Actions

Work Header

Game Misconduct

Chapter Text

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."

Chapter Text

The first time Catra can remember royally screwing something up was when she was four. She and Adora both want to wear She-Ra's number, 68, and they can't decide who should get to wear it. Adora's case is that she knew about She-Ra first, and Catra's case is that she can count to 68 faster than Adora can. It never escalates to an argument, but it's certainly heating up to be quite the debate. Catra guesses it gets a little too loud, because before she knows it, Adora's face pales and looks above Catra's head. Catra thinks she's won until she turns around and sees Ms. Weaver (she'd recently learned her name, though the Scary Lady still fit her to the letter) standing behind her.

"Catrina. You are making far too much noise. Good little girls are quiet, like Adora," Ms. Weaver scolds Catra.

"W-wait, but Adora's being just as loud as-"

Catra can't get her point across before Ms. Weaver crouches down to Catra's level and grabs her chin. "Why can't you be more like Adora, child? We'll talk about this when we get home."

And just like that, as soon as she appeared, she's gone.

Adora and Catra stare in the direction Ms. Weaver left in stunned silence. Neither girl says anything until Adora gasps loudly, causing Catra to jump. "CATRA!! I FIGURED IT OUT!!!"

"Huh?"

"Since we can't both be 68, one of us can be 66 and one of us can be 88!" Adora's grin shows off the gap where she'd just recently lost a tooth.

"Oh, that's smart…I call 66!!" Catra shouts before Adora can get another word in.

"Psh, that's fine, I wanted 88 anyway!"

 

----

 

The rest of the day goes along like any other day until Catra gets home. She completely forgot about Ms. Weaver's veiled threat while having fun with Adora. Once they're both in the kitchen, Ms. Weaver calls out to Catra, "sit down."

Catra climbs up a chair at the kitchen table and does as she's told.

Once she's up, a resounding SMACK fills the empty air.

She doesn't realize that her cheek's burning and hurting like nothing else until Ms. Weaver's hand is back at her side. Catra moves to rub her cheek, afraid of the tears that are about to spill out, when Ms. Weaver grabs for Catra's chin again.

"You would do well to listen to me, Catrina. The sole reason you are here in my care is because your waste of a mother couldn't handle you and left you. Why do you make this difficult for me?"

"I-I, I don't-"

Another smack.

"Look at me when I'm speaking to you. If not for you, I would be able to live my life without burden. Do you understand me, Catrina? You. Are. A. Burden. Never let anyone convince you otherwise. Now, go to your room, I'm growing tired of your insolence for the day."

Catra can't possibly scamper upstairs fast enough. She closes her door as tight as she can and spends the next few hours quietly crying to herself. As best as she can justify to herself, she's in trouble for being loud…? Or maybe just being. Catra doesn't know how to not be.

Kindergarten starts in a few months, and Catra couldn't possibly be happier to leave home, even as young as she is.

For a very long time, she assumes that this is just how things are. She doesn't do something 100% perfect and she gets punished for it. This even happens in school, but at least there she got lucky enough to be in class with Adora, who lives close enough to be in the same school as Catra.

Teachers treat Catra as though she's nothing more than a troublemaker, a wild kid with a bad attitude, even though she makes the best grades among her peers (aside from Adora) and only causes a little trouble. Catra often wonders if Ms. Weaver told them to hate her, too. As bad as it got at school, though, it never gets as bad as it is at home, with no Adora to protect her.

Sometimes a tall, skinny man walks into Ms. Weaver and Catra's house. Catra doesn't know what he does exactly, but she knows that he and Ms. Weaver will spend hours at a time speaking in hushed tones behind a locked door. One time, Catra tried listening in on them, but she didn't understand anything. Something about money, she was pretty sure. Eventually, Catra learns that this man will be the new coach of the Fright City Horde, the local hockey team.

At this point, Catra's only a year away from getting on the ice and learning how to skate. Kids can start trying out for the Horde at the age of 14, and there are several levels of the Fright City Cadets leading up to the Horde. When she finally turns 5, Ms. Weaver makes sure that Catra knows how high her expectations are set.

"Catrina."

Catra nearly jumps out of her car seat. "Y-yes?"

"Do you understand the importance of today?"

"I, um, I get to learn how to skate today?"

"Yes. Not only that, but this is the first day you can start proving your worth to me."

Catra's eyes widen. She's been waiting for this opportunity for years! If she can make Ms. Weaver happy, then maybe she'll get things that other kids get, like stuffed animals and video games. Perhaps too eagerly, Catra asks, "how do I do that??"

"Do not get your hopes up, child," Ms. Weaver snaps, "this will not be easy. You must be the best skater on the ice at all times. Is that understood? Only then will you be worth anything."

"Yes! Yes, yes, yes!"

"Yes, what, Catrina."

"Oh, um, yes ma'am!"

Ms. Weaver hums affirmatively, and continues driving to the ice rink.

 

----

 

Learning how to skate is a very strange feeling. The skates themselves hurt Catra's feet, and she's afraid of falling down again. She sees the way Ms. Weaver frowns at her every time she falls and struggles to get back on her feet. Everyone else falls down, too, why isn't Catra allowed to? Even Adora falls down! Of course, the two are always there for each other if one of them needs help, so they both do their fair share of picking each other up.

Once Catra finally seems to be more comfortable on the ice, she decides that she wants to be fast. So, instead of paying attention on how to properly stop, she skates laps around the rink as fast as her little legs can take her. She even races Adora and wins! It all comes crashing down when Catra can't stop herself from speeding into the boards and she accidentally rams her body into them. Everything is a little fuzzy for a minute before she realizes she's not on the ice anymore, but instead laying down on a bench next to Ms. Weaver.

"Catrina, would you like to explain to me what that was?" She asks with derision clear in her voice.

"I-I was just trying to go fast," Catra tells her as she sits up.

"And how did that end up for you?"

"It hurt…"

"Yes, I'm sure it did. If you are ever to be successful at this sport, you must learn to stop, do you understand?"

"Yes, Ms. Weaver. I'm sorry." And she is genuinely sorry. Catra really wasn't trying to be disrespectful, she just got carried away. Stopping isn't a difficult skill to learn, so Catra wasn't set back at all in her development. In fact, she can skate much faster than all of the other kids and stop so that she won't hit the boards again. She can beat Adora in any kind of race, and for a little bit, Catra thinks she's won over Ms. Weaver's affections.

 

----

 

Catra can't be the best skater on the ice because Adora is the best skater on the ice. Sure, Catra's faster, but Adora skates as if she'd never left the ice her entire life. Like she was born to skate. It doesn't matter how much Catra tries, she knows she won't be able to beat Adora. At first, she's happy for her friend. Seeing that gap-toothed smile on Adora's face makes Catra's day every time. She's happy until Ms. Weaver starts punishing Catra. It doesn't happen until they've picked up sticks and started actually learning how to play hockey. Catra is 6 the first time it happens. She's been skating for a little over a year now, and she notched an assist on Adora's first scrimmage goal. Now, she's sitting at the kitchen table, directly across from Ms. Weaver, hoping she'll be rewarded.

"Catrina. Tell me what happened today during practice."

"I was skating to the net super fast and Adora was on my right so I passed the puck to her and she scored a goal! It was so cool."

"Why didn't you score that goal, child?"

Catra's shrinks down a little, confused. "I- I could've made the shot and I might've scored, but I knew there was no way the goalie could reach around that fast. I didn't want to waste the chance." What did I do wrong this time? I thought it was a really good play!

Ms. Weaver scowls before looking Catra in the eye, saying, "if you did not believe you could make that shot, then why were you on the ice in the first place? You must be able to score from every angle, child. There should never be a doubt in your mind. Do you understand me?"

"Yes, Ms. Weaver." Catra looks to her feet. She didn't mean to disappoint. Again.

"Don't worry, Catrina, I will make sure this does not happen again. Go to your room."

Something's not adding up. Catra hasn't been punished yet. Not wanting to take it Ms. Weaver's uncharacteristic mercy up for granted, Catra leaves the kitchen with a nod. It isn't until a few hours later when she tries to leave her room that she notices the door won't budge. She might only be 6, but Catra's certainly strong enough to open a door. She's done it countless times before. It's close to dinner time, and she doesn't want to miss that again. Catra pushes at the door with all her strength until she smells something amazing coming from downstairs.

"Ms. Weaver?" Catra tentatively shouts. "The door won't open, but-but I don't want to miss dinner."

No answer.

"Can you hear me? Ms. Weaver?"

Catra stands in front of the immovable door for a few minutes before she decides to try again later. The smell only gets better and better as the minutes pass by, though, so Catra changes her mind and decides to be creative. She fiddles with the lock, tries reaching under the door, briefly tries reaching over the door, kicks at the hinges. Nothing's working and now Catra's tired. She calls again for Ms. Weaver, but she gets no answer. The incredible smell from downstairs is starting to fade when Catra realizes that she missed dinner. Ms. Weaver punished her after all.

There's nothing Catra can do but sniffle as she gets into bed. She doesn't want to have to wait until school tomorrow, but it doesn't look like she has a choice. Ms. Weaver never packs her a lunch, and Catra isn't tall enough to reach any food in the pantry or the refrigerator, so without Adora giving Catra half of her sandwich at lunch every day, Catra's not sure she'd have any guaranteed food the next day. She sighs, hoping she can sleep off this disaster of a day.

 

----

 

The next day, Ms. Weaver acts like nothing happened, and it confuses Catra to no end. Her stomach is growling, and if Ms. Weaver notices, she doesn't say anything. She leaves Catra to walk to the bus stop on her own, where Adora is there waiting.

"Hi, Catra!" Adora yells, catching Catra's attention from a ways away.

"Hey, Adora," Catra replies.

"Um, Hope wanted me to ask if you usually ate breakfast."

Catra's salivating just thinking of food at this point. "N-no, not really."

"Oh, so do you not have a favourite breakfast food?"

After thinking for a moment, Catra says, "I really like bacon. Especially with toast."

Adora grins before saying, "well, I don't have any of that, but I do have an extra bagel if you want one." She pulls a toasted bagel out from behind her back, and Catra watches in awe before nodding as quickly as she can. On the bus, she's almost crying next to Adora, enjoying her bagel that much. Bagels quickly become Catra's new favourite breakfast food.

 

----

 

Hockey sticks are usually taped on their blades and their shafts. Tape on the shafts helps the skater grip the stick, and the tape on the blades allows the puck to move more smoothly with the stick. Hockey tape isn't free, though, so Catra has to learn how to use it sparingly. The shaft of a stick doesn't need to be re-taped very often and Catra is glad about that, but the blade is another story entirely. The tape on the blade will quickly lose its effectiveness depending on how much the skater touches the puck, and Catra gets the puck a lot. Her coach tells her that she needs to re-tape her blade, but she doesn't have anymore tape.

"What do you mean, Catrina?" Her coach asks her.

"It's gone. I don't have anymore. I used it all up," she explains.

"Doesn't your…um…caretaker have any more for you?"

"Ms. Weaver says that I should be happy for what I have and not ask for anything more. She says that makes me greedy, but you guys tell me that I need to have tape on my stick." The coach looks a bit concerned at this statement.

"Catrina, you aren't greedy for needing more supplies, they're necessary for the game. Do you have any friends that could lend you some new tape?"

"I think so." The coach nods and Catra skates off and finds Adora.

"Hey, Adora," Catra greets.

"Hi, Catra! What's up?" Adora responds. She's always so happy…where does she get that from?

"Coach says I need more tape for my stick, do you have any I could use?"

"Oh, sure! What colour?"

"Huh?"

"What colour tape do you want for your stick?" Adora opens her hockey bag and shows Catra at least a dozen rolls of differently coloured tapes.

"Oh, wow. Okay, um…that one," Catra replies and points to a roll. Adora snorts.

"You want yellow tape for your blade? I think we're only allowed to use black or white," Adora informs her friend.

"What are you talking about? That's, like, a dark-ish white!"

"No, that's yellow. Can you not see yellow?"

"Wh- I can see yellow just fine!!" Catra protests. "Sometimes it's just…kind of hard to tell the difference between some colours."

"Quick, what colour are my eyes??" Adora asks.

"Blue, dummy. I told you, my eyes are fine!"

"What colour is this tape?" Adora holds up another roll.

"Grey," Catra answers confidently.

"Actually, this is red…"

"What?! No it's not!!"

"It is! What about this one?"

"Um, green."

"Yeah, that's right! Oh, what about this?"

"You're just doing this to trick me, aren't you?" Catra accuses.

"Wh- no! Why would I do that?"

"I-I don't know! You gotta promise me you're not lying."

"I promise," Adora agrees.

"Fine. That's grey, too."

"…It's pink. Catra, are you colourblind?"

"What's that?"

"It's like…certain people can't see colours, you know?"

"I can see colours," Catra protests.

"Yeah, some of them," Adora points out.

"I'm not colourblind."

"What's the difference between these two colours?" Adora holds up two grey rolls of tape.

"Argh, this is stupid!! I don't need your weird tape, anyway, I'll go find someone else," Catra grumbles as she starts to walk away, but Adora grabs onto her wrist.

"Wait, I wasn't being mean! I thought if you couldn't see colours right that I could help you," Adora offers.

"…Really?"

"Yeah!"

Adora spends a good amount of time in the next few months teaching Catra the difference between certain colours. It turns out that she can see blue, green, and some oranges and yellows just fine, but red, purple, pink, and grey are nearly indistinguishable from each other. Catra learns which colours are which, even though some of them will always look grey to her, and she never tells Ms. Weaver. She decides to use black tape from that day forward.

Chapter Text

Catra knows that hockey is a team sport. What she didn't know, however, was that three skaters made up a line. When she's 7, her and the rest of the young skaters are being placed into lines, and Catra refuses to be anywhere other than right next to Adora. It turns out, though, that it can't be just her and Adora. Catra's going to be on Adora's right wing, but another girl named Lonnie is going to be to her left. She figured out very quickly that she and Lonnie weren't going to get along.

"If you'd stop being a selfish puck-hog, then maybe we would've scored!" Lonnie shouts.

"It's not my fault that you act like the net is 50 feet tall! Your shot sucks and everyone knows it." Catra shoots back.

The two girls bicker for a little while until Adora shows up and tries to break up the fight before something bad happens, but she's just a little too late. Catra tosses her gloves and, in true hockey fashion, grabs Lonnie's jersey and punches her right in the nose.

Catra doesn't get to play in the next game. Ms. Weaver isn't happy, either. The car ride back from that game is miserable.

"I should have known you would disappoint me, you insolent child! You have been nothing more than a nuisance to me," Ms. Weaver yells from the driver's seat.

At this point, Catra's just trying not to cry. She knows it only gets worse if she cries. She jumps as Ms. Weaver asks her, "well? Do you have anything to say for yourself?"

"Sh-she called me selfish, and I'm not selfish…"

Ms. Weaver chuckles. "Is that so, child? If that were true, you would not be wasting my time with such foolish excuses. You must know how valuable my time is, and you seek to waste it on petty arguments? I'm beyond disappointed, Catrina. You will go straight to your room once we are home. Do I make myself clear?"

"…Yes ma'am…"

She's actually punished this time, along with not eating any dinner.

The next day, Catra goes to practice like usual and only glares at Lonnie. She doesn't want to risk what happened last night happening again. Catra's obviously miserable, and Adora spots it as soon as they step onto the ice.

"Hi, Catra!"

"Hey, Adora."

"Are you doing ok today? You look kinda down."

"I'm fine."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, Adora, I'm sure. Nothing's wrong."

"Because you-"

"ADORA," Catra snaps, "I'm fine. Shut up. Don't make it a big deal."

"…Ok, Catra, if that's what you want…"

Catra hardly talks for the rest of practice.

 

----

 

The coach shifts the lines around a bit, but Lonnie seems to perform best when she's on Adora and Catra's line, much to Catra's dismay. She's learned her lesson, though, and she doesn't fight Lonnie anymore. The two girls still don't get along well, though. Catra knows Lonnie likes Rogelio, their goalie, so she tries extra hard to bank the puck off Rogelio's mask during practices. Lonnie doesn't put up anywhere near as many points as Catra and Adora, so Catra eventually stops feeling as threatened as she does. It never fully goes away, though. She's not sure that it ever will.

Of course, those are only the forward lines. Since she's on the first line, Catra usually sees their top two defensemen on the ice with her: a girl who goes by Scorpia, and a kid that looks just like the Horde's coach, so they all call him Wrong Hordak. Catra likes Scorpia a lot more than Wrong Hordak, since Scorpia is much better defensively. She's pretty sure Wrong Hordak is only paired with Scorpia because the other two defence pairings have perfect chemistry. Scorpia really likes Catra. She learns this when she's eight.

"AW YEAH, THAT'S MY WILDCAT!!!" Scorpia skates over and squeezes Catra as hard as she can after Catra just scored a goal. All Catra can do is grunt and wheeze until Scorpia puts her down so she can catch her breath.

"Th-thanks, Scorpia," Catra finally pushes out.

"Of course! You're just so talented, you know? Like, every time you're on the ice, I feel like you're gonna score! Stars, I just feel so lucky getting to play with you!"

Catra's not used to this amount of positive attention. "Uh, yeah, thanks. It's not a big deal."

Funny thing is, Scorpia doesn't seem to like Adora all that much. She's considerably less excited when Adora scores, and sometimes, Catra thinks she can see Scorpia making faces at Adora in the locker room. Interesting. Someone doesn't like the perfect Adora? Who would've thought?

This school year, Adora and Catra aren't in the same class, but Scorpia is in Catra's class. It takes her a little bit to warm up to the taller girl, but she reluctantly calls Scorpia her second friend.

 

----

 

One day, a man that looks like the coach of the Horde comes into Catra's house. He tells Catra that his name is Mr. Prime, and he offers her a piece of candy from his pocket. Catra looks around the room for a moment before snatching the candy and mumbling a 'thank you' before scuttering off. She's learned that the less she can be in an adult's presence, the better. Mr. Prime and Ms. Weaver sometimes talk for hours, which is really boring for Catra, because it means she can't leave her room. This one day, however, Catra breaks that rule because she left her backpack downstairs.

Catra tiptoes down the stairs as quietly as she possibly can, terrified at the notion of Ms. Weaver catching her. Behind a closed door, she can hear muffled voices, and her curiosity gets the best of her. She sidles up to the door and listens in as best she can. She hears a man and a woman, Mr. Prime and Ms. Weaver, Catra thinks.

"How old is that girl, now?" The man asks.

"She's nine right now, my Lord," the woman responds. Catra's surprised. If that really is Ms. Weaver, Catra's never heard her call anyone 'my Lord' before.

"And how is her hockey career starting off?"

A scoff. "I only wish I could report better news. In her most recent five games, she's only gained 9 points."

"How is that unfortunate? 9 points in five games sounds like an accomplishment to me."

"Perhaps, if Adora hadn't scored 11." Catra frowns. She's really trying her hardest on the ice. Why can't Ms. Weaver see that? Before she can stop herself, Catra's leaning on the door has caused it to tilt open, and in turn, causes Catra to fall flat on her face. Uh oh.

"Catrina," Ms. Weaver spits. Catra scrambles to get back on her feet.

"I-I'm sorry, Ms. Weaver, I was j-just getting my- my backpack, and-"

"How many times have I told you to be upstairs while I am having conversations?" Ms. Weaver raises her hand and Catra cowers. Before she can bring her hand down, Mr. Prime speaks up.

"Now, now, Sharon, you know that's no way to treat this child," Mr. Prime says, with a voice smoother than honey. "Come here, Catrina." Catra nervously steps up to the man, fully taking in his outfit. He's wearing a white suit, almost too white. His tie is a bright green, and his glasses frame his face perfectly. Mr. Prime gently holds Catra's chin and tilts it from one side to the other, examining her face. Truthfully, it's making Catra very uncomfortable. As she whimpers, Mr. Prime asks, "remind me, Sharon, how long does she have until she can play for my team?"

"She's eligible at fourteen, my Lord." Ms. Weaver's reply is clipped.

Mr. Prime hums and lets go of Catra's chin. He crouches down to meet Catra at eye level, and asks, "would you like to play for the Horde one day, child?" Catra nods, still very nervous. "Good. I have a feeling you'll be making a lot of money for me one day in the future." He stands up, brushes off his thighs, and says, "that will be all for tonight, Sharon. Thank you for inviting me into your home. And Catrina? I'm expecting wonderful things from you." Mr. Prime walks out of the door and leaves the house.

Catra does not have a good rest of that night.

 

----

 

Catra is also nine when she visits Adora's house for the first time. Her adopted mother, Ms. Hope, is much nicer than Ms. Weaver, even though she and Catra have only met twice. Mara is sixteen at this point, old enough to drive, so one day after her practice is finished, Adora begs her to take her and Catra home. Of course, she agrees.

"Wow," Catra marvels, staring at Adora's house, "this place is so big!"

"It's not really that big of a deal, it's just a house! But stop standing outside, silly, come in!" Adora remarks.

Catra gingerly steps foot into Adora's house, not wanting to make too much noise. It's a habit she picked up at her own house, for obvious reasons. Adora shoulder bumps her, causing a chase around the ground floor. The chase ends in giggles when Catra tackles Adora to the ground, but Catra quickly freezes when Ms. Hope is looking down at them.

"Oh- oh no, I'm so sorry-" Catra stutters as she jumps up off the ground.

Ms. Hope looks at Adora, confused. "What is your friend apologizing for?"

"Don't worry, Catra's just jumpy!" Adora says, wrapping her arms over Catra's shoulders.

Sure, jumpy, Catra thinks bitterly. It's not her fault Catra gets treated the way she does, but it hurts nonetheless. "Um, thank you for having me, Ms. Hope," is what Catra says instead.

"Please, call me Light Hope. As a friend of Adora's, you are welcome here whenever you would like," Light Hope says with the beginnings of a smile on her lips.

Catra gives a few quick nods before Adora whisks her off to her bedroom. It's coloured a nice blue, with a large bed in the corner. There's a small television with a game system plugged into it sitting on a large dresser in front of the bed. There's a She-Ra poster on the wall, along with a Force Captains poster and a poster with all the teams in the Etherian Hockey League. Adora has her hockey equipment neatly organized against one of the walls, including a pair of goalie pads, despite the fact that Adora doesn't actually play goalie.

"Wow, is this really your room?" Catra asks, dumbfounded.

"Haha, yeah! You should see Mara's sometime, but not right now, I think she's in there kissing some girl," Adora says with a fake gag.

"Kissing?? I can't believe your sister's old and gross," Catra adds, laughing.

The two girls end up playing on Adora's game console for a few hours until Light hope calls them downstairs for dinner. Mara must still be upstairs, because it's just Adora, Light Hope, and Catra sitting at the kitchen table. Catra's never eaten a family dinner before, so she's noticeably nervous.

"Catra, are you alright?" Light Hope asks.

"No, yeah, I'm good, just…remembered I have homework that I forgot about. I should probably get out of your hair-"

"No way, Catra! You gotta stay!! Hope makes the best pasta ever, you just gotta try it!!" Adora cuts Catra off before she can leave.

Catra looks around the room once more and says, "ok, if you really say so."

The two young girls sit down at the table, while Light Hope places large bowls of baked pasta in front of Adora and Catra. In classic Adora fashion, the girl starts practically inhaling the food as soon as it's set in front of her. Catra, on the other hand, is staring at the bowl, not knowing what to think. She's never been given this much food in her life! What's the catch? She tentatively digs her fork into the bowl and tastes the pasta, and quickly finds that there is no catch. Jeez, this is the best food I've ever had!! Adora gets this every day? Soon, Catra is eating just as quickly as Adora. Adora finishes her bowl in record speed, and leaves Catra with about half her bowl still full. Catra groans and leans back in her chair.

"That…was the best dinner ever."

"Huh? You're done? But you hardly finished half the bowl!" Adora pointed out.

"I'm so full though…do you want the rest?" Catra asks, and Adora's eyes light up. She grabs Catra's bowl and finishes her pasta while Catra sits happily in her chair, basking in the feeling of a full stomach for the first time since she can remember. Adora begs her to stay the night, so she sleeps in Adora's bed with her, head tucked under Adora's chin. Catra doesn't want to ever go home.

 

----

 

All good things must come to an end, however, so the next morning, Mara drives Catra home. It isn't a far drive, maybe 5 minutes, but Catra still feels bad about having Mara go out of her way. She thanks Adora's sister and takes a deep breath before walking into her house. She doesn't see any signs of Ms. Weaver in the hallway, so Catra tiptoes upstairs and goes into her room, quietly shutting the door before releasing a breath she hadn't known she was holding. It's only when she looks to her bed that she freezes. Ms. Weaver is sitting on it, with a book in her hands. She slams the book shut and Catra jumps.

"Where were you last night, Catrina?" Ms. Weaver asks with a cold tone.

"I, um, I-I was just with Adora, ma'am…"

"Hm. I see. And what were you doing at Adora's house?"

"We just played video games, and-and we had dinner, and we slept in her bed, then her s-sister drove me home," Catra answers, shaking from head to toe. It's always worse when Ms. Weaver acts calm.

"So am I to believe that you left me at the rink, concerned for your wellbeing, and wasted Mara's time, all so you could play video games with Adora?"

"I-I thought Light Hope told you were I was-"

"QUIET," Ms. Weaver shouts as she stands up, "you cannot become a poor influence on Adora, child. She is the most valuable piece we have on your team, as much as I'd hoped it would be you. I see you will only continue to disappoint me." She walks slowly towards Catra before standing in front of her, causing Catra to crane her neck in order to look her in the eye. "Since you are not taking practice seriously, you will be spending an extra hour at the rink under my tutelage, and we will see if you continue to be such a failure."

Catra's petrified, and she doesn't know what else she can do except nod quickly and choke out a quiet, "y-yes ma'am." She just wants this to be over. An extra hour practicing doesn't sound too bad, until the next practice takes place, and Ms. Weaver doesn't hold back with her criticisms.

 

----

 

Catra has been skating as fast as possible across the whole 200 feet of ice back and forth without stop for somewhere around 20 minutes now. She's panting like a dog left in a hot car and beginning to lose speed. She's trying her hardest to continue, but she trips over her skate and falls to the ice in a heap, still trying to catch her breath.

"Did I say you could stop, Catrina?" Ms. Weaver shouts from the benches, "get back up and continue skating. This time, take your stick with you."

"Ms. Weaver…please…" Catra pleads between breaths, but Ms. Weaver isn't having it.

"Would you like to be here for an extra hour?" Ms. Weaver threatens. Catra shakes her head, pushes herself off the ice, and retrieves her stick. She keeps speed skating until the 40-minute mark when she falls over again. This time, though, Catra can't get up.

"Stand up, you miserable waste. I am using my free time trying to help you, and this is how you repay me?"

Catra's trying, she really is, but every time she gets back on her feet, she falls right back down. Her legs aren't able to support her anymore. "Ms. Weaver, I…I'm sorry…I c-can't…"

"Very well. Come back to the bench, drink some water, and meet me in the car." Ms. Weaver tells Catra before leaving the rink. Catra takes this opportunity to throw her helmet off, lay on the ice, and catch her breath. It isn't until the zamboni driver tells her to get off the ice that she gets back to the bench and gulps down what water she has left. She makes it back to the car and finds Ms. Weaver with a stopwatch in her hand. She clicks it as Catra enters the car, and notes, "twenty-five minutes. That’s how long it took you to get to the bench and get water? I'm beginning to think you really don't respect my time. Very well. We will spend twenty-five minutes more after practice tomorrow, since you're so eager to stay at the rink."

Catra, still huffing and puffing, lowers her head and nods. Ms. Weaver can't tell she's been crying, and that's for the better.

Chapter Text

Practices only get more difficult for Catra after that. First it's just her skating, then she's told to practice her slap shot, even though she rarely has a use for it in games. Whenever her stick breaks, Ms. Weaver threatens not to buy another one, and Catra apologizes profusely, even though it isn't her fault. Everyone knows that sticks break over time.

Catra's ten when she outgrows her newest pair of skates. Well, truthfully, she'd outgrown them a while back, but she didn't want to tell Ms. Weaver. She draws the line now only because her toes are getting the most uncomfortable blisters. Before their private practice one day, Catra finally gathers the courage to ask Ms. Weaver for a new pair.

"…What is wrong with the skates you have now?" Ms. Weaver scowls.

"My toes are pressed against the end, and it really hurts. It's hard to skate."

"You've made it work thus far, haven't you?"

"Y-yeah, but my feet are getting bigger-"

"So you aren't grateful for already owning your own pair of skates? Do you know how expensive those are?"

"Um, no…"

"You will make do with what you have, Catrina. Consider yourself fortunate: many children your age do not have their own skates."

Catra sighs inwardly with resignation and nods her head. She puts her skates on and starts her "warm-ups."

 

----

 

During their next game, Catra scores a goal assisted by Adora. Everything is great until in the second period, Catra accidentally jams her foot against the boards and has to swallow a scream. She limps back to the bench and tells her coach, "I think I hurt my toes."

She takes her skate off, then removes her sock, revealing a painful, purple big toe. Am I supposed to be able to feel my heartbeat in my toes? I don't remember ever feeling that… Their coach is immediately alarmed, and tells her to go back with the trainer to get her toe checked out. She's told that it’s broken pretty badly, and dislocated to boot. The trainer tapes her big toe to the toe next to it and tells Catra that she really shouldn't be playing for a month, and that she needs to get new skates immediately. Once the trainer leaves the locker room, Ms. Weaver enters.

"Let me see what you've done," Ms. Weaver commands. Catra sheepishly holds out her right foot to show her. "What did the trainer say?"

"Um, they said that I can't play for a month…"

Ms. Weaver scoffs. "Nonsense. This isn't nearly that serious of an injury. All you need are larger skates, and we can get you right back on the ice."

Catra looks at Ms. Weaver incredulously before it earns her a smack to the face, and she leaves the locker room. Catra asks her coach if they have any larger skates she could borrow, and after a heated conversation with Ms. Weaver, they relent and let Catra back on the ice.

At the second intermission, Adora notices that Catra's face is much redder than usual. "Catra, are you ok? You don't look so good," she notes as they sit next to each other in the locker room.

"I'm fine, my toe is just dislocated."

"What?! Catra, you can't seriously play like that! You'll hurt yourself even more!"

"I know," Catra huffs, "but Ms. Weaver won't let me sit out. It's whatever." Adora looks at Catra like someone just kicked her dog. "D-don't look at me like that, I'm fine!! It doesn't even hurt that bad," Catra protests.

"Can I see it?" Adora asks. Catra nods and takes off her skate and her sock. It's just as purple and splotchy as before, but now it's crooked. Her toe is tilting to the right, like it's been pressed against a skate. Well, it has been pressed against a skate, to be fair. "Ew…is it supposed to look like that?"

"I don't know, it probably already looked like that, Adora, I don't stare at my toes all the time like you, weirdo."

"Uh! I do not stare at my toes all the time!" Adora yells, indignant. The two girls wrestle for a little bit in the locker room until Catra accidentally hits her toe against the wall and shrieks. Their coach comes in to see what the problem is, and takes Catra aside.

"Catra, do you really think you can still play out there?" The coach asks.

"I don't really have much of a choice, coach, it's what Ms. Weaver wants."

"Does she usually make you do things that are uncomfortable?"

"Yeah, but that's just how it is. My toe is gonna get better eventually."

"Is this the first time you've played injured?"

"No, but Ms. Weaver says it isn't a big deal and that she doesn't want to waste the money going to the doctor whenever I hurt myself."

The coach looks very worried, seemingly out of nowhere to Catra. "Why don't we get Mara to take you home with Adora tonight? I'll tell Ms. Weaver what's going on."

Catra's eyes light up; she hasn't been to Adora's house in a year. "Are you sure, coach?"

"Of course, Catra, just…play out the rest of the game as best you can, alright? I'll make sure you get easier shifts."

That night, as promised, Catra goes home with Mara and Adora. Catra is leaning heavily on Adora. Her toe is throbbing and it hurts so much to walk. Light Hope gives her a little red pill to take (Catra thinks it's red, anyway), and helps her prop her foot onto a pillow and ice it. Catra and Adora spend the night watching cartoons while Mara and Light Hope help Catra with her foot. When dinner is ready, Light Hope brings it to Catra and Adora on the couch.

"Thanks, Ms. Light Hope," Catra says as she's handed a plate with seasoned chicken and lots of mashed potatoes on it. She and Adora happily eat dinner and eventually fall asleep on each other, as they usually do while watching TV. In the morning, Catra finds her toe to be a little smaller than it was last night, but still just as purple. Light Hope re-tapes it for her and gives her another pill to take, along with more ice for her toe.

"Hey, Hope, can we have bacon and toast for breakfast?" Adora asks, still yawning.

Light Hope smiles, "of course, Adora. Would your friend like some as well?"

"Yeah, it's her favourite breakfast food!"

Catra stares at Adora. "You remembered?"

"Of course, Catra, you're my best friend!"

"But- but that was years ago!"

"You remember all kinds of stuff about me, like, how I like to lace my skates and tape my stick all special."

"I mean, yeah, I guess…"

Adora surprises Catra with a huge hug. "I care about you, Catra," she whispers as she squeezes the other girl.

 

----

 

When she gets home, Catra is told to sit at the kitchen table. She waits patiently, although fearfully, since she knows that whatever's coming next isn't going to be good. Soon, Ms. Weaver walks in and takes a seat across from Catra.

"What did you tell your coach last night, Catrina?"

"They just asked me questions about my toe and stuff."

"Do not lie to me, Catrina. You know the consequences of that action," Ms. Weaver warns.

"Um, they asked if I played injured too, and I said yes, cuz I have, but I don't think-"

Ms. Weaver laughs darkly, cutting Catra off. "Child, do you know what happens if you tell adults things like that?"

"N-no?" Catra's scared out of her mind, now.

"Do you remember where I got you from?"

"Not, um, not really, ma'am."

"It was an orphanage, Catrina. Your mother could not be bothered to take care of you any longer, and your father ran off the moment he found out your mother was pregnant. They both knew what a hassle you would one day be, it seems. I found you there and I took you in out of the kindness of my heart. Perhaps I should have thought harder about my decision."

"Wh-what do you mean…?"

"If you tell adults about things that happen here at home, Catrina, they will send you back to an orphanage, where you will have no one to take care of you, least of all Adora. Do you understand what I am saying, child?"

Catra nods fearfully. "Yes, Ms. Weaver. It w-won't happen again."

Ms. Weaver hums. "Good. Now, you are to stay in your room until we leave for practice. Go on."

Catra limps upstairs, shaking from the encounter. She knows better than to ask any more questions.

Eventually, Catra's toe heals, but it's always crooked slightly to the right after that.

 

----

 

Catra is eleven the first time she thinks about her feelings for Adora.

Like, really thinks about them.

She realizes that the only time she's happy is when she's with Adora, especially when she's at Adora's house. Mara and Light Hope are always so nice to her, but she's pretty sure that it's Adora who makes her feel all fuzzy on the inside.

That stupid kid has a heart of gold. Catra thinks Adora has at least some idea of how bad things are with Ms. Weaver, but that she values Catra's dignity too much to bring it up. Honestly, Catra's really thankful for that. Adora's always telling Catra how skinny she is and how she should eat more, but Catra always just brushes it off, saying she's not hungry or some other garbage excuse like that.

It isn't until they're at Adora's house again, wrestling, that Catra actually figures it out. Adora's on top of her, laughing, and suddenly, it hits Catra.

She likes Adora.

Like, like likes Adora.

Oh.

…What does that mean?

Catra can't think of who to ask about her problem. Her teachers are always telling her to have a trusted adult to talk to, but she isn't sure she actually has one. She guesses she could ask Mara, who's technically an adult now, but there's always the risk that she might tell Adora. She definitely can't tell Ms. Weaver. After much thought, she settles on telling Scorpia, who she's sure won't tell Adora.

"Hey, uh, Scorpia? Could I talk to you during recess?" Catra asks one day out of the blue.

"Of course, Wildcat! What's up?" Scorpia replies, chipper as ever.

"Not now, just…just wait until recess, okay?"

"Sure, sure, whatever you say!"

During recess, Catra tells Scorpia, "okay, so you can't tell anyone, but I think I might like someone. Like…you know…like someone."

Scorpia gasps so loudly that Catra has to cover Scorpia's mouth before she alerts any of the other kids. "Shush!! I said you couldn't tell anyone!!"

"Sorry, sorry, I'm just so happy for you!! Who is it?? What's he like??"

Catra shuffles her feet uncomfortably. "Um…what if it's not a he? What if it's like your moms?"

"You have a crush on my moms? That's…um…"

Clearly frustrated now, Catra explains, "no, Scorpia, I mean how your moms like each other, I think I like someone like that!"

"Ohhhh! So the person you like is a girl!"

"Yeah, is-is that okay?"

"Aw, Wildcat, of course it's ok! Do I know her?"

Catra's shocked. Ms. Weaver always told her that girls weren't supposed to like girls, and boys weren't supposed to like boys. She always thought that was strange, of course, because Scorpia's moms were always very nice to her, and she saw them kiss a few times, but Ms. Weaver always did have a way of twisting things.

"Yeah, you know her," Catra says, "but you have to promise not to tell anyone who it is, okay?"

Scorpia looks more serious now than she ever has before. "Pinky promise. That's how much I promise."

"Fine. It's…Adora."

It seems like for a split second, Scorpia wears a look of disappointment, but it's quickly covered up with raised eyebrows and a huge smile. "You guys would be great for each other!! Man, I really should've figured it out, you guys are always hanging out with each other, and you won't skate on a line with anyone else."

"Do you think Adora likes people like me?"

The two girls stare at each other. Scorpia, though only a little older than her friend, has always been much taller, so Catra has to look up a little to meet her at eye level.

"I don't know, Wildcat, but I could try to figure it out for you," Scorpia offers.

After a bit of thinking, Catra anxiously picks at the bottom of her shirt and asks, "could you? But you can't tell anyone I like her!"

"Sure thing! I've got you, Catra!" Scorpia adds with a smile. Catra thinks she's lucky to have a friend like her.

Chapter Text

It appears that Scorpia cannot keep her promises very well.

Next week at practice, everything goes normally until it's near the end. Ms. Weaver's been giving Catra more stares than usual, and it's making her very nervous. The girl wonders what she could've done to get on the witch's bad side this time, but knowing Ms. Weaver, it could be anything. Just as they're getting ready to start Catra's private practices, Ms. Weaver confronts her."

"Catrina, I've been noticing that you've been spending lots of time with Adora lately. Is there any reason why that is?"

"No, Ms. Weaver, she's just my best friend," Catra answers, confused. What have Adora and I done recently that might make her mad? Maybe we haven't been scoring enough, or maybe she doesn't want me to hang out at Adora's house anymore…

"Are you certain that's the only reason?" Ms. Weaver asks again. Oh, no. She only asks a question twice if something is wrong and she's trying to catch Catra.

"W-what happened?" Catra's shaking a little in her skates, now.

Ms. Weaver hums. "Mrs. Scorpioni told me something very curious today. It seems you're ready for a talk about dating, doesn't it?"

"I'm…not dating anyone," Catra starts, and it's the truth, but the one moment of hesitation is enough for Ms. Weaver to latch on. Catra knows she's doomed now.

"Perhaps not. Very well, then," Ms. Weaver sighs, "start skating."

Catra's sprints have been only for 10 minutes for the past few months, but it's nearing the 25 minute mark, and she wasn't prepared to skate this hard for this long. It's around this time that another girl steps onto the ice. Catra recognizes her: she's in an age group above Catra's. Ms. Weaver hasn't said anything, so Catra keeps skating at full speed. She knows better than to stop. Before she can even focus on anything else, Catra's face hits the ice. Or, it would've, if her helmet cage hadn't protected her.

"Better keep your head up, kid," the girl from before smirks, looking down at Catra. Still trying to catch her breath, Catra can hear Ms. Weaver telling her that today they'll be working on receiving checks. "I'm Octavia," the girl notes, holding her hand out for Catra to take. The back half of practice is filled with bruises for Catra. She doesn't know how, but it's like Octavia can always tell where Catra's going to be skating next. She's been elbowed, tripped, tackled, even hip-checked, and she only has a few shots on goal in spite of it all. As practice is finishing up, Catra is hit from behind, and she's finally had enough. She tosses her gloves and rips her helmet off, ready to fight. Octavia has a sick smile on her face as she does the exact same. The two girls rush at each other and grapple for a moment before Octavia lands an elbow to Catra's face. This time, Catra's face does hit the ice. Octavia kicks her in the side, getting a squeak from Catra, as she skates off, taunting, "better luck next time, runt."

Catra groans and lifts her head, finding a small puddle of blood leaking onto the ice. She checks her mouth and spits out a tooth. She knows the tooth fairy isn't real; it never has been for her, so she doesn't bother picking it up. At least it was a baby tooth. Catra wipes her mouth and skates back to the bench where Ms. Weaver is standing.

"How did you find that, Catra?" Ms. Weaver asks, a twisted smirk on her face.

"I'm…I'm fine," Catra replies, still breathing heavily. Ms. Weaver grabs Catra's chin, forcing her to look the woman in the eye.

"Stay away from Adora, child. You will not ruin that girl with your unnatural desires, do you understand me?" Oh. Catra knows what this is about now. She feels stupid for trusting Scorpia. Catra nods and Ms. Weaver releases her, warning her to be back in the car quickly.

Catra doesn't tell anyone any secrets after that day.

 

----

 

Due to the girl practicing past her breaking point nearly every day and never eating enough, Catra doesn't have the body fat to ward off illness, so she often gets sick. Usually she just ignores it, but one time, when she is twelve, it's noticeable during a game. She knew she was too sick to play going into the game, but here she is, skating anyway. What was she supposed to do, tell Ms. Weaver? Absolutely not. Catra's skating slower than usual, and it looks like she can hardly keep her eyes open. When she's on the bench, she sways slightly, causing Adora concern.

"Catra, are you feeling alright?" Adora asks, eyes full of worry.

"'M fine, just tired," Catra answers after coughing a couple of times. Clearly Adora isn't taking no for an answer, because she hands Catra a bottle of Gatorade.

"Drink that, you can't get dehydrated out there," Adora pleads. Instead of putting up a fight like she usually would, Catra just nods and starts drinking. During her next shift, Catra takes a nasty hit to the chest near centre ice and doesn't pop back up immediately like usual. After a few seconds, she starts coughing, hard, but the referees know what happens to them if they stop the play because Catra gets hurt. She pushes herself off the ice and gets back into the play. It isn't a difficult shift to finish, mostly puck-cycling and trying to keep a lead, but Catra's breathing much heavier than usual. She has been all game, really, but it's especially noticeable now. When she and Adora sit back down on the bench, Adora takes off her glove and places the back of her hand onto Catra's forehead.

"You're really hot, Catra, do you think you should tell the coach?"

Catra coughs a few times before answering, "no, no, I got it. Jus'- jus' a cold. N-not a big deal…not…uh…" Catra can't even finish her sentence before her head hits Adora's lap and she's out.

 

----

 

The next thing Catra knows, she's waking up in Adora's bed, wearing pyjamas. Even though she's got two blankets covering her, she's so cold. Catra shivers and lifts her head, only to get caught in a coughing fit. Mara must've heard her, because she rushes into Adora's room. Mara is home from Bright Moon University right now, seeing as it's winter break.

"Hey, Catra, that's it- I know it hurts, but you gotta let that shit out. It'll feel better afterwards," Mara promises. After a minute, Catra's coughing subsides, and she shivers again. "Do you know what happened, Catra?"

"Wuh-we were playing hockey, an' then…uh…" Catra rasps. Her throat hurts, she doesn't remember her throat hurting before. Mara gives her a sad smile.

"Yeah, you passed out right onto Adora's lap. Ms. Weaver wasn't there, so my mom took you to the doctor, and they told us you've got pneumonia. Didn't you know you were sick?"

"It wasn't that bad b'fore…" Catra admits, clearly embarrassed. "How long did I sleep?"

"You've been out for about a day, maybe a little less, but you didn't miss anything, don't worry. The Force Captains are on break," Mara says with a smile.

"Mmm, good," Catra slurs. She's suddenly having trouble keeping her eyes open, and Mara says it's ok to fall asleep, so that's exactly what she does.

The next time Catra wakes up, Adora's poking her forehead.

"Hey, Catra, are you feeling any better?"

Catra gives a few coughs before saying, "yeah, I'm fine, I'll jus' get outta your hair," and gets out of bed.

"Woah, woah, wait, you can't get out of bed, you'll hurt yourself!" Adora warns, pushing Catra back in bed.

"No, don' wanna miss a game, need t' practice," Catra responds. It's really weird: she feels both hot and cold at the same time.

"Catra, no, you're really really sick, you can't get out of bed! Promise me you'll stay in bed," Adora demands.

"Mmmm…fine. Promise," Catra mumbles.

