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If you ever get out, call me

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Bored with meandering along the same sidewalk and her attention drawn by a figment of her imagination, Adora comes to a lumbering halt and turns heavenward. At first she believes to have been right, just imagination, an illusion, a secret wish. But then they crystallize against the bright white backdrop and a tiny flake lands on her flush cheek, melting on contact. Then another, larger than the one that came before. And another, even bigger. Captivated by a sudden spurt of childhood glee, the ghost of a smile crosses her lips while her tongue unfurls as far as it can reach.

Adora closes her eyes, stretches and stretches, her arms leaning backwards to balance being on tiptoes and then, as the thick, icy stars chill her tongue, she is teleported back for but the briefest moment. Her frozen lashes lift, allowing starry eyes to drift -tinted with a carefree childhood- and her body twirls like a leisurely ballerina along the sidewalk with Catryan strolling at her side, forming a lump of snow into a ball. It’s a perfect moment. Magical. Filled with nothing but wonder, joy, and laughter. And with another blink of her weary eyes, all of it evaporates back into reality as her false leg slips on the icy ground and she takes a rough tumble into the few inches of snow. She feels the pain, knowing full well that this will add a couple of bruises to her already worn body. But it's by far not enough pain to make her utter a sound. Not anymore.

Serves you right for being a starry-eyed girl, Adora. You need two healthy legs for proper balance, duh. 

Rising with care, methodically, like learned in rehab, she dusts herself off and collects the earbuds - wiping them clean while peering at the impression she left.

At least I got to make a snow angel.

Her therapist would be so proud of her positivity, the way she turned misfortune into a new memorable experience, a sign of her healing psyche. Not a moment later, she snorts with derision at the idea. Nothing positive about it, just another reminder of why everything sucks. With the corner of her lip curling down, she pops the earbuds back in as the next song begins to play.

What would you think if I sang out of tune?
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song
and I’ll try not to sing out of key

Great, what a nice and lively song. Perfect lead tune for an album to complement her piss-poor life experience. Checking her phone for the time, and a different song, she leaves it playing as the refrain kicks in. Maybe today is going to be a positive day after all. Maybe today she will have a little help from a friend.

What do I do when my love is away?
Does it worry you to be alone?

How do I feel by the end of the day?
Are you sad because you’re on your own?

This morning, when Adora set out to relieve herself of that lingering burden, she expected to feel apprehensive. She also expected to go back and forth on her decision as much as she would go back and forth in town to avoid actually doing it. In no way did it cross her mind that it would be an easy stroll in the park. But this? This is different. Much, much different. Adora isn’t feeling apprehension. She is feeling dread. And not the kind that you jokingly mention when you 'dread' an exam. No, it's the kind that chills you to the bone and makes you throw up your breakfast.

Every step closer to her destination had her heart inch closer to her throat and her gut add an extra knot. By the time she was close enough to see the target, dread morphed into panic and her legs turned from leaden to featherlight, carrying her away as fast as possible without drawing attention.

Not that it really matters. The streets are mostly abandoned. People are still at work or smarter than Adora and staying indoors where it's warm. Yet here she is, on attempt number three, retracing the same footsteps in the snow she has left behind on the previous attempts while freezing her tits off.

This time, however, would be different. This time, she called in reinforcements.

Wholly out of options, she had risked a shot in the dark. Adora never expected her to come, to have time. Everything about this meeting is last minute, and it's damn near a miracle she received a ninety-six percent likelihood for her to meet right now. The other four percent uncertainty was attributed to 'traffic circumstances'. It all sounded too good to be true at the time and it isn’t until Adora can physically see the purple pigtails through the car window that she actually believes her luck. Today might indeed be a positive day.

And what a car it is. Sleek. Futuristic. Coated in cool metal gray with pearlescent turquoise detailing. It's a style and type thoroughly fitting to its owner and something thoroughly out of Adora’s league. With the car coming to a stop, Adora is already bouncing with anticipation. Barely allowing her friend to exit the car unhugged, she doesn't hesitate a second more and throws herself at Entrapta as if she is the last lifebuoy in a raging sea.

