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The Drama of it All

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Being a teenaged social outcast in high school is nothing like the movies and TV shows and books told Catra it would be. No one is slapping books and papers out of her hands in the hallways. There are no snickers as she walks by the crowds of popular kids, and the meanest thing she’s ever heard anyone call her is, “Oh, that girl from World History who like…always looks mad?”. Still, it’s clear to Catra that she’s on the outside looking in.

Somehow that feels so much worse than the dramatic bullshit.

Okay…maybe not worse, but certainly more mind numbingly dull. It’s fine though, Catra’s life is dramatic enough at home. She doesn’t need school to be any spicier than it already is. Her routine is chill; she goes to class, fucks around in the theatre department for as long as she can stretch it out, and goes home to do homework, doing her best to avoid her guardian. Rinse, lather repeat.

Or at least, that’s how high school starts.

It’s midway through junior year when Catra’s life gets a bit of a shakeup. The most recent winter break was the longest one yet in Catra’s household. Usually Weaver has business trips around the holidays and various parties to attend. She still had the parties to be fair; they just were all miraculously close to home this year.

So, not only was she home, but Catra got dragged to a bunch of stupid corporate parties with a bunch of dull blowhards she had to play nice with. She also had to wear a dress. It’s velvet and ugly as sin. So, yeah, the break was not the peaceful respite it normally is.

It’s fine now though; she’s finally back and auditions for the next play are starting in twenty minutes. That means Catra is about to have plenty of reasons to stay at school later. She knows some part of Weaver wants to stop her from having any fun. However, if she wants Catra to get into a good school so she can brag about it, she’s gonna need an extracurricular or two. So it slides.

Naturally Catra would rather throw herself off something very, very tall onto something very, very pointy than get up on stage. She sticks to tech shit, thank you very much. Sets and props mostly, but she likes to hang with Entrapta up in the booth when she doesn’t have any work of her own to do. Trap usually finds something to task Catra with while she’s up there anyway, though half the time it’s just holding shit when she runs out of hands.  

So that’s where she is now; with her feet kicked up next to the lighting board, ignoring the wary looks Entrapta keeps giving her sneakers. She startles when a set of footsteps comes bounding up the stairs into the booth. Entrapta, of course, is tangled up in wires and too busy to notice. Catra whips around to see who’s joined them. When she spots the dark, cropped curls of Bow she relaxes back into her seat.

“Hey Archer.”

“Heya Wildcat! Entrapta.” Bow reaches the top step and pauses there, leaning against the low wall that serves as railing.

“Don’t call me that.”

“Aw, but Scorpia gets to.”

“Yeah well. Just Scorpia.”

Bow laughs good naturedly. “I’m gonna keep doing it. It’s cute.”

Catra growls at him but Entrapta seems to finally register the third presence in the booth before she can snap at him. She blinks, looking up from her tangle of wires. “Oh, hello Bow. Did you know that there’s a whole box of cords that were hidden in the costume attic? Gels too! I think I’ll be able to do some very interesting things for this production.”

Bow chuckles good naturedly. He’s a good guy, and Catra knows this about him, but her hackles still rise. Maybe high school isn’t all the media cracks it up to be in the bullying department, but people do tend to give Entrapta a hard time. Catra is more than a little protective of her by this point.

“I did not, but that sounds rad! I was just coming up to say hi before auditions start. Either of you know what the show is this time around?”

“I do not!” Entrapta replies, before diving back into her box.

Bow turns to Catra and she shrugs. “I don’t think Dr. Net has chosen yet. I heard her say something about Clue but personally I’ve been trying to steer her towards Harvey.”

“Those are both fun! Pretty dark though. Think Principal Hordak will go for gallows humor like that?”

Catra snorts. “That twisted fuck? He’d probably encourage it.”

Bow grimaces. “Yeah…” Something down in the auditorium seems to catch his attention and he brightens. “Oh, my friend’s here; I should go back down.”

“Someone new in the department?” Catra asks with genuine curiosity. It’s pretty rare that someone joins second semester if they weren’t in the fall show.

“Yeah! I tried to get Adora to audition for the last one, but she was busy with other extra curriculars and stuff.”

 It takes everything Catra has to not choke on her surprise. “Adora Greyskull is a closet theatre nerd?”

Bow snorts. “Eh, I wouldn’t go that far, but she was asking me a ton about drama, so I encouraged her to come check it out. It’ll be fun to have one of the Best Friend Squad in the department. Adora and Glimmer are so…sporty.” He says it like he himself isn’t athletic, but Catra knows he’s like, super into archery. She has absolutely teased him about the irony of this.

“’Best Friend Squad’?” Catra questions, her thoughts on the moniker clear in her tone.

Bow just smirks and points between her and Entrapta. “Please, Scorpia has told us all about the Super Pal Trio.”

Catra feels her face heat and growls. “That was fucking junior high, shut up.”

“Yeah, you know she still calls y’all that, right?”

Catra grumbles; if she does, she’s fucking stupid. They haven’t been that close for a couple years now, and the sting of resentment pierces through her. “Weren’t you just leaving?”

Far from offended Bow bounces on the balls of his feet. “Right! Catch ya later.”

“By Bow!” Entrapta offers from her spot on the floor. Catra just rolls her eyes in place of a proper goodbye.

With him gone and Entrapta fully wrapped up in…whatever the fuck she’s doing, Catra leans over the board to look out the window that separates the booth from the auditorium. Sure enough, there’s Adora Greyskull looking a bit lost amidst the drama nerds around her. She perks up and waves when Bow emerges from the booth.

Catra is beyond shocked she’s here; Adora is Brightmoon High’s golden girl. She does like, nearly every fucking sport. And if that’s not enough, even though it’s only halfway through junior year, she’s already a shoe in for their class’s valedictorian. Catra’s also pretty sure she like, fucking feeds the hungry or saves kittens from trees on weekends. There’s not really that much of a social hierarchy at BMHS, but if there were Adora would be the shiny golden star atop the metaphorical Christmas tree.

Catra watches her listen while Bow chats her ear off. Then Kyle wanders over to join them and Adora starts looking around, taking in the space. Suddenly she looks up at the booth, and right at Catra. She barely sees her expression morph into a smirk before she’s falling out of her fucking chair.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah Trap, I’m fine. Just lost my balance;, guess I should know better than to tip my chair.”

“You weren’t tipping your chair just then. You stopped when Bow-“

“For fuck’s- will you fuck off Trap? Stars!” Remorse fills Catra’s chest when she sees Entrapta’s mouth set into a thin, firm line. “Shit, I’m sorry Trap, that wasn’t cool.”

“Oh no, it’s fi-“

“It’s not, don’t be a fucking doormat Trapta. You deserve better than that, okay?” Entrapta nods slowly, her lips pursed and quirked to the side. “I was flustered and I’m a dick, I’ll try to be better.”

Eager to move on, or slight already forgotten more likely, Entrapta shrugs and climbs up from her spot on the floor. “Alright.” Entrapta pats the top of her head gently. Were it anyone else Catra would growl at the condescension, but she knows Entrapta is just…doing her best.

“Ready to watch some nerds recite Shakespeare?”

“Oh, is it Shakespeare monologues this time?”

“Eh, I think just anything comedic. But you know these basic bitches; we’ll probably see half a dozen Puck’s before the day is done.”

Surprisingly Catra’s prediction doesn’t ring true. There are only a couple Shakespeare’s and not one monologue from Midsummer’s. It’s nice, and a few of them are actually pretty funny. Bow kills as Sally from You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. Catra’s not even sure the monologue is that funny, but Bow’s whiny pouting is a hoot.

Catra likes Bow, they’re not friends, not really. School friends maybe, but they don’t like, hang out in their free time. He’s a total softie though, and not bothered by Catra’s abrasiveness. Catra’s never met such an even keeled teenager in her life. His best friend/probably girlfriend is a whole other story though; Glimmer Brightmoon.

That’s right, fucking Brightmoon; the great, great, Catra doesn’t know how many greats and frankly couldn’t give less of a shit, granddaughter of the school’s founder. She’s snooty and as abrasive as Catra, maybe even more so, but her refinement and reputation get her off the hook from being branded as a bitch like Catra is. She hangs out at the end of rehearsals sometimes and she’s just…loud and annoying. It’s whatever though, Catra usually just disappears the moment she shows up.

A few monologues after Bow, Adora steps up. Catra hates to admit it but she’s wildly curious how this is going to go. Turns out she is…completely unprepared for where this is going. Adora looks uncomfortable to say the least. She squints under the stage lights and shuffles awkwardly from side to side.

The performance isn’t…good exactly, but a couple lines in and she’s clearly into it. It’s a monologue about getting her first period, Catra is pretty sure she recognizes it from some movie. By the time Adora is telling the audience about her father handing her a wad of napkins to deal with the problem Catra is snorting with laughter. At the end Adora clears her throat awkwardly and then…and then she fucking curtsies.

And damn, who knew the fucking golden girl would turn out to be so damn funny?

Catra lingers after auditions are through. Up in the booth at first, but Entrapta has to leave and locks up behind herself, so Catra is forced to head down to. Bow and his “Best Friend Squad” are chatting with a couple other folks by the stage, so Catra drifts over toward where the director is sitting.

She plops into a seat in the row in front of her and dangles her legs over the back of the chair to face her. “Sup Dr. Net?”

Netossa eyes her position with a raised brow. “Not much D’riluth. How was your break?” Catra makes a face.

She likes Dr. Netossa, has come to trust her over the last couple years. She freaked out over a bad grade in sophomore year and let slip a little about her home life. One of the things Catra most appreciates about her director is that she hadn’t treated her any different after. She’d been smart enough not to mention certain details, she’s not trying to get CPS called and land her ass in the system or soemthing. Still though, something in her eye that day told Catra she had her suspicions.

Either way she’s chill about it, and Catra knows she understands her grimace to some degree at least. “Blech, is it pathetic if I say I’m happy to be back?”

“Aw, what, you miss me kid?”

Catra laughs. “Gross, no. Just the lesser of two evils I guess.”

Netossa purses her lips. “How was your break Catra?”

“It was fine really, just annoying. I had to go to a bunch of dumb holiday parties with Weaver’s associates.”

“Mhmm, and how is your guardian these days?”

Catra rolls her eyes at the fishing. She knows Dr. Net is just trying to look out for her but it’s not like she can be fully honest here. “A bitch, per usual. Been worse though. She even got me a gift this year.”

That gets her two raised eyebrows. “Oh yeah? Anything good?”

A snort. “Only the latest and greatest eye shadow pallet.” She elects not to mention the lecture on her lack of femininity that came with it.

“You even wear makeup D’riluth?”

“Only when forced.” Catra offers a cheesy grin that gets her a decent laugh.

Out of the corner of her eye she registers Bow and his stupid “squad” wandering over. She’s already planning her escape before the group even reaches them. Glimmer whispers something to Bow and wanders off toward the lobby. Probably for the restroom, but Catra doesn’t think much of it.

“Hey Dr. Net! You know Adora, right?”

Netossa rolls her eyes. “You do realize you all have fifth period with me, don’t you Bow?” Ugh, now she’s included Catra in this. She’ll probably still slip away. “Yes, I’m familiar. How ya doing Greyskull?”

“Oh uh, pretty good Doc, thanks. You?”

“Not bad, Spinney's mom was in town and she’s always a kick.”

“Nice!” Adora smiles at the answer. Catra tilts her head and watches her for a moment. She’s inclined to think Adora Greyskull is a suck up, but she just seems so…genuinely nice. It’s almost more annoying than the alternative. Where’s the teen angst? Then suddenly she’s looking at Catra. “How about you Catra, good break?”

Catra rolls her eyes. She should’ve left when she had a chance. “It’s whatever.” Adora eyes her carefully, like she’s reading into it or something. “Alright well. See you losers later.”

Then without another word Catra hightails it out of the auditorium. She has a weird feeling in her gut. She can’t explain it, which tells her it’s probably a bad feeling. So, she runs all the way home, hoping she can escape it.

Chapter Text

The house is quiet when Catra gets home. Luckily, it’s not the still sort of quiet she’s come to associate with trouble and walking on eggshells. Rather, it’s the empty sort of quiet that tells her it’s safe to venture into the kitchen for a snack. She eats over the sink quickly. As soon as she’s done, she cleans up all traces of her crackers with peanut butter, lest she be accused of intentionally spoiling her appetite before dinner.

She’s in the middle of muddling her way through a lit essay when she hears the front door opening. She tenses and doubles down on her focus. She hopes, prays she’ll be lucky twice in one day. Evidently it falls on deaf ears. Weaver slams her door open within minutes and stalks into her room.

“Catrina, did I or did I not request that you not leave your shoes haphazardly in the hallway?”

Her voice is cold and Catra gulps. “Uh…yeah, sorry.”

“Do not mumble! It is unbecoming of a young lady to mumble. Now, have you finished your homework?”

She clears her throat and speaks up. “Yeah, pretty much.”

“Have you or have you not Catrina? Do not be glib with me.”

“I…there wasn’t much, since it’s a new semester. I did some extra credit problems for pre calc and I’m just working on a lit paper now. It’s not due till next week though, I was just getting ahead.”

Weaver sniffs, evidently unhappy with having nothing to nitpick there. “I see, well it will have to wait. I have a business dinner and the gentleman is bringing his daughter. Wear that nice red dress I bought you and be ready in fifteen minutes.”

Catra grimaces but decides she’s not in the mood to argue. “Yes mother.”

Weaver nods, satisfied, and waltzes through the door once more. She pauses only to add, “Oh, and Catrina? Do make sure those shoes are cleaned up before I find my way downstairs again. Neither of us will be happy if I see them there again.”

Catra huffs the moment she’s alone again. She pulls out the stupid fucking dress and scowls at it, her lip curling. The moment she slides it on she instantly feels like she’s crawling out of her skin; dresses are so not Catra’s vibe. At least it’s red this time. Weaver brought home some pink monstrosity a year or so ago and Catra’s reaction had gotten her slapped. Not to mention the couple bruises that had formed in places well covered by the offending article of clothing.

Eager to avoid a fight Catra slaps on some blush and a little eyeliner. She even pulls out her new eyeshadow. She checks herself out in the mirror on the back of her door and rolls her eyes. She looks ridiculous, but she’s out of time. At least Weaver should be pleased. She runs downstairs to tuck away her shoes and throws on the low heels she knows Weaver will want to see her in.

Still, despite her best efforts, Weaver looks less than pleased when she joins Catra in the entryway. “Where are your hose Catrina?”

Catra squeezes her eyes shut, willing herself not to say something stupid. “Uh, is that really necessary?”

That earns her a dark look. “Now, we need to leave soon. I do not have time for one of your little tantrums today.”

Catra scowls but nods, hurrying upstairs to add stupid pantyhose to her outfit. Seriously? Who even makes pantyhose anymore, let alone wears them? But if it avoids a fight it’ll be worth it. She really is not in the mood to be screamed at before being forced to go out in public.

Finally satisfied, Weaver drives them to some bougie restaurant. Catra can already tell she’ll be sneaking downstairs for a PB&J after Weaver falls asleep later. She drops her keys in the waiting valet’s hand and leads them inside, adopting her ‘amiable business woman’ mask. Catra just does her best not to scowl.

That gets a whole lot fucking harder when she sees who’s waiting at the table. Some old dude, naturally, plus fucking Mermista Sealineas. She’s not part of Bow’s little “Best Friend Squad” but she’s part of the adjacent friend group. Catra’s pretty sure she’s tight with Scorpia’s new girlfriend, Perfuma. She trails behind Weaver, suddenly somehow wanting to be here even less than she did two minutes ago.

Mr. Sealineas is reaching his hand out to shake theirs as soon as they reach the table. “Ms. Weaver, lovely to see you again. Ah! And Catrina was it? Lovely to meet you also! I’m so glad you could join us. My wife wasn’t feeling well and when I realized you and Mermmy are in the same class, I thought this would be a fun alternative.”

Catra clears her throat awkwardly. “Uh, yeah. A blast. And it’s uh, Catra actually.”

Weaver shoots her a cutting look that lasts mere seconds. It seems to go unnoticed by their dinner companions; Weaver’s always been sneaky like that.

Meanwhile, from her chair where she remains seated and looking bored as ever, Mermista snorts. Mr. Sealineas, none the wiser to the tensions at the table, smiles kindly. “Catra it is then! And I believe you know Mermista?” Finally, he sits and Catra and Weaver join him at the table.

“Yeah, we um, have Biology together, I think. Hey Mermista.”

Mermista snorts. “Yeah, hey Catrina.”

Catra’s eyes narrow, oh hell no; she is nipping this in the bud right now. “Whatever, Mermmy.” Mermista’s smirk melts into a glare but it shuts her up at least.

The adults make small talk, prompting their daughters to talk about school and other achievements they obviously want to brag about. They keep it up until their orders are taken and dinner comes. As soon as the waiter walks away, they shift into shop talk and the girls are left to their own devices. Catra mostly pushes food around her plate, never one for pâté. Mermista looks equally enthused by the menu.

She watches Catra for a minute then ventures, “So your mom’s…interesting.”

Catra looks over to make sure Weaver is occupied before quietly biting out, “Yeah, she’s not actually my fucking mother.”

Mermista just raises an eyebrow but otherwise her expression remains unchanged. “Okay…. So, you do like, the theatre thing, right? With Bow.”

Catra relaxes minutely, she supposes she can indulge in a little more small talk. “Yeah, but I don’t do the acting shit. I mostly hang with Entrapta in the lighting booth.”

“Oh, Entrapta isn’t she a little…”

Catra glares at her and clenches her jaw. “No. She’s not. Entrapta is fucking better than every other kid who goes to our school combined, got it?”

Now both eyebrows are raised. “Got it.” She’s quiet for a minute. She takes a bite of her food and seems to regret it instantly. Catra revels internally at the clear disgust on her face. “You two aren’t like…y’know?”

“Gross, no.”

“But you are…?”

Catra sets her fork down, quietly so as not to garner any unwanted attention from the adults. “Is there a reason you care?” She asks under her breath.

Mermista scoffs. “I’m just trying to make conversation dude. I’m not being like, homophobic or whatever.” She shrugs. “I’m bi, so.”

Catra relaxes at that. “Oh, so what you’re saying is you’re interested?”

Another scoff, this time amused. “You wish.”

Catra shrugs. “I mean you’re kinda hot, for a prep.”

Mermista tilts her head, looking more interested than she has all night. “So, you’re into preps?”

“Nah babe, you’re the only exception.” That earns her an actual snort of laughter. Catra notices Weaver glance over, she looks pleased for once. But the look brings her back to reality and she tenses once again. She leans slightly closer to whisper, “Listen, Weaver doesn’t like…”

Mermista nods seriously. “I’ll keep my mouth shut.”

Catra’s responding smile is tight but grateful. “Thanks.”

“Whatever.”

Deciding that if Mermista is gonna make an effort, she should at least try, she asks, “So, what do you like…do?” Mermista’s brow furrows and Catra rolls her eyes. “Like extracurriculars or hobbies and shit.”

“Oh, I’m on the swim team.”

“You guys are pretty good right? I feel like there were a bunch of posters about like, nationals or some shit last year.”

Mermista looks smug at that. “Yeah, we’re alright.”

“Wow, and she’s humble. What are you doing Friday night?”

“Shut up.”

Catra fakes a pout. “Maybe next time then.”

Just then they’re interrupted by a server inquiring about their interest in desert. The adults decline but fawn over the disgusting meal. After that they fold the girls back into their conversation. The two groups part soon after their check is paid. Mr. Sealineas and Weaver make promises to call and work up a contract in the morning. Catra still isn’t sure what Weaver does for a living to be honest.

Back in the car they drive home in relative silence. Catra is more than ready to disappear into her room the moment they get home. At least until she can sneak down for some real food. Her attempt is thwarted when Weaver stops her on the bottom of the stairs.

“Catrina?” She pauses and turns around. “You did well this evening. The Sealineas girl seemed…entertained.”

“Uh, yeah. She’s chill I guess.”

“Hm, well see that you keep it up. We will likely be having dinner with them again once this deal is done.”

“Sure, sounds great.” Assuming she’s dismissed she turns to walk to her room again.

“Catrina?” She pauses again, barely suppressing a sigh, before turning around once more. “I do expect you to actually eat your food next time. I won’t have my daughter being wasteful.”

Catra can’t contain her eyeroll at that. Blessedly Weaver doesn’t comment, and she is finally able to make her escape. She bursts into her room and just barely manages to keep her door from slamming behind her. The second she’s alone, she’s tearing off her dress and wiping her stupid makeup off. Back in a tee shirt and leggings she begins to feel like herself again.

She drowns out the world with her headphones and sets to work on her essay. Not like she’s trying to impress anyone, but it’ll be nice to have it done early. She keeps at it until she hears Weaver retire for the night. As soon as she’s managed some real food, she crashes hard, unsure when this day got so damned long.

 

After school the following day Catra waits outside the theatre for Entrapta. She sees Bow and his merry band of idiots walking up. It’s a familiar sight; there always seems to be at least a couple of kids dropping him off, like he’s five years old and going into his first day of kindergarten or something. Preps are fucking weird; they always seem to travel in packs like that. Personally, Catra doesn’t get it, it seems annoying to her to always have an escort. Like, don’t these people ever want to do anything alone?

Normally Catra would just disappear but Netossa hasn’t unlocked the auditorium door yet. She’d go to the library to kill some time, but she promised Entrapta she’d be here. So instead Catra is trapped, pretending to be busy on her phone while Bow wanders up with Mermista, Perfuma and Adora. She just prays Bow doesn’t try to be polite and rope her into conversation. He’s like that. She can recognize that it’s sweet, but it’s also annoying as fuck.

“Okay guys, I promised Scorpia I would meet her so I should go!” Perfuma announces as they come to a stop next to Catra. She makes her exit quickly and her friends all hug her before she goes. Touchy feely weirdos.

Then, surprisingly, it isn’t Bow who grabs Catra’s attention. It’s Mermista. “Hey Weaver.”

Catra tenses at the name. She looks up sharply, making direct eye contact with Mermista. “That’s not my fucking name. It’s Catra D’riluth.”

Mermista raises an eyebrow, expression still bored but a twinkle of genuine remorse in her eyes. “My bad, shouldn’t have assumed. You know when the cast list gets posted? These losers are nervous.” Bow and Adora both start to protest but Mermista shuts them up with a look.

Catra scoffs. “I don’t know, by Friday, I think. It’s only Tuesday though, so I doubt Netossa’s even settled on a show yet.”

Mermista scowls. “Don’t people usually like, try out for a certain part?”

Catra shrugs, it’s true but that’s just not the way Netossa runs her shit. “Not the vibe I guess.”

“Whatever. Did you try out?”

“It’s audition Mermista.” Bow corrects. She pays him no mind.

Catra smirks. “Aw, what, you wanna come see me? Can’t get enough now you’ve seen me out of the fluorescent lighting?”

Mermista does her best to withhold a smirk of her own. “Yeah, that’s definitely not it.”

Catra fakes a pout. “Aw Merms, what’ll it take for me to finally charm you?”

An eye roll. “Like I said; you wish.”

“Don’t you want to hear about my special skills at least? I can send you my CV.”

Okay…” Bow cuts in. Catra finally registers his and Adora’s apparent confusion. Actually, now that she’s paying attention, she sees Blondie over there has gone red as a tomato. “What is happening?”

Mermista rolls her eyes so Catra smirks, ready to fuck with her some more. They’d never really talked before yesterday, so it had come as a surprise to Catra how much she actually likes Mermista. Not actually in a gay way mind you, though she’d have to be totally oblivious to miss how hot she is. She’s decently funny and she’s chill; doesn’t make a big thing of shit. Catra respects that. So yeah, the harmless flirting is a good time.

“Nothing really, Mermista is just gay for me and I’m gonna get her to admit it.” Weirdly this seems to fluster Adora more than Mermista. What? Does she not know what a fucking lesbian is? Too bad really; she’s got that whole hot, buff jock vibe going. It’s not usually Catra’s thing but looking at Adora? She figures she could be persuaded to make an exception under the right circumstances. Moot point apparently.

“Ew.” Is all Mermista has to say on the matter.

“Uh…Catra you know Mermista is dating Sea Hawk, right?”

Now that gets Mermista blushing and flustered. Good to know. “Shut up! I am not. We went to like, a few dances together. That does not mean we’re dating.”

“Right.” Catra adds. “Because she’s into me.”

“Ugh, you are all insufferable! I need to get to practice.” And without another word she stalks off down the hall.

Unable to resist Catra cups her hands around her moth and calls down the hall to her. “Bye babe, good luck at swim rehearsal!” Catra cackles when Mermista flips her the bird before shoving her way out the doors, past some scrawny freshmen. Still chuckling lightly to herself Catra turns back to Bow and Adora. They seem to be having some sort of silent conversation. “Uh…you two need a minute alone?”

Adora’s eyes go wide and she stamps on Bows foot without looking down at it. “Hey! Adora, that actually kind of hurt.” He complains.

That grabs her attention and she turns a worried gaze on Bow. “Fuck, shit, sorry Bow!”

“It’s fine, it’s fine.” Still frowning he turns his attention to Catra.

“So…Catra, do you…like Mermista?”

Catra makes a face and shrugs. “Whatever, she’s fine.”

Bow raises an eyebrow. “’Fine’ like she’s okay? Or ‘fine’ like, ‘Oooh damn, she’s fine’?”

Catra furrows her brows and considers him for half a second.  “Okay, nosey. Why do you care so much?”

“I don’t! I don’t, I just-“

“Oh no.” Catra fakes concern. “Bow, am I gonna have to let you down easy? Damn, and here I thought you were gay.”

Adora snorts out a laugh at this and Catra shoots her an appreciative smirk before turning back to Bow. “Okay, one; no. And two; I’m not gay, I’m bi thank you very much.”

Catra considers that for a second. “Damn, who knew all the fucking preps at this school were so queer?” Adora chokes on air at that and Catra makes a face, looking at her with passive concern. “You okay there dude?”

“Yeah! Yeah, totally. I just- Oh! Hey Dr. Net!”

“What’s up Greyskull?”

Looking slightly less red but still tense as hell, Adora proves herself to be a secret nerd by shooting off finger guns in their teacher’s direction. “Oh, you know, just…shooting the shit.”

Netossa gives her a doubtful look, barely suppressed laughter turning up the corners of her mouth. “Sure.” She nods in greeting at Bow and Catra. “D’riluth, Bow, how are ya?”

Catra shrugs but before she has a chance to answer verbally Bow is pouting. “How come you never call me by my surname?”

Netossa rolls her eyes fondly. “Yeah, I’m gonna tell you the same thing I told Lance and George; there’s three of you at this school. Not to mention all your siblings who have passed through this place. I get too confused.”

Bow continues to pout and mutters, “Well yeah, but I’m the last so you could call just me Archer. No one else left to confuse me with now.”

Netossa crosses her arms with a smirk. “Y’know what Archer, I like your moxie.”

Bow beams back and pumps a fist into the air. “Hell yah!”

Now their teacher moves to unlock the auditorium doors. “So, what are you hooligans doing here anyway?”

She turns to Catra first and she shrugs. “Entrapta was supposed to be here.”

She looks at Bow and Adora as she lets the three of them pass into the room. Adora mutters something about them having “nothing better to do”.

Netossa takes that at face value and lets them know she’ll be grading papers and looking at scripts off to the side. Since auditions already happened and nothing has been posted, drama club this week is really just a casual hang. A lot of people don’t bother to come. Entrapta always has some project to work on and Catra is never in a rush to go home though. So, if the auditorium is unlocked after school, they’re usually here.

Catra flops down on the edge of the stage, kicking her legs against the wood paneling in front of it. She needs to repaint it before the show anyway, so she isn’t fussed about scuffing it. Bow announces loudly that he’s going to the bathroom once he’s dumped his stuff in the seat and Catra watches him go out of sheer boredom.

Adora looks awkward for a second. Then, seeming to drift toward the only other person in the room not currently occupied, she walks over to Catra. She watches her progress and Adora lands beside her, leaned up against the stage. She kicks her sneakers against the floor, watching them dig into the cheap carpeting. Catra says nothing, just watching her, waiting to see what she’ll do or say.

After a minute or so of this she looks up. “So…Bow said you’ve been doing this since Freshman year?”

“Yup.” Catra pops the P obnoxiously, making no effort to invest in this conversation. Honestly, she isn’t sure what to think. She and Adora don’t talk. They didn’t go to the same junior high and when the two in the area merged for high school, she was hanging with the preps who had long since written Catra off.

Adora clears her throat. “You ever audition for stage roles or are you pretty committed to the tech stuff?”

“Just tech.”

Adora raises an eyebrow at the curt answer. Keeping her eyes on Catra she turns around so she’s facing the stage. She grabs the edge of it and uses her arms to support her weight as she leans back. “You don’t wanna talk to me.” It’s not a question.

Catra scoffs out a laugh. “I didn’t say that.”

Adora gives her a doubtful look. “Well sure, but do you?”

Catra lifts a shoulder. “Not especially. I’m not big on chit chat.”

Unfazed Adora bobs her head a couple times. “That’s cool, I can hang.” And she seems genuinely content to just chill there. She makes no more attempts at conversation, but she doesn’t seem to get awkward in the prolonged silence. She pulls herself upright a few times before letting herself drop halfway again, but she doesn’t fidget beyond that.

Supporting her weight like that…Catra isn’t ashamed to admit her mouth goes a little dry at the sight of Adora’s arms flexing. To herself at least, she’s be fucking mortified if anyone else knew she was checking out some straight girl’s arms. Luckily Adora doesn’t seem to notice and by the time Bow makes it back, Catra’s already wondered up to the booth with Entrapta. She spends the rest of the afternoon there, and she absolutely does not use the window to keep an eye on Adora Greyskull.

In the end no one else really comes. Rogelio and Kyle swing through to talk to Netossa, but they don’t linger. Catra watches on from the booth while Entrapta mutters about wiring behind her. After the guys leave though she startles when the other two start walking toward the both.

Not wanting to be caught watching the auditorium, she flips around and pulls up a game on her phone. She looks up lazily when Bow and Adora make it to the top of the steps.

“Hey guys! Adora’s never seen the booth or the attic, so I’m just showing her around.”

Catra nods and Entrapta’s head snaps up. “Ooh, you haven’t met Darla yet, this is so exciting!”

Catra watches Adora’s reaction carefully. People tend to react differently to Entrapta’s brand of social awkwardness. Catra’s waspish attitude gets most people to flinch or back off, their reactions all decently similar. But the way people react to Trap tends to tell her a lot about them.

Adora smiles, a little awkward but not unkind. “Uh, I don’t think so. Are they in the department?”

Entrapta looks initially confused in so Catra steps in to clarify. “It’s the board.” She tips her head toward the lighting board beside her. Adora’s mouth forms an understanding ‘O’.

“That’s dope, it looks kinda like a space ship.” Catra snorts but Entrapta looks thrilled.

“Yes, she’s a very complicated machine. It’s a very basic model but Doc allowed me to make some…modifications.” The way she says modifications is almost sinister and Catra snorts out a laugh. Adora looks her way, bemused.

“I don’t know if ‘allowed’ is the right word, Trap.”

Bow laughs too and walks further into the booth, taking the other unoccupied chair. “Didn’t you two break into the theatre freshman year?”

“Yes!” Entrapta admits openly.

Catra puts up a hand to stay his and Adora’s reaction. “Okay, we didn’t break in. We just…didn’t leave right when we were supposed to. And sort of hid until after the janitor came.”

Cara remembers it well. Weaver had not been gentle with her reaction when Catra came home at eleven o’clock that night. She’d also put Catra on the pill the following week. Not that she takes it, but Weaver doesn’t need to know that. It’s not like it’d do anything but fuck up her hormones, she’s not exactly at risk of getting pregnant.

“I’m sorry.” Adora laughs. “Why did you do this?”

“For Darla! She was in woeful need of updating. She’s gone digital now.”

Adora looks between Catra and Bow as if to check if she should know what that means exactly. They both shrug. “That’s dope Entrapta. Where’d you even learn to do that?”

“The internet!”

Adora laughs good naturedly. “Of course. So Netossa just gives you free reign up here?”

Catra snorts. “Like she has a choice.”

Adora grins at her. “Fair enough.”

“Anyway,” Bow interrupts. “Adora and I were gonna go get food or something, you two want to join?”

Catra looks to Entrapta, confident she’ll say no and give her an easy out. Sure enough, she shakes her head. “I have a few more tests to run, but that was very nice of you to offer.”

Catra nods along. “Yeah, I’ll stick around here with this one.”

Adora looks a little put out for a second, but it passes quickly so maybe Catra’s just imagined it. She and Bow say their goodbyes and disappear down the steps. Catra watches them gather their things and leave. Then her eyes drift to their director, still reading in her corner.

She jumps when Entrapta speaks up. “I like Adora Greyskull. She’s very nice.”

“Yeah.” Catra agrees, thinking back on their interaction. “She seems to be anyway.”

Chapter Text

Catra and Mermista might be friends now. School friends at least. Catra’s not sure to be honest. They have not one, not two, but three more awkward family dinners before Weaver and Mr. Sealineas’ deal is done.

After the second Mermista starts sitting next to her in their AP Bio class. It actually ends up being a pretty sweet deal for Catra; not only does she get to joke around with Mermista on the reg now, but also Mermista is like, really good in that class. So yeah, maybe they’re something like friends at this point.

After class one day Mermista stops her before she can rush off to lunch. “Hey D’riluth, hold up.”

“Aw, you gonna miss me babe? Don’t worry, I know.” Catra snickers at her own joke.

Mermista rolls her eyes but otherwise ignores the shameless flirting. That’s usually her move anyway. “I’m studying for the test tomorrow, you wanna come over?”

Catra blinks in the face of the request. It doesn’t take her long to consider however; she could honestly use Mermista’s help with a couple concepts. Weird to think about going over to a classmate’s house though; Catra’s really only been to Entrapta’s place, and occasionally Scorpia’s. “That’s be tight, thanks. I just gotta run it past Weaver but she knows your family so it should be chill.”

Mermista props a hand on her hip at this, shifting her books in her other arm. “Dude, what is the deal with you guys?”

Catra’s expression darkens considerably. “What do you mean?” Mermista levels her with a look and Catra sighs. “She’s like, an aunt by marriage or some shit. And she’s all I have left so. Lucky me.”

One of the reasons Catra loves Mermista is she doesn’t really do pity. The look she gives Catra is understanding; but something more akin to solidarity than condolence. Not that Catra expects she truly gets it. Mermista seems to have two parent who, while cringey in their own way, actually seem to love her or whatever. Still, she’s compassionate and chill about it, and Catra appreciates that.

“Well she’s a really weird lady. Sucks you have to live with her.” Then she leaves it at that and moves toward the door.

Snorting with laughter at the blunt accuracy, Catra follows her. “You’re not wrong.” She admits.

When they walk out Adora Greyskull is leaned against the wall outside, distracted by something on her phone. Mermista stops like she was expecting her to be there. “Hey Grey, Catra’s gonna study with us tomorrow.”

Adora fumbles over nothing like an idiot, nearly dropping phone she’d been messing around on before they came out. She chokes on nothing and cuts an awkward look to Catra before meeting Mermista’s eye. The look she gives her is…really fucking weird. “Oh, great! Awesome, that’s…great. Ahem.”

“Yeah, whatever. Let’s go find Hawk, he owes me ten bucks and I forgot to bring lunch today.”

“Oh, sure. Um, see you later Catra.” Adora, finally composed, smirks at her and gives her a little wave before following after Mermista.

“Right, later Adora.” Then she calls out to Mermista, who is already to the end of the breezeway their class lets out into. “My heart aches until we meet again my dearest Mermista!”

Mermista flips her off without turning around before walking inside. Adora shoots her a weird look, walking backward a few paces before turning around to jog after her friend. Catra shakes her head at their nonsense and turns the opposite direction.

Entrapta promised her food at lunch today if she’d help her with some dumb task. She’d have helped her either way but she’s hardly gonna pass on free lunch. So, she wanders toward the science hallway where she assumes she’ll find her friend.

She tries her best to not think about her upcoming study session with Mermista Sealineas. And Adora fucking Greyskull.

-{…}-

“Mermista!” Adora hollers, jogging to catch up with her friend. She doesn’t slow to wait for her. Adora picks up her pace, weaving between students coming and going from the cafeteria, and manages to grab her arm before she disappears into the fray.

“Oh, for Poseidon’s sake!” She groans. “What now?”

“’What now?’” Adora parrots back incredulously. “What the hell was that?”

Mermista shoots her a bored look. “Don’t make it weird.”

“I’m not! But if you’re trying to like…set it up, please for the love of all things good, don’t.”

“Yeah, I was gonna ask Catra to study anyway? She’s shit at taking notes so I know she needs the help. Is watching you pine awkwardly gonna be a fringe benefit?” She shrugs. “Probably.”

“I do not ‘pine’ awkwardly.” Adora insists indignantly. She wonders, not for the first time, if confiding in Mermista was a mistake. The girl keeps secrets on lock like a vault, but she’s relentless when it comes to giving shit.

“Sure, whatever you say. Can I go get my ten dollars now? It’s fish sticks today, and I’m hungry.”

Adora relents but grumbles under her breath. “Who even likes fish sticks?”

She follows after Mermista but peels off to find her friends at their usual table. Glimmer is recounting a recent cheer practice to Bow and Scorpia. Meanwhile Perfuma sits at the end of the table, holding Scorpia’s hand in one of hers while finishing her math homework with the other.

Adora drops down in front of them and listens to the end of Glimmers story. She misses most of it, but from what she can gather sounds like the human pyramid is not going well. Also, apparently Flutterina is trying to upstage her or something. Adora has a feeling Glimmer is just being touchy; she’s gotten used to being the best.

When she runs out of breath Adora’s friends finally look over to greet her. “So…” Bow leads. “Excited for rehearsal today?”

Adora shrugs and wonders, also not for the first time, if Bow suspects why she actually relented and auditioned. “Sure, sounds like I won’t be getting up there just yet still. Probably for the best.”

“Aw, come on Adora! You’re gonna be great.”

Adora grimaces, that’s most definitely a lie. “Yeah, no Bow. I’m gonna suck. But it’s fine. It’s just a couple small ensemble parts., you’re the star here.”

“I wouldn’t say I’m the star.” Bow minimizes. “I’m just the butler.”

Adora rolls her eyes. “Dude, it’s Clue, it’s a murder mystery. Your character guides the whole show! Literally I basically just die on stage.”

“I still can’t believe you’re gonna act.” Glimmer snorts. “Remind me again what possessed you?”

“I thought it would be fun! You know, see Bow in his element, try something new before we graduate, beef up my college apps. All good stuff.”

Glimmer sniffs. “Yeah, yeah I get it; you have your reasons. I still say your nuts. You already have so much on your plate. Between basketball, student council, test prep, volunteering and now rehearsals too; you’re gonna collapse before senior year even rolls around!”

Adora rolls her eyes. “Glim, it’s fine, test prep and volunteering are both on weekends. Student council is just sometimes, and half the time we meet at lunch. And I skip on rehearsal Mondays and Wednesdays when I have practice. Fridays too for free play if Dr. Net says they don’t need me. It’s really just one thing each day after school.”

“Uh huh, I know you’re going to the hospital after extra curriculars Adora. Don’t try and fool me.”

“Pshh, what? That was like, one time.”

“Adora. My mother is the chief of surgery, I know it wasn’t just one time.”

And shoot, now Bow looks concerned too. “Adora, are you sure you don’t have too much on your plate?”

Adora groans and drops her head to the table. “I’m fine, please drop this.”

Eager to help out, Scorpia steps in. “Say, do any of you have Mr. Lashor for Lit?”

Her three friends shake their heads; they all got lucky and put in Netossa’s class. Lashor is notoriously tough and cranky, no one seems to understand why he became a teacher in the first place. “Sorry Scorp.” Bow laments.

Scorpia deflates. “Nah that’s fine. We just have test today, I heard it’s gonna be tough.” Glimmer puts a consoling hand on her free one where it rests on the table.

“I’m sure you’ll ace it Scorp!” She encourages.

“Hopefully! Wildcat helped me study last night, so that should help at least. She’s so good with all the flowery language and imagery and stuff.” She freezes, her words seeming to catch up with her. “Uh…don’t tell her I told you that though. I don’t really get it, but she doesn’t like people knowing that stuff about her.”

Adora swallows thickly, hoping it will help to cover her acute interest in this topic. “Wildcat, that’s Catra right?”

Scorpia beams. “Sure is! We’ve been besties for...gosh, a long time now.”

“That’s so sweet!” Adora glances at Bow from the corner of her eye and curses internally when she catches him watching her. She barrels ahead anyway. “Uh, how come she never eats lunch or hangs out with the friend group?”

Scorpia’s bright light dims slightly at this. “Ah…well, I invited her a lot when I first started joining the team for lunch and stuff in junior high. She joined us a couple times, but my teammates back then weren’t all…super welcoming. I think that just carried over when we moved up to high school honestly.”

Adora nods; that makes unfortunate sense. “Gotcha.” Then with a false lightness, like she’s suddenly just thought of the idea, she adds, “Maybe you should ask her again. It’s been a couple years and our friends are all chill. I think she and Mermista are friends now or something.” She fights to keep the bitterness and resentment out of her voice when she brings up Mermista.

Of course, Adora knows Mermista has no intention of going there, but it’s not like she can stop Catra from liking her. Catra would be crazy not to after all! Mermista is great. So great. She’s clearly head over heels for Sea Hawk, but if Catra wants to waste her time that’s her business. Either way Adora must mask her green-eyed monster well enough because Scorpia perks up again.

“You know, you’re right! Maybe if I get Entrapta on board first, Catra will be more likely to come.”

Bow’s eyes are wide with false innocence when he jumps in. “What a great idea you guys! Adora, maybe we should bring it up during rehearsal tonight too? You know, get the ball rolling.”

Adora narrows her eyes at him but when she opens her mouth to retort, Scorpia cuts her off. “Oh, would you? That would be so great! Gosh, all my best friends sharing a meal together? Now that’s the D’ream!”

Perfuma looks up and giggles at the pun Scorpia makes of her last name. “Oh honey, that sounds lovely. I think it would be a treat to have your other friends join us.”

“Wouldn’t it though?” Scorpia grins.

“Mhmm.” Perfuma giggles. “Anyway, I should probably swing by the library before class, mind walking over with me sweetie?”

Scorpia agrees eagerly so they say their goodbyes and depart, leaving just Bow, Glimmer and Adora at the table. Bow is on Adora the minute they’re gone, unrelenting. He must know, right?

“So Adora! That was such a great idea. Catra’s great, isn’t she? I’ve always wanted to hang out with her outside of theatre, but she can be a hard one to know!”

Adora gets cut off in her retort a second time. Glimmer is squinting at Bow, giving him a strange look. “Why are you being weird? Also why are you so into Catra all the sudden? Isn’t she like, a delinquent?”

“She’s not a delinquent!” Adora defends reflexively, and oh no. Bow looks like a kid on Christmas morning.

“That’s right, she’s not. She’s just…a bit abrasive. But she’s actually a really good student. You know right now she’s well on her way to being class salutatorian, right?”

Adora’s jaw drops and Glimmer looks like she just found out she’s living in a different dimension than she ever though. “Wait, what?”

Bow looks at Adora with genuine surprise. “Did you not know that? I figured Glimmer didn’t but you’re so competitive. I would have thought you’d want to know who was on your heels.”

Adora waves a hand. “I mean I’m competitive with sports and stuff, but that’s mostly adrenalin if I’m being honest. I don’t watch the class standings. Also, I may tank my grade next year once I get accepted to whatever college; I don’t want to make that stupid speech at graduation.”

Glimmer snorts at that. “Mara would kill you.”

Adora waves a nonchalant hand. “Nah, she hates public speaking too. I’m sure she’d get it.”

“So, okay, just to back track here a moment; Catra is…what? Cool?”

Bow shrugs. “I’ve always thought so. In that like, Rebel Without a Cause, Devil May Care attitude sort of way. I think she’s a secret softie too; she’s always really gentle with Entrapta. Well. Not always, but it happens.”

“She does have like, a James Dean sort of hotness, I guess. And I really had no idea she was like…smart.” Glimmer admits, though it seems to pain her to do so. “I still think she’s a bitch though.”

“What about you Adora?” Bow has that stupid, pseudo angelic look on his face again. “You’ve seen her around theatre a bit now. What do you think about Catra?”

Now Glimmer is looking at her too and Adora just knows she’s blushing. Honestly? Screw Bow. But also, no. She takes it back because Bow is the best, current circumstances notwithstanding. “She’s…chill. We haven’t talked all that much. She’s not really chatty.”

“Hmm…” He doesn’t look satisfied. “Weren’t you two lab partners or something Freshman year?”

Adora sucks her teeth and gives Bow a look. Then, for the third time in half an hour, Adora is cut off from a comeback; the bell rings. Bow looks smug at his unspoken victory. However, the instant Glimmer peels off to go to her French class Adora grabs Bow by his backpack and into the nearest bathroom.

“Uh…Adora? This is the girl’s room?”

She doesn’t respond at first, she’s too busy checking the stalls to make sure they’re alone. Satisfied the location is sufficiently private, she whirls on Bow. “What exactly is your problem?”

Bow’s face morphs from confused to smug in an instant. “I don’t have a problem Adora, whatever are you talking about?”

She groans loudly and the sound echoes off the bathroom walls. “Bow! You’re being really weird. If you know something, just say it. Because the hinting super obviously isn’t cool.”

His smug expression drops, apparently registering Adora’s very genuine frustration. “I mean…I don’t know anything.” Adora’s jaw clenches and she stares him down. “But it does seem like maybe, just maybe. You have a crush on Catra?”

At that Adora groans again and slumps against a wall, sliding down until she’s on the floor. Bow slides down next to her and waits to see what she’ll do. Some little freshman walks in then and freezes when she catches sight of Bow. He freezes too.

Get...out.” Adora grunts. She isn’t usually hard on the underclassmen; in fact, she makes an effort to be welcoming and kind to them. Unfortunately, just now she’s at the end of her rope. The girl turns around without question and hightails it out of the bathroom. Bow continues to watch her, now with an eyebrow raised at her behavior. “I’m really gay, Bow.” She finally admits.

Bow exhales, and the sounds says a lot. “Thanks for sharing, sorry if I pushed you into it. I didn’t mean…I just got excited you had a crush. So many of our friends have been out for so long, that part didn’t really phase me. But that’s huge! I’m so proud of you Adora.”

Adora huffs out a laugh. “Yeah, well. I think I’ve liked her since Freshman year.”

Bow lets a low whistle fly from his mouth. “Long time.”

“Yeah. I finally freaked out and talked to Mermista about it over summer. Also, in a roundabout way, Professor Spinerella one time.”

Bow makes a face at that revelation but doesn’t comment. She’s glad for it; that conversation had been beyond mortifying. Confused by her feelings and naïve as can be, Adora had asked Spinerella something about how things…worked between her and Dr. Netossa.

She had laughed politely and then they had a short but illuminating conversation about lesbians and questioning one’s sexuality. It’s not like Adora didn’t get the concept. She just hadn’t ever known any actual, grown up lesbians, let alone wives.

She still hadn’t really come to terms about what it all meant for her, personally at the time, but it had definitely helped sow the seeds. A few months later she’d been adopted by Mara, who has a serious, longtime girlfriend. That was when the puzzle pieces really started to come together.

“That’s why you decided to audition, right?”

Adora winces. “I mean I also wanted to hang out with you.”

Bow sets a steady hand on her shoulder. “Adora, it’s chill. I had a feeling anyway.”

Adora leans toward her best friend and tips her head onto his shoulder. Fixating her eyes at a random spot on the wall, she ventures, “She is…gay, right?”

Bow laughs. “Oh yeah, big time. I think she’s only out at school though. Mermista mentioned something about her mom not knowing.”

Adora feels her expression turn stony. “Yeah, what the fuck is up with that?”

“Catra and Mermista?” Adora hums. “Honestly I have no idea. I mean, Catra likes to get a reaction out of people and Mermista is…so not reactive. I wonder if it’s a challenge thing.”

Adora sniffs and scratches absently at her nose. “I’m not a challenge.” She mutters. “I have fucking zero chill Bow!”

He wraps an arm over her shoulder and squeezes. “Hey, it’s not a contest.” Adora scoffs but Bow doesn’t allow it to deter him. “And I don’t really get the impression the interest is genuine. I think Catra likes the challenge, but not necessarily in a gay way. She’s probably just messing around.”

Bow.” She whines dramatically. “I hate this, I hate girls.”

He snorts with laughter and before he has a chance to calm down from it, they’re joined again by another person. Unfortunately, it’s not a little freshman Adora can intimidate out of there. No, this time it’s a teacher. And of course it’s Professor Spinney. In addition to being Adora’s impromptu confidant, she’s also Dr. Netossa’s other half and their math professor. She looks startled at the scene before her but quickly recovers, letting the door swing shut behind her and setting a hand on one hip.

“Alright you two, what’s going on here?”

Adora winces, though her tone is more concerned than pissed. She always has a very maternal vibe. “Uh…sorry Professor. I was, um, upset and Bow was talking me down.”

Spinerella considers them for a moment. “Alright, Bow, get to class. Adora, wait outside while I use the bathroom please.”

They do as their told, Bow shooting Adora a worried look as he wanders off to class. He’ll be more than ten minutes late and Adora feels terribly guilty at the realization. All that’s forgotten when Spinerella leads Adora to her classroom and has her sit beside her desk.

“Do you like tea Adora?”

She blinks rapidly. “Uh…like herbal tea is cool sometimes.”

Spinerella smiles brightly. “Is chamomile good?” Adora nods in a daze. They don’t talk as the professor uses an electric kettle to prepare them each a mug of tea. She hands one to Adora and offers her a butter cookie from a tin. She nibbles on it, still totally lost.

“So, Adora. I’m glad you had a friend to talk to but…would you like an adult perspective on whatever’s bothering you?”

“Uh…that’s okay.”

Spinerella purses her lips. “Do you remember the conversation we had your freshman year?”

Adora blushes, she definitely remembers. In lieu of answering Adora shoves her entire cookie in her mouth and nods, blushing fiercely.

“Any…thoughts?”

Adora sighs and swallows hard. “I mean, I’m gay.” Spinerella nods. “There’s this girl.” Another nod. “How do you do this?”

She laughs. “Oh Adora, I recognize gay panic when I see it is all.” Adora’s face is on actual fire right now. “Also…I do have something of an in with the director of the school play. I heard you auditioned.” And Adora is officially dying. Her teachers are talking about her? Specifically, about her hopeless gay pining? Seriously, if the floor could just swallow her up that would be fabulous. “So, what seems to be the problem?”

Adora shrinks down in her seat until her butt is only halfway on the chair. “It’s not a big deal. I just think she likes someone else.”

“Ah, a boy?”

Adora shakes her head. “She’s gay too.”

Her teacher sighs, like it’s a relief for her to hear. “That’s good. Happens to the best of us but I cannot in good conscience recommend crushes on straight girls.”

Adora snorts because, yeah, she can see how that would suck. “Yeah, well.” She pulls herself up to sit properly in her chair again, but her right ankle automatically moves to rest on her left knee.

“Would you like some advice?”

She shifts uncomfortably. “I guess?”

“Just try and be her friend. If it doesn’t work out the way you hope it will well, then at least you have a new friend, right?”

Adora fights the urge to roll her eyes at this well-intentioned woman’s encouraging smile. It’s not that it’s bad advice. It just ignores all the hopeless pining and distracting butterflies Adora has to contend with. “Yeah, that’s smart. Um…can I go to class now?”

Spinerella’s lips purse to hide a chuckle. “Of course.”

She gives Adora a slip and she rushes off to lit class, ironically with Spinerella’s wife. The classroom is silent when Adora walks in, but for the rustling of pages; evidently, it’s a silent reading hour.

Catra is in the back row today and Adora studiously avoids looking her way while she finds her seat. She does however, pause to nudge Bow’s foot and give him an apologetic smile. He sends her a reassuring one back before returning to his book.

 Adora spends the final twenty minutes of class zoning out and avoiding turning around to look at her crush.

-{…}-

It doesn’t faze Catra when Bow walks into their lit class fifteen minutes late. However, when Adora wanders in after another fifteen minutes and they exchange weird smiles, she can’t deny the small pique in her curiosity. Especially since Adora is all flushed and awkward looking. What an idiot. It’s none of her business though, so she just doubles down on her reading.

She spends the final twenty minutes of class trying to read and avoiding looking up toward the front of the room.

Chapter Text

Wednesday afternoon Adora waits in her car after practice. Coach Huntara had let them out ten minutes early, so now she’s just waiting on Mermista. Once she’s out of her own practice they’ll be heading to her place for this, sure to be awkward as hell, study session. Ten minutes after swim is supposed to end, her phone pings.

‘Hey, need u 2 give C a ride.’

‘Promise I’m not trying 2 b weird.’

‘Hawk smacked his head and can’t ride his bike home.’

‘I only have 2 seats.’

Adora is officially freaking out. It’s not like she can say no. A small, terrible part of her kind of wishes she could though. Instead she shoots off her agreement and where she’s parked. Less than three minutes later there’s a knock on her window that makes her jump out of her skin.

Catra is still snickering when she slides into the passenger seat, once Adora recovers enough to actually unlock the doors.  “Hey Adora, thanks for giving me a ride.”

Adora clears her throat and scratches awkwardly at the back of her neck. “Oh sure! Any time.” Her voice definitely isn’t normally this high pitched. She shoves her phone into Catra’s hand and starts the car. “You can choose music, co-pilot.”

Adora puts the car in gear and back out. She has to put her hand on the back of Catra’s seat to check her blind spot. Even from a foot away Adora swears the proximity makes her hand tingle. Why is she so nervous? Catra is just a girl, a really hot girl, but still. Ahem, a really smart, intimidating, cool, hot girl, but still. Adora is cool. In her own way.

She clamps her mouth shut to keep a groan in. Hopefully they can just get through this car ride without Adora making a total ass of herself. Then they’ll have Mermista there to mediate. The thought isn’t as comforting as Adora would like it to be.

-{…}-

Catra accepts Adora’s phone with glee. “Sweet!” However, the minute she has the app open she freezes. Her palms get a little clammy and an unfamiliar feeling rises in her stomach and up through her throat.

Are these fucking butterflies? Fuck. But Catra doesn’t get butterflies, it’s so not the vibe. Probably just indigestion or something. That’s gotta be it.

She just has no idea what in the hell she’s supposed to put on for this girl. She also wonders why she suddenly seems to care so much about seeming cool. Catra is perfectly secure in her musical tastes; this isn’t something she worries about. Not normally anyway.

She decides the safest course of action is to scroll through Adora’s playlists and see if she can find something good there. It actually ends up not being that hard; it’s a lot of the same music Catra likes surprisingly enough. She picks one, mostly at random, and after seeing a few of her favorite artists she starts it up.

A few songs in she, very casually, conversationally comments, “Lots of lesbians on this playlist.”

Adora coughs, trying to cover it by clearing her throat, and almost misses her turn. “Uh…yeah, I suppose so. Lesbians make great music I guess.” She winces like she knows how dorky that sounded.

Catra smirks and turns in her seat to look at her properly. Adora looks nervous. Catra wonders if her directness is coming off as intimidating or something; that happens sometimes. It’s the reason so many people think she’s such a bitch. Well…part of the reason. She decides to keep it going, just to see how much of a reaction she can get.

“Yeah well, guess they have to be good with their mouths, right?” Adora chokes on her tongue and Catra cackles. “Damn Dora! You’re almost too easy.”

“Hey!” Adora protests playfully. “Don’t slut shame me.”

Catra pauses, considering her for a moment, before busting into a fresh round of laughter. “Fuck, okay, you’re right.” She’s quiet for a moment, still just watching Adora who is hyper focused on the road. “I do like this playlist though. Did you hear Claud’s new single?”

That catches Adora’s interest and she seems to relax at the easy vein of conversation. “No, is it good?”

“Eh, it’s not as iconic as 'Wish You Were Gay', but it’s vibey. I’ll cue it up.”

“Dope, thanks.” She hangs a left and then, “Have you listened to their pop playlist?”

Catra tips her head and squints slightly. “Like an album?”

Adora shakes her head. “Nah, it’s just an artist playlist. It’s not bad.”

“I’ll have to check it out.” Adora nods in agreement at that and Catra makes a mental note. She does like Adora’s taste so far.

They settle into silence as the song transitions to the new single, and Adora takes it in. As it comes to a close, she tells her, “You’re right; not quite iconic, but vibey.”

Catra smirks, she loves being told she’s right. With the song over, Adora’s playlist starts back up. Surprisingly it’s another bop, more specifically one of Catra’s favorite gay jams. Maybe she’s written Adora off as a straight girl too soon…Maybe? “So, how long have you and Mermista been tight?”

“Hmm? Oh, like a few years now? She went to elementary with Bow and Glimmer, but we didn’t really hang out outside of the group till eighth grade or so.” There’s a short, almost tense pause. Catra can’t quite put her finger on the cause of it. “What about, uh, you two? You seem to have gotten…close recently.”

Catra studies Adora for a moment, she keeps her eyes fixed intently on the road. Catra isn’t sure if she’s being weird of if she’s just a really diligent driver. Something about Adora’s posture tells her it’s more the former.

“Yeah…our parents do business together and we got dragged to some bullshit dinners. She’s chill.” Catra shrugs, having little else to say on the matter.

Adora is apparently less inclined to drop it. She bobs her head, flicking on a blinker to turn into some bougie looking neighborhood. More than half the homes are gated. “Yeah, she is, she is. Do you uh…so you guys…bonded? At the dinners.”

Catra really doesn’t know what to make of this line of conversation. Who knew Brightmoon’s Golden Girl could be so…fucking weird? And nosey evidently. “I guess? I don’t know, she’s funny. She’s also so fucking chill. We go to school with so many obnoxious blowhards, it’s a nice change of pace. Doesn’t hurt that she’s so easy on the eyes too, amirite?”

She’s going for levity but now Adora just looks like she’s constipated or something. Seriously, what is with this girl? “Yeah, well.” She turns into a long driveway and parks her car behind some massive range rover. A peek at her phone and she tells Catra. “Mermista says she just dropped Hawk off. He’s close so she should be here pretty soon.”

“Cool.” Adora eyes her from her periphery, her messaging app still open on her phone.

“I wonder if he’s asked her to junior prom yet.”

“Sea Hawk?” Adora nods and sets her phone down, facing Catra properly now. “I thought they were like…a thing. Don’t couples kind of automatically go together?”

She seems surprised by this assessment but covers relatively quickly. “Uh, well maybe. Mermista still seems to be in denial about whatever that is.” She waves a hand vaguely in the air. “Plus, Hawk is such a showboat; I’m sure he’ll find some over the top way to ask her.”

“Ugh.” Catra rolls her eyes. “That guy is so obnoxious, what does she even see in him?”

Adora’s mouth sets into a thin line and Catra thinks maybe she just stepped in it with that assessment. “He’s a sweetheart underneath it all. Also, he thinks the sun rises and sets from Mermista’s ass, so. He’s loyal to a fault honestly.”

“Shit, I didn’t mean to like, insult your friend or whatever. He’s just so…” Catra gestures vaguely, trying to encapsulate all that Sea Hawk…is. Which is a fucking lot, if she’s being frank.

Adora shakes her head. “No, you’re right, he can be a bit much. It just comes from a good place is all I’m saying.” Catra nods and the following silence stretches for a minute, just slightly less tense now, before Adora starts up again. “So…are you going?”

“To prom?” Adora hums an affirmative. “Eh, it’s not really my thing, but Entrapta’s been going on about what a ‘fascinating social experiment’ it’s gonna be, so. If she goes, I’ll probably tag along. Keep her out of too much trouble or whatever.”

At this Adora perks up a bit. “Entrapta’s so cool! I don’t understand what she’s saying half the time but like, what I do catch is always brilliant.”

Catra warms up considerably at this. It’s nice when people appreciate her best friend. “Yeah, she’s a good one.”

“Super welcoming too.” She laughs at some memory or something. “She told me the other day she forgot I hadn’t been in the theatre department all this time. Then she was like, ‘Guess you just fit well’. It was nice.”

Catra smiles warmly. “Sounds like Trapta.”

“You two have been friends a long time, right?”

“Uh huh, since like, first grade.”

“Was she just the same as a little kid?”

Catra laughs lightly. “Yeah, pretty much. Kinda why we ended up friends in a roundabout way.”

“What do you mean?”

“Eh, people don’t always get Entrapta’s brand of weird, so she got left out a lot. I got left out cause I was super confused about the way I liked girls, so I…kind of pushed them down on the playground a lot.” She feels bad about it now, but she was just a confused kid. So, she supposes, she doesn’t feel that bad about it. It was a long time ago anyhow. She shrugs with a small sniff. “And I guess the social outcasts found each other or whatever. After that I started pushing people down for giving Entrapta crap instead. We’ve really just stuck together ever since.”

Adora frowns, opening her mouth to say something else, but pauses when Mermista’s car pulls in next to them. She gestures with her head instead of saying whatever she had planned, and they both climb out of the car.

“Hey.” Mermista greets them shortly.

“Hey Merms!” Adora tries for enthusiasm but is met with a deadpan look. Seeing that, Catra leaves it at just a nod in greeting. Their friend seems to be in a weird mood, so chatter is kept to a minimum while they get inside and settle in.

Once they’ve got their books out, Mermista grabs drinks and snacks from the kitchen. She gets back and settles in on the floor across the coffee table from her guests. Adora shifts around a little and eyes her up. “So, Merms. How was practice?”

She scoffs. “Fine until Sea Hawk slipped and busted his ass. It’s a fucking pool, you’d think he’d know it was wet and be a little more careful.”

Adora tilts her head and her ponytail flops to the side. Catra thinks she looks rather like a golden retriever this way. It’s sort of…endearing. “I’m sure it was an accident.”

“Whatever. He just better not have killed off any more brain cells; he can’t afford it.” Catra snorts and now Mermista shoots Adora a look Catra doesn’t quite understand. “How was the drive over, Adora?”

For some reason this causes Adora to choke on her own tongue. For being the top of their class Catra is realizing she’s kind of an idiot. “It was fine, Mermista.”

“Oh yeah? What’d you guys talk about?” Her tone is hard, some challenge clear in it. Adora seems set on rising to it.

Her chin juts out and her jaw sets stubbornly. “Oh, you know; Music, whether or not you and Hawk are going to prom together…”

Now Mermista’s cheeks go pink and her eyes glint defiantly. “As if. Maybe Catra wants to go with me.” She turns to her now. “Are you going to prom?”

Catra startles at being dragged into whatever this is that’s unfolding in front of her. A look to Adora tells her she’ll be no help; her jaw flexes and her eyes don’t leave Mermista’s face. “Uh…maybe? I was just telling Adora I might go to keep Entrapta in check. Uh, if she goes.”

“Great. I’m planning to wear blue.”

Adora looks ready to rip her a new one, so Catra jumps in. She just wanted to study, is that really so much to ask? “Why Mermista, that’s no way to romance a girl! Where are the flowers, the chocolates, the horse drawn carriage?”   

 A little bit of tension seems to leave both of her companions. Mermista rolls her eyes and Adora snorts loudly, it’s weirdly cute. Catra shakes the thought off. “Think you’re worth all that, do ya, D’riluth?”

“Please babe, that’s the least of what I’m worth. So, unless you’ve got a fireworks display tucked away here somewhere, let’s crack these damn books.” That gets them on task and Mermista starts explaining some of the more complicated concepts.

 

They’ve been at it for about an hour when Mermista excuses herself to the bathroom. Catra pulls her notes across the table to read over them. She’s sort of just skimming through when Adora huffs next to her. She looks over to find her staring.

“Yes?” Catra lifts a brow in question and Adora sniffs, rubbing her nose awkwardly.

