Actions

Work Header

i wanna dance with somebody (who loves me)

Chapter Text

 

i.

When Adora was younger, she had wanted to become a photographer. 

There was something incredibly enthralling about it, something about being able to capture the world from behind the lens of a camera, something about forever freezing a perfect moment in time. Any sort of art, really — painting, music, photography, dancing — has always managed to fascinate her.

But she’s older now, and her mother — her foster mother — has made it clear that things like artwork and photography aren’t going to get her anywhere in life. There’s better things to make her life out of, things that she could do to get her places, and photography was never one of them. 

Basketball is one of those things, and it’s something that’s helped her through her life. It’s given her plenty of friends and popularity through her high school years, it’s given her something to be proud of, and most importantly, it’s given her a clear ticket to attending college when she graduates from high school.

What it hasn’t given her is a sense of control. 

Well, okay, Adora figures that’s a bit of an over exaggeration. 

Playing the game itself does give her a sense of control, but having to play the game does not. It had been her foster mother’s choice to get her into the sport, not her own.

Looking back, it was a good choice for her in the long run, but when Adora was in middle school and practically forced to get into something she had little to no interest in, there was no way for her to know it’d help her future. 

Ms. Weaver’s always been like that. It’s almost like it’s gratifying to her to have immense control over someone else’s life, and Adora, having grown up under her roof, should be used to it by now.

(Spoiler alert: she’s not.)

But through the years, Adora has pretty much managed to figure out how to stay out of Ms. Weaver’s wrath, and one of those things includes just having to deal with the fact that Ms. Weaver would have a good amount of control over her life until she graduated high school. She’s pretty much come to accept that, having decided a long time ago that there was really no point in dwelling on it. 

At least, that’s what she had decided until this very moment, as she stares down at the phone in her hands and at the message that seems to tauntingly stare back at her.

If she weren’t surrounded by a bunch of other sweaty girls in a locker room right now, Adora’s fairly certain that she’d just curl up into a ball and cry. Unfortunately for her, that’s exactly where she is, and she has about fifteen minutes to shower and finish getting ready before her first class of the day. 

So before she can spiral into a pit of despair, she buries her phone into the mess of papers at the bottom of her backpack, shuts her locker door — slams is a better word for it, and she makes a point to apologize to Lonnie when the girl startles and then glares at her — and then makes her way to the showers. 

It’s going to be a long day. 




The real story begins something like this: 

“So, let me get this straight,” Glimmer says, exactly nine hours later. “Now she’s attempting to force you to go to the University of the Horde? Isn’t that like, a ten minute drive from here?” 

From her place in the passenger seat, Adora nods, head pressed against the cool glass window of Glimmer’s car. Outside, sleet smacks against the window and then sadly slides downwards, gathering in gray mush on the ledge. Fitting, Adora decides, for how the course of this day has gone for her.

“But weren’t you planning on going to Bright Moon University? Which is like, a two hour plane ride from here?”

The letterman wrapped around Adora’s frame  — white and gold, for their school’s colors — tightens as she curls further into herself with another nod, resisting the sudden urge to cry. 

Being that it’s her final year of high school, Adora had opted for taking an easy ride throughout it. Her top colleges have all already offered plenty of scholarships as long as she keeps playing basketball, and she has a rough idea of what she wants to do with her life after she walks across the stage and accepts her diploma.

One of the things she wants includes being free from her foster mother’s control, and yet, here she is, practically being told that one of the biggest things she’s looking forward to is going to be ripped away from her and there’s not much she can do about it. 

Adora takes a deep breath in a futile attempt to calm the tight feeling that’s slowly beginning to grow within her chest.

“You’re not going to change your plans just because she’s telling you to,” Glimmer tells her, although it comes out a little more like a question. They pull up to a stoplight, and then she turns to face her friend. “Are you?” 

“I don’t know,” Adora answers, squeezing her eyes shut. “What else am I going to do? Just tell her no?”

Glimmer doesn’t seem to understand what the problem is. “Um, yeah? You shouldn’t have to change something as massive as this just because she wants you to stay close to her so she can keep controlling your life.”

Adora sighs, opening her eyes and focusing on the buildings as they pass them. A hardware store and a hole in the wall restaurant flank the intersection they stop at, with a couple of lights on the other side. “It’s not that simple.”

“Why not?” Glimmer asks, voice quieter than before, in a tone that means she’s waiting for Adora to elaborate. Out of the three of them, they may not be the best when it comes to talking about feelings — that spot is reserved for Bow, after all — but Adora is familiar enough with Glimmer to know when she’s trying. 

“I don’t know,” Adora admits, plucking at the loose thread on the blocky, golden number “13” sewn into the front of her jacket. “She… she pretty much raised me, Glimmer. If she wants me to stay, I feel like I sort of owe it to her, even if she was never a good mother figure.”

It’s quiet for a moment as Glimmer drives along the backroads that lead to her neighborhood, and toward her house. Rain rhythmically thrums against the roof of the car, a clap of thunder echoing in the distance. 

“I don’t think you owe anyone that sort of control, Adora,” she eventually says, voice just barely loud enough to be heard over the rain. “I mean, come on. You’ve told me plenty of times about how she's treated you for the past decade. You’re already eighteen; once you graduate and get out of here, she won’t be able to control you at all as long as you don’t let her.” 

Somewhere in the back of Adora’s mind, she knows that Glimmer’s right; that she really doesn’t owe Ms. Weaver anything, and that she should easily be able to slip out from underneath her thumb once she graduates. Although the idea doesn’t exactly sound unappealing, Adora isn’t quite sure how that would even work. 

“What are you suggesting I do, then?” she asks, lifting her head and uncurling her knees. “Just pack up and leave at the end of the summer without a word? I doubt she’d let that happen.”

Glimmer chuckles. “What is she gonna do? You’re eighteen now.” 

“Guilt trip me,” Adora huffs, visibly deflating and leaning back against the seat of the car. “Manipulate me. I don’t know.”

Glimmer flashes a quick, concerned glance at her. “Adora, if you want to get out of there now, my offer still stands. My mom already loves you.” 

Adora quickly shakes her head. It’s not that she doesn’t want to move in with Glimmer, but she already spends a lot of time at her house as it is, and she doesn’t want to feel like a burden. Bow had offered the same thing to her as well, and even though she loves his dads, they don’t have an extra room in their cozy little home.  

They pull into the long driveway that leads to Glimmer’s house, and she puts the car in park. For a few moments, they just sit there in silence, until Glimmer eventually speaks. “Well, the only thing I can think of now to do is just show her that you’re the one in charge.”

Adora furrows her brows. “What?”

There’s a pause. Her best friend turns toward her with a mischievous smirk, and Adora doesn’t know whether to be curious or concerned. 

(She finds that she's a little bit of both.)

“You need to show Ms. Weaver that you’re in charge now, that she doesn’t have anymore control over your life,” Glimmer tells her, and then gets that look in her eye that makes Adora realize she’s planning something that they might either be able to pull off, or will completely blow up in their faces. “Do you want to know what I’d do?”

Because Glimmer seems to be going somewhere with this, and because Adora doesn’t really seem to have a better idea at the moment, she nods. “Okay, sure.”

“I’d bring home my mother’s worst nightmare,” she grins. “And I have the perfect candidate in mind.”

(In retrospect, Adora should’ve seen the rest of this story coming. She also, definitely, should not have agreed to Glimmer’s completely bizarre and not-at-all-clear plan, and yet, against her better judgement, it’s exactly what she did anyway.)

 

ii.

They manage to track Catra down the next morning, just after first period. 

She doesn’t seem to hear them calling out to her as she strolls down the hallway, the wires of her earbuds dangling in front of her chest. She’s wearing a cropped t-shirt despite the fact that they’re still in the middle of winter, tight gray ripped jeans, and a beanie that covers unruly hair that Adora used to enjoy running her fingers through in their younger years. All in all, Adora wonders how her friend hasn’t managed to get dress coded yet, and is totally not thinking about how pretty she looks without even trying.  

(“This is a terrible,” Adora had hissed into Glimmer’s ear the moment they saw her in the hallway, waving her hands around for extra effect, “terrible plan.”

It didn’t seem to matter that her and Catra had stayed up till two in the morning the previous night, messaging each other back and forth. It hadn’t really hit her until now what exactly Glimmer’s plan would require until she actually saw Catra in person the next day.

“I think it’s a great plan,” Glimmer had grinned, and that had been the end of it.)

Which leads them to now. Glimmer stops directly in front of Catra, nearly running into her, while Adora stays a couple steps behind. Catra takes a step back, pulling an earbud out and looking up at Glimmer with furrowed brows. 

“Catra!” Glimmer starts, giving Adora all of two seconds to back out of this and decide that this really, really isn’t as good of an idea as Glimmer has led herself to believe. “I have a proposal for you.” 

Suspiciously narrowing her eyes, Catra straightens up and grips the strap of her backpack. “Yeah, well, find someone else,” she says, shouldering past Glimmer. “Last time I did something for you, I ended up with chemicals all over my clothes, and the teacher had to use that emergency shower to stop anything from getting dangerous.” 

Adora has to stop herself from laughing when she’s reminded of what Catra’s talking about. She’s not sure what their teacher was thinking when he had partnered Glimmer and Catra together for a science project a couple of weeks ago, but it had, to literally no one’s surprise, turned out to be a complete disaster. 

“It’s not for me,” Glimmer pointedly says as Catra continues to walk down the hallway, before adding, “it’s for Adora.” 

Catra pauses a few feet away from them, and Glimmer rolls her eyes. “Oh, so that’s what gets you to stop?” she asks, flashing a glance in Adora’s direction, and then shaking her head and wraping an arm around Catra’s shoulders. “Come on, Cat. I thought we were closer than this.” 

Catra frowns and eyes the arm wrapped around her shoulders, but doesn’t make a move to slap it off, which is something she typically would’ve done in the past. 

“Yeah,” Adora starts, stepping around the pair so she can stand in front of them. “It’s for me, not Glimmer.” 

For a moment, Catra looks surprised to see her, like she hadn’t noticed she was there the whole time. “Well, what is it, then?”

Glimmer gives her a pointed glance. Adora takes a deep breath, but as she opens her mouth to speak, but the words suddenly get lost in her throat. 

The thing is, her and Catra’s relationship had always been sort of... complicated. 

Catra had been there for her for as long as she can remember — she was her first friend, after all, and where you found one, you could always find the other. As they grew up, their interests changed, and even as they migrated to separate groups at school, they still remained best friends. 

Well, at least until high school.

They had a major argument only a couple of months into freshman year, and Adora had watched a decade long friendship be completely torn apart before her very own eyes. On the front lawn of Sea Hawk’s house (there had been a Halloween party, Adora had attempted to invite Catra since they had slowly begun to see each other less and less in high school) things had completely blown up for them, and they spent the rest of the year, followed by the entirety of their sophomore and junior years as enemies.

(Or, at least, that’s what Catra had called it. Adora had never really seen Catra as her enemy, even at their lowest points.)

The summer right after their junior year was when they had finally had a reconciliation. After years of having to remorsefully describe Catra as somebody I used to know to anyone who asked — mainly her friends, or anyone who witnessed their hostile interactions — they had begun taking tentative steps to rebuild the friendship that had completely shattered nearly four years prior. 

Adora loved all of Catra’s friends, so much so that Catra’s closest friends — Entrapta and Scorpia — are two people who she considers her good friends now. Meanwhile, Bow and Catra had somewhat gotten along in the beginning, while Glimmer and Catra had... absolutely not. 

Their relationship had been filled with deep resentment from the start, being that Glimmer was always there to see Catra argue with Adora before they had their reconciliation. Unsurprisingly, even afterwards, Catra and Glimmer could barely even be in the same room as each other before someone said some sort of insult, only for it to turn into a series of arguments and shouts.

Something had happened between them after Micah had died. Adora still remembers how her and Bow had watched Glimmer retreat further and further into her shell, and had been able to do practically nothing about it. 

She isn’t quite sure how or when it happened, but somehow, Catra had managed to get through to her. 

When Adora had asked about it, Catra had simply reminded her that she had been in Glimmer’s position before and that the two were apparently able to bond over shared traumas.

They had slowly begun to warm up to each other after that, and although they’re still a complete mess when it comes to working together on school work, the only insults they share are coated in affection, and Adora’s even seen them hang out a couple of times without her or Bow. 

All of this is to say that, even though Adora has confidence that her and Catra won’t lose the friendship they’ve rebuilt again, she doesn’t think she wants to risk changing something in their dynamic just to prove something to her foster mother. 

And just as she’s about to open her mouth to say nevermind, this was stupid, Glimmer must read the expression on her face as hesitance, because she just straight up says: “We need you to date Adora.” 

There’s a long, awkward pause. 

Adora doesn’t know why she’s surprised at the fact that Glimmer had just come right out and said it, but she is. Catra blinks, and the bright lights of the hallway make the shock on her face obvious by the way her lips part ever so slightly. 

“You need me to what?” she asks, and Adora manages to clamp her jaw shut before she makes herself look like too much of an idiot. Beside her, Glimmer is still grinning. “You want me to date my best friend?” 

And even with the situation they’ve found themselves in, Adora can’t help but smile at the words best friend. They had used that term for each other all the time when they were younger, but after their fallout, it was rarely used, even after they had gotten close again. It’s the end of January now, and while Adora’s used it a few times, she’s only heard Catra use it one other time. 

“Well, not exactly,” Glimmer tells her. “Not officially. More of like a fake dating thing, just for a few weeks. It’ll probably be over before March.” 

Catra still looks bewildered. Adora winces when she takes a couple of steps back, furrows her brows together and averts her gaze from them as if she’s trying to make sense of this whole thing, and then looks back up. “Why?”

Glimmer opens her mouth to continue, and then pauses. She flashes a quick glance at Adora, as if waiting to see what she’ll do. 

Figuring there’s no way to turn back now, Adora sighs, and rubs her arm over the sleeve of her letterman. “It’s… it’s, um, to piss off Ms. Weaver. She’s trying to keep me from going to BMU,” she explains, and then winces when Catra’s eyes widen. They had both already been accepted to that college — Catra on a music scholarship, and Adora on a sports scholarship — and Adora knows that it’ll probably hurt Catra just as much if Adora doesn’t end up going. “So this is to show her that she’s not in charge of my life. To prove a point.” 

Guilt flashes across Catra’s heterochromatic eyes — the same eyes that Adora had spent the entirety of her childhood being utterly fascinated with — and her entire demeanor visibly changes. There’s another slightly uncomfortable silence, before Catra eventually sighs.

“Can I ask why?” she questions. Glimmer and Adora share a confused look, so Catra quickly adds, “I mean, I get why you want to do it, but why me? Why can’t it be you,” she motions to Glimmer, “or literally anyone else?” 

A smile quickly returns to Glimmer’s face, and she pats Catra’s shoulder. “Well, Catra, being that the whole point of this is to prove that Ms. Weaver isn’t in control of Adora anymore, we need someone who isn’t exactly what a mother’s ideal partner for their child would be,” she explains. “Being that you’re, well, you,” Catra suddenly looks mildly offended, so Glimmer pauses and adds, “you know. Broody, rebellious, gives off this resident bad girl vibe, I think you’re the perfect one for the job. Me on the other hand; Ms. Weaver would probably love me.”

Adora doesn’t bother telling Glimmer that while Ms. Weaver will definitely hate Catra, she’d probably still hate Glimmer, even if it’s just a little less. Instead, she turns back to her best friend with a concerned frown. 

“You don’t have to do it,” Adora reassures her, not at all wanting Catra to feel pressured. “I mean, this was all Glimmer’s idea anyway, and to be honest, I don’t know if it’ll work, or if we’ll be able to even pull it off—“

“Okay.” Catra grips the strap of the backpack hanging off her shoulder and straightens up. “I’ll pretend to date you to piss off Ms. Weaver.” 

Glimmer glances between them with an excited grin — why she’s so thrilled about this, Adora still has no idea — before she brings them both into a hug. “Perfect! This is totally going to work.”

And even though Adora’s still not sure about this plan (and even less sure that her and Catra will be able to actually pull it off), the relief that she feels in her chest is undeniable, so she lets herself be pulled into a hug. 

What’s even more surprising is that Catra does, too. 




After school, they agree to meet up at a diner that’s less than a mile away from the school itself. Unlike yesterday, it’s fairly sunny today, so Adora declines the ride offer from Glimmer and settles on walking the short distance. 

Adora arrives first; Catra had told her she’d be a few minutes late since she had to talk to the music teacher about something, so Adora has already chosen a booth that’s tucked into the back and away from the windows by the time the jingling of the bell above the door signals Catra’s arrival.

“I hope you don’t mind that I ordered for us,” Adora tells Catra as she slides into the seat across from her, pulling her backpack off of her shoulder. “Do you still like the milkshakes here?” 

Catra stares at her for a few seconds. “Is that a joke? You know I love the milkshakes here; they’re great.”

