Adora rolled in and out of consciousness. She could only recall a few coherent moments. The first time she woke, she saw the dark hair and worried mismatched eyes of Catra waiting right beside the bed. Catra leaned towards her the moment she stirred.
“Hey, Adora,” she breathed, a combination of relief and concern written on her features.
“Hey,” she managed back.
“Do you need anything?”
“Merr slip,” she mumbled as the weight of her eyelids won out over the feeling of reassurance knowing that Catra was staying with her.
The next time Catra judiciously held a glass of water up to her mouth and insisted she take a few sips. The cool liquid made her realize how dry her throat had gotten.
“Thanks,” she offered meekly.
It was funny how such a derogatory name managed to fill her entire body with warmth when it was spoken by that voice.
The third time she was roused by the sound of raised voices nearby. She hadn’t been ready to open her eyes again, and her ears felt overly sensitive to the energetic conversation taking place overhead. Fortunately, it didn’t last too long; and she drifted back out after she was able to identify Catra returning to the usual seat beside her.
Watching over Adora this time went less peacefully for Catra. When she’d stayed over at the Alliance captain’s flat it was with the reassurance of a hospital discharge. Instead of affectionately studying the woman’s features for future reflection, now she was scrupulously checking for any outward signs of an emergency.
Was it safe for her to sleep with a renewed head injury? Could a person puncture a lung without realizing it? Were there external symptoms for internal bleeding?
Her attention shifted constantly between frantic internet searches and her earnest vigil over the unconscious blonde. Of course, random health forums and self-diagnosis sites always promoted the worst-case scenario. Obviously, you must be dying, was the overall theme. Eventually she shoved the phone onto her desk in frustration and decided to just follow her gut.
Two hours passed both quickly and excruciatingly slowly. The sound of voices entering through the front door caught her attention.
“Wildcat! You home?” came Scorpia’s call first.
Catra bit her lip. This was an awkward part she’d been hoping to avoid as long as possible. She didn’t see a way to feasibly get out of revealing her injured guest to her roommates. Exhaling in resignation, she opened her bedroom door to greet the two women.
“Hey guys,” she said in a hushed tone. “I’ll explain more later, but can we keep it down right now?”
“Catra, you’re here! You missed a great practice,” her taller friend bellowed, missing the request at first. “Oh, why are we being quiet?”
The team captain stepped aside to reveal the woman resting on her bed.
“Whoa!” Scorpia exclaimed in a failed whisper.
“Your interpersonal dealings seem to have escalated,” Entrapta peaked around Catra to study Adora’s unconscious form. “Did you engage in activities of sexual intimacy?”
“What? No!” Catra screeched. “She got hurt! I brought her here to rest. So if we could please keep it down?”
“Ohhh. I do observe abrasions to her forehead and cheek. I trust you’ve treated the wounds?”
“Yes, Entrapta. But she hit her head and needs to rest.”
“You must be close if she asked you to help at a time like this, Wildcat!”
“She didn’t ask me, Scorpia. I was driving by and happened to see her get into a fight against four assholes.”
“Wow, how bizarre.”
“Tch, tell me about it,” Catra muttered under her breath. “Anyways, we were nearby; and this seemed like the best option since the idiot wouldn’t agree to an ambulance.”
“Fascinating,” the purple-haired friend responded with a glint in her eyes. “I could try to assess the damage for scie- I mean, if that would help.”
The team captain considered the offer. Entrapta had a bad habit of getting too engrossed in analyzing data to care about the human components of some of her research. On the other hand, she might have the best hope of figuring out if Adora’d broken any bones that night. She shot the sleeping woman a furtive glance before deciding.
“Let her rest for now,” she stated firmly. “But yea, I think that might be a good idea.”
“Great! Text me details so I can read ahead on my computer!” Entrapta ran to her room, cackling with delight.
Scorpia had lingered. “Oh, Wildcat, speaking of computers. Before practice I popped in your room to see if you were already here. You know, because you didn’t come out to ride with us like normal. Obviously you weren’t there,” she chuckled at her own narrative. “But I noticed you’d forgotten to click ‘Send’ on your application. Don’t worry though! I made sure it sent before all your answers disappeared.”
Somehow, her best friend had started speaking an unrecognizable language. What the hell was she talking about – application? On Catra’s computer?
Wait. No, she couldn’t mean–
“You know, that director job or whatever,” Scorpia continued, obliviously. “Honestly, I’m so excited you’re looking into new jobs, Wildcat. The one you have now has been so shitty to you.” She lowered her voice surreptitiously, “And, I mean, the boss? Heh.”
Catra couldn’t believe what she was hearing right now. Scorpia actually sent her application to Bright Moon? Panic bubbled in her chest. It really happened. She couldn’t un-send it. How did Scorpia even see it? Hadn’t she folded the notebook shut? Why didn’t she just close the stupid window right after she filled it out? She was a fucking idiot for doing it to begin with. There was no way she’d actually want to work with that obnoxious pastel explosion.
Oh my fucking god. Would Sparkles know?
“What’s up, Catra? You seem tense. Are you worried about Adora?”
