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After teleporting back to Bright Moon, Adora, Catra, Bow and Glimmer gazed at the familiar yet new version of their home. Catra’s hand brushed against Adora’s as they walked toward the glimmering castle. Adora glanced at her, catching her eye, causing the two to blush.

“I’m thinking maybe we should have a celebratory cake! Who’s thinking about raiding the kitchen?” Bow asked.

“Adora yawned, fatigue beginning to overwhelm her. She hadn’t realized how exhausted she was until that moment. “I’m gonna be honest Bow, I think I need some rest actually.”        

Catra yawned next to her. “Yeah sorry to break up the party Arrow Boy.”           

“Yeah I suppose if we’re gonna go on some big adventure in the cosmos we should all get some rest.” Bow said. Glimmer grabbed ahold of all of them and teleported to the front of Adora’s room in the castle.           

“Sparkles I thought you were gonna give me a heads up!” Catra moaned, leaning over her knees.          

“Sorry,” Glimmer said, grimacing. “We can walk to your room Catra.”          

“Umm-“ Adora began, lifting her hand to her head and running it through her poof and ponytail. “I think ummm-actually Catra is gonna umm stay in my room. So you’re good. No walking.” Adora’s hands were aimlessly miming around her body erratically. “So we’re good. Thanks Glimmer. Bow. Goodnight.” Adora smiled awkwardly at them.         

Glimmer and Bow’s eyes flashed between the two, Bow’s lips curving into a wicked smile.           

“Sleep tight,” he said, and the two were gone in a flash. Adora released a breath she didn’t realize she was holding and slapped her palm to her forehead.        

“Smooth one Adora.” Catra remarked behind her.           

“I’m sure they’ll have questions in the morning.”      

“Oh, I’m sure they will.” Adora turned to see Catra’s smile behind her, a single fang showing through it.

She opened her door to her familiar bedroom, with her oversized bed stripped of the additional luxuries laid out in the middle. Adora watched as Catra entered, her eyes taking it all in.

“Yeah well, if I lived here I wouldn’t have wanted to return to the Horde either.” Adora chuckled at her, but Catra stayed gazing at the room. Her back was to Adora, and as the moment grew with more silence, Adora reached out for her hand.

“Hey, Catra.” Catra turned around to look at her, her mismatched eyes locked on Adora’s. Adora felt a sudden stirring in the air. The air stuck at the back of her throat and she could hear her heartbeat in her ears. It dawned on her it was the first time the two had been alone since the heart.

“Hey, Adora,” Catra said, filling the silence. Adora’s eyes flickered down to Catra’s lips and then back to her eyes. She took a small step forward, their foreheads nearly touching.

“Can I kiss you again?” Adora whispered.

Catra closed her eyes and laughed. “Yes, you idiot.”

Adora blushed, her nervous hands reaching up to Catra’s face, cupping her cheeks and pulling her into a long, gentle kiss. Catra’s hands reached up, one holding the back of Adora’s neck, the other reaching for Adora’s ponytail. Her nails pulled through small knots in the wisps of her hair. Adora broke away first, pressing her forehead against Catra’s. Her hands moved from Catra’s face to the base of her neck, her thumbs gently rubbing against her jaw.

Adora’s mind flashed back to the heart. Catra walking toward her and reaching out, Adora’s hands touching hers, the static of her image disappearing at their contact.

“This is real right? You’re here? We stopped him?”

“I’m here Adora. We stopped him.” Catra pulled Adora into another kiss. One hand sliding down the small of Adora’s back and pulling their bodies closer. It was gentle, but almost feverish as the two began to explore each other. Their lips moving faster, more in sync than before. Adora’s hands wrapped around the back of Catra’s shoulders, pulling her closer. She didn’t want any space between the two, desperately trying to hold onto this moment.

Catra’s tongue flicked out toward Adora’s, and a small moan escaped her without her control. She felt Catra’s smirk through their kiss as Adora opened their kiss, letting the two entangle in each other. Holding onto Catra, she pulled the two of them backwards, toward the door for footing. She felt her shoulder blades bump into it, grounding her to the floor so she wouldn’t fall over. One of her hands reached up to Catra’s hair, this new short hair, Adora had played with Catra’s long hair plenty of times growing up, but this was new. She liked the feel of the length between her fingers, teasing it at the roots.

Finally Catra broke away. Adora took a deep breath, kissing for long periods of time was work she wasn’t used to. Fatigue slammed into her again, she wobbled against the door, catching herself on Catra’s shoulders. She wanted to stay here, discussing this new magic she felt herself connected to, this new world and mission they were about to embark upon. A flash of Shadow Weaver appeared in her mind, her grip around Catra tightened and her eyes squeezed shut.

“Adora.” Adora’s eyes opened to Catra’s, her ears perked up.

“A lot happened today.” Adora’s eyes gazed past her around the room. “But I do, really need some sleep.”

“Yeah it’s been a long day,” Catra said, pulling an arm around Adora’s back and walking with her to the side of the bed. She stopped, the two pausing awkwardly as they looked at it. “Umm-“

“Yes, you too, you dummy.” Adora said, smiling at her. Adora began to lift the sheets, as Catra pounced over to the other side, pulling at the sheets on her side. The two slipped under the sheets, their heads hit their pillows and their eyes locked. A strange space existed between the two of them, it simultaneously felt like too much and too little. As children they had slept together all the time, sometimes like this, sometimes Catra preferred to sleep at the end of the bed, curled in on herself, but this wasn’t like their childhood. There were new rules, new feelings to adhere to. Was this space too much, or too little, Adora thought. She knew she was a thrasher, would she accidentally hit Catra in the middle of her sleep?

