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she-ra vs he-man

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Sweatpants are the universe’s greatest gift.

That’s basically a fact of life, Adora knows. Comfy pants that she can change into the moment she gets home from school. Which she does, every single day at 5pm on the dot, when she gets home from track practice.

And then she proceeds to stay in her bedroom until she hears the loud music from the garage stop. She gives it ten minutes. That’s when she knows it’s safe to come out.

Still, she’s light on her feet as she makes her way towards the kitchen. Just to be extra careful. She opens up the fridge slowly too and grabs the pack of strawberries and blueberries. And on a last minute thought, the leftover grapes. She would’ve made herself this little fruit salad as soon as she got home from school, but there’s always the chance of a certain someone leaving band practice for a snack and seeing Adora in sweatpants and an old t-shirt that has like, four different food stains on it.

Adora doesn’t want that to happen. So it’s best to wait until the music stops and everyone goes home before she ventures out of her room.

Adora is cutting up the strawberries and dropping them into her bowl when she hears someone come into the kitchen and open the fridge. She assumes that it’s her mother, coming to start dinner, so she doesn’t look around.

But then it happens. The fridge door closes, there’s that specific sound of a soda can being opened, and then she hears that beautiful, husky voice.

“Hey, Adora.”

Adora drops the strawberry she was just about to cut, and it flops onto the floor and rolls away from her. She puts the knife down, because she definitely doesn’t want to be handling sharp objects right now. This situation is already mortifying enough. Slowly, she turns around to face the intruder.

Naturally, Catra looks as perfect as always. She’s there in ripped black jeans that are way too tight for words and an oversized t-shirt advertising a band that Adora has never heard of. Her hair is perfect in that messy, wild way; the recent pixie cut only serves to make her look like some teen heartthrob, and there’s a tiny smirk toying at the corner of her mouth, like she knows exactly what she’s doing to Adora. She probably does. Adora isn’t exactly a master of subtlety, and Catra is always weirdly flirtatious with her. Maybe it’s just the way she is; she’s beautiful and smart and incredibly talented and she probably knows that anyone in their right mind would be attracted to her.

But she’s also Adora’s brother Adam’s best friend and lead guitarist in his band, Masters of the Universe. Which means she’s a hundred percent off limits.

“Uh, hi,” Adora somehow gets out, and then she ducks down to grab the strawberry she’d dropped and tosses it in the garbage. She misses the first time – it bounces off the rim of the can, and she swears she hears Catra let out a quiet, amused chuckle.

Adora is painfully aware of her old gross t-shirt and sweatpants as she stands up and looks over at Catra again. “How… how was band practice?”

“Same old,” Catra shrugs, those gorgeous eyes of hers raking over Adora’s body. Probably thinking wow, what a disgusting outfit. “Nice shirt.”

It’s probably a derogatory comment, and Adora wonders if she should deny that it’s even hers, even though she’s wearing it right in front of the most beautiful girl in the universe. But then Adam walks into the kitchen and flashes Catra a smile. A smile that communicates perfectly well to Adora exactly how her brother feels about Catra.

He’s never said anything to her, but she knows that he’s practically in love with her.

She can’t really blame him. After all, who wouldn’t be?

“Hey,” Adam says, and then he notices Adora and says, “I thought you were at track practice.”

“Finished an hour ago,” Adora tries to keep her voice level, incredibly aware of the beautiful girl looking right at her. “Is your band practice still going? Doesn’t sound like there’s much practicing going on.”

“Oh, no, we finished a little while ago,” Adam says as he opens the fridge himself and gets a can of soda out, “Catra’s just staying for dinner.”

Oh, great, Adora thinks to herself, because the last thing she wants is for Catra to see exactly how messy of an eater she is. There’s a reason that the t-shirt she’s wearing has four different food stains on it. Usually, he gives her some kind of warning that Catra is coming over for dinner, and Adora makes herself scarce for the evening.

“He said your mom was making homemade pizza and he hyped it up,” Catra shrugs, “had to taste it for myself.”

“It’ll be ready around six,” Adam says, and he nods towards the big bowl covered with a towel on the counter, “the dough is obviously still rising. I would’ve made it if I hadn’t been at school all day. I like to help out like that, and I hate that people think only women should be in the kitchen.”

Adora almost laughs. There’s no way her brother would get off his ass long enough to help Marlena in the kitchen. She knows he’s just talking himself up to impress Catra, and she doesn’t blame him. Catra is the most beautiful girl she’s ever seen.

Adora knows she’s off limits. Not just because of her brother and his obvious feelings. But because she doubts that Catra is anything other than straight. She knows it’s not a definitive indicator, but Adora and her friends run the school’s LGBT society, and Catra has never shown up at a single meeting. Pretty much every queer kid in their school had at one time or another, and even a few questioning ones.

She knows it’s not proof, but… it counts as solid evidence that nothing could ever happen. After all, why wouldn’t someone queer want to connect with the rest of their community? Or at least, that’s what she’s trying to tell herself to kill off any hopes.

She turns back to her fruit salad as Adam rambles on about patriarchy and how bad it is like he’s reading from a Tumblr masterpost, and she would laugh, but she’s just as bad at flirting with girls. She thinks it’s something in their genes.

She makes her fruit salad and then escapes back to her bedroom. Watching that awkward nightmare is the last thing she needs.

Maybe she should ask Glimmer if she can go over there for dinner tonight. Adora loves her mom’s pizza, but she doesn’t know if she can make it through dinner. Not with Catra there, looking at her with her beautiful eyes, or turned to the side so Adora can stare at her perfectly chiselled jawline and wonder exactly what it would be like to kiss it.

But Marlena would question why she wants to go out when she’s making one of Adora’s favourites, and she wouldn’t do it subtly either. Adora is pretty sure that she gets her own lack of subtlety from her mother.

No, she’ll just have to make it through this.

She eats her fruit and then looks herself over in the mirror. She’s reminded of just how bad the t-shirt is when she identifies a fifth old stain at the bottom, and she sighs. She can’t believe she let Catra see her like this. She should’ve crept out of her bedroom window and checked the driveway for Catra’s car. Sometimes she does stay for dinner, but usually only on a weekend, where Adora probably has plans already anyway. Today is Wednesday, so Adora hadn’t expected her to be here.

Whatever. She’s already let her see the embarrassing post-track practice look. Might as well own it and stay comfortable.

(Also, she doesn’t want to ruin a good shirt with pizza sauce, so.)

That doesn’t mean that she isn’t going to hide in her bedroom until her mom calls for dinner. Because she most definitely is.

She grabs her laptop and loads up Netflix, pausing when she hears voices passing by her bedroom door. They’re muffled, because the door is closed, but she’d know Catra’s voice anywhere.

“So, I was thinking, we should switch up the chord progression for the bridge in Shot in the Dark,” Catra is saying. Adora feels a strange relief that they’re just talking about music and not confessing their undying feelings for one another. “Instead of C-A-D, I prefer the sound of C-G-D.”

“Yeah,” Adam says in reply, and their voices fade as her brother’s bedroom door opens. He’s not allowed to shut it when he has a girl over – a stupid heteronormative rule in Adora’s opinion, but she’s grateful for it when it’s being applied to Catra. “Sounds good.”

Adora never doubted for a second that he’d agree with her. Another reason why she knows he likes her. He agrees with everything she says. Laughs at all of her jokes – well, they’re more like sarcastic comments – and the way he looks at her…

As much as Adora likes Catra, she could never go behind her brother’s back and try something. She could never, ever betray him like that. As much as she loves to make fun of him and get on his nerves, she’d never do anything to actually hurt him.

That’s why it’s so hard, to like this girl so much and not let a single whisper out. Because if she tells someone, that makes it real. Even if it’s just admitting that she likes Catra to Bow and Glimmer. Even that feels like she’s stabbing her brother in the back.

The only thing Adora can do is just… hope the feelings go away. It’s not like anything could ever happen, anyway.

Or at least, that’s what she tries to tell herself. She tries to carve it into the back of her mind, but it’s so hard when her mom calls them for dinner and Catra sits in the space right next to Adora. Maybe it’s just the first chair she saw – it probably is – but part of Adora can’t help but hope. Even though she knows it’s so, so wrong.

Adora gets doubts the moment Adam sits down opposite Catra. Isn’t that the more romantic way to sit? Adora doesn’t know. She’s unfortunately never had a girlfriend. The only time she’s ever dated anybody, she was twelve, and only said yes because Sea Hawk asked her, and she didn’t know she was allowed to say no.

Suffice it to say, she figured out she was a lesbian quite quickly after that mess of a relationship.

But maybe it is more romantic to sit across from someone. Adora doesn’t need any help figuring out how her brother feels, but Catra is hard to pin down. She’s one of those people that flirts with everyone, just because she knows she can get away with it. She’s always smirking, like she knows exactly what someone is thinking, and that makes it impossible to know what’s going on in her head.

Mostly, she tries to ignore her presence entirely over dinner. Adora would be happy for Adam if he asked Catra out and she said yes. She would. There totally wouldn’t be an angry green monster at the pit of her stomach. She’d be happy for him.

Catra is chatting idly with Randor and Marlena about school. Adora knows that they both like Catra. In their words, “she’s academic. She isn’t putting all of her eggs into one silly musical basket.”

That’s directed at Adam’s belief that school doesn’t matter, because his band is going to hit the musical big leagues any day now. Meanwhile, Catra is a straight A student, on the honour roll, and in AP classes. Adora is pretty sure she’s on track to be valedictorian. It does nothing to ease her feelings, because smart girls are so attractive.

