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The Black Cat

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This, Catra thinks—while she not-so delicately scales four floors to reach her dorm room window in tight spandex—is not how she imagined ending her day. 

Her original Friday plans weren't even that fancy. All she wanted to do today was finish binge-watching the first season of Killing Eve, study for her stupid chemistry exam on Monday, and hang out with Adora (her not yet, but maybe soon-to-be girlfriend). 

Instead, some idiots decided to rob a bank. Then said idiots led her on a high-speed chase across downtown. And last, but certainly not least: said idiots somehow drew a gun on her and didn't miss—hence the peep hole in her thigh soaking through her suit. She caught them, of course, but at what cost?

Now her day is ruined, and all she can think about is the last text message Adora sent her after she played the "I'm not feeling so hot" card.

i'm sorry. feel better :)

Catra groans and lightly butts her head against the old-school brick. This day couldn't possibly get any worse. 

Correction: her footing slips, and suddenly she's dangling from a windowsill getting a face-full of awkward math major freshmen sucking face.

Damn it, that could've been her and Adora. But alas, the universe has given her the proverbial finger by delivering her dumbass bank robbers and showing her this instead. 

Holding on with just one hand on the ledge—something Adora surely would be impressed by—Catra flicks off the man upstairs and quickly readjusts to climb up to her room's window. When she reaches it, she briefly acknowledges the familiar flash of a TV playing and figures her roommate (and secret identity confidant) has fallen asleep watching Property Brothers reruns again. Classic Scorpia.

Catra opens the window, pushes herself through like a crippled seal, and falls face-first onto her bed in typical "I hate my life" fashion. She peels off her suffocating mask and tosses it on the floor. Then, she flips over to rest on her back. An airy sigh brushes past her lips. At the very least, she can now glue her fragile ego back together in peace.


In that moment, Catra contemplates shoving her entire foot in her mouth and choking on it, because there's wonderful, beautiful, ever-so thoughtful Adora—sitting on the end of her bed with a bowl of popcorn in her lap and a little "get well" ensemble resting at her feet. She got Catra candy and flowers, and is that a card?

Well, her cat-like reflexes and senses have certainly failed her. Unless... 

"You're not real," Catra blurts in a daze, curling her knees up to her chest. "You're just a figment of my imagination."

Sadly, her hallucination talks back. "You're the Black Cat?"

Catra cringes at the name. She really wishes this damn city had some sense of originality when they pinned her with that tacky alias. Now she'll never shake the name (but if she's being completely honest with herself, it's not like she had any superhero name ideas to begin with). 

"How are you here?"

Catra hates to admit it, but Adora's wide-eye stare is adorable, even as she answers, "Scorpia let me in on her way out. She wanted me to tell you she's spending the night at Perfuma's."

Some confidant, Catra internally grumbles.

"Sorry," Adora says, still in shock. Catra raises a brow at her. "But I'm gonna have to repeat myself: you're the Black Cat?"

Catra takes a deep breath and nervously combs her fingers through her short hair. "Guess the cat's out of the bag."

Adora snorts. "Seriously?"

"Look, Scorpia's stupid puns are contagious. Give me a break."

"It's just..." Adora's breath hitches. "Wow."

Catra tilts her head at her, confused. "Wow, what?"

"Oh, uh, nothing," says Adora, a ripe blush dusting her cheeks as her eyes keep flickering between Catra and the popcorn bowl in her lap. The spandex does do wonders for Catra’s figure. "Just a lot to take in." 

Catra is about to pounce (metaphorically speaking) and take advantage of Adora's obvious thing for her suit, but alas, the universe interrupts to say:

"Oh my god, Catra, you're bleeding!"

Catra blinks and looks down at her sheets, noticing the splotch of red under her thigh (that's honestly very reminiscent of a period mishap). "Oh, that," she says lamely. "Yeah, that's a thing. I kinda got shot at today."

"You what?" Adora shrieks, and Catra quickly covers her mouth. 

"You are not getting me a noise complaint with the RA, you hear me?" she whisper-yells. "I can't get caught like this twice." 

