized for ruining their night for the fifth time, Catra got a little testy with her and told her to stop - so she did. It was hard for her to not feel bad. Them coming out like this was her idea, she was the one dragging Catra out of her comfort zone and then she got too excited and clumsy and now she was going home with a sprained ankle and a fat lip. 

When they made it to Bow and Glimmer’s, Adora watched Catra climb out of her shitty brown car and make her way around to help Adora out. She hadn’t complained once about having to help Adora or having to leave the party early. In fact, Catra was all smiles and laughter the whole way home. 

Adora had never felt more comfortable. 

“Come on, princess,” Catra grabbed Adora’s arm and put it around her shoulder. “You’re so heavy. Would it kill you to skip a few of those extra protein surprises you’re always eating?” 

Adora laughed, trying her best to hold her weight on her good foot. “It’s called protein snack packs, and that was one time. You have to let it go.”

“Never, I saw a grown woman eating cold chicken out of a tupperware bowl with a fork in the middle of the baby section of the grocery store, it’s insane. You’re an alien.” Catra helped her up the few steps to the front door and Adora dug around her little clutch bag for her keys. She hated this bag, it was so small and her hand kept getting stuck in it. She missed her baggy jeans and their deep pockets. 

When she finally managed to fish out the keys, she handed them to Catra and used the gate in front of the door to hold herself up. Her leg still hurt, but she knew there was ice and pain medication waiting for her. She was mostly upset because she wouldn’t be able to work out for a few days. At least not her legs. She could still do curls. 

Once Catra opened the door, she retook her position at Adora’s side and guided her in. They immediately found salvation on the couch, Catra falling down with Adora as they sat, letting out a groan in the process. 

“Okay, we made it.” Catra was breathing a little heavy. She sat up on the couch as Adora adjusted to get comfortable. When Adora looked over at her, Catra was shedding her jacket and now only had on a maroon button down shirt. “Gotta get you some ice.” She rolled the sleeves up and had a glisten of sweat on her forehead. 

It was remarkably distracting. “Ice,” Adora mumbled, not really sure if her brain was firing on all cylinders. “Fridge.”

Catra laughed. “I figured. You okay there?” 

Adora snapped herself out of her trance. “Yeah, yes...just glad to be home.”

“I get it, but this place is so pink.” Catra stood up and made her way to the kitchen. “I’m really not sure how Sparkles managed to make every room disgustingly colorful. It’s kind of impressive.” 

As Catra got her ice, Adora pulled over the coffee table, sat a pillow on it and then lifted her ankle up to rest there. It still hurt, but not as bad as it had before. The more pressing matter was that when she lifted her leg, her stupid dress pooled around it and exposed way more skin than she wanted. 

There was a blanket on the far end of the couch, big and purple and soft. If she could reach it, she could cover herself and not make this whole night even more awkward. 

Unfortunately, Catra was too quick with the ice and when she came back into the living room, Adora was all but fallen over on the couch trying to grab the blanket with her foot still perched on the table. 

“Adora, are you trying to hurt yourself more?” 

Adora looked over at her sheepishly. “N - no, I was just trying to get the blanket. It’s cold in this dress.” 

Catra rolled her eyes. “Then ask for help, dummy.” She walked over and helped Adora sit back up. From there, Catra was suddenly looking right at Adora’s leg, fully exposed almost to the hip where her dress had fallen at the sides. The silence in the room was deafening as Catra helped Adora’s foot adjust better on the pillow before very gently lying the ice bag down across her ankle. 

Adora hissed from the sudden chill, but Catra’s warm hands stayed on her shin, holding her steady. From there, Catra reached over and grabbed the blanket, dragging it over and placing it across Adora’s frame, covering up the top part of her exposed leg, but leaving her knee and ankle uncovered. 

When Catra walked away, Adora was a disastrous mixture of confused and love-struck. 

Adora sat quietly, waiting for Catra to come back from the kitchen. When she did, she had a washcloth in her hand. She sat down on the couch next to Adora, who looked over at her curiously. 

Not a word was spoken as Catra reached out with the cool washcloth and gently dabbed it on Adora’s lip. It hurt a little, but she didn’t care. Catra was so gentle and soft, Adora just watched her, studied her. She was fighting every instinct that was screaming at her to kiss Catra. She wanted to, but she wasn’t about to do anything like that without permission. 

Instead, she stayed quiet, letting Catra work, thankful that her shaky hands were under the blanket.

When Catra finished, their eyes met and she smiled. “You’re a mess,” she whispered. “But I still want to kiss you.” 

Adora’s heart was in her throat. “You do?” It was a silly question to ask, but Adora’s brain wasn’t functioning properly at the moment. 

Catra nodded and Adora exhaled, a small smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. 

“Fake midnight,” Catra said, putting down the washcloth on the coffee table. “Five, four, three, two…” She leaned in close, her face an inch away from Adora’s. “One.” 

It was Adora who made the last move, smashing their lips together and ignoring the jolt of pain from her cut. It didn’t matter, it wouldn’t have mattered if her lips were torn off entirely, it would still be worth it. 

Adora felt like she’d been hit with a bolt of lighting. But instead of killing her, it energized her, and for the first time in her life she felt really and truly alive. 

The next thing Adora knew, Catra’s hands were in her hair, holding her steady. Catra drew back, but only for a moment. Adora used that split second to take in a breath before Catra was on her again. Head tilted to the side for better access, Adora’s mouth opened and suddenly Catra was there, kissing her and Adora leaned back into the couch. She wasn’t sure what to do, so she just did her best and followed Catra’s lead. 

When Catra’s tongue swept over her own, Adora let out a sound somewhere between a groan and a cry. She hadn’t meant to, and it certainly wasn't unpleasant, but it was enough to make Catra back up. 

“Sorry,” she said, her face as flushed as Adora’s felt. “Got a little carried away.”

Adora shook her head quickly, it was all she could do. “No,” she said. “No, it was...wow.” 

“Yeah?” Catra had a tiny little smirk. 

It was enough to make Adora laugh. “Yeah.” 

The next thing Adora knew, Catra was sliding up next to her and their shoulders were pressed together. “See, I told you you didn’t ruin anything. No way we could have done that in front of Glimmer’s parents.” 

“True, could you imagine the looks we would have gotten?” 

Catra shrugged. “No worse than all the looks we got when you tumbled on the ground like a newborn deer.” 

“Hey, that was awful, okay?” 

“Worked out though, didn’t it?” Catra questioned like she already knew the answer. 

Adora had no choice but to concede. “It did. I’d like to get here next time without the sprained ankle.”

“Next time, huh? You seem pretty confident in that second date.”

Normally, Adora would hear something like that and start to doubt herself. But Catra was so good at making her feel wanted, she didn’t feel a single bit of uncertainty creep into her mind. 

“You’re the one who wanted to kiss me, remember?” Catra hummed in acknowledgment. “I’m a little disappointed you’re not kissing me right now.” She took a chance asking for another like that, but she wanted it. 

Catra quirked a brow. “Are you asking me to make out with you on Sparkles couch?” 

“Technically this is my bed.” She said and Catra’s eyes went wide. 

“Well damn, that’s even better.”

Chapter Text

In the span of just a few months, Catra’s life had changed so much. She’d spent years sitting at home, waiting and trying her best to dream and hope for a life outside of Bright Moon. She was lonely, tired, bored and sad. She’d been through so many negative emotions that she genuinely wondered if there was ever any real hope that she could possibly be happy. 

Now? She was, and for as great as that could be, it was also terrifying. She wasn’t just some sad loner girl who wrote songs in her bedroom. Now she had things in her life that she didn’t want to lose. Things that could be so easily taken away from her. 

What made that worse was that with all the new valuable things she had, instead of working harder to protect them, Catra was taking even more risks. 

Weaver came home two days after Catra and Adora went to the Grocers Ball, and shared their first kiss. Two days after Catra went home from her date and danced around her house like some teenager in a happiness montage of a shitty movie.

Catra was happy. Which made Weaver’s presence ever harder to swallow because Catra couldn’t be happy - if she was it would look suspicious and Weaver would start asking questions and start digging into her life. That was the last thing Catra wanted. So she told Adora that she might be a little distant for a few days and might text her less. Adora understood because she always did, but at a certain point it started to make Catra feel guilty. 

She shouldn’t have to hide how she felt. She shouldn’t have to pretend that miserable was her normal. Why was it okay that Weaver wanted her to be alone? It wasn’t, and she knew that, but Catra was still so afraid of her. Afraid of what might happen if she pushed back too hard. 

Weaver’s vengeance was cruel and Catra truly didn’t know her limit. She could remember going nights without eating. Waking up in the morning to find the house completely destroyed and a note demanding she clean it. When she was younger, Catra would miss school sometimes because Weaver was upset about something and would force Catra to stay in her room. 

When Catra grew up and started to push a little harder, Weaver pushed back even more. That’s when Weaver started to threaten her and talk down to her. It was slow and methodical, but eventually Weaver convinced Catra that she had no value to the rest of the world. Even if Catra knew it was Weaver’s intent to make her feel this way - she couldn’t help but believe it. 

After all, if she truly mattered to anyone, then why was she allowed to be left with this hateful and disgusting woman for so long? Why hadn’t anyone come to rescue her?

The first night Weaver hit her, Catra almost ran away. She’d gotten into trouble at school for fighting - stupid Octavia deserved every bit of the ass whooping Catra gave her, but when she was sent home early and suspended, Weaver was furious. She slapped Catra in the face and when shoved her against the wall. Weaver didn’t apologize, didn't even look shocked. It was more of an acceptance, like she knew it would eventually come to that. 

That night, Catra had everything ready to go. She packed her clothes, her guitar and some money she’d stolen from Weaver’s not so secret hiding spot. She had no idea where she would go, but anywhere else had to be better. 

It was Melog that stopped her, even if unintentional. Catra just...saw them there, sitting on the bed watching her as she nearly climbed out her window and she just couldn’t go. She couldn’t leave them behind. It was so much more than that, more mental and emotional trauma than Catra was qualified to unravel, but seeing Melog watching her and looking at her - wondering why she wasn’t climbing in bed to pet them that stopped her from leaving that night. 

The next day Catra unpacked everything, she even put the money back that she’d stolen - because she was a coward. 

From that moment on, Catra stopped trying - stopped caring. She shut down and shut everyone out and that worked for a while. She went numb and focused only on writing songs nobody would ever hear. That was going to be her life, she’d wait it out for Weaver to either die or get bored of her and kick her out. 

Then along came Adora, stumbling into the Bright Moon Grocery store and everything changed. 

Weaver was gone again, mercifully. Catra had spent the last two weeks barely talking to Adora and only truly feeling like herself when she was at work. Being home with Weaver now was torment, more so than it had been before. She didn’t have her guitar or her music to keep her company. Most nights she barely slept and could hardly find any appetite. It was torture and she was so thankful when Weaver left again. 

Now, Catra was preparing for another thing she never imagined herself doing. Making the hour long trip to Crimson to go to their big fancy movie theater and see the new Mermisteries movie. 

For most kids in Bright Moon, it was a regular thing to spend your Friday driving to Crimson to see the movie and stop at Denny’s or Applebees or some other shitty diner to eat and go home. For Catra, it was all brand new and she was obnoxiously excited. 

So much so that she’d spent the last hour texting Scorpia about it trying to figure out if she should pay for Adora’s ticket or Adora’s snacks. She really didn't know. She just knew she wanted to buy something for Adora and be a good girlfriend who treated her girlfriend to good things. 

That was another bit of nonsense that was new in Catra’s life. She was someone’s girlfriend now - which was absolutely bonkers and amazing and just another thing Catra had to lose. 

Adora : She finally gone?

Catra couldn't help but smile at the text. It was hard to open up to Adora about Weaver, but she had little by little. Not in any significant way - she certainly hadn’t told her everything. But Adora knew enough to know that Weaver was a bitch and that hating her was a-okay with Catra. 

So Adora did, at least as much as Adora could. It was hard for Adora to be overtly mean or hateful, but she never corrected Catra when she went on and on about how awful her aunt was. 

Catra : Yes thank god. I told her I’m working tonight so she won’t call to check in. Should be set for the movie.

Catra said it so casually in text, she was good at that - acting indifferent in her words. But here she was in front of her bathroom mirror, putting her limited skill in makeup to the test and touching up her lips and adding a little eyeliner. Not that it really mattered. They were driving in the dark, to sit in a dark movie theater and then eating at fucking Denny’s but at least Catra’s eyes would be smokey. 

She didn’t care how dumb it was, she was excited to go on a date with her girlfriend. Her girlfriend who was just now starting to walk without a limp and whose lip had healed. 

The same girlfriend she hadn’t kissed since that night on Glimmer’s couch. If Catra had it her way, that would be the first thing she’d do when Adora showed up. 

But she wasn’t sure how well that would work since they were riding to Crimson in a group and Sparkles would be there with her maybe boyfriend and always sidekick. 

Adora : I’m so excited! I haven’t seen a movie in forever. Well a new movie. Bow makes me watch old movies all the time. Just so you know, Face-Off is ridiculous and I want it played at my funeral.

Catra let out a cackling laugh, putting down Weaver’s eyeliner pen and turning off the bathroom light. She was done, she wanted to be with Adora right now. That was another thing that had come with being Adora’s girlfriend - every day life without her sucked

Catra : I want to see you. 

She debated sending it, almost didn’t because she hated being needy and annoying, but they weren’t supposed to leave for the movie for another two hours and that was just too fucking long. 

Adora : Me too! But I have to finish this study work. Tonight though. Tonight is going to be awesome.

Catra could only frown at her phone, she knew Adora was studying and she knew it was important to her, but damn she didn’t know what to do with herself. Still, she was nothing if not patient and strong willed. She’d put up with enough bullshit in her life to last three lifetimes. So she decided to leave Adora alone and instead window shop for guitars on her phone. 

She missed playing so much. Sometimes it felt like physical pain when she’d write down lyrics that came to her but had no way of putting music to them. 

It made her feel rudderless, she had never really had any true focus in her life outside of her musical dreams and her shitty job stocking shelves - beyond that, Catra was mostly an empty vessel. But music was her sanctuary, the one place where she could feel good about herself and feel productive. Even if she never played for anyone or made a dime off of it, it felt good to finish a song or find the right string of notes to make a lyric shine. 

Now, she didn’t have that and she had no idea where to go. 

Before she could truly lose herself in her thoughts, her phone buzzed again and Catra saw the notification at the top of the screen. It was only a small window, but as soon as she saw the picture her heart started to race. 