“I just…sorry. About before. That was…weird.”

“Yeah, I wasn’t gonna say anything, but…what the fuck was that?”

Adora huffs again and looks back to her book without answering. It doesn’t look like she’s actually reading it though, so Catra just keeps watching her. Finally, she sighs and peeks at Catra from the corner of eye. “Mermista can just be…antagonistic sometimes.”

“Okay…”

“It’s not a big deal, just-sorry you got caught in it is all.”

“Dude, it’s fine. I just can’t believe I actually thought you guys were like…the cool kids.”

A short laugh then, “Rude! I’m very cool.”

“Yeah, okay. You big nerd.” Adora laughs and shoves her shoulder lightly and Catra shoves right back. They get into it, lowkey rough housing now on Mermista’s living room carpet. They’re still at it when she rejoins them.

She just scoffs at their antics and asks if they still want her to quiz them, or if they’re just “here to flirt in my house?”. That makes Adora go bright red and she scoots slyly back to her own seat.

It’s fine, Catra tells herself. After all, she came here to study. She did not come here to flirt with one of the most popular girls at school. Who may or may not be straight. They get back to work and by the time Mermista is done quizzing them, Catra feels pretty prepared for this test.

Adora ends up giving her a ride home too, she offers so Mermista doesn’t have to go out again. Mermista seems to appreciate that more than just a little. In fact, she looks delighted to be staying home.

 Adora is quieter this time; she just lets the playlist run quietly in the background. Catra’s so brain dead from their study session, so she’s not inclined to strike up conversation either. Not that she ever really is. Twenty minutes after they leave Mermista’s, she gets out of the car and waves Adora off before letting herself in.

Unfortunately, Weaver is in the kitchen when she comes in. The moment the front door closes she calls out, telling Catra to join her. She carefully puts her shoes in their proper place, sets her bag by the stairs and trudges toward her doom. Weaver is stirring a pot of something that smells, frankly, ghastly. Catra hates when she tries to be domestic; there’s a reason they have several take out places on speed dial, isn’t there?

“Catrina. How was…studying?” She doesn’t look up from her pot, just adds a bit more of some spice. It somehow makes the entire kitchen smell even worse. Maybe Catra can claim to have eaten at Mermista’s. It’s already seven, that wouldn’t be so unreasonable.

“Fine, I feel ready for the test on Friday, so that’s good.”

“Hmm, you wouldn’t be lying to me, would you now Catrina?”

She blanches, genuinely confused. “What? No.”

Now Weaver spins around, like she’s ready to deliver her final, crippling blow. “And yet an unfamiliar car dropped you off this evening.” Catra doesn’t even bother to ask how Weaver knows what Mermista’s car looks like. She’s creepy like that. “I won’t have you sneaking around Catrina. You know my rules about dating.” Catra freezes, did Weaver see who was in the car? There’s no way she knows, right? About Catra’s…preferences. “If you are going around town with some disgusting boy, making a fool of me and besmirching my name-“

Oh, thank fuck. “Woah, woah, woah! That was Adora Greyskull’s car. She’s studying for the same test and Mermista invited her to join us. Our house is on her way, so she offered to drive me so Mermista didn’t have to go out again. That’s it, I swear.”

Weaver stares her down, likely looking for a lie in her eyes. “Adora Greyskull?” Catra nods, fighting the urge to roll her eyes. “Well, now there is an acceptable friend. She’s top of your class you know.”

“Yeah, I know.” Catra couldn’t sound more annoyed by this comment if she tried.

“You would do well to take a page out of her book, Catrina. That girl is going places.”

Catra scoffs, unable to help herself. “I’m second, like barely even behind her.”

The look in Weaver’s eye is dangerous now, and she stalks closer. Catra has to fight with everything she has not to cower; that look never bodes well for her. To prove it, Weaver grabs her chin roughly.

“You will not embarrass me by settling Catrina. You are my charge, and therefore your performance is a reflection of me. I do not settle for second best Catrina, so neither will you. Now, I was going to invite you to join me for dinner but perhaps you have a bit more studying to do.” There is a clear warning in her eyes and for once it works in Catra’s favor.

Catra scowls, trying to not to let on that this isn’t the punishment Weaver thinks it is. Not that Catra wants to go to bed without dinner, but better that than whatever is bubbling on their stovetop.  “Seriously?”

Weaver sneers, clearly pleased with herself. She releases Catra’s chin roughly and stalks to the cupboard. Then she’s thrusting a mostly empty packet of crackers into her hands and forcing her out of the kitchen. “To your room Catrina. I will see you in the morning.”

Catra huffs but does as she’s told. Much as her instincts tell her otherwise, there really is no reason to argue on principle. It’ll only get her smacked at this point. She trudges up the stairs, munching on her crackers and letting the crumbs fall to the carpet. It’s a small rebellion, but it’ll have to do for now.

Chapter Text

Valentine’s day at Brightmoon High is…a veritable nightmare. Leadership goes all out with decorations, so around every corner there’s a new garish display of white, pink and red. The school also organizes one of those stupid flower delivery fundraiser things. They sell roses that get delivered on valentine’s day, and different colors mean different things. Catra doesn’t give enough of a shit to remember what the options are.

But Scorpia, on the other hand…yeah, Scorpia is into it. She sends Perfuma and all her friends roses every fucking year. And this is why Catra finds herself waiting in the obnoxiously long line for these stupid flowers. Because a few weeks ago, Scorpia had gotten really into the idea of her and Entrapta joining her group for lunch. She’d even gotten Adora and Bow in on it.

They used to eat lunch together all the time, but when Scorpia started sitting with her basketball buddies in junior high Catra tapped out. Those guys were dicks; often not just to Catra and Entrapta, but to Scorpia too. They were the type to insult and belittle each other under the guise of “just teasing”. Catra might be a bitch sometimes, but that’s so not her vibe.

Now Scorpia claims she misses seeing them at lunch, outside of class. It’s also leaked into after school plans too but they’re all busy enough that it hasn’t worked out. It’s not like they never hang out anymore. It’s just that, typically, only two of them can make it at a time, and more often than not they’re stuck studying.

So anyway, Scorpia wants to hang out at school. Which; great, they’re friends, that’s whatever. Catra just hates being in the cafeteria. It’s loud, and crammed, and people leave their shit everywhere so it’s a fucking fire hazard if Catra’s ever seen one.

Instead Scorpia’s been joining them in the hallways or free classrooms from time to time.  She’s still trying to convince them to try joining her other friends too, but she hasn’t been too pushy about it. For Scorpia at least.

“Remind me why I came here with you?”

“Aw, cause you’re a good friend Wildcat.”

“Pfft, yeah, that’s not it.” Scorpia just laughs and nudges Catra’s shoulder with her own.

They’d been eating in Dr. Netossa’s empty room when Entrapta remembered she had a report to print out in the library. Down to just the two of them, Scorpia had begged Catra to come with her to buy roses. She wants to surprise Perfuma and figures this is her chance. As if Perfuma’s not gonna know it’s coming.

Enough pouting and Catra had relented, so here they are. At least there are like, eight leadership kids running the table; the line is moving quick. Finally, they make it to the front and some Sophomore starts helping Scorpia out.  

Catra’s zoning out when a voice right next to her ear snaps her out of it. “Hey Catra!”

She jumps and looks over to see Adora fucking Greyskull. She’s got her usual bouncy ponytail in with the stupid hair poof that always goes along with it. It’s kind of cute, in like, a super dorky way. She looks way too perky for school and she has a clipboard tucked under her arm.

Hey Adora. You’re on student council too?”

Adora smiles wide and nods. “Sure am!”

“Ugh, that makes perfect sense actually.” She squints her eyes, considering the girl in front of her. “Do you even sleep?”

Adora laughs loudly. “Like a solid four to five hours every night.”

“It disturbs me that you’re probably serious.” Adora shrugs.

“So, do you know how this works?”

“Oh, no, I’m just with Scorpia.”

“Aw, come on. It’s for a good cause...” Adora wheedles.

Catra scoffs at her. “You know what, fine.” She digs around in her pocket and manages to find a little cash. “A dollar each?”

“Yep!”

“I’ll take five then.” She hands over her cash and Adora shoves it into a lock box.

“Okay, so just pick five tags in whatever colors you want. The color code is on the poster behind me. Write the person’s name, first and last, on the colored side and your message on the white side. Then you take this,” She hands her a clipboard with a form on it. “and just fill out all the same info so we can make sure they all get sent out.”

Catra rolls her eyes but starts with the clip board. She logs five yellow roses; for ‘Friendship’ apparently. She has one for Entrapta, one for Scorp, and three for Adora Greyskull.

“Stars this is annoying, how much work is it to organize all the flowers when they come?”

Adora chortles. “Yeah, it takes for-fucking-ever. Leadership spends like, all night here on the thirteenth setting it up. There’s usually pizza at least.” She shrugs. “It’s chill.”

“Gross.” Is all Catra has to say about that.

She finishes filling out the messages she’ll put on her tags, and hands the clipboard back. Then she starts on the actual tags themselves. Adora takes it and looks down, skimming over what Catra’s written.  Catra’s just finishing writing ‘Sup nerd?’ on two of her tags when Adora snorts. She looks up to find Adora shooting her a goofy looking smile.

“Really?”

Catra smirks and looks down, finishing writing her last three tags; You’re, An, Idiot. She hands the stack of five to Adora and smiles obnoxiously. “Really.”

Adora laughs loudly enough to turn a few heads. “Get outta my line, I’ve got roses to sell. You hooligan.”

Catra throws up her arms in surrender and backs away. “See ya at rehearsal, Greyskull.” She doesn’t break eye contact until she has to turn around to avoid obstacles. She spins and finds Scorpia right behind her.

“Wildcat! Did I see you getting roses? Because you said, and I quote, ‘No way in hell am I wasting money on that’.”

Catra grumbles at being called out. “Adora peer pressured me.”

Scorpia pauses, eyeing her. “Well, it was for a good cause at least.”

Catra can’t help but roll her eyes. “Yeah, that’s what she said too.”

“Adora’s the best, don’t you think?” They start walking, sort of going nowhere and just wandering the halls. Catra gives Scorpia a weird look at the question.

“She’s fine, I guess.”

“You guys hang out much now that she joined Drama?”

Catra bobs her shoulders in an ambiguous gesture. “Eh, not really. I mean, I see her around, but we don’t hang out or anything.”

“Makes sense, we should all hang together sometime! Bow too, I know you guys are theatre buds.”

Catra scoffs at that assessment. “We are not ‘theatre buds’.”

Scorpia chuckles good naturedly. “Well, whatever you are, we should hang.”

This makes Catra narrow her eyes. “Is this just another ploy for you to get us to sit at the prep table?”

Scorpia laughs shortly. “I wasn’t even thinking about that honestly, but you do have a point. We could all hang out at lunch some time…” She sort of moves into a sing song at the end of her appeal.

Catra huffs and stops in her tracks. Scorpia stops and turns around a couple paces ahead when she realizes she’s no longer beside her. “It’s really that big a deal to you?”

“Well…I mean I don’t want to make you do anything you don’t want to do. I just…I think it would be really cool if you all got to know each other. And you and Entrapta still don’t know Perfuma all that well, but I know she really likes you guys.”

Catra sighs, it sounds resigned to her own ears. “Scorpia…”

“Look, I know it wasn’t great when we tried it before. But Wildcat, that was years ago, and I don’t really hang with the same crowd anymore. Also, the folks that did move to the Brightmoon team with me have grown up a lot since then. Most of them at least. I mean, haven’t we all?”

Catra tips her head back with a groan and allows herself a moment to indulge in her despair. It’s melodramatic but she thinks she deserves it with what she’s about to agree to. She looks back to a hopeful Scorpia. “Fine.”

“Yay!”

She puts a warning finger in Scorpia’s face. “We will try it.”

“Yay!”

And narrows her eyes fiercely. “I’ll only go if Entrapta’s coming too, or on a day she has robotics club at lunch. I’m not gonna leave her to eat lunch alone or some shit.”

“Yay!”

She sighs and gets them moving again. “And you can’t be too enthusiastic about this and make it weird.”

Scorpia catches up to her and gives the Scout’s Honor symbol. “I promise! You won’t regret this Wildcat! Oh, it’s gonna be so fun. Maybe I should bring cupcakes for everyone. I definitely should. What kind do you think?”

“Yeah, what did I just say?”

“Right, you’re right!” They’ve ended up back in front of the lit classroom with less than five minutes to the end of lunch. Catra slows to a stop and props herself against the wall by the door.

She watches Scorpia suspiciously; she’s wiggling around on the spot and biting her lip. “Holy crow Scorp, just out with it already.”

Her friend lets out a giant, relieved breath at this. “Do you think everyone likes funfetti cake?”

Unbelievable. “I dunno Scorp, but anyone who doesn’t is an idiot.”

“Are my ears burning?” Catra jumps and pushes off the wall when Adora’s voice appears behind her. Adora smirks at the reaction.

“What the fuck did you just say?”

“I heard you talking about an idiot?”

“Hey! Don’t talk about my friend Adora like that.” Bow protests from Adora’s side. Apparently here’s here too now.

Catra fixes him with a stare. “But she’s an idiot.”

The bell rings to signal the end of lunch and that gets Scorpia moving. “Okay, I should get to class. Good to see you two.” Scorpia waves to Bow and Adora. Then, as she makes her way down the hall, she calls out to Catra. “Wildcat, don’t forget to tell them the good news!”

Catra flips her off for her efforts, not that she sees it. “There’s good news?” Bow asks innocently.

“Yeah,” Catra grumbles. “I’ve been very generous and decided to let Scorpia live another day.”

His eyebrows shoot up his forehead. “Was that up for debate?”

“Every day of her life.”

“Wow Catra,” Adora starts, overly wide eyes portraying false innocence. “we’re all so lucky to have a friend like you.”

Friends? Catra’s not so sure about that, when did that get decided? Friends with Bow Archer and Adora Greyskull? She never would have imagined. “Damn right you are.”

Adora beams as if their exchange was a compliment on her behalf. “You do the reading last night?”

“Blech, yes. I can’t wait to be done with fucking Hamlet.”

“I didn’t hear you complaining about my curriculum just now, did I D’riluth?” Catra fucking squeaks when she jumps this time. Adora and Bow are having a field day with that one.

“Well Doc,” Catra grumbles. “give us something besides Shakespeare and you won’t.”

Netossa ushers them inside their classroom and they fall into the desks at the corner by their teacher’s; Catra and Adora in the front row and Bow sat behind Adora. “Please, it’s the only one on the syllabus. I think you’ll live.”

“Are we doing a test or an essay at the end of this one?” Adora asks, popping her right foot on the chair and dropping her chin to her knee. She’s always doing that, sitting in chairs like she was never taught how. Catra reminds herself to not read too much into it.

“Haven’t decided. Tests are easier to grade so there’s that.”

Please,” Adora pleads. “I don’t wanna do that flowery language crap.” Netossa raises an incredulous eyebrow, Catra does too for that matter. “What? It’s not my thing and I know that you know that, Doc. I’m good with facts! Just ask your wife, I kill in her class.”

“That so Greyskull?” Adora turns in her seat to look at Catra. Unbeknownst to either, their teacher and Bow exchange an amused look.

“Uh, yeah?”

“So, you’re, what? Some kind of math genius?”

Adora rolls her eyes. “Well I wouldn’t go that far, but I hold my own.”

“Pre-calc?”

“Uh, yah.”

“Tell ya what; we get assigned an essay for Hamlet; I’ll help you with the ‘flowery language crap’. In return you can explain to me what the fuck an imaginary number is. Deal?” Catra makes the offer literally as the idea comes to her, and she has no idea where it comes from.

Catra doesn’t ask for help; Catra buckles down and figures her shit out herself. So why the hell is she asking Adora Greyskull of all people to be study buddies? Whatever the reason, Adora seems to brighten at the idea, so at least it goes over well.

“Really?”

She shrugs as if it isn’t a big deal. “Sure.”

“That would be so cool! Honestly if you’re down I could probably use a study partner either way.”

“You got it Greyskull.”

“Aw, study buddies!” Bow coos, reinserting himself.

“Shut up Bow.” Adora commands without looking at him. Her grin doesn’t slip for the rest of class. Not that Catra notices.

-{…}-

Adora barely manages to contain Bow until Catra is out of earshot after they leave lit class that day. She practically drags him out of the building toward the gym for their next period. The moment they’re outside he lets loose.

“Adora!”

“I know, Bow, chill!”

“But, Adora!

“I know, Bow! Seriously, it’s a bad day if I have more chill than literally anybody.”

“Okay, but tell me you’re not excited.”

Adora pauses briefly to give him a deadpan look. “I’m not excited.” The look doesn’t hold for long.

Bow laughs and holds the gym door open for her. “Sure you’re not.”

“It’s not a big deal though, right? She just needs help with math stuff, it doesn’t mean anything.”

“Adora.” They pause between changing rooms to finish their conversation. “I have literally never heard Catra D’riluth ask someone for help. And Entrapta, Scorpia, and occasionally Perfuma are the only people she sees outside of school.”

“And Mermista, apparently.” Adora mutters, managing to bring her own mood down a touch.

Bow rolls his eyes at her. “You were literally there too. And didn’t you technically spend more time with her, giving her a ride and all?”

“Well yeah, but she doesn’t flirt with me. She flirts with Mermista all the time.”

“Who flirts with Mermista all the time?” Adora jumps at Glimmer’s voice. Serves her right she supposes, for laughing at Catra’s expense earlier

“Uh…”

“Catra.” Bow supplies.

Glimmer’s eyes roll hard enough to fall out of her head. “Oh, her. When did that happen?”

“Few weeks ago.”

“She knows Mermista is into Sea Hawk, doesn’t she?”

Adora scoffs. Like it matters, apparently. “She knows.”

“I think it’s a joke.” Bow offers.

Glimmer sniffs. “Hm. Seems rude to me.”

Bow shrugs, undeterred. “Honestly I think she must like it, at least to some degree. You know Mermista isn’t the type to put up with anyone’s crap.”

Glimmer begrudgingly agrees. “Whatever, I guess that’s true. Are we gonna get changed or what?”

They make their way into their respective rooms, and Adora and Glimmer find their lockers. Adora pulls her gym clothes out. “Why is Catra coming up all the time lately? Like all the sudden everyone is obsessed with Catra D’riluth.”

Adora ducks into her locker to hide her reaction. “I don’t think anyone is obsessed with her. Her and Mermista’s parents do business together, I guess. That’s how they got to talking.”

“Random.”

“Yeah.”

“Ugh, I hope she doesn’t actually end up sitting with us at lunch. I mean I know it would make Scorpia happy, but…”

Adora closes her locker with a little more force than strictly necessary. “But what?”

“She’s just so…grouchy.”

“She’s just sarcastic.”

Glimmer narrows her eyes. “What, are you two friends now?”

“I mean…sort of? She and Bow usually talk during theatre and like, I’m there too.” She hesitates, wary of Glimmer’s reaction. “I think we might study together.”

That earns her the incredulous look she rather expected it to. “Seriously?”

“Why are you so anti-Catra anyway? Have you two ever even really talked?”

“I mean, not that much. She just rubs me the wrong way.”

Glimmer can be a little…judgmental. Adora’s never really here for it, but especially in this instance it’s pissing her off. What if she and Catra started dating? Not that they will! Or would. But still, Glimmer could at least give her a chance.

“Okay, well maybe keep an open mind is all I’m saying. For Scorpia’s sake at least.” She starts to leave without checking Glimmer is ready. She makes a noise of protest and catches up right outside the door.

“Why are you being so weird about this? What do you care if I like Catra D’riluth?”

“I don’t! I’m not. I just think you could chill a little.”

Glimmer huffs. “Wow, Adora Greyskull telling me to chill.” Adora shrugs and Glimmer huffs again, speeding up to catch up with Bow faster. “I’ll see what I can do.”

“That’s all I ask.”

 

Adora is sore after gym class. She shouldn’t be, but she’d pushed herself a little too hard at practice the day before and it’s catching up with her. She’s practically using Bow as a crutch to get to rehearsal.

“Adora…should I be concerned?”

“No? Why would you be?”

He gives her a doubtful look and glances to her arm wrapped around his shoulder. She grumbles and pushes off of him. Her calves don’t thank her for it. “Adora…”

What Bow?”

“How much are you sleeping?”

“Enough.” She clenches her jaw and reminds herself that this doesn’t have to be any of Bow’s business if she doesn’t want it to be. She also tries to remember that he just cares about her, but she mostly just feels attacked.

“Five hours isn’t enough Adora.”

She wrenches the door to the auditorium open and doesn’t hold it for Bow. “I got six last night.”

“Uh huh, and the night before?”

“For star’s sake Bow, I get it! Will you drop it?”

“Fine, fine. I’m just worried about you.”

“Hey Archer!” Netossa calls out from the stage, interrupting them.

“Yeah Doc?”

“DT wants to see you up in the attic; needs your measurements.”

“Okay!” Bow drops his stuff in a seat and takes off. Adora throws her stuff down beside his.

She’s very much looking forward to collapsing beside it when Entrapta approaches. “Adora! Dr. Netossa said you won’t be on stage today.”

“Uh…oh yeah, I figured.”

“Great. Will you come up to the booth with me?” She takes off without an answer and Adora forces herself not to sigh. It takes a little bit of talking her legs into cooperating, but she manages to follow Entrapta into the booth.

“Uh…Entrapta? What’s up?”

“Oh, Adora. You’re here.” She blinks at Adora like her presence is a surprise.

“Yes? Didn’t you want me to be?”

“Oh, right!”

“Hey Trap! You actually need help today or-oh, hey Adora.”

Adora’s stomach flops at that voice and she turns around. There’s a lot of unfair things about Catra D’riluth. It’s not fair that she’s smart as a whip and Adora can barely keep up with her sometimes. It’s not fair that her voice does this husky, raspy thing that makes Adora suppress a shiver every time she says her name. And her eyes…they’re so unreal and it’s really not fair.

Adora had looked it up freshman year. There’s some term for a person’s eyes being two different colors, she just can never remember what it is. Not least of all because on Catra, it’s like…really, really distracting. One of her eyes is this bright, piercing blue and the other is more of a warm sort of amber; like fire and ice.

Suddenly she remembers how to be a person. “Oh, hi Catra.”

“Hello Catra. Here, Adora, hold these up to that lamp.”

She hands Adora two sheets of colored plastic. Both are a sort of orange, but one is more pinkish. Adora puts one and then the other in front of the lamp. Her eyes track Catra making her way all the way into the small room and setting her stuff down in the corner. Then she plops into the chair next to Entrapta and watches what Adora’s doing. Adora snaps her eyes over to Entrapta.

“What do you guys think?”

“Oh, of what sorry?”

“The gels.”

Adora looks blankly between the two girls. Entrapta just blinks back at her so Catra steps in. “The things your holding, dummy.”

“Oh right. Sorry. They’re to change the color of the lights. For the stage.”

“Got it…uh, they’re nice?”

“Trap, they look exactly the same.”

“I mean, this one is a little more pink.” Adora puts the one in her right hand back in front of the lamp. It casts a pinkish light across the room, the only other light on is the desk lamp over the lighting board. The rosier lighting seems to soften Catra’s features in such a way that they almost look…ethereal. Adora doesn’t swoon, Adora is fine.

Entrapta smiles smugly at Catra then looks back to Adora. “Catra isn’t good at this sort of thing. I think she’s color blind.”

“I’m not color blind, Entrapta!”

“You have a hard time with red.”

Catra groans and Adora can’t help but snicker. This seems like well tread ground. “That’s not even true! Just because I can’t tell a minute difference between shades of orange-“

“I still have the pamphlets with the vision test.”

“I don’t need that, because I’m not color blind!”

“Well you just let me know if you want to be sure. I have them in my binder.”

“Great, thanks for that Entrapta.”

“So, Adora, what do you think?”

“Oh, I mean, they’re both fine? What are you using them for?”

“I’m not sure yet!”

Adora furrows her brow; what are they deciding on then, exactly? “Okay, well I mean either could work depending on what your going for.” She offers the gels back and Entrapta takes them, tucking them into a folder.

“Great, thanks.”

“So Adora, we finally gonna get to see you bite the dust on stage today?”

“Pft, not just yet, sorry to disappoint.”

Catra considers her for a moment. “There a timeline for that yet?”

“Not really, but they’ve still got a way to go before they get to me. Probably next week at some point.

“Good to know.”

“Okay…” Catra smirks at Adora’s uncertainty so she shakes it off.

“Trap, I was just gonna ask; you need me today or you good?”

“I’m good, just giving Darla a little…fine tuning.”

“Sick. Greyskull, you wanna quiz for that bio test?”

“You’re not ready after studying with Mermista?”

Catra gives her a weird look but doesn’t say anything. “I mean, probably. Always room for improvement though, right?”

“Alright.” Adora agrees amiably enough. “I can get my flashcards.”

“You made flashcards?”

“Oh, get ready D’riluth; I make the best flashcards.” It’s just a fact.

“Weird flex, but okay. Go get ‘em then.”

Adora sticks out her tongue but does as directed. She and Catra quiz back and forth for the rest of rehearsal while Entrapta tinkers around behind them. She’s shocked at how quickly the time has passed when Bow comes to find her at the end of the afternoon. It’s an effort to hide how disappointed she is; she’s not a great actress.

 

Once home Adora immediately goes to her room to flop face first into her bed. There she lets herself scream into the bedding for a minute or so. She doesn’t hear Mara come in, but does feel her sit beside her on the bed. Her arm goes to Adora’s back and she rubs it soothingly.

Adora takes a moment to appreciate Mara and how lucky she is that she found her. She’s Adora’s half-sister technically. Her mother was estranged from Adora’s father, so by the time she found out Adora existed she was fourteen years old and orphaned. Adora feels lucky she found her at all. Her situation wasn’t…great. Before.

She flips to lay on her back and covers her face with her hands. “Mara?”

“Yeah kid?”

“I’m gay.”

“Thank the stars. I’m not sure what I would have done with a straight kid to tell you the truth.”

Adora parts her fingers to give Mara a disparaging look. “Oh my gosh, stop.”

Mara smirks down at her, her hand moving to grip her knee bracingly. “So, there’s a girl I take it?”

Fingers close once more to shield Adora’s eyes from her reality and she lets out another noise of despair. “It’s awful, she’s so…ugh!”

“Well, besides her being ‘so ugh’, what’s the problem?”

Adora chances another withering stare but hides again to answer. “I think she likes Mermista.”

“What makes you say that?”

The snort Adora lets out is muffled by her palms; it makes her sound like a baby dragon. “She flirts with her like all the time. Their parents know each other or something.”

“Ah, do you think something’s gonna happen there?”

Adora shakes her head, finally removing her hands from her face so she can prop herself up on her elbows. “No, Mermista knows so she wouldn’t. Plus, she and Sea Hawk have a thing anyways.”

“Okay, so why don’t you just ask her out?”

Adora rolls her eyes and flops back flat on the bed. “Because I’m not completely stupid.”

“Adora…”

“What? She’s given me no impression she’s into me, why would I do that?”

“Because you never know how someone else feels until you ask. The worst thing she can tell you is ‘no’, Adora. Besides, girls like confidence.”

“Whatever.”

“Ugh, you’re such a teenager; ‘whatever’. No wonder I drove Razz so crazy.”

Adora perks up at the mention of Mara’s aunt, the woman who raised her. “She’s coming over Sunday, right? I feel like we haven’t seen her in ages since she missed last week!”

“Yeah, she said she’d come over for dinner this weekend.”

Yes! Are we making pie?”

’Are we making pie?’ she asks! Are you a descendant of The Great Razz Eternia or aren’t you?”

“Uh, no Mar, I’m not. Wrong side of the family. Duh.”

“Excuse me Adora; you are my own flesh and blood. Razz is my own flesh and blood. Ergo…”

Adora snorts. “Nice logic you’re using there. Remind me how you snagged a girl as smart as Hope again?”

A finger wags in her face. “Watch it kid, you could learn a thing or two from me. I’m not the one here with girl problems.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Adora sits up. “What’s for dinner? I’m hungry.”

“Leftovers work? I think there’s still chili.”

“Good enough.” Adora gets off the bed and she and Mara race down the stairs. Mara wins but Adora chalks it up to being distracted.

Girls like confidence. Adora’s not about to go to school tomorrow and ask Catra out, but maybe she can work with that.

Chapter Text

As it turns out Scorpia does indeed end up making cupcakes the first time Catra joins her group for lunch. She texts Catra about it the morning of. A photo of the tray of them comes just seconds after she confirms that; yes, she will still be joining them still.

It ends up being on a day Entrapta has robotics club after all. That, frankly, is half the reason Catra bites the bullet and goes; because it’s not like she has anyone else to hang out with.

The second she walks into the cafeteria she thinks about turning around. It smells like overcooked peas and BO, and the general din reaches a volume that far surpasses Catra’s preferred range. Unfortunately, she already told Mermista she’d be joining them for lunch, and she’s right behind her. Also, she promised Scorpia, so.

“Where the fuck does the Scooby gang sit anyway?”

Mermista snorts and points to a table. And of fucking course, it’s right in the center of the room. Fucking preps. Catra sighs but marches over and drops her bag by Scorpia who’s sat across the table from her girlfriend. Mermista drops her bag off at the end of the table and says something about going to track down Sea Hawk. Catra wonders briefly why she tries to pretend like she’s not into him. It’s so fucking obvious, they’re together all the time.  

She’s quickly pulled from her thoughts by Scorpia and Perfuma. “Hello Catra.” Perfuma is serene but Scorpia is practically bouncing in her seat.

“Wildcat! I’m so excited! Do you want a cupcake? My Ma helped me make ‘em last night.” She pushes over a Tupperware with a dozen or so cupcakes. Each one has ‘BSPS’ carefully piped on top.

“What the fuck is BSPS?”

Scorpia beams and Catra’s pretty certain she’d been hoping she’d ask. “Best Super Pal Squad!”

Catra blinks slowly at her, then peers over at Perfuma; she seems unfazed. “Great…thanks Scorp. I’m just gonna go fill my water bottle up real quick.”

“Okay, hurry back!”

Catra grimaces at the enthusiasm. She’s happy Scorpia is happy and she’s not gonna ruin it by being a bitch. She just needs a second and she’ll be fine. It only takes a minute to fill her bottle, seeing as how it wasn’t actually empty, and she turns back. Upon her return a few more people have joined the table.

Bow is sat directly across from Catra’s stuff, with Glimmer Brightmoon right beside him on his right. And there, across from Glimmer and right next to Catra’s shit, is Adora Greyskull. She creeps closer and when Bow catches her eye, she puts a finger to her lips. He smirks and keeps his mouth shut.

Just a small step away Catra leans in on Adora’s left, ignoring Glimmer who is now narrowing her eyes at her. “Hey Adora.” She breathes into her ear.

Adora yelps and literally falls back into Catra. She’s laughing so hard she barely manages to catch her before she can fall to the floor. Once she’s finally steady Catra drops into her seat, wiping tears of laughter from her eyes.

“Catra! Fucking hell, you almost gave me a heart attack.”

“Aw, look at you. You’re all like, ‘Aah! No, betrayal!’.” Catra cackles.

Surprisingly Adora doesn’t look the least bit annoyed. Catra would almost say she looks…endeared. Unfortunately, they’re interrupted by the queen of Brightmoon herself. “Catra.”

“Oh, hey Shimmer, hey Bow.”

“Hey Ca-“

“It’s Glimmer actually.”

“Oh,” Catra picks up a cupcake with a smile of thanks to Scorpia, and continues in a bored tone. “is that not what I said?”

Glimmer is already fuming and Catra snickers into her cupcake. How short can this girl’s fuse be? “I think you know that it isn’t.”

“It’s just a joke Glim, take it easy.” Adora turns away from Glimmer and leans around Catra to address Scorpia. “Still cool if I nab one of these cupcakes, Scorp?”

“Please! Everyone, please help yourselves.”

“Thanks!” Bow also whoops and grabs one too. Scorpia looks so happy, and just downright emotional, Catra already feels better about sitting here. Even if it does still smell like overcooked peas. “Oh, dang, is this funfetti?”

“Sure is!” Scorpia tells Adora.

Yes, best kind of cake, bar none.” At that Catra’s best friend looks like she could weep with joy.

“I’m so glad you like them! My Ma helped.”

“Aw, Garnet?”

“Oh yeah, she won’t let Mom anywhere near the oven anymore.”

Adora laughs good naturedly. “Well tell her ‘hi and thanks’ from me, her and Linda, really.”

“I sure will! You should come over for dinner soon, I’m sure they’d love to see you. Oh! Everybody can come, like a dinner party.”

Catra laughs. Scorpia’s boundless enthusiasm may be overwhelming, and at times even a bit cringey, but it’s also the thing Catra likes best about her. “Scorp, can you even cook?”

“Well…no. But Perfuma can! You’d help, wouldn’t you babe?”

“Of course, hon.”

“Perfect! Maybe spring break? Everyone is so busy right now, but...”

“That sounds fun! We can even help, make a potluck of it.” Now Adora’s enthusiasm is starting to rival Scorpia’s. Catra raises an eyebrow at her antics and she nudges her with an elbow. “What about you Cat, what’s your signature dish?”

“You know that canned cranberry sauce?”

“Sure.”

“That’s my specialty.” Adora smiles and laughs like Catra isn’t being a little shit. Glimmers little sniff seems to indicate she disagrees and Catra turns on her. “What about you Sparkles? You much of a chef?”

Glim-mer.” She grits out. “And no, not especially. But I’m sure I could figure it out for my friends.” Catra doesn’t miss the dig, she just chooses to ignore it.

“How noble of you.” Okay, maybe she doesn’t ignore it completely. “Hope your experiments don’t poison anyone.”

Glimmer opens her mouth to argue but Bow cuts her off. “Okay, hey Glimmy, weren’t you gonna show me that essay prompt you have to work on?”

She takes an extra moment to glare at Catra but harrumphs and relents. “Fine, yes. Help me, please.”

“Sure thing, let’s take a look.” Glimmer digs out her bag and Catra stops paying attention to them. Clearly there’s no more fun to be had there.

“So, Adora.” Perfuma grabs her attention. “How are you liking theatre so far?”

Catra turns to watch her reaction, curious about her response. She glances at Catra from the corner of her eye, never turning away from Perfuma. “It’s great.” Her voice comes out all weird and pitchy, and she clears her throat to correct it. “Ahem, yeah. I haven’t had to actually act yet, so that helps.” She jokes.

“Aw, I’m sure you’ll be great, buddy!” Scorpia encourages.

Catra snorts remembering the last time she saw Adora act. “Your audition was good at least.”

Adora turns to her now, a cocky smirk firmly in place. “Ya liked that, did you?”

“What even was that?”

“Yes, what was your audition piece again?” Perfuma tilts her head slightly, trying to remember.

“It’s from some movie. It’s literally the only monologue I could think of. I found out it’s not even from a real play after auditions.”

“Charlie Bartlett.” Mermista’s voice at the end of the table startles pretty much everyone sitting there. She stands there with Sea Hawk who is lightly flushed and looking pleased.

“Who?” Scorpia asks with a furrowed brow.

“It’s the movie?” Scorpia looks no less confused, and no one else leaps in to help. Mermista groans. “Ugh, for Poseidon’s sake. The one Adora’s monologue was from.”

“Oh! Yeah, that’s right.” She confirms.

“Anyway. How was Best Super Pal Squad lunch or whatever?”

“So great!” Scorpia answers.

“What are the wonder twins doing down there? Hey Glimbow, what is that?”

Glimmer waves her off and doesn’t look away from the book she and Bow are still studying. “History class, go away.”

“Wow, really feeling the love over here.”

“Dearest Scorpia, are these the cupcakes you prepared for the occasion? Might I...?” Sea Hawk gestures to the container.

“Sure are! Please do.” He lets out a delighted giggle that makes Catra’s face slacken with astonishment. Nobody else reacts which is…telling.

“So Merms,” She starts with a lewd wiggle to her eyebrows. “where’ve you been this whole time?”

Mermista narrows her eyes and huffs. “None of your business, D’riluth.”

“Aw,” She puts on a pout. “but I missed you. Make it up to me?”

“And how do you propose I do that?” She looks bored but there’s a glint of playfulness in her eye.

“I’m sure you’ll come up with something babe.” The bell rings and Catra smirks. “We can talk about this later.”

“Whatever.”

As the group splits up for class, Catra stands and turns to see if Bow and Adora are coming to lit. She finds Bow is already gone and Adora standing there pouting. “Archer ditch or something?”

“Huh?” Adora seems to make an attempt to shake off whatever bug has gotten up her butt. “Oh, he’s walking Glimmer to class so they can keep going over stuff.”

“Got it. Well, you coming to lit?”

“Yeah.”

“Great.” They fall into step and Adora seems to be having some kind of internal debate or something. She looks like she’s thinking way to hard about something. “You okay there Greyskull?”

“I’m fine! That was nice today. Having you hang out.”

Catra squirms under the attention. “Yeah, wasn’t as bad as I thought.”

Adora considers her as they reach the class room, pulling the door open and letting Catra through. “Scorpia really had to twist your arm, huh?”

Catra wavers, feeling a little…silly? about that now. “Well, I mean yeah. It was chill but how do none of you care that it smells like that in there?”

Adora laughs in surprise and picks a seat near the back. She throws her jacket down on the side Catra doesn’t take to save it for Bow. “Sorry, smells like what exactly?”

“Ugh, like shitty cafeteria vegetables and sweaty teenagers.”

Adora looks astonished. “I have never noticed that.”

Catra grimaces. “Yeah, well it’s very off putting.”

“You know what? I can’t fault you there.”

“What a relief Greyskull.” Catra’s being sarcastic and Adora laughs. She’s got such an easy laugh. It’s…charming. Catra’s fucking funny, and it’s always nice to be appreciated.

Adora is still smiling to herself when Netossa starts her lesson, and even still when Bow slips into his seat several minutes late to class.

Not that Catra cares.

-{…}-

Adora loves basketball. Still as she leaves lit class that Wednesday she’s a little disappointed she has practice later, instead of rehearsal. Glimmer is waiting for her in the locker room when she gets to the locker room, somehow already dressed.

“Hey Glim, you even go to fifth?”

“What? Of course, I did.”

“You just changed fast is all.”

A short “Oh.” Is her only acknowledgement of that, and Adora gets to changing herself. “Can you believe lunch today?”

“I know right? That was fun having one of Scorpia’s friends join us.” She chooses her phrasing quite carefully and makes an effort to appear nonchalant.

What?” Adora glances at her; her face is going a bit pink. “Were we at the same table today? She was being so obnoxious.”

Adora looks at her doubtfully. “Is this because of the name thing.”

“Pft, I mean, it’s not not because of the name thing. She was just being antagonistic on purpose.”

Adora pauses her progress, she’s got her shorts and sneakers on and just needs to throw her shirt on over her sports bra. Still, she wants to make an effort to nip this is the bud now. Her hand goes to her hip. “I mean, weren’t you?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Her arms cross over her chest and her jaw sets. Great, extra stubborn Glimmer.

“You weren’t exactly welcoming Glim. You snapped at her and didn’t even say hello.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I was being judged on my hospitality.”

“Well I’m sure Catra didn’t realize she was being judged on her sense of humor.”

“Why are you defending her?”

“What are you attacking her?” Adora tries not to snap, she really does. Unfortunately, her patience with Glimmer’s determination to hate Catra has worn thin.

“I’m hardly attacking her; I’m just saying she’s rude.”

“Yeah, while she’s not here to defend herself after you were rude to her too.” Glimmer’s mouth falls open and she looks ready to argue back. Adora finally pulls her shirt on, knowing they must be running low on time, and sighs. “Listen, I’m not saying she wasn’t being a brat to you. But you did kind of start it, and it’s just her sense of humor. You don’t have to like it. I just don’t get why you’re just taking it so personally.”

“Whatever, you don’t get it.”

Adora throws her hands up and starts to make her way out of the locker room. “Literally what I just said Glimmer.”

Once class is started Coach Huntara gives the option of going to the weight room or playing basketball. Knowing she’s got a full practice later, and eager to zone out with her headphones in, Adora peels off. She doesn’t see Bow and Glimmer follow her and is honestly glad for the alone time.

It’s nice, to have the time to think. She can pretend she doesn’t get what Glimmer’s problem is, but she’s pretty sure she does. For one; Glimmer has a tendency to make up her mind about someone and refuse to ever change it. For another; if she feels like Catra is invading her space she’s definitely the type to double down on her refusal to accept her.

It’s mostly annoying because of how similar they are. Any criticism one has for the other is highly hypocritical. She can tell that Catra’s holding back a bit on her opinion of Glimmer, not that she’s especially shy about her distaste. But she and Glim have been close for years now, it makes sense she feels more comfortable airing her grievances directly.

By the end of class all Adora has really managed to do is think in circles. She heads back to the gym, and while most of the class is already in the locker rooms or on their way there, Bow has waited up for her.

“Hey, what’s going on with you and Glim?” He asks without preamble. “She said you told her she’s mean? I figured that wasn’t exactly right.” He adds his assessment after Adora rolls her eyes about as hard as she can possibly manage.

“She was all worked up about Catra, and I pointed out that she sort of started it with the hostility. Am I wrong here? Because like, I know I’m…you know whatever with Catra, but that’s what I saw.”

Bow’s mouth flattens into a straight line. “Yeah, no. She did kind of come in hot there. Kind of a recipe for failure with how reactive Catra is.”

“Exactly! Ugh, she’s really working my last nerve with this crap.”

“I’m sure she’ll warm up eventually.” Adora gives him a look that just screams, ‘really?’. “We’ll encourage her.” Adora doesn’t let up and Bow actually huffs a little bit. “Fine, I’ll encourage her.”

“Good luck to ya, I guess.”

“Gee, thanks.” He pulls a face for a second then, “You sticking around for practice?”

“Yeah, have a good rehearsal.”

“Will do.” He wiggles his eyebrows at her. “Want me to tell Catra ‘hello’ for you?”

Adora laughs and shoves him lightly toward the locker rooms. “Shut up. Go murder someone or catch a murderer or whatever it is butlers do.”

“Yeah, yeah. I’m going, I’m going.”

It takes a bit, but Adora manages to get her head in the game about halfway through practice. By the end of it her body is sore, and her brain is tired. She tries to forget all the homework she has left to do when she gets home on the way there. However, with the thirteenth tomorrow meaning she’ll need to do both her assignments for today and tomorrow if she’s smart, she doesn’t have much luck with the forgetting.

It’s a bit of a push, but she manages at least five hours of sleep that night.

 

The thirteenth of February is absolutely the longest day in history. Adora skips rehearsal to go straight to the classroom Leadership uses as a Valentine’s staging area. She already knows she’s gonna be there late into the evening, and she’s already ready to go home.  It smells amazing but the hundreds upon hundreds of roses are a bit overwhelming. It’s already a flurry of activity when Adora arrives.

Sea Hawk is directing folks; he’s got Frosta, the Freshman class president and also Mrs. Peacock in the show, and Glimmer organizing info from the clipboards. Perfuma has started attaching tags to pink roses and organizing them by recipients’ last names.

“Hey Hawk.”

“Ah! The lovely Adora! How are you this fine day?”

“Meh, can’t complain. How about you?”

“Why, I am absolutely grand, Adora. Our efforts today will serve to bring joy and love this Saint Valentine’s day. What, I ask you, could be a more noble effort than that?”

Adora smiles, she loves Sea Hawk. He’s so…earnest. “You have a point. So…where do you want me?”

“Would you be so kind as to begin tagging our yellow roses?”

“You got it.” She scoops up the massive stack of yellow tags and moves to the buckets of roses beside Perfuma’s to get to work.

“Hey Fuma.”

“Adora! How are you doing?”

“Pretty good. How about you? Looks like you’re making good progress.”

“Oh, not too bad. I’ve seen a few of yours come through…” She smiles slyly.

Adora blushes but her answering grin is smug. “Yeah, well. You send any this year?”

“Oh a few, to the friend group and a dozen to Scorp.”

“You two are adorable.”

Now it’s Perfuma who blushes lightly. “I care for her deeply.”

“Have you guys…you know?”

Perfuma’s eyebrows shoot up toward her hairline. “Are you asking me if we’ve slept together?”

Adora is spluttering. “Stars, no! Oh my-Perfuma! I was trying to ask if you’ve said ‘I love you’.”

“Oh.” Perfuma giggles. “Not yet, but soon I think.”

Adora’s heart is still returning to a normal pace from her shock. She still manages to offer, “That’s great!”

“Yes, to the other thing though.”

Adora raises an eyebrow. “Congrats?” Adora winces. Is that an appropriate response?

“Thanks.” Perfuma smiles and Adora allows herself to relax. “It was really nice actually. She’s so gentle about everything, this was just the same.”

“I’m happy for you, really.”

“Hmm…so Adora?”

“Yeah?” She starts organizing the stack of flowers she’s tagged so far by last name.

“I don’t want to pry, so please let me know if I am, but I noticed you at lunch the other day.” Adora freezes, her hand still on a few roses in the G bucket.

“Oh?”

“You and Catra seem to be getting along quite well.”

“Uh…yeah, I suppose so.” She sits down again and resumes tagging.

“She can be so lovely when she lets her walls down.”

Adora shrugs, uncomfortable but also wildly curious about what Perfuma has to say. It’s not like she’s unaware of how obvious she is. Adora’s face has always been, and will likely always be, an open book.

“Adora?”

“Yep.”

“Is there anything you’d like to share? If not, I can always tell you about the nursery; my mother just ordered the loveliest jasmine plants.”

Adora appreciates the option; the opportunity for an out. She’s also ready for everyone to just know already. It’s really the actual coming out process that’s she’s not into. “I mean, I’m gay. If that’s what you’re getting at.”

Perfuma frowns. “Adora, I’m sorry if I-“

“You didn’t. I know I’m not slick. It’s not a secret I just…haven’t gotten to announcing it or whatever.”

“I see, well congratulations.”

Adora laughs shortly. “Yeah, thanks.” They work in silence for a while, but something is eating at the back of Adora’s mind. “Perfuma?”

“Yes?”

“Do you think…I’m not that obvious, am I?”

Perfuma softens and pauses her work to place a hand on Adora’s arm. “I don’t think she can tell. It’s much harder to see when someone likes us, than it is to objectively observe our friends. Don’t you think?”

Adora sighs with relief. “Yeah…yeah that’s true.”

She gets one last encouraging smile before Perfuma goes back to her task. Adora remains still for another minute. “Can I ask you another question?”

“Always.”

“You sort of know her; do you think she’d ever-what I mean to say is; do you think she could…you know?”

“I think you guys would be really cute together, Adora.” She giggles softly. “I’m not sure where she stands; she’s quite guarded which I’m sure you’re aware of. But…if I may?”

“Please.”

“The Mermista thing?” Adora feels her heart sink. “I think it’s a bit. She likes to tease and Mermista doesn’t react so strongly, so Catra can go farther without pushing her buttons too hard. If she really liked her? Well, like I said; Catra is quite guarded with her emotions.”

They fall into a comfortable silence at that, while Adora mulls it over. Perfuma has a point, Catra probably wouldn’t be so obvious if she was genuinely into Mermista. Plus, Bow had said essentially the same thing, hadn’t he? The only thing Adora has a hard time brushing off is the chemistry. Maybe it doesn’t mean anything, but it’s pretty undeniable.

She supposes, she’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Chapter Text

Catra doesn’t understand the rose delivery system one bit. It seems like some preppy ding dong is dropping into her class every other period. She’d even seen Adora swing through her math class in second. That was kind of weird.

Catra, sat in the back row, had whispered, “Hey Adora.” and she’d tripped over nothing. She almost lost her bucket of flowers. Catra almost felt bad, but it was pretty funny. Kinda cute. Adora really is an idiot.

By the time lunch rolls around she thinks they ought to be done. However, Catra still hasn’t gotten any and she know she’ll get one from Scorpia. That’s all she’s expecting really, but it tells her the floral interruptions aren’t done at least. She wonders passively if Adora’s gotten hers yet. Catra laughs imagining her having to deliver them to herself, but it probably doesn’t work that way.

She finds Entrapta sitting on the floor in the Science hallway in front of a bright, garish display of hearts. She plops down on the ground next to her, facing away from the wall. She’s mostly quiet; Entrapta’s lab partner joins them and the two of them discuss the lab they’ve just finished.

Lunch ends far too quickly and Catra scoots off to class when the bell rings, waving to a still engrossed Entrapta as she goes. She’s sure she’ll make it to class eventually.

She plops into a seat and Bow and Adora are right behind her. They’ve taken to sitting next to Catra every day now. Bow even moved them one time when Catra arrived after them and chose a spot a few seats away from them. She’d been torn between flattery and annoyance.

“Hey Catra.” Bow drops his stuff onto the desk northeast of Catra and Adora takes the one right in front of her.

“Hey squares.” Adora turns in her seat to stick out her tongue, which makes her laugh. “Thought you were the delivery girl today?”

“Nah, we take shifts, so no one misses too much class.”

“How responsible.”

“Ha, well we try at least.”

Netossa calls for the class’s attention as the bell rings, and Catra ignores the disappointment that fills her gut. She has rehearsal with these yahoos in like, two hours. What has she got to be disappointed about?

They make it fifteen minutes into class when Perfuma trails in with a cart of flowers. “Hey Doc! Mind if I do my thing?”

“Go for it Plumeria. Alright kids, you get ten minutes on the clock to gab about your flowers and then your attention is mine again.” She writes the time ten minutes from then on the board. Then she’s dropping down at her desk and throwing her feet up, watching the chaos ensue.

Perfuma starts passing flowers out. Some girl, who gets a few pinks and a red, turns to squeal with her friends. A few more folks get some and then she’s in front of Catra. She drops a couple yellows on her desk and Catra raises an eyebrow.

She peeks at them; in addition to the one from Scorpia she has one from Bow. She scoffs and turns to smile and roll her eyes at him. He gives her a quick salute then nods back to Perfuma. She’s still watching Catra, but the way she’s smirking at her now makes Catra’s heart stutter.

She raises an eyebrow in question. “Yes?”

“You might want to clear your desk.”

Catra’s second eyebrow joins the first but she moves her water bottle to the floor and her book and papers to her lap. By now several people are watching them and she can feel her face heating up. She picks up her water bottle to take a long drink.

Perfuma walks back to her cart and then she’s dropping what must be like…three dozen roses on Catra’s desk; a mix of pink and yellow. “What the fuck is this?”

“’Ey, D’riluth! Language.”

“I’m sorry Doc, but are you seeing this?

Netossa smirks and shrugs. “Oh, I see it. You got a secret admirer or something?”

Now Catra’s really blushing. Perfuma giggles and waves. “Well, enjoy!”

She looks down at the massive pile on her desk. What is she even supposed to do with all of these? Finally, she starts looking at the tags. Adora Greyskull…Adora…Greyskull…Adora Greyskull… Adora fucking thrice damned Greyskull. She scoffs and looks up, Adora is watching her with a smirk.

For the record; Catra absolutely doesn’t get butterflies, she wouldn’t even know what they feel like. She registers Bow snickering nearby and a few whispers. She’s sure it’s not about her.  She looks back to her flowers. Okay, it’s possibly about her.

She starts looking at the messages on the flowers; they’re all just…singular letters, with little numbers in the corner. “Dude, what is this?” Adora, still smirking with an impish glint in her eyes, offers Catra a piece of lined paper and a pencil. “Oh, for fuck’s…”

Seeing no other options, she starts on this bizarre puzzle or whatever it is. She numbers the lines on her paper. Then she’s pulling off tags and starts writing the corresponding letters. As she goes, with nowhere else to put them, she thrusts the tagless flowers into Adora’s hands. She gives her a dirty look that does little to hide her smile with each one.

About halfway through she has H__E YOU ___’T _H_NK __IS IS ___OY___. She pauses to look at Adora again; she’s making no effort to contain her chortling at this point. She also keeps sharing looks with Bow that have Catra’s heart doing weird shit. It’s an effort to keep her hands from shaking as she continues recording letters. What the fuck?

She glances at the clock; five minutes to finish this. “Remind me what the stupid colors mean again?”

“Oh, quit stalling!”

Catra looks to Bow. “Friendship is the yellow.”

She raises an eyebrow and shakes her head a bit. “And pink?”

He looks over to Adora, she’s rolling her eyes, but blushing now. Interesting… “I like you.”

“Aw, I like you too, Greyskull. So, what do the pink ones mean?”

“Shut up and finish your thing, Catra.”

Catra snickers and gets back to work. Still, she quips back. “Weirdly specific message, but okay.”

By the time she’s done the message reads; HOPE YOU DON’T THINK THIS IS ANNOYING! She laughs and looks to Adora who seems to be watching her reaction carefully. “I literally hate you.”

“Aw, does that mean ‘thank you’ in Catra speak?”

“Shut the fuck up.” Adora keeps her mouth shut but drops all the flowers back on Catra’s desk. “Yeah, I don’t know what you expect me to do with all of these.”

Adora laughs. “Yeah, that’s fair. You can stash them in my car till after rehearsal if you want. Then I can just give you a ride home after.”

“Oh, very slick, Adora.” Bow compliments.

Adora whips around to look at him so Catra doesn’t see the face she makes. She does, however, hear her grit out under her breath, “Not if you comment on it, Bow.”

“Hey, D’riluth.” Catra looks to Netossa at the front of the class. Looks like their ten minutes are up. “You need to stash those on my desk until after class?”

“Ugh, I guess so, yeah.” So, face burning all the while, Catra carts her veritable armful of flowers up to the teacher’s desk. If Adora’s grin is anything to go by, the sorry excuse for a glare she shoots her as she walks back to her seat is highly ineffective.

 

True to her word, Adora leads Catra to her car between fifth and sixth period. She also helps Catra carry the mountain of roses. Seriously, what is she going to do with all of these?

“To be clear,” Catra offers as they make their way through the parking lot. “you are really annoying.”

Adora just laughs lightheartedly. “Maybe, but you like it.”

“Did I say that? I don’t remember saying that.” Catra’s stomach swoops at her own protest.

“You didn’t have to.” Adora unlocks her car and opens the back door. “I can read between the lines.”

They deposit their roses and start making their way back to the building. Catra snorts. “Yeah, okay. Whatever you say Greyskull.”

-{…}-

Adora stops suddenly. “What if we didn’t go to sixth period?”

Catra looks shocked. “What, like skive off?”

Adora shrugs. “Basically yeah.”

“Wow, who knew the golden girl was such a bad influence?”

Adora’s rolling eyes communicate just exactly how she feels about that moniker. “Whatever, are you going to class, or are you gonna come hang in the Whispering Woods with me?”

Catra agrees easily, much to Adora’s delight. She tells her to hang on a sec and grabs a joint from her car. She stuffs it in her pocket with her lanyard and leads them to the edge of campus. The Whispering Woods aren’t actually like, a full forest or anything. It’s just a dense thicket of trees that runs along one side of the track and football field. There’s a longstanding rumor that they’re haunted, not that Adora buys into that kind of crap.

They find a fallen tree to sit on and drop their bags beside it. Adora keeps one foot on the ground, one ankle crossed over the opposite knee, and Catra lifts both feet to sit cross legged, fully on the tree.

Adora reaches into her pocket and pulls out her weed. Catra’s reaction is nothing short of hilarious; she makes the dumbest surprised face. Adora likes it. “You smoke?”

“Sometimes, yeah. You?”

“Uh, I did once. With Trapta, neither of us actually got very high though.”

“That happens sometimes.” Adora lights up and takes a hit, letting the smoke escape from between her lips. She offers it to Catra, but she seems to be in her own little world. Is she staring…at my mouth? Probably not, right? Catra snaps out of her trance after a minute, scowling lightly at Adora’s smirk. Adora still has the joint held out. “No pressure, but you’re welcome to it.”

“Thanks.” Catra accepts it gingerly and takes a puff. She offers it back but Adora is watching her shrewdly.

“Are you taking it into your lungs?”

“Uh, I think so?”

“Are you just holding it in your mouth or are you like, breathing it in fully?”

“Is there a difference?” Adora smiles, Catra’s little bewildered face is so damn cute.

“Kind of? It’s hard to explain, but that might be why you didn’t get high the first time. Try again and after you hit it, kind of try to like, gasp almost.”

Catra lifts an eyebrow at her in that expression that always makes Adora’s insides squirm. She goes to hit the J again, but the cherry isn’t lit anymore.

“Hang on.” Adora brings the lighter to the end of the joint, not missing how much closer together it brings their faces. She flicks it on and whispers, “Now try.” And then Catra is practically hacking up a lung. Adora cheers. “Hey, now she’s got it!”

Catra shoves the joint back in her direction and pulls out her water. Adora takes a couple more hits, watching Catra calm down. She wipes a couple of tears away from her eyes as her breathing regulates again. “Ugh, that was awful.”

“Eh, it gets easier.”

Catra looks to her, a challenge clear in her eyes. “Lemme try again.”

Adora offers it to her easily and she takes a smooth hit. It’s weirdly hot, the way the smoke trails from her mouth. She takes the joint back and takes a last hit. “You good, or want more?”

“I think another hit might literally murder my lungs.”

She laughs again, Catra’s always making her laugh. It’s…a lot. “Fair enough.” She rolls out the cherry, stomping out the embers, and tucks it back in the tube in her pocket. “So…how ya feeling?”

“Hmm…a little…floaty?” Adora can relate. “This is actually kind of nice.” Then she hums to herself and lays back across the log, her legs still crossed in front of her.

Adora feels her phone buzz in her pocket, not for the first time, and checks her messages. There’s already a few in the “Best Friend Squad” group chat.

Glimmer

Dude, are you coming to class?

Bow

R u skipping??

Glimmer

Adora??

Coach is gonna be pissed @ u

Bow

More importantly

Y didn’t u invite us?

She smiles but rolls her eyes at their antics.

Adora

Spur of the moment decision

How are you guys even texting me rn?

Bow’s little bubble pops up immediately

Bow

Coach is in the office doing paperwork

It’s a free hour so Glim and I are “stretching”

Adora

Lol

Glimmer

What are you doing anyway?

Adora

WW

Glimmer

ARE U SMOKING W/OUT US

Adora

Bow

Wow, heartless

Alone?

Not like u

Adora

Not alone

Glimmer

???

Adora

Catra’s here

Adora immediately gets a round of texts from Bow in their private conversation.

Bow

OMG

OMG OMG OMG

Adora!!!!

It’s happeningggggg

Adora

Bow!

Chill!

Bow

How can you even say that rn??

Adora

Can we talk about this later plz?

Bow

But Adora!

Adora

L A T E R Bow

Bow

Fine

I’ll see you @ rehearsal

Meanwhile Glimmer is still going off in the group chat

Glimmer

Y r you smoking with her and not us?

Adora??

SO rude!!

You’re just BFFs w/ Catra now?

Don’t ignore meeee

Adora

I’m not ignoring you

Chill!

“What are you doing over there?”

Adora

G2g

Glimmer

Adora, no!

Bow

Have fun!

Be safe!

Adora

Byeeeee!!

“Nothing! Bow and Glim are just going off in the group chat.”

Catra giggles, giggles, and sits up. “’Best Friend Squad’, you guys are such nerds.”

Adora laughs too. “That’s all Bow. We tried to fight it but.” She shrugs in lieu of explaining further.

“Bow’s cool. What’s Princess Brightmoon’s deal though?”

Adora snorts at the nickname, it’s a new one. To her at least. “What do you mean?”

“She’s so…” She gestures vaguely with her hands, getting distracted by them for a second before she snaps back to attention. She looks so baked; her eyes are all squinty and red. It’s cute, everything about Catra is just so…cute. “You know.”

“Brash?”

Catra snaps and points at her. “That’s it!”

“You know, you two are kind of a lot alike.”

“Who, me and the princess? No fucking way.”

“I dunno…” Adora wheedles, smiling in amusement at Catra’s reaction. She starts ticking points off on her fingers. “Brash, hard to get to know-but loyal as fuck once you’re in, sarcastic, queer, a little judgmental…”

“Fuck off.” She doesn’t look genuinely offended so Adora doesn’t bother to worry about it. “Fuck! What time is it? We’ve been out here for like…two hours!”

Adora breaks down with laughter. Catra is so fucking high. “Catra, chill. It’s been like, twenty minutes.”

What? Has not.”

“Somebody’s high.” Adora teases in sing song.

“And who’s fault is that?”

“You’re welcome.”

“You’re obnoxious.” They fall into silence after that, just mostly…smiling at each other. It’s nice. Slowly though, Catra’s grin starts to slip. “Adora, are we like…friends now?”

That makes Adora blanche. “Uh…I kinda thought so.”

“Why?” She looks uncharacteristically vulnerable and it makes Adora’s heart ache a bit.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Just…we’ve been going to school together for over two years now, Greyskull. And in case you hadn’t noticed; I don’t really do new friends. People don’t like me.”

Adora’s brow furrows and her frown is deep set. “That’s not true.”

Catra scoffs at her. “Yes, it is. I’m a bitch, remember?”

“Sometimes.” Adora says fairly. “But when you tone it down to just sarcastic, people like you. You’re funny.”

Catra breaks eye contact to lay on her back again. When she speaks, she addresses the crowns of the trees instead of Adora. “Not in my experience.”

“You and Bow are friends.” Adora argues back, leaning to prop herself on her elbows, so she can watch the treetops too.

“Please, hardly.”

“What? Bow thinks you’re friends.”

“I mean sort of. Like…school friends.”

Adora tilts her head to one side. “Is there a difference?”

Catra sits up again with a sigh and Adora mirrors her. “Sure, there is. There are school friends who like, you share notes with and chat with at school, but never see outside of Brightmoon. Then there’s friends who you chill with sometimes. And then, if you’re lucky, you’ve got your ride or dies.”

“Oh.” Adora ponders this for a second. She’s never thought about it like that. “What are we?”

“Psh, I dunno Greyskull. You tell me.”

“Well…we should hang out.” Her heart picks up its pace.

Catra gives her a weird look. “I guess…if you want.”

“Gimme your phone.” She makes no move to grab it and Adora sticks out an expectant hand. Finally, Catra relents. Adora puts in her number and texts herself. Her heart threatens to jump out of her chest.

Catra takes her phone back tentatively and looks to see what Adora has done with it. She groans when she sees but a smile teases the corners of her mouth. Adora definitely doesn’t stare at that.

“You’re one of those people who texts all the time, aren’t you? Like, am I about to get flooded with memes?”

Adora cracks a grin, guilty. “I mean…”

Catra laughs at her. “Whatever.” Adora’s heart skips a beat…several beats.

They lapse into silence and Adora checks the time; they still have a solid fifteen minutes. “Wanna listen to music or something?”

“Sure.” Adora pulls out her earbuds and offers one to Catra. All set, she cues something up. Immediately Catra rips out her bud and gives Adora look. “Seriously Greyskull, Tracy Chapman? You tryna make me cry or something?”

“What? I like this song!”

Catra narrows her eyes and there’s a short, tense silence. “Adora, are you gay, or not?”

What? That came right out of left field. Adora stutters a bit but manages, “Uh…yeah, yes. I am.”

Catra holds her eyes for a minute then nods. She pops her earbud in and leans her head on Adora’s shoulder. Her heart stops. Like, just entirely. “Play the stupid song Greyskull, let’s fucking cry.”

Adora does as she’s told. A minute or so in she looks down. Sure enough, Catra has let a few tears escape her. Adora lets her head rest on Catra’s, and slowly her heart starts again.

 

They walk back to campus after hearing the final bell ring distantly. It’s quiet, Adora’s tucked her phone back into her pocket. She thinks about taking Catra’s hand. That can be platonic, right? She doesn’t.

“Hey,” Catra starts as they approach the auditorium. “You on today or still waiting in the wings?”

“Still waiting I think, why?”