“‘Trapta,” she beams, her voice straining as she scoops the pig-tailed girl into a bear hug, car door still wide open behind her. “You have no idea how much it means to me that you came!”

“Lieutenant Grayskull,” Entrapta huffs. “Good to see you, too.”

Not having seen her friend in a couple months, she just wants to keep hugging her forever. But the exoskeleton strapped to Entrapta’s entire form is making her body voice its objections to even more bruises. It has changed a lot from the barebones version she received about a year ago. There is a lot more tech and utility attached to it now, including an entire second set of artificial arms neatly packed away behind her shoulders. They used to freak Adora out a bit when Entrapta first showcased them, but she got used to it with time.

Back then, when they were airlifted back to the states, the diagnosis would have been soul shattering for anyone. But not Entrapta. No, she’s a fighter, always has been. She saw her paralysis as an opportunity, a way to turn her misfortune into new purpose. Having received an experimental skeleton unit from japan - barely a month into rehab and paid for by Uncle Sam - she began modifications and optimizations. Before long, she had created an astonishing feat of engineering, returning her lost body functions and even enhancing them. It is also thanks to Entrapta that she has a fairly fancy looking leg prosthesis now. 3D printed with custom detailing and not the still abundant world war two ones that are barely a leg up from ol’ Blackbeard's pegleg. An act of charity that Adora still doesn’t comprehend to this day.

As inspiring as recalling Entrapta’s resilience is, It doesn’t take long for the negative thoughts to come back to Adora like a sea swell, reminding her of everything she has to catch ‘Trapta up on and in particular, the reason for asking her to come in the first place.

“You don't have to address me like that,” she mumbles. “Drop the Lieutenant. It's just Adora.” 

Entrapta’s eyes defocus and drift for a moment, as they always do when searching for an explanation that yet eludes her. “But that is your rank,“ she states eventually, eyes filled with bewilderment.

“It isn’t,” Adora clarifies, chin dropping to her chest. “Not anymore.”

The simple truth of this statement is still aching in her chest months later. Will she ever be able to accept it without looking back? Is it even possible to move on from something like that? The career she built her life around, pulled from under her feet, taken in a sudden and unfair manner?

“You have been promoted then?” Entrapta cheers before continuing matter-of-factly. “That's so exciting! Based on performance data, you definitely were the most deserving. Are you…” Entrapta pauses for the briefest moment, lowering her piercing voice to a hushed whisper. “Are you in Intelligence now? Is that why you dropped the rank? Are you on a secret mission right now?”

“No Entrapta, I wasn't promoted,” she rejects with gritted teeth, her cheeks burning as she tries to stop ‘Trapta’s wide-eyed enthusiasm in its tracks. Averting her eyes, she examines the little patch her boots have cleared of snow before finally continuing. “I'm not in the military anymore.”

“But that makes no sense!” Entrapta protests. “Your duty time hasn’t run out yet. You have one year, five months and six days left until-”

“They threw me out!” Adora barks, cutting her off.

“I’m confused,” Entrapta admits, her voice having slowed to a crawl. “Why would they do that?”

Adora pinches the bridge of her nose. “Sorry, ‘Trapta, I don't mean to be rude, but I really don’t want to go over this right now. It’s not why we are here.” She sighs. “I don’t have all the answers myself.”

Unfortunately, like a computer hung up in a loop, her friend is ignoring all inputs while making her own deliberations. One hand stemmed into her side and chin held in the other. “There is a limitation on dismissal of commissioned officers, did you...” Entrapta pauses, stroking her chin in before taking a sudden step back with her second set of robotic arms warding Adora off. “You didn't commit any crimes, did you?”

“What?” Adora answers, aghast, jerking her arms up defensively in turn. “No, of course not. Who do you think I am?” 

Crossing her arms to a more relaxed but still on-guard posture, Entrapta shifts weight to Darla’s left support leg. “Then you’ll have to explain how it is that you are no longer an officer.”