She tapped four wrong buttons trying to open her messages but when she did, she was met with Adora’s smile and those ocean blue eyes looking at her. 

Adora was sitting on Glimmer’s couch, Catra recognized the window behind her. She was wearing a gray tank top that let her glorious arms roam free, but also the shirt was rolled up just enough that the bottom of her stomach was poking out a little. It was equally breathtaking and cute and Catra made an audible exhale at the sight. 

How she lucked into dating the most beautiful girl in the world, she’d never know. If living with Weaver for twenty-one years was the price she had to pay to find Adora, she’d gladly accept that payment over and over again. 

Catra was done being reserved. 

Catra : U r fucking beautiful

She tapped send and laid back on her bed, letting the phone fall beside her. When she closed her eyes, Adora’s face was there. Her smile, her eyes, she could hear her laugh and feel the way her hand felt when Catra was holding it. 

She was in love. Even if she didn’t entirely know what love was like, she had to believe this was it. Adora was her favorite thing in the world. She was the image that danced in Catra’s mind before she went to bed and the snake charmer that woke her up first thing in the morning. 

Catra wanted to tell her, but she knew it was too soon. It was way too fucking soon and she also had that voice in the back of her head constantly reminding her that this was temporary. Adora was literally studying for the future she had planned and there was no place for Catra there. How could there be? Catra couldn’t even get herself out of Bright Moon. She didn’t even have the courage to buy herself a new guitar because she knew Weaver would take that from her too. 

She was so tired of that weakness - tired of her fear, but she didn’t know how to overcome it. 

The truth was simple, she was afraid. 

But Adora made her feel braver, little by little. The text she’d just sent was proof of that. 

When her phone buzzed again, it felt heavier than usual. Like some kind of small explosion on her pillow. She was being dramatic and she knew it. 

Catra read the response with only one eye open. 

Adora : You made me choke on my water >:(

All the tension in Catra’s body left her. She’d discovered a new weapon to use on Adora and she was planning on doing that as often as she could. 

Adora : Also I’m a mess. Wearing my workout clothes and my hair is a disaster.

Catra rolled her eyes. 

Catra : That’s cause u sleep with that stupid hair poof. Let ur hair down

Adora’s next message was another picture. This time it was closer, her hair down and half of it hanging over the left side of her face. She was staring up through it at the screen. As if she was looking right into Catra’s eyes. 

Adora : Liek this?

So innocent, and somehow cuter with the typo. 

Catra : Trying to get me to compliment u again?

Adora : Trying to get you to send me a pic back ;)

She was not expecting that. 

Catra groaned, she was not good at this. Still, she pulled up her camera and held it up to see herself on the screen. She had her makeup on, probably too early but she was excited about tonight - but it made the picture look better. 

She snapped the first one, but as soon as she saw it she hated it. Her expression was flat and empty, nothing compared to the soft smile Adora had given her. Or that second one, with a look that made Catra’s insides melt. 

So she tried again, this time smirking a little and quirking up one eyebrow. It was...fine, but nothing great. She didn’t feel like it gave enough effort. Adora had sent her a damn masterpiece. 

The third attempt, Catra lifted her shirt up a little to look like it had just ridden up on it’s own. As soon as she snapped the pic and saw it, she laughed. 

“You look like a fucking idiot.” She immediately deleted it and felt her frustration growing. 

Eventually, Catra settled on holding up her phone, glaring at it, flipping it off and sending it to Adora with a heart emoji. Thankfully, no one would ever know the five step process that led up to that. 

It would go with her to her grave. 

When Adora responded, Catra was so ready to feel guilty about her outburst and about not giving Adora the return pic she deserved. 

But what she received instead was a laughing emoji and a bunch of silly hearts. Then another message came. 

Adora : How did I survive without you? Lol

She really left Catra no choice.

Catra : We should take your car  


“Okay so Glimmer was not happy about this, and she says we can’t makeout on the drive because you have to watch for deer.”

Catra groaned as she made her way down the steps to Adora’s car. It was still freezing cold out, more so now than when the snow was falling a few days earlier because there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the wind was sharp. 

“Sparkles needs to chill, also why are we watching for deer?”

Adora shrugged. “Apparently they’re thick along the sides of the road from here to Crimson. They run out in front of people so we have to keep an eye out so we don’t, you know, hit one.”

“Alright, so we’ll keep an eye out for deer.” Catra was suddenly in front of Adora’s car, staring at her as she stood behind the open driver's door. Catra didn’t know what to do, but she knew what she wanted to do. “I uh…” she cleared her throat. Fuck being nervous, it was just Adora.

“You look amazing,” Adora said and Catra looked up at her with a smirk. “The eyes and...hair and...you.” Adora rolled her eyes at herself. “Sorry, you look -”

Catra cut her off with a kiss. It was soft and unsteady because there was a car door in between them, but Adora made a sound against her lips that sent a shockwave down Catra’s spine. When she pulled back, Adora’s eyes were closed still - Catra’s smile grew. 

“Whew,” Adora said, her eyes opening slowly. “Yeah, us taking our own car was a great idea.” 

“What can I say? I’m full of good ideas.” Catra gave Adora one more quick kiss for good measure before making her way to the passenger side. She couldn’t explain why Adora gave her so much confidence to do these kinds of things, but Catra felt almost unstoppable around her. 

When they were in Adora’s car, which now had three empty protein shakers in it, Catra watched her climb in and turn the headlights on. She then turned them back off and put the car back in park. She sat for a second, and the quiet and confusion worried Catra a little - like something big might be on her mind. 

“What’s up?”

Adora sighed and clicked on an interior light above them. “I - I was going to do this after the movie, because I thought we’d be with Glimmer and Bow, but we’re not and...I want to do it now.”

Even though they’d just kissed and Catra had no reason to think this, she couldn’t help but be terrified that Adora was about to tell her that she’d figured out how worthless Catra was and was dumping her. Here, in Adora’s car in Catra’s driveway. 

It was an equally annoying and devastating feeling. 

“O-kay?” Catra hated how shaky her voice was. She knew better. She trusted Adora. She just needed to turn the self-destructive tendencies down. 

The next thing Catra knew, Adora was pulling out a very small box from her big coat pocket. It looked like a goddamn engagement ring and Catra almost passed out. 

“Adora,” she said in a very low and uneasy voice. 

Then Adora laughed. “It’s not that, but I knew the box would freak you out.” 

Catra rolled her eyes. “I hate you.”

“I know,” Adora popped open the box and inside was a shiny silver guitar pick with a cat skull carved into it. “I know you don’t have your guitar right now, but...when you get a new one...you’ll have a new pick to use with it.” 

Catra’s hand was shaking as she plucked the pick out of the little box. It was beautiful and so well made. Heavy, but still easy to handle and smooth. The cat skull design was fucking awesome. 

Without any chance of stopping it, Catra felt a tear roll down her cheek. She felt like a fucking loser, but nobody had ever given her anything before. Not like this. 

“Catra?” Adora had worry in her voice. With good reason as Catra was currently crying in her car like a child. 

Catra shook her head and wiped her eyes. “I can’t…” she took a breath and leaned over the center console to pull Adora into the most awkward and uncomfortable hug possible. “Thank you,” she was proud of herself for finding the strength to say it. 

When they pulled back, Adora was smiling. “I’m so glad you like it, I was terrified it wasn’t right or you didn't use one or...I don’t know - a cat skull might be depressing.” 

“It’s amazing, you…” Catra sat back in her seat and held the pick in her hand. “You’re fucking awesome.” 

“I know,” Adora shrugged and started her car again. 

Catra rolled her eyes. “So humble too,” she reached across and shoved her, making Adora laugh. 

“Are you gonna be able to watch out for deer with those tears in your eyes.”

“Just drive the car, Grayskull!” 

Catra was so in love it was disgusting. 


They didn’t see any deer on their way to Crimson. They did make it there before Bow and Glimmer though, who stopped to get gas and buy snacks to sneak into the theater. 

Catra bought Adora’s ticket, but the gesture was a lot weaker given Adora had given her a badass guitar pick just an hour earlier. 

The theater was pretty busy on a Friday night with a new movie coming out, but Catra enjoyed being there. She hated crowds and people, but being with Adora was more than enough to counteract that. They worked together in their dislike of the noise and clutter. Sitting in the corner, sipping on their drinks (Catra soda and Adora water because Adora was a nerd) and talking about everyone they saw and how obnoxious they were. 

Well, Catra was the one who called them obnoxious and Adora went out of her way to make up excuses for them. It helped so much to have someone, a person there with her who wanted to talk to her and sit with her - it made everything better. 

They found their seats near the back, a few rows above Bow and Glimmer who were going on and on about the happenings in the parts of this series that had come out before. 

Movies neither Catra or Adora had ever seen. 

“So...what are these movies about?” Adora asked as they sat down. 

Catra shrugged. “I have no idea. But with a name like ‘Mermisteries’, it can’t be anything good.” 

“Bow wanted to give me the rundown of the series, but I was too busy with schoolwork this week.”

It bothered Catra how much she hated when Adora brought up her schoolwork. She knew how important it was to her, but she also knew it was the thing that would probably take Adora away from her. 

“How's that going?” She asked, knowing she had to be polite about it. 

Adora sighed. “I still suck at math, but I’m finally starting to get into some of the course work and that’s fun. I just wish I could help people train without having to go through all this other stuff.”

“Is there no other way to go about it?”

“Not if I want to actually be a true part of the fitness and health industry, you know? Like I want to really help, not just train rich people once a week in their dusty home gyms.” 

Catra snorted a laugh. “So you want to be one of the rich people with a dusty home gym?”

“Please, my gym would never be dusty.” To prove her point, Adora twisted her wrist and let her forearm flex in front of Catra. “See, no dust.”

Without even thinking, Catra reached out with both hands and grabbed Adora’s arm. She gave it a gentle squeeze and met her eyes. “You really will be useful with these, you know?”

“Yeah?” Adora asked shyly. 

“Yep, I mean opening jars is such a pain in the ass and you’re perfect for that.” 

Adora smiled and rolled her eyes. “You’re the worst.”

Catra was still holding her arm and practically leaning over the armrest between them to invade Adora’s space. “I know,” she said, her voice barely carrying between them. She wanted to kiss her, but Catra was not really a big fan of public displays of affection - at all. Maybe she didn’t have a whole lot of experience in it, but her kisses and the people she kissed were her business. Still, it was a hard urge to push down because Adora was right there. She looked so pretty under the dark lights of the theater. 

“You can kiss me,” she said and Catra blinked a few times, dumbfounded at Adora’s outspoken admission. 

“I uh…” Catra couldn’t not kiss her now. So she did, very aware that there were people filling up the seats around them. It was intended to be short and quick, but Adora’s lips were so soft and inviting that Catra lost herself a little bit. 

When Adora exhaled against her, Catra’s body melted. 

“Come on now,” Glimmer’s shrill voice startled Catra, who squealed into Adora’s mouth. “I didn’t pay for your tickets tonight for you to miss the movie and do that.” 

“Ugh,” Catra glared at Glimmer (and Bow by association who had a goofy grin on his face). “I’m gonna go get some snacks. You want anything?” She already knew the answer, but asked anyway. 

Adora smiled and shook her head. “No thanks, hurry back.” Adora was being soft and maybe a little clingy - this was a date after all. 

As Catra left, she knew she was going to have to step up and do a little more to make sure Adora enjoyed herself. Sure, she wasn’t super comfortable being this affectionate in public but a lot of that was probably because she’d never really had the opportunity to. Now, she had this girlfriend who was amazing and helping Catra do all of these things she never could have imagined doing before. 

So as she stood in line to get popcorn and a Twix bar (because fuck yes Twix bar), Catra made a mental note to be more affectionate when she made it back to Adora. 

Just as Catra was next to get her food, she felt someone step up behind her and some strange sense she couldn't’ possibly explain made the hair on the back of her neck stand up. 

“Catra…” the voice was gruff and slow, but she recognized it immediately. 

Turning around, she was face to face with Hordak, a smirk on his disgusting face. “Wh…” she stammered. 

“Ma’am?” The movie theater employee called and Catra turned to him. He looked tired and bored, but ready to help her. 

“Tw - twix and popcorn.” She said, shakily putting the ten dollar bill on the glass counter. 

Hordak was still there, lingering behind her like some kind of plague, waiting to destroy what little life she’d carved out for herself. Seeing him was as bad as seeing Weaver - she knew he was awful. He’d probably find some sick joy and tattling on her and giving Weaver every excuse to bury her even further. 

She would lose everything. She’d lose her job, Weaver would probably take Melog away. Adora...she’d…

Catra’s head was spinning. She knew she was spiraling, but this was a worst case scenario and there was no way she could stop it. Before the attendee could give her what she paid for, Catra turned and ran for the bathroom. 

Thankfully, it was empty when she stumbled in and practically fell into the first stall she found. She leaned over the toilet seat, bile burning in her throat. It came out in retches that tugged at her chest, making it hard to breathe. Tears spilled from her eyes like a flood as she continued to heave and hurt. 

Eventually, it slowed down and Catra just knelt there over the toilet, trying her best not to fall over. She struggled to find her phone in her pocket, but fished it out eventually and sent a very quick text to Adora. 

Catra : Bathroom help

Her phone fell on the floor with a clack, knowing her luck it was probably broken and she’d lose that too. 

By the time the bathroom door opened again, Catra was sitting on the cold floor with her head between her knees. 

“Catra?” Adora’s voice called out with worry. “Catra where are you?”

“Here,” she managed, her throat achy from throwing up. 

Adora opened the stall door and it hit Catra’s knees, she didn’t wince or cry out, just moved over and let the door open. 

“Catra…” Adora knelt down beside her. “What’s wrong? Are you…” She exhaled in frustration, clearly shaken by Catra’s current state. 

Now Catra found herself desperate to calm Adora down, even though she was in the middle of her own breakdown. “I’m sorry,” she said with a broken voice. “Bad...I’m...I’m scared.” 

Adora looked even more worried. “Please tell me what happened.” She put her hands on Catra’s shoulders - strong and steady. 

Catra laid her head back against the stall and took a deep breath. “Hordak is here.”

“Hordak?” Adora frowned. “That creepy guy who works with your aunt?” Catra nodded. “Did he hurt you?” There was an edge to Adora’s voice that Catra had never heard before. 

She shook her head. “No, but he’ll tell her I’m here. She can’t know, Adora. I’m not supposed to go out. I’m not…”

“Catra,” Adora tried to soothe her. 