“Meet me in the attic when rehearsal starts. I gotta go check in with Trap first, but I’ll be there in ten/fifteen minutes.”

“Oh, uh…okay.” Adora doesn’t even have her stuff set fully down when Bow is rushing up to her.

“So…”

Adora glances up to the booth; she can see Catra’s back facing the glass and the tops of Entrapta’s bright purple pigtails. She’s probably squatting on the floor again. “So, what?”

“Please,” Bow scoffs at her. “You know exactly what.”

She glances around them to make sure they won’t be heard. No one is paying them any mind. “It was…really nice actually.”

Bow lets out a subdued squeal. “Yeah it was! So, what, you just asked her on a whim?”

“Pretty much. We dropped the flowers at my car-“

“So cute by the way!”

Adora grins, still pretty pleased with herself about that. “and I just…didn’t wanna go.”

“Aww, of course you didn’t.”

“Shut up.” She punches his arm lightly with a laugh.

So…what did you do, what did you talk about?”

“Well, we smoked obviously.”

“Is Catra a stoner? I could never catch a vibe either way.”

“Nah, it was like, her second time, I guess.” Bow nods like that makes sense. “And, I dunno, we just chilled. She asked if I’m gay.”

Bow’s dramatic gasps actually does get Lonnie’s attention. She gives them a weird look which Adora returns with a tight smile. Lonnie just gives scoffs and turns back to Kyle and Rogelio. Adora wonders, not for the first time, what exactly is going on there. Not that it’s any of her business.

Bow pulls her attention back to him. “And? What did you say?”

“I mean, ‘yes’ obviously. It’s not a secret Bow, I just…feel weird making some big announcement.”

That gets him to frown at her. “Do you think you gonna tell Glim at least?” Adora shrugs. “Okay, well it feels a little weird to be in this limbo zone with her. Am I supposed to keep it to myself or are you just waiting for it to come up…? I don’t wanna out you.”

“Yeah, yeah, I can see how that puts you in a weird spot. I’ll tell her soon then.”

Thank you.” He looks genuinely relieved. “Not that I want to rush you!”

“It’s fine, you’re not. She should know at this point.”

“Cool. So, what about Catra?”

Adora scrunches up her face and gives him a weird look. “I just told you, she asked earlier…”

“No, no I mean; are you gonna tell Glim you like her?”

Adora sucks in a breath and grimaces. “I…don’t know. She’s so against Catra even hanging with the group, you know? I feel like I’m gonna catch shit for it.”

Ehh…I mean yeah, maybe. But she’ll get over it Adora, she knows better than to try and tell you who to like.”

“Does she though?”

Bow laughs. “Okay, well that might be her knee jerk reaction, but like I said; she’ll get over it.”

Fine.” Adora sighs dramatically. “I’ll talk to her before school tomorrow or something.”

“Good, she was all wound up during gym.”

“Fuck, really?”

Bow scrunches his nose and quirks his lips to the side. “Yeah, you know how she is. She was feeling pretty sore about being left out. I think the added context of your feelings,” He waggles his eyebrows as if she might miss his meaning. “would offer her some clarity.”

“Okay, yeah. But also, I’m allowed to hang out with other friends. I hate when she gets all jealous like that.”

Bow sighs, having mediated this conflict before, both on Adora’s behalf and his own. “Yeah, I know. I think she’s really trying to be better about it, it’s just an old reflex. It might not have bothered her as much if it was someone she was chill with.”

“Whatever, I-“

“Hey Greyskull!” They look over to see Catra at the end of the aisle they’re standing in, hands on her hips. She blinks slowly, like she’s still a little stoned. With their attention on her a slow, lazy grin spreads across her face. “You coming up or what? I think Doc is about to get things going down here.”

Before Adora can respond Bow waves. “Uh, hi Wildcat.”

Her grin disappears and she scowls at him. “Shut up, don’t call me that.”

“You know I’m gonna.”

She growls and goes back to ignoring him. “I’m going upstairs. See you there?”

Adora shakes her head. “I’ll come now.” As she goes to follow Catra backstage and up into the attic, Bow gives her the least subtle look in the world. She very maturely sticks her tongue out of him, then scurries to catch up with Catra. She’s not sure what she’s in for, but she’s very excited about it.

-{…}-

Catra spent longer in the booth than she needed to when they got to the theatre. Entrapta was muttering about her lighting design for the show, but that’s not really what she stuck around for. She was watching Adora and Bow, locked in conversation. It’s not conceited to wonder if they’re talking about me, right?

Adora’s gay. Adora’s gay and just had nearly three dozen roses sent to her. Granted, it was more of a bit than anything, but still. And then, as if that wasn’t enough, she took Catra to the woods to smoke her out. That has to mean something. Or maybe she’s just reading into it. But why would Catra be doing that? Does she want it to mean something?

Catra is, to say the very least, confused. Also, she’s fairly certain, still a little baked. She wishes she had a snack; she always forgets to bring food for after school. It’s usually fine, unless Weaver is in a mood when she gets home and she doesn’t get to eat.

But now she has the munchies and she’s invited the most popular girl in school (who is gay and just sent Catra a boatload of flowers) up into the theatre’s attic with her. Where they’ll be hanging out alone. For multiple hours.

Catra’s not really sure what she’s in for, but it should be interesting at least.

Chapter Text

“This is kind of like a real-life version of I spy.” Catra snorts at the assessment. She looks across the room to where Adora is digging through old boxes of random crap. Currently she’s holding a bag full of marbles aloft. What was that even for? As if she can feel eyes on her, her head snaps up and she grins at Catra.

“I guess you could say that, yeah.”

“I always killed at those things. ‘Where’s Waldo’ too.”

“Guess I chose the right assistant for the day then. How are you doing on your half of the list?”

“I found rope!”

“Adora.” She shoots her a droll look. “We found that like, five minutes after we got up here.”

Adora pouts at her. “Okay, well I found a second rope.”

Catra snorts. “How much length do you think Colonel Mustard needs to strangle the motorist?”

“Aw, I get strangled? I thought I get knocked off with the candle stick.”

“Eh, I think it’s the wrench actually, I was just making a point. Now if you actually manage to find the candlestick, maybe you can talk Doc into a rewrite.”

Adora smirks at her. “Pretty sure the candlestick is on your half of the list.”

“Shut up and keep looking, will you?”

“Sure, sure.” She starts digging around in the box again and Catra takes the opportunity to watch her for a minute.

Adora Greyskull…she’s really nothing like Catra thought she’d be, and she does realize that makes her quite guilty of judging a book by its cover.  Adora is funny, in a goofy kind of way that she’s clearly embraced. She’s also so damn earnest, Catra doesn’t quite know what to make of her sometimes. Plus, she’s just friendly. The fact that she’s managed to befriend Catra of all people proves that well enough, but she’s also just nice. To everyone. And that stupid little hair poof…what is that?

Catra gets caught staring, because of course she does. Adora smiles, a little self-consciously, when she catches her. “What?”

“Huh? What?”

“You’re looking at me all weird.”

“Pft, I’m not. I’m just zoned out. Someone got me high today.”

Adora looks at her strangely. “You’re still high?”

“Eh, I’m snacky and I’m sleepy, that count?”

“Ah, after baked. You need food?”

“You offering?”

A bright smile accompanies Adora’s response. “Sure am, can we eat in here?”

“If you’re careful. Just keep that shit out of the costume areas or DT will have your head.”

Adora’s response is solemn. “Noted.” She gets off the ground with a stretch, tucking her box away and then darting down the stairs. Catra hears her shout “Corner!” halfway down and she shakes her head. What a nerd… 

Adora returns in no time with a shocking amount of food. “What the fuck Greyskull? You bring your whole pantry to school with you?”

She looks sheepish but also pretty pleased with herself when she answers. “Nah, I just like to be prepared. Mara thinks I’m a ‘voracious eater’.”

Who the hell… “Mara?”

“Oh, she’s my sister. Half technically. Also my guardian.” Interesting…

“Ah, you guys are tight then?”

“Oh yeah, Mara’s the best.”

“That’s cool.”

Adora laughs. “Yeah.” And she leaves it at that. “Okay, what are you feeling? I’ve got sweet, savory…”

Catra inspects the haul and picks up a gross looking gray brick. “The hell is this?”

“Right, you probably don’t want that. It’s like a protein, energy thing. I have them after practice sometimes. The grey ones actually aren’t that bad, it’s the brown ones you gotta look out for.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” She says disdainfully.

“Oreos?” Adora offers.

Catra’s eyes light up. “Oh, hell yah!” She has an entire cookie in her mouth in seconds and hums happily around it. “Thank you, you’re a god, truly.”

Adora puffs up more than a little at that. “No big, no big.” Is the response that comes around a mouthful of Cheez-Its.

“Gross, I take it back. Pretty sure gods have basic table manners.”

She swallows hard before responding. “Eh, it was good while it lasted.”

“You’re something else Adora Greyskull.”

Adora beams back at her.

 

Adora drops her off after rehearsal as promised and Catra lingers in the car when they get to her house. They’re not talking about anything especially riveting, just music and stuff, but Catra doesn’t wanna leave. For more reasons than one. Unfortunately, she has to. So, she wrangles all her flowers and waves Adora off.

As if punishment for having a good day, Weaver is waiting in the doorway leading off from the entry hall into the dining room. The dining room whose windows look out to their front lawn. She has a glass of red wine in one hand and the look in her eye tells Catra she’s well on her way to drunk. Wonderful.

“I see that you are hanging out with Adora Greyskull again.”

“Uh, yeah. She’s in theatre now so we see each other around.”

“Hmm…” She doesn’t comment any further on that. For now, Catra suspects. “Where did all of these flowers come from Catrina? I will remind you of my rules around dating. You don’t need any distractions.”

Catra blushes, cursing herself for reacting. “They’re not from like, a guy or anything. It was just a joke. From Adora. The tags had a stupid puzzle.”

Weaver stalks closer to her, wine glass held aloft and a menacing look in her eye. She towers over Catra, close enough she can smell the wine on her breath.

“If I find out that you are lying to me Catrina, I will make sure you regret it.”

Catra gulps but manages to keep her voice from shaking. “I’m not! All the guys at my school are jerks anyway.” Weaver gives her a piercing look that she really doesn’t like. She feels transparent, like the ghost of a girl tied to this rotten house for eternity.

Finally, Weaver back up a couple steps. “Well, at least your taste in friends is improving. Adora…” Seriously, Catra? With the blushing. “Will you be spending more time together?”

“Uh…I think so. We were gonna study together. She needs help in Lit and said she’d help me with some math stuff.” It’s an effort not to mumble.

“Lovely to see that this girl is already being a good influence on you.” Catra suppresses a scoff; studying together was literally her idea. “Now, get those flowers in water. The yellow will look lovely on the dining table, don’t you think?”

“Sure…”

“You can keep the pink,” She says the word disdainfully. “in your room.”

“Got it.” Catra turns to the kitchen, but of course Weaver needs to have the last word.

“Oh, and Catrina?”

“Yes?”

“Since you apparently need extra time with your math, don’t bother coming down for dinner this evening.”

“Fine, whatever.”

“Watch your mouth little miss.” Catra turns to leave again. “One last thing. We’re out of peanut butter, I won’t be buying more.”

Fuck. This is bad on two levels. For one, she can tell Weaver knows she’s been eating on nights she’d tried to deprive her of dinner. And two; on those nights peanut butter is kind of her go to. It’s quick and quiet to make stuff with it and it’s something filling with some protein to it.

“What? Why?

Weaver looks irate but for the victorious twinkle in her eye; she’s managed to goad Catra into a fight. Her voice is raised when she responds. “It is none of your business what I choose to buy Catrina. Frankly, I would like to see you show a little more gratitude. You aren’t even my own flesh and blood and yet I took you in.

“I continue to feed you, to clothe you, to put a roof over your head, and this is the thanks I get? A poor attitude and abysmal work ethic. It will not stand Catrina. Clean up your act or there will be hell to pay.”

“Whatever. Can I go put these in water now?”

Weavers voice is low and dangerous now. “Tread lightly, Catrina.” A shiver runs up Catra’s spine. “Now get out of my sight. The moment those are in water I don’t want to see you for the rest of the night.”

Catra doesn’t even respond, she knows she’ll never get away if she does. This time, Weaver does actually let her go. She gets the flowers in water and dutifully puts the yellow half on the table. Catra sort of hates that Weaver will get to look at them, take any sort of pleasure from them. At least she can’t stand pink.

Catra falls asleep that night, staring at her flowers. She remembers Adora saying “I like you” as she stares at them, each pink rose a visceral reminder.

-{…}-

On the following Thursday, the day finally comes that Adora has to get up on stage. It shouldn’t be so nerve wracking; she only has like, three lines. It’s no effort to already be off book by the time she makes it on stage. She isn’t great with the blocking though, confused by the tape that covers the stage floor.

At the end of rehearsal, the note Netossa has for her is, “I know it’s probably not having stuff around you and reading the tape. But maybe try not to look so constipated, okay, Greyskull?”

Adora laughs a little at her own expense and nods. Netossa claps her on the shoulder and walks away, Catra venturing down from the booth to take her place immediately.

Hey Adora. Not bad out there today.” Her grin is wicked and the fluttering in Adora’s chest is more than a little distracting.

“Pft, okay.”

“Nah, for real. You make a very convincing dead person.”

“Great, glad to hear it.” Adora psyches herself up. She and Bow have been bickering all week about the question she’s about to ask. She wants to, she’s just so ridiculously nervous.

“You alright there Greyskull? Don’t go thinking to hard or anything.”

Shit. “Yeah, yeah of course.” It’s now or never Adora. “Hey, what um, are you doing tomorrow night?”

Catra’s eyebrows fly up. “Undecided, why?”

“Well, uh, there’s a game tomorrow. Kind of a big one.”

Catra grimaces. Well that is certainly not a good sign. “Yeah, Scorpia mentioned something about that.”

Adora’s heart swoops. Maybe she and Catra aren’t good enough friends to persuade her to go, but surely if one of her best friends is asking too… “I think it’d be really cool if you came.”

Catra groans and her posture seems to like, tense up. “I don’t know that I’d call a basketball game cool.”

What? Clearly you’ve never seen me play before.”

Catra laughs and it loosens her up slightly. Good, that’s good. A step in the right direction at least. “Wow, cocky.”

Adora shrugs and her smile goes smug; she is really good at basketball. “Or just that good.”

“Damn, okay Greyskull. I see you.”

“So?” Adora prompts, a spark of hope practically thriving in her chest.

“Blech.” Catra sighs and her head tilt to the side. “You really give a shit if I go or not?”

Adora knows she’s blushing, but there’s nothing to be done about that now. The spark of hope ignites to a small, flickering flame. “I mean, yeah. It’d mean a lot if you were there.” She rubs at her nose awkwardly, made doubly so by the way Catra’s looking at her, and sniffs lightly.

“Whatever, fine.”

That’s all it takes for the flame in Adora’s chest to burst into a roaring fire. “Yeah?”

“Ugh, stop grinning like that.”

“Grinning like what?” Like the girl you’re crushing on so, so hard just agreed to watch you play basketball. Which you’re really good at, just saying.

“Like that. Just-I’m not gonna be peppy.”

“That’s fine!”

“I don’t do school spirit.

“Totally fair.”

“I’m not doing the wave.”

“Catra, I literally do not care if you just come to heckle me. I’m just really glad you’re coming. Seriously, thank you.”

Catra grumbles but looks pleased. “I won’t heckle you. The other team maybe. The sport in general almost definitely.”

Adora really can’t say what possess her. The forest fire raging inside of her probably. Whatever the reason, she flies forward and pulls Catra into a hug. Unfortunately, Catra’s initial reaction is to stiffen.

“Sorry, sorry!” Adora moves to pull away. “I should have asked first.”

Catra’s arms move around her waist in an instant. “You’re fine Greyskull. Just give a girl some warning next time; caught me off guard.”

Next time. Adora’s not reading into that. She is hugging Catra though. Hugging. Catra D’riluth. And that’s how Glimmer and Bow find them, pulling apart after what was kind of a long hug. Still felt too short for Adora but, whatever.

It’s no surprise to see Glimmer there. Adora invited her after all. The best friend squad is gonna get food and Adora is coming out to Glimmer. Both as a hopeless lesbian and a lesbian who’s hopeless for Catra D’riluth. Of course, Glimmer doesn’t know that yet, so she looks less than impressed.

“Adora, ahem, hello Catra.” Adora can’t tell if Glimmer is genuinely making an effort, of if she’s being a shit. She decides to give her the benefit of the doubt; she’s riding high and feeling generous today.

“Hey Glimmy, Bow.”

“At least that’s close to my name.” Glimmer grumbles, mostly to herself. “Anyway, Adora, you ready to go?”

“Oh, yeah. Pretty much. Um, so Catra, I’ll see you tomorrow?”

“Yep, I’m not planning to skip lit class, so. I mean, maybe if some dumb delinquent drags me off to the woods to corrupt me…”

Adora gives her shoulder a playful shove. “Okay, one; shut up, but noted. And I know you know that’s not what I meant.”

Catra’s smile is unusually soft. “Yeah, I know.”

“So…you’re coming then?”

“Yes Adora, I’m coming.” She tries to sound annoyed. It doesn’t work very well.

“Great!” Catra scoffs, gives a small wave to the group, and walks away without another word. Adora turns to her friends; Glimmer looks irritable and a little incredulous and Bow is doing a poor job of containing his joy. “Okay, we can go now.”

Glimmer gives her a bored look but Adora can tell she’s amused. There’s laughter in her voice as she asks, “Don’t you need your stuff, Adora?”

Adora laughs aloud, giddy as all get out, and collects her things. Glimmer and Adora both have their cars, so they decide to meet at the diner. Bow opts to ride with Adora because, “there’s this thing Netossa said in lit I didn’t quite get. Wanted to ask you about it while it’s still sorta fresh on my mind.”

Adora obviously knows that’s a lie. Glimmer seems to think so too but she doesn’t actually call him on it. It’s for the best really; Bow may be a great actor but he’s a shit liar. The minute Bow and Adora are alone he explodes. Adora allows the fire in her chest to explode also.

“You asked her!”

“I did!”

“She’s coming!”

“She’s coming!"

They take a minute to just sort of squeal and shout in celebration. When they’ve finally calmed down a bit Adora gets the car going, mindful of the fact they don’t want to keep Glimmer waiting.

“I can’t believe she said yes, honestly. I was hoping for a maybe.”

“I dunno Adora…. I’ll be honest I didn’t get a vibe from her either way at first, but the last couple weeks or so.... I mean ever since you came out to her it’s been a little….”

“What?”

“Distinctly gayer.” Adora laughs loudly at this, she wishes she had a pillow to scream into. She’s not sure what she’ll do if she ever manages to actually ask Catra on a date. Especially if she says yes. But she’s getting ahead of herself here….

“If you say so. We’ve definitely…bonded.”

Bow laughs. “That’s one way to put it.”

“Could you…?”

“I mean, anything Adora, but…could I what?”

“Just…sit with her maybe? Or at least say hi. I’m sure she’ll invite Entrapta, but if she doesn’t come I’d hate for her to be by herself all night, y’know?”

Bow raises an eyebrow at the request but smiles at her like she’s a fluffy bunny or something. “You do realize Catra would probably prefer to be alone?”

“I mean, I’m sure she thinks so.”

“Oh ho ho, but you disagree?”

“I mean…I’m sure she likes being alone sometimes. I just also think she makes up her mind about things and refuses to give anything else a chance. Like, you know she told me she thought you two are school friends? As in, school friends, specifically.”

“What?” Bow looks genuinely surprised. “Where is the distinction?”

“That’s what I’m saying. She has like, school friends, friend friends, and like, ride or dies. And once she puts someone into one of those categories…”

“They get stuck there because she stubbornly refuses to reconsider or make an effort to bond.” Bow grimaces. “Got it. Why is that, do you think?”

Adora shrugs. “I mean, I’m sure there is one, but I dunno. It’s easier, I’d imagine. It also sounds like she had a tough time with other kids when she was younger. She said something about her and Entrapta getting left out. Like they were made to feel like outcasts, and she adopted that as part of her identity.”

“Wow, okay, we really went from celebrating her coming to the game, to analyzing and trying to unpack her personality and childhood.”

“Yikes. Yeah, we really did, didn’t we?” Adora agrees with a short laugh, turning into the diner’s parking lot. She finds a spot next to Glimmer’s car and Bow waves at her through the window.

Bow unbuckles and grabs the handle, but before he gets out, he turns back to her. “You excited?”

“About Catra coming to the game? Oh yeah. The team better crush tomorrow night.” Bow shakes his head and they get out, laughing hard.

“What’s so funny?”

“Nothing.” Bow tells Glimmer. “Adora’s just getting competitive and feisty.”

Glimmer smirks at her at that. “Oh my gosh Adora, the game isn’t even until tomorrow.”

“Yeah, but I’m really determined to win this one.”

“This one is kind of a deciding game, isn’t it?” It’s true, but that’s not what has Adora so psyched up. Obviously. But Glimmer doesn’t need to know that just yet.

So, Adora goes along with it and they chatter about the game and the opposing team. They settle in and get their orders taken care of in the meantime. However, Adora know what’s coming and she’s getting nervous. It’s funny, in a way. Adora’s not been worried about coming out as queer to anyone in her life; which she knows makes her incredibly lucky. But here she is about to admit to Glimmer that she likes Catra and…

Their food comes and Adora know this is her moment. There’s nothing to delay her anymore, mostly because she has far too many butterflies ticking her tum to eat. “Hey Glim?”

“What’s up?”

“There was actually something I wanted to talk to you about.” Noting Adora’s demeanor, Glimmer pauses with a bite of pancakes halfway to her mouth.

“Okay…” She takes the bite, watching Adora carefully.

“Well, a couple things really. The first of which is…I’m gay.” Glimmer brightens at this, like she was worried there was bad news coming. Which is fair, given Adora’s body language and all.

“Aw, Adora! Thanks for telling me, welcome to the Queer Qlub.” Her eyes narrow. “Wait, why are you making a point to tell just me? Did you know?” She turns on Bow who puts his hands up in submission.

“I figured it out a couple weeks ago. I wasn’t super subtle about it,” He grimaces; Adora suspects he still feels a bad about her little breakdown in the bathroom. There’s no need, it was a longtime coming truth be told. And anyway, it did feel good to let all…that out. “and Adora figured out that I knew and cornered me about it.”

“Oh. Well yay! You said there was something else right? Oh my stars, is it a girl?” She gasps and turns to Bow again and then back to Adora. “Is that how Bow found you out? Aw, who is she?”

“Catra?” Her voice is small, and it comes out like a question.

Glimmer deflates and her head drops to her palm, elbow on the table. “Really? Ugh, that makes sense actually.”

Adora doesn’t even question the second part; she knows by now that she isn’t slick. “Yeah…we’ve been hanging out a little more, you know. I…I really like her a lot, Glim.”

Adora,” She whines. “You deserve someone so much…nicer than her though. Does is really have to be Catra?”

“Yes.” Her answer is firm, leaving no room for argument.

“Gross, fine. Are you gonna make a move?”

“I-“ Adora’s a little surprised at Glimmer’s easy acceptance of this. Not that she’s being especially enthusiastic; her tone rather suggests she hopes Adora’s answer is ‘no’. But still, she’s not shitting on it or shutting her down. She feels a bit bad for underestimating her best friend like that.

Ohh, this is why you were being all weird about inviting her to your game tomorrow!” It’s not a question.

“I was not being weird!”

“We don’t have to like, sit with her, right?” She looks to Bow for an answer on this one.

“Well…you don’t, but I told Adora I’d make sure she didn’t get bored or feel left out or anything.”

Glimmer whines but she looks resigned already. “Fine, fine, I’ll try to keep an open mind.”

“Really?” Adora sounds downright joyous and Glimmer chortles a bit at her.

“Yeah, really, you goober. To be clear; it’s for you, not her.”

“I’ll take it!”

Something seems to dawn on Glimmer. “Oh my damn, how did I not see this sooner? The fucking roses! I thought you were just being…well, you. This makes much more sense. Oh, and then that day you…dang Adora, you’ve actually got like, a little bit of game. How was smoking with her?”

Adora smiles at the memory and swells with pride at the compliment. “Really nice, yeah. I dunno, I can’t tell if she’s just getting used to the idea of us being friends now or if she’s into it to but…. That was the day something shifted for sure.”

Glimmer reaches across the table and grabs Adora’s arm. “Hey, I may low key wish it was with someone else, but I am really happy for you. And she would be a total idiot if she doesn’t like you back.”

Adora appreciates the vote of confidence, but in the back of her mind she’s still worrying on it. Does Catra coming to the game mean something? Or does she just want it to?

Chapter Text

Adora is nervous. Adora doesn’t usually do nervous; she does jittery and hyped to the point of being hyper. But somewhere in those bleachers is Catra D’riluth and, to some degree, she’s here because Adora asked her to be. She really does not want to embarrass herself tonight.  But she’s got this. Totally. The team has got this.

-{…}-

The gym is already pretty crowded when Catra gets there for the game. She’d managed to get out of the house before Weaver got home, so she’s actually like, ten minutes early. She climbs about halfway up the bleachers and drops down in a random spot where there’s no one to either side of her.

She’d talked to Entrapta about coming, but she gets kind of overwhelmed at these kinds of things. Too much energy and noise, she’d said. Catra was expecting it really, she can barely take all the stimuli herself. Its chill being here alone anyway. At least she’ll be able to focus enough to try and understand what the fuck is happening on the court.

Her solitude doesn’t last for long, however. Bow Archer knows she’s coming, and she sees him searching the bleachers. When he makes eye contact with her and waves, she gets the impression he’s seeking her out. She’s not sure how she feels about that. She really wasn’t trying to socialize tonight. This was supposed to be more of a; get in, support her friends by being there, get out a.s.a.p. kind of thing.

But of course, with a social butterfly like Bow seeking her out, there’s no way that’s gonna happen. He finally reaches her and smiles wide, offering a, “Hey Wildcat!”

“Seriously, do not call me that.” She snipes and Bow puts on a pout.  He takes a seat next to her, just like Catra feared he would. Not that she minds Bow’s company per say, but with Bow comes Princess Brightmoon.

“Heya Sparkles.” She gives her a dumb little finger wave. She knows she’s being ornery, that the name thing gets under her skin. On the other hand, Glimmer’s been at her throat at every opportunity the last couple weeks. She figures she deserves it, a least a little.

“Catra,” She addresses her snidely and Catra’s hackles rise. “surprised to see you came. You don’t seem like the school spirit type.”

“Oh yeah, I absolutely am not. Sports are fucking dumb and so is school spirit. Why is anyone enthused to be at school?”

Bow opens his mouth to say something, but Glimmer stops him with a hand on his chest. She’s leaning fully over him now to glare at Catra, forcing him to tip back as far as he can without knocking into the person on the bleachers behind him.

“Why do you have to be a bitch all the time?”

“Why do you?” Catra snaps. She doesn’t even want to be here and now she has to deal with this shit? Scorpia owes her big time. Adora too for that matter.

“I’m not the one being a grump! Games are supposed to be fun, Catra.”

“Uh, hate to disagree, Sparkles, but...ya kind of are a grump. And I’m not being a fucking grump. This just isn’t my scene and you’re the one who brought it up.”

“If this ‘isn’t your scene’ then why the hell are you here? Can’t you be a sulky little pessimist elsewhere?”

“Glimmer, remember what you said…?” Bow tries but now both girls are glaring at him.

“Stay out of this Bow.” He puts his hands up in surrender at Catra’s words and moves to sit on Glimmer’s other side. She supposes they did literally put him in the middle of this Then again, she didn’t choose their seats. Nor did she start this in the first place.  

“Excuse me, I asked a question. Why are you here if you so obviously don’t want to be?”

“For fuck’s- why do you think Sparkles? Scorpia and Adora asked me to be here to support them. So, I’m here. Supporting them. I warned them I wasn’t exactly gonna be happy about it. You’re the only one who seems to give a shit that I’m not little Miss ‘Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah’ about it.”

Glimmer blinks, apparently stunned by this answer. Catra is only a little smug about that. “You’re here to support, Adora?”

She feels her face heat and her jaw clench. “And Scorpia.”

Now Glimmer is smirking at her. “And Adora.”

“What the-?  You’re repeating yourself there, Glitter.”

“I just think it’s interesting is all.”

Catra’s face scrunches and her face gets even hotter. This is not a big deal, why is she letting fucking Glimmer Brightmoon of all people get under her skin? “I can’t imagine why.”

“Hmm, honestly I kind of thought you were here to mock the whole thing.”

Catra snorts at that. “Nah, that’s just a fringe benefit.”

Glimmer considers her for a moment. Then she’s sliding to occupy the space Bow vacated. Bow, now two seats down from her, watches in amazement. Glimmer ignores him and just turns back to the game.

She laughs to herself. “Can you guys believe our mascot is a damn moose? So dumb.”

And Catra’s not certain, but she’s pretty sure she and Glimmer Brightmoon have just made some kind of…weird truce.

 

Catra’s ready to bolt right after the game but Glimmer insists all of them wait to say hi to their friends. She could just leave anyway, but Glimmer’s just starting to warm up. She doesn’t want to be permanently at odds with Adora’s best friend.

Woah, wait, where the fuck did that come from? Why should she care if Adora’s friends like her? She’s not even convinced her own friends like her half the time. Still, she stays.  

“It’s tradition! Also, we’ll probably go to the diner after this.” Glimmer side eyes her. “If you want to come.”

Catra blanches at the invite. This is quite the turnaround. She’s saved from answering when Bow suggests they move down to the bottom bleachers, now that they’ve cleared out.

“So, Catra,” He starts as they settle into their new spot. “What did you think of the game?”

“I mean, we won so, that’s cool?” Sports are fucking dumb, but it wasn’t the worst way she’s ever spent her time. She’d even consider coming again if Scorpia really wanted her to. Or Adora. Her friends, if her friends really wanted her to, she supposes she could stomach watching a bunch of sweaty nerds chase after a ball again.

Glimmer and Bow laugh, and Glimmer offers, “Yeah, that’s pretty much my takeaway too.”

“Wildcat! You came!” Scorpia and Adora are approaching them from across the gym. They both look worn out and damp from the showers, and they both have bags slung over their shoulders.

“I said I would.” Finally in front of her, Scorpia scoops her up and into a hug.

“And I’m so glad you did! You see us out there?”

“Uh, yeah Scorp. Kinda the whole point of me coming. You did good, both of you.” She leans around Scorpia to finally addresses Adora as well. Scorpia suddenly realizes that she’s making a better door than a window and adjusts so their forming more of a circle.

Adora beams back at her, hair let loose and cheeks pink from the game, and Catra’s stomach…does something weird. She feels a little out of it, distracted by the feeling and-I do not like Adora Greyskull. Not like that.

-{…}-

Catra’s here! Catra’s here and she just watched Adora kick ass. And she said Adora did good. Technically the compliment was for both her and Scorpia, but still; she’ll take it. This might be the greatest night of Adora’s life.

“Yeah?” Adora verifies, fishing just a little bit.

Apparently Catra knows she is, based on the eyeroll and smirk she sends Adora’s way. “Yeah, you literally won. And by like, a lot. I’m pretty sure that you know you did good.”

“Still nice to hear.” Glimmer clears her throat, looking amused, and Adora curses her. She should have left her in the dark. Glimmer can be even less subtle than Adora when she wants to be.

“So anyway, we were just talking about going to the diner. You two up for it?”

“All three of you?” Adora questions, darting her eyes to Catra briefly. She looks exasperated.

“Why, Adora?” Glimmer smiles sweetly and, oh, this can’t be good… “Is that a deciding factor or something?”

No.” She insists, knowing how red she must be turning. She was already flushed from the game, so hopefully no one notices. “Obviously I’m going. I want pancakes.”

“Great! Everyone else?”

“Oh Wildcat, you should come! I think Perfuma’s gonna come too. She and Mermista came to the game together so they’ll meet us there.”

“Well, much as I hate to miss Mermista,” Okay, that stings. Adora ignores it. “My curfew’s at eleven so…”

Adora checks her watch. Just after nine. “I can get you home by then.” Fuck. Adora offers before she even really thinks it through, and now everyone is looking at her. Not that she regrets the offer; she really, really wants Catra to come. She just probably could have been like, even a little bit chill. Or she could have tried at least.

“You sure? You don’t wanna celebrate till the sun comes up, or whatever it is successful athletes do?”

Adora snorts, she might stay out an hour or so later without Catra’s curfew, but that’s the extent of it. “Yeah, no. We have tech day tomorrow, remember? I’m not trying to be dead on my feet with power tools around.”

Catra’s eyebrows shoot up in obvious surprise. Technically actors aren’t required to help out with building the sets and getting lighting rigged. They’re just highly encouraged to help if they’re free. Not that Adora needs encouragement; she’s not gonna pass up the chance to see Catra on a Saturday.

“You’re going to that?”

“Duh. Bow too.” She nods toward him in an attempt to take some attention off herself; their friends have been watching them like a tennis match.

“Okay…” Catra begins, her eyes narrowed suspiciously. “if you’re sure I’m not cramping your style…. I like pancakes.”

“Sweet!” Adora forgets to make an attempt at hiding her enthusiasm. She reaches over and grabs Catra’s hand, already starting toward the exit. “Let’s go, I’m fucking hungry.” Laughing, their friends follow behind them.

“Wow Greyskull, manhandle me much?” She’s smirking, so Adora doesn’t think she’s in too much trouble.

“Do you want me to let go?”

Catra’s fingers interlace with hers and she catches up a little more; now just half a step behind her rather than being dragged. Adora’s heart starts salsa dancing. More reserved Catra answers, “Didn’t say that, did I?”

Unfortunately, their moment is interrupted when Glimmer calls forward. “Hey Adora! Can I talk to you for a sec before we split up?”

Reluctant to let go, Adora squeezes Catra’s hand once. She’s disappointed when Catra lets her hand drop so she can go back to Glimmer. Who she may never forgive for what she’s just done. She probably will, but maybe not.  “Sure, fine.”

Scorpia is still walking alongside Glimmer and Bow when she reaches them. Adora gets the feeling she’d like as few participants in this conversation as possible though, so she digs out her keys. She and Scorpia carpooled so she assumes she and Catra will ride with her to the diner.

“Hey Scorp, you and Catra can get my car warmed up if you want.” Scorpia glances between her and their friends with a knowing look. Adora feels a little exposed by it but, luckily, Scorpia accepts the keys in just moments.

“Will do, thanks Adora. Hey, Wildcat! Wait up for me!”

She trots ahead and Adora turns to face the music. Glimmer had been a little weird after Scorpia and she left the locker room. She didn’t pick up on any tension between her and Catra though, so hopefully this evening went well.

“What’s up Glim?”

“She totally likes you.”

“Wait, what?” Adora gapes, that is the last thing she was expecting to come out of her best friend’s mouth. “How are you so sure?”

“She likes you, Adora. And you’re right; she’s sort of okay under the obnoxious exterior.” Adora looks at her expectantly, waiting for some sort of context. Bow also looks interested in hearing what she has to say. “Adora, she talks about you like…like you would talk about, I don’t know, Perfuma or someone.”

That’s hardly a promising statement, but Glimmer looks at her like she’s stupid. “That’s kind of a lot for someone like Catra. You’ve seen her. Even when she clearly appreciates Scorpia she grumbles about it. But with you…it’s just different.”

Adora’s still not really convinced. “I mean, it’s not like she’s warm and fuzzy with me.”

“Well she’s not gonna get a personality transplant just because she has a crush, Adora. Also, she was blushing like, really hard when she admitted she was here to support you.”

“And Scorpia.” Adora argues.

“Adora.”

“She’s still flirting with Mermista all the time.” The argument sounds weak to her own ears; no one else seems to think it’s genuine. Still, Adora frets about it every time, and then some.

Glimmer huffs and rolls her eyes, quickly losing patience. “Yeah, which only you seem to be taking seriously. Personally, I haven’t been paying enough attention to say whether I think it’s genuine or not. Either way though; you can like more than one person at a time, Adora. Her liking you and her liking Mermista aren’t mutually exclusive.”

That trips Adora up a little bit; it’s a new perspective. It’s also one she feels is more valuable than everyone else’s speculation that there’s nothing there. Because Adora really doesn’t buy that whatever is happening there is totally platonic.

“Okay, I can see your wheels turning. Just go get your girl and meet us at the restaurant, alright? We can gab about your girlfriend when we don’t have her curfew to worry about.”

“She’s not my-“

Go, Adora.” Bow encourages.

“Fine, whatever. See you guys there.”

They part ways and Adora finds her car in its usual spot. Scorpia sees her coming and climbs out of the driver’s seat to get out of her way. She gives Adora a conspiratorial smile. Adora can’t help but wonder just what she and Catra have been talking about. For her part, Catra looks intentionally bored when Adora climbs in.

“Okay? Everyone ready? Catra, buckle your belt.” As soon as Catra stops grumbling enough to do the thing, she drives off.

“So,” Scorpia starts from the back seat, leaning forward slightly. “Catra and I were just talking about Promposals.”

“Literally why are people already talking about this? It’s March, prom isn’t until the end of May.”

“I think it’s technically in the first couple days of June this year.” Adora provides.

Catra throws her hands up and skips the current song. It kind of sucked, Adora’s grateful. “Even worse.”

“Aw, people are just excited, Wildcat. You sure there’s no one you’re thinking about asking?” The question is rather pointed, Adora doesn’t read into that. And Mermista’s face definitely doesn’t flash through her mind. And if it does it’s very, very brief.

Catra goes a little pink and scowls at her. With forced levity, Adora asks, “I thought you were holding out for Mermista? You requested fireworks and all that.” She hopes that she sounds like she’s joking. She mostly is.

Catra releases a put-upon sigh big enough to fill the car. “Yes well, as far as I’m aware she still hasn’t ordered the white doves. So, we’ll just have to see if she follows through with it, I suppose.”

“Ahem.” Scorpia clears her throat loudly and Adora peeks at her through the rearview mirror. She catches her eye and winks at Adora, before turning to fix Catra with a stare. “Listen, Wildcat, I know it’s none of my business-“

“Maybe you shouldn’t ask then.” Catra’s teeth are grit tightly together.

“You know I’m gonna. You don’t have to answer if you don’t want.”

“Fine, what invasive question would you like to ask now, Scorpia?” She turns in her seat to face her friend. Adora notes regretfully that she can’t see her face and keep her eyes on the road as much as she needs to now.

“Well, I just noticed you and Mermista have gotten close recently.”

“I guess. I don’t know that I would say close, but. Anyway, what’s your point?”

“You’ve been flirting with her an awful lot, and I know that you know she’s got something going with Sea Hawk.”

“And?” Catra is starting to sound more irritable now. Adora hopes Scorpia doesn’t relent; she feels like she needs to hear where this is going. She’s pretty sure Scorpia’s asking for her benefit anyway, what with the wink and all. She wonders briefly if she’s just so obvious that everyone knows now, or if she and Perfuma have been talking. Both are equally possible.

“Well, is there something going on there? You’re just not usually so forward is all.”

“What, you’re asking if I’m into her for real?”

“Yep!”

“I don’t know.” Catra wiggles in her seat but Adora still can’t see her face. They’re getting close to the diner now and she really just wants to hear the answer already. “I mean, no. Like she’s hot and she’s chill and we’re like…friends, sort of. But no, if you must know Scorpia, I am not actually trying to date Mermista Sealineas.”

And that answers that.

-{…}-

Catra’s fuming. But also relieved. And also, there’s enough adrenalin coursing through her veins that she feels as if she could go back to the gym and play a game of basketball herself. What the fuck did you just do? Catra does not like Adora Greyskull in a gay way. She just doesn’t.

Scorpia had been all over her in the car before Adora got there; asking her about the game and what she thought of her playing. Then, very pointedly, what she thought of Adora’s playing. From there, Catra had quickly lost control over the conversation. Somehow Scorpia got to talking about Mermista of all people.

She had told her, again very pointedly, that she had noticed her flirting a lot. She had pointed out that if there was someone she likes, other that Mermista, they might get the wrong idea about the two of them. She suggested that Catra might want to do or say something to make it clear where she stands. If there’s someone she likes in a gay way. Which there isn’t.

Then, with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, she had put Catra on the spot. In front of Adora Greyskull. It felt like admitting she doesn’t like Mermista like that was as good as admitting she does like Adora. In a gay way. And Catra does not have a thing for Adora Greyskull.

Still though, she hadn’t wanted Adora to have the wrong idea. For purely platonic reasons, of course.

So yeah, when they get to the diner Catra makes a point to not sit by Scorpia. It doesn’t seem to faze her. Perhaps that’s because in her effort to escape Scorpia, she ended up in the innermost spot in the booth. Bow is across from her. And, much to her best friend’s obvious delight, Adora is right beside her.

Mermista apparently begged off to go hang out with Sea Hawk, but Perfuma arrives shorty after Adora gets them there. It’s chill; Catra kind of doesn’t want to be around Adora and Mermista at the same time right this second. She’s not really sure she even knows why.

“What are you gonna get?” Adora leans into her personal space, more so than the cramped booth requires.

“Uh…not sure yet, you?”

“Me either. The banana pancakes here are really good, but I haven’t gotten french toast in forever.”

Catra reads the description of both. They do both sound really good right now. Catra knows, she knows , she’s about to fan the flames. She does it anyway. “Tell you what, you order the french toast and I’ll order the other and we can split?”

Adora’s been studying her menu, lip caught between her teeth. She looks up at Catra’s suggestion. She looks ecstatic and, internally, Catra allows herself to preen a little. “Really?”

She tries for nonchalance. “If you want.”

“Sick!”

“Can we get the bacon on the side or something though?”

Adora tips her head to the side. “You’re not gonna eat it?” Catra grimaces and shakes her head. She doesn’t do meat. “Me either! I usually just get extra eggs instead. Work for you?”

“Yeah, that’s dope.”

Their orders are taken soon after and everyone breaks off into conversation. Bow is trying to talk to Adora about the game, but she’s fidgeting like a mad woman. Finally, Catra breaks and interrupts Bow to ask, “Adora, what the fuck is wrong with you? You keep kicking my leg.”

Adora’s face drains of color. “Shit, sorry! I thought that was the table leg. I just-there’s not enough room. My legs are all…” She makes a funny little discontented sound. It’s not cute.

“What? Both on the ground? Fuck Greyskull, you really are so fucking gay.”

All the color she’d just lost and then some floods into Adora’s cheeks. She laughs and shoves Catra, lightly enough it doesn’t push her into the wall. “Shut up.”

“Why don’t you make me?”

Adora rolls her eyes and nudges her shoulder into Catra’s. She grins and her cheeks stay bright pink for the rest of their meal.

 

True to her word, Adora gets Catra home five minutes before curfew. They’d left Scorpia to ride home with Perfuma, so it’s just the two of them in the car when Adora parks on the curb.

“Thanks again for coming tonight, Catra. I’m really glad you were there.”

Catra feels soft at her words. “Yeah, course. It was almost fun.”

“Aw, you had a good time.” Adora teases, poking at her.

Almost, I did say almost.”

“Yeah, but you also said the word fun. I’m learning your language Catra D’riluth.” Catra’s heart stutters and she laughs sharply.

“Ha! If you say so.”

“I do.” The air in the car feels suddenly heavy, thicker somehow.

“Ahem, well. I guess I’ll see you in the morning?”

“Yeah. How are you getting there anyway?”

“No school bus, so I’ll probably walk it.”

“Wait, what?” She shrugs, it’s really not a big deal. She usually walks one way at least. The city bus doesn’t exactly come near their neighborhood, not one that takes her anywhere near the school at least. “Catra, that’s like, forty-five minutes at least.”

“Yeah, well. Exercise is good for you, right?”

“Okay, no. What the fuck Catra? I’m picking you up.”

Catra grimaces, she doesn’t need like…pity, or charity or whatever. “I’m fine Adora. I walk it like, every day after rehearsal.”

“Hold on, excuse me, what? Catra, it’s dark by the time we get out half the time.”

“It’s spring! The days are getting longer, not the other way around.”

“That’s still-Weaver can’t pick you up?”

“I’d rather she didn’t.” What is with her? She’s like a dog with a bone.

“Okay, just-please, will you please allow me to drive you? Not just tomorrow either. Standing offer.”

“I’m really fine Greyskull.” She protests, but it’s weak. The extra half hour of sleep, and to do homework in the afternoons, does sound pretty appealing…

“I know you are, obviously you’ve been getting to and from school without me for some time now. So, clearly you’re capable of continuing to do so, but I want to. Come on, you’re not gonna deprive me of extra time with the Catra D’riluth, are you?”

And this…it does make Catra feel better; the acknowledgement of her self-sufficiency. Still, she groans for show. “Fine, I will allow you to chauffer me. Sometimes. We’ll take it day by day, alright?”

“You got a deal!”

“Great. I need to go in like, now, but I…I’m glad I came out, Greyskull.”

Adora’s responding smile is something Catra’s instincts tell her to run from. So she does just that.

Chapter Text

The stars had smiled down on Catra and she manages to miss Weaver entirely between the game and tech day. She was in bed before Catra got home and left for some meet and greet at the country club or something right around when Catra was rolling out of bed. For once she doesn’t come in to wake Catra and scold her for being “a lazy lump” just because she was up before her. Literally why would Catra wake up at five if she doesn’t even have school? Just…literally why?

But today…today is bliss. Catra may have felt weird about it last night, but when she’s waking up an hour after she would have otherwise she is truly grateful for Adora Greyskull. Then of course, she has to get dressed. Suddenly, she isn’t grateful for much of anything.

She has paint clothes…. They’re not very flattering. Not that she’s trying to impress anyone or anything. They’re just building sets and shit today, no big deal. Honestly the paint splattered leggings fit fine. All her shirts that she wouldn’t mind fucking up though…they’re just beyond baggy.

 She eyes her favorite one. It’s an old graphic tee from some trip her class had taken to a botanical garden in the sixth grade. There’s like, plants and shit on it. It would be cute if Weaver hadn’t filled out the order form wrong, landing Catra with an extra large. Then again… Catra eyes the scissors in the jar on her desk. Maybe she can work with this after all.

Adora picks her up twenty minutes later. Not only that, but she also comes bearing coffee. Catra could kiss her. Not that she wants to. Just…coffee. They swing by for Bow too and he has just like, way too much energy for the time of day. Adora seems to think so too. Her polite request that Bow “just hold off on the pizzazz until I’m out of coffee.” comes out as a growl.

By the time Adora is helping Catra repaint the front paneling on the stage, she’s warmed up considerably. Bow is up helping Rogelio and DT build walls on the stage. Entrapta arrived a half an hour late and went straight to the booth to do goddess only knows what. She tells Catra on her way up that she won’t need her help until later.

“So, not that I mind, but why are we painting a black thing black?”

Catra scoffs and looks over at her. She’s sitting cross legged and taking far more care with her task than is necessary; she’s got her tongue poking out in her concentration. It’s kinda cute. In a dory way. “You’re kidding me, right?”

Adora pouts and pauses painting to actually look at her. “No?”

“Adora, look at this thing. It’s all scuffed and there’s literally a grey part right by you where the paint chipped.”

“Oh.” She looks to where Catra is pointing, she’s not convinced that Adora actually sees it, but she nods anyway. “Well, whatever helps the show go on, I guess.”

“You’re an idiot.”

“I’m actually very clever and smart but think what you want I suppose.”

“Ugh, and a nerd.”

“Shut up, you’re the nerd.”

“Oh goddess.”

“Yes?”

Catra cackles at that and Adora looks pretty damn proud of herself. “You’re the worst.”

“I’m rubber, you’re glue.” Adora sings. “Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks-“

Catra is howling by this point. “Stop! Oh fuck, please stop.” Adora just smirks at her, and Catra wipes a couple tears from the corner of her eyes. “You’re a ridiculous person.”

“Like I said…”

“Get back to work, Greyskull.”

“Aye, aye Force Captain.” She does a goofy salute with her paint brush. Then, as if she doesn’t realize she’s doing it, she squints her eyes and pokes out her tongue again.

Catra’s not sure how long she spends staring at Adora. She just keeps watching her until Bow’s voice shouting, “Hey, Adora!” breaks her from her reverie. She snatches her paintbrush from its resting place and pretends like she wasn’t just watching Adora Greyskull like some creep.

Adora pops to her feet to look over the stage. “Yeah?”

“Hey, can you get the tops of these flats stapled? It’s too high up for me to reach and DT pulled Rogelio up to the attic for costume stuff.”

Adora’s eyes light up. “Do I get to use a power tool?”

“Well I mean, yeah. The staple gun.”

Catra gets up now also and goes to stand by Adora. “Are we sure that’s such a good idea?”

Adora shoves her playfully and she shoves right back. “Shut up!”

“No, you shut up.”

“I can handle a power tool, I’m very good with my hands.”

By now their shoulder and upper arms are sort of just pressed together while they push back and forth against each other. Catra blushes at the comment combined with the contact. Adora has no idea what she’s doing, does she?

“Okay, I’m gonna skip the dirty joke because, frankly, it’s low hanging fruit and I think we need to take this matter seriously. You really sure you got this, Greyskull?”

“Oh my-you know what?” And then she’s fucking outright tickling Catra; poking at her sides and goosing her repeatedly. Catra’s laughing so hard from it, she’s crying a little. “Yeah D’riluth, I got it, capeesh?”

“Fuck! A-Adora, stop! Will you please just- stars a-fucking-live, you got it! L-Let me go!”

Adora releases her. “Good.”

Then she just leaves Catra standing there, still catching her breath, and vaults herself onto the stage. Like it’s nothing. Like that’s just a thing people do. Catra shakes her head to clear it and walks in the opposite direction. She like, really has to pee after laughing so hard.

Adora really is always making her laugh. She likes that.

-{…}-

Adora waltzes across the stage towards Bow and her face burns when she catches sight of his. He was definitely watching that. Adora had just sort of…gotten caught up. In the moment. With Catra. In which they were touching, like, a lot. It’s chill, Adora’s fine.

“That was…interesting.” Adora peeks behind her at Bow’s assessment and is relieved to see that Catra is nowhere in sight.

“Uh, that’s one word for it.”

“How ya doing? Still feeling good about power tools?”

“Oh yeah, I think this is going to be very cathartic.”

Bow smiles, half amused half sympathetic. “A little excess adrenalin going there, buddy?”

“Define ‘a little’.” Bow just laughs and hands her the staple gun. He directs her to the points he needs help with. It really doesn’t take long; he’d been able to get them done most of the way up.

“So…what now?”

“Uh, I’m not really sure who we’re supposed to check in with. I haven’t seen Doc yet.”

“I mean, I think she’s in the attic but no, that’s not what I mean.” She just looks back at him, lost. “With Catra, Adora. What now, with Catra?”

Ah. “I mean…I don’t know. We keep hanging out. It’s chill. If I’m lucky, one of these days she’ll just profess her undying love to me. What else are you supposed to do with a crush?”

Bow laughs shortly through his nose at her. “Gee, I don’t know Adora. Maybe ask her out?”

Adora feels her face flush and her heart race at the mere idea of that. “Yeah, absolutely not.”

“Seriously Adora?” Bow walks to the edge of the stage to sit, crossing his legs so as to avoid the wet paint. Adora follows suit.

“Completely.”

“Come on, she was flirting with you! You told me she literally confirmed for you that she doesn’t like Mermista. What more do you need to see the bright, flashing green light?”

“Okay, well no. She wasn’t flirting, we were just messing around. And she only said that because Scorpia basically cornered her.”

“Uh huh, I see two major holes in this theory. One, when have you ever seen Catra D’riluth make that much physical contact with anybody? And two, when have you ever seen her get pushed into saying or admitting something she doesn’t want to?”

Okay, he has a point, but also… “I mean, it’s not like we’ve been hanging out that long. Maybe she’s just like that after you get to know her or something. I dunno.”

“Adora, I’ve known Catra decently well for two and a half years now. I can confirm for you that this is unprecedented. Just, consider it at least. You don’t have to decide here and now, but maybe don’t just shut the idea down.”

“I-fine.”

“Really?”

“Hey, Bow, Adora!” Catra is calling out to them as she exits the booth. Adora wonders when she got up there and prays to anyone that will listen Catra hasn’t overheard their conversation. “Entrapta wants to test lighting positions or whatever. I guess she and the janitor moved shit around last night?”

“Wait, what?” Bow looks bewildered and Adora feels much the same.

“Yeah, I didn’t ask. Do so at risk of your own peril. Anyway, she wants to test a few transitions and shit. We just need to stand on the stage. Bow you can take downstage left, Adora you go to center.”

They climb up and go where they’re directed. Meanwhile Catra finds a spot downstage right. Suddenly Entrapta’s voice is filling the room. “Great! This is perfect! I’m going to turn the house lights down now. Just stay in those general spots.”

The lights go off in the room and a warm light fills the stage. It fades out and then suddenly the stage bathed in red light. A small laugh escapes Adora in surprise and Catra turns to smirk at her. And then Adora has some sort of magical, romcom, teen drama moment.

The red light fades and a single spot illuminates Catra, still smirking at her. She drenched in a pink/orange light and Adora’s fairly certain it’s the same gel Entrapta had her look at a few weeks back. It highlights the shadows on Catra’s face, making her angular features even more pronounced. Her freckles seem to dance in the light.

Adora’s heart stops, and the light fades. Once Bow is being lit by a spot, her heart races to catch up. Catra is still looking at her, and she is still staring right back at her.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” Catra whispers in a shadow.

“Why are we whispering?” Adora deflects.

“I don’t know. It’s dark, I guess.” As if to make a liar of Catra, the lights shift. A light that illuminates the space around Adora fades in, casting Catra in the peripheral of its glow. Catra laughs. “Or not.”

“Okay!” Entrapta’s voice filters through the speakers again. “That’s good for now, thanks!”

The house lights turn on and Adora is blinking in the light. “Alright hooligans, wanna get these flats painted?” Catra asks them.

They cart a couple cans of paint down from the attic, greeting Lonnie, DT, and Netossa when they swing though.

“Oh Bow!” DT stops him. “I actually found the suit I originally wanted. Be a dear and try it on for me?”

“Sure!” He turns to Adora and Catra. “You two are set, right?”

“All good.” Catra assures him.

He waggles he eyebrows and gives Adora a look. “Have fun.”

“Okay weirdo.” Catra tells him, before turning around to leave. Adora says a quick goodbye to the group and hurries after her.

The color they paint the walls of the set is actually really nice; a rich crimson color. “So, do you choose the colors and stuff or…?”

Catra pauses to look at her. “Kind of, Netossa usually has some idea of what she wants. I’ve been choosing the specific shades the last couple shows though.”

“That’s so cool!”

“I guess.” She shrugs and sets her roller down to pull of her hoodie and…oh my crop top.

That’s about the most complete thought Adora can manage before her brain totally shuts down on her. Under Catra’s hoodie is a dark green shirt that looks like it was once oversized. Now though…it’s cropped so just a sliver of her belly peeks though. The arm holes are cut low. So low, in fact, that Adora can plainly see her black sports bra.  And the lacy side panels, just saying.

“You still with me Greyskull?” Catra snaps a finger in front of her face and Adora burns; When did she get so close?

“Huh? I-what? No. Or yes. Sorry, what did you say?”

-{…}-

Catra laughs; if she’s being honest, yeah, she’d been hoping for a reaction. Adora far exceeds her highest aspirations. Not that she cares if Adora thinks she looks hot. But like…a hot girl thinking you’re hot is pretty flattering. And totally shutting down said girl’s brain because of a crop top? Amazing for the ego.

“You alright there, Greyskull?”

“What, me? Fine, totally fine. I just-shirt. I um, ahem, I like your shirt.”

Catra plucks at it, pulling at it so it lifts just enough to show her belly button and letting it drop. Adora gulps and Catra revels. Her stomach does a somersault. “This thing? Thanks, it was way too big, so I chopped it up this morning.”

Adora makes a weird noise. Catra’s not sure if it’s more of a whine, or a groan, or what but it’s fucking hilarious. Adora’s a gay idiot. “Wow, that’s…uh, good job.” Catra shrugs.

“Hey Adora.” Bow appears through the back stage door.

“What? Yeah! That’s me, I’m here.” Such an idiot.

“Great…” Bow looks concerned and Catra barely contains a cackle at Adora’s expense. “DT wants you to try on some stuff.”

“The attic! Great, fabulous. Catra, lovely as always.” She fucking like, bows slightly. Who is this girl? It’s funny; weird and sort of half assed, Catra’s really not even sure what she’s doing. It doesn’t last long though, then she’s practically booking it through the door. Catra is still laughing to herself after she’s gone.

Incredulous, Bow watches her go. He shakes it off and wanders toward Catra, who’s resumed her painting by then. “What the heck was that?”

Catra snorts but feels her cheeks heat, hopefully it doesn’t show. It’s one thing to revel internally; it’s a whole other to get cocky and brag about it. “Your guess is as good as mine.” She lies. “I just turned around to take off my hoodie and when I turned back, she was malfunctioning or something.”

Bow eyes her up and down for a second, the scrutinizes her face a moment more. “I like your shirt.”

Okay, now Catra’s definitely blushing. “Thanks. I cut it this morning.”

“Crop tops are dope; I wish the dress code didn’t specifically ban them.”

“Ugh, the dress code is the worst.”

“Tell me about it! Anyway, you need help down here?”

“If you want. You can take over Adora’s side.”

Bow crosses over and sets to work. After a little while he asks Catra if she’s cool with him putting on music and she’s all for it. She’s still kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop, even as he queues up something chill. It feels like he’s holding something back.

“So, you and Adora earlier.” There it is. “That was...cute.”

“What?” Catra attempts to play it off. “When we were fucking around?”

“Mhmm.”

“If you say so, I guess.”

“You two seem to be getting along pretty well these days.”

Catra pauses and turns to look at him, a hand going to her hip. She drums her fingers against it. “Your point?”

He juts out his lower lips slightly and shakes his head innocently. Catra’s not buying it. Why does everyone think she likes Adora Greyskull like that? “No point. It’s just nice to see two of my good friends getting along.”

“Uh huh.” She attempts to infuse every bit of her suspicion into her tone.

“It’s been cool having you hang with the group more. You’ve never really done that before.”

She runs her tongue along the backs of her teeth and clicks it once. “Yeah, it’s whatever.” He gives her a look dripping in doubt. “What? It’s chill. I don’t know what you want me to say.”

“You’re so…what’s your star sign?” Not what she expected, but okay; let’s go here.

“Uh, Scorpio.” Bows lips twitch for a second before he finally lets loose peals of laughter. “For fuck’s- what?

“Sorry! Nothing, it’s just; it makes so much sense.”

“Yeah, well. I don’t read that shit really.”

“Not into it?”

She grumbles. “It always makes me feel like I’m being fucking personally attacked.” That just makes him laugh harder. Catra starts on her next panel.

The work quietly for a little while until Bow randomly offers. “Adora’s a Capricorn.”

Catra makes a face at him. “Okay?”

“Like, very much a Capricorn.”

Catra sighs. “And you Bow? What’s your sign?”

“Virgo. Earth sign. Like Capricorn.”

Catra’s head falls back with a groan. This kid is fucking relentless. “Will you quit it?”

“Quit what?”

“Shut the fuck up Archer. I know you’re not as sweet and gentle as you let everyone think. Fucking Virgo; you’re meticulous and analytical, right? That’s you’re whole…thing. So, don’t even try and tell me you don’t know what the hell you’re doing right now.” Bow smirks at her, completely undeterred by her ire and annoyance.

“Ooh, sounds like Bow’s in trouble.” Adora sings, teasing, as she returns. “What’d you do?”

“Absolutely nothing, this was unprovoked.”

“Oh, hell no, what did I just say? You know what you’re doing.”

“What was Bow doing?” Adora asks either oblivious to or uncaring about the tension.

“Yeah Catra, what was I doing?”

“Being an obnoxious little shit is what.” Catra has half a mind to just grab Adora and kiss her now, fucking shut Bow up. Wait, what? No! She’s not doing that. She doesn’t want to do that. And the idea absolutely does not make butterflies in her stomach start doing cartwheels. Catra does not get butterflies.

“Okay, what’s so special about that?” Catra cracks a grin at that and Bow pretends to be offended. “Whatever, you guys are being weird. Do we break for lunch at some point?”

“Kind of a free for all.” Bow shrugs. “We’re allowed to come and go as long as we tell Net, or if you have food you can eat in the lobby.”

“Okay, well I forgot to bring lunch, so. You guys wanna go somewhere? I need food like, nowish.”

“Yeah, I’m down.” Catra agrees also, because she too, forgot lunch. Slash there’s nothing really to make. In addition to the peanut butter, Weaver has yet to replenish the bread now. Fucking bread, like what is that?

Bow runs upstairs to give their director a heads up and then they’re heading to Adora’s car. “Sammies work for you guys?”

“Sounds good.” Bow nods, climbing into the back seat.

“Mm, bread.” Escapes Catra. Yeah, she really needs to eat.

Thank fuck she’s been skimming from Weaver’s wallet for years now. She might not be able to eat much at home, but she’s pretty set for out of the house. And the money is stashed in her locker because she is not trying to get caught with a few hundred dollars of Weaver’s money. That would be like asking to get fucked up.

Adora laughs at the comment and they get going to a place not far from campus. A couple blocks away she asks them, “You wanna smoke before we go in? We’d have to eat here so I can come down before we drive back.”

“That’s chill.” Catra agrees. She actually really liked smoking with Adora. She felt relaxed and just…in the moment for the first time in a long time.

“Yes, please!” Bow calls from the back. “I haven’t smoked since New Year’s.”

Adora parks a few spots away from anyone else and leans over Catra to get in the glove box. Her head gets like…really close to Catra’s lap. Not that it’s a big deal. She lights the joint and they pass it around, the air in the car quickly getting hazy.

“Oh shit.” Bow laughs after a little while. “Catra, you don’t really smoke, right?”

It takes her a second to focus on the words. “Nope.” It sounds funny coming out of her mouth. Nope, nope, nope. She might be saying that out loud, she’s not sure.

“Damn,” Bow laughs again. “Adora, you better crack a window or something. We just hot boxed Catra.” Adora’s eyes go wide and she hurries to turn on the car and do so. She rolls the cherry out of the window when Bow passes on another hit.

“Ugh,” Catra hears herself whine. “It is hot.” Confined in the small space, she does her best to pull her hoodie off. Isn’t this a zip up? Fuck, I’m so high. She laughs with her sweater stuck over her head. Is her shirt sticking to it? Good thing she wore a sports bra today. “…Help.”

She hears Bows muffled laughter and then a pair of soft hands is pulling her sweater back down, skimming over her sides. “Here.”

Adora is bright red; like bright, bright red. Catra giggles, she looks cute. “No, I want it off.”

“I know Catra, just chill.” Catra watches her. She’s studiously avoiding looking at her face, laser focused on unzipping Catra’s sweater. Then she helps guide it over her arms and off entirely. “Better?”

“No.” Catra pouts. “Now I’m cold.”

Bow howls and Adora grins at her, shaking her head. “Bow, will you hand me that flannel back there?” Suddenly a red and black check flannel appears between them and Adora offers it to her. “Here, this’ll be lighter. A happy medium.”

Sick.” Catra takes it and is able to get it on by herself with just a little bit of struggling. It’s too big on her. She likes it.

“Alright, how we feeling?”

“So good.” Bows eyes are all squinty and Catra turns to smile at him. He smiles back, mellow as hell.

“Catra?”

“Hmm…floaty.”

“Okay, I can work with floaty. You two ready to go inside?”

They agree and everyone climbs out the car, heading toward the restaurant. Catra sticks close to Adora. I’m so high.

Adora turns to smirk at her. “Yeah, that’s really obvious dude.” Oh, that was out loud. That thought seems to stay in her head, because Adora doesn’t comment as she holds the door open.