“Hey, Adora,” Catra’s voice pulls her back to reality, and Adora realises exactly what she’s been thinking about. There’s a flash in those heterochromatic eyes that makes Adora think she knows. “Pass me a slice of the pepperoni, would you?”

Before Adora can respond, Adam basically launches himself over the table to grab a slice and put it on Catra’s plate. He smiles sheepishly and says, “there was a bigger piece closer to me.”

Adora takes in every detail of Catra’s face as she looks over at Adam and says, “thanks.”

No blushing. Nothing to betray that she likes him as anything more than a friend.

But that doesn’t matter, because it doesn’t mean she’d like Adora. It just means that she maybe doesn’t like Adam. She feels so guilty that she’s happy about it.

Adora tries not to think about any of it as she finishes her last slice of pizza and excuses herself from the table. She’s tired enough without worrying about a girl.

Stupidly, though, she forgets her drink, and when she awkwardly comes back into the kitchen, it’s just her dad eating. It’s a relief, but she wonders where Catra has gone. “Everyone else finish?”

“Yeah, because you’re all rude and don’t wait,” Randor replies as he grabs another slice of pizza and drops it onto his plate, “no manners, any of you.”

She knows he’s only joking, and she rolls her eyes in reply and grabs her drink from the table. She pauses on her way back to her bedroom, because she hears Marlena’s voice coming out of Adam’s room. Adora realises that Catra must’ve gone home, because even though her mother lacks subtlety, she wouldn’t ask what she’s asking in front of Catra.

“Did you ask her?”

Mom,” Adam says, “I’m not talking to you about this. I can’t believe you tricked me into telling you in the first place.”

“Come on,” Marlena replies, “you kids never tell me anything these days. Adora never talks about girls, give your poor mother something.”

There’s a long pause, and Adora imagines that Adam is considering it. Eventually, he sighs and says, “No. I didn’t ask her.”

“Why not?” Marlena asks. “Catra is your friend. I’m sure even if she doesn’t want to go out with you, it wouldn’t make things weird. But I think she does. She’s always over here, even on nights you don’t have band practice.”

Adora steps back and leans against her bedroom door. That’s true, actually. She hadn’t thought about that. Catra is always over at their place, whether it’s band rehearsal or not. Most of the time, she’s hanging out in Adam’s room with him, playing whatever violent video game is popular that week.

Maybe Marlena is right. Maybe it does mean that Catra likes Adam. If you like someone, you always want to be around them, right?

“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean she likes me,” Adam says, and Adora feels so guilty when she hopes it’s true, “it could just mean she likes me as a friend.”

“I just think that you should go for it,” Marlena says, “you never know if you don’t try.”

Adora knows that her mother would never do anything to hurt her. Not knowingly, anyway. But hearing her encourage her brother to go for things with Catra stings right there in Adora’s chest. She ducks back into her bedroom and shuts the door behind her.

Adora knows that she doesn’t have a chance with Catra. She knows that Catra is entirely off limits, the one girl that she shouldn’t go for. She knows that if she pursued anything with Catra, she’d be betraying her twin brother in the worst way.

But she still wants to.

-

Adora shares one class with Catra at school.

And naturally, she sits nowhere near her.

Catra sits at the back, with her friend Scorpia. Adora sits in the middle of the classroom with Bow and Glimmer. She never chances a look back at Catra. No, no way. Not when Catra would already be looking towards the front of the classroom, and quite obviously see Adora turn around just to look at her. That wouldn’t be awkward at all, would it?

Note the sarcasm.

But Adora always feels Catra’s gaze on her. Even if it’s not, and she’s just looking towards the front of the room as their history teacher lectures. It’s probably just that, and Adora is probably just imagining things, but sometimes it’s like she thinks Catra is looking. Like there’s some psychic connection in her heterochromatic gaze.

(Yeah, she’s probably just imagining things.)

Adora knows she’s not imagining things when their teacher tells them to pair up for a mini debate, and a hand rests on her shoulder. She turns her head and sees golden-brown skin, long, thin fingers, calloused from years of guitar playing, and glossy black painted nails, and she knows it’s Catra.

“Hey, Adora,” Catra says in that silky, sultry voice, “want to be partners?”

Adora feels heat rising on her face as she nods. She exchanges a look with Glimmer as she grabs her notebook and turns to follow Catra to the back of the classroom. Glimmer flashes a knowing smirk, like she’s fully aware of exactly what’s going on in Adora’s mind. Adora scowls at the unhelpful reaction.

Adora sits down in Scorpia’s usual seat. She’s across the classroom, already in an incredibly friendly looking debate with Perfuma. Adora knows the both of them from LGBT society. “Don’t you usually work with Scorpia?”

“Yeah, but she’s into Perfuma and thinks that partnering with someone means they’ll confess their undying love for you,” Catra says in a bored tone, flipping open her notebook and barely casting a glance over her notes, “so I said I’d ask you if you wanted to partner up.”

Catra looks at her meaningfully, and Adora can’t hold the eye contact. She looks away, and she knows she’s blushing as she opens her own notebook and finds the list of pros and cons she’d made for the debate. “So, um, which side to you want to take?”

“Neither,” Catra says, and Adora looks up from her notebook in surprise. She’s smirking again, and it makes Adora so nervous. “I want to talk to you about something.”

“Oh,” Adora says, surprised. She clears her throat and tries to compose herself. No, more like prepare herself. Because she knows the question Catra is going to ask. Many pretty girls have asked her before. Is Adam single? Do you think he’d be interested in me? “Okay. What… what did you want to talk about?”

“Don’t you think it’s weird, that I’m over at your house all the time, and I know nothing about you?”

Okay, Adora thinks to herself, that’s not the question I was expecting. It takes her a few moments to compose herself and process the words. “Oh. Well. I guess that’s because you’re Adam’s friend, so you’re there for him.”

“Or it’s because you’re always hiding in your bedroom,” Catra says, and Adora blushes. She didn’t know that Catra had noticed. “You should come to band practice some time. It’d be cool to get some practice in front of people.”

“Oh, um,” Adora doesn’t know why the hell she’s asking, “well, I’m usually at track practice and you guys have already started by the time I get home. Wouldn’t want to just burst in and… ruin your musical flow or something.”

Ruin your musical flow? What the fuck does that even mean? Adora questions herself and has to fight the wince that wants to show on her face. You’re a fucking idiot.

Catra hums in reply. Those beautiful eyes of hers burn right into Adora’s soul. “Fair enough. Anyway… I’ll argue the cons. You take the pros.”

Adora blinks in surprise at the abrupt end to that conversation. She grabs her notebook and pulls it in front of her and shakes the weird conversation from her head. Clearly, Catra just wanted some kind of audience for band practice. That was all.

She’s almost forgotten about the conversation entirely when she gets to track practice. Not one hundred percent forgotten – in fact, her brain keeps coming back to the fact that Catra had asked to work with her in class, and talked to her first. But the general contents of the conversation don’t bother her. Like she’d assumed at the time; Catra probably just wanted practice in front of an audience. Even if that audience just consisted of her bandmate’s weird sister.

When she makes her way out onto the track field, she’s still thinking about Catra’s beautiful voice when she’d said, “Hey Adora. Want to be partners?”

Yes, Adora thinks to herself, in more ways than one.

There’s that little drop of guilt in her stomach when she joins the rest of her track team. Adora hates thinking about Catra, because she knows she’s betraying her brother. Adam likes Catra, and Catra is probably interested in him, too. Every single girl that ever talks to Adora tends to only be doing it because they want to know things about her ‘hot’ brother.

She gets it, honestly. She does. Adam is the typical dream guy. Blonde hair, blue eyes, perfect physique thanks to his position on the football team. He was prom king last year, and no doubt it’ll happen again this year. And he’s in a rock band. On top of everything already perfect about him, he’s actually a nice guy, too.

She understands why girls always ask her about him. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when it happens.

Adora sighs, and she sets off on a couple of laps as she waits for the coach to arrive. Might as well warm up. Since track isn’t exactly a super popular sport at her school, nobody really spectates practices, except friends or occasionally parents.

That’s why it takes Adora half of practice to glance over at the bleachers. When she does, she trips over her own feet and completely wipes out onto the ground, something she literally never, ever does.

“Adora, are you okay?” Perfuma rushes over and helps her up, and Adora mumbles a quiet yeah as she glances back over at the bleachers. Her knee stings quite badly, but she’s not bothered about that.

She’s bothered about how Catra is sat right there, front row, watching her practice. And watching her fall flat on her face like a fucking idiot.

Great.

“I think I need to go to the locker room,” Adora mutters, glancing down at her bleeding knee. She knows well enough that she needs to clean it unless she wants an infection. Also, she just wants to get away from the pretty girl who probably thinks she’s a complete idiot.

Quickly, she makes her way to the locker room, telling Frosta, the new freshman girl, that she’s fine and doesn’t need any help. She collapses on a bench by her locker with a sigh, and when she remembers that Catra had seen that, she lets out a frustrated groan and punches a nearby locker door shut.

“Damn, aggressive.”

Adora shoots up in surprise, and Catra is right there, leaning against a locker, smirking at her like she knows just how embarrassed Adora is.

God, of course she knows.

“Catra,” Adora says, and she looks back towards the locker room doors, “I don’t… I don’t normally fall over. I’m not the captain of the team for no reason, you know.”

She says it because she’s trying to play it off. Not drawing attention to the fact that she tripped over her own feet and that there’s blood dripping down her leg right now would make her look like she’s embarrassed. Which she is, but she doesn’t want Catra to know that. Owning it is marginally less awkward.

“I figured,” Catra says, amusement sparkling in her pretty eyes, “let’s get you cleaned up, dumbass. Don’t want your leg to fall off because you got an infection.”