“No!” Catra shouted, not at Adora just...at everything. “Adora, I can’t...she’ll...she’ll…”

“She’ll what, Catra?” 

For so long, Catra had kept her life hidden from the rest of the world. She was hidden - trapped and made to believe that’s what she deserved. Maybe she did, she had taken a life when she entered the world, but did she really deserve all of this? To feel this way and to be so scared of someone that this was the result? 

She looked up at Adora, who was still there and looking at her with so much concern and compassion that it was almost overwhelming. Adora was this shining beacon of hope that had literally stumbled into Catra’s life and now Catra didn’t want to lose that.

Even more, she wanted to fight for it. 

“I don’t want to go home.” She said, saying the words out loud and letting them register. “I don’t, I…” she took a breath. “I want to get my cat and never go back.” 

Adora’s grip on her shoulders tightened. “Okay,” she said simply and Catra laughed, actually laughed as more tears sprung in her eyes. 

“It’s not that easy.”

“Doesn’t matter, if you don’t feel safe at home, then I will not leave you there alone.” 

Catra shook her head. “You don’t understand. I - I can’t just go. I have nowhere to go and I’m not...I’ve never been away from her before Adora. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know…” 

“Hey, we can sort all that out, okay? I promise you, we’ll figure it out. But right now we need to focus on you and making you feel safe.”

Leaning forward, Catra rested her head against Adora’s chest. “You make me feel safe.” 

Adora wrapped Catra up in her arms, making her feel very small but also making her feel protected and warm. The racing of her heart slowed, the gnawing worry in her stomach died down and Catra clung to Adora. 

A few moments passed when Adora spoke again. “Can I text Glimmer?”

Catra looked up at her. “Why?” 

Adora swallowed. “I’m scared too. I - I don’t really know what to do and she might know better than me. I just...want to make sure we do it right.”

It was a big risk, all of this was. Whatever direction her life was going to take would be completely altered tonight. For better or worse, she knew this was a big moment and she was terrified . But as much as Adora was here for her and strong for her, Catra knew it was too much to put on Adora alone. Adora, who was naive in a lot of ways and innocent in even more. Adora, who she wanted to have help, just like Catra wanted her help. 

“Okay,” she said, feeling an unknown weight lift off her chest. “Th - thank you.”

When Adora kissed the top of her head, Catra felt like she was home for the first time in her life.

Chapter Text

Catra couldn’t get her foot to stop bouncing. She sat on her bed, staring at the backpack of clothes and kept scanning her room looking for things to add to it. It felt so empty, how could this be her whole life? A few clothes and a few notebooks of songs she’d written and one or two little trinkets she liked. That was it, in her twenty-one years that was all she had to her name. 

She was scared, so scared of what the future held now. At least when she was trapped under Weaver she knew what to expect with each day - even if she hated every second of it. 

Her mind wouldn’t stop telling her that she was making a mistake. That she had now put even more people at risk and that the price she’d have to pay when all this blew up in her face would be unthinkable. 

That was the worst part of it, she just knew at some point this would all backfire. There was no escape, she’d seen those kinds of opportunities slip through her fingers too many times to truly believe she was on the right path. 

Glimmer and Bow had both agreed to help, much to Catra’s surprise, and they all left the movie early to come home and help her pack. 

They’d even agreed to let Catra stay with them, which was insane because Catra had never been anything but distant and mean to the both of them for so long. Before Adora, they might as well have been strangers with how hard Catra worked to keep them out of her life. 

Now they were just going to let her stay with them with no questions asked or strings attached? 

It was madness. These people were crazy to think she deserved any of their support. 

She should just stay here, let them go and suffer the consequences before she tore them down with her. Before her mistake became their mistake and they lost everything. Before….

“Hey,” 

Catra looked up and saw Adora standing in the frame of her bedroom door. It didn’t fit, like Adora didn’t belong there. Didn’t belong in this place that had so many bad memories of long nights alone and days wasted daydreaming about being somewhere better. 

She looked so pretty too, all made up for the date - a date Catra had effectively ruined before it could even start.

“Glimmer and Bow are wrangling up Melog right now. Is that all you need?” Adora asked, gesturing to the bag on the floor by Catra’s feet. 

Catra looked at it, there was still room but she had no idea what she’d put in there. At the very top, she saw the little box from the guitar pick Adora had given her. The sight made her stomach twist in guilty knots. 

“Maybe this is a bad idea.” 

Adora frowned. “Catra,”

“I mean, maybe I’m overreacting. It’s not so bad, I just…”

“Catra, you threw up in a movie theater bathroom because you were so afraid of your aunt finding out you went out.” 

Hearing it out loud really drove the point home of how pathetic she was. “Her house, her rules.”

“It’s more than that,” Adora knelt down in front of her. “I - I want to ask you something and...I want you to know that I’m here for you, no matter what you say, I -”

“I know what you’re going to ask,” Catra could tell by the tone of her voice. She looked away, finding words painted on the wall. 

Only good people feel guilt

Weaver never once felt guilty for ruining Catra’s life. 

“It only happened a few times. I guess I never really thought it was a big deal. Usually...she only did it when I really fucked up, you know? I knew the rules and I’d push them and…” Catra took a deep breath and laughed, trying to stop herself from crying. “The nights without food were way worse.” It was meant to be a joke, but Adora didn't laugh. 

Catra didn’t either. 

“Maybe we...we should tell someone.” Adora spoke carefully, like she was walking on eggshells. “Like...the police maybe?”

That got Catra’s attention. “Tell them what? That I’m a coward who couldn’t leave even though I’m twenty-one?”

“No, Catra that’s not…” Adora sighed and walked over to her, kneeling down in front of her. “She abused you, Catra. She hurt you and didn’t feed you as punishment. She trapped you here.”

“She didn’t…”

“Catra,” Adora was gentle, but firm. “We’re sneaking you out in the middle of the night because of how afraid you are of her, that’s...that’s not okay.” 

It wasn’t, and she knew it wasn’t. More than that, she knew Weaver would be so upset and that made her dangerous. Dangerous not only to Catra, but to those who helped her. “She’s a bad person, Adora.” 

“I know,”

Catra shook her head. “You don’t, not like I do. Not...that man, Hordak? He’s bad, like scary bad and I think...she does stuff with him. Helps him. The medicine she gives him. It’s not legal, not the amount she just hands over to him.”

Adora settled back on her knees a little, listening intently. “She sells medicine right?”

“Yeah, that’s why she travels so much - for a big pharmaceutical company. She sells Black Garnet to hospitals all over the country.” Catra hated how much she knew, hated how much she’d kept locked away and never told anyone. Who knows how many people Hordak and Weaver had hurt. “I think she gives it to him and he makes other stuff with it. Like...drugs and in the little research I’ve done - Black Garnet is used to make pretty heavy stuff.” 

She could tell that all of this was a little overwhelming to Adora. Adora, who had grown up on a farm and barely knew anything about the real world and how scary it was. She felt bad, but Catra had no one else to tell. 

Adora processed, her eyes staring at where her and Catra’s hands were linked together. Catra gave them a squeeze, trying to draw her back. 

When Adora looked up at her, she had an intense expression. “Then we should do something about it.”

“How? I can’t prove it.” 

“Yes, you can,” Adora let go of Catra’s hand and pulled out her phone. She started thumbing through something, but Catra couldn’t see. The room was pretty dark, and the screen lit up Adora’s face like a beacon. Catra resisted the urge to move a bit of loose hair from her face. 

The next thing Catra knew, Adora was holding up her phone and there was a picture. 

It was one she’d sent Adora months ago. A photo of Hordak carrying one of Weaver’s boxes out to his car. He didn’t know she’d taken it and at the time, it was just to show Adora how creepy he was. 

“Would...would that be enough?”

Adora shrugged. “I don’t know, but it’s a start. You can see the company name on the box and you can see who it is because nobody else has hair like...that.” This was...big. So much more than just running away. Maybe too much, it made her foot start to shake again. “Look, that’s something we can talk about later, okay? For now, let’s just…” Adora put her phone away and retook Catra’s hands in her own. “Let’s go home.”


Catra felt extremely out of place. Sitting on the floor of Glimmer and Bow’s (and Adora’s) apartment, leaned against the couch with her sad little backpack of belongings next to her.

It was a nice gesture, really nice and Catra had no idea how to handle it. With the exception of Adora, these were people that Catra had gone out of her way to ignore and drive away for years since they started working together. 

Now, they were suddenly doing everything they could to make her feel comfortable and welcome. Bow was flipping through Netflix trying to find a movie. Glimmer was making snacks and Adora was carrying out a handful of blankets, one of which Catra remembered from her night on Glimmer’s bathroom floor. 

She wanted to say thank you. To tell them how much it meant to her that they were doing this. To tell them how safe they were all making her feel, but she couldn’t. She didn’t trust herself to speak and not break down. She truly felt like she was no longer in control of her own body - at least not tonight. Everything felt a little surreal, like she might wake up at any moment back in her room and all of this would just be a dream. 

Bow eventually settled on a cooking show, just a marathon of episodes with no real meaning - a good distraction. 

Glimmer brought popcorn and drinks and took a seat next to Bow on the couch. 

Adora slid up next to her, not saying anything, just...taking up the spot beside Catra and pressing in close. 

Again, Catra wanted to say something, but she knew she would start crying if she did. 

So she rested her head on Adora’s shoulder and stared up at the television - her mind racing over a thousand different things at once. 

Catra had no idea how long they stayed there, watching the show, but at some point Glimmer went off to her room and Bow followed shortly after. 

It wasn’t until Adora covered up a yawn that Catra realized Adora was waiting for her to fall asleep. She looked over at her girlfriend, leaning against the couch, her bed, and struggling to keep her eyes open. 

“Hey,” Catra spoke, for the first time in a while. Adora snapped her attention towards Catra, concern and readiness in her sleepy eyes. Catra smiled as best she could. “Go to bed, dummy.”

Adora frowned. “Are you tired?” 

“Of course I am, but I don’t think I’ll get any sleep tonight.” 

That answer clearly upset Adora. “What can I do?” 

Catra sighed. “Don’t suffer because of me.” Adora glared just a bit, to which Catra smiled. “I mean it, I don’t want to add your sleepless night to my list of issues.” 

“I don’t want to leave you up all night by yourself.”

Catra shook her head. “I won’t be,” she pointed at the tiny cage in the corner - which had it’s door open, but Melog was still settled inside of it. They’d been a bit of a mess on the ride over and the first hour or so here. But as the show went on and on, Melog relaxed and was now just staring out. “And you’ll still be here, right up there on the couch.” Adora wanted to say something, Catra knew it. “Please, go to bed. All of this will still be here in the morning.”

When she said it, Catra wanted it to relax Adora, make her sleep. Instead, it was just a heavy reminder to Catra that this all would, in fact, still be here tomorrow and for so long after that. 

It was nice to be here and be away from her home. To pack her silly little bag and steal away her cat, but Weaver wasn’t suddenly gone. She’d find out Catra had gone out, she’d find out Catra had left. She’d probably already called the landline, left a horrible message on the answering machine. 

Catra had to stop, or at least save these thoughts for after Adora fell asleep. 

Slowly, Adora stood up and started removing the cushions from the couch to give her more room on her bed. Catra wondered how Adora’s back wasn’t a complete mess from sleeping on this couch every night, but she’d said more than once that she actually slept better here than in the bed she had at her old apartment. 

Adora was, in fact, a very odd duck. 

But as Catra watched her climb into bed, still occasionally looking over at her, an overwhelming warmth settled in Catra’s chest that drove her to stand up and practically crawl on top of Adora. 

At first, she worried it might have been too much. After all, this was supposed to be their second date tonight and they’d only really kissed a few times - but Catra just wanted to be held. 

Thankfully, Adora wrapped Catra up in her arms so quickly the doubt never really had time to set in completely. 

“I have to work tomorrow.” Catra said, though it felt like such a mundane thing. Still, her life spiraling out of control didn’t mean the rest of the world suddenly stopped. 

Adora's chest rose and fell a few times before she responded. “I’m sure Angella would understand if you took some time off.” 

“Then I’d have to tell her.” 

When Adora tensed, Catra knew where the conversation was going. “Would that be a bad thing?” Adora spoke slowly, hesitantly. Like she was afraid she was going to step over some invisible line. “Maybe she could help. Maybe she’d know what to do.”

Despite how badly Catra didn’t want to have a big adult conversation with Glimmer’s mother, she couldn’t deny that Adora was right. Angella would know what to do way better than she did. 

“I’ll think about it,” she said and it wasn’t a lie. She would think about it, if not consider it, but right now Catra just wanted to shut her brain off for five seconds and cuddle with her girlfriend. “Sorry about the date.” 

“S’not your fault,” Adora’s voice was thick and heavy. She was clearly exhausted. 

“One day we’ll get a real date.” Adora laughed softly into her hair, but didn’t say anything, just held her and cradled her head. 

Catra waited for a while, until she felt steady breathing beneath her and knew Adora was asleep. Under the safety of darkness, she let herself admit it out loud for the first time. 

“I love you, Adora.”

The arms around her were answer enough. 


Catra wasn’t sure how long she laid awake, but she knew it was well into the early hours of the morning when she finally slid out of Adora’s arms and curled up on the floor. 

Her mind raced with so many different questions and scenarios and fears. She tried to picture exactly how the next few days would play out - how she would react and what might come of it. She was supposedly free, but it didn’t feel so simple. Weaver was still just Weaver, and she would be coming to find Catra and drag her back - there was no doubt. 

It wasn’t until Melog slid out of their crate and curled up next to her that Catra finally found a little sleep. 

When she woke up the next day, it was noon and she was stirred by the muffled sound of a blender. Her shoulder hurt from the carpet that did not feel nearly as soft as it looked. She sat up with bleary eyes and a bit of a cloudy head, but fortunately she knew where she was immediately. 

It felt like she’d blinked and it was daylight. Unfortunately, that feeling didn’t bring with it any rest. She felt more tired than she had been the night before. 

When the bathroom door opened, Adora stepped out with a blender and a full protein shake in her hand. She was wearing a light grey tank top and a pair of black track shorts. She looked absolutely incredible, a dusting of sweat on her collarbone and forehead - she’d been working out. 

“Hey,” she frowned. “I’m sorry, did I wake you?” 

Catra shook her head. “Did you...run?”

Adora nodded. “Y - yeah?” 

“It’s freezing cold outside?” 

She shrugged. “Makes you run faster.” Adora put her blender back in the kitchen and stuck a curvy straw in her shake cup. Dork. “How…” Adora sighed, like she didn’t know what to say. “Good morning,” she said instead, which Catra appreciated. 

