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Game Misconduct

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Catrina can't remember a time she's been around so many people. Not since the Scary Lady took her away from the Before Place, anyway. It's really cold here. She can't remember ever being this cold, either. The Scary Lady looks down at Catrina and scowls. Catrina shrinks a little into herself, not sure what she did to end up here. There's a little spot blocked off by super-tall glass walls, and inside the floors are white and people are walking really fast on weird shoes. They're going so fast, they look like they're flying. Catrina wants to fly like that.

At the young age of 3, Catrina doesn't remember much about her life in the Before Place. She knows that she never knew her parents because the Scary Lady has told her before. The Scary Lady has explained this to Catrina while using lots of big words that Catrina doesn't understand, but they don't sound very nice. Right now, the Scary Lady is walking towards another grown-up with a smile on her face. Catrina doesn't think she's ever seen the Scary Lady smile at anyone but grown-ups. She shivers a little as she's left alone. Catrina wishes she had a coat. As soon as she sits down on a bench, she's accosted by another young girl sporting a short blonde ponytail and a grey jacket. This girl looks around her age, maybe a little older, Catrina thinks, but she isn't really in a talking kind of mood, so she ignores the girl.

"Hey! Are you new?" The girl asks. "Your eyes're pretty…" Catrina flushes and looks in her direction for a second before looking away just as quickly. The girl obviously didn't take that as a valid answer, so she moves to the other side of Catrina and says, "What's your name?" Catrina looks away again in lieu of an answer, then shivers. Why is it so cold here? Maybe the girl finally figured out that Catrina isn't going to give her an answer, because she walks out of sight. Catrina sighs, then perks up again when she feels something around her shoulders.

It's the girl. She put her jacket around Catrina's shoulders.

"I'm Adora! Are you cold?" Catrina stares at her. She barely just met her, why is she giving Catrina her jacket? What if she wanted to steal it or something? "Hope says I am nice. She's not a mommy. Kind of…like a mommy, though?" Can this girl read minds?

"I don't have a mommy," Catrina relents. The girl- er, Adora's face lights up, revealing a large, toothy smile. "I'm Catrina."

"Hi, Catra!"

"No, Catrina."

"Yeah, Catra!"

"…ok, Catra."

Again, Adora's little face brightens and Catri- oh, Catra finds herself cracking a smile. "You wanna be best friends?"

"Really?"

"Pinky promise best friends," Adora says solemnly.

Adora holds out her pinky finger and Catra wraps her own around it. Catra shivers again, which Adora must not like very much, because she scoots next to Catra and puts her arms around her. "You're really cold, huh?"

Catra stiffens a little bit before she realizes that this really isn't so bad. She melts into Adora's hug for a few seconds before she hears "CATRINA," being called out. Catra goes as rigid as a board and whips her head up to see the Scary Lady frowning down at her. "What are you doing with this…girl?"

Adora beats Catra to the punch saying, "I'm Adora!! Catra's best friend!" Her smile is so bright Catra wonders if she's ever seen anyone happier than Adora is right now.

The Scary Lady's frown deepens. "I see. Catrina, you'd do well to remember to keep yourself out of others' business. Come now, we have things we need to attend to." She grabs Catra's wrist and forces her out of Adora's embrace.

"Wait, Catra, are you… are you gonna be back?"

"I think so…"

"Ok, then keep my jacket! You're cold!"

Catra's shocked. What if the Scary Lady never takes her back? She doesn't want Adora to lose her jacket: it's so warm and it smells really good. "Really?"

"Yeah!" Adora beams and waves at Catra as the Scary Lady drags them away from Adora. Catra waves sheepishly back. She wonders if she'll be back next week to give Adora her jacket back.

 

----

 

It turns out, Catra is back next week. Adora greets her with the biggest hug Catra's ever been in, and when asked if she wanted her jacket back, Adora simply shrugs and tells Catra that she doesn't want her to be cold, so she can keep wearing it. Today, Adora takes Catra to meet her big sister, Mara. Adora says that Mara is 10 years old, and that she really like hockey. Catra is amazed at how fast Mara can fly on those weird shoes from last week. She steps out of the big glass box with the white ground and smiles at Adora.

"What's up, Adora, who's your friend?" Mara asks her sister.

"This Catra! Isn't she pretty?" Adora replies, making Catra flush furiously. She's not used to all this attention, especially not attention this positive.

"Nice to meet you, Catra! My name's Mara. One day, I'm gonna be the best hockey player in Etheria!"

"What's hockey?"

Mara looks like she's been slapped, and Adora immediately turns to Catra and explains, "you get pointy boots, and a big stick, and…WHOOSH!!!" Adora mimes hitting a hockey puck.

"Adora, we've been over this, they're called skates, and how are you supposed to play hockey if you can't even put them on and walk around? That's, like, step one!"

"Nuh-uh, I can too! 'S just…big…" Adora shoots back, looking at the ground.

Mara smiles and ruffles Adora's hair, saying, "I'm just kidding, you're gonna skate really good some day! What about you, Catra, why are you here?"

Oh, no. Catra doesn't actually know why she's here. The Scary Lady keeps taking her here, where it's cold and loud and crowded, but at least Adora is here.