Someone at the counter greets them as they walk in. Probably. Catra is immediately overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices on the menu. She just wants a sandwich.

Adora chuckles and is suddenly standing in front of her. “Can I help you?”

“Oh my gosh, please. I can’t even read all of these options.” She vaguely registers Bow moving up to the counter and Adora laughing again. She has such a nice laugh; warm, homey.

Adora is blushing now and Catra wonders if her thoughts have escaped her mouth again. She laughs to herself. “No, that’s not what I-I mean sure, I can help you with that too. Just gimme your arms real quick.”

“Oh.” Catra looks at her own arms and then lifts them and holds them out to Adora. They’re drowning in flannel that falls just past her fingertips. Apparently, this is what Adora had in mind because Catra watches her roll the sleeves up past her wrists. She whispers, not entirely sure why she is, “One less.” She likes them long, likes the feeling of being little and swathed in Adora big, red flannel. Safe.

Adora lifts an eyebrow but acquiesces, undoing one roll on each arm. “Do you want me to just order for you?” Catra nods, grateful. “Okay, go sit by Bow and I’ll be right over.”

Catra does as she’s told and finds Bow in a booth by the window. She slides in across from him. “What did you get?”

She shrugs loosely, wiggling her shoulders a little because it feels good. “Dora’s helping.”

“Aww.” Bow coos.

They both just stare out the window until Adora appears. She has all three of their orders, so she must have waited at the counter. Damn, how long were Catra and Bow looking out that window?

Adora slides in next to her and passes out their lunches. Her eyes are all red and her cheeks are still pink. It’s cute, she’s cute. “What is this?”

Adora eyes her and laughs. “A sandwich?” Catra blinks at her. “Oh, like what’s on it?” She shrugs with another little laugh, so nice. “It’s just a veggie sandwich. There’s like, pesto on it I think.”

Catra looks down to her still wrapped sandwich for a second. She looks up at Bow, who’s already dug in, and then back to Adora who’s unwrapping her own food. “I love you.”

Adora stutters, choking on nothing, and Bow actually like chokes. Catra’s pretty sure the water he’d been drinking comes out of his nose. He seems to be fine though. She starts to unwrap her food. It looks so good. Spoiler alert; it is so good.

“Damn Catra,” Bow says as he catches his breath. “you really went right for it.”

“Huh?”

“That was quite the confession is all I’m saying.”

She looks to Adora for an explanation. Her mouth is full of food and she’s glaring daggers at Bow. She’s still really pink. Catra looks back to Bow. “I don’t get it.”

Bow snorts loudly. “Never mind.”

Everyone is pretty quiet after that, busy inhaling their food. Adora promises she’s good to drive after they’re finished so they get going back. Catra’s definitely still stoned, but she’s mellowed out quite a bit. She’s not exactly quick on her toes, but she can actually think now.

The rest of tech is pretty chill, Catra is after baked and sleepy, so she’s moving slow. It comes as a surprise when it’s time for Adora to take her home. Bow rides with them as well and requests to be dropped off first for some vague reason. Catra’s pretty sure she knows what he’s doing, he isn’t smooth, but she’s too tired to care.

Even with running to Bow’s first, it feels like it takes no time at all to get to her place. She doesn’t want to go in, so she lingers. Adora seems perfectly happy to let her.

“That was fun, today.”

“Yeah,” Catra smiles softly. “Thanks for smoking me out by the way. Again. And lunch. Oh, shit. Actually, how much do I owe you for that?”

Adora waves her off. “Don’t worry about it.”

Catra frowns. “You sure?”

“Please, I’m the one who accidently got you stoned out of your mind. It’s the least I can do.”

“Okay…” Catra agrees reluctantly. “Well thanks.”

“Any time. I’ll um…see you on Monday?”

“Yeah, you will.” With a sinking heart Catra gets out of the car, and heads inside.

Of course, because Catra can’t have nice things, Weaver is ready for her. “Catrina!” Her voice is already raised. Fuck, oh no, no, no. Catra knows that tone; this isn’t gonna be good.

“Uh…yes mom?”

Weaver sneers at her and suddenly she’s brandishing a scrap of dark green fabric. Wait, seriously? This is what set her off? Catra would very much like to lay down on the floor and have a tantrum now.

“Do you care to explain this to me? Cutting up perfectly good clothing! You wasteful wretch.”

Catra knows the easiest path is to just take it and only speak when directly prompted. Still, she tries to defend herself. “It’s not wasted, I promise! It was just too big; I was making it fit.”

“Oh please. You’re no seamstress Catrina. Let’s see this new and improved top then.” With shaking hands Catra unzips her hoodie and removes it, plus Adora’s flannel which she’s still wearing, to reveal the shirt. “Why you little slut! Going out in rags. What, are you trying to make people think I can’t afford to clothe you? Garner their pity because you’re so desperate for attention.”

She grabs Catra’s arm to pull her closer so she can scream right in her face. “Answer me Catrina! Why are you going out looking like a cheap, nasty little whore?”

Catra bites her tongue to stay her tears. “I just wasn’t thinking, I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.” Weaver’s hand grips her arm tighter, her long nails digging in sharply. “You’re hurting me.” She murmurs.

Weaver sneers again and grips even tighter; Catra’s sure she’s breaking skin. “You are hurting you Catrina. Destroying your reputation, and mine, will ruin your future.” Catra’s face stings sharply as she’s slapped across the face. She thinks she feels a ring scrape up her bottom lip; wouldn’t be the first time. “I am here to guide you Catrina, not to be your friend. I won’t have you behaving like a heathen, am I understood?”

“Yes ma’am, understood.” Weaver grins sinisterly and finally releases her arm. It still hurts after she lets go.

“Excellent. Take some time tomorrow to think about your actions. I do not want to see you loitering around the house.” That means Catra is not allowed out of her room at all.

She nods once and Weaver walks away, leaving her in the entry hall. Catra runs up the steps and into her room, closing the door softly behind her. She inspects her arm first; it’s definitely going to bruise and three of Weavers nails have left crescent shaped cuts in her arm. At least it’s not too warm for long sleeves yet.

Her lip isn’t faring much better; already swollen and a shallow cut runs across the lower lip. She digs out the first aid supplies she has hidden in a box of old notebooks and cleans herself up.

She remembers gratefully that she still has half a sammie in her bag. She’s pretty hungry already but decides to hold off on eating until Weaver is asleep. It won’t do her any good if she finds her and takes it away. She should probably save some in case Weaver stays home all day tomorrow too. She’ll probably go to church though, she rarely skips even in a mood.

With nothing else to do, Catra curls up in her bed and lets herself cry softly. Just a little. She’s distracted when her phone pings

Adora

OMG

Did you steal my shirt??

Catra smiles despite herself. The only other time Adora’s texted her is this morning, surprisingly. Catra thought about initiating but she never really had anything to say.

Jk jk!

Hang onto it for a bit if you want!!

Or not, idk if that’s weird…

Just saying I don’t need it!

As the messages coming rolling in, Catra chuckles. Adora’s such an idiot.

Catra

Hmm, doesn’t ring a bell…

Oh

U mean my new flannel?

Adora

LOL!

Apparently.

Catra

Ye thx for that

It looks like, rlly good on me

Adora

Yeah, that’s true.

Catra’s breath hitches and she rubs a hand over her face.

Hey!

So Doc said something today.

Abt assigning an essay this week?

We should find a time to study.

If you want.

Catra

Wow

Can’t get enuf of me or smth Greyskull?

Adora

Lol!

U got me I guess!!

Catra

U nerd

Ok, yah

Adora

??

Catra

Let’s study

Adora

!!

Ok!

You sitting in the caf Mon?

Catra

I mean

I can

Adora

Great!

Talk abt it then?

Catra

Sounds good dummy

Adora sends a bunch of heart emojis and Catra feels her own heart swooping in her chest. She decides to leave the conversation there, exhausted after the emotional rollercoaster of this day. She just wants to go to bed.

Catra falls asleep, snuggled up in Adora’s big, red flannel and cradling her forearm. She tucks her nose into the collar and breaths in deeply and…okay, maybe she likes Adora Greyskull. A little.

Chapter Text

Adora is still riding high Sunday morning from Friday and Saturday. And Razz is coming over today. Seriously, she’s on cloud nine. Something Mara is more than happy to give her shit about over lunch.

“For real Adora, you have to chill a little bit, alright? You’re becoming a danger to yourself!” She might have been a little distracted making lunch. It maybe, almost led her to slicing off her own thumb. Maybe. But she’s fine!

“Shut up!” She can’t stop smiling. Her cheeks hurt from all the damn smiling.

“Aww, Adora is in love. Hope, isn’t it…adorable?

Mara snorts with laughter at her own joke, and her girlfriend shares a smile with Adora and rolls her eyes. “It is, my love.”

“So, when do we get to meet this girl?”

Adora squirms in her seat. “I don’t know, that depends; are you gonna make it weird?”

Mara smirks. “I don’t know, does showing her your baby pictures count as making it weird?”

Adora tries not to let the sting show, but Mara already looks guilty; Adora doesn’t have any baby pictures. There’s a few that were digital and had been put online from when she was around five, but that’s the extent of it. The fire that took her parents burned all the rest.

“Fuck, Adora, I’m sorry. That was insensitive.”

“It’s fine Mar. I was um-I think we’re gonna study together soon. I thought I might invite her over here?”

“That sounds great Adora. I promise to keep it to non-cringey teasing only.”

Adora rolls her eyes, painful memories already shoved back into their compartments. “Fabulous.”

 

Razz shows up to make pies as they’re cleaning up from lunch. She bustles in, all scarves and shawls and costume jewelry, with a wicker basket full of berries. “Mara dearie! Are you ready to bake the pie?”

Adora snorts. “Gross, you mean Adora, Razz?”

Razz blinks and then laughs, making her way into the kitchen. “Right, well, whoever you are.”

Adora fucking loves Razz, she’s a wild card if Adora’s ever come across one. When Mara had found her and adopted her, Adora had been wary to say the least. Some white knight, riding in to scoop fourteen-year-old Adora off the street? There was no way it could be that easy. So Adora had been pretty much entirely closed off with her for the first six months or so.

But Razz…Adora could never keep her guard up with Razz. From week one she came over every Sunday to bake pie with Adora. And right from the start had unapologetically been Razz. Slowly Adora had started to warm up when Mara would come in to check on them. Then one day Razz had thrown a handful of flour into Mara’s face for sassing her. Mara had looked so startled, Adora was howling with laughter.

She had looked up as she calmed down to see her sister looking at her with so much pride in her eyes…. Their dynamic hadn’t changed in an instant, but from that moment on Adora felt like she could trust Mara enough to at least try. Of course, Razz had broken the moment by shoving a basket of apples into her hands; barking an order to, “Peel these! Now, Mara.”

And yeah…that moment felt like being part of a family. Something Adora hadn’t felt in years at that point. With Razz that had always been easy; she’s so chill and nothing fazes her. So when, as she and Adora set to work, Mara announces, “Hey, Razz! Adora’s got a little girlfriend now.”

All Razz has to say is, “Oh, that’s nice dearie. Do we have enough blueberries, do you think? What am I saying? Of course we don’t! Mara, go to the market now. We need more berries for the pie. And wine. Why don’t you have any wine?”

Mara laughs and scoops up her keys, leaning over to kiss Razz on the cheek. “Sorry, Razz, drank it all I guess. I’ll be back in twenty.”

Razz doesn’t bother to acknowledge her departure, just starts humming some old big band song Adora knows she likes. They fall into an easy rhythm, dancing around each other in the kitchen. It’s an experience so familiar to her now. Adora feels her heart swell with gratitude as the reality of that dawns on her for what must be the hundredth time.

When Adora falls asleep that night, belly full of the pie they’d ended up having for dinner, even her room smells like freshly baked pie.

 

Monday dawns and Adora is downright excited to go to school. Crushes are weird like that, she supposes. She and Catra texted a little bit over the weekend, but Catra said she’d been busy and was pretty slow to respond. It’s cool, Adora is thrilled to take what she can get at this point.  

The first four hours of classes are a drag. Adora is jittery and doesn’t bother to lie to herself about why. Finally, finally, Mr. Archer releases his Ancient History class, and Adora books it over to the dispersing Bio class around the corner.

She practically bowls over Mermista in her haste. And of course, Catra sees it. Adora notices briefly that it looks like Catra’s busted her lip or something and frowns. But then Catra’s snickering behind Mermista, who gives her a bored look and drawls, “Wow, Grey. Eager much?”

Adora shrugs and her smile is back full force; she doesn’t even care right now. Sunday was long. This morning was long. Her lungs are so filled with butterflies she feels like she’s about to start exhaling fucking rainbows or something. So, whatever, let Mermista tease.

“How was class?”

“Boring.”

Adora turns to Catra for her assessment. She shakes her head at Adora, but her eyes are soft. “What she said.”

Adora nods her head decisively. “Yeah, that tracks. You guys ready to head to lunch?”

“I’ll meet you there. I have to like, do a thing at the library.” Mermista gives a sort of half wave and starts to walk away.

“Okay! Bye Merms, see ya soon.” She turns around again. “Catra?”

Catra huffs, but she’s smiling. “Whatever, I’ll be there. I just wanna swing by and say hi to Entrapta and her lab partner first.”

Adora falls into step with her. “She’s not gonna join us?”

“Nah, not her scene. I mean, not mine either but, Entrapta doesn’t do crowded and noisy.”

“Got it! We should hang with her in your usual spot sometime. She’s always up in the booth, I feel like I don’t get to see enough of her.”

That makes Catra stop, turning to look at Adora and openly scrutinizing her face. When she turns and resumes walking, she looks pleased. “I mean, if you want, Greyskull. Scorpia does sometimes.”

“Awesome!”

When Adora skips the hallway she would normally turn down to go to the caf, Catra’s eyebrows raise. “You following me?”

She shrugs. “If that’s okay?”

“Pft, I mean, I guess you have high enough clearance for the science hallway.”

“Gee, thanks.” Adora laughs and runs her shoulder into Catra’s. “Hey, is your…” She doesn’t want to be rude, but she is a little worried that Catra showed up with a fat lip. She gestures vaguely to her own mouth. “You okay?”

Catra scoffs but goes a little red. “Yeah, it’s fine; dropped my fucking phone on my face like a dumb shit. Thanks for making me relive that, Greyskull.”

Adora feels her own face heat. “Sorry!” Then to cover she smirks and nudges into Catra again. “Just gotta make sure the big kids aren’t picking on my friends, you know?”

“Oh my-shut up!” She nudges her back and waves when she spots Entrapta. Adora smiles over at her also, and that’s when she sees their principal’s nephew sitting beside her. She slows slightly to buy a little time so she can ask, “Wait, Entrapta’s lab partner is Wrong Hordak?”

Catra laughs. “Yeah, why do people call him that anyway?”

“It’s just a joke. Like is you talk about Hordak and someone thinks you’re talking about the principal, you know? So, then you say, ‘No, Wrong Hordak’. I’m pretty sure he’s the one who spread it around actually.”

“Wait, really?”

“Yeah. I love that guy, he’s a riot.”

“He’s a ditz, you mean.”

Adora smirks. “Well sure, but same honestly.”

Catra’s responding laugh is loud and sharp. “You’re an idiot Adora Greyskull.”

And you know what? Adora will take Catra’s teasing, with pleasure.

-{…}-

Catra feels weird, super weird. She doesn’t do butterflies and she definitely doesn’t do uncertain. So why has she felt like she just got off a rollercoaster since the second Adora Greyskull popped up? Because she’s an idiot, that’s why.

So, when Adora invites herself to come have lunch with them, Catra has to stop her hands from shaking. And when she just follows Catra because she wants to say hi to Entrapta…. Girls are the worst. Adora is always really sweet to Entrapta though. So, maybe not the worst of the worst, at least.

No surprise there, of course. Adora is sweet to literally everyone. All the time. It’s exhausting. And a little confusing if Catra’s being honest with herself. Which she would be, if there was anything to be honest about.

They don’t linger by Entrapta long; she and Wrong Hordak are discussing some scientific journal that just got published or something. Or rather, Entrapta is giving a Ted Talk on the thing, and her lab partner is listening intently with a wide smile. So, yeah, she leaves them to it.

About halfway to the cafeteria Adora stops her with a hand on her arm. She forces herself not to wince; it’s not her good arm.

“Hey! I totally forgot; I have something for you!” She’s practically bouncing on her heels; it makes her look like a kid waiting in line to meet The Wiggles or some shit.

“What? Why?”

Adora shrugs and takes off her backpack, digging inside it. “Because you’re my friend.”

When she looks up her face is a little pinker. Catra doesn’t comment. She does, however, gingerly accept a smallish Tupperware container. Is that… “Sorry, not that I’m not into it, but why are you giving me pie right now?”

“It’s a Razz pie!” She announces with pride.

“Yeah, that doesn’t help me any, Greyskull.”

“Right, duh! Razz is Mara’s aunt and she makes the best pies. I swear they’re magic.”

Catra’s face is uncomfortably warm; why the fuck is Adora Greyskull giving her some magic fucking pie? “Uh…thanks?”

“You’re welcome! It’s ‘Razzleberry’.” That makes Catra break free from her shock a little and she starts them toward the caf again.

She laughs shortly. “You’re kidding me?”

“Nope! It’s a Razz Eternia signature.” Adora opens the door wide and lets her pass. Catra and her pie lead them to the table, and she plops down. It’s only Bow, Glimmer and Mermista today.

Glimmer gasps the moment she sits down. She’s got a wicked grin on her face when she asks, “Is that a slice of Razz pie I see?”

“Uh, I guess so?” She looks to Adora for backup. She’s giving Glimmer this…look. She’s always doing that; communicating silently with her friends with these looks, Catra doesn’t know how else to describe them. She assumes she just doesn’t know Adora well enough to interpret them yet and shrugs it off.

It’s fine. It doesn’t make Catra feel like her hands are too big for her body or anything.

“Thought you said you guys ate it all yesterday, Adora?”

Adora smiles at her, serene and obviously fake. “Well I saved one.”

Glimmer purses her lips and blinks her eyes in an attempt at innocence. “Just one?”

Glimmer…”

“Yes Adora?”

“I hate you.”

“I can live with that.”

“Okay…what the fuck is up with this pie?” Catra looks around the table for answers, everyone is already looking back at her.

“Oh, D’riluth, you don’t even know.” It’s about the most impassioned words Catra has ever heard Mermista Sealineas speak. She looks back down at the container.

“Seriously, Catra.” Bow adds solemnly. She looks up to find him offering her a shitty cafeteria spork. “Your life is about to change.”

Catra accepts the utensil with a huff and opens the Tupperware and, okay, it does smell really good. It even manages to mask the smell of mushy carrots and feet that permeates the cafeteria. She can feel everyone’s eyes on her, and she looks up to glare at them.

“Can you weirdos like, not watch me eat?”

“Aw, come on Catra. Just the first bite.” Glimmer is teasing her. She growls back but scoops up a bite if only to get everyone to stop staring at her.

She puts in in her mouth and…Fuck…oh fuck! Catra’s right elbow goes to the table and she props her head on her hand, using it to shield her face. She could cry, it’s so good.

“Catra?” Adora’s voice is tight and Catra turn her head to look at her, her hand still blocking her face from the others.

“What the fuck, Greyskull?”

Adora’s smile threatens to crack her face open wide. “Yeah?”

“I-there are no words.”

“Ha! Fuck yes.” There’s a round of laughter at the table and chatter resumes. Sure, it’s about Razz’s pie mostly, but the attention is off Catra. Relieved, Catra lowers her hand so she can take another bite or two. Then she licks the spork completely clean and packs the other three quarters of her slice away.

“What are you doing?” Glimmer looks horrified. “You’re not gonna finish it?”

Catra furrows her brow and scoffs at her. “Are you kidding me? No way am I gonna eat all that in one go. It’s called rationing Sparkles, I’m gonna savor this shit.”

She doesn’t seem to mind the name thing anymore. Catra’s gonna keep doing it though, just in case. Now Glimmer just smirks at her. “Aw, I’m sure you could convince Adora to hook you up again.”

“For sure!” Adora responds, earnest. She’s giving Catra kind of a weird look, head tilted slightly.

Catra really doesn’t see what so strange about saving some of the damn pie. Besides, if Weaver is still in a mood tonight, she’ll be grateful for it later.  “Yeah, well until then I’ll take my damn time.” And that ends that.

“You’ve got some impressive self-control there D’riluth.” Mermista compliments, looking bored again.

“Aw, thanks babe! Around everything but you.” She just scoffs.

“Whatever. I’m gonna go look for Sea Hawk. I dunno why he never showed up.”

Everyone says their goodbyes, which Mermista seems to only half listen to. Then she’s off. Adora pulls out a sandwich and her fucking box of Cheez Its, and…maybe Catra should have eaten all that pie after all. There’s nothing in the house to make for lunch, and with Adora distracting her she didn’t grab cash from her locker.

Bow and Glimmer fall into a debate about the best flavor of Razz pie. Bow insists the classic Razzleberry is an obvious winner, while Glimmer scoffs and casts her vote firmly for peach. Adora doesn’t participate though. She side eyes Catra instead and frowns. “You forget lunch?”

Catra shrugs and turns away, pretending to inspect the mural to their right. There’s some birds and trees and shit; it’s supposed to be the Whispering Woods. She likes the little mice down at the bottom. “Something like that.”

She sees a box move into her peripheral and turns. Adora is pushing her crackers toward her. “You know I have way too much food.”

Catra’s hand goes unconsciously to her forearm. “Uh huh, always prepared right? What, were you a cub scout or something?”

It’s strange; Adora’s expression doesn’t change but her eyes darken considerably. “Something like that.” She shakes the box in her direction. “Now you getting in on this or what? I also have those Ritz peanut butter sandwich things.”

Catra can’t help the way she perks up. She misses peanut butter. “Yeah?”

Adora smiles, more genuinely now, at the reaction. She produces three packets from her bag. “Have at them. I’m not even really into peanut butter, but Mara keeps buying them because she likes the ones that are on the cheese crackers instead, and they come in a multi-pack.”

Catra already has the second cracker in her mouth by the time Adora finishes. “You’re nuts Greyskull; peanut butter is the best.”

Adora’s expression is indulgent when she answers, “If you say so D’riluth.”

Catra inspects the mural again. She really likes those cute little mice.

 

It’s after lunch that the day takes an interesting turn. It starts with the fire alarm going off; Glimmer yells when the sprinklers in the cafeteria go off right as they’re exiting. Everyone in the building starts flooding to the football field. They’re supposed to line up with their fifth period classes, in a previously designated spot.

They’re still a few meters from the field when they hear something; Mermista is screaming. At Sea Hawk as it turns out. Catra and her friends share a look and strain to catch what she’s saying from a distance. Glimmer has to peel off to walk further away, which she pouts about, but Netossa’s class meets pretty close to the goalpost. And this is where Mermista is having a go at her maybe boyfriend. Maybe not after today…

“…are you fucking kidding me? What’s romantic about killing all of our friends Sebastian?”

Catra turns to Adora and Bow to mouth ‘Sebastian?’ at them. There’s a twinkle in both their eyes when they nod back at her.

“What are you going to do at prom? Bring a fucking Molotov Cocktail?”

Netossa suddenly appears next to where they’ve lined up, mutter, “Aw, hell no. Archer,” She shoves a paper and pen into his hands. “take attendance, will you?”

“Yeah…sure, Doc.”

“Great.” She says absently, already walking toward the arguing couple. She calls out from a few feet away. “’Ey! Sealineas! Cool it, alright? Leave some of the berating to the educators.”

Sea Hawk says something they can’t catch and Adora turns to Catra with wide eyes. “What happened?

“Pft, beats me. Sounds like it has something to do with the alarm though. Guess there was actually a fire.”

“Unbelievable.”

“Seriously…what was he thinking? What did he do?” They turn back to the scene playing out in front of them, but can’t really hear much now Mermista has been reigned in. Then Hordack is standing next to Netossa, and she’s pointing away from them, clearly telling Mermista to go.

Adora grabs her arm as she walks past, and boy, is she fuming. “Merms, are you okay? We saw you like, twenty minutes ago!”

“I’m fine, no thanks to Sebastian.”

“Yikes! Okay, do you wanna talk about it?”

“Pft, talk about what? How that idiot decided to try and ‘woo’ me? And decided twirling fucking flaming batons was the way to go about it? Or maybe about how he did it in the chem lab and nearly started a fucking chemical fire!”

Catra chokes. “Wait, what? Why would her do it in there of all fucking places?”

“Because it’s where we met or whatever. Science class. And he’s a fool. Ugh, I can’t believe how stupid that was. He better realize there is no way I’m letting him take me to prom now. He’ll be lucky if I don’t castrate him.”

“Wow Merms, you threatening violence like that…not gonna lie; it kinda does it for me.”

Adora laughs outright and Mermista’s ire actually seems to simmer down. Just a smidge; she’s got good reason to be angry. Adora knocks into Catra’s shoulder, fucking with her balance for a second.

“Wow, D’riluth, that’s kind of twisted.”

Catra mock gasps and puts her hand to her chest. “Why, Adora Greyskull, are you kink shaming me?”

That sets Adora off on a fresh round of laughter and Mermista scoffs. Back to a normal volume now, if still more than a little hard, Mermista tells them, “You two are something else, you know that? Whatever. I’m supposed to go check in with Mr. Archer. I’ll see you losers later.”

“Bye Merms.”

“Farewell, my love.” Catra shakes her head and turns back to Adora. “Prom is the worst, why do people do this?”

Catra doesn’t kid herself into thinking that Adora looks disappointed by this assessment. And why should it matter what Catra thinks? It’s not like Adora Greyskull was ever gonna ask Catra D’riluth to prom.

Chapter Text

Adora barely waits to follow through on joining her and Entrapta for lunch. They’re in Netossa’s room on Wednesday; Wrong Hordak is making up some quiz or some shit, so it’s just the three of them plus Scorpia. The highlight of Catra’s day so far has to have been the moment Adora walked in and caught sight of her outfit.

Still being careful to cover her arm, Catra had opted for black jeans and tee shirt with her black boots. And over the top? Adora’s red flannel, which she has no intention of ever returning. It still smells like Adora; sort of woodsy with a hint of weed and citrus. It’s not weird that Catra likes it, doesn’t mean anything.

Fuck, who is she even trying to kid at this point? Is this what an actual crush feels like? Because Catra hates it. Or she does, until moments like this come to pass. Adora walks in, looks at Catra, and literally falls down. It’s probably not even correlated. Like, Catra knows she’s hot shit, but she hardly has girls literally falling over themselves for her.  But still, Adora’s a hot idiot and it’s funny. So Catra lets herself pretend it’s for her.

“Oh my gosh! Adora, are you okay?” Scorpia scrambles out of her seat to check on her.

Adora’s caught herself with her forearms but allows herself to drop, and rolls onto her back. She throws her arms over her face to groan, “No, please just leave me here to wallow and die in my shame.”

“Aw, we can’t have that! Who’d replace ya as MVP?”

“Greyskull’s MVP?” Catra calls from where she and Entrapta are watching Adora be an idiot.

Adora drops an arm so she can turn and glare at Catra. She just smirks back at her. “Nothing’s official. Shut up.”

She allows Scorpia to help her up and finally comes over to drop down at a desk next to Catra.

“So…MVP,” Catra starts, ready to tease. Adora stops her by holding up a finger.

“Alright, before we dive into you getting on my case, hang on.” Then she’s digging in her bag and drops…what must be like, twenty packs of those stupid peanut butter cracker things on the desk Catra is sitting at.

Her heart bottoms out. What is this? “The fuck, Greyskull?”

Please take them, get them out of my house. If Mara makes me bring one more pack of these to school I’m gonna puke, just on principle.”

Catra eyes her; she seems sincere but…Catra’s not so sure. “Aw, Wildcat! Don’t you like, love peanut butter? That works out great!”

Adora beams at Scorpia’s words. “Yeah…” Catra ventures hesitantly, eyes still slightly narrowed in Adora’s direction. “great.” There’s no way Adora knows, right? There’s no way she could. This isn’t charity, this is Adora Greyskull being an idiot. She tries for something more teasing, light. “Thanks, I guess; for giving me your garbage.”

Adora laughs, some tension lifting from her shoulders. Catra supposes she was looking at her rather intently. “You’re so welcome. What’s that expression? Something about treasure.”

Catra laughs, suspicion all but forgotten. “Shut the fuck up.”

“Whatever. Entrapta, you’re quiet. How’s your day?”

“Oh, excellent! Thank you for asking, Adora. I’m looking forward to doing a run through with the lighting next week. We’re so close to our first dress rehearsal!” She laughs and it’s only a little maniacal.

“Trap, hell week is still three weeks out!”

So soon.” Catra shakes her head and gives her friend a fond look of exasperation. When she looks over to Adora and sees a similarly fond look on her face, she tells herself the feeling she gets still isn’t butterflies.

She knows she’s lying, but she’s not really ready to admit that to herself just yet.

-{…}-

Catra’s weird today. It’s like she’s constantly on edge. Adora gets the feeling Catra suspects what she’s doing with the crackers. She must decide she’s mistaken though, because she accepts them. Adora is…concerned. The way she had talked about rationing the day before? Adora didn’t like it one bit.

Maybe she’s just being paranoid; there is a reason Adora keeps so much food on hand. She hopes she’s wrong though, that she misunderstood what Catra was saying and read too much into it…. She’ll be keeping an eye on it anyway.

At the end of lunch, after Entrapta and Scorpia have left for their own classes, Adora gets a minute alone with Catra. It’s nice. She looks…ahem, really nice today. In Adora’s flannel. Nice enough to make Adora fall flat on her face at least. Yeah, that had been embarrassing.

“So, I uh…didn’t say before but, nice shirt.”

Catra smirks, pleased with herself. “Oh, this old thing? Thanks.”

Adora laughs and ducks her head. Catra’s hands are on the desk between them, and Adora reaches over to fuss with the rolled cuffs. And that’s when her heart really stops. Not like; ahh! Cute girl, stops. Like; danger, warning bells, bad, bad, bad, stops.

Catra must see her freeze, because she’s not smirking anymore. Her eyes dart down to her own arm. When she sees the same thing Adora does, she yanks it away and unrolls the cuff a little more. “Adora. Don’t.” Her voice is hard, walls already fortified.

Adora gulps. People are starting to trickle in; time is slipping away like sand through her fingertips and Adora doesn’t know what to say. “Catra…"

“No.” Adora looks at her; her eyes are hard, and her jaw is set.

“Promise not to disappear after class?” Netossa has arrived and is calling for the class to simmer down.

“If I don’t?”

“Catra.” Her voice is a warning, and she’s got the persistence to back it up. Netossa can give her detention for a month for all she cares; she’s not ending this conversation until she’s assured Catra won’t run. After all, it’s what Adora herself would do.

Catra’s eyes flick to the front; Netossa is clearing her throat pointedly. “Fuck, fine, I promise. Now, turn the fuck around, Greyskull.”

Adora has no clue what their lesson is about. Her ears are ringing, and she isn’t missing the concerned looks their teacher keeps shooting her way. They break into small groups at one point to discuss…whatever they’re talking about and…well, poor Bow. Adora is practically disassociating, and Catra is too busy glaring at her to be of much use. Adora barely registers the worried looks he gives them the rest of class.

When the bell finally rings it feels like Adora’s attention is being split in too many directions. Bow gets to her first. “Hey…Adora? You good?”

“Yup! Great, Bow.”

“Uh huh, ready to go to class?”

“Uh…well-“

“Actually, Greyskull, you mind coming up here a second?” Adora turns to Netossa, she doesn’t look like she’s asking.

She nods and turns to Bow first. “Go ahead to class.” Then she’s turning to a scowling Catra. “You promised, right?”

She scoffs and rolls her eyes but still says, “Yeah, whatever. Just-“ She throws her hands up with a groan and goes to walk out the door. Adora prays she’ll still be there when she follows behind her and walks up to the front.

“So…what did you need me for, Doc?”

“Just checking in; you seemed pretty out of it today.”

“Yeah, I-uh, sorry.”

“It happens, Greyskull, you’re not in trouble. If there’s anything you want to talk about though…”

Adora grimaces. “Not today, but I’ll let you know.”

The look Dr. Netossa gives her makes Adora think maybe their teacher knows something. Or at least suspects something. “Alright, well you might want to check in with Archer about notes. We went over a few things I’ll be quizzing you on today.”

“Great, thanks for the heads up…. Um, am I excused?”

“Go on, I’ll see you tomorrow, Greyskull.”

“See you then.” She hustles her way out the door and, blessedly, Catra is leaned up next to it. “Hey!”

“What do you want, Greyskull?”

“Do you want to go to class?”

“Fucking what are you-yeah, Adora, I need to go to class today.”

“Great, I’ll walk you.” They fall into step, and Adora doesn’t wait long to dive in; they’re too short on time. “Your lip too?”

Catra growls. “Why are you making a thing of this?”

Adora stops in the middle of the hall. It’s most cleared out now there’s only about a minute left before the next bell. “I think you know why, Catra.” Her heart is beating hard in her chest, it feels like a stone; heavy enough to sink.

Catra flexes her jaw. “I think you’re blowing this out of proportion.”

“Oh yeah? Let me see your fucking arm then.”

“It’s just a bruise, Adora!”

“And how did it get there, Catra?”

“Greyskull, it’s not even that bad!” Catra is starting to look more stressed than pissed. Adora feels awful, she doesn’t want to be pushing right now. Unfortunately, she gets the feeling Catra needs a little push in the right direction.

“I don’t believe you.”

“Really?” Adora doesn’t blink. “You know what? Fine. It’s not even that big.”

She pulls her sleeve up, making no effort to let Adora get a good look but exposing it all the same. Adora’s heart shatters; it practically turns to sand in her chest, running between her ribs as if from a broken hourglass. She’s out of time; the bell rings

Catra pulls her sleeve back down, scanning the hall way quickly. “Are you satisfied?”

“Am I-“ Adora’s voice breaks and she swallow a lump in her throat. “Catra, are you planning to report this?”

“Are you shitting me? Of course, I’m not. And you had better not either, Greyskull.”

Adora bites down on her tongue to keep her emotions in check. “Well someone ought to.”

“That’s not for you to decide.”

“Just because you don’t want me to do something, doesn’t mean I lose my agency, Catra. I’ll do what I think is right.”

Catra steps in close; she makes an effort to look menacing but Adora thinks she mostly looks scared. She pokes Adora hard in the chest. “Listen here, Adora Greyskull. You wanna go and run your mouth? Fine, be my guest. But I will literally never forgive you. You’re not gonna accomplish anything besides making yourself feel better and fucking up my shit. So, do what you want but I would recommend you keep your nose out of my business.”

Catra is breathing hard by the end of her little tirade. Adora really doesn’t know what she’s supposed to say next. For better or worse she loses her chance to say anything when Mr. Archer’s head pokes out of his classroom door.

He looks at their position and frowns. “Girls? Class has started.”

“Right, sorry Mr. Archer.” Adora mumbles.

“Great.” Is all Catra has to say before pushing her way through the door.

“Adora, get to class, okay?”

“Of course.” But Adora doesn’t go to class. She doesn’t go to practice either. She goes home, she goes to bed, and she cries until Mara comes in to hold her.

 

All of Adora’s texts between last night and this morning are left on read. It’s not that many, she’s said what she needs to. Mainly she just tries to convince Catra to come forward. Before she leaves for school in the morning, she sends one last text.

Adora

Meet me in the library at lunch if you want to say something together. I’ll wait for you until the bell.

Even when she sends the text, she knows what will happen. Catra proves her right; she leaves Adora waiting in the library. She sits there for thirty minutes, until the bell signals the end of lunch. She knows what she has to do.

Adora hates doing this. She’s sick to her stomach knowing that this is probably gonna make Catra hate her. But she can’t very well not. She knows how Catra feels right now, has been in a very similar place. But she also knows how it feels to be out the other side of the messy part.

She hadn’t reported what was happening to her freshman year, just lived with it and hid it from her friends. That is, until the proverbial pot had boiled over once summer break started. Then, with what she was fairly certain was a sprained or broken rib, Adora’s solution was to run away in the middle of the night.

It was awful being houseless, especially with an injury, but in many ways it was still better than where she’d been. That should have been a pretty major clue that it ought to be reported, but she was stubborn. And she was scared.

Honestly, who knows where she would be now if Mara hadn’t hired a PI to find her, determined to find her long lost sister. Adora’s case worker certainly wasn’t looking very hard in the two months she was on the street. A sin Mara insured didn’t go unpunished once Adora was safe.

So yeah, she gets the shame and the pride and everything else that goes along with it. She still knocks on Spinerella’s door after the passing period between lunch and fifth.

“Come in!”

“Uh, hi Professor. Do you have a second to talk?”

Spinney frowns at her tone. “Of course, please come in.”

Adora sits and her teacher automatically sets to making tea. Adora passes on a cookie, but the warm mug feels nice in her hands; grounding.

“What would you like to talk about, Adora?”

“I-“ Her voice breaks and she wipes at the corner of her eyes. “Catra told me not to say anything. She’s gonna be so-so mad at me but I’m really worried.”

“Adora?” Her voice is a little more urgent this time and Adora’s tears spill over.

“It’s her guardian.” It comes out a whisper.

Fuck.” The curse doesn’t even faze Adora at this point. “Sorry, just-Netossa was worried…please, go on.”

“She has a really bad bruise. On her arm. It’s pretty clearly a uh-a handprint? Cuts too, like from nails. And um, she showed up with a fat lip on Monday. She’s said some stuff before…I knew it wasn’t great, but then the marks…. And um, there was something- well I don’t think she’s feeding her. Not enough at least.”

Spinerella’s head is in her hand and she looks more than a little upset. She pulls herself together and sits up, resting a hand on Adora’s arm. Right over the spot where Weaver held onto Catra long enough and hard enough to leave a bruise. Adora’s heart clenches.

“You’re doing the right thing, Adora.”

She nods, using her free hand to finally wipe away her tears. Her face feels crusty from the ones she let dry. “I know, I know it.”

A sigh. “Okay, what do you need right now? Do you want to go to class? I know this can’t be easy for you, given…everything. We can call your sister if you’d like?”

“I-it feels wrong, to skip. Like I’m avoiding her. I just, um, need a minute, if that’s okay?”

“Absolutely, as long as you need.”

Adora sits and sniffles a while longer, hating the look of pity she’s receiving. The moment she has her breathing regulated she accepts a pass to class, plus a note Spinerella gives her for Netossa, and leaves. There’s twenty minutes left of class; Adora spends five cleaning her face in the bathroom.

The room is dark when she makes it to class, some movie is playing. Probably Hamlet. Catra whips around to look at her the second she walks in the door. The glare she sends her way is the epitome of ‘if looks could kill’. Adora falters for a moment but makes her way to the front.

Netossa accepts the slip and the note with a look of concern; Adora must look something awful. She skims the note and looks at Adora with a grimace. “Stay behind after class to talk to me if you don’t mind?”

Adora nods and takes her seat. By that point there’s only ten minutes left of class, but it feels like an eternity. When Netossa releases them, Bow catches her eye and inclines his head in the general direction of the gym. His face is the picture of concern. She shakes her head and he frowns but leaves without her.

Soon it’s only her, Netossa and Catra left.

“D’riluth, you need something?”

Catra scoffs. “Don’t even try to play me for a fool. I know what that note said.”

Netossa licks her lips and pulls them tightly together. She doesn’t deny it. “Alright, and would you like to talk about that?”

Adora watches them silently from her desk, hands in her lap. Netossa is at the font of the aisle, arms crossed but her expression softens and opens up. An aisle over and a seat ahead Catra stays by her desk but has stood up.

“Not to you.” She answers belligerently. “But I would like to talk to Adora about who the hell she thinks she is.” Adora’s heart breaks again; she knew this was coming, but it still hurts.

“Hey!” Netossa barks at Catra. Adora wishes she wouldn’t. Then softer, “Not in my classroom, you got it?”

“Are you fucking kidding me right now?”

“No Catra, I’m not.”

She makes a sound of disbelief. Adora decides to venture a timid, “Catra?”

It’s mistake, with Catra on a hair trigger like this she shouldn’t have pushed, even just that much. She turns on her. “I literally do not want you to talk to me.”

Netossa sighs heavily but Catra doesn’t stop staring Adora down, eyes hard. She gulps. “Okay.”

“Fuck, you’re unbelievable Adora! I told you to keep your mouth shut. What, you think you know better than me?”

“D’riluth! What did I just say?” The door opens and Frosta starts to make her way in, looking between the three of them. “Snows, wait outside. Tell the rest of the class to line up, alright?”

She nods slowly and backs out the door silently, eyes still darting between them. Catra is breathing hard, staring at the door. She snaps back around without warning and throws herself into her chair.

“Unbe-fucking-lievable.”

Netossa moves to sit on top of the desk in front of her. “Catra,” She says evenly. “you know this needs to be reported.”

“Why?” Her voice still has that hard edge of defiance. Adora bites down on her lip to keep from crying again; this isn’t about her. “So, some case worker can come stick their nose in my business just long enough to tell me it’s nothing I can’t take? Newsflash; I already know that. It’s. Fine.”

“It isn’t Catra, it’s not. And the fact that you think it is, it breaks my heart.” Catra scoffs, seemingly unmoved.

She twists around to look at Adora again; still not done with her, and evidently uninterested in dealing with Netossa right now. “You don’t know shit Adora, what did you even tell them?”

Adora’s broken heart is in her throat. “I-I don’t know if I’m supposed to answer that.”

Catra makes a sound of disgust, turning away from her again. She takes that as a no. Netossa considers them both for a minute. “How much do you know about Adora’s background D’riluth?”

“What, like her home shit?” Netossa nods.

“Doc, don’t.” She meets Adora’s eyes and Adora sees a promise in them that she won’t go further. That’s Adora’s story to tell after all. Apparently, she’s just making a point, or maybe prompting Catra to ask for herself.

“What? Don’t want to talk about your hip, gay sister and her pie baking aunt and your perfect little life now that you’ve gone and blown mine up?”

“Fuck off, Catra.” She doesn’t mean to; she feels horrible instantly. She’s just touchy about it right now, this situation is bringing up a lot of shit that Adora makes a point to not think about. She’s barely even talked about that summer to Bow and Glimmer. “Shit, no, I’m sorry! I didn-“

Catra laughs; for once it isn’t a nice sound. “Sure, ya did, Greyskull. It’s fine, I’ve seen your true colors today. No need to-“

Catra, damn it, cut that shit out. I know you’re mad, and you have every right to be. But shitting on your friend is taking it out in the wrong place.” She glares at their teacher and crosses her arms, slumping back into her seat.

“Nah, I think it’s the right place.”

Netossa sighs again, she sounds weary. Adora can relate. “What are you trying to accomplish right now, Catra? What do you need?”

Catra groans loudly and drops her face into her hands, rubbing her them briskly over it. Without lifting her head, she asks, “So, what now?”

Netossa answers gently. “Professor Spinerella files a report and a social worker will take action within twenty-four hours. If you have somewhere else to stay tonight I recc-“

Catra looks up to scowl at her. “Yeah, I don’t have anyone else. That’s the fucking problem.” She turns to face Adora. “And don’t you dare fucking offer, Adora Greyskull. You can’t save me.”

Adora closes her eyes, unable to take the full force of Catra’s ire. “Maybe Scorpia?”

’Maybe Scorp-‘ are you shitting me? No, I’m fucking going home and praying that fucking report gets lost before Weaver can find out about it. It’s just gonna piss her off even more if she does. Do you have any idea what she-“ She clamps her mouth shut, seemingly thinking better of expanding on that thought.

“Can I just say one thing?” Adora requests, barely audible.

“You know what? Fine, whatever.”

Adora nods and gets up, circling a couple desks and walking closer. She crouches down in front of Catra who is watching her incredulously and sets a hand on her knee. Catra seems too stunned by her brazenness to stop her. Adora looks her in the eye, letting every feeling, every thought rise to the surface.

“I’m not sorry.” Catra opens her mouth to snap back but Adora’s stare is firm and she shakes her head minutely. “And nothing you say to me is gonna make me sorry. And I know you’re mad, at the situation and at me, and that’s okay. Nothing you say to me is gonna make me care any less about you.

“So, if you want to scream at me, or blow up my phone tonight; berating me and calling me every nasty name you can think of, I’m here and I’m not going anywhere.” She smiles sadly at Catra’s clear shock. She sniffs a little before continuing. “I hope-I really hope that we can move past this together. If not, if I lose your friendship because of what I‘ve done; fuck Catra, that will break my heart. But I still won’t be sorry.”

Adora stands and cradles Catra’s incredulous face in her hands, running her thumbs over her cheeks once. How long has she imagined touching Catra so intimately? Having it like this feels like a sick joke. She presses a soft kiss to the top of her head, and then she leaves.

She doesn’t look to see Netossa’s reaction to her words, and she doesn’t stop until she gets to her car. And then she sobs.

Chapter Text

Catra barely feels like she’s on this planet for the next twenty-four hours. After Netossa tries to get her to talk for a few more minutes she doesn’t go to sixth period. She skips rehearsal for good measure, sure the director will have no qualms about trying to pull her to the side.

Instead she goes to a park to kill time until Weaver expects her home. She eats two packs of those stupid peanut butter crackers, wondering all the while if Adora has figured out that facet of Weaver’s abuse also. She’d dismissed the idea yesterday but now…things are different now. And something Netossa said is nagging at the back of her brain.

“How much do you know about Adora’s background D’riluth?”

It was pointed, and Catra can’t imagine she’d brought it up just to rub in her face just how much her situation sucks. It certainly felt like it at the time though, with Adora fucking Greyskull staring at her, worrying about her so loud it was deafening. Even if she has some tragic backstory though, it doesn’t give her the right. It wasn’t her fucking decision to make.

Weaver tries to get a reaction out of her that night, but she’s frankly too catatonic to give her the satisfaction. Fuck, she’s gonna murder me when she finds out. And it isn’t even my fault! Unsatisfied, Weaver banishes her to her room. She eats peanut butter crackers until she feels sick. Then she goes to bed with a stomach ache and wakes up feeling worse than she did the night before.

She avoids anyone who might want to talk to her at school the next day, going so far as to spend lunch in a bathroom stall. She eats so many crackers in there she actually does end up getting sick. And then the bell rings. She wonders how much worse her life could really get if she were to fight Adora Greyskull in the middle of class. It’ll probably sting more if Catra just ignores her though, even if it is less cathartic for Catra.

She slides into her seat with seconds to spare. Archer tries to greet her anyway. “Hey Catra! Haven’t seen you around much today…”

His tone tells Catra that he knows something is up, but that Adora’s kept the story to herself. So, there’s that at least. Adora is…Greyskull’s a fucking mess. Good. Her ponytail is sloppy, and she hasn’t even bothered with the stupid hair poof. She also looks like she’s trying to disappear into her massive hoodie.

Catra looks away when she sees Adora peek at her from the corner of her eye. “Fuck off, Archer.” Is all she bothers to say to Bow before Netossa gets class going.

She only gets a few minutes in before she’s interrupted by some middle-aged lady. Catra thinks she recognizes her from the office. Her heart thuds, she’s been waiting for this all day; she’s sure this is the moment she has to face the music.

Sure enough, after a whispered conversation between her and their teacher, Netossa calls her out. “D’riluth, you’re wanted in the office.”

A few of the blowhards in her class do that stupid ‘Oooh!’ thing, implying she’s in trouble. It’s fucking obnoxious and infuriating. Catra’s face is burning as she follows the office aid out of the classroom. She spares a moment to glare in Adora’s direction on her way out. This is fucking stupid. And it’s all Adora Greyskull’s fault.

They walk toward the counseling center; great, just truly fabulous. The aid drops Catra at her counselor’s door and tells her she can go right in. Catra’s only met with them like, two times before to go over some scheduling bullshit. Castaspella’s fine and all, she just tries way too hard.

“Catra dear, welcome in.”

Catra rolls her eyes at the false enthusiasm and slumps into a chair next to the other person in the room. It’s not anyone she recognizes. She’s kind of pretty, in like, an older lady way. She has dark skin and hair with a bleached buzz on one side, and a scar across her nose. She looks hella gay.

“Hey.”

“Catra, this is my friend Juliet. She works with Child Protective Services.”

Slumping further into her chair, Catra mumbles, “Whatever.”

“May I?” Juliet addresses Castaspella, who nods in invitation. Now she’s addressing Catra. “Listen, Catra, I know this is the last place you want to be right now.” Catra’s scoff goes ignored. “I know it’s terrible, Catra, and I know that it’s unfair; I won’t disrespect you by trying to tell you that it’s not. Unfortunately, what you want isn’t our top priority right now.”

That has Catra sitting up, riled. “That’s bullshit!”

A hard look shuts her up. “It is and it isn’t. You should have the choice of what to do with your own life, and what you want matters, but there are adults in your life who are obligated to look out for your safety first. This isn’t about what you want, Catra, but it is about what you need and what you deserve. And that’s certainly not to feel unsafe in your own home.”

“Great, and what’s the alternative? I get stuck in some shitty group home while you do some bullshit investigation? And then, when you decide Weaver’s crap isn’t bad enough, I get sent right back to her and get the shit beat out of me for embarrassing her.” Catra immediately feels the blood drain from her face; she’s definitely said too much now.

Both women in the office grimace at her outburst. “Catra, it doesn’t have to be like that. We’ll need you to work with us but, if what you’re saying is true, we can strip Ms. Weaver of her parental rights.”

“Sure, and then what?”

“Well, we have options. You’re right that a group home is one and there are a couple in the area. If you have a family member you-“

“Yeah, why do you think I got stuck with Weaver in the first place? She’s the best I’ve got, everyone else is fucking dead.”

Unfazed, Juliet continues. “Alright, we can also arrange a foster situation, or if you have a friend you can stay with that’s an option too. We would just need their parents to work with us so that we can ensure your safety. Once you turn eighteen this October, CPS will step back and you can do as you’d like, just like anyone else.”

Catra mulls this over, who the fuck could she even stay with? This is a fucking mess. “Do I even have a choice?”

Juliet sighs and shares a look with Castaspella. “You do. For the next seventy-two hours we’ll conduct an investigation. Until it’s over we’ll need to find somewhere else for you to stay. After that it all depends on the outcome of the investigation. Catra, if you don’t work with us, tell your side, you will most likely end up back at home. Ultimately it is still your decision to make.”

Catra’s tongue rolls over her teeth in her closed mouth. “Fine, whatever. I’ll think about it. What happens now?”

“You go back to class and I’ll contact Ms. Weaver. After school I and an officer will escort you home so you can collect your things. At that point you’ll need to have figured out where you’d like to go.”

“A cop? Are you fucking kidding me?”

“It’s for your safety Catra.”

“Ugh, whatever. Do I have to skip theatre?” She doesn’t even really give a shit about drama today; she’d just like to delay the inevitable as long as possible.

Juliet shakes her head. “No, but we will connect with the director to make sure she reports to us if you don’t show up. We can pick you up after you’re done.”

“Great.” She pauses to think for a moment. “Does the cop have to come? Can they like…wait in the car?”

She gets an understanding smile at that. “They’ll meet us at Ms. Weaver’s. Catra, we’re not trying to add fodder to the gossip mill on your behalf. Just meet me back here after you’re through and we’ll go.”

That, at least, is a relief. “Fine.”

“What time will you be finished this evening?”

“Six thirty, I guess. Can I go back to class now?”

“You can. Think about your options Catra, we’ll talk in a few hours.”

Catra is already up and out of her seat, swinging her bag over her shoulder. “Whatever.” She offers as she bolts.

They’re already five minutes into sixth period by the time the meeting is through, so the office aid offers her a pass for her next class. She hands it to Mr. Archer when she walks in the door and trudges to her seat with her head down.

Scorpia leans over the second she’s sat down. “You okay Wildcat?”

“I’m fine Scorp.” Her tone seems to be enough for her friend to drop it. Probably helps that Mr. Archer is mid lecture. She should have known it was too good to last though; Scorpia is on her the moment the bell rings.

“Wildcat, what’s up? I heard you got sent to the office. You’re not in trouble, are you?”

Catra leads them out of the room into the hallway. The hustle and chatter of other students offers them some semblance of privacy. She looks to Scorpia and grimaces at her clear curiosity. “Not exactly.”

“Okay…”

A huff. “Someone reported Weaver.”

“Reported…” Scorpia’s eyes fly open wide and she gasps. “Oh Wildcat, your lip! Why didn’t you say anything?”

“Because I didn’t want anyone to know Scorp!” Her answer is vicious, not to mention loud. She looks around them as they land in front of the auditorium door to make sure it hasn’t captured any unwanted attention.

“Catra…” The pitying look she receives makes Catra want to tear out her own hair.

“Don’t go there Scorp. This is exactly why I didn’t want people to know. I don’t need your pity and I don’t need anyone’s help! I was doing fine on my own.”

Scorpia pouts. “Is that even true?”

“What are you-of course it’s fucking true. Fuck off.”

“Alright, if you say so, Catra. So…what happens now?”

Catra allows herself a dramatic harrumph before responding. “I have to figure out where to stay or they’re gonna stick me in some shitty group home.”

At this Scorpia brightens. “That one’s easy; stay with me!”

Catra is wary of the ‘easy’ part. Nothing is easy for Catra. “You sure your moms will be cool with that? They have to like, work with CPS and stuff. There’s probably a bunch of stupid paperwork or something.”

“Please, my moms love you! Oh, it’ll be so fun. Like a sleepover every night!”

Catra gives her a droll look but feels something in her chest loosen. “Whatever, maybe. I’ll think about it.”

“Great! I can meet you here after rehearsal.”

“I have to go to the office to meet the CPS lady after.”

“Even better! I’ll go with you; we can tell her the good news together.”

Despite herself, a small smile sneaks through Catra’s façade. “I…fine, whatever. I might change my mind before then.”

“I have a feeling you won’t, but it’s okay if you do! Just let me know later. I should go for now though, I promised Perfuma a ride home. I’ll see you in a couple hours, okay?”

“Whatever.”

Scorpia braces and arm on Catra’s shoulder and forces her to make eye contact. “Wildcat? This is all gonna work out, you’ll see.”

“I should get inside.” Scorpia holds her eyes for another minute then releases her with a clap on the shoulder.

Of course, the theatre offers Catra no relief. The second she’s in the door she comes face to face with a nervous looking Adora. Bow stands in front of her with his back to Catra, saying something about who knows what. He turns when Adora’s expression freezes at the sight of Catra.

“Hey Ca-“

“Don’t even fucking start with me, Greyskull.”

“Catra…”

“Stay out of this, Archer.”

He opens his mouth for a rebuttal but Adora cuts him off. “Bow, don’t. Can you give us a sec?”

Catra scoffs, as if she’s inclined to give Adora Greyskull the time of day right now. This is all her fucking fault. “Don’t bother, I need to get up to the booth.”

Naturally, Adora follows her. “Catra, wait, please. Can I just talk to you for-“

No, you can’t. I think you’ve said enough.” She stomps up the stairs into the booth. She’s pissed to hear another set of footsteps right behind her, and even more so when she sees Entrapta hasn’t arrived yet.

She throws herself into the far chair and stares fixedly out of the window. She sees Adora sit gently in the one beside her from her periphery. “Catra…”

She says nothing, just staring. Adora can talk to a brick wall if she wants, Catra isn’t participating.

“Come on, what did you want me to do?”

Okay, maybe she is participating. She snaps. “Uh, how about mind your own fucking business? ”

Just as impassioned, Adora fights back. “This is my business, Catra.”

“Fuck you, I hardly see how.”

“Someone has been hurting my- someone I care about. That’s my fucking business, Catra. I get it; you’re tough, you can handle yourself and you don’t need anyone-“

“I don’t!”

“Fine! Maybe you don’t. But suffering in silence isn’t tough, Catra, it’s fucking stupid!”

She’s gob smacked at the gall. “Excuse me? It’s fine! I had it handled, Adora. Now I’ve got a whole new boatload of shit to deal with instead. Some fucking cop is gonna escort me into my house today. I have to figure out where to live now, do you get it? Do you understand the consequences of what you’ve done?”

“Yeah, Catra, I get it a hell of a lot better that you seem to think I do. She’s fucking hitting you,” Catra flinches at it being stated so bluntly. “and if she’s doing that, I have a pretty strong feeling that’s not even the half of it. And I know that has to be eating away at you, maybe more so than the physical violence.”

Catra freezes, because…Adora’s kind of right. She’s still not sure Adora wasn’t out of line running her mouth. And it’s not that getting smacked around occasionally isn’t bad enough. It’s just, the walking on eggshells, the never knowing what’s waiting for her at home, or when she’s gonna get denied food just because Weaver is in a shitty mood? Yeah, that shit is fucking wearing. And she will be grateful if she never has to deal with it again.

Adora doesn’t even notice the change in her posture, she’s on a roll now. “I understand why you didn’t say anything, but isn’t at least some part of you relieved you don’t have to go back there? Maybe I should have given it more time, but exactly how long was I supposed to wait? And what if the situation devolved further in the meantime? I don’t know how I’d live with myself if I knew something’s wrong and you got hurt because I was too scared of you hating me to say something.

“And I’m sorry this puts you in a tough spot, really, I am. But you also have plenty of options. It might not feel like it, but you do. I know you’re mad at me right now, and you don’t wanna hear it, but you can stay with me if you want to. You wouldn’t even have to talk to me if you didn’t want! Or I know the Archers have room. Hell! I bet Scorpia would be thrilled to have you come stay. And you won’t have to put up with the same shit at any of those places!”

Adora’s out of breath by the time she’s finished. Catra turns away from her and looks out the window again. Just to add insult to injury, their little argument has garnered the attention of the cast and crew in the auditorium. She’s sure it’s muffled enough that they won’t have much in the way of context, but the volume had to have been unmissable. A few of them look away when she catches them, and a few stare back unabashedly.

“Are you finished?”

“I-yeah, I guess I am.”

With a clenched jaw Catra observes her. Her ponytail really is a shit show; uncharacteristically mussed, like she’s been fucking with it all day. Her cheeks are flushed from getting worked up, and she’s still breathing a little heavier. She has her arms crossed over her chest, leaned back in the chair, and her left foot is crossed over her right knee.

“I still think you were out of line. I mean, fuck, Greyskull, could you be anymore holier than thou about this? I’ve been living with Weaver for twelve fucking years, I know what the signs are when things are about to escalate, I had it handled. At least for the time being. Fine, you felt like you had to say something; but you really couldn’t have given it more than a day?”

The fight drains from Adora’s shoulders. “I-a lot can happen in a day.”

Catra considers her a moment more. “You know, you can be really fucking condescending.”

“I…I didn’t mean it that way. I’m sorry if I-I’m sorry I steamrolled you.” She hangs her head and her hand runs through her hair with a groan. “Fuck, I really did, didn’t I? And now I’ve marched up here when you said you didn’t want to talk and practically yelled at you. I just wanted you to never have to go back to her but…I should have thought more about what you wanted.” She looks up again. “I stand by reporting it, but you’re right; I shouldn’t have rushed you and I’m sorry for that.” She pauses to grimace. “And…I’m sorry for barging up here and being an asshole, I don’t really have an excuse for that part.”

Catra sucks her teeth and considers the apology. “Great. Just…give me some time to think, okay?”

Adora blinks, apparently surprised by that reaction. She leans forward. “I…to think?”

“Yeah, Greyskull. I know it might be a concept you’re unfamiliar with, but it’s a thing people do.”

Adora scoffs and rolls her eyes but doesn’t fight back on it. “To be clear, what are you thinking about?”

Catra rolls her eyes; it’s so like Adora Greyskull to push her fucking luck. “About whether I’m more pissed at you or the situation.”

A little bit of hope sparks in Adora’s eyes at that. “Oh yeah?”

“To be clear; I’m definitely pissed at you.”

“Totally fair! If you want to talk about what-”

Time, Greyskull, give it time for shit’s sake.”

Adora nods along to this. “Time, I can do time. Okay, cool.” She gets up and walks back to the stairs but pauses at the top. “How much time would you say?”

“Longer the more you annoy me.”

“Right. Sorry, I shouldn’t push, not cool.” She gets down two steps, her head still visible over the half wall, before she pauses again. “Hey Catra?”

What, Greyskull?”

“I’m glad you’re safe.” And with that she trots down the steps, leaving a wide-eyed girl behind her. How can one girl be so fucking earnest and condescending at the same time? Unbe-fucking-lieveable.

“Catra?” Entrapta’s voice distracts her from watching Adora immediately start whispering with Bow. At least, it looks like they’re whispering. Catra can’t exactly hear them.

“Hey Trap.”

“How are you? I was going to come up a few minutes ago but I heard raised voices. Bow said I should give you and Adora a moment.”

“I’m fine Trap, I think maybe everything is gonna be fine.”

She’s not sure she believes that, but she wants to.

-{…}-

Bow grabs Adora’s arm the second she’s out of the booth. He pulls her to the side and starts whispering. “Okay, Adora I’m officially worried. What is going on with you and Catra?”

“I told you Bow; I can’t tell you the details.”

“Adora…”

“Look, just, something came up and she and I…didn’t see eye to eye on the best way to handle it. I overrode her and made a judgement call and she’s mad about it. And she has a right to be mad; I did the right thing, but I wasn’t super sensitive to her in the way I went about it.”

“Adora, that’s-could you be anymore vague right now?”

She huffs, losing patience. “I-Bow, this isn’t mine to tell, okay? I’ve already stepped in it with Catra enough. I’m not gonna disrespect her by spreading her shit around too.”

“Fine, I get that…sort of. But this is clearly taking a toll on you and, whatever is going on, Catra is taking her anger out on you from what I can tell. How is that fair?”

Adora rubs a hand over her head in frustration and tightens her ponytail, probably making that disaster even worse. “It is and it isn’t. Part of her anger is at me and part of it…isn’t. I wasn’t totally fair to her and even if I was Catra needs a scapegoat right now and I signed up for the job.”

“What does that mean?”

Adora’s patience finally snaps. “It means back off, Bow!” She sighs, instantly guilty. “I appreciate your concern, I really do, but you’re out of line. This isn’t mine to share and, yeah, it’s affecting me. That still doesn’t give me the right to share private information about one of my friends. Especially not after I’ve made a decision that affects her far more than it’s affecting me.”

Bow looks humbled by Adora’s outburst, after the initial shock that is. “Shit, you’re right. I’m sorry, Adora. I just-is there anything I can do for you right now?”

She bites her lip and actually lets herself think about that one. “Honestly? I could use a hug if-“ She’s in her best friend’s arms before she can even finish. Bow gives excellent hugs; just warm and tender and nice. After indulging in it for a couple minutes she pulls back and looks to the stage.

They’re still doing warmups and it’s pretty obvious to Adora that Netossa, perfectly aware of the situation, is waiting up for them. She inclines her head toward the stage and Bow nods in understanding, following her up to get started for the afternoon.

She looks up to the booth once she’s on stage. Catra is there, looking right back at her. Her stomach swoops in that familiar way. The way she’s looking at her, and her words for the booth, allow the spark of hope she worried might be permanently extinguished to flicker back to life. She’s not counting on anything, but maybe Catra won’t hate her forever.

 

Time, Catra had said, Adora can give this time. After all, she doesn’t really have a choice.

Chapter Text

The next couple weeks are…a lot for Catra. The first day is, of course, the worst. Weaver is waiting when Juliet and the random cop escort her home. It’s clear she’s been instructed not to interfere, so she does what she can silently. One of her favorite games under normal circumstances truth be told.

She sits at the end of the dining table, red wine in hand, and watches. Every move Catra makes that is within her sightline. Needless to say, Catra scoots upstairs with Juliet just as fast as she can. Once there, Juliet sits at her desk and Catra just…looks around the room.

“How much do I bring…like, a few days’ worth or…?”

“That’s really up to you, Catra.” She grimaces and nods, moving to her closet.