"Okay, good, because we can't play games together if you leave the bed," Adora states, turning on her gaming console. The two girls play video games for a few hours, and Adora lets Catra play as the Force Captains whenever they play hockey because she's sick. Adora usually wins, though. After a little bit, Mara comes back in and gives Catra a bowl of soup, which she eats slowly at Adora's behest. She then takes a pill from a probably-orange bottle Mara gave her and sips on a glass of water. Before Catra knows it, she's falling asleep again.

Catra dreams about Light Hope and Adora talking outside of Adora's bedroom door.

"You are very kind to give up your bed for your friend, Adora," Dream Light Hope says, monotonous as ever.

"Well, yeah, she's really sick, and I know she'd do the same for me. Why won't Ms. Weaver let her come home?" Dream Adora asks, clearly concerned.

"Ms. Weaver is…she does not care much for others. She does not want to get sick like Catra," Dream Light Hope notes.

Yeah, maybe it's because Ms. Weaver is dumb and mean, Catra thinks. I wouldn't kick a kid out of my house because she was sick. What kind of a grown up does that?

"Does she have to go back? I don't think Catra's very happy at home," Dream Adora points out.

"Unfortunately, yes, there is nothing we can do," Dream Light Hope states.

Adora's bedroom door opens, and Catra opens her eyes. Oh. It wasn’t a dream. Maybe she's sicker than she thought…either way, she stays at Adora's house until she gets better, then she walks back home where a surly Ms. Weaver awaits.

"Ah, Catrina, you're back, I was wondering if I would ever see you again," Ms. Weaver mocks.

"It was just a few days, Ms. Weaver," Catra grumbles in response. She's angry, but she doesn't want to provoke any violence from the woman.

"Should I expect this to be a regular thing, you getting sick and disappointing me?"

"No, Ms. Weaver."

"Good, now go to your room."

"W-wait, I just got back!"

"And you will stay in your room longer if I hear any more complaints."

Catra sighs inwardly. "Yes, Ms. Weaver." She trots upstairs, already missing Adora and her family.

 

----

 

When Catra's in middle school, she starts getting in more trouble in her classes. She still has the best grades in her class, second only to Adora, of course, but that doesn't seem to stop teachers from picking on her. She's been in detention more times than she can count, and not even for valid reasons. One time she dropped her pencil during a test and got a detention when she went to pick it up. The teacher said it was "cheating." Another time, she took "too long" in the bathroom and got a detention for skipping class, even though she had only been gone for five minutes. When she's thirteen, Catra has had enough. The 7th grade math teacher decides that Catra is too talkative, despite the girl not having said hardly anything in that class period. When she tries to hand Catra a detention, the girl explodes.

"Oh, what's the problem with me now, huh?" Catra shouts. "Am I being too loud? Boo-freaking-hoo! Sorry I'm taking up space, it must be so inconvenient for you to do your job!! Sorry I can't just sit still, or do everything perfect like Adora! Are my grades not good enough? Is second place not good enough anymore?! I swear to god, it doesn't matter what I try, you guys are just intent on making my life miserable, aren't you? Fine, have it your way!" Catra storms out of class, leaving a pale-faced teacher in her wake. Adora excuses herself and tries to run after her friend, but Catra has always been faster than her.

10 minutes or so later, Adora finds Catra sitting in the instrument closet in the band room. Neither of them are in band, but Adora suspects that none of the band kids are brave enough to tell Catra off. The girl is curled up in the corner, shoulders shaking slightly. Adora takes a deep breath before she calls out, "Catra? Are you okay?"

Catra quickly rubs at her eyes with her sleeves and looks up at Adora. "I'm fine, go away." Instead of going away, Adora sits next to her best friend.

"Why'd you yell at the teacher?"

"She was gonna give me a detention for asking a stupid question. I'm sick of always being picked on. It sucks, Adora."

Adora frowns and wraps her arms around Catra, who's still curled into a ball sitting up. "I'm sorry you feel bad," Adora adds.

Catra sniffles, "it's whatever. I just don't want to go home and deal with Weaver. She always makes it worse."

"Maybe you could spend the night at my house?"

"No, I don't want to bother Light Hope. Besides, I've had to listen to Weaver for years now, this isn't anything new."

"Catra, you could never be a bother-"

The girl in question scoffs, cutting Adora off. "You wouldn't know, golden girl. When's the last time you screwed something up? You don't even screw up on the ice."

"No, I mess things up all the time. Remember when I tripped in the hallway last week and dropped all my books? Or the other day when I opened that ketchup packet wrong and it exploded?"

"Whatever. You don't screw up when things matter."

"Catra, look at me," Adora asks. Catra complies. "You are so talented, you know that, right? I can't remember the last time you missed the net when taking a shot, and you always get right back up after getting checked, even though you aren't that big. You're super smart, too, like, of course the teachers are mad! They're probably jealous that you're so much smarter than them."

Catra chuckles, only half believing her friend. "Thanks, Adora. You're nice."

"I mean it, Catra, you're special. I wouldn't be where I am today without you."

Eventually, Adora coaxes Catra back into class, where she still gets a detention, but after that day, the teacher doesn't mess with her anymore. The rest of the day is good, until detention is over and Catra has to walk home. The bus doesn't come that late, of course. When she gets home, Ms. Weaver is sitting at the kitchen table, as she usually does when Catra messes up.

"Let me guess, Catrina, another detention?"

"Yes, Ms. Weaver," Catra mumbles. She knows what's coming. "I'll just go upstairs-"

"Ah-ah-ah, not so fast," Ms. Weaver cuts Catra off, "I want to know why you got detention."

Catra stops. This is new. "Um, the teacher said I was talking too much."

"And were you?"

"…Yes, Ms. Weaver." It's not the truth, but it's what Ms. Weaver will want to hear. Catra knows better by now.

"Very well, I expect you not to open your mouth in this house for the next week, am I understood?"

Catra opens her mouth to argue, but Ms. Weaver shoots her a wicked glare, so Catra lowers her head and nods.

"Good. Now you may go to your room. I will see you tomorrow morning."

Catra sighs and walks upstairs.

"Oh," Ms. Weaver continues, "and if I hear about you talking at school or at the ice rink this week, your punishment will be doubled."

Catra spends the rest of the day sulking silently in her room.

Chapter Text

Finally, finally, Catra turns fourteen, and she's ready to try out for the Fright City Horde. She's been waiting for this day since the first time she put on skates. The day tryouts are held, she and Adora are talking in the locker room before warm-ups.

"Catra, aren't you excited??" Adora asks, nearly jumping out of her seat.

"Yeah, whatever, it's not a big deal," Catra replies, not being able to hide her smile.

"Oh, please, don't pretend you're not happy under that wall you put up," Adora says, poking her friend.

"Alright, fine, it's kinda cool. Just hope we don't miss the Force Captains play."

Tryouts go off without a hitch, of course. Catra and Adora have no trouble playing to the best of their ability and proving to Coach Hordak that they deserve a spot on the team. At the end, Hordak has the players trying out play one-on-one against a current player on the Horde. Adora is paired up with a guy named Grizzlor, and Catra is paired up with Octavia, the girl who Weaver had beat the shit out of her when she was younger.

With a smirk on her face, Octavia asks, "ready for round two, squirt?"

"I'm gonna kick your ass this time."

The whistle blows, and Catra speeds past Octavia. It's been years since the two last met, and in those years, Octavia hasn't gotten much faster, while Catra practically flies past her on the ice now. When Catra's on offence, Octavia can hardly touch her, much less defend against her. When Octavia's on offence, however, Catra kicks it into overdrive. Though she's not that big, she uses the entirety of her body weight to deliver checks. Catra slams Octavia into the boards a few times before Octavia starts getting angry. This time around, it's Octavia who throws the gloves first, while she's behind Catra's back. Catra has her helmet off, taking a drink of water before Octavia slams the smaller girl to the ice and starts raining down punches as hard as she can. Adora notices and skates over as fast as she can.

"Hey, stop!! We're supposed to be teammates!" Adora cries while tugging at Octavia.

"She's-" punch. "Acting-" punch. "Like-" punch. "A-" punch. "BRAT!!" Octavia punctuates her last word by bringing both fists down in one punch. Hordak finally blows the whistle, and Octavia stumbles off of Catra. Adora quickly skates to her friend's side.

"Catra, are you okay??"

Catra's nose is most definitely broken, and she can't open her left eye, but she's smiling from ear to ear. "Did'ja see dat, 'Dora?" The poor girl's face is littered with bruises. Adora helps her friend back to her feet.

"Yeah, I saw, Catra, that girl just punched the heck out of your face!"

"No, I mean how good I check'd her! She's, like, three dimes my size!!" Her broken nose is making it difficult for Adora to make out what she's saying.

That marked the end of tryouts. The players were told that they would know in a week whether or not they had made the team. Adora and Catra were taking off their equipment in the locker room when a kid walks in and tells Catra that Mr. Prime wants to see her. Catra shrugs at Adora and makes her way to Mr. Prime's office.

"Ah, Catrina, how nice it is to see you again. Please, have a seat," Mr. Prime offers. Catra complies.

"Did I do someding wrong, sir? Is dis aboud duh fight?" Catra asks tentatively.

"Oh, no, nothing like that, though I wish we could've kept your lovely face intact." Catra squirms a little at that comment. "No, I was wondering how you felt you did during tryouts?"

"Oh, um, id feld preddy good, I think. I'm preddy fasd, and none of duh players could catch me."

Mr. Prime hums. "Good, child. I'm fully expecting to have you on the roster soon, along with your friend, Adora."

Catra's face lights up. "Really??"

"Yes, both of you performed admirably today. I just want to remind you of something."

"Yeah, of-of course, whad is id?"

Mr. Prime reaches forward and caresses Catra's cheek with the backs of his fingers. "If you are to succeed on this team, you must do as I ask. Is that clear?"

Catra swallows thickly and nods, suddenly very uncomfortable with the energy in the room.

"Very good, child. You may return to your friend, now," Mr. Prime says, taking his hand back. Catra leaves the room as quickly as possible without arousing suspicion and heads back to the locker room. She doesn't talk much for the rest of the day, still trying to process what happened.

 

----

 

The first game Catra and Adora play, they're placed on the second line together. Each of them score a goal, and Mara, who drove home from college to watch their first game, explodes with joy on the bench, cheering as loudly as she can. She's recognized, of course, and signs a jersey of two during the intermissions, but she's really there to see her sister and her sister's friend play hockey.

After the game, Mara takes Adora and Catra out for dinner at their favourite restaurant, this nice diner just outside of town. Catra feels a little bad that Mara is paying for her, but she is a full-grown adult with a job, and Catra's just fourteen. As usual, Adora orders as much food as possible, and somehow eats it all. If it weren't so intimidating, it would be pretty funny. Catra's just going to order a side of fries before Mara stops her and orders a whole meal for her instead.

"C'mon, kid, gotta keep those muscles big," Mara tells her with a wink. Catra's very uncomfortable with displays of kindness, but Mara has always been very nice to her, so she just gives a small smile. "So, guys, tell me: how was your first game?"

"Oh, it was GREAT!!! Everything went by so fast, and Catra was even faster than most of the players!" Catra blushes as Adora continues. "I mean, I know the Snows aren't exactly known for their speed, but it was so cool! You were unstoppable out there!" Adora punches her friend lightly in the arm.

"Yeah, yeah, it was nice, I guess," Catra starts, "I'm a little tired, though. Turns out playing actual Etherian Hockey League prospects will drain you faster than I thought."

"Seriously? You looked like you could've kept skating forever," Adora says, taking a gulp of her drink. "Hey, what did you go to Mr. Prime's office for after our tryouts for the Horde? You never told me."

Catra stiffens. She'd hoped that Adora had forgotten about that. "He, uh, he just wanted to make sure my nose was ok." In reality, Catra isn't as naïve as Adora. She gets the impression that she knows exactly what Mr. Prime wanted with her, but there isn't a reason to tell Adora that. Mara, though, seems to notice a shift in Catra's demeanor, but she doesn't mention anything until Adora leaves to use the bathroom.

"Hey, back there when you were talking about Prime, what really happened in there? Because I'm not my sister, I can see when there's something wrong," Mara prods.

"It wasn't really a big deal, it's nothing. Really."

"Catra, I just want to make sure you're safe. I know from personal experience that he can get kind of…creepy sometimes. I see the way he looks at some of the girls on the team."

"Seriously, he didn't even do anything, he just told me that he wanted me and Adora to play for the Horde," Catra answers, starting to sweat.

"Then why didn’t he tell Adora himself?"

"I don't know, he's a busy man, he runs a minour hockey team for Christ's sake, maybe he knew I'd tell Adora!"

"Look, you don't need to get defensive, maybe he really didn't do anything, but you'd tell me if he tried anything, right?"

"Yes, fine, whatever. Just…let's stop talking about it."

Mara respects Catra's wishes and lets her live with her secrets. Adora comes back from the bathroom and the rest of dinner is nice and peaceful. Catra knows what's coming next, though. Ms. Weaver is waiting, as she always is, at the kitchen table, ever-present book in her hand while she absentmindedly sips on a glass of wine.

"Ah, Catrina, you're home. How was the game?"

"Fine. Me and Adora both scored," Catra says, already suspicious.

Ms. Weaver hums. "Good. I heard you were on the second line today."

"Yeah, I just made the team, I'm not gonna make the first line right off the hop. That isn't how it works."

"Don't talk back to me, child," Ms. Weaver warns.

Catra sighs. "Sorry, Ms. Weaver, I'm just tired from the game. It's been kind of a long day."

"Very well. You may go upstairs and get some rest."

It's probably the least malicious confrontation she's ever had with Ms. Weaver, and Catra doesn't know how to feel about that.

 

----

 

Catra is an athlete. She understands how important it is for her to keep her body in top form, but life grinds on her more often than she'd like to admit. After a rough day of practice, all she wants to do is relax, but Ms. Weaver's never exactly let her do that. One day, when she's fifteen, a tall boy that used to play hockey with her stops Catra in the hallway.

"Hey. Come with me for a minute, huh?" He asks.

"Fuck off, I'm trying to go to class," she growls.

"Come on, don't be like that! My friends and I just want to have a little talk, does that sound so bad?"

"Take a hint, shit-for-brains, I'm not gonna be your next mark."

"Oh, trust me, you couldn't handle me even if I did want you," the boy notes with a smirk. "But, no. This isn't about that. It'll only take a minute."

"You're not leaving until I say yes, huh." Catra groans. "Fine. Where are we going?"

"Follow me." He grabs her arm and leads her up to the roof of the school building.

"Look, I- I don't know what you heard, but I didn't do anything to you," Catra tells him, suddenly very uncomfortable.

"Oh, relax, I'm not gonna kill you, I'm trying to get you to have a good time!" The boy lets go of her arm and she's quickly surrounded by a small group of other boys.

"Here," one of them says as he shoves his hand into her personal space. He's holding some kind of vape pen.

"You brought me all the way up here just to smoke with you? Jesus Christ," Catra grumbles.

"Come on, Weaver, don't be a pussy!" A boy jeers. One of them shoves her shoulder to punctuate the statement. "Do it!"

"Fucking shit, just give the stupid thing to me!" She snatches it from the boy's hand. How am I supposed to do this, anyway? Just, like, suck it? Catra takes a long drag before coughing violently. Things turn weird after a minute or two: the boys are really far away all of a sudden, and nothing sounds right. Sound- shit, she can't hear anything. One of the boys somehow helps her sit down as he laughs. "Huh?"

"I said, 'enjoy the ride!'" The boy repeats.

"Oh." Come to think of it, Catra is enjoying the ride. She can't remember ever feeling so relaxed in her whole life. "Gimme another," she tells them, holding her hand out expectantly. The boys laugh as she takes another hit and coughs again. In a few minutes, Catra's completely blissed out- so much so that when the boys leave her, she doesn't even care. She doesn't even notice, really. She gets to be free…if only for a few hours. It's the best feeling in the world.

Her fun finally ends when a teacher finds her up there near the end of the school day. "Catrina, what on earth do you think you're doing?"

"Me?" Catra turns her head and points at herself. "I'm just relaxing."

"No, you've skipped several classes today," the teacher tells her. "Come with me, we're going to the principal's office."

Catra groans as she stumbles down the stairs leading up to the roof. She doesn't remember how she got to the principal's office, but she's there, nonetheless, sitting next to Weaver. Huh? When did Weaver get here? Oh, she looks angry, too. I should probably listen.

"I said, 'this won't happen again,' right, Catrina?" Weaver grits out, clearly frustrated.

Catra chuckles dumbly. "You mean me skipping class, or me getting high?" The room is completely silent after she says that. "…It's the second one, isn't it?"

"Rest assured, sir, you'll never have another problem with Catrina again. Unless there is further business you'd like to discuss, I'll be taking her home to see to her punishment." Weaver clamps her hand down on Catra's shoulder, then forcefully guides the girl back to the car. Complete silence washes over the pair until they're sitting across from each other at the kitchen table at home. "I will give you one chance to explain yourself, Catrina," Weaver allows.

The girl snorts. "'Catrina.' Nobody calls me that." She pauses. "I know I'm not supposed to ask, but are you mad at me?"

"I'm livid."

"You're always mad at me. I just wanna relax," Catra tells her, resting her forehead on the table. Why is my head so heavy?

"So it's my fault?" Weaver asks.

"Why do you hate me?" Catra sniffles against the table.

"Perhaps if you weren't consistently disappointing me, I wouldn't have a reason to. The only reason I haven't kicked you out is that Mr. Prime has high hopes for you. Don't mistake my allowance for kindness," Weaver growls. Catra doesn't have any response to that, instead opting to weep quietly. "You're pathetic."

"I know," Catra sobs. "Please just let me stop."

"Stopping is a luxury neither of us can afford, Catrina, and I think you'll find it's even further from your grasp after this little incident."

"I c-can't-" hic "-I can't do this anymore. I don't have anything left."

"Then you will find something to give. I have invested an enormous amount of money into this team, and into your career in particular. You will keep going until you succeed, or die trying."

"I'd take death over this."

"Not while you're still my responsibility, you won't," Weaver warns.

"What if I ran away?" Catra asks between sobs. "You can't make me stay here!"

"Until your eighteenth birthday, I can make you do whatever I want. Do you understand me, you miserable waste of time?" Catra nods. "Good. You're grounded until your sixteenth birthday."

"WHAT?!" Catra squeaks, quickly lifting her head up. "It's May!!"

"Oh, I'm well aware. You will not leave home unless it is to go to school or participate in hockey practices or games, and afterwards you will immediately return to your room."

"That's not fair!!" Catra whines. "I don't wanna be here!!"

"I know you don't, and I don't particularly want to be stuck with you, either, but you've forced my hand. Now, go to your room."

Catra grumbles, but does as she's told. She can hear the door lock from behind her and tries to ignore it. I can still get out of here. I have to. There has to be something I can do, because I just can't keep doing this. Her thinking stalls as she looks out of the window. "…Oh!"

After trying to push the window open (and finding it forced shut), Catra picks up a hockey puck from her backpack and punches it through the glass. She repeats the process a few more times just for good measure. By the time she has a Catra-sized hole to jump through, Weaver bursts into her room. "Ha! Catch this, old woman!" Catra shouts, heaving herself out of the window. It's all fun and games until she figures out how high up her room is off the ground. In the span of about a second, Catra shrieks and belly-flops onto the pavement with a grunt.

"Fuuuuck," she groans. Once she forces her head up so that her chin is resting on the ground, she sees Weaver running towards her with a furious look in her eye. Catra is quickly yanked back into the house and shoved back into her room.

"What on Earth possessed you to do that?! You could've broken an arm!!" Weaver shouts.

Catra looks back up at her with wide eyes. She didn't want me breaking my arm? She cares if I get hurt?

"You could've ruined your hockey career and the rest of our lives!!" …Oh.

"I don't care," Catra mumbles. "I want to leave."

"And I want a daughter who hasn't made a fool of me for trusting her, but it looks like we don't always get what we want," Weaver growls.

"Fuck you." Catra doesn't even have to look to know that the slap is coming.

"How dare you."

"Yeah? How dare I what? Even when I do everything perfect, you still don't care. Why don't- why don't you care about me? Why don't you love me?"

"Oh, Catrina." Weaver approaches Catra and cups the side of the girl's face with her hand. Catra instinctively flinches before relaxing into the touch. She nearly whimpers as Weaver whispers directly in her ear, "I will love you when you've done something to deserve it."

With one last pat, Weaver lets go of Catra and leaves the room, locking the door once more. Catra cries herself to sleep that night and when she sobers up in the morning, she sees that the knuckles on her hand that she'd used to punch through the window are torn and bloody, and that her nose had bled all over her pillow the night before. Great.

Needless to say, the summer before Catra's sixteenth birthday is one of the worst in her life.

Chapter Text

Catra gets her driver's license when she's sixteen, but surprise-surprise, Weaver won't let her anywhere near a car. This doesn't really bother Catra: she's been walking to both school and hockey practice for years now, and aside from Adora's house, there's nowhere else she really wants to go. Adora, though, gets an old, beat-up car when she turns sixteen, and both she and Catra are out of their minds excited about it. They don't go anywhere special, but the fun is knowing that they can go somewhere one day. Today, Catra has another meeting with Mr. Prime, and Adora offers to take Catra to the rink. Who is she to say no? Adora stays in the car, watching videos on her phone, while Catra steps inside, enjoying the air conditioning.

When she knocks on Mr. Prime's door, there's no answer. "Um…hello? Mr. Prime?" Catra asks tentatively. She checks the doorknob: it's unlocked. She gulps and opens the door. It's just a regular office, same as always, except Mr. Prime isn't sitting at his desk. He's left a note, though, with Catra's name at the top.

Catrina,

I apologize that I could not be here for our meeting. I'm sure you understand. If you have a means of travel, please come see me at my house. Alone.

Mr. Prime

Catra stares at the note for a moment. If he says come alone, then Adora can't drive me there. He might be giving me credit for some great hockey thing! I'll just stay here for a little longer so she doesn't get suspicious. After five-ish minutes, Catra goes back outside and hops into Adora's car.

"So, what'd he say?" Adora asks eagerly.

"Just the usual. 'Keep up the good work, Catrina,' blah, blah, blah," Catra lies.

"Y'know, I still think your name is too long," Adora remarks.

"No, you were just a stupid kid and couldn't pronounce it. I don't like it that much anyway, Catra is much cooler." Adora drops Catra off at her house and waves goodbye. Instead of going inside, Catra waits until Adora turns around the corner and loses sight of her. Then, she starts walking to Mr. Prime's house. She knows the address, of course: the internet is free at school. It's a big, swanky mansion on the outskirts of town. When Catra reaches Mr. Prime's home, she knocks on the door and waits. The house is large and mostly made of marble on the outside. I don't really get architecture, but I can't imagine this is all that cheap. The door is tall and imposing, like it's meant to make visitors seem small. After a moment, the door opens at the hand of a man that looks a lot like Coach Hordak.

"Ah, you must be young Catrina. Please, come in, Lord Prime is waiting," the man urges.

"Uh, yeah, th-thank you," Catra replies, already nervous. Who the hell calls themself a lord? Mr. Prime's house somehow looks bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Everything is coloured in a pristine white, making Catra wonder who cleans this place. The man leads Catra to a room with open doors and large windows. Mr. Prime is staring outside, surrounded by women in tight clothing.

"Sir, your guest has arrived," the man from earlier announces. He then bows and leaves the room, shutting the door behind him. Mr. Prime turns around and smiles eerily at Catra.

"Catrina. So nice to see you. Do you know what this meeting is about?" Mr. Prime asks.

"Um, no, sir," Catra responds. Shit, what did I do now?

Mr. Prime hums. "I've been speaking with your…caretaker, and she's told me some very interesting things about you, and about some of your nastier habits." Catra's eyes widen. She knows exactly what he's talking about. Ever since that one time when she was fifteen, she'd been smoking weed whenever things at home just got too much to handle. It was only a handful of times each month, though. Fuck, fuck, I thought I'd been hiding it well enough, oh god, he's going to kick me off the team, I'm ruined! Mr. Prime interrupts Catra's train of thought. "Ah, so you know what I'm referring to, then?"

"I- yes, sir, I think so," Catra relents. "I'm sorry, though, it'll never happen again!"

Mr. Prime laughs. It sends a chill down Catra's spine, and she can feel the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. "No, no, you will. Quite a bit more, actually."

"…Huh?" Catra's confused, now. Maybe they're thinking of different things? Mr. Prime snaps his fingers, and another scantily dressed woman walks in, holding a strip of paper.

"I've been preparing a new experience, you see, and I'd like to test the effects of it on a young woman's body, Catrina. Of course, this will not affect your game this weekend. All you need to do is place it on your tongue," Mr. Prime explains. "Since you had such a…let's say, favourable reaction to other substances, perhaps you'll enjoy this, too." The woman holds out the strip of paper to Catra.

"Sir, if- if this is about the smoking, I promise, it hardly ever happens, I'll never do it again-"

"We'll see. Please, Catrina, go ahead. I know you know better than to refuse." Catra stares fearfully into Mr. Prime's eyes looking for a joke, but she doesn't find one, so she looks at the strip of paper being handed to her. She takes the strip of paper and does as she's told, closing her mouth. "Ah, there, that wasn't so bad, now, was it?"

"Um, no thir…" Catra mumbles around the strip of paper on her tongue.

"You should begin to experience something within the next ten minutes. We can stay here until then." Catra nods, and she can feel sweat dripping down her neck. She's scared. The paper on her tongue doesn't taste bad, but Catra doesn't really know how to describe it. She decides not to think about it. The next however many minutes are spent shifting uncomfortably on her feet, until Mr. Prime says something Catra doesn't quite catch.

"Um, pardon me, sir?" She asks. Mr. Prime repeats himself, or, at least Catra thinks he does, he's moving his lips, but Catra can't hear any words come out of his mouth. Speaking of mouths, hers is starting to feel stuffy, like she's holding cotton balls in it. Catra squints her eyes to try and make out what Mr. Prime is saying, but the harder she looks, the more green his skin looks. Has he always been green? She could've sworn he was really pale, not blue. Wait, blue? No, that's not right…what- what's going on?

There are colours everywhere, way more than before. Mr. Prime's house was a bright white before, and now it's pulsing with every colour Catra can imagine. She laughs softly as she watches the floor under her shift from a neon yellow to a soft pink. She holds her hands up to her eyes and watches them change colours, too. Catra can't find it in her to care about how weird this is anymore. She turns to her right and there's a mirror, but staring back at her is a cat person. Her normally blue and yellow pupils now colour her whole eyes, and she has large ears on the sides of her head. She touches one, and it's so soft. She's even got a tail now! Adora walks up to her and takes her hand. She's wearing a strange red jacket with pointy shoulders; that's stupid. She follows Adora into a spaceship, and they take off. Catra doesn't care where they're going. Adora's with her, and that's all she really ever needed. Adora's calling Catra's name, but Catra can't find her anymore. Where…

catra. Catra. "CATRA!!"

Catra gasps and shoots up, coughing harshly. What the fuck?? She looks up and sees a very concerned Adora. "'Dora? What's wrong?" Her throat feels scratchy, that's strange.

"I don't know, you just went missing for, like, two days, and Coach Hordak told me to come see him in Mr. Prime's office, and here you are! I should ask you what happened!!" Adora yells. Catra tries her hardest to remember how she got in here, but her mind is drawing blanks.

"I- I don't know, I'm just…it's all missing," Catra stutters.

"Okay, okay, this is fine, don't panic," Adora says, half assuring herself. "What's the last thing you remember?"

"I was…I had a meeting with Mr. Prime, and you drove me home, and…" Oh. I think I know what happened now. Oh, no…oh, no no no…

"Is that it?" Adora asks.

"Y-yeah," Catra swallows. Fuck, her mouth tastes all weird.

"Okay, let's, um…do you want to come to my house?" Catra nods sheepishly and follows Adora to her car. It sucks; everything feels so sore and she can't remember what happened to make it that way. The drive to Adora's house is mostly silent, neither girl knowing what to say.

"Hey, Adora?"

"Yeah?"

"What if…what if something really bad happened?" Adora looks at her friend.

"What do you mean?"

Catra scoffs, "Adora, I can't remember the last two days, apparently. You don't know where I was, I don't know where I was, don't you think that's a bad thing?"

"Oh. Yeah, that's…Catra, are you telling me the whole story?" Adora asks, clearly suspicious. Catra sighs.

"…No. There was a note on Mr. Prime's desk telling me to meet him at his house, so after you dropped me off at home, I walked over there-"

"Catra, that's, like, several miles away!!"

"It's not a big deal! Anyway, I got to his house and it was all weird and white, and I met him in this office, right? And I don't know how, but he found out about the weed, I think, and you know how Weaver gets all passive aggressive sometimes?" Adora nods, eyes widening. "Yeah, it was kind of like that, but scarier. He told me to put this strip of paper on my tongue, so I did, and…fuck, then I ended up in Coach's office, I guess??"

"…Holy shit," Adora mutters after a moment. "That was not weed."

"Well, fuck, Adora, you think??" Catra yells.

"Sorry, sorry! I just- I think this is really bad. You don't remember a single thing from the past two days?"

"I remember being in a spaceship, but something tells me that wasn't real."

"Maybe this has something to do with hockey?"

"It kind of screamed 'punishment' to me."

"Should we tell Hope?"

"No, I don't want to get anyone else involved in this. Let's…I'll go back to Mr. Prime's house and ask him."

"Catra," Adora pleads, "you can't go back there, what if he tries to drug you again?"

"He wasn't drugging me, I did it myself! This is my mistake." Adora gives Catra a look, but offers to drive her to Mr. Prime's house anyway. Once they get there, Catra makes Adora stay in the car. She doesn't want to get her friend tied up in this, too. Catra knocks on the door and is once again greeted by a man who looks like Coach Hordak. Is this the same guy? Or are they, like, triplets or something? When she gets to Mr. Prime's office, he's alone this time.

"Ah, Catrina, you've returned. Would you care to tell me how your trip was?" Mr. Prime asks with a smile.

"Um…I don't- I don't remember," Catra mumbles.

Mr. Prime hums. "So you don't remember anything that happened?"

"N-no sir."

"Well, I'll keep this in mind for the next time you act up." Mr. Prime smirks.

"Next time?"

"I'm sure a bright young girl like you can figure out what sorts of things could happen while unconscious. With such a pretty face, too…"

"W-what are you talking about?"

"You aren't stupid, Catrina, so don't act like you are. If your body is not in prime condition, winning games for my team, then I will find other uses for it. Am I understood?"

"…Am- am I free to go now, sir?" Catra asks, feeling sick.

"Oh, yes, you may leave. And next time, Catrina, don't try to hide anything from me." Catra gulps and walks towards the door. She gets back into Adora's car silently and stares at the front windshield.

"That was fast," Adora notes, "did you figure out what happened?"

"Yeah," Catra says, still staring off into space.

"Do you wanna talk about it?" Catra just shakes her head slowly. "Okay, I'll, um, I can take you home then…" Adora starts the car again and drives Catra back home. The car ride is eerily silent. Catra doesn't make a single noise. When the car stops, Catra opens the door and mumbles, "thanks, Adora," before leaving the car. She walks into her house and goes upstairs, then curls up into a ball on her bed and sobs. She and Adora never talk about that day again.

 

----

 

As awful as life was for Catra, she'd always had Adora with her to weather it. She often felt like she didn't deserve someone like Adora in her life, but she was damn happy she had her. Aside from the whole being in love with her thing, which Catra had masterfully hidden for years, the two girls don't like hiding secrets from each other. There is one terrible exception.

It's a little over a month before Catra's seventeenth birthday when Adora gets a letter from the Bright Moon Institute for the Gifted, offering her a scholarship to come to their school and play for their hockey team. The Bright Moon Rebels are one of the best junior hockey teams around, and getting a scholarship to come play for them is no joke. Adora decides not to tell Catra until the very last minute. Catra walks to Adora's house before practice and sees a large moving truck in the driveway.

"Hey, Adora?" Catra asks, walking into the house, "why do you have a moving…truck…" Catra stares at Adora's kitchen. There's no furniture. She runs up to Adora's bedroom and finds it bare as well. Catra panics and rushes back outside when she runs into Adora just outside her front door. "Adora? What's going on?"

"Catra! I- oh, jeez, I didn't want to do it like this-" Adora starts.

"Do what like this? This isn't a good way to do anything!!" Adora doesn't know what to say, so she takes a folded-up letter out of her pocket and hands it to Catra. The girl's eyes widen as she reads the letter. "You're…leaving?"

"I'm sorry, Catra, but it's such a good opportunity, and I can't afford to pass that up!"

Catra starts laughing. "Yeah, okay, but surely you wouldn't wait to tell your best friend before leaving, right? Right, Adora?"

"I really was going to tell you, but it all happened so fast-"

"This- this isn't really happening, right? You're not really leaving, are you?"

"Catra, I'm so sorry…" The two best friends stare at each other for a moment, both sets of eyes sparkling with unshed tears.

"So, that's it, then? You're gone? Off to play for the Horde's biggest rivals?" Catra accuses.

"Please, it doesn't have to be like this, we can still hang out and do homework together, and-"

"You know what? I'm sure there are plenty of kids in Bright Moon you can talk to, since apparently I don't matter enough to be told that you're leaving!! Fuck you, Adora. Enjoy your shiny new rich-people city," Catra yells as she runs off.

"Catra, wait, no, it's not like that!!" Adora shouts after her, but Catra's broken into a sprint, and Adora knows she could never catch up with her. Catra runs until she gets to her house and slams the door shut, then immediately breaks down into sobs. This wasn't supposed to happen. Adora was never supposed to leave, she's the only thing I had left! A more rational part of Catra's mind tells her to go back and see Adora again, that they can still be friends, but Catra is too overwhelmed by the feeling of betrayal to listen to that.

"Catrina? Is that you?" Catra hears Ms. Weaver call out from the kitchen. "What happened?"

"N-nothing, Ms. Weaver," Catra sniffles, "everything's fine."

"Come, now, don't be like that, what's wrong?" Ms. Weaver coaxes.

"It's- Adora's leaving. She's gonna play for the Rebels," Catra relents.

"Ah, I see, you're upset that you finally did it," Ms. Weaver sighs.

"Huh?"

"I've been telling you for years that you're going to drive Adora away with your poor behaviour and bad attitude, and now you've gone and done it. This was bound to happen, Catrina, but this is good news for you. Now no one is holding you back as the greatest player for the Horde." This only makes Catra cry harder. Ms. Weaver pats her on the head and walks off to god knows where, leaving Catra as a heap on the floor.

It's hours before Catra can gather the strength to walk upstairs to her room, and she doesn't sleep that night. The next day at school isn't any better. People have noticed that Adora is gone, and with her, Catra's protection. Catra stays hidden in her history classroom during lunch. She knows that if she goes out there, she'll just be accosted by anyone who sees her, and she doesn't have a lunch, anyway. School ends, although nowhere near quickly enough, and hockey practice begins.

"Gee, Wildcat," Scorpia says, "are you doing okay? You look like you're kind of going through it."

"I'm fine," Catra grumbles as she laces her skates.

"Well, alright, if you say so, but I'm here for you if you need me, okay?"

"Sure, whatever." Coach Hordak tells the team that Adora is going to be playing for Bright Moon, as their captain, no less, and everyone shoots a look at Catra, who just scowls at nothing in particular. Catra now centres the first line with Lonnie on her right wing and a tall kid on her left wing that just transferred to the team from the Crimson Waste Vagabonds.

"I'm Double Trouble, nice to meet you," they say with a smirk, holding out their hand to Catra for her to shake.

"Whatever," Catra replies, ignoring their hand, "I'm Catra. Don't fuck this up. Coach probably put you on the first line for a reason."

"Ouch, Kitten, no faith in me, huh?" Double Trouble drawls.

"Don't fucking call me that."

"Whatever you say, darling," Double Trouble says as they walk off onto the ice. By the end of practice Coach Hordak names Catra the captain of the team, but she can't find it in herself to care. Adora isn't there to celebrate with her. Scorpia and Octavia are the assistant captains, and Octavia is enraged. After practice, she confronts Catra.

"What's your fucking game, pipsqueak?" Octavia seethes.

"Nothing, dipshit, what's your problem?" Catra answers.

"My problem is that Coach thinks you should be captain and not me. I'm eighteen, for god's sake!"

"Yeah, you're an over-ager and you suck. Don't be mad that I'm better than you. If you want to be captain so bad, be better."

Octavia looks like she's going to pop a blood vessel, until all of a sudden, she looks calm again. "You know what? I thought of a better plan. If I can't be captain, I'll make it your personal problem." It's only Catra and Octavia in the locker room right now, so Octavia has no problem slipping out and locking the door before Catra can get out.

"HEY! WHAT THE FUCK?" Catra yells, pounding on the door. "YOU MADE YOUR POINT, ASSHOLE, LET ME OUT!!"

"I could, but if you wanted to be out so bad, you should just be better." Catra hears Octavia laugh as she walks away.

"YOU CAN'T FUCKING LEAVE ME IN HERE!! OCTAVIA!!!" Catra bangs on the door again and waits a few seconds. "Octavia?" …She's not coming back. Catra sighs and sits back on one of the benches. God, if you're up there, what did I do to deserve this?

 

----

 

Catra learns that night that hockey locker rooms are very cold when unpopulated. She's been trying to sleep for half an hour, now, but her teeth are chattering too hard for that to happen. Out of nowhere, Catra hears the doorknob jiggle. "Hello?" Catra asks. "W-who's out there?"

"Catra? Is that you?"

"S-scorpia? Scorpia! You g-gotta let me out!" Catra pleads.

"Don't worry, I'm gonna find the key, I'll be right back!" A few minutes later, Scorpia must've found the key, because the door finally unlocks. "Someone put it up really high in Coach's office, I don't know why- woah, Wildcat, you don't look so good…" And she doesn't, really. She's shivering like crazy, and it she looks way too pale. Without warning, Scorpia scoops Catra up into a hug. Normally, Catra would object, but Scorpia's so warm, and Catra hasn't felt this good since…well, since the day before. "Here, let's get you out of here." Scorpia picks Catra up like it's nothing and carries her to the lobby, where it's much warmer.

"Th-thanks, Scorpia. Octavia l-locked me in there," Catra mumbles.

"What?! Really? I never thought she'd have it in her," Scorpia wonders aloud. "Well, don't worry, you're safe now!" Scorpia lets Catra down and she shivers again.

"I'm just- I'm just gonna get home," Catra says.

"How far away do you live?"

"Not far. J-just a few miles. Easy walk."

"Nope, absolutely not, it is way too cold outside for you to be walking home," Scorpia protests as she takes her coat off and places it onto Catra's shoulders. "I can drive you home!" It reminds her too much of when she first met Adora.

"You really d-don't have to do that," Catra says, but Scorpia has already grabbed Catra's hand and started walking to the parking lot. Once they're in the car, Scorpia cranks the heat onto full blast, and Catra sighs in relief.

"How long were you in there, Wildcat?" Scorpia asks.

"'Dunno. When did practice end?" Catra replies with her eyes closed.

"Catra, that was four hours ago!!"

"Oh. It's midnight? What're you doing here?"

"I left my phone in the locker room somehow," Scorpia answers. "Thank god I came when I did, you're freezing!"

Catra hums, but doesn't respond outside of that. Scorpia asks for her address, but when she does, she finds Catra already asleep in the passenger seat. Scorpia smiles and drives home instead. When Catra finally wakes up, she's in an unfamiliar bed. She looks around the room for a clock, and sees that it's four in the morning. Good, there's still time for me to get home before Weaver says anything. Catra quietly slinks out the front door and starts walking home. She doesn't find her way for another hour, but eventually she's back in her room, trying to forget this night ever happened. She curls up in bed, shivering, and falls into a fitful sleep.

 

----

 

After that, Catra starts hanging out with Scorpia a little bit more. She's still very standoffish, but at least now she doesn't have to hide during lunch. Octavia still messes with her whenever she can, though. This time, Scorpia's usually there to help. When Octavia hid Catra's helmet, Scorpia found it, and when Octavia ruined all of Catra's tape, Scorpia offered some of hers to Catra. It was weird, having this much positive energy again. It's only been a month since Adora left, and Catra still thinks about her every day. Today, it's even easier to think about her, because she hears from her teammates that Adora and this guy have great chemistry on the first line in Bright Moon.

"Who the fuck is this guy??" Catra asks Scorpia.

"I- I think it's her brother? Or, that's what the people on the news say, anyway- oh, yeah, that's cool, you can use that," Scorpia says as Catra grabs Scorpia's phone to look at the article.

"Adora's adopted, she doesn't have a brother," Catra grumbles.

"That's what everyone else thought, too, but it turns out her records were just misplaced at the hospital when she was born, and her parents have been looking for her ever since!"

"What the fuck??" So Adora gets to have a loving family, too? Good for fucking her!! Catra looks at this guy and, sure enough, he and Adora look just like each other. Twins, apparently. "That can't be right," Catra notes, "aren't identical twins supposed to be both the same gender?"

"Well, usually, but Adam's trans," Scorpia explains. Shit. I thought I had something there.

"Great! Fine! Good for them!" Catra yells, handing Scorpia back her phone.

"Uh, Wildcat, are you okay?"

"I'M FINE," Catra shouts as she walks away. They both know it's a lie.

Chapter Text

The "Bright Moon Wonder Twins" are tearing up the junior hockey league. It feels like all Catra ever sees is photos of Adam and Adora celebrating together. That used to be us, Catra thinks wistfully. Today, the Horde plays the Rebels for the first time since Adora left. Catra gets to the rink early, as usual, to skate a few laps before the zamboni clears the ice for the game ahead. When she steps off, Adora is walking towards the visitors' locker room.

"Catra!" Adora shouts as she spots her friend. Ex-friend. Catra scowls.

"What, Adora."

"You're the captain? I'm so proud of you!!"

"Yeah," Catra huffs, "sure seems like it."

"What?"

"We're not friends anymore, Adora, just go off to your stupid team and your stupid locker room," Catra warns as she takes her helmet off.

"Wh- of course we're friends, Catra, we've been friends since before either of us can even remember!"

"Whatever, Adora," Catra says, shoving Adora's shoulder. She can't allow herself to get close to Adora again. Look what happened last time.

"HEY!" The two girls turn towards the door as another Rebel stomps towards them. "What do you think you're doing, Horde scum?"

"Huh? Me?" Catra asks, pointing to herself.

"Yes, you, dipshit, where do you get off?" The Rebel is a few inches shorter than Catra, and sports pink and purple hair. Does…does she have glitter on her hockey bag?

"Piss off, Sparkles, this isn't about you," Catra threatens.

"Catra, don't be mean!" Adora says.

"You're seriously taking her side?!" Catra asks, incredulous.

"Why wouldn't she? You're just a scrawny captain of a shit team, why would the captain of the Bright Moon Rebels listen to you, especially after you shoved her like that!" Glimmer points out

"Glimmer, please don't antagonize her," Adora asks, but it's far too late for that.

Catra cackles. "'Glimmer?' Oh, and I thought Sparkles was good. Did your parents seriously name you that? Were they on something when you were born? Christ, get over yourself."

"You're one to talk, who's ever heard of the name 'Catra?'"

"Your glorious captain gave me that nickname, half-pint, I thought you had a crush on her or something by the way you were talking about her."

"What, are you jealous?" Glimmer taunts. Catra's face goes red. "Yeah, that's what I thought. Go back to your locker room, Catra, and get ready to get your ass handed to you." Glimmer grabs Adora's hand and leads her to the visitors' locker room. Adora looks back at Catra for a moment, then turns her head forward.

Catra scoffs. "Good. Get out of my face," she mutters, "didn't want you around anyway." She hates herself for the momentary weakness she just showed.

 

----

 

One of the refs blows their whistle, and Catra and Adora meet up at the faceoff dot. "Hey, they put you at centre? That's great, Catra!" Adora notices.

"Just focus on the game, dumbass," Catra growls. Adora's so taken aback, she doesn't notice when the ref drops the puck and Catra cleanly wins the faceoff. The two lines meet in the game more often than not, and Catra soon learns how difficult an angry Glimmer is to play against. She doesn't expect someone as short as Glimmer is to be able to knock her down. Every time she checks Catra, she leaves a taunt as she skates away.

After the first period, no one has scored. It's been a tight contest; Bright Moon's offence has been impressive, but Fright City's defence has been impenetrable. The second period is much of the same, but this time, Catra starts delivering hits to Glimmer in return. Turns out she's pretty easy to rile up. When the third period starts, the game is still scoreless. About halfway in, Catra supposes Glimmer has had enough, because she trips Catra, then "accidentally" kicks her helmet as she's skating off to the penalty box. Catra's vision is swimming too much to do anything about it, and Scorpia helps her get back to the bench.