Adora balls her fists, bracing herself for what is coming - something she isn’t ready for just now, not prepared for- the inevitable fall from grace in her friend's eye. First it’ll be pity, then the judgement and finally, the disbelieving look in her eyes that declares this to be the last time they will speak to each other. It wouldn't be the first time. It won’t be the last. And there is no way around making this sacrifice if she is to receive help to pacify her mangled conscience. But that doesn’t mean she has to be happy about it or gentle. No, far from it. Too long has she bottled her feelings up, made amends and apologies when in truth, all she feels is a raging fire inside that wants to burst free.

Feeling the heat rise to her cheeks, she finally opens her eyes and herself, carefully avoiding to look directly at her friend. 

“It’s so unfair,” she begins, voice already breaking. “Everything has been so unfair. I’ve given everything to them. EVERYTHING!” she seethes, brushing a teardrop from her cheek. “First, I gave up my friendships. Then my youth. My innocence. My fucking leg. And how did they thank me?” She leaves a brief break for emphasis, pacing back and forth. 

“They paid you a salary?” Entrapta interjects, eyebrows raised.

“I’ll tell you how they thanked me,” Adora continues with renewed fervour, feeling her heart being twisted by rampant fire. “They took EVERYTHING FROM ME! And then they threw me out. No medals. No handshake. Not even a salute. After everything I went through for them. Do you know how that feels?” She asks rhetorically, shooting glances at Entrapta’s car and robotic skeleton. “No, of course not.”

“I understand you’ve had a difficult time, Ad-”

“Do you? Do you really understand how difficult it's been? I killed for them, Entrapta. I left my childhood in some godforsaken sands halfway across the globe. I ordered people to kill and I’ve sent good people, joes and janes, friends to their deaths. FOR THEM!” Adora bellows, her hands shaking as she gesticulates wildly. “Because I somehow believed that there is something good in this world worth fighting for. A greater good, an ideal that we represent.” Taking a pause for breath, Adora continues quieter, sombre. “Turns out I was just a stupid little girl. A fool, serving a government that is as false and corrupt as the ones we toppled.”

“Your charged emotional reaction is understandable. I know what you, what we went through. I've read all the mission reports in detail. Several times. Including our last mission. I was there with you. But this doesn't explain why YOU are no longer in service while I and several others still are.” Entrapta reasons, trying to approach Adora with her usual methodical calm. “No offense.”

“Fine, you want the truth? I. DON'T. KNOW.” Adora snarls, anger spiralling from the pit of her stomach as she holds her arms out wide as if addressing an auditorium for answers. “I served thirteen years for them and I don't even know why they got rid of me,” she explains, her previous fiery attitude wilted to self pity. “I know it sounds like conspiracy lunacy, but the case against me was fabricated. I don't know who, but someone wanted me out after I started asking uncomfortable questions about our last mission. After I asked about the lack of reconnaissance, questioned the rejected air support, and how the insurgents fucking knew we were coming when the route was changed last minute.

They wanted me gone after I was no longer a subservient puppy following their commands without question. They court-martialed me under some bogus charges, blamed me for everything that went wrong that day, and then made a case that I've always been an irresponsible do-no-good and should have been dismissed long before ever becoming an officer. They stripped me of my rank, my pension, my benefits. Everything. I’ve nothing left.”

“Adora that’s…“ Entrapta begins with an uncharacteristically soft tone. “...that sounds terrible. I’m sorry.”

Adora expected to be mocked by her. To have some basic facts or statistics thrown in her face that would justify the decisions made against her. She did not expect whatever that just was, and with her expectations subverted, her anger filled tirade is stopped dead and replaced with nothing but shame as the reality of how she just talked to her only supporter sinks in.

“Wait... You believe me?” 

“Of course, why wouldn’t I?” Entrapta assures, raising an eyebrow immediately after. “Do you want me to not believe it?”

“No, I mean… You are the first person who actually does.” She clarifies, eyes wide with disbelief and heart pounding into her throat.