It’s been a while since they’ve been to this place. They had come here all the time when they were younger, but those numbers slowly began to dwindle as the years passed, until they completely stopped after their fight. Aside from that, Adora thinks she had been here with once Bow and his dads back in her junior year. 

The neon pink lights of the diner cast a soft glow over Catra’s face, and they make her eyes look even more intriguing than they usually are. Adora finds that she kind of gets lost in them for a few moments, chest suddenly filled with a sense of nostalgia and fondness for her former childhood best friend-turned-enemy-turned-current best friend, and everything they’ve been through together in the past decade and a half. 

“What?” Catra asks, and Adora pulls herself out of wherever she just was upon realizing that she must’ve been staring. Catra raises a brow.

Adora shakes her head. “I was just… um, thinking.”

“Yeah, no shit, Sherlock,” Catra teases her. “About what?” 

“Just…” Adora trails off, not quite sure what to say, before eventually deciding to just avoid the question completely. “Thank you, for doing this for me.” 

Catra’s face softens, but her smirk still remains. “Of course. It’s not everyday you get asked to fake date your best friend, so I thought it’d be fairly interesting.” 

Again, Adora doesn’t quite know how to respond, but she’s saved from her internal panicking by the reappearance of their waiter. 

He sets down a milkshake in front of them both — a chocolate one for Catra, and a strawberry one for Adora — followed by a basket of fries between them. Adora makes a note to leave behind a larger tip than usual to thank the waiter for saving her from having to quickly come up with a response. 

“So,” she starts once the waiter has left, intending on breezing past her near melt down, “I was thinking we could talk about about how all of this is going to work; you know, maybe make up a backstory, decide who in all we’re trying to convince, how exactly we’re going to do it—“ 

“You invited me on a date with you so we could come up with our fake backstory?” Catra interrupts, clearly amused. Adora’s cheeks flush, and she’s about to splutter out if I wanted to take you out on a date, it would be much more special than this when Catra continues before she can somehow manage to embarrass herself even more. “Wow, and here I was thinking you just wanted to hang out with me.”

Adora frowns. “That’s— okay, I know that’s what it sounded like, but that’s not what I meant.” When Catra lifts a brow, Adora quickly adds, “I do want to hang out with you, but I also want to come up with a backstory. Like, you know, killing one bird with two stones— I mean, two birds with one stone. But if you don’t want to, that’s fine, we can just hang out, and maybe we can just wing the rest of it whenever I introduce you to Ms. Weaver — which, might not actually be a good idea — but hopefully we’ll be—“

“Dude,” Catra cuts her off. “I was teasing.”

Adora averts her eyes, cheeks aflame with embarrassment. “Sorry, I just,” she pauses as she scurries through her backpack, pulling out a sheet of paper and a pencil and setting it next to her milkshake. “I’m kind of stressed that we won’t be able to pull this off, and that Ms. Weaver will find out I’m lying, and it’ll just make this all worse… so coming up with a backstory is, at the very least, a little reassuring.” 

Before Adora can really register what exactly is happening, Catra’s fingers brush against the knuckles of her own hands. She loosens the balled up fist Adora hadn’t even realized she had been making, and suddenly, her small hands are covering Adora’s larger ones. 

“Hey,” she starts, and Adora glances up to meet mismatched, reassuring eyes. “I’ll make sure we’ll pull this off, Adora. It’s going to be fine.” She rubs her thumbs over the palms of Adora’s hands, her fingers warm and soft. “And if coming up with a backstory is going to get you to relax, then we’ll do that, too. Now just take a deep breath.” 

Adora stares at Catra for a moment, and then follows her directions by slowly inhaling and exhaling. Catra squeezes her hands. 

“Better?” 

Adora nods, releasing another shaky breath, slowly feeling the tension begin to seep out of her shoulders. Maybe Catra’s right — maybe they will be able to pull this off. 

“Yeah,” she murmurs. “Thanks, Catra, seriously. I really appreciate it.”

Catra smiles at her, soft and sweet like the milkshakes between them. There’s a beat of silence, before eventually, Adora clears her throat and grabs the pencil, and Catra brings her hands back towards the basket of fries. 

“So, who made the first move?”




By the end of it, they manage to come up with a relatively simple plan. They decide that, while walking home together one night, they had both decided the moment was right, and had mutually made the first move. 

(The both is important. Adora had initially suggested it should be that she was walking Catra home, only for her to kiss her goodnight, but Catra immediately had objections. 

“No way,” she had said, “if anything, I kissed you goodnight.”

So, in order to compromise, they decided that maybe they mutually kissed each other goodnight.)

They also decide that this upcoming Friday will be the day that Adora introduces Catra to Ms. Weaver as her girlfriend. Catra’s already met the woman before — only a couple of times, thankfully — but they had all been brief, and honestly, Adora isn’t even sure if Ms. Weaver will remember it.

“Okay, I know I said I think we can pull this off,” Catra tells her as Adora folds the piece of paper filled with what's probably plenty of unnecessary details of their fake relationship and slides it into the pocket of her jacket, “and I do think we can. But what if she finds out we’re faking through someone else?”

Adora tilts her head. “What do you mean?”

Catra shrugs. “Like, if everyone knows we’re not actually dating. I don’t know. Is Ms. Weaver a social person?”

“Well, in terms of work, I suppose she is,” Adora tells her. “Not really outside of it. But… but what if you’re right? What if she does find out through someone else?”

Catra furrows her brows together, and gets the look that Adora understands as what she does when she’s in deep thought. Adora sighs, nervously jiggling her leg underneath the table. 

“We’re just going to have to convince everyone else that we’re dating, too,” she concludes. 

Catra jerks her head up in surprise. “You want to keep this up in front of everyone?”  

“Well, not everyone,” Adora says sort of sheepishly. “Glimmer knows, and Bow probably knows by now...”

“Okay but, like, Scorpia and Entrapta don’t know. Your other friends probably don’t know. The entire rest of the school doesn’t know,” Catra points out, and Adora takes a sip of her milkshake just to give herself something to do. “I just want to make sure that you’re okay with this; that it won’t be something you’ll regret later.” 

“I’m okay with it,” Adora reassures her. “It’s not like everyone at school doesn’t already know I’m a lesbian.” 

Catra drags a couple of fries through her milkshake and then stuffs them into her mouth. “Good point.”

While Catra had come out to Adora — and everyone else — the summer before high school, it had taken Adora a couple of years to come to terms with her own sexuality afterwards. When she had eventually come out, it hadn’t ended up being as big of a deal as she had initially imagined it would’ve been. Her friends were all supportive, and while she’s sure homophobia still exists in parts of the city, no one at school seemed to really care.

Adora releases a soft sigh, and glances up to meet Catra’s eyes. “Are you okay with this?” 

Catra nods. “Of course. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have agreed to it in the first place. I mean, if we’re doing this, might as well go all out, right?”

Adora searches her friends eyes for anything that could possibly contradict what she’s saying. She may not be the best at reading people, and Catra may be really good at hiding her emotions, but Adora’s known her long enough to be able to tell when something’s up. 

When she finds nothing but the truth shining in bicolored eyes, Adora relaxes her shoulders and smiles. 

“Right.”

Their conversation lapses into relative silence after that, and they split their time between helping each other on homework and eating the basket of fries between them. Adora delights in the fact that it’s not awkward at all; when her and Catra were younger, they had always been able to sit in comfortable silences, but after their fight and reconciliation, those moments were often filled with at least a small amount of tension or awkwardness. 

Now, it seems that they’re getting back to how they used to be before everything happened, and Adora couldn’t be more thankful for it. 

 

iii.

One hand rubbing up and down the side of her jeans, Catra sighs. “This is totally going to ruin my reputation.” 

Adora turns to face her best friend from her place in the passenger seat of the car. They hadn’t arrived at school together, but they had agreed to meet up before they went inside, and Catra hadn’t been in the mood to wait outside of the car in late January weather. 

“Your reputation?” she echoes. “What, worried your resident bad girl image will be tainted because everyone will think we’re dating?”

Catra’s brow lifts a playful brow. “Of course. Me, dating the school’s Golden Girl? None of my friends are going to take me seriously anymore.” 

Adora chuckles, and turns back toward the front of the school, where a few students are gathered near the front steps. “Half of your friends are my friends, Catra.” They may have run in separate groups in the past, but now, the lines intermingle. 

“You’re not being very nice,” Catra says, poking her shoulder. “I thought fake girlfriends were supposed to be nice.”

“We’ve only been officially fake dating for like two minutes, Catra.”

“Already two minutes of wasted time, Adora.”

“What do you want from me?”

“Flowers, hoodies…”

“If all you’re going to do is patronize me, I’m just gonna leave.”

“At least you’ll be able to find me some flowers while you’re gone.”

“Now who’s not being a nice girlfriend?”

Catra doesn’t respond, but when Adora turns back over, she sees her staring outside with a smirk on her face. Adora grins, before glancing down at her phone and checking the time. They have a little less than ten minutes before first period starts. 

“You ready?” Catra asks, looking at her in concern. Adora looks up and sees galaxies in her eyes, and any nerves she felt about lying to the entire school — and more importantly, her foster mother — just melt away.

Adora takes her best friend’s hand and nods. 




Perfuma is staring at her. 

Or, well, them. 

She’s really, really staring at them. 

“Well, are you gonna say something?” Catra eventually snaps, and Adora winces.

A year ago, Catra snapping at Perfuma like that would’ve erupted into a small scuffle between the pair, but now, Perfuma simply stands there for a few more moments, before finally clasping her hands together as a large smile takes over her face. 

“So the rumors are true?” she asks, smile widening as Adora and Catra share a knowing look. “You two are together?”

So, it’s Friday now, and being that they’ve decided that today will be the day they start putting up an act in front of Ms. Weaver, they’ve also decided that they might as well start with the school first.

If Adora’s being honest, it really wasn’t that hard. All they had to do was let Glimmer and Bow in on the plan, have them deliberately spread a couple of rumors, and then walk into the building this morning holding hands. 

(It was something they had used to do when they were younger, all the time. Now, it feels… weird, although it’s a good kind of weird. Adora chalks it up to being because they’re older and haven’t done it in a long time.)

Shuffling her things around in her locker (which she should really, really organize sometime soon), she listens on as Catra tells Perfuma that they are indeed together.

(The sentence makes her feel slightly warm, but that could just be because her letterman jacket tends to keep her pretty warm.) 

Sometime between Adora’s thoughts about this entire thing and her endless search for her textbook, Scorpia has appeared beside Perfuma, presumably for the same reason. Adora tunes out the rest of their conversation — because, seriously, where the hell did she put her textbook? — only to immediately tune back in when Perfuma exclaims her next sentence.  

“I knew it was only a matter of time!” 

Adora pauses, textbook halfway pulled out of her locker. Not only does Perfuma seem to believe the fact that they’re dating, but now she’s claiming to have seen it coming? 

She can’t see what Catra’s reaction to this is, being that her face is blocked from Adora’s view by the door of her locker, and she isn’t sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. 

Scorpia nudges Perfuma’s shoulder. “Oh, me too. All the lingering looks, the tension between you two ever since you guys became friends again, it was only a matter of time before you finally got together.” 

Beside her, Catra remains silent. Adora swallows heavily, stuffing her textbook into her backpack, before slowly shutting the door of her locker. The faint chatter of other students occupying the hallways surround them. 

Finally — finally — Catra opens her mouth to say something, but before she can, the warning bell rings, letting them know they know have a minute left until class starts. Catra glances up at Adora, and then back at Scorpia and Perfuma.

“I’d um, love to stay and catch you two up with all of the deets about our relationship,” she quickly tells them, “but we don’t want to be late to class. You can ask Sparkles if you want, though. She knows everything.” 

And with that, she quickly grabs Adora’s hand, leading her away from the other two. Adora simply lets herself get pulled away in a slight daze, confused as to how their plan has already seemingly backfired, and it’s only been less than three hours. 

When she finally does manage to come to, they’re back to a normal walking pace, and Catra is staring ahead of them. Their fingers remain intertwined, and suddenly, a sort of awkward silence surrounds them. Adora used her unoccupied hand to rub her neck.

“So you just kind of left Glimmer to deal with them, huh?”

Catra laughs, and the awkward silence that had surrounded them vanishes. “Well she’s the one who got us into this mess, right?” 

A valid point, Adora thinks, although all she does is squeeze Catra’s hand as they continue towards their third period. 




Sometime during her second to last period of the day, Adora finds herself mindlessly drifting off into space as her history teacher goes on one of his long rants about the Prohibition era when her phone suddenly buzzes in the pocket of her jacket. She quickly flashes a glance at her teacher to make sure he’s not paying attention, before attempting to non suspiciously glance down at it. 

Catra’s contact name lights up the screen, and Adora glances behind her and to the left, where Catra sits near the back of the class. 

She juts her chin to gesture at Adora’s phone, so she glances down at it.

hey adora, the notification tells her, do u want to meet up after school so we can head to ur house together?

Adora stares down at her messages with furrowed brows. For a moment, her thumb hovers over the keypad, before she eventually responds with Sure, but I have practice, so maybe a couple of hours after?

alright Catra replies. 

She knows Catra usually drives home if her aunt lets her take her car to school, so that gives her an excuse to type out Do you want to stay after school so you can drive me home after? :)

what makes u think i want to see a bunch of sweaty girls running around for two hours

unless the cheerleaders practice at the same time u guys do 

then i’ll def stay for the pretty girls in short skirts

Adora rolls her eyes and turns to look over her shoulder, and Catra winks. Being able to support me from the sidelines isn’t enough?

Catra’s next message takes a few minutes. sorry princess, but i already have to deal with coming to your games 

A smile lights up Adora’s face. Despite the fact that Catra practically hates sports, ever since their reconciliation, she had barely missed any of Adora’s games. Catra had repeatedly told her it was because she liked watching the other teams lose, not because she liked Adora, and Adora had simply let her have her moment.

Please! I don’t wanna walk home alone :(

i would, but it starts freezing in the gym whenever there’s a team practicing in there, even though we’re literally in JANUARY

you’d think they’d make it warmer 

They’re trying to keep us from sweating, Adora tells her, rolling her eyes for the second time. That’s why you should bring an actual jacket instead of just wearing a t-shirt. 

The next message pops up with an actual eye roll emoji, followed by well it’s always warm in the school but not in the gym 

Adora doesn’t quite know what inclined her to type out What if I let you wear my jacket? , but she sends it anyway. There’s no response for a moment, and she watches the little gray bubbles that tell her that Catra’s typing appear and disappear a couple of times, suddenly feeling too afraid to glance over her shoulder and see if Catra is already staring at her. 

why do you want me there so much? Catra finally posts. 

Adora pauses. She scours her brain for some sort of answer, but in reality, she doesn’t exactly have one. 

After a few moments, she settles on the fact that she probably just wants to hang out with her best friend more often, although she suspects they’ll be around each other a bit more than usual now that they’re going to be… fake girlfriends.

Girlfriends, Adora thinks, shuddering at the word. She’s not exactly familiar with the sentiment — she had a boyfriend her sophomore year, and although he was sweet, he pretty much confirmed the fact that Adora was, and is, only into girls. 

It feels… oddly comforting to think of Catra as her girlfriend, even if it’s not real. 

Well, if people see you wearing my jacket while coming to my practice it’ll just boost the fact that we’re dating is what she settles on responding with. It’s not exactly a lie. 

Catra responds quicker than before. ...fine, i’ll stay

but u better hold up ur end of the bargain

Adora beams. Yes! I will! And thanks for doing this for me, Catra 

it’s nothing, Catra tells her, don’t make a big deal out of it. 

Adora considers responding with It’s not nothing, because it really isn’t, but before she can, her history teacher clears her throat, and she glances up to find him staring directly at her with his eyes narrowed. Adora gives a nervous chuckle, attempting to inconspicuously slide her phone underneath the papers on her desk.

Her teacher must not be in the mood for lecturing anyone today, because he simply goes back to whatever he was talking about before. Adora breathes out a sigh of relief, before her phone lights up again on her desk. 

nice going detective dumbass 

Adora can’t resist the urge to smile.




True to her word, when Adora heads for the gym after the final period of the day, she finds Catra already there, sitting at the top of the empty bleachers. A couple of her teammates are at the other end of the gym, and Adora flashes a quick glance at them, before making her way up the steps and towards Catra’s figure. 

Catra sits hunched over at the very top, earbuds in her ears and scrolling through something on her phone, leaning against her backpack. She glances up as Adora approaches, taking an earbud out when she sits down next to her. 

“Hey,” Catra greets, a slight smile tugging at the corner of her lips. 

“Hi,” Adora says, kind of dumbly. They stare at each other for a few moments, before Adora sheepishly extends her arm, where her letterman is folded against it. “This is, um. This is for you.” 

