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(She) Keeps Me Warm

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Fighting back tears on her living room floor really was not the way Catra had planned on spending her evening. She was supposed to be unpacking—unpacked by now—and taking old shit she didn’t need to the nearest Goodwill. She’d even gotten a good pile going, in, well, mostly around a box in the hallway (basketball was never her sport). This was supposed to be a fresh start, a new apartment, a new city, a new position and office. Sure it was the same company, but aside from that, nothing of her past was here to fuck things up.

Except, apparently, that fucking jacket. Catra choked back a particularly snotty sniffle with a forced laugh. It was funny, surprising, ironic even, that this was among the things of hers her mother didn’t toss as soon as she left. Probably didn’t realize where it came from, or didn’t bother checking through her coats for ‘rebellion and sin,’ or whatever (even if she rifled through everything else).

All in all it was innocuous, another dark red jacket among the couple others from her high school. No logos or designs to make it stand out. That was probably what saved it, ‘cause fuck, if she’d known…

Well, then she wouldn’t be crying over now.

It took everything Catra had not to chuck the offending article across the room. She was supposed to be getting better about that. Not throwing things. But God fucking dammit, it was tempting. How dare she taint this place she hadn’t even gotten a chance to settle into?

“Fucking… shit.” Swiping at her nose, Catra tossed the jacket onto the couch and stood, running a hand through her hair, “Okay. Okay, okay. Fuck. Break time. Yeah.”

All of a sudden the silence in the apartment felt oppressive, too quiet and too much all at once. Every step was grating, the whir of the AC deafening.

“Water,” she muttered to herself, if only to override the other noises, “Get some water and breathe and—fuck, toss it.” That would be the smart thing to do. She’d gotten rid of most everything else from Adora. Well, no, her mother had gotten rid of most everything else. The notes and letters and crafts and even the more innocuous gifts. The only things she’d been able to save back then were a few passed notes in a school journal, a book her mother hadn’t known came from her, and a couple little knick knacks. Those were gone now, lost or purposely left behind or tossed.

But this, apparently, had been sitting in the box of coats since that first move, all unneeded until now.

The glass was getting uncomfortably cold in her hand. Catra took a quick sip, to say she’d gotten up for some reason, before setting it on the counter.

It was a decent coat, heavy enough to keep her scrawny ass warm in the snow. It would do someone else some good. All it would do here was sit in the closet and hurt. Of course, the idea of getting rid of the actual last thing hurt too. The last time she thought she’d gotten rid of the last thing, she’d been angry. Boxed it up with the pointless crap her mother had sent and left it by the side of the road. Maybe someone found it, maybe not, at that point she hadn’t cared, she just wanted it gone.

“I already have enough coats.” Right, like saying it aloud would help. It wasn’t like it was a work appropriate one anyway, too casual. It didn’t make sense to keep it even without the emotional baggage.

 

Catra, your mother called.”

Even if Adora hadn’t been half out her bedroom window at the time, trying to gather up snow from the sloping roof below it, that would have been enough to make her shiver.

“She said she was called into work and will not be able to pick you up,” Hope continued from the hall, “I am about to leave as well, would you like a ride?”

“What’d she say?” Adora asked, doing her best to glance over her shoulder. Her hair was down around her face, still a mess, cheeks and nose bright red from the cold.

“Just asking if I want a ride,” she replied quickly before calling, “I’m good, thanks!”

“Very well. She also indicated you have chores when you return.”

Figured, she always had chores. But that meant she’d expect them done before she got back. That realization came too late though, she could hear the front door open and close. Sure, she could run after, but she wasn’t dressed yet, and Hope was nothing if not precise. She wouldn’t want to be late.

“Got it!” Adora shimmied back, settling beside her on the rumpled bed with a decent sized snowball and a wicked grin.

“Get away from me with that thing!” Catra shrieked, stumbling out of bed and across the room. Adora gave chase with a laugh, finally cornering her in the little hall bathroom she hadn’t quite managed to lock in time.

“Asshole!” she snarled, hurriedly trying to remove the melting slush from the inside of her shirt as Adora watched with an all too pleased smirk.

“Wow, such language. That’d be what, like three hours of detention?”

Catra almost snorted. She wasn’t going to give Adora the satisfaction just yet but that did remind her, “Nah, principal’s trying this new thing where he has people come to his office and prays with them about their sins or whatever.”

Adora, however, did snort, and Catra couldn’t quite hold back her grin.

“That’s probably a better deterrent, honestly. But also I couldn’t really hear you earlier, what did Hope want?”

Right, yeah. That problem.

“Mother dearest has my task list ready, I’ve gotta go.”

Despite the disappointment, Catra took a little satisfaction in the way Adora’s shoulders slumped. At least she wasn’t the only one bummed out.

“She gonna drive you?”

“She just left.”

Adora’s frown turned harder, “But it’s snowing, did you even bring a jacket?”

No, no she hadn’t, because yesterday when she walked over it wasn’t snowing, and the only jacket that still fit was a huge puffy one that was only good for snow days.

“It’s not that far, I’ll be fine.”

“It’s like a mile and a half. Go get dressed, I’ll find something.” Adora had that stupid determined face on, there was no arguing with her when she was like that. So she went back to Adora’s room, slipping into her outfit from the day before and borrowing a pair of socks—Adora had a weirdly huge sock collection, she wouldn’t miss these, and they were way thicker than hers. By the time she emerged again, Adora had one of her jackets draped over her arm, a heavy, dark red field coat. One she wore pretty frequently.

“Here, you can take this one, borrow it ‘til winter’s over at least, since your snow jacket’s kinda dumb anyway.”

 

She remembered how at sixteen, when Adora was so busy most of the time with school and sports and everything else Hope threw her into, she’d been so desperate to keep pieces of Adora for herself. She’d barely argued, even though the sleeves hung well past her fingertips and she had been kinda swimming in it. She’d tucked it away as soon as she got home, made sure to only wear it occasionally, convinced her mother she suddenly developed school spirit so she’d buy her another coat of a similar color so she could camouflage it. It had worked, apparently.

Shit.

Kicking the empty box it came from aside, Catra snatched a hanger from the closet. It was a good coat, she’d find some use for it.