The next time the two girls are on the ice together, Glimmer draws Catra out of the play and when Catra tries to check her, Glimmer crouches down and Catra tumbles over her, hitting her head hard on the ice. It's a good thing she's wearing a helmet. All of a sudden, everything's so bright, and Catra can't remember how she got on the ice. She hears a buzzer- did someone score? She hopes it was someone on the Horde. The whistle blows and one of the refs (she assumes) helps her get on her feet and off to the locker room to get her checked up. The team doctor shines a light in Catra's eye and tells her that she has a concussion. Unfortunately, this doctor is the same one Ms. Weaver has been harassing for years, so they know better than to recommend Catra sits out. The game ends, and it's 1-0 Bright Moon. Adora scored the only goal. Of course.

Once she's gotten all of her equipment off, Catra makes her way to the door, only to be knocked on the shoulder by Glimmer. "Better luck next time, Weaver." Catra scowls. She hates the name on the back of her jersey. One of these days, she has to find out what her real last name is and get it changed. Catra walks off and starts the trek back home. Today sucked.

 

----

 

"Catrina, I heard about your performance tonight," Ms. Weaver says as Catra walks through the door. "Don't you think you could have put up more of an effort?"

"Sorry, Ms. Weaver," Catra slurs.

"Your coach said you looked distracted out there. Have you been…taking anything?" That gets Catra's attention.

"N-no, Ms. Weaver, I just took a bad hit, I'll be good," Catra promises.

Ms. Weaver hums. "Very well. I expect better from you, Catrina, do not let me down." Catra nods and walks upstairs. The next day, Catra stays for two extra hours at the rink after practice. Ms. Weaver's private practices ended years ago, but Catra needs the extra practice again. She won't let this happen again, she can't. If Ms. Weaver thinks she's taking something, then she'll get sent back to Mr. Prime's house and- and that isn't an option.

Catra works on her speed, her shot, her skating, anything she can think of that wasn't up to par last game. After each game she plays, she writes down a list of things she needed to do better, and works on them after her next practice until it hurts to skate. She's hardly getting any sleep at this point. Catra practices until the rink closes, then takes a break until everyone leaves the building. After she's the only one left, she gets back on the ice and keeps practicing. Scorpia is worried for her, so she sits her down one day after practice before Catra can get back on the ice.

"Wildcat, you've been working way too hard, and I think it's time for a girls' night!" Scorpia exclaims.

"I don't have time for a girls' night, Scorpia," Catra sighs.

"Sure you do! Everyone has time for a girls' night!"

"No, I don't. I'm going back on the ice."

"I'm sorry I had to do this to you, Wildcat…Entrapta, NOW!" Scorpia shouts. Before Catra can ask her what the hell she's doing, her arms are pulled behind her back and her wrists are taped together with hockey tape.

"All done, boss!" Entrapta says with a smile. Scorpia hefts Catra over her shoulder and starts walking out of the building.

"SCORPIA, THIS ISN'T FUNNY, LET ME GO!!" Catra shouts, kicking as hard as she can.

"No can do, Wildcat, it's girls' night, remember? Me and Entrapta are gonna help you relax!" That's when Catra really starts panicking.

"Scorpia, it seems that Catra is trying very hard to get away. Should I be concerned?" Entrapta asks.

"YES YOU FUCKING SHOULD, NOW MAKE HER LET GO OF ME!! I DON'T WANT THIS!!" Catra is dropped off gently in the back seat of Scorpia's car, and Entrapta buckles her seatbelt before she can escape.

"Sorry, captain, but I'd really like to see the results of this!"

"THE RESULTS OF WHAT?!?"

"It's a surprise!" Scorpia says. Catra struggles to get out of her seat the entire car ride, but Entrapta made sure the seatbelt would stay tight. Eventually, the car stops, and Scorpia grabs Catra from the back seat. Catra would still be fighting against it if she had any energy left, but she'd all but tired herself out. Once they get into Scorpia's room, Entrapta locks the door.

"If I let you go, will you promise not to run off?" Scorpia asks.

"Yeah, fine," Catra responds, so Scorpia cuts the tape from behind her back. As soon as her wrists are free, Catra makes a jump for the window, but Scorpia catches her just in time.

"Wildcat, what was that?!"

"Nothing, let me go!! This isn't fair!" Catra shouts.

"I did let you go, and you betrayed us. Now, I don't have any other choice," Scorpia says, holding a blanket.

"What- what are you going to do with that?" Catra asks, slowly stepping backwards.

"It's for your own good, Wildcat," Scorpia tells her friend. She grabs Catra and bundles her up in the blanket, and Entrapta tapes the whole thing together.

"Guys, come on, let me go!" Catra pleads, but it's no use. She's not getting out of the blanket. Scorpia lifts Catra onto her bed and places her sitting up against the wall so she won't fall over accidentally.

"Alright, since I dragged you over here, you can pick the Disney movie we're gonna watch!" Scorpia says.

"I died. I died and this is my personal hell."

"Oh, don't be so dramatic! Come on, you have a favourite Disney movie, right?" Scorpia asks.

"No, Weaver never let me watch any." Scorpia and Entrapta gasp.

"Entrapta, you know what that means??"

"I think so, it's-"

"MOVIE MARATHON TIME!!!" Scorpia shouts, finishing Entrapta's sentence. Catra grunts as she tries to free herself from the blanket again. Scorpia says they should watch The Little Mermaid first, but Entrapta says it's more logical to watch Aristocats since Catra has "cat" in her name. They compromise with The Lion King. Entrapta grabs a bag of popcorn and the three girls start watching the movie together. Catra refuses to eat anything at first, but once she finally comes to terms with the fact that Scorpia and Entrapta probably aren't going to drug her, she reluctantly accepts a few bites of popcorn. By the point in the movie where Simba runs to the jungle, Catra's already asleep, snoring softly.

"Fascinating…" Entrapta whispers into her phone's voice recorder, "it seems Catra has fallen asleep before the movie has even finished! I had expected her to last at least two hours. Perhaps more research is needed to come to a more accurate hypothesis."

Scorpia delicately lays Catra down before turning off the TV. It's only 10:00, so Scorpia and Entrapta spend the rest of the night downstairs playing games and baking sweets. Catra wakes up again in the middle of the night, only to find herself snuggled between a sleeping Scorpia and a sleeping Entrapta. She sighs and decides it's best to go back to sleep. After that, the trio has "girls' nights" more often, and after the first two, they don’t even have to kidnap Catra anymore.

 

----

 

The next time the Rebels play the Horde, it's in Bright Moon, and Catra is much better prepared. Glimmer can't seem to land a hit on her, and Catra takes every opportunity to tease her about it.

"Ooh, better luck next time, Sparkles!"

"You gotta be faster than that."

"Yikes, are you the best the Rebels have?"

It's really getting on Glimmer's nerves. This time, Catra scores in the first period with a quick snap shot that lands right above the goalie's glove side. When Scorpia sets her down from a hug, she looks to the Bright Moon bench and winks at Glimmer. Catra scores again in the second period, this time off a pass from Scorpia. Glimmer's practically seething at this point. By the third period, the score is 3-2 Fright City. Glimmer's doing everything she can to stifle Catra offensively, but there's nothing she can do to stop Catra's third goal of the night, an empty netter. The Fright City bench explodes into cheers, and a few hats are even thrown onto the ice for Catra's hat trick, despite her being on the away team.

After the game ends, Adam comes up to Catra as she's walking back home.

"Hey, you're Catra, right? Adora's told me a lot about you!"

"Adam."

"Uh, haha, yeah, that's me! Anyway, I wanted to let you know that Adora thought you had a great game tonight, and that she's really proud of her." Catra scowls and grabs Adam by the collar, dragging his face down to her level.

"Tell Adora that I don't want to hear from her," Catra grits, "and that we're on different teams. Make sure she gets the message, Pretty Boy." She lets him go.

"Okay, but are you sure? She really misses y-"

"GET OUT OF HERE!!" Adam gets the message and he walks in the opposite direction with his hands up in mock surrender. Catra sighs. Finally. Now maybe I can still get some sleep before the night is over. Weaver's been surprisingly more tolerable than usual lately. Maybe she notices how much work Catra's putting in, or maybe she just got bored. When Catra gets home, today is no different. She heads up stairs, changes clothes, brushes her teeth, and goes to sleep. The next morning, though, Catra is woken up by Weaver shouting her name. She knows better than to keep Weaver waiting, so she rushes downstairs as soon as she puts a shirt on.

"Catrina, would you care to explain this?" Weaver asks, turning on tape of the game the night before. The screen shows footage of Catra's first goal of the game.

"…The goal? I was rushing from the blue line and-"

"No, you insipid child, not the goal, this," Weaver says as she points to Catra winking at Glimmer.

"Oh. Well, that's Glimmer Rune, and she was antagonizing me the game before, so I bit back a little," Catra explains. What's this bitch mad about, now? I didn't even do anything wrong!

"I see. So, you believe that silly quarrels are now more important than hockey?" Weaver accuses.

"No, Ms. Weaver, I-"

"And here I thought you were finally learning. It's clear to me that I should have a talk with Mr. Prime about your on-ice performance, since you don't find it serious." Catra's eyes widen.

"Wait, no, Ms. Weaver, you don't have to do that, it won't happen again!"

"What assurance do I have that it won't?" Weaver asks, reaching for her phone.

"Anything you want, I promise, just don't make me go there, please," Catra begs.

Weaver hums, thinking it over. "Very well. Don't worry about feeding yourself today. Or tomorrow, for that matter. How about you abstain until your next game, does that sound fair?"

"Yes, Ms. Weaver," Catra sighs. It's not the first time she's been deprived of food, and she knows it won't be her last. Anything's better than going back to that house.

 

----

 

As the season goes by, Catra's numbers only improve, to the point where she's leading the league in goals and the player behind her isn't even close. Unfortunately for members of the Horde, this only leads Weaver to expect more from Catra, and Catra becomes grumpier. She's practicing at every opportunity she gets, hardly resting at all, and has stopped hanging out with Scorpia and Entrapta entirely. Tonight, she's practicing her accuracy while the rink is closed and everybody is gone.

One day, you're gonna be the best, Catra, and nobody else is gonna matter.

Shot.

You can't prove Weaver right.

Shot.

Maybe if you weren't such a shitty person, Adora wouldn't have moved away.

Shot.

It's all your fault.

Shot.

"Ugh!!" Catra yells and throws her stick onto the ice. She hates when her thoughts gang up on her, but she never knows how to handle it. "Stupid, idiot fucking head. Can't you leave me alone?"

You don't deserve to be left alone and you know it.

"That's- that's not true."

Someone has to remind you of how wrong you are all the time. Weaver was right all along about you. Adora was smart to move away from you. All you do is drag everybody down.

"SHUT UP!!!" Catra takes her helmet off and slams it onto the ice, then sits down and holds her head in her hands. "God…I'm talking to myself."

"How long has it been since you've slept for a whole night?"

"Huh?" Catra looks up and sees Adora in front of her. "How did you- what?"

"A few weeks, maybe? A month? You know that isn't healthy," Adora gently scolds.

"Look, I don't need you to show me how to live my life. I'm doing fucking fantastic without you!!" Catra protests, and Adora looks back at her with pity in her eyes.

"Don't lie to yourself, Catra. You're miserable. You haven't been happy since you were four years old."

"Oh, yeah? And whose fault is that?!"

"Yours." Catra nearly growls before her friend continues. "Why do you try to keep pleasing Weaver if she's never going to love you?"

"Not all of us get to have supportive adoptive parents, asshole."

"Maybe she'd be more supportive if you were better."

"I'm doing fine, Adora. Go piss off and be with your new fancy rich friends."

"You miss me."

Catra blinks. "No, I don't. In fact, I'm glad you're gone."

"You can't keep lying to yourself," Adora points out.

"I'm not lying!! I'm glad you're gone!! Now I'm the captain of the Horde, I'm the one who gets to call the shots-"

"And are you happy with this authority?"

"I- yes, fuck you! I don't…I don't get to have a good life like you, okay? I don't get to have parents that love me, or- or a secret twin brother! Sometimes I think I'm just not meant to be happy," Catra admits. "It's…I have to take what I can get. I know I'll be lucky to live past my twenties, okay? Nobody likes me, not even myself, and it's- it's hard to care, sometimes."

"Catra-"

"It's hard to keep going. Sometimes I don't want to keep going. What's the point if I'm never going to be happy? My real parents clearly knew I was worthless."

"Catra-"

"No one would miss me if I was gone, Adora!! Lonnie and Octavia and Weaver and everyone else would probably be thrilled! Scorpia might be sad for a day or two, but she still has Entrapta. Clearly you don't care. And Mr. Prime…well, I don't know, maybe he can find some other teenage girl to pick on. He doesn't need me, either-"

"CATRA!!" The girl in question looks up again. Adora opens her arms for a hug and Catra finally breaks into tears and rushes towards Adora, who catches her easily.

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry…" Catra sobs.

"Shh, it's okay." The pair sits down on the ice and Adora lays Catra's head in her lap. "I know." She starts combing her fingers through Catra's hair, and while said hair is very tangled, it still feels good.

"Why- why me?"

"I don't know."

Adora allows Catra to cry herself to sleep in her lap. It doesn't take long: Catra is beyond exhausted. In her head, she knows Adora couldn't have really been there. Is it so wrong for her to wish she was, though? That it wasn't just a hallucination caused by sleep deprivation? That Adora really cared? …Probably, honestly, but it was the last thing on Catra's mind when she closed her eyes and drifted off into unconsciousness.

 

----

 

"Hey, kid, get up!"

"Buh-?" Catra opens her eyes and finds herself on a sheet of ice being shaken by someone. She immediately scrambles away and accidentally hits her head against the boards. "Ow…fuck…"

"What were you doing asleep on the ice?" Oh, Catra recognizes them. They're the zamboni driver.

"N-nothing. I'm f-f-fine." God, does the ice really have to be that cold? Well, it's kind of my fault for falling asleep on it, I guess.

"None of the other kids pass out in the middle of some illegal practice. You know that's trespassing, right?" They ask.

"Are-are you gonna turn m-me in?" She counters.

"Well…no. Truth is, we're all pretty concerned for you. Uh- those of us that work here, that is."

Catra scowls. "I don't n-need your pity." She stands up and starts collecting everything she left on the ice.

"I'm not giving you pity, kid, I just want to make sure you're okay!"

"Well, I-I'm fine." Catra grunts as she skates off the ice and walks to the locker room. She wishes she'd slept in an actual bed. Shit, what day is it again? I'm not late for school, am I? The clock on the wall tells her that she is, in fact, a little over an hour late for school. With a sigh, she packs up her hockey bag and starts walking to her school building.

 

----

 

"How kind of you to show up for class today, Catrina," her physics teacher tells her as she walks through the door. Whoever decided that I was gonna take fucking physics first thing in the morning should go to hell.

"Yeah, well, here I am," Catra responds with a sigh.

"Do you have an excuse for your absence?"

"Nope." She pops the P at the end.

"And you know that five unexcused tardies counts as a detention, correct?"

"Just give me the damn thing already," she growls. A few kids behind her snicker.

"You're being a distraction to my class," the teacher points out as they take a detention form from their desk and start filling it out.

"How is that my fault? You're teaching a bunch of teenagers physics at nine in the morning, of course they don't want to pay attention."

"You're the one that decided to take this class."

"Yeah, and I've got a 98 in it, so just give me the detention and keep teaching." The teacher scowls and hands Catra the detention form. Two hours of after-school detention, whoopie.

"Someone ought to tell your mother about your behaviour," the teacher bites back.

"Hey, if you can find her, feel free to tell her whatever you want. She's been out of the picture since I was two. So, what are we talking about today? Velocity? Get on with it."

The teacher glares at her and reluctantly continues their lesson.

 

----

 

Catra trudges into the after-school detention room, finding the room mostly empty. The teacher supervising the students looks like they want to be there as much as the students themselves do.

"Detention again, sweetie?" They ask as Catra hands them the detention form.

"Well, you know me," Catra replies.

"Go take your seat wherever you'd like."

Catra finds a seat near the back of the class and puts her head down, hoping to get a few hours of sleep. This plan is ruined the second the teacher leaves to use the bathroom and a book gets chucked at Catra's head. She whips her head up and sees Octavia sneering at her from the other side of the class.

"Tired, pipsqueak?" She jeers.

"Fuck off."

"Aw, baby's mad! Are you gonna go home to your mommy and cry? Oh, wait- she didn't want anything to do with you!"

"Tell me, is it hard still being in high school after you were held back twice? You turn nineteen soon, don't you?" Octavia scowls and tosses another book at Catra's head, but this time, she has time to dodge. "Yikes, stupid and you can't throw."

"I'll kick your ass right here, runt," Octavia warns.

"I'm not in the mood to show you how wrong you are. Just let me take a nap," Catra responds.

"Oh, I'll put you to sleep, alright." Octavia stands up and quickly walks towards Catra, who doesn't have any space to get out of her awkward seat-desk before she's grabbed by the collar of her shirt and slammed against the wall. "I'm gonna make you wish you moved to Bright Moon with your blonde little friend."

"Fuck you!" Catra squirms to get out of Octavia's grasp, but it doesn't take long for Octavia to punch her straight in the eye. "SON OF A BITCH!!"

"Doesn't feel too good, does it?" Octavia mocks. "Remember when you gave me a black eye during practice a few years ago?" Catra just kicks weakly at the much larger girl in response. "What, you're not having fun yet?" Another punch, this time to her nose.

"You're g-gonna get caught," Catra squeaks, grabbing her nose.

"I'll make this quick, then." A hard punch to the temple knocks Catra out cold, and Octavia sits her back down at her seat with her head against the desk. "Sleep tight, squirt."

Detention ends in two hours and Octavia leaves Catra behind, still knocked out in her seat. The teacher walks over to Catra and gently shakes her shoulder. "Catrina? Are you okay?" The girl in question groans and lifts her head, revealing a sizable puddle of blood left on the desk and a steady trail going down her face.

"Huh? Time to go?" Catra asks.

"Dear lord, what happened?" The teacher asks in response.

"Oh. I just…walked into a wall. Face-first. You know how it is. I can, uh, I can clean this up." She goes to the bathroom and comes back with enough paper towels to clean her desk, then grabs her backpack and walks towards the door.

"Are you sure you're okay?" The teacher questions.

"Yup. See you next time."

Catra walks back to the ice rink in a sour mood. Not only does she have a black eye, but she got blood all over her favourite shirt. Weaver's probably gonna be mad when I have to wash it and try to get the stain out. She's always fucking mad. She heads into the locker room and gets ready for practice, hoping no one will ask her about her eye.

 

----

 

When Coach Hordak lets her lead practice, it's brutal. The drills are normal to Catra, who's been doing them for years now, but no one else is prepared for the level of intensity. After practice one day, Scorpia confronts her friend.

"Hey, Wildcat, how're you feeling? Because, um, it kind of seems like you could use a break-"

"I don't need a fucking break, Scorpia. I need to get back on the ice," Catra grumbles.

"You're really overworking it, and me and Entrapta are worried. Why don't you just head home?"

"Scorpia," Catra warns, "I didn't ask for you to fucking mother me. You and Entrapta can go do whatever, I didn't ask you to be my friends. Just stay away, alright?" Scorpia nods slowly with a frown on her face and walks out of the locker room. The Horde has gotten pretty tired of Catra, so a few of them have decided to take her down a peg. Scorpia wanted to warn Catra, but now she's not so sure.

"Alright," Octavia starts, "we're all on the same page here, yeah? Catra needs to calm the fuck down, and we gotta teach her a lesson ourselves." She's meeting with a group of players behind the ice rink, including Lonnie, Double Trouble, and even Scorpia. "I didn't expect you to be here, Scorpia, don't you have the hots for her?" Octavia snickers.

"It's- she needs help, and I don't think she'll listen any other way. I'm desperate, here!"

"Fine, fine, whatever, as long as you're not gonna sell us out."

"Just…promise you won't hurt her?" Scorpia asks.

"We won't hurt her. That badly. Come on, you can trust me, can't you?" Double Trouble says with a smile.

The group agrees that Scorpia is going to distract Catra at practice tomorrow, so they'll have time to enact their plan. The day of the plan, Scorpia corners Catra at practice.

"Hey, Wildcat! Ready for a good day on the ice?"

"A good day is when we win," Catra grumbles.

"Are you…getting much sleep there? Not to be rude, but you look-"

"Jesus Christ, Scorpia, how many times do I have to tell you, I'm fine! Just stop bugging me all the time! Don't you have some other people to hang out with; I don't need you!!" Catra shouts.

"Catra, you- you don't mean that," Scorpia starts. Catra laughs almost hysterically.

"Yes! Yes, I do! Go follow someone else around like a god damn puppy! You're fucking useless, Scorpia, when are you going to get that?!" Scorpia opens her mouth to reply, but even she wasn't expecting a response this harsh.

"Just fuck off, alright? I've got actual work to do, so get out of my way," Catra says, pushing past her friend and walking towards the locker room. Before she can realize something's going on, she's tackled to the ground. "Ow, what the fuck?!"

"Hey, Kitten," Double Trouble drawls, looking down at Catra. "Sorry it had to be this way."

"What- ugh, what are you talking about? Octavia, let me fucking go!!" Catra struggles to break free from Octavia's hold on her.

"Yeah, you'd like that, wouldn't you?" Octavia mocks as she drags Catra up. "The whole locker room thing didn't chill you out, so we're trying something new this time. How's that sound?"

"It sounds like you're a fucking dumbass, Scorpia's right there, she's not gonna let you hurt me, right Scorpia?" The girl in question only stares sadly at Catra. "Scorpia?"

"You're a bad friend," Scorpia says before walking away.

"Scorpia! SCORPIA!! I SWEAR TO GOD IF YOU DON'T GET BACK-" Catra's cut off by a sharp punch to the gut from Lonnie.

"Sorry, captain, but someone's gotta teach you this lesson," Lonnie remarks. She doesn't look sorry.

"What're you gonna get out of this, huh? Your best player injured? You don't think Coach will tell something's up?" Catra asks, biting back a groan.

"Oh, we're sure he will," Double Trouble answers, "but we're also sure that he won't care that much. We're guaranteed to make the playoffs at this point, right?"

"You're a piece of shit," Catra growls.

"Any last words, pipsqueak?" Octavia says into Catra's ear.

"Yeah, suck my dick." Octavia throws Catra to the ground and the rest of the players in the locker room start raining down hits. It hurts so bad, but soon enough, it's over. Octavia lands one more punch to the face before grabbing Catra by the collar of her shirt and tossing her outside. Catra waits until the door is closed, then pukes the contents of her stomach onto the pavement. After that, she flops onto the ground and pants, trying desperately to catch her breath. A few minutes pass, and Catra finds the strength to climb to her hands and knees. Her mouth tastes like copper, so she spits, and in the puddle of blood she produces is a tooth. A tooth! Those assholes knocked out a tooth!! Oh, Weaver's not gonna be happy, Catra thinks, making her stomach turn again. She allows herself another couple of minutes to get some strength back. Afterwards, she shakily stands up and walks home. Going back to practice sounds like a bad idea.

Once Catra gets home, she realizes that she can't just walk in. Weaver will know something's up. Catra sighs. Well, I can't go to Scorpia's house, I think I fucked that up. I could wait outside the ice rink, but there's no guarantee they wouldn't come back to gang up on me again. I guess I could break into the school? She shrugs and makes her way to Fright City High School.

 

----

 

Catra picks the lock on the gymnasium door and peeks her head in. The lights are off, but nothing's making any noise, so Catra steps in and turns on the lights. No one's there. She unzips her hockey bag and pulls out her roller blades, and starts her practice routine like normal. It's much hotter here than on the ice, probably because Catra's still wearing full gear and the temperature in the gym is a regular, non-ice-rink temperature. After 20 minutes, she skates back to her hockey bag. Fuck. Someone must've taken my water bottle. Catra grimaces, but ultimately keeps practicing by herself. Her shot is lethal, and she knows no one in the league can match it. She's seen scouts in the stands of the rink watching her, and she knows how important this is. The playoffs are coming up soon. Suddenly, the gym door opens, and Catra looks towards it.

Mr. Prime is standing there.

"Catrina, I thought I might find you here. I was told by your coach that you weren't at practice. Why is that?" Mr. Prime asks.

"Oh, I- uh, I wasn't feeling well, and I didn't want to make anyone else sick," Catra lies.

Mr. Prime hums. "Is that so? How very…noble of you." All Catra can do is nod. She remembers that she has a tooth missing, and is making a concerted effort not to show Mr. Prime. "You wouldn't lie to me, would you, Catrina?"

"Of course not, Mr. Prime."

"Interesting. I called your caretaker this afternoon, and she said you were doing just fine. Am I to believe that she is a liar?" Catra really does feel sick now. She's in big trouble.

"Oh, um, no sir, Mr. Prime, it- it happened at school this morning. It's not serious, I just- I don't want my teammates to get sick because of me," Catra manages to squeak out.

"I see. Well, I suppose I should let you back to your practice, hm?" All Catra can do is nod furiously. "Very well, I hope to see you perform well and win in the playoffs, Catrina. You're the captain for a reason," Mr. Prime states as he walks back out of the gym. As soon as he's gone, Catra looks around the gym to make sure she's alone before she falls to her knees and breaks into tears. She's just so tired.

Chapter Text

The playoff format is simple: there are 16 teams, and 4 rounds. The first round has 8 matchups, the second round has 4, the semi-finals has 2, and the finals, of course, is just made of one matchup. Each team plays their matchup until one of them wins four games, allowing for a total of seven games. The Horde is slated to play the Mystacor Sorcerers in the first round. The series goes off without a hitch; a 4-game sweep. The second round, the Horde faces off against the Plumeria Warriors. Catra always thought the Warriors was a stupid name for such a bad hockey team. Either way, it's another sweep for the Horde. They've been sleeping through the competition.

It's only during the third matchup, against the Salineas Pirates, that the Horde has some trouble. Their defence is much better than expected, but ultimately, they beat the Pirates in 6 games. Catra's been paying close attention to the Rebels, of course. They've been running through their competition just as easily as the Horde had. Catra huffs. I'd like to see Bright Moon try us again.

Catra gets her wish: the Horde will play the Rebels in the finals.

The first game of the series is a 4-2 win for the Horde. There's a large celebration in their locker room. Catra glances towards the Rebels' locker room and sees an angry Glimmer and a tired Adora. Huh. I thought this would've felt better. The second game is also a Horde win. Of course, this makes them cocky, and they lose the next game. Not only that, but Entrapta got injured during the game when she got in front of one of Adora's slapshots. Fuck. The next game is a defensive mess because Entrapta's gone, and the Horde loses again. And again. The series is now 3-2 in favour of the Rebels. Mr. Prime calls Catra into his office after the last game.

"I've been watching you very closely this series, Catrina. So far, I'm impressed," Mr. Prime starts.

"T-thank you, sir," Catra mumbles.

"Do you know how much a finals victory would mean to this franchise?"

"It- we haven't won a title since Mara Greyskull played," Catra replies. She vividly remembers how excited Mara was at the time.

"Yes, very good. Because of this, I'd like to invite you to my home to review tape with myself and your coach," Mr. Prime says.

"Um, I don't think Ms.-"

"Don't worry, I've talked to your caretaker. She's perfectly fine with this. I'll see you tomorrow at 6, okay?" Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, FUCK!!! This isn't supposed to happen, oh, god, none of this was supposed to happen, we should've won this game, god, I'm so fucked… Catra gulps, nodding in response. "Good. You may return to your teammates, now." Catra does as he says and rushes out of the office. When she gets home, Catra receives a stern talking-to from Weaver, but no physical violence. She knows she's lucky.

The next day, Catra wakes up in a cold sweat. God, I really don't want to do this, I don't even remember all of the first time I went there, Jesus, this can't be happening. Her stomach turns and she runs to the bathroom, just barely making it in time to empty her stomach into the toilet. Afterwards, she slumps in front of the toilet and sighs. There's nothing she can do to prepare for this evening. Catra supposes all she can do is suck it up.

When the clock hits 6, Catra is standing outside Mr. Prime's house, about to knock on the door, when the same man (she's assuming) as last time opens the door.

"Catrina. Your presence is requested in the television room," the man says a little bit too monotonously for Catra's liking.

"Yeah, um, sure…" She follows the man into a room with a large TV screen, and sitting in front of it are Coach Hordak and Mr. Prime. Catra takes a deep breath before clearing her throat to announce her entrance. Both figures in the room turn around.

"Ah, Catrina, there you are," Mr. Prime notes, "do you remember all those years ago when you tried out for the Horde?"

Catra's confused. This can't be good. "Uh- yes, sir."

"Do you remember what I told you?"

"You told me that I was gonna lead this team to the championships."

"Yes, that's correct. Can you tell me how you've been doing that in these past two games?" Fuck. FUCK.

"I- I've been scoring as much as possible, and I've made sure that Adora's line has only scored against mine twice. Um- sir. Last time I looked, we're up 7-2 goals when they're on the ice." Catra says. Her defensive play really has been impressive these past two games.

"Be that as it may, that's only half of what I asked you to do. I also asked you to win. You're here because I'd like to give you an…incentive to play better next game," Mr. Prime adds. Catra really doesn't like the smirk on his face, and Coach Hordak hasn't said anything to her yet. He pulls a remote from his pocket and turns on the large TV screen in front of the three of them. It shows camera footage, and good camera footage at that, nothing like the grainy feeds she'd seen from other cameras. It's footage of Catra standing in front of Mr. Prime's desk. I don't remember this…

Oh. Oh, no, no, no, no, no, this can't be-

The Catra on-screen wavers for a moment before falling over, her eyes still wide open with pupils dilated. Real Catra feels the hair on the back of her neck stand up. She knows what's coming, she just doesn't want to watch. She can't watch.

"Do you think you can fill in the blanks from there, Catrina?" Mr. Prime asks patronizingly. Catra gives him a few quick nods. "Good. These are the consequences of losing. It's your choice, now, but I would recommend winning, Catrina." Mr. Prime isn't smiling anymore. It terrifies Catra.

"Y-yes sir, of c-course, Mr. Prime," Catra stutters.

"You may leave now," Mr. Prime allows, waving his hand towards the door. Catra walks out of the house and runs into an empty clearing before losing her shit. She's full-on sobbing, terrified of what might- no, what will happen if she doesn't win these next two hockey games. Catra doesn't know how long it takes, but eventually she calms down enough to trudge home and try to get some sleep for the game tomorrow. Needless to say, the Horde cleanly wins the next game.

 

----

 

The Horde locker room is tense before game 7 of the finals. Catra's taping her stick like she always does when she looks up to see Scorpia and Entrapta talking and laughing on the other side of the locker room. She sighs and looks away. Yeah, I fucked that up, she thinks, remembering what she said to Scorpia before the finals. She feels around the gap in her teeth with her tongue. Catra still isn't really used to it, and it still aches every once in a while. Weaver wasn't happy about it, either. Catra is drawn out of her thoughts when Coach Hordak comes into the locker room. All of the players stop talking and stare at him.

"Listen well, children," Coach Hordak says, "for some of you, this will be the deciding game on whether or not you will continue a career in this sport. If you truly have the talent, you will win this game for the Horde. Any questions?" The players look around the locker room, but eventually all shake their heads. No one ever got used to Coach's "pep talks." He steps out of the room and the talking among each other continues. Weaver's pep talks weren't any better this morning.

"Do you understand how important this game is for you, Catrina?" Weaver asks.

"Of course, Ms. Weaver. I need to win this game," Catra replies, not afraid of any extra punishment Weaver could throw on her if she loses. It couldn't possibly be worse than what Mr. Prime has in store for her if the Horde doesn't win.

"You have been working on this for a long time, child. Don't disappoint me this time."

Catra shakes her head. C'mon, focus on the game. You can't fuck this up.

 

----

 

The referee skates to centre ice, followed by Catra and Adora, both captains of their respective teams. Adora looks up at Catra.

"Hey, no matter what happens, good game, right?" Adora asks with a smile.

Catra scoffs, "whatever." The puck is dropped. The game starts.

The first period is full of fast-paced offence, with both Catra and Adora scoring for their respective teams. They put the score at 1-1. The second period is a little rougher for both teams. While Adam has scored 2 goals for the Rebels, Scorpia slammed a slapshot into the net that must've dinged the Rebels' goalie, because he looks uncomfortable. This leaves room for Octavia to slide one past him, making the score a 3-3 tie. It gets real during the third period.

Looking back, Catra will regret this, but now, she sees Adam gliding across the ice with the puck on his stick, hungry for a hat trick. He's threatening her future. Instead of making a clean defensive play, Catra skates towards him and hits his knee with hers, sending them both down to the ice. She gets up as quickly as she fell down, grabs the puck, takes it to the Rebels net, and scores. Once she's done with her celly, she looks over to Adam. He's still on the ice, clutching his knee in pain. Oh, shit, I didn't mean to make it that hard! Catra has never been a big person. Years of abuse have left her perpetually malnourished, so she's never worried about checking somebody too hard before. Then again, she's never hit somebody straight on their kneecap.

"HEY, WHAT THE FUCK??" Catra turns. Glimmer is skating towards her, tossing her gloves onto the ice. Catra smirks and takes of her helmet, throws her gloves, and grabs Glimmer's jersey. This isn't how she expected the game to go, but if it'll get some momentum back for her team, hell, she's captain for a reason. Unfortunately, she hadn't considered the difference in weight class between the two skaters. Plus, Glimmer's angry. Like, really angry. After Catra lands a punch to Glimmer's nose that she knows has to hurt, Glimmer punches Catra right in the jaw, first with her left hand, then with her significantly stronger right hand, and Catra falls to the ice. Glimmer doesn't stop after that, though. She straddles Catra's hips and keeps raining down punches onto her. Catra's in no position to dodge, so she blocks as many hits as possible with her forearms before they give out and Glimmer starts landing punches to the face. Eventually, the refs break up the fight and help Catra up.

"YOU HEAR ME, WEAVER?? IF I EVER SEE YOU AGAIN, I'LL HIT YOU TWICE AS HARD, YOU DIRTY BITCH!! FUCK YOU!!!" Glimmer shouts as the refs take her to the penalty box. Catra is stuck in the opposite box, still catching her breath. Glimmer drew blood, so she'll have to stay in the penalty box for longer. Catra's pretty sure her nose is broken, and she knows for certain that her face is littered with bruises. While they're in the penalty box, a Rebel scores, tying the game once again. The third period ends, and the game will have to go into overtime. Though overtime is just as fast and exciting as regulation, nothing comes of it, which means the final game of the season will be decided by shootout. Just one skater against the opposing goalie. Whoever scores 3 goals first wins, so long as the other team does not score after the winning goal.

 

----

 

Since the Rebels are the visiting team, they go first. They send out a short girl with dark blue hair. Catra scoffs. The girl doesn't score. The Horde sends out Lonnie, and she doesn't score either. Next, the Rebels send another girl with blue hair, though hers is more turquoise, and she's much taller than the first girl and has darker skin. She actually scores. Shit, shit, SHIT. The Horde sends out Octavia, who doesn't score. Catra growls at her when she gets back to the bench. Octavia actually looks a little intimidated. The Rebels then send out a boy with a dumb looking mustache. He does not score, and he trips while skating back to the ice. Next up for the Horde is Double Trouble, and they score.

They bring the shootout to 1-1. Next, the Rebels send out Adora, who obviously scores. The Horde retaliates with Scorpia, who pushes the puck past the goalie. 2-2, now. Whoever scores next will win, as long as the other team doesn't score directly after. The Rebels send out Glimmer, who scores, causing her bench to jump up and cheer. Coach Hordak nudges Catra. If she doesn't score, the Horde's season is over. She takes a deep breath and hops onto the ice. Catra gulps.

I can do this. I've scored against this guy tons of times. I've practiced this since I was too young to remember. I got it. She looks to the Horde bench; every player is glued to the edge of the bench. Then, she looks at the Rebels' bench, and sees Adora. She looks so hopeful. Both girls have worked so hard for this. If Catra scores now, she'll ruin it for Adora. I don't care about Adora, I need this goal. Catra shoots a quick exhale, taps the backs of her skates on the ice twice, and speeds forward. She comes in from the right, stick handling quickly. Time seems to slow down for her as she moves her hands to shoot a snapshot. The puck is tossed off the ice, into the air, and goes past the goalie's glove. She beats the goalie, but she can't beat the goalpost. The puck hits the crossbar with a loud ding and everything stops as the puck ricochets back towards Catra. She didn't score.

Catra falls to her knees as the Bright Moon bench explodes and rushes onto the ice. They're all so excited, jumping up and down, hugging each other, everything Catra and Adora have wanted since they were young enough to want anything. At least Adora gets it, Catra thinks grimly as she skates off the ice. She takes as long as possible to pack up her things. She really doesn't want to meet Mr. Prime in his office. She can't delay the inevitable forever, though, so she takes a deep breath and walks into the office.

"Catrina. I'm very disappointed with your performance tonight," Mr. Prime starts. He looks deadly serious. Catra gulps.

"I-I'm sorry, sir. It won't happen again."

"No, it won't. You were well aware of the consequences for your actions, and you chose to fail me anyway. No matter, you will be of use to me yet." Catra looks down at her feet. "Go to your coach's car, he will provide you transportation to my house."

"Wait-"

"You've given me no choice, Catrina, now, go," Mr. Prime demands. Catra nods, eyes wide, and walks out to Coach Hordak's car. He glares at her.

"You can't even begin to imagine the punishments Prime will inflict upon you," Coach Hordak says with a sneer. Catra shivers. She doesn't like the sound of that at all. The car ride to Mr. Prime's house is silent. Catra's never been a religious person, but now she's starting to wish she was. At least she'd have something to pray to now. Coach Hordak leads Catra to a bedroom and tells her to wait. Catra sits on the bed and tries not to cry. You knew this was going to happen. You knew, and you still fucked up. Aren't you disappointed in yourself? Catra furrows her eyebrows. No, I don't deserve this. No one deserves this. I- I can't let this happen. I need to leave. She goes to the door and tries to open it, but it's locked. There's no keyhole, either, which would've been a big help for Catra. She learned how to pick locks at a pretty young age. One of the Hordak lookalikes opens the door and hands Catra a strip of paper.

"You know what to do," is all he says. The man doesn't stop staring at Catra until she's placed the paper on her tongue. Catra takes a breath and the man closes the door after a few seconds of nodding. No, no, no, no, this can't happen, I- no, no, shit!! She scans the room and finds a window. Catra rushes towards it and opens it as quickly as she can. Fuck, Catra thinks while she looks down, that's not gonna be a fun drop. She doesn't know if the drug has started kicking in or if she's that desperate to escape, but when she hears the door open again, she panics and jumps out of the window, and hits the ground hard on her ankle, tumbling to her hands and knees after.

"Ungh, fuck me," Catra says, getting up. She tries to flex her ankle, only to receive a stab of pain when she does so. She looks back up at the window and sees Mr. Prime staring incredulously down at her.

"BROTHER," he shouts, "GO BRING BACK OUR GUEST!" Catra's eyes widen. Fuck, god, oh, no, shit, fuck- She starts running as fast as her hurt ankle will let her. Catra's headed towards the Whispering Woods. There's a backroad winding through it, and she thinks that maybe she can lose whoever's chasing her if she takes it. After a few minutes of hobble-running, Catra finds the road, but her head is getting fuzzy again. Oh, shit, I forgot to take the paper off my tongue!!

She stops running and reaches into her mouth, but she can't find her tongue. It was right there just a minute ago, she thinks. Tongues aren't supposed to go anywhere, what the hell… Suddenly, everything gets really bright, and Catra turns her head, only to find it brighter in that direction. There's a loud noise, then…nothing. The whole world goes black, but at least Catra knows she's slipping into unconsciousness this time.

Chapter Text

Catra is content to float around consciousness for a while. She's not really aware of anything going on around her, aside from the occasional jolt of pain, but that's fine by her. She doesn't want to know what happened, anyway. Maybe I'm dead, she thinks. That would solve all my issues right there, wouldn't it? Her dreams fade out of her mind, though, as she starts to wake up. Or, she tries to, but her eyes won't open. No, god, no, that's not good- She tries to move her head, but it aches so badly- she decides against trying again. Catra grunts, trying to open her eyes. Maybe they're already open, and everything's just dark? She can't tell.

As her senses come back to her one by one, Catra can hear something beeping at a steady rate. It's either surprisingly loud or relatively close to her. Either way, she doesn't like it. She's pretty sure she can hear an air conditioning unit somewhere. Next, she tries to feel something. Her right hand just feels fuzzy and heavy. There's something soft under her left hand. Maybe it's a bed? Wherever Catra is, it doesn't smell like anything in particular, but she's pretty sure Glimmer broke her nose, so that isn't surprising. Her mouth tastes funny, though. Why does-

Catra whimpers as suddenly the world gets bright again. Turns out her eyes were open, and everything was really dark. "Oh, sorry," she hears a voice whisper, "I thought you were still asleep!" The lights are dimmed, making everything much easier on her eyes. Now, she can see the room around her. Still squinting a little, she can see that she's on a bed with clean white sheets. Shit, Prime found me, didn't he? God, I'm so fucked!!

"Don't try to move around, okay?" The voice whispers again. "You've been…hurt, really badly. Just relax, you're safe here." That doesn't assure Catra at all. She tries to say something, but all she can do is croak out a pitiful, "I-" before exploding into a coughing fit. God, it's so painful. Coughing shouldn't hurt nearly this much- Catra feels like her lungs are going to pop out of her chest. Suddenly, she feels a pair of hands gently raise her into a sitting position, which makes it much easier to cough. The coughing dies down after about 20 seconds, but now she can taste copper in her mouth.

"Can you lift your left hand, honey?" The voice asks. Catra struggles, but she shakily raises it up to about chin-level. "Great, you're doing fine. Put up one finger for yes, and two fingers for no, alright?" Catra considers it for a moment, and puts up one finger. Her brain still feels hazy, like she's on the edge of consciousness at all times.

"Do you know how old you are?" One finger. Catra feels like she's been seventeen forever. "Good, good, do you remember what happened?" After a moment of thinking, Catra puts up two fingers. She remembers the finals game went into overtime, but everything after that is a messy blur in her head. "Okay, that's fine. Do you know where you are?" Two fingers. She's praying that she's not where she thinks she is. "You're doing great, honey, don't worry. Catra feels something being dabbed around her chin. Has she been drooling or something? That's embarrassing. Weaver will never let you hear the end of it.

A finger is lifted up into Catra's vision. "I'm going to move my finger, can you follow it without moving your head? Just your eyes." One finger. Catra's having a very hard time keeping up with the finger moving left and right. Is this supposed to happen? I feel like I should have this… Suddenly, the finger is gone. "That was great, sweetie. Do you want to go back to sleep? Some rest would really help." Catra considers it, and she thinks she's pretty tired. She puts up one finger, and she's lowered back down into a resting position. "I'll be back in a few hours, okay? Try to get some sleep." The room goes pitch black again and Catra falls right back to sleep.

 

----

 

The next time Catra wakes up, the lights are a little brighter, and she can just barely make out somebody in the room with her. Oh, god, it's Prime, oh, fuck- Catra tries to sit up, but her chest feels like it's being stabbed, so she whimpers and stays lying down.

"Woah, don't try to sit up! I don't want you to hurt yourself anymore than you're already hurt," the voice from before whispers. Catra grunts in affirmation. She doesn't want to try moving again, anyway. "Are you feeling any better?" Catra lifts up two fingers and the voice chuckles. "I'm glad you remember that. Let me turn on the lights a little more."

The room gets brighter, and Catra is lifted into a sitting position again. Her head starts to ache, but she works past it out of a need to see where she is and who she's with. Catra squints her eyes and sees a woman in pink scrubs, looking worriedly at Catra. Huh. I don't recognize her. That should be a good sign, right? The room around her is white, but there's way too much stuff in the room for it to be at Prime's house. Catra gives a small sigh of relief.

"Can you see better, now?" One finger. The woman smiles. "Great! My name is Spinnerella, and I'm a nurse here at this hospital." Hospital? Oh, that isn't good. "There's a man here who's been waiting to talk to you, he was apparently involved in your accident and brought you here. Do you want me to let him in?" Catra's eyes widen as she puts up two fingers. "Got it. Do you think you could handle some water?" One finger. Spinnerella smiles and holds up a bottle of water. She gently tips the water into Catra's mouth. It feels weird to swallow, but god does it feel good on her throat. She gets through about half the bottle before Spinnerella sets it back down. "My wife, Netossa, is your doctor. I'm going to go outside for a moment and grab her, okay?" One finger.

Spinnerella leaves Catra alone with her thoughts for only a minute or so before she comes back with another woman. "Hey, kid, how are you feelin'?" The woman asks. Catra assumes that's Netossa. She furrows her eyebrows and puts up two fingers. Netossa looks confused and asks her wife, "um, honey, what's she doing?"