Catra’s smile turns into a smirk, and she takes the jacket from Adora’s arms and lets it sit in her lap. “Can’t believe Adora Grayskull is letting me wear her letterman jacket,” she teases. “What an honor. This’ll surely score me some points with the football team.” 

She’s obviously joking and Adora rolls her eyes, but bumps her shoulder against Catra’s. “You sure you’re okay with staying? I didn’t pressure you into staying, right? You can leave if you want.” 

Catra shrugs. “I mean, you did, but it’s okay. I’m okay with staying. Not like I really have anything better to do.” 

Adora gives her a soft smile. Just then, the sound of her coach blowing a whistle echoes throughout the gym, signaling the start of practice, and Adora watches as a couple of her teammates turn to glance in their direction. 

Deciding to take advantage of the moment, Adora wraps an arm around Catra’s shoulders and pulls her into a side hug. Catra must catch on, because she quickly leans into the embrace, and before Adora really thinks about what she’s doing, she presses a quick kiss to Catra’s hair and then stands up and quickly descends down the bleachers. 

(When she glances back in Catra’s direction halfway through practice and sees her wearing her jacket, an unfamiliar, dangerous warmth floods her chest.)

 

iv.

It’s snowing by the time they arrive at Adora’s house.

They stand at the end of the long driveway leading up to the porch. Catra’s still wearing her letterman jacket, and Adora’s wearing a sleeveless hoodie that she had thrown on after a quick shower at the end of practice. The yard is covered in a light sheet of white, and the sun sets over the horizon. 

“Are you absolutely sure about this?” Catra eventually asks after they stand there for at least a solid minute, and Adora does nothing but reach for Catra’s hand. The crisp, cold atmosphere surrounding them nips uncomfortably at her bare skin, but she’s far too nervous to pay any attention to it. “We don’t have to go through with it; everyone at school might be talking about it, but Ms. Weaver doesn’t have to know this ever even happened. We could just stage a breakup and move on.”

Adora takes a deep breath, squeezes Catra’s hand just a little bit tighter, before releasing her grip all together. “No, I’m sure.” A beat passes. “Are you?”

Catra rolls her eyes. “Yeah, ‘course I am, and you already know that.” When Adora doesn’t respond, Catra nudges her with her elbow. “Seriously, you don’t have to keep asking. I’m fine with all of this, if you are.”

“I’m trying to make sure I don’t overstep.”

“How would you have overstepped? The only thing you’ve done is hold my hand.”

“I just don’t want you to be uncomfortable.” 

“The only thing that’s making me uncomfortable is standing outside in this weather for so long,” Catra deadpans, but her lips curve up into a teasing smile when Adora glances back over at her. 

“You literally have my letterman jacket on, and that’s like, the warmest thing in the world.”

“Speaking of which, do you want it back?”

Adora eyes the jacket that hangs on Catra’s frame. It’s a little too big on her, being that Catra is a few inches shorter than her and far more lithe. She looks small and soft like this, completely unlike the way she tries to make herself appear at school, and Adora feels an overwhelming urge to just wrap her up in her arms and never let her go.

“No,” she tells her, briefly adjusting the collar. “You can keep it on. She knows it’s mine, and her seeing you wear it might solidate everything a little bit more,” she points out, before grinning. “At least, if it doesn’t fall off before then.” 

Catra rolls her eyes. “Whatever you say.” 

She takes a step forward, pulling on Adora’s hand, but Adora stays rooted to the spot. Catra flashes her a questioning glance, and Adora rubs the back of her neck. 

“Before— before we go in,” she starts, suddenly feeling a lot more nervous than she had a few seconds ago. “I just wanted to ask you about boundaries? Like, obviously holding hands is fine, but I don’t want to like, make you uncomfortable by kissing your cheek or hugging you or something, because I know you’re not a big fan of physical affection and—“

“Jesus, Adora,” Catra interrupts, turning around so that they’re facing each other. “For the last time, you’re not going to make me uncomfortable. I’m okay with whatever. Besides, a little PDA is expected from a relationship, right?”

Adora gives a slight nod, staring at the snow covered ground beneath their feet. 

“Seriously,” Catra emphasizes, taking a step closer. “If it was anyone else, maybe, but it’s you, so it’s fine.” 

Adora takes a deep breath, and finds that she feels somewhat better. “Okay. And, uh, fair warning,” she starts, just before they enter the house.  “Ms. Weaver isn’t really… a good person. Like, at all.” 

Catra snorts. “I’m a big girl. I think I can handle my own against her for a few hours.”




The meeting goes just as smoothly as Adora — and Glimmer, she supposes — had predicted. 

To absolutely no one’s surprise, Ms. Weaver doesn’t like Catra in the slightest. When Adora introduces them to each other, despite the fact that they’ve met before a few times in the past, Ms. Weaver doesn’t even attempt to hide her disdain, especially when Adora tells her that Catra is her girlfriend. 

(“Your what?” she snarks, eyeing Catra with something that looks akin to disgust. Adora doesn’t even know whether or not she’s homophobic, or if she still just doesn’t like the idea of Adora dating. 

“My girlfriend,” Adora repeats, keeping an arm firmly wrapped around Catra’s shoulders. Beside her, Catra simply stands there, arms crossed and looking just about as intimidating as she likes to make herself appear at school, even though anyone who knows her can tell you it’s just a front.

Ms. Weaver clenches her jaw, seemingly glaring daggers straight into Catra’s soul, before stepping aside and allowing them to step toward the kitchen. 

Later, just before dinner and while Catra occupies the restroom, Ms. Weaver clasps an iron grip around Adora’s bicep and all but drags her into the room she deems as her office. 

“Adora,” she starts, and Adora can tell she’s trying her best not to pop a vessel. “Who is that?”

“Catra,” Adora answers simply. “My girlfriend.” 

“I know that,” her foster mother hisses, “but since when? And why in the world didn’t you decide to tell me before bringing that— that vile creature into our house?”

Adora clenches her jaw, yanking her arm out of her foster mother’s tight grip all while attempting to maintain her temper. “Catra’s not vile, and I knew you wouldn’t approve, so I didn’t tell you until now. But I did tell you she was coming over today a couple of days ago.” 

Ms. Weaver looks like she might self combust. When Adora tries to leave, she quickly steps in front of her.

“Adora,” she sighs, a deep exhale. “This is just your way of acting out.” 

“This isn’t a way of acting out,” Adora snaps, pushing past her foster mother when she hears the door of the bathroom open. Adora’s not exactly the best actor, and all of her friends know it, but at this point, she’s so damn angry with her foster mother that the words sound real to even her own ears. “I’m in love Catra, and I don’t care whether or not you accept it.”)

Dinner goes even worse. It’s awkward at best for the majority of it, silent aside from the few times Ms. Weaver tries to make small talk with Catra, although Adora knows it’s just her way of sneaking insults into the conversation. 

“So, Catrina,” she enunciates with aversion, apparently having remembered Catra’s full name from when Catra had first introduced herself all those years ago. “Do you do anything special with your life? Planning on even going to college?” 

Catra flashes Adora a quick glance, before clearing her throat. “Um, yeah. I play piano and guitar, and I’m going to BMU on a music scholarship.” 

“Bright Moon University,” Ms. Weaver correctly guesses, before shaking her head and going back to eating the lasagna she had put in the oven earlier. “Music won’t get you anywhere in life. I’m surprised your aunt is allowing you to pursue it as a career.” 

“I’m not pursuing it as a career,” Catra clarifies with a hardness to her voice. “I’m getting into law. I’m just using music to help pay for it all.” 

Adora knows that usually, something like that would probably impress any other parent, but it’s clear Ms. Weaver has already made her mind up about her opinion on Catra. Either way, the point isn’t to impress her, so Adora doesn’t really let it bother her. 

Toward the end of the dinner, Ms. Weaver begins to bombard them with questions about their relationship. Adora starts nervously jiggling her leg underneath the table, but Catra rests a hand on her knee and flashes her a reassuring smile, before attempting to handle the majority of them. 

When they head upstairs afterward, Ms. Weaver sits down on the couch with a heavy sigh, holds a glass of wine in her hands, and doesn’t even bother trying to force Catra out like Adora had initially expected. All in all, Adora counts it as a win. 

“Jesus,” Catra tells her as soon as they enter Adora’s room. “No offense, but she’s a bitch.” 

Adora snorts. “None taken,” she responds, and finds that she means it. 

Catra peels off the letterman and lays it on the chair that’s pushed into Adora’s desk, before glancing around the room. Adora allows her to do so, sitting down on the edge of her bed and reaching for her phone to check her messages.

“It’s been so long since I’ve been in here,” Catra eventually murmurs. Adora glances back up, watching as Catra steps near the wall where a bunch of old photos are hung against it. “You kept these?” 

Adora stands up from her bed to see which pictures Catra’s talking about, only for her gaze to land on the ones near the middle of the collage. They’re some of the first photos Adora had ever taken, back when she was younger and had first expressed her interest in photography and Catra had gifted her with a polaroid camera for her eighth birthday. From then on, she took pictures of everything and anything, and that included pictures of Catra and herself. 

The pictures Catra are looking at now includes the first one she had ever taken of them, where they were both sunburned and smiling at the camera after a day at the community pool. The one right next to it is a picture of them on Halloween, taken only a few months after the first one. There’s plenty more of herself and Catra along the wall, and even some of just Catra as they grew up. 

“Um, yeah,” Adora admits sort of bashfully. “After our fallout in freshman year, I just… I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of them,” she admits. “And considering it’s rare that I bring my friends over because of the nightmare you just witnessed downstairs—“ they both pause to chuckle— “it’s not like anyone would’ve ever seen it and questioned it, so.” 

It’s quiet for a long, long moment, and Catra turns to her with a look of sudden sadness. There’s an endless pool of memories in her eyes, reflected off from the lamplight that dimly illuminates the room. This close up, Adora has to crane her neck to look down at her. 

Without warning, Catra takes the plunge forward and pulls her into a hug. Although a little taken aback, Adora easily returns it, wrapping her arms around Catra’s shoulders. 

“Hey,” she starts, voice soft and quiet. “What’s this for?”

“I’m sorry, Adora,” Catra whispers. “For everything that happened in freshman year. You didn’t deserve any of it.” 

Adora sighs, resting her cheek against Catra’s forehead, not quite tall enough to put it on top. 

They’ve talked, a lot, but not about this. Not about the fight that ultimately led to their downfall only a few months into high school, the one thing Adora had always regretted not handling better than she had at the time. Not about Adora’s constant pursuit in perfection and her drive to be something more that had lead her to begin to associate with completely different people, so much so that she found herself borderline ignoring her best friend. Not about Catra’s bitterness and resentment that began to grow for Adora, the inklings of a relationship falling apart in mere months.  

When they had started taking the steps to rebuild the friendship that had shattered like glass only a few years prior, they had pretty much avoided talking about what caused its downfall in first place. They had both changed over the course of their high school careers, and it was enough. 

“That was a long time ago, Catra. We’ve already made up and moved on.”

“I know, but…” Catra trails off, tightening her grip around Adora’s waist and taking a deep breath. “I just… I never really apologized for it, I guess. So, I’m here now, and… I’m sorry.” 

“I appreciate that,” Adora says, voice dropping to a whisper. “But don’t act like the entire thing was your fault. I could’ve handled it all better, but I didn’t, and for that, I’m sorry, too.”

For a moment, Adora feels Catra’s grip tighten even further, before it eventually relaxes. “We were both really, really dumb, huh?” 

“Well…” Adora trails off with a grin. “We’re still pretty dumb.” 

“Well, some, more than others.”

“Hey—“

Catra’s soft laughter cuts her off, and Adora rolls her eyes, but refuses to let go. They simply stand there for another few minutes, before eventually, Catra’s phone buzzes on the desk, and she releases her grip on Adora to peer over at it. 

Reluctantly, Adora releases her own hold, allowing Catra to step back and text whoever it is that’s messaging her. In the meantime, Adora peels off her hoodie, heading to her closet to change into some cotton shorts and an old t-shirt to sleep in. 

“So, should I like, sneak out the window to avoid your foster mother?” Catra asks when she comes back out, only half joking. “Or do you think I’ll be safe heading out the front?” 

“You’re leaving?” Adora blurts out louder than what’s probably necessary, and then flushes when Catra looks at her with wide eyes. “Sorry. I just— you don’t want to stay?” 

“Stay?” Catra echoes, tilting her head. “Like, the night? Won’t your foster mother be mad?” 

Adora shrugs, turning on the lava lamp Perfuma got her for her sixteenth birthday, although it doesn’t do much to add any more light to the room. “Well, the point of this is to prove to her that I don’t care about what she expects of me anymore,” she points out, before adding, “and since when do you care about the rules?” 

Catra frowns. “I don’t. I just don’t want you to get in trouble, or something.”

“Aww, so you do care about me!” 

“God, you’re so annoying.”

“So does this mean you’ll stay?”

Catra gives a mockingly dramatic sigh, flopping down onto the bed behind her with a poorly concealed smile. “If you insist. But I do have to get back home early tomorrow to give the car back to my aunt before she goes to work.” 

“Well, good thing I’m an early riser, then,” Adora grins as she digs out a pair of baggy pajama pants that are a little too tight on herself and an old band shirt for Catra to wear. “I’ll wake you up.” 

Catra mutters something about how could I forget, you never used to let me sleep in as she makes her way toward the closet to change. When she comes back out, she folds her clothes and sets them on the desk, and then wearily eyes the blankets Adora is laying out on the carpet.

“Wow, kicking me to the floor already?” she jokes, moving to help Adora lay them out. 

“What?” Adora asks, shaking her head. “Don’t be silly, I’m sleeping on the floor.”

Catra knits her brows together. “Why?”

“Because you’re the guest.”

“But it’s your bed.”

“I’m not gonna ask you to stay over and then make you sleep on the floor, Catra.”

“How about we just share?” Catra suggests, waving her arms toward the bed. “We used to share mine all the time when we were younger, and I’m sure during the few times I stayed over here we shared.” 

Adora glances down at her bed. Catra’s right, they did share when they were younger, but they’re older now, and therefore, much larger. 

(Well, Adora is. Sometimes she wonders if Catra has even grown at all from when they were still in middle school.)

“You think we’ll fit?” she questions, only to watch as Catra rolls her eyes and clambers onto the side closest to the wall.

“Adora, really, I think you think too much of yourself,” she says. “You’re like five seven, not a giant. We’ll be fine.” 

“Okay, fine,” Adora grumbles, turning off the lights she had previously left on. It’s completely dark inside the room now, aside from the faint light that the moon provides through her white curtains. “I’m not a giant compared to the average person, but you on the other hand—“

She cuts off with a gasp when a pillow suddenly collides with her face. Faintly, she can see the silhouette of a smile on Catra’s face, before the other girl turns to face the wall, back toward her. “Go to sleep.” 

Adora giggles, laying down on her back and snuggling underneath the blankets. “Goodnight, Catra.”

“Night.” 

 

v.

When Adora wakes up the next morning, the first thing she registers is the dim rays of sunlight streaming in through the windows. Being that she usually wakes up this early on the weekends, she’s able to tell that it must be sometime around six. 

The second thing she registers is the weight on her arm when she tries to shift her body around to reach for her phone. When she glances down, she’s met with a mess of brown hair just a few inches away from her face, which is very, very unexpected. 

But, like, not at all unwelcomed. 

Catra is cuddling her. Like, she’s actually using Adora’s arm as a pillow, and she’s sort of tucked into Adora’s side. She feels warm and soft and so, so comfortable, and Adora finds that she wouldn’t mind staying here for the rest of eternity. 

The thought makes her head spin. 

For a few moments, Adora simply lets herself bask in the comfort of cuddling with her best friend. She lets herself enjoy the arm that’s casually strewn over her waist, the hot puffs of air hitting her neck every few moments, the way Catra’s chest rises and falls like a sleepy metronome, pressed against Adora’s side. The air in her bedroom is cool, too; the thermostat is on a timer, one that Adora doesn’t particularly enjoy, but with Catra currently wrapping them up in a cocoon of warmth, she finds that she doesn’t mind.

Even though she doesn’t usually sleep past six, she’s just about ready to fall back asleep right then and there. Her eyes flutter shut and she feels herself beginning to drift back to sleep, only to jolt in surprise when her alarm blares on the dresser a few minutes later. 

As if the phone is on fire, Adora attempts to quickly grab it and shut it off, all while trying not to jostle Catra too much and doing it quickly enough so she doesn’t wake up. She’s a little too late though, because by the time she manages to turn it off, Catra’s stirring against her arm.

“Wha— what time ‘s it?” she asks, voice groggy and filled with sleep. 

“Six fifteen,” Adora informs her, reaching back for her phone and wincing at the intensity of it’s brightness. 

“Not time to go,” Catra mutters, her words barely coherent. “Sun’s not up, so…” she pauses to yawn, and if it’s even possible, Adora’s chest is suddenly filled with a lot more warmth than just the girl tucked into it. “So ‘m not.” 