“I- um, I have some wipes and band-aids in my locker,” Adora points up to it. It’s half open, because she never bothers to lock it. Nobody comes in during track practice.

Catra passes by her to open it up and grab the supplies. “So this has happened before.”

“I- um,” Adora blushes when Catra flashes that teasing grin and pulls a wipe out, “maybe once or twice.”

Catra laughs gently, and Adora’s stomach does a backflip. Or maybe it’s because Catra sits down on the bench next to her and starts wiping the gash on her knee. “Are you sure they didn’t give your uncoordinated ass the captain title to make you feel better about yourself? Like a Make-a-Wish kind of deal?”

“Uh, no, it’s because I have the fastest time on the team, actually,” Adora rolls her eyes, and when Catra laughs, her stomach does that jump again. Like she can’t believe she’s the one who just made Catra laugh. “Why did you come to watch, anyway? Nobody usually tends to bother, and I guess I never took you for a track enthusiast.”

“Track enthusiast?” Catra repeats, and Adora realises how lame that sounds. But then she just smiles. “You’re cute. I guess I just didn’t feel like going home.”

Adora takes a few moments to process that Catra just called her cute, and wonder what the hell that’s supposed to mean. “Don’t you have band practice tonight?”

“Nope,” Catra shakes her head, “your brother cancelled.”

Adora winces when the anti-bacterial stuff in the wipes stings her leg. “I wonder why he cancelled. He’ll pretty much take any excuse to have you over,” she realises what she’d said and quickly adds, “the band, I mean. Not specifically you. He just… really loves music, you know.”

Catra doesn’t say anything else on the topic. All it does is make Adora think maybe she does like Adam. And maybe Adora had just gone and messed up her brother’s chance.

She hates that she doesn’t feel bad about it.

“How long have you been interested in track?”

“Huh?” Adora frowns, and then realises what Catra had said. “Oh, uh, pretty much since I learned how to run. Do you like any sports?”

“I used to play soccer in middle school,” Catra says, and Adora finds her infinitely more attractive for it. Catra had moved to Etheria back in freshman year – Adora knows that because Adam had introduced her to the family and said she’d just moved. “I fucked up my ankle and can’t play anymore. But that’s when I found guitar, so… I guess it was a blessing in disguise.”

“Yeah,” Adora answers, because she doesn’t know what she’s supposed to say. She’s also a little confused as to why Catra is even telling her this, and she still doesn’t entirely understand why she came. Other than not wanting to go home. “How come you didn’t want to go home?”

Catra shrugs easily and discards the wipe she’s using and grabs one of the band-aids. “I get bored at home. Not much to do. I guess I’m just avoiding my homework.”

Adora laughs. “Yeah. I get that. I guess even the future valedictorian hates homework, huh?”

“Yeah, I guess so,” Catra rolls her eyes, and there’s a fond smile on her face when she meets Adora’s gaze. Carefully, she sticks the band-aid onto the scrape on Adora’s knee and smiles. “There you go. All patched up.”

“Thanks,” Adora says, her gaze never wavering from Catra’s. “So, um, do you want a ride home or anything? I should probably get home and rest my really serious injury.”

“No thanks,” Catra replies as she stands up, “I like to walk. But thanks for the offer, Adora. I’ll see you later.”

And just like she’d never even been there, Catra saunters out of the locker room, as graceful and perfect as ever.

-

“Ugh, I can’t get this stupid fucking song right!”

“Are you talking to me, or just yelling in a general sense?” Adora asks, pausing in front of her brother’s bedroom door. “Because if it’s just generally, maybe you need to see someone about your anger management issues.”

He rolls his eyes at her and launches a pair of dirty socks in her direction. She dodges them easily. “Shut up. This is important.”

“If it’s so important, then why did you cancel your band practice yesterday?” Adora asks, remembering what Catra had said. “Shouldn’t they be helping you out with it?”

“What? I didn’t cancel band practice. Catra did,” Adam says, and he shakes his head before Adora can question that. “Anyway, they can’t help with this song. I’m… okay, I know you’re going to tease me, but I don’t care. I’m writing a love song for Catra.”

Adora blinks at him. There’s this dropping sensation in her stomach, a little bit like she’s freefalling from a cliff. Or like someone just pushed her off a building. “Oh.”

“Yeah,” Adam breathes out, looking back at the paper in front of him. There are a lot of crossed out lines. “I just… I need it to be perfect. I know I haven’t said anything, but I really like her. And I think… I think maybe she could like me too.”

Adora swallows the lump in her throat. “Oh.”

“So I thought I’d write a song for her, since we both like music,” Adam continues, holding up the paper, “but nothing works.”

Adam looks up, like he’s expecting some girl-wisdom from his lesbian sister who literally forgets how to walk around the girl she likes. The same girl that he likes. Adora’s mouth works, trying to get something out. Some teasing comment or whatever.

Finally, all she manages is, “you like Catra…”

“Yeah,” Adam says, and he smiles to himself in that way everyone does when they think about their crush, “I like that she’s not all over me like other girls are, you know? She doesn’t pretend to be dumb to get a guy to like her, or anything like that. She’s… she’s cool. But then I think maybe because she doesn’t act like other girls do, she just sees me as a friend.”

“Well, I don’t…” Adora stammers, “I don’t really know her. So I couldn’t say.”

It’s the most she can get out without outright lying to him. Because truthfully, she doesn’t know how Catra feels. But she also doesn’t want Catra to date her brother. It sucks. Being the gay sister of the hottest guy in Etheria. The girls she’s interested in are always interested in Adam. It’ll be a miracle if Adora ever gets a girlfriend.

Is it so bad that she wants to see if she has a chance with this one girl?

“Yeah, I know,” Adam says. He looks down at the paper again doubtfully. “Maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I should figure out how she feels first. I had this whole plan to play the song at band practice and then tell her after that it’s about her. But then that means that Lonnie, Kyle and Rogelio will be there to watch, and what if she rejects me?”

“I don’t think you should do it,” Adora blurts out before she can stop herself. Does she feel guilty about it immediately after? Incredibly. But she’s made her bed. Now it’s time to sleep in it. “You’re right. It would suck if she didn’t feel the same. And… and public stuff like that – even if it’s just semi-public – kind of pressures the person into saying yes, even if they don’t want to. You don’t want to pressure her, right?”

“No…” Adam frowns down at the messy song on the paper. After a few moments, he sighs. “You’re right. I should just ask her out and be forward about it. The next school dance, I could ask her to go with me.”

That’s not what Adora meant in the slightest, but there’s nothing she can say to convince him that it’s a bad idea. And, frankly, she already feels bad about what she’d said before.

In her gut, Adora knows that she has no chance with Catra. The likely scenario is that Catra will say yes to Adam, and then she’ll have to watch her brother with the girl she likes. It’s something that’s happened what feels like a million times before, except this time, it really hurts. With Catra, it’s not just some normal crush. With Catra, Adora knows she has real feelings.

“Just do whatever you want,” Adora says, and the words come out a little more curtly than she intended, “she’ll probably say yes. After all, when has a girl ever rejected you?”

The bitter tone that she can’t help clearly comes off as a joke. Adam laughs, smirks a little bit, and nods in agreement. “Yeah. You have a point. I am pretty awesome.”

“Sure,” Adora lets the sarcasm out in full force then, and turns back to her room, “whatever.”

She hears his laugh and joking, “don’t be a hater!” but she can’t find it in her to laugh with him. Instead, she goes into her bedroom and shuts the door tight behind her, sinking against it with a heavy sigh and a sick feeling in her stomach.

Ten minutes later, she figures out that the next school dance is the Sadie Hawkins dance, which means that Adam definitely won’t be asking Catra to that one.

-

“Okay, and that’s the end to another great meeting!” Glimmer says, effectively dismissing the rest of the LGBT society. “See you all next week.”

There’s the general sound of chairs scraping, people rifling through bags for the lunches that they’ve only got fifteen minutes to eat. As everyone disperses from the classroom, Adora sighs with relief. Admittedly, she’d been less than chipper throughout the meeting. There’s this looming sense of dread at the pit of her stomach. She’s just waiting for the day that Adam comes home announcing that Catra is his girlfriend.

“Okay, what the fuck is up with you?” Glimmer questions, and Adora jumps in surprise. She and Bow are already standing, backpacks on their shoulders, waiting for her. “You completely zoned out.”

“Way to ask about your best friend’s problems gently, Glimmer,” Bow says, and he flashes his comforting smile. “Seriously, though, are you okay? You were quiet all through the meeting.”

Adora had never wanted to tell them about the Catra thing. Mostly because it makes the betrayal that she’s been committing in her head by looking at Catra in that way more real. If Bow and Glimmer know, then it’s out there.

But she thinks if she keeps it to herself any longer, she might explode. “Do you guys know Catra?”

“That short, angry girl who’s in your brother’s band?” Bow asks, and he grins at Glimmer and says, “I had to specify in your brother’s band, because otherwise I would’ve been talking about Glimmer.”

“Oh, shut the fuck up,” Glimmer shoves him lightly, “we’re trying to be here for Adora right now. And you’re not supposed to insult your girlfriend.”

“I’m not insulting. Only teasing.” Bow holds his hands up in defence and looks back over at Adora. “So, what about Catra?”

“I like her. I like her a lot,” Adora says. They look like they’re going to tell her that it’s great, and that she should go for it, so she quickly adds, “but so does Adam. He’s going to ask her out. She’s probably going to say yes, because if she was queer she’d have shown up here before, right?”

“Wait, so…” Glimmer frowns, “you’re just going to sit back and let Adam ask her out, even though you like her?”