The forehead kiss Adora knelt down and gave her before sitting on the couch was even better. 

Instead of the usual dread Catra expected, she was just annoyed. It was a strange feeling, almost frustration. She shouldn’t be this upset. Yes, her life was falling apart, but maybe it was also kind of fixing itself. 

Deep down, she knew it wouldn’t be that easy. She knew Weaver wouldn’t be that easy. But she was mad because here she was, alone with her girlfriend (something she never imagined herself ever having) and instead of enjoying it, she was sitting on Glimmer’s bright pink carpet stressing.

In a flurry, Catra stood up from the floor and pounced onto Adora’s lap. The little squeal she let out was ridiculously cute and it matched the wide eyed, blushing expression on her face. When Catra touched her cheeks, they were cold from her run. She was sweaty and her breath smelled like protein shake - but Catra kissed her anyway. 

Adora gasped into Catra’s mouth, surprised and that’s what Catra was going for. She wanted to feel this, and not waste her day and her life worrying about consequences. She’d done that long enough. 

The kiss was long and slow, Catra felt like every kiss with Adora was just an experiment on what she liked and what made Adora let out the best sounds. This one did wonders and when Adora’s hands landed on Catra’s hips, she made a mental note to go at this pace again soon. 

When she finally drew back, Adora’s eyes were closed and her lips were still reaching for Catra. That feeling of love overwhelmed Catra again, she’d fallen so hard and so fast, it was all-consuming and borderline dangerous, but she didn’t care. 

“Wh - what was that?” Adora asked, her eyes slowly opening. 

Catra smiled. “You,” she pecked Adora’s nose. “That was me seeing you this morning and realizing it’s the best thing I’ve woken up to in my entire life.” 

Adora’s eyes went wide. “Oh…” 

“I’m so sick of this shit, you know? I’m sick of being sad and scared and maybe this is some false confidence crap and it’ll all die out when I actually have to face this, but right now I just…” She cradled Adora’s face in her hands and held her softly. “I want to enjoy you.” 

“I - I don’t…” Adora’s face curled up in frustration. “I stink.” She said with a frown. 

Catra laughed. “I don’t care - AH!” The next thing Catra knew, Adora was standing up and lifting Catra up with her in the process. It was...impressive, to say the least - how easily Adora could carry her. With Catra in her arms, Adora turned around and sat Catra down on the couch where she once was.

“Let me take a really fast shower and we can...do...stuff.” Adora flushed like a stoplight. 

Confidence continued to rise in Catra. “Stuff huh? Might need you to be more specific.”

Adora sighed. “Please no,” she sounded desperate and Catra decided to check ‘dirty talk’ off her list of experiments. 

“Go, dork. I’ll be anxiously awaiting you and your stuff .” 

Turning around quickly, Adora nearly tripped and fell on the blanket Catra had used the night before. If not for the nearby wall for her to catch herself on, she would have ended up on the floor. It was entirely too endearing. 

With Adora in the shower, Catra decided to distract herself by cleaning up a little. She hadn’t made a huge mess, but her blanket and pillow on the floor seemed out of place so she scooped them up and folded the blanket neatly before putting it on the couch and stacking the pillow atop it. 

When Catra looked towards Glimmer’s kitchen, she saw Melog had climbed up on the counter and was sniffing around a fancy little banana holder. “I don’t think you’re supposed to be up there.” Melog meowed at that. “No, I really don’t.” Catra walked over and scooped them up off the counter. Only then did she see her phone and the little light blinking in the corner. She’d left it there when they came in the night before - it was hard to hold it with her hands so shaky. 

She knew what the messages waiting on it for her were. The only other person that messaged her was Scorpia and Adora and Scorpia was out of town with Perfuma. 

Catra held Melog close, feeling them purr against her chest. She reached out, tapping the screen and lighting it up. 

Weaver : 4 missed calls

Weaver: You’re only making it worse for yourself

Anger flooded Catra like a poison. She wanted to throw her phone against the wall or scream at the top of her lungs. But Melog was still in her arms and Catra used that as motivation to stay calm. She’d escaped - she was free. She could fight back and be strong and nothing was stopping her. 

But what if she failed? What if she messed up and ended up ruining it for Adora or Glimmer or making it even worse for herself? What if time passed and Adora figured out that Catra wasn’t worth a damn thing and she left Bright Moon, like she was planning to do anyway, and Catra was alone again? 

What would stop Weaver from finding her and convincing her to come home or...forcing her.

Catra had never truly admitted that she was afraid of Weaver. Even if it was so blindingly obvious - she always hid it under the guise of annoyance. It wasn’t worth it to piss Weaver off because it only made things more annoying. But she didn't act like someone avoiding minor inconveniences. You don’t shut yourself off from the rest of the world out of trivial annoyance. You do it because you’re afraid and that’s what Catra was.

She didn’t know what Weaver was capable of - but she’d been at the blunt end of enough of Weaver’s bad days to know it was a lot. 

And Catra had never pushed back this hard before - never taken it this far. 

What if…

“Catra?” She didn’t jump, didn’t startle and didn’t even turn around. Just stared at her phone on the table and held Melog. Precious Melog, who’d been with her through so much. “What’d she say?” Adora asked, no doubt seeing the phone on the counter where Catra was currently staring a hole through. 

“Usual bullshit. Threats and constant calls.” Catra felt Adora move up behind her, she smelled nice. She laid a hand on Melog’s forehead and they nuzzled into it. “I’m scared,” the words broke her voice as she said them, but it felt good to say it out loud.

“Me too,” Adora said and Catra looked back at her confused. “I don’t...know what I can do. I just know that I want you to be safe and happy and I’ll do whatever I have to do. I just wish I knew what that was.” 

Catra shook her head and put Melog down, letting them roam Glimmer’s counter freely. She turned around and buried her head in Adora’s neck and shoulder. Strong arms wrapped around her and Catra felt tears spill down her cheeks. 

“You’re already doing it.” Catra sagged into Adora’s arms, finding comfort and safety. She felt her anxiety drift away piece by piece, she knew what she had to do. “I want to go talk to Glimmer’s parents at the store. I need to ask them about shifts and getting my check sent somewhere else and...for help.” Catra wished so much she could do this on her own. She was tired of needing people. 

Adora nodded, her chin pressing into the top of Catra’s head. “I’ll go with you.” 

“What about our stuff?” 

This made Adora laugh, Catra was grateful for that. “You say that like I actually had anything planned. I have no idea what I’m doing with you.”

Catra drew back, raising an eyebrow. “Well it seems to be working.” 

“Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then.”

“You’re so weird.” 

Adora shrugged. “I know,” she dropped her hands from Catra and wrapped them around herself. “I do want to do...you know...stuff...with you.” She looked away, shy and nervous. As she spoke Catra felt herself become a little nervous. “I don’t really know what all that entails but...the stuff on the couch and all the times we’ve kissed. It’s been really neat.” Adora then frowned and got upset, seemingly at herself. “But that’s not the point. Sorry,” she sighed. “We should focus on you and your thing and let’s just…”

“Adora,” Catra smiled at her, it was so hard not to. “I want that too. All of this...doesn’t change how I feel about you. If anything, it makes it even more...you know?” Adora nodded. “All of this sucks, so much but without you I don’t think...I mean...I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have made it even this far. So yeah, you get all the stuff.”

Adora laughed, a beautiful sound and Catra let herself enjoy it. Then a few seconds later, Adora spoke again. “Are you ready to go do this?” 

That crushing weight came back to her, heavy like a boulder crushing her. “No,” she said truthfully. She’d never be ready. “But let’s do it anyway.”

Chapter Text

Adora had felt out of it all morning. Not bad, just off - like she hadn’t slept great the day before. Which was true, but that was true of her last five or six days and it wasn’t as if she hadn’t gotten any sleep - she just hadn’t gotten as much as she probably needed. 

Still, today was the first day that it really felt like it was catching up to her. She was foggy and unfocused, struggling to keep her attention on her work - despite it being pretty easy. She was on box four of the laundry detergent she was stocking and at this point she felt like she was on autopilot. 

It didn’t help that Catra wasn’t here - she missed her. Catra had been given two weeks off after everything between her and Weaver came to light. It was almost shocking how quickly Glimmer’s parents moved to help and the lengths they went to. Adora didn’t know the full extent of it because she wasn’t in all the meetings, but she knew enough to know that Catra had help. 

Still, Catra wasn’t here, she was staying with Scorpia when it was determined that Glimmer and Bow’s apartment just wasn't big enough for a fourth person and her cat. If only Adora had kept her old apartment then Catra could have stayed there. 

Adora could have stayed with her. Stupid.

Pinching the bridge of her nose, Adora took a few deep breaths. She’d had the worst headache all night long. 

“It still baffles me that people actually ate these.” 

Looking back, Glimmer was holding up a bottle of Tide Pods and staring at it curiously. 

Adora frowned. “People...did that?”

Glimmer’s eyes went wide. “You didn't know that?” Adora shook her head. “Oh you innocent little puppy,” she laughed. “Unfortunately, yes. People are idiots and they would do it as a challenge. Kinda like the cinnamon challenge but a thousand times dumber.” 

“Cinnamon challenge?”

“Oh Adora,” Glimmer smiled. “That’s one I might have you try, just because it would be hilarious.” As Glimmer put the bottle back down, Adora turned back to her work. “You okay?” Glimmer asked. 

Adora nodded. “I’m good. Just working. Why? Did you need something?”

Glimmer shook her head. “No, it’s just...you’ve been over here for a while. And I’m not rushing you or anything it’s just...you usually work a little faster is all.” 

Pull yourself together, Adora!

“Sorry, just a little off today. It’s nothing, bad nights sleep.” She laughed, it really was nothing. She just needed to get her head to stop hurting and she’d be okay. “Probably slow from smelling all the soap in this aisle.” 

“Well here, I’ll help you out and we can get it done twice as fast.”

Adora shook her head. “You don’t have to - “

“I know I don’t have to, I want to help. It’s either help you or sit in the breakroom and listen to Mermista and Sea Hawk argue about who ate the last eggroll in their Chinese takeout.”

At that, Adora really couldn’t argue. Maybe having some company would distract her from the headache and make her feel better. 

“How’s Catra doing?” Glimmer asked as she knelt down next to Adora and opened up the last of her detergent boxes. These were the jumbo bottles and it was kinda funny to watch Glimmer two hand one of them out and slam it onto the shelf. 

“She’s okay, it’s been hard and I know she’s struggling. She’s worried about Weaver coming after her. Worried about this thing with Weaver’s job not going anywhere and only causing more trouble. I’m doing my best to talk her through it and support her. But that’s hard too.” Adora laughed softly to herself. “I barely know how to talk to people, let alone be someone’s support system.” 

Glimmer touched her shoulder and when Adora looked her way, she smiled. “You’re doing a great job, Adora. You’ve done more for Catra in the last few months than any of us did in the years we’ve worked here.” At that, Glimmer sighed and started digging through the box again. “We just kinda gave up on her. Let it happen. If anything…”

“That’s what she wanted,” Adora said, then realized how it sounded. “Maybe not what she wanted, but it was what she thought was safest for her. She doesn’t hold any ill will towards you or anyone else here.”

“I suppose it took a knight in shining armor to swoop in and rescue her.” Glimmer winked and for some reason, it left a bitter feeling in Adora’s stomach. What had she really done? Yes, she supported Catra and yes she was determined to be there for her. But Catra was still hurting and still scared and Adora didn’t know what to do to fix that. It made her feel inadequate. Like she wasn’t doing enough, wasn’t capable enough. 

“Adora?” Glimmer called out, a little sharp which told Adora it wasn’t the first time she’d tried. 

“Huh? Sorry, what’s up?”

That look returned on Glimmer’s face, worry. “You sure you’re alright?” 

Adora put on the absolute best smile she could find. With everything going on, the last thing anyone needed was to take care of her. “I am, I promise. Little tired, but I’m good. What’d you say?” 

That seemed to do the trick. “I asked if Catra was coming over tomorrow for board games? Bow is losing his mind about his Red Dragon Inn expansion pack and if we don’t get a fourth player he might have a meltdown.”

All Adora wanted was to get to that game night. She was literally dragging herself through the days to get there. “Yes, she’s coming. She seemed excited.” It was true, Catra had seemed to perk up at the invitation. Maybe it was because she could just say yes and go without having to sneak out or wait until she was alone. 

Catra’s adjustment to her freedom was a slow process. It had taken more than a few attempts to get her to come over to see Adora even though she could at any time. Adora never pushed, and more often than not just went over to Scorpia’s instead - but to get Catra out of the apartment would be good for her. 

Good for Adora too, who desperately needed the distraction. 

They fell into a rather comfortable silence and Adora’s headache did lift just enough that the rest of the work wasn’t too bad. When they finished, Glimmer celebrated and it was infections enough that Adora joined in on her silly little dance. 

Before she knew it, the sun was rising and their shift was over. 

Her mood was borderline good as she made her way out to her car and started following Glimmer back home, but the closer and closer they were to the apartment, the harder it was for Adora to feel good. She was scared, which sounded incredibly silly, but she was. She was absolutely terrified of climbing into her bed and trying to sleep. The last few weeks since everything happened with Catra had been filled with sleepless days and when she did sleep, she didn’t feel rested at all. It was messing with her body too. She wasn’t as hungry, she couldn’t put in as much effort as she wanted at the gym and her focus was a mess. 

She just wanted to sleep, she wanted one night of good sleep - but when she’d get into bed that was all she could think about. How badly she wanted to fall asleep and every time she thought she was close to getting there, she’d start focusing on that too much and then it wouldn't happen. It was frustrating and scary because she had no idea what had broken inside of her that made sleeping such a struggle. Just a few weeks ago she felt like she’d all but mastered sleeping during the day. 

Now it was something she was actively dreading. 

Adora put on quite a show as they made it home. She laughed at all the right times and made sure to eat enough of her chicken and zucchini pasta that Glimmer didn’t notice her basically forcing it down. Her stomach hurt, her head hurt and she was so tired. 

As she climbed in bed, she pulled out her phone and felt the tiniest bit of relief at the message waiting for her. 

Catra : Scorpia and Perfuma are so LOUD

Adora smiled, her eyes heavy. 

Adora : Are they...you know?

Catra : I wish! At least then it would be something normal. They do this thing where they window shop the internet together. Tonight it’s bookcases or some shit and they keep screaming.