Trying to ignore the strange, sudden, and honestly quite alarming tingly sensation that’s boiling in her stomach, Adora shifts so she’s facing the other girl. “Didn’t you say you had to get up early to get your aunt’s car back to her?”

Catra’s lips pull into a sleepy frown, but her eyes remain closed. “Not till… mm… sev‘n. ‘V got… like, ‘nother hour.” 

“Catra,” Adora laughs. Before she can think better of it, she reaches down to rake her fingers through Catra’s hair, just to push some of it out of her face. “You have to leave soon, then.” 

“Don’t wanna.” 

“Catra.” Catra still doesn’t respond, so Adora shifts the arm underneath Catra’s neck so that it loops around the rest of her body, settling a hand on her hip and using her thumb to rub a soothing circle. It all feels strangely domestic. “If you get up now I’ll even make you a quick breakfast.” 

It’s quiet for a few moments before Catra groans, rolling onto her back. “I knew I shouldn’t have told you about that.”

Adora smiles, pulling her arm out from underneath Catra to sit up, only to wince when the blood finally comes rushing back to it. “It’s a good thing you did, or else you wouldn’t have gotten up in time.” 

Catra finally peeks open an eye — the gold one, Adora’s personal favorite, even though everyone claims the blue one is prettier — and raises a skeptical brow. “You said you were making breakfast?” 

Adora swings her legs off of the side of the bed and clambers to her feet. “Sure did!”

“Ms. Weaver won’t try to kick me out?”

“She should’ve already left for work by now.” 

Catra rubs her eyes, gives another dramatic groan, and then follows Adora downstairs to the kitchen. 

They strike up a bit of small talk while Adora decides to quickly make them eggs and toast. She’s watching the timer go down on the toaster oven when Catra stops responding, and when Adora turns to look over her shoulder, the sight that greets her isn’t all that surprising.

Catra has somehow — and yet, predictably — managed to fall back asleep, cheek smudged against the kitchen table and mouth slightly agape, the hair Adora had just cleared from her face somehow messier than before. 

It’s then that Adora really gets to take in her appearance: disheveled and messy hair (more than usual), clothes that are slightly too big, a thin blanket from the couch wrapped around her shoulders. The tingly sensation that had made it’s arrival in her stomach a few minutes ago seems to return, stronger than ever. 

It takes her a moment, but Adora begins to recognize the feeling. With a startling realization, she comes to the conclusion that it is entirely possible that she might slightly, possibly, kind of have feelings for her best friend and fake girlfriend. 

And it’s then that Adora realizes that she is, without a better way to describe it, fucked. 

*

Chapter Text

 

vi.

Catra would’ve been fine with spending the next month of fake dating simply holding hands and occasionally being closer to Adora than what’s deemed as more than platonic, but, on Wednesday, while the Best Friend Squad (she didn’t name them that; in fact, she fought against the name for as long and hard as she could) hung out in an abandoned park, Glimmer had casually asked her how everything was going with “operation free Adora from her foster mother” (again, another name Catra didn’t come up with). 

(“Fine, I think,” Catra had told her from her place on top of the monkey bars. Glimmer sat a couple feet away from her on the edge of an old, beaten up slide, and little ways away from them, Bow and Adora were throwing a frisbee back and forth. “We haven’t really done anything that you don’t already know about. Just been holding hands and hanging out a little bit more,” she waved her hands around for extra effect, “etcetera.”

Glimmer lifted a brow. “That’s it?”

A little offended, Catra rolled her eyes. “What do you mean, that’s it?” she paused to glance down at the hoodie she’d been wearing: the one Adora had given her after she left her house on Saturday, the one she’s yet to return. Briefly, she struggled to hide a smile. “This is hard work. I’m not a touchy person.”

Glimmer stared at her for a few more moments. “You’re totally enjoying this.”

“I’m not!” Catra spluttered, only to watch as Adora turned to glance over her shoulder in their direction, concern written all over her features. Catra waved her off, before lowering her voice. “I’m… I’m not.”

“Whatever you say,” Glimmer smirked. Catra rolled her eyes. “Anyway, when I said that’s it, I just meant it like— I’m just surprised. I figured you would’ve hung out at Adora’s again by now.” 

With a frown, Catra turned back to face who she supposed is her friend. “Not since that first time, back on Friday.” Catra paused, worrying her lip between her teeth. “Why? Should we?” 

“If the entire point of this is to piss off Weaver, wouldn’t it make sense that you’re there more often to, you know, piss her off?” 

Taking her words into consideration, Catra nodded. “I guess you’re right.” 

“Wow, seriously? You’re admitting I’m right? Who are you and what’ve you done to Catra?”

Catra rolled her eyes for the second time. “Shut it Sparkles, or else it’s not happening again.”)

Which is how Catra ends up back at Adora’s house for the second time in less than a week, laying down sideways on Adora’s bed with her legs propped up against the wall, head hanging down over the edge. Next to her, Adora sits on the floor with her back against the side of the bed. 

After Catra had brought up what Glimmer mentioned, Adora had invited her over after school, and after making it apparent to Ms. Weaver that she’d be here for a few hours, they holed up in her room. Currently, Adora seems to be attempting to study for some test she has soon, if the giant textbook she’s trying to finish reading in her lap is anything to go by. 

Catra, bored out of her mind, is having none of it. 

They’re close enough that if she turns her head and blows gently, she can land a puff of air on Adora’s ear, making the other girl startle in surprise. She’s only done it a few times in the past fifteen minutes, but if there’s one thing she’s good at, it’s messing with Adora, and she doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. 

When she does it for a fourth time, just as Adora leans forward to scribble some notes down in the margins of her paper, she jumps with a sudden gasp, much to Catra’s amusement. 

“Stop doing that,” Adora grumbles, reaching over to blindly push Catra’s face away. “Or else I’m gonna breakup with you.” 

Catra laughs, easily shrugging Adora’s hand off of her cheek. “Fake breakup,” she corrects, watching as Adora blinks.

“Yeah. Fake breakup,” she sheepishly says, before shaking her head and going back to staring at her textbook. 

It gives Catra the opportunity to take in the side profile of her face for a few moments. From her position of only a few inches away, she can see the very faint line of her freckles, lightly dusted across her cheeks. Catra still remembers the way Adora had always traced the freckles along her own cheeks when they were younger, muttering something about how she wished she had freckles herself. Catra supposes days spent outside in the sun eventually granted Adora her wish, even if they’re not dark enough to be seen from a distance.  

For a moment, she doesn’t even realize she’s staring, until she’s suddenly met with bright blue eyes. Her eyes have always been beautiful, Catra muses; like the ocean on a warm summer night, fireworks and constellations reflecting within them. 

“Hi,” Adora smiles, in a breathy sort of way. As if she’s just now registering their proximity, Catra blinks, and then lets her lips curl up into the beginnings of a smile.

Maybe Glimmer was right. Maybe she is enjoying this a little bit.

“Hey Adora,” Catra sing-songs, before pressing a finger to Adora’s forehead. “Has anyone ever told you how gigantic your forehead is?” 

Adora’s smile widens for a moment, and she shakes her head and turns her attention back to her textbook. “You know, you’re not nice when you’re bored.”

 Catra snorts. “I’m never nice.” 

“I can’t date someone who’s never nice.”

“Oh, really?” Catra teases, sitting up and reaching for her backpack. “That’s fine, I’ll just go.” 

She stands up to make her way toward the door, only for Adora to quickly catch her wrist. “No,” she whines, quickly scrambling for her feet, “don’t go.”

Catra smirks, but still pulls her hand out of Adora’s grip. “I actually do have to go; promised my aunt I’d help her take down our Christmas decorations today, and she’s probably wondering where I am.”

That makes Adora do a double take. “Christmas decorations?” 

“Yeah, why?” Catra asks, sliding her coat on. They had been hit with another cold front a couple of days ago, and her aunt had actually forced her to leave the house with an actual jacket this time. Catra supposes it’s for the best, anyway, being that Adora would’ve likely given Catra her jacket this morning and then she would’ve been left without protection from the harsh weather. 

“It’s the first day of February.”

“What’s your point?” 

“Who keeps their decorations up past December? It’s February now!”

Catra snorts. “Not everyone takes them down the day after,” she chuckles, before sliding her backpack over her shoulder. “Anyway, I’ll see you tomorrow?” 

“Yeah,” Adora says, and Catra pretends not to notice the little pout she’s been wearing ever since she was informed of Catra’s departure. “See you tomorrow.” 

 

vii.

Days go by, and nothing really changes. By the time they make it to nearly two weeks of fake dating, the gossip at school has relatively calmed down, Catra has come over a total of five times just to make Ms. Weaver nearly pop a vein, and their friends have gotten used to them being a little touchy whenever they all hang out. 

The real main difference is exactly that: the touching. 

No one really pays them any mind now when Adora reaches for her hand across the aisle separating their desks and presses a kiss to her palm, or when Catra wraps her arms around Adora at the end of her games and kisses her cheek.

Although no one really takes note of it, aside from Glimmer or Bow who occasionally raise a brow in their direction whenever they get a little more touchy than what’s probably necessary, Catra sort of becomes hyperaware of it every time. 

It’s not like it’s that often. Catra’s never really been a physically affectionate person, and she knows Adora is aware of it. However, it’s clear that she’s gotten more comfortable doing things like pulling Catra into her lap whenever they’re all sitting out in the courtyard in the morning, or leaning her head on Catra’s shoulder during lunch. 

Admittedly, Catra had been a bit apprehensive in the beginning. When she had reassured Adora anything she did wouldn’t make her uncomfortable, she meant it; however, she still wasn’t quite sure what to expect. 

Now, every time Adora touches her, she leaves a trail of fire in her wake, and Catra’s skin usually feels incredibly hot right after. She’s not quite sure what to call the feeling, or what to make of it, and she hasn’t told anyone, either.

Typically, the first person she’d go to is Scorpia, but with her not knowing that the relationship is fake, Catra decides against it. She had briefly considered just letting Scorpia in on it, but as much as Catra loves her friend, she knows that Scorpia isn’t exactly the best at keeping secrets. 

Glimmer is out of the equation, too. Catra trusts her, and since she already knows about the whole fake dating thing she’d be easy to confide in, but Catra isn’t sure if she wants to risk dealing with an endless amount of teasing for the next few weeks.

She knows Bow would probably be her best option: he’s good with talking about feelings, and she knows that if she asked him not to tease her, he wouldn’t. However, every time she attempts to get him alone so she can talk to him about it, it always ends in disaster. 

The first time it happens, they’re walking in the hallways after school. Catra is attempting to gather what the hell she’s going to say while Bow rants to her about his tragic project partnership with some guy, and just as she’s about to attempt to steer the conversation where she wants it to go, her Calculus teacher somehow manages to track her down and confronts her about skipping the detention she had gotten after getting into a “disruptive” argument with another kid during class. 

Because Bow is Bow, he ends up forcing her to go, saying something about at least you won’t get in more trouble! as Catra sulkily follows her teacher into the classroom. 

The second time it happens, they are, ironically, waiting for Glimmer and Adora to get out of their shared class just before lunch. This time, Catra actually manages to tell Bow she wants to talk to him about something. Bow smiles reassuringly and tells her he’s listening, only for Adora and Glimmer to appear seemingly out of thin air right in front of them.

The third and final time, Bow’s driving her home when he brings up what Catra had asked to talk about. Catra, a little taken aback, almost immediately asks him to drop her off at the seafood restaurant they’re driving past in a panic induced state to get the hell out of that situation. 

Bow looks a little confused, no doubt wondering why she suddenly wants to be dropped off at a seafood restaurant of all places when she doesn’t even like seafood, but he drops her off with a smile and tells her they can talk about it later if she wants. 

Catra, left standing outside of a restaurant she has no interest in eating at and pretty much no way to get home, sighs, pulls her backpack tighter against her, and begins the walk home. 

Whatever. She doesn’t need to talk to someone about it, anyway. 

 

viii.

Adora sends her a message toward the end of the third week. Catra’s heating up a slice of leftover pizza for breakfast when her phone lights up, and she slides it open.

Hi. What are you doing tonight?, the message reads. 

Catra’s answer is, unsurprisingly, nothing i can think of. It’s accompanied with a sad faced emoji, followed by actually, i think i might be going to a movie with scorp 

Oh, okay. 

Frowning, Catra maneuvers her phone so that she’s typing with her non-greasy hand. why?

Sea Hawk’s parents are out of town, and you know what that means! Adora responds, less than a few seconds later. You’d know that if you actually checked the gc with everyone in it btw

that thing is annoying, Catra messages back. i’ve tried to leave like 6 times but i’m always added back 

There’s no reply for a few moments, so Catra takes a bite of her pizza, only to wince when it burns her tongue. It can’t be called “The Alliance” if we’re missing a member :(  

why do we even call ourselves that again lmao

Bc you hated all my friends and they hated you and all yours in the first three years of high school but now everyone’s just a big family :D

sure

So, wanna come? If you’re worried about canceling on Scorpia, I’m pretty sure she’s coming, too!!! 

ofc scorpia bailed on me, but fine, i’ll come then

Yay! 

Catra grins and rolls her eyes, has just replied with this is not because i like you, when her aunt chooses that moment to make herself known. 

“That a girl you’re talking to?” she asks, jutting her chin in the direction of the phone in Catra’s hands. Catra stuffs another bite of pizza in her mouth, more to stall for time than anything else, then nods. Her aunt smiles, waggling her brows. “Anything noteworthy?” 

Catra glances back down at her phone, at the words I know it’s not because you like me, it’s because you love me!!! and shrugs. 

“Well, I’d love to meet her,” her aunt continues, “Especially if you don’t know if it’s noteworthy. Usually, that means it is.” 

“It’s, um,” Catra shakes her head. She thinks about Adora’s wide smile, and her eyes that are either gray like a summer storm or blue like a sun kissed sky, and then thinks about the fact that they’re planning on breaking up in less than a couple of weeks. “It’s not special. Like, at all.” 

Her aunt lifts a brow and doesn’t look all that convinced, but decides not to press any further. 

Do you need a ride there? 

sure, princess  

Ok great!!! I look forward to it :)

me too, Catra types, deletes, retypes, and then deletes again. Entrapta messages her to let her know she’s waiting out front a couple of minutes later anyway, so she eventually shuts off her phone, throws it into the debts of her backpack, and doesn’t respond. 




Catra has been to Sea Hawk’s house on multiple occasions — never as an invited guest, until this past year — and almost every time, it’s been because of a typical high school party. Tonight is no exception.

The second she steps out of Perfuma’s car, she can already feel regret beginning to pool in her stomach. There’s heavy bass music echoing from inside, someone who Catra eventually recognizes as one of the junior football players is passed out in the front yard, and there’s a couple aggressively making out on the porch, meaning they all have to pass them to get inside. 

“Remind me why I agreed to come again?” Catra asks, crossing her arms together for protection against the frigid air. Adora expectedly drapes her letterman over Catra’s shoulders, murmuring something about how she can give it back once they’re inside. 

“Because you love me?” she suggests after ushering Catra through the doors. Catra simply gives her an unimpressed look. “Okay, fine. Because of the free alcohol?” 

Catra smirks. “Now that’s a good reason.” 

Almost immediately, Mermista abandons them to go find Sea Hawk, muttering something about needing to make sure he doesn’t set anything on fire again. Glimmer disappears somewhere, dragging Bow along with her, and Perfuma, who’s their designated driver, tells them she’s going to find Scorpia.

Plenty of people look excited to see Adora, who nearly gets pulled off into three separate directions in the time it takes them to make it to a less crowded area of the house. Catra gives her hellos to a few of her other friends, and a couple of people she recognizes. 

When Adora nearly gets pulled off a fourth time in the two minutes they’ve been there, Catra intertwines their fingers together and leads Adora to the kitchen. She’s not jealous — in their past years of highschool, she definitely would’ve been — but now, she doesn’t really mind all of that attention being on Adora, it’s just that she would rather it happen after they get a drink. 

“Jeeze,” Adora huffs when they finally do make it into the kitchen, where it’s significantly less stuffy. She smooths down the top of her head, and Catra can’t help but tuck a piece of blonde hair behind her ear from where it’s fallen from her ponytail. “That was a lot. I forgot how crazy Sea Hawk’s parties can get.”

“Wasn’t it your idea to come?” Catra points out after offering a drink to Adora, and then pouring something for herself. “You can’t complain.” 

“Hey,” Adora protests, “technically, it was Mermista’s idea; Sea Hawk mentioned something about his parents leaving for one of their monthly business trips and she immediately suggested he throw a party, so of course we were all invited.” 

Catra curls her fingers around the plastic cup just to hold onto something. “Even though Mermista doesn’t like to admit it, they can get pretty chaotic when they’re together, so I can’t say I’m surprised.” 