“Well, yeah,” Adora says, “he’s my brother. I can’t stab him in the back like that. Not when I know how he feels about her.”

“But what about how you feel?” Glimmer asks, and Adora frowns. “Look, I know you think you’re doing the right thing, but it’s okay to be selfish every once in a while. You don’t have to sit back and watch something that hurts you just because you think it’s the right thing to do. You deserve to be happy.”

“And no offence to your brother or anything, Adora,” Bow says quickly, “but do you think he’d do the same thing for you if he knew how you felt?”

Adora sinks further down on her chair with a sigh. She knows that they have to take her side, because they’re her best friends, but she also knows that they have a point. This situation had sort of happened before. Not to the same intensity, Adora just thought Teela was cute, and she mentioned it in passing to Adam. Four days later, Adam had asked her out, and she had to watch her hanging off his arm for five months until they broke up.

Adora sighs. “No. He probably wouldn’t.”

“Exactly,” Glimmer says, “so I think you should just go for it.”

“She’s probably straight, though,” Adora protests, like she’s still trying to find a reason to hang back. “It’s not like she comes to LGBT society.”

“Not every queer kid in the school is going to be interested in coming here, Adora,” Bow points out, “Double Trouble never comes. Mermista comes to one meeting every three months. And we’ve got some straight allies that show up to every meeting.”

He has a point, and she knows he does. Sometimes, Adora hates how good with advice Bow and Glimmer can be. She sighs and nods her head in acceptance. “Okay. If she somehow is queer, I’ll go for it. But only if I know. Otherwise, it’s too much of a risk. I don’t want to hurt my brother’s feelings.”

Glimmer smirks, and Adora groans. She knows she’s going to go full detective mode. “I’ll find out for you.”

“What’re you going to do? Storm up to her and ask her sexuality like some kind of raving lunatic?” Adora asks. “I’m sure that’ll leave a great impression.”

“You know me,” Glimmer shrugs, “I can find out anything if I try hard enough. I’ll get you what you need, and then I want to see you asking her out.”

Adora doesn’t have much faith in that. She still thinks that the most likely scenario is that Catra will be straight, and say yes when Adam asks her out, leaving Adora heartbroken. But she does feel better after getting things off her chest.

And maybe she lets herself hope. Just a little bit.

-

Adora’s still trying not to think about it a week later. Glimmer is taking longer than her average time at snooping, because apparently the only social media that Catra has is Instagram, which is private, and she’d declined Glimmer’s follow request.

(Glimmer had muttered in offence when she realised, “honestly, why do you like someone so rude?”)

Adora doesn’t mention to her that when she requested to follow, Catra accepted within five minutes.

It’s not helping the crush at all. Almost like Catra knows what she was doing, she’s been posting new selfies every day. A few of them with the cutest little cat in the world perched on her shoulder, or in her lap, or curled up against her. Adora has to delete the Instagram app from her phone, because it’s becoming a serious problem, the way she scrolls through Catra’s feed and just… looks.

After one moment of weakness where she redownloads the Instagram app and spends ten minutes staring at Catra’s latest selfie – she makes sure to give it a like and comment a few fire emojis because she’s just complimenting a friend – she escapes the house to take Swift Wind for a walk.

(Yes, Adora was the one who chose that name. In her defence, she was eight and excited to get a puppy, so she named him after her favourite stuffed animal at the time.)

He pulls her down the street, which is the usual start to their walks, and they set off on their standard route. It’s more like Swift Wind is walking Adora, because she’s trying so hard not to think about Catra that all she can think about is Catra.

Which is like, the dumbest thing on the planet.

Why couldn’t Catra just make things easy for her? Why couldn’t she have the rainbow flag emoji in her bio like Adora does? Or alternatively, why couldn’t she just post about straight pride and take pictures with fish for whatever weird reason straight people do that for? Why does Catra have to be so goddamn hard to read?

She stops beside a patch of grass as Swift Wind pauses to sniff the base of a tree. She watches him with a little too much interest, but she’s basically just trying to invest herself in some other activity. Anything to occupy her brain.

“Hey, Adora.”

Adora starts, because she really hopes that this stupid crush hasn’t gone so far that she’s hallucinating about it. But when she looks over at the house she’s standing in front of, Catra is stood on the front porch, smirking right at her. She has a set of keys jingling in her hand, and she tucks them in the pocket of that stupid, sexy leather jacket she wears everywhere, the one with the curled snake on the back.

“Catra,” Adora blurts out, and then realises just how awkward and high-pitched that sounded. She clears her throat and takes a breath as Catra walks down the driveway of the house to meet her on the sidewalk. “Um, hi. You live here? Wait, obviously you live here, you just walked out of that house and you’ve got keys with you. Anyway, this is Swift Wind. And… and you know that, because you’ve met him at my house.”

Adora cringes at just how excruciatingly awkward that was. She wonders if she’ll ever learn when to shut the fuck up. Even if Catra isn’t straight, there’s no way she’d like some stupid, rambling idiot.

A smirk pulls at the corner of Catra’s mouth, and she reaches out and pets Swift Wind. He pauses and sniffs at her hand confusedly. “He can smell Melog. Sorry, buddy, but you’re not meeting him. He’d scratch your eye out.”

Adora frowns. “Melog? I’m… I’m guessing that’s your cat?”

“No, that’s my father,” Catra says, and when Adora awkwardly goes to backtrack and apologise, she laughs. That beautiful, gorgeous laugh of hers. “Oh my god. I was joking, dummy. Yes, Melog is my cat.”

“Right,” Adora mumbles, and she’s aware from the heat blossoming on her face that she’s probably as red as a tomato right now. She needs to get out of here. Adora stares down at Swift Wind and awkwardly gestures ahead of her. “So, um, I should be going. Swifty isn’t going to walk himself.”

“Mind if I walk with you?” Catra asks, and Adora splutters in surprise. “Adam called and asked me to hang out, so I’m headed there anyway.”

“Oh. Right. Well…” Adora pauses, trying to think of some excuse as to why Catra can’t walk with her. But the only thing she can think of is I’m going to Glimmer’s, and why the fuck would she be taking Swift Wind to Glimmer’s house with her? “Sure. You can walk with me.”

At the word walk, Swift Wind yanks forwards suddenly, and Adora stumbles. She’s ninety percent sure that she’s going to fall flat on her face in front of Catra again, but suddenly arms are around her and steadying her before she gets a face full of sidewalk.

“Careful,” Catra says, “I’m starting to think you have a thing for hanging out on the ground.”

Adora blushes embarrassedly and takes a few steps back. All she can think about is the way Catra’s hands felt against her. The palms of her hands were so soft compared to the rough callouses on the tips of her fingers. She can imagine what they’d be like to hold.

“I’m not normally clumsy,” Adora says, even though it’s a complete lie. When she’s not running, there’s a risk that she’s going to trip on something. “That… that was Swift Wind’s fault.”

“Sure,” Catra laughs, and says, “I totally believe you,” in a tone that implies the exact opposite.

She makes sure to glare at her dog as they start to walk, but Swift Wind just stares back up at her, panting happily. He looks way too pleased with himself.

After a few minutes of awkward silence – or maybe just awkward on Adora’s part, because Catra seems perfectly comfortable – she decides to talk. She literally can’t make this any worse. “So, um… how… how’s school?”

It’s a pathetic question, but Catra entertains it. “You’d know, you go there too.”

“I… well, yeah,” Adora says, and she laughs awkwardly even though there’s nothing funny happening. This is quite literally the opposite of funny. It’s mortifying. “Just, you know. You do all of that smart people stuff. AP classes and mathletes and model UN.”

“Ugh,” Catra scoffs, and Adora wonders if she’d done something to offend her. But when she glances to her right, there’s still that playful smile on Catra’s face. “Don’t say mathletes. It’s embarrassing.”

Adora thinks that it’s Catra saying that she’s physically capable of feeling embarrassment that makes her feel better. Or at least makes her relax just enough to laugh. “Yeah, how exactly have you managed to make people think you’re cool when you’re a mathlete?”

“Did you just like, not hear me ask you to delete that word from your vocabulary?” Catra rolls her eyes, but she shrugs and reveals her secret anyway. “But when you play guitar in a band, it’s really hard for people to think you’re not cool.”

“I should get you a little mathletes jacket like in Mean Girls,” Adora says, and her heart does this little skipping thing in her chest when Catra groans. Adora isn’t sure if the light blush underneath the freckles peppered on Catra’s cheeks is really there or not. “Then you can wear it every day and we’ll see how long you manage to look cool.”

“Yeah, no offence, but I’d burn it,” Catra retorts, “I don’t need people reminded of my extracurricular activities.”

“Why not?” Adora asks. “Aren’t you proud to be a nerd? You’re going to be valedictorian. That’s like, the queen of the nerds. Ooh, I could get that printed on the back of the jacket in really big letters.”

“Adora, oh my god, shut the fuck up,” Catra mutters, and Adora realises she’s definitely blushing. There’s no mistaking it. “I’m not the queen of the nerds.”

“You so are,” Adora laughs, “just because you pretend to be all punk rock, it doesn’t erase the fact that you do all of your homework on time.”

“Uh, okay,” Catra scoffs, “just because all of your brain cells got knocked out of your head when you wiped out on the track field, doesn’t mean you have to be jealous that I’ve still got all of mine.”

Catra lightly slaps Adora’s shoulder in mock irritation, and Adora laughs. “That’s all you’ve got? That was like, a mosquito bite.”

“Oh, I could totally kick your dumb jock ass if I wanted,” Catra says, and Adora rolls her eyes, because there’s no way. “What? I could.”

“You’re tiny,” Adora shrugs, “I’d have you on the ground in seconds.”