Adora was in the middle of telling Catra she could come pick her up, bring her back here, they could cuddle together and Adora could forget all about how awful she felt. Then her phone buzzed again. 

Catra : It could be worse though. At least they don’t drink like Weaver or invite creepy dudes over. 

Taking a breath, Adora deleted her desperate message and instead decided to just let Catra keep opening up. She hoped Catra would text her until Adora passed out. 

Adora : How’s all that going? Any news on Weaver? 

Adora laid her phone down on her pillow and rolled over. The pressure in her head was pulsing and she just felt so distant from herself. Like nothing around her was real and everything was so far away she couldn’t touch it. She just wanted to sleep, so much. 

When her phone buzzed again, Adora lazily flipped it over and looked at it. 

Catra : Good I think? Who knows but I haven’t had to see her in two weeks and Angella told me it was good that I blocked her number. She also got really excited when I told her I had evidence of Weaver giving away medication and shit to Hordak. She ran with that and we took it to the company she works for. I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop and all of it to blow up in my face but Glimmer’s mom is

The message ended there, but another came a moment later.

Catra : She’s what a mom should be, I think

She wasn’t entirely sure why, blaming the fact that she felt bad or that she was so tired, but Catra’s words brought tears to her eyes. Catra had such a good heart, and nobody deserved to be treated with love and care as much as she did. 

Adora : I’m glad she’s helping. You’ll be out of it all soon, I hope. 

Adora : Speaking of Glimmer, she’s excited you’re coming to board game night.

Catra : Of course I’m coming. You’re there.

Now she was crying, the long day and the long week catching up with her. She just wanted Catra here, to hold her and tell her everything would be okay. But she knew she couldn't ask for that. Catra was the one who needed support. Adora couldn’t be selfish. 

Adora : I’m giving you a big kiss when I see you.

Catra : I’m holding you to that, Grayskull

The conversation drifted off after that, Adora buried herself under the blankets on Glimmer’s couch begging for sleep to come. 


“I legit thought this guy was just gonna like...give us a keg.”

Bow was so excited, throwing his hands in the air as he talked. It was cute and Adora enjoyed watching him tell the story from her seat at the kitchen counter. 

“Why on earth would he give you a keg?”

Bow’s arms went high into the air again. “I don’t know! But he kept going on and on about how they got extra kegs and needed to get rid of them. I made a casual joke about how I could use one for this party…”

“A party of four people,” Glimmer added with a bit of derision. 

“If we had a keg, there’d be a lot more than four people here.”

“I’m glad we didn’t get a keg.” Adora chimed in. The thought of more people was not how she wanted this night to go.

“Yeah well,” Bow suddenly frowned. His head cast down. Truly tragic. “They didn’t give me a keg.”

“No shit,” Glimmer laughed and earned a glare. “The guy was probably just trying to get you to pay for one.” Glimmer then returned to her task of chopping veggies for whatever it was she was cooking tonight. Adora didn’t know exactly, but right now she was chopping carrots and Adora was struggling not to reach over and take a few of the pieces for herself. “Did you at least get the alcohol we could afford?” 

Bow nodded. “It’s in the fridge. Just a few twelve packs of beer.”

“Did you get claw?” At that, he winced with guilt. “Aw come on, no claw?” 

“No, I mean...I got it but…”

“No…” 

Adora had no idea what was going on, but it was all very dramatic. 

Throwing his hands up in innocence, Bow opened the fridge and pulled out a white case of beer. “All they had was lemon.”

“Ugh!” Glimmer threw her head back, knife in hand and Adora genuinely leaned back a bit. “Why does the universe hate me?!” 

“We could check the store downtown when we go pick up Catra?” 

Glimmer’s eyes lit up at that. “Yes! They always have mango downtown! You’re a genius, Bow!”

Adora couldn’t help but smile at the easy resolution to their very simple problem. She was also maybe a little disappointed that they were the ones who were going to pick up Catra and not her, but Adora had to stay home and wait for the results of her test from the day before. 

She hadn’t been nearly as prepared as she would have liked, with so much going on and her seemingly endless battle with sleep, it was hard to focus as much as she would have liked. 

“We could go now? The stew needs to simmer for a little while longer after I put the carrots in. You think Catra would mind an early pickup?”

Adora answered way too quickly. “Not at all! I - I mean, I don’t think so. She said to come by whenever so…” She really wanted to see Catra.

Glimmer smiled at her, thankfully and didn’t point out how big of a dork she was being. “Okay, we’ll get her and drop her off here, then go downtown and pick up some of the good Claw.”

“I’ll go start Bessy.”

“Stop calling our car Bessy!”

Bow made his way out the door. “That’s it’s name!” 

“Ugh!” 

Before Adora could even register what was happening, Glimmer was throwing her carrots in the stew and stomping out the door with her boots barely on. 

Refreshing the page on her laptop, Adora picked up her phone and texted Catra. 

Adora : Shimmer and Shine are headed your way :)

The page on the screen was the same as before, no grades posted yet. Adora sighed and went to the fridge to find something to snack on. She had one good night's sleep yesterday and spent two wonderful hours at the gym. Now she wanted to bulk up and get some good protein. 

She plucked a container of cold chicken and sat it down at her little work spot at the counter. Taking a piece and popping it in her mouth as her phone buzzed. 

Catra : look at u using the nicknames, i’m so proud ;’)

Adora let out a chuckle and hit refresh again. 

Adora : It kinda works. Also they’re arguing about the name of the car so be ready for that. 

Catra : never understood people naming their cars

Catra : if urs had a name it’d be poop

Adora wanted to be offended but all she could do was laugh. Catra was so good at making her do that. 

Adora : I’ll have you know that Swift Wind is personally offended by that

Unfortunately, Adora finished up her chicken and was somehow only hungrier. Everyone needed to get here and make this meal because Glimmer’s stew smelled so good. 

Today had been Adora’s best day this week. She slept okay the day before and her shift had gone smoothly. She got in her workout and she was going to spend tonight with her friends and Catra. 

Catra : …..swift wind? 

Catra : like the swift wind that comes out when you poop. I dig it

This time, Adora threw her head back in a hearty laugh. She was gonna let Catra have it when she got here. What that meant, Adora didn’t know, but it would probably be kissing and teasing and maybe carrying her around the apartment a little. 

Adora : You’re so gross, why are we together?

Phrasing it like that, together, was enough to put a smile on Adora’s face. When she moved here, she imagined best case scenarios as making a few friends, being good at her job - maybe having a date at most with some cute girl she met at the gym. 

Instead, what Adora found was people she considered close to family, the way they looked out for her and genuinely seemed to care about her was more surprising by the day. Then there was Catra - this girl who made Adora feel like she belonged and that she could do anything. Who Adora wanted to protect and love and experience the big scary world with together. 

Adora tapped refresh on her computer again, waiting for Catra’s response. She fought the urge to sneak over and pluck a bit of meat out of Glimmer’s crockpot because she knew it was cooked and now just tenderizing up to perfection. Instead, Adora opted for a bottle of water and as she sat down noticed that the page on her screen was different than the last fourteen times she’d refreshed it. 

She then noticed the number on the screen by her name was red. That couldn’t be right? 

Adora Grayskull - Grade: 48%

It didn’t register with her when she first saw it. There was no way it could be real. Sure, Adora hadn’t studied as much as she’d wanted to but there was no way she failed . She hit refresh again, ready and waiting for the page to tell her her true grade. Maybe a low 80 or high 70, but not this, it couldn’t be. 

But it was. The grade was the same and Adora just... stared at it. Like if she looked long enough it would change and tell her the truth. Tell her she hadn’t done this. 

How could she fail ? With everything she’d put into her schooling and her future how could she possibly fail? She wasn’t supposed to, she couldn’t . Mara and Gran had helped her with so much to get out here. Done so much for her. Adora had saved and worked, put everything she had into it and now she’d failed one of the biggest exams of the semester?

It wasn’t until the corners of her vision started to blur that Adora realized she wasn’t breathing. She stepped off the barstool and her leg barely held her. She backed up as much as she could, hoping to hit something solid. When she did, she slid down onto the ground and tried desperately to open up her lungs. 

She failed, she wasn’t ready for this test. Wasn’t ready for these classes and now it would all snowball. She’d probably fail the whole semester - clearly she didn’t know what she was doing. The next time she talked to Mara she’d be so disappointed in Adora. All the hard work she’d put in, all the effort Mara had put in homeschooling her and Gran in giving her work and support. For what? So she could throw it all away.

Tears fell down her cheeks as she buried her head between her knees. She was having so much trouble catching her breath it went from worry about her grade to worry about her body. She was losing control and the fuzzy edges of her vision were darkening. 

“-ra! Adora!” 

Something was touching her shoulders, but Adora couldn’t lift her head. She just ground her teeth together and tried to force out a breath. Tried to concentrate on taking one simple breath because if she didn’t she was going to pass out or worse. 

Then she was suddenly being shook, almost violently, and when she looked up it was Catra there. Her mismatched eyes were big and worried. Staring at her, mouth open, screaming. 

“Adora! You have to breathe!” Catra shouted, her hands moving from Adora’s shoulders as she stood up. 

She moved without hesitation and somehow nestled herself between Adora and the wall. Then her arms were around Adora’s neck and shoulders, her back pressing down. 

Adora lashed out, trying to escape. She was suffocating. 

“No,” Catra’s voice was right in her ear, soft and strong. “Breathe with me. Feel my chest on your back? Follow it. In and out.” 

She tried, and she could feel Catra breathing against her, but when Adora attempted it, her throat felt like it was clotted and all she could do was gasp. 

“You can do this, Adora. Relax. I’m here. Breathe for me, okay? Like in the bathroom at the theater. In and out. Come on, baby. You can do this.” 

There was no logical wait to explain it, but for some reason, when Catra called her ‘baby’ it felt like a lifeline. Catra was here, she was safe. She couldn’t slip away now. She had to fight. 

Suddenly, Adora sucked in a breath, her whole body shaking as she felt Catra hold on even tighter. 

“That’s it, good girl. Now out, with me.” Catra exhaled into Adora’s hair and neck, she did the same - now tasting the tears on her lips. “Back in, slowly.” Catra breathed in and Adora followed suit. “Out…” This one was just as shaky, but at least Adora knew she could do it. 

Adora didn’t know how long they were there, but eventually her breathing evened out and her body started to relax. She was exhausted and felt heavy, but that might have been Catra still leaning against her. 

It wasn’t until she heard Catra sniff that Adora looked up and saw that she was crying. 

“Catra?” She said, her voice raspy and dry. 

Catra’s eyes found her, desperate, she moved off Adora’s back and settled in beside her. A heartbeat later, Catra’s hands were in her hair. “You scared the shit out of me.” 

“M’sorry.” She exhaled slowly, still a bit shaky. “I - I’ve never had one that bad before.” 

“It’s okay. Just...what...what happened?” 

The thought of saying it out loud almost sent Adora spiraling again. The fear of realizing that it was true and that she hadn’t just dreamed it. 

“I failed a test, like a big one and I guess it just...hit me hard.” 

When Catra’s eyes narrowed, Adora winced - maybe Catra was ashamed of her too. “You failed?” Adora lowered her head. She’d disappointed everyone. “Fuck,” Catra growled and Adora started to pull away - but then Catra held her tighter. “I’m so sorry, Adora. This is my fault.” 

That got Adora’s attention. Her eyes snapped up to meet Catra. “What? How is my failing your fault?” 

“How is it not?!” Catra raised her voice, but it seemed more at herself. “I’ve had so much shit lately and you’ve been taking it all on with me it’s no wonder you failed. You’ve had no time to study with me and my Weaver BS. I shouldn’t have put so much on you. I should have been able to handle it better.” 

“Catra, no.” Adora shook her head, now it was her turn to draw Catra back in. “I wanted to be there and help. I would have felt awful if I couldn’t. I just lost track of time and didn’t study like I should have and then all the stuff with Gran on top of that and work and it’s just…” Adora slowed her rambling and took a breath. 

“I should have been better.”

“Catra…”

“No, I know. It’s fucked up and it sucks and my situation sucks but I’ve been taking so much from you lately. I - I got so used to having you there for me and I forgot you have your own life and your own shit and...ugh.” Catra threw her head back and Adora felt a tidal wave of guilt wash over her. If she’d been better. If she’d done better then Catra wouldn’t be feeling this way. But now she hadn’t only failed, she’d made Catra feel like she had something to do with it. “We need to get the fuck out of Bright Moon.”

“What?” 

Catra draped her head on Adora’s shoulder. “Just like...take a weekend or something and go somewhere. I’ve always wanted to do that, you know? Like a road trip out of nowhere. Pack a change of clothes and a toothbrush and just go. I’d day dream about it like a fucking loser when I was cooped up in my room waiting for Weaver to leave town again.” Catra reached into Adora’s lap, grabbing her hand and letting her fingertips tickle Adora’s wrist. On instinct, Adora flipped her hand over and Catra laced their fingers together. “Never had anyone to go with me in the daydreams, though.” 

Adora couldn’t deny how nice that actually sounded. In fact, she had an idea of where they could go. “You wanna come to Crystal Castle?” 

“You mean like...where you grew up?” 

She didn’t say no, and Adora grasped onto that. “Yeah, I - I know it might be kinda silly but I have a few days off and I don’t think I’ll hear from my course professor until next week. Mara’s been asking me to come for a while now and I just...it’d be nice to get away. I think...I think I could really use it.” 

Catra was quiet for a moment, just holding Adora’s hand and seemingly lost in thought. For a hot second, Adora wondered if this was too much, she always wondered if the steps she took with Catra were too much. 

Then Catra sighed and smiled just a bit. “I suppose I can do that now, huh? Just...go with you and not worry about the consequences.” Adora nodded and Catra laughed a bit sadly. “At least in theory. Doesn’t mean I won’t be nervous as hell about it.” 

“I’m taking you back to my house, you’ll see the room I grew up in, and all the Sword and Shield memorabilia I have. I’m the one who should be nervous.” 

“You promise you won’t spend all of your time with your face in your laptop studying and freaking out about this test, right?” 

Adora shook her head. “I’ll have to face it eventually, but if I do any of that right now I think I’ll end up on the floor again.”

Softly, Catra kissed her cheek and Adora savored the feeling. “Okay, then let’s go to Crystal Castle.” They sat together for a little while longer, Adora still trying to shut her mind off, trying to focus on the good - which Catra made easier. “Glitz and Glitter will be here soon. They just dropped me off before going to get booze downtown. We should probably get up off the floor if we’re gonna kick their ass at this card game.” 