Adora stares at her for a few more moments, a dumb smile on her face. Catra lifts a brow and is about to ask what’s so funny, when some guy with what looks like a basketball jersey suddenly barges into the kitchen, all but knocking a poor freshman out of the way. He wraps a friendly arm around Adora’s neck and says something about a competition going on in the dining room, and then attempts to drag her off once again. 

Adora apologetically looks back over her shoulder, mouthing something that looks like text me? before disappearing through the door. Catra fondly rolls her eyes, tightens Adora’s jacket around her shoulders, and then slinks away to find someone she knows in the mass of bodies currently flooding Sea Hawk’s house. 

An hour and two drinks later, because apparently everyone has seemed to have forgotten they’re no longer in middle school, Catra finds herself sitting on the floor between Bow and Perfuma as they crowd around an empty space with a Budweiser beer bottle in the middle. Catra had been outside with Lonnie, sitting on one of the chairs by the pool when an over enthusiastic and quite obviously drunk Glimmer came to find them, and insisted they come inside to participate. 

She had followed both of them inside, only to see a table that had previously been littered with red solo cups now cleared over and currently housing what appeared to be an arm wrestling competition. Adora was going up against a guy who had been shouting something about there’s no way I’m going to lose to a girl!, so when Adora inevitably slammed his arm against the table, Catra had, also inevitably, felt a rush of pride.

Now, Adora is sitting on the other side of the circle that’s currently crowded around the beer bottle, and Catra sort of wishes she was sitting next to her instead.

Nothing too exciting happens in the beginning. Rogelio spins first and lands on Kyle, and after a lot of incessant hollering from some guys Catra doesn’t know the names of, the two head into the closet. Seven minutes later, Bow spins and lands on Glimmer, and the two of them share an incredibly embarrassed look when they get up. Catra makes sure to file that information away for later. 

Lonnie spins and lands on some jock, who looks put out when she immediately wrinkles her nose in disgust and chugs a hearty drink from the beer bottle they’re required to take if they pass. Catra sort of loses interest by the time Octavia spins and lands on a cheerleader, and spends the majority of the game in a fairly interesting conversation with Perfuma until the bottle is suddenly thrusted into Adora’s hands. 

Perfuma seems to notice her sudden interest in the game, and gives Catra a teasing smirk. Catra rolls her eyes and watches Adora whirl the bottle around in the middle of the circle, hoping in equal amounts that it does and does not land on her.

Of course, because this night couldn’t possibly get anymore cliche, the bottle lands on Catra. 

A couple of the football players do their boisterous cheers, Perfuma nudges her shoulder and ironically says at least it won’t be anything you two haven’t already done, right?, Catra sees one of Adora’s teammates enthusiastically pat her on the back, and Bow and Glimmer share an amused glance. 

Inside of the closet, it’s small, cramped, and sort of musty. Catra barely even has time to find her footing before the door slams shut, leaving them in almost complete darkness. There’s a dim light bulb hanging from the ceiling above them, but it flickers every few moments, and seems like it’s seconds away from completely burning out. Catra can barely even make out Adora’s figure when she turns around. 

It’s quiet for exactly six seconds before Adora lowers her voice, clears her throat, and goes, “So… come here often?”

Any possible awkwardness or tension in the air just dissipates, and Catra finds herself laughing heartily. “God, you’re so dumb,” she says over the sounds of her and Adora’s laughter, making sure to shove a hand against her shoulder for extra effect. “Why am I friends with you again?” 

Adora grips Catra’s wrist and pulls it away from herself, shoulders still shaking from laughter. “Because you—”

“If you say it’s because you love me one more time I’m going to break up with you, I swear,” Catra threatens, but she’s still laughing. 

“Fake break up, you mean?” Adora corrects. Catra’s eyes have adjusted now so that she can see the smug smirk on Adora’s face. 

“Yeah, fake break up, whatever. You’re still dumb.” 

“But dumb and funny, right?”

“Just dumb, I think.”

“But you laughed!”

“Only ‘cause I was thinking about your massive forehead.”

Adora smiles and shakes her head, and then moves to flick Catra’s nose, much to her dismay. It’s quiet between them for a while, the only other sound being the heavy bass from outside of the small hall closet, shaking the room every few moments.

When Catra looks back up to meet Adora, she finds that the other girl looks sort of nervous now, a stark contrast compared to the cool and collected demeanor she had been sporting less than fifteen seconds ago. 

“What’s up?” Catra asks, taking a small step closer. Adora blinks like she’d forgotten where they were for a moment, and then takes a deep breath.

“Nothing.” Catra narrows her eyes at the obvious lie, and even Adora seems to know that she isn’t buying it, because she adds, “okay, fine. Can I ask you something?”

Catra lifts a playful brow, even if it does seem to feel a lot hotter in here than it did a few seconds ago. “Can I stop you?”

Adora seems to take that as a yes. “Why did you agree to this?” 

It’s quiet for even longer than before, and Catra feels herself tense. She knows Adora’s asking why she agreed to all of this, not just the game: the fake dating, the party she had little to no interest in coming to, everything.

“I don’t know,” she eventually murmurs, averting her gaze and stuttering like a moron. “To— to help you get into BMU.” Adora, to her credit, is doing a horrible job at hiding her disappointment with Catra’s answer, so Catra rolls her eyes. “Fine. Because… you’re my best friend, and I guess that means I care about you, and I wanted to help.”

The corner’s of Adora’s mouth turn up in fond amusement. “I’m sure that was excruciating for you to admit.” 

“It was. Thank you for acknowledging that.”

This time, it’s Adora who gives her a playful shove. It’s not even hard, and the hall closet is so small that Catra is barely even able to move anywhere, but she still somehow manages to trip over something that she briefly thinks might be the bottom of an old vacuum, and before she knows it, she’s rushing straight for the ground. 

Great. Now she’s going to have a beat up face and Adora probably won’t ever let her live down this embarrassing moment. 

Except she doesn’t seem to quite get either. There’s a warm hand gripping her arm and an even warmer arm wrapped around her waist, and before Catra knows it, she’s being pulled up and even closer to Adora than she had been before. 

All Catra can really do is sort of stand there, glancing up at Adora’s slightly concerned face. There’s another long moment, slightly more awkward than the last since Catra has no idea what to say and Adora looks like she’s struggling to say what she wants to say. 

“Hey, Adora,” is apparently the best Catra can do. 

“Are you alright?” Adora asks, letting go of the tight grip she had on Catra’s arm and letting the arm previously wrapped around her waist fall sort of uselessly to her side. Catra finds that she really, really misses it. 

She’s quite proud of how steady her voice is when she speaks. “I’m fine.” 

Adora doesn’t look very convinced. “Are you sure?”

No, Catra thinks, but the only reason she might not be fine is because she’s pretty sure Adora’s gaze just dropped to her lips and they’re standing really close and even she can’t stop herself from looking at Adora’s lips. 

“Yeah,” she says, and then everything after that just sort of happens.

In the moment before Adora’s mouth touches her own, Catra gets the absurd idea that she’ll taste like the milkshakes they like to drink at the diner, or those strawberry lip balms she’s seen on her dresser. Instead, Adora tastes like the beer they had drank before and a bit of something else — something quiet and gentle, something that must just be Adora. 

Her lips are soft, and her hands are even softer when they find Catra’s waist. Catra sort of follows her lead and moves to wrap a hand around the back of her neck, opening her mouth wider so Adora can slip her tongue past her own. One of them — Catra isn’t quite sure who — makes a noise that’s not exactly a moan, but it’s something close.

It takes Catra a few moments for her brain to register what’s happening, and when it does, the only thing she can really think is oh my god oh my god I’m kissing Adora.

She can hear their breathing. It’s fast and hard like they’re close to running out of air, but Catra doesn’t think she ever wants to stop— 

Catra’s pretty sure she nearly falls over again when Mermista suddenly bangs on the door and tells them to stop making out so other people can use the closet. The only thing that stops her are the hands that still linger on her waist, but even Adora seems to have forgotten they’re at a literal high school party if the look of surprise on her face is anything to go by, followed by the way she immediately recoils like she’s been burned. 

It takes Catra a couple of moments to get over her initial shock, but when she does, she glances back up at Adora, who’s very obviously fidgeting and looking everywhere but her. 

“I— um, I just— I’ll—“ Adora seems to realize she’s not going to be able to get out a complete sentence without stuttering, so without another word, she moves to open the closet door, glancing back at Catra questioningly. 

Catra swallows, and then steps past Adora. She considers heading back toward the main circle, where it’s considerably more crowded than it had been when Catra had left it, before ultimately abandoning the idea all together and making her way back outside.

(Adora doesn’t follow her out.) 

 

ix.

Luckily, the party was on a Friday, so Catra doesn’t have to face Adora and think about what happened the next day. She still has Adora’s letterman because Adora had opted for getting a ride home from Bow instead of Perfuma, who drove Catra and a couple of others home. (Catra knows it has to do with what happened, but she chooses not to think about it.) Now, the stupid jacket hangs on the chair of her desk in it’s white and gold colors, the word GRAYSKULL mockingly staring back at her from it’s place stitched into the back. 

She spends the rest of the Saturday lying around the house, alternating between thinking about what happened last night and trying to hype Scorpia up for her date with Perfuma. Her aunt is at work, too, so it’s not like she can go anywhere without asking someone to pick her up. 

On Sunday, she actually manages to distract herself by cleaning when her aunt starts chewing her out for not having done anything for nearly the entire weekend. She’s in the middle of sweeping the kitchen sometime after dinner when her phone buzzes.

Assuming it’ll be another message from Scorpia describing how her date went with Perfuma, Catra’s moderately surprised to see that it’s actually a message from Adora. She quickly finishes sweeping, before grabbing her phone and sliding it open.

Hi, Adora messages, like she always does when she starts the conversation. Can I come over?

sure, Catra tells her, and furrows her brows together when she glances at the time. It’s almost nine, which is sort of an odd time for her to come. you okay?

Adora doesn’t respond for nearly ten minutes, before she says, Yeah. Ms. Weaver’s just making it unbearable to stay here.

At least fifteen different alarms simultaneously go off in Catra’s head. what’s she doing???

Just claiming this whole thing is a phase again, and that I owe everything I have to her so if she doesn’t want me to go to BMU then I shouldn’t, etc. It’s not that bad, I’m just tired.

Catra runs a single hand through her hair, before sighing. okay, do u need a ride?

It’s fine, I can just walk 

adora it’s already dark out and it takes nearly twenty mins to walk from ur house to mine 

Catra watches as the gray little bubbles that indicate Adora’s typing disappear and appear a few more times, before she responds with a simple Okay. 

great, Catra tells her. i’ll be there in a few mins




Six minutes later, Catra pulls up to the front of Adora’s house, phone in hand. She texts the words i’m here, and not even a full minute later, Adora walks out. 

She has her backpack on, which lets Catra know that she probably isn’t intending on coming back tonight. Behind her, Catra can see Ms. Weaver in the doorway, so she makes a point in stepping out of the driver’s seat and heading around to the other side to open the door. 

“Hey,” Catra greets her. Adora looks a little frustrated, but she still gives Catra a small smile when the other girl ushers her into the car. 

By the time they get back to Catra’s house, the air between them has morphed into something very, very awkward. Adora waves her hello to Catra’s aunt, and when they get to Catra’s room, she sort of awkwardly glances around as if she hasn’t been here more than a hundred times. 

“Um, are you… alright?” Catra eventually asks, sitting down on the edge of her bed. Adora only nods and shuffles her feet. “You don’t really look—“

“I’msorryforkissingyouattheparty,” Adora practically blurts out in a mess of words. Catra widens her eyes, before Adora sheepishly rubs her neck and then sits down. “I’m sorry… for kissing you. At— at the party. We were drinking, and I didn’t ask before I did, and… I’m sorry.” 

“Oh,” Catra says, kind of dumbly, and then nods. She’s not exactly mad about it, being that she was barely even tipsy, let alone drunk, and she had kissed Adora back. “Oh, okay. I’m sorry, too, then.”

Adora gives a small smile, but it doesn’t quite reach her eyes. “It’s… it’s okay.” 

Catra shrugs. There’s a few more moments of awkward silence, before she eventually stands up and clears her throat. “So, you’re staying over?”

Adora frowns. “Yeah, is that— is that alright? If not, I can just call Glimmer or Bow—“

“It’s fine, Adora,” Catra reassures her. Adora doesn’t look very convinced, so Catra adds, “I don’t like sleeping alone anyway, so… you’re basically doing me a favor.”

That makes her smile, at least. 

(Afterward, they don’t talk anymore about the kiss, and Catra has a fleeting feeling it’s going to blow up in their faces later.)

 

x.

On Monday morning, everything sort of resumes as normal. The only difference is the feeling that Catra has been feeling for the past few weeks returns in full force, and strengthens every time Adora touches her or so much as even looks at her.  

By the end of the day, when Catra completely zones out of eighth period and realizes the bell rang nearly a full minute ago and she didn’t even realize because she was too busy thinking about how soft Adora’s lips are and the way her letterman smells exactly like her, Catra decides she really, really needs to talk to someone about this. 

Declining Scorpia’s offer to drive her home, Catra settles on walking to the diner she and Adora had eaten at back when this mess had all started. She’s about to ask Bow what he’s doing tonight as she steps inside, only to spot Lonnie near the back, alone with a basket of fries and a laptop. Squaring her shoulders, Catra makes a beeline in her direction and settles down on the opposite side of the booth.

Lonnie looks moderately surprised to see her, being that they don’t interact as often as they used to. When they were much younger — like, still in elementary school, back when Adora had promised Catra they’d get married to stay together forever — Lonnie had been one of her closest friends. They’ve drifted since then, although they still occasionally talk, and Catra thinks she sees her and Adora together every so often. 

“Um, hey?” Lonnie starts, raising a brow. Catra sighs, leaning against the back of the booth. “Are you… good?” 

Catra shakes her head, not quite sure how she plans on going about this. 

“Trouble in paradise?” Lonnie asks, pushing her laptop to the side. Catra nods, because that’s technically what this is, right? “What’s up?” 

“I… um,” Catra starts, staring down at the wood of the table. It’s dark, and probably a little dirty, she decides. “I think… I think I have feelings for Adora.” 

There’s a breath of relief that seems to escape her when she admits it out loud. For some reason, she feels sort of lighter, even if her problems haven’t been solved in the slightest.

Lonnie looks moderately confused. “Okay, so what’s the problem?” she asks, and Catra thinks, right, she doesn’t know that they’re not actually dating. “I mean, isn’t it good that you have feelings for your girlfriend?”

The word girlfriend makes Catra flinch, and she sighs. “Maybe, if she were actually my girlfriend.” 

Lonnie looks even more confused. “What do you mean?” 

Catra takes a deep breath. “Okay, when I tell you this, you have to promise not to talk to anyone else about it, okay?” 

Lonnie furrows her brows and chuckles. “Wow, okay. Didn’t realize you trusted me so much.”

Catra shrugs, bringing a hand up to rub her eyes, because she didn’t even realize it either. 

“We’re not actually dating,” she begins, trying not to pay attention to the way Lonnie’s eyes widen. “We… um, it’s a long story, but Adora asked— well, okay, technically Glimmer asked me to fake date Adora to prove a point to her foster mother, and it’s— it’s worked, so far. The problem... is that I think I actually like her.” 

It’s quiet for a moment. Lonnie’s eyes are still wide.

“That’s… definitely not what I expected you to say,” she admits, before shaking her head, seemingly taking a few more seconds to think before speaking. “Have you told Adora?” Catra shakes her head. “Why not?” 

“I don’t know. What if she doesn’t feel the same way?”

Lonnie hums. “While that’s a valid point, if you don’t say anything, the only way this is going to end is with one or both of you getting hurt.” Catra frowns, even though she knows that Lonnie’s right. “You should probably tell her.” 

“I don’t know,” Catra sighs. “We kissed during seven minutes in heaven at the party, and things were really awkward after that. I don’t want to make things awkward again if she doesn’t feel the same way.”

“Um, no offense, but... Adora isn’t exactly the best actor. She could barely pull off that skit we had to do in sixth grade; there’s no way she would’ve been able to pull off everything you two have done had the entire thing been fake. Like, even I thought you two were dating for real, and that’s saying something.”

Catra narrows her eyes. “What are you saying?”

“I’m saying I think there’s an entirely possible chance Adora feels the same way about you,” Lonnie simply tells her, like it’s not a big deal. She grabs a fry, and then pushes the basket closer to Catra to let her take one. “You said you two kissed during seven minutes in heaven? A game where literally no one sees what you actually do? There’s no way she would’ve done that if she didn’t reciprocate those feelings.”

Catra takes a bite harder than necessary, attempting to take Lonnie’s words into consideration. Now that she thinks about it, there is a possible chance Adora could feel the same way, but there’s also a chance that this is all just a part of the act. Maybe Adora wants this whole plan to work so badly she’s just… becoming a good actor. 