Please,” Catra snorts, “all I’d have to do is get you off balance, since you love hanging out on the floor anyway.”

“Wow, that’s low,” Adora laughs, and that’s when it hits her that she hasn’t been nervous for most of this conversation. It just feels natural, and the little butterflies in her tummy flutter hopefully. She thinks they give her the courage to make some kind of move. “So, um… since you’re like, queen of the nerds, and obviously the captain of the mathletes…”

“Oh my god,” Catra rolls her eyes, “I’m none of those things.”

“Math is actually like… my worst subject,” Adora says, even though there aren’t really any subjects she considers herself bad at. She’s not a straight A student, like Catra – mostly A’s and B’s – but this is the first thing she thought of, and she’s already started digging the hole. “If you have some free time, maybe you could help me out with some of the harder stuff? No pressure or anything…”

Catra pauses to consider it, right on Adora’s front lawn. Her perfect teeth drag across her equally perfect bottom lip as she thinks about it, but after a few moments, she nods. “Yeah. Okay. I’m pretty busy during the week, but we could do something next Saturday. Meet me at Bright Moon Diner and we can go over things with free refills.”

Adora nods, and she wonders why Catra had chosen a diner of all places to study. Probably the free refills, but it feels like it means something else. “Okay. Why there, exactly?”

Catra pauses again, like she needs to think carefully about her words. She opens her mouth to reply, but the front door swings open, and Adam leans against the frame, trying to look way cooler than he actually is.

“Hey!” He waves, like they hadn’t already seen him. “You’re here! Come on, I’ve already got GTA ready.”

Catra glances back at Adora with a weirdly sad smile. She dips her head in a slight nod, runs her hand through her short, messy hair, and starts to walk towards the door. “Later, Adora.”

“Yeah,” Adora murmurs as she pulls a happy, oblivious Swift Wind towards the door too. “Later.”

She lets Swift Wind off his leash and retires to her bedroom with a can of Coke and a weird feeling in her chest. It’s kind of like guilt, even though the only thing she’d done was ask Catra to help her out with math. That’s probably the least romantic thing ever.

She tries to shake it off and decides to watch some TV in the lounge. Her parents are out, so Adam’s bedroom door is closed as she leaves her room, and it does nothing to ease the weird tension in her throat. She sinks down on the couch and decides to find something easy to watch on Netflix. Maybe that’ll make her feel better.

She’s fifteen minutes into The Half of It when she hears voices in the kitchen. She identifies Catra’s, solely because of the flutter it causes in her chest. She and Adam are talking about something – some game they both want to play – and Adora expects that they’ll just go into his room again.

But then she hears, “I love this movie,” and the couch she’s sat on sinks down under added weight. She looks up in surprise, and Catra flashes a smile before turning back to the TV.

Adam frowns. “I thought we were going to play Resident Evil.”

“Nah, we should watch this,” Catra says, “it’s good.”

Reluctantly, Adam walks over to join them. Instead of sitting on the other couch, where there’s plenty of room, he squeezes himself in next to Catra, so that Catra is sat in the middle of the two of them. The hilarity of that seating arrangement is not lost on Adora.

At first, it’s just a little bit uncomfortable. Adora tries to focus on the movie as much as she can, but it’s hard when her brain is so concentrated on the two people next to her. Half an hour into the movie, she watches as Adam makes a move. He pretends to stretch, and then lays his arm on the back of the couch, so that it’s almost around Catra’s shoulders.

Not even two minutes later, Catra excuses herself to the bathroom, and Adam’s arm drops back to his side again. He glances over at Adora, and then says in a whisper, “move over to the other couch.”

“What?” Adora frowns, shaking her head. She’s not sure if she’s being stubborn just because she was here first, or because of the other thing. “No. You move.”

“Come on. Be a bro,” Adam clasps his hands together pleadingly, “I was going to make a move today, but I can’t find the right moment, so I think if I can just hold her hand while we watch your weird movie…”

“I’m not going to sit and watch you try it on with some girl,” Adora says, even though Catra is so much more than some girl, “you want to hit on her, go hit on her in your room.”

Adam opens his mouth to protest, but they both hear Catra’s light footsteps returning from the bathroom, and Adora turns back to the TV like nothing had happened. A few moments later, Catra sits back down, but this time, she’s definitely closer to Adora’s side of the couch.

It’s the most awkward movie-viewing of her life. Adora sits, uncomfortable, just waiting for Adam to make his move on Catra right in front of her. He’s clearly not bothered by her presence; after all, he’d only asked her to move to the other couch, not leave the room completely.

Even given the option, Adora doesn’t want to leave. She knows, deep in her gut, that if she left, Adam probably wouldn’t hesitate to lean over and kiss Catra. Selfishly, she doesn’t want that to happen.

“Look, I know you think you’re doing the right thing, but it’s okay to be selfish every once in a while.” Glimmer’s voice echoes in her head. “You don’t have to sit back and watch something that hurts you just because you think it’s the right thing to do. You deserve to be happy.”

Adora thinks she’s starting to believe it. After all, her brother can get any girl he wants. He doesn’t have to sit and wonder whether they’re only enduring his company to get at his sibling, like Adora does every time a girl talks to her. She’s allowed to try with this one girl, right?

She doesn’t know if it’s bravery or stupidity that makes her do it. She reaches to the back of the couch and grabs the blanket there, even though she isn’t cold at all. She spreads it out, and with her heart in her throat, she looks over at Catra.

Heterochromatic eyes are already watching her. She wonders how long they’ve been there.

“Want some blanket?” Adora asks, holding out the end of it. Catra nods, and Adora spreads the blanket out across the two of them. Adam continues watching the movie disinterestedly.

That’s merely phase one of Adora’s plan. She waits five minutes, and then underneath the blanket, moves her hand over to the left, where Catra is. When her hand brushes against Catra’s thigh, she startles. Adora almost pulls it back and apologises, despite how awkward and uncomfortable it’s going to be.

Adam leans forward, reaching out to put his hand on Catra’s shoulder. “Are you okay?”

Subtly, Catra shifts so she shrugs him off. “Yeah. I’m good. Just started falling asleep.”

A lie, Adora notes, and she wonders if it’s a good sign. Catra hasn’t shoved her hand away. It’s still there, half rested on the tiny gap of couch between them, half against Catra’s thigh. She turns back to look at the TV and waits, wondering if Catra thought it was an accident.

But why would she lie about it if she did? Adora thinks, and sure enough, her bravery is rewarded.

First, Catra shifts and tucks her right arm under the blanket. It’s a subtle movement, and the only reason Adora notices it is because she’s watching her so closely. Then, her hand rests on her right thigh underneath the blanket. It stays there for a few minutes, like Catra is seriously considering whether or not she’s going to take the leap.

Or maybe she’s just cold, and Adora is reading the entire thing wrong.

But then, Catra’s hand moves. Slowly, to the side, to rest on top of Adora’s. Her face doesn’t betray anything; she keeps watching the movie like nothing is happening. Adora realises that it’s her move now.

She makes it. Slowly, she turns her hand palm-up and lets her fingers slide between Catra’s. Instead of pulling away, or somehow everything before being an accident that Adora read wrong, Catra’s fingers tighten around Adora’s. She squeezes Adora’s hand once, and when Adora’s gaze flicks over to Catra, there’s this soft smile toying at the corners of her mouth. It’s so different to the usual knowing smirk that it makes Adora’s heart stutter.

They don’t let go until the movie ends and Adam jumps up with a loud, “thank god that’s over. Come on, Catra.”

“Actually, I have to get home,” Catra says, and slowly, her hand unfurls, her fingers slip through Adora’s, and all that’s left is the ghost of them. “I’ll see you guys at school.”

Catra flashes one last knowing smile Adora’s way as she gets up and heads towards the front door.

Adora can still feel Catra’s hand in hers when she’s curled up in bed that night, and for now, that’s enough.

-

“I’m sorry,” Glimmer says as she sits down next to Adora in history class on Monday. The same history class that she shares with Catra. Glimmer lowers her voice as Catra walks past, flashing that smirk in Adora’s direction. “I can’t find anything. I’ve looked everywhere, but she has no social media and doesn’t approve people’s follow requests because she’s mean. I could ask around, but word might get back to her.”

“I don’t think she’s straight,” Adora admits. She’d been thinking about it all weekend, and that’s the only explanation she can think of. Why else would Catra have held her hand? Who just holds hands with their best friend’s openly gay sister for the fun of it?

Glimmer raises her eyebrows in surprise at this new development. Then her jaw drops, and she obviously has the realisation. “Something happened.”

“She was at my house at the weekend,” Adora says, and Glimmer waits, clearly excited, “I was watching a movie, and she came in and watched it with me. Adam was there too. Catra and I held hands for like, the entire thing.”

“Oh,” Glimmer’s excitement wanes, and she deflates in her seat. “That’s it? I thought you were going to tell me you kissed her.”

“Well, I asked her if she’d tutor me in math…” Adora says, and the more she talks, the more pathetic she realises it is. Maybe she has been overreacting about the whole thing. “You don’t think it means anything.”

“No, I mean, it’s pretty gay to hold hands with a girl while you watch a movie,” Glimmer says, “it’s just some straight girls, when they’re close, those lines are kind of blurry.”

“Catra and I aren’t close,” Adora defends herself, because she doesn’t think they are. She’s known her for three years, but she’s Adam’s friend. Not Adora’s. “Ugh, I don’t know. I thought there’d be a chance, but…”

Adora trails off when the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. She can feel someone looking at her. Usually, she’d just ignore it; she always gets those feelings in this class, and it’s because of Catra. Rationally, she knows that Catra isn’t looking at her. She’s looking to the front of the room, at the teacher. But their teacher isn’t here yet, and class hasn’t started.