Spinnerella giggles. "Two fingers means no, one finger means yes."

"Ah, you're not doing so well, then. Well, that's okay, we're here to help!" What the fuck did this lady eat for breakfast that's making her so chipper? "Do you remember what got you here?" Two fingers. "Do you want to know?" One finger. "Last night, a man accidentally hit you with a car in the middle of the Whispering Woods. This man said you were being chased by another man, whom he told off as he picked you up and drove you to the hospital." Whispering Woods? The rink isn't anywhere near there, what was I doing? Who the hell was chasing me?

Catra feels so much weight lifted off her shoulders anyway. It doesn't sound like Prime was the one who sent her here. "Do you want to know about your injuries?" Netossa asks. One finger. "Well, aside from the serious concussion, the most concerning injury is the fractured femur in your left leg. Don't worry, it won't require surgery, just a few months to heal. You've also got a broken right wrist with two broken fingers on that hand, and several fractured ribs, as well as a broken nose." Catra's eyes widen. Oh, fuck.

"You won't feel anything right now because we've got you hooked up onto some pretty powerful medication," Spinnerella explains. "The man who hit you with his car feels just terrible about it, are you sure you don't want to meet him?" Catra thinks about it for a moment. I know it isn't Prime. It should be safe, right? Catra lifts up two fingers and Spinnerella smiles. "He's a very nice man, we'll give you two a few minutes alone while we get some things ready for you." Spinnerella and Netossa leave the room, and after a few seconds, a man with longer hair and a salt-and-pepper beard walks in.

"Hey, there, kiddo, it's good to see you awake!" The man says. "I was really, really worried about you, and I'm so sorry I hit you! I really didn't mean to, and you just came out of nowhere- n-not that it's your fault! One-hundred percent on me. I'm just relieved that you're okay," the man rambles. "Can you tell me your name?"

Catra thinks about it for a moment, then rasps, "C-Catra. 'S my name." The man's face lights up.

"That's great! Do you have any parents or family you want me to call?"

"Nuh-uh."

"No? Really? You don't want to let anyone know you're here?"

"No. D-don' got parents, no friends. My guardian doesn' like me, I'm alone," Catra explains.

"Oh, Catra, that sounds awful, I'm sure that's not true! You're on someone's health insurance, right?"

Oh. Oh, no. Catra hadn't even considered health insurance. She can't remember ever having to go to the doctor, and Weaver never got sick. Fuck, how am I gonna pay for this?? I don’t even have anywhere to go, Weaver won't take me back after I lost the game, I scared off Adora and Scorpia and Entrapta, fuck, FUCK!!

"Hey, don't cry, it's okay!" The man rushes to say. Catra hadn't realized that she's crying. "I'm the one that hurt you, so I'll pay whatever bills come from this, it's only fair." She raises her eyebrows. "Really! You're only a kid, and if what you're saying is true, then you can't pay it on your own. Don't worry about it!"

"Th-thanks," Catra sputters.

The man smiles. "Of course. Now, where are you going to stay after today? The hospital wants to keep you for the rest of the day just to monitor your concussion symptoms and to wait for whatever drug you were on to leave your system."

"Drug?" Catra asks. She doesn't remember smoking recently.

"Yeah, apparently you'd consumed something the doctor can't quite identify. Do you remember what happened?" Oh. I think I know what happened, now.

"Bad guy, has- has paper drug? Made me f-feel, um, feel weird. Dizzy? T-too many colours," Catra tries to explain.

"So this wasn't a drug you wanted to take?" The man asks, concern written clearly on his face.

"Nuh-uh."

"That's…disturbing. Do you think if you go back where you used to live that you'll be safe from this bad guy?" Catra considers it. If she goes back to Weaver, she'll just send her right back to Prime, and if she can't remember what happened after the finals game, then she doesn't want to even imagine what'll happen if he gets her back.

"Nuh-uh."

"…Do you want to come home with me?" Catra stiffens. "No, no, not like- let me rephrase that, sorry. You don't have anywhere else to stay, right? I've got a home in Bright Moon with a wife and a daughter who's probably around your age, and I can promise it'd be comfortable, at least. You don't have to say yes, okay? I don't want you to feel pressured at all. It sounds like you've been some traumatic shit, kiddo, and I don't want to make things harder for you when the hospital discharges you tonight," the man adds. Catra frowns.

"You don' want me. I'm trouble," Catra mumbles.

"Trouble? No, I'm trouble, I hit you with my car in the middle of the night! I promise you'll be safe, okay? You can stay for as long as you want, if you even want to stay at all. It's really your choice."

"…Really?"

"Really!"

"'S not nice to lie t' people," Catra says.

"I'm not lying, kiddo, you're already really hurt, I don't want to make anything worse. You're really welcome to stay for as long as you want."

Catra can feel herself tearing up. He shouldn't be this nice to me, I'm not nice to be around. I ruin people. I'm a fucking curse. At the same time, though, she really doesn't have anywhere to go, and this man seems genuine.

"That's s-so nice," Catra says before crying. The man's eyes widen and he walks close to Catra's bed.

"You want to come with?" He asks.

"Please," Catra mumbles.

"Can I hug you?" Catra nods very slowly, as to not make her headache worse. The man pulls her into a gentle hug, careful not to squeeze too tight and hurt Catra more.

"It's gonna be okay, kiddo. I promise, I won't let anything happen to you," the man assures. Catra hopes that for the first time in her life, she doesn't have to assume a promise is a lie.

 

----

 

The rest of the day flies by for Catra, since she's asleep for most of it. She helps the man fill out hospital paperwork by drowsily providing him information.

"You said your name is Catra, right? Where does that come from?" He asks from the chair in Catra's hospital room.

"It's a nickname," Catra responds, "short for Catrina."

"What about your last name?"

Catra chuckles. "Dunno. I'm adopted." The man gives Catra an apologetic look, but her eyes are closed, already half asleep.

"Okay, I'll just skip that for now…how about your age?"

"Seventeen."

"Really? You're so…small…"

"Mhmmm. Never ate much," Catra adds. She was recently given some stronger pain medication, and it's beginning to kick in.

"Any known allergies?" The man asks, choosing to ignore Catra's last statement. It doesn't seem like something she'd want to dwell on.

"Nuh-uh."

"Family his- you know what? Never mind, I think I know the answer…"

Catra giggles, startling the man. "You're funny!" The nurse from earlier walks into the room, holding an orange bottle of pills.

"How are you feeling, Catra?" Spinnerella asks.

"Jus' peachy," Catra mumbles with a smile.

"Good! If I give you information about your injuries, are you going to be able to remember it?"

"Of course!" The man gives Spinnerella a look.

"Right, I’ll just…write them down so you don't forget," the nurse adds. "Concussions are tricky, so you should stay out of direct light for a little while, and make sure you aren't overloading any of your senses. I'll have you come back in a week to get you fitted for casts on your leg and hand. For now, just make sure the splints stay on, okay?" Catra hums in affirmation. "Your nose will heal naturally, just try not to hit it against anything else in the near future. You need to be very careful about your ribs, though, dear. We don't want them to accidentally puncture a lung, so for now, we're recommending strict bedrest. No strenuous activity, alright?"

"What about sleep?" Catra asks. Spinnerella raises an eyebrow.

"That's…fine. Good, actually. Get as much sleep as you can. You've got a small sprain on your right ankle that you shouldn't have to worry about, since your left femur won't let you walk around any. Your various cuts and bruises should be alright with time, too. Your two broken fingers are taped to the non-broken fingers next to them so they can heal easier. Replace the tape whenever you need to. We're going to prescribe you some pretty powerful medication, so take it only when regulated, okay? That's very important."

"Never got medicine at home," Catra notes. The man cringes and Spinnerella furrows her eyebrows.

"Um…do you have any questions? Either of you?" Spinnerella asks. The man shakes his head while Catra seems to ignore her. "Right, okay. Well, sir, whenever you're finished with that, we can get Catra into a wheelchair and you can take her home, alright?"

"Sounds good, ma'am," the man says, "we really appreciate your help." When the man finally finishes up the paperwork, Spinnerella and the man help Catra into a wheelchair. She makes racecar noises all the way to the man's car. Catra's surprisingly light, so they don't have any trouble getting her in. The nurse waves goodbye as the man drives away. On the way to the man's home, Catra falls asleep and doesn't remember the man taking her inside. The next thing she knows, she's being rudely awaken by a shrill voice.

"WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING IN MY BED, WEAVER??"

Chapter Text

"Ughhh, god, w-what-" Catra's train of thought is interrupted when someone grabs her by the collar of her shirt and slams her onto the headboard of the bed, immediately bringing stars to her vision.

"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't beat you within an inch of your life," the voice growls.

"H-head…" is all Catra can make out before she hears another, deeper voice scolds the first one. She feels herself be lowered into a more comfortable position, but all she can focus on is the ringing between her ears. God, everything hurts so badly…

"-ra? Catra? Can you hear me?" A voice whispers.

"Uh-huh," Catra responds, eyes still squeezed shut.

"I'm so sorry about that, I guess you know my daughter Glimmer already?"

"B-broke my nose…"

"She did?" The voice adds more loudly. Catra whines weakly in response, eliciting an, "oh, sorry!" She can feel something petting her hair lightly. "Just stay where you are, okay? Try to go back to sleep whenever you can, and I'll make sure that doesn't happen again."

Catra hums and relaxes a bit. In a few minutes, she's back to sleep.

 

----

 

When Catra wakes up again, she sees the man sitting on a chair on the other side of the room. The lights are off, much to her delight. Last time she was awake, she remembers it being way too bright.

"Hello?" Catra squeaks out. The man jumps a little, but turns around.

"Hey, kiddo, good morning! I feel so bad about earlier; I completely forgot I never told you my name. I'm Micah Rune, and it looks like you and my daughter are already well acquainted," Micah explains. Catra hums in acknowledgement, her head hurts too much to do much else. "Are you feeling okay? Is there anything I can do for you?"

"Head…hurts," Catra complains weakly.

"Yeah, your head hit the pavement back there. You can't see it, but you'll probably have a scar from the gash on the back of your head. That's…my bad."

"It's okay. You didn't mean to."

Micah chuckles. "No, no I didn't. Do you think you could handle some medicine? It'll make you feel a whole lot better. T-totally your call, though! I don't want to make you feel pressured!"

"Sounds…nice," Catra mumbles in response. Micah smiles and walks out of the room. He comes back a minute or two later with a glass of water in one hand and an orange bottle in the other. After setting the glass down on the nightstand next to the bed, he opens the bottle and takes out two large pills. Catra wonders how she's supposed to swallow those before Micah carefully snaps them in half.

"Here, let's get you up. Can I lift you?" Micah asks. Catra nods slowly. No one's ever asked before touching her before him. It's strange. Micah lifts her delicately into a sitting position so that she can drink the water easier. "You're gonna take these one at a time, alright? I know your throat still hurts, I can hear it in your voice." Catra gives him a lopsided smile. Micah is able to get her to swallow the pills easily enough, then lowers her back down into a sleeping position.

"Thanks," Catra tells him. Micah smiles.

"No problem, kiddo, that should help a lot. What else can I do for you?" Catra gives this some thought. She'd rather not be in more debt to Micah, she doesn't know how she's supposed to ever pay him back after this.

"I'm good."

"Since you're hurt so badly, the doctor warned me that you might get sick. Don't worry, it's just your body's way of trying to make you feel better, but if you start to feel unwell, you let me know, okay?" Catra just nods slowly in response. Her throat really does hurt, but she hates silence. She can start to feel her mind drift into a blissful state of numbness.

"You're so nice t' me…why?" Catra asks. Micah tilts his head.

"What do you mean?"

"I'm notta good person…adults don' like me. Don' wanna owe you." Catra is slurring her words so heavily, Micah is having trouble making them out.

"You don't owe me anything, Catra, remember? I hit you with my truck, this is my fault. Plus, someone was chasing you in those woods, and I don't want to think about what would've happened if he caught you," Micah tells her.

"Nothin' good. Drug me again, maybe," Catra mumbles. Micah's eyes widen.

"What did you say?" Micah asks in horror. Catra giggles lowly.

"Yeah, Imma screwup, I screwed up the game, even though Prime told me not…not to." Catra's cut off by a large yawn. "Las' time I messed up, I don'…don' remember, but he, uh…nothin' good…"

Micah just looks sick. "You're just a kid, that's- oh, Catra," Micah trails off, looking away.

"Glad I got…hit by a car. No drugs for me," Catra explains with a wide, dopey smile.

"I- I'm glad you're here," is all Micah can think to say.

"Hey, can I take a nap?" Catra asks.

"Of course, kiddo. Sleep for as long as you want. I'll make sure the room stays quiet and dark for you," Micah promises with a soft smile.

Catra hums contentedly. "Thanks, Dad…" Micah raises his eyebrows and goes to question Catra, but he can hear her softly snoring and decides against it. Clearly this poor girl needs all the help she can get, and nothing is more helpful for her right now than sleep. Micah walks downstairs and finds Glimmer sitting at the kitchen table.

"Well, Dad? What's your explanation for this?" Glimmer asks, clearly angry.

"Glimmer," Angella warns, "don't be rude to your father." She's sitting at the other end of the table, reading the morning's newspaper and sipping on a cup of tea.

"How much have you talked to that girl?" Micah tentatively asks. Glimmer scoffs in reply.

"Enough to know that she's bad news. Why is she in my bed?"

"It's…I was driving home after the game last night and she was in the Whispering Woods being chased by someone and I, uh, well, I hit her with my car," Micah tries to explain.

"You WHAT?!" Glimmer cries.

"She told me she didn't have anywhere to stay after the hospital discharged her, so I offered to take her in here."

"You couldn't have just tossed her on the couch?"

"You saw how hurt she was, baby girl, you know that's not an option, plus, you have a bunk bed" Micah reasons, but Glimmer isn't having any of it.

"I don't care how hurt she is, she made Adora miserable, she's annoying and rude, and maybe she deserved to get hit by a car!"

"Glimmer!" Both of her parents chastise.

"You shouldn't wish harm on others," Angella says, narrowing her eyes. "We taught you better than that."

"Mom, she's different!" Glimmer argues.

"This girl needs help, Glimmer, so I don't care how much you might dislike her, you will be sharing a room with her until she's ready to leave. Do I make myself clear?" Angella asks with authority. Glimmer looks like she wants to punch a wall in.

"Yes, Mom, I get it," Glimmer seethes, stomping off. The kitchen is silent after Glimmer leaves.

"…Well," Micah starts, "that could've gone worse."

"It also could have gone much better," Angella sighs. "Is Catra asleep?"

"Yeah, those pain meds really knocked her out. She got all…loopy before she fell asleep and told me some things she probably wouldn't have told me otherwise."

"Such as…?"

"I don't think she's okay. Like, emotionally."

"Well, yes, Micah, she was just hit by a car," Angella notes with a sly smile.

"No, not like that, like…I think she's being abused at home."

"Oh. That's serious." Angella drops her smile.

"I don't want to draw any conclusions, but I think the man who was chasing her had drugged her and was going to rape her, maybe? That’s the impression I was getting," Micah adds, cringing.

"That's…very serious."

Micah sighs. "Do you think we're doing the right thing, Angie?" He asks.

"We're doing everything we can, dear. We know for sure that she'll be safe here," Angella assures.

"I hope you're right."

 

----

 

BANG!! BANG!! BANG!!

"Ffffuck me," Catra groans after being rudely awoken by a loud noise.

"Oh, sorry, Horde Scum, is that bothering you?" Glimmer asks. Catra can't see her, but she knows it's Glimmer anyway.

"Sparkles," Catra greets.

"You know that's not my fucking name."

"Don't care." Glimmer sneers.

"My parents say you're staying here until you feel like leaving. Is that true?"

"Don't worry, I'll be gone soon," Catra explains. "Don't wanna owe your parents."

"Good. I don't want you here," Glimmer notes.

"Feelin's mutual, Sparkles," Catra sighs.

"Fuck you."

"You wish." Glimmer suddenly drops into Catra's field of vision. Catra yelps in surprise. Where the hell did she fucking come from?? Glimmer smirks at Catra's reaction.

"Listen up. We're going to be staying here together for as long as you're here. I don't like you, and you don't like me. Would it kill you to at least get my name right?"

"Maybe. Never tried," Catra answers. Glimmer glares at her.

"Fine. Just know the top bunk's mine. Well, it's not like you can get up there anyway," Glimmer mocks. Oh, bunk beds. That explains that.

"Works for me." Glimmer gives Catra one last nasty look and leaves the room.

"I'm going to go hang out with Adora. Have fun staying here," Glimmer adds as she leaves. Catra's eyes widen. That's a low fucking blow. She tries to push Adora out of her mind. Looking around the room, even though the lights are dim, she can see how Glimmer clearly decorated it. All pastels and glitter. Weaver never let me decorate my room. The bitch called it a "distraction." What a joke. There's nothing for Catra to do but lay in bed. Her left leg is too heavy to lift and her right foot hurts when she moves it too far. She sighs and tries to fall back asleep.

 

----

 

Micah comes into the room a few hours later with a paper bag.

"You hungry, kiddo?" He asks. Catra shrugs. "When's the last time you ate?" Well, not today, yesterday was the finals game, so not yesterday, mayyybe the day before? Catra just shrugs again. "Here, at least take this." Micah hands Catra the paper bag as he sits her up. She opens it with her good hand and finds all sorts of food inside: a sandwich, an apple, crackers, chips, and even a juice box.

"Huh?" Is all Catra can think to say.

"You gotta eat lunch, Catra. I didn't know what you liked, so I just got you a pretty standard bag. Let me know if there's something else you want, too. There's plenty of food to go around."

"Oh. Um, th-thanks," Catra mumbles. Micah smiles.

"You don't have to thank me for feeding you. I'm the reason you're stuck here, after all," he notes with a chuckle. "Do you mind if we talk for a second? You can eat your lunch too, if you want." Catra looks down at her bag and nods at Micah. "What do you remember from last night?"

"Um…there was a hockey game, and I lost. Overtime? O-or shootout, maybe. Can't remember," Catra starts. "Then…I got driven to Prime's house-"

"Prime? Who's that?" Micah asks.

"Oh, um, he owns the team. The Horde. I don't like him," Catra explains.

"Is this the same Prime as the owner of Prime Industries? You know, they make cars and technology? Tall white guy with glasses?"

"Sounds like him, yeah. Last time I was there…" Catra stops. She still doesn't fully remember what happened and, frankly, she doesn't want to.

"You don’t have to talk about it if you don't want to, I just want to make sure that you're safe," Micah assures.

"No, it's okay, I- I'm staying here, you should know."

"You don't have to tell me anything you don't want to, Catra. Really, you don't. I want you to feel safe both here and with me, okay?" Catra sniffles, trying to ignore the tears stinging at the edge of her vision.

"Okay. I don't remember what happened next. Sorry." Micah puts a hand on Catra's shoulder. She stiffens, then relaxes when she reasons that Micah won't hurt her.

"Don't be sorry. It sounds like whatever drug you were on is making it difficult to remember."

"Drug?"

"You don't-" Micah stops himself. "Yeah, when I took you to the hospital, they found a drug they couldn't identify in your system. Do you know what it was?"

"Um…paper?" Catra asks.

"You said something similar last night. Don't worry, it isn't important. What matters is that you're here now, okay? No one's going to hurt you."

Catra hums. She doesn't particularly want to respond, because she knows she'll start crying if she does. Micah seems to notice that Catra's getting choked up, so he offers her some privacy and leaves the room. Once he's gone, Catra takes the sandwich out of the paper bag and takes a bite. Oh, that's good. She finds that the rest of her lunch is equally as good, and she spends her time eating it trying to forget all about Prime and Weaver.

 

----

 

"Adora asked about you today."

"Hm?" Catra turns her head and sees Glimmer walking into their shared room.

"Yeah, she asked if I knew where you were. Apparently your coach went to her house saying you went missing," Glimmer explains.

"What'd you tell her?"

"Nothing. As far as I'm concerned, you're not really here. Just a pet project for my dad, like a mid-life crisis sort of thing." Glimmer probably isn't expecting Catra to be satisfied with her answer, but she is.

"Good. Thanks, Sparkles," Catra mumbles sleepily. Glimmer frowns as she walks up the ladder to the top bunk.

"You're a real piece of work, Weaver, you know that?" Glimmer snarks.

"Trying to sleep. Shut up," Catra replies.

"It's only 9 at night?"

"Head injury," Catra grumbles.

"Get the fuck over yourself. This is my room, and I make the rules," Glimmer huffs. "I'm not shutting up."

Catra growls, but ultimately can't do anything from the bottom bunk. Her roommate calls her Arrow friend until the early morning hour of 2, and Catra can't sleep because of it. Once Glimmer is finally off the phone, Catra closes her eyes once again and tries to sleep, but her stomach doesn't feel right. Oh. Oh, no. Not now, she's finally off the god damn phone!! Catra tries to move off the bed, but her body is too broken and battered to do anything more than squirm uncomfortably.

"Gl-Glim-"

"God, what?" Glimmer asks, trying to fall asleep. Catra squeezes her eyes shut and pukes onto the bedroom floor to her right. "What the fuck?!" Glimmer jumps down from the top bunk and looks at Catra. Her face is red and her eyes are glassy. Glimmer doesn't really want to get any closer, but she also doesn't want Catra to get sick on her floor again.

"Alright, lemme see, Horde Scum," Glimmer grumbles as she moves Catra into a sitting position and holds the back of her hand to Catra's forehead. "You feel pretty hot. What do you usually do when you get sick?" Catra shakes her head.

"D- …nothin'…" Catra slurs. Glimmer sighs.

"You really have to be useless in every situation, huh?" The two girls stare at each other. "Fine, whatever, I'll go get you a bucket and clean up your mess. Don't want this room to smell like fucking puke," Glimmer mumbles as she walks out of the room. She comes back soon with a mop and a bucket, which are promptly thrust into Catra's bed. "How bad is your leg? Can you walk and clean this up yourself?" Catra shakes her head. Glimmer glares at the girl and starts mopping the floor.

"Tuh-" Catra starts before pitching over and hurling into the bucket.

"Whatever," Glimmer responds. "Want me to get my dad or something? Since he likes you for some unknown reason." Catra shakes her head.

"I'll b-be fine…" Catra mumbles as she points to herself with her good hand.

"Great, I wasn't going to get him anyway. Just…keep it in the bucket, okay? Dad'll come and check on you in the morning," Glimmer says, climbing back up to her bed. Needless to say, Catra doesn't sleep that night. She only has to make use of the bucket three more times, but it feels like she could lose it again at any moment. When the sun has been up for a little bit, the door opens and Micah walks in.

"Woah, kiddo, what happened??" He asks. Catra stares at him, eyes half-closed, and smiles weakly.

"Sorry."

"Hey, don't be sorry, I told you that you might get sick, remember? When did this start?" Micah lowers himself to Catra's level. She holds up two fingers on her good hand. "Two hours ago?" She shakes her head. "Two in the morning?" She nods. "Oh, jeez, I'm so sorry, if I'd known, I could've gotten you something to help! Here, I'll be right back." Micah leaves the room and Catra absently wonders how Glimmer is still asleep.

Micah returns with a pill and a bottle of water. "Here, do you think you could keep this down?" Catra nods and takes the pill. "Did you get any sleep last night, kiddo?"

"No…"

"Not even before 2?"

"Glimmer was on the phone," Catra explains. Micah frowns.

"Glimmer!" He calls out, and Glimmer jumps up in bed.

"Dad? What time is it?" Glimmer asks, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.

"It's 10am, baby girl, why were you on the phone so long last night?"

"Oh, I was just talking to Bow," she explains.

"You understand that Catra needs a lot of rest right now, right?" Micah prods.

"Well, yeah, but it's my room, so I get to make the rules, and my rule is that I can stay up as long as I want and call Bow," Glimmer reasons.

"Honey…you know that's unreasonable…"

"I don't care if it's unreasonable, Dad, I don't even want Catra to be here! Why can't you just get someone else to take her?" Catra's head hurts too much to pay attention to the conversation, otherwise, she'd be miffed.

"What did Catra do to you that's so bad?" Micah asks.

"She makes Adora sad, and she called me half-pint and Sparkles, and- and she always provokes me on the ice!!" Glimmer reasons.

"Catra?" Micah gets Catra's attention, and her eyes snap to him. "Why did you call Glimmer a half-pint?"

"She called me dipshit," Catra mumbles.

"Glimmer!"

"What? She was being a dipshit!"

"Okay, that's enough, if I hear you arguing with Catra anymore, I'm going to take away your car, alright?" Micah says.

"Wh- DAD!! That's not fair!" Glimmer pouts.

"Well, you should've thought of that before you picked on someone defenseless," Micah replies. Glimmer huffs and jumps down to the floor, leaving the room.

"You didn't have to do that," Catra notes.

"Sure I did, kiddo, I know how my Glimmer can be sometimes. I want you to feel safe here, and if Glimmer makes you feel unsafe, then she'll have to be an adult about the situation. Now, is that medicine helping any?" Catra looks down and thinks for a moment.

"Yeah, kinda," she says.

"Good. I'm gonna go get you some breakfast, what do you think you can handle?"

"Um…" Catra hasn't eaten breakfast in years. Honestly, she can't remember the last time she had the opportunity to. "Something soft?"

"Okay, what about scrambled eggs? I won't add any seasoning or anything so I don't upset your stomach anymore," Micah asks. Catra opens her mouth to respond, but her stomach gurgles uncomfortably and she lurches forward and grabs the bucket. She grabs it just in time to catch the bile she spits into it. Catra groans as Micah rubs her back.

"I know, it probably hurts, but your body is just trying to keep you healthy. We can take a raincheck on breakfast for right now. I guess that medicine wasn't much help, huh?" Micah coaxes a weak chuckle from Catra. "Hey, I have to drive to work in a few, but I'm going to get my wife to come up here and spend some time with you, okay? I don't want you to be both lonely and sick."

Catra's eyes widen. His wife is the coach of the Bright Moon Rebels, I don't want to see her! Oh, fuck, she's gonna lay me out, or we're gonna watch tape of all the times I fucked up, or…I don't even know!! By the time Catra tries to respond, Micah is already gone. Catra sighs and holds her bucket tighter.

Chapter Text

A few minutes is all it takes for Angella Rune to walk up the stairs and into Catra's room. Of all the things she expected to happen to her after her loss, this isn't one of them.

"Hello Catra, dear, how are you feeling?" Angella asks in a softer tone than Catra is not used to hearing her voice in.

"Cool, great-" Catra starts, but she's quickly cut off by her stomach turning and her once again making use of the bucket sitting on her lap.

"Oh, dear, that doesn't sound either cool nor great. How much have you had to eat recently?" Angella asks.

"N-not…much…" Catra relents. Angella gives her a soft smile.

"That's quite alright, I'll be sure to get you whatever you'd like once you're feeling up to it. I assume you aren't feeling hungry right now?" Catra shakes her head slowly. "Understood. Well, what do you like to do when you haven't recently been hit by a car?"

"Hockey," Catra grunts out. It's the only thing she does, really, but she doesn't particularly want to talk about it with the coach of the Rebels.

"Yes, you were very talented on the ice in that series. I was very impressed with your effort in game seven especially."

"Huh? I lost," Catra reminds Angella.

"Perhaps, but it was through no fault of your own. You understand that, yes?" The girl sitting in front of Angella is dumbfounded. The only person who ever told her she was talented was Prime, and that certainly didn't turn out well.

"B-but I was the captain, and I failed the team."

"No, sweetheart, you did nothing of the sort. I'm so very proud of you for your contributions to that team. Fright City wouldn't have gotten anywhere near the finals without you," Angella explains. Catra pauses for a moment and draws her eyebrows low.

"Why're you being nice to me?"

"What do you mean?"

"I punched your daughter, hit Adam, I'm from the Horde," Catra tries to explain. It's difficult putting this much physical effort into talking: being sick is really taking all the energy out of her.

"Catra, you're only a child. Even if I was angry with you, it would be inappropriate for me to be rude to you. I'm old enough to be your mother," Angella adds with a chuckle. "I know how Glimmer feels about you, but from what I've seen, you're just a normal girl stuck in a poor situation." Catra frowns.

"Home's fine," Catra says.

"You don't have to talk to me about your home life if you don't want to," Angella notes, holding up her hands in surrender, "I just- perhaps it was wrong of me to make assumptions. Please excuse me. What I meant is that the world is not out to get you, dear. It may seem like it, but Micah and I are here to help you, no matter what, alright?" When Angella turns to face Catra again, Catra's face is screwed tight in an effort not to cry. Angella's mother instincts kick in and she immediately goes in to hug the poor girl, but she remembers what Micah had said earlier, and stops halfway through the action.

"Can I hug you?" Catra nods, so Angella gently wraps her arms around Catra, who burrows her face into Angella's neck and starts crying. Angella chooses not to say anything in an effort to avoid embarrassing the girl, so she simply does her best to comfort her. Once Catra is finished crying, Angella feels the girl's arms loosening, and she moves back. "Do you feel any better now?" Angella asks with a soft smile.

"Kinda," Catra relents. "Sorry-"

"There's no need to be sorry, believe me, Glimmer has used my shoulder for that purpose many times." Catra starts to smile.

"Anything embarrassing?" Angella raises her eyebrow, but she can't say no to Catra. The two spend the morning discussing funny stories from Glimmer's childhood, Angella rubbing Catra's back whenever the girl starts to feel sick again. Glimmer comes back into her room for lunch a few hours later with a scowl on her face, and by then, Catra is feeling much better.

"…and the next thing I know, she's crashing into the boards!" Glimmer hears Angella say. Catra starts to laugh, a short, raspy noise that sounds foreign to Glimmer.

"That's funny. Thanks," Catra says, wiping a tear from her eye.

"What's going on in here? Mom?" Glimmer asks with a hand on her hip and her head cocked. Both Angella and Catra turn their heads to see a very upset Glimmer.

"Oh, Glimmer, we were talking about the time you refused to lace your skates for one game and-"

"Yes, yes, I know how that story ends," Glimmer, now blushing, cuts her mother off, "but why were you telling it to Catra?"

"She asked to hear some stories about you."

"Why did you pick an embarrassing one??"

"You and I both know that's not your most embarrassing story by far," Angella says. Glimmer glares at Catra, as if it's her fault somehow.

"Whatever, just- Dad told me to go get some lunch for everyone, so what do you want?" Glimmer growls.

"Do you feel like you could stomach anything, dear?" Angella turns and asks Catra. The girl in question opens her mouth to answer, but is rudely cut off by her stomach growling loudly. "Well, I suppose that settles that. What would you like for lunch?" Catra looks around the room.

"Wh- me?" She asks.

"Yeah, her?" Glimmer tacks on.

"I don't- I don't really know," Catra mumbles.

"That's okay, do you have a favourite kind of food?" Angella prods. Catra thinks back to what she used to eat at home. Meal times were never really discussed between her and Weaver. She can remember a time when she was eight and she learned not to question what her adoptive mother served her.

Catra walks quietly downstairs, avoiding all the creaks in the steps. She makes it to the kitchen and sees Ms. Weaver eating her dinner at the table. Catra had been eating up in her room like usual.

"Ms. Weaver, my tummy really hurts." Ms. Weaver turns and looks disdainfully at the girl.

"And why is that, Catrina?"

"I-I don't know, I was eating dinner and I-"

"Are you implying that there's something wrong with what I cooked for you?" Ms. Weaver accuses.

"No, I-"

"I took time out of my busy schedule to provide for you, and this is the 'thank you' I get?"

"I-I don't-"

"If you really have such a problem with your dinner, then you can leave it here on the table and return to your room for the night," Ms. Weaver says. Catra nods, knowing better than to provoke Ms. Weaver any further, even though she was pretty sure she hadn't done anything wrong in the first place. Adora helps Catra figure out later on when they have internet access that Catra is just very lactose intolerant. Of course, that just sounded like an excuse to Ms. Weaver. Catra chose not to bring it up around her anymore.

"Not….really," Catra responds. Angella turns to her daughter.

"Glimmer, what do you think we should have for lunch?"

"Oh, you're asking me second? She's not even your daughter!" Glimmer cries, pointing at Catra.

"We have had this discussion once already, Glimmer, you will be kind to Catra while she stays here," Angella reminds her daughter. "Now, do you know what you want for lunch?" Glimmer narrows her eyes at her mother.

"Fine. Sushi."

"Catra, have you ever had sushi?" Angella asks.

"No," she replies.

"Would you like to try it?"

"Sure."

"There, that settles that. I'll go pick some up for you two, alright? You don't need to worry about going yourself." Angella confirms, leaving the room and shutting the door behind her. Glimmer and Catra look at each other.

"Why are you really here, Weaver?" Glimmer asks with a sneer.

"Don't call me that."

"No, I want to know. Why didn't you just call your mom after my dad hit you?" Catra glares at her, not particularly wanting to answer the question.

"None of your business," Catra says.

"Like hell it isn't. You're staying in my house, in my room, so I think you owe me some answers," Glimmer demands. Catra, always uncomfortable with demands, bites back.

"Yeah? That's funny, because your parents said to leave me alone."

"My parents aren't here right now, bitch, I'll do whatever I want."

"Do your worst, Sparkles, I don't have to tell you anything." This statement enrages Glimmer enough to grab Catra by the arm and toss her off the bed. Catra's…well, everything hurts when she gets slammed to the floor. Her head is pounding, her leg feels like white hot agony, and her ribs might as well be daggers pressing into her chest.

"How about now?"

"Ch-christ, it's n-not that deep, fuck- fuck off," Catra grunts. Glimmer responds with a punch to Catra's chest.

"I can do this all day, Weaver," Glimmer warns. Catra yelps as Glimmer punches her once again.

"G'head, then," Catra goads, so Glimmer delivers a few more punches to Catra's chest. Both girls are panting heavily at this point, neither wanting to give in.

"One last chance before I go for your leg." Catra is about to give Glimmer a snarky reply, but she's interrupted by a painful coughing fit, accidentally spitting blood onto her shirt and the floor. Once she feels like she can breathe again, she gives her answer.

"Fine, I d-don', I don' gotta mom, ffffffuck you," Catra growls. "We-weaver fuckin' hates me, pro'lly happy I'm gone."

"Bullshit. Everyone has a mom," Glimmer says, raising her fist.

"I'm adopted, asshole," Catra explains. A guilty look crosses Glimmer's face.

"Oh. That's…I'm sorry."

"No, you're not. Can I get on the bed?" Catra reluctantly asks. Glimmer, ashamed, nods her head and picks Catra up with little trouble. Once she's back on the bed, Catra sighs. "Thanks."

"Whatever. If you're adopted, who raised you?" Glimmer wonders aloud. Catra screws her eyes shut and points to her nightstand.

"Pill," is all she says, but Glimmer gets the hint. She walks over to the nightstand and grabs the orange bottle sitting on top of it. Catra turns her head to look at Glimmer as she the latter picks a pill from the bottle and hands it to the former along with a glass of water. Once the pill has been swallowed, Catra feels up to answering questions.

"Question for question trade. Deal?" Catra asks, holding her good hand up for Catra to take. Glimmer nods and shakes her hand. "I was raised by a woman named Sharon Weaver." Even now, Catra can feel a chill go down her spine talking about her. "Piece of shit. Never cared about me. Not a real mom."

"I didn't expect to come in here and feel sorry for you, Horde Scum," Glimmer says with a sad smile. "Well, okay. What's your question?"

"Is Adam okay?" Catra asks.

"Adam? Like, Adora's brother Adam?" Catra nods to clarify. "Yeah, he's fine. His knee is sore, but otherwise, he's okay. Why do you care about Adam?"

"Doesn't matter."

"Tough shit, that's my question, so you have to answer it," Glimmer adds. Catra scowls.

"Fine. Don't want Adora to be upset," she explains.

"You still care abou-"

"Not your turn," Catra cuts her off. She takes a moment to cough harshly. "How'd y' learn to skate?"

"Oh, um, my mom tried to get me into a whole bunch of sports as a kid, but hockey was the only one I really liked all that much. Something about being well-rounded, I guess. A little bit of finesse, a little bit of aggression, you know. How about you?"

"'Dunno," Catra starts with a shrug. "Think Weaver probably had money tied up in the rink or something. Probably…I don't know." She tries not to think about how Weaver was probably connected with Prime and his creepy 'business.' It is, unfortunately, hard to push from her mind. "What…what was your childhood like?" Glimmer smiles.

"Pretty great. I'm really lucky to have grown up in a neighbourhood like this. I guess…you and Adora probably weren't that fortunate." Catra nods. "Well, I always had my parents here if I scraped my knee riding my bike or got a bad grade in school. My mom makes the best birthday cakes in the world, and my dad always sings just a little bit off key when we're celebrating," Glimmer reminisces with a giggle, then pauses to think. "What was it like growing up in Fright City?"

"Bad."

"…Is that it?"

"Fine," Catra relents. "Always kinda smelled weird, and it's hard to sleep. Noises all the time. Think there's a rich part of town, but I didn't live there. Weaver didn't care if I scraped my knee, and yelled when I got bad grades. It sucked."

"Damn, your life sounds miserable," Glimmer remarks. Surprisingly, Catra laughs.

"Yeah," Catra confirms. "Weaver wouldn't let me in the house if I was sick. Skated on broken bones, never got fed enough, y'know. The usual."

"Are you okay? You sound kind of…out of it," Glimmer notes, a little uncomfortable with Catra's sudden openness.

"It's jus' the pill," Catra slurs. She waves her good arm in the direction of the nightstand. Glimmer thinks for a moment and smirks.

"So…how do you really feel about Adora?" Glimmer asks. She's determined to get answers out of a high Catra since sober Catra is so closed off. Maybe some dirt for later. Catra gives her a dopey smile.

"Nice try, Sparkles. I'm not tellin' you I love her. It's aaaaall up here," Catra says, pointing to her temple. Glimmer frowns.

"You love her?"

"Yep. Even though she left me."

"Really," Glimmer says with a shit-eating grin on her face. "I'll remember that for later. You just go to sleep now."

Too tired to really complain, Catra's head bobs forward and she falls asleep. When she wakes up, she finds a plastic container of sushi on her nightstand and a note from Angella.

Dear Catra,

When I came to give you lunch, you had fallen asleep, so I left the sushi here for you to eat whenever you are ready. Of course, there is no rush, sleep is very important to the healing process. This evening when Micah gets back from work, we'd like to talk with you about some things Glimmer mentioned to me. I'd like to stress that you're not in trouble, and we only want to keep you safe.

Angella

It takes Catra a little longer to read this than usual, since Angella writes in an ornate cursive. When she does finish, though, she starts to panic. Oh, god, what did Glimmer tell her something? Was it something I did? I remember her beating the shit out of me, but that would make Coach Angella want to talk to Glimmer, not me. She looks to the nightstand, sighs, and reaches for the sushi. Her ribs hurt more than usual. They feel bruised and Catra can still taste copper in her mouth. It turns out that the sushi is very good. Afterwards, she takes another nap, hoping to avoid Micah and Angella.

 

----

 

Apparently, Catra sleeps through the entire afternoon, so she's just woken up by the time Micah gets home. The door opens slowly and Angella pokes her head through. After seeing an awake Catra, Angella fully walks into the room.

"Did you sleep well, Catra?" Angella asks softly.

Catra hums. "Slept fine."

"That's good. You read my note, yes? Can I call Micah upstairs?" Fuck. Catra had forgotten all about the talk they were supposed to have. She sighs and nods her head. Angella calls for her husband, then turns to Catra and says, "how did you get blood on your shirt?"

Catra looks down and sees specks of blood on her chest and a small puddle of dried blood by her pillow. She scoffs. "Ask your daughter."

"Hey, kiddo, how are you feeling?" Micah asks, announcing his arrival. His tie is undone and hanging loosely around his neck, and his dress shirt is buttoned down lower than appropriate for a business setting.

"Fine," Catra mumbles.

"Catra, I need you to know that you are not in trouble, alright? Nothing you say will make us kick you out or anything of the sort. We truly just want you to be safe," Angella explains. Damn, she looks serious. Something tells me this is a conversation I'm going to try to forget later. Catra nods, and the married couple look at each other.

"What can you tell us about Mr. Prime?" Micah asks, and Catra immediately stiffens.

"Um…he owns the Horde, and his little brother coaches the team? He's tall and wears glasses," Catra says, trying to beat around the bush.

"Did you personally know him?"

"Kinda? I went to his house a few times. Once for…a meeting, and another time to watch tape." She chooses to leave out the nature of that tape.

"Did anything strange happen while you were at his house?" Catra narrows her eyes.

"What do you want to know?"

"It's…an uncomfortable topic, Catra, I don't want to bring it up for you," Micah notes.

"No, go ahead, I want to hear you ask me," Catra prods.

"Did Mr. Prime rape you?" Catra blinks. She wasn't expecting him to give in that quickly.

"…I don't think so," Catra answers, and it's technically the truth. She wants to hold her cards as close to her chest as possible.

"Can you tell us what happened in that meeting when you were at his house?" Angella asks. Why don't I just lie to them? That would make this so much easier, Catra wonders to herself. She figures she owes them the truth for letting her stay in their home. Catra sighs.

"He told me to come to his house, uh, alone, so I did. I think he wanted to punish me for…something I'd done a few weeks ago. I think it was a few weeks. Um, anyway, he said he wanted to test out a 'new experience,' which I thought sounded stupid, but he gave me a slip of paper to put on my tongue, so I did. Everything was really colourful and next thing I know, I'm…not there anymore." Catra's face feels hot all of a sudden. Micah pats her shoulder.

"Hey, you're doing great, okay?" Catra swallows thickly and nods. "So you don't remember what happened directly after the paper?"

"Uh- no, I woke up in Coach's office with-without any memory of what happened, so I went to Prime's house again. I think I was out for- for maybe two days? That's what Adora said, anyway. Uh, he t-told me that, um, something about being unconscious, and making use for my body-" Micah cuts her off with a hug. Catra hadn't realized that she'd started crying. She sobs into Micah's shoulder, now having to confront feelings that she'd repressed for a year.

"It's gonna be okay, kiddo. I promise," Micah assures. This only makes Catra cry harder, of course. She hasn't believed in promises for over a year now, not since Adora left. She feels pathetic. How many times is she going to break down crying in this house?

"I don't suppose you gave yourself much time to process it, sweetheart," Angella adds, joining the hug. Catra shakes her head.

"What- what now?" She asks. Her voice is thoroughly muffled by Micah's shoulder.

"Well, you'll never be near him again if I have anything to say about it," Micah says sternly. "Did your guardian know about this?" A small nod. Catra's sure that not only did Weaver know, but she was likely planning this for years. "Then they're not allowed here, either."

"Th- thanks," Catra mumbles.

"Whatever we do next is up to you," Angella explains, "it isn't our place to make decisions for you. It doesn't have to be decided right now, though."

"I'm guessing the man chasing you in the woods was a part of Prime's…company?" Micah asks.

"Y-yeah. I think."

"Maybe the whole hitting you with my car thing was a blessing in disguise," Micah jokes. It earns him a smack on the arm from Angella and a wet chuckle from Catra. The couple releases Catra from the hug when Micah suddenly jerks away. "Oh- oh, I got it!!" He shouts. Catra and Angella look at each other with mirrored faces of confusion. Micah runs out the door yelling, "I'LL BE RIGHT BACK!"

"That was abrupt," Angella notes. "I'm sure he will be back soon. In the meantime, are you feeling well enough for dinner?" Catra sniffles and nods, earning a smile from Angella. "Good. I think comfort food is the route to go tonight. Any requests?"

"…Baked pasta?" Catra asks, ready for rejection. She's surprised when Angella agrees.

"That sounds perfect. What kind of cheese would you like?"

Somehow, it's better than the first time Catra had it all those years ago with Adora.

 

----

 

Micah comes back hours later and sees Catra in bed talking to Angella. "Alright, sorry it took so long, but I think I got just the thing for you, kiddo!" He's holding a half-wrapped cardboard box with the top opened. "It's kind of something that's hard to wrap, so I just did what I could. It's all yours!" Catra has the box placed down on her lap and she looks up, seeing Micah smiling from ear to ear. She isn't used to getting gifts. Hell, Weaver hardly ever bought her things that she needed, much less things she wanted. When she peeks into the box, Catra sees a small kitten curled up in the corner.

"Huh?"

"Surprise! They're all yours, kiddo! I just had to sign a few forms at work, and now you've got your very own emotional support animal! Well, technically, they're a little young, but they'll be full-fledged soon," Micah explains. "They were abandoned by their mother for being the runt of the litter, so the local shelter needed to find a new home for them."

"I- really?" Micah nods. Catra looks back down at the kitten and touches the pads of her fingers to their head, earning a small 'brpt' for her efforts. "What's their name?"