Adora nods dumbly against her palm. Catra slowly takes her hand back. An awkward, silent pause fills the void between them as they stare each other down on either side of Catra's bed. Of course, the image of two pimply-faced college kids shoving their tongues down each other's throats comes to mind—and god, does Catra wish she had the guts to just lean in and bridge the gap between them. 

Fighting bad guys on the daily? No problem. Trying to kiss the girl she has an uber-crush on? Fat chance. 

Adora breaks the ice first. "Um," she says, swallowing anxiously. "How hard is it to take off that suit?" 

Catra's initial reaction was priceless. Her face must've been cherry red. But now, as she lays flat on her stomach in nothing but an oversized band t-shirt and underwear while Adora preps to stitch up the back of her thigh with dental floss, she can honestly say that things really could get worse than getting shot by idiot bank robbers and peeping on some mathletes dancing the tongue tango. 

Somebody please shoot her again, preferably above the belt. Save her from this hell. 

Meanwhile, Adora is too far gone down her pre-med rabbit hole to notice Catra's existential crisis. "Got anything to keep this from getting infected?"

"There's vodka under my bed," she mumbles pitifully. 

At least Catra doesn't cry like a baby when Adora pours one out on her. 

The actual stitching-up part hurts like a bitch, but Catra just grits her teeth and takes it like a champ. Even with her dignity torn to shreds, she can at least say her pain tolerance is still up to par. 

As for her mental and emotional pain threshold, that's still up for debate. 

"There," Adora says, giving her leg a little pat. "All done." 

Catra quickly retreats back to her end of the bed. "Thanks for the assist."

Adora nods. "You should really be more careful. I've, uh, watched a couple of your fights on YouTube"—wait, is Adora admitting to being a Black Cat fan?—"and I know your whole 'thing' is tactically avoiding and using your opponent's own moves against them, but... I could help you with the direct hand-to-hand combat stuff. I am a licensed instructor." She avoids Catra's eyes, tacking on, "You don't have to, but I just thought I'd offer."

Catra's jaw drops. "You want to teach me how to fight better?" Adora sputters, trying to spit up some kind of apology, but Catra cuts her off. "Wow, you're taking this really well. I kinda thought you'd duck and run and never wanna see me again."

"What? Why would you think that?"

Because nothing good—no one good—ever happens to her, and she always ruins things, Catra's screwed-up brain supplies. 

Instead, she answers: "I... this whole superhero gig is dangerous."

"Please, spare me the 'get out while you still can' speech," Adora interrupts. 

Catra just stares at her like an idiot, giving Adora an open invitation to continue.

"Look, Catra," Adora starts—and is she blushing? "I really like you. Like, a lot. And I genuinely care about you. I mean, look at this." She picks up her little "get well" basket and sets it on the bed between them. "I almost lost my mind in the middle of a CVS trying to remember what your favorite candy was. And I planned a little mini-date to watch Killing Eve with you to make you feel better. I'm in way too deep."

Catra covers her mouth to suppress a giggle. 

A flash of fear crosses Adora's face. "I... um, shoot. I really wanted that to sound romantic." Oh, her anxiety is beginning to make her spiral. "Guess I suck at confessions," she laughs nervously. "Could I maybe get a re-do? Please?"

"Not a chance."

The way Adora's face falls tells Catra she needs to recover in a monumental way ASAP.

"Hey, Adora?"

She tips her head up, lips pursed in a pout. 

"I really like you, like a lot, too." And then to her own surprise, Catra finds her inner-superhero's courage, grabbing Adora by the collar and reeling her in to close the gap. Every rom-com protagonist known to man would be so proud of her.

While she revels in the kiss—especially in how Adora clumsily, desperately kisses her back—Catra can't help but remember what her stupid elf bionic man-looking nemesis told her the other night about hunting down everyone she cares about to make her pay. This could potentially bite her in the ass in the long run. 

But for now, Catra can't find it in herself to care. Because for once the universe is on her side and she's about to take full advantage of it.

Getting shot never tasted so sweet.