Her bravery had paid off at the weekend, and Adora hopes it’ll pay off again. She turns to look, and sure enough, Catra is watching her. Blue eyes lock with heterochromatic ones, and then Catra smiles that smile again. The soft one, the antithesis to her usual smirk. Adora can’t help but smile back just as gently.

“Okay,” Glimmer says, and Adora had almost forgotten she was there, “I take it back. There’s something going on there.”

“Yeah,” Adora murmurs in agreement, and then her stomach drops with the familiar guilty weight. She sighs, runs her hand through her hair, and turns away from Catra. “I think I need to talk to Adam.”

“Yeah,” Glimmer nods, “you probably do.”

-

Adora fully intends to talk to her brother about everything. Genuinely, she does.

But any time she knocks on his bedroom door, he launches into another explanation of how he’s going to make a move on Catra. Entirely unprompted, because obviously Adora doesn’t want to hear about that. He never lets her get a word in, and eventually, the week is over and it’s Saturday again.

Saturday. The day of her study session (date?) with Catra.

She could cancel. With how guilty she feels, she honestly considers it. But she knows that at some point today, Adam will text Catra and ask her to hang out. Which means that either way, Adora will see Catra today.

When she makes her way to Bright Moon Diner with her math textbook and notebook in her arms, she tells herself that it’s just a study session. Nothing at all brother-betraying is going to happen.

Catra is already waiting in a booth in the furthermost corner, by the old jukebox that probably doesn’t work anymore. She has her own school stuff with her, and all it does is confirm to Adora that it’s exactly what she thought. A perfectly innocent meeting where they study together.

Catra looks up and smiles softly, and it suddenly feels a lot less innocent.

“Hey, Adora,” she says as Adora slides into the opposite side of the booth and drops her textbook on the table, “want anything to drink?”

“Um, just coke, please,” Adora answers, and she tries to shake any nervous awkwardness away. She needs to look at this like a study session. Not a study date. “I brought money-”

Catra laughs as she slides out of the booth and heads towards the counter. “Don’t even try. I’ve got it.”

Okay. That makes it significantly harder to look at this as a study session rather than a study date. But maybe Catra is just being friendly. After all, Adora doesn’t even know if she’s queer.

Like, okay, maybe a lot of signs point to it. Like the huge one where Catra held her hand as they watched a movie together. But maybe Glimmer was right, maybe she’s just being friendly in her own weird, straight girl way.

Catra comes back with her coke and places it in front of her, before she sits back down on her side of the booth and flips open her textbook. “Okay, so… what’re we looking at? What are you less confident on?”

Adora’s mouth works like a fish out of water. She hadn’t thought about what parts of math they were going to study. There’s nothing she particularly struggles with, and she grapples desperately to find some kind of subsection while Catra watches her, perfect eyebrow quirked up in amusement.

Finally, Adora’s gaze lands on the triangle on the front of her textbook, and she blurts out, “trigonometry,” even though that’s probably one of her stronger areas.

Catra smirks, like she’s caught onto Adora’s ruse. “Okay. Trigonometry it is.”

Before Adora can say anything, Catra launches into a detailed overview of the subject. She barely even glances at her textbook, and Adora decides that she’s better than her actual math teacher. Granted, she might be a little bit biased, but Catra is incredibly knowledgeable.

Somewhere between her explanation of cosine and tangent, Adora’s mind drifts from math and onto how beautiful Catra is. It’s like she was crafted by the heavens above, maybe an angel descended from there. Everything about her is perfect, and always has been. Adora had thought that when she first met her. Both fourteen, but only Adora was still awkward and growing into herself. Back then, Catra had long hair, and it was still as untidy and wild, falling down her back in perfect waves. She cut it off over summer; it’s still messy, in that purposeful way, with gentle curls falling in just the right places. There’s one right above her eyes, part of her bangs, and Adora wishes she could just reach forward and brush it back.

“And you’re not listening to a single thing I’m saying, huh?”

Adora jumps when she registers the words. She sits up straight, pushing back against the diner booth, and she knows she’s blushing, some automatic response to embarrassment. “Uh, what? I was totally listening.”

Catra lets a breath of air out of her nose. It almost sounds like a laugh. She drops her pen on her notebook – there’s a diagram on there, an example question that Catra had clearly been completing to show Adora how it’s done.

“Right,” She smiles knowingly and leans forwards slightly on the table. After a few seconds pause, she meets Adora’s gaze. “Can I ask you something?”

It’s the one question Adora hates being asked by a pretty girl. The something usually references her brother, and subsequently hurts Adora’s feelings. But it’s Catra, and Adora can’t resist. “You can ask me anything.”

“Did you ask me to do this because you actually need help with math,” Catra starts, and even though it’s not the worst question, it still makes her nervous, “or was there some other reason?”

Adora could lie. She could pretend she really does suck at math and go home. Everything up to this point has been innocent. But admitting the truth? That really would betray Adam and his feelings.

“No offence to your brother or anything, Adora,” Bow’s voice is in her head this time, “but do you think he’d do the same thing for you if he knew how you felt?”

“No. He probably wouldn’t.” Adora had answered then. It’s that realisation that makes her answer Catra’s question with the truth.

“I didn’t need your help with math,” Adora admits, “honestly, I just wanted to spend time with you.”

Catra glances over her, smiling to herself. Her fingers drum against the table, and eventually, she lets out a quiet laugh. “The Sadie Hawkins dance is coming up.”

And does your brother have a date? Adora expects will be the final question, despite Catra’s reaction. “Yeah. It is.”

“I think the whole thing is sexist and heteronormative, which isn’t surprising because it’s a tradition from like, the 1950s,” Catra says, and all it does is confirm her suspicion that she’ll be asking if Adam has a date, “I don’t usually go to school dances anyway. The less time I have to spend in that hellscape, the better.”

Adora frowns. “So, uh, what are you asking me? Do you want to know if Adam has a date already, or something?”

Adora thinks it’s the first time she’s ever seen Catra surprised by anything. That smirk fades into a confused expression, and when the words sink in, she snorts with laughter. She clamps a hand over her mouth and stifles herself, but Adora can see her body shake with silent laughter, and she doesn’t get what’s so funny.

She has a hope, though. She just doesn’t want to believe it when it seems too good to be true.

“What?” Adora questions. “That’s what you wanted to know, right? It’s usually why girls ask me about this kind of thing.”

The question does nothing except make Catra laugh harder. Finally, between laughs, she manages to get out, “You think I like Adam?”

“Well, I…” Adora remembers what her mom had said that time, “you’re always at my house…”

“Oh my god,” Catra rolls her eyes, “you’re an idiot.”

“Um…” Adora frowns. Her chest feels hollow, and the only thing there is the constant thrum of her heart. It’s quickening hopefully, like her body has already picked up on the thing her brain is missing. “Why am I an idiot?”

Anyone watching the two of them would assume that Adora just told the funniest joke ever, because Catra cracks up again. She leans against the table, her body shaking with laughter, and Adora swears there are even silent tears of laughter in her beautiful eyes.

Catra finally manages to compose herself, though every time she glances at Adora, she laughs quietly again. “Adora. I’m over at your house all the time because I want to run into you.”

Something picks up in her chest again as Adora finally starts to catch on. “You are? But… but you’re Adam’s friend.”

“Yeah,” Catra says, rolling her eyes sky high again. There’s a fond smile on her face and she lets out another laugh. “I’m his friend. Strictly platonic. But I’m interested in you. Definitely not platonic.”

“Wait,” Adora’s brain takes a few minutes to process that information, “you like me? As in, you have a crush on me?”

“Adora, I held your hand during a movie last weekend,” Catra rolls her eyes like that answers the question, “I’m always trying to flirt with you even though it’s becoming obvious to me now that your dumbass never caught on. I talk to you every single time I see you, cancelled my band practice to go and watch your track team, and even patched up your gross, bleeding knee. Yes, I have a crush on you.”

“Oh,” Adora realises, and the fluttery feeling in her stomach happens again. Catra has a crush on her. Finally, this one time, a girl actually likes Adora. “So… so you’re gay?”

“No, I’m totally straight, because all straight people admit to someone of the same sex that they have a crush on them,” Catra deadpans, and gives her a look that reads quite plainly, are you an idiot? “Yes. I’m a lesbian.”

Oh,” Adora repeats, and because she can’t do anything without thinking about this first, she asks, “does Adam know?”

“I thought everyone knew,” Catra says, “it’s not like I’m subtle about it. I said I thought Lara Croft was hot when we were playing Tomb Raider after band practice on Thursday.”

“Yeah, I think he just thinks you’re some really cool straight girl or something,” Adora says, “because he likes you and he keeps talking about how he’s going to ask you out.”

Oh,” Catra’s amused expression drops to one of confusion and a little concern, “okay. A lot of stuff is starting to make sense now.”

“Guess I’m not the only oblivious one,” Adora attempts a joke, but it falls flat and she just sighs, “I felt so guilty coming here today. Knowing why I asked you. Because if it’s not clear, I really, really like you too.”

Slowly, Catra reaches across the table and takes Adora’s hand. It feels just as magical as it had last week. She smiles and there’s a flicker of the usual smirk there. “I had a feeling.”

“Okay,” Adora manages a laugh, “maybe you’re not oblivious.”

“Only to the feelings of men, which is the best way to be,” Catra jokes, and Adora meets her gaze with a smile. After a few moments, Catra squeezes her hand gently. “Hey. You never answered my question about the dance.”

“If I recall correctly,” Adora hums, “you never asked it.”