"Melog." It's a strange name, but it makes Catra smile nonetheless. "You can take them out of the box, if you'd like." Catra gently lifts the kitten with her good hand, cradling them with her right hand for support, and places them down on her lap. They sniff her hand for a moment, then nearly fall over in an effort to rub Catra's stomach with their head, stumbling on unsteady kitten legs. It's enough to make Catra tear up again.

"Don't worry," Micah assures, "we'll take care of the feeding and litterbox while you're stuck in bed, alright? Melog is here to help you feel better, so getting out of bed and hurting yourself again would be counterproductive."

"Speaking of hurting yourself, Glimmer?" Angella turns and calls down the hall. A moment later, Glimmer comes into the room. "Would you care to explain why Catra has blood on her shirt?"

"Whose cat is that?" Glimmer asks, ignoring the question.

"Mine," Catra says protectively, holding Melog a little closer to her.

"Since when did you have a cat, Weaver?"

"Melog's gonna be her emotional support animal once they're a little older," Micah supplies, but it looks like that answer wasn't good for Glimmer.

"What?? I've been asking for a dog for years, but she gets a pet?"

"Glimmer, it's not like that-"

"Yeah? It's not like that? Because it sure feels like you're taking her side in everything!"

"You're acting childish, sweetheart," her mother tells her. "Besides, you never answered my question."

"Look, we had a disagreement, okay?"

"Define 'disagreement,'" Micah tells her.

"How was I supposed to know she was adopted! You're such a narc, Weaver."

Catra sticks out her tongue at Glimmer as Micah says, "did you hurt her?"

"I just punched her a little!"

"Glimmer, that is completely unacceptable. You know better than to hurt others, especially, those of us who are injured," Angella reminds her.

"Yeah, yeah, just ground me, I get it."

"You're grounded for two weeks."

Glimmer shrugs. "I can work with that. Oh, and Weaver?"

"What," Catra grunts.

"Me and Adora started dating after the finals game."

Catra's face goes pale as Micah and Angella congratulate their daughter.

"I'm happy for you, but this doesn't mean you're not grounded anymore," Angella says.

"Hey, I told you winning games made you a total lady killer!" Micah cheers. "Nice work!"

The only thing keeping Catra grounded in the real world is the kitten rubbing their face against her stomach. Her ears are ringing and she can't hear anything other than Adora's dating Glimmer and not you over and over again. It isn't long before Catra's mind overloads and she passes out onto the pillow behind her.

Chapter Text

That night, once everyone in the house is asleep, Catra devises a plan. She found school supplies in the drawers of the nightstand, including a pair of scissors and superglue, a few hours earlier. She fashions her pillowcase into a bag, cutting up and using fabric from the top edge as straps. Once that's done, she stocks it with the leftover sushi from lunch, a bag of cat food Micah had left near her bed, and her pain medication. She swallows half a pill, hoping to dull the pain a little, but not enough to make her loopy. Hopefully my right foot isn't sprained too badly. If I've skated with a broken toe, this'll be nothing.

Melog has been safely tucked into a pouch Catra had made on her shirt, made of extra pillowcase fabric. She grabs one of Glimmer's hockey sticks from near her bed and uses it to lever herself up off the mattress. After testing her foot, she determines she can still walk on her right foot, but it'll still be a slow process. The hockey stick continues its use as a cane as Catra walks down the hallway. Every ounce of weight she puts on her left leg is agony, but she just can't live with Glimmer if she's dating Adora.. She slowly slides herself down the stairs, making as little noise as possible. A key is already in the front door. She unlocks it and leaves, hoping no one heard her escape.

"Well, Melog, it's just you and me now," Catra whispers to the bundle in her shirt pouch. She starts limping down the sidewalk, not having a particular destination in mind. She'll find somewhere eventually.

 

----

 

It's been hours since Catra left the Rune house, and the pain is becoming harder and harder to ignore. She sighs and looks for somewhere to rest, shivering in the cold night air. Eventually, she settles on an alley in Bright Moon City proper. Once she's on the ground, the exhaustion hits her full-force. Melog is pulled from their cozy pouch and placed on Catra's lap.

"How're you feeling, little buddy?" She asks them. They give her a sleepy mew in response, which is good enough for her. "You hungry?" She pulls out the cat food from her bag and scoops out a handful for Melog, who is more than happy to get a snack. I'm not really sure how much kittens are supposed to eat? They're pretty small, so I think this'll be good. Plus, if they're hungry, they'll let me know, right? Catra treats herself to a sushi roll as Melog finishes up and uses the bathroom. She doesn't know where they went, exactly, but they scraped their claws like they'd just gone. After that, Melog is placed back in the pouch and Catra heaves herself up again. "No time like the present," she grumbles to herself.

Bright Moon is much nicer than Fright City, Catra finds. The cars passing her by don't look like they've been in multiple accidents. The streetlights don't flicker when she walks by them. No one's even catcalled her yet, but that might have something to do with it being the middle of the night. Men are fucking awful no matter where you go.

No amount of Bright Moon sights can distract her from her entire body screaming for her to stop, however. She walks into a convenience store and effortlessly shoplifts two bottles of water, a small beanie, and an energy shot. She's never been very good in the cold, and the beanie was the only thing she could steal easily. Melog has the opportunity to drink their fill first, then Catra drinks the shot (it tastes awful) and finishes it off with water. She figures that'll keep her awake a few hours longer than she normally would've been up. While she's at it, she takes the other half of the pill she'd broken earlier.

So far, she hasn't found anywhere she'd be comfortable holing up in. Catra briefly considered bunking in an alleyway, but she figured she'd be found too quickly. She walks past a hotel and wonders if she couldn't sneak in. Ultimately, she decides against it. Too risky. It takes her another couple of hours to find a building that's for lease. She jimmies the lock and finds a completely empty building: no furniture, no paint on the walls, she's not even sure the electricity works.

Perfect.

Catra finds an inviting corner to curl up in (as much as someone with a broken leg and broken ribs can curl up) and dozes off. Luckily, no one seemed to question a girl with splints on her hand and leg hobbling around with a hockey stick. Her pants are long enough that no one could see the condition of her left leg, anyway. Hopefully she'll find somewhere more permanent tomorrow.

 

----

 

Catra wakes up to small meows and a scratchy tongue on her neck.

"Yeah, yeah, 'm up," she mumbles. She takes stock in how her body is doing, and it somehow hurts more than it did last night. Probably sore. I definitely shouldn't be walking around right now. Catra takes a moment to feed Melog, then herself. The rest of the first water bottle is used. She finds an abandoned bathroom to use, and even though there's no plumbing with which to flush, she's still glad there was a toilet for her to use. Melog takes care of their business elsewhere.

"Hey, kid, you can't be in here!" Catra whips her head around to see a man in a suit opening the door to the building. Oh, no. There's nothing more suspicious than a racially-ambiguous kid wearing a beanie in an abandoned store. Fuck, he's not gonna call the police, is he? She quickly picks Melog up and hides them in her pouch.

"Oh, s-sorry, my bad, I'll just be on my way, I didn't know," Catra lies. Hopefully the man can't see her sweating bullets.

"What's the matter with you? What kind of a kid hangs out in abandoned buildings? Was this place even locked?" The man asks.

"I- I don't-"

"And what's with the big stick? What're you doing in here? I've got half a mind to call the cops," he adds, reaching for his phone.

"Please don't!!" Catra says, probably a little too loudly. "Sorry, I- I really am on my way out, it's fine, I won't cause any trouble." Once she limps over to the door, which the man is standing in front of, he narrows his eyes at her.

"Do I know you?" Catra stares blankly at him. She doesn't recognize him at all.

"I don't think so, maybe I just have one of those faces-"

"No," the man cuts her off, "I feel like I've seen those eyes somewhere." Shit. No one ever forgets my eyes. Not only did my birth mom give me away, but she also cursed me with shitty unforgettable eyes. "Aw, yeah, my boss is looking for you! Name starts with a C, right? Know anything about Prime Industries?"

Catra feels her heart drop to her stomach. This can't be happening, Prime can't be looking for me, he just can't, there's no way I'd get away this time, oh, god… "Um, n-no."

"Yeah, he says you're his lost niece or somethin'! Why'd you run off, anyway?" The man asks. Catra can't think of anything to tell him but the truth.

"Look, I'll be in huge trouble if I go back there. I don't have a lot on me, but I'll give you anything you want if you just let me go and don't tell him," Catra pleads. The man looks her up and down.

"How much is that stick worth?" Catra turns it over in her hands, estimating its worth. It's a Bauer Nexus stick with white tape on the blade and pink(?) tape on the shaft.

"You could probably get about $80-ish for it on the low end, maybe up to $160 if you're really lucky," Catra relents.

"Deal. Hand it over," the man says, reaching his hand out. Catra gives him the stick without a second thought, completely ignoring that it's the only way she got this far. "Pleasure doin' business with you, kid! I won't tell big boss Prime a thing. Oh, and you might wanna clear out of here in the next 20 minutes. We're putting up a new office here." He finally walks out of the building, and Catra feels like she can breathe again.

"That was too fucking close, Melog." She slumps against the wall. "How the hell am I supposed to get out of here? That stick was probably the only thing keeping me going. Stupid leg is snapped in half…" Melog, of course, doesn't respond, but Catra didn't expect them to. "You're right. I'll just power through it. No big deal. I've been in pain before."

Catra takes one step forward with her left foot, and immediately topples over, distressing Melog. "Okay, fuck, that was not a good idea." I didn't pack anything that would help me walk because I thought that dumb stick would be enough. I could crawl around and try to find something? It'll be humiliating, but it's still an option… So, she decides to make her way ever so slowly to the bathroom and find something to lever her up. Of course, she finds nothing.

"Plan B: I just lean onto buildings and no one will notice?" Melog just looks up at her. "Hey, it's the best I've got, buddy! I don't suppose you've got anything else?" They chuff in response. She sighs and scratches the top of their head. It turns out that leaning on walls will indeed get one out of a building, but it doesn't last much further than that. An alley is separating the two buildings she's closest to. "Damn. Guess this'll have to do." Catra limps to the back of the alley and sits back down. Never thought this shit would be so exhausting.

It looks about mid-day when Catra finds the strength to get back up again. She feeds Melog and finds a dented pipe to help her walk around. After that, she's on her way once more. She does get significantly more stares than before. If I'm going to make this a permanent arrangement, I need to find somewhere to work. I can't really do that now, though, but still need the money. Shit. Catra looks around and finds a stairway to a subway station. Bingo.

She takes her time getting down the stairs and once she does, promptly lands herself on a bench. It's hard work walking around on only half a good leg. Plan C: pickpocket white men that look rich. Catra is surprisingly able to make a bit of cash doing this, ending up with a few hundred bucks before she gets caught.

"Hey, what the hell?" Exclaims Catra's final mark. He turns and sees her, caught red-handed holding his wallet. "Give me that!" He snatches it back and oh, god, he looks angry, this isn't how I wanted to go out at all… "What do you think you're doing, kid? Get a fucking job like the rest of us," he says, grabbing her by the shoulder. He manages to push her over to a Bright Moon police officer who's on duty in the station, which earns Catra a free ride to the police station and empty pockets once more.

 

----

 

All things considered, the holding cell isn't too bad. She has somewhere to rest, and somehow no one's questioned that she has a kitten in her shirt. Maybe nobody's noticed? In any case, she gets dragged into an office with a woman behind the desk. She turns to Catra and narrows her eyes.

"What's she doing here?" The woman asks.

"She said she doesn't have anyone to call from home, ma'am," one of the officers explains. This is fucking humiliating. You just had to go for that last wallet, huh, Catra? Fuck you.

"Is that true?" The woman directs the question at Catra, who nods. "Alright, leave her with me, you two can go back to your posts." The two officers that took Catra here leave the room, leaving just her and the lady behind the desk.

"So, what's your story, kid? Why were you picking pockets in a subway station?"

"Look, this is all a misunderstanding-" Catra starts, but is quickly interrupted.

"Try again," the woman commands. Catra gulps.

"Um, well, my leg is broken and I've got a few broken ribs and I think my hand is fucked up too after I got hit by a car recently, and the guy who hit me with his car let me stay at his house but his daughter is dating the person I've been in love with since I was eleven, so I left. I don't have any money and I don't have anywhere to go and I can't get a job like this so I thought I'd try to make some quick money…uh, that didn't really work," Catra explains. The woman looks impressed.

"Huh. You know what, I'll give it to you, I've never heard anything like that before. You're either really creative or really unlucky. How old are you?"

"Seventeen."

"Damn, young too. Alright, who's the man that hit you?"

"Micah Rune. I played hockey against his daughter," Catra mumbles.

"See, how hard was that? Dr. Rune is a big name around Bright Moon. I'll give him a call and he'll be here to pick you up. I'm not gonna charge you with anything, so you should consider yourself lucky, alright?" The woman offers.

"B-but I can't go back-"

"Well, you sure as shit can't stay here, and if you really don't have anywhere else to go, then this is your best option. I don't want to be the one to give you a criminal record. Just take this." Catra lowers her head and nods. "Good. Here, I'll help you get back to the entrance, alright? I'm gonna tell the officer there that Dr. Rune's coming and that you're gonna stay put." The woman stands up and puts Catra's good arm over her shoulder. Honestly, the woman does most of the walking since Catra is beyond exhausted from walking around all night. The officer watching her is glaring more than watching. Eventually, Micah shows up in his truck.

"Catra, where have you been?? Angie and I have been worried sick over you!" Micah cries as he wraps Catra into a hug.

"What?" Catra asks, muffled by Micah's chest. He effortlessly picks her up and drops her in the passenger seat of his car.

"We woke up this morning and you were just gone without a trace. Neither of us went to work, we wanted to have you back home safe before we worried about anything else! Why did you leave?"

"It's stupid," Catra tells him.

"Is it us? Did we make you uncomfortable?"

"No, no, I…uh, you know the girl Glimmer's dating?"

Micah nods.

"I've been in love with her since we were little."

Micah sighs. "That's…that's tough, kiddo. Well, what matters is that you're okay. I don't even want to know how you walked all the way over here in the condition you're in. Promise me that you won't do something like that again."

"I promise. Sorry," Catra relents.

"It's okay. You're safe and that's all I needed. You're not getting out of bed until we get you fitted for casts, though, I hope you know that."

"You're not, like, mad or anything?" Catra asks.

"I'm upset, sure, but I'm not gonna punish you for it. You're probably already in a lot of pain right now. Oh," Micah adds, looking at Catra's moving shirt, "I see that Melog's doing well. Good, I had figured you took them with you when I saw the cat food missing. Now, tell me how you're feeling."

"Um…my leg hurts, and pretty much everything else does, too."

"How badly?"

"It's, uh, it's not-"

"Catra, you don't have to lie to me."

"…I could pass out right now and I wouldn't be surprised."

"Yeah, we're getting you back in bed as soon as possible."

 

----

 

One pill and a change of clothes later, Catra is sound asleep on the bottom bunk of Glimmer's bed again. Micah and Angella are downstairs trying to figure out where to go from here.

"We told her we wanted her to be safe, right?" Angella asks, concern clear in her tone.

"I think the poor kid's heart is broken," Micah explains. "Apparently she was in love with Adora and she feels like Glimmer swiped Adora out from under her."

"Oh, no. That's quite the predicament. I'm not sure what to do."

"Me either, really, but the best thing we can do for her now is give her somewhere safe to be, I think. She thought I was going to punish her, Angie. The poor girl could barely keep her eyes open and she thought I wouldn't let her come back. No kid should be in that position."

"I suppose we're lucky you're a psychiatrist, hm?"

"Something like that," Micah chuckles. "I'm pretty sure she overworked herself into another fever, so we'll have to check on that later."

"Did she tell you where she went?"

"All the police station said was that she got caught picking pockets looking for enough money to find somewhere to stay."

"That's miserable," Angella remarks. The front door opens and the couple turns to see Glimmer and Bow walk in.

"Hey Mom, hey Dad, is it okay if Bow stays the night?" Glimmer asks.

"Glimmer, dear, Catra just came home about an hour ago, and she needs rest," Angella says.

"I'll be quiet Mrs. Rune, I promise," Bow assures her.

"Oh, I know you will, dear. It's Glimmer I'm worried about."

"Alright, I'll be quiet, alright?" Glimmer promises. "Jesus. Come on, Bow, let's go."

----

 

"Glimmer, why is Catra even here? Every time I've seen you two interact, you just yell at each other," Bow points out as they go upstairs.

"Dad…kinda, sorta hit her with his car…"

"WHAT??" Bow squeaks.

"She's fine, she's fine, don't be so dramatic! Her adoptive mom wouldn't want her back home, so she's staying here. It's awful. She takes up the bottom bunk and does nothing but lay around all day and piss me off whenever I come in."

"I'm sure she isn't that bad."

"Well, you'll get the chance to meet her in a second."

"It's, like, 4, we aren't going to bed for hours," Bow notes. Glimmer opens the bedroom door to see a sleeping Catra curled around a sleeping Melog. Bow has to strongly suppress the urge to squeal at the cuteness in front of him. Glimmer, not sharing Bow's concern for waking the girl up, shoves Catra's shoulder.

"Hey, Weaver, get up!"

"Huh? What?" Catra mumbles, clutching her ribs and wincing as she sits up. "I didn't do it!"

"This is Bow, he played goalie for the Rebels. He's staying here tonight," Glimmer explains.

"Okay, what does that have to do with me?" Catra asks, obviously still tired.

"Bow needs that bed," Glimmer says, as though it's obvious.

"Oh, Glimmer, no, I'll just-" Bow starts, but Catra just grunts and lays back down, forcing back an 'ow.'

"Seriously, Horde Scum, I'll toss you out if I have to," Glimmer warns.

"What did I do to make you hate me so much? First your dad hits me with his car, then you start dating Adora, and now you're kicking me out of your bed?" Catra asks.

"Wait, you're dating Adora?" Bow interjects.

"Ugh, it doesn't matter, just…get out of my bed, Weaver!"

"I already tried to leave, but I physically can't. I got to the subway station and that's it. I get it, I don't like myself either, and if Arrow Boy really wants the bed so bad, he can have it, but can't you just leave me alone?"

"That's…a few miles away, how the hell did you get that far?" Glimmer asks, avoiding the question.

"I took your hockey stick and used it as a walking stick."

"What the fuck? Where is it now?"

"No idea. I gave it to some man so he wouldn't rat me out to…well, it doesn't matter. It's gone," Catra remarks. Glimmer stares at Catra and takes a deep breath before punching her straight in the nose. Bow immediately pulls her back, but not before she can get another punch in.

"FUCK YOU, WEAVER!!" She shouts.

Catra groans and holds her nose. "Id was already broken, bidch!" She grunts.

"Glimmer, stop it!! She's already injured, what's gotten into you?" Bow asks.

"She- she can't just sell my shit, Bow! You know how expensive those things are!"

"I'm sure she had a good reason for it!" He turns and looks as Catra, whose nose is profusely bleeding onto the bed. She looks like she's trying to pinch it shut. "Hang on, Catra, let me help."

"D'oh, I god id," she tells him, squinting her eyes shut in pain.

"Glimmer, this really isn't okay, we need to tell your parents."

"Her nose was already broken before, she'll be fine-"

"And you just made it worse! Catra, lean forward, or the blood's gonna drain down the back of your throat."

"You're nod duh boss of me," Catra notes with a scowl. She leans her head back just to be ornery.

"Okay, that's it, Glimmer? I'm getting your parents," Bow announces. He walks downstairs and Glimmer glares at Catra.

"Great. Now I'm gonna get in trouble because of you again."

Catra holds up her middle finger on her good hand and gags. She starts leaning forward after that.

"Glimmer, you are in serious trouble," Angella tells her daughter as she enters the room.

"Oh, come on, she'll be fine!!"

"Come on, kiddo, let's get your head elevated, huh?" Micah coaxes. "I'm gonna take you downstairs."

"At least she's out of my room now," Glimmer grumbles.

"Glimmer, why are you doing this?" Angella asks.

"Why are you even keeping her here?"

"No, you're not deflecting anymore. Catra is staying here for the foreseeable future, so you will learn to get along with her. Give me your phone."

Glimmer huffs, but does what she's told.

"Hey, Glimmer?" Bow calls out as he walks into the room. "I'm…gonna go home. This isn't cool."

"Wait, Bow, come on, you just got here!"

"Yeah, but this is really bad. Like, really bad. Talk to me when you get this under control."

Glimmer watches angrily as Bow leaves. "What the fuck?!"

"Glimmer-"

"Why do you like her more than me?!" Glimmer shouts.

"…Is that what this is about?" Angella asks.

"What does she have that I don't, Mom?"

"Come here, dear," Angella offers, and Glimmer accepts the hug. "I don't like Catra more than you. She needs somewhere to stay and we have an extra bed." She softly rubs Glimmer's back as she cries. "I know you're upset, but I need you to apologize to Catra. She's done nothing wrong, and I know that you know that."

"I guess," Glimmer sniffles.

"Why didn't you just talk to me about this in the first place?"

"I don't know…"

"Well, I'm going to be paying you more attention now, if it'll make you feel better, but you need to start being kind to Catra."

"Okay…"

When Glimmer goes downstairs to check on Catra that night, she's already gone.

 

----

 

This time, when Catra leaves in the middle of the night, she takes a pair of crutches she found earlier in a closet. She figures that anywhere would be better than living with Glimmer, so she takes off again, this time in the direction of Fright City. Melog is sound asleep, tucked away in a large woven bag Catra has slung over her shoulder. Since Bright Moon didn't treat her well, she's learned that Fright City might as well be a good option.

It takes Catra all night to get somewhere she recognizes: the Fright City ice rink. She tries opening the door to the entrance, but it's locked shut. "Fuck," she grunts. Instead of laying down on a bench, Catra props herself sitting up against a tree near the parking lot. She really needs a nap. Just a few minutes, then she'll be right back up…

 

"-na. Catrina. Are you awake?" Catra wakes up to someone somewhat-lightly kicking her in the side and calling her name. She groans weakly.

"W- huh?" Catra mumbles. Her eyes squint trying to adjust to the bright sunlight overhead.

"Oh, good. Prime has been looking for you," she hears a voice say. Wait, Prime? Oh, no, this is very bad. Very, very bad. Come on, eyes, open the fuck up!! Catra finally finds the strength to open her eyes and sees her former coach Hordak standing above her. Everything in her body seems to hurt.

"Hordak? Where- what-" Catra starts.

"All will make sense when you're brought before Prime's light," he answers, cutting the girl off. Hordak hefts Catra up over his shoulder, which causes her to squeak in pain. Turns out that all this manhandling doesn't do wonders for broken ribs.

"Put me down!" Catra yells, trying to kick and punch at her would-be abductor. He doesn't respond. Catra takes as deep of a breath as her aching ribs will allow and shouts, "HELP!!!!" As loudly as she can, which earns her a mouth stuffed with something cottony.

"Stop trying to make a scene, this will be over soon," Hordak commands, punching Catra in the jaw, hard, to ensure she remains quiet. Catra squeezes her eyes shut in pain, unable to do much else at the moment but groan weakly. A trail of blood trickles down her chin. I hope I ruin his stupid fancy fucking outfit. The next thing she knows, she's being thrown into the trunk of a white sedan along with a very unhappy Melog. Hordak smirks at her before slamming the trunk closed.

Catra lays still for a moment and tries to catch her breath. In order to fit in the trunk, she has to curl up a little bit, which really isn't helping her aching body. She brings her good hand up to remove whatever it was Hordak shoved into her mouth. She can't open her mouth enough to get it out without causing herself excruciating pain, but when she touches it, she's pretty sure it's a sock. Fuck me, I hope it's clean. Catra beats weakly at the trunk door, which, of course, does nothing for her. Melog growls angrily. Do they know what's going on or are they just angry to be stuck in a small, dark space?

Suddenly, Catra feels the engine spark to life and is thrown against the trunk door as the car jolts forward. Shit, he's going to take me to Prime, isn't he?? Okay, Catra, don't panic, you can get out of this, you're smart. Just…look for some sort of switch to pull or something. Trunks are supposed to have those, right? Unfortunately, Catra can't see much of anything, much less a switch to get her out. Every bump brings new agony to her as her battered body is thrown around the trunk like a ragdoll. She's not sure how much more of this she can take. Melog has stopped growling. Are they okay?? Did they hit their head or something?? Oh, I swear to god, I'm going to kill Hordak if he hurt them…

Catra has the privilege of hanging onto consciousness for another 10 minutes before the car suddenly skids out of control and she hits her head against some part of the trunk. The last thing she can do is protectively curl her good arm around Melog, hoping to protect them.

 

----

 

The next time Catra tries to open her eyes, it's much brighter than it was in the trunk of Hordak's car. Okay, this means one of two things: either he bumped into something and still made it to Prime's house, or he crashed somewhere and I'm bleeding out on the pavement. Which one am I hoping for? She can see the silhouette of a person in front of her. They're saying something, but Catra can't hear anything yet- her brain is still waking up. I guess that probably points to the latter… "-ou hear me? Catra?" She squints and tries to focus her vision a little more.

"Y-wr-" The person works open Catra's jaw and takes the sock out, which causes Catra to groan in pain.

"Shit, I didn't mean to hurt you! Are you okay? Why were you sleeping by the Horde's parking lot?" The person asks her. She stares for a moment and realizes that Mara is looking at her with an extreme amount of concern in her eyes.

"Mara?" Catra asks, clearly dazed.

"There you are. Hey, how many fingers am I holding up?" Mara puts her hand up and lifts eight fingers. What? Eight fingers on one hand?

"H-how'd y' get s' many, man…many fingers?" It hurts a lot to talk, Catra finds. Hordak's punch must have fucked her up more than she thought at the time.

"Right. I'm gonna take you to Mom, okay? She'll be able to help." She picks the girl up and sits her down in the passenger seat of her car. Catra tries to move as Mara buckles her.

"N-no, 'Dora ha-hates me," she mumbles. She falls asleep a few seconds after that, though, idly hoping that Mara will pick up Melog before they drive away.

 

----

 

When she wakes up again, she's being unbuckled and carried out of the car. Whoever is holding her smells familiar. Catra decides not to question it, and instead buries her head into the person's shoulder. She whimpers when she's set down, already missing the brief contact. Everything's still really blurry. Catra thinks she's on someone's couch, based on the feel of the fabric beneath her.

"Thanks," she mumbles, hoping that whoever it was that brought her here is still near enough to hear it. Catra feels a soft pat on her shoulder for her efforts. The room she's in is dark, something Catra is very grateful for. Her head is pounding so hard that it's becoming difficult to think, so she elects to fall asleep once more, hoping things will make more sense when she wakes up.

 

----

 

Catra's awoken by the sensation of something in her mouth. It tastes like…apples and copper? It's much too soft to be an apple, though. She tries to swallow whatever the substance was and assumes the copper is just blood. It takes a moment, but she finds the strength to swallow, almost wishing she hadn't, since it hurt so badly going down. Catra hears a gasp from someone nearby, and feels more of the apple stuff being moved into her mouth. It tastes good, so she decides not to question it. This process is repeated twice more before she hears a soft voice.

"Catra? Are you awake?"

"Eh," she grunts in response. Her jaw still hurts. Damn.

"Oh. O-oh!! She's awake!" The voice says a little bit louder. Catra hears someone else walk into the room.

"That is good. Catra, can you hear me?" Another voice asks.

"Yeah," Catra manages. She doesn't think multisyllabic words are going to work for her right now.

"Can you open your eyes?" The second voice asks. Catra squeezes her eyes as hard as she can, and she can now see two blurry figures in front of her.

"Why's it all…weird?" Catra asks. There are muted shades of brown swimming in her vision. She can't see anything clearly.

"Weird? What do you mean?" The second voice asks again.

"'S all, like, f-fuzz," Catra grumbles.

"Ah. We suspect you have a concussion, or perhaps have worsened a pre-existing concussion," the second voice answers.

"Great," Catra growls. She definitely recognizes the second voice. Only one person she's ever known talks that monotonously. "Hope? 'Sat you?"

"Yes, Catra, it is nice to see you again," Hope notes. "How are you feeling?"

"Bad."

"I suspected as much. Adora, go get some water." Catra perks up at this.

"'Dora? You there?"

"Yeah, Catra, I'm right here," Adora responds. She sounds upset.

"I-I'm…I made you mad? While ago- I'm s-sor-sorry," Catra slurs.

"Don't be sorry, I was never mad at you! I'm just really glad you're okay," Adora remarks. Catra thinks she sounds like she's going to cry.

"Adora, the water," Light Hope reminds her, and the girl scurries off. "Catra, do you remember what happened?"

"Uh, th' was a trunk, an' I-I, uh, punch t' th' jaw…dark…head hurt," Catra slurs in response. Suddenly, she remembers Melog was in the trunk with her. "Cat! C-cat, with me…"

"Yes, there was a kitten in the trunk with you, apparently. It has a collar with a tag labeled 'Melog.' Does it belong to you?"

"Yeah!"

"Don't worry, they're fine! Mara made sure she'd picked up both of you," Adora says. Apparently she's back with the water.

"Mara?" Catra asks.

"Yeah, Mara got you out of Hordak's trunk. You don't remember?"

"Adora, she has a head injury. She likely will not remember much from the incident," Light Hope reminds.

"Oh, yeah," Adora mumbles in reply.

"Catra, tilt your head back," Light Hope says. Catra does so as best she can and is rewarded with a drink of water slowly dribbling down her throat. It doesn't last for too long, though, before the water is taken away. "Do you know how you ended up sleeping by the Fright City rink's parking lot?"

"Uh…" This isn't really a story she wants to look back on.

"We know you weren't with Weaver," Adora mentions, "since she's been making a fuss about you being gone for almost a week now. First she blamed us, but you weren't here, then I think she went around the neighbourhood trying to figure out where you went. Where did you go?"

"Doesn' matter," Catra grumbles. She's not particularly inclined to tell Adora of all people what happened after she lost game 7 of the finals.

"Did Hordak put you in all those casts?" Adora asks.

"No."

"Then what happened? Were you already hurt before you got in the parking lot? Did Weaver do it?" Light Hope puts her hand on Adora's shoulder.

"Catra has been through a lot today, Adora. She will likely need time to accustom herself to her new situation," Light Hope remarks. Catra frowns at that.

"Jus' gi-gimme a day t' get ba-ack on my feet, I'll go s-soon," Catra assures.

"You are in no condition to be going anywhere," Light Hope reminds her.

"Catra, come on, just let us take care of you, we know you can't do it yourself right now!" Adora says. Catra decides she's had enough and tries sitting up. Neither Light Hope nor Adora pushed her back down; they didn't have to. Her ribs feel like they're stabbing into her lungs, so she lays back down unceremoniously.

"See? Just stay there, alright? You're really hurt, and I don't want you making it any worse," Adora adds. Catra huffs, but ultimately doesn’t try to sit back up. She's pretty angry that she can't do anything at the moment but lay there.

"You need to get some more rest, Catra. Adora and I will leave you to it," Light Hope says as she drags Adora out of the room. As much as Catra doesn't want to fall back asleep again, her body is telling her otherwise. She's left to her thoughts before she passes out again. This house is way nicer than Adora's old house. I liked that one better. Adora never made me feel stupid for being hurt when I was there. Catra yawns as much as her bruised jaw allows her to and snuggles into the couch. She figures things can't be much worse when she wakes up.

Chapter Text

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

Catra groans quietly. Her brain feels like it's on fire whenever there's too much noise, and right now is no exception. Her eyes flutter open to a boy sitting in a recliner chair near the couch. He's watching TV and eating from a bag of chips. Suddenly, he looks over to her.

"Oh, damn, sorry, did I wake you up?" The boy asks.

"Who're you," Catra growls. She's understandably uncomfortable around men.

"Adam. We've met before, remember? You had a hat trick that night and you told me to piss off when I told you about Adora?"

"Oh. Pretty Boy," Catra responds. She remembers him now. "What're y' doin'?"

"Uh, watching TV? I guess I can change the channel if you want," he adds, scratching at the back of his head.

"No, why're y' here?"

"In the living room? The biggest TV is in here. Come on, this is like entry-level stuff. Even Adora knows that!" Adam says, a bit too loudly for Catra's liking.

"Not…not room, house," she grumbles.

"Ohhhh. I live here, why else?" He gives her a lopsided smile, to which Catra replies with a frown.

"With 'Dora?"

"Yeah, her and Light Hope rented an apartment for about a month before Adora met me and we figured out we were related, so now they live here with me and my parents. You should meet them. My parents, that is. They're super chill. Mom's an astronaut, so Dad stays at home with me. She's not doing any missions right now, uh, Mom isn't, so you can probably meet her soon!" Adam rambles. Catra decides that she likes him even less now. She guesses she doesn't respond quickly enough, because Adam asks, "what's the matter? Cat got your tongue? Huh? That was good, right?" His smile reminds Catra of Adora's. She hates it.

"Shuddup, Pretty Boy," Catra slurs.

"Alright, yeah, not my best work. Can I get you something to eat? I don't- I'm not really sure what happened or how you got here. Are you, like, allergic to anything?"

"Boys," Catra grunts, and Adam laughs. His laugh is way too similar to Adora's. It makes Catra unreasonably upset.

"I get it, okay? I'll leave if you want me to. It was, uh, it was nice to meet you for real this time!" Adam says, cutting off the TV and taking his bag of noisy chips with him. Catra grunts her approval as he shuffles out of the room. She isn't alone for long, though: Melog announces their arrival with a mew and Catra is immediately in a good mood.

"Hey pal, y' okay?" Catra asks, gently petting the kitten. "Sorry f'r almost gettin' y' kidnapped." Melog doesn’t seem to be too upset about the whole ordeal. Catra wonders if they have any cat food here. Seemingly out of nowhere, Light Hope appears in the room.

"Good morning, Catra," Hope says, nearly making Catra jump. "Are you feeling any better this morning?"

"Uh…not really," Catra replies. It's morning? What time did I even go to sleep at?

"Understood. I have been told that Adam met you earlier. His parents will likely come meet you soon. Do you want to talk about what happened yesterday?" Catra groans inwardly. Her jaw still hurts pretty badly and talking isn't easy.

"'Kay, um, I was in the parkin' lot, an' Hordak got me, an' I screamed for help," Catra manages to say. Fuck, did he really have to punch me that hard? "Put a sock 'n my mouth, 'n punched me in the jaw." Her good hand idly rubs where he had punched her. "Then he tossed me in the trunk, n' Melog, uh…then the car hit me in the head, an' now I'm here."

"Just to clarify: the coach of the Horde carried you to his car, gagged you with a sock, punched you in the jaw, threw you and your pet into the trunk of his car, and attempted to kidnap you?" Hope asks. Well, shit, why'd she have to put it so bluntly like that? Makes me look like an idiot.

"Uh-huh."

"I see. Why would he attempt to kidnap you?" Catra feels a lump in her throat.

"Don' wanna talk about it," she mumbles.

"Is it an uncomfortable topic for you?"

"Yeah."

"Would you like to talk to Adora about it? I know you two were very close," Hope offers.

"NO. Uh- n-no, thanks," Catra says.

"I understand. Are you feeling well enough to eat breakfast?" Huh. When was the last time I ate something? Breakfast from the day before yesterday, I think. Did I eat after that? I don't know, unless whatever that apple stuff was counts.

"Yeah!"

"Good. I will have Adora come in and deliver it to you when I'm finished," Light Hope remarks as she leaves the room. The whole Prime situation is still very raw to Catra. She's not looking forward to retelling the story over and over again. She imagines that's what coming out is like, if she'd ever had the chance to come out in high school. As she's thinking to herself, an intruder comes into the living room once again to disturb Catra's peace. This time, it's a middle-aged woman wearing pyjamas under a robe. She has a cup of coffee in her hand and bright red hair crowning her head.

"Oh, good morning, dear, you must be Adora's friend!" She says, much too chipper for how early Catra thinks it is. "I'm Adam and Adora's mom, Mrs. Greyskull, but you can call me Marlena. How are you feeling this morning?"

"Not…good," Catra grits. She's never been very comfortable with mother figures, given the poor excuse for one she grew up with.

"I'm sorry to hear that. Is there anything I can do to help?"

"Uh, not- no," Catra mumbles.

"Well, alright. It was nice to meet you, um…"

"Catra."

"It was nice to meet you, Catra," Marlena says with a soft smile. She doesn't look much like Adora. Maybe her hair is dyed or something? The woman looks to the side and adds, "oh, Randor, honey, come meet Adora's friend!" The man who walks into the living room reminds Catra much more of Adora. He's tall with a muscular build, and he's got brown hair that clearly has been dyed to cover the grey.

"So you're the one who hurt my children, huh?" The man asks. Catra swallows thickly.

"Uh- I-I did- didn't- uh," Catra sputters.

"Honey, don't scare the poor girl!" Marlena scolds.

"You're right, dear, I'm sorry," He responds to his wife with a sigh. "I'm Randor, Marlena's husband, but you can call me Mr. Greyskull. I trust we won't have any issues while you're living under my roof?"

"Y-yes sir," Catra says, trying her best to not let her fear show on her face.

"Good. I don’t have a problem with you staying here, but I'd better not hear anything about you being rude to my daughter again. I don't care that you're in a bad way right now, my family will always come first." Randor leaves the living room with a stomp in his step. Marlena looks back at Catra, who's shaking like a leaf under her blanket.

"So sorry about that, dear, I promise he's usually in a better mood! I'll see you around, alright?" Marlena says. She finally leaves the living room and Catra feels like she can breathe again. Jesus, Adora's dad really hates me! I didn't even do anything! …Well, nothing that bad, anyway. Christ, I can't get kicked out of another home…

Adora bursts into the living room, abruptly ending Catra's train of thought. "Hi, Catra, I got breakfast!"

"Thanks, 'Dora," Catra mumbles. She struggles to sit up, and Adora watches uncomfortably.

"Do…do you want help getting up? I don't have to!! Really, I don't mind just sitting here and- well, I guess that would be a little awk-"

"Yeah," Catra grumbles.

"Huh?"

"Help?"

"Oh!" Adora places the plate she's holding onto a table and rushes to Catra's side. She gently lifts her into a sitting position and steps away quickly. "Is that okay? Are you comfortable?"

"'S fine, thanks," Catra responds.

"Good, that's- that's good," Adora says. She's clearly relieved. "I, um, I kinda wanted to apologize for yesterday…I was a little overbearing, but I was just worried about you. It won't happen again. I'll give you space."

"Oh. Uh- o-okay." Catra wasn't expecting that at all. Adora flashes a smile at her.

"Awesome! Here, I got you toast and bacon, since I know that's your favourite, and I also got you some other stuff, but you can see that…Oh- there's other food in the kitchen, if you want it," Adora explains. Catra's a little touched that Adora still remembered her favourite breakfast food. "I can, uh, I can go into the kitchen and eat if you want me to, but-"

"You can eat with me, 'Dora," Catra assures. Adora beams again and rushes to go get her own plate of food. In typical Adora fashion, it's filled to the point where Catra's afraid it might tip over.

"So…how'd you get that gap in your teeth?" Adora asks through a mouthful of scrambled eggs.

"Huh?"

"You've got a gap in your teeth, like, right next to your front ones. How'd you get it?"

"Oh. I- uh, y'know Octavia?" Adora nods. "She knocked it out. Didn't like me."

"What?! Catra, that's terrible! Hordak let your teammates do that?" Catra shrugs weakly. "Did she put you in those casts, too?"

"No, that- that was Glimmer's dad," Catra corrects.

"WHAT?!"

"No- not like that, hit me with his car," Catra explains.

"WHAT THE FUCK?!?" Catra chuckles painfully.

"It's alright. Accidentally." She takes a bite of her toast and struggles to chew it. "He's nice."

"Was…he the one who left you passed out in the Fright City ice rink's parking lot?"

"No."

"How did he even hit you with his car? You don't live anywhere close to Glimmer!" Adora remarks.

"Uh, it's a long story," Catra says, trying to dodge the question.

"Oh, um, okay." Adora looks down at her plate for a moment before perking back up. "Where've you been for, like, the past week?"

"Bright Moon."

"How'd you like it? I know it's pretty different from Fright City," Adora asks. Catra frowns.

"Leg's broke, didn't like walkin' on it," Catra answers.

"So your leg's broken and you've got a bad concussion…what else hurts?"

A sigh. "Uh, foot's sprained, ribs are broke, wrist's broke, 'n two broken fingers. Nose is broke, too. Think my jaw might be, but I dunno."

"Wait-wait-wait-" Adora sputters, "that- that's serious, Catra, we gotta take you to the hospital-"

"No, not again," Catra murmurs. She's tired of being there so many times. "Can't pay for that…"

"My parents are kinda loaded, actually, you'll be fine. Also, I didn't want to say anything and embarrass you, but you've been drooling a little this whole time."

"Huh??" Sure enough, when Catra puts her hand to her chin, there's a thin trail of drool. "Fuck."

"Catra, please, let me tell my parents so they can take you to the hospital, I don't want you to be in pain," Adora pleads.

"No, see, it's fine," Catra says, taking a painful bite of toast. She still hasn't swallowed that first bite, but Adora doesn't need to know that. Adora frowns and pokes Catra's jaw, earning a squeak from the injured girl.

"Hey, Mom, could you come in here?" Adora calls out. Catra scowls at her friend (can she still call Adora that?), feeling a bit betrayed.

"What's going on, sweetie?" Marlena steps into the room and sees Adora crouched over Catra.

"Catra's jaw is probably broken, we need to go to the hospital."

"Oh! That's- let me get some real clothes on, I'll be right back," the woman assures.

"C'mon, Catra, I'll help you get in the car," Adora says. She puts her hands under Catra's back and behind her knees and lifts the girl up almost effortlessly.

"Nooo," Catra mumbles. "Put me back!"

"I promise you'll thank me later." There she goes again with those damn promises she won't keep. Adora sits Catra down in the back seat with enough room for her leg to be propped up. Soon, Marlena hops into the driver's seat of the car and they start moving.

"Why didn't you tell anyone sooner, Catra?" Marlena asks.

"It's fine, not that bad," Catra tells her. It doesn't hurt as much as some of her injuries, but that's not saying a lot since she has so many of them. Her whole body feels like one sharp ache.

"I'm pretty sure breaking someone's jaw is a crime," Adora adds.

"Shuddup, don't wanna talk about it."

Going to the hospital while conscious is a very new experience for Catra. For one, she feels a little nauseous in the car, even though she's never been carsick before. Her head is still a little fuzzy, but this is the first time she isn't waking up in a hospital bed, so she'll take it as a win. She's pretty sure the receptionist recognizes her. The three women stay in the waiting room for a little while before going in back with one of the doctors. Sure enough, it's the same doctor Catra saw the other times she went to the hospital recently.

"Hey, kid, long time no see! We really need to stop meeting each other like this," Dr. Netossa says. She leaves Marlena and Adora in some room Catra assumes she'll be taken back to at some point and wheels Catra over to get an X-ray taken. "Alright, just sit there, don't move, and we'll be done in juuuuust a sec," the doctor assures. Damn. I hope I'm not drooling again. I feel like a fucking idiot.

"Well, I got good news and bad news. Good news is that you won't need any surgery! Bad news is that you've got a dislocated jaw there, kid. C'mon, I'll take you back into that room and get you fixed up." Fuck me, a dislocation is worse than a regular break, isn't it? Fucking Hordak. Netossa lifts Catra up onto the hospital bed and moves the wheelchair out of the way. "You gotta stop getting yourself hurt, huh? I know this can't feel too good." The doctor turns to the other women in the room. "Are you two taking care of Catra now?"

"For the time being, yes," Marlena answers.

"Got it. Make sure she doesn't get into any more scrapes, alright? She's already pretty bruised."

"I'm right here," Catra grumbles.

"Try to limit your talking if you can, okay?" Netossa mentions. "I know you'll want to talk, but I don't want you to damage that jaw any more. Unless you guys have any questions, I'll go grab my nurse and finish this up for you."

"Really? That fast?" Adora asks.

"Sure. It's a dislocated jaw, so all we have to do is pop it back into place and bandage her up. No surgery needed for this one!" The doctor leaves the three women alone.

"Catra, how did you dislocate your jaw?" Marlena asks. Light Hope didn't tell her?

"Her old hockey coach put a sock in her mouth and punched her really hard so she'd stop talking," Adora explains.

"'Dora!" Catra cries out.

"What? That's what happened!"

"I'm so sorry that happened to you, dear. Was this a part of the attempted kidnapping that Light Hope mentioned?" Oh, so Hope just didn't give anyone any details, but gave them a general overview.

"Uh-huh."

"We really could press criminal charges-" Marlena starts.

"No! No, Prime's got cops in his pocket, won't matter," Catra says.

"Wait, Prime?" Adora asks. Oh, shit. "What does Mr. Prime have to do with all this?" Before Catra can answer her question, the nurse from before knocks on the door and enters the room.