"Um…I don't know…" Catra tells Mara.

"That's ok! Adora, why don't you take Catra to go ask Mom what she should do?" Mara offers, and Adora's signature grin pops back out.

"Oh, oh, yeah!! You're so smart, Mara!!" shouts Adora as she grabs Catra's hand and makes a run towards Mara's mom. Catra's immediately nervous. She really likes Adora, what if her not-mom doesn't like Catra? What if she doesn't want to be around her like Catra's own mom didn't want to? Maybe it'll be different since Mara's mom isn't technically Adora's mom? Before she can come to a conclusion, Adora and Catra are standing in front of a very tall lady. She's talking to the Scary Lady, which makes Catra's heart lurch a little.

"Hope! Hope! This is Catra, my best friend!! Where do, um, where do we go?" Catra's expecting a scolding response, but instead, Hope flashes a soft smile and tells Adora, "you two can be with Mara for now. Catra, if you are as young as Adora, then you should not be getting on the ice. Mara can teach you two theory before you are old enough to skate." Without letting go of Catra's hand, Adora runs back to Mara and relays Hope's message to the two kids. Instead of doing what sounds like studying, Mara points Adora and Catra to a television with a white glass box like the one they're near on it.

"There's a Force Captains game on right now if you two want to watch that! They're my favourite hockey team, and I think you guys'll like 'em too." Adora and Catra take a seat on the bench, and just like last week, Adora holds Catra in her arms. Catra really isn't sure what she's supposed to be doing, but even if she gets yelled at again, she thinks being around Adora is worth it. Before she knows it, Catra is dozing off on Adora's shoulder, and Adora's head quickly follows suit in resting on top of Catra's.

Some time later, Catra is woken up by the Scary Lady calling her name again. Adora makes her promise to come back next week, and Catra nods in agreement. That night, Catra dreams about people wearing those weird shirts flying around on that funny white ground. Maybe she and Adora could do that one day, too.

 

----

 

Nearly an entire year later, the two girls still meet up at the Cold Place, which Catra recently learned is called an "ice rink." She and Adora often watch hockey games together. Today, they're watching the TV again, huddled up next to each other to keep warm. Once again, the TV is tuned to a channel focused on the people wearing grey and black.

"Hey, Catra, you see that one?" Adora points to the television screen, her small finger directing Catra's vision to a woman wearing black and grey. Aside from a word Catra can't make out, this woman is wearing a large letter "C" on the left side of her chest. She's grinning from ear to ear as she moves towards the other people wearing black and grey. Catra nods.

"That's She-Ra! She's reeeeaaaally good at hockey! She goes really fast and gets a lot of points! I wanna be like her when I grow up." Adora's eyes sparkle, and suddenly Catra feels the need to know more about this mysterious person. Once the game is over, Catra tells Adora that she's going to use the bathroom, but really, she walks off to find Mara. She ends up finding her sitting on a steel bench outside of the boxed-in area.

"Mara?" The girl in question jumps.

"Jeez, Catra, don't scare me like that!!"

"Oh, um, I'm sorry." Catra looks down at her feet, clearly embarrassed. Mara notices and puts her hand on Catra's shoulder.

"Hey, sorry for freaking out," Mara says. "What's going on?"

Catra clears her throat, trying to gain her confidence. "Adora really likes this lady that wears the black and grey shirt. Um, her name is, uh, Sea-Ra! Yeah, Sea-Ra! Why's she so good?"

Mara tries her very hardest not to laugh at Catra's mispronunciation. For a kid, she's doing her best. She tells Catra, "oh, she's new, but she scores goals really good!! Like, she can go super fast, and I think she's gonna help us win the championships this year."

After a few seconds of contemplation, Catra asks, "What's a championships?"

"You don't know what a championship is????"

"N-no?"

"Well jeez, it's only the most important event of all time!! It's when you beat everybody else, and you guys are the best, and you get to hold a big, shiny trophy that only winners get to touch."

"How do I get to touch it?"

"You gotta get a little bigger first," Mara notes as she ruffles Catra's already messy mop of hair, "but then I bet you could. Good luck beating Adora to it, though, she's more stubborn than anyone I know!"

"Wuh- we can't get it together?"

"Of course you can. I just wouldn't want to be the one standing in Adora's way when the time comes, you know?"

Catra stops and thinks about what Mara's telling her. She's not sure she likes the insinuation. "Well, fine, we can do it together, then." She stomps back over to the bench where she left Adora.

Speak of the devil; if she realized that Catra took way too long to be going to the bathroom, then she certainly didn't say anything. The girl simply held her arm out, opening her blanket up to Catra who quickly snuggled back in next to her friend.

"Hey, Adora."

"What's wrong, Catra? Are you ok? You sound sad."

"Can we win the championships together and hold the big shiny trophy?"

In all the years that go by after this moment, Catra can't remember seeing anyone as excited as Adora was right now. She squeezes Catra so tight it hurts, but Catra doesn't mind. Really, it's something she could get used to.

"Of COURSE we can!!! We can pick it up at the same exact time and hold it up really high and it's gonna be the best thing ever, Catra, I promise!"

"…You promise?"

Adora's smile softens and her hyperactivity has quickly shifted to something much warmer. "I promise."