Catra frowns, thinking back, and clearly realises the same thing. With a small smile, and a whole lot of hope shining in her beautiful eyes, she finally asks. “Adora. Will you go to the stupid, lame, pointless, sexist school dance with me?”

“You make it sound like so much fun,” Adora replies, and Catra laughs softly at the sarcasm. She doesn’t know if she’s being a total idiot, but she hesitates. “I think I need to talk to Adam first. I don’t want to hurt him.”

“I get that,” Catra says, “and I guess it’s pretty obvious that I should talk to him too. Make it clear that there is never, ever going to be a chance of anything like that happening.”

“I feel bad for him. I have experience with the person I like actually liking my sibling instead,” Adora says, frowning down at the table, “like, a lot of experience.”

“No wonder you were so oblivious,” Catra rolls her eyes, but there’s that soft smile again, and it makes Adora’s heart skip a beat, “didn’t want to get your hopes up or anything?”

“That’s exactly it,” Adora sighs. She gives Catra’s hand one last squeeze before letting go. “Alright. I doubt we’re actually going to study, since I don’t really need to. Adam is at home, if you want to come with me and talk to him?”

“Yeah,” Catra says, and she grabs her textbook and notepad, “only if you promise to make some kind of gay joke so I can come out like that. Sitting people down and telling them seriously is so awkward.”

“Oh god, I know,” Adora laughs as she grabs her own things and then quickly takes Catra’s from her as she gets up. Might as well be chivalrous. “Have I ever told you how I came out to my parents?”

“No, but knowing you, it’ll be funny,” Catra flashes a smirk as they start to walk together. She waves to the woman behind the diner’s counter on their way out and holds the door for Adora. “Do tell.”

“I was thirteen. I guess I thought they’d think I was too young to know or something,” Adora rolls her eyes at the mere concept, “so I was like, how can I show them I’m a grown up? I don’t know how my idiot brain connected the dots and decided to bake them a cake, but that’s what I did. I guess ovens are something only grown-ups use? Anyway, I baked a whole cake, iced it with the words I’m gay, and then left it in the kitchen. Genius plan, am I right?”

Catra snorts with laughter. “You baked a gay cake?”

“That’s not even the best part,” Adora adds, “I didn’t sign it, or leave a note or anything that said it was from me. A few hours later, I hear Adam shouting I’m not gay across the hall, because I guess they thought it was from him and went to talk to him. So, I had to awkwardly tell them in person anyway. I probably should’ve written I’m a lesbian instead, but there wasn’t enough space.”

Catra laughs, and Adora swells with pride that she caused it. And not by being an oblivious idiot like earlier. “Oh my god, Adora.”

“At least it’s a funny story to tell, right?” Adora shrugs, and she’s not sure if she’s crossing a line when she asks, “so… how’d you tell your parents?”

“Mother,” Catra corrects, “I don’t know my dad. And I just told her. Not all of us bake cakes for major life events.”

“Yeah,” Adora hums, and she’s grateful that the diner isn’t too far away from her house, because these textbooks are heavy. “I guess that’s just a me thing.”

“Well, lucky for you,” Catra smiles as they step onto Adora’s front porch together. “I kind of like you things.”

Adora feels that hiccup inside again. Reality hits, and she can’t believe that this is it. Catra actually likes her. Catra had asked her out. Despite all of the signs that seemed so obvious before, she still can’t entirely believe it.

She knows she’s being rash, and knows it’s a bad idea, but she can’t stop herself from leaning in. She forgets about the heavy textbooks under her arm, forgets about how she has to talk to her brother first, forgets everything except Catra and how beautiful she is.

With her free hand, Adora reaches out and gently cups Catra’s jaw. Catra doesn’t stop her. In fact, she invites her closer, one hand curling around Adora’s waist, the other reaching out to take the textbooks from under her arm and put them aside. Adora pulls her closer, and she doesn’t know who leans in first. Or maybe they both do at the same time.

All she knows is that she’s kissing Catra, and it’s absolutely magical.

Her lips are just as soft as Adora imagined, and they fit against her own like they were always meant to be there. She doesn’t know how many people Catra has kissed, if she’s had a lot of practice to be this good at it or if she’s just one of those people who knows how to kiss instinctively. It’s probably a mixture of both; Catra is so perfect, it’s hard to imagine that she’d be inexperienced. She tastes like the strawberry milkshake she’d been drinking, and when Adora decides to be brave and deepen the kiss, the most beautiful sound echoes at the back of her throat.

“What the fuck is this?”

Adora jumps back, and Catra lets out a quiet squeak in surprise at the abrupt end to the moment they were sharing. Adam is stood there in the doorway, the betrayal etched clean on his face. Adora hadn’t even heard him open the front door.

“I kissed Adora,” Catra says, immediately taking the fall, and Adam’s gaze snaps over to her. There’s less betrayal there now, and more sadness. “I thought you knew I was a lesbian.”

“I’m not… no, I’m-” Adam pauses and takes a shaky breath, “I’m not upset because of that. I didn’t know, but it’s not… it’s just how you are.”

He steps backwards, the heartbreak plain on his face. Adora wonders if that’s what she looked like all the times he’d gotten the girl. He looks at Adora and sighs. “You knew how I felt.”

“I’m sorry,” Adora says instantly, “I should’ve talked to you and told you that I liked Catra too.”

“Yeah,” Adam mutters, but he looks between them and sighs, “you like each other?”

Adora nods. “Yes.”

Catra reaches out and takes Adora’s hand. “Yeah.”

Adam stares down at their hands for a few moments, before he looks away and blinks a little too quickly for it to be anything other than blinking back tears. “Okay. That’s how it is, then.”

He turns and disappears into the house before Adora can say anything else. She lets go of Catra’s hand and goes to follow him, but before Catra can too, she stops in the doorway.

“I think… I think maybe I should talk to him alone,” Adora says hesitantly, “if that’s okay.”

“No, of course,” Catra replies, and she digs her phone out of her pocket, “I’ll give you my number. You can call me after and let me know how he is…”

“Yeah,” Adora says, and she gets her phone out and lets Catra put her number in. As she slips the device back into her pocket, she flashes Catra a small, weak smile. “I’ll… I’ll see you.”

Catra steps forwards and pulls her in for a quick hug before she goes. “Bye, Adora.”

-

Adora paces outside of her brother’s bedroom door for fifteen minutes before finally knocking.

She doesn’t expect him to respond, but there’s a quiet, “come in,” so Adora takes a deep breath, twists the handle, and steps inside. Adam is sat on his bed, video game controller in hand. Grand Theft Auto V is on the screen, and he’s currently chasing down a few innocent pedestrians with a shotgun.

Adora sits down on the edge of his bed and sighs. “Okay. I should’ve told you how I felt about Catra. But you should know that I wasn’t going to pursue anything with her because I didn’t want to upset you. Even when she asked me out, I said that I needed to talk to you first.”

Adam pauses his game and looks up at her. He still looks upset, but she knows he won’t cry in front of her. “She asked you out?”

“Yeah,” Adora says, “to the school dance. And I said I needed to talk to you before I gave her an answer. If you’re not okay with it, I can say no.”

“Adora,” Adam breathes out something between a sigh and a laugh, “I’m not going to tell you that you can’t go with her. It’s fine. She said it herself, she’s a lesbian, so it’s not like anything could’ve happened between me and her, and I’ll get over it. But I’m not going to be the asshole that tells my sister and my best friend that they can’t be happy.”

“Oh,” Adora answers, and she reaches over and pulls him in for a hug before he can protest. Slowly, his arms wrap around her too, pulling her close, and Adora sighs into his shoulder. “You know I love you, right?”

“Yeah, I know. I love you too,” Adam tells her as he lets go. After a few moments, he flashes that lopsided smile, and she knows that he’s okay. “Go and call Catra. She’s not a very patient person, you know.”

Adora stands up, but she hovers by the door because she has to double check. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Of course I’m okay,” Adam says, “like fifteen different girls asked me to the Sadie Hawkins dance. I get to call one of them and tell them they’re the lucky winner.”

Adora rolls her eyes, but she’s glad he’s alright. “You’re gross, you know that?”

“Shut up,” Adam grabs a sock from his floor and throws it in her direction to shoo her out of his room, “go call your girlfriend.”

“She’s not my girlfriend,” Adora dodges the ammo easily and ducks out of his room, but not before peering around the door and flashing him one last teasing grin, “asshole.”

She goes back into her own bedroom with a light feeling in her chest, and she can’t remember the last time she felt like this. For as long as she can remember now, she’d been carrying so much guilt because of her feelings for Catra, but now… now she’s okay. It hadn’t even been the big thing she’d been hyping it up to be in her head. Adam is okay with it.

Adora pulls her phone out of her pocket as she sinks down onto the bed and goes straight to her contacts to call Catra.

She picks up on the first ring. “Hey, Adora. How did it go?”

“Were you just waiting by the phone or something?” Adora asks, and Catra lets out this hum that almost sounds like a yes. Adora can’t blame her; she would’ve been the same, waiting anxiously to see if the girl she likes is going to say no to her. “So… are we colour coordinating for the dance, or what?”

Catra lets out a quiet laugh and guesses from her question, “Adam’s okay?”

“Yeah,” Adora nods even though Catra can’t see her, “Adam is okay.”

“Good,” Catra answers, “because it really would’ve sucked if he wasn’t.”

Adora can’t stop the smile from creeping onto her face. “Yeah. It would’ve.”

“So, just to make things official,” Catra says, “will you go to the dance with me, Adora?”

Adora feels that beautiful spark of happiness in her chest, and she’s so grateful that there’s no longer some horrible guilty weight along with it.

“Yes, Catra,” Adora says, “I would love to go to the dance with you.”