"Hello, ladies, am I interrupting something important?" Spinnerella asks.

"No," Catra grunts before Adora can answer.

"No talking if you can help it, dear," Spinnerella reminds her. "I won't lie, this will probably hurt quite a bit, so we're going to put you on some muscle relaxers, okay?" Catra stiffens and shakes her head quickly, only to have her head hurt like hell, so she holds it in her hands and whimpers. "Woah, be careful, your concussion is pretty bad, dear! I know this is difficult, but it's for your own good."

Catra squeaks as Spinnerella uncaps the needle to the syringe. "Just relax, you'll only feel a pinch." Catra squeezes her eyes shut so she can't see the needle go into her jaw, but she does feel a pinch. "There, all done. I'll come back in ten minutes to see how that's setting in, okay?" And just like that, Catra is alone once more with Marlena and Adora.

Chapter Text

"I didn't know you were afraid of needles," Adora notes.

"I'm not," Catra replies. "Don't want medicine."

"Why not?" Marlena asks.

"Long story," Catra mumbles.

"Oh, wait, you never answered my question," Adora adds, "where is Mr. Prime involved in this situation?"

"Mr. Prime? As in the Prime Industries Mr. Prime? Has his own car brand Mr. Prime?" Marlena asks.

"Yeah, he owns the Horde," Adora explains, "and Catra had this one weird meeting with him this one time where she-"

"STOP!!" Catra shouts, tears springing to her eyes. "It's bad, don't…don't wanna talk about it…"

"Oh. Oh, no, Catra, I'm sorry," Adora says. She looks like she means it, too. Catra absolutely refuses to cry, even if she is really upset and yelling like that hurt her jaw.

"It's fine," Catra murmurs.

"No, I- I told you I'd stop being so overbearing, and I did it again," Adora explains. "I keep hurting you without meaning to, and I just got you back in my life after almost a year, and I missed you so much, Catra. I don't want you to go again."

Catra takes a deep breath. She doesn't want to tell them what happened, but she really doesn't want Adora to feel this guilty. "Prime…drugged me. Back when we were 16, I think. And he threatened to do it again and, uh…if I didn't win game seven, he said there were "other uses" for my body, an- and I don't know if it's the first time he's tried to do something with me?"

Marlena and Adora both stare at Catra, neither of them wanting to be the first to break the silence.

"Th-that- you- you don't think he raped you, do you?" Adora asks, already crying. Catra shrugs. Against all reason, she feels ashamed. It's not like she knows for sure, and she never wanted to tell Adora. Suddenly, Catra's being squeezed, and she realizes that Adora is just hugging her really tightly. "I'm so sorry, I-I should've known, should've done something, I-"

"'Dora. It's not your fault," Catra explains. "Think Weaver was prolly groomin' me for it since I was a kid." This only makes Adora cry harder. Catra hugs her back as best she can. "It's why I didn't tell you. Didn't want you to blame yourself. Not…not your fault."

"I'm so, so, sorry, Catra," Adora sobs into her shoulder. Catra's crying too now, but much more softly. She just holds Adora as tightly as her broken body allows her to. They hold each other for so long that Spinnerella comes back into the room, but Marlena takes her out of the room and leaves Catra and Adora a moment of privacy.

"'C'mod, 'Dowa, godda ge' m' jaw pawp'd in," Catra slurs. Wow, fuck, those muscle relaxers really work hard.

Adora chuckles wetly. "What? I can't understand you." She lets Catra go.

"Jaw'th bwoke, membuh? I, fugck, thingk I god bwood youw thirt."

"Don't worry about my shirt. I…I'm sorry I freaked out," Adora mumbles.

"'th wawwanded," Catra shrugs.

"Okay, now I really can't understand you. I'll let the nurse in." Adora opens the door and Marlena and Spinnerella jump. They must've been in a pretty serious conversation for such a short amount of time. Everyone comes back in the room.

"Alright, dear, are you ready? This will probably still hurt, just warning you," Spinnerella says.

"Weady," Catra responds. The nurse smiles at that, then places her hands on both sides of Catra's face. She puts her thumbs on the back-most teeth on Catra's bottom jaw and pushes down. Ow, fuck, god, how does that still hurt so bad?? Spinnerella moves the girl's jaw back and forth slowly until, finally, it audibly pops back into place and Catra squeals in pain. Marlena and Adora wince at the sound of the jaw being put back.

"Sorry, I know that doesn't feel good! Let me get you bandaged up." Spinnerella grabs a bandage roll and wraps it under Catra's jaw and around the back of her head a few times. It's tight enough that it won't fall apart, but just barely loose enough that Catra can still slightly open her mouth. Adora giggles. I probably look like a moron with this. Damn. "I'll give Mrs. Greyskull all of the aftercare information in writing, but I'll explain it to you now as well.

"Don't open your jaw too widely for the next six weeks, and no eating hard foods for a while. I'll up your prescription on those pain meds I gave you awhile ago since you, um, don't have them anymore, as well as antibiotics to prevent any infection." Marlena must've told her my situation. "Cut them in half if you need to, and don't skip out on taking any. Try to limit talking as much as possible. You'll probably drool until your jaw feels more stable. Don't be afraid if there's blood in the drool, that's normal. You might vomit due to the blood and spit draining down your throat, but that's normal too. Come back and see me if you have any problems, alright? Oh, and don't forget to ice it!"

Catra is wheeled back out to the car, and Adora lifts her into the back seat again. They drive to a pharmacy to pick up the medicine prescribed to Catra. "Is there any sort of soft food that Catra really enjoys, Adora?" Marlena asks from the driver's seat. Catra frowns. She's taking this seriously, huh? Adora looks at Catra, who shrugs.

"She's, um, not very picky, but she's lactose intolerant, so probably something with no dairy? I know she really likes pasta," Adora explains.

"Got it. I'll see what we have at home and I can go to the grocery store later to pick something up if we need to. Does that sound okay, Catra?" The girl tries to open her mouth, but remembers that it's bandaged nearly shut, so she gives a thumbs-up with her good hand. "Great. Let's get you girls home."

 

----

 

It's been somewhere around an hour since Catra and Adora got back to Adora's house, and it's getting close to lunch time. Catra is laying on the couch watching a dimly-lit TV scratching Melog before Light Hope interrupts her. "Catra, are you feeling well enough for lunch?"

"Uh…'kay," Catra mumbles.

"Adora suggested yesterday that I give you applesauce, would you like more of that?" Catra's face burns at the implication of Adora helping her while she was knocked out. I knew I tasted apples when I woke up. Well, apples and blood.

"Uh-huh." Light Hope gives her signature half-smile before leaving the room. A minute or two later, Adora enters with the aforementioned applesauce.

"Hi, Catra," Adora greets.

"Hey 'Dora. What's wrong?" Adora perks up.

"What? Nothing! Nothing's wrong!" Catra gives her a deadpan stare, and Adora sighs. "Fine. I just feel bad about the whole Prime thing. You didn't want to talk about it, but I pushed it anyway-" Adora is cut off by Catra's hand on her shoulder.

"Not your fault," Catra reminds her.

"It's- you said he was going to- uh, do it after game seven of the finals, right?"

"Uh-huh."

"Why?" Damn it. I hoped she forgot about that.

"Wanted me to win," Catra explains. "Punishment."

"You looked afraid before you went up in the shootout. I've never seen you afraid on the ice before. I-I should've known something was wrong…"

"Stop spiralin'." Catra reaches her good hand out. "Applesauce."

"Oh. Oh!! Right, yeah, let me just, yeah-" Adora sputters as she opens the container. "Can…you do this by yourself?"

"Yeah," Catra scoffs. She holds the applesauce in her bad hand and the spoon in her good hand, and sure enough, she makes it work. That is, it works for a few minutes before it all comes back up after mixing with the blood that'd drained down her throat. Luckily, Adora had the foresight to bring a bucket with her, so Catra doesn't puke all over herself.

"Ugh…not again," she grumbles.

"This happened earlier?" Adora asks.

"At Sparkles' house."

"Woah, wait, when did you go to Glimmer's house?"

"After Micah hit me with his car," Catra explains. "Stayed there 'til I ended up in the parkin' lot." She clutches the bucket a little tighter thinking about Micah and Angella. They're probably worried sick about her. Ha, that's a weird feeling.

"That's where you've been this whole time?"

"You ask lotsa questions, 'Dora," Catra notes.

"Oh, shit, yeah, you're not supposed to be talking much. I, um, I could still stay in here and watch TV with you, uh, if you wanted," Adora offers.

"'Kay." The two girls watch TV for a while before Adam walks into the room.

"What's up, Adora?" He asks. Catra hadn't noticed the brace around his knee before. That's my fault, isn't it? I didn't mean to injure him… "Woah, what happened to your friend?"

"Catra's got a dislocated jaw," Adora answers.

"Sorry 'bout y'r knee," Catra blurts before she can stop herself.

"Oh, this?" Adam lifts his knee and pats the brace. "Doesn't hurt anymore. Coach just doesn't want me to hurt myself even more, y'know? Preventative and shit."

"Didn't want you to score…"

"Hey, I get it, hockey, right? No big deal," Adam assures her. "Seriously, don't beat yourself up about it, you look beat up enough as it is." Catra huffs and Adora laughs. Yeah, they're definitely twins. "Yo, Adora, do you think I should grow out my moustache?"

"Absolutely not," Adora replies, looking disgusted.

"Aw, come on, I'd look great! Hey, Catra, imagine this face, but with a sexy-ass moustache. What do you think? Total lady killer material, yeah?"

"Yeah, you'd probably kill someone alright," Catra says, which makes Adora laugh even harder.

"Everybody's a critic in this house. What're you two watching?" Adam vaults over a table and plops himself down into the same reclining chair as before.

"Old hockey reruns," Adora answers.

"Don't you do anything other than think about hockey, Adora? You need to get yourself laid one of these days. Find some hot lady before I do." Both Adora and Catra's faces go beet red at the statement.

"Thought you were dating Sparkles," Catra mentions.

"What? No, I'm not dating Glimmer, who told you that?" Adora asks.

"…She did." Was this just some elaborate trick to fuck with me?! God, I really can't stand her…

"Anyway, I think we should watch my favourite show," Adam interrupts.

"Oh my god, Adam, we're not watching-"

"Fish racing!! Aw, yeah, baby, let's go!!" He yanks the remote from Adora's hands and flicks the channel to a show where a group of goldfish are swimming around in a circle.

"Please forgive my brother," Adora explains, "he's a man."

"No, but listen, all of them are named after gas stations! Personally, I'm a 7-Eleven guy myself, but Sheetz is getting really popular online."

"It's like Nascar, but dumber," Catra grunts, "didn't think that was possible."

"Hey, don't hate on it if you haven't even watched it!" Adam says. The three kids watch fish racing for about ten minutes before Adora's finally had enough.

"Give me that," she growls as she tries to snatch the remote again.

"No way, there's only, like, six laps left!" Adam tugs back. The twins wrestle on the ground for control of the remote before Catra stops them.

"'Dora's ticklish on her ribs," Catra remarks. Adam gasps and grins at Adora.

"No. No. Catra, how c-HAHA!!" Adora is quickly cut off by her brother aggressively tickling her until she can hardly breathe. "Okay! Okay! Uncle!" She shouts between pants. Adam takes the remote back victoriously, only to find that the fish race had ended.

"Aw, what? Wawa won? This is a fucking rip-off, man," Adam says with a pout. It hurts her jaw, but Catra can't help but laugh at the twins' antics. It reminds her of how her and Adora used to be as kids.

"I can't believe you'd betray me like that, Catra," Adora tells her.

"Free entertainment," Catra replies.

"Are you two having fun in here?" Randor asks, walking into the living room. He looks at his kids, then at Catra. "Why's her head all bandaged?"

"Catra's got a dislocated jaw, Dad," Adora explains. Catra shivers. It's weird hearing Adora call anyone 'mom' or 'dad.'

"Ah. She do this by herself, or did she get help?" I don't think I like what this guy is implying. I'm right here, asshole.

"It's- uh, it’s a long story, but someone punched her in the jaw," Adora says.

"Didja punch 'em back?" Adam asks, and Catra shakes her head as quickly as she can without hurting it.

"So you're one of those kids that gets into fights, huh? Should've known, being from Fright City and all," Randor spits.

"Dad, I'm from Fright City," Adora reminds him.

"Are you saying this girl isn't some kind of troublemaker? Just look at her, sweetie. Why don't you go see that nice Glimmer girl? She doesn't do things that dislocate her jaw." Is he being racist, or just a dick?

"That's…not really fair, Dad, you don't even know Catra yet," Adam argues. Randor scoffs.

"I know her well enough to see that I don't need her being a bad influence on my kids," he shoots back.

"S-sorry, sir," Catra mumbles, and Randor whips his head around to glare at her. The adrenaline from this going through her system is going to make her sick later, she just knows it.

"You stay out of this, girl, if I wanted to hear from you, I would've asked you a question." Catra stares blankly at him. He's not the first parental figure to be mad at her, and she has more than a few coping mechanisms to deal with them. Randor sighs. "If you two need me, I'll be outside." The room is silent for a few minutes after he leaves.

"Wow. Dad really doesn't like you," Adam notes.

"Really? Hadn't noticed," Catra grumbles.

"Sorry, Catra, I should've warned you. He's kind of hard to get to know," Adora apologizes.

"It's fine. Thanks for standin' up for me, Adam. You're alright."

"Just alright? Adora, is she ticklish anywhere?"

"Broken ribs, don't try," Catra says before he can start anything.

"For the record, Adam, she's very ticklish," Adora says anyway. Catra glares at her before paling and vomiting into the bucket Adora had given her earlier.

"Dude, gross!" Adam shouts, but he's smiling, so Catra assumes he isn't really too upset. She groans into the bucket anyway.

"Are you okay, Catra?" Adora asks gently while patting Catra on the back.

"Fine…stomach hurts," she murmurs.

"Well, I'm out," Adam announces. "Gonna go hang out with Sea Hawk or something. See you guys later!" Adora waves at him and Catra briefly looks up from her bucket. "Feel better, Kitty Cat," he adds with a smirk.

"Don't call me that," Catra growls. He laughs and leaves without responding.

"Hey, are you…feeling better from this morning?" Adora asks softly.

"Jaw? Still broke," Catra says, and Adora smacks her lightly on the arm.

"You know what I mean."

"…Well, it already happened. Not much to say."

"Can- can I ask a question?"

"Hm?"

"What would Prime have done if Mara hadn't gotten you out of Hordak's car?"

Catra sighs. "I try not to think about it." Adora's eyes are glistening with tears again, so Catra opens her arms and offers her a hug, which she accepts without a second thought.

"'S alright, 'Dora," Catra assures her friend.

"No, it- it's not!!" Adora says between sobs. Catra just pets the back of Adora's head with her good hand.

"Didn't happen. Probably."

"I owe Mara, like, a thousand favours," Adora mumbles. Catra chuffs.

"Same. How'd she know I was in there?"

"She was going into the ice rink to drop something off for Hordak, I think an old helmet or something, and she saw him toss a body into his trunk. Then, she ran him off the road and threatened to call the cops if he didn't run off. I guess she found you and took you right back here."

"Nice…of her," Catra grunts.

"Are you okay?"

"Ribs-" she starts, and Adora releases the hug immediately.

"Oh, that- that reminds me, you have medicine to take!" Adora remembers.

"Don't wanna," Catra mutters.

"What? Why not?"

"I get all loopy."

"Oh, yeah, I can understand that. How about this: you take the pills, and I'll stand guard, alright? No one gets to you without getting through me first." Catra's heart swells at the suggestion. When's the last time someone offered to take a bullet for me? Probably…Scorpia, I guess.

"Uh- okay," Catra reluctantly agrees, "make sure the pills're small." Adora smiles and grabs the orange bottles of pills that Catra had been prescribed earlier in the day.

"Do you need any help?" Adora asks. "Not- not that I think you can't, just-"

"I get it. Everything's broke," Catra assures as she grabs the glass of water handed to her. Even though her jaw can only open so far with her head bandaged the way it is, she manages to swallow the pills without an issue. "Hope they don't come back up."

"Here, let's change the TV channel to something that isn't stupid fish racing," Adora laughs.

"I like your brother," Catra notes.

"Yeah? Me too," Adora replies with a smile. She turns on another hockey rerun, because of course she does, and settles down in the reclining chair that Adam had been sitting in earlier. The two friends watch the game for a little bit before Adora looks over and finds Catra already asleep on the couch. Adora tiptoes over to her friend and tilts her sideways so if the pills do come back up, she won't choke on anything in her sleep. As she's about to walk back to the chair she was sitting in, Adora feels a hand on her thigh. Catra, eyes still closed, is holding onto Adora's leg.

"Don't go," Catra murmurs in her sleep. "Miss you…" Adora gasps softly and sits down next to the couch so that Catra can loosely wrap her arms around Adora's shoulders. The only way Adora knows Catra is still asleep is that she can hear the girl softly snoring when she isn't sleeptalking. Much to her chagrin and occasional shame, Catra's always been a sleeptalker. "'Dora teddy." Adora snorts.

"I need to get a video of this," she whispers, reaching for her phone. She holds it up to capture her and her friend onscreen. "Hey, Catra, say hi to the camera!"

"Hey, 'Dora," she mumbles. Adora has to try very hard not to burst into laughter and wake up the sleeping girl. "Why're you so warm?"

"Oh, uh, I guess it could be my hoodie-"

"Want it," Catra cuts her off. "Want the warm." Adora snickers and ends the video recording, then takes off her hoodie and places it on top of Catra's blanket. She almost hopes Catra doesn't remember when she wakes up so Adora can make fun of her for what she said. Only good-natured bullying, of course.

Chapter Text

This time, Catra is woken up by a cat yowling and the sound of scraping claws on a hardwood floor. By the sun flickering through the window, she assumes it's somewhere after noon. Did I sleep through the rest of yesterday? She groans and reluctantly opens her eyes to see a large cat being chased around by a kitten. "Melog?" Their ear flicks, signifying that they heard her, but they continue to hunt the much larger cat in front of them. Adam runs into the room to break up the ensuing fight.

"Jesus, Catra, could you tell Melog to lay off?" He huffs.

"They're jus' a kitten," Catra argues. "Tell the other cat to grow a pair."

"This isn't just any cat, this is Cringer! He's, like, twelve," Adam explains as he holds up the cat.

"So? Melog's a predator. That's my kitten," Catra praises.

"They're not a predator, they're just a bully. Ol' Cringer never tried to hurt anybody!"

"Melog almost got kidnapped with me, they're workin' out trauma."

"Hey, wait, you can't pull the 'kidnapped' card!" Adam cries.

"Tough shit, Pretty Boy," Catra says with a small smirk.

"Man, you're a bully too…" Adam squints his eyes trying to find something to pick on Catra for in retaliation. "Wait, you were just asleep, right?"

"Uh-huh."

"How'd you drool that much blood in your sleep?" Catra's eyes widen and she looks down. Sure enough, there's a small puddle of spit and blood near where her mouth had been when she was asleep. "That's gonna be hell to clean out of the couch, but at the same time…sounds like a problem for Dad."

"No, your dad hates me!" Catra laments.

"Don't worry, I'll pin it on Adora or something," Adam assures. A doorbell ring interrupts their conversation, and Catra winces at the sudden loud noise. "Hey, you okay, Kitty Cat?"

"Fine. Pretty Boy." Catra scowls at the nickname. She couldn't tell if she liked it more or less than Wildcat or Kitten. Marlena must have answered the door, because Catra can hear her voice nearby, along with another voice talking in a familiar accent. It's comforting, almost.

"Adam, honey, is Catra awake?" Marlena whisper-shouts to her son.

"Yeah, Mom, she's up," he answers.

"Good, good. Um, Catra, you have some visitors," Marlena says.

"Huh?" Catra furrows her eyebrows, trying to think of who would want to visit her, when Angella and Micah walk into the room.

"Oh, god, you're safe!!" Micah cries as he squeezes Catra into a hug, which is soon joined by Angella.

"H-hey, Micah," Catra grunts. Her chest feels tight, but she doesn't mind when she's getting a hug like this. The man grabs her gently by the cheeks.

"What happened, kiddo? How'd you manage to get even more beat up?"

"It's- uh…I got punched in the face," Catra explains. She doesn't really want to discuss it with Adam in the room. He seems to notice the awkward tension and quietly slips out with Cringer in hand.

"Someone must've really punched you hard, dear," Angella prods.

"Hordak. Tried to bring me to Prime, but 'Dora's sister found me in his trunk." Micah and Angella look horrified.

"He put you in the trunk of his car?!" Micah asks.

"It's fine. Ribs still hurt. Melog's okay." Adora must've been drawn in by Glimmer's parents voices, because she skips into the room and gives Angella a hug.

"Hi, Coach! Why're you guys here?"

"We saw on your Snapchat story that Catra was here."

"I'm just so sorry, Catra, I kept telling you things would be safe at our house, and they weren't. I don't want you to think I purposefully lied to you, okay?" Micah assures.

"'Course not." Micah gives her a soft smile and brings her into another hug. Glimmer is the luckiest girl in the entire world if she can pull the shit she does and still get this kind of attention.

"Marlena, have you and Randor been looking after Catra recently?" Angella turns and asks the other mother in the room.

"Oh, yes, Mara nearly busted through the door holding Catra in her arms, it was a little scary, honestly," Marlena admits. "Hope has probably been more help to her than I have, and Randor…doesn't exactly get along with her." Catra decides to tune out that conversation. She already knows that Randor isn't her biggest fan, she doesn't need a reminder.

"Hey, kiddo," Micah draws Catra's attention, "the offer still stands about staying with Angella and I if you'd like. I won't be hurt if you decide to stay here, don't worry, I get it. Glimmer has been- well, she's been terrible to you."

"Thanks, Micah. I think I want to go home soon." Catra mumbles. She takes a deep breath and risks a gesture for another hug, which Micah is more than happy to give her. If she's crying a little on his shoulder, no one needs to know.

"Speaking of Glimmer…" Micah turns his head and calls out, "don't you have something you wanted to say to Catra, Baby Girl?" Glimmer shuffles out of the doorway with a guilty look on her face. She looks like she might want to apologize before she snorts instead.

"What's on your head?" She jeers.

"Bandage," Catra growls. "Why'd you tell me you and Adora were dating if you aren't?"

Micah shoots a look at his daughter. "Glimmer…"

She huffs. "Fine. I'm sorry I was such a dick to you and, like, every bone in your body is broken. And that I lied about me and Adora dating to piss you off, and that I broke your nose. Twice."

"Wait- Glimmer, you really did that?" Adora asks, splitting off from the conversation she was in before.

"Well, she was pissing me off," Glimmer explains, and Adora scoffs.

"Do you even hear yourself right now? Do you realize how fucked up that is?"

"Huh?"

"Prime almost got her because of you, Glimmer, how are you not seeing the problem?" Adora's furious at this point.

"Why should I care? Why's he so important other than his stupid company?"

"Because he might've raped her!" Adora practically shouts. The room goes silent at her confession, and everyone looks directly at Catra, who is trying her best to stare straight at the floor as her face burns red. Adora seems to notice her mistake.

"Oh- oh, no, Catra, I shouldn't have said that, I'm so sorry-" she rambles, but Catra doesn't even look up at her.

"…He did?" Glimmer asks in a hushed tone.

"I…maybe," Catra mumbles. She wants to disappear or pretend this conversation really isn't happening right now. Glimmer just stares at the girl- she can't come up with a single word to say, too many emotions are clogging her head.

"Catra? Are you okay?" Catra turns her head slightly and sees Adora.

"Fine." She can't curl into a ball, but she does the best she can by pulling her right knee to her chest and sulking into it. The adults in the room all stare at each other, not quite knowing how to handle the conversation.

"I-I'm sorry," Adora repeats herself. "I'm really sorry." Catra must have completely zoned out, because the next time she focuses on anything, she's alone in the living room, aside from Melog curled up by her feet. Her kitten notices her apparent distress and waddles towards her. Catra gives them scratches behind their ear for the effort. She sighs and turns over on the couch so that her back is facing the room. Sleep sounds good to her right about now, so that's exactly what she does.

 

----

 

Catra is back at her old house that she shared with Ms. Weaver, up in her bedroom. Ms. Weaver is talking to someone important downstairs, and Catra knows she should be doing her homework, but she left her backpack downstairs. After weighing the pros and cons against each other for a moment, she decides to tiptoe down the stairs to get her backpack. On her way, she can hear a spirited conversation between Ms. Weaver and the important person behind a closed door. Listening can't hurt, right?

"…a fool. A disgrace. She couldn't even keep herself away from you, the damned slut," Catra hears Ms. Weaver say. Who is she talking about? Catra's only nine, she doesn't know what a 'slut' is. "I'm sure she's playing it up for attention, but who would really believe her?"

"No one will, Sharon," a male voice rings out. "In the end, she'll realize that it's for the best. She should consider herself lucky that I've chosen to share my sacred light with her."

"It's about the only thing she'll be good for," Ms. Weaver scoffs, "heaven knows I've given her every opportunity to succeed." The man hums.

"Yes, well, she's a very talented eavesdropper, isn't that right, Catra?" Suddenly the door opens and Catra finds herself standing in front of a very angry looking Weaver and a satisfied looking Prime. This isn't how that memory happened at all. She's not nine anymore. She wishes she was.

"N-no, I- I'm at Adora's house, I'm not here," Catra assures herself.

"Not for much longer, you won't be," Prime notes. "I've received a very generous offer for you from a client in the Wastes. You'd best be good for them." Catra's legs buckle as something hits the back of her knees. Someone pins her to the ground with a foot on her back, and someone else ties her ankles together and her wrists together.

"What are you t-talking about??" Catra shouts before she's gagged.

"I really was looking forward to your services," Prime sighs. "Money talks, though. Brothers, load her into the truck with the others. Our time here is up." The two people tying Catra up drag her outside by the shoulders as she gives off muffled shouts and screams. She knows what will happen if they load her into this truck, she'll be sold off to some creep and never be seen by anyone good ever again. The people holding Catra throw her into the back of the truck without much care and-

 

Catra wakes up screaming. She quickly smacks her good hand over her mouth, and it at least muffles the squeak she makes from the pain to her jaw. What fucking time is it?? Am I still at Adora's house?? The answer to the latter question presents itself when a figure jolts awake in the reclining chair.

"Catra?" The voice asks sleepily. "What happened?"

"'Dora?" Damn, that nurse wasn't kidding when she said not to open my mouth wide…

"Yeah, it- it's just me, are you okay?" Catra looks Adora in the eyes. Adora was very clearly just asleep. It must be the middle of the night. She had to have waited down here instead of up in her bed because she was concerned for Catra. As touched as Catra is, she still feels slighted by what Adora had said earlier. She turns back around.

"'M fine. Go back t' sleep," Catra mumbles.

"Are you sure? I can get you-"

"Sleep, 'Dora. Go upstairs." Adora is silent for a moment.

"Okay. If- if that's what you want," she says. Why is she so upset? I know that chair can't be comfortable to sleep in. Either way, Catra can hear Adora trudge her way upstairs. Catra feels kind of guilty for kicking Adora out like that, but she didn't want her breathing down her neck, either. This time, when Catra falls asleep, she doesn't dream.

 

----

 

Sharp, little stabs into Catra's chest wake her up. She tilts her head to see what's going on and finds Melog kneading on her chest. "Hey, pal, that's really cute, but- OW!!" Melog started kneading directly on one of Catra's nipples. "Okay, that's enough," Catra grunts as she carefully lifts the kitten off her chest and sets them onto the couch.

She looks around and finds no one in the living room for once. Maybe Adora did all the hard work of scaring them off for her. On the table next to the couch, Catra finds a small container of applesauce with a spoon, a glass of water, a pill broken in half, and a note that was clearly written by Adora. She doesn't even need to read the letter to know- Adora's handwriting has always been formal and blocky.

Catra-

I have stuff to do today, so I probably won't be at home until whenever you eat next. I cleaned out your bucket if you have to use it again, and I set one of my old t-shirts on the couch if you want to change clothes. Please eat this applesauce and take the pill. I know you probably don't want to, but it's important. You're important. Sorry that I told everyone Hopefully we can talk later about how you probably hate me me being an idiot. I'm still sorry.

Adora

Catra reads the letter and sighs. Adora really does care about her, against all better judgement. She slips her shirt off and puts on Adora's old t-shirt. Catra actually recognizes this one: it's an old Force Captains She-Ra shirt from the last season she was on the team. Adora had gotten it for her birthday a while ago…is Catra really that much smaller than her? As much as I don't want to take that pill, my jaw hurts like a bitch. Hopefully no one will bother me while I'm all fucked up by it. She reluctantly swallows both halves of the pill with only a little bit of trouble.

It's very boring on the couch all alone, so when Catra looks at the table again and doesn't see the TV remote, she's reasonably upset. She can't exactly walk over and pick it up. Catra frowns and takes a small bite of applesauce. "HEY, ADAM!" She calls out. Hopefully he'll come and help her? He usually isn't doing anything important. She is unfortunately greeted by Randor.

"Adam is out with friends right now. Why are you yelling?" He asks with a scowl on his face.

"Oh- uh, n-never mind, it's not important," Catra replies. Shit, this is the last guy I would've wanted to respond to that!

"No, clearly it's important enough for you to make that much noise in the morning. What's the problem?"

"I, um, I just wanted the TV remote," Catra mumbles. He scoffs.

"And you couldn't get it on your own?"

"My leg's broken."

"So you haven't even tried. I'm starting to think this is typical behaviour for you, Catra," Randor spits.

"Can I ask you a question?" Randor raises his eyebrow.

"What?"

"Why don't you like me?" Catra asks.

"For one, you hurt my son with a completely illegal play that you weren't even called out on," Randor starts. Catra cringes thinking about that hit; she really wasn't expecting it to do that much damage. "Second, you seem to be a bad influence on my daughter, and when you two were childhood friends, you were a troublemaker then, too. You come into my house hiding because of some silly feud with the owner of your hockey team. Haven't you got your own family?"

"No, sir."

"Don't lie to me, girl."

"I'm not, all I have is an adoptive mom that doesn't like me and never did," Catra relents. "And Melog now." The kitten perks up for a moment after hearing their name, but quickly gets bored and goes back to their nap.

"She likely has a good reason for disliking you. To be frank, you seem quite disrespectful and if both Light Hope and Adora hadn't vouched for you, I'd have you gone by now," Randor shoots back.

"I thought you said you didn't have a problem with me staying here."

"That was then and this is now. Is there anything else you'd like to waste my time with?"

"…No, sir," Catra sighs, and Randor gives her one last glare before leaving the room. So much for TV. I guess I'll just eat this applesauce and twiddle my damn thumbs for hours. Luckily for Catra, Adora gets home about half an hour later, so she doesn't have to wait long. By that time, though, Catra totally forgets about waiting for anything, and is happy enough to sit around in a drug-infused haze.

"Oh, Catra, you're awake!" Adora notes as she walks into the living room.

"So are you, 'Dora," Catra says with a giggle.

"Ah. You took the pill, didn't you?"

"Don't like takin' it," Catra explains, "don't like drugs."

"Understandable, but I'm proud of you for doing it even though you didn't want to."

"C'mere." Catra makes grabby hands and Adora gets the message. She sits down by the couch so that Catra can hug her.

"You've been sleeping a whole lot more than usual, lately, like, you slept through pretty much most of yesterday," Adora remarks.

"Maybe I'm tired. All my bones are broke," Catra reminds her, and it earns a chuckle.

"Yeah, I guess they kind of are."

"What were you doin' today?"

"Oh, I just…I was just grabbing a few things from the store. Not a big deal," Adora deflects. If Catra was in her right mind, she'd see through Adora's terrible lie in a second, but she instead just hums in approval.

"Your hair smells nice," Catra notes. Adora's face goes beet red.

"My- oh, thanks, Catra. I…washed it?"

"Wanna wash my hair, but it's gone," Catra laments.

"I've been meaning to ask you about that. What did happen to your hair? It was always so long."

"Got my head bonked on the road, n' the doctors had to fix it." She points in the vague direction of where she believes the gash is.

"Oh, yeah, ouch. Did it hurt when they stitched it?" Adora asks.

"Haha, I can't feel anything."

"…How long has it been since you've taken a shower or something? How do you even pee?"

"'Dora, you can't jus't ask a girl about her pee,it's impo-implolite," Catra answers.

"You're not peeing on the couch, are you?"

"Hope helps me to the bathroom," Catra explains.

"Oh, thank god. It's been, like, a week since the last finals game. Was that the last time you took a shower?" Catra hums.

"Sounds right. Don't like water."

"What if I found a way to cover your casts?" Adora asks with a smile on her face.

"Only if you get a rubber ducky," Catra compromises.

"Deal!" Adora shouts, running upstairs and back down in a matter of moments, now holding a rubber duck. "This is Baron von Quack."

"Bon soir, mon copain," Catra replies.

"…What was that? You don't know any other languages."

"It's a secret," Catra whispers between giggles.

"Alright, fine, it's bath time," Adora says, picking up her friend bridal-style.

"Faster, faster!!" Catra laughs. Adora huffs and carries Catra upstairs along with a bag and the Baron. She sits Catra on the edge of the tub, steadying the girl whenever she wavers.

"Here," Adora explains as she opens the bag, "I'm gonna put these on your casts, alright? It keeps the water from fucking them up."

"'Dora said a cuss word," Catra mumbles. Adora rolls her eyes as she holds up two plastic sleeves, one much larger than the other.

"These go over your casts so you can go in the water safely. Let's do your arm first. Hold it out for me?" Catra obliges and giggles when Adora holds her hand, even if it is through the cast. Once it's secure, Adora looks at Catra's full leg cast. "Your leg must be all kinds of messed up, huh?" Catra nods, and Adora covers that cast as well. "Okay, so you kind of have to take your clothes off to take a bath, uh, do you…need help?"

Catra doesn't need to answer: Adora watches her struggle to get her head out of her shirt and decides that's answer enough. She gently lifts Catra's shirt off of her and helps her with the loose shorts she's wearing. "Nothin' you haven't seen before, 'Dora," Catra reminds her friend.

"Yeah, I know, I- I just don't want to make you uncomfortable," Adora explains, fidgeting with her hands.

"Need help," Catra says, and Adora gasps. Even though the girl is high, Catra's almost never admitted to needing help before.

"Okay," Adora whispers and takes off the rest of Catra's clothes and the various bandages littered all over her body. "I'm, uh, gonna get the tub going." Catra happily hums a made-up song to herself. It's then that Adora realizes that she probably should have turned on the water before undressing Catra, but at least the other girl doesn’t seem to mind. Once the water is suitably warm, Adora gently lowers Catra into the tub.

"It's nice," Catra says with a sigh. She relaxes into the tub a little before Adora pushes her back up, not wanting her to dunk her head. "Can I open my jaw big now?"

"No. It'll hurt like hell. Here, let's get your hair washed up." After only a minute of scrubbing through Catra's much shorter hair, Adora realizes how soft it is. "How'd it get this soft?"

"Got hit by a car," Catra answers with a grin. "Check for spiders."

"Catra, what does that even mean??" Adora yells and Catra laughs in response. It takes about five minutes before Adora is satisfied with her work, and when she looks away to grab another bottle, Catra's spiking what little hair she has up as high as it'll go.

"Gonna be a rockstar," she whispers to herself. Adora snorts.

"Let me get your face," Adora says, and Catra looks to her friend. Both of their faces are pink at this point. Adora gently scrubs Catra's face, making sure to only lightly touch her jaw. It's surprising that Catra hasn't said anything while Adora is washing her face. She's been staring intently at Adora's lips instead. Once she's finished, Adora grabs a cup and helps Catra rinse her head off. "You have to close your eyes or you're going to get shampoo in them," Adora warns.

"I'm not afraid of soap," Catra informs her, but she's quick to be disproven when shampoo does get in one of her eyes. Her shriek makes Adora fall out of her chair in surprise, but she's back up quickly to help Catra.

"See, I told you!" Adora scolds.

"Sorry, 'Dora," Catra mumbles, "wanted to show you I'm strong."

"I already know you're strong, Catra, we've played hockey together since we were, like, five."

"Still…"

Adora takes a bottle of conditioner and helps Catra scrape the stuff through her hair. "Is this gonna make it softer?" Catra asks.

"Yeah. It's just conditioner," Adora answers.

"Never got that before," Catra notes. Adora's face twists into an expression of guilt as she once again think about Weaver and all the things she did to Catra. She takes a washcloth and swipes it up and down Catra's arm, making sure to get all the tough spots. Catra twists around so Adora can get the rest of her, and soon enough, Adora rinses her off again and she's clean.

"Hey, you got somethin," Catra says, pointing at Adora.

"Huh? Where?" Catra smiles broadly as Adora crouches down and is splashed as soon as she falls into Catra's range. "Wh- Catra!!" She shouts. The girl in the tub just laughs as hard as she's laughed in a very long time, so Adora can't help but smile a little. "Fine, I'll get my revenge."

Suddenly, Catra is scooped out of the tub and into Adora's arms again, but this time, she's quickly bundled very tightly in a towel. She grunts as she tries to escape her newfound prison. "'Doraaaa, lemme go," Catra whines.

"Sorry, Catra, but you're the one that splashed me!" Adora marches them into her room and sets Catra down on her bed. First, she takes off the cast covers, then the takes another towel and scrubs Catra's hair dry as the girl is still stuck in the towel trap. When Adora's done, her friend's short hair is spiking out in every direction, and looks much more poofy than usual. "Cute," Adora mumbles. Catra pouts as Adora softly ruffles her hair. "Let's see what needs bandaging, now."

Adora hadn't been paying conscious attention to Catra's body before, but after she removes the towel, it's on full display. She re-bandages a bunch of scrapes and cuts that were likely accumulated when Micah's car hit her and wraps her jaw back up, along with re-taping her broken fingers. She tries not to focus on how she can see each and every one of Catra's ribs jutting out; she can even tell which ones are broken. How did she play hockey so well if she was so underfed?

Adora clears her throat. "Um, I don't have any bras small enough for you, but I can probably look through some of my old things and find one that fits you," she offers. Catra stares directly at Adora's chest, probably not even realizing it.

"'Kay," she affirms, and Adora goes through clothes in the back of her closet until she finds something. She silently helps Catra with the clasps in the back. "Will you sign my cast?" Adora blinks.

"I- of course I will," she answers with a laugh. "You can wear some of my regular clothes for now. They'll be pretty loose, but I figure you should probably be wearing loose clothing right now, anyway."

"Pyjamas," Catra insists, so Adora finds some baggy pyjamas for Catra to wear. "Good…now bedtime." Catra lays down on Adora's bed and takes Adora down with her. Adora gasps quietly. Catra's head is laying by Adora's heart and she has an arm lazily draped around her torso.

"Doesn't this hurt?" Adora asks, and she is answered with a soft snore. Even though it's almost morning, Adora finds it easy to fall asleep in her friend's arms.

Chapter Text

While Catra is still asleep, Adam walks past Adora's room and peers inside. Adora looks up at him and whispers, "don't you dare." Unfortunately for Adora, that simply isn't how brothers operate.

"YO, ADORA, ARE YOU COZY??" Adam shouts at the top of his lungs. Adora cringes and Catra groans.

"Shut the fuck up," Catra growls, holding her head in her hands and curling up.

"Asshole!" Adora yells as she throws a pillow at her laughing brother.

"What? You two just looked so comfy together!" Adam says innocently. Catra grunts and gently rubs her jaw with her good hand as Adora helps her sit up. "Didja help her wash up or something?"

"Yeah," Adora answers. "She was only asleep for, like, an hour afterwards." She suddenly remembers how thin Catra had looked. "C'mon, it's time to eat!" She lifts Catra up again and trots downstairs. Catra glares at Adam as she's whisked away. Bastard took away my naptime… She's placed back in her usual spot on the couch and Adora shuffles off somewhere. A minute or so later, she comes back looking victorious.

"Mom says she's gonna cook you some pasta! I know you're probably pretty hungry, right?" Adora asks.

"Uh, yeah, I guess," Catra murmurs.

"You didn't eat anything yesterday, so I'm demanding that you eat something today." Catra opens her mouth to respond, but Adora quickly cuts her off: "And don't say applesauce, because I mean a real meal, Catra. I'll help you if you need any help, okay?"

"Fine," Catra relents. The two friends sit in silence for a moment, neither particularly inclined to break it. In the end, Adora ends the stalemate.

"Um…I wanted to, uh, well, I wanted to apologize for what I said yesterday," Adora starts, and Catra sighs.

"You didn't lie," Catra responds.

"No, but it wasn't my business to talk about, you know? I just got so angry that Glimmer was treating you like shit…I don't know. I'm sorry."

"'Dora, it's fine. Not a big deal. Nothing either of us do will fix what happened. You were trying to help."

"You- you can't just be okay with that! I told everyone in the whole house something really personal that you clearly don't want to talk about!"

"You're right, I don't wanna talk about it," Catra growls.

"I-" Adora takes a deep breath and restarts. "I'm sorry. Something really shitty happened, and I made a bad situation worse."

"Just forget about it."

"Why?"

"It's not important."

"Really? So you're just hiding your emotions again?" Adora accuses.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Catra asks, indignant.

"You don't ever talk to me, Catra, not really. Not even when we were kids! You pretended everything was fine even though you were miserable. Why?"

"Oh, I didn't talk to you? Funny, you wanted to move away without telling me! Maybe I didn't tell you 'cause I didn't want this!"

"God, you are so…Weaver can't hurt you anymore, why won't you just loosen up?"

"No. She'll find me. The second I step foot out on my own, I'll get caught and this whole cycle starts again. Prime'll find me. Do you really wanna know what happened when you left?" Catra asks.

"Yes! Tell me!"

"It was fucking awful! You were the only one that cared about me, 'n you left! Octavia locked me in the locker room overnight, got the shit beat outta me by my teammates, Weaver only got worse, she threatened to take me to Prime, an' I hardly ever slept. I didn't eat. I had to win, 'Dora, it's all I had left! I got a family with Micah n' Angella, but fucking Sparkles ruined that. Your dad hates me. I don't have anything to do with my life 'cause all I ever did was fuck up. Are you happy? Did my life story make you feel better?"

"I-I don't-" Adora sputters.

"Actually, I'm not done. I know what comes after this for me's just gonna be Prime. He's got everyone working for him lookin' out for me, so there's no way I get out of this. Might as well throw myself back outside for some lucky idiot to find me. Do you get it, 'Dora? There's no way out for me. So, no, you running your mouth isn't a big deal 'cause Prime'll do so much worse once he finds me again," Catra finally finishes. She's out of breath and her jaw hurts like hell, but at least she got it all off her chest.

"Prime has people out looking for you?" Adora asks. Catra scoffs.

"You think he's just gonna let me go? I'd be a liability. Loose end. Might as well get some use out of me while he can." Catra stares angrily at the ground and Adora pointedly looks anywhere but at Catra. Unexpectedly, Catra lets out a small laugh. "Maybe you were right to move. All I ever did was cause trouble."

"Catra, that's not true, you- you were my best friend!"

"Did you get the answer you wanted? Did I talk enough for you?" Catra sneers. Adora stays silent for a moment. "Go be with all your fancy rich friends. They matter." Catra seems to shrink into herself, somehow. Adora hasn't ever seen her look so small and broken.

"I'll…I don't…okay. I'll go. I won't bother you again," Adora says, and leaves the room. Catra is too busy stewing in her own emotions to realize what a mistake she'd made.

 

----

 

DING DONG

Randor grumbles, gets out of his seat, and opens the front door. A tall, slender man wearing a white suit stands in front of him. "What can I do for you?" Randor asks.

"Hello, sir. My brothers and I have received a tip saying that Catrina Weaver is staying here. Is that correct?" The man's tone was generally monotonous.

"Yeah, she's here. Why, is she in some sort of trouble?"

"No, sir, my brothers and I are close with her uncle, and he has been searching everywhere for her. Would you mind her coming with us?"

"Sure, if you can get her up. She's got a broken leg, or something, I don't know," Randor remarks.

"Ah, thank you, brother! Here, for your services," the man adds, handing Randor two $100 bills.

"That's- hah, yeah, no problem!" Two more men appear from the white car in the driveway and enter the house. It's been hours since Catra and Adora had fought, and Catra is fitfully napping now. The three men approach the couch Catra is sleeping on, and one of them pulls a rag from his pocket and presses it against Catra's nose. She tries to wake up, but she only gets far enough to flutter her eyelids before her body succumbs to the chemicals on the rag, then one of the men places a small slip of paper on her tongue. Two of the men pick her up by the armpits and drag her out of the house.

"Hey, uh, Dad? What's going on?" Adam asks as he walks downstairs. He's only caught the tail end of the scene.

"Catra's family came to pick her up," Randor explains.