She takes her favorites first, then considers the rest. It’s a pretty easy decision in the end. Catra has every confidence that anything she loves, hell, anything she likes, is liable to get tossed in the fire the moment she leaves. She turns to Juliet again.

“I don’t have a bag.” Juliet nods, leaving and returning shortly after with a roll of trash bags.

Catra takes all her clothes she actually likes, considering briefly taking that horrid pink dress just to burn it. The fumes might kill her though, so she leaves it. Beyond that Catra really doesn’t have much. She takes her old notebooks, random papers she’s held onto, and some photos. There are a few books she wants to keep and one or two knick-knacks. She peels the pillow case her mother made her when she was little off the pillow and packs that too. When she does, she reveals Adora’s red flannel, stashed below it.

That’s the first time Catra cries. There’s nothing else really after that. All of her worldly possessions end up fitting easily into two trash bags. Before they leave Catra asks for a moment to change and Juliet steps out. When she walks past Weaver in her DIY crop top on the way out, she doesn’t miss the way her eyes flash. So, yeah, if Catra ends up having to come home again she’s in for a world of hurt. It feels worth it in that moment.

 

Transitioning to living with the D’reams is…odd. Scorpia was spot on when she promised her moms would be over the moon to have her stay. They bend over backwards to make her comfortable, communicate closely with Juliet, and take her where she needs to go for interviews conducted for the investigation.

Three days later a judge makes a ruling; Catra never has to see Weaver again. Something Catra can actually enforce thanks to the restraining order Garnet D’ream insists on. Garnet’s cool, a much-needed temper to Linda’s…enthusiasm. It’s very obvious which one of them Scorpia gets it from. 

Although, that being said, Scorpia is surprisingly…calm throughout the next two weeks. She doesn’t push Catra; leaves her to spend hours alone in the spare room, Catra’s room, without question and asks for nothing. It’s…a lot. After a week Catra finds herself going to Scorpia’s door in the middle of the night.

She looks surprised when she opens the door. “Wildcat! What’s up? You need anything?”

“Um, yeah. Can we…hang out maybe? Talk.”

“You know I’d love nothing more! Come in, come in.”

Scorpia’s room is cool; all dark reds and black accents. She, Entrapta and Catra had painted it together in sixth grade. They’d forgotten to open the window and got a little fucked up from the fumes. Laughing about their absentmindedness, they had spent the night in the spare room eating brownies Garnet made for them and laughing about nothing. It’s a good memory.

She sits at Scorpia’s desk and Scorp takes the bed, lounging back on it. She’s calm, relaxed, but clearly waiting for Catra to initiate. This is the second time Catra cries. Scorpia clearly wants to lunge for her but she holds back; Catra couldn’t be more grateful.

“I just wanted to say…thanks. And also…” Catra’s eyes go to the photo on her desk of Scorpia with her moms. It’s nice, they look happy. She looks back to Scorpia, still waiting patiently on the bed. “Also, I know I haven’t been a very good friend to you.”

“What? Wildcat, no! Is that what-“

Catra puts up a hand to stop her. “Please Scorp? Just…let me get this out?” She nods, not looking entirely happy about it, but letting Catra have her way. Catra rubs briskly at her face and blows out a deep breath.

“After you started playing basketball, making new friends…I thought you were drifting away. I felt distance and instead of saying something I held you at that distance, like an insecure brat. You’ve always been a good friend to me. Still, I really…missed you, even when you were there, because I-“ Her voice breaks and she clears her throat, embarrassed. Scorpia looks misty eyed too and Catra stares at the carpet to avoid the look.

“I was really afraid, Scorp. You were starting to fit in, and I was never going to. Is how I felt at least. And I thought that once you were like, fully integrated, or whatever, you’d leave me and Trap behind. So…I’m sorry. For pushing you away like that. And thank you, for being such a persistent person, even when it’s sort of obnoxious.”

When it’s clear she’s finished Scorpia crosses the room in bounding steps and swoops her up into a bear hug. She turns her face into Catra’s neck to whisper. “I love you so much Catra, thanks for saying all that. I-it means a lot.”

Catra just squeezes her back tighter and lets her hold on as long as she wants. It’s a pretty long time, but Catra doesn’t mind for once.

 

The third time Catra cries is also in Scorpia’s bedroom. They’re studying, sprawled across the carpet, and Catra is trying to muddle her way through math homework. She’s not thinking about the study partner she was supposed to have. At least, not until Scorpia brings her up.

“Was it Adora?” Catra’s head snaps up at the unexpected question.

What?

“Who made the report.”

Catra can feel herself going red, her mind instantly flashing to the flannel bundled under her pillow. “Oh.” She scratches the back of her neck and sits up with her legs crossed. “Yeah, why?”

Scorpia smiles sadly and nods. Catra’s heart constricts and doesn’t relax. “I just figured is all.”

“How um, how is she? We haven’t…talked much.”

Adora’s been giving Catra the space she asked for, but Catra’s still been watching her. She never looks quite as rough as she did that first day, but something’s clearly off. For one, Catra hasn’t seen her hair up once. It looks nice, framing her face and skimming her shoulders; Catra never realized just how long it is. Still, it’s weird to see, like her body has been taken over by someone else.

“She’s…Adora, you know?” Catra shakes her head. She’s started to suspect she doesn’t know much at all where Adora’s concerned. Scorpia sighs. “It’s been pretty clear that something’s bothering her but… she won’t talk about it, even to Bow and Glimmer. I guess all she’s told Bow is that there’s something that came up that isn’t her business to share, which I assume is…yeah.”

She and Catra both grimace because, clearly, that something is her. Scorpia continues, “And also I guess some stuff from the summer before sophomore year got brought up by it. It sort of makes sense from what I know about both situations.

“Anyway, I think she’s struggling with it. Apparently, Mara made her go back to counseling and quit volunteering for the foreseeable future. Also…coach benched her. At the last game. Said Adora was too exhausted and made her skip a week of practice. I know she took it pretty hard. It’s Adora though, so she’s mostly taking it all in stride. Just…maybe I’ve seen her doing better is all I’m saying.”

That’s…a lot to digest. “I…what happened before sophomore year?”

Scorpia blinks and then grimaces. “I forgot you wouldn’t know. Honestly even I don’t have many details, I don’t think anyone does really.”

“I wouldn’t know what? What are you talking about?”

Her friend’s head is shaking before she’s even finished asking. “Sorry, Wildcat. That’s not my story to tell.” Catra nods, choosing to respect that. “Catra…what the heck happened between you?”

And that’s when the waterworks start. Fuck, when did you get so weepy D’riluth? “I th-think I lost a really good thing, Scorp. Sh-she made that report even though I told her not to.” She hiccups and it makes her chest sting. “I was…really mad. At the situation mostly, but at her too. And, well, she was much easier to yell at than the situation, you know? She totally fucking steamrolled me, but I took all of it out on her.”

“I’m sure she understands Catra…”

Catra shakes her head because, sure, she probably does but, “She shouldn’t have to though.” She wipes roughly at the tears on her cheeks and below her eyes. “I put her through hell; I know she was just worried and, well, she’s the reason I’m out of there. Then I wouldn’t even talk to her after! I was pissed yeah but, I don’t know, I think maybe three weeks was too severe. I just really really-“ She bites her lip, cutting herself off.

“It’s okay if you needed time to think, Catra. And I believe Adora thinks so too. You’ve been through a lot. Do you…want to talk to her now?” Scorpia’s question is soft but it makes Catra sob.

Yes, she absolutely wants to talk to her now. Adora may have been pushy in the beginning, but she’s left Catra alone since the argument in the booth. If she can respect that, maybe she’s worth a second chance. It won’t be easy but…Catra would be lying if she said she doesn’t want to let this go, if she said she doesn’t miss her. And…well, talking’s not the only thing she wants with Adora Greyskull. Not that it matters; maybe she can forgive Catra for taking everything out on her, but if there ever was a chance for something more? Well, Catra’s pretty certain any hope of that is long gone.

“Wh-what if she hates me?”

“Hates you?” Scorpia looks genuinely baffled and Catra sniffles, starting to come down. “Catra, she asks about you every day. I mean, sometimes she makes Bow or Glimmer ask, but it’s pretty clear where it’s coming from.”

And Catra snorts, because that is just so like Adora Greyskull. “Oh.”

“Talk to her Catra, I’m sure she’ll be relieved and, frankly, over the moon.”

Catra takes the words to heart, and they ignite a small spark of hope there.

-{…}-

Tuesday morning, almost three weeks after the confrontation in the booth, Catra shows up to school in Adora’s red flannel. Adora tries to not read too much into it, but she isn’t very successful. It has to mean something, right? She slides into lit class a minute after the bell and Adora makes little  to no effort to hide her staring.

Then…Catra is the first one out of class when the bell rings, so maybe it is just a coincidence. Laundry day or something. Bow, on the other hand, is definitely reading into it. He doesn’t mention it on their way to sixth period, but the minute Coach sets them to running laps he’s bringing it up.

“So…Catra’s outfit is interesting today.” Adora wrestles her hair up into a messy bun to get it off her neck. She thinks, not for the first time in the last few weeks, about cutting it.

“I…yeah.” She starts jogging and Bow and Glimmer catch up.

“Wait, I haven’t seen her. What is Catra wearing today?”

“Adora’s flannel.”

Glimmer stops. “Okay, that’s big deal, right?”

Bow’s and Adora’s conflicting answers overlap.

“Adora, I’m just gonna say it in case this is her like, offering an olive branch or something. Are you sure you deserved what Catra did to you? The way she’s been treating you?”

Adora huffs and starts jogging again. “I told you, it’s not that simple. No, I didn’t deserve it, not really. At least, not all of it. Some of it I did. It’s just complicated! I knew what the consequences of my actions would be, and I did it anyway. Catra’s not done anything wrong.”

Glimmer groans. “I get that you’re trying to be respectful and all, but this is really frustrating, Adora. You’ve been a mess for three weeks and you can’t tell us why!”

They finish a lap and Coach isn’t even on the field anymore. Lonnie tells them she said something about going inside to make a call. Adora stops jogging and her friends stop in front of her, waiting. She’s not sure what to say. Of course she’s worried about Catra, and yes, that has more than a little bit to do with her current state of mind. At the same time, the mess she’s been the last couple weeks actually has very little to do with Catra herself.

“I ran away.”

Her friends exchange a look and Glimmer clarifies, “From Catra?”

She shakes her head. “Before sophomore year.” You could cut the tension that settles between them with a knife. Well…you could try. It might be too thick, truth be told.

“Adora…”

All they knew up to this point is that, because of a bad situation with her foster parents, she hadn’t been able to contact them most of that summer. Then Mara showed up and adopted her and she resurfaced. She’d alluded to some kind of abuse, but she suspects they’ve assumed something more along the lines of her fosters being super controlling and maybe a bit neglectful at times. Mostly because that’s what she’s intentionally led them to believe…. Outside of her family, only a select few teachers and the guidance counselor know how bad it really was.

“It was really bad. I lost like, ten pounds because they weren’t feeding me as punishments for stupid shit. There was a lot of screaming too, like every night. That summer…it escalated. So, I ran. I’d been living on the street for two months when Mara found me.”

“Adora.” Bows voice is broken, and he’s crying. Glimmer too for that matter.

“We were so worried. Why didn’t you call us, or-or-“

Adora smiles sadly and shakes her head. “I was ashamed; of letting it go on so long, of not being able to take it, I don’t know. And I didn’t want them to find me, I was afraid of being sent back. I know now that was really stupid, I mean I had a sprained rib for fuck’s-“

“Wait, what?” Glimmer’s voice passes shrill by several octaves.

Adora grimaces, she’d actually planned to keep that specific detail to herself but…might as well air it all out at once. “Yeah. It’s why I left, that night after they fell asleep. They didn’t mean…well, to some degree they did but they weren’t like, beating the shit out of me. Sometimes they’d just push me around a little and I…“

“You…”

“They pushed too hard and I lost my balance and fell down the stairs.” They look beyond horrified. It’s mostly why she hadn’t wanted to tell them; the reaction. “Look, guys, I get it but if you keep getting tripped up by every detail, I’m never gonna be able to get this out.”

“Fuck.” Bow curses. “Sorry, we’re making this about us, you’re right. I’m just…Adora I’m so sorry that you went through all this.”

She shrugs. “It’s over now.”

Glimmer snorts and Adora startles at the unexpected noise. “Shit, sorry! Sorry, it’s not funny; stress response. It’s just-no wonder you were all paranoid about Mara. I thought it was so strange at the time but…fuck, how many signs did we miss?”

“I was really good at hiding it, Glim. You didn’t know because I didn’t want you to.”

“I’m almost afraid to ask but, where were you? During those two months?”

“Around.” She answers vaguely. “Thaymor mostly, I didn’t want anyone to recognize me by chance. I spent a lot of time at the arcade because I could panhandle and have change for it. No one was gonna question a teenager spending all their time at the arcade, ya know?”

“Adora…” Bow starts. “Not that I’m not glad you finally feel comfortable enough to share, but why now? Why are you telling us all this?”

She really hopes this doesn’t give Catra away. “Because that’s what’s been going on. I mean, yes, the Catra stuff too but everything I have going on? It isn’t her fault. This stuff has just been surfacing and…it’s a lot. I’m realizing there’s more unresolved there than I thought. I haven’t really been able to sleep. Like, more than normal.” Glimmer groans and Adora furrows her brow and gives her a weird look. “What?”

“Ugh, nothing. I just have to reacclimate to the idea of being cool with Catra again.” At Adora’s amused, but also kind of annoyed, expression, she laughs. “What? I thought she was making my best friend miserable!”

Adora rolls her eyes, but it’s fond. “You know I love you, right?”

“Aw, I love you too!”

“Guys!” Bow whines, left out.

The girls share a glance and a laugh, then pull him into a hug and chorus, “We love you too, Bow!”

They allow her to change the subject from there, but she doesn’t miss the way they’re being a little extra affectionate with her for the rest of the hour. She appreciates it. And, as much as she’d sworn to herself that she never wanted them to know what happened that summer, she feels lighter for having it off her chest.

Catra is nowhere to be seen when Bow and Adora arrive to rehearsal. She must be there though, because all of the props are in place for the run through this afternoon. Adora is antsy all the way through. Enough so that she even manages to fuck up her three lines. Like, pretty bad. Netossa makes her start over twice because it throws off Entrapta’s lighting cue too much. So. That’s mortifying.

However, much as the experience feels endless, it does eventually end. Adora and Bow loiter in the lobby for a little bit after, and that’s when she finally appears.

When she hears, “Hey Adora.” From the doorway up into the booth, she freezes.

She turns slowly, hands shaking, and forces herself to take a deep breath. Try, for once in you damned life, Adora Greyskull, to be chill. “Hey…D’riluth.” She comes closer and Adora can feel the energy radiating off from Bow. “What’s up?”

“I was just wondering…that standing offer for a ride still good?”

Adora swears she blacks out for a second. “Yeah! Ahem, um, yes, of course. We just gotta drop Bow off too.”

“Actually…” Catra fusses with the hem of Adora’s flannel and looks down. When she looks back up, she’s looking at Bow, not Adora. “If it’s okay, Scorpia said she wouldn’t mind…”

“Great!” Bow answers with a shit eating grin. “I will text her. Right now. So. Bye Adora.” He scurries off and, once behind Catra, makes a gesture and mouths ‘call me!’. Adora smiles tightly at him.

“So um, I’m ready to go when you are but like, no rush.”

Adora shakes her head. “I’m ready.”

The walk out to the car is more awkward than it is tense, but it’s definitely a mix of the two. They climb into the car and Adora pauses with her hand on the wheel. “Uh, where am I…where are you at now?”

“Well I-with Scorpia.” Adora’s heart leaps. If Catra is staying with Scorpia, and she arranged to have her take Bow home… “But I was actually wondering if we could go somewhere? To talk. I mean, if you’re busy, or you don’t want-“

Adora could cry. Adora might cry. Adora might be crying. Her eyes water at least. “No! Sorry, no, I’m not busy. And I would really, really like to talk to you. About literally anything.” So, just giving up on ‘chill’ apparently.

“Great.”

They sit there in silence for a minute. Until, “Did you have somewhere in mind?”

“Uh, not really. Sorry, guess I should’ve-“

“Please, don’t apologize. You have nothing to apologize for.”

Catra smiles sadly. “I think we both know that’s not true, Greyskull.”

Adora decides not to get into that in the car, so she suggests, “Um, are you hungry? I could take us to the diner.”

“That works.” Adora nods and gets the car in gear. They both seem to be saving conversation for the conversation, so the ride is quiet.

They find a seat and their orders are taken quickly. And here they are, just…observing one another.

“I like your hair down like this.”

Adora fingers the ends of it. “I’ve been thinking about cutting it.”

Catra raises her eyebrows in surprise. It’s fair; Adora’s had the same hairstyle for the entire time she’s known Catra, and then some. “I’m sure it’ll look great.”

“Thanks…” They lapse into silence again and Adora wonders if she should be the one initiating. Before she can think of what to say, their orders come.

Catra pokes at the pancakes without saying anything, then sighs heavily. “Adora, I’m so sorry.” Her lip wobbles and tears gather in her eyes. Adora’s fork clatters to her plate and she takes Catra’s left hand in her right. “I was so fucking awful to you.”

“Hey, you warned me, right? I knew what I was doing.”

Catra uses her free hand to wipe unshed tears from her eyes. “You’re being too nice to me.”

“Impossible.”

“Adora, come on.”

“No. I don’t want to hear it, Catra. You’ll never deserve anything less than kindness from me. Besides, I still stand by what I did but we talked about this; I also didn’t really listen to you. It’s okay that you were mad at me. And for what it’s worth; I’m really sorry too. I uh, Mara had me go back to therapy and it put some stuff in perspective. I mean, I know I pushed you and I thought it was just cause I was worried about you…”

Catra tips her head curiously. “But?”

Adora sighs, it’s been a whole mess to unpack but she’s trying. “But it was as much about me as it was about you. Which is really shitty and selfish, and I’m so sorry. I uh, I did for you what I wish had been done for me. Kind of. It-my therapist explains it better, I’m not great at…like, feelings or whatever.”

She’s not sure if the sound that escapes Catra is more of a hiccup or a laugh. “Adora…I know I’ve got no right to ask anything of you right now, but…”

“You do, go on.”

“What happened before sophomore year, Adora?”

Her breath stutters; it’s the last thing she expects to come out of Catra’s mouth. She squeezes her hand once then lets it go to throw her hair in a sloppy top knot. Then she’s grabbing Catra’s hand again and she doesn’t think she imagines the relief on her face.

“Is there a particular reason you’re asking?” She shrugs and Adora nods. Her expression makes it clear it’s more than just casual curiosity. It’s something more like…suspicion; a request for confirmation. “The short version?

“I was living in a really bad foster home. I got hurt and ran away, lived on my own for a while. Mara hired a PI after she found out I exist, and they found me a week before the school year started. She adopted me and…here we are. Only Glimmer and Bow know. Of our friends.” She doesn’t mention how recent that is.

Catra bites her lip and nods. “The food thing…”

She doesn’t need to expand. “Yeah, I figured as much.”

“Because you...?”

“Uh huh.”

“And that’s why you always…?”

“Yep.”

She curses harshly under her breath. “I-I don’t even know what to say, Adora. I feel awful for how I reacted. I…yeah you were kind of an ass about it, but you were right too. I’m pissed but I’m also grateful.” She laughs shortly. “It’s honestly really fucking confusing.”

“Do you forgive me? For saying something the way I did? You don’t have to! It’s still ok-”

What? Adora, there’s nothing to forgive.”

“I mean…”

Catra rolls her eyes but its fond, soft. “I forgive you, Greyskull.”

Adora does cry a little at that; at the relief. “Can you…tell me a little about the last few weeks?”

Catra offers a shaky nod. “Yeah, yeah sure. I-the last time I saw Weaver was that day I got pulled out of class. There was an investigation, mostly they just had a bunch of questions. Took pictures to document my arm, the uh…yeah. I’m pretty sure Doc gave a statement too. She didn’t know but like…I knew for a long time that she suspected something. I think it helped that some of the…instances I told them about lined up with red flags she saw.”

“Yeah, Spinney said something about that.”

Catra laughs through her nose. “You think they like…gossip about their students?”

Adora feels her face heat; she knows they do. “Uh…maybe.”

“Right, anyway. Um, yeah, so Weaver lost her rights. I’ve been staying with Scorpia’s family. They’re really sweet. I dunno, that’s it really. I uh…I really…missed you.” At that Adora cries in earnest. “Fuck, fuck, Adora, I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.”

Adora shakes her head and fights to compose herself enough to speak. “No, no, I just-I really missed you too is all. I was so worried.” Now Catra is crying too and…they’re a mess. “Can I?”

She gestures with her head to the booth beside Catra. Her eyes widen but she nods quickly. Adora’s over there in a flash, in Catra’s arms just as fast. She’s held there, so tenderly it almost hurts, and she cries into her own shirt over Catra’s heart.

At some point, shortly before they break apart to start eating, she feels Catra kiss the top of her head and warmth trickles through her body at the touch.

Chapter Text

After Adora fights for the honor of paying the bill, and loses, they climb back into her car. Being back there without the unspoken apology hanging between them feels a bit to Catra like a homecoming. Her face is crusted with tears and she’s emotionally spent and still this is the best she’s felt in three weeks.

Adora starts the car but makes no moves to drive. Still staring out the windshield at the restaurant, she admits, “I don’t want to take you home yet, is that okay?”

Catra’s body sags with relief. “Yeah, yeah I don’t want you to either.”

“You could come over?” She turns to Catra, expression hopeful.

“Yeah, sure. That sounds…really nice, Adora.”

Adora bites her lip and holds a stare with her for a minute, then nods. She starts up the car and hands Catra her phone, plugged into the aux cord. Catra opens the app and stares at it. She debates for a few minutes, and that’s when she sees it. A tentative grin starts to spread across her face.

“Adora…” She glances at Catra and her face is already a little pink.

“Ahem, uh, yes?”

“When did you start following one of my playlists?” She chokes and, caught up in the moment, Catra cackles. It feels really good.

“I-recently I guess.” Still too nervous to give her too hard of a time Catra just nods, still smiling. She starts the playlist and it filters through the speakers. Adora hums when Seventeen by Sjowgren starts and her fingers instantly start drumming on the steering wheel. “I like this one.”

“Yeah, same. Obviously.” Her grin stretches just a little wider. “I mean, it is my playlist after all.”

Adora laughs. “Shut up. Shoulda made it private if this was gonna be a problem.”

“Oh, it’s definitely not a problem.” She doesn’t seem to know what to say to that and they lapse into silence, just listening to the song.

Ten minutes later Adora pulls into the driveway of an average looking suburban house. Inside is…less average. The walls are all painted in purples and blues and there’s art everywhere. There’s even a large mural of some warrior goddess or something to the left of the door, by their shoe rack.

“Hey Mar! I’m home.” Adora calls out, slipping off her shoes. Catra follows suit and looks up when they’re joined by who she assumes to be Mara.

She looks nothing like Adora really; her complexion and hair are both much darker. Her eyes too are a dark brown, as opposed to Adora’s bright blue. Adora really does have nice eyes…Catra scolds herself; she doesn’t get to ask for more, not after everything.

Mara comes around the corner saying something about, “About damn time! Hope is busy so I’m bored and I want-“. She stops short, however, when she catches sight of Catra. Then she smirks and suddenly Catra sees the family resemblance. “Hey ‘Dor, who’s your friend?”

“Mara, this is Catra. Catra, Mara.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Catra.” Mara smiles and walks closer to offer a hand.

They shake and Catra bobs her head. “Yeah, same.”

“So, what are you two up to.” She’s studying Adora’s face closely and Catra looks to do the same. Is she missing something?

“We went to the diner, we were just gonna hang out.” She looks to Catra. “Maybe study?”

“Yeah, sure. Sounds good.”

Catra’s chill with that, but Mara…she looks like a shark who’s just smelled blood in the water. “Great! Before you do, Adora, do you mind if I show you something in the kitchen real quick? It’ll just take a sec.”

Adora grimaces, looking like the floor could swallow her whole and she’d be happy. “Do I have a choice?”

Mara’s smile only gets wider. “I mean, always ‘Dor. Not sure you’re gonna like the alternative though.” The threat is a teasing sing song and Adora looks mortified. Damn, Adora Greyskull’s sister is just as much of a weirdo as she is, isn’t she?

“Fine Mar. Fuck, you’re the worst, you know that?”

She shrugs, unbothered. “I know.” Then she’s spinning on her heel and waltzing into the kitchen, light on her feet.

Adora turns to look at Catra, still grimacing. “She’s about to be like, really annoying; I might be a few minutes. If you want, you can meet me in my room? It’s just upstairs, door’s at the end of the hall.”

“Cool.” Catra shrugs, heading in that direction. Adora’s room is…just as much of a contradiction as the girl who inhabits it.

Three walls are a similar lavender shade to what’s down stairs, but the one her bed is against is a dark crimson. Her desk is some kind of Zen space, there’s even a fucking waterfall on it. Well, a tiny little fountain, but still. She’s got some photos and stuff on her walls and around the mirror above her dresser; mostly of the “Best Friend Squad”, and Mara and some other lady, but there’s a few of the larger friend group also.

The Pièce De Résistance however, is the large fucking horse poster across from her bed. Didn’t she move into this room like, less than three years ago? Catra makes a mental note to tease her about being a closet horse girl. Later probably, when things are less weird.

Inspection essentially finished, Catra throws herself on Adora’s bed and starts scrolling through her phone. She absolutely does not take a moment to appreciate how good it smells. And it certainly doesn’t make her feel disappointed when it makes her realize the flannel she’s wearing hardly smells like that anymore.

That would be weird.

-{…}-

Mara wastes no time at all before pouncing on Adora.

“That’s her right?”

“Mara…” She’s whining like an eight-year-old. She doesn’t care.

“Damn, it totally is! So…weirdness resolved?” Her face mellows into genuine concern as the situation catches up with her. “She’s all good then? Not back at home, right?”

Adora sighs, the teasing is just Mara being a brat but this…it’s fair Mara’s a little curious. Unable to talk to her friends out of respect for Catra, Mara’s been her only outlet during this time.

Of course, she’d tried to keep it to herself, but then Mara sat her down for a little heart to heart and it all came spilling out. That’s when it was decided she’d be picking up session with Dr. Peekablue again. She kind of hates to admit it, but it has been a really valuable lifeline. It also put in perspective just how much her history influenced the way she navigated things with Catra. Which is to say, very much.

“Weirdness…I dunno about resolved, but we talked, yeah. And she’s good I think, relatively so anyway. She’s staying with Scorpia’s family, which is what I figured. Or hoped anyway.”

“And her guardian?” Mara’s expression is dark at the mention of Weaver.

Adora shakes her head. “Parental rights severed. I dunno if Catra’s trying to press charges or anything, but I doubt it.”

“Damn, well, good she’s out of there at least. How are you doing? After your talk.”

Adora lets a small smile sneak through. “I-good, yeah. Hopeful at least.”

“Hopeful that…” The teasing tone is back and Adora rolls her eyes.

“Shut up. I don’t think that’s gonna happen. At least, not anytime soon.”

“I dunno ‘Dor…”

“Oh my gosh Mar, will you just-I’m leaving. Catra’s waiting.”

“Sure, sure. A gentleman never leaves their lady waiting after all.”

“She’s not my-you know what? Fuck off.” Mara laughs incredulously and Adora takes the opportunity to dart out of the room.

She’s halfway up when Mara calls after her, “Don’t forget; I know where you sleep, ‘Dor.” She laughs to herself and hurries to her room. Where Catra is. Suddenly her horse poster flashes through her mind. Yeah, definitely gonna catch crap for that at some point. She’s practically giddy at the thought.

And there she is; Catra D’riluth, spread haphazardly across her bed and staring at her phone. She looks up when Adora walks in but makes no effort to move. “Hey Greyskull. How was…whatever that was?”

“Pft, the worst, but it’s chill. Um…did you actually wanna study? We don’t have to! I have uh…games? Or something.”

Catra has this adorable little smile on her face and sits up, legs still splayed across her comforter, shaking her head at Adora. “You’re such a fucking nerd.” Adora waits for an answer, still hovering in the doorway. Catra groans. “Honestly? I don’t want to study but I really could…”

She breaks off, seeming to struggle with the words. “Yes?”

“Ugh, I could use your help, I need help okay?”

It’s clear that asking is hard for her so Adora doesn’t give her crap about it. She just lets the request boost her ego and moves to sit across the bed from her. “Okay!” They’re in the same bed. She and Catra D’riluth are in her bed. Together. Right now. Her cheeks heat up at the thought and she hates herself a little bit.

Trying her best to cover the gay nonsense running through her head, Adora sets them on track, quickly pulling out her math book. They work on that for a while, then move on so Catra can proof read Adora’s Hamlet essay. It’s kind of a mess; it takes them a while. When Catra’s finally run out of suggestions they look at the time, and, When did it get to be ten thirty?

“Oh. I guess…should I take you home?”

Catra is packing up her bag and pauses for a second. Resuming her effort, she says, “Oh, um, either way.” She stands up. “I mean I’m sure Scorp wouldn’t mind.”

Adora is shaking her head before she’s even finished. Like she’s gonna forfeit any extra Catra time after nearly three weeks of radio silence. “Nah, that’s cool. Silly to have her go out, and I don’t have anything else going on. Honestly you just saved me hours on that essay.”

Hours? Fucking hell, Greyskull, were you planning to get any sleep tonight?”

“I mean, yeah. Just…less than I will now. So, thanks.”

“You’re hopeless.” Adora’s heart turns over. She grabs her lanyard and leads Catra downstairs, pausing to let Mara know what she’s up to. Then they’re back in the car and on their way. “Need directions?’

“Nah, I know the way.” Catra nods and the fall into a comfortable silence. It’s nice, and Adora’s heart aches at the reminder of what she thought she’d lost. It skips at the thought of what she truly wants.

But if she was scared before, now she’s just not even considering it. Catra just went through so much trauma, and Adora was in part an instigator of that. Not that she’s blaming herself for anything, it’s just really complicated right now.

“Fuck, Greyskull, are-are you crying? Are you okay?”

Adora touches the back of one hand to her cheek and does indeed find wetness there. She laughs. “Fuck, yeah I guess so. I’m fine.”

“Okay…” Adora pulls to a front outside Scorpia’s place, she really doesn’t live far from her. She turns to look at Catra who is watching her with concern.

“I’m really fine.” She wipes at her cheeks to remove any evidence that might suggest the opposite. “Sorry, I’m making it weird."

“I mean, a little. I just-what the fuck happened in the last ten minutes to make you…” Catra gestures at her face.

She laughs again but the sound is a little more choked this time. “Sorry, I’m sorry. It’s really nothing; today has just been…a lot is all. It’s good though! I’m good. I’m…I’m really happy we’re talking again, you know?”

Catra’s expression has softened over the course of her explanation. It’s kind but tinged with regret. “Yeah, I know, Dora.”

“Can I-is it okay if I hug you?” Catra unbuckles herself and leans in to do the damn thing herself rather than answer. Adora feels a few more tears escape into her hair.

With a last squeeze, Catra pulls away. “I should probably get inside.”

“Yeah, okay. I’ll see you in class tomorrow?”

“Yeah, I uh…I might eat in the caf tomorrow. If that’s cool?”

Adora beams. “So cool!”

With a nod and nothing else, Catra climbs out of the car. Once she’s safely inside Adora drives home in a daze. For once she’s ready to crash at a reasonable hour, completely exhausted for her hang with Catra. Before she does though, she stops by Mara’s room. She’s on her bed reading and looks up when Adora pops her head in.

“Hey Mar? I think I wanna get my hair cut on Saturday.”

-{…}-

When Adora had gotten Catra’s number, she had expected an influx of ridiculousness. Adora seemed like the type to be into meme culture. But, for whatever reason (Catra’s not reading into it), nothing like that ever came. After Thursday though…it’s like Adora’s making up for lost time or something.

She gets meme’s, song recs (She adds Get Bummed Out by Remember Sports to several playlists and then listens to it on repeat all…weekend…long. It’s a whole mood.), old vines, you name it. Adora floods her inbox between Friday evening and Monday before school starts. Catra won’t lie to herself; she fucking loves it. Adora barely gives Catra time to miss her.

Well…Catra doesn’t miss her. That would be weird.

There is, however, one very significant thing Adora does not text her about. No, she waits to reveal it in person. With no warning. Like an asshole. Catra walks into lit class Monday after lunch and, frankly, she nearly keels over. Because there is Adora fucking Greyskull; sat on top of her desk, feet in her chair, with her back to the door.

Her hair is back in its prim ponytail and, as far as Catra can tell, the stupid hair poof is back in its rightful spot on her head. But all is not back to normal, oh no, because half her fucking hair is missing. Sometime in the last seventy-two hours, Adora went and got an undercut hot enough to turn Catra’s mouth into the Crimson Waste.

“Oh, hey Wildcat!” Archer is standing in front of Adora, and Catra does not like the wicked gleam in his eyes as he catches sight of her.

Adora spins around to smile at her and…fuck, Catra’s heart; it just melts. Like ice cream dropped on a sidewalk in August, she feels it dripping through her chest. She ignores Bow to say, “Hey Adora.”

“Catra! Hey.”

Catra feels herself blush just thinking about commenting on the cut, and she knows Bow sees it. Honestly? Fuck Bow Archer, fucking Virgo.

“Ahem, uh, your hair.” That’s not a fucking compliment Catra. She’d face palm if she didn’t have an audience.

Adora’s hand goes to the back of her head, I bet it’s so soft, and her smile goes a little self-conscious. “Yeah.”

“Good. It’s um-looks really good.”

“Yeah?” And she’s perked right back up again. Such an idiot.

Catra snorts. “Yeah, Greyskull, don’t fish.”

“Shut up.” She laughs.

Finally regaining her mobility, Catra moves to take the seat behind Bow. It puts her kitty-corner form Adora. “I can’t believe I thought you were straight for nearly three years.”

At that Bow laughs. It’s loud and sharp; kind of starling. He looks…borderline manic his smile is so wide. What’s his deal? “Fuck off.” Adora tells her, bright red.

“No, I’m serious. I mean, first of all; your music, it’s like a fucking sapphic pot-pourri. And have you seen you sit in a chair?”

“No Catra, I haven’t. I can’t very well look at myself like that, can I?”

“Well I can-“

“Yeah you can!” Catra shoots Bow a heated glare.

“and it’s fucking gay.”

“You’re fucking gay.”

“No argument there.” In fact, Catra’s literally never felt gayer than she does in this moment. 

 

That day is the start of Hell Week. It’s…aptly named. It’s a mess trying to combine all the tech elements into the show. The actors aren’t used to the weight of the actual props, Frosta doesn’t know her lines for shit and keeps fucking up light cues, and Catra just knows she’s gonna have to repaint a wall before opening night; fucking Archer keeps running into it and leaving scuffs in the dark during a scene change. He’s not quiet about it either.

But they get through it; there’s no other choice really. By the time Friday rolls around everyone is exhausted; Netossa sends them off that evening with orders to get plenty of rest and drink lots of water over the weekend. Adora and Bow are still lingering when Catra emerges from the attic; it doesn’t take her that long to put the props away, but it almost definitely means they’re waiting for her.

Sure enough, “Hey D’riluth, how you getting home today?”

Adora is already smirking. Scorpia leaves school nearly the same time as Catra every day because of sports and going to horticultural club with Perfuma. And yet she’s still allowed Adora to drive her home every day this week so far.

“Fuck, Greyskull, could you be anymore smug?”

“I mean, yeah, probably. I take it that means I’m giving you a ride again?”

“If you want to; your funeral.” They exit the theatre with Bow and Catra’s surprised when he starts to peel off; Adora usually gives him a ride too. “Woah, where’re you going Archer?”

He laughs, “Oh, Glim and I have a date tonight.” She stares at him. And then she laughs.

Both he and Adora are looking at her strangely. She explains, “Do you have any idea how long I’ve wondered if this was a thing? I mean, I don’t really give a shit, so I never bothered to ask but…. How long has this been going?” His cheeks go a little pink at that, and he mumbles…something. “What was that?”

He rolls his eyes and huffs. “Third grade.”

One short, clipped laugh escapes her. Adora is smirking now. “Mermista married them on the playground. Go on, Bow, tell Catra what today is.”

He grimaces. “I’d really rather not.”

Catra puts two and two together, and she’s howling. “Oh no. Oh no, oh no, no, no. Please, please Bow, tell me you’re celebrating your playground wedding anniversary.” Oh yeah, he’s really red now. “Honestly? I want to have a go at that but…it might be too cute to make fun of. Even for me.”

“Aww, Catra!” He coos, already recovering from his embarrassment. “You’re such a secret softie.”

“Pft, hardly. Just didn’t know the princess had it in her to be…sweet or what the fuck ever.”

His head tilts to the side. “You really didn’t know we’re dating?”

“I mean, I’ve never seen you two so much as hold hands, so.”

“You’re not very good at picking up on romantic tension, are you Catra?”

She raises an eyebrow at him. “Is it just me, or was that pointed, Bow?”

“I dunno, Wildcat. Why would it be?”

Her eyes narrow and then she turns away from him. “Let’s go, Greyskull.”

“Roger that. Have a good night Bow, don’t let Glim keep you out too late.” With a wave she turns to catch up to Catra who’s already making her way to the car.

-{…}-

Adora is…confused. Catra’s let her drive her home every day for a week. They’re back to their pre-Catra’s Guardian is a Piece of Shit level of banter. Things are good. Adora’s gay.

But, as much as things feel the same, something feels different lately. She can’t quite put her finger on it. It’s time to call in reinforcements. She texts Bow and Glimmer late Saturday morning.

Adora

Help.

Glimmer

???

Adora

Actually, first

How was the date??

Glimmer

!!!

Bow

So good!

The food Adora

Omg the food

Glimmer

And??

Bow

?

Glimmer

The company Bow?

Bow

Oh

Does that not go without saying?

I mean

I said it a lot last night

Adora

Yeah you did!

Glimmer

Shut up Greyskull

Y are u texting us rn

Adora

Oh, right

Help.

Glimmer

???

Bow

?

Adora

Catra

Glimmer

LOL

Bow

Glimmy! Be nice

Adora is gay panicking

What now?

Adora

I hate her?

Glimmer

LOLL

Bow

No u don’t

Adora

No

But I wish I did

This is awful

Y r girls so confusing

Glimmer

Plz

She isn’t confusing

Catra couldn’t be more obvious

Bow told me abt the haircut

Adora

My haircut?

Glimmer

Duh

Adora

I mean

U 2 saw it at the same time…

Glimmer

Don’t be dumb

Obv I mean Catra’s reaction

Adora

She said she liked it?

Bow

Adora

Plz

She practically swallowed her tongue

Adora

Shut up!

She did not

Bow

Adora

Glimmer

Ffs Adora

Just ask her out already

Adora

Wut?

No!

Glimmer

Thought u wanted help

Adora

Well…yah

Glimmer

So

Help urself Adora

Adora

U don’t get it

Glimmer

Oh yes

Yes I do

Then another chat chimes with an incoming message. It’s Catra. Adora panics. Fuck! I didn’t accidentally send her a text meant for the group chat, did I? She didn’t. Crisis averted.

Catra

Hey Greyskull

Adora

Hi!

Catra

Wuu2

Adora

Not much!

Homework.

It’s not totally a lie. Adora had been staring at her history book for the better part of an hour before she finally texted Bow and Glimmer.

Catra

Nerd

Adora

Rude!!

Catra

Think you can take a break?

Adora flips back to the group chat; Bow and Glimmer have continued to go off in her absence.

Glimmer

Ur being oblivious

And insecure

Which like

I get it

But come ON Adora

She clearly likes u

Bow

Totally!

It’s v obvi

Adora

Okay

I dunno about that

But

She just asked me what I’m doing

Glimmer

Omg!

Date??

Adora

Pft

I mean, she hasn’t said yet

Prob not tho

Bow

Could be

If you just asked

Adora

Not doing that

She goes back to her chat with Catra.

Adora

Maybe!

Y??

Catra

Scorp wants to have a game night

Adora’s heart doesn’t sink. It doesn’t.

She flips back to the group chat

Bow

Y tho?

??

????

???????

????????

?

??

????

????

?????

Adora

Omg

Bow

Stop

We’re barely friends again

Ok????

That’s Y

Also

Told u so

Bow

?????????????

Adora

She’s inviting me to game night

That Scorpia is organizing

:’’’’(

Bc, guess what?

She’s NOT into me

Which is fine

I’m fine

Glimmer

No, you’re dumb

We just got invited too

By Scorpia

IN A GROUP CHAT

So funny

How Catra singled u out

Hmm

Y could that be?

I wonder

Adora

Okay

That is weird

R u going

Glimmer

Can’t

Promised George and Lance

We’re have dinner w/them

Bow

Ur going tho

Rite???

Adora

Well duh

Bow

Tell us how it goes!!

Adora

Maybe

If ur nice to me

Bow

: (

Glimmer

Plz

Like u could help urself

Adora

Shut up

But yah

She goes to respond to Catra, kind of over Bow and Glimmer’s perspective for a minute.

Catra

Come?

Adora

Yeah! Okay!!

Sounds fun!

What time?

Can I bring anything??

Catra

Do you have like

Any chill?

Like at all

Adora

Lolll

Nope!

So?

Catra

5?

And no

Just yourself dummy

Adora

5 is great!!

C u then!

Catra

Great.

Adora looks at the clock. She has…five and a half hours until she gets to see Catra again. Surely, she can kill that much time. Surely, she can go that long without obsessing over Catra.

Then again, maybe not.

Chapter Text

Catra sees Adora’s car pull up at five till. And then she just…sits out there. Not that Catra’s hovering by the window. That would be weird.

“Wildcat.”

Catra yelps and turns away from the…yeah. “Fuck, Scorpia! Don’t scare me like that.”

“Sorry! Sorry. I was just gonna say; why don’t you go out there and see if Adora’s alright?”

Catra narrows her eyes. “Why don’t you?”

“Wildcat.”

What?

“Come on.”

“If you have a point, make it.”

“Fine. You like Adora.”

Catra clenches her jaw. “I mean, we’re friends.”

“Catra.”

“For fuck’s-what Scorpia?”

“You like Adora.”

“Shut up! I do not.”

“She likes you too, just so you know.” Catra just gapes at her and laughs incredulously. “Listen, I’m just grabbing a drink for Perfuma. Whatever your motivation, I would appreciate it if you went out and checked on our guest.”

“Whatever.” She pauses, watching Scorpia pour a glass of iced tea. “I’m not into Adora Greyskull.”

Scorpia shrugs, like she couldn’t care less. “Okay.”

Catra lets her get to the door before stopping her. “Scorpia?”

“Hmm?”

“Why do you think-what makes you say that? About her liking me.”

Scorpia’s smile is kind; it makes Catra squirm. “Because it’s very, very obvious, Wildcat. And I think if you honestly thought about it, you would think so too. But I get it; when Perfuma asked me out I was so surprised I cried.”

Catra laughs shortly from pure astonishment. “Wait, what? Why?

Scorpia shrugs with a laugh of her own. “Just overwhelmed, I guess. I’m a Cancer, you know; lots of feelings.”

Catra shakes her head; Scorpia D’ream really is something else. With a final nod out the kitchen window, Scorpia returns to her girlfriend. Catra looks out to where Adora’s car is parked again. Is it really possible Adora likes her back? Maybe she could flirt a little…see what happens.

Couldn’t hurt, right? 

-{…}-

Adora, embarrassingly overeager, is early. She pulls a game up on her phone to kill a few minutes, attempting to maintain some level of chill. Or at least a façade of some level of chill. Of course, that all goes out the window when Catra knocking on the window makes her jump hard enough to bump her head.

“You’re an idiot, Adora Greyskull.” She feels like one.

“Shut up.”

“Aw, did you hurt yourself?” Catra bites her lip for a second and then, “Need me to…kiss it better?”

Did she just…she did, right? “Uh…ahem, I’m…fine?”

“Well, let me know. Wouldn’t want the MVP and class valedictorian walking around with brain damage.”

“Wow, okay. Did you come out here for a reason, or just to give me a hard time?”

“Hm, mostly the second thing but…I also have my reasons. We should go inside though, how the hell is it so cold?”

“Right? It was so nice yesterday.”

Catra smirks, it’s a dangerous look. At least, for Adora it is. “Yeah, Greyskull. Yesterday was nice. Always a good day when I see my favorite gay.”

“Who? Me?” Adora can’t feel her face. She just can’t.

Catra tips her head and smiles at her. “You’re an idiot.”

“Wow, okay. Is this really how you welcome a guest?”

“Sure it is.” Adora turns when she hears an engine turn off behind her. Mermista is here. She’s not sure how she feels about that.

“Hey Merms.” Catra calls out when she merges from the car. Her tone is…surprisingly impassive.

Mermista eyes the two of them and the look isn’t subtle. “Hey…D’riluth. Grey. Are we playing games, or what?”

“Hm, just Adora over here, playing games with my heart.”

 Wait,What?

Catra snickers at her. “Just get the fuck inside, will you Adora?”

Shaking off her acute confusion, Adora follows her in, Mermista right behind her. She grabs Adora’s arm before she can pass the threshold. Under her breath she asks, “Did I like, miss something?”

Bewildered, Adora tells her, “If you did, I did too.”

“Huh.” Mermista lets her get all the way in and they head to the living room where they find Scorpia and Perfuma.

It doesn’t take long for everyone to settle in, and Scorpia starts dealing out a deck of cards evenly between them. The game is Bullshit; Adora’s never heard of it. Catra, seated to her left, explains, “So we just go around, and, on your turn, you have to discard one or more cards, right?” Adora nods. “The trick is you have to go in order. So, like, if Merms was aces, you have to play twos, I play threes and so on.”

“Okay…what if I don’t have any twos?”

“Whole point of the game, babe.” Adora can feel her face again. It’s on fucking fire. “So, say you don’t have a two. You have to put something down. And if, since you have no poker face-“

“Hey!”

“I figure as much; then I can call bullshit. If someone does, we check the cards. If the person who calls bullshit is right, the person who played the cards has to take the whole pile. If they’re wrong, they have to take it. Make sense?”

“Yeah, yeah. I got it.”

“Wow, beauty and brains. Hot.”

“I-shut up!”

“Wow, D’riluth.” Mermista drawls. “Happy to see you’ve finally moved on. That was fast though.”

Catra’s answering smile is lazy and relaxed. “Well, Merms, a girl can only wait around so long. Get rid of that boy toy of yours, and maybe we can talk.” Her fingers trail up the back of Adora’s arm; just the whisper of a touch, pretty much out of sight from the rest of their friends. She leaves a trail of fire and goose flesh in her wake. “That is, unless some steals me out from under you before then.”

Adora’s dead, right? She just died? It’s that or she got in an accident on the way here, fell into a coma, and is hallucinating all of this. It’s the only reasonable explanation.

“How are things going with Sea Hawk, Mermista?” Perfuma asks gently. “Are you back on speaking terms yet?”

Ugh, don’t remind me.” She groans. “I told him he can text me once a day now. The texts are like…fucking essays. It’s so annoying.” The way her lips twitch with the threat of a smile somewhat undermines her statement. Her friends let it slide.

“Well, I’m glad he didn’t get expelled at least.”

Catra snorts. “Seriously, how did he pull that off?”

“Hell, if I know.” Mermista grunts. “Can we just play this stupid game already?”

They acquiesce and Mermista gets them started. Slowly, over the course of the game, Catra migrates closer and closer to Adora. By the time they reach queens for the third time, their fingers are brushing. Every time Catra’s fingers twitch a spark runs up Adora’s spine.

Catra leans in close and Adora shields her cards, in case this is all a ploy to cheat. She wouldn’t put it past Catra D’riluth to do her dirty like that. “Hey Greyskull.” She whispers in her ear. Her fingers brush against Adora’s, very obviously on purpose this time. Adora can’t suppress a shiver.

“Hmm?”

You’re the queen of my heart, Dora.” She leans forward, leaving Adora stunned beside her. “Two queens.”

“Bullshit!” Adora hears herself practically shout. Catra turns to her, stunned.

Adora hasn’t called bullshit once this game, nor has it been successfully called against her. She’s been bullshitting left and right though, having a better poker face than she’s been given credit for. She’s had every number she was supposed to call, but in an effort to thin out her hand she’s been putting down extra cards. When she had to play sevens, she managed to get down five cards; only one was a seven. She’s down to one card now.

“You sure you wanna do that Greyskull?”

Adora studies her face. “I’m sure about this.” Catra squints at her and quirks her head just slightly. Then she flips her cards; a jack and a king. “Ha!”

Catra grumbles as she picks up the, very large, pile. Their friends each play their turn and then Adora’s playing her last card. “One three.”

“Bullshit.” Catra calls her out. Adora smirks.

“Flip it over Catra.” It’s the three of hearts. Cocky from her win Adora leans in close to Catra’s ear. She whispers, “You’re the three of my heart, Cat.”

Catra laughs loudly and shoves her away. “Fuck off, Greyskull.”

Adora’s practically giddy. They don’t play another hand, instead opting to just sit around for a while and chat. Catra sticks close to her side the whole time. Adora wishes she could stay in the moment forever and, when the night ends, she’s more than a little sad to go. She’ll see Catra soon enough though.

Somehow, that thought never seems to ring true.

-{…}-

Saturday had been…an interesting experiment. One Catra has kept up through the week. Her results are inconclusive, however. Sure, Adora is reactive as hell; blushing and choking on her tongue every time Catra overtly flirts with her. But she rarely if ever flirts back.

Mostly she just gives Catra these weird looks, like she’s trying to figure her out or something. Regrettably, it rather reminds her of the way she looks at her math book. So. That’s not great.

Friday, before fifth, Catra finds Bow and Adora chatting in Netossa’s room five minutes before the bell rings to signify the end of lunch. “Hey…what are you losers doing getting to class early?”

Bow looks a little green around the gills when he looks up. “Could ask you the same thing, D’riluth.”

“Point taken. But seriously, the fuck is up?” He grimaces but doesn’t answer. “This about opening night?”

Nailed it. “You’re gonna be fine, Bow.” Adora assures him.

It doesn’t work; he whines loudly. “Or not.”

“Dude, Archer, you got this.”

He blows out a breath. “Dress Rehearsal was good, right? You were in the booth; how did it look?”

“Please remember when I say this, giving you shit gives me life and I’ll take any opportunity to do so. You did good, Bow, it’s gonna be fine.”

That actually seems to work a little and he relaxes. “Okay, yeah…okay. I’m uh, I gotta go to the bathroom.”

“You want me to walk over with you?” Adora offers.

“Nah, I’ll be right back.” He gives her a strange look then glances at Catra before walking out.

Catra moves closer to Adora where she’s sat on a desk and puts a hand on her back. The touch makes her shiver. See, interesting… “How you feeling, Greyskull?”

“Honestly? Fine right now. It’ll probably hit me when I come back for my call time. That’s how it is on game days.”

Catra trails her hand up and down a few times, stopping with it at the base of Adora’s neck. “Makes sense.”

Adora’s neck bobs as she swallows hard, almost a gulp. Relevant? “Yeah, uh…yeah.”

Catra’s gotten this far a few times over the last week, but she always stops just shy of the contact she actually wants; her own racing heart scaring her off. This time, she goes for it. Her thumb strokes once, twice over Adora’s buzzed hair. And, Oh, it’s even softer than she imagined. She wants to rub her cheek against it, just to see how it would feel.

…Except not, because that would be really fucking weird. Fuck, when did Catra get so weird? The answer to that seems to be sitting in front of her, leaning into her touch, eyes fluttering closed. Catra lets herself resume rubbing her thumb over the soft hairs at the back of Adora’s head. It’s nice; the repetitive motion soothing.

“Hmm…feels nice.”

“Yeah?”

“Mmm.”

“Well, good. I just wanna make you feel good, Dora.”

Adora’s eyes flutter open and she turns to stare into her eyes. “Catra…”

And then Netossa walks in.

Doc is definitely far and away Catra’s favorite teacher, but in that moment? Catra doesn’t know if she’s ever hated anyone more in her life.

-{…}-

Is Catra a tease? Or is Catra just teasing Adora?

The last couple weeks have been an absolute whirlwind of flirty banter, casual but intimate touches, and smoldering eye contact. Oh, and the show, there’s that too. It’s closing night already and Adora is at the theatre early for call time because Bow’s is a half hour earlier than hers.

She’s waiting in her car, on the phone with Mermista. Her friend has made it very clear which side of the argument she stands on.

“For Poseidon’s sake, Grey. Do you just enjoy the pining at this point? Do you even want anything to happen with D’riluth?”

No! I mean, yes; of course, I do. I just…I already messed up once with Catra, you know? I don’t want to push her away again.”

Mermista sighs heavily into the phone, limited patience depleted five minutes into their twenty-minute call. “I understand what you’re saying, but you didn’t mess up, remember? You helped our friend out of a really bad situation. And yeah, it got messy and she took a lot of that trauma out on you, but even she told you that all is forgiven or whatever.”

Now it’s Adora’s turn to sigh. “Yeah…”

“Listen, do what you want, but you’d be a fool to not make a move. She’s been all over you since game night.”

“Well, yeah, okay. But she was all over you for months and has since confirmed that she was just messing around! What’s the difference?”

She swears she hears Merms mutter something along the lines of, “Idiot lesbians.” Back at a normal volume she says, “It’s not the same, dude. With me she’s over the top and professing her love on like, day one; clearly trying to push a reaction. With you it’s much more…building; testing limits and watching your reaction carefully. Yeah, she’s clearly still trying to get a reaction; that’s like, D’riluth’s whole thing. But she’s watching your reaction, Adora, not making a bit out of it.”

“Well that was…insightful.”

“Whatever. Don’t you need to get into the theatre now?”

She glances at the clock on her dash. “Yeah, actually. You and Hawk are still coming together?”

“Not together.” Mermista hisses. “I just needed a ride. My car is in the shop.”

“Right, of course.” All of their friends are coming that night, and any of them would happily pick Mermista up. Adora’s not sure who she’s trying to fool, but she’ll let her have it. Not least of all because she just let Adora process about her crush for the better part of half an hour.

“Break a leg, or whatever. And tell Bow too, I guess.”

“Will do, bye Merms.”

Adora walks into the theatre, head held high. When Catra spots her and walks over, for the first time, Adora lets herself believe what comes next is flirting.

 

Everyone agrees; closing night is their best show yet. Backstage after the show, everyone is giddy about it. That could also be because everyone is hyped for the wrap party Rogelio is hosting. Probably a little of both.

Netossa gives a surprisingly emotional speech and then everyone is rushing to clear out. Before they get changed Adora pulls Bow aside to ask if he can ride over to the party with someone else. He acts like he just won the lottery when he agrees.

She waves him off when they’re through and Glimmer is ready to go. She should have known he’d ride with her anyway, she’s coming as Bow’s plus one after all. Still, it was nice to have a moment with her top hype man before the next portion of the evening.

She waits in the back hallway when she’s done, scrolling through her phone to kill time. About ten minutes pass before, “Hey Adora. You waiting up for me or something?”

Adora looks up with a smile; for the very first time making no effort to hold back every feeling floating though her in that moment. Catra falters for a moment under the force of it but quickly recovers. Her own answering smile is pretty dang earnest also.

“Yeah, I am. You ready to go?”

“Well yeah, I am, but-“ She steps into Adora’s personal space.

Her heart thumps.

“You’ve gotta a little…” She brings her thumb to a spot just below Adora’s jaw.

Her heart bumps.

“make-up…left.” She looks up through her lashes and, catching Adora’s eye, trails off.

Adora’s heart does a little; rat-a-tat-flip!

“Thanks…”

Catra clears her throat and steps back. “Well, what are we waiting around here for? We got a party to go to or what?”

She sounds a little choked up, like she hasn’t fully exhaled. When she pulls away Adora’s heart doesn’t sink, it flies! She’s got this. She leads Catra out to the car and they climb in. Adora cues up Stop Desire by Tegan and Sara. It’s absolutely pointed; Adora Greyskull has never, not once in her life, claimed to be slick. It’s still subtle enough that Catra doesn’t comment.

That’s fine; this isn’t her move.

They talk about the play on the drive over. About the last-minute lighting change Entrapta made that morning that had totally paid off, Frosta getting every line right for the first time, and DT’s hero moment when Rogelio’s seam ripped during a scene change.

Appropriately, Throwing Up Butterflies by Stela Cole follows the first song. Makes sense; this is Adora’s pining playlist after all. Not that she named it that! Catra has way too frequent access for that to fly. Nah, instead Sapphic Pot Pourri. As previously stated, Adora is aware of her inability to be chill, or slick, at all.

There’s pretty much no flirting on the drive for once. Just excited chatter about their friends and this night.

That’s fine; this isn’t her moment.

Adora finds a parking spot a block or so down from the house. She thinks outside the car might be better. It’s one of the first warm evenings of the year and there are a few blossoming trees along the street. It’s nice. Catra puts a hand on her arm to stop her when she moves to exit. Adora hopes she doesn’t notice how much it’s shaking.

“Hey, I was gonna ask; would you wanna smoke before we go in? I, uh-I bought some bud off Kyle.”

Adora freezes, licks her lips, and pulls the bottom through her teeth. “Oh, uh…sure,” She sits back in her seat.

Catra furrows her bow and frowns. “We really don’t have to if you’re not into it.”

“No, no, it’s not that. I just…”

Welp, apparently this is it; this is her moment.

“I wanted to ask you something. Um, while we’re both still sober, specifically.”

Catra’s brow relaxes, but her frown stays. That one…Adora chooses not to read into it. She is doing this. “Oh?”

“Yeah.” Her hands are shaking so bad she tucks them under her legs. She definitely can’t feel her face. “So, I was thinking…”

“Yeah? That a new one for ya, Greyskull?”

Adora smiles at the teasing and Catra smirks back at her. “Somewhat. Uh, but I thought-think, it might be cool if we…went out sometime. Like a date.”

A Cheshire Cat grin rolls across her lips. “That’s not a question, Adora. But before you ask; can I tell you something I think might be cool.”

Rat-a-tat-flip! “Ye-yeah, sure.”

I think it might be cool…if we kissed.”

Adora gulps. “Pr-Probably.” Catra leans in closer. “I, uh, wow I really want to kiss you…”

Catra raises an eyebrow and pulls back minutely. “But?”

Adora winces; she’s definitely being a hopeless gay idiot, but, “Is it okay if I kinda don’t want to kiss you for the first time with a parking brake between us? It’s a nice night…”

Something like shock overtakes Catra’s face. She looks between the parking brake and Adora’s face. Then she laughs. Loudly. The smile that lingers after her laugh is sweet and fond.

“Yeah, Greyskull, it’s okay. Come on and get outta this car with me, let’s make this shit romantic.” She nods her head out the window to the street; quiet but for the quiet hum of music from the party a block up from them “Flowers are good, right?”

Adora’s grin blazes with the full force of her affection. “Yeah, D’riluth; flowers are good.”

They climb out and meet under a tree blossoming with pink flowers. Stray petals fall in the breeze, littering the street around them like sweet fallen snow. Adora wouldn’t believe it if she wasn’t here, that this moment could possibly exist. They come together, Catra rests her hands on Adora’s stomach and side, Adora’s holds loosely to her upper arms.

Catra’s eyes are so soft; a warm lake in the middle of July, the soft glow of a campfire. “I…I really like you a lot, Dora.”

She can’t help it; a single tear rolls down her cheek. Catra watches its progression, and then that of her own hand when her thumb comes to wipe it away. Her hand moves to scratch the back of Adora’s head; a habit she’s picked up that has Adora both relaxed to the brink of drowsiness and acutely aware of all her senses at once.

It’s that grip which she uses to pull Adora’s face closer. Her eyes flutter closed but Adora leaves hers open up until their lips have brushed together.

And then she’s kissing Catra D’riluth.

-{…}-

Catra is kissing Adora Greyskull. On the mouth. It’s…everything? Heaven? Nirvana compressed into a single moment? Catra’s not sure how to explain it. She moves her lips against Adora’s, just a bit. It is slow and languid; achingly tender.

Catra will tease Adora for being a hopeless gay idiot later, but truth be told? She’s pretty charmed that she’d thought move them out here. It is a nice night. The blossoms above them, sweet spring breeze, and quiet music from the party really do make it more romantic. Plus, it’s just so Adora Greyskull; earnest and dorky and cute as fuck.

They pull back and quickly make eye contact. When they do, they laugh together. It’s the happiest sound Catra will ever know, she’s sure of it.

“Wow.”

“Don’t ruin it, Greyskull.”

“Shut up!” Adora laughs, holding Catra’s arms just a little more firmly, bringing her just a little bit closer. “So? As cool as you thought it might be?”

Catra laughs again, her face is almost sore form the force of her smile. “You fishing, Dora?”

She shrugs happily. “Maybe.”

Catra rolls her eyes, but she’ll give this to her. She was brave in Catra’s favor tonight. The least she can do is pay the girl a compliment.

“Surpassed my wildest dream, Adora.” She moves her hand down to grip the fabric of her open flannel, a dark green one that Catra is already thinking about stealing. She gives it a small tug and moves her face close to Adora’s again to whisper, “And I have. Been dreaming of it, that is.”

Adora giggles nervously and looks her in the eye. What a cute idiot. “Can I kiss you again?”

Catra rolls her eyes. “You can consider it an open invitation, Greyskull.”

“Oh yeah?” And now she’s all cocky. It’s a little bit hot. Very, it’s very hot. They’ve made out now, Catra should at least be able to admit that openly, right? At least to herself.

“Not if you’re a little shit about it.”

“Ah, any other conditions I should know about?”

Adora.” She whines.

See that? The smirk and the single raised eye brow? It’s very hot; what is Catra supposed to do in the face of that? “Yes?”

“Fine, another condition; you have to actually kiss me when I want you to.”

“Ooh.” Adora tries to fake a grimace. She looks ridiculous. “That could be a hard one to fulfill.”

“Oh yeah?” Catra feigns to pull away; she knows Adora won’t let her get very far. And sure enough, Adora’s response is to pull her into their second kiss. It’s…it’s fucking beyond perfect. It’s like their banter has been given this really hot upgrade. How the fuck did this take us so long?

Catra can definitely work with this, can easily see herself getting quickly used to it. Catra is very much into Adora fucking Greyskull.

Chapter Text

They kiss for a while before Catra pulls Adora back to the car to smoke. Uninterested in feeling cramped, and still not wanting to be separated by the damn parking brake, Adora suggests they sit on the hood. Her legs are laid out in front on her and Catra’s are thrown over her lap.

She’s currently watching Catra try to roll a joint while she runs her hands over her shins under the guise of, ‘keeping her warm’. She’s not sure whose benefit she’s lying for; she certainly doesn’t believe her own words and it’s clear Catra isn’t buying it. Still, she continues on, and it feels nice to still have her hands on Catra now that they’ve moved onto…other activities.

Catra’s efforts are…cute. She looks irritated and keeps dropping weed and grumbling about it. “You sure you don’t want help?” Adora asks, not for the first time. Her immoveable grin is still stretched across her face.

“Shut up, Greyskull.” Catra grumbles, also still smiling, and also not for the first time.

Adora just hums in answer, continuing to watch her struggle. Absently she starts, “The first time I rolled a j? Terrible.”

“Don’t try and make me feel better, I don’t need it. I’m gonna roll this stupid thing for you, just gimme a minute.”

Adora shakes her head before she’s even through. “I’m not, it really was…” She laughs, searching for the word. “pathetic. I lost like, half of my weed and it was so loose it was barely smokable. I couldn’t afford to get more for like…two weeks either, I was so pissed.”

Catra pauses her efforts to look up at her, tilting her head. “When did you smoke the first time anyway?”