As Catra stood up, Adora grabbed her by the wrist and stopped her. Catra looked worried, but Adora was quick to soothe her with a hug. “Thank you,” she said, holding on tight. “For being here. For helping.” 

“Just returning the favor.” Catra held her back and Adora felt something in her world tilt in a way she never would have expected. Something she couldn’t fully understand in the moment. 

Thankfully, Catra was quick to keep her out of her own head. “Your aunt isn’t gonna like...hate me, right? You make her sound kind of scary.”

Adora laughed. “She’s fine! She’ll like you. She’s just...intense.” 

“Like...Bow intense or Scorpia intense?” 

“Not that kind of intense.”

Catra made a face, Adora laughed at her. “You’re not helping.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t have a comparison. She’s really great and she means well she’s just…”

“Yeah, intense, I got it.” 

“You’ll like her.” 

“That doesn’t answer my question. Will she like me?”

Adora shrugged. “It doesn’t matter. I like you.”

“That’s not an answer!” 

“Oh look, Bow and Glimmer are back.” She raced to the front door to greet her friends.

“Adora!”

Chapter Text

SPRING

Dear Ms Grayskull

I am pleased to inform you that you have been accepted to the University of Florida APPLIED PHYSIOLOGY AND KINESIOLOGY program for the 2021 academic semester beginning in September...

Adora wasn’t sure how many times she’d read the letter since it arrived two days ago. At least sixty. Well...sixty-one now. 

If she were being honest, she hadn’t fully wrapped her head around it yet. The whole thing didn’t feel entirely real.

It was early, really early. Like before the sun early. Not that it was a huge deal for Adora - even before she worked a night shift she was an early riser to work back in Crystal Castle, but there was still something she loved about the way the world looked just before the sun found it’s way over the horizon. 

Everything felt calmer, as if it were brimming with anticipation of what this day might bring. That’s how Adora felt, more or less. She was doing all she could to pour every ounce of energy she had into being excited for this trip and not think about her failed test and this email that set up her future.

She was excited for this trip, really she was - it was certainly something she needed. 

Mara had been surprisingly open to the idea when Adora told her she was coming. She was a little less thrilled when Adora told her she was bringing someone with her, but when Adora told her it was her girlfriend, well...that changed the whole conversation. 

Adora still felt the tingle of the word on her lips - she’d never said it to anyone else before. Girlfriend. Catra was her...girlfriend. 

Of course, Adora had left out the part about the failed test and the breakdown that followed. She had every intention of telling Mara about it, but not over the phone. She also wanted to make sure she knew exactly what she was going to say, because at the present - she really didn’t. 

Adora had spent the last few days thinking very hard about her future. A future that she had all but set in stone before she even made it past the Welcome to Bright Moon sign that greeted her when she crossed the town border. Work here, grow here, learn here and then move away from here and chase her dream. 

And it was still her dream, even if the school part of it wasn’t nearly as much fun as the actual helping people part of it, Adora still wanted to be a nutrition and fitness specialist. But her plan never factored in meeting people here. Finding comfort and safety and happiness here.

Finding love. 

She never imagined it would be so wonderful - that she would feel so welcomed. 

Which had left Adora in a dilemma because she did still want that future she dreamed about, but damn if she didn’t want to stay here with these people and enjoy this happiness even more. 

So she was torn and feeling a little lost and knew full well that there was a big conversation down the road that she was going to have to have. For now though, she put that aside (as best she could because Adora’s mind never really stopped) and instead she was fully focused on the next three days. 

A three day weekend with Catra. 

Catra, who was struggling to accept that she could, in fact, just go without any guilt or anxiety. Catra, who had just recently found out that the company Weaver was working for had gotten an anonymous tip and was now investigating her. Catra, who Adora fully planned to tell she loved at some point this weekend. 

Adora : I’m here :)

She put the car in park, watching the front door of Scorpia’s apartment, waiting for Catra to come out. It was early, and she didn't want to honk or knock because Scorpia had worked last night and had probably just gotten home.

A minute later, the door opened and Catra stepped out. She was wearing her leather jacket, with a red scarf wrapped around her neck. She had one bag slung over her shoulder and some kind of tupperware in her left hand. 

Their eyes met as she approached the door and Adora smiled, her heart fluttering when Catra winked at her before she climbed in the car. 

“Morning,” Adora said. Her voice was annoyingly wistful. 

Catra smiled at her. “Morning, princess.” Catra held up tupperware. “Perfuma made cookies. They’re sugar free and gluten free and yet somehow they taste incredible. I think she’s lying.” 

Adora laughed, setting the box of cookies down on the console between them. “You’d think spending enough time with me you’d realize that healthy food can taste good!” 

“Oh Adora, people just tell you that cause you’re pretty.” 

Feigning offense, Adora gasped and looked away. “Wow, that cuts deep, Catra. You told me you liked my sprout bread sandwiches.” 

“I like the way you smile when I tell you nice things,” Adora slowly looked back at her, and now Catra had a cookie in her hand and was holding it out for her. “Seriously though, you have to try them. I think she used magic.” 

Reaching over, Adora took a bite of the cookie and stared right into Catra’s eyes as she did it. 

Then suddenly, Adora’s mouth was filled with the most ashen and gravely tasting cookie she’d ever bitten into. “Oh my god! What is that?” She gagged and swallowed in a hurry, feeling it stick in her throat but anything was better than having it on her tongue. “I thought you said they were amazing?!” 

Catra was too busy cackling to notice the glare Adora was giving her. “Oh...my...your face. You dork, I told you they were sugar free and gluten free! How could that possibly be good?!” 

“You are such a brat !” Adora swatted Catra’s arm before putting the car in drive and taking off down the road. “I can’t believe you,” she tried to put as much genuine hurt in her voice as she could. She wanted to see if she could get a little sympathy. 

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone go from cute to gag so fast!” Catra was clutching her stomach, practically doubling over with laughter. “Ugh, you’re my favorite.” Catra said, wiping a tear from her eye and every drop of annoyance faded away. 

Instead, Adora found herself stealing glances at Catra who was staring out the windshield watching signs and buildings go by as they made their way out of town. She was smiling, still reeling from watching Adora eat a bad cookie. 

She looked…

“You seem happy?” 

Catra peeked over at her. “Why wouldn’t I be? I just made you eat baked dirt.” 

Adora didn’t want to dampen the mood, but she knew this was the best chance either one of them would have to really open up to one another. “Have you heard anything new with Weaver?” She saw Catra tense a bit and immediately regretted asking. “Sorry, I...this isn’t the time for that.” 

“No, it’s fine,” Catra settled back in her seat, gripping the seat belt over her shoulder. “She called me two days ago.”

“What? Why didn’t…” Adora sighed, she couldn’t make it about her. “What’d she say?” 

“Same shit, I’m not sure why I answered. Told me I was making a mistake. Told me I was making it harder on myself. Threatening me without really threatening me,” Catra shifted awkwardly in her seat. “I’m trying to focus on just...doing my thing, you know? Not letting her back in my head. I’m out, I have support. I have…” Catra was staring hard at the dash, almost glaring at it. “I have you.” Adora couldn’t stop herself from smiling. “So fuck her. She can try all she wants but Glimmer’s mom and I are putting her in jail.” 

“Is that an actual thing? The photos and everything?” 

That perked Catra up. “There’s definitely something to it. Glimmer’s mom pounced on it like a cougar - which she kind of is, you know?”

Adora frowned. “What?”

“A cougar.”

“What does that mean?” 

Catra quirked a brow at her. “My poor, sheltered, buff baby girlfriend.”

“Shut up,” Adora laughed. “So I don’t know what a cougar is. Do you know what a hot route is?” 

“Is that when you kiss your girlfriend’s stomach all the way down to her…”

“No!” Adora swerved a bit in panic, making Catra laugh as she regained control of the car. “Oh my god, no, it’s a football term.” 

“I figured, but it’s so much fun to watch you turn red like that.” 

Adora rolled her eyes. “You’re the worst.” She couldn’t help herself from smiling though, Catra’s laugh was incredibly contagious. “Honestly, though, are you...are things okay?” 

Catra gave her a soft look, but also one that told her to stop worrying. “I’m okay. You need to worry more about yourself, idiot. That’s the whole point of this trip - to get you out of your own head and rest your brain.” With that, Catra reached over and put her hand on the back of Adora’s head. It was a soft gesture, and when she ran her fingers through Adora’s hair, she leaned into it. “Have you been sleeping?” 

She shrugged, Adora didn’t want to lie. “Better than before, not as good as I’d like. The best part about sleeping in the living room is I have the big TV to watch stuff while I try.”

“I think that’s probably working against you.”

Adora frowned. “Really?”

“Yeah, something about blue light. I know a lot of dumb shit about dumb shit. It happens when you’re at home all the time randomly googling everything.”

“Well it’s not like there’s anything good on TV at midnight.”

“Oh, that reminds me!” Catra practically jumped out of her seat and started to climb into the back. Her foot pressing into Adora’s shoulder and her butt in the air. If the car in front of them looked through their mirror she'd be giving them a show. 

“Catra, what are you doing?” 

“Hang on,” Adora could hear things moving around and being thrown all over the backseat. “Stupid fucking...ah ha!” With much more jostling and a foot literally pressing against the windshield, Catra climbed back in her seat and put her seatbelt back on. As she did, Adora glanced over and saw that she was holding something in her hand. It was small and gray, Adora couldn’t tell what it was. “This is for you,” she held up a USB stick and had on the most genuinely proud smile. 

Adora looked at Catra, then the stick and then back to Catra. “What is it?” 

Somehow, that grin grew even wider. “So Entrapta was over last night and I noticed her and Scorpia watching that new Mermisteries movie.”

“The one we went to the theater for?”

“Where I had a breakdown in the bathroom. The same one.” Catra said and Adora frowned. “Anyway, apparently Entrapta knows a place where you can download torrents of like...all kinds of stuff and I asked her if she could find the complete run and Sword and Shield and…” Catra held up the stick again and Adora’s eyes went wide. 

“That’s Sword and Shield?!” She squealed way too much, but she didn’t care. Sword and Shield was her whole childhood. “Oh my gosh! Catra! We have to watch it when we get to Grans!” 

“Duh, of course we’ll watch it. I gotta know what all the fuss is about.” Catra put the stick down on the console between them and before she could pull her hand away, Adora grabbed it. 

She looked over for a moment, pulling Catra’s hand up to her lips and dropping a soft kiss on her knuckles. “Thank you.” 

Catra rolled her eyes, but her pink cheeks gave her away even more. “Whatever, dummy. You know I’d do anything for you.” 

I love you .

It was on the tip of Adora’s tongue, but she couldn’t find the courage. 

Not yet.


Unfortunately, the drive to Crystal Castle was too long to make in one day - which meant they had to find a hotel room to stay in somewhere in between. 

Adora had known this from the outset of the trip, and she’d even gone as far as to figure out where they would be staying. How much it would cost and even what places to eat were around it. 

What Adora did not think about was the fact that the room she’d reserved only had one bed. 

One bed. It was like something out of a Sword and Shield fanfiction. 

As they walked into their room, Catra didn’t seem to even notice there was only one bed. As for Adora, it was all she noticed. She moved over to it slowly, setting her bag down at the foot of it. Adora started to let her mind wander over the many excuses she could make for herself to sleep on the floor. 

She didn’t want to, but she also didn’t want to make Catra uncomfortable or push too hard. Yes, she’d imagined sharing a bed with Catra before and yes she’d imagined the many things they could do in that bed. But it was never like this. It was always more intimate. A bed that was theirs and a moment that Adora had had time to prepare for. 

When Catra touched Adora’s shoulders from behind, she jumped. 

“Easy, it’s just me.” Catra said, her voice soft. 

When Adora refocused on the room, all grey and white walls, just a hint of the fading daylight spilling in through the big window over the air conditioner unit. The door was shut, they were here...together and Adora was suddenly tingly all over. 

“S - sorry…” she laughed, or tried too, but it came out shaky. 

“You okay?” Catra asked with that cute little head tilt of hers. “Do you not like the room?”

“No, it’s fine.” She smiled again, trying her best to make it a good one. “Maybe I’m just hungry,” that would work. That would get them out of this room and away from all the thoughts swimming through Adora’s head like a tidal wave. 

“Of course you are,” Catra laughed. “Any Adora approved restaurants around here?” 

That earned Catra a bit of a glare. “Look, I’m on vacation, I can relax the rules a little.” 

“So McDonald’s?” Adora knew she made a face. She felt herself make a face and when Catra started laughing it all but confirmed that she absolutely made a face. “I’m kidding . But, what about breakfast? I saw an iHop across the street and I don’t know about you, but pancakes and sausage for dinner is the best.” 

“Breakfast for...dinner?” Adora had never really heard of such a thing, but she also ate lunch these days around midnight, so apparently food had no rules. “Okay, sure! I can get an egg white omelet or something!”

Catra rolled her eyes and smiled. “Don’t go too wild there, Princess.”

“Hey, maybe I’ll get some bacon on the side!” 

“You don’t even like bacon!”

“It’s too salty!”

Dinner came and went. Adora’s mind settled down long enough to let her eat and enjoy Catra’s company. The meal was just okay, with Adora’s egg having almost no flavor. She did take one bite of pancake offered to her, but it was too sweet and just reminded Adora that she didn’t like syrup. 

Still, it was pleasant and they sat at the table long after both of them had finished eating -  just talking and enjoying the mostly empty restaurant. 

Slowly but surely, Catra was learning to be more comfortable in her own skin. She’d stopped checking her phone every fifteen minutes and started being more outgoing and silly - more herself. 

By the time they made it back to their room, Adora was exhausted. A day of driving caught up to her quickly and as soon as they entered the room, it was as if Adora’s body knew sleep was close. 

She found herself sitting on the bed, the one bed in the room, stressing over what she was going to tell Catra. 

The same Catra who hadn’t said a thing about it and was currently in the bathroom getting ready. 

Adora’s mind raced, as it had all night, with the idea of sharing this bed with Catra. She knew she couldn’t - she didn’t want to pressure her into anything and Adora wasn’t even sure if she was ready for that. But she also really wanted to lay down with her and cuddle her and kiss her in the darkness in ways she hadn’t yet. 

The images hit her again and Adora groaned, lying back on the mattress that was way too soft and pillows that were so pathetic they might as well not even be there. 

“Okay, you’re up,” Catra’s voice drew Adora’s attention as she looked up and saw her step out of the bathroom. 

Adora’s heart started to race. She’d seen Catra in a lot of different ways. From the skull bandana and a leather jacket to seeing her on the floor of a movie theater bathroom in tears. 