“Why would anyone not believe you? Your track record is immaculate. You are the model soldier,” she states analytically, then pulls out her PDA with one robotic arm while the other frantically taps around on the display. “The data doesn’t lie. If anyone's word is in doubt, it’s whoever has been accusing you.”

“Wow, uhm. Thank you Entrapta.” Adora says before tacking on a few more mumbled words. “Sorry for yelling at you. That... not knowing what its like business, I... I didn't really mean that.” 

“No harm done. It appears you’ve had a lot bottled up. Plenty of studies have shown that this is extremely unhealthy. I’m glad I could be of help for some of that psychological distress to be reduced.”

“Yeah, you’re not wrong about the unhealthy part.”

“You know, I was thinking - if you want, I could make some enquiries...,” Entrapta emphasizes the last word with air quotes before continuing. “...And see what's been going on behind the scenes.”

Dumbfounded about what ‘Trapta is getting at, she repeats the word and mimics her air quotes.

“Hacking, Adora,” she clarifies, eyes glazed over with dullness. “I mean hacking.”

“Woah Entrapta. No. You can’t.” Adora emphatically places her hands on Entrapta’s tiny shoulders, eyeing the robotic arms with a hint of worry. “That's going to get you into so much trouble. I can’t have that on my conscience, too.”

“That's why I called it enquiries,” Entrapta clarifies with renewed air quotes, a distinct sparkle in her eyes. “I thought you would understand that I gave it a hidden meaning. Did I do the air quotes wrong?”

“No, that's not the point.” Adora shakes her head, arms crossed. “You can’t hack around in the defense ministry.” 

“Yes, I can.”

“How?” Adora asks.

As Entrapta prepares her reply, the hint of a sly smile creeps across her face. “Because I work there.”

“Define ‘work there’” Adora scrutinizes, using air quotes of her own to lend emphasis.

Mimicking her gesture in return, Entrapta replies with almost casual indifference. “Work there as in: I’m in charge of cyber security.”

“When did that happen?” Adora blurts out, feeling a knot form in her belly. “I mean, wow, congrats,” she adds, forcing a smile as her eyes narrow. “It’s just… Last I remember, you were my trusty EOD and maintenance engineer, you know?” One of us small guys.” Adora chuckles halfheartedly, shooting glances while angling away from Entrapta. “Now you work in the pentagon for the big brass?” The dress-uniform-wearing-paper-warriors who always got us into trouble?” She concludes, paying a lot more attention to the expensive-looking car, the one of a kind robotic skeleton. The Datapad.

Adora can feel her heartbeat thumping in her chest, sending those familiar adrenaline surges through her veins. Maybe calling Entrapta was a mistake. Just how long has she worked for the Pentagon? It would definitely have been during the trial. Just how did Entrapta pay for this and if she didn’t, why did the DoD?

Adora mentally scolds herself. What the fuck ‘Dora, that’s a whole load of conspiracy bullshit. There is no way ‘Trapta is involved in any of this. You are fucking losing it.

“Well, not exactly.” Entrapta corrects, casually leaning back against the lantern post she parked next to. With total trust and zero flinching, she crosses her actual-arms while her robotic ones automatically prevent her from falling over, providing support. “I suppose it would look this way and if I’m not mistaken, you might come to conclude…” Entrapta breaks mid sentence to give Adora a bitter smile “... erroneously, if I might add in advance, that I have somehow been involved in all of this and ratted you out, testified against you or some other sort of betrayal.”

Adora can’t help but lower her head, looking like a wet, sad puppy for even assuming something like that about one of her most loyal and rational janes.

“Don’t feel bad about thinking that. Within your current mental framework, it is one of several logical conclusions, and I wouldn't expect you to consider and statistically analyse all of them.” Entrapta says, pointing at Adora before returning to her cross armed pose and tilting her head. “No offense.”

“None taken.”