Adora. Lying in her bed a few feet away. She was consciously reminded to work on regaining control of her spiraling emotions. Taking a deep breath, she forced a tight-lipped smile to address her well-intentioned roommate.
“Scorpia,” she began again, with an even tone this time. “I appreciate that you wanted to help me, but I wasn’t going to submit that application. Next time, please ask before doing things on my computer.”
The words took a moment to process for the taller woman. As their meaning clicked into place, her expression shifted. “Oh…oh. I see. Uh, sorry about that, Wildcat. I didn’t think–”
“I know,” Catra interrupted before the tidal wave of apologies could get momentum. “It’s okay. It’s just an application. Let’s just remember for next time, okay?”
Her friend deflated, a mixture of disappointment and relief. “Alright. I really am sorry.”
“I know, buddy.” Catra reached out to pat her shoulder. “But right now I need to get back to helping this idiot.” She pointed over her shoulder to Adora. “We’ll catch up more later, okay?”
Scorpia’s watering eyes met hers before she rushed forward to imprison her in another of her spine-crushing hugs. Fortunately, this was a shorter one. Almost as quickly as it happened, the woman flew down the hall to her own bedroom, leaving Catra dazed and disheveled in her doorway. She chuckled quietly to herself before walking back to the desk chair she’d pulled over to Adora’s bedside.
Mistaken job applications could wait for now. A princess still needed her.
A new email appeared in her work inbox as Glimmer wrapped up some business from home that evening. Bow had just gotten back from the Historian and was in the process of cooking them dinner. Acknowledging that their time together was limited and precious, she planned to set the computer aside after a few more simple tasks. Bow didn’t usually ask for help with meal prep; which was good considering how terrible her cooking skills were. But she liked to keep him company and chat about their days. Her boyfriend was the world’s greatest listener, and she did her best to return the favor when she could. They could definitely relate when it came to matters of business management and roller derby. She really appreciated having a partner who understood her daily life but beyond that also knew her so well as a person. They’d definitely been part of each other’s lives forever at this point, but Bow was especially intuitive about feelings and other people.
Reveries about the fabulous man in their kitchen aside, she turned back to the unread email. It was a notification about a new applicant for the PR director vacancy. Thank the universe, she thought desperately. They really needed to get somebody capable into that position. Maybe that would finally turn their luck around with expanding their community aid projects. She opened the message hopefully. As the applicant’s answers populated, she gasped in surprise.
“Oh my god, Bow!”
He raced into the room with a spatula in hand, shirt sleeves rolled up and a white apron tied around his waist.
“What happened?” he exclaimed worriedly.
She looked up from the computer screen to meet his eyes. “I just got a job application.”
Her boyfriend transitioned from panicked to perplexed, bordering on annoyance at having been scared like that. “Glimmer, isn’t that a good thing? You are trying to hire somebody right now.”
“From Catra,” she said in disbelief.
Recognition washed over Bow. “Wait. Catra Catra? From the Horde?”
“Yes, Bow. It’s listed in her current employer info. I can’t believe it. Do you think this is some kind of trick? A new angle to mess with us?”
Dinner momentarily forgotten, Bow sat beside her on the lilac couch.
“It is pretty unbelievable,” he started in that tone that signaled he was reasoning through the situation. “But I’m not sure how filling out a job application would help the Horde. If you interviewed her and she didn’t seem good for the job, you wouldn’t hire her. And that’s time taken from her to do Horde things. If you did hire her, the hours would definitely conflict with her current work schedule. She couldn’t possibly do both at the same time. That means she’d have to leave them. Glimmer, do you think Catra wants to leave the Horde?”
“Why would she do that, Bow? She’s been absolutely killing us for months now. I bet they fucking love her over there, ugh,” she threw her hands over her face in frustration.
Bow draped an arm over her shoulders and pulled her into his side.
“Maybe she doesn’t actually like working for them,” he reasoned. “Plus she and Adora kinda have a something going on.”
“Which I am not sure I trust. Adora’s got enough to worry about without somebody like that messing with her feelings. She just got back from medical leave, and she’s always stressing too much about work.”
“Those are all reasons that having somebody else around could be good for her, babe. And that’s up to Adora, not us.”
She let out an exaggerated groan, which elicited ticklish pokes to her side from her boyfriend.
“Fine. I know you’re right, jerk.”
“Anyways, does it seem like she’s qualified for your opening?”
Glimmer sat up to shift the laptop screen towards both of them. “Actually, she sounds perfect for it.”
“Wow. Well, wouldn’t it be fair to give her an interview at least? Maybe that’ll answer some of your questions about her motives too. We really don’t know her as a person, but maybe we could put a little trust in the fact that Adora seems to like her?”
“I guess you’re right,” she admitted with a sigh.
She then playfully returned his earlier barrage of jabs to the ribs. “Why do you always have to be so reasonable?” she gritted out between giggles.
“Ah! Glimmer! You know I can’t–” he wheezed between fits of laughter until she relented. “And you know you love my cool intellect in the face of difficulties.”
She rolled her eyes but leaned against him once again, her head resting comfortably against his shoulder. “Yea. I do.”