This though, this was one she’d remember forever. 

Catra was wearing a grey tank top and very short grey shorts to match. It was incredibly attractive, to say the least and Adora could stare at her for hours and never lose interest. But beyond that, there was something so...intimate about it - so personal. It sparked a feeling in Adora that felt almost insane. 

All she could think about, watching Catra untie her hair and let it fall around her shoulders, was that she wanted to go to bed with her like this every single night. 

“Adora?” Catra called again and Adora didn’t make a move to leave the bed. 

Instead, she rose to her knees and crawled over to the side Catra was on. When she was close enough, she reached out and touched Catra’s cheek, making her multi-colored eyes go wide with surprise. 

A heartbeat passed between them, then Catra’s hand wrapped around Adora’s wrist. 

She had no other choice, the seal was broken. 

“I love you.” She said, the words sounding somehow familiar because she’d thought about it so much. “Catra, I - I love you so much.”

The next thing Adora knew, Catra was kissing her. It was not passionate or intense, just soft and wet, there were tears on Catra’s cheeks that were smashing against Adora’s face. She was crying? 

Adora tried to pull back, to see what was wrong. But when she did, Catra just wrapped her arms around Adora’s neck and hugged her. 

“I love you too.”

Suddenly, they were falling and Adora landed on the mattress with a gasp. Catra was on top of her, kissing her with everything she had. It was intense, more so than any kiss they’d shared before. Catra’s hands were everywhere. In Adora’s hair, running down her neck and splaying across her stomach. Then they were under Adora’s shirt, touching her skin - hot like fire but Adora felt herself pressing into the touch. 

They pulled apart, Adora gasping for air and the next thing she knew, Catra was lifting up her shirt and bending down to kiss her stomach. Adora made a noise, one she’d never heard from herself before, and she felt Catra’s lips curl into a smile on her skin. 

Adora felt herself getting lost in the moment. The way Catra felt on top of her, the way her heart was racing. She was hot and struggling to catch her breath - it was a lot. 

Too much. It was too much. 

“Catra,” she whispered, her voice breaking - not loud enough for Catra to hear. “Catra.” She spoke louder, only this time too loud and it startled Catra who looked up at her with big eyes. 

“What…” Catra studied her, then sudden concern washed over her. “You okay?” 

Adora closed her eyes and took a deep breath - this felt similar to a panic attack, but not nearly as unpleasant. She’d just been so overwhelmed. “Sorry,” she hated the weakness in her voice. “I’m sorry.”

Catra sighed. “ I’m sorry, I got excited.” 

Adora smiled, still not ready to open her eyes because she knew the room would still be spinning. “You’ve never done that before.” She said, slowly letting her eyes open and finding Catra looking at her with worry. “The stomach kiss thing. That was...wow.”

“Too much?” 

“No,” Adora didn’t want her to think she didn’t like it. “No, it was just...intense and I freaked out a little. I’ve never done...anything like that before.”

Catra smirked. “Well if it makes you feel any better that’s the first stomach I’ve ever kissed.”

“It does a little.”

Suddenly, Catra’s eyes moved back down Adora’s body. Only then did she realize her shirt was still up. “Have to say, you’ve ruined all of the other stomachs for me. This one is...perfect..” Gently, Catra’s hand landed on Adora’s skin again. She felt her breath hitch, but Catra was careful. “We’ll slow it down. I have no idea what pace we’re supposed to go at but you told me you loved me and…” Now it was Catra’s turn to look uncertain. She dug her nails softly into Adora’s skin. “Nobody’s ever said that to me before.”

As Catra said it, Adora went through what she knew about Catra in her head. How she grew up, who she grew up with and what she’d lost. How hard Catra had worked to keep people away from her and at a distance. The more she thought about it, the more she realized it wasn’t just a line Catra was saying. 

Adora might have literally been the first person to tell Catra they loved her. 

Sitting up, she cradled Catra’s face in her hands. “I meant it. I mean it. I love you.” 

“I know, idiot,” she kissed her again. “We should probably sleep, huh?” 

Adora wasn’t entirely sure how in the world she was going to sleep after that , but her body was exhausted and tomorrow’s drive would be even longer. 

So she nodded, letting go of Catra and moving to brush her teeth and get ready. She felt like she was on autopilot - her mind stuck in the previous moment with Catra. The confession and the kiss - the feeling of Catra’s mouth on her skin. 

It was magical, the way it made her feel was unlike anything she’d ever experienced before. 

With that feeling, came a familiar anxiety that wouldn’t go away. She didn’t know what she was going to do about this. She had plans. Her whole life was built on this plan and it was what she wanted. 

But all of these plans were made before Catra. Catra, this enigma that had come into her life and given Adora so much - had shown Adora so much and had become such an important piece of her life. 

The future Adora had planned never had a Catra in it, but now she couldn’t imagine a future without her. 

Adora spent a bit too long in the bathroom, trying to slow down her mind and calm down her hammering heart. 

When she finally felt steady enough, she made her way out of the bathroom and took in the sight in front of her. Catra was under the covers, the television on but not very loud. There was a dimly lit lamp next to her, but the sight of Catra in bed so close made her stupid heart start pounding again. 

“How many pillows do you want?” Adora asked, not wanting to make a whole thing out of it. 

Catra glanced over at her with a confused expression. “Uh...just the two I guess? They’re kinda shitty. Why?”

“I just figured I’d only need one for the floor. There room is pretty warm so I don’t think I’ll need -”

“Adora,” Catra interrupted her, a little sleepiness in her voice. “What are you talking about?” 

Now Adora felt silly, like a student being called out in front of the whole class. “I didn’t...I wasn’t sure if we were ready for…” she gestured at the bed. “All of this.” 

“We’re not gonna have sex or anything.” Catra said with a laugh in her voice. Adora wanted to smile, she tried, but she’d been stressing about this too much to joke. “I mean, is that…”

“No!” Adora interrupted. “No, I didn’t think that.” She’d absolutely thought about it..”Sharing a bed with you is just new. Sharing a bed with anyone is new for me, but with you is even scarier because...it’s you.” 

“Adora,” Catra sat up a bit, turning the television down the rest of the way. “What’s going on? You were in the bathroom for like twenty minutes. You’re a rambling mess right now. After the kiss and the...words,” Catra blushed a bit, melting Adora’s heart even more. “I thought we’d be on cloud nine right now. But there’s clearly something on your mind.”

There was, and Adora knew it was stupid to keep it to herself. She just didn’t want to ruin the trip before it even got started. 

 

Still, it would do her no good to lie and hold it in - that would ruin the trip all the same. 

Taking a breath, Adora sat down on the edge of the bed and folded her hands in her lap. She kept her focus on the television - some random sitcom she didn’t recognize. Catra stayed behind her, sitting up and listening intently. 

“I was accepted to one of the schools I applied for,” Adora sighed. “Actually, the school I applied for. My top choice.”

“What?” Catra spoke immediately, her tone bright. “Adora! That’s incredible!” Suddenly, Catra’s arms were around her neck and Adora nearly fell off the bed at the impact of the hug. This was not the reaction Adora expected. “I knew you were a badass, but this is awesome! I knew there was more to you than your looks!” Adora laughed softly, but clearly not as much as Catra was expecting. The moment settled and Catra kept a hold of her. “So why is this a bad thing? I only assume it’s a bad thing because you look like someone insulted Abigail from Sword and Shield.” Adora gave her a look. “I may have watched a trailer or two.” Catra tipped Adora’s chin up to lock their eyes. “Talk to me.” 

“It’s in Florida,” she said and it felt similar to jumping off a cliff. “One of the best sports medicine schools in the country and...I got in.” 

The room was quiet for a long time, or at least it felt like a long time. Adora knew she watched at least an entire commercial break on the screen before Catra spoke again. 

“Florida, huh?” She said and Adora nodded slowly. “That’s...a long ways away,” Catra laughed a little. Adora didn’t. “Guess we have some stuff to think about.” 

That sinking feeling settled back in Adora’s chest. “Yeah,” she felt Catra’s nose press into her cheek and Adora settled back against Catra’s chest. 

“I’m still really proud of you.”

That set Adora off, the tears started to fall. Not sobs or anything crazy, just soft tears - they almost felt good. She had worked so hard and been through so much to achieve this dream of hers. To share it with someone she loved, was exactly like she’d imagined - except it was Catra instead of her gran.

Adora must have stayed quiet too long because Catra spoke again. “Hey, get out of that head of yours and relax, okay? You’re not leaving tomorrow and we have time to figure it out. This trip is for us, remember? To have fun and…”

“Sort out our shit?” Adora said, the curse word feeling strange on her tongue, but it made Catra smile. 

“Sort out our shit.” She repeated before moving away and climbing up the bed. “Come on, let’s find a bad movie and cuddle on this awful bed that’s going to make both of us sore in the morning.”

Adora couldn’t think of anything she wanted more.

Chapter Text

Mara didn’t like Catra. 

She didn’t say that, because it was clear that Mara wasn’t about to say anything to upset Adora, but Catra could tell. 

It probably didn’t help that the first time they met, Adora was sitting on the kitchen counter of her grandmother’s home and Catra was standing between her legs kissing her. 

Catra’s ears were still ringing from the scream Adora let out when they were caught. 

Still, it wasn’t all bad. Adora’s home was pretty incredible. It felt like it came right out of a a catalogue about life in the country. The farm itself was massive, stretching farther than Catra’s eye could see as they drove down the extended driveway lined with trees on either side. 

The home was somehow warm, despite being empty and still smelled like freshly baked bread even though there was none in the oven. It wasn’t nearly as big as Catra expected given the size of the property, but she felt more comfortable than usual here - Mara’s cold shoulder aside. 

Catra found herself sitting in the living room while Adora and Mara caught up, she was only half listening to Adora tell stories of the store and her basketball games with Bow and nights spent with Glimmer. 

Instead, Catra was studying all the pictures she could see on the wall and scattered around the various end tables. There were so many, almost all of them featured Adora. 

It was easy to see that Adora’s grandmother loved her - more than pretty much anything. Given the amount of photos just in this room, it seemed like every single one of Adora’s accomplishments were photo-worthy. From graduating kindergarten to wearing her first football jersey, any moment was a good enough moment to make it on Gran’s wall. 

Catra couldn’t begin to explain it, but she felt the strangest sense of relief knowing that Adora had someone else who loved her as much as she deserved growing up. 

“Have you girls eaten?” Mara’s question broke through Catra’s trance of studying every inch of this home. She looked over and, despite her lack of hunger, saw the gleam in Adora’s eyes and knew food was coming. 

“I could eat,” Catra said, reveling in the smile that broke across Adora’s face. “I’m curious to see how good the food really is here since Adora goes on and on about it so much.”

Adora flushed a bit but it was Mara’s reaction that grabbed Catra’s attention. Almost sad. “Well, I’m not the cook Razz was. Hopefully a trip to one of our local hotspots won’t disappoint.”

Catra was so bad at people. 

“Let’s go to the Light House Cafe!” Adora spoke up, rising to her feet in the process. Catra knew her well enough to know when she was trying to break the tension. “They make the most amazing wraps and shakes. They have a great club sandwich too.”

“You would get excited about a club sandwich.” Catra couldn’t help herself from teasing. 

Adora rolled her eyes. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Catra smirked. “Nothing, you’re a very...club sandwich kind of person.” 

“Are we doing this or not?” Mara interrupted them.

“That sounds great,” Catra glanced over at Mara who still looked a bit somber. Catra scolded herself for being so thoughtless - both Mara and Adora had lost the woman who owned this place. 

The ride to the cafe was quiet, but not uncomfortably so. Mara took her own car so that left Catra and Adora together again. Catra couldn’t help but admire the smile on Adora’s face - she seemed so content to be home. It was nice, if not a little discouraging. Catra was thrilled that Adora had a place like this, a home that clearly made her happy and safe - nothing compared to what Catra grew up in. 

She didn’t like the jealousy it made her feel, being jealous of Adora felt stupid, but it was there in the back of her mind. 

It was a painful reminder of how much Catra had grown to rely on Adora for her own happiness. She loved Adora, probably more than anything else in the world, but she didn’t want Adora to be her entire world. 

The thought was frustrating and one that Catra didn’t have any true answer to - therefore it was right there at the forefront of her mind and threatening to ruin her mood. She didn’t know how to approach it. Some part of her, the strongest part, told her to ignore it. To embrace her love for Adora and sink into it. Hadn’t she earned it? Given how she grew up so unloved, wasn’t she allowed to indulge?

Then that other voice would speak up, telling her that she was being selfish - that it wasn’t fair to put so much on Adora. What if Adora felt trapped because of how important she was to Catra? What if Adora fell out of love with her, just like the rest of the world, but threw her life away out of guilt?

It was too much, the thoughts were going too far into the future and Catra knew it was irrational, but she couldn’t stop herself.

She’d never been great at processing her emotions. There was never anyone to talk to about them, never anywhere to put them. So they’d stick around and fester and drive her crazy - then settle in with the rest of her damaged soul. 

Before Catra knew it, they were at the cafe. It was quaint and quiet, not nearly as loud and busy as the streets that surrounded it. 

They made it before Mara, so Catra and Adora found themselves seated at the table first - still in silence. 

Catra wanted to say something, so many things. She felt like she should be asking dozens of questions or flirting or something. Instead, she just sat and stared at her menu - her mind barely registering the words in front of her. 

A sudden shift in her menu drew Catra’s attention and she saw Adora’s finger hooking the top of it, pulling it down to meet her eyes. So blue and bright, she was smiling softly, with her head tilted just a bit - curious. 

“Everything okay?” 

The silence had gone on too long. “Sorry, just...a lot going on up here,” Catra twirled her finger around her temple and shrugged.

Adora nodded, still holding Catra’s menu down. “Anything you want to talk about?”

It would be so easy to retreat. To do what she’d done for so long and draw herself in, lie to Adora. Smile and tell her everything was fine. That’s what she’d done her whole life - pretended she was okay. That she didn’t need anyone or that she was desperate for help.

But the one thing about Adora that never changed, Catra couldn’t lie to her. 

“Yes, but...not right now. It’s a bit too much of a conversation to have before lunch with your scary aunt.” Adora nodded, her eyes filled with concern. Catra knew she needed to put that fire out immediately. “I love you, dork.” 

Adora’s face softened just a bit. “Love you too.” The words barely came out before Mara joined them. 