Yeah, okay. The more Catra thinks about it, the more disbelievable it sounds. Adora’s a terrible actor.

“I just… Lonnie, what if I tell her, and she doesn’t feel the same way?” Catra asks, glancing back up. “What do I do then?”

“Adora’s not exactly the type to cut you off just because you have feelings for her that she doesn’t reciprocate,” Lonnie points out. “I get that you’re scared of being rejected, but I think you’re over complicating this. The worst that could happen is she says she doesn’t feel the same way, it’s awkward for a while, and then you two go back to how it was before and you start getting over her. I mean, come on. You two have been through worse.”

Catra takes a deep breath. She supposes Lonnie’s right — the situation they’re in really can’t get much worse than this, and Adora isn’t someone who would just cut her off because of her feelings. And besides, Catra’s been trying to work on being more vulnerable and open ever since she restored her friendship with Adora. 

“Okay,” she says, and then stands. “Thanks, Lonnie, for everything, but I’m probably just gonna head home now.” 

Lonnie gives her a two fingered salute, and Catra makes her way out of the diner. Although she’s not much closer to figuring out how to move forward than she was an hour ago, at least she feels a little lighter having gotten some things off of her chest. 

She spends the trek home mulling over Lonnie’s words; the idea of just coming right out and telling Adora about her own feelings; how it’s possible Adora might even reciprocate those feelings. The idea sounds terrifying, but not… horrible. 

She’s been spending the majority of this year trying to focus on opening up to the people who are there for her. She could probably talk to Bow about this, like she planned on doing a couple of weeks ago. He’ll definitely listen, and they could come up with a plan together.

Yeah, Catra thinks, lips curling up to a smile. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna tell Adora I’m in love with her.

 

-

 

xi.

It’s late, too late, and Adora is exhausted after hours of practicing. It’s not exactly uncommon now that she’s been practicing a lot more than usual because that they’re nearing the end of the season, and this’ll be her last one before she heads to actual, college basketball. She has no idea what to expect, but being that college is far more professional than high school, she wants to be ready for anything. 

The only problem is her body usually feels sore and tired afterwards, and as of now, she feels like she’ll fall asleep if she doesn’t get some sort of energy in her system on her walk home. Ms. Weaver will probably wonder where she is if she shows up later than usual, but Adora figures their plan must be working, because recently, she hasn’t been pressuring Adora nearly as much. 

The thought makes the tiniest of smiles form on her lips as she drags herself into a convenience store for a pick-me-up drink in hopes that it’ll keep her from falling asleep on her feet. 

Straying as far away as possible from all of the energy drinks, Adora settles instead on a plastic cup of tea. When she heads to the counter to pay, she finds Scorpia, which isn’t surprising, being that Adora’s pretty sure she got a part time job here a few weeks ago, and Catra, which is surprising, because Adora is pretty sure she doesn’t have a part time job here. 

“Oh, hey, Adora!” Scorpia calls, interrupting whatever Catra had been saying. Catra whirls around in surprise, and Adora offers them a sheepish wave. “What are you doing here?” 

“I stayed after school to practice for a little longer than usual,” she explains, opening the bottle of tea almost as soon as Scorpia hands it back to her and taking a long drink. Catra still hasn’t said anything, and when Adora turns back toward her, she finds that Catra sort of like a fish caught out of water more than anything else. “Catra?”

Adora swears she sees a sudden bit of color in Catra’s cheeks, but that could also be the fact that Adora is currently exhausted and probably seeing things by now. Besides, the idea of Catra blushing because of her is too good to be true. 

“Oh!” Scorpia exclaims, as if she’s just come to a sudden realization. “You two are a couple now!” she grins. “Sometimes it just slips my mind that two of my best friends started dating. I’ll give you guys a bit of privacy.” 

All Scorpia really does is move away to the other register, but Adora appreciates the effort. If she and Catra were actually dating — only in her wildest dreams, Adora begrudgingly thinks — she’d appreciate it a lot more. 

“What are you doing?” Catra eventually asks, still looking a little baffled. Adora briefly wonders if she should’ve just showered after practice like she usually does. Maybe Catra’s looking at her like that because she just looks like that much of a mess. 

“Um… drinking tea?” 

Catra rolls her eyes. “Well no shit, Sherlock. I just mean, why right here?” 

“Why not?” Catra narrows her beautiful, beautiful eyes, and Adora smiles. “What? I came here to get a drink to give me a bit of energy, which means I need to wait a while for it to kick in. If I leave now, I’ll probably fall asleep on my feet and then I’ll get, like, mugged or run over or something, and then it’ll be your fault for making me leave and you’ll have to deal with that guilt for the rest of your life.”

“Literally none of that is going to happen.”

Adora shrugs, and enjoys the way Catra’s lips tighten in the way she knows Catra must be trying to hide a smile. “You don’t know that.”

“You’re such an idiot.”

“Yeah,” Adora smirks and takes another sip of her drink, “I know.” 




Catra walks her home. Adora had protested against it — although her and Catra’s neighborhoods are only about a twenty minute walk from each other, it’s still a bit out of the way for her to walk with Adora. 

“Aw, I can’t believe you like me,” Adora had teased once it was obvious she wouldn’t be able to change Catra’s mind. Catra simply rolled her eyes and grumbled I just want to make sure you don’t fall asleep and hit your dumb head. 

Later that night, she crawls into bed after a long shower and an awkward dinner. She thinks about everything that’s happened in the past month and a half, from the sleepover to the party to now and everything in between; how she had begun to feel that it might be possible that she was — is — in love with her best friend, and to how now, she knows she is. 

Despite the fact that she had been exhausted on the way over here, Adora seems unable to sleep, staring up at the ceiling of her room. She finds herself missing Catra’s presence, and the warmth of her body from the last time they had shared a bed. 

God, Adora thinks, covering her eyes with her arm. What have I gotten myself into?  

With a sigh, she rolls over, reaching for her phone underneath her pillow. She stares at the screen for a few moments, thumb hovering over the call button next to Catra’s contact, before shaking her head and clicking out. She clicks on Glimmer’s contact instead, and messages the words You awake? 

Unsurprisingly, Glimmer replies fairly quickly. Adora had briefly considered messaging Bow instead, but he’s more likely to already be asleep. Yeah. 

Adora doesn’t respond for a long time. By the time she’s typing on the small keyboard again, nearly fifteen minutes have passed.

I’m in love with Catra. 

The constant feeling of heaviness that’s been lingering in Adora’s chest ever since she came to that conclusion finally seems to lighten. She has about ten seconds of ease before Glimmer’s contact picture appears on her phone, and her ringtone fills the room. When she slides her phone open to answer it, Glimmer’s voice is loud and shrill on the other end.

“YOU’RE WHAT?” 

Adora takes a deep breath. She still isn’t sure what compelled her to tell Glimmer about her feelings for Catra — or even more so, why she chose now of all times — but there’s really no going back now. “I’m in love with Catra.”

“Like— like, in love in love? Like, romantic love?” 

“Yeah,” Adora says, eyes fixed on the ceiling. “Like, in love in love.”

Glimmer’s voice is at least a couple of octaves higher than normal. “What? When? How did this happen?” 

Adora sighs. “To be honest, Glimmer, I really don’t know.” 

“Are… are you sure?” 

Adora pauses. Now that she’s acknowledged it, said it out loud, there’s nothing to stop her from thinking about how completely and irrevocably smitten she is. 

She thinks about Catra’s smile, and the way her squeaky and sharp laugh always manages to entice her and pull her in no matter the circumstances. She thinks about the butterflies that erupt in her stomach when she sees Catra wearing her letterman or hoodie, and how it always smells like her when she gives it back. Thinks about how she felt when they were cuddled up that one Saturday morning, and how she wouldn’t mind spending every Saturday morning like that for the rest of her life.

Adora thinks about how she’s never felt so comfortable with someone like she does with Catra. How Catra knows so much about her, more than perhaps anyone else does, even if they’ve changed in these past few years of high school. She thinks about how she’s comfortable enough to let Catra spend the night with who’s basically the devil incarnate in the next room, curl into her side and steal most of the blanket while they watch something on Netflix — a superhero action movie: Adora’s choice, or a classic horror: Catra’s choice — and how it reminds her of when they used to spend Saturday mornings watching cartoons together. 

Adora thinks about the fact that it’s quite possible that she’s always been in love with Catra, and never realized it until now. 

“Yeah,” she breathes, and even though this is all so scary and sort of new, she feels a smile begin to split her face. “I’m sure.”

“Huh,” Glimmer says, after a minute of silence. Her voice is a lot more calm than it had previously been. “You know, the more I think about it... I’m not surprised. Like… at all.”

Adora chuckles. “You sure? You sounded like you were freaking out.”

“I mean, yeah! Come on, Adora. You, Bow, Catra — you’re all my closest friends. Imagine one of your best friends admitting they’re in love with your other best friend. That’s— that’s crazy.”

“Like you and Bow?” 

“That’s— that’s not… anyway,” Glimmer eventually stutters, “speaking of Bow… oh, he’s going to absolutely have a field day with this.”

“Don’t tell Bow!” Adora immediately exclaims, wincing when she hears Glimmer pause whatever she had been doing on the other line. 

“Okay,” Glimmer says, voice more gentle. “Okay, I won’t. Can I ask why not?” 

Adora sighs. “It’s not that I don’t trust him,” she starts, because it’s true. She trusts her best friends with everything. “It’s just… I don’t think I want more than one person knowing. It was either gonna be you or Bow I told, but I’m pretty sure he’s already asleep.”

Glimmer chuckles. “Staying up late actually paid off for once.” 

Adora sighs, rolling over so that she’s facing the window of her room. It’s cloudy tonight, and a thin layer of snow coats the window. 

“Well?” Glimmer asks. “Have you told her yet?”

“What? Have I told who what?”

“Adora, what have we been talking about this entire time?” Adora can practically hear Glimmer’s eyes rolling. “Have you told Catra you’re in love with her?”

“Um… no,” Adora frowns. “No, and I don’t think I’m going to.”

“Wait, seriously?” Glimmer sounds genuinely surprised. “Why not?”

“Glimmer,” Adora starts. “Don’t act so surprised. Why would I tell her?”

“...Why wouldn’t you tell her?”

“Because… because I don’t want to lose our friendship,” Adora admits, a shaky sigh escaping her. “I mean— come on, Glimmer. I practically begged her to fake date me. Like, can you imagine someone begging you to fake date them, only for them to tell you they’re in love with you nearly two months later?” 

“Okay, I see your point,” Glimmer says. “But technically, I begged her to fake date you. So—”

“It’s basically the same thing.”

“—it’s not really the same thing.” 

“I can’t say anything to her, Glimmer,” Adora protests. “I don’t wanna scare her away. I just got her back after trying for so long, I can’t… I can’t lose her again.” 

“Okay, fine. Even if I think you should tell her… I’ll respect your decision.”

“Thanks.”

“But you have to look out for yourself, too,” Glimmer quickly continues. “The only way this is going to end is with someone getting hurt.”

“I know,” Adora mutters. “I’ll... just try to get over her, I guess.”

“And you plan on doing that… how, exactly? You’re literally in a fake relationship with her.”

“I… don’t know.” Adora scrubs a hand down the side of her face. “The idea of fake breaking up with her makes me feel weird—”

“Wow. You’re in deep.”

“—but maybe we should?” she asks. “It’s already past the time we originally agreed to break up.” As much as the idea sort of makes Adora’s chest ache and make her feel like she wants to be torn into two, she still says, “the sooner the better, right?” 

“Right,” Glimmer echoes on the other side of the phone, despite the fact that she doesn’t sound at all convinced. “The sooner the better.”

But the next morning, Catra meets her at her locker with a smile and an extra cup of coffee in hand, and when Adora asks her what this is for, Catra just tells her it’s for no particular reason. They spend lunch in the music room instead of out in the courtyard or in the cafeteria like they usually do, and Adora shares half of the bench in front of the piano with Catra. 

Their thighs are touching, Adora registers, and their arms brush several times as Catra moves her hands, fingers stroking the keys of the piano. She’s playing something she wrote — something’s that’s simple and delicate, like watching the sunrise and feeling the gentle morning breeze against your skin. With each note Catra plays, Adora falls just a little bit more in love with her.

Eventually, the final notes ring out in the near empty music room, just about as lovely and elegant as it had been in the beginning, and Adora sort of feels like she wants to cry. Instead, she turns to Catra, face inches away, and tells her how beautiful the song is. She almost tells Catra about how beautiful she is, but she stops herself at the last moment. 

Catra smiles, quiet and soft like coffee on a rainy day, and Adora is filled with the overwhelming urge to kiss her. She doesn’t; instead, she just leans her head on Catra’s shoulder when the other girl begins to play something else — Debussy, she thinks she hears Catra say — despite the fact that there’s no one else in the room with them, and therefore, no one around for them to act like a couple in front of. In the back of her mind, Glimmer’s voice rings loud and clear.  

Someone’s going to get hurt. 

Later, Catra stops playing. She reaches for Adora’s hand and wraps it around her own waist so that she can lean further into the blonde, and Adora gets the fleeting thought that she needs to end things now before it gets any worse and she manages to mess things up between them the same way she messed things up the first time. 

*

Chapter Text

 

xii.

A week after Adora’s confession to Glimmer — and, subsequently, her decision to keep the fact that she is totally and completely in love with her best friend a secret — Adora finds herself sort of avoiding Catra. 

It’s easier to forget about everything when they’re not in the same room, or not constantly touching in an overly affectionate way like they’d been doing in the beginning of all of this, so she’s spent the past week attempting to put a bit of distance between them. She’s attempted to not make it too obvious by only dialing down the physicality of it by a small bit, but she knows that Catra is very observant, even if she doesn’t like to admit it, and has probably noticed by now. 

Adora knows, logically, the best thing to do would be to just (fake) end things now. Ms. Weaver’s pretty much completely gotten off her back now, so the entire point of this has been accomplished, and there’s no real reason for them to stay together any longer. But still, Adora figures it’d be better to ease into the entire ordeal, instead of just bombarding Catra and demanding they break up right then and there. 

And yet, despite the precautions Adora’s beginning to take to start the entire process of getting over Catra, it doesn’t help. If anything, it makes it worse. 

Adora finds herself distracted, like, constantly. She’s already been told off in two separate classes for not paying attention because she’s too busy daydreaming about Catra, and her coach has even pulled her out a couple of times during practice and asked her why she isn’t focusing. 

When she gets called out a third time for not paying attention, Adora’s half tempted to just slam her head against the table. Glimmer clears her throat in the seat next to her, and Adora doesn’t even have to bother asking to know what she’s thinking.

“So, I take it the entire plan to get over Catra isn’t working?” Glimmer asks once the teacher has let them split into pairs for their assignment. Adora clenches her jaw.

“Wow, really?” she snaps, voice laced in frustration. “What could possibly have given away that idea?” Glimmer blinks, and Adora rubs her eyes. “Sorry, that was rude of me.” 

“So, either you’ve just been hanging out with Catra too much and her inability to go five minutes without being sarcastic is rubbing off on you, or I’m right, and your plan is, predictably, not working,” Glimmer concludes. “It’s probably a bit of both, right?”

“To be honest, I didn’t have much of a plan to begin with.” 

“Yeah, that’s pretty obvious.”

Adora glares. “Glimmer, seriously, not helping. I don’t know what to do.” 

Glimmer lifts a brow. “Have you tried, I don’t know, asking Catra how she feels about all of this?” 

Adora sort of feels like they’re having the same conversation as they did last week. “You know why I can’t do that.”

“Well, my advice still hasn’t changed from last week. The only other option I’m seeing here is to break up — fake break up — with her now. If you’re so convinced she doesn’t feel the same way, then what’s the big deal?” 

Somehow, it’s those words that make Adora stop mindlessly thinking about Catra’s eyes for once and more about everything else. What is the big deal, anyway? If Catra doesn’t feel the same way, then she wouldn’t have a problem with Adora wanting to break up now, right?

“And while you’re at it, you definitely need to take a breather,” Glimmer murmurs. Adora blinks, snapping out of her thoughts, and glances down to where her assignment is completely crumpled up between her hands. 

She sighs, attempting to uncrumple and salvage what’s left, and wonders how she ever let herself get to this point.  





The next evening, Adora’s contemplating just going to Catra’s house and telling her something like the plan worked, there’s no real reason for us to stay together, you don’t have to do this for me anymore when she decides to just message a simple Hi.

It’s not nighttime, but the sky is angry, and the bullets of rain drumming noisily against the walls serve as a nice reminder as to why. Her room is darker than it’d normally be in this time, the gentle glow of her lava lamp being the only light. 

Adora had never really been a big fan of the rain. She’s always sort of seen it as saddening and desolating, and yet, the sight of it always makes Catra’s eyes glint with happiness. 

(Adora also knows that she’d be fine with no sunshine or constant storms or any kind of weather if it made Catra’s eyes light up like that. She has, therefore, grown to have a small amount of fondness for the rain throughout the years.)