Adora grimaces and turns to look out at the street. “Ah, that summer.” Luckily, Catra doesn’t seem to need her to clarify just which summer she’s talking about.

“Adora?” She turns back to see Catra still sitting there, just smiling softly at her. “Do you wanna talk about this? We don’t have to; you can just tell me to fuck off.”

“I mean, I can. It’s just not a fun story.” Catra waits patiently. “It was with some guys who hung around the arcade all the time. It was fine, just really weird; the guy I ended up buying from hit on me all the time. I don’t know. He was probably around twenty, it was super gross, but he never pushed it. I was always worried he would though. I felt so vulnerable without a place to go, you know?”

Catra mutters a soft affirmation and scoots a little closer. Her head goes to rest on Adora’s chest, and she nuzzles in a little. It’s nice, even if it does make Adora’s stomach swoop. She leans her head to rest on top of Catra’s and wraps an arm around her shoulders.

“I kept smoking a lot for the first four months or so after I was living with Mara. I was stoned like, every day of first semester. She knew, she told me a few months ago, but figured ripping away my only vice was only gonna alienate me further. Which was probably true to be honest.

“Plus, she hadn’t exactly planned on adopting a teenager; I don’t think she knew quite what to do with me. None of my teachers ever said anything and I kept my grades up, so I think that helped too. I stopped for a while, once I finally told my therapist.”

“Hmm, what made you decide to pick it up again?”

“I felt like I could have a healthier relationship with it given where I was at that point; less dependent. It was actually with Hope.” Adora laughs at the memory.

Catra pulls back to look at her face, clearly surprised by that tid bit. “Wait, Mara’s girlfriend?”

“Yeah, she doesn’t a lot, but I found her in the garage at thanksgiving. She loves Razz but says she, ‘wears on her nerves’ sometimes. We talked about it first, and I’d already told Mara I was curious about it again. She’s pretty cool about it, but we check in regularly about how often I’m smoking.”

“That’s…your life is fucking weird, Greyskull.”

“Ha! Yeah, well.”

“Alright,” Catra pushes away further and the cool air feels icy against the parts of Adora’s body she’d been warming. “I could sit out here all night, but I do want to get to that party at some point. Roll this fucking j for me, will you?”

Adora raises an eyebrow, which Catra scoffs at, but doesn’t comment. She accepts the supplies, breaking the pot into smaller pieces and expertly rolling it up. She seals the j and looks up to find Catra watching her attentively. “What?”

“Hm? Oh, noting. Just amazed by what that mouth and those fingers are capable of is all.”

The sound that escapes Adora…it’s kind of like a laugh. Or she’s choking. Her stomach fills with a sinking heat and flips. “Wow, I can’t believe you’re even more of tease now that…we’re, um…sorry, what are we doing exactly?”

Catra laughs at her, looking exasperated but amused. “I mean you asked me on a date, right?” Adora nods, sure she looks as pleased with herself as she is. “So, I guess we’re dating.”

“Great!” Adora pauses; she loves that answer, so much! But there had been something of an unspoken question in there that had gone unanswered. “So, you’re my…”

Incredulously Catra asks, “Are you really trying to dtr right now? You know we only kissed for the first time like…twenty minutes ago, right? I mean I know you have no chill, Greyskull, but damn.”

She’s far too pink for Adora to feel self-conscious. Still, she hurries to clarify; she’s not trying to push right now. “No! No. Well. I mean…maybe? It’s just, I wanted to check in and see-well all our friends are probably gonna ask. I don’t want to like, say anything you’re uncomfortable with or whatever. They’re just all so invested in-“ Adora stops, aware she’s revealed something in there. Her eyes go wide.

Catra’s grin is beyond self-satisfied. “What? You been talking to our friends about me or something, Dora?”

Adora can’t help but roll her eyes. “Catra, please, I’m sure you’re aware of just how little chill I have. Of course, I’ve been talking to our friends about you.”

Soft, sweet, fond; “Yeah, I’m aware of your lack of chill.”

“So…”

“I mean, I can be your girlfriend if you want me to be.” She says it all nonchalant, like she couldn’t care less either way. Adora isn’t fooled. Catra isn’t as slick as either of them want to think she is.

“Yeah?” Adora’s voice is bright and genuine. Then she smirks, leaning ever so slightly closer. “Not too fast for you? You like me or something, D’riluth?”

“Psh, I do not like you. I’m just saying, like, we’re dating and there’s no one else I want to be dating. If you want to put a label on it…”

“Aw,” Adora coos, placing a hand over her heart. “I’m the only one you want to be dating?”

Catra raises brow in challenge, but Adora thinks she detects a hint of uncertainty in her eyes “Psh, what? You secretly a player over there, Greyskull? How many girls are you after?”

“Ha! Hardly. I’m just…glad that feeling is…mutual, is all.”

Catra relaxes back into her easy smile. “Alright girlfriend, hand me that joint, will you?”

“Sure thing, babe.”

Catra raises an eyebrow at the term of endearment but doesn’t comment on it. She just watches Adora light the joint for her and accepts the pass silently.

-{…}-

Just a few hits and Catra’s already got that floaty feeling going. It exacerbates the head in the clouds feeling kissing Adora had already given her. She’d assert that she’s chill about it but she’s frankly, too stoned.

“You good?” Adora holds the j aloft, smiling lazily at her. 

“Hm...one more for the road?” She takes her hit and as she exhales Adora leans in to nuzzle into her neck. Instinctively, Catra throws an arm around her shoulders. “You good?”

So good.”

Catra chuckles. “I mean on the j dummy.”

“Mm, that too.”

With a grin so wide, it makes her cheeks hurt, Catra scoffs. “You’re an idiot.”

“Maybe.” Adora’s voice is muffled by Catra’s neck but she can feel the vibrations of it rumble through her chest. “But you like it.”

“I do not like you.”

“Do so.”

“Awfully confident there, Greyskull.”

“Yeah, well. You’re the one who kissed me.”

“Not recently….” Catra leads.

Sure enough, Adora sits up with a smile as wide as her own. “Oh yeah, D’riluth?” Catra shrugs. Adora leans in close. “Something you’re tyna say?”

“Remember those conditions, Greyskull? You’re being a little shit ag-“ Catra thinks about pulling away from Adora’s kiss to finish her sassing, but she’s easily distracted. She is high after all. That’s definitely it.

All too soon Adora pulls away, looking just far too smug. And hot, way too hot; her cheeks and lips are dark pink, her eyes bright, and Catra’s done an excellent job of fucking up her hair. Her hands go to her cheeks; first with palms in, then flipped to rest the backs of her fingers there. It’s fucking adorable and Catra’s more than a little pleased with herself.

“You ready to go to this party?” She prompts.

“Ha! Yeah, well, if we don’t now, I’m not sure I’ll be able to let you go.”

And that? Too much, just-she’s not even teasing. Just open, and honest, and so fucking painfully earnest. Where the fuck did Adora Greyskull even come from?

“Alright, you fucking flirt, let’s go.” Adora slides off the hood of the car, Catra right behind her. Then she just…stares, like she’s focusing way too hard on something. “Yes?”

“Can I hug you?”

Cara laughs, Unbelievable. “Adora, we were literally just making out.” She just shrugs back, clearly still waiting for an answer. Catra groans, it’s all for show. “Bring it in, you absolute nerd.”

Adora hugs her so tightly; an arm tight around her waist and the other reaching up to cradle her head. It’s-kissing Adora is amazing, just the gayest experience of Catra’s life by a long shot, but this hug? It is the most tender moment of Catra’s life to date. She feels for a moment like Adora’s arms are the only thing tethering her to the ground and she grips back just as tightly, her head nuzzling in under Adora’s chin.

“I really like you, Catra.” Adora whispers into her hair. She’s just too fucking much.

“Yeah,” Catra whispers into the safety of Adora’s chest. “I really like you back, Dora.”

And then, like a total nerd, Adora squeals and rocks their bodies side to side. With a full heart and an eyeroll that does little to mask Catra’s clear pleasure, she drags her girlfriend toward the house, and into the fray.

Bow and Glimmer are on them the instant they walk through the door, before they even have a chance to take in the room.

“Wow, slow drive over you two.” Glimmer comments as if she’s just being conversational, but the teasing glint is clear in her eyes. “Get lost?”

Bow looks so excited he could pop. At least he doesn’t look smug, Catra would probably pop off if both he and his girlfriend matched each other’s self-satisfaction. “Or together? Did you get together?”

“Bow!” Glimmer cries, exasperated.

What?

“Okay, one; I know they clearly did but if they hadn’t you just gave the game away. Two; can you just-ugh, you have as little chill as Adora, I swear! You’re taking the fun out of it.”

“The fun out of it?” Bow questions, bewildered. “Isn’t the fun celebrating that they finally got there?”

“No, Bow! Clearly the fun is in giving them endless shit for being useless, pining lesbians for like, ever. How long has Adora been doing this? Since like, freshman year?” Wait, woah, woah, woah, what? Since when, now?”

Ohh…” Bow drags the word, bobbing his head a little like he’s processing that. Catra wonders how she missed that they’re together. They bicker like an old married couple which, by playground rules, they are. So sickeningly cute…wait, fuck, what’s Archer saying now? “…if you dish out the endless shit, and I get to celebrate?”

Glimmer seems to consider this briefly. “Do I get to dole out your portion of shit?”

“Hm, maybe save a little for me, for later. But yeah, most of it as long as I get an equal portion of your celebrating.”

“I’m amenable to that.” And then they fucking shake on it and turn back to face the couple in the doorway. “So?”

For their part, Catra and Adora have just been watching them silently like a tennis match. “Yeah, I’m way too stoned.”

“Totally.” Adora agrees.

“Wait, you smoked without us?”

Bow nudges Glimmer’s side with an elbow. “They were probably having a moment, Glimmy.”

Her bottom lip sticks out. “Oh yeah. Okay, well, go on; out with it!”

Adora looks to Catra blinking slowly, and then just laughs. She’s such an idiot. My girlfriend is such an idiot. Half to Catra, half to her friends she just says, “I don’t know what to say.”

“For fuck’s-Adora did you make a damn move or not?”

“Oh. Yeah!”

Glimmer looks like she could tear her own hair out. Catra’s pretty much tracking now but she’s enjoying the show too much to step in. It’s Bow who sighs heavily and addresses Adora. “Listen, you’re not freaking out about us talking about this, so obviously there’s good news. I know you must be excited…”

“Definitely!”

Bow looks like she just stole his puppy. Glimmer’s just laughing along with Catra at this point, despite their efforts to muffle themselves. “This is very anti-climactic…”

“Oh! Like details and stuff! I just already know…and you sort of know, so I forgot that you don’t know, ya know?” And now Bow’s in on the laughter. Adora doesn’t give a shit, she looks over the fucking moon. “Ahem, sorry my girlfriend Catra and I took so long. We got…held up.”

Adora watches her little pack of hyenas proudly and accepts a tight hug from Bow. They’re such nerds. Catra considers herself pretty damn observant; how did she not realize what goons these three are for nearly three years? Unbelievable. And now she’s dating the biggest dope of the bunch?

“You’re an idiot.” She tells Adora over Bow’s shoulder.

“Yeah.”

“Okay, come in. What are you doing loitering in the doorway?” No one dignifies Glimmer’s words with a response.

“So Adora,” Bow starts in a sing song. “There’s beer pong in the kitchen.”

Adora scrunches up her face. “I have to drive, Bow.”

“Hey Greyskull, if you want to play, I can always drive your car if you’re cool with it. Scorp’s out with Perfuma, I’m sure she can grab me on her way home.” Catra offers.

Adora bites her lip, uncertain. “You sure?”

Catra scoffs. “Please, I wasn’t gonna drink anyway and you live like, three seconds out of the way. Besides, I’d be lying if I said I’m not curious about Tipsy Adora. Only if you want, but I mean, if you wear your heart on your sleeve now…”

Adora smirks but still hesitates another second. Then she’s suddenly perking up and leans in to kiss Catra on the cheek. “Okay, if you’re sure. I do owe Bow a rematch…”

“Sweet!” Bow cheers.

“Fucking jock.” Catra teases, poking her in the bicep. It’s…- Fuck, Adora’s pretty strong, isn’t she? No biggie, Catra knew that. So, her new, lesbian, hot jock girlfriend is strong; so what?

“Yeah, well. Cheer me on?”

Eh…”

Adora scoffs around her permanent smile. “Fine, come hang out and jeer at us?”

“That I can do for you, Greyskull.”

“Wow, so good to me.” And see, now why does that make Catra’s stomach swoop?

Bow and Adora rope Lonnie and Rogelio into being their teammates. They get started with a shot gun tip off which is just…wow. Catra has no way to even begin to understand her thoughts when she watches that. Is that attractive? No, right? Fuck, am I just into Adora Greyskull being a dumb bro now? How is that charming, Catra?

She’s broken from her thoughts by Glimmer. Probably for the best truth be told. “Bow and Adora can be such fucking bros when they want to be.”

Catra snorts. “Evidently.”

Glimmer is leaned against the wall beside the chair Catra has taken up residence in. She’s talking to Catra, but her eyes stay firmly fixed on the game. An exasperated but fond smile is fixed on her face. “Is it weird that I find it sort of charming when it’s coming from gay dorks like them?”

Well that’s just fucking uncanny. “Probably.” She watches Adora bump chests with Rogelio after she makes a shot. “But I get it.”

“So…” Now she has Glimmer’s full attention. “Who made the move?”

Catra rolls her eyes. “Wow, okay nosey.”

Glimmer shrugs, unrepentant. “I mean I can ask Adora, but honestly? I am pretty curious about your take.”

If Catra’s honest she wants to talk about this; she’s fucking stoked right now. And yeah, it feels really weird for the person listening to be Glimmer Brightmoon, but she’ll take what she can get. “Adora did.”

“Aw, I knew she had it in her. I seriously underestimated that girl’s game before those fucking roses.”

Catra leans further into the conversation. “Yeah, what the fuck was that?”

Glimmer laughs at her. “A massive green light which you completely ignored.”

“Fuck off.” She’s grumbling and crosses her arms. She’s not really upset though, how could she be?

“Yeah, yeah. So, how was it?”

Catra lets herself smile and turns to look at Adora. She’s downing a cup and fucking winks at Catra when she catches her eye. “It was…so damn Adora it hurt.”

“Oomph, wow, you’re like, sickeningly sweet.”

“Damn Sparkles, shut up!” Catra laughs. “I know you celebrate some fucking anniversary from kindergarten-“

“Third grade.” She corrects, unabashed.

“so, don’t even get started calling me sappy.”

“I mean, yeah, we’re sappy too. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, D’riluth. It’s mostly Bow though. That boy is so…” She trails off and Catra doesn’t bother to restart the conversation. She’s got a stupid game to heckle after all.

Unsurprisingly Adora wipes Bow out. Woulda been embarrassing if she hadn’t; she’s the one always bragging about being the basketball hot shot. Which Catra tells her when she’s smugly celebrating her win.

“Bow cheated last time though. I was deferring-no, defendering my honor.”

“Did not!” He protests with a pout.

“Wow, are you drunk, Greyskull?”

“Psh, what? I only had like, two drinks. Wait, like two and half. So…yeah Catra, I’m probably drunk.” She says it all goofy, like she’s defending herself when she’s obviously just agreeing. Such an idiot.

“Wow, okay, water. You too, Bow.” She points at both of them telling them silently to stay and walks off to get a couple glasses. When she comes back, she insists they both drink them all before releasing them to socialize.

It’s a nice night, everyone is hyped. Prom comes up a lot, given that it’s the next big event on the school calendar. Catra wonders if Adora wants to go. She’s in leadership and it seems right up her alley, so probably, right? Does Catra want to go? She’ll never wearing a fucking dress again, that’s for damn certain. Surely, she could work around that though. And she was planning to go if Entrapta did already.

The party doesn’t go too crazy late given they all have school tomorrow still. Rogelio ushers them all out the door a bit before one. Adora and Bow are giggling about something as their respective girlfriends guide them toward their respective vehicles.

“Where’s Entrapta?” Adora complains as Catra helps her into the passenger seat.

“We probably just missed her dummy. It’s not really her scene so she usually just swings though for a little bit at the beginning. She doesn’t do super well without her full eight hours anyway.”

“Ha! What is that like?” Adora jokes.

Catra just narrows her eyes. She’s still standing in front of Adora with the door open, her arms braced on the car. “Just how little do you sleep, Greyskull?”

Adora pouts. “I sleep enough times.”

“Alright drunkie, legs in.” Catra’s not truly satisfied with that answer but now is clearly not the time to get into it. Still, Adora’s busy, but is she really that busy? Or, is she just overexaggerating and Catra’s taking it too seriously? Right, not the time.

Catra gets Adora set up with music, texts Scorpia to coordinate one last time, and gets them on the road. “Hey!”

Catra jumps at Adora’s voice, suddenly loud in the car. “What’s up, Dora?”

“Have you heard this song?”

“What song? Dude, there’s nothing playing.”

“Oh…I wanted you to hear it. Do you wanna hear it?”

Catra flicks on the blinker and snickers to herself. “I’d love to.” Adora starts it up and it’s a bop for sure. Also decidedly…applicable. She interrupts Adora’s…dancing? It’s cute, but really, she’s just sort of bopping around in her seat. “What is this?”

Adora grins like she knows what she’s doing. Probably does. What a drunk idiot. “Talk Deep.”

“The artist?”

“It’s like…East, but the A is all…fucked up?”

Catra laughs and sneaks a peak at her. She’s practically glaring at the phone, the screen held so close to her face it’s practically touching her nose. “What, like it has an accent?”

No. It’s not even…it’s not a letter anymore. Wait! No this isn’t the song I dedicate to you,” Catra’s heart flutters. She ignores it. “hang on; I need Maggie!”

“Who?”

Adora huffs like Catra is being intentionally difficult. “Maggie Rogers.”

And then she cues up Light On and…Aw…Catra can’t help it; her heart softens till it’s buttery. “This is nice.”

“Yeah…” She sighs dreamily. Then suddenly she sits up and looks at Catra very seriously. “Hey Catra.”

“Yes, Adora?”

“What’s your favorite number?”

“My…what? Why?”

Adora shrugs and turns to look out the window, distracted by goddess only knows what. “I don’t know it.”

“Umm…four twenty.”

Adora turns back to look at her and snorts. “Shut up. You donneven…you don’t smoke. I corruptured you, remember?”

“You’re right, I lied.”

“Well?”

Catra laughs preemptively at her own joke. “It’s sixty-nine.”

Adora’s jaw drops and she turns just about as red as she’s ever seen her. “Catra!

“Yes?” She turns onto Adora’s street, slowing down as she nears the house.

“You’re scandal…scan…you’re a scandal.”

“Scandalous?”

“That’s what I said.”

Pulling to a stop, Catra kills the engine and leans over to kiss Adora’s cute little bewildered face. She hums happily into it and stretches her neck out as Catra pulls back to prolong the experience. “You’re a drunken idiot.”

Adora opens her eyes slowly and smiles. “Aw, but you like me.” She gasps. “Wait, no; you love me.”

Catra’s face has never been so hot in her life as it is the moment Adora starts singing the word love. “Pft, pretty presumptuous there, babe. I’m still not sold on liking you.”

Adora’s just smiling at her like a goon. “No. It’s not presu-pre-presum-preposterous! It’s not, because you said it.”

“What!”

“You were so high, it was cute.”

“I have no memory of this, Greyskull. Sure you weren’t just dreaming about me?” She’s smirking but her heart is beating hard in her chest. Did she say something fucking stupid when she was high?

Adora pouts. “What?”

“Sorry, dude.”

“How can you not remember being cute? You do it like…all the time.”

Yep, Catra’s face is definitely hot. “Shut up. I’m not cute.”

Adora snorts. “Yeah, okay.” Then she leans in close, close enough to have Catra’s heart beating double time. Her nose buries itself into Catra’s hair and she whispers. “Not.”

Catra groans and shoves a laughing Adora away from her. “Alright, boozy. It’s time for you to go inside.”

Adora’s pout is back in full force. “I don’t wanna.” It’s cute, the way she looks like a petulant child. It’s cute.

“Aren’t you tired? It’s been a long ass day, Greyskull.”

Nomaybe. But you’re out here.”

Catra laughs again. “You know we have school in the morning, right? You’re already gonna regret this night.”

Adora gets very suddenly serious, as if Catra’s words are a bucket of ice water. She leans in and with one hand, cups Catra’s face. The other dives into her hair at the base of her neck. Adora scratches lightly, absently; her movements are a little clumsy but still manage to get Catra keyed up.

“Catra. I could never regret this night. Not ever. Can I tell you a secret?”

“Uh, ye-yeah. Ahem, sure.”

“You’re my girlfriend.

Catra snorts and pushes her away again, not too far. “And you’re an idiot. Go inside, the sooner you get to sleep, the sooner you can see me again.”

“Dumb.”

Inside, Greyskull.”

Fine, spoilsport. Kiss me goodnight?” And boy does she ever. Finally, she regains the presence of mind to pull back. Sensing Adora’s lack of motivation, she gets out of the car to guide her out and to the door. Catra gets her up there and turns to wave at Scorpia, who has pulled up and parked on the street, indicating that she’s gonna get her drunk girlfriend inside.

Catra figures out which key on the lanyard she needs and manages to get them inside. It’s something of a feat with Adora draped against her, but she manages. Adora is being…drunk. Catra tries shushing her but it doesn’t seem to help any.

“Aw, are you gonna put me to bed?” Catra rolls her eyes and nods, stooping down to unlace Adora’s shoes. Adora braces her hands on Catra’s shoulders. She looks up when she hears her snort. “I can’t…I can’t figure out how to make the joke, but the punch line is something like,” She waggles her eyebrows and Catra gulps at the twinkle in her eye. “maybe you should take me to bed.”

Adora practically falls over laughing, barely managing to cooperate with Catra helping her take her sneakers off. “Fucking hell, Adora!” Catra’s voice is a scandalized whisper. She stands up and Adora is pouting at her. “Upstairs.”

Catra leads the way and Adora dutifully follows, still looking sullen. “Oh, are you not into that? It’s okay if you’re not! You just said the thing about numbers…”

Unbelievable. “I’m sorry, I don’t speak fluent drunk. What are you asking me right now?” She has an idea, but maybe she’s wrong. She’s not sure how she’ll cope if she isn’t truth be told.

She shoves her through the bedroom door, flicking on a lamp and closing the door. Adora is being fucking loud and Catra’s not sure what Mara’s reaction to seeing Adora trashed on a school night would be.

“If you’re into it.”

“Into what? Where are your pajamas?”

Adora points vaguely to the dresser and Catra starts going through the drawers. With Catra’s back still turned, Adora belatedly answers, “Sex.”

Catra freezes, her hand literally in Adora’s underwear drawer. Which is also where her sleep shorts seem to live, to be clear. Catra’s not being weird. This situation is weird though. How does she even navigate this? For one, Adora saying the word ‘sex’ has just short circuited her brain. For another…Catra’s sure there’s another, but the first thing is kind of squashing her ability to come up with it.

She shakes herself off, digs up a tee shirt and walks back to Adora. “I’m sorry, are you drunkenly propositioning me right now, Adora Greyskull?”

Adora accepts her clothes with an eye roll. “Not right now.” Right, silly me. “I definitely wanna be sober the first time we fuck. If you’re into it. You don’t have to be.”

Adora! For fuck’s-what has gotten into you?”

And then, like an asshole, Adora mutters, “Not you.” under her breath. Then louder she adds, “I’m taking my clothes off now, turn around if you want.”

Catra does so immediately, staring at the stupid horse poster. How has she still not brought that up? I should say something, right? Answer her. She probably won’t even remember this, but if she does…. Well, I wouldn’t want her to think…ahem. “I am. At some point. I’m uh, not like…in a rush though. Is that…I hope that’s cool?”

Adora tugs on the back of her shirt and Catra turns around. She’s sat cross legged on her bed, now in a pair of soft gray shorts and a worn tee shirt with the logo of some old cartoon. She’s pulled her hair free and it falls loose and disheveled around her face. Her party clothes are in a pile at the foot of the bed. “You are what?”

Adora is an idiot. And maybe it’s catching, because trying to choke out to her brand fucking new girlfriend that, yes, at some point she’d be pretty into having sex, makes Catra feel like one too. “Adora.” She lets herself whine. “Fucking hell, Greyskull. Yeah, I’m interested in fucking. Clear enough for you?”

“Oh!” Adora brightens. “That’s so cool. I’ve never done that.”

Honestly, she was being so forward…Catra will admit that the news is somewhat of a relief. Not that she’d hold it against Adora if she had. Still, it’s somewhat of a comfort to know she won’t be the only clueless one if and when that time comes. “Yeah, uh, same.”

“You wanna go slow.” Adora’s words, while far from crystal clear up to this point, begin to slur further and her eyes are drooping.

“Is that…yeah, I do.”

“Good, that’s good. I’ll be nervous.” Okay, well that’s…endearing.

“Go to sleep, Dora.”

Adora fights to keep her eyes open and makes no move to crawl into bed. “I want you to stay. Can you?”

“Not tonight nerd, we have school in the morning.”

She pouts. “School’s dumb, I just wanna see my friends!”

“You know you can see your friends at school, don’t you, cutie?”

“’S not the same.”

“Well you have a point, but all the same. This your water glass?” Adora nods, still looking rather put out. “Lay down, I’m gonna fill this and I’ll be right back.”

She sneaks across the hall to fill the glass. She pokes around for painkillers but all she turns up are a couple prescription bottles. Adora will just have to live, she supposes. Back in the bedroom Adora has finally laid down, her hair flung across the pillows and legs splayed beneath the comforter.

“Hey, Catra?” She whispers as she sets down the water and sits on the edge of the bed.

“How can I help you?”

“Nothin’…I just like you. Wanna take you on a date.”

“Sounds like a plan, Greyskull.” Catra leans down the kiss her on the forehead gently. “Sweet dreams, Dora.”

“You’re the…best.” Adora mumbles, already nearly asleep.

With a quiet chuckle Catra lays Adora’s discarded clothes over the back of her desk chair, hesitating only slightly before claiming a prize. Then she flips off the light and lets herself out. She’s fairly certain Adora is asleep even before she closes the bedroom door.

What an idiot.

Chapter Text

Adora wakes up screaming. Again. She curses, reaching for her lamp with shaky hands. There’s a glass of water on her bedside and she downs it in large gulps. Catra… The memory of how it got there soothes her slightly but does little to slow her hummingbird heart. She hangs her head between her knees and focuses on taking long deep breaths.

Then the door flies open. “Adora! Hey, kid, you okay?”

The bed decompresses with the weight of Mara’s body. Adora is still sniffling into her arms, now resting against her bent knees. She doesn’t say anything, just continues to breathe deeply.

 “It’s been awhile since we had one of these…” It actually hasn’t been a while. It’s just been a while since Adora woke up screaming, unable to muffle her awakening. “Dor? Kid, you ready to talk?” Head still down, Adora shakes her head. “Can you talk?” Adora hesitates, but nods. “Do want to take your ‘oh-shit’ dose?” She shakes her head; it’s probably early morning by now and she’ll be a zombie at school if the anti-anxiety’s still in her system.

Mara takes to rubbing her back soothingly and waits for Adora to come back down to earth. It takes some time but she’s eventually able to catch her breath and look up. “I’m…okay.”

“Okay…did anything trigger this? The party last night…”

Adora shakes her head and actually manages a hint of a smile. “No, no it was really good. I think, um, I slept really long night before last because I wanted to be able to make it through the show and the party. I fell asleep pretty fast after getting home too. My dreams were probably just more vivid.”

Mara’s eyes go hard and her hand freezes on Adora’s back. Adora freezes too, realizing belatedly what she’s just revealed. “Adora, please tell me you haven’t been intentionally depriving yourself of sleep again.”

Adora winces, she never entirely stopped doing that. It’s the only thing that helps consistently. She’d been getting closer to five or six hours, but since everything went down with Catra’s guardian…. Well, the more exhausted she is, the less she dreams. And she’s been having lots of dreams ever since that summer bubbled back up, bringing plenty more with it.

“I-no, not exactly.” It’s a lie, and Mara clearly knows that.

“Damnit, Adora! I thought it was just this fucking show wearing you out. Maybe I should have realized when dropping your volunteer hours didn’t help. I just thought we were over this.” She sighs and an old instinct inside of Adora tells her to run, to hide from it.

“I’m sorry.” She says meekly instead.

Mara huffs and gives her a look that holds within it a range of emotions from exasperation to concern. “I don’t need you to be sorry, ‘Dor. I just need you to talk to me. I can’t help you if you’re hiding things from me. Are you being honest with Dr. Peekablue at least?”

“I-sort of?”

“Adora…”

“I told them I’ve been having some insomnia.” She mumbles.

“And what did they say?”

Adora scowls at her guardian but she doesn’t relent. “That I should set a regular bed time and if I can’t sleep, stay in bed and read or do something without screens. I just-if I can’t sleep anyway why wouldn’t I use that time? What’s the difference between reading a novel and studying for history?”

“Do I really need to answer that?” Adora just crosses her arms over her knees again and rests her head there. “I’m not sure what to do here kid. I’d pull you out of sports, but I don’t really think that’s the problem here and the exercise probably helps more than anything. Something’s gotta give though, you can’t keep this up forever.”

Agitated, Adora looks up. “Yeah, well I’m not really sure what to do either, Mara. It’s the only thing that helps. The sleeping pills don’t stop the nightmares, just traps me in them. Going to bed early just makes them more intense. Frankly, I’d just not sleep at all if I could get away with it.”

“Well you can’t.” Mara tells her plainly, leaving no room for argument. Not that Adora won’t try. “And you need to actually try having decent sleep hygiene, Adora. You can’t do it every once in a while and write it off after one bad night. I know it sucks, but it’s the routine part that’s going to help.”

“What?” Adora argues. Maybe she’s being a brat, but she’s so tired. “You think you know my body better than I do?”

“No, Adora. I think your doctor has a better understanding of how to manage mental health than a seventeen-year-old.” Adora scoffs and Mara digs the heel of her hand into her forehead. “I don’t know how to enforce this. Do I need to stay up until you fall asleep every night? Take away your school books and phone at a certain time? What will it take for you to try?”

“I am trying, but if I’m going to wake up screaming, am I really getting any more rest than if I just keep doing things my way?”

“Okay, clearly you didn’t listen to a thing I just said. You need to be up for school soon, anyway. Let’s table this discussion for now. We’ll talk at dinner; I’ll tell Hope to give us the night.”

Knowing better than to argue at this point, Adora just sniffs out, “Fine.”

“You need anything?”

“I’m fine, Mara.”

Mara grimaces at her tone. “Alright, well. You gonna try and get some more sleep?” She wants to but…this was a really bad one. It may not be a possibility. Her thoughts must show in her face because Mara smiles sadly at her. She leans over her to look at the clock. “Alright, get dressed.”

Adora startles. “What?”

“Dressed Adora, get dressed.”

“Uh…why?”

“Because, clearly you aren’t getting more sleep and we have to be up in an hour and a half anyway. I want pancakes that I don’t have to cook, so if you’re up for it I’m thinking the diner?”

“You sure you don’t want to sleep more, Mar? I mean, I can try…”

Mara fixes her with a look. “What? You don’t want pancakes? How about a waffle?”

Adora lets herself slowly smile. Honestly, the diner with Mara does sound better than lying in bed and stewing over the details of her dream. It’s not like she hasn’t already lived the experience. “Yeah, okay.”

“Great! Meet me by your car in ten minutes. Bring your backpack and you can just drop me back here on your way, sound good?”

Adora agrees and forty-five minutes later she’s sitting in a booth with a waffle and a massive pile of eggs in front of her. Mara looks like she could kiss the waitress when she sets down her short stack.

“So, party was good?”

And…Adora is officially blushing. “Yeah, really good.”

Mara looks on with slightly more acute interest now. “Oh yeah? You drink at all? Your car was in the drive, so I trust you were careful and kept it to one early on if so.”

“Well…” Her sister inclines her head dangerously. “Catra drove me home! She got picked up from ours. I uh…I had a few.”

Mara raises a brow. “Think the drinks had anything to do with this morning?”

Adora huffs and shoves a big bite of waffle in her mouth. The thought had occurred to her while she was getting dressed. “Maybe. I didn’t get trashed or anything, but…yeah.”

“Hm, just be careful Dor, okay? I don’t expect you to never have a drink in your life, but maybe while you’re struggling isn’t the time to experiment.”

“I’m not struggling.”

“Alright, we’ll circle back to that debate tonight. Tell me more about the party.”

“It was good…um…”

Mara smirks. “Yes?”

“I asked Catra out?”

Mara slaps her hands on the table hard enough to make the cutlery clatter and their coffees slosh over the sides of their cups. “Damn, ‘Dor! And you didn’t lead with that? She said yes, right?”

Adora lets herself smile in earnest now. “Yeah, yeah she did. It was…it was pretty perfect.”

“That’s great, I’m so happy for you! You know where you wanna take her?”

Adora pulls a face. “Not at all.”

“Hm…you could go classic; dinner and a movie.” Adora scrunches her lips and Mara laughs at the expression. “Okay, okay, not your style. I get it. Oh! You could take her to the planetarium.” Adora brightens at this. She fucking loves the planetarium.

“That’s actually a great idea.”

“Yeah, well. Your sister is a gay genius.” Very pointedly she adds, “You should listen to me more often.”

Adora just rolls her eyes and goes back to her waffle. She’s eager to get to school this morning.

-{…}-

Catra’s not fucking giddy, Catra doesn’t do giddy, alright? And if she’s slightly more enthusiastic than usual about going to school today, well that’s nobody’s business but her own. Still, she can’t deny the way her heart races when she sees Adora’s smile brighten the moment she spots her on the school steps.

“Hey you!” Adora calls once she’s just a few feet away.

Hey Adora.” Catra’s chill. Adora on the other hand…Adora is making no effort to appear so. She literally jogs the last couple feet until she’s bouncing on the balls of her feet in front of Catra.

She looks so happy and radiant but also…a little rough. Tired, she looks tired, which seems to kind of be her thing, but it’s a little more pronounced today. Catra’s begun to wonder not if she should be concerned about that, but how concerned she should be.

“I missed you.”

Catra rolls her eyes. “It’s been like, seven hours since I saw you.”

“Right, like I said.” And, seriously? What the fuck am I getting into? It’s almost too much, too sweet. It’s like Catra’s dating a fucking puppy. But like, in the body of a hot lesbian with really strong arms. She’s fucking doomed.

“C’mere you nerd.” She pulls Adora closer by tugging on the lapels of her jacket and plants one on her. She makes a dorky little squeaking noise but wraps Catra in her arms just as soon as their lips touch.

When Catra pulls away Adora uses that embrace to keep her close, resting her forehead against hers. “So, about that date…” She leads in a whisper, staring into Catra’s eyes.

Catra clears her throat of emotion and raises an eyebrow. “Yes?”

“When are you free?”

“When am I free? When do you have time in your packed schedule?”

Adora rolls her eyes and pulls back slightly. “Please, it’s not that packed. The show is over after we break down today and tomorrow, and Mara still won’t let me volunteer until the end of the school year” She pouts and crosses her arms.

“Well sick, more time for me at least.” She smiles winningly which, much to Catra’s pleasure, makes Adora flush. Then, unable to help herself, she adds, “Maybe you can even find out what it’s like to get a full eight hours of sleep.”

And this…this was apparently the wrong thing to say. “Why does everyone give so much of a shit how much I sleep?” She grumbles.

Catra steps in close, slowly so as to not spook her brand new girlfriend, and rests her hands on Adora’s upper arms. “Hey, I’m not trying to give you crap, okay? You just made a comment about it last night.”

Adora looks slightly mollified by that. “Oh. I did?” Catra nods. “What did I say? I remember most of last night but…”

“It was just a throwaway comment; I’m not surprised you forgot.” She hesitates, not wanting to push again, but Adora said she remembers last night…. “So then, just exactly how much do you remember from last night?”

“Uh…” Adora thinks, clearly trying to recall, and Catra can see the exact moment she figures out what she’s getting at. She groans loudly and hides her face in Catra’s neck. “Fuck, I’m so sorry. That was…that was really inappropriate. We haven’t even been on a date yet and I-ugh, I’m the worst.

Catra slides one hand to cradle the back of Adora’s head and snorts. “I mean, I wouldn’t say that.”

Adora shakes her head into Catra’s shoulder and her arms move from where they’d come to lightly rest on Catra’s hips to wrapping around her waist. “No, that was so stupid.” She sniffs, but Catra doesn’t think she’s worked up to crying at this point. Her voice is soft as she continues though. “I promise I’m not just…like trying to get into your pants or something.”

Catra is sure she must be blushing. She really didn’t expect this to come up, kind of figured Adora would’ve forgotten. Clearly not. She slides her arms to cross them behind Adora’s neck. “Don’t worry about it, babe. That wasn’t my impression, you’re not that fucking slick.”

Adora pulls back to look her in the eye again, searching. “Okay. Still I’m sorry and I…I know you said it last night but um, I want to take it slow too. In uh, that…area. Despite how I many have come off last night.”

“Then we’re on the same page.”

“Cool.”

“Cool. Alright, Greyskull. Walk me to Spanish?”

“Please!” Catra leads her into the building and, even though she knows it’s about to happen, she feels her cheeks flush softly when Adora scoops up her hand.

-{..}-

Adora swings Catra’s hand, making her glance at them and shake her head. She looks happy, which is good because Adora is very happy. “So…” she starts

“Yes dear?” Catra’s teasing. Adora’s heart still stutters.

“About that date.”

Catra pulls to a stop outside of her class just as the five minute warning bell rings. “What about it?”

“Friday?”

“You don’t need to go to practice?”

“It’s just free play on Fridays, it’s not required.”

“Alright, I’m in. Where do you wanna go?”

Adora bites her lip, her nerves making her hesitate. She’s not really sure where they’re coming from, Catra already said yes. Then again, she always seems to be at least a little shaky around Catra D’riluth. “Can I surprise you?”

“Depends; what’s the surprise?”

Catra!” She just snickers at the response. Damn, she’s cute. “Come on, please?”

“I…I don’t always like surprises, Greyskull.” She quirks her lips to the side, the teasing light in her eyes fading and giving way to something more uncertain.

“That’s okay! I can tell you if you want, but…maybe we can compromise?”

“Compromise?”

“Yeah! So, I was thinking we’d get dinner first but hadn’t really figured out where. Maybe you could pick dinner and I can surprise you with the second half? It’ll still be special if I tell you, but I think it’d be cool to like, show rather than tell.”

Catra’s mouth is still set to the side but it’s grown into a little crooked grin. Truly, so cute. “Alright…” She looks Adora in the eye when she tells her, “I trust you, Dora. I’ll pick food and you can maintain your air of mystery.”

Adora snorts. “Hardly. But yay! Okay, cool, I should get to class but I can pick you up after fourth?”

Catra rolls her eyes, looking begrudgingly pleased. “Do what you want, Greyskull.”

“Great! Then I’ll see you after fourth.” Adora starts to back away, holding Catra’s eyes as she gets further away. “Where do you wanna eat lunch?”

“I dunno, I’ll think about it. Don’t you think you’re forgetting something?”

Adora furrows her brow, lost. Then she catches the glint in Catra’s eye. She smiles wide and darts forward to give Catra a quick kiss on the lips.

“Okay! Have fun learning.” Then, realizing she has about a minute to get to Spinerella’s room, she darts down the hall, doing her best to avoid other students rushing off to their own lessons.

 

As promised Adora picks Catra up from Bio after fourth period, nearly raizing a pack of freshman in her haste. She gets there just as she and Mermista are exiting the classroom. Their friend catches sight of her first.

She looks bored but her voice is alight with teasing. “Heard you finally ponied up and stole my girl, Grey.”

Adora scoffs. “You had plenty of opportunity to shoot your shot.”

Catra darts behind her and wraps her arms around her waist. Adora squeals internally. She tucks her head on her shoulder and Adora catches sight of her tongue sticking out at Mermista from the corner of her eye. “Yeah Merms, you snooze, you lose.”

Mermista groans theatrically. “You two are gonna be the worst as a couple, aren’t you?”

Catra tightens her hold briefly and laughs. “I mean, I’m already the worst so.”

“Gross. Whatever, I’ll meet you in the caf. I told Hawk he can see me for five minutes at lunch each day, so I’d like to get that out of the way.”

Catra releases Adora’s waist (she isn’t pouting about it) and moves to stand next to her, right hand lingering on her hip. That’s nice…. She raises an eyebrow at their friend. “That’s new.”

“Shut up, D’riluth.” She hisses. “It doesn’t mean anything. I’m still not letting him take me to prom.”

“If you say so.” Her smirk rather undermines her words.

“I hate you.” With that she spins around and walks away.

“Bye Merms!” Adora calls after her. She receives a half assed wave over Mermista’s shoulder in response, and then she’s slipping through the doors into the school. “Well then, shall we?”

Catra scoffs at Adora’s proffered arm, but she still takes it. “You’re an idiot.” They walk into the building in comfortable silence, Adora’s practically giddy at the novelty of escorting her girlfriend to lunch. Her girlfriend Catra D’riluth. Life is wild. “So…”

Adora slows as they turn the corner toward the caf. That ‘so’ sounded pretty leading. “Yes?”

“Prom.” Adora’s heart skips. “That’s like…soonish now, right?”

She has to clear her throat so she can reply. “Uh, kinda, we’re like five weeks out or so.”

Catra nods to herself, still looking ahead. “Is that…you wanna go right?”

Adora knows she’s blushing. Why is she blushing talking to the girl she’s dating about prom? Who can say really? “I mean, I was planning on it. I…like before with friends but…well, how do you feel about prom?”

Catra stops them in front of the doors to the caf and finally turns to face her. Her expression is unreadable, but she trails her hand down the arm of Adora’s she’d been holding until their hands are linked. “Well…Wrong Hordak kinda asked Trap. I honestly don’t know if it’s platonic or what, but I think they’re going together.”

Adora’s heart beats forcefully in her chest. What does that even mean? “Oh…that’s cool. Um, you’d been thinking about going with her, right?”

Catra huffs, almost impatient, and…Oh, is she blushing now too? It makes Adora feel a little better to detect the hint of pink in her cheeks. “Well, yeah. But, I mean, that was before.”

And that’s…not especially illuminating. “Oh. Before like, before Wrong Hordak asked Entrapta?”

“No dummy, before last night.”

Racing heart aside, Adora allows a small smirk to sneak through. “Oh yeah? You trying to ask me something, D’riluth?”

That earns her a scoff. “Yeah, no. I mean, not what you’re implying at least.”

“Implying? I’m not implying anything.” Yeah, that’s not fooling anyone.

“You’re an idiot.” Adora shrugs. “Whatever, just, you’re interested?” Adora nods, trying not to seem to eager but like, she is eager. Plus, she has no chill so…you do the math. “Great, well I’m not like…asking you in front of the caf or whatever. Isn’t it supposed to be some fucking to do or whatever? Like a damned high school mating ritual or some shit.”

Adora laughs and steps closer, grabbing Catra’s other hand. “It doesn’t have to be. You can just ask.”

Her girlfriend regards her shrewdly. “Yeah…maybe. But you’re into that fucking shit, aren’t you?”

And, well, Busted.... “It’s-whatever is cool. I know you’re not so I can like, reel it in or whatever. I can be chill!”

Catra rolls her eyes at that answer. “Yeah, no you can’t, Greyskull. You already got me to agree to a date, alright? No need to try and pretend now.”

Adora is not getting excited, and she’s definitely not already brainstorming promposal ideas in the back of her mind. “Yeah?”

“Yeah, so just…I’m not asking you anything, but I can be down for prom if you wanna go.”

“I want to!”

Catra grimaces but her eyes are still soft and fond. “Great. Now, let’s go to lunch. I’m fucking starved.”

 

That first week with Catra, like with her with her, is…Adora is on cloud nine and nothing can bring her down. Not the teasing of their friends, the stupid math quiz Adora gets a C on because she’s so distracted, or the fact that getting to Friday takes a century. Mostly because it’s all led up to this.

Friday evening Adora stands on the D’ream’s front step and rings the bell. She hears voices on the other side and then Scorpia is pulling open the door and grabbing Adora into a hug. “Adora! Wow, you look so pretty! Catra’s almost ready.”

She follows her friend inside and scoots aside so she can close the door behind them. “Hey, um, thanks Scorpia!”

“So…where are you two going?”

“Catra picked dinner, a Mexican place, I think? Just over in Erelandia by the theatre.”

Scorpia sneaks a glance down the hall and leans in conspiratorially. “And after? She said it was a surprise, I promise I’m a vault with secrets!”

Adora does a double check down the hall; still no sign of her date. “The planetarium?”

The responding expression she receives can only accurately be described as ‘heart eyes’. “Aw, you’re gonna take her to see the stars?” Adora blushes and nods. “That’s so romantic!”

Hey Adora.”

Adora looks up. And then she dies. Date cancelled, what a shame. Unfortunately, she can’t very well drive now that the last of her braincells have died off. Catra looks…well for one, she looks like the cat who got the canary. Adora can hardly hold it against her; she’s definitely taken too long to respond already. It’s just…she’s wearing these jeans that Adora is certain she would have remembered seeing her in before, with a snug black tank and…Hey, wait a second….

“Did you steal another one of my shirts?”

Catra smirks harder somehow. “What? You mean my newest flannel?”

“Catra!” She laughs, elated despite her protest; Catra looks good in her dark green flannel. She’s assumed she’d forgotten it at Ro’s after the party. Evidently not. Something primal claws at Adora’s chest at the sight. “You’re gonna leave me with no clothes before too long.”

Alright, and now Catra just looks wicked. Scorpia whistles low beside Adora. “Well Dora, since our friend is standing right here, I’ll refrain from telling you how little of a problem I have with that outcome.” There it is. “Are you ready to go?”

“Yes! Going, date now, uh…let’s go. See you later Scorpia.” Knowing she must look as awkward as she feels, she walks to the door without another word. She hears Catra saying her goodbyes, laughter clear in her voice, and then she’s jogging to catch up with her date.

“In a hurry there, Dora?”

“Ugh, in a hurry to escape my utter embarrassment.” She offers a small smile and peeks at Catra from the corner of her eye. “Sorry I’m a disaster.”

Catra watches her open the passenger door and hold it open for her, raising an eyebrow when Adora meets her eye. “Not such a disaster.”

Catra walks closer but turns to face Adora rather than get in the car. Adora takes the opportunity to lean closer, bracing one arm on the side of the car with the other resting on top of the open door. She scoffs lightly. “Please, Catra, I couldn’t even handle the sight of you in my shirt without malfunctioning.”

She flushes lightly at the implied compliment, biting her lip. Catra grabs the lapels of Adora’s red bomber jacket and uses them to pull herself closer. She looks up through her lashes and Adora’s heart and mind fail her simultaneously. “You always gonna be this relentlessly charming?”

“Ha! Uh…I mean if you find this charming, probably.” And that gets her pulled in for a kiss. Which is just…wow. She’s not sure how she remains standing; she can’t feel her legs.

“Alright Princess Charming, I want tacos.” She slips into the car and Adora closes it softly behind her and circles the car to get in herself. She hands Catra music and gets them going.

“I like this song, who is this?” She comments as she pulls to a stop at a light.

“Ray Silvers.” Adora hums softly to herself and glances over at her passenger. She’s so pretty. She looks so comfortable in this car, relaxed back in her seat, and it’s definitely her seat by this point. She gets this cute grumpy face every time she gets in after Bow’s ridden with her and adjusted the settings. It’s…nice, makes Adora feel warm.

She almost misses the green light for her staring, a fact that doesn’t escape Catra. “Watch the road, dummy.”

“Don’t distract the driver!”

Catra laughs incredulously. “I’m literally just sitting here.”

Adora chances a glance over to smirk at her. “Exactly.”

“Oh my-you insufferable flirt!”

“You like it.”

“Goddess save me, I do.” And if that isn’t a healthy boost for the ego, Adora doesn’t know what is.

There’s still fifteen minutes to get to the restaurant; Adora already finds herself wishing this night could never end.

Chapter Text

Adora is the consummate gentleman all night; holding open doors and even pulling out Catra’s chair. After Catra teases her about it she even stands when Catra gets up to go to the bathroom and rises again upon her return. It’s dorky and ridiculous and also so quintessentially Adora Greyskull, it hurts from all the sweet earnestness.

“So…have you always been this much of a nerd?”

Adora snorts. What an idiot. Catra’s pretty sure she’s never smiled so much in her whole life. “Probably, yeah.” They’re quiet for a little while, exchanging giddy looks and finishing their meals. When Adora is down to just pushing a few grains of rice around her plate she sets her fork down and speaks again. “Hey D’riluth.”

“What’s up?”

“Thanks for coming out with me.”

“Thanks for asking me, Greyskull.”

“This is really cool.”

Catra giggles. Well, no; as a rule, Catra doesn’t giggle. But she laughs a little and it sounds uncharacteristically school-girlish. “What? The tacos? Told you this is the best Mexican food in the greater Brightmoon area.”

“Nah. I mean, yes, you’re right. I think you know I was talking about this though.” Her smile is just barely threatening a smirk when she picks up Catra’s free hand to give it a squeeze.

“You’re an idiot.”

“Sure, but you like it.” She looks as smug as she sounds and Catra wants to kiss that stupid smirk, now out in full force, off her stupid, gay face.

“Pft, I do not like you.”

“You keep telling yourself that, D’riluth.” I could reach across this table without knocking over our water glasses, right?

“Wow, I can’t believe I’m dating you.”

“Honestly? Me neither.” At that Catra just shakes her head. Dummy. “You ready to get out of here?”

As soon as Catra nods her assent, Adora’s waving down their server. Catra makes a valiant effort in fighting for the check, but Adora’s insistent. She literally takes Catra’s wallet out of her hand until after the server leaves. Catra makes a mental note to steal the move.

Adora is practically buzzing as they leave the restaurant. She holds the door for Catra and then scoops up her hand. “Damn Greyskull, you taking us to Disneyland or something?”

She looks bewildered. Such an idiot. “What? No.” She reaches around Catra to pull her door open. Instead of getting in Catra turns to face her in front of the open door.

“It’s a joke Princess, you’re just really keyed up.”

“Oh.” Adora laughs, resting an arm on top of the car door. It’s a move she’d pulled back at the D’ream’s too, and Catra hopes it’s not the last time. It’s kind of hot; the illusion of being sheltered between Adora and her car, by her…ahem, arms. Catra’s not staring at them though. “Right, duh. I’m just excited. I haven’t been to this place in…dang, like a year almost. Honestly, you’ve maybe even been already but I’m excited to go together!”

“Cute, alright, well let’s get this show on the road then.”

“Okay…” Adora hesitates but before Catra can inquire as to why, she’s ducking in for a quick kiss. Just like, a little, tiny bit dazed, Catra climbs into the car. Adora closes the door behind her and circles around to climb in herself, and then they’re off.

It’s quiet for a minute. Adora hands off music to Catra but…she’s got something on her mind. She sort of wanted bring it up at dinner, but they’d been having so much fun…she hadn’t wanted to bring down the mood.

“Hey…can I ask you something?”

Adora flicks her eyes over for a second and her smirk slips back into a small smile. “Yeah, anything.”

“I…Garnet think I should press charges. Against Weaver. Or, I guess she thinks we should appeal to the DA since they haven’t.” It’s not a question, but she hopes she covered the gist of the issue.

“And what do you think?” Her face is intentionally passive as she asks, a calm mask overtaking her features.

“I…I understand where she’s coming from, and it’s not that I don’t think she should pay for what she did. I just…I’m out of there and it’s finally over. It can be over, you know?”

Adora hums and nods, flicking her blinker on. “So, you don’t want to.”

“Is that bad?” Adora’s brow furrows at the question. She flips her blinker on again and pulls to the side of the road, turning on her flashers. She turns her body as much as she can in her seat to face Catra. “Sorry! You didn’t have to stop.”

Adora’s shaking her head before she’s even finished. “I wanted to; I want to give this my full attention.”

“Okay, sorry. I know this isn’t really like…date conversation.”

“You really don’t need to apologize, Cat. Our date conversations get to be about whatever we want. Just remind me your question.”

“Is it bad that I…?”

“Right, no.” She reaches over to hold Catra’s hands in her own. They’re big; not much longer but her fingers are thicker than Catra’s. Also, warm, Adora’s hands feel like she’s been holding them up to a heater. “Catra…what she put you though? I want to see her rot in a cell till the end of time. I want her to never be able to get within a hundred thousand miles of you again. I hope she’s gets left with nothing in her miserable life but the weight of her own conscience.

“But this isn’t about me, or Garnet, or anyone else. This is about what she put you through, and that means the right way to handle it is whatever feels best to you.”

Catra pulls a hand free to rub at her eyes, they’re only a little damp. “What if I’m not sure? What if I regret the decision later?”

Adora shrugs. “You don’t have to decide now; you can wait until you feel more sure. Sounds like your gut is telling you something though.”

She grimaces at that. “Yeah, my gut and I don’t have the best relationship.”

Adora snorts. “Yeah, I get that.” She’s quiet for a moment, just considering Catra.

“I’d really rather never see or think about her again though.”

“Totally valid.”

Catra purses her lips and turns to look out the windshield. “I’m probably gonna think about her again though, huh?”

“I-I mean, I’d imagine, yeah. Catra, have you thought about…”

She turns to look at Adora, her lip is between her teeth and she looks uncertain. “Thought about what?”

“Therapy?”

“Oh.” She turns back to the window. She hasn’t actually. Does she really want to sit in a room with a stranger and cry about how her mother figure not only never loved her, but loathed her? Not especially. “I dunno, Dora…”

Adora squeezes her hands but Catra still doesn’t turn to look at her. “That’s okay. Just…it can help, you know? I kind of hate going, I had a cow when Mara said I had to go back. But…as soon as I’m there and talking about stuff? It helps is all I’m saying. You don’t have decide now, or on any timeline really. Maybe think about it though?”

Now Catra does turn back. Adora still looks uncertain, like she’s waiting for Catra to get pissed at the suggestion. She isn’t, not by a long shot, she’s just not convinced. “You like your shrink?”

She shrugs. “Yeah, I do actually. I saw a couple others first; the first I just didn’t click with and the second was…kind of awful.”

Catra knows she’s making a face when she asks, “Awful how?”

Adora squirms a little, but answers before the silence stretches too long. “Just…really judgmental? She was super religious and would like, give me advice based on her personal beliefs. She said a few really cringey things to me. I stuck with her for a bit because I kind of felt like I was failing at therapy. Like, to not be able to get on with not one, but two therapists?

“I finally snapped though and that’s when I started seeing Dr. Peekablue. They’re chill, queer too which seemed irrelevant before but when I was…like figuring stuff out it was nice to know they understood.”

Catra, sensing an opportunity to change and lighten the subject, doesn’t let it pass. “Figuring out your stuff…right…. When did that start again? Like, Freshman year?”

And yeah, she might be smirking a little already. Apparently, that’s enough to tip Adora off because she’s already blushing. Her voice is a little too high when she answers. “Uh…uh huh, yep! Sounds right. Freshman year.”

“And…what was going on Freshman year?”

Adora curses under her breath and says something about killing Glimmer and Bow. Maybe Catra will get them a nice fruit basket to make up for it. Probably not though. Where does one even buy a fruit basket? “Uh, you know.”

“Hm, not really.”

She narrows her eyes and laughs shortly through her nose. “Oh, you know; the girl of my dreams just started sitting next to me in science class. Sort of made my closeted gay brain explode. No biggie.”

And yeah, Catra’s heart stutters, cause, “Girl of your dreams, huh?” How does Adora Greyskull make being so nerdy seem so smooth?

“Shut up!” She leans over to peck Catra on the cheek. More seriously she asks, “You good to keep going?”

“Yeah, Dora. I’m good.” Adora nods and pulls back onto the road. “So…remind me where we’re going?” Adora laughs loud and bright.

“Hm, don’t think it counts as a reminder if you didn’t already know.”

“Eh, semantics.”

Adora rolls her eyes at that. “We’re like, two minutes away.”

“You’re point?”

“I think you can wait.”

“Hm, I think you’re wrong though.”

“Aw, D’riluth, how about a little self-confidence?” Now it’s Catra’s turn to bust out laughing.

“Damn, Greyskull. And here I thought you were trying to woo me.”

“Nah, I’m saving my wooing for once we get there.”

“You’re an idiot.” She just shrugs, totally unbothered by the insult turned term of endearment. They drive just a few minutes more and then, No…surely she isn’t… Except she very clearly is and it’s so Adora, Catra can’t help but be charmed.

As she turns into the parking lot, Adora starts looking over at her nervously. “So?”

Grin stretching wider than should be possible, Catra snorts. “You’re the biggest nerd on the planet.”

Adora pulls into a stop and turns to look at her properly. She opens her mouth to say something but shakes her head and hops out of the car instead. She jogs around the car and Catra knows she planning to get her door. She gets out on her own anyway. Adora catches up to her there and Catra leans back against the closed passenger door.

“So…? What do you think?” She still looks nervous.

“Pretty sure I already told you what I think.”

She steps closer, just six inches or so left between them. Maybe even less. “Not of the location.” Another tiny step closer, still nervous.

“It’s cute, Adora.”

“Yeah?” She dares to perk up and Catra chuckles quietly. Adora Greyskull is nothing but trouble. Catra doesn’t answer, just pulls her girlfriend closer and in for a long kiss. She can’t say which is brighter when they pull apart; Adora’s cheeks or her smile. “Cool.”

“Alright dork, take me to see the stars.” Adora scoops up her hand and leads her inside.

They’re just in time for the next show; an exploration of the night sky. They get situated in seats and Adora throws her arm casually over Catra’s shoulders. Or at least, it would be casual if not for the fact that Adora is clearly all giddy about snuggling up like that. Catra tucks her head into Adora’s shoulder to hide her own giddy expression.

It really is romantic, with the nerdiest possible twist. Of course, that’s part of what makes it so charming. The show isn’t terribly long but it’s way cooler than Catra remembers the planetarium being when she came for school field trips as a kid.  At some point she and Adora shift so that she’s the one acting as head rest. After the lights come up and Adora doesn’t sit up properly, Catra looks down.

She’s asleep. Catra laughs unsure of what to make of the situation. Adora’s head is nuzzled into her neck and a small spot of drool is gathering on her shirt. So, clearly, she’s been out for a second. With a fond shake of her head Catra pokes at her girlfriend. She stirs slightly and nuzzles in closer, which is just…it’s cute. And Adora’s hot breath on her neck certainly isn’t…ahem, distracting.

Adora…babe?”

“Hmnph.”

“Babe, the shows over.”

Hmm?

“Time to wake up.” She sing songs at her, making no effort to hide her teasing tone. Adora blinks her eyes open slowly and peels her head off Catra’s shoulder. Then their location seems to catch up with her.

“Oh fuck! Shit, I’m so sorry! Damnit, I can’t believe I fell asleep. I am so sorry. That…that’s not charming,” Her eyes run over Catra and she smacks herself on the forehead. “and I drooled on you? That’s just-okay well-“

Catra steps in before Adora can totally self-implode. “Eh, I dunno, Greyskull. Somehow I’m still a little charmed.”

What? Literally how?”

Catra shrugs her shoulders. “Guess dumb blondes falling asleep in the middle of our date just does it for me.”

Adora groans and grabs her jacket, standing and offering Catra a hand. “How are you not offended? I feel awful.”

“Adora, babe, it’s fine. It was warm and dark in there, I’m not offended. Fall asleep while I’m talking, and not some droning scientists, and we’ll have an issue.”

“I would never!” Adora assures her emphatically, holding the planetarium door open for her. “I’m still so sorry. Did you like the show at least?”

She scoops up Catra’s hand again and leads them to the car. She holds that door open too. “I did actually.”

“Well that’s something anyway.” She closes Catra’s door behind her after she climbs in and hops in the car. She hands over music and Catra throws on Rex Orange County’s newest album.

The drive back to the D’ream’s is quiet; Adora clearly still feels guilty. At some point Catra grabs her free hand and starts stroking the back with her thumb. It seems to help a little with the tension is her shoulders, but the corners of her mouth are still turned down.

Catra lets her sit with it until they’re turning into the D’reams neighborhood. She sighs heavily. “Adora…”

She winces. “I’m so sorry.”

“Will you stop saying that?” She snaps, guilt instantly follows and forms a pit in her stomach. “Fuck, sorry I didn’t mean to snap at you. I just…” Another sigh escapes her. “I’m really not upset. What will bum me out is if this ends up tainting the whole night.”

Adora peeks at her from the corner of her eye. “You’re right, I’m- never mind. You’re really not offended?”

“I’m really not.”

Adora sighs but it sounds a little something like relief. “Well thank you. For being so chill about this.”

She turns down Catra’s street and slows in front of the house, pulling to a stop. “I had a great night, Greyskull. Don’t worry about it too much.”

Adora snorts. “Yeah, okay. I’ll try at least.”

“Hey, I’ve got a question for you.”

Her eyebrows raise. “Go for it.”

Catra leans in closer, feeling no shyness about the long look she gives Adora’s mouth. “That whole not making out over the center console thing, that exclusive to the first time or…?”

“Why, Catra D’riluth,” Adora feigns shock. “are you coming onto me right now?”

“Depends, you gonna be a little shit about it?”

“I mean…”

“Shut and kiss me, Adora.”

Adora walks her to her door twenty minutes later, and Catra lets herself inside ten minutes after that. Relieved to find no one in the common area, Catra leans back against the closed door and giggles.

-{…}-

“You did what?” Glimmer shrieks over the phone. Adora turns the volume down a notch or two. She leans back in her desk chair and uses her feet on her desk to tip two of the chair legs off the floor.

She grimaces. “I know, Glimmer. I feel awful.”

“Was she pissed?”

“Honestly, I don’t think so. She said she wasn’t at least. And, uh…” Adora’s grateful that no one is actually in her room with her to see the fierceness of her blush. “the rest of the night was good.”

Glimmer cackles. “Damn, she still gave you a goodnight kiss even after you drooled on her?”

“I didn’t say that!”

“Please Adora, you may as well have. Anyway, she must really like you if you got away with that. Especially on a first date. I would murder Bow.”

“Gee, thanks Glim. Really making me feel better about my fuck up here.”

“Yeah, if you were looking for a pep talk why did you call me and not Bow?”

“Bow didn’t pick up and I didn’t wanna wait.” Adora grumbles.

Glimmer laughs shortly, far from offended. She’s not the feelings friend. Nor is Adora for that matter. “Yeah, well he’s helping George with some home improvement crap today.”

“Whatever. What do I do?”

“What do you mean, ‘what do I do’? If she’s not pissed, you thank your lucky stars and never bring it up again.”

“Glimmer,” Adora groans, slouching further into her chair. “I have to do something, make it up to her somehow.”

“Okay, did you have something in mind?”

“Well, she doesn’t want me to make a thing of it,” Glimmer interrupts with a pointed hum, which Adora steadfastly ignores. “So, I was thinking maybe just like an unrelated gesture?”

“Uh huh…and what exactly does that mean?”

“Well I’ve been trying to come up with a good prom ask…”

“Is Catra D’riluth even into prom?”

“Well…I dunno about into it, but we talked about it. I think she’s expecting me to ask and I just feel like after last night I need to make it really, really good.”

“Why does she expect you to ask her?”

Adora shrugs even though Glimmer obviously can’t see it. “I mean, she didn’t say as much but clearly I’m the one who’s into it. Just seems like if it’s my thing…”

“I guess that logic tracks, just remember she’s gotta woo you too, Adora.”

“Yeah, yeah. I appreciate that. So…help me brainstorm?”

“Well, what do you have so far?”

“Okay,” Adora swings her legs off her desk and onto the floor. She leans forward and props her elbows on wide spread knees, quite literally leaning into the conversation. “so, I’m thinking she’ll be there.”