Night on the farm was a lot different than Bright Moon. Catra’s home was relatively quiet, living up on the hill like she did, but nothing compared to this. It was just open space, for as far as she could see. Looking out the window it was pure darkness - no city lights in the distance and with the bit of cloud cover that had fallen over the sky, the stars and moon were hidden. 

Catra found herself reflective tonight, trying to take in where she was and how she’d ended up here. It didn’t make sense, given where she was just a few months ago. In a lot of ways, it was kind of embarrassing how easy it had been to leave Weaver. She could have done that all along? Just packed up her pathetic little bag of belongings and left. Weaver hadn’t even tried to contact her the last few days.

Of course, Catra’s internal anxiety wouldn’t let her settle completely. She was still terrified of the other shoe dropping and all of this being taken away. It was something she worried might never truly go away - the fear that she was living in some kind of dream and at any moment she’d wake up in her old room, listening to Weaver scream to her to wake up and the miserable cycle would roll on as it always had.

For now though, Catra let those thoughts go. She was with Adora, far away from Weaver and the store and the life she’d been stuck in. 

Turning around, she watched Adora step into the bedroom, her bedroom, and their eyes met. 

Only for a moment though, because Catra’s gaze moved downward - to very dangerous territory. 

Adora was wearing a t-shirt, fairly big, but she did not have on any pants. Instead, her strong and smooth legs were on full display - practically fucking glowing in the orange tinted light of her bedroom lamp. 

“I didn’t know,” Adora said, her voice a bit tense. When Catra met her eyes again, Adora was almost wincing. “I know it gets hot here...compared to Bright Moon. I - I have underwear on, I can put on shorts or…”

“Adora,” Catra smiled, any real nervousness taken away by her cute, fumbling girlfriend. “It’s okay. At some point you’re going to have to realize that I am a fan of pretty much everything about you.” 

That made Adora blush, which might be the closest thing to perfection that Catra’s seen so far in her life. “Pretty much?”

“The protein shake bottles you leave all over the place aren’t great.”

“They’re not all over the place!”

‘There’s three in your car, and they stink.”

“Shut up,” There was no malice in her voice and the fake little argument died there. Leaving Adora standing in the doorway looking down at her feet. “I don’t know what to do with...all of this,” she gestured towards the bed. “I don’t know how to start that conversation.”

Catra felt her heart starting to race, she hadn’t really thought Adora would be the one to bring it up. She’d thought about it, sure, she spent most of her time with Adora trying not to think about it. But to hear Adora bring it up, that was enough to bring back all of Catra’s nerves. 

“I’ve never done anything like that, either.” She admitted - feeling like now was as good a time as any to be vulnerable. “I think about it though, with you. I think...I would like to.”

Adora’s big blue eyes found her again. “Yeah?” Catra could only nod. Afraid if she spoke again she might scream something dramatic and cheesy from a bad movie. “We’re both talking about sex, right?” 

Just like that, Adora did what she always did and settled Catra down. Now Catra was laughing and Adora was blushing again. 

“Don’t laugh!” She cried, hugging herself a little but smiling all the same. “I had to be sure!” 

Without another word, Catra moved around the bed and stepped up to her girlfriend. She studied her for a moment, staring into her eyes and watching Adora’s face soften. Gently, Catra placed both her hands on Adora’s cheeks and pulled her in for a kiss. It was soft and comfortable, like many they’d shared before. 

Catra pulled back just a bit, seeing Adora’s eyes closed and her mouth parting ever-so-slightly. A heartbeat passed between them and Catra tilted her head to the side and kissed Adora hard. It was sudden and Adora let out a squeak, but Catra pressed on, sliding her tongue in just barely. Testing the waters. 

The sound Adora made at the intrusion was somewhere between a moan and a panicked gasp, but she didn’t pull back. 

Catra waited, lips pressed together, hands in Adora’s hair - she waited. 

It felt like forever, but it was more likely only a few seconds, but eventually, Adora’s tongue swept over Catra’s and the battle was on. 

Catra won, because Adora let her. Catra was finding herself taking control of the entire situation and Adora didn’t seem to mind in the slightest. She pushed Adora back against the door and let her hands fall down Adora’s shoulders and settle on her hips. 

Once they landed there, Adora gasped and Catra opened one eye to look at her. There was a strange feeling of protectiveness in Catra that came with being around Adora. Even though Catra was almost as inexperienced as Adora was, she felt like she’d seen the darker side of the world more than Adora - so Catra took it upon herself to take care of her in situations that were beyond her scope. Even now, Catra was nervous and anxious and downright scared, but she pushed all that aside because she knew how big this was, and how badly she wanted Adora to enjoy it. 

Thankfully, Adora’s gasp wasn’t anything bad, because as soon as Catra looked at her, she was being attacked again. Adora kissed her hard, like she’d forgotten how strong she was and Catra felt herself laughing a little as Adora drove her down onto the bed. 

This time, it was Adora who opened her eyes. “Sorry,” she said, breathlessly. “I’ll slow -”

“Stop overthinking,” Catra tapped Adora’s temple with her finger. “Here, lay down.” Adora did as told, still looking unsure. Her eyes somehow seemed bluer, bigger and more beautiful than ever. 

As Adora lay on the bed in front of her, Catra suddenly found herself breathless. She couldn’t imagine how she’d gotten so lucky. How this girl who had limitless possibilities to be special in this world, had found her. It was like stumbling across buried treasure that was right in the middle of a crowded city.

Slowly, Catra moved down Adora’s body, and carefully pulled up her oversized t-shirt. Inch by inch of Adora’s skin was revealed, and every inch was defined with muscle.

“Holy shit, dude.” Catra balled up Adora’s shirt just below her chest before planting a hand on her stomach. Adora inhaled through her teeth at the contact. “You,” Catra leaned down and kissed her stomach. Adora’s knees bent, almost knocking Catra in the shoulder. “Are,” another kiss, this one lingering a bit longer and moving lower down her body. When she looked up, Adora’s head was thrown back, eyes closed - Catra felt unstoppable. “Amazing.” The last kiss landed and Adora cried out her name.

This was what she’d spent her whole life staying above water for. This made it all worth it. 


It wasn’t pretty, at all, and Catra wasn't even entirely sure she’d experienced what all the books and internet articles had told her she would, but she didn’t care. She felt amazing. She was warm, cuddled up against Adora under the blankets of her bed. Their bodies fit together perfectly - somehow Adora’s muscles were soft and welcoming. She really was the best pillow. 

Catra could barely keep her eyes open as she felt Adora’s hand running through her hair, massaging her scalp. Adora hadn’t stopped touching her since they finished and Catra didn’t mind one bit. 

“I don’t know what to do.” Adora’s voice barely carried between them, but it was enough to draw Catra’s attention. She looked up, seeing Adora staring up at the ceiling. 

“About what?” 

Adora sighed. “I - I don’t...I don’t want to leave.” 

Catra frowned, the sadness in Adora’s voice was upsetting. “Leave where?” 

“Bright Moon,” Adora looked at her. “You…I was supposed to be there for one year, to grow up and study and work. But now...I love everything about Bright Moon. I’ve never felt more at home and more myself. I don’t want to leave.”

Catra should have been celebrating. She should have been cheering and kissing Adora and telling her that she didn’t have to leave, they could stay together forever. 

But that familiar feeling settled in her stomach again, like a pit she couldn't crawl out of. Reminding her that her desperate need to attach her entire future to Adora wasn’t good for either one of them. 

She couldn't Adora’s future to salvage her own - neither of them would be happy with that in the end. 

“Adora, you’ve put so much work into your future. I know how much it means to you.”

Adora shook her head. “Not as much as you.” 

“Adora,”

“It doesn’t!” She shouted, it was childish and almost funny. 

Almost. “You choosing to go to school doesn’t mean you’re losing me.” 

“You...you want to come with me?” 

It was right there, this was Catra’s chance to wrap her arms around Adora and let her carry her away from Bright Moon forever. It was the rescue she’d spent her entire life waiting for. 

But when she imagined it, it wasn’t the happily ever after from the countless daydreams and unfinished songs she’d written. Instead, it was filled with guilt and sadness and a life spent wishing she’d had more to offer. 

“I do, but...I can’t.” Saying it out loud was heartbreaking. 

Adora’s hurt face didn’t help. “Oh…”

“Adora, you have to know, I’d love nothing more than to come with you and be with you...always.” 

“But?” 

“You and your butt, yes.”

‘Catra…” Adora sounded frustrated, but her smile was still there. 

“Sorry, can’t miss an opportunity to talk about your butt.” Adora rolled her eyes and Catra pressed on. “If I go with you now, it’s all on you. Everything about me and who I am...it’s you. I love you, you know that. I love you more than anything this shitty world has ever given to me. But that’s the problem...right now...all I have is you.” 

She said it as best as she could, all she could do now was hope Adora would understand. 

“So you want...more?” 

Catra nodded. “You are my number one, okay? Don’t doubt that for a second. But you can’t be my only one, you know?” 

This time, Adora nodded and Catra sank a little deeper into her embrace. “I think we need to make a plan.”

“Of course you do,” Catra teased, even though the idea brought a wave of relief to her she couldn't begin to explain. “I’d be okay with a plan.” Adora ruffled her hair and Catra found herself giggling like an idiot. That tough, distant persona she tried to put out for the rest of the world to keep them away was so far gone now she couldn’t even remember how to do it. 

This was what she was now, a lovesick idiot with hopes and dreams. 

It wasn’t so bad to be happy.


Catra had no idea where they were going. She didn’t know Crystal Castle at all, didn’t know what had Adora so excited that she woke Catra up at 7:30 in the morning and practically dragged her out of the house. 

It was made even worse by the fact that every time Catra asked, Adora just smiled at her like an idiot and shrugged. 

So the car ride was quiet, as Catra pretended to be really upset and Adora saw right through her. She wasn’t, but Catra didn’t want this 7:30 in the morning stuff to become a habit. They were night shift people - they’d stayed up until almost 2AM the night before. Just because Adora could survive on four hours of sleep didn’t mean it was sane.

Still, the ride to town was long enough from Adora’s farm that Catra had time for her crankiness to settle down. It was aided when Adora stopped and bought her a bottle of fancy chocolate milk that was the most amazing thing she’d ever drank. 

By the time they actually made it to downtown Crystal Castle, Catra was practically smiling. 

“What are you planning?” Adora shrugged again, like a punk. Her hair down and cute as it bounced against her broad shoulders. “You know, if you tell me I might be up to giving you a repeat performance of that one thing you really liked last night.” 

Adora’s face went a wonderful shade of red, but she seemed to steady her resolve even more - looking at her rearview mirror as she parked.

Not one to surrender, Catra reached over and laid her hand gently on Adora’s thigh. This made her jump and made the car jerk to a stop, sending them both forward. 

“Catra.” Adora said sternly, at least it was something. “Will you stop that?” 

“You started it,” Catra shrugged. “If you’re dragging me to a gym or something I’m going to break up with you.” 

Adora rolled her eyes. “It’s not a gym, but you’d love the gym if you just gave it a chance.”

“Isn’t that what I said to you about McDonald’s?”

There was no response as Adora finished parking - Catra considered that a win. 

Once they were stopped, Catra stared out her passenger window at the row of shops lined up. There were a few restaurants and clothes shops. A tattoo parlor which only made Catra’s mind wander to the idea of Adora with detailed black ink tracing a dragon or something else down her back. It was quite an image, but one she knew Adora would never be into. 

Then she saw it, tucked away between a fucking Olive Garden and a place called ‘Puppy Palace’. 

Picks and Sticks - Guitar Shop

Catra looked back at Adora, who was staring at her like a cat that caught the canary - the biggest grin on her face.

“Wh - what are you doing?” Catra asked, the sadness in her voice too much to hide. 

Adora’s smile fell and Catra hated herself. “I thought...I thought you’d be happy.”

“I -...” Catra sighed, she had to be better. “I love you.” She said and Adora’s frown turned into a look of confusion. “This is just... scary . Which sounds dumb to say out loud.” Catra had no idea how to phrase what she was feeling. 

“I kept waiting for you to buy one, after Weaver and everything. I see you sometimes, looking at them on your phone.”

Catra had a grip on her seat, her nails digging into the cushion. “Yeah, because looking is easy. Hiding in my room and writing my feelings out in shitty rhymes was easy.” She stared at the shop again - it looked nice. She could see a few guitars in the window. Good ones. 

“So what’s the problem? I know they’re kind of expensive, but you’ve been saving since you moved out and…”

“Because,” Catra cut her off, trying to keep her voice steady. “If I get a guitar now, what’s my excuse?” She looked at Adora, who was being incredibly patient with Catra’s annoying meltdown. “If I buy a guitar, with my own money...it’s mine and anything I write on it will have to be… real , you know?” 

Adora’s face showed that she did not, in fact, know. 

“Yeah, it’d be real and...yours and…”

“And I’d have to actually try! Show it to people and make real effort to put myself out there and that’s...that’s scary.” Catra laughed sardonically. “It’s fucking terrifying.” 

“It’s not! Your music is amazing!” 

Catra stared at her, the laugh bubbling in her throat slipping out. “You’ve never heard me play!”

Adora’s eyes went wide with guilt. “True! But...like...I know you! You’re amazing!” 

Catra rolled her eyes, enjoying the swell of her heart. “You dork, you just...you’re such a dork.” Catra’s smile betrayed every one of her words. 

“You don’t have to buy a guitar, but you also don’t have to share your music if you do. You can just write music for yourself...and...maybe for me.” 

“The last five songs I wrote were for you.” 

It was impossible not to see Adora’s blush. “Oh...well...hum,” she cleared her throat. So cute. “Well then we need to get you a guitar so I can hear them!” 

If she were being honest with herself, Catra wanted to play music again. She’d written a thousand lyrics in her head, she could easily take out a notebook and put songs together - but without the ability to hear them and play them it had all felt pointless. 

But her dream had always been the same, make music and sell it to people who could actually sing it. She wanted her songs to reach the world - she wanted her passion to matter. She’d always had an excuse - always said that Weaver wouldn’t let her have her dream. But that was gone now, she was her own person and free to make her own choice. 

If she failed, it wouldn’t be on Weaver or her circumstances. It would all be on her. 

But, like she had since the day Catra met her, Adora made Catra want to take risks she never would have before. 

“Fine, but after this we’re going to the store and you’re buying food and making me those sweet potato fries you owe me.”

Adora’s face lit up like a Christmas tree. Catra wanted to spend the rest of her life chasing down that smile.

Chapter Text

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. 

“Easy, Princess.” 

“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. 

“Catra!” 

“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.”

“Catra!” 

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.