“To extrapolate, after the battle, I was left incapacitated for frontline service, despite Darla. No offense to you, too, baby,” she apologizes, patting her femur support. Anchoring her attention back on Adora, she continues to illustrate her points with hand gestures -utilizing the freedom her robotic arms give her. “But since I, too, am a commissioned officer they couldn’t discharge me from service of course, that would violate ten U.S.C. paragraph 1161 and none of them want to fight that legal battle just to lose,” she explains with her fingers tapping away on the datapad, presenting the legal statute in question for Adora to read. “So they found me some boring desk job in the pentagon, that kind of job people get to gather dust and quit of their own volition or become catatonic corpses.”

“That's, uhm, great?” Adora risks, eyebrows raised. “I’m so happy for you?” 

“I hope not,” Entrapta laments, her eyes glazing over. “The desk job was very stifling. Paper and documents have their place in proper research of course, but what I was doing there wasn’t research.” She sighs before proceeding. “It was paper pushing. Boring forms, requisitions, and pointless data entry. I was about to lose my mind after five minutes.”

“Yeah, okay, that sounds rough.” Adora admits.

“That is an understatement.”

“It’s not where you ended up for long, though, right? How did you end up being in charge of cyber sec?”

“On a boring afternoon, still the first to be exact, I designed Emily.” Entrapta states ceremoniously with a knowing grin.

“Wait, who’s Emily?” Adora quizzes with pursed lips, her head tilted to the side. The wide grin on Entraptas face was proof that she expected this exact question.

“My super smart Artificial Intelligence algorithm that lives inside my computer network, of course.”

“Yeah, of course.” She says, rubbing the base of her neck. “Your… What?”

“Artificial Intelligence.” Entrapta repeats, expecting some form of reaction. When Adora just stares at her, she closes her slack mouth and continues, “Neural Network. Machine learning. Self improving algorithm. Come on Adora, I thought I had a positive influence on you over all these years.”

Adora shrugs, her hands remaining tightly stuffed in the warmth of her red jacket’s pockets. “You know me. I’m the brawn.”

Entrapta sighs before going into her slow mode talk. “I’ve written lines of code to make a computer do what I want. I allowed it to learn over time and created an AI. No offense, Lieutenant, but I think it would take too long to explain this in any more detail based on your level of tech competency.”

“Hey, I may not know all this advanced stuff, but I know my way around the basics, no need to be so condescending.” Adora sulks, her eyebrows crinkling.

“Baaaasics, Suuuuure,” Entrapta coos as her robotic arm pats Adoras’ hair poof. “Anyway, Emily could do my desk job for me from day one, so I went exploring instead.”

Spurred by Entrapta’s final words, Adora’s breath hitches. Now things are becoming interesting. “Where did you go?” 

“I think it may be easier to ask where I didn't go,” Entrapta teases, her wide, knowing grin making a return. “Within minutes, I circumvented the primitive firewall and exposed several key weaknesses in the DoD’s mainframe setup. Add a few minutes more and I was inside the most secure and encrypted files with a little help from Emily.” Entrapta beams, her hands reliving the insane speed at which she types code. “I downloaded files on a plethora of amazing science and defense projects. Adora, they are working on a space laser!” She grins almost maniacally, to the point where Adora begins to worry about the birth of a super villain. “A laser in SPACE,” Entrapta crescendos before returning to an entirely analytical tone. “Needless to say, my curiosity was piqued.”

“Yeah, I can see why.”

“Oh, wait until i tell you about the other proje-”

“No, no, no, STOP.” Adora talks over her, making sure to not hear a word. Within a split second she closed her eyes, turned her head away and lifted her arms like they could block the sounds from Entraptas mouth traveling into her ears. “Do not tell me anything.”

“But whyyyyyyy?” Entrapta wines in reply, her face crestfallen. “It’s the most exciting bit of my story!”

Adora comes up slowly from her warding posture, her heart still racing laps for a world record. “I really don’t think it's a good idea for me to know about classified projects.” Adora explains. “I’m in enough trouble as it is, I don’t need some men in black visiting me to make me and my knowledge disappear, thank you very much.”

“Well, that's a ridiculous fairy tale, but you have a point. Better for you to have plausible deniability.” 