“Uh huh…”

“And then I come in.”

“Okay…”

“And I just…do my thing and I like, ask her. Ideally she says yes.”

“So, to be clear,” Glimmer deadpans. “you have no clue.”

Adora laughs humorlessly and throws herself back into her chair again, one leg automatically crossing over her opposite knee. “Pretty much, yeah.”

“Well…what does she like?”

“Um…theatre obviously, being a brat, she reads a lot….”

“Great. None of that really helps us, does it?”

“Pft, no, not especially.”

“She probably wouldn’t like a huge display, right? Like, I’m pretty sure she’d murder you if you asked her in the caf or like, at playoffs or something.”

“Blech don’t even say that word right now, I’m trying to pretend that’s not coming up. Coach has been in rare form at practice the last couple weeks.” Truth be told, no one expects the team to make it through, but Huntara’s got beef with the Horde’s coach. Adora shivers, she’s left the last couple practices extra exhausted. She hoped it would at least help her sleep but that’s continued to be an uphill battle.

“How are you doing?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well I just…I know how excited you were for this date and you fell asleep? Practices are getting tougher…”

“I’m fine, Glimmer.” Adora insists. “Playoffs will be over soon anyway. But that’s not why I called. Can you please help me here?”

“Fine, fine, I’m sorry. Okay so…promposal…gotta be honest here, Adora, I’m pulling up a blank.”

Adora groans and tips her head back. “Yeah, me too.”

“Bow should be done with his shit by dinner. Call him tonight, he’s the gooey romantic one.”

“Probably smart.”

She must sound as dejected as she feels because Glimmer assures her. “We’ll figure something out, don’t stress about it.”

Adora mumbles some sort of agreement and then lets Glimmer steer the conversation in a new direction. She half listens to Glimmer complain about Flutterina’s latest antics at practice. In the back of her mind though, she’s still attempting to brainstorm.

After dinner she turns down Mara and Hope’s invitation to watch a movie in favor of calling Bow as soon as possible. He’s weirdly…cagey. He keeps trying to steer the conversation to clothes for Prom.

“Focus Bow!” She whines at him. “I need your help!”

“Sorry, sorry! I just…did you see that shop in Erelandia is having a sale in a couple weeks. It only leaves like, two weeks before prom if we wait for it, but-“

“Why are you being weird about this?”

“I’m not!” His voice squeaks. Is he…lying about something?

“Bow…”

“I’m just a little worn out, sorry Adora. Uhm, I can help you brainstorm. You could…oh, you could pick her up for school and write it on her coffee cup?” That makes her relax a little, maybe she’s just reading into his tone too much. Wouldn’t be the first time, and she is a little on edge about this.

That’s… “Cute, but I dunno. It’s not very…personal. What else you got?”

“Uh…when are you thinking of asking her?”

“Depends on when I figure something out. Next weekend maybe.”

“Hmm…gimme a night to sleep on it, okay? Maybe we can talk about it with Glim in sixth on Monday or something.”

“Okay, yeah. Thanks Bow.”

“Sure thing. I’m gonna let you go though, I’m pretty beat.”

“Right, of course! Uhm, and we should chat about that sale, I’m down to go with you.”

“Sweet! Have you thought about if you’ll wear a dress or a suit?”

“Eh, I’m leaning dress but pretty on the fence. I’ll probably try both, just to see.”

“Dope! Okay, well have a good night, Adora.”

“You too, Bow.”

They hang up and Adora flops onto her bed with a groan. Girls are dumb. She’s not sure if she’s applying that to herself or Catra. Little of both probably. After about five minutes of just stewing there, she decides to text her.

Adora

Hey!!

Catra

Sup Greyskull

Adora rolls her eyes fondly at her phone.

Adora

Nothing really!

You??

Catra

Listening to Scorp

She’s freaking out

Trying to figure out how to ask Fuma to Prom

Adora

Awww!!

Catra

It’s like she think’s she’ll say no

Such a nerd

Anyway

You texting for a reason?

Or just miss me?

Adora

Well I mean that.

Definitely!

But also!

We haven’t talked about the game…

Catra

?

Adora

Playoffs are this week…

Catra

Oh

Basketball

Adora’s heart skips a little and she winces, taking a moment to bury her face in a pillow before responding. Catra’s been to a game once, right? Surely now that they’re dating, she’d be willing to go again….

Adora

Yeah…

Catra

Archer and the princess are going

Right?

Adora

Yeah!

Um…

What do you think?

Catra

About them going?

I mean, I’m hoping I can get a ride

But idc other than that…

Adora

You’re coming then!?

Catra

Ur an idiot

Adora

Catra

Ffs

Yah, of course I am

Adora

Yay!!

Um…

Catra

Yes?

 

Adora can practically see her smirking.

 

Adora

Well…

It’s cheesy :/

Catra

So are u

Adora

Shut up!

It’s okay if you’re not into it…

But I have an extra jersey…

Catra

Hmmmm

Can I make it into a crop top?

Adora gulps, the sound is loud in her quiet room. She should put music on or something; the silence is deafening. Instead she focuses on her task.  

Adora

As great as I’m sure that would look

Coach would kill me

Catra

What?

I don’t get to keep it?

Adora

Lol!!

No.

It’s my home jersey.

Catra

Wtf

Adora

The one I wear for home games.

The one for away games is different.

Catra

Interesting

Sports are weird

So

Do I get that one too?

Like when you have home game

Adora

You can!

Your decision!!

Catra

U want me to wear it?

Adora

I mean…

Catra

Adora

Well I did ask D’riluth.

Catra

Point taken

Adora

So…

?

Catra

Whatever

Yeah, I’ll wear your thing Greyskull

Adora

Yay!

Catra

You nerd

Adora

Tysm!!

Catra doesn’t really respond after that. It’s fine, Adora had been nervous she wouldn’t even want to go to the game. The fact that she’s gonna wear Adora’s jersey…it makes something inside of her roar with satisfaction. Like seeing Catra in her flannels times ten. Adora’s name is on that jersey.

Her excitement doesn’t make it any easier to fall asleep that night, but when she does it’s with a smile on her face.

Chapter Text

Adora has a plan. It’s kind of vague. She’s mostly gonna wing it. It’ll be cute though! There’s probably gonna be a sign, which she could maybe get help crafting…. She’s really not that artistic. Mermista can draw! Adora makes a mental note to text her.

In the end, when it came to brainstorming, Glimmer and Bow had been supportive but no help at all. They made suggestions, all of them just…sucked. They really sucked. She’s still confident though; she can definitely make this romantic. Maybe she’ll make a playlist to go with the sign. Yeah, that’ll be good….

It’s fine, she’s totally got this. Bow suggested she wait until after the game, so she’s not worn out or whatever. It sorta made sense at the time. Plus, Catra probably doesn’t want it to happen at school, right? So, she’s thinking she’ll do it when she and Catra hang out on Saturday. It has her keyed up all week but, luckily, she’s able to blame it on the upcoming game.

As Adora and Bow pull into school Thursday morning, her phone chimes with a text. “Wow, who’s texting you so early Adora?” She looks at him strangely; why is he using his lying voice?

“Uh…” She digs up her phone. “Oh, it’s Mermista. She asked me to come to first early. I guess she didn’t finish one of the problems from the homework and wants help. Dunno why she doesn’t just ask Prof, though.”

“Huh, so weird. Maybe she’s just not there yet.”

Adora narrows her eyes at him. “Do you know something I don’t, Bow?”

Unfazed by her scrutinization, he just smirks at her. “Just get to class, Adora.”

She huffs but follows him out of the car and peels off to go directly to Spinerella’s room. Mermista is there, but something tells Adora it’s not to study. Probably the couple dozen yellow roses she’s holding. And the fact she doesn’t have her stuff out. Mostly the roses.

“Hey Merms….”

“Oh, Grey. Cool.” She looks tired and less than enthused, but she has coffee so Adora assumes she’ll perk up to her normal level of ambivalence soon. “Here.”

Adora accepts the flowers gingerly. Her heart is already racing. “What…?”

“Oh, I’m supposed to give you this too.” From the desk behind her she procures a few sheets of lined paper and a pencil. She looks down, all the flowers have tags; the exact tags leadership used for Valentine’s day in fact. “If you have extra paper like, hang onto it or whatever.”

Adora can’t tell from her tone if this is Mermista not wanting her stuff back, or if it’s significant. There are four sheets of paper. Interesting… “Merms, what the fuck?”

“Just do your stupid puzzle, Grey. I’m under caffeinated.” When she takes a drink from her cup Adora notices the scribbled hand writing doesn’t say, ‘Mermista’; it says ‘Catra’. Her heart takes a running leap. 

Wasting no more time, Adora sits in her desk and gets to work. The puzzle is set up just the same as the one she’d given Catra just a few months ago. There are exactly two dozen roses, and by the time she’s done her paper reads; “So, I’m glad we’re dating now”.

She turns around in her seat. He cheeks already hurt from smiling so hard. “Mermista…”

She scowls lightly at her, but her eyes twinkle with amusement. “Yeah, you really think you’re gonna get information outta me, Grey?”

Adora pursues her lips, it’s quite the feat considering how wide her grin is. She doesn’t expect so, no. By that point there’s only a couple minutes to bell anyway; the classroom has filled up around Adora without her even noticing.

People are giving the mountain of roses on her desk overt looks and whispering. She pays them no mind. Adora is fairly certain Spinerella teaches a lesson that morning. She barely notices that either.

 

After pit stopping at her car to drop off her flowers, hating to leave them but a little overburdened, Adora races to Bio. She looks for Catra all the way but has no luck. Just as she’d hoped, Bow is waiting at their lab table with a big ol’ smirk on his face. He also has just over a dozen pink roses.

They’re watching a video that period and Adora couldn’t tell you what happens in the first ten minutes. She’d been too busy writing out; “Because I like you” onto her second sheet of lined paper.

After class ends, she’s immediately on Bow. “What is she doing?”

He scoffs at her. “Please.”

“Come on, Bow.” She wheedles; if she’s gonna break anyone, it’ll be Bow.

“No way, trust me; you do not want me to spoil this. Just enjoy it, Adora.” She whines at him, but he doesn’t relent. Whatever, she doesn’t have time for this shit.

She races to her car and then off to Spanish. Glimmer is waiting outside the classroom, this time with ten Lavender roses. Interesting….

“Glimmer…”

“Nuh uh, Adora. Let the girl have her fun.” Can a face literally spilt from smiling too wide, do you think?

Adora has to work on this one in between some dumb worksheet that she absorbs absolutely nothing from. Their teacher wanders by her desk a couple times but doesn’t comment when she sees Adora is still getting her work done.

It takes her nearly to the end of lesson but it’s so, so worth it. This time the message is; “in a gay way.”. Outside of the class Adora grabs Glimmer and shakes her a bit, squealing.

Glimmer just laughs at her antics and good naturedly tells her, “You’re a hopeless gay disaster, Adora.”

“I know!”

“You can probably skip going to your car this passing period.” Adora raises an eyebrow, smile never faltering. How could it? “As long as you don’t mind carrying just a few more.”

Adora nearly skips to class. Okay. She might actually skip a bit. Lonnie is waiting for her in History, holding just three pink roses. Not quite the bright pink of her second set, these are more of a peachy color.

Lonnie shakes her head at her as she hands the flowers over. “Damn, Greyskull. What did you do to this poor girl?”

Adora smirks. “No chance you’re gonna tell me where this is going, is there?”

“As if.” She’d been expecting that. The denial makes her no less giddy.

This one takes nearly no time at all to work out, Adora doesn’t even need a new slip of paper. It does, however, successfully put her on edge. All it says is; “So,”. She watches every second that ticks by on the clock. It’s endless.

When the bell finally does ring, Adora practically runs smack into Bow. “Oh, hey, Bow!” She bites her lip, looking around, practically willing Catra to appear. She looks back at him; he’s laughing at her. “I don’t have to wait for fifth, do I?”

Smiling indulgently, he starts to lead her toward the caf. “No. Just eat something and I’ll take you where you need to go.”

She whines dramatically. The effect is somewhat diminished by her ever-present smile. “Can’t that wait?”

Bow laughs at her. “Nah, she insisted, that we make you eat first. She threatened Glimmy’s and my firstborn, so.”

Adora’s heart swells so large she’s not sure how it fits in chest anymore. Catra’s the worst. She practically inhales her sandwich and, cheeks still full, looks expectantly at Bow.

“Damn, Adora. Swallow.” She has to drink some water to get the mouthful down, but she manages it.

“Alright you big, gay lesbian, let’s go.” Adora bounces on her balls of her feet as she follows Bow to Netossa’s classroom. Their table of friends all giggle at her and Perfuma calls out to wish her luck.

Adora practically implodes when she sees Catra standing at the front of the room, a few orange flowers in hand. Catra’s in Adora’s red flannel and her hair is pulled back loosely into a high ponytail. Adora desperately wants to kiss her.

“Thanks, Archer. Can you like…fuck off now?”

Bow laughs. Adora kind of hears it. Her eyes though, those are laser focused on Catra. “Sure thing. Have fun now, kids.”

Finally, in front of Catra, her arms loaded with roses, Adora doesn’t know quite what to say. “So…”

Catra snorts and walks closer, right up into Adora’s space. “What do you say, Greyskull? Think you're up for one more?”

Adora doesn’t even try to fight her smile. She leans just slightly away to set her peach and purple flowers on a desk, dropping her bag into the seat. “I think I could be persuaded”

An eye roll. “Great, I already gave you a head start.” She gestures to the front of the room with her head; on the board are five horizontal lines, each one numbered in order.

“Aw,” Adora coos, stooping slightly to kiss Catra on the cheek. “so thoughtful.”

Catra growls, so soft it’s almost more of a purr. “Take the damn flowers, Greyskull.”

She gleefully does as she’s told. Up at the white board she sets to work, glancing back at Catra every few seconds. Despite her distraction she manages to write out; “prom?”. She punctuates her question mark with a heart, just because she can.

She twirls around fast enough to make her head spin. Catra looks nervous; it’s adorable. “So?”

Adora pretends to think, tapping her chin. “Hm, well, there’s no horse drawn carriage.”

That earns her a scoff, but Catra’s posture loosens ever so slightly. “Fuck off, Adora.”

“Got any fireworks close by?”

“Wow, you know what? Offer rescinded, I want my flowers back. Where are they? I know you have more.”

Adora walks closer, right into her personal space. She sucks her teeth. “Ooh, sorry, no take backs.”

“Oh? So, you make the rules now, do ya?”

“Nah,” She smirks. “just know ‘em pretty well.”

“Alright,” Catra squares her shoulders. “well if you’re keeping my flowers-“

“My flowers.” Adora corrects.

“I think you at least owe me an answer, wouldn't you say so?”

“Yes.” The word is out practically before Catra finishes speaking.

“So?” She’s definitely teasing her.

“Oh my- that's my answer, D’riluth.”

Still with that teasing smile, Catra starts. “Ah, I-“ Adora cuts her off with a searing kiss.

Pulling away, breathless, Adora asks, “What are the chances we could skip fifth to go make out in my car?”

Catra laughs. “I mean, I kicked Netossa outta her classroom while she was grading papers for this, so. She’ll know exactly what we’re doing. Your call.”

Adora blushes, genuinely considering it for a second. “Well…we still have a little bit till the end of lunch at least, right?

Another laugh, a blush rising high on Catra’s cheeks. “You’re ridiculous.”

“Is that a no?”

“For fuck’s-it’s a yes, Princess. So, get your ass moving.”

With not a moment to lose, Adora does just that, pulling a laughing Catra behind her all the way.

-{…}-

“So…” Glitter starts from the driver’s seat of her fancy car. “How did your prom ask go?”

Catra groans; this fucking girl is literally bouncing in her seat. “Are you really trying to tell me Adora didn’t already fill you in?”

“Of course she did, I want multiple angles though.” Stupid Mermmy with her fucking two-seater. Coulda escaped this hell if she weren’t driving Fuma. “So?”

“It was fine, it was good. I’m not sure what you want me to say.” Glimmer sniffs. “For fuck’s sake, Sparkles. It was cute, we hung out in her car after.”

Bow cuts her off with a snort. “’Hung out’, ha! You mean made out in her car and stumbled into lit fifteen minutes late. Glimmy, you saw Adora’s hickey, right?”

“Shut the fuck up, Archer! Gah, are all preps this fucking up in each other’s business? I swear, dating Adora is like being in a relationship with all of you.”

“You know what they say, you date a girl you date her family too.” Shimmer taunts her from the front seat.

“Literally who says that?”

She shrugs. “People. Also, yes Bow, I did in fact see Adora’s hickey.” She catches Catra’s eye in the rearview mirror and pointedly adds, “Kinda hard to miss.”

“Wow, you know what? Why don’t you let me out here and I’ll fucking walk the rest of the way?”

Bow looks horrified at the suggestion. “Catra! We’re on the interstate.”

“So?”

“Ignore her.” His girlfriend instructs. “Honestly though, D’riluth, that was cute.”

She doesn’t blush. She just doesn’t “Whatever. I wasn’t even gonna do it this week but then Greyskull had to go and try and beat me to it.”

Glimmer hums. “Hm, yeah well she wasn’t expecting you to ask. She thought you expected her to do it.”

She says it so nonchalant, like this is something Catra should just know. “The fuck?”

A shrug. “She just said since she’s more into that kind of thing…”

“What kind of thing?” Catra demands, leaning between the front seats to more actively engage with this conversation. Seriously, what has she come to? And why does she feel so defensive? “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I mean…are you into prom?” Bow asks, twisting in the passenger’s seat to see her better.

“No.” Catra grumbles. “Maybe. I don’t fucking know.” He raises an eyebrow at her and she huffs, quietly adding, “I’m into Adora.”

The cooing that elicits from the front seat is, frankly, infuriating. “So…” Glimmer catches her eye in the mirror again, but it’s not a teasing look this time. Catra sits up a little more, still leaning forward. “There was something else I wanted to get your take on.”

She rolls her eyes. “Another invasive question about my love life?”

“Well…” Unbelievable. “Not exactly, but like…adjacent.”

“Whatever, spit it out. We’re gonna get to the school before you get to your point at this rate.”

“Your date…Adora said she fell asleep?” She sees Bow wince from her periphery. Honestly, she’s really not upset about it. Catra was getting drowsy herself in there. That’s not to say she isn’t concerned, not when that’s compounded by other red flags.

“Yeah, and?”

She sees Glimmer narrow her eyes, now focused on the road again. “How pissed were you?”

“Like, not at all.”

Bow twists fully around to look at her. “Really? Glim would murder me.” Glimmer nods in agreement with this.

“Really. She clearly felt bad; I wasn’t gonna make her feel even worse. Plus, like, a warm, dark room with some old science dude yammering? I kinda get it.” She eyes the two of them up. “Is this like…a thing though?”

Bow tips his head to the side. “What do you mean?”

Catra can’t hold back a huff. She seriously can’t be the only one who’s noticed, right? “I mean the fact that Adora was so exhausted she fell asleep on a first date, and how she always jokes about sleeping four hours a night or some shit. What the fuck is up with that?”

The couple in front of her share a look, both grimacing. “Yeah…” Bow starts.

“That’s kind of why I brought it up. She says she’s fine.” Glimmer continues.

“But it’s Adora, and she always says that.”

“Even when she’s not fine.”

“So…”

Glimmer catches her eye again. “Yeah, it’s a thing.”

“Well does she fucking talk to you guys about it?”

Glimmer actually laughs. “Did you not just hear Bow? It’s Adora. No, of fucking course she doesn’t talk to us about struggling in any way. She only told us about sophomore year like…a couple weeks ago.”

“Oh.” Catra blinks, kind of surprised by that.

Glimmer pulls off the freeway and sighs. “Listen, Adora’s…proud? Is that the right word, Bow?”

“Hm…maybe. I think there’s a shame element there too.”

Catra’s, “Wow, okay.” from the back goes ignored.

“True, but wouldn’t you say the shame is a biproduct of the pride though?”

Bow considers this while Catra looks on, stupefied. Are they really just…like analyzing their friend right now? “Is there a point to this?”

“Right!” Glimmer snaps back to their conversation. “Yes, there is. Adora is proud or whatever, so if you push, she’ll just go further into her shell. You’re right though, we think something’s up there too.”

“Gotcha.” Catra bites her lip, debating asking the question she wants to. It feels like it’ll…sort of put her on display, but clearly these yahoos have no concept of over sharing. “Do you guys have any…I don’t know, ways you support her without pushing or whatever?”

Catra’s barely mumbling by the time she finishes, but still it incites a round of cooing. Assholes. “Aww, you like her.” Bow teases in sing song.

“Wow, inciteful there, Archer. The two of us dating clue you in?”

“Cute. And to answer your question; I don’t know, nothing super specific. We just try to check in when it comes up, give her opportunities to open up.”

“Ah, and does she ever?”

“Not so far.” His grimace is back. The school is now looming in the distance and Catra decides she’s done with this heavy topic.

“So, who are you two going to prom with?” Glimmer snorts and Bow chuckles lightly at the question.

“I think I might ask Sea Hawk.” He jokes. “Since Merms is clearly gonna pass.”

“She would never forgive you.” Shimmer tells him.

“Eh, worth it if I got to take that fine man to prom.”

“Well shit. Guess I need a backup date then. D’riluth, you and Adora interested in a thruple thing?”

Gross. The two of you horrify me.”

They laugh heartily and Catra is almost enjoying herself. Almost.

-{…}-

Predictably, Brightmoon loses the playoffs. None of the players are too disappointed, they weren’t expecting a win after all. Personally, Adora is looking forward to a break from athletics for a little bit. Coach on the other hand…. Huntara gives them an earful in the locker room about how next year is gonna go.

Then she announces that Adora has been voted team captain for next year. Her teammates take turns congratulating her, and she thanks them each, her blush growing darker each time. It means next spring is gonna be a lot more work, but she can take it. Scorpia finds her after they’re both showered and dressed and leads her out to the gym.

“Captain Adora! It just sounds right, you know?”

Adora rubs the back of her neck, feeling a little awkward. She’s so, so proud and grateful to her team. She’s just nearing her capacity for attention. “Thanks, Scorp.”

“Oh absolutely! I’ll bet Catra’s gonna be really proud.” She nudges her with her elbow and waggles her eyebrows.

Adora snorts to cover her embarrassment, hopefully the redness from exertion followed by a hot shower helps to cover the blushing. “D’riluth? I don’t think she cares about that kind of stuff.”

Far from dissuaded, Scorpia shrugs. “Maybe, but she cares about you.”

She catches sight of their friend group then. Calling out and waving over, she speeds up, leaving Adora a little struck. She just said it so…simply. Like it’s just a fact that Catra D’riluth cares about her. Obviously, they’re dating and all but…something about the way she says it so offhandedly catches Adora off guard.

Then she catches sight of her girlfriend and she’s caught off guard all over again. Adora needs a nap, pronto. Well, pancakes then a nap. Catra catches sight of her face and smirks, sauntering over.

“Good game, Greyskull.”

“Pft, just how little do you understand about sports there, babe? You do realize we lost?”

Catra hums and trails a hand up her arm to her neck. She leaves it there, stroking her thumb over Adora’s undercut. Adora wonders if she does it because she likes the feeling of the soft little hairs, or because she can tell just how much Adora likes it.  Would it be bad to take a nap right here? In the bleachers of a school I don’t attend.

“Yeah, but you looked super hot doing it.”

“Shut up.” Adora laughs, diminishing her words by pulling Catra closer by the hips. “You’re the one who looks super hot. Thought I said not to turn my jersey into a crop top though. “

Catra looks down at herself, as if she’s forgotten what she’s wearing. As if she didn’t put it on specifically to scramble Adora’s brains. “Hm, pretty sure you only said not to cut it.”

“True.” Adora fingers the bottom of the shirt, clearly rolled or tucked rather than hemmed. She revels in the way Catra’s stomach clenches and breaks out in goose bumps. That’s…interesting. “How did you accomplish this then?”

“Oh, you know, a hair tie, couple safety pins.”

“How ingenious of you. You know, you-“

“Hey love birds!” Glimmer interrupts. Why is Adora friends with her again? Lots of reasons, she’s sure, but suddenly she can’t come up with one. “If you’re done flirting, everyone else is heading to the diner.”

“Shut up Glim!” Adora calls back. “Scorpia, you need a ride there?”

“Nope! Fuma’s got her mom’s car.”

“Hey Perfuma!”

“Hello Adora, congratulations on getting Captain.”

“Oh, uh…thanks!” With a wave to the group, Adora hastily makes her exit, dragging Catra with her. She allows it but calls back a goodbye to their friends. There’s laughter clear in her voice.

“So…” Catra begins a couple meters from the car. “Captain.”

Adora rolls her eyes and huffs. “Yes.”  

Catra waits to respond until they’re closer to the car. Then, in a move so quick she can’t track it, Catra has Adora pinned against the driver’s side door. It’s…ahem. Adora gulps.

“That’s kinda hot.” She’s grinning wickedly and it sends electricity all through Adora’s…everywhere.

“O-Oh yeah?”

Oh yeah.” She leans in slowly to whisper in Adora’s ear. “Oh Captain, my Captain.” Then, still moving ever so slowly, her lips touch Adora’s neck. Gently, almost chastely, at first. Then she’s lightly grazing her teeth over her pulse point and Adora can’t help the desperate little noise that leaves her. “Fuck, Adora.”

Catra pulls back and it takes everything in Adora to keep from whimpering. “Uh, s-sorry. I just-it’s-you’re um-“

“Princess, believe me, you do not have to apologize. I just need…like, a little bit of air.”

Caught up, Adora starts smirking. “Aw, babe, did I rile you up?”

Catra growls, it’s especially fucking hot in this context honestly. “Yeah, Greyskull. Did you hear the noise you just made?”

There’s no way her activities that evening are gonna cover the way her face heats at that question. “Fuck off. Your fault.”

Catra groans and presses her against the car again. She uses her hips to pin her there and her hands go to Adora’s neck, stroking both thumbs over the back of Adora’s head. “What are you doing tomorrow?”

“Uh…this?”

“Great answer.” That settled, Catra dives back in to resume kissing her.

They get to the diner long after the rest of their friends.

Chapter Text

After Glitter’s comment about Adora’s ‘expectations’ on the way to the game, Catra is determined to do a little wooing of her own. She’s prepared to bribe Scorpia if need be, but it turns out to be unnecessary. She readily agrees to let Catra use her car on Saturday.

She drives to Adora’s place and rings the bell. Mara answers and immediately sizes her up. She smirks when she gets to the flowers. “Hey Catra.”

“Uh, hey Mara.” Suddenly bashful Catra rubs at the back of her neck with her free hand. “Is Adora home?”

“Hm, before I answer that; just what are your intentions with my little sister?”

Catra opens her mouth to answer, trying to gauge just how seriously she’s supposed to take the question. Luckily, she’s cut off by the sound of footsteps thundering down the stairs. Mara turns to look, and Catra heaves a sigh of relief.

“Damn it, Mara!” Adora hollers, coming into view. She’s only wearing one sneaker. “I heard that! I fucking told you not to give her a hard time.”

Mara pouts, it’s very clearly put on. “Aw, but that’s my job, ‘Dor. If you put me outta work how am I supposed to keep a roof over our heads?”

Adora rolls her eyes and bounces on one foot to get her other shoe on. At this point Catra is more bemused than anything; she’s never had a sibling. “Ugh, you’re the worst. Why are you like this?”

“Must be the DNA.” Then her attention is back on Catra. “Bad news for you, kid.”

Adora scoffs and now she’s looking at Catra too. “Don’t listen to her. We’re half-sisters, all of…that comes from the Eternia side of the family.”

“Wow, way to get a dig in on Razz.”

Adora throws her hands up with a groan. “Can you just like, for once in your life not- hey!” She looks at Catra, like actually looks at her, and softens. “Did you bring me flowers?”

“You know, I actually just remembered I need to give my dog a bath.” She jerks a thumb over her shoulder and feigns like she’s about to back away.

“Shut up.” Adora grins at her. “You don’t have a dog.” She narrows her eyes teasingly. “Also, you’re clearly a cat person.”

“Please tell me that’s not a joke about my name. That’s low hanging fruit, Greyskull. You’re better than that.”

“Ha!” Mara laughs and gives Catra a high five. And yeah, she’s a little smug about it.

No.” Adora inserts. “It’s clearly a joke about how cool and aloof you are.”

“Whatever you say. You want these flowers or not?”

“Hell yeah, gimme!” Catra passes her the bouquet, a mix of pink and yellow tulips, with a chuckle.

“Damn, Catra. You trying to turn my house into a florist shop or some shit? We already have like five dozen roses in here.”

Mara!” Adora whips around, scandalized, to scold her sister.

“Well am I wrong?”

“Hope getting jealous or something there, Mara?” Adora and Mara both look to Catra in surprise. She just raises and eyebrow and smirks back at them. “I mean, seems like there are worse problems to have.”

Adora starts giggling and Mara breaks into a grin, shaking her head. “Wow, okay. Adora, why don’t you let me get those in water for you. Then you can get this hooligan off my porch.”

“Great, thanks!” Adora foists the flowers off on her and skips out the door. She grabs Catra’s hand to pull her along, and when she pulls the door shut behind them it cuts off the sound of Mara’s laughter.

“You’re absurd.” Catra observes, still allowing herself to be pulled along.

“You like it.”

“Nah, I don’t like you.”

Adora pulls her to a stop in front of Scorpia’s car so suddenly they crash together. She uses her grip on Catra’s hand to keep her from stepping back as she finds her balance. “Hi.”

Hey Adora.”

“You like me.”

“Oh yeah? What makes you so sure?”

“Hmm…” Adora pretends to think. “I can show you better than I can tell you.”

Catra wants to let her have it, to just lean in to kiss her, but she just… “Wow Greyskull. That was…new heights, even for you.”

“Yeah?” She’s eager, clearly taking that as a compliment.

“Definitely.”

“Cool. I’m gonna kiss you now if that’s okay?”

“Great, what’re you waiting for then, Princess?” As it turns out; nothing. Adora pulls her in for a searing kiss and Catra can feel her smile in it.

Sure enough, when they pull apart, she’s grinning. To be fair, Catra is also grinning. “Thanks for the flowers, you’re sweet.”

“Sure thing, cutie.” Adora blushes at the moniker and smiles somehow wider

“So…where are we going?”

“Well…” Catra leads her to the passenger side door and opens it for her. “the community theatre over in Elberon has a matinee in a little bit. I thought we could hit that up and then maybe grab food somewhere over there.”

“Cute!” Adora cheers and, finally satisfied, she climbs into the car.

Catra closes her in and circles the car to hop in herself. She gets the car started and passes Adora the music. Friday I’m in Love starts up, but it’s definitely a cover. “Who is this?”

“Hmm, Phoebe Bridgers.”

“Ah, makes sense. ‘S moody.”

Adora laughs. “True.”

They settle in to listen and Catra glances at her phone to check directions and take a turn. She’s on somewhat high alert. She’s a pretty good driver, she wouldn’t bring Adora in the car if she weren’t, it’s just that she doesn’t do it that often. If she’s driving over thirty miles an hour, she tends to focus a little bit extra.

The track shifts and Catra’s vibing on what follows it. It’s not something she recognizes so, as it comes to a close, she turns to ask Adora about it. And…You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me. She’s asleep. Just completely passed out, slouching against the window.

Catra focuses back on the road and thinks. She should probably let her sleep. Adora’s gonna feel bad no matter how long she’s out for and, clearly, she needs the rest. And that thought stops her; it’s time for a plan B.

-{…}-

Adora’s warm, cozy, but not quite comfortable. “Adora…” She vaguely registers someone whispering. It makes her shift and Ouch! Her head bangs against…a window?

She sits with a start, finally remembering where she is. “Shit!” Her wild eyes catch sight of Catra, and she freezes for half a second. “Fuck, Catra I am so, so sorry. I just get kind of sleepy on car rides when I’m a passenger. I swear I had so much coffee this morning. I-“

Catra is sat…cross legged, sideways in her seat. They aren’t moving; how long was she out? Are they here already? She looks out her window. It doesn’t look like a community theatre. It looks like a supermarket. She sends Catra a questioning look.

“The fuck is going on, Greyskull?”

“I-I’m sorry.” Fuck, she can’t cry right now. She’s the asshole here, if anyone has a right to cry, it’s Catra. After all, it’s her girlfriend who’s fallen asleep on her twice now. “I really-“

“Adora, stop.”

“I-okay.”

“What’s going on? Why aren’t you sleeping?”

Adora panics, she’s not going to run, she’s not. But part of her absolutely wants to. Catra must see her panic in her expression because she sighs and takes pity on her. “Just…we can talk about this later. I switched up the date.”

“Oh, Catra. You really didn’t have-“

“I’m wooing you, Adora, let me woo you.” Her expression is stern but Adora really doesn’t understand what she’s getting at.

“What…?”

“Clearly a dark theatre with crappy seats isn’t where you wanna be right now.”

“That’s not-“

“It’s not a bad thing, Dora. I wouldn’t want to go watch Elberon community theatre probably butcher Arsenic and Old Lace if I was exhausted either.”

“I’m not-“ She cutes herself off this time, at Catra’s look. “Why are we at the grocery store?”

Catra’s stern look softens into a smile. “Snacks!”

And with that she’s out of the car. Adora scrambles to follow her and Catra grabs her hand as they walk into the store. She grabs a basket on their way in and turns to ask Adora what she wants.

“For…snacks.”

“Yep!”

“What are we doing?”

“You’ll see. Just, what do you want?” Maybe Adora’s not awake yet or something, cause she can’t think of a single food right now. “Right, shall I just pick?”

“Would you?” Adora asks, relief rushing her voice.

“Sure thing, Greyskull.” Adora trails after her, watching her collect a basket full of food. “So…” She starts as she peruses salsa. Adora’s heart clenches. “What’s your opinion on fruit in salsa?”

Relief floods her and her heart slows back to a normal pace. “Uh…it’s fucking weird unless it’s fresh mangos.”

Catra snorts and looks to her with a raised brow. Why is she being so cool about this? Why are we here? “Wow, okay. I’ll be honest I wasn’t expecting such a strong stance but noted.”

Adora shrugs, she stands by it. Catra gets a couple kinds of candy after that and leads them to the till. “Can I pay?”

“Absolutely not.” Catra shuts her down as she starts ringing them through the self check out.

“Catra, please? I want to.”

Without looking up from her task, Catra reiterates. “Nope. You got it last time. And, if you’ll recall, I’m in the middle of wooing you.”

Catra.” She can’t help but fuss a little. “I fell asleep.”

That makes her stop, and she turns to face her. “Yeah, you did. So, will you let me fucking take care of you for five seconds, dummy?”

Adora feels her eyes go wide. “I-“

“Great.” Before she knows it Catra has finished and they’re climbing into Scorpia’s car again.

Catra ends up taking them back to the D’ream’s. Now Adora really has no idea what’s going on. Still, she follows Catra inside without further question. Scorpia and Perfuma are in the living room when they come in and look surprised to see them.

“Wildcat! You’re home. Hey Adora.”

Adora feels herself flush at the thought of her friends knowing of her shameful behavior. “Hey Scorpia, Perfuma.”

Perfuma smiles and waves at the both of them. Then Scorpia is asking, “What are you doing back so soon? Thought you said you needed the car till this evening.”

“I did, change of plans though.” Catra explains simply. “Were you guys gonna watch TV or do you mind if I take it into the room for a little bit?”

If Scorpia’s surprised by the request, she doesn’t let it show. “Go for it! I think we were gonna take a walk in a little bit here.” She looks to Perfuma for confirmation and her girlfriend nods at the group to confirm.

“Awesome, thanks.” Catra hands Adora the grocery bag and unplugs the TV, picking it up. Without another word she heads toward what must be her room. Adora follows after an awkward wave to their friends.

“Catra, what are you…?” She deposits the TV on her dresser and comes over to take the bag from Adora.

She inclines her head toward the bed and commands, “Sit there.” Then she disappears out the door. Slowly Adora moves to perch on the edge of the bed. Catra comes back a few minutes later with what looks like five beds worth of pillows and blankets. Her arms are full and she’s kicking a couple quilts along as well.

“D’riluth, what the fuck?”

“Get up.” Adora does as she’s told but she still looks on expectantly. Catra doesn’t explain. Instead she starts throwing pillows and blankets around. Slowly, something of a nest begins to form.

Adora is beyond confused.

“What do you want to watch? Something chill, maybe something you’ve seen.”

“Uh…” Catra sets up the TV, pushes Adora toward the nest until her knees hit the edge of the bed, forcing her to sit, and then hands her a remote.

“Anything you want.”

“Catra, what is going on?” She rolls her eyes like Adora is being intentionally obtuse.

“Nap date.” She says it like this is something commonplace, like it should answer all of Adora’s questions.

“Wh-what?”

“You’re exhausted, right?” She doesn’t wait for an answer. It’s for the best really; Adora’d just deny it. “So, we’re going to get cozy, eat a bunch of snacks, and watch a movie. And if you fall asleep? Perfect, you’re already in the ideal location for it.”

She looks so proud of herself. And it’s…it’s maybe the single most thoughtful thing anyone has ever done for Adora Greyskull in her life. So, naturally, she bursts into tears.

-{…}-

Catra’s unsure if she should be concerned or proud that she’s made Adora Greyskull cry. Deciding to just deal with the situation at hand and worry about that later, she walks to the edge of the bed and sits down beside her. She holds her girlfriend in her arms and rocks her gently until she calms.

“You’re being too nice to me.” She mumbles into Catra’s shirt.

“Yeah, don’t say that shit to me.” Adora pulls back to look at her face and, probably, to protest. “Dora, you’re clearly worn out, there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t want you to feel like you have to push yourself to spend time with me. I’ll meet you where you’re at. And if that’s snuggling up and watching a movie, well then, lucky me.”

“You’re the actual best girlfriend in the world.”

“True. Now, what are we watching?”

“Um…can I be honest?”

“I’d prefer it if you were.”

Adora nods, biting her lip. Then she admits, “If I’m about to lay in this blanket nest, I’m probably gonna fall asleep like, instantly. So…you sure you don’t wanna pick?”

Catra looks at her shrewdly but eventually nods. That tracks. “Okay, let’s get cozy, Greyskull.”

Catra settles in and pulls Adora’s head into her lap. Then she combs her though her hair with her fingers. She falls asleep before Catra’s even chosen a show.

 

She wakes up about an hour and a half later, just as credits start to roll on Catra’s movie. By that point she’s gotten into the snacks. She also maybe, possibly had started to see how many cheese-its she could stack on the side of Adora’s head. If she had, her record would have been seventeen. Just saying.

Adora turns from her side to her back, and in a sleepy mumble she asks, “Did you…were there crackers on my head?”

“Dunno what you’re talking about, Greyskull.”

She smiles sleepily and rubs at her eyes. She looks cute waking up, like a little kid; hair mussed, hair pouf barely holding on at this point, and there’s a soft pink color high on her cheeks. “You’re funny.”

“True.”

“And nice.”

“Debatable.”

“Nuh-uh.” Adora is still laying with her head in Catra’s lap, looking up at her. To keep her neck from getting a crick, Catra leans back and uses her arms to prop her up. “Nicest.”

“If you say so, Greyskull.”

“Mm-hm.” She nods and finally sits up, crossing her legs in front of her and facing Catra. She rubs at her face again. “Seriously, thank you for this. I haven’t slept so hard in…ever.”

Catra purses her lips and takes a minute to just look at her in all her rumpled glory. “You wanna talk about it?”

She sees Adora’s jaw flex and her eyes look a little damp. Should I feel bad for making her cry twice in one day, or…? “Talk about what?” Is the answer Adora goes with. All notions of guilt vanish from Catra’s mind.

“Don’t even, Adora Greyskull. We don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to, but don’t act like you’re not aware that something’s wrong here.”

A tear rolls down Adora’s cheek, but her jaw doesn’t loosen. That is, until it does, and then in the blink of an eye she deflates entirely. “I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Catra keeps her voice firm but not harsh.

“All of it.” Adora’s lip wobbles with her answer. “For fucking falling asleep on you twice- well I guess three times now. For…for being obstinate when you’re clearly just tryna help me. I-for being an asshole, I don’t know; all of it.”

“Adora…I already told you, you don’t need to feel guilty for being worn out, you’re not an asshole. The other thing…. I’m not holding it against you, and I understand, but yeah, I guess I appreciate the apology for that. It’s still not necessary though, so please don’t beat yourself up on my account.”

Clearly warring with herself, Adora worries her lip. Catra waits patiently. “Can I hug you?” Is what eventually comes, small and quiet, out of Adora’s mouth.

“Literally anytime.” Adora nods and dives in, squeezing her tight. When it becomes clear this is gonna go on for a while, Catra adjusts them so that Adora is curled against her, with her legs arching over Catra’s lap.

After a few minutes of just sitting like this, Adora’s breath evens out. “Adora?”

“I have nightmares. Bad ones.”

“Oh.” It’s all Catra can think to say.

“It-I’ve tried like, sleeping pills and melatonin and stuff but it doesn’t really help. Kinda the opposite because I can’t wake up, like I’m trapped there.”

Catra squeezes her once. Her voice is thick when she offers, “That sounds awful, I’m so sorry, baby.”

She feels her nod into her chest. “They want-Mara and my doctor say if I get on a sleep schedule it’ll help. It’s just,” She sniffles a little and Catra thinks she can feel a damp spot growing on her shirt. Still, Adora barely wavers. “Whe-when I’m really tired, they’re not as bad.”

“Do they happen every night?” She keeps her voice soft and gentle, almost a whisper.

“Almost. Sometimes if I have a long practice, or a game and stay up late not so much.”

“Do you want to talk about what they’re about?”

Adora shakes her head but still says, “I can, I do with my doctor. Basically, it’s just stuff that’s happened; the fire, memories from that house and that summer. Sometimes the endings are different, worse.”

Catra tenses at the word “Fire?”

“Oh. Yeah. It’s how…my parents. I was eight.”

“Oh, Adora.” She isn’t crying alone anymore. It’s all Catra can do to keep from letting loose the small sobs in her chest.

“It’s okay.” It’s the most emotionless she’s ever heard her girlfriend.

Is it?”

She feels Adora’s head shake under her chin. “N-No. It’s kind of fucking awful.”

Catra holds her while she cries in earnest, combing through her hair and rocking her gently. She kisses the top of her head as her cries start to slow, but still keeps her grip tight and scratches along the back of Adora’s scalp.

“I don’t know-I’ll be honest I’m a little out of my depth here, on what to do. If there’s anything though…”

Adora squeezes her once before slackening her grip and finally uncurling. Her eyes, cheeks and tip of her nose are bright pink. The hair pouf has given up entirely. She smiles just a little. “This was nice.”

“Great!” Catra brightens just a bit at having something actionable she can do here. “Standing date then?”

Adora’s lip wobbles again but her smile doesn’t waver. “Are you real?”

Catra laughs and feels the tension in the air she’d barely registered break slightly. “Shut up. I’m serious.”

“Yeah, so am I.” Her grin grows stronger.

Adora…

And then she laughs and the air in the room is so much lighter for it. “Yeah,” She leans in to kiss Catra’s cheek, her lips just a little bit damp. “That sounds great. I usually have test prep at noon on Saturdays though. And Razz comes over Sunday evenings.”

“That’s cool, do you wanna do it after or on Sunday mornings?”

“Damn D’riluth, you’re like, really serious about setting up this standing date thing, aren’t you?”

“Wow, okay.”

“What, do you like me or something?” She cocks a brow.

“Psh, no. I do not like you.” She gives Adora a little shove, it sends her back slightly, but she just comes reeling right back in.

“Hm, pity.”

“Yeah, well. Sucks to suck, I guess.”

“So, Saturday afternoons?” Her arms loop around Catra’s neck and Catra finally gives into the urge to dry her cheeks.

“Whatever you need, Princess.” She murmurs.

Adora hums, closing her eyes and leaning int the hands that cups her face. “Thank you, seriously. For being so cool.”

“It’s what I do.” Adora snorts but doesn’t argue “So…” Adora sits up, pulling her face away from Catra’s hands. She lets them linger until she can no longer reach.

“Yes?”

“Snacks?”

Adora grins with an impossibly wide smile on her face. “This is the best date ever.”

And yeah, Catra agrees; definitely the best date ever.

Chapter Text

Adora hates watching Bow and Glimmer argue, it’s like watching her parents fight. And she especially hates when she’s stuck in the middle of it.

“I asked first, Glimmy!” Bow insists.

“No way that’s true! I asked like, two years ago.”

What?Oh no… Bow turns on Adora. “There’s no way that’s true, right?”

“Uhh…maybe?”

Bow flips back to Glimmer. “It doesn’t count if she doesn’t remember.” Adora’s just waiting for Bow to stick his tongue out at his girlfriend.

Please, Adora barely remembers what happened two weeks ago.”

“Hey! I resent that.” Glimmer puts her hand up without even looking at Adora. “Okay, rude.”

“Shush, this isn’t about you.”

“Um, it kind of is though.”

“Glimmy,” Bow pulls focus once more. “There’s a sale this weekend and-“

“Why can’t I just go with both of you?”

Glimmer groans far more dramatically than Adora personally thinks is necessary. “Adora, Bow and I can’t go together. How am I gonna knock his socks off if he already knows what I’m gonna be wearing to prom?”

Aww!” Bow’s expression melts from trying to be irritated to straight up heart eyes. “Glimmy!”

“Okay, well I didn’t mean all three of us. I meant Bow and I can hit that sale and then you and I can go…wherever it is you were planning to drag me to.”

You’re gonna go shopping twice in one weekend?” Glimmer’s voice is painted with doubt and yeah, Adora winces.

“If it gets you two to stop fighting? Sure.”

“We’re not fighting!” Adora might be convinced if Glimmer wasn’t so worked up she literally stomps her foot with the assertion. “Okay, let me ask you this; are you wearing a dress or a suit?”

“Does that matter? I still haven’t really decided.”

“Well one; yes, it does matter because I’m going to look at dresses and Bow is gonna be shopping for suits. And two; I definitely say dress.”

“You’re just saying that so she’ll go with you!” Bow protests.

“No.” Glimmer answers seriously. “She likes her arms. Shoulders too.”

What? Who likes m-my arms?” Adora’s voice quiets to a whisper as she finishes, and she knows she must be bright red. She hates it.

“Oh come on, you must have noticed Catra practically drooling over your arms.”

Glimmer!” Adora darts her eyes around the caf. They’ve ended up alone at the lunch table, Seriously, where is everyone? and blessedly no one is looking in their direction. Stupid Catra, talking to her stupid bio teacher after class.

“She does have a point.”

“Et tu, Brute?” Bow just shrugs at her.

“Okay, we have to decide this somehow.” Glimmer huffs at them, as if she’s being entirely reasonable.

“I still say I can just do both.”

“Fine, who do you go with first? Because, personally, I don’t want second shopping day Adora; you’ll be all cranky.”

“Wow, okay, you know what? Maybe I’ll just buy something online. Then I don’t have to go at all, and no one gets to go with Adora.” She’s scowling at them. They always do this; get snarky with one another, then carry the snark over to the interactions with any innocent bystanders in the vicinity.

“Aw.” A voice behind Adora makes her jump, and her friends across the table snicker. “No one gets to go with Adora? What about me?”

“You don’t even know what we’re talking about, Catra.” Glimmer snipes with a roll of her eyes.

“Prom shopping.” Adora provides.

“Ah.” Catra takes the seat next to Adora and steals half of her sandwich. “I think Scorp is dragging me this weekend, if any of you want to come with us.”

“The two of you can’t go together!” Glimmer shrieks at her, genuinely outraged.

Catra stays cool but raises her eyebrows. “But she’s my ride.”

Bow laughs at Glimmer’s obvious frustration. Adora starts checking out of the conversation and grabs her juice back from her thieving girlfriend. “Obviously I mean Adora, not Scorpia. Where are you going anyway?”

“Fuck, I dunno. The mall, I think? Why, where were you gonna go, Twinkle?”

“Whatever, the mall, I guess. Adora, who are you going with?”

Adora blanches at being offered the choice; she really thought she was just gonna get told at the end. “Well…I mean I did promise Bow about that sale…”

“Sale?” Catra asks with more interest than Adora would’ve expected.

“Yeah!” Bow jumps in. “There’s this formalwear place in Erelandia. It’s really cool; like suits and stuff but actively not presented as like ‘men’s wear’.”

“So, it’s gay?” Catra clarifies, interest rising.

Adora exchanges a look with Glimmer. “Oh yeah,” Bow answers with a chuckle. “the owners are super queer.”

Catra studies him for a long minute then looks over to Adora, then back again. “Huh.”

“Say…” Glimmer cuts in. “Catra, are you planning to wear a suit?”

“Well I sure as fuck am never wearing a dress again in my life.” Interesting… Adora’s mouth goes a little dry.

“Hmm…well, maybe you should go with Bow, and Adora and I can go with Scorpia.”

Catra looks interested but Adora feels the need to make sure Bow isn’t getting totally steamrolled. “Bow, what do you think? I mean, I did promise…”

“I suppose I can be flexible.”

“Okay, well maybe we can get ready together then. A little pre prom bro time?”

Now Adora is on the receiving end of Bow’s heart eyes. Feels pretty nice, if she’s honest. “I would love that! Okay, Catra, what do you say?”

“Sounds dope, I’ll check in with Scorp later.”

That decided, Glimmer is onto the next bit of her agenda. “Great! Okay, since we’re all here we should talk colors.”

Catra blinks at her then turns to Adora. “Translate.”

“Like coordinating colors. Between the couples.”

Catra raises an eyebrow. “Right…are we doing that?”

Glimmer starts to open her mouth, likely to insist that of course they are. Adora cuts her off with a look. “We don’t have to.” Glimmer squeaks like the idea pains her.

If possible, Catra’s eyebrow raises higher. “Well, do you want to?”

Adora just shrugs, she genuinely couldn’t care less. If she gets to see Catra in a suit, she can die happy. “I really don’t care, I’d rather we both just find something we like.” That earns her a warm smile. “Whoever picks first can just text the other and they can factor it in if they want?”

Catra leans in to kiss her cheek, ignoring an ‘Aw’ from Bow. “Sounds like a plan, Greyskull.”

Glimmer ruins the moment with, “If you two end up looking like Christmas, so help me…”

“What?” Adora laughs.

“There’s a reason you coordinate with your date, Adora Greyskull. What happens if Catra here gets a nice, red suit-“

“She’ll look really hot?” Glimmer ignores the interruption. Adora gets a soft pinch on the leg from Catra though, so at least one person appreciates her wit.

“And you find a charming green dress?”

“I feel like the right answer is that we’ll look like Christmas.”

“Bingo!”

“I still do not care.”

“You’re hopeless. Bow, I’m thinking purple.” And with that, they’re off.

Catra and Adora let the couple duke it out over colors while they finish eating Adora’s food. They leave Bow behind to extricate himself from the conversation at the end of lunch. A fact he does not thank them for when he makes it to fifth thirty seconds before the bell. They just snicker at his frazzled entrance.

 

After school Adora has a leadership meeting; now that her basketball season has ended, she has to start going to prom committee meetings on Wednesdays. It’s long and she mostly zones out while Sea Hawk enthusiastically goes over details most people seem already aware of. She’s sure she can get someone to summarize the important bits for her later.

She heads home in time to do some homework before dinner, then gets right back to it after. Suddenly it’s eleven and her phone is ringing. Catra; she feels herself smile as she picks up.

“Hey you, heading to bed?” Catra had taken to sending her goodnight texts after their last date. Typically, they roll in right around this time.

“Hmm, yeah.” She sounds drowsy. “You?”

“Oh…well. I mean, I’m working on that paper for lit.”

“Why? Baby,” Adora’s stomach swoops the way it always does when Catra lets that pet name slip. She never thought she’d like it, assumed it would feel sort of…infantilizing. When it comes from Catra though, it just makes her feel cared for. “that thing isn’t due for a week.”

“Sure, that’s…true.”

“Mm, come to bed with me?”

Adora chokes. “I’m sorry, are you-“

“Not with me, with me, Greyskull. Unless…” Her voice is too sleepy to come off as teasing as Adora’s sure she intends it to, but it gets the point across.

“Uh, what are you saying?”

There’s some grumbling and shuffling on the other end of the line. “I’m saying, get cozy so you can talk to me until I fall asleep.”

Adora smirks, just a little cocky at the request; it’s cute. “Why do I need to be cozy for that?”

“You’re so difficult.” Catra mumbles, half to herself. Then louder, “If you keep working on that paper, I won’t have your full attention.”

“Fine, fine.”

“I wanna face time you.”

Adora laughs, she’s being so needy. Again, cute. “Okay, lemme change into sweats and I’ll call you back.”

“Ugh, it’s eleven pm and you’re telling me you’re still in jeans?”

“Shut up! I’ll call you back.” A little more grumbling and Catra hangs up. When Adora facetimes her a few minutes later she’s curled up in bed. Her phone must be propped on her nightstand and Adora copies her, curling up in her own bed.

Catra lets out a wide yawn, and it’s catching. “Hi.”

“Hey sleepy.”

“Shut it, Greyskull.” Her words are practically slurring.

“Hm, make me.”

“Can’t, you’re too far.” She yawns again.

“Stop that!” Adora scolds teasingly around her own yawn. “Now you’ve got me going.”

“Sucks to suck…guess.”

“You need to go, D’riluth? You’re practically asleep already.”

No. Pay attention to me.” She whines, her eyes fighting to stay open.

“Wow, needy much?”

“Now she’s…getting…it.” Adora gets up to turn off her main light, leaving only her side lamp on.

“Whacha gonna dream about?”

Catra laughs mutedly. Already half a sleep she mumbles something about the stars and cats in space. Adora giggles, her eyelids start to droop. “What about…you?”

“Hmm…you.”

“Nerd.”

“You’re a…nerd…lover.” It’s impossible to say who starts snoring first, but Adora is certainly the first to wake up.

-{…}-

Catra wakes to the sound of screaming. She snaps awake, looking around completely disoriented. It’s still dark out, she’s in her room alone and, Adora.

“Baby, babe can you hear me?” The screaming is replaced by crying but she gets no response. “Adora!”

She scrambles to grab her phone off her bedside table. She can see half of Adora, her back mainly. It looks like she’s sat up in bed, hunched over. Catra rubs the sleep from her eyes and, in her sleepy state, can’t stop her own tears from falling. She’s never felt so powerless before, which is frankly saying something.

“Adora?” She tries again as the crying settles into small sniffles.

Her voice is broken and confused when she calls out, “Catra?”

“On your phone, baby.” And then her face comes into view. Her red rimmed eyes are stark against her white face.

“Di-did I wake you up? How are you…”

“I think we fell asleep with the call still going. How are you feeling?” Only a single small sob comes in response. “Hey, hey I’m here, okay?”

“I-I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…”

“Please, don’t. Dora, you have nothing to be sorry for.”

“Yes, I do! I do because I could-couldn’t-“ Whatever she’s trying to say breaks her off into a fresh round of tears.

“Is Mara there with you?”

“Only…wakes up when I’m- she sleeps heavy…I’m not loud…enough. Always.”

“Okay, that’s okay. What can I do?” Adora hunches back over her knees but Catra can see her shake her head. “Well, I’ll stay on the phone with you.” She thinks she detects a nod. Unsure what else to do, Catra starts to sing softly.

After a little while, Adora turns to rest her head on her knees, so that she’s facing the camera. “Is that Cavetown?”

“Oh…uh, with Simi, yeah.” Catra feels her face warm slightly.

“’S nice. Sorry I woke you up.” She offers a weak, sheepish smile.

“Not your fault.” Adora just shrugs at the dismissal. “Adora, do you want…what do you want?”

She wipes at her face. “I dunno.”

“Okay…I could come there?”

Adora shakes her head, still not lifting it. “You should sleep.”

“How about you let me worry about what I should do, okay?” Adora bites her lip, looking for all the world like she’d like to argue, and nods. “Do you want me to come over? Or you can come here.”

“I…”

“Literally anything you want right now.”

She wipes at her cheeks again. “I-if I pick you up…I don’t wanna be…selfish or whatever.”

“You aren’t, come pick me up.”

“I didn’t even tell you-”

“Tell me when you get here, okay?” There’s a little more back and forth but they stay on the line while Catra gets sweats on, and Adora makes her way over.

She’s outside the car when Catra gets outside and she offers her the keys. “Will you drive?”

“Absolutely. Where are we going?”

Adora shrugs, she looks…sad. And tired. “Can we just…”

“Drive, got it.” She holds her arms open. “C’mere, Princess.”

Adora falls into her with a sigh that sounds something like relief. “Thank you.” She whispers into Catra’s hair.

“Anytime. You let Mara know you were going out?”

Shit.”

“Just text her so she doesn’t worry if she wakes up, I’m sure she’ll understand.” Catra doesn’t let go until Adora pulls back. Then, once she has her situated in the passenger’s seat, she drives aimlessly. “You wanna talk?”

Adora looks away from the window she’s been staring out of for the last ten minutes and turns to Catra. “Is this really okay?”

“I wouldn’t offer if it wasn’t.” Adora nods, though her brows pinch together. She looks like she’s doing complex math in her head.

“Okay…” She goes back to looking out the window and Catra keeps driving, leaving her to her thoughts. “They’ve been about…it’s been the fire a lot recently.” She offers out of nowhere.

“Sounds scary.” She sees Adora nod from her periphery.

“Survivor’s guilt.” She doesn’t offer context, but Catra doesn’t really need it. “She threw me out the window.”

Catra does her best to maintain composure. “Your mom?” She guesses.

Adora nods. “To get me out. She went back for my dad.” Another long pause. “He wasn’t a very nice man. Not terrible but…” Her eyes close and she leans her forehead against the window. “Am I awful if I say I wish she’d jumped out with me, and let him…die alone?”

Catra takes her hand and chances a glance away from the road. “No.” She answers firmly.

Adora meets her gaze briefly, head still against the window but turned in her direction. “Apparently I’m the only one who thinks it does.”

“Well, that’s the thing about trauma, right? It lies.”

Another nod. “You don’t have to answer but, what happened…”

Catra sucks in a harsh breath. “To my family?” Adora’s eyes don’t leave her face as she nods. Catra doesn’t begrudge her asking, but the thing is…Catra doesn’t talk about this. Wasn’t allowed to for so long. “It was just my mom. Till I was four.”

“Cat, if you don’t want to…”

“I know, but it’s okay if it’s you.” She hears Adora sniff but stares resolutely out the front window. “Weaver was her sister in law, but she was widowed when I was really tiny. I don’t think she or my mom ever really recovered from the loss. They didn’t really have a relationship. Before. I think…sometimes I wonder if the only reason she took me in was because she couldn’t have him. Sometimes I wonder if…”

“That was why she resented you so much?” Catra lets a breath out, one it feels like she’s been holding all her life.

“Yeah, something like that.”

“Your mom…”

“She loved me a lot, I think. She was…really sick though.”

“How do you mean?” Adora’s voice is soft and gentle, but a little stronger now. It’s as if supporting Catra though this part of the conversation has lent her strength, rather than sapping more of it.

Catra shrugs. “I don’t know the actual diagnosis. Depression, Post-Partum too, I think. Maybe Bipolar.” A warm hand reaches over to grip her thigh tightly. She blinks tears from the corners of her eyes. “I’m not sure she was ever treated. I think-I remember her crying a lot.”

“Catra, did she…”

“Yeah, she left me. She was sick.”

“Oh, Catra. Catra, babe, pull over, okay?” It’s a good idea; her vision is blurring.

With the car at a stop, Adora hops out. Catra doesn’t move and soon Adora has circled the car and opened her door. She turns so she can wrap all four limbs around her girlfriend.

And they’re just two hurt girls, in an unfamiliar cul de sac, holding each other together.

 

They end up back at Adora’s; Catra doesn’t have the heart to leave her alone. Nor any desire to, if she’s honest. They’re both feeling much better by the time school rolls around, but still pretty low energy. Luckily, no one bothers them about it. At least, they don’t bother Catra and Adora doesn’t say anything.

Adora has a study session planned with Glimmer after school, so Catra heads home with Scorpia. “Scorp?” She asks softly, as they and Perfuma climb in her car.

“What’s up, Wildcat?” She turns in her seat to look back at her.

“If you-no worries of you don’t have time…”

“All the time in the world.”

“Could we stop by like, Target or some shit? A toy store maybe?”

That gets a raised brow from Scorpia, but she doesn’t comment. Catra loves her best friend. “Of course! Fuma, you need to get home before then?”

“If it’s not too much trouble.” She smiles demurely between the two other girls in the car.

“On a timeline, Wildcat?” She shakes her head and Scorpia nods decisively, backing out of her spot and making her way toward Perfuma’s.

-{…}-

After that night, Catra calls Adora when she gets in bed every night, and they fall asleep together. She wakes from nightmares without screaming both Thursday and Friday. Catra encourages her to wake her up regardless. She finds that just seeing her face and hearing her steady breaths over the line is plenty to soothe her though, after the less intense nightmares.

Still, she’s as worn out as ever by the time their standing date rolls around on Saturday. Catra’s ready for her, nest set up in her bed and TV on the dresser. Inexplicably, Catra is all…squirrely from the second she walks in the door.

She pecks her softly on the lips and leads her by the hand to her room. Still, when Adora sits Catra remains standing in front of her. “Uh…you okay, D’riluth?”

“What?” The question is almost snappish. “Sorry, yeah I’m fine.”

She continues to just stand in front of Adora, fidgeting. “Okay…”

Catra huffs and then, as if it’s some huge admission, says, “I have something for you.”

“Something…for me?” Catra nods once. Adora is bewildered by the whole situation. “Why?”

“Wow, okay. Is that not allow-“

Obviously I didn’t mean it like that. I’m just surprised.” She waits a beat and then clarifies, “It not my birthday.”

Catra rolls her eyes and feigns shock. “Wait, it’s not? Never mind then.”

Catra!” Adora feels no guilt for whining. Plus, it gets a snicker out of Catra and she loosens up slightly.

“Fine, Princess. Okay, well, I’m not good with wrapping and shit, so just…close your eyes and put out your hands. Or whatever.”

Adora does as instructed and feels a little silly just sitting there with her hands out. She waits patiently though, as Catra rustles around somewhere in the vicinity of the closet. Then something is landing in her hands.

It’s not small, she sort of fumbles with it. Her face scrunches up. It actually seems to be two things; something soft and plushy and some sort of…box or something.

“Okay, open.” Adora blinks her eyes open and…she doesn’t know what of make of it. There’s a stuffed horse, well not a horse. It has a horn and rainbow wings sown to look like feathers. So, a unicorn pegasus then. He’s very handsome.

The box appears to be…A nightlight? It’s one of those orb ones that projects stars all around the room. Adora’s always secretly wanted one, it just never seemed worth it. That’s not to say that she’s never left different ones sitting in online carts for months on end….

“What…?”

She looks up at Catra who’s watching her, her expression a strange sort of tentative smugness. “So, I did some reading.”

“Reading?” Where is she going with this?

“Yeah, about um…nightmares and stuff.” And there goes Adora’s heart; melting again. “Um, I think these tips were more for like, kids. I just figured, who’s a bigger kid than you, right?”

Adora laughs. “Sure, yeah. So, these are…?”

“Right, so some stuff that came up was having like…a comfort item. Like a stuffed animal, so. I thought, y’know, since you’re a closet horse girl and all, that guy was a safe bet.”

Adora swears she never used to be a crier. Still, she tears up a little. “Catra…that’s like, really sweet…”

She narrows her eyes. “Why do I feel like there’s a but coming?”

“It’s just…” She smirks, finally looking up from the stuffy, into her girlfriend’s face. “this isn’t a horse.”

Pardon me?”

“Well, clearly, this is a unicorn pegasus.”

“Clearly.”

“I love him.” She hugs him to her chest, meaning it wholeheartedly.