When she reaches for her phone after it buzzes a few minutes later, the message hey stares back at her. you okay?  

Yeah, Adora quickly responds, and tries to ignore the onslaught of butterflies that bubble in her stomach despite the fact that Catra has literally only asked her if she’s okay. Can we talk?

ya, Catra responds after a few minutes. want me to come over?  

Sure. Thunder rattles the house, so Adora adds, You’re not going to walk, right?

nope, Catra tells her, i’ll be there soon.

Fifteen minutes later, Adora hears someone knock on the front door. Catra greets her with a shy smile, clothes a little damp from the rain. 

“Hey, Adora,” she says after Adora quickly ushers her inside. Adora means to reply with a friendly hi, but nothing seems to comes out. She nearly takes Catra’s hand to lead her upstairs, but after a moment of hesitation, decides that probably wouldn’t be best, and then cocks her head to the stairs in question.

Catra looks a little uncertain, but she makes her way to Adora’s room without any protest. When they arrive, Adora quietly shuts the door, and then tentatively steps closer to Catra.

“I… I’ve actually been wanting to talk, too,” Catra admits. Adora glances up, and it’s then that she really takes in her appearance, and how she’s tapping her fingers against her thigh the same way she does when she gets nervous. It’s a strange sight, Adora thinks, because it’s sort of rare for Catra to be so nervous that it’s clearly visible. 

Suddenly feeling a lot more anxious than she did a few seconds ago, Adora nods. “Okay. You can, um, go first, if you want.”

Catra bounces on the balls of her feet, another sign that she’s nervous. “No, that’s okay. You called me here first.”

Adora means to ease into it, maybe slowly bring it up, but when she opens her mouth, all she says is, “Okay. We can break up now.” 

Catra’s eyes widen in shock, and even her jaw drops almost comically. If this was any other situation, and if Adora didn’t half feel like she was going to throw up, she probably would’ve teased her for it. “Wait, what?” 

With a lump growing in her throat, Adora repeats, “we can—“

“I heard you,” Catra rushes out, and then takes a deep breath so her voice is a bit quieter when she says her next words. “What are you talking about?” 

Adora awkwardly rubs her arm. “The plan worked. Ms. Weaver isn’t— she isn’t really trying to control me anymore. I brought up going to BMU again, and she didn’t say anything.” Adora thinks she sees Catra’s face fall, but it’s kind of hard to tell. “So, we can— we can stop all of this, now. We can just… go back to being friends.” 

Catra still looks like she can’t believe what she’s hearing. “Right now?”

“When else?”

“Just... just like that?”

“How else would it be?” Adora asks, letting her eyes flutter shut. When she opens them again, Catra’s glancing down and past her, brows knitted together like she’s trying to make sense of everything. 

“I… I thought…” she trails off, and then her voice gets kind of small. “I don’t know what I thought.” 

“Well, the plan worked, didn’t it? What’s the point in continuing to do it?” Adora asks, not quite sure if she’s trying to convince herself or Catra anymore. 

Catra doesn’t respond, and there’s a few beats of silence, save for the roar of the thunder in the background. Finally, she takes a deep breath, and then without another word, steps past Adora. Adora blinks, turning around and reaching for Catra’s hand on instinct, but when she sees Catra stare down at their intertwined hands, she quickly drops them. 

“Wait,” she stage whispers, “where are you going?” 

“What do you mean, where am I going?” Catra asks, still refusing to look at her. Her voice is hard, and unlike the way she sounded a few moments ago. “I’m going home.”

With panic beginning to well in her chest, Adora quickly reminds her, “I thought you wanted to talk about something, too?” 

Catra doesn’t turn back to face her. “Yeah, well just forget it, okay?” After a moment, she adds, “I just remembered I have to help Scorpia with her Spanish homework.”

Briefly, Adora believes it — they’ve all turned to Catra when it comes to Spanish class at some point — but then remembers that Scorpia’s on another date with Perfuma, and she knows that for sure because Perfuma had excitedly told her about it earlier. “I thought she was on a date?”

Catra pauses, still facing the door, and then shakes her head and continues. “Then I’m just going home.” 

She steps out of Adora’s room, leaving her dumbfounded for a good few moments. When she manages to snap herself back into reality, she quickly follows Catra through the house, down the stairs and outside. 

The rain is coming down in sheets, almost immediately drenching their clothes and hair. It’s chilly too, and Adora thinks she sees a flash of lightning in the distance. “Why?” she asks, grasping desperately for Catra’s hands like they’re straws. “Please, just tell me what I did wrong.”

Catra spins around and pulls her hand out of Adora’s reach, leaving Adora to stare at her in distress. There’s drops of water trailing down her cheeks, and her dark curls cling to her forehead. Adora wants nothing more than to press her warm palms to her face. 

“What do you mean, tell me what I did wrong?” she snaps, and there are tears in her eyes that are visible despite the rain, much to Adora’s surprise. “What the fuck is this to you, Adora?”

Adora shakes her head, growing more desperate by the second. “Catra, what are you talking about?” she asks, trying to keep her voice low, but Catra’s pacing around, dragging a hand over her mouth as her tears threaten to spill over.

“You— you can’t— you can’t— you kissed me,” she finally settles on. “You kissed me when there was no one around. We’ve been dating for longer than we initially planned. You can’t just do those things and then want to break up, what the fuck?” 

“I…” Adora trails off, because she didn’t think Catra would be so upset about this. “But that was the plan, right? The plan was to breakup after Weaver stopped trying to be so controlling.”

“That was the plan before you kissed me!” Catra snaps. She’s shouting now, and Adora’s horrified to see the tears in her eyes finally spill over and mingle with the rain streaming down her face. “That was the plan two months ago before things started changing!”

Adora shakes her head and opens her mouth to speak, but nothing except for a few pitiful noises comes out. 

“Let me ask you something, Adora,” Catra eventually hisses. “Was this your plan all along? Fucking with my head and sending me all of these confusing signals? Making me feel like— like—” she cuts herself off and takes a step back, jaw clenched.

“No!” Adora exclaims, stepping forward. Rain pounds down on the sidewalk, and her feet make a horrible squelch noise in the grass. “No, of course not! Why are you acting like this? You knew this would happen from the beginning!” 

Catra watches her for a few moments. Anywhere from between seconds to minutes might have passed, but Adora can’t quite tell over the racing of her heart and the pounding of the rain. 

“Did this mean anything to you?” Catra eventually asks, voice softer than before. She sounds small and vulnerable now, barely able to be heard over the rain. 

Adora tries to take another step forward, but pauses when Catra only backs further away. “Catra— I…” she tries, not quite sure what else to say. “You’re… you’re my best friend.” 

Catra lets out a bitter laugh and shakes her head. “Yeah, your best friend who you kissed for no reason, apparently.” Adora doesn’t know how to respond to that, so Catra lets out a small sigh. “You didn’t answer the question.” 

Adora doesn’t completely understand the extent of her feelings, and the idea of confessing what all of this really did mean to her is terrifying, so she quietly replies, “no. No, it didn’t.”

(It’s a mistake she won’t realize she’s made until it’s too late.)

There’s a long beat that passes, and then Catra averts her mismatched gaze, futilely wiping her eyes with the back of her arm. “Okay then, Adora,” she says, turning around. “You want a breakup? You’ve got it.”

And then she’s gone, and Adora doesn’t make a move to stop her. 

 

xiii.

Hours later, Adora lies down on her bed, facing the ceiling with a phone beside her that’s mockingly silent. Her screen is full of nothing but unanswered messages, filled with pleas and apologies that haven’t been answered, let alone read. Each time she gets a notification she practically races to open her phone, only to see it’s just something like Mermista tagging her in a photo on instagram or a snapchat from Glimmer. 

The time for dinner comes and goes. Adora’s positive Ms. Weaver had heard at least some of what happened just a few hours ago, and if anything, is probably happily basking in it. The thought makes Adora clench her fist, and she rubs her eyes and clutches a hoodie to her chest that still has a lingering smell of Catra from the last time she had borrowed it. 

Sometime around ten, she finally gets up to go shower and eat a yoghurt cup so she’s not too hungry, and when she’s getting changed, her phone begins to buzz on her bed. Once again, Adora practically lunges for it, only to deflate when she sees it’s Bow who’s calling her. 

She answers after a small internal debate about ignoring it.

“Hel—“

“What happened with Catra?” Bow’s voice fills the room, and Adora flinches. He’s not being aggressive — it’s rare that he ever is — but his tone is still hard and firm. 

“What do you mean?” Adora asks, because she doesn’t know how or why Bow would even know about any of this. 

“She told me she was going over, a couple of hours later I ask her how it went—“

“How what went?”

“—and she tells me to fuck off and to never speak to her again. Obviously something went wrong, because the last time she told me something like that it was junior year and you two hadn’t even gotten close to reconciling yet.”

More tears gather in Adora’s eyes. This is exactly what she didn’t want to happen — them to go back to how they were before senior year. 

“Bow, I really messed up,” she murmurs, cringing at the way her voice cracks in the middle of that statement. 

Bow takes a deep breath. “What happened?”

“We broke up,” Adora whispers, sitting down on her bed and pulling her knees to her chest. “I thought— I thought it was still a fake breakup, but I don’t… I don’t know anymore.” 

“You… broke up?”

“Yeah,” Adora murmurs, and then, after a deep breath, launches into everything that’s happened between them in the past two months. She wasn’t really telling anyone before because she was afraid it’d somehow get back to Catra, but there is literally no way for things to get worse at this point. 

She tells Bow everything Glimmer knows — about how she sort of realized she was in love with Catra mere days after everything started, and how she’s been trying to stop her feelings from growing ever since then. About how she told Glimmer and, against Glimmer’s advice, decided to break up with Catra instead of telling her how she really felt. About how in the spur of a moment, she had kissed Catra during seven minutes in heaven, and how that was probably the biggest thing she messed up on.

“I asked her to come over,” Adora says. “I was planning on ending things — the fake portion of our relationship, not everything — with her soon, anyway, so I figured I’d tell her then. After I told her, she tried to leave. I asked her to tell me what was wrong, which made everything worse because I realized she was crying and she was upset and everything’s just such a mess now.” 

Bow’s quiet for a moment after she finishes, like he’s trying to figure out what to say next. “She was crying?”

“Yeah,” she whispers, and confirming it just makes her heart shatter even more. “God, Bow, I made her cry. I’ve known her for nearly a decade and a half and I can still count the amount of times I’ve seen her cry on one hand, and to know she cried because of me—“

“Adora, breathe,” Bow interrupts softly, and Adora’s grateful for the reminder, because she finds her chest is sort of aching. “Just take a deep breath, alright?”

Adora nods, despite the fact that there’s no one around to see. Neither of them say anything for a good few minutes, before Adora whimpers. “Bow, what do I do now?” 

“You tell her everything you just told me,” Bow says, voice back to the firmness it had before. 

“How’s that going to fix anything?” Adora questions in exasperation.

“Adora,” Bow starts, and he sounds a little tired. “Don’t you get it? Catra’s in love with you.” 

Now that makes Adora’s heart stop. “What?” she asks in disbelief. “Bow, what are you talking about?” 

“You didn’t have any idea, did you?” Adora doesn’t respond, so he continues. “She was going to tell you when she came over.”

“Oh my god,” Adora whispers, still in disbelief. “She was going to tell me she’s in love with me, and I broke up with her instead.” 

Bow’s quiet for a moment on the other end. “...Yeah.” 

God, I really, really messed up. “You… you know this for sure?”

“Yeah. She told me a little while ago, and I helped her figure out what she was going to say. That’s why I was expecting her to reply positively, so when she told me to fuck off, it wasn’t exactly rocket science to figure out something must’ve gone wrong.”

“So I should just talk to her?” Adora asks, rubbing her nose with the sleeve of her shirt. “I should just tell her how I feel, right?”

“Honestly, Adora,” Bow sighs. “Isn’t that how you two fixed your friendship after years of fighting? By talking it out? Why didn’t you just tell her how you felt from the beginning?”

“I was afraid she wouldn’t feel the same way and that I’d scare her off again,” Adora explains. “Glimmer told me the same thing — that I should just talk to her, but like an idiot, I didn’t, and now we’re here.” 

“Well, there’s nothing we can do to change what happened in the past,” Bow tells her. “But I don’t think it’s ever too late to fix things.”

The ends of Adora’s lips twitch up in a slight smile. “Okay. Thanks for talking to me about this, Bow. I really appreciate it.” 

“No problem. I just hope you two can work this out, because I’m not sure will happen if you don’t.” 

“I know.”

“Talk to her, okay?”

Adora takes a deep breath. “I will.”





Initially, Adora doesn’t quite know what she expected, but talking to Catra is a lot harder than she thought it’d be. Not just because she’s afraid of what may happen, but because she literally can’t find Catra anywhere. 

The next day at school, Catra isn’t at her locker like she’d usually be. Adora searches for her in the music room and in the courtyard, but she isn’t in either places.

When third period arrives and Catra isn’t in her usual seat, Adora solemnly accepts that Catra probably isn’t here at all today, and the thought stresses her even more. Catra still hasn’t read any of the messages Adora’s sent, so it’s not like she can contact her through that, either. 

The rest of the day is spent hating herself for everything that happened — everything that could’ve been avoided had Adora not been a coward and just talked about her feelings. She ignores her friends and eats lunch alone where she doesn’t have to deal with anyone asking about what happened, and stares at Catra’s empty seat in the only other class they share. Glimmer manages to get her alone between their last two periods, but Adora shrugs her off. She knows it’s pretty shitty of her to basically ignore her friends, but she’s really not in the mood to talk to anyone today. 

She tries messaging Catra again when she gets home a couple of hours later, but they all go unread. The next day, Adora feels even worse, but she forces herself to go to school in hopes that Catra will be there. 

For the second day in a row, she’s not. 

By the time the final bell rings, Adora’s just about ready to go home and wallow in her sorrows for the rest of the weekend, before she remembers she has practice for another two hours. Skipping isn’t really an option, being that they’re at the very end of the season, so she spends the rest of it sort of unconsciously going through the motions. 

Afterwards, while they’re getting changed in the locker room, Adora’s basically dead on her feet when Lonnie either doesn’t seem to get the hint that she’s not in the mood or just doesn’t care and starts talking to her anyway. 

“Do you know where Catra is today?” the other girl asks, glancing over at Adora through the door of her locker. “We were supposed to get started on a project during lunch, but she wasn’t here.”

Adora tenses at the mention of her best friend — of who she hopes will still be her best friend after this — and tries not to start bawling right then and there like some loser. “No,” she answers simply, because in all honesty, she really doesn’t know where Catra is, just that she’s not here and why. “You didn’t… you didn’t text her?”

Lonnie frowns. “I did during lunch when she didn’t show up,” she admits, “but she didn’t respond. Figured you two were off doing something together.” 

Huh. And here Adora thought Catra was only avoiding her. 

“Well, we weren’t,” Adora sighs, and then shuts her locker and makes her way to the front of the school before she can hear Lonnie’s response. 




For the rest of Friday, Adora doesn’t bother trying to text Catra again. At some point, she has to accept that Catra won’t talk to her unless she’s ready, and continuously pestering her is just going to cause her to be pushed further away. Sometime in the evening, she switches tactics and decides to call Entrapta, who answers after a couple of rings.

“Hello?” 

“Hey, Entrapta,” Adora greets her. “Have you heard from Catra?” 

“Not much,” Entrapta responds. “She told me and Scorpia not to worry about picking her up yesterday, and when I asked her what was wrong, she said she was sick.” Entrapta’s quiet for a beat. “There’s something wrong though, isn’t there?” 

“Could you go check on her?” Adora asks, avoiding the question entirely. “Just to make sure she’s okay?”

“Sure!” Entrapta exclaims. “I would’ve done it sooner, but I thought she was just sick. You two didn’t break up, did you?” 

Adora flinches at Entrapta’s bluntness. “She’s… um, not really speaking to me right now,” she admits, feeling like Entrapta is someone who she can be somewhat honest with. “I think she’s avoiding everyone, and me showing up unannounced will probably make it worse, so…” 

“What happened?” 

A lump forms in Adora’s throat. “It’s— it’s really complicated, Entrapta.” 

“Complicated like you two were in a fake relationship and one or both of you caught real feelings and someone got hurt?” 

Adora’s jaw just about drops to the floor. “Who told you?” 

“No one,” Entrapta exclaims a little too cheerfully. “I figured it out.”

“Oh,” Adora mutters, and honestly, she doesn’t know why she expected anything less. “Well, yeah. Complicated like that, I guess.” 

“Catra can be complicated,” Entrapta agrees. “But you two will work it out. You’ve been through worse.” 

Adora’s not sure that’s true, but she forces herself to agree anyway. “Yeah. Um, thanks, Entrapta.” 

“No problem.” 