"Oh. I didn't think she had any family…"

"Apparently she'd been running from her uncle this whole time, can you believe that?" Randor scoffs and closes the front door. Adam stays for a moment and watches the men unceremoniously toss Catra into the back seat of the car and speed away. He decides he'll tell Adora once she's back from hanging out with her friends.

 

----

 

The couch feels much stiffer than usual as Catra wakes up. She must have been sleeping well, since she's having such a hard time opening her eyes now. She rubs her eyes and wow, this is definitely not Adora's house. Judging by her surroundings, she's in the back of some sort of cargo truck. There are two benches on both sides of the enclosure, each with sets of shackles surrounding them. Luckily, Catra isn't shackled herself. She's alone. How the fuck did I get here?! I thought I was just taking a nap!!

She limps towards the door and finds it chained closed behind a large padlock. Shit. Catra looks around for something she could pick the lock with, and settles on a piece of metal that must've rusted off one of the shackles. The lock is quickly done away with and Catra removes the chains from the door and opens it, only to find herself staring down a nearly empty highway going very quickly. It must be night time.

Fuck me, things can't ever be easy, can they?? Dammit, would I even survive that jump? Catra swallows thickly. Everything already hurts, and she isn't particularly interested in making it worse. Why even bother? You know this has something to do with Prime, and he'll just find you again. He has the resources to outrun you at every step. Just make things easier for yourself and stay in the truck. Catra's torn in her decision, but she doesn't end up having to make a choice, as the truck speeds over a bump and Catra flies out. She crashes onto the pavement and tumbles until she runs out of momentum and finally stops. She pants, trying to catch her breath, and looks up. The truck is speeding away, the driver none the wiser.

No time for celebrating yet, you're probably out of the frying pan and into the fire. Catra slowly limps to the side of the road and checks for any new injuries. Her ribs ache and her shoulder looks like it's popped out of place, but that should be an easy fix later. She checks her left leg and sees a bone poking slightly out of her skin, and a deep trail of blood starting from where she had landed. Fuck. FUCK!! What happened to my cast?! Walking on it definitely isn't a good idea, but Catra figures she doesn't have much of a choice. She starts limping slowly in the direction of where the truck came from and keeps going until she runs out of energy and passes out.

 

----

 

"-ad? She doesn’t look too hot." Catra slowly opens her eyes and squints to avoid the sunlight. "Oh, shit, she moved!" She growls weakly, hoping to scare off whoever this voice belongs to. "Well, she's definitely not dead, we know that."

"Go…away," Catra grunts.

"C'mon, she clearly needs help, we can't just leave her out here!" One voice cries.

"We don't know what kinds of diseases she might have," another voice argues.

"Alright, alright. How about this: we give her a ride back to wherever she needs to go," a third voice offers.

"Yes! Thank you!" The first voice says.

"Fine, but if she tries something, I'm tossing her out of the car," the second voice adds.

"Come on, stranger, let's get you up," the third voice grunts. Catra stands weakly, putting most of her weight on her right leg. "Oh, you can stand?" She takes a step and falls over, but is picked back up by one of the three voices.

"Don't kill yourself, alright? We're trying to help," the second voice says. They place Catra's arm over their own shoulder and set a hand around Catra's hip to give her more support. "This way, stranger." She limps painfully towards some kind of minivan. Once she's up on the back seat, the door closes, and Catra tries to focus her vision more. The interior of the car is dark, thank god. Someone opens the car door opposite to her and sits in the back with her. The person has bright, curly hair, a red headband, and pretty eyes.

"Hey, are you okay?" The first voice asks her. "My name is Starla."

"Catra," she manages.

"Do you know how you ended up on the side of the highway?" Starla asks.

"Fell…out of a- a truck."

"See, she's fucking crazy!" The second voice exclaims.

"Don't be mean, Jewelstar, we don't know that!" Starla shoots back.

"Do you know where you are, Catra?" The third voice asks.

"No," Catra murmurs.

"You're in Eridani," the voice explains. "I'm Tallstar. You seem pretty badly hurt, what happened?"

"I dunno," Catra answers.

"Okay, well, do you remember where your home is?"

"Bright…Moon."

"Bright Moon? Jesus, that's on the other end of the country!" Jewelstar shouts.

"Huh?" Catra looks up. Jewelstar is behind the wheel, and Tallstar is in the passenger seat.

"Yeah, we can't take you to Bright Moon, that's, like, multiple days of driving, and you're a stranger," he explains.

"Is there someone you can call?" Tallstar asks.

"Don't…don't know his number," Catra says, "but maybe."

"Can't you give any of us a straight answer?" Jewelstar asks angrily.

"She might've hit her head or something, Jewelstar!" Starla protests. "Hey, Catra, look at me." Catra shifts her head and obliges. "Who's the person you could call? Do you remember his name?"

"Micah, uh, Micah Rune," Catra answers.

"You're friends with Micah Rune and you got in this much trouble? You're living one hell of a life." Tallstar chuckles and shakes her head.

"Oh, Dr. Rune! Yeah, we can find his number pretty easily, we know his daughter!" Starla explains.

"Sparkles…" Catra mumbles.

"Um, Glimmer, but yeah. We'll see if we can reach him, alright?" Tallstar asks. She dials a phone number and makes a call. "Hey, yeah, it's me, Tallstar. Can I talk to your dad? …Okay, thanks…hey, Dr. Rune, it's Tallstar. We found a kid named Catra passed out on the side of the highway and she says she knows you, is that true? …Really? Okay, well, is there any way you could come out and get her? I know it's a long trip- …Oh. No, yeah, for sure, we can house her while she's here, but she's really been gone for that long? …Jesus… alright, I'll chip in for gas since it's a long drive, Dr. Rune. We'll see you in a few days, alright? …Yeah, bye." Tallstar looks to the backseat. "How the hell did you go missing for a whole month and a half?"

"WHAT??" Catra yells and immediately holds her jaw afterwards. "Ow…"

"You don't know?" Starla asks.

"No, I- no!"

"Hey, it's okay, don't freak out," Starla assures, "we'll figure this out, okay? You gotta calm down, first."

"I-I'm fine," Catra lies through her teeth.

"Starla, if she pukes in my car, you're cleaning it," Jewelstar warns. Starla glares at her brother and pats Catra on the shoulder, feeling guilty when she winces.

"Tell me what you know, okay? Anything you want," Starla says to Catra.

"Okay…um, my- my leg's broke, and I, uh, I-"

"Woah, hey, take some deep breaths, okay?" Starla asks. "You're gonna pass out if you keep breathing like that!" Catra is too engrossed in her own panic at this point to hear her, and true to Starla's word, she faints, landing her head on the back of the passenger seat.

 

----

 

Catra feels like shit when she wakes up. How long had she been asleep for? Everything around her is unfocused and a little fuzzy. She sniffles. That's weird, she didn't have a cold before. She sits up and her head spins a little, but she can see a figure near her. "Adora?" Catra whispers.

"Oh, you're up! I, um- who's Adora?" Adora asks. "N-never mind. How are you feeling?"

"I've been better," Catra admits. "Played through worse."

"Played what?"

"Hockey, dummy! …Hey, why can't I feel my leg, Adora?"

"Okay, I think you probably need more sleep," Adora tells Catra as she tucks the girl into a bed.

"Huh? No, I just…just woke up…" Catra trails off as she falls asleep once again.

Chapter Text

This time, someone shakes Catra awake. "Hey, kid, come on, get up!" Catra grunts and reluctantly opens her eyes. "Dr. Rune's here to pick you up."

"No, he's supposed to take a couple of days to get here," Catra murmurs.

"Yeah, you've been on-and-off asleep for that long." Catra looks up and sees Jewelstar above her. "I've got some crutches from when Starla broke her foot a while back, you can use those if you want," he offers.

"Oh. Thanks." Catra sits up and looks at the room around her. It's very nicely decorated, in her opinion. Is…that an owl in the corner of the room? Catra stares at it, confused.

"Here," Jewelstar says, handing Catra the crutches. She flexes the fingers on her right hand and find that they work just fine now, and her wrist only hurts a little bit. Once she's up on her right leg, Catra takes the crutches and places them under her arms. "Do you know how to use those?"

"Yeah."

"Good, I'll walk you out."

The pair walk outside, Jewelstar keeping a keen eye on Catra to make sure she doesn’t fall down or slip. Once they're close, Micah bursts out of his truck and runs to Catra. "Thanks, Jewelstar, I can take it from here," he offers.

"Hey, Dr. Rune. Thanks for coming all this way. You sure you don't need anything?" Jewelstar asks.

"I'm good, but I appreciate it. Say hi to your sisters for me," Micah says as he picks Catra up. She drops the crutches, but Micah will pick them up later. He gently places Catra in the passenger seat of his truck, grabs the crutches, and drives off.

"…Catra? Are you okay?" Micah asks. "You haven't said anything since we left the Star siblings' house." She just shrugs. "I'm not mad at you, if that's what you're worried about."

"You're not?" Catra asks softly, and Micah chuckles.

"Of course not, kiddo, I was worried sick about you! The Greyskulls told me that your uncle had picked you up, and I told them you didn't have an uncle, and Randor said he'd handed you off to three guys who were friends of your uncle's. Once Adora heard the whole story, she went nuts and yelled at her dad, saying that he'd just handed you off to Prime, but Randor didn't seem to care much, so she called Angie and told her what was happening."

Adora still cares? That's stupid.

"Well, Angie and I found Prime's address and drove to his house," Micah continued, "but when we asked about you, some guys told me that you were with your mom. I yelled and told them you didn't have one, so they came out with Sharon, and she said you were being taken care of. It- there was nothing we could do at that point, since she's your legal guardian. I'm so sorry, Catra."

"You didn't do anything wrong," Catra says.

"I told you that I'd keep you safe and I didn't. I let you slip away twice and god only knows what happened to you this time. I'm a terrible dad." Catra has never been good at comforting people, but she tries anyway by patting Micah's shoulder.

"You're not. You're a better parent than- than I ever had," Catra explains. "Thanks for getting me back." Micah chuckles with tears in his eyes.

"I should stop throwing a pity party over myself and be happy you're back, huh? Sorry, kiddo," Micah sniffles. "I thought I'd lost you for good."

"I'm…glad you're here," Catra admits.

"I'm glad you're here, too. Well, let's get you over to a hospital, your casts are missing."

"Oh, yeah."

"Do you…remember anything about what happened while you were gone?" Micah asks.

"No. Nothing," Catra murmurs.

"How are your injuries feeling?"

"Hand feels okay, a-and my fingers, too. Shoulder hurts pretty bad, though, uh, my left one. I can hardly feel my left leg now. It's kinda, um, poking out a little?" Micah shoots a glance over at Catra's poorly-wrapped leg and his eyes widen.

"Dear god, kiddo, that doesn’t hurt??" Micah yells. "How is that not bleeding??"

"It's just kinda numb," Catra says. "My ribs still hurt just a little. I, uh, I think there are probably bruises all over. Maybe. Hand's better."

"Well, at least your hand is feeling better. Does your head still hurt?"

"Yeah. Jaw's still a little sore, too," she adds.

"Good news is we're almost there." Micah looks at Catra. "Hey. I'm really glad you're okay." Catra smiles softly.

"Th-thanks. I- yeah," Catra mumbles.

 

----

 

The hospital isn't very crowded; it's apparently somewhere around 11 in the morning, but Catra had no way of knowing that before. The receptionist at the check-in desk looks incredibly concerned when she sees Catra, and tells a doctor to come out right away. The doctor that comes out seems equally as concerned and immediately rushes Catra into an operating room and gives her a pill to take. Once the door to the OR closes, Micah walks back to the waiting room and fidgets nervously. An hour later, a harried-looking doctor steps into the waiting room and points at Micah, gesturing for him to come along.

"What the hell happened to your daughter??" The doctor asks angrily.

"Oh, um, it's kind of a long story, but she was hit with a car, then kidnapped, then fell out of a speeding truck?" Micah tries to explain as he follows the doctor who sighs heavily.

"Jesus Christ. Okay, we've run a few tests and the open fracture has an infection, since it was left untreated. You're lucky you got here when you did. An x-ray showed that her femur is fractured in several places and will require at least one surgery to reset. We've cleaned the wound and I have doctors working on her right now, both to nail her leg back together and to make sure it doesn't get any more infected than it already is. She's also very malnourished, and I don't have cause to believe it has anything to do with her injury. Give me one good reason not to call Child Protective Services," the doctor demands.

"Well, see, she's not actually my daughter, and her adoptive mother was abusive. I think she was a part of the group that kidnapped her? This guy, Prime, he runs a hockey team in Fright City on the other side of the country. He drugged her a few months ago, and likely did the same several times in this past month and a half. Also, there may or may not be a risk of sexual assault there? I just got her back. She'll turn eighteen this fall, and I'd rather not risk her falling into another abusive situation for a few months before she inevitably runs off," Micah answers. The doctor stares at him, mouth agape.

"That is…far worse than anything I've ever heard," the doctor admits. "Since she can't take care of herself in her current condition, are you her caretaker now?"

"Yes," Micah says confidently.

"Alright. I'll need you to fill out this paperwork and I'll have someone let you know when your…uh, your daughter, is out of surgery," the doctor tells Micah, who thanks them profusely and jogs back to the waiting room to fill out the paperwork as asked.

 

----

 

It's several hours later before Micah is told he can come back. A nurse leads him into a room where he finds Catra happily laying on a bed, her leg lifted up in traction. She has a sling on her left arm (which is bandaged to hell and back) and an IV hooked up in her right arm, along with a brace around her right wrist. "I'll come right back with everything she needs at home," the nurse explains, then leaves the room.

"Hey, kiddo, how're you feeling?" Micah asks softly.

"Great…" Catra slurs with a dopey grin on her face. "My leg doesn't hurt anymore!"

"That's great! Were the doctors nice?"

"Oh, yeah, one of 'em said I got nice eyes, and she put my leg up," Catra explains.

"I'm glad you're feeling better," Micah chuckles.

"Do we get to go home after this?" Catra asks.

"It'll be a long drive back, but, yeah, I'm taking you home," Micah answers confidently.

"Thanks, Dad."

Micah smiles. He feels his phone go off in his pocket, so he grabs it and sees that his wife is calling. "Do you want to say hi to Angella?" Micah asks, and Catra nods happily, so he puts his wife on speakerphone.

"Hi, honey, I'm here with Catra in Eridani!" Micah tells her.

"HI!" Catra shouts.

"Oh, hello, Catra! You found her! Oh, thank god she's alright. Where are you now?" Angella asks.

"We're in a hospital. The fracture in her leg got worse and she just got out of surgery a little bit ago. I'll tell you more later. How are things at home?"

"Just fine, though I've missed you while you've been gone. I've missed you too, Catra."

"Micah, tell her I said thanks," Catra whispers loudly. Angella giggles from the other end of the line.

"Catra says thank you, dear," Micah relays.

"Of course. I just wanted to check in and make sure your trip went okay. Is there anything you'll need when you come home?" Angella asks.

"Yeah, get Glimmer's bottom bunk ready again," Micah responds.

"Got it. I love you, dear," Angella says.

"Love you too, honey. Bye," Micah adds, and hangs up the phone.

"She's nice," Catra notes, "I like her!" Micah laughs.

"Yeah, me too, kiddo." The nurse comes in soon with the materials to set another cast, a pair of crutches, several orange pill bottles, and a packet of papers.

"Alright, what colour do you want your cast to be?" The nurse asks. Catra tugs lightly at Micah's shirt.

"You chose," she asks him.

"Oh, um…what about that lavender colour?" Micah points it out and Catra nods.

"You got it," the nurse says with a smile. They lower her leg and set the cast, this one longer than the last. "I'm gonna give these bottles to your dad," the nurse explains, "and he's gonna give them to you later for pain, alright?"

"I'm not even in any pain," Catra protests.

"Well, not now." The nurse turns to Micah. "We'll have details sent to your regular hospital, but make sure she takes these antibiotics every day for six weeks until she goes in to get checked out again. Use the pain medication when needed, but don't overdo it. She can start walking on the crutches whenever her shoulder heals, if she'd like. Any questions?"

"Where'd you get your shirt?" Catra asks the nurse.

"Oh, this? I think it was a birthday gift," they answer. Catra is wheeled out to Micah's truck and placed in the back seat where she'll have plenty of room to keep her leg elevated.

"Alright, kiddo, you ready for a road trip?" Micah asks from behind the wheel.

"Yeah, girls' night!!" Catra slurs. Micah laughs and the two set off for Bright Moon.

 

----

 

After stopping for dinner at a drive-thru, Micah finds a decent hotel room with two beds and checks both him and Catra in. He has no issue carrying Catra into the building and into the room; he actually thinks she's lighter than the last time he held her back in Bright Moon.

"You sick of me yet, kiddo?" Micah asks.

"No, but I'm sick of your music taste," Catra answers as she's set down on the bed.

"What, you don't like folk rock?"

"It's too…peaceful." Micah laughs in response.

"Here, make sure you take one of these before you go to sleep," he adds, handing her an antibiotic pill and a cup of water.

"Thanks," she mumbles as she swallows the pill.

"How's your pain looking?"

"Not so bad. I can sleep through it."

"Alright, well, if that changes, wake me up, okay? And don't you feel bad about it, either. Your leg is good and fucked up," Micah reminds her.

"Yeah, yeah, I get it," Catra says with a smirk. The two fall asleep quickly after a long day, and wake up early the next morning to Micah's alarm.

"Fuck," he grumbles as he reaches for his phone.

"Turn it off," Catra whines from underneath her pillow; she's covering her face with it.

"Wake up time, kiddo," Micah says, stretching. Catra sits up and looks like she hasn't slept in a week. "Yikes. Rough night?"

"Nightmares," Catra replies.

"Shit, I'm sorry…hey, I'll make it up to you by letting you pick where we get lunch from!" Micah offers.

"You let me choose dinner last night, too," Catra reminds him.

"Fine, I'll let you control the music," he relents. "But nothing too loud!"

"I promise," Catra says with a hand over her heart. The pair get packed up and loaded into Micah's car to continue their road trip. The next two days are generally uneventful: they stop for food, sleep at a hotel, Catra takes pain medication whenever Micah tells her to. On the third day, they make it back to Bright Moon.

 

----

 

"Well, that's all she wrote," Micah remarks as he pulls into the driveway.

"I'll hand it to you, the beds at home are much nicer than hotel beds," Catra says as Micah helps her out of the car. Angella must've heard the car pull in, because she rushes out of the house to greet the two, kissing both of them on the head.

"How was the trip? Did you have any problems? Catra, have you been taking your antibiotics? Are you in too much pain? Tell me all about it!" Angella rambles, leading Micah and Catra inside. Micah lays Catra down on the couch and the two talk to Angella about all the things that happened on their trip together.

"-and I told her it was just a fly, but she insisted it was a bee!" Micah finishes telling a story. Angella is laughing hard while Catra pouts.

"It looked too big to be a fly, how was I supposed to know?"

"It's okay, kiddo, you're just not a nature master like me," Micah says, ruffling the girl's hair.

"'Nature master,' sure, I've seen you kill a fly that landed on your shoulder and then eat it."

"What's going on? Is Dad back?" The trio looks in the direction of the voice and find Glimmer standing in the doorway. "Oh. Hi, Catra."

"Sparkles."

"Um…I'm sorry, about the whole Prime thing. I didn't know."

Catra shrugs with her good shoulder. "Whatever."

Glimmer clears her throat before turning to Micah. "Hey, Dad. It's good to see you back."

"I was only gone a couple of days! How're you doing, Glimmer?"

"I'm okay, thanks. Mostly glad you're okay," she answers.

"'Course I'm okay, you think anything could take out your old man that easy?" Micah and Glimmer banter with each other for a moment before Angella looks to Catra.

"So you don't remember what happened at all?" Angella repeats.

"No. It's just…blank," Catra admits.

"Well, that's not good. And you said you fell out of a truck?"

"Yeah, I picked the lock to the door. It was going really fast, and I didn't want to jump out, but the car bumped and out I went."

"It's a miracle you aren't hurt any worse," Angella notes.

"That's what Micah said, too. Sorry you had him drive all the way over there for me."

"Catra, dear, it's not an issue. You know we love you, and- well, I hope you know," Angella stumbles.

"…You do?" Catra asks.

"Of course we do. You're a joy to have in our home, and Micah and I couldn't be happier to have you here. I only wish you were healthy when you visited so that you wouldn't feel quite so terribly."

"Yeah, well," Catra chokes on her words a bit, trying not to cry, "'s nice of you." Angella smiles and offers a hug to the girl, who gladly accepts.

"It's nearly night time, would you like to go upstairs? We can have dinner down here if you'd like," Angella offers.

"What's- what's for dinner?" Catra asks.

"Well, there are a few options, but Micah has a frozen pizza he's been meaning to cook up for you." Catra's stomach growls as an answer for her. "Micah, have you been feeding her at all?"

"What? Of course I have! She's a growing girl," Micah remarks.

"I'm not growing, I'm seventeen," Catra argues.

"Well, you aren't shrinking. Come on, dear, let's get that pizza in the oven." Angella and Micah leave, and Catra and Glimmer are left alone with each other.

"I'm really sorry, Catra," Glimmer starts.

"You should be."

"I know. I really fucked up. Is- I'm gonna make it up to you, alright?"

Catra scoffs. "Sure."

"…Adora's coming tomorrow to bring Melog back."

"They're okay?" Catra asks, breaking the solemnity.

"They're fine. They kept terrorizing Cringer, but Adora wouldn't let anyone touch them," Glimmer explains. "I'm…glad you're not dead."

"Gee, thanks, Sparkles,"

Glimmer's phone goes off and she smiles sheepishly before she answers it. "Hello? …Yeah, they got back a little while ago…I'm sure she'll be okay with that." She hands the phone to Catra. "It's for you."

"Oh." Catra picks up the phone and holds it to her ear. "Hello?"

"Catra!! Thank god you're alright, I knew I should've said something when I saw those guys take you away, but I didn't-"

"Hang on, is this Adam?" Catra asks?

"Oh, yeah! I'm really sorry Dad let those guys take you. I kinda saw the end of it, but Dad said they were friends of your uncle's, but I didn't think you had an uncle in the first place, so I waited for Adora to get home and asked her about it? I didn't know what was going on, but I should've put up more of a fight," Adam explains.

"It's okay. I don't expect you to know what's going on."

"No, but Adora told me that whatever was going on was really bad, and I should've known it was sketchy. I'm sorry."

"It's really fine, I blame your dad more than I blame you."

"Thank fuck…I thought Adora wasn't ever gonna talk to me again…"

"She wasn't talking to you?"

"She was really pissed that I let you get taken away. I didn't know- I'm sorry. I'm really, really sorry. Hey, I gotta go, but Adora's gonna see you tomorrow, alright?"

"Yeah, uh, bye?" Catra pulls the phone away and hands it back to Glimmer. "Thanks."

She spends the rest of the evening eating pizza with Micah and Angella, and she missed it a whole lot more than she'd like to admit.

Chapter Text

Catra wakes up with a fever. She has for the past few days, actually, but she can't hide it was well from Angella. Micah was easy enough to fool, he was driving most of the time.

"Catra, dear, did you sleep okay?" Angella asks.

"Yeah, the bed's nice," Catra replies with a sniffle.

"Are you feeling alright?" Shit.

"Oh, yeah, I'm good, just…y'know-" Catra is cut off with a series of sneezes. "I'm good."

"The doctors gave you medicine for this very reason, you know," Angella reminds the girl as she uncaps one of the orange bottles.

"I don't like taking medicine," Catra mumbles.

"I know, dear, but you'd like to feel better, yes?"

"Yeah…"

"Good. How is your pain today?"

"Not too bad. I don't need one of the loopy pills, just the regular ones," Catra answers.

"I'm proud of you, you know," Angella says.

"Huh? Why?" Sniffle.

"You wouldn't have told me that you needed medicine at all when you first came here," Angella remarks.

"Why do you keep waking me up," Glimmer grumbles from the top bunk.

"I'm proud of you too, Glimmer, for being kinder to Catra," Angella relents.

"Whatever…can I go to Bow's house?"

"Alright, dear, be home by dinner." Angella nudges Catra. "Here you go." She hands the girl a glass of water and a few pills to take.

"Oh, yeah, thank you," Catra says. "Is, um, should my throat be scratchy?" Angella puts the back of her hand to Catra's forehead.

"Well, it feels like you've got a fever, so a scratchy throat wouldn't be unusual. That infection isn't doing you any favours," Angella admits. Catra just sniffles in response. The doorbell rings and Catra looks up at Angella, almost pleading with her eyes.

"Don't worry, dear, I'm not going anywhere," she says as if reading the girl's mind, "Micah is working from home so you no longer have to be here alone." Catra sighs.

"Thanks," she relents. Whoever is at the door must be friendly: Micah doesn't sound distressed. Angella turns her head and glares as she hears someone walking up the steps. She takes a protective step in front of Catra. Is she putting herself in danger for me? …Fuck. Adora walks through the doorframe and the two women in the room calm down again.

"Catra, you- you're here," Adora says, nearly breathless.

"Yeah." She doesn't exactly know how to respond.

"A-are you okay? What happened??" Adora asks.

"I mean, it's- uh, it's kind of a long story," Catra starts.

"Would you like a moment alone, Catra?" Angella offers.

"Um, sure," she replies.

"I'll be right outside if anything happens, alright?" The woman closes the door behind her.

"Prime…really had you, then?"

"Yeah, Adora, he did." Catra chuckles darkly. "I did tell you he'd get me."

"That's not funny," Adora protests. "I was scared shitless, Catra."

"Well, lucky for both of us, I don't remember any of it." Sniffle.

"Are we really gonna fight over this?"

"Why do you keep inserting yourself into my life, huh? You left me, I know you hate me!" Catra nearly yells.

"I never hated you!!" The two girls stare at each other.

"…Why?" Catra breaks the stalemate.

"Because, you're…you're Catra," Adora says. "Remember when we were ten and you broke your toe after skating into the boards?"

"Yeah? What's that got to do with anything?"

"I felt so bad that you had to go home after that, because I knew Weaver wouldn't help you any. I knew she'd probably hurt you, but I was scared, and Hope said there was nothing we could do. I-I'm sorry, Catra. I should've been stronger for you."

"We were kids, Adora, you couldn't have done anything," Catra argues.

"Remember when we were twelve and you passed out on the bench?" Adora asks.

"Sure, I had pneumonia. It sucked." Sniffle.

"You got to stay at my house for days because Weaver wouldn't let you come home. You were twelve and she wouldn't let you come home because you were sick!"

"Yeah, Adora, I remember, she yelled at me when I got home," Catra reminds her friend.

"Remember when we were thirteen and you ran out of class-"

"Get to the point, Adora," Catra says.

"Why won't you let us be friends like that again? Why won't you let me take care of you?" Adora asks.

"Because you left!! I had exactly one good thing in my life, and it fucking disappeared without even telling me it was going to. That's why, Adora, because unless you can promise me that you won't leave again, I don't want to keep getting fucking hurt."

"Okay."

"…Okay, what?"

"Okay. I won't leave. I'll ask Mrs. Rune if I can stay over here," Adora offers.

"What? Adora, that's crazy, your parents will-"

"I'm not on talking terms with my dad right now. I haven't been for a month and a half. My mom isn't even happy with him. Plus, they've lived seventeen-ish years without me, they can live for a little longer."

"…You mean it, then? You're really not leaving?" Catra asks.

"Really. If you'll let me stay, then I won't ever leave again. I promise." Catra's at a loss for words.

"I- I don't- wh-" Adora cuts her off with a hug, and Catra holds onto her friend like a lifeline. She sobs shamelessly into Adora's shoulder, safe from the rest of the world, until she has another sneezing fit.

"Are you okay?" Adora asks with a giggle.

"Yeah, I just have a fever. Kinda. It's not a big deal," Catra explains.

"Fuck, Catra, why didn't you say so?? I wouldn't have been so pushy if I'd known you were sick!"

"No, I just- my femur kind of popped out of my leg? And it got infected, so I've had a fever for a few days now. Kinda makes me feel like shit, but I don't think I'm actually sick." Catra clears her throat. "Uh, Angella? You can come back in, uh, if you want." As soon as she's called, Angella immediately steps into the room, tearing up a bit.

"That was beautiful, girls," she mentions.

"Shit, you were listening to that? I take it all back, Adora sucks," Catra protests as her face turns bright pink.

"To answer your question, Adora, yes, you can stay over here for as long as you'd like," Angella says with a laugh. "Now, didn't you leave something downstairs?" Adora's eyes widen.

"Oh, shit, yeah, hang on!" Adora runs downstairs and back up in seemingly record speed, and this time she's holding a small pet carrier. She opens it and Melog stalks out, looking bigger than Catra had remembered. They smell Catra on the bed and leap over to her.

"Aw, Melog, you remember me!! I missed you so much, buddy," she coos, giving Melog lots of scratches. They purr and rub around her in response. "Thanks, Adora. Were you taking care of them?"

"Honestly," Adora starts, "it was mostly Adam. He's kind of the cat whisperer of the house, y'know, with Cringer and all."

"If I remember, Catra, you haven't had any breakfast yet. What can I get you to eat?" Angella offers.

"Oh, uh, could- could you make pancakes?" Catra asks tentatively.

"Of course, dear. Adora, would you stay here while I'm downstairs?" Angella asks.

"Sure thing, Mrs. Rune!" Adora waits until the door is shut again to keep talking. "Did…did Prime, uh, did he-"

"I don't know," Catra answers honestly. "I don't remember any of the time I was under that drug. Part of me is glad that I don't. I haven't really had much time to process it, I guess? It took, like, three or four days for Micah to drive me back to Bright Moon, and I was terrified the entire time that Prime was trailing us."

"Do you think he was?" Adora asks.

"I don't think he knows where I am right now. I don't know how he could. I fell out of a truck, for Christ's sake."

"Has anything good happened since I last saw you?"

"…I can't remember. Riding back with Micah wasn't so bad, and the people at the hospital in Eridani were nice," Catra answers.

"Eridani?? Fuck, that's on the whole other side of the country!" Adora cries.

"Yeah, these three siblings found me on the highway after I limped around for a while and I passed out. They were pretty cool, I think. One of them called Micah for me, so I guess I owe them something." Sniffle.

"…You need a stress reliever," Adora remarks. Catra snorts.

"Neither of us has relaxed since we were children, Adora," Catra reminds her friend.

"I know, Bow taught me this really cool game…"

 

----

 

Angella walks into Glimmer's room and finds Adora and Catra playing some kind of card game together. "Girls? I have breakfast ready," she calls out. Adora immediately looks up and Catra doesn't take long to follow her. Angella sets up a fold-in table with Adora's help and spreads out everything someone might want with pancakes.

"Thanks, Angella," Catra says. Adora's mouth is already full, but she nods fervently in agreement.

"It was no trouble, Catra. If you two need anything, have Adora call for me," Angella notes, leaving the room again. Adora has finished her half in the time it takes Catra to get through just half of her pancakes.

"You can have the rest of mine, if you want," Catra offers. Adora looks longingly at Catra's half before shaking her head.

"No, you need to eat it. You were underfed before, and there's no way Prime was feeding you enough," Adora argues.

"Alright, alright, I was just trying to be nice," Catra adds, sniffling. The pancakes are finished soon enough, and Catra yawns and rubs her jaw as Adora puts up the table and piles the dishes nearby. "Thanks, Adora."

"You're welcome. I'm not gonna make you walk around on a broken leg," Adora mentions.

"I honestly would not recommend it. Hurts like hell." Adora looks over at her friends and sees her eyelids starting to flutter.

"Are you tired?" Adora asks.

"Hm? No, I'm good," Catra lies.

"Uh-huh. You can hardly keep your eyes open."

"That's not true, don't go around slandering me."

"Yeah, yeah, come on, tough guy," Adora soothes, climbing into bed with Catra. She doesn't realize that they haven't done this in a very long time until she's already under the covers. "Shit- is, uh, is this okay?"

"It's nice," Catra admits, "but don't tell anyone I said that." Adora mimes zipping her lips and turns off the lights with a remote on the nightstand. The two girls curl in upon each other as much as they can with Catra's elevated leg. A few minutes after Adora hears Catra fall asleep, she goes to leave the bed, but Catra grips onto her as she does so.

"Don't go," Catra murmurs between sleepy puffs of breath. "Not…safe…" Adora smiles and lays back down.

"Okay, I'll stay," she whispers in reply. Catra hums and snuggles her head closer to Adora, who falls asleep herself not too long after that.

 

----

 

Glimmer bursts into the room first thing in the morning, groaning loudly.

"Bow's stupid dads are taking him to a stupid play downtown and I can't go because they only have three stupid tickets," Glimmer whines. She looks at the bottom bunk of her bed and sees Adora calming a panicked Catra who looks like she just woke up, and Melog sleeping on the edge. "Adora? You're still here?"

"Good news, Glimmer, we're gonna be roomies! I told Catra I'm staying here with her until she's better," Adora explains.

"It's like a giant slumber party every night?"

"Pretty much, yeah!"

"Sounds good to me. Mom says she's making lunch, what do you want?"

"…Something fun," Adora responds.

"You are the most nonsensical Capricorn I've ever met. I'll text her." Glimmer looks at Catra. "What's wrong, Catra? You look like someone ran over your dog."

"Nothing. I'm fine. I'm great! Never been better!" Catra says through her teeth.

"Okay…if you say so."

"I'm not in that much pain."

"I didn't say you were…?

Catra glares at Glimmer. "We're not friends. Just because you didn't try to fuck with me recently doesn't mean my guard's down. I'm watching you."

"That's fair," Glimmer mumbles.

Angella interrupts the conversation with a knock on the door, which Adora opens for her. The woman is holding a large tray filled with mini sandwiches, an assortment of fruits, and several juice boxes.

"Hello, girls, how are you?" She asks.

"Good, thank you!"

"Fine."

"I've been worse."

"All good responses. Glimmer, would you set up that table? My hands are full." Glimmer sighs and does as she's asked. "Catra, how is your pain? Still manageable?"

"For now, yeah. Uh, thanks," Catra mumbles.

"Good. I didn't know what kinds of sandwiches you liked, so I brought up an assortment for you. I'll be downstairs if you girls need me." Angella leaves the room after picking up the dishes from breakfast.

"You're mom's so cool, Glimmer," Adora says.

"She's okay, I guess. Let's see what kind of food she brought!"

"Catra gets first dibs," Adora calls out.

"Are you really calling dibs for someone else?" Glimmer asks jokingly.

"You really know how to make a girl feel special, Adora," Catra teases. "I don't really have a preference, though, I'll eat whatever." With that, the three girls tear into their lunch, Adora eating the fastest by far. Even Melog gets a few bites of lunch meat. Catra holds up a piece of fruit and inspects it thoroughly. She sniffs it and takes a tentative bite, eyes widening as she does so. "What's this fuzzy one?" She asks with her mouth full.

"It's a peach. God, your childhood is so sad…"

"Glimmer!" Adora chastises.

"I've never had one before. Where'd your mom get it?"

"Uh…the grocery store?"

"I like it," Catra admits.

"What else haven't you tried?" Adora asks.

"I don't know what that purple one is," Catra points out, "and I know that's a banana, but I've never had one. Also, those little boxes."

Glimmer thrusts one into Catra's hand before she can protest. "Here, this one's fruit punch. Try it!" Catra tentatively does as she's asked and hums happily.

"This is good," she tells them.

"I didn't know you'd never tried any of these things," Adora starts, a little guilty. "I would've given you more snacks when we were kids if I'd known."

"'S okay, Adora, you should have one. It's so sweet!" Adora makes sure that Catra has tried a little bit of everything and that she has a full stomach at the end of lunch.

"Oh, god, I'm gonna explode," Catra whines, flopping back onto the bed and holding her stomach.

"You didn't even eat that much," Glimmer points out.

"I never got that much at home, it's like a buffet," Catra admits.

"That's a little sad, Weaver."

Catra hums in response. "Why did you call her 'Weaver?'" Adora asks.

"It's her last name. That's what hockey players do, Adora," Glimmer answers.

"I don't like it. Weaver's a bitch."

"Retweet," Catra mumbles.

Alright, alright, first name only. You're like the Catra police, Adora."

"Hey, I just want her to feel safe!"

"You're no fun. But, you're still my friend, so I will allow it," Glimmer says.

"Thanks, your royal highness. Catra, am I no fun?" Adora asks. "…Catra?" She looks over at the bed and finds Catra softly snoring, somehow already asleep.

"How did she do that?" Glimmer asks, a little incredulous.

"I have no idea."

"…Want to go play street hockey outside?"

"Yeah!" Glimmer and Adora rush out of the room, leaving Catra and Melog alone.

 

----

 

"When I took you in as a stray, I was hoping you'd be less of a disappointment."

Catra stands in front of Weaver, seemingly in the middle of a dark desert. "Sorry," Catra mumbles.

"You certainly don't act like it. Not only were you a failure on your own, but you dragged Adora down with you. I should've left you to rot with the other useless whelps all those years ago. You're just like your mother. Perhaps fate will be kind to you as well and you'll die young like her," Weaver says

"You're such a bitch. You told me my mom just gave me away."

"You don't have the confidence to say that to my face."

"No, and that's your fucking fault!! Why did you raise me like this? Why did you fuck me up so bad?"

Weaver just laughs and disappears, leaving Catra alone.

 

----

 

Catra jolts awake with a gasp and looks around the room. Aside from Melog, she's alone.

"No, no no no, Adora? Adora?!" God she left again I knew she'd leave I was such an idiot for thinking she'd stay and now Prime I gonna find me again and I got lucky last time I won't be able to cheat him again fuck me this can't be happening why can't things be okay for once why can't I get a single uninterrupted moment of happiness why does god hate me-

Catra hears someone shouting, but it sounds like it's far away, like if a sound could be fuzzy. She's curled up on her bed trying to hide from the world around her.

"-ey, I need you to breathe, okay?" She looks up and sees a figure. "Breathe with me, ready?" Catra tries breathing more deeply but it's so hard to control- "Look at me, kiddo, you're safe. You're at home with me."

"M-Micah?" Catra chokes out a sob.

"Yeah, it's me! Can you name five thing that you see?" Micah asks.

"Uh…" Catra looks frantically around the room. "M-Melog, do- do they count?"

"Yes! Just four more, you got it."

"Um, the d-door, an'…uh, agh-" Catra holds her head and squints her eyes shut.

"It's okay, kiddo, you're doing great! You can do this, okay? Just three things you can see. You can do it." Catra looks back up.

"Spark-Sparkles' closet?"

"Perfect, just two more!"

"Um…th-the bedsheets…and, uh…y-you?"

"Great job, Catra, that was perfect! Are you feeling better?" Now that Micah mentions it, Catra's breathing has stopped coming out in short puffs.

"Y-yeah, uh, kinda," she answers.

"Do you want a hug?" He asks, and Catra nods. Micah holds her protectively, and Catra couldn't be more grateful for him at this moment. He strokes the back of her head and she grips the back of his shirt tighter with her good hand. "Everything's alright, I promise. Nothing's going to hurt you. Do you want to talk about what happened?" The two let go of each other.

"I- I had a nightmare, an' when I woke up, ev-everyone was gone," Catra shakily explains.

"Ah, gotcha. It's nothing to be ashamed of, okay? You're allowed to be scared."

"Never said I was scared…" Catra huffs, and Micah chuckles in response.

"Whatever you want to call it, kiddo. Are you in a lot of pain?"

"Just a headache on top of everything else. Not bad."

"Good. I'm glad I came in to check on you when I did. Do you want to talk about your nightmare?" Micah asks.

"Not really. I don't even know how I fell asleep last time, I just kinda…conked out."

"Well, your body's healing, that tends to happen. I still can't believe you fell out of a speeding truck with an already-broken leg and kept walking."

"It's kind of a blur," Catra admits, "I just knew I had to keep going. I don't know. This sucks."

"Yeah, we really need to get you in to see a therapist," Micah remarks.

"I don't need a therapist. I just need to get over it. I'll be fine again soon."

"You know that isn't how it works, right?"

"Huh?"

"You don't just…get over stuff like what you've been through. It doesn't sound like you've ever had a safe place before."

"Define 'safe space.'"

"Somewhere you know is always going to be safe, you know? Somewhere you don't have to pretend to be someone you aren't, or lie about things," Micah explains.

"Honestly, I didn't think there were places like that," Catra mumbles. Suddenly, Adora crashes through the door, face red like she'd been running for a while before this.

"Catra?! Are you okay?! Mrs. Rune said you were up here having a panic attack, what happened?!" Adora asks.

"Is that what that was?" Catra looks up to Micah.

"Yeah, usually they happen when…well, when you panic. It's okay, though, we know not to leave you while you're sleeping, now. Not a problem," Micah assures.

"I don't want to put you out of your way, I'm already taking up space in your house-"

"Nope. Too late. I'm caring for you and I say someone stays with you at all times."

"I can take care of myself," Catra argues.

"Kiddo, I love you, but you shouldn't be doing anything by yourself right now. Thanks for checking in, Adora," Micah adds.

"Shit, I'm so sorry, I didn't know when you were going to wake up-" Adora starts, but is quickly cut off by Catra.

"Adora, you didn't know, it's not your fault. Don't blame yourself for something you didn't even know about," she says.

"Hey." Micah ruffles Catra's hair to get her attention. "You need anything else? I've got a couple more things I need to do at work."

"No, I-I'm good. Thanks, Micah," Catra mumbles.

"Anytime." He smiles and leaves the room. Catra is holding Melog tightly as though someone will come and take them away if she lets go.

"Did you have another nightmare?" Adora asks softly.

"Yeah, it- it was about Weaver this time," Catra admits. "I'm starting to think sleep isn't all it's cracked up to be."

"Catra, I better not find you trying to pull all-nighters."

"You won't, don't worry." Sure, Adora, whatever helps you sleep at night.

Chapter Text

The rest of the day is peaceful; no more big commotions come up, and Glimmer's being much more civil than usual. Adora helps Catra brush her teeth and take her antibiotics before bed, then curls into Catra in bed. Once Adora starts snoring, Catra sits back up. Adora sleeps like a rock. Hopefully that hasn't changed recently. There's not much to do, so Catra looks out of the window and watches cars go by. This works for a few hours, but it gets boring pretty quickly.

Somewhere around one in the morning, Catra is half-dozing, but notices a car slow down in front of the house. What the hell are you doing… A person walks out of the car and walks down the Runes' driveway. That wakes Catra up. Fuck, I need to get close to the window! She takes a deep breath and walks out of bed, swallowing a scream when she steps on her left foot. Good news is, at least she can see the person, but she wishes she couldn't. It's another one of the Hordak lookalikes.

WHAT THE FUCK?! GREAT GORDIE HOWE, WHAT'S HE DOING HERE? HOW'D HE FIND ME?! Catra watches him look through the front windows of the house, checking each one to make sure it's locked. He even jiggles the doorknob for good measure. After a few laps around the front yard, he walks back to his car and drives away. Catra swallows thickly.

Shit, this isn't good. Who's ratting me out?? I bet it's Sparkles, piece of shit… Catra stands by the window for the rest of the night, leaning more towards her right side. By the time Adora wakes up, she's still staring obsessively out the window. "Catra? 'S that you?" Adora asks, voice soft from sleep.

"Huh? Fuck," Catra spits as she turns her head to see Adora.

"What are you doing standing up?"

"Nothing- let me, uh, I'll get back in bed." Hours of standing on it has made her left leg hurt much more than usual, and her right leg buckles under the unexpected weight forced upon it, causing Catra to hit the floor. "Sh-shit, I got it, hang on." She tries to stand up again, but it feels like a sword is going through her leg every time she puts pressure on it. Adora is quick on her feet to help Catra into bed.

"What the hell was that?? You know how broken your leg is, you can't walk around on it!" Adora shouts.

"I don't care, it's fine! I was looking out the window," Catra argues.

"Well, duh, but you were standing up to do it, why weren't you just looking from the bed?" Adora narrows her eyes and inspects Catra's face more closely. "Did you even sleep last night?"

"I didn't need to. I'm not tired," Catra lies. Adora can see the bags under her eyes look darker than usual, and it looks like she can hardly keep her eyes open. Catra winces as Adora pushes her down onto the bed.

"Don’t lie to me, Catra, I'm just trying to help!"

"I don't need help," Catra protests as Adora forcefully tucks her friend into bed.

"I swear to god, Catra, I'm not taking my eyes off you until you fall asleep."

"Looks like you're gonna be staring for a while, Adora. I'm not sleeping," Catra challenges. Every time Catra tries to escape her blanket prison, Adora pushes her back down, so she eventually stays laying down. Neither of them says anything for half an hour, but they stare at each other the entire time. Every couple of minutes, Catra's eyelids will flutter closed, but they open a few seconds later.

"Getting tired yet, Catra?" Adora asks smugly.