“Yeah?”

She bites her lip and nods earnestly. “And the light?”

Catra actually blushes a little at that one. She finally comes to sit next to her on the bed, but she looks at the light and not Adora. “Well, so a nightlight was like, another thing. So you don’t wake up in the dark or something? Anyway, it um…I thought, you know, because of our first date and all.”

Adora’s practically cooing when she clarifies, “Aww, like the planetarium?”

Catra narrows her eyes but nods. “Duh.”

Adora throws her arms around her girlfriend. Her sweet, thoughtful, perfect girlfriend. “You’re…you’re the actual coolest. Listen, I know we’ve been over this, but...”

“Yes?” Catra asks suspiciously.

She pulls back to ask, “Are you sure you’re real?”

“You little…” Catra pounces on her, going immediately for her sides.

“Hey!” Adora giggles. “Hey! You’re squashing Swift Wind!”

That gets a pause. “Who?”

Adora grins and holds up her new friend. “Swift Wind.”

“You’re such a fucking dork. Swift Wind, really?”

“Doesn’t he look like a Swift Wind?”

“Adora, babe, no one looks ‘like a Swift Wind’. That’s not a…”

“Not a what?” Adora put on a pout and bats her eyelashes dramatically.

Catra just snorts at her. “A thing? A name? Anything.”

“Shut up!” Adora can’t help but laugh.

“Hm, why don’t you make me?”

“That an invitation, D’riluth?”

“Why don’t you come here and find out, Greyskull?”

“Hmm…” Adora pretends to consider it. Then, yanking Catra down until her arms give out, she tells her. “Seems like you should come here.”

Then her lips are on Catra’s, cutting off her opportunity to respond.

 

She doesn’t seem to mind one bit.

Chapter Text

Catra

Green

And like…dark blue

Adora

???

Catra

My colors dummy

In case u wanna coordinate

Or Glitzy makes u

Adora

Can I see?

Catra

What do you think?

Adora sends a string of pouty emojis and Catra just snorts at her phone.

“Talking to Adora?” Bow asks through the dressing room door.

“Shut up, Archer. You gonna show me this thing or not?”

Ehh…

“Not a winner?” Catra’s easy, she only tried on one thing and she was set. What can she say? She knows what she likes. Adora’s gonna fucking plotz. Bow on the other hand…

“It just makes me feel…ugh, I don’t know.” He sounds upset and Catra sits up properly in her chair.

“You okay, dude?”

“Fine.” He sighs. “This stuff just tends to make feel super dysphoric, I guess. I look so…feminine in a suit sometimes.”

“Oh.” Is Bow…

“Yeah, since my dads let me go on T it happens less often. Formal stuff is just especially hard.”

So, that’s a yes then. She wonders if she should acknowledge the fact that Bow’s coming out to her right now. It sort of feels like he assumed she knew.…Be cool, Catra. “Yeah, makes sense. Uh, what do you like, need right now?”

There’s some shuffling in the dressing room for a minute, then Bow says, “I dunno.”

Catra feels so far out of her depth here. She’s not like, a feelings person. “Do you wanna take a break? Get lunch or something.”

She hears him grumbling, something about just wanting to find an outfit, she thinks. “I’m fine.” He finally offers. “I have a couple more things to try. Sorry this is taking so long.”

“Dude, you don’t have to apologize. I’m chilling.”

“Thanks, Catra.”

“Whatever. So…how long have you been on T then?”

“Oh, like a year. Right after tenth grade started actually, on my sixteenth birthday. You couldn’t tell?” He almost sounds…dejected? That can’t be right.

Catra thinks back, trying to remember some noticeable change in Bow over the last year and a half. “Pft, no. I mean, I think I remember your voice dropping maybe? I just thought you were like, a late bloomer or some shit.”

There’s a pregnant pause, then Bow asks, “Catra…did you not know I’m trans?”

“Literally how would I know that, Bow?”

“I-I dunno. I mean, people still read me as a girl sometimes.”

What?” Bow laughs, sounding lighter than he has since he disappeared into the dressing room over twenty minutes ago. “How is that possible?”

Another laugh and he steps out of the dressing room. Where the fuck did he find a cropped button down? He looks good, the shirt is a light purple and he has a white jacket with gold lapels over it. The pants though, are…they look kind of like scrubs, they’re also white.

“Well?”

“Top half is dope, lose the pants though.”

He looks down at himself with a grimace. “Yeah. Do you think black would look weird? There was a pair I liked but I wasn’t sure if it’d work.”

“Meh,” Catra shrugs. “I think you’ll be fine. Maybe a black tie to like, balance it out?”

“Genius! I was thinking bowtie though…”

“Because you’re Bow?” She smirks at him. It gets a loud, short laugh.

“Honestly? No, but that makes it even better. You should get one too!”

“What? No.”

“Come on, we can be bowtie buds!”

“Gross, why would we do that?”

He shrugs, still grinning, completely undeterred by Catra’s rejection. “Because it’s fun.”

“Clearly, we have very different definitions of fun. Now, is that what you’re getting?”

“I think so, yeah.”

“Great, go get changed then. I’m fucking famished.” He laughs lightheartedly and does as directed. It’s a good thing too, Catra wasn’t kidding. She’s bordering on hangry at this point. While she waits, she pulls her phone out again. Adora hasn’t sent anything since the pouty face.

Catra

You show me yours

I’ll show u mine

Adora

Pft!

My what?

That gets her an eye roll emoji, and nothing else.

Adora

No, seriously!

There’s no clothes at the mall?

Catra

Liar

Adora

Fine.

There’s clothes…

I just hate all of them!!

Catra

Aww, sucks to suck

Adora

Rude!

Maybe I’ll just wear jeans.

See how you like that!

Catra

Sounds hot

Adora

You little…

!!!

Catra snorts at her phone and looks up. She checks to make sure Bow is still changing, and thus not there to witness the goofy face she just knows she’s making.

Catra

Can’t wait to see u in ur jeans

She looks up as she hears Bow exit the changing room. All set, they make their way to the till to check out. They agree on a pizza place in the same strip mall for lunch, and drop their bags in Bow’s dad’s car before heading in.

It’s…weird hanging out with Bow one on one. She’s always liked Bow, he’s always been so oddly level headed. Catra wonders, not for the first time, what it would take to get him to like, really pop off. It’s something she knows she never wants to see; the calm ones are always the scariest when they’re pissed.

So yeah, weird but mostly because it’s so fun. Bow’s fucking funny. He gets on a roll talking about his family. How did Catra never know he’s the youngest of twelve? Like, she vaguely knew a lot of his siblings had matriculated through Brightmoon, but twelve? So yeah, he’s got a stockpile of stories.

They linger a little while once they’ve finished their lunch, but Bow drives her home after. Her stops her with a hand on her arm before she can climb out to grab her bags. He holds up a finger and grabs a small box out of one of his shopping bags.

“I got you something.” He holds it out and Catra hesitates, staring at it. When he gives it a little shake, she looks him in the eye.

“What? You didn’t have to…”

“I wanted to, that’s what makes it fun!” Gingerly Catra accepts the box from her over eager friend. It’s a fucking black bowtie. She gives him a look, and he chuckles. “Bowtie buds!”

“Stars, Bow.” It’s sweet, and she lets herself soften just a bit. It’s only Bow after all. Still, it’s like, so fucking nerdy she can’t even right now.

“Look, no hard feelings if you don’t wanna wear it weekend after next. I just…I had a really good time today. I think it would be cool if we did something like this again.”

Catra raises an eyebrow at him and ignores the way her stomach flips with nerves. “You realize it sounds like you’re asking me on a second date, don’t you?”

Bow just laughs, smirking at her. “I can see that, yeah. However, as lucky a man as that would make me, I don’t think Glimmer or Adora would be super impressed. Still, just think about it okay?”

She considers him for a moment more. “You and Greyskull are really cut from the same cloth, aren’t you?” He shrugs. “Yeah, thought so. Whatever, yes, I had a good time too. We can hang out or something. And…thanks, for this.” She vaguely waves her new bowtie at him and avoids eye contact by looking back at the house.

“Of course! Oh! And we should do a double date sometime! I mean, obviously more Bow/Catra time too, but I just think it would be so fun if we all-“

“For fuck’s sake, Bow!”

“Sorry, sorry, just excited.”

“Just…talk to Adora about it, alright? She can just tell me when and where to show up.”

Aww! Catra! Are you saying you wanna go out on a double date with Glimmy and I? That is so-“

She cuts him off with a groan this time. “You’re insufferable, I’m going inside.”

“Okay! I’ll see you Monday…Bowtie Bud.”

She grabs her bag from the back and looks him in the eye. “I hate you.”

After she climbs out, she slams the door on his laughter. What a nerd.

-{…}-

Catra

Can’t wait to see u in ur jeans

Adora is blushing and it’s a dead giveaway. “Adora! Stop texting your girlfriend for five seconds and focus!”

She looks up from her phone. Scorpia is still browsing the racks. Mermista and Perfuma disappeared to look at another store ages ago, so the latter could look without Scorpia seeing her selections and vice versa. They’re much more chill about it than Glimmer.

Speaking of whom…she’s stood in front of Adora, one hand on her hip and the other arm laden with stacks of dresses. She’s literally tapping her toes as she stares Adora down. She just snorts.

“This is like, the second time I’ve had it out all day. And the first time she was letting me know the colors of her outfit, which you insisted on.” Blue and green…Adora’s picturing a blue suit with a green shirt. Or maybe a green tie?

“Whatever. Have you found anything to try on yet?”

Adora shuffles under the scrutinization. “I mean, I looked. Just…nothing spoke to me I guess.”

Glimmer harrumphs and swaps her stack of clothes to her other arm. “Well it might help if you had some idea what you’re looking for.”

“I-I’ll know it when I see it.”

“You said that three stores ago.”

“And I still haven’t seen it!”

Glimmer rolls her eyes. “Have you at least narrowed it down between dress and suit?”

“Well…no.” Glimmer eyes her.

“Okay, I have an idea. Hold these,” Adora’s arms are loaded with Glimmer’s dresses. “and come with me.

And with that she’s dragged off toward her fate, whatever Glimmer has decided that is.

 

Three hours and two slices of pizza plus two food court cinnamon rolls later, and Adora is back in her room. Mara’d just left after seeing Adora’s choice and her parting words are still ringing in Adora’s ears.

“Maybe you should invite Catra to join today….” Adora huffs after hearing it echo through her mind for the hundredth time. She flips on her side to grab her phone.

Adora

Hey!

What are you doing this afternoon?

Catra

Idk, y?

Miss me?

Adora

Yes!

Also, Razz is coming over!

Catra

Razz…

The pie aunt?

Adora

LOL!

That’s the one!!

Catra

Does this mean ur offering me pie?

Is this what love feels like?

Adora’s not freaking out. She’s calm. So calm. Catra implying…that? Psh! That’s nothing, no big deal!!

Adora

Awwww!

You love me?

How embarrassing for you!

Catra

Oooo

Yeah, I meant ur aunt

Awkward

For u

Adora’s racing heart settles…for the most part. It’s not like she wanted her to be saying that to her. That would be, uh, soon. Like, too soon. Right? Right! Get it together, Greyskull.

Adora

Shut up!

Anyway, I was thinking…

Catra

Yes?

Adora

Well…would you wanna um…

Meet her?

Bake with us?

We’re making strawberry rhubarb!!

Catra

U want me to…bake with u?

And ur aunt

Adora

Only if you want!

Instead of a text back Adora gets an incoming call. Why is she calling me? Was that bad to ask? No, right?

“Hello?” Adora winces at how high pitched her voice has gone.

“Hey Greyskull…so, baking?”

“Ha! Yeah…only if you want! I just thought it might be cool. Razz is um, well really weird honestly. Also the best though! Like, fun weird. Kooky, I guess.”

“Kooky?” She’s laughing at me, isn’t she?

“Shut up, yes. I stand by my assessment.

“Alright, dummy. I’ll come bake with you and your kooky aunt. When should I get there?”

Adora glances at the clock, it’s just after two now. “Razz was gonna get here around four. I can pick you up like, three thirty/three forty-five if that works?”

“Sure, that works. Do I need…should I like, bring anything?”

“Hmm…that depends.”

“On?”

“Well, do you have a cute apron? Or are you gonna need to borrow one?”

“Ugh, what? I’m not wearing a cutesy apron, Greyskull, not happening. That is…so not punk rock.”

Adora forces an affronted sound out of her smiling mouth. “I beg to differ. Protecting your clothes is very punk rock.”

Catra laughs. “I guess you’re the baker here. But I’m still not wearing some dorky apron with like, a wine mom phrase on it.”

“A wine mom phrase?”

“Please, you know what I mean. Like, shit about ‘it’s five o’clock somewhere’ or whatever.” Mara actually does have an apron like that. It says, ‘Wine me up and turn me on!’. She’s intentionally stained it with red wine, said it made it ‘funnier and more legit’.

“Okay, well you can wear one of the other ones.”

“Goddess, what have I gotten myself into…?”

“Pie! Just remember, at the end of this, there’s pie.”

“Fuck, are you gonna leverage that into making me wear the wine mom apron?” Catra groans down the line.

Adora laughs. “No, Mara’s stingy with her apron.”

Catra just laughs incredulously. “Alright, I gotta go.”

“Aw, really?”

“Wow, needy much, Greyskull?” Adora shrugs automatically, no matter that Catra can’t see her. “Yes, really. I have homework I need to get done if I’m coming over.”

“Bleh, school is stupid.”

“Literally how are you top of our class?”

“Guess I’m just that smart, D’riluth.” Adora adopts a cocky swagger. Not that she buys what she’s selling.

Her class ranking is, frankly, a biproduct of a perfectionism streak a mile wide, efforts to never be a burden on fosters that became habit, and studying when normal people are sleeping. She’s maybe unpacked that with her doctor once or twice.

“Wow, and humble too.”

“Shut up!” She’s laughing again, easily distracted from her spiral.

“You know, normally I wouldn’t just on principle, but I really should go.”

“Boo!”

“Bye dummy. I’ll see you in a little bit.” Adora hangs up shortly after that and busies herself with her own homework until it’s time to go pick up Catra.

-{…}-

Catra has literally never once in her life, baked anything. She barely knows how to cook. Like, the basics sure, but she wasn’t exactly trying to hang out in Weaver’s kitchen. The less time spent in those common spaces, the better. All to say, she has zero idea what she’s getting into.

And Greyskull’s aunt is “kooky”? What does that even mean? Not that she’s upset about this turn of events. Honestly Razz is something of a celebrity among the friend group and, so far as she can tell, rather elusive. So, that’s cool at least. Besides, Catra would walk through every layer of hell to get to another slice of that pie.

So, reservations aside, Catra scoots on down the path to Adora’s car. “Hey Greyskull.”

“Hi! Thanks for coming over.” Adora looks beyond ecstatic. It really is like dating a golden retriever puppy, honestly.

“Sure thing, babe.” She leans over for a quick kiss and Adora gets the car moving. “So, Razz is already there. She was pulling up as I was heading to grab you.”

“Cool.” Catra’s not nervous, she doesn’t have like, butterflies or whatever. She just feels slightly…unsettled.

The drive to the house is short and quiet, but Adora grabs her hand midway through, which is nice. Adora eagerly drags her inside and the moment they’re in someone who can only be Razz walks out of the kitchen.

She looks old as sin, stooped ever so slightly, her hair a wild grey mess. The house is warm and still she’s wearing about four different shawls or scarves or whatever. Layered on top of that is a pile of costume jewelry and, to top it all off, she has the thickest coke bottle glasses Catra has ever seen. She looks dope as hell. Very punk rock.

“Mara, is that you?” Her voice is accented, but Catra can’t place it. German maybe?

Adora groans and toes off her shoes, Catra following suit. “Okay, I know you’re not that old. You do this just to bug me, don’t you?”

Razz disappears into the kitchen and Adora shoots Catra an amused, endeared look. With a shake of her head she leads Catra to follow her aunt into the kitchen.

“What are you talking about?” Razz cries without a backward glance. Then, just a little bit calmer, “I am very old Adora.”

“Uh huh.” Adora pacifies her, clearly unconvinced. “Razz, this is my girlfriend, Catra. Catra, Razz.”

“Nice to meet you.” Catra offers her hand and Razz just stares at it a minute. Then she turns, grabs a basket of strawberries off the counter and shoves it in Catra’s hand.

“Slice these, dearie. Not too thin!”

“Uhh…” Catra looks to Adora who gives her an encouraging smile. She takes that to mean she needn’t take the refusal of the handshake personally. Adora did say kooky. “Cool. Where’s like, a knife and shit?”

“Adora! Get this girl and knife and shit. Chop, chop!” Catra laughs incredulously. Razz ignores her in favor of pulling out bowls and measuring cups and crap.

Adora hands her a small plastic cutting board and a paring knife. She kisses her cheek once the knife is sat safely on the counter. “Okay, there are apron options!” She ducks to the other side of the island and rummages in a drawer. “We have…’Kissin’ Don’t Last, Cookin’ Do’.”

Catra raises an eyebrow. “Is that so?”

Adora turns pink and throws the apron at her face. “Shut up! Okay, if you find that one offensive there’s also, ‘No Soggy Bottoms’.” She holds up an apron with a drawing of a sad pie on it.

“You’re just fucking with me now.”

Adora smirks. “Or ‘Hose D’oeuvres’.”

“I’m sorry, did you just say-“ Adora pulls out the last apron and…

How is this fucking charming? Get a fucking grip, D’riluth. Catra has indeed not misheard her idiot of a girlfriend. Beside the words ‘Horse D’oeuvres’ is a drawing of a horse with a hat and mustache holding a tray of…Fucking hell, Horse D’oeuvres.

“What planet are you from?” Adora cackles and throws the apron on. Then Razz wanders over to smack her arm lightly with a wooden spoon.

“What are you messing around for!? Since when do you need an apron, Mara dearie?”

Catra gives her a look, and Adora howls with laughter. “Busted!”

Catra points right at her face. “You’re gonna get it.”

“Hm, looking forward to it.”

“Girls! Work while you flirt, hmm?”

“Razz!” Adora protests, scandalized. Razz and Catra just laugh at her indignation.

“Why aren’t you making the crust?”

“Uh, because you didn’t ask me to.” Razz is unfazed by her sassing.

“That is not my job!” Raz dances away and comes back with flour and a stick of butter. Catra’s pretty sure there’s more than that in a pie crust, but Razz just wonders away to start preparing the rhubarb. She starts humming some old timey song and it’s kind of nice, homey.

“How many of these am I doing?” Catra asks midway through; there are a lot of berries.

She looks up and Adora shrugs, then turns to Razz. “All of them, dearie! We are making two pies today.”

Frankly, Catra thinks she already has enough for three pies, but she doesn’t object. After all, what the fuck does she know about baking? They work in comfortable quiet, silent but for Razz’s humming and the clanking of dishes. Every so often Adora looks up to smile at her or make a goofy face. Idiot.

They get the pies assembled and…Adora has clearly done this before. She whips up flowers from the scrap pastry for the top of one. On the other she lays a fancy braided lattice. Catra can’t even keep track of how she goes about it. She just so…Ugh.

Catra hates it.

-{…}-

Adora loves this!

Honestly, if she had to narrow her favorite people in the world down to two, the people in the kitchen with her this afternoon would be strong contenders. Razz hums behind her while she sneaks glances at Catra. She takes the opportunity to show off a little. Adora has made a lot of pies in the last few years, but it’s not every week she busts out the pastry roses.

Mara crashes in with Hope just behind her right as Adora is sliding the pies into the oven.

Hello!” She calls out. “There better be pie! It smells like fucking heaven in here.” Hope can be heard mumbling something and Mara laughs loudly in response.

Then they’re in the kitchen, dropping takeout bags on the counter. “Hello.” Hope addresses Catra. “You must be Adora’s new girlfriend. I’m Hope.”

Catra flushes slightly and peeks at Adora with a wry grin. “Uh, yeah. Catra.” They shake hands and Hope nods approvingly, turning to give Adora a wink when they’ve released.

“So. Pie.”

“Mara! You must feed me before pie. I am an old woman, I need nutrients!” Razz scolds her niece.

Mara’s far from fazed. She laughs right in her face. “Oh hush! You’re not old. And it was your idea to have pie for dinner the last like, six times.”

“I don’t remember that.” Razz lies easily. “What did you get, dearies?”

“We stopped by the noodle place in Thaymor on the way home.” Hope offers. Razz grins widely and reaches over the corner of the island to pinch her cheek.

“Oh, I like you. Mara! When are you going to lock this down?”

Hope just snorts and Mara rolls her eyes, unamused. “Razz, we talked about this. Mind your business.”

Razz sniffs and waves her off. “Yes, yes, take your time.  Sorry dearie, it’s this old brain; I forget.”

Mara laughs shortly. “You’re not old. And you’ve never forgotten a damn thing in your life. You’re like a fucking elephant.”

Catra snorts loudly, drawing everyone’s eyes to her face. How is one person this adorable? “Sorry!”

“All good, Catra.” Mara assures with a smirk. “Glad someone around her finally appreciates my wit.”

Hope pats her arm, faux reassuringly. “You get plenty of appreciation, my love. Don’t mislead our guest.”

“Okay, rude. I want noodles. Razz, can you grab forks?” That sets them all in motion and soon they’re sat round the table, digging in.

Hope asks Adora and Catra about school and gets the latter going for a little bit about theatre stuff. Then Mara’s pulling Hope into the debate she’s got going with Razz. Who knows what it’s over, but Mara’s clearly losing.

Adora looks over to Catra with a conspiratorial grin. She smiles back but there’s…something there. She tries to ask the question with her eyes but Catra turns her focus across the table again.

Adora shakes it off, probably nothing, and jumps in to rib Mara as well. And that’s when Catra excuses herself. Adora furrows her brow and Catra just smiles back; it’s too tight and doesn’t reach her eyes.

“Bathroom.” She leans in to whisper. Adora nods but she’s not convinced.

Conversation continues around her for the next five minutes. Then the next ten. Adora’s not really listening, a fact she’s sure hasn’t gone unnoticed. By Mara at the very least. There’s a round of laughter and Adora peeks down the hall. No signs of life.

She excuses herself at that point and Mara shoots her a look of concern. She just shrugs, she has no idea what’s going on either. Catra isn’t in the bathroom, but her discarded shoes are still by the front door. Obviously, she hasn’t slipped out, so Adora ascends the stairs.

She finds Catra in her room, perched on the edge of her bed with her head cradled in her hands. Adora knocks softly so as to not spook her. She still jumps.

“Oh…hey.” She mumbles, not looking up from her toes.

“Hey…everything okay?” Adora creeps in further, sitting next to her girlfriend on the bed and trying to catch her eye. Catra’s not having it.

“Fine, yeah.” Adora waits for more and Catra huffs. “Sorry, I’m being…moody. I’m fine.”

“You wanna talk about it?”

“No, I’m fine, Adora. Just…you can go back to dinner. I’ll be down in a sec.”

Adora makes no move to get up. Catra’s gonna need to think again if she’s under the impression she’s just gonna leave her like this. “Catra…”

What?” She snaps.

Adora takes a deep breath, shaking off any inclination to take Catra’s tone personally. “You’re clearly upset. Why don’t you wanna talk to me?”

Catra sniffs and turns away, resting her left cheek on her knees. “Because it’s stupid.”

“Hm, maybe. Lucky for you I love stupid.” Catra snorts and finally turns to look at her. Her eyes are a little pink and her lashes are stuck together. Adora’s heart sinks. “Catra…did someone…say something or…?”

“No, no.” She assures her, uncurling but staying a little hunched as if protecting herself from something. “I just…ugh, it’s so stupid. I got sad, okay? I don’t really know why; I’m being a fucking idiot.”

“Hey, don’t talk about my amazing girlfriend like that, okay?” Catra rolls her eyes but her shoulders relax ever so slightly. “You said you got sad?”

Catra rubs at her face briskly. “Yeah, it’s-“ She cuts herself off and doesn’t continue.

“Is there anything I can do for you right now?” Catra stares into her eyes for a second then darts her gaze away, Adora doesn’t miss the way her bottom lip quivers.

They sit in silence while Adora just waits for something, anything, to fall from Catra’s mouth. At some point she flicks on her bedside lamp, so they aren’t just sitting in the dark.

Finally, Catra breaks her silence. “Can you just like…hold me, a little. Or something.” Adora wastes no time pulling Catra into her arms and practically into her lap. Catra squeaks in surprise. “I didn’t say manhandle me, dummy!”

She chuckles as she says it, so Adora doesn’t worry too much about it. “Better?”

Catra hums, still a little melancholy but no trace of tears in the sound. “I suppose.”

“You don’t have to talk about it but…I’m here. It might help.” Catra sighs at this and nuzzles in closer, so her head is nestled under Adora’s chin.

“I was…it was nice. Dinner. You’re family’s great, I…” She sniffs and the thick emotion fills her voice again. “I got sad be-because I’ll never have that.”

Adora can’t help the gasp that escapes her, nor the way she clings more tightly to her. “Catra, babe, what do you mean, you’re never gonna have that?”

Another sniff. “I never did, Adora. Nobody’s ever loved me like that…nobody…I’m not a part of anyone’s family.”

“Oh, sweet girl, that’s…that breaks my heart.” She can feel her shaking against her chest with the force of her tears now, and Adora feels her own heart fracture. “Catra?”

No response comes and Adora just holds her for a minute, rubbing her back, trying and failing to hold back her own tears. After a couple minutes more she tries again.

“Cat?” She pulls back ever so slightly, just enough to look her girlfriend in the eye. She looks devastated and Adora’s heart breaks all over again. “It doesn’t have to be like that.”

A choked sob escapes Catra’s chest. “It is though, it is like that.”

Adora uses her arm to wipe away her own tears, and her thumbs to wipe away Catra’s. She shakes her head. “It just means you get to choose your own family, babe. I-I know it’s not the same, and I know it’s hard and that it hurts. Bu-but I care about you, so much. I want you to be a part of my family.”

Catra’s mouth falls open and her breaths come in shallow. “Adora…”

She shakes her head. “And not just me. You know Scorpia loves you like a sister, right? And her moms? I know they love you too. Not least of all because Scorpia will tell anyone who listens.”

Catra snorts at that, the sound is wet but genuine. “I mean, yeah…I don’t want, I’m not like, ungrateful. It’s just…”

Adora hugs her to her chest again. “It’s painful.” She feels Catra nod. Her fingers move to run through her thick hair, the other hand staying on her lower back. “I’m so sorry, Catra. I-I hate that you have to feel that pain. Just…both can be true, yeah?”

“What do you mean?” Catra mumbles, Adora can feel the vibration of her words in her chest. It’s…intimate in a way Adora never could have imagined.

“It can hurt to know that the family you were born into isn’t there for you like you deserve. That doesn’t make it any less true that you still have family, and you can keep growing that family the rest of your life.”

Catra takes a deep, shuddering breath and pulls back to look Adora in the eye. “What? You like me or something, Greyskull?”

Adora lets the energy in the room shift, backing off from the seriousness, but she’s solemn when she replies, “Yeah, D’riluth. I really do.”

Chapter Text

“So, what are you gonna do with your hair?” Adora peeks back at Bow, following her up the stairs to her room after lunch. She grimaces tightly.

“Uh…ponytail?”

They pause at the top of the stairs to give Bow ample time to give her a look. “Really?”

“It’s my signature!”

“I mean, that’s…true.”

“What? It doesn’t look good?”

Bow puts his hands up in surrender. “I did not say that.”

Adora eyes him a minute more and continues to her room as she answers. “Okay, well what do you think I should do?”

Bow flops on her bed and she sits backwards in her desk chair. She props her chin on the back of the chair to watch him think.

“Hm…oh! You could do little buns.”

“Little buns?” Adora questions doubtfully.

“It would be cute.”

“Ponytails are cute.” She grumbles under her breath.

“Okay, okay. Just…think about it. Could be fun to switch it up for a special occasion is all I’m saying.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

Bow allows her to wave him off and repositions on his bed. And then his eyes land on Swift Wind. “Aww, who’s this little guy?”

Adora clears her throat and turns to fuss with the pens scattered across her desk. It’s a futile attempt to hide the heat in her cheeks. “Uh, his name is Swift Wind?”

She can hear Bow’s smirk. “And where did Swift Wind come from?”

“Catra?”

Cute! Gosh, can you believe what a softie she turned out to be? I mean, I always knew she was a little squishy deep down but she’s like, gooey.

She laughs with him and turns back. “Honestly? I don’t think anyone could have seen this coming. She even did research before she got him for me.”

“Research?” He turns a quizzical look on the stuffy in his hands.  And Adora’s officially said more than she meant to.

I can play this cool…I can be so chill! “Oh, uh yeah. I guess having like a stuffed animal or whatever can help with nightmares? Uhm, she got me a nightlight too.”

She turns back to her pens, but she can feel her friend’s eyes boring into her. “Well that was sweet of her.”

“It was.” Adora softens genuinely at the thought. “The nightlight is one of those star projector ones. For uh…”

“For your first date?” He’s cooing and Adora turns back to see a pair of heart eyes shot in her direction. Sheepishly she nods. “Aww, that is too precious! Can I give her shit about it?”

Bow!” She scolds with a laugh. “What? No, be nice!”

He just laughs and sets Swift Wind back on the pillow. “So…you have nightmares?”

There it is. “Uh…yeah. Like um, sometimes?”

Bow nods, watching her. He’s still smiling softly but the laughter in his eyes has given way to something more somber. She gets the feeling he understands what she means by ‘sometimes’. “Swift Wind helping?”

Her face warms and she scratches absently at her nose. “Yeah, I guess. Um, Catra calls me at night. When she goes to bed. We’ve uh, been going to bed together?”

The heart eyes are back. “That sounds nice. You’re getting more sleep then?”

She clears her throat again. “A little yeah. Sometimes I wake up but it’s…been easier to fall back asleep.”

He nods again. “Sounds like Catra’s been good for you.”

Adora feels herself smile. “The best.”

Gay…” Bow jeers. “Remember when you were too afraid to talk to her?”

“I wasn’t too afraid to talk to her! I resent that.”

“Uh huh, sure you weren’t.”

“Shut up, Bow.”

He just smirks at her. “Why don’t you show me your Prom fit, Adora?” Adora huffs but retrieves the clothes from her closet. It’s about time they start thinking about getting ready.

“Oh, she’s gonna die.” Bow chortles when she holds up the clothes. Not gonna lie, Adora’s preening a little.

“You think?”

“Oh, definitely.”

“Okay, okay.” Adora deflects, ready to have the attention off her. “Let’s see yours.”

He reaches across the bed to grab his garment bag and pulls out his suit. “Oh, damn, Bow. You think Catra’s gonna die, just wait until Glimmer gets a look at you.”

He flushes dark pink and sticks out his tongue. Adora just laughs at him, feeling supremely grateful for this time with one of her best friends on this earth.

-{…}-

“Aww, I wanna be a bowtie bud!”

“Maybe next year, Scorp.”

Scorpia’s eyes go soft and Catra rolls her eyes at her in the mirror. “Nah, that’s you and Bow’s thing!”

Just Bow’s thing.” Catra grumbles.

Her friend ignores the assertion. “You need help tying it?”

Catra makes a face at herself in the mirror. “Eh, I might just leave it.”

Scorp gives her an approving nod. “Very cool, sort of rebel without a cause vibes.”

“Blech, if you say so.” She eyes herself in the mirror and makes a couple minor adjustments to her ponytail. It’s massive and her curls are going wild, but it’s tidy enough.

“Alright, so we’re all meeting at the restaurant in an hour, right?”

“That’s the plan.”

“Great! I should go pick up Fuma, you ready for me to drop you off at Adora’s?”

Catra eyes herself up one last time. “Yeah, lemme just grab my wallet and the corsage and I’m set.”

“Ooh! Corsage, good call!” They grab the last of their things and hop in Scorpia’s car. It’s literally a two-minute drive to Adora’s and Catra is hopping right back out with a wave.

She stands on the doorstep, suddenly nervous, and raises her hand. With a deep breath she knocks. Like she was waiting for her, Mara flings the door open. There’s a flash and once the spots clear from her vision, Catra sees she has a camera in her hand.

“Where the fuck did you even get a point and shoot in this decade? And were you just…waiting by the door?”

“The window!” Mara admits with no shame. “You really stood on the stoop a long time. You okay there, kid?”

“Shut the fuck up, Mara. Where’s your girlfriend?” Catra growls back.

Mara just shrugs. “Late.”

“Fine, where’s your fucking sister then?”

She laughs. “Also late. Want a drink?”

“Uh, sure, thanks.”

“Vodka or whiskey?” Catra gives her a look and she laughs again. “What? You’re not the one driving.”

“I literally cannot tell if you’re being serious, but I don’t drink, so.”

Mara adopts a more serious expression and nods. “Totally kidding but noted. Have you?” She asks as she goes to grab Catra a glass of water.

“Had alcohol?”

Mara nods. “Just curious, but I can drop it if you want.”

Catra grimaces. “It’s fine. I did once.”

“Not a great experience?” Catra shakes her head. “Oh! Let me guess; jaeger bombs at a party sophomore year? No, no, wait! You did a keg stand and fell off, nearly broke your neck?”

Catra snorts at the absurdity. “Yeah, nothing quite so glamorous as all that.” More like Weaver passed out drunk and Catra had figured, what the hell? She polished off the mostly full bottle of wine left lying around and puked her guts out shortly after. “Got my hands on some wine, didn’t end well for me.”

“Ooh, get sick?” Mara sucks her teeth when Catra nods. “Red or white?”

Another grimace. “Red.”

“Please tell me you made it to the toilet.”

She shakes her head. “Managed to hide the stain for a few months. Wasn’t great when Weaver found it.”

Mara nods and seems to get well enough that it’s time to change the subject. Well, sort of. “Adora ever tell you about the first time she drank?”

And now she has Catra’s full attention. “No.”

She snorts. “She still thinks I don’t know. She and Glimmer got into my whiskey and those dumb asses mixed it with orange Fanta.”

“Gross!”

“Right? I figured choking that down was punishment enough. Pretty sure they spent the rest of the night making crank calls.”

“Sounds about right.” Catra laughs at her girlfriend’s expense.

Excuse me.” Comes from the doorway to the kitchen. “First of all, it was pineapple Fanta. Second, we didn’t make crank calls! Glimmer insisted on watching the home shopping network and maxed out her emergency credit card.” Adora points at Mara. “And I knew that you knew!”

Bow laughs from behind her. “Not really helping your case there, bud.”

“Shut up, Bow.” She rounds on Catra. “And you, come to the back yard with me a second, will you?”

Catra nods, completely awestruck, and they head out back. They ignore the cat calls that follow them out. She thinks she hears Bow holler something about ‘get it bowtie buddy’. Honestly, Catra barely hears them over the ringing in her ears. Adora looks…Wow…

She drags Catra into the yard and spins her so they’re facing each other. “Catra…holy fuck.” Like she’s one to talk. She grabs the lapels of Catra’s jacket, and they eye each other up and down.

Adora’s got a skirt on, but not a dress. No, no that would be too simple. Instead she’s opted to murder Catra. The skirt is a dark, forest green that matches Catra’s suit remarkably well. It’s full and hits her about midcalf.

On the top she’s wearing a dark blue button down with a black skinny tie. Over the top she’s got a blue suit jacket, just a shade darker than her shirt, and the piping matches the shirt exactly.

It’s…Entirely too much. “Adora…

“Yeah?” She smiles smugly and Catra can’t even fault her for it.

This is gonna be a long night.

-{…}-

Adora blacks out the moment she lays eyes on Catra. She knows she sasses Mara before dragging Catra to the yard for some privacy. Or at least, some semblance of privacy; there’s no doubt in her mind that Bow and Mara are watching them through the kitchen window.

She just…Catra managed to find the suit equivalent of Adora’s dark green flannel. That’s right, Catra has out gayed herself and found a fucking plaid suit. She’s got a black button down underneath and an untied black bowtie hung around her neck. Adora wats to grab either end and just…yank.

She also looks just as awestruck as Adora, which is really doing it for her. All of it is frankly, but knowing she’s doing it for Catra too…. What if we just skipped the dance?

Adora…”

“Yeah?” She knows how cocky her smile must be. She just doesn’t care.

“Shut up, you know you look good, Greyskull.” She snorts. Then Catra reaches around to give Adora’s ponytail two sharp tugs, letting her hand fall to Adora’s shoulder once she’s through. In the end she had indeed gone classic Adora. Bow did add a butterfly clip though, ‘for pizzazz!’ he had told her. “Nice up do.”

She shrugs, smirking roguishly. “Thanks.” Then Adora finally gives into the urge to yank on that bowtie. “And you…are you trying to fucking kill me D’riluth?”

Catra laughs and leans in to kiss her cheek. “Well shit, guess you’ve foiled my master plan. Wanna just go to prom instead?”

“That works.” Adora’s faux nonchalance incites another round of giggling.

Catra holds up a clear box. “Can I interest you in a corsage, milady?”

A snort. “Why thank you, good sir. This is cute, are those little succulents?”

Catra shrugs and pulls a face. “I guess. Fuma made it.”

Cute! Aw, that makes sense. She sent me a picture of the one she made for Scorpia. It is…elaborate.”

“Ha! Damn, well I’m sure Scorp’ll love it.” Adora holds out her hand and Catra slips the corsage over her wrist. It really is cute; a couple small succulents and a few teeny, tiny pink and yellow roses. It’s fucking perfect actually. Great minds…

They share a few more kisses, nothing as fiery as Adora would truly like seeing as they’re probably still being observed. Eventually enough time passes that Adora suspects they’ll be interrupted if they don’t go in of their own accord. And no one wants that, so they file back in.

“You two are disgusting.” Glimmer, now sat at the island, comments the moment they walk in the door.

“Uh…rude. Hi Glim.” Adora gives her a look and a shake of the head.

Easily distracted, Glimmer grabs for her wrist. “Ooh! Corsage, cute! I like the succulents.” She looks up to Catra. “Good going, D’riluth. Honestly didn’t know you had it in you.”

“Shut the fuck up, Brightmoon.” Glimmer sniffs.

“Glimmer, you look amazing!” Adora heads off the bickering before it can really get going.

Bow looks over from where he’s chatting with Mara. By the kitchen window, of fucking course. “Doesn’t she look ethereal? Like a fairy queen!” He’s moony eyed enough to have Mara fake retching into the sink and Glimmer turning pink.

He’s not entirely wrong though. Glimmer’s dress is sparkly lavender and dark purple, with lots of glittering, gauzy layers. “Bow!” She protests, clearly loving it. Turning back to Adora, she responds, “Whatever, you don’t look half bad yourself. Told you the skirt was a good call. Are we ready to go then?”

“Oh, nuh uh.” Mara stops them. “I promised everyone’s parents I’d get pictures. And I am not dealing with pouty Micah Brightmoon and Lance Archer if I don’t deliver. Get your fancy butts out on the front lawn.”

With a round of laughter they oblige her. Adora just holds Catra back one extra second. Purely to attach her boutonniere, of course; a pair of pink and yellow roses. If there’s a little extra kissing when Catra sees her selection, why that’s nobody’s business but theirs.

After about twenty minutes of increasingly silly poses, Mara releases them. They pile into Glimmer’s car and make their way to the bougie Italian place the friend group agreed on for dinner.

“Who all is coming?” Bow turns in his seat to ask on their way. Adora notes again how good his eyeliner looks. It’s shimmering gold and the lines are flawless. He’d tried to put some on her too, but she couldn’t stop flinching for the life of her.

“Scorp and Fuma are on their way.” Catra informs them with a glance at her phone. “Trap and Wrong Hordak might swing through for dessert but he’s taking her to get tapas.”

Oh yeah,” Adora remembers with a laugh. “She was waxing on poetic about tiny food for like, twenty minutes at lunch the other day.”

“Dude, we have to go to the Dryl’s for dinner sometime.” She grabs Adora’s arm and her eyes light up with excitement. “They’re like, a little bit loaded so they have a chef and she’s just…so good. Anyway, she makes all Trap’s food tiny. It’s amazing.”

“Ooh, okay, but are we sure we want Italian tonight?” Adora asks the car. She just gets a few laughs as answer. Catra takes the opportunity to slide her hand from Adora’s arm to weave their fingers together. Nice.

“Is it just us and Scorpia and Perfuma then?” Bow clarifies.

“Mermista...” Catra starts with a smirk. “and her ride.”

“I knew it!” Bow cries. “Glimmy, you owe me five bucks.”

“Ugh,” She groans and catches Catra’s eye in the mirror. “You’re sure she said ride? Like, ride specifically and not date.”

“Glim, you didn’t seriously take that bet?” Adora asks incredulously. There is literally no one more stubborn than Mermista Sealineas on this planet.

“Really, Sparkles.” Catra cackles with a shake of her head. “He’s still barely allowed to talk to her.”

“Okay, yeah.” Glimmer concedes. “But it’s prom!”

“I think only you would consider that grounds for a cease fire.” Catra sasses her.

“Shut up, D’riluth. You guys think they’re gonna match?” Glimmer asks them.

Adora snorts. “If he catches wind of what she’s wearing definitely.”

“Should be an interesting dinner at least.” Bow comments.  

“Speaking of making it interesting…” Glimmer hedges.

“Oh, I do not like the sound of that.” Catra asserts.

“Fine, then I just won’t share with you.” She sasses back.

“Share?” Bow prompts.

Well, since you guys are always smoking without me-“

“Hardly.” Adora snorts, even though…okay the last couple times that’s been true. Purely circumstantial though.

“I talked to Kyle myself. So…you guys wanna smoke before dinner?” There’s an easy consensus and Glimmer parks the car a couple extra blocks from the restaurant. She pulls her stuff from the glovebox and shoves it into Adora’s hands. “Roll please.”

“Wait, gimme.” Catra snatches it and Adora grins goofily at her.

“Sure that’s a good idea, babe?”

“Shut up, Greyskull. I got this.”

“Haven’t you smoked like…twice?” Glimmer laughs at her.

Catra looks up from the weed she’s breaking down between her fingertips. “And what are you? Some kind of ganja goddess?”

“Ooh, I like that. Yes, you can refer to me as such.”

Catra snorts and goes back to her task. “As if.”

A knock from her window makes Adora jump hard enough to whack her head. Catra laughs quietly without looking up. There on the other side, looking horribly inpatient, is Mermista. She pulls the door open.

“If you squares are smoking, I want in. Seahawk is driving me up a freaking wall tonight.” Adora unbuckles hastily as Mermista moves to shove her aside and make her way into the car.

“Where is your date, Merms?” Bow ask, oh so innocent, from the front seat.

She growls at him. “He is not my date. He’s just my ride.” Bow gives her a look colored with doubt. “Just. My. Ride.”

“Car still in the shop?” Catra asks. Adora turns to look at her just in time to watch her seal the joint. It’s…well, she can only hope Catra doesn’t notice the way she gulps in reaction to the sight. Of course, if the looks she shoots her is anything to go by, she definitely does.

Ugh.”

Catra hands Adora the joint proudly. And honestly? It’s a thing of beauty. She gives her a questioning look and Catra just shrugs. “What can I say? I’m a quick study. Glitter, you have a lighter?”

Glimmer blanches and her face drops. Just as quick Mermista is flicking a lighter to life in front of Adora’s face. Adora startles but uses the flame to get them going, then starts the rotation by passing to Mermista. The hit she takes is just…massive. She nearly hacks up a lung.

“So…” Catra starts. “How exactly is your night going Mermmy?”

Adora leans back in her seat to make way for Mermista who half lunges across her. “Why are you like this?”

“Aw, like what? I just care about you babe, wanna make sure you’re having a good night.” Mermista scoffs but resumes her seat. Catra takes a hit and raises an inquisitive brow at their friend, passing the j to Adora without looking.

“Whatever. Fuma and I had a good time getting ready. She and Scorpia are…disgusting.”

“Uh huh…” Catra responds. “That’s true. And after Hawk picked you up?”

“He’s just so…! So! Ugh.”

“Merms.”

“What, D’riluth?”

“Mermmy.”

“Adora, I will kill your prom date.”

“Please don’t” She asserts mildly.

“Mermista, darling.”

What, D’riluth?”

“Why’d you even come with him? A hottie like you? You coulda snagged a date with anyone.”

Mermista snorts. “Well, you turned me down.”

Catra just laughs at her. “Yeah, well. You never did get those white doves so.”

“I didn’t get any white doves.” Bow and Glimmer giggle at Adora, her face a war between giggling and petulance.

“Shut up, Greyskull. You got like, four dozen roses. I think you’re fine.”

Still,” Adora protests. “I wouldn’t have said no to a horse drawn carriage is all I’m saying.”

Bow and Glimmer are cackling at this point, and Mermista has even begun to chortle mildly. Catra turns her full attention to her girlfriend. Adora can’t quite decipher the look in her eye.

“You really wanna draw attention to the fact that you’re a fucking closet horse girl right now?” Adora shrugs, taking the j from Bow when Catra ignores him. Catra snatches it before she manages a hit, then passes it to Mermista. “Fine, I’ll note it for next year. That good enough for you?”

Hm…” Adora pretends to ponder this option. “Okay, but just remember; Gypsy horses are ideal, but I’ll also accept Hackney.”

Catra stares at her, at a clear loss for words. “Exceptional.”

“My choices?” Adora preens obnoxiously and Bow is to the point of wheezing from laughter in the front seat. “Why thank you.” She shoots Catra a wink that has her rolling her eyes and turning pink. “I’ve done my research.”

Alright! Enough of this tangent. Mermista, spill it already. What’s up with your boy toy?”

She sobers up at having the attention drawn to her situation once more. With a scowl she tells them, “He just keeps pushing the date thing. But like, without ever saying it.”

“What?” Glimmer asks. “So, like, he’s trying to woo you?”

Yes.” She grunts, snatching the j back from Glimmer, thus skipping Bow, Catra and Adora entirely. “It’s driving me nuts.”

“Where did you even leave him?”

“I sent him inside and told him I forgot my lipstick in the car.”

“He didn’t insist on getting it for you?” Bow asks in surprise.

She snorts. “He fucking tried.” She doesn’t explain further, and they collectively get the impression not to ask.

Adora takes a final hit and checks the time. “Hey, we should head in. Our reservation was like, five minutes ago.”

“Yeah,” Catra sets a hand on her leg and squeezes, looking at her phone. “Scorp said they just got brought back to a table. Our timing’s good at least.”

“Ugh, will someone please separate Hawk from me?”

“Not a chance, Merms.” Catra answers as she opens her door, letting a puff of smoke out into the evening air. “We all like our dates.”

Aww,” Adora climbs out after her. “you like me? That’s like, so embarrassing for you, babe.”

Catra turns and steps forward, forcing Adora to back up against the closed car door. “Funny, I don’t feel embarrassed.”

She’s super close and she smells really good. Spicy. Her eyelids are heavy and there’s pink high in her cheeks. Adora gulps. “No?”

She opens her mouth to answer but Glimmer cuts them off, slamming her door. “Oh no, hell no. You two are not making out against the side of my car. Get your asses inside.”

Catra rolls her eyes but takes Adora’s hand. It’s almost as good as where they were headed before the interruption. And when Catra starts stroking the back of her hand with her thumb as they walk, Adora wonders if it might even be a little bit better.

Chapter Text

Catra’s not sure how she could possibly ever forget this moment. With Adora’s arms wrapped around her and her own head resting against her shoulder, she feels safe. With the glittering light of the disco ball and the tacky crepe paper streamers decorating the room, she feels like she’s been dropped into some teen romcom. Edwin McCain’s I’ll Be providing the soundtrack for Catra’s first ever slow dance only compounds the feeling.

Adora hums out a little sigh, not her first, and leans her cheek against Catra’s head. “Having a good time?” She whispers into her hair.

“I don’t know about you, but yeah, I am having a blast.” Adora chuckles and Catra feels the low sound reverberate through her chest.

“Good. Me too.” Instead of responding Catra pulls back just far enough to spin her dance partner. Her efforts are rewarded with a small giggle. She pulls her back in only to drop her into a low dip as the song comes to a close.

Adora slaps her shoulder playfully and laughs again. “Catra!

“Hey Adora.” She feels Adora’s knee slide naturally between her legs and whips them back up. Not because she’s flustered by the move. Catra is totally unflappable.

A fast song picks up the energy on the dancefloor and more folks start to swarm again. “Wanna get a drink?”

“Let’s do it, Greyskull.” Adora grabs her hand and drags her over to the refreshment table. She waits while Adora ladles out punch.

“Hey ladies, good night?” Catra looks up and grins when she sees Doc has drifted over to them.

“The best.” Adora tells her with a wide grin, handing over Catra’s drink. She takes a sip and barely resists the urge to choke on it. So, that’s definitely spiked.

“Nice corsage.” Catra comments with a smirk. It’s fucking massive, like an entire bouquet on their teacher’s wrist.

Netossa smiles fondly with an eye roll. “Spinney does it every year. They just keep getting bigger.”

Aww!” Adora coos, looking more closely at the flowers. She still hasn’t tried her drink. “So cute.”

“Alright, Greyskull. I need to sit, come with me?” They do not need to be the ones to narc about the punch just because Adora has no poker face.

Adora smiles sweetly at her. “Sure thing, good to see you, Doc!”

“You too, Greyskull. Don’t have too much fun now.” Adora laughs and allows herself to be pulled away.

As soon as they’re out of earshot Catra leans in to whisper, “Punch is spiked.”

Adora looks down at her little plastic cup with wide eyes. “Oh. Strong?”

Catra grimaces. “Surprisingly.” They take a seat at one of the tables and Adora regards her drink suspiciously. Then, with a shrug, she knocks it back. “Damn, okay, Greyskull.”

Adora shrugs and shoots her a cheeky grin. Catra’s heart turns over. “No reason to waste it.”

Catra rolls her eyes but pushes her cup toward her date. “Well you can have at this one too if you want.” In lieu of answering, Adora leans across the table to kiss her cheek sweetly. Then she knocks back the second drink too.

“You still thirsty?” Catra shrugs. With a determined nod Adora stands up. With one hand she stacks their cups and with the other she takes one of Catra’s. “Let’s find you some water.”

Their little expedition doesn’t take too long and they’re back at their same table. Adora seems to be…relaxing a little bit more. She scoots closer to Catra and leans heavily into her side.

“There you two are!” Scorpia’s voice startles Catra, but Adora just gives her a lazy smile. “Are you having a good time?”

She and Perfuma take seats across from them. Fuma’s legs go automatically to her lap as she settles into her chair. They really are so…nauseatingly domestic.

“The best!” Adora answers, voice just a little slower and more syrupy than usual. If they were alone Catra would kiss her just to see if that would be more languid too. Then suddenly she scowls. “It’s hot in here though.”

“Just take off your jacket, dummy.” Catra chides.

Adora brightens and pulls away from her. “You’re a genius.” Their friends laugh at their enthusiasm. Scorp gives her a look and she just mouths the word ‘punch’ while Adora is distracted. Scorpia nods knowingly.

And then…Adora’s jacket is off, and Catra so wasn’t prepared. Her button up is fucking sleeveless, no sleeves! Just her bare, strong arms on display. Fuck, shit, how long have I been staring? She snaps herself out of it.

“Gimme that.” She laughs at her girlfriend, who is clearly struggling to deal with her jacket. She’s managed to turn it inside out and crumple it into a ball.

“You’re just the best.” She sighs as Catra folds it neatly and hangs it over the back of another chair. Then she wraps her arms around Catra’s neck and turns to their friends. Catra may or may not stop breathing for like, one tiny second. “Isn’t Catra the best?”

Scorpia laughs gregariously. “Been saying so for years!”

“Ugh, you’re so smart, Scorpia. And such a good friend.”

Perfuma giggles. “That’s certainly true.”

Scorpia chuckles and rubs the back of her neck nervously. “Nah! It’s just so easy to see. Wildcat’s a gem!”

Catra feels her face heat. “Shut up.”

What are you guys doing over here?” Glimmer snaps, saving Catra from what easily could have turned into far too long a conversation.

“Glimmer!” Adora stands to hugs her.

“Uh oh, Adora get into the punch?” She looks to Catra for an answer.

A shrug. “Just a little.”

“I’m tipsy, not drunk.” Adora informs her in a stage whisper. Then she drops her ass into Catra’s lap.

“Damn, Greyskull! Warn a girl, will ya?” Their friends laugh at Catra’s predicament but Adora just shrugs.

“You like it.”

“Whatever.” Glimmer cuts them off, accepting a cup of water from Bow when he wanders over. “Why are none of you dancing?”

“Oh, Glimmer,” Perfuma starts in a pacifying tone. “not all of us can keep up with you. You really know how to move, girl!”

The flattery works and Glimmer preens. Then suddenly Mermista is dropping into a chair too, Seahawk right behind her. “Whatever, I’m here too. Don’t make a big thing out of it.”

“Hey Merms.” Catra smirks over at her. “Saw you two during that slow dance.”

“Shut up, Catrina.” She grits. Catra scowls darkly at her, Low blow.

Before she can come up with a rebuttal Adora cuts her off by cooing, “Aww, Catrina? I didn’t know Catra was a nickname.”

There’s a mixed reaction around the table, ranging from poorly hidden surprise to outright laughter. “What?” Catra snorts out.

“Seriously, Adora.” Bow takes the seat Adora had been occupying before taking Catra’s lap. Glimmer sits beside him, evidently resigning herself to a dance break for now. “You didn’t know your own girlfriend’s name?”

Adora pouts at him. “’S not her name…”

“Her legal name.” Bow corrects himself.

“Pfft, okay. Well I know no one at this table gives a shit about legal names.” She points a finger at Bow, Seahawk and Perfuma in turn.

He throws his hands up in surrender. “Alright, point taken.”

“Not that I don’t appreciate the sentiment, babe, but you really didn’t know?”

Now Adora turns her pout at her girlfriend. “When’s anybody ever called you that?” Catra gives her a look. She whines back, “What?”

“You really thought my given name was Catra?”

“Yes.” She answers stubbornly, setting her jaw. Catra leans in to kiss it softly.

“You’re something else, Greyskull.” Scorpia starts to aww at them and Catra cuts her off with a look and, “Shut up, Scorp.”

“Well, Mermista Darling,” Seahawk starts with a flourish. She’s already groaning. “What’s say you and I head back to the dance floor and cut a rug?”

“Ew.” He pouts at that, but continues on, undeterred.

“Perhaps our friends would like to join us?” He looks around the table beseechingly.

Adora’s on it. “Oh yeah! We’ve been sitting so long, Cat-“

“It’s been like, fifteen minutes.” Catra protests with a laugh.

“Right, so long, are you ready to go back?”

“Sure, sure.” Adora stands with a bounce and doesn’t hesitate to make her way to the floor, paying no mind to if anyone is actually behind her. Scorpia and Perfuma opt to sit a while longer but everyone else follows her out onto the floor.

Adora Greyskull is amazing. When Catra finds her date in the crowd she’s already dancing. Her ponytail is bouncing, and her eyes are closed; totally euphoric. Another moment Catra’s certain she’ll never be able to forget.

-{…}-

After an hour of dancing Adora’s entirely sobered up from her light buzz and starting to sweat. She weaves away from Glimmer and Bow, with whom she’d been dancing, and finds Catra twirling Mermista a couple feet away. The latter looks more carefree than Adora thinks she’s ever seen her.

Silently, unable to compete with the volume of the music, Adora tells her that she’s taking a break. Catra indicates her willingness to go with, but Adora waves her off. She nods at Mermista who’s still dancing, totally unaware of their soundless communication.

She grabs some water and scans the room. Most of her friends are still dancing but, for the first time that evening, she spots Entrapta and her date on the fringes of the room. Without hesitation she makes her way over.

“Entrapta, Wrong Hordak! How’s it going?”

“Adora! This social experiment is the best I’ve ever been to! Wouldn’t you agree?”

Adora chuckles at the enthusiasm, and the doe eyed look Wrong Hordak gives his date. “Definitely.”

“I’ve collected so much data!” She cackles.

Adora glances to Wrong Hordak to see if he’s gonna clarify. Predictably, he is not. “Data?”

“Different groups are forced to mingle. Hierarchies form and break. It’s the perfect place to observe behavior. Hordak got me a new recorder just for tonight!”

“Aw,” She shoots him a smile. He’s still just looking at Entrapta, totally besotted. He does shoot her a quick wink though. Little weird, but okay. “That’s sweet.”

“Isn’t it! Where’s Catra? I want to show it to her.”

“Oh, she’s still dancing with Mermista.”

Entrapta cocks her head, confused. “Didn’t she come with you?”

Adora laughs, unbothered. “Well yeah, but-“

“There she is! Catra!” And suddenly Catra is standing right up next to Adora.

“Hey, nerds. What’s going on over here?”

“Look!” Entrapta shoves her recorder into Catra’s hands. She fumbles, nearly dropping the small plate of snacks she’d come with. “Oh, is that tiny food?”

Catra rolls her eyes but dutifully hands the plate over, much to Entrapta’s glee. “Damn trap, this thing is fancy.”

“It is?” Adora questions, inspecting the device. It just looks like a recorder.

Her girlfriend nods, handing it back to its owner. “Much nicer than what you’ve been working with. Got a name for them yet?”

“Emily!”

“Nice one.” Catra returns mildly. Then she turns to Adora. “Hey, babe, how you holding up?”

“Good! Just got a little hot.”

“I’ll say…” Catra murmurs, causing a blush to blaze across Adora’s face. “Would you wanna take a walk? We’re not far from the water.”

“Okay!” Adora beams. That honestly sounds perfect. The venue is loud and completely packed.

They say their goodbyes to Entrapta and Wrong Hordak. Then they grab their jackets and Adora texts Glimmer, letting her know they’ll be back and to call if they want to head home before they are. With that sorted, they make their way out the doors and into the night.

Catra takes her hand, almost unaware she’s doing it. Like it’s habit now. The thought makes Adora want to squeal, she holds back though. For now. They wander down the sidewalks of the downtown area, making their way to the waterfront. It’s quiet but for the low hum of the city, nearly dead at this late hour.

They walk down the footpath for a while until Adora tugs on Catra’s hand as they pass a bench. She inclines her head in a silent request to sit and Catra obliges. She curls into Adora’s chest and throws her legs over her lap, “For warmth.”

“Hey, thanks for coming with me tonight.” Adora murmurs after they’ve been sitting for a while.

“Course, Dora. Who else would I go with?” She shrugs, jostling Catra’s head just a little.

“I mean, you probably coulda gone with anyone you wanted.” She states fairly.

“Shut up.” She nuzzles in further and her cold nose brushes against Adora’ neck. “You’re the only one I want.”

She must hear the way that makes Adora’s heart stutters, with her head against her chest like this. “Hmm, me too.”

“Gay.” Adora laughs, the sound loud in the quiet night.

“Yeah, well.” She sighs and rests her chin on Catra’s head, staring out at the water. Is this what love feels like? She chokes on the thought, deciding without thought not to voice it. “Hey Catra?”

“Yeah, Greyskull?”

“Would you…wanna sleepover tonight?” Catra pulls back suddenly to look at her face, searching.

“Adora…are you…?”

Her confusion makes Adora smile softly. “Not like that. I just…don’t want this night to end.”

Catra’s returning smile is just as tender. “Yeah, okay.” Then she snorts.

“What’s funny?”

“I just…I really thought for a second you wanted me to take your virginity on prom night.”

Adora knows how red she must be turning. Still, she tries for nonchalance. “Hm, maybe next year.”

She can’t quite decipher the look on Catra’s face, but it’s definitely not teasing. Her words are though; she tells her, “Sorry, babe, too much of a cliché for me.”

An eye roll. “Oh, my bad. I’ll try to think of something more original.”

“I’d appreciate that.” Catra punctuates the statement with a kiss on her cheek, and Adora feels herself turning impossibly redder. “I’m starting to get cold, you ready to turn back?”

She sighs dramatically. “Yeah, okay.”

Catra scoffs at her and stands, holding out an arm to help Adora up. When they start walking, she doesn’t take her hand, choosing instead to wrap an arm around her waist. Adora throws one over her shoulders and they begin their journey, whispering and giggling the whole way.

 

An hour and a half later and they’re home and changed out of their formal clothes. Which means Catra is swimming in an old tee shirt of Adora’s and a pair of sweats rolled at the waistband several times over to keep them up. She’s in her clothes, and in her bed. For sleeping this time, nary a textbook in sight. Adora might pass out.

She excuses herself to the bathroom and catches sight of her face as she washes her hand. Her reflection startles her; she’s sure she’s never looked so…happy. Her eyes are bright and shining, red streaked high across her cheeks, and her smile is impossibly large and impossible to wipe away. She shakes her head at herself and turns back, ready to get cozy.

Catra’s already made herself comfortable, snuggled up under the blankets. “Hey, Greyskull. Get in here and warm me up!”

Adora rolls her eyes fondly. “It’s literally impossible to be cold under that duvet.” Despite her protest she climbs into the bed, not bothering to nudge Catra away from the center of the mattress. Snuggling suits her just fine.

Adora’s turned off the main light, so the soft light of her table lamp provides the only illumination in the room. It makes Catra’s features look soft, dreamy. “What are you staring at?” She whispers.

“You.” Adora admits plainly. It makes Catra’s cheeks turn pink and she smiles at the sight.

“Shut up.”

“I mean, can you blame me?” She laughs.

Catra groans theatrically around a wide grin. “You’re so fucking cheesy, Greyskull.”

Adora shrugs, unrepentant. “I mean. You know…I liked you for so long.” She admits timidly, and Catra sobers. “I didn’t ever imagine you’d give me the time of day, let alone…” She trails off, vaguely indicating their position in her bed.

Adora.” She breathes deeply and moves in close to rest her forehead against Adora’s. She can essentially taste the mint of her own toothpaste on Catra’s breath.

“Yeah?”

“I-I don’t even know what to say to that. You’re so…you’re so…”

“So what?” Adora asks in a breathless whisper.

Sweet.” Adora laughs quietly at the answer and kisses her shortly. With her eyes still closed, and a small smile on her lips, Catra tells her, “I can’t believe you fucking pined for me.”

Adora groans and flops on her back, dragging Catra with her so she’s lying half on her chest. “I didn’t pine! Why does everyone always accuse me of pining?”

Catra shrugs. “I mean, if the shoe fits, Cinderella.”

“Wow, okay. Can we talk about something else now?”

“Like what? I kind of like talking about how bad you’ve got it for me if I’m honest.”

Very maturely, Adora sticks out her tongue. “Hush you. I don’t know…school year’s almost over. Plans for summer break?”

“Are you asking if I have plans, or are you tryna make plans with me?” Catra asks with a raised brow.

“I dunno.” Adora mumbles. “Both, I suppose.”

“Right, well…I mean I’ll probably try and get a job, save some cash. Other than that…I’m around.”

Adora smiles at her, shifting them into a slightly more comfortable position. “Yeah? Same.”

“Cool.”

“So cool.” Catra laughs at her and snuggles in tighter. Of course, she’s a fucking cuddler; because Adora’s the luckiest girl in the world, apparently.

-{…}-

Wrapped around Adora Greyskull like this, Catra feels like the luckiest girl in the world. The universe even. She burrows into the warmth of Adora’s body, because of course she’d be a fucking furnace, and yawns.

“Alright, Greyskull. I’m sleepy, you ready for lights out?”

“Hang on.” Adora moves so she’s braced over Catra’s body. “Lemme get one last look at you.”

Catra laughs around another yawn and pushes at her shoulder. She doesn’t budge, which is like, so chill. “You’re an idiot.”

“Meh, doesn’t bother me. You seem to like it anyway.”

She shakes her head fondly. “Is it always gonna be like this with you, Greyskull?”

Adora’s answer comes back earnest and whole hearted. “I sure fucking hope so, D’riluth.”

And is she’s being honest? Catra really hopes so too.

Chapter Text

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.

 

-{...}-