Entrapta sends her a quick message a couple of hours later to let her know that Catra’s okay, and Adora thanks her again. Catra still doesn’t respond on Saturday when Adora tries calling her a few times, but Adora nearly throws her phone when she gets a notification from her late Sunday night. 

There’s a rush of possible hope that fills her chest at the thought of finally getting to talk and possibly explain herself to Catra, only to immediately deflate when she reads the word stop staring back at her from a gray bubble.

Please, Adora messages her, her desperation reaching its peak. Just let me explain. 

It’s not surprising when Catra doesn’t respond to that message, but it is surprising when she finally shows up again the next week. She is, obviously, not in the spot they usually meet up at, and she must be teleporting to her classes because Adora can’t seem to find her in the hallways anywhere. During the few classes they share, Catra arrives late enough that Adora doesn’t have time to talk to her, and leaves early enough so that Adora can’t try to talk to her before she leaves. 

“I don’t know, Adora,” Glimmer tells her at the end of Tuesday; officially five days since the fake (real?) break up, and two days since Catra has now been managing to avoid her during school. “It’s clear she wants space, and if you keep pushing—”

“I know,” Adora sighs, pressing her head against the cool glass of Glimmer’s car and watching the buildings that pass. “I know. I just want to tell her how I really feel, even if she doesn’t forgive me.” 

Glimmer lays a sympathetic hand on her shoulder. “Well, it’s not like she can ignore you forever, right?” she asks, but the sentence only serves to make Adora more terrified of what might happen if she doesn’t manage to fix things, especially now that they’re only months away from graduation. She doesn’t want a repeat of freshman year; doesn’t want to lose Catra again. 

Adora doesn’t think she can lose her again. 

By the end of the week, Adora’s only made an attempt to talk to Catra a few more times, when Scorpia calls her just after she gets home on Friday. 

“Hi,” Adora answers a little tentatively, mainly because she hasn’t really talked to Catra’s closest friends — aside from her brief talk with Entrapta — since everything happened. 

“Hi,” Scorpia replies. There’s an awkward silence for a few moments, before Scorpia says, “I think you should stop trying to talk to her for a while.”

Panic streams through Adora. “What do you mean?” she asks, and winces when her voice sounds kind of choked out.

“Just— just let Catra have her space, for a while?” Scorpia tries to clarify, and Adora can tell that this is slightly awkward for her, too. Scorpia’s one of the sweetest people Adora knows, but she also knows that Scorpia can get incredibly protective when she needs to be. 

“She, um… did she tell you what happened?” Adora asks. She’s sure everyone knows they’ve broken up by now, but whether or not people know that the entire ordeal was fake — or, was at least meant to be fake — is a different thing. 

“Yeah,” Scorpia murmurs. “Well, she said a bit, and Entrapta told me the rest.” There’s another awkward moment where no one speaks, and then Scorpia says, “look, Adora, I really want you two to work this out. I’m not mad at you, but it really hurts me to see Catra this torn up over something, so I think it’d be best for you to stay away from her for at least a little while, okay?” 

“Okay,” Adora agrees, letting out a shaky breath. “I’ll stay away from her.” 

“Thanks,” is all Scorpia says, and then the line goes dead. 

 

xiv.

The weeks leading up to prom sort of blur together. 

When Scorpia begs her to come help her find the perfect dress to match Perfuma’s, Catra figures it’s on her for not realizing the entire thing was basically a ploy that Scorpia created to get her to choose something for herself to wear. She had mentioned not really wanting to attend prom a couple of times, but Scorpia had reminded her that this is their senior prom, and that she shouldn’t let anything — or anyone — ruin it for her.

(“That’s not what this is about,” Catra had grumbled after stepping out of the dressing room of the store they were at. A maroon suit was what they were currently on, and even Catra had to admit she sort of liked it, even if she hadn’t attempted to do the tie before she stepped out to show it to Scorpia. 

Scorpia didn’t bother responding to Catra about the whole I know you don’t want to go to prom because Adora might be there but this is a one in a lifetime experience and you should get to enjoy it without her conversation. Instead, her eyes lit up, and she immediately stepped forward with a wide smile.

“Wildcat, this looks so great on you!” she exclaimed, and then took a picture to no doubt send to Perfuma to ask her what she thought.  

“You think?” Catra asked, only to turn back and find Scorpia staring at her with a genuine look in her eyes.

“Yeah,” she smiled. “I do.”)

Which is exactly how Catra finds herself at the local reception center, because apparently her class managed to raise enough money to be able to afford a decent place to hold prom this year. 

So far, it’s nothing too special.

She’ll admit, the place does look pretty great, decked out in moss and vines to fit with the Enchanted Forest theme the student council had decided to go with this year. Her suit doesn’t match the theme in the slightest, but neither do a good amount of the other kids here, so Catra doesn’t feel too bad about it in the end. Coach Netossa is guarding the punch bowls to make sure nothing gets spiked — which is, admittedly, a little disappointing — but she figures it isn’t surprising after one of the football players managed to sneak an entire bottle of vodka into their junior prom. 

She’s sort of tagging along with Perfuma and Scorpia (and Entrapta, but she had disappeared after about an hour, and Catra has long since learned not to question her motives). Eventually, she gets tired of Scorpia’s incessant nagging about if she’s okay or if she’s having a good time, and decides to abandon them to head for the food table. She knows Scorpia is just trying to make sure she doesn’t feel left out, but it’s a little overbearing at this point.

Catra’s busy examining the cupcake selection and humming the song that’s currently playing underneath her breath when she sees someone step up next to her out of her peripheral. She glances up almost immediately, already preparing for the worst, but relaxes when she sees that it’s just Bow.

“Hey,” he greets her, plucking a cupcake off of the table. “How are you doing?”

“Fine,” Catra responds, albeit a little sheepishly. They haven’t talked for a few weeks now — not since Catra told him to fuck off on that day — and she’s had plenty of time to cool off from that. “And... I’m sorry.”

Bow raises a brow. “For what?” he asks through a mouthful of cupcake, and he seems genuinely confused like Catra hadn’t told him never to speak to her again and then proceeded to avoid half of their friends for the remainder of the month. 

“For everything?” Catra says, although it comes out more like a question. “For— for being mad at you and Glimmer, even though none of it was your fault. And for telling you to fuck off.” She finds herself averting her eyes to stare at the green frosted cupcake in her hands. “That wasn’t cool.” 

Bow hums in response. “It’s alright,” he tells her. “I understand that a lot was going on. Glimmer’s not upset about it, either.” That revelation makes Catra relax a bit; she was sure they would’ve been at least a little mad. 

“That’s… that’s good,” Catra whispers. She’s not sure what compels her to ask her next question, but she doesn’t linger on it for long. “Is… is, um, Adora okay?” 

The way Bow’s lips part give away his surprise, and Catra figures he hadn’t been expecting for her to ask about Adora. In his defense, Catra wasn’t exactly expecting it, either. 

“Yeah,” he eventually says. “She’s okay.” Catra nods, slowly beginning to grow nervous with the conversation, but Bow nudges her shoulder. “She misses you.”

Catra can’t help the sting in her eyes, and the way her vision gets blurry right after. “That’s— that’s not fair,” she says, although she doesn’t know if she’s talking to Bow or herself. “She’s the one who wanted to break up. She wanted to end things. She— she kissed me, and I thought she wanted to be with me, but then she told me that none of it meant anything. She shouldn’t get to miss me after that.”

“I know. And I think that’s entirely fair,” Bow tells her, and somehow, it’s those words that make her feel sort of better. Like her feelings are valid, and not just irrational. “But we know Adora. You know Adora, better than probably anyone else. I think she was just scared of letting herself act on her feelings of want in case you didn’t reciprocate them.”

Catra lets out a bitter chuckle. “In case I didn’t reciprocate them?” she echoes. “I thought it was pretty obvious that I did.” 

Bow doesn’t say anything, and after Catra attempts to use the pads of her fingers to wipe at her eyes without ruining her eyeliner, she realizes that he’s already staring at her.

“Well, I thought it was obvious, too,” he admits, “but she can be a little oblivious sometimes.”

Catra chuckles again, but this time it’s a little genuine. “A little?” 

Bow’s gives her a sympathetic smile. They sit there for a few more moments, and it’s then that Catra finds Adora from all the way across the room. She’s standing beside Mermista and Sea Hawk in a lengthy, elegant, white and gold dress, and her hair is down for once, long and golden and tumbling over her shoulders. She looks beautiful. 

As if on cue, a slower song starts playing, some song by Sheryl Crow that Catra thinks she recognizes. Adora chooses that moment to turn and make eye contact with her, as if this is something straight out of a Hallmark movie. There’s a moment where she looks like she’s going to take a step closer to them, but then she pauses, and remains standing where she is. Catra doesn’t know whether to be relieved or disappointed. 

Letting out a shaky sigh, Catra stuffs the rest of the cupcake into her mouth, and then straightens up. “I think I’m gonna go find Lonnie, or something,” she says. They both know it’s a lie, but Bow doesn’t try to stop her, which Catra appreciates. 

“Okay. You can call me if you need anything, alright?” 

Catra truly doesn’t know where she’d be without her friends. She thanks him, and without looking back to find Adora, she leaves.




It’s cold when she reaches the parking lot. Despite the fact that they’ve been in April for a few days now and it should be much warmer, it’s not. Catra thinks she heard Entrapta mention something about one last cold front coming in something this evening, but she hadn’t been paying much attention.

She thinks back to what she told Bow, about this not being fair. She wishes she could do it over: insist it not be her that be the one to fake date Adora; refuse to go to that party, or to stay outside instead of going into that closet; and, most importantly, not act on her feelings for her best friend. 

Of course, she can’t.

Catra’s only outside for a few minutes before she’s joined by Entrapta. The sound of her shoes on the asphalt give her away, and she sits down next to Catra on the cold, metal bench.

Neither one of them say anything for a while. There’s a light drizzle of rain that’s started, and a particular harsh gust of wind that makes them both shiver leads to Catra shrugging off her jacket and draping it over Entrapta’s shoulders. 

“What are you doing out here?” Catra eventually asks, disrupting the comfortable silence that had surrounded them. 

Entrapta shrugs. “It got kind of loud in there. Plus, Bow said I might find you out here.” 

Catra doesn’t respond to that. She lets out a deep exhale, watching a warm cloud of air escape her mouth. 

“Are you okay?” Entrapta questions. Catra doesn’t respond, so Entrapta asks, “will you come back inside? It’s kind of cold out here.”

“I think I’m gonna head home,” Catra tells her. “Could you thank Scorpia for me? For everything?”

“Sure,” her friend says. “But will you be alright?” 

“I’ll be fine,” Catra replies, honestly. “Thank you.”

It’s rare that Entrapta initiates any sort of physical contact, much less hugs. It’s one of the things they have in common. And yet, when Entrapta reaches out in question, Catra accepts, and allows herself to be pulled into a loose hug. 

She manages a grateful smile when Entrapta pulls back to head inside. 




Three blocks over, the bright pink lights of the diner she's been to multiple times before shine out, lighting up the growing puddles in the street. It’s comforting to see them, and something seems to beckon her inside. 

The bell rings with something close to familiarity when she enters. A waiter that had been wiping down a formica table asks her what she wants, and Catra politely requests a chocolate milkshake. 

When he leaves, Catra turns to head to the booth she’s always sat at whenever she’s come here. When she does, she finds a head of long, golden blonde hair facing her, and stops in her tracks. 

Briefly, she considers leaving before Adora sees her, but as if she can sense someone watching her, Adora turns toward the door and meets Catra’s gaze. Her eyes — blue and gray, with flecks of hazel that only people who have ever been inches away from her would be able to see — are sort of red and swollen, like she had been crying. No matter how hard Catra tries, she can’t tear her gaze away.

And then, as if they have a mind of her own, Catra’s legs carry her so that she finds herself sitting down in the booth across from her.

“Hi,” she says, a little unsure. 

Adora looks surprised, but after blinking a few times, she musters out a small, “hi.”

The waiter sets down Catra’s milkshake next to her, and asks them if he can get either one of them anything else. They both decline, and Catra takes a sip of her drink, wrapping her sweating fingers around the glass to let the condensation cool her palms. 

Adora wipes her eyes with the back of her arm. Her makeup is a little ruined, and her dress is sort of wrinkled. Catra imagines she doesn’t look much better. 

“You really hurt me,” she eventually says, but can’t get herself to make eye contact with the girl across from her. Adora nods, fiddling nervously with her hands. 

“I know,” she breathes, and her voice sounds so, so sad that Catra wants to start crying all over again. “I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry, Catra.” 

Catra clenches her jaw, and then releases a shaky sigh. Adora pushes her basket of fries closer to the middle of the table in offering, and Catra takes one and dips it into her milkshake. They spend a while like that, sitting in silence aside from the light patter of the rain against the window and the soft murmur of the few other patrons in the diner. 

“I’m in love with you,” Adora whispers, after some time passes. “I don’t know when it happened. It could’ve been weeks, or months, or years ago. What I do know is that it’s something I’m sure of.” She looks up through her lashes, and Catra finally meets her gaze. “And I— it did mean something to me. The relationship. Whether it was real or fake, it all meant a lot to me. I shouldn’t have said that it didn’t.”

Catra nods. She takes another fry and twists it around in her fingers, but doesn’t make a move to eat it. “I shouldn’t have kissed you at the party. I shouldn’t have assumed you had feelings for me, and that you knew I reciprocated them. I shouldn’t have ignored you for as long as I did. I’m sorry.”

Adora swallows. “You don’t have to apologize for that.”

“I do,” Catra murmurs, and Adora doesn’t argue with her.

It’s a long time before either one of them says anything again. There’s no tension between them — at least, not any that’s unbearable — and Catra finds it’s better than where they were ten minutes ago. 

“Are you still angry with me?” Adora asks, and now, she’s the one who can’t seem to meet Catra’s gaze. Her eyes are stuck on the wooden table between them, like she’s spotted an imperfection in the marking.

“Kind of,” Catra admits. “Not— not as much as I was, right after. I think… I think I’m getting over it.”

“Getting over it,” Adora repeats. Her eyes are back on Catra’s, and she looks impossibly dejected. 

“Getting over my anger,” Catra clarifies, and she doesn’t miss the way Adora visibly relaxes. “Not— not getting over you.”

Adora blinks. She watches Catra for a moment, and then says, “can I ask you something?” 

For the first time since she stepped foot in here, the ends of Catra’s lips curl up into a small smile. “Can I stop you?” she replies, only slightly teasing. It seems to have its intended effect, because a shaky chuckle escapes the girl sitting across from her. 

“Do you want to get over me?” she eventually asks, after taking a deep breath. Catra snaps her head back up to glance toward her, and finds that Adora looks genuine, like she’s just curious to know the answer. 

“No,” Catra says, honestly. “No, I don’t.”

“I don’t want to get over you either,” Adora whispers, and Catra can’t help the adrenaline that floods her veins. “Do you think… do you think we could try again? Like, for real?”

She looks so earnest, staring at her like her answer could mean everything.

“Are you, Adora Grayskull,” Catra starts after a moment, “asking me to be your real girlfriend? Like, for yourself? Because you want this? Not to prove something to your foster mother, or for any other reason?” 

Adora nods, a smile growing on her face. “Yeah,” she breathes. “Yeah, I’m asking because I want this.” 

Catra doesn’t know how, but apparently she still does have more tears left to cry because her vision gets a little blurry and her eyes seem to start sweating. “Then yes.”

Adora lets out a shaky laugh, and Catra isn’t surprised to see a few tears fall from her eyes, too. “Can I— can I come over there?” she asks, and Catra’s nodding before she can even finish. 

She slides into the booth on Catra’s left, and Catra meets her halfway in what’s possibly the tightest hug she’s ever felt. Being in Adora’s arms like this have always brought her nothing but warmth and safety, and Catra doesn’t ever want to let go. 

Without pulling back, Adora buries her face into Catra’s hair and asks, “what now?”

“We take it slow,” Catra answers, without having to think too much about it. She doesn’t want it to be like their fake relationship, like when they just jumped right in. She may not be exactly sure of what comes next, but she knows that she doesn’t mind figuring it out with her best friend — with her real girlfriend — by her side. “I’m still hurt by what happened. But I… I love you, and I think that everything will be okay. I think we’ll be okay.”

Adora nods. Her grip on Catra tightens before it releases all together, and she pulls away to glance down at her. “Okay,” she murmurs, one hand rubbing up and down against Catra’s back. “I love you too.”

Catra smiles impossibly wide. Without another word, she leans forward to press her forehead against Adora’s, and melts into the warm, calloused palm that comes up to cup her cheek. 

“I can’t believe this is happening,” Adora murmurs in disbelief. “Like, I just… wow.” 

Catra laughs, because she can’t quite believe this is happening either. Instead of voicing those thoughts, however, she cups the back of Adora’s neck and whispers, “don’t ruin it.” 

*