“And for you to not lose your security clearance for being a blabbermouth.”

Entrapta is about to raise her index finger in dispute, but is left with her mouth agape and no words to object. “Mistakes may have been made.”

“I don’t wanna know.” Adora says, holding her hand up while distinctly looking away from her friend as if mere eye contact would make her complicit in whatever Entrapta has been up to. Trying not to continue down this route any further than they already went, Adora attempts to steer the conversation back on course and, as soon as common courtesy allows, back to the reason for being here in the first place. “You were explaining how you ended up as head of cyber-sec.”

“Oh, yes.” Entrapta agrees absently while paying intense attention to her datapad. “Bear with me, I just have to, uhm, quickly delete a few publications and forum entries I may or may not have made regarding some totally fictitious rail gun project that I got carried away about. Where was I? Ah yes. I was browsing through all these futuristic projects and a lot of them were placed on hold due to physical limitations, funding issues and so on. The usual bureaucracy.” After brushing the last word off with a flick of her hand as if it were a pesky bug, she continues. “I was bored, so I started to correct and complete some calculations and documents.” Entrapta explains, dreamy eyed. “Someone seems to have gotten wise that I was in the system and eventually the existing cyber sec team -if you can call it that much- paid me a visit.”

“That can’t have been a nice meeting.”

“Actually, they were quite civil about it. I made them look so bad and highlighted so many flaws that they asked me to help them fix all the loopholes. They called it a 'bug bounty'. I didn’t know it at the time, but they have an ongoing program that rewards ethical hackers for finding issues with their security.” Entrapta explains.

“That sounds pretty sensible.” Adora admits.

“Yes, so I cashed the seventy-five thousand dollars reward and was also put on the cyber sec team. After that, it didn't take long before they put me in charge of it all, obviously. I enjoy a lot of freedom with my work now, they even let me assist with the space laser and other science projects!”

Adora nearly stopped listening after the seventy-five grand. A sum of money that, in her current circumstances, is enough to make her legs weak and her heart skip a beat.

“That's... that's great,  Entrapta. I’m happy for you.” She says. And she means it, even if her teeth are clenched while saying so. It’s hard not to feel a hint of jealousy with such sums being thrown about while she has so little. “You really earned that reward and the position.”

“Thanks,” Entrapta smiles. “I don’t really need most of it. Do you need money? Is that why you wanted to meet?”

Adora would be a filthy liar if she’d say she isn’t tempted. “No, Entrapta, it's alright, it’s your money, you earned it. Did you get this cool car with some of it?” Adora tries to deflect, hoping her willpower is strong enough to last.

“Oh that? No, not really. I had to buy a couple parts, but I mostly designed and built this from scratch out of spare parts from the DoD’s research division.”

“That's pretty damn impressive.”

“Thanks, again. I think.” Entrapta says. “Can you explain to me why Emily is telling me that you are trying to divert the conversation from the money? That would indicate you’re uncomfortable talking about it because you are in dire need of it but don't want to ask.” 

How the fuck… Adora can feel her cheeks flush, prompting her to look away. Of course she would love a bit of cash, but it's not right. She’s not sunken that low to beg for her friends' well earned money.

“Is your AI a mind reader? If so, please stay out of my head.” She chuckles.

“There is really no reason to deny the offer, Adora. I don’t need that much money. And no, she just automatically interprets your behaviour.”

“It’s not my place to ask for it, Entrapta, even if I'd need it. I promise it’s not why I wanted to meet up.”

“Firstly, I believe you. Second, you are wrong, teeeeechnically you haven't asked for it. I offered, and teeeeechnically I also don’t need your permission to give you some of my money,” Entrapta says, smiling coyly all the way through.

“No, no, no. I can’t accept that Entrapta.” 

“Of course you can.” Entrapta affirms absently as she types away on her PDA. “I'm also not giving you a choice.”