-

Adora is just about to tear the red dress from her body and run back out to the store to see if she can find anything else when the doorbell rings and she knows it’s too late. It would’ve been too late anyway, but still. She could at least pretend like she’s going to this dance looking perfect.

She sighs at her own reflection and runs her hands down the front of the dress and hears her mother’s muffled voice. “Oh, Catra! You look…”

Adora knows she has to go out there, and she reminds herself that Catra has seen her in her shitty old food-stained t-shirt and sweatpants. That makes everything just a little bit better. She tears her gaze away from the mirror, grabs the stupid little clutch bag that Glimmer had insisted Adora take with her, and walks out of her bedroom.

Adam is just coming out of his room too – he’s going to pick his date up – and he looks her up and down in surprise. “Whoa. You actually look pretty for once.”

“Is that supposed to be a compliment?” Adora rolls her eyes at him. “Honestly, good luck to your date.”

He splutters in offence as she turns down the hallway and makes her way into the living room. She expected that Catra would be stood waiting by the door. Instead, she’s sat in the lounge, talking amicably to Marlena about school and her life. Adora would comment, but she’s too busy staring to do it.

Catra is wearing a suit. A suit that’s obviously been tailored to her every curve. It hugs her body in all of the right places, three buttons on the shirt are left unbuttoned with an obvious intention, and there’s a bowtie slung loosely around her neck. It isn’t tied, but if anything, that just makes her look hotter.

Catra looks up and meets her gaze, and there’s a flicker of a smirk on her face, like she knows exactly what Adora is thinking. “Hey, Adora. Are you ready to go?”

“Wait,” Marlena says, looking between them in surprise. Maybe Adora forgot to mention that she was going to the dance with Catra. “You two are going together?”

“We are,” Catra confirms for her, laughing quietly, “I’m surprised Adora didn’t bake a cake to let you know.”

“Oh my god, I did that one time,” Adora rolls her eyes, and surprisingly, the teasing makes her feel better. She’s not worried about how her dress looks, or her hair, or any of those stupid, trivial things she’d never worry about on a normal day. “Let it go.”

“I’m never going to let that go,” Catra says as she stands up. She offers out a hand to Adora, and Adora doesn’t hesitate to reach out and take it, slipping her fingers through Catra’s where they belong. “Anything you have to tell me in the future, I expect to get the news via cake.”

Adora shakes her head, but she can’t stop the soft, fond smile from creeping onto her face. She looks over at her mom and clears her throat. “Um, yeah. Catra and I are going now. Bye.”

“You’re not going anywhere,” Marlena says, standing up and already reaching for her phone, “until I get pictures of you and your date.”

As she and Catra pose for a few photographs, Adora looks at her mother meaningfully. She’s trying to thank her wordlessly for not making a big deal out of this or asking about Adam. Marlena knew how he felt.  

Marlena smiles back and Adora knows that she knows. “Okay, how about one in the classic prom pose. Catra, get behind her. Actually, no, Adora, you’re taller, you go behind Catra.”

Adam laughs on his way out of the door. “This is why I offered to pick my date up. You’ll get to the dance like five minutes before it ends.”

Thankfully, Bow and Glimmer show up to pick them up five minutes later, and after a few pictures as a group, Adora drags everyone out of the front door to escape.

“Sorry about that,” Adora says to Catra when they’re in the backseat of Bow’s car. Bow and Glimmer are up front, and Glimmer is trying to convince Bow to let her on the aux. “I didn’t think she’d want that many photos.”

Cautiously, like she isn’t sure if she can, Adora reaches out to take Catra’s hand again. Catra meets her in the middle and tangles their fingers together. “It’s cute. She was happy for you. And now we’ve got lots of pictures to document our first date.”

First date implies that you want more,” Adora tries to say it casually, like the entire thought doesn’t make her heart see how fast it can beat, “we’ve barely even started this one.”

“You know I want more,” Catra shrugs easily, and before Adora can ask why, she reaches forwards, swipes the aux cord from Glimmer’s hand, and plugs her own phone in. “Yeah, sorry, Sparkles, but I’m not listening to One Direction.”

That sparks a whole debate for the rest of the car ride – Glimmer making sure to defend One Direction as the best band to ever exist, and Catra rolling her eyes with a loud scoff and a, “they’re not even a real band because they don’t play their own instruments.”

Adora exchanges a look with Bow as Catra and Glimmer start debating the definition of a band as a whole. She’s definitely glad when they arrive at the dance, because Bow pulls Glimmer away to get some punch, and Adora takes Catra’s hand again to lead her over to the dancefloor, effectively ending the loud debate over the definition of music or whatever the hell it ended up being about.

Adora doesn’t exactly have much dance experience, and she realises this the moment she leads Catra out onto the floor. Internally, she starts to panic, and tries to recall that one awkward school dance she went to with Sea Hawk back in middle school. They sort of just stood there and swayed to the slow songs, Adora cringing away from the way his hands had felt on her waist, until eventually she ran away to the bathroom and never returned.

That’s definitely not how she wants this to go, and unfortunately for her, Catra is an expert at reading people. Or maybe Adora is just obvious with her feelings.

Catra looks her up at down, a half-smirk on her face. “You have no idea how to dance, do you?”

“Um, is it that obvious?” Adora asks, and ducks her head with laughter, nodding. “Okay. Teach me?”

“My pleasure,” Catra says, already reaching out to take Adora’s hands and guide them to her waist. Something jumps in Adora’s stomach at the feeling of her there, the way a simple touch like that is so intimate. Or maybe it’s the way Catra steps nearer, resting her hands on Adora’s shoulders, and she’s so close that if Adora wanted to, she could lean down and kiss her again.

She wants to. She really, really wants to.

Slowly, Catra starts to move to the music. Adora mirrors her movements, letting Catra take the lead because she’s still unsure.

Catra smiles satisfactorily. “Nice. You’re a natural.”

“Thanks,” Adora says, and when those beautiful eyes flick up to meet hers, something in her stomach jolts. She’s so close that she can see every single fleck of gold in Catra’s amber eye, and every shard of ice in her blue. “You’re so beautiful.”

Adora will never get tired of seeing Catra blush, she decides. Not just the knowledge that her words have had a positive effect on Catra, but the way it highlights those beautiful freckles on her cheeks too.

“Shut up,” Catra laughs. It’s gentle and nervous, and it’s nice to know that Adora isn’t the only one who has been anxious about this.

“So, um,” Adora pauses, but she asks the question she wants to ask anyway. Bravery had got her so far. “How long have you liked me, exactly?”

Catra lets out a sound that’s half a laugh and half a groan. “You really want me to answer that?”

“Um,” Adora pauses in mock thought, “yeah.”

“Fine,” Catra rolls her eyes, “since I met you, basically.”

“Wait, really?” Adora asks, “That long?”

It doesn’t make sense to her, because Catra has only just started really talking to her. Sure, she’d hang around after band practice on some days, and she’d be over for dinner on the weekends, but that was always to see Adam. It didn’t mean anything, that Catra would always sit down with the rest of the family, usually close to Adora, and… oh.

“Yes, dummy,” Catra rolls her eyes, “that long.”

“But…” Adora frowns, “why?”

“Because,” Catra shrugs, like that answers the question, “I just knew, you know. Like I could see something that made you special. Maybe that’s stupid, I don’t know. I just wanted to be around you all the time.”

Adora raises her eyebrows. “Even though I looked gross in my sweatpants and fell flat on my face every time you talked to me?”

Catra laughs, leaning into Adora’s shoulder and gripping her tightly. Adora pulls her closer by the waist and decides that she never wants to let go. She wants to stay here, dancing with Catra, for the rest of her life.

Especially all of that,” Catra says, “it was endearing. And to be honest, the way you always forgot how to function as a person around me clued me in on how you felt, so…”

“Yeah,” Adora blushes embarrassedly, “had a feeling you knew that.”

“You and your mom have the same lack of subtlety and obliviousness,” Catra replies, and when Adora waits for her to explain, she laughs, “I didn’t know that Adam liked me, but I knew that your mom wanted me to like him. She was always making comments about how handsome her son is. Didn’t matter how many hints I dropped that I wanted her daughter instead.”

Adora grins. “For a while I didn’t want to do anything because I thought you were straight. If you just came to LGBT society once…”

“I have… mathletes over lunch,” Catra says, and Adora laughs at the word at the way it makes Catra’s cheeks flush pink with embarrassment, “so it clashes. But I would if I could.”

“I guess I’ll have to see if we can set up a time so the queen of the nerds can join us,” Adora says, and Catra scoffs and rolls her eyes, “hey, don’t be like that. I’m just telling the truth.”

“For the last time, I’m not queen of the nerds,” Catra nods towards the door, “I’ll leave right now if you call me that again.”

Adora laughs. “Sure. I bet you will. Or are you going to get your mathlete squad to beat me up?”

“God, you’re annoying.”

“You like me, though.”

Catra meets her gaze with a sigh, and there’s a tiny smile fighting to show that she’s obviously trying to hold back. She doesn’t manage to do it for long, not when Adora is grinning right back at her.

“Yeah,” Catra says, “I like you a lot.”

Adora smiles. “Me too.”

This time, Adora doesn’t even think about hesitating. She leans down and captures Catra’s lips in a kiss, and it’s just as perfect as the first. The slow song playing and the loud chatter from their peers melts into the background, and it’s just them. Adora and Catra. The way it always should’ve been.

When Adora pulls away, she spots her brother across the dancefloor. He’s dancing with his date, and over her shoulder, he gives her a thumbs up and a smile, and she knows he’s okay. She sends him her own thumbs up in reply before she loses him in the crowd and loses herself in Catra again.