"Not a chance, Adora. Don't you have more important things to be doing right now?" Catra responds.

"This is the most important thing I could be doing."

"Flattery will get you nowhere."

"It's gotten me this far," Adora says with a shrug.

"Your foreplay sucks," Glimmer calls out from the top bunk.

"Glimmer, Catra didn't sleep last night!" Adora yells back.

"…Okay? She's allowed to not sleep, why is that a problem?"

"For once we agree, Sparkles. Now can you get Adora off my case? I'm not tired," Catra huffs. "And it wasn't fucking foreplay."

"Quiet, Glimmer, I need her to fall asleep. I'm close, here," Adora adds. The two girls continue their staredown as Glimmer climbs down to the ground.

"Just wear protection," Glimmer says through a yawn. She goes into the bathroom, probably to take a shower. Unfortunately for Catra, the repetitive noise of the showerhead only makes her more tired, but she refuses to fall asleep.

"Jus' give up, you're not winning," Catra mumbles. Adora doesn't respond. She just keeps glaring down at Catra. Her little eye-flutters are about 30-seconds apart now. Adora knows that if she says something now, it'll only fuel her friend. Soon enough, Catra can't fight sleep any longer, and Adora hears her snoring softly.

"Sweet dreams, Catra," Adora whispers as she gets up to change clothes for the day.

 

----

 

"What do you mean she's not in en route?!"

"I-I went to check the back of the truck, sir, a-and she just wasn't there!"

"I trusted you with one job," Prime seethes as he grabs the man by the collar, "and you failed to accomplish even that? All you had to do was transport our little sister here. Why should I spare your life?"

"P-please, sir, I-I have a family, I-I'm begging you-" Prime throws the man to the ground and two more men enter the room to hold the first man down.

"I am nothing if not generous. I am giving you one final chance to prove your worth," Prime says as he holds something in his hand.

"What- what is that?" The man pinned to the floor asks.

"I've been working on a new formula that might help us bring back our Little Sister. Perhaps you'll be willing to test it for me." One of the men forces the first man's head face-first onto the ground, then Prime attaches a small, round disk to the back of his neck. "Bring her back," Prime growls.

 

----

 

Knock knock knock

Angella quietly opens Glimmer's bedroom door after hearing no answer. "Catra? Are you awake, dear?" Melog lifts their head to see who entered the room, and gives a small meow as they trot over to their visitor. "Hello, kitty-"

"AGH!!" Catra shouts and sits upright, pulling a knife out from under her pillow and breathing heavily. "Who's there??"

"Who on Earth gave you a knife?" Angella asks with her hands raised in mock surrender.

"Oh. It's- Adora always keeps a knife under her pillow. Sorry about that," Catra explains.

"Alright, let's keep the knife under the pillow, hm? Adora told me to keep watch over you while you were asleep."

"Thanks," Catra mumbles.

"Are you feeling alright, dear? You seem more…well, jittery than usual," Angella notes. She decides not to comment on the large bags under Catra's eyes.

"I'm fine, it's just more of the same," Catra lies.

"I understand. In any case, I am a little glad you're awake, because it's breakfast time. What can I make for you?"

"Oh…um, do people eat fruit at breakfast?"

"Some people do. What did you have for breakfast at your old home?" Angella asks, a bit afraid to hear the answer.

"I usually didn't eat breakfast. I didn't have much time for it, really."

"I see. Well, would you like some fruit?"

"It- the stuff you brought at lunch was nice. I didn't know they made yellow apples," Catra remarks.

"Is there anything else?"

"I don't really, uh, I don't really know what people eat for breakfast," Catra admits with her head down.

"That's nothing to be ashamed of, dear, don't be upset. It just means you get to try new things. What about bagels? Do you have a favourite kind?" Angella asks.

"Uh…I've had bread bagels, but I didn't know they made other ones." Angella's face pales for a moment before she clears her throat and regains her composure.

"I'll bring a little bit of many things, how about that?"

"Thanks, Angella. You're really too nice to me," Catra says.

"It's only because I care about you, dear. I'll be back in five minutes." Catra lets out a sigh. She had only just gotten to sleep when Angella woke her up. I got lucky this time. I'll need to be more careful with lying to Adora about sleeping. True to her word, Angella comes back with a small tray of food several minutes later.

"Wow, there's…so much," Catra says, taking it all in.

"You don't have to eat anything you don't want to, but the entire tray is yours, if you'd like," Angella explains.

"What's that purple stuff?" Catra asks as she points to a small pot.

"That's jam. It's made out of fruit and people usually like it on toast and bagels. Personally, I favour grape, but that's just my opinion."

"Oh. What about that?"

"Strawberry yogurt. I also have other flavours downstairs. You can make yogurt with almost any fruit." Catra takes a spoon and scoops out a spoonful of jam, then sticks it in her mouth, quickly followed by a bite of a toasted bagel. Angella watches in awe. Catra really hasn't ever had any of this. "How do you like it?"

"It's good," Catra answers, "but I don't think I can eat too much at once. I still can't open my jaw super wide, so I guess I have to be smart about how much stuff I get in one bite."

"Would you like to hear a trick?"

"Okay."

"I like to spread the jam onto the bagel with a knife. Would you like me to show you?" Catra nods her head, so Angella spreads the jam evenly while Catra watches eagerly. "Like so. Now you don't have to portion it out."

"Oh, wow. Thank you," Catra says as she takes a bite. "'S better this way!"

"I'm glad you like it." Angella gives the girl a smile. This goes on for a while, Angella helping Catra figure out breakfast food. By the time they've almost finished, Micah comes in the room.

"Hey, ladies, am I interrupting anything?" He asks.

"No, we were just finishing breakfast. What are you up to?" Angella asks back.

"So I was thinking about how to protect you, Catra, right? And then it hit me: we live in the future! What's your phone number?"

"I don't have a phone," Catra answers.

"What? But you're a teenager!" Micah points out.

"Weaver never let me have one, she said it was a distraction and that I didn't have anyone to talk to, anyway."

"Mhm. I see. Well then, kiddo, how do you feel about a road trip? I'm sure you're getting sick of being cooped up here all day."

"I-I can't walk, Micah," Catra reminds him.

"No, but I might have something better. Totally up to you," Micah adds.

"What do you have planned, dear?" Angella asks with a smile.

"Nothing dangerous, honey, I promise. So, how about it, Catra?"

"Uh, o-okay, if you think it'll be safe," Catra says.

"Great! Are you ready?"

"…Ready for what?"

"Ready to go!"

"Oh! Oh, yeah, I'm good-" Catra starts, and Micah picks her up easily and carries her downstairs. She clings her arms around his shoulders for the extra safety. He places her in the back seat of his truck and hops into the driver seat.

"Just you and me, kiddo, like old times!" Micah says excitedly.

"Old times? Our road trip was, like, a few days ago," Catra notes.

"Well, yes. Honestly, this isn't much of a road trip, but I think you'll enjoy it nonetheless." The pair drives off into Bright Moon and Micah points out all the exciting buildings in the city. He eventually stops at a drug store and promises to be back in ten minutes. Catra shrinks down, trying to make herself unseen to the public eye. I don't know how Prime figured out I'm here, but I'm not taking any risks. As promised, Micah returns quickly.

"What'd you get?" Catra asks when he opens one of the doors to the back seat.

"Ta-da!" Micah rolls a wheelchair into view. "Since you'll be stuck in that cast for a while, I figured we might as well make it so that you can move around a bit. What do you say?"

"…You got it for me?"

"All yours, kiddo. Want me to help you on?" Catra gives him a teary smile and nods. He lifts her out of the car and sets her on the wheelchair, making sure her leg is raised with an attachment. "How about we take a walk?"

"O-okay," Catra agrees, and Micah wheels her off away from the pharmacy.

"See, I was talking to Angie last night," Micah starts, "and she mentioned that you were probably going to be staying with us for the foreseeable future, right?" Catra nods. "And before you ask, no, you won't be a burden at all. So we figured that if this is gonna be your home, you should have some things of your own! Consider this your very own Bright Moon shopping spree!"

"Huh? Really?"

"Of course! We're gonna get you some clothes, snacks, maybe a few games or something, oh! And you gotta have a phone, of course. How do you feel about something to spice up your wheelchair? Like a horn you can honk at people, or something like that?"

"Wh- you don't have to do all this for me," Catra protests, "I'm not even your real daughter. I don't want you to waste your money on me."

"You're not a waste of money, Catra. I care about you. And if you want to be a part of the family, I'd be more than happy to have you as my daughter. You're such a sweet kid, and you deserve to be surrounded by people who love you, like me and Angella." Catra sniffles.

"Why d'you always gotta say things that make me cry?" Catra asks, giving a wet chuckle.

"C'mere, kiddo," Micah says, hugging Catra from behind, "I've got you. You're alright."

"Are you really sure? I- I don't want to make things weird," Catra admits.

"Please, you couldn't make it weird if you tried. If you'll have me, I'll be your dad any day of the week," Micah promises.

"I never had a dad before," Catra mumbles.

"So…you're saying I'm already the best?" Micah jokes.

"God, that was awful," Catra groans

"Sorry, you're stuck with dad jokes now! Come on, you're gonna make me start crying if you don't stop soon. Let's go shopping, huh?" Micah and Catra start rolling through Bright Moon together, this time as a newly cemented family.

 

----

 

"First up: clothes. What kinds of stuff do you like to wear?" Micah asks, wheeling Catra into a department store.

"I just kind of wore whatever Weaver gave me until it didn't fit anymore," Catra answers.

"Alright, let's start with the basics, then. What's your favourite colour?"

"Red."

"Easy enough," Micah notes, pulling a small pad of paper from his shirt pocket.

"What's that for?"

"I'm making a list of clothes we should get. A red hoodie is a necessity, because all teenagers need to have hoodies," Micah explains.

"Oh. What else is there?" Catra asks.

"Well, we'll need to get you a few pairs of shoes, some pants, underwear and bras, of course, lots of shirts, a jacket, plenty of socks, and pyjamas. Do you think I missed anything?"

"Aren't you concerned about how much that's gonna cost?"

"Kiddo, I'm a psychiatrist and Angie was a pediatrician before Glimmer started playing junior hockey. We've got more than enough money to get you everything you need," Micah says.

"O-okay. Lead the way, then. Uh, Dad," Catra mumbles the last part, but Micah hears it loud and clear.

"You got it, sweetheart!" They stop in the shoe section first, since it's closest to the entrance. Micah says she should pick out at least one pair of sneakers, some boots for when it gets cold or rains, sandals or flip-flops for the summer, and something she can just slip on whenever. Socks are easy to find; they're usually one size fits all. It takes the two of them a while to figure out Catra's size since she couldn't exactly walk around to test them out, but they figure it out soon enough. Catra picks a pair of high-top sneakers first.

"They're the obvious choice," she explains. "How else will other girls know I'm gay?" Micah laughs so hard at this he has to double over and put his hands on his knees. A few pairs of shoes later, they're ready for the next section: jackets. Micah picks out a red hoodie as promised, and Catra tries it on for size. It's much more comfortable than anything Weaver ever gave her, and it fits perfectly for once. Catra also picks out a heavy jacket for winter and a raincoat.

"I'm gonna be honest with you, kiddo, I don't really know anything about bras or things like that, so you'll have to show me the ropes," Micah explains. As they look through the bra section, he asks questions like "why does that one have clips?" and "wouldn't this just slip off?," but Catra settles on a few sports bras she knows will be comfortable. "What about underwear? What kind do you like to wear?"

"There are different kinds?" Catra asks.

"Oh, sure!" After listening to the explanations, Catra decides that boxer briefs would probably be the most comfortable, so Micah grabs some and moves on. Micah gets discouraged very quickly in the women's pants section. "Why aren't there any pockets?"

"The pockets on girl pants suck," Catra tells him.

"This is gender inequality…" Micah murmurs.

"We can probably just get comfy pants for right now, don't you think? And maybe some shorts," Catra adds.

"Sounds good to me, honey. Whatever you want." A pair of sweatpants are a must, and Micah insists on getting two pairs. Catra's worn athletic shorts for most of her life since they were always the cheapest, so she figures they would be the most sensible option for her to pick out.

"You could try something new, if you wanted," Micah points out.

"Like denim shorts?" Catra asks.

"Sure, but there's even more than that!" Catra had no idea there were so many fashion choices out there. She'd seen them on other kids, of course, but she never thought they would be an option for herself. After pants, they look at shirts, which are the easiest section yet.

"I'm guessing you probably wear a small, huh?"

"What gave it away, me being 5'5 or me hardly eating anything as a kid?" Catra jokes, and Micah elbows her lightly on her good arm. They pick out a sizable collection of t-shirts, as well as some flannels for extra flavour. Pyjamas are much less stressful than Catra thought they'd be: apparently, they come in sets, so she didn't have to try and match anything. Checking out is painless enough, and Micah makes sure not to let Catra see how much everything cost. He knows it would only stress her out.

"Okay, wardrobe: check! Where to next?" Micah wonders aloud. "Ah! Let's get you that phone, huh?" Micah takes Catra into another store, this one filled with computers and phones and just about every piece of technology Catra could imagine. She has fun playing with all the different models and Micah helps her pick one that she thinks she can figure out. Eventually.

"Hey, did you every play any video games as a kid?" Micah asks.

"Sometimes, when I went to Adora's house," she answers.

"Do you think you'd want to play them again?" The pair has probably a little too much fun messing around with several gaming systems, and even though Catra argues that it's too expensive, Micah gets one anyway. "Every kid needs to have the option to play video games, it's just science," he tells her.

"You think there's anything else we need?" Micah asks as he wheels Catra around Bright Moon.

"I think you got me too much already," Catra notes. "I don't think I've ever had this much stuff before." Micah's heart sinks a little at that.

"Problem solved, huh? Let's get you back home, kiddo."

 

----

 

Micah has Catra sit back while he takes all of her new things upstairs in the room she now shares with Glimmer. It's not like she could do any walking, anyway. Catra is sitting by the kitchen table eating lunch with Adora and Glimmer, and Angella is upstairs helping Micah set things up.

"Did you have fun shopping?" Adora asks.

"Yeah, actually. I had a good time. He- um, Micah was really cool," Catra answers.

"He's okay sometimes, I guess," Glimmer notes. "Mom sure seems to think he's worthwhile."

"He's very much not my type," Catra assures.

"Oh, don't worry, I know exactly what your type is." Catra blushes and glares at the other girl. She looks over to Adora and finds her looking anywhere but at Catra.

"Hey, Adora. Something wrong?"

"Huh? Wrong? No, everything's cool! Totally great. What, um, what is your type?"

"Please, Adora, allow me," Glimmer offers.

"Wow, okay, this is not a conversation we're having," Catra protests.

"I think it's a fair conversation…"

Catra just stares at Glimmer. "I do not like you."

"That's…valid," Glimmer agrees.

"Okay, okay, you don't have to tell me if you two are going to fight over it," Adora caves. Lunch carries on with a bit of chatter, and soon Micah and Angella come downstairs.

"Hey, girls! We got everything set up in there, so if you're ready to come see…" Micah offers.

Catra's eyes light up. "Yeah!" He picks her up and the rest of the house follows them upstairs. The three girls are shocked to see the changes Micah and Angella have made to the room. The most notable change was probably Catra's very own closet on the opposite side of the room from Glimmer's, along with a small TV on top of it and an Xbox hooked up into it. The bunk bed has been moved closer to the wall to fit the new accommodations. While everyone stares at the new room, Angella comes back up with Catra's wheelchair, sliding it into the room. There's a new desk, too, with sketchbooks and all kinds of pencils and markers on top of it.

"I know we didn't get you any art stuff while we were out, but a friend told me that you've always been sort of the creative type," Micah explains.

"Y-you- you got me a desk?" Catra asks.

"Well, yeah, I feel like drawing in bed probably won't feel good on your neck-" Micah is cut off by Catra wrapping her good arm around his shoulders and tucking her head into the crook of his neck. He can feel her shaking ever so slightly, and knows that she's likely crying. "Hey, this is your house too, okay? You deserve all this, sweetheart. I hope you like it." Catra only grips onto him tighter. "Now, come on, let's get you sat down so I can show you how to add phone numbers on your phone."

"And Glimmer, we have something to tell you," Angella adds.

"Did you get me a new phone too?" Glimmer asks.

"No, we just wanted you to know that Catra will be a part of our family from now on. Do you think you'll be okay with that?"

"…I guess that's alright. It's gonna be hard to explain in the annual Christmas cards, though."

"That's your first thought?"

 

----

 

Adora helps Catra put on pyjamas at the end of the day and the two of them snuggle up to each other. After having such a good day, Catra had completely forgotten that she hadn't slept the night before, and she was absolutely exhausted by the end of it. She didn't remember what she was so afraid of until she heard a car honk in the middle of the night.

Immediately, Catra opens her eyes and looks towards the window. Shit, how long was I out?? I totally forgot about Prime, fuck, now he's gonna come here and I won't know about it! She quietly hops on her wheelchair without waking up her roommates and rolls over towards the window. Sure enough, the same man from the night before is checking the windows and the door. Catra swallows thickly. He definitely knows I'm here. I just got a family, so someone has my back now…right? She makes a split-second decision and picks up one of the hockey pucks in Glimmer's hockey bag and chucks it directly at the man's head. He recoils and holds his head, looking up at the window. Catra stares back at him angrily, and the man seems to realize who he's looking at. While he holds his phone up to his ear and makes a call, Catra scribbles a note on a piece of paper and balls it up, throwing it at the man.

Tell Prime he's not getting me back ever again. I'm not afraid of you.

Catra hopes he won't be able to call her bluff. He looks down and reads the note, then looks back up at Catra once more. Then, he walks back to his car and drives off. Yeah, and stay away, you bastard. Now that she knows that Prime's men are staking out the house, she refuses to go to sleep until they're all gone. I can't see anyone, but that doesn't mean they're not hidden somewhere…maybe they're behind trees or some shit. Catra keeps vigil until she hears Micah walk downstairs. She gives a sigh of relief and slowly wheels back to the bed she's sharing with Adora. Once she's under the covers, Adora pulls her closer in her sleep, and it doesn't take long for Catra to fall asleep with her.

 

----

 

Catra's head smacks against the floor as she falls out of bed, waking up from another nightmare. She chokes back a sob and lets out a low whine, but Adora still hears her, somehow. Adora, the heaviest sleeper Catra's ever met. "Holy shit, Catra, are you okay??"

"H-head," is all Catra can manage. Adora lifts her friend back onto the bed and inspects her head for any bruises or marks. Once she's satisfied, she lets Catra lay back down and cradle her head in her hands, curling up as if to protect the rest of her body.

"You've got pain meds, right? Like, the strong ones? Here, I got it," Adora says mostly to herself. She stretches to the nightstand and grabs the bottle she needs, along with Catra's antibiotics. "I, uh, I don't have any water, but I've got a half-full bottle of red Gatorade, that should work!" Adora sits her friend up and coaxes her to take the pills.

"Don't…d-don't like 'em," Catra mumbles afterwards.

"I know you don't, but you're probably in a shit ton of pain right now, and this'll make it better, alright? Do you want a hug?" Catra nods slowly and Adora hugs her friend gently, minding her many injuries. Adora holds Catra until the girl stops shaking.

"Thanks, 'Dora," Catra says, relaxing into Adora's arms.

"Yeah, sure, does your head feel any better?" Adora asks.

"It's not a stab anymore, it's like, uh…like a blender," Catra tries to explain.

"Fuck. I forgot that pill makes you all weird."

"You're weird!"

"Alright silly, it's, like, four in the morning, let's try to get some more sleep, okay?" Catra is still clinging onto her friend and refusing to let go, so Adora awkwardly shifts them both back under the covers and makes sure Catra relaxes.

"Don't wanna sleep," Catra slurs.

"I know. It'll be morning soon, and you need to rest. Promise me you'll try?" Adora pleads. Catra snuggles further into Adora and hums. She's tucked her head under Adora's chin, and Adora places an arm around her protectively.

"Warm," Catra murmurs, soon followed by sleepy puffs of breath. Adora sighs and tries to get some sleep herself. She gets the impression that today might be a long day.

 

----

 

Catra wakes up with a yawn as large as her still aching jaw will allow her. She wakes up alone in bed, but Adora is putting on clothes on the other side of the room, quietly as to not wake her friends.

"Hey, 'Dora," Catra drawls lazily. "Mornin'." Adora whips her head around and faces the girl talking to her.

"Catra! You never say good morning," Adora remarks.

"Usually isn't, but I got a good view this time." Adora's face flushes immediately.

"Oh- haha, uh, thanks," she sputters, and Catra hums in acknowledgement.

"Would you two shut the fuck up," Glimmer growls from the top bunk, "it's seven in the morning and I want to be asleep." Catra's face lights up despite just being cursed at.

"Glimmer! We're sisters now," she slurs. "I never had a sister."

"Yeah, me either, but I don't want one until after, like, eleven. It's way too early."

"How'd you get up there?" Catra asks. "Tall…"

"Are you on those pills that make you stupid?"

"Haha, yeah, probably!"

"Adora, please make sure she doesn't do something fucking stupid. If you two are loud, I'm just gonna go see Bow." She leaves the room without changing out of her pyjamas; she wants to get out of there as soon as possible. Catra picks up her phone and starts fiddling with it.

"Hey, 'Dora, what's this one?" She points to an app and Adora squints from afar to see what Catra wants her to assess.

"Oh, that's your camera. You can take pictures with it!" Adora explains. Catra taps on it and is amazed when she sees her face reflected back at her on the screen.

"WOW!! We live in the future," Catra whispers the last bit. Angella walks into the room slowly, not wanting to wake anyone up. She relaxes when she opens the door and no one is asleep.

"Good morning, girls. Catra, how are you feeling?" Angella asks.

"Great," Catra answers with a dopey smile.

"Oh, dear. Bad pain day?" Angella looks to Adora.

"She woke up in the middle of the night after a nightmare and fell off the bed and hit her head pretty hard," the girl explains.

"I see. Thank you for helping her, Adora, you're very kind to be staying here."

"I made her a promise a long time ago that we were gonna be together and I want to keep it this time," Adora resolves.

"That's sweet of you. Do either of you have any requests for breakfast?"

"Apple," Catra mumbles, trying to make the camera flip around. Angella laughs a bit.

"Okay, I'll bring apples, anything else?"

"I'm good with whatever. Thank you, Mrs. Rune!"

"Yeah, thanks, Mom," Catra adds offhandedly. Both Angella's and Adora's eyebrows skyrocket, and Angella is the first to recover with a soft smile.

"Of course, dear," she says as she closes the door. Catra stops looking at her phone and looks at Adora instead.

"'Dora, my head hurts," she complains. Adora sits on the bed to comfort her friend.

"I know, I'm sorry," she consoles. "Is there anything I can do to help?" Catra makes grabby hands and Adora leans in for a hug with a smile.

"Thanks, 'Dora," she says, relaxing further into her friend's arms. Adora gently pats her back. Much to Adora's surprise, she hears a soft snore from Catra after about a minute, indicating that she had fallen asleep in her arms. She chuckles softly and holds Catra for a few more minutes just to make sure she won't wake up, then lays her down on the bed.

"No…" Catra mumbles, furrowing her eyebrows. "Don' go…" Adora always thought Catra's sleeptalking was adorable, but it's become even cuter recently. Her heart nearly stops at what Catra says next, though. "He'll get me, can't do it… not 'gain…" Adora almost wishes she didn't understand the context. She runs her hand through Catra's short hair and the girl seems to relax a bit. Adora wishes she could help more.

 

----

 

Knock Knock Knock

Angella pauses the TV show she's watching and walks to the door. Glimmer is off somewhere, and Adora and Catra are upstairs playing video games. When she opens the door, Angella finds three men that look nearly identical standing in front of her.

"Good afternoon, ma'am. We were told that a 'Catra Weaver' is staying here, and we'd like to see her," the man in front says.

"I'm sorry," Angella starts as innocently as she can, "but I think you might have the wrong house. We're the Runes."

"There's no need to lie. It will result in dire consequences for your family," he warns. Well. Angella was not expecting a threat.

"Is there something else I can help you with, sirs, or am I going to have to call the police?"

"That won't be necessary. Give up the girl by the end of the day- you do not want to risk Lord Prime's wrath," the man notes. Then, as suddenly as they'd arrived, they left the porch and climbed into a white sedan with no license plates. How strange. On one hand, Angella doesn't want to worry Catra, but on the other hand, she needs to know how seriously to take the threat. She decides that the threat outweighs the risk of panic and heads upstairs.

"How did you do that?" Catra asks as Adora performs a slick deke and gets past Catra's goaltender.

"It's all in the joysticks, here, let me show you," Adora offers. Angella is happy to see the two girls getting along.

"Hello, girls. Catra, I need your help deciphering something," Angella says.

"I don't know any other languages," Catra responds, confused.

"Don't worry, this will all be in English. Do you know what it would mean to 'risk Lord Prime's wrath?'" She adds air quotes to the last part. Catra immediately pales and swallows thickly.

"Who told you that?" She nearly whispered.

"Three men just knocked on the door and told me that. They all looked eerily similar to each other," Angella explains.

"Shit, fuck, oh god…what did they want?"

"Well, you, naturally, but they aren't getting you, and that's final," Angella remarks with a hint of aggression.

"…I'm not worth that risk," Catra murmurs, looking down.

"Catra, no, we aren't letting them have you," Adora assures as she puts her hand on Catra's shoulder. The girl flinches at the action.

"Look, I-I appreciate everything you guys have done for me, and I really do want to be a part of your family, but I can't let you risk that for me. It's not worth it. Just- give me a few minutes to pack my things, and I'll go find somewhere else to stay. I'll be fine, okay?"

"You aren't going anywhere, Catra," Angella promises sternly, "and even if you were, you'd still be a part of the family. That won't change, ever."

"Please, you don't understand, he- he'll take something else if he can't get me, something you actually need!" Catra panics.

"He's gonna have to go through all of us if he tries to take anything," Adora reminds her. Catra looks absolutely terrified. She glances at Adora, then at Angella, then back at Adora before making a jump for the open window. She nearly makes it, too, but Adora grabs her from behind before she gets anything past her shoulders outside. The two girls fall onto their backsides, Adora holding Catra as tightly as she can.

"ADORA, LET ME GO!!" Catra yells as she struggles to get out of Adora's grip.

"I'M NOT GOING TO LET YOU KILL YOURSELF!!" Adora shouts back.

"I'M NOT, I'M TRYING TO LEAVE!!"

"Catra!" Both girls turn their heads and look at Angella, who'd just raised her voice. The woman crouches down so she's at eye level with Catra (who looks beyond terrified at this point), and lovingly strokes her thumb against the girl's cheek. "Please don't do something rash. I'll take care of it, alright?"

"I-I can't, I need to go," Catra says, eyes watering. Angella nods her head and looks at Adora.

"Adora, I need you to make sure Catra does not leave this room," the woman commands.

"Of course," Adora replies, still gripping Catra tightly.

"What?! You can't make Adora trap me in here!" Catra protests.

"Yes, I can, I'm your mother and I'm grounding you," Angella explains.

"Wh- no, wait, you can't pull the mother card right now, this is serious!!"

"So am I, Catra. You are not to leave this room without Adora's supervision, do you understand?" She hates having to force Catra to stay inside, but she knows the girl won't listen to anything else.

"…Fine," Catra grumbles, sinking into Adora's arms a little.

"Good. Call me if you need anything, alright? I'm only doing this to protect you, dear. I'm sorry." The woman leaves before Catra can get another word in, and the two girls stare at the door.

"Adora, let go," Catra growls.

"No, Mrs. Rune told me you have to stay here, and I know you'll try to leave again if I let go," Adora reasons.

"You can't keep this up forever. You'll get tired eventually." Adora suddenly has an idea and snaps her fingers.

"Oh! Scorpia said this worked on you one time," Adora mentions as she grabs a nearby blanket.

"Wait, Scorpia?" Catra asks nervously. "When did you talk to-" Adora cuts her off as she bundles Catra up as tightly as she can without hurting her, and grabbing a roll of Glimmer's hockey tape and wrapping it around Catra to make sure she wouldn't be able to escape. Of course, this makes Catra irate.

"What the fuck, Adora?? You can't be serious right now!!" She jerks and twists, trying to force her way out of the blanket trap, but it's no use. She couldn't break out of it when she was fully healthy, she doesn't have a chance now.

"Sorry, Catra, but this is for your own good," Adora tells her.

"Fuck you," Catra grunts.

"To be fair, I warned you," Adora reasons.

"I'm not fucking worth this risk, Adora!!"

"Catra, you are worth the risk, no matter how many times you say you aren't, okay? I don’t care what Prime's gonna do, he's not getting you back. End of story."

The pair stays in the room for somewhere over an hour before Catra inevitably falls asleep in her blanket prison.

"Sorry, Catra. You'll thank me later."

 

----

 

Glimmer actually hadn't been with Bow for most of the day. She figured that the best way to make up for being shitty to Catra would be to take it to Prime, and she'd been researching all day instead. So, that's how she ended up here at Prime's front door, banging on it like her life depends on it. "HEY!! OPEN UP, I KNOW YOU'RE IN HERE!!"

A pale man wearing a white suit opens the door to Prime's mansion and looks down at Glimmer. "Yes? What do you want?"

"I want to talk to Prime," Glimmer demands. "He fucked with my sister."

The man stares at Glimmer for a moment before gesturing for her to follow him through the mansion. The entire place is an eerie white, and Glimmer doesn't think she's seen a place so modern looking seem so creepy before. She's led to an office where Prime himself is sitting down at a desk, working on some sort of paperwork. He looks up and smiles at Glimmer.

"Miss Rune, to what do I owe this pleasure?" He asks.

"Why are you so intent on fucking with Catra?" She growls.

"I'm afraid I'm not sure I understand. I didn't think you and her were close."

"We weren't, but we're sisters now, and nobody fucks with my sister but me."

Prime hums. "Sisters, hm? That's very interesting. Now, what did you think you would accomplish by coming here and telling me that?"

"It's a threat. My parents and I are loaded, so you should know better than to mess with us. We'll shove a lawsuit so far up your ass, you won't know what to do," Glimmer warns.

"I suppose your parents are expecting you home, yes?"

"Uh…yeah?"

"And that they'd be reasonably upset if you weren't to return?"

"…I guess? What does that have to do with anything?" Glimmer asks suspiciously.

"I think that if you'd stay here for a little while, I could get Catrina all to myself very easily. After all, I think she would come and find you, don't you? Plus, I think your parents would be willing to part with a reasonable sum of money in order to get you home, yes?"

"What are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about holding you for ransom, Miss Rune, please try to keep up," Prime answers.

"You're a fucking idiot if you think I'm staying here willingly for that," Glimmer spits.

"I suppose that's true. Then again…who said anything about willingly?"

Glimmer is about to respond, but something hits her hard in the back of the head and she pitches forward.

"Let's see you escape me now, Little Sister."

Chapter Text

Glimmer isn't home by the time Micah wakes up the next morning. She's probably just at Bow's house, but she always texts one of her parents if she stays the night, so this is strange. Once he's out of bed and pouring a mug of coffee, he calls his daughter to make sure she's alright. The phone picks up soon after Micah calls.

"Glimmer? Are you at Bow's house?" He asks, voice slow from sleep.

"You must be Dr. Rune, yes?" A voice from the other line replies. It's definitely not the voice he was expecting.

"Who is this?" He tries not to panic as the voice laughs.

"Oh, Micah, you are woefully out of the loop. I warned your lovely wife that if I wasn't given back what is rightfully mine, you'd have to face the consequences."

"…Prime?"

"That's right. Tell me, would you like to see your daughter?" Micah is immediately filled with rage.

"If you so much as laid a finger on her-" Micah starts, but it cut off by a video call request from Glimmer's phone. He accepts and gasps when the screen loads: he sees Glimmer tied to a chair, gagged and asleep.

"I'd advise you no to yell, Mr. Rune, she's had quite the night, or so I've been told," Prime teases.

"What do you want?" Micah grits.

"Since you'll be late on your…payment, I'll be charging an extra $3,000 in interest. You have until the end of the day to deliver both the money and Catrina to me."

"$3,000? You can't be serious."

"Oh, but I'm quite serious, Micah. If I am not recompensed, your precious Glimmer will take the place of young Catrina. I'll assume you understand why that wouldn't be ideal for her. If you have any questions, you know where to reach me. I'll see you tonight." The phone hangs up from the other line. Micah grinds his teeth and makes another phone call to let his clients know that they'll have to reschedule any appointments made for today. Then, he rushes upstairs to tell Angella.

"Angie," Micah pleads as he shakes his wife, "wake up!" She slowly opens her eyes and looks confused.

"Micah? What's wrong?"

"Prime has Glimmer." That wakes her up. Angella shoots out of bed and faces her husband.

"Why- how?!" She asks.

"He wants to trade her for Catra and $3,000. I…I don't know what to do," Micah confesses. He lets the tears fall from his eyes without resistance.

"We can't…we can't give him Catra. Perhaps if we offered more money?" Angella reasons. Micah just shakes his head.

"He said that if we don’t give him what he wants by the end of the day, he'll have Glimmer take Catra's place. That can't happen, Angie, it just can't. She shouldn't be involved in this!"

Unbeknownst to the couple in the room, Adora is outside their door, listening in on their conversation. She likes to wake up early when she can, and as she was walking towards the stairs, she heard loud discourse from the room and couldn't help herself. Her eyes widen and she tiptoes back to Glimmer and Catra's room as quietly as possible. She needs to warn Catra.

The girl in question is squirming under the covers, probably struggling with another nightmare. "Catra," Adora says loudly, and she opens her eyes immediately, trying to get up before looking down and seeing herself still taped in the blanket.

"What could you possibly want now, Adora?" Catra jeers. "Come to mess with me some more? I sure am an easy target."

"No, Catra, this is serious, Prime has Glimmer."

"…What?"

"He's- he says he's gonna take her if he doesn't get you by the end of the day," Adora hurriedly explains.

"Then get me fucking out of this thing and let's go!! Why are we wasting time?" Catra nearly shouts.

"Well, he wants you and $3,000, which neither of us have, so unless we're planning something along with the Runes-"

"No. Shit, that- that makes things harder- Adora, would you get me out of here?!" Adora jumps and grabs a pair of scissors, releasing her friend from the blanket. "Okay. We need to think. Glimmer can't stay there, obviously, so we have to find a way to break her out. Prime probably won't be expecting that, but we should prepare for the worst, anyway."

"You really want us to break in to Prime's mansion, steal Glimmer, and get out? How many times did you get hit in the head again?" Adora asks.

"THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR JOKES!!" Catra reminds her. "We need- we need people. Call as many of your friends as you can count on, okay? We can force a raid if we have numbers."

"This is crazy, Catra-"

"Do you have a better plan??"

"…No. I'll start calling people."

"Good. I've been in…Prime's room before, and there's no way he'd hide her anywhere else. I know that building. I'll start planning," she rambles, hopping into her wheelchair and rolling over to the desk.

"We're really doing this, aren't we?" Adora asks nervously.

"I'm not letting her get stuck there, Adora. I can't." Adora nods and dials Adam first. They'll need all the help they can get.

 

----

 

Glimmer notices her slamming headache before anything else. She slowly squints open her eyes and finds herself in a room that's completely white. Fuck. She looks down and, yeah, she's tied to a chair. That's not good. This wasn't supposed to happen at all. When she tries to shout, she's stopped by the rag covering her mouth tightly. A groan gets by anyway.

There is a man pacing around the room she's in, probably guarding her from any intruders. She doesn't know how anyone could get in, though. There's only one door that she can see. The man notices she's awake and stops pacing for a moment. "Miss Rune. Your parents should be here by the end of the night. Either that, or you will be getting to know Lord Prime very soon." Glimmer's eyes widen- she doesn't like how that sounds. The man continues his pacing after that warning. She tries jostling herself out of the chair to no avail. Her bindings are much too tight for her to get through. She sighs and lowers her head. Hopefully her parents get here sooner rather than later.

 

----

 

The clock strikes noon in the Rune household, and two parties unknowingly plan for the same event. Micah and Angella are in a moral quandary over how to handle the situation, while Catra and Adora are taking fate into their own hands.

"Okay," Adora starts, "I've got Adam, Bow, Mermista, Sea Hawk, Perfuma, and Scorpia to agree to help. All we need now is your plan." Catra stops scribbling for a moment.

"How did you get in touch with Scorpia, anyway?" She asks.

"Oh. Well, when you went missing, I thought maybe she would have some idea of how to help, since she always seemed to like you a lot. We actually ended up bonding. It was nice." Catra ignores the churn of jealousy in her stomach and goes back to writing.

"I think I'm just about done…make the call," Catra says. Adora nods and video calls everyone she has in on the plan. Soon, everyone who agreed to help has joined. Bow looks like he's been crying, but Adora knows he'll be ready to help whenever it comes to Glimmer.

"Hey, guys, I know this probably isn't how you wanted to spend your day, but I really appreciate you guys helping us with this," Adora remarks. "It'll be dangerous, and we can't guarantee success, but Glimmer needs us."

"We wouldn't dream of leaving a teammate in danger," Perfuma adds.

"Oh, imagine the adventure we'll have! A tale to tell to-" Sea Hawk starts rambling, but Mermista cuts him off.

"Aaaaaand you're done. That's enough. Adora, get to the point," she deadpans. Adora clears her throat.

"Right. Um, I don't know if you guys all know her, but this is Catra, and she's the one who made this plan and is gonna help us save Glimmer." Adora flips the camera and Catra waves nervously. No one says anything at first.

"Isn't that the girl that hates you, Adora?" Mermista asks.

"Uh- no, not…not anymore," Adora sputters, "th-that doesn't matter."

"WILDCAT!! What happened to your hair? Oh, you haven't been eating enough, have you? You've got to start taking care of yourself!" Scorpia explodes into the conversation.

"Hey, Scorpia," Catra mumbles. She guesses the people on the call can't see that she's in a wheelchair. "Okay, so this is how it's going to work: one of you who has a car is going to be our getaway driver. Your job is to remain in the car at all times, until we get everyone back. Any takers?"

"I can do that," Perfuma chips in. "I don't know that I'd be much help if a fight broke out, anyway."

"Sounds good." Catra holds up a map of Prime's mansion. "Adora should've sent you all a picture of this map, right?" A few people give an affirmation. "Great." She points to a room she's drawn a star in. "This is where Prime will more than likely be keeping Glimmer. It's going to be guarded, and Glimmer will probably be tied up or otherwise incapacitated. A four-person strike team would probably work best in this situation. Two people to take down the guards, and two people to help Glimmer get out of there. The two of you on offence are going to have to do whatever you can to make sure the guard won't call Prime. I don't care how you do it, but I need you to be positive that he won't hear about this. Who wants in?"

"I call dibs on the guards!" Adam yells. "Oh, and I missed you, Kitty Cat." Catra scowls at the nickname.

"I'm helping Glimmer," Bow says with conviction. No one expected any differently.

"Adam, I would be honoured to fight for Glimmer's safety by your side," Sea Hawk remarks.

"Hell yeah, bro squad!!"

"I guess that means I'm coming, too," Mermista drawls.

"My darling Mermista, nothing would bring me greater joy than-"

"Great, cool. What now?" Mermista cuts him off again.

"Scorpia," Catra directs, "you're going to be paired with Adora. The two of you will be backup for me. One of you should stay outside, and the other should sneak in behind me. Whichever one of you sneaks in cannot be seen, alright? If someone notices you, Prime will be tipped off and probably check on Glimmer immediately, then we'll all be fucked." Adora winces at Catra's word choice.

"Wildcat, if we're backup for you, what are you going in for?" Scorpia asks.

"I'm going to be bait," Catra explains. "I'm the one he wants, so I'll distract him for as long as I can. Adora should probably be the one sneaking in behind me, while Scorpia stays outside ready to barrel in if needed. Neither of you are particularly sneaky, but Scorpia is much more intimidating, so you'll be the secret weapon. If something happens to me, but everyone else makes it out, just drive away. Glimmer is the focus of this mission, alright? None of you are arguing on this." Adora nods, knowing full well that she'd risk everything to make sure that wouldn't happen.

"Bow, do you have the earpieces?" Adora asks.

"Yeah, all of you guys are gonna get one of these little things," Bow adds, holding one up to the screen. "This is how we're gonna stay in contact with each other."

"Once Glimmer's extraction team is safely out of the building and into the car, you'll let us on the distraction team know so we can hopefully blast out of there. Any questions?" Please don't be any questions, please don't be any questions-

"You aren't serious about sacrificing yourself, are you, Catra?" Shit. I knew Scorpia wouldn't like this.

"It's not the preferred outcome, but if that's what ends up happening, then you need to be okay with that," Catra says. "I know you don't like it. You were always so nice to me and I was such a bitch to you, and I don't know why you still care about me, but you do. It can't matter, okay? This is for the greater good." Scorpia nods her head, looking like she wants to say more, but holding back. "Anything else?"

"Yeah, uh, why are we trusting you to make the plan? How do we know we can trust you?" Mermista accuses.

"Because I know the most about Prime and his house, and you don't have any other choice. If you want Glimmer back safely, this is the only way we can do it. I know most of you don't like me, and that's fine. You can yell at me for everything later, but we need to work together on this."

"How do you know the most about Prime?" Perfuma asks innocently.

"It's- a long and painful story, but trust me when I say that I don't want anyone being stuck there," Catra dodges. No one says anything after that.

"Unless anyone has anymore questions, we'll meet up a block away from Prime's mansion at 6, got it?" Adora confirms. Everyone agrees, and hangs up. Catra breathes a sigh of relief. She wasn't sure this would go through as smoothly as it did. "Are you sure you can do this, Catra?"

"I have to, Adora. It's my fault that Sparkles is stuck there, and even if she was a bitch to me, she doesn't deserve this," Catra replies. "Let's make sure we've got everything ready. We've only got a few hours to prepare."

 

----

 

Hours later, Micah and Angella are still agonizing over the decision they have to make by the end of the day. "Do you think we should at least tell Catra what's going on?" Angella asks.

"If she knew what was happening, then she would sacrifice herself without a second thought. It-" Micah sighs and pinches the space between his eyes. "This is an impossible decision, Angie."

"I know, dear, I know, but it isn't fair to leave her out like this, especially when she's the one in danger."

"You're right, I just- I don't want her to feel like we're betraying her."

"We still haven't made a decision, Micah, we haven't betrayed anybody," Angella reminds her husband. The two walk together into Glimmer and Catra's room…empty.

"Catra? Adora? Are you guys in here?" Micah calls out. No response. "Maybe they're downstairs? Adora was trying to coax her into tasting strawberry ice cream the other day, maybe that's what they're doing now!" A small part of him knows he's in denial, but there's not much else he can do. Once downstairs, they find a note on the kitchen table:

Mrs. and Mr. Rune,

Catra and I are going to visit Adam back at my house. We should be back by tomorrow morning at the latest.

Adora

"What do you think the chances are that they're actually at the Greyskulls' house right now?" Angella asks.

"Slim to none," Micah grumbles. "Shit. I guess we have to check anyway, don't we?"

"They couldn't have gone too far," Angella reasons. The couple resolves to check everywhere they can think of before dark.

 

----

 

Catra stands on her crutches in the cool night air, waiting for Adora to steel herself. The group had gone over the plan several times in the past two hours, and everyone knew their part to the letter. Scorpia crunched Catra in an enormous hug, of course, which Catra was secretly happy to receive. Clad in her red hoodie, Catra feels ready for anything, even if she really shouldn't be on crutches so soon.

"Alright," Adora finally says, "let's get this done." The extraction team moves in first, walking towards the back of the building from the other side of the road. The two teams can't be seen together, or else they'd immediately attract attention. Scorpia and Adora are hiding in the bushes outside the mansion, ready for Catra to start. Alright, this is it. No backing out now. Let's save this bitch. Catra inhales sharply and knocks on the door. She's soon answered by Hordak himself.

"Catrina. We've been waiting for you," he tells her.

"Yeah, well, what can I say, had to wait for my jaw to heal before I could come back," Catra snarks. Hordak scowls and pushes her inside, nearly causing her to fall over, but she catches herself at the last moment.

"You will regret leaving," he warns her. Adora and Scorpia look at each other, nod, and assume their positions. Scorpia finds a good place to scope out the entrance from and Adora slips into the building while the door is closing. She chose to wear white, hoping to blend in with the surroundings, and so far, it seems to be working okay. Adora makes sure that she's an appropriate distance from Catra and Hordak so that she isn't noticed.

"Jesus, what are you, a vengeful ex?" Catra asks, and earns a punch in the gut for her efforts. She immediately doubles over and falls onto her knee, but Hordak grabs her harshly by the shoulder and drags her back up without her crutches. Adora silently winces at the display. Somehow, Catra manages not to lose her lunch and limps along with Hordak.

"You should know better