“No more talking, Adora.” Entrapta cuts her off. “Emily says you'll be more inclined to accept if it's just a small amount, so I’ve deposited two thousand dollars into your account. She says it's enough to help you on your feet for now, but not so much that it makes me appear like I'm flexing.” Entrapta emphasizes the final word by slowing down her usual waterfall speech, before tagging on “Whatever that means. I'm also unblocking your card and reopening your bank account -You really need to stop using Wells Fargo though, their security is abysmal, and that's putting it mildly.”

“Entrapta, you… “Adora begins, struggling to keep the tears from welling up and a thick lump in her throat. “I don’t know what to say. I… I can’t take thi-”

“There is no need to say anything,” Entrapta cuts her off. “As far as my linguistic endeavours have shown, the appropriate thing to say would be a simple thank you. But I've also learned that pointing that out makes me apparently seem like I expect your gratitude. Just to clarify, I don't.” Entrapta pauses to look up from her datapad with one of her enthusiastic smiles plastered across her face. 

It seems like a perfect opportunity to get another word of protest out, but Entrapta just holds up her index finger. “You needed help. I was capable of giving it. Maybe see it as an initial severance payment for your service, if that makes you feel more comfortable.”

Adora knows her engineer well enough to understand when she has lost. She couldn’t overrule Entrapta about the extra skirting cages for Swiftwind or the modified mine plating, and she won’t be able to overrule her about this. And to be honest, deep down, she is fine with that. A little cash injection is definitely something she doesn’t want to turn down, but it feels wrong to accept it without resistance. It’s just another of those weird mind games normal people play, you are expected to refuse even though everybody knows you don't mean it and you end up accepting it, anyway. But if you don’t go through this game, it’s somehow rude and inappropriate? What a load of bullshit.

Maybe that's why she and Entrapta have always gotten along so well. It doesn’t take much to see how both of them are a bit different, a bit weird in their own ways, a bit more detached from typical people and their activities. And typical people have definitely gone out of their way to tell Adora about this. But she doesn’t care, and nor does Entrapta.

Noticing the lack of conversation, Adora startles out of her distracting thoughts to glance at her friend, who must have noticed her mind-excursion and waited politely.

Moments later, she resumes her busy work on the datapad, throwing a question at Adora offhandedly before facing her with a quizzical expression. “Does it make you more comfortable?”

“What?” Adora knits her brows.

“Thinking of it as the severance paycheck you never got?”

“Not really,” Adora admits, offering a friendly smile with it to assure Entrapta that it’s fine.

What follows is a slightly uncomfortable silence. But she appreciates Entrapta not pushing back. They both know that this has nothing to do with rationality, with logic. Adora is going to feel uncomfortable about it no matter what, but at least with the money Entrapta loaned her, she could grab a few more sessions with Dr. Mara. And it’s definitely a loan, regardless of what Entrapta says. Adora will pay her back as soon as she’s back on her feet.

“I’ll pay it back, Entrapta, promised.”

Entrapta nods in acknowledgement and after a few more moments in which both mutually and non-verbally agree that this back and forth is finally over, Entrapta’s curiosity breaks the silence, catching on to the specific location Adora has chosen for this catchup.

“Why did you want to meet here, Adora?” Entrapta asks, nodding in her direction, then pointing past her.

Adora turns and looks solemnly towards the decorated half height wall. “I wanted to pay them a visit for a while.”

“Have you not seen them since?”

Adora shakes her head, grimacing. “I’ve been meaning to but never could since…” Unable to bring herself to finish the sentence, she looks at Entrapta with all the sincerity she can muster. “I could really do with your help.”

“I have to admit, I don't know how much help my particular skill set is going to be.” Entrapta admits, wringing her hands together as she avoids Adora’s eyes. “People aren't really my strong suit.”

“You don’t have to do anything, ‘Trapta. Just being here as my backup is enough.” Adora assures her before shifting her body to indicate the space next to her with a nod as she shoves her hands into her pocket. “Do you mind if we just…”

“Sure.” Entrapta agrees, leaning forward as her exoskeleton’s extra arms fold away. “I think I’d like that.”