The summer after junior year was…heaven. Adora and Catra both got jobs and were lucky to have similar schedules. They spent their free time seeing their friends and each other as much, if not more than during the school year.
Days were spent at the lake with their friends; Catra caught a tan and Adora looked like a lobster most of the summer. (Eventually the red faded to a slightly less pale shade of white.) In the evenings Adora would drive them just outside city limits and she and Catra would look at the stars with a telescope borrowed from Entrapta. Made by Entrapta too for that matter, which Adora can still barely fathom.
Of course, all good things must come to an end. Senior year blew in like a tornado; Adora had never been so busy in all her life. It honestly makes her worry what college will be like. She shivers at the thought….
All of the hard work of the last year was totally worth it though; she and Bow are headed off to Crystal Castle University in the fall. Their astrophysics program is the best around and Adora couldn’t be more excited to dive in. Bow, on the other hand, has been talking a lot about engineering.
Catra is off to school too, not Crystal Castle much to Adora’s heartbreak, but they’ll only be a forty-five minute drive apart with her going to Freighton Tech in the fall. They’ve been talking about the possibility of getting an apartment together halfway in between their Sophomore year, once Adora’s no longer required to live in the dorms.
She’s not getting ahead of herself though. And she’s excited to live with Bow! Of course, he’s just as eager as she is for the requirement to lift. Glimmer is enrolling at the Institute of Art and Design close to CCU. She suspects they’ve been having similar conversations about the following year.
Still, as much excitement as there is on the horizon, she knows it’s gonna be hard and that there’s a lot of uncertainty ahead. Adora’s been doing her best to not let herself get hung up on that. Dr. Peekablue has reminded her more than once be present in the moment. Both over the last year and this summer. They told her to just let herself really enjoy it. She just hopes this summer can live up to even half the magic of the last.
They just have to get through graduation, and they’re home free.
Catra is her walking partner but Adora starts the ceremony alone. Well, not alone, alone. Glimmer and Bow are two rows up and keep turning around periodically to make funny faces while they wait for the ceremony to begin. Mermista and Perfuma are behind her, occasionally pulling her into conversation about the grad party Scorpia is hosting that night.
Adora’s gonna miss them next year. Merms is taking a gap year, so she won’t be too far. Perfuma on the other hand…she and Scorpia are off to Crimson Waste University in the fall. Scorpia is pumped for the climate change the desert offers, but Adora knows Perfuma has her reservations. She’s excited about their botany program though, and Adora’s sure she’s gonna do great!
They’re cut off from speculating about whether Ro’s gonna show up to the party with Kyle, Lonnie, or both when a microphone squeaks loudly with feedback. Hordack gets things going with a long, droning speech about his pride in this class of gradates and their many accomplishments. What a blowhard.
Finally, he seems to be coming to a close and Adora, plus all her friends, perk up in the audience. “Now, it is my great pleasure to introduce this year’s valedictorian, Ms. Catra D’riluth.”
Adora’s heart bursts with pride. She’s heard this speech, about a hundred times in all its various drafts. It’s made her cry more than once, and it seems it’ll be moving her to tears one last time; the waterworks begin before Catra even makes her way to the mic. Something about seeing Catra at that podium, even knowing every word she’s about to say, makes it feel…epic. Final somehow.
“Hey everyone.” There’s a bit of feedback and Catra winces. “And thank you, Principal Hordack. Ahem, I look out at all of your faces today, and what do I see? A bunch of dang nerds, is what.”
Adora knows Catra language has been censored for this speech, she was there when Catra fought Netossa on it after all. Catra had argued there was hardly gonna be a high school senior here today who has never heard the word fuck. She was right of course, she still lost.
“Well, I know we all thought it was gonna be Greyskull up here today and, I’m sorry guys I really tried." There’s a round of jeering and laughter. Adora boos playfully, managing to catch Catra’s eye briefly. Her eyes twinkle mischievously and she carries on. “But as long as I spent helping her with all the ‘flowery language crap' she’s always hated.”
She turns to Netossa behind her on the stage with a smirk and, the mic just barely picking up her words, says, “Sorry, Doc, but that one’s a direct quote, so you'll have to take it up with my girl.” Adora swoons; that’s her Catra’s apologizing for! She's Catra’s girl!
“Ahem, for every minute of that, Adora helped me right back. And that's what I really learned in high school; how to ask for help and how to accept it. How to be vulnerable and let my friends support me so I can be strong enough to support them in return. It's not easy, but despite everything I believed four years ago, it has made me stronger.”
“I dunno what's out there for us guys, what anyone's future holds. But what I do know is this; it is this strength, the bonds we forged between these four walls, that will give us the support to be brave as we venture out into our futures.”
“So, the last thing I want to say is, thank you.” Her voice breaks, almost imperceptibly. If not for all the time spent together Adora may have missed it entirely. It makes her heart melt and ache with nostalgia. “To the faculty who have been honest and empathetic with us and to all of you who have made high school worth growing through. Now, let's graduate so we can get the heck out of here and celebrate all our hard work!”
There’s a roaring cheer. Adora is outright sobbing at this point, her smile wide enough to make her cheeks ache. Catra jumps off the stage to pull her into a searing kiss.
“I love you!” Adora declares between kisses.
“You’re an idiot.”
“Catra!” She whines around her smile.
“Yeah, yeah. I love you too, Greyskull.”
There’s just enough time for, “Good!” and a final peck before Hordack is back to start calling names.
Forty minutes later, a sea of caps flies into the air and with their hands held tightly together, Adora Greyskull and Catra D’riluth’s futures begin.