Adora realized her gaze had veered off and she was no longer looking at Catra, but the window behind her. Her gaze returned to Catra’s, who hadn’t stopped looking at her. She stretched her hand out to one of the longer pieces of Catra’s hair, rolling it between her thumb and forefinger.

“I love you.”

Adora felt the flick of Catra’s tail at her ankle, and the two skootched their bodies closer to one another. “I love you too.”

Adora blushed as she heard Catra’s purr. She released the hair between her fingers and awkwardly wrapped her arm around Catra’s shoulder, her other hand entangling in Catra’s, their fingers interlaced between the two of them. Her eyes began to flutter close.

“Thank you for coming back Adora.” She heard Catra whisper to her. She wanted to open her eyes. To speak words as her brain pooled with a million of them. But as her body drifted into sleep, they were all foggy, disconnected, and she felt herself disappear into sleep before she could reply.

 

***

 

“Please it doesn’t always have to be you!” “What do you want Adora?” “You’re welcome.” “Don’t I get a say in what happens to me? Don’t I get a choice?” “You broke my heart.” “You coming?” “You’re worth more than what you can give other people.” “A beautiful wish.”

 

Adora woke up in a sweat. Her body jolted upright, her eyes adjusting to the new darkness. Her hand reached to the left of her, but it found nothing. Her head swiveled, both her hands now reaching over the bed next to her frantically.

“Catra. Catra!” Adora’s hand trembled. She felt the sweat on her body. She hadn’t gotten out. She was still in the heart, being manipulated by Prime and the technology of her people.

“Nononononono.” Of course, this wasn’t real. Of course, Catra hadn’t come to save her. Of course, she could never love Adora like that. Finally, when Adora let herself be happy, it was all a lie. “Catra!” She shrieked. She balled in on herself, her hands tight to her chest, folding over herself on the bed, crying into it.

“Adora!” Catra’s voice called out somewhere beyond her. Adora looked up, the bedroom door opened, a faint light from the hallway leaking into the room.

“Catra?” Adora’s voice was cracked.

“Adora what’s wrong?” Catra ran on all fours toward her, hopping on the bed and wrapping Adora up in her. “It’s okay I’m right here.” Catra’s tail wrapped around Adora’s waist, her arms embraced her upper back, pulling her head into her chest. Adora felt her panicked breathing begin to slow. But tears began to spring from her eyes.

“Hey, I’m sorry I left. I was trying to find some water, but I’m right here. I’m right here Adora.”

Adora’s arms clutched Catra’s waist, her fingers digging into her back. It was real. This was all real. Catra was here, in front of her. The hologram would’ve never let touch be this real.

“I want you.” She whispered.

“What?”

Adora tilted her head up, looking at Catra with concern written all over her face. Her ears were flapped down, only halfway raised.      

“You asked me, in the woods. You asked what I wanted. I want you. But I don’t know if I get to have that.”        

“Hey, that’s my thing. I’m the one who doesn’t deserve you.”

“But what if the world needs She-Ra? What if-“

“Hey, the world will never need She-Ra more than it needs Adora.” Adora’s eyes twinkled at Catra, making her smile.           

“And I’m always gonna need you.” Adora whispered back. Catra loosened her grip on Adora, and gently pushed the two back onto the bed. She pulled the sheets over the two of them and draped her arms around Adora. Their legs awkwardly entangled in each other and their arms trying to find comfort in their embrace, their foreheads touching.     

“I didn’t believe you the first time you said that.” Catra said.       

“I know…I was pretty cut up about that.”        

“Is that why you were upset I was gone?”       

“A little…I don’t…I don’t quite know what comes next. I don’t have a destiny anymore. That’s a new one. The heart messed with my head. I saw things. I wasn’t sure if I was still there. I wasn’t sure…if you really loved me.”      

“I’ve always loved you. I think everything I did was because of that. If I beat you, if I became stronger, if I ruled Etheria, I’d get you back. I couldn’t really believe you’d ever just come back to me unless it was by some type of force.”

Adora smiled, a small puff of air blew through her nose almost like a silent laugh.

“What?” Catra asked.

“Twice. Twice I came back for you and twice I summoned She-Ra when I couldn’t.”

Catra smiled, a half laugh escaping her lips. “You saved me.”

“And you saved me. In a way, you sort of saved the whole world, so you can stop hating yourself for the damage you once did to it.” A small tear welled in Catra’s eyes, Adora reached out, brushing it away from her.

“No more leaving in the middle of the night for the both of us.”

“That sounds like a plan.” Adora’s hand pulled Catra’s waist closer to hers. She placed the ghost of a kiss on the corner of Catra’s lips. She heard Catra’s breathing begin to slow as the two closed their eyes.

“You were the only one who could’ve brought me back” Adora whispered to her. She felt Catra’s grip clench for a moment, and then relax. The two laid like that, awkwardly smooshing their bodies together so there was no doubt either of them felt alone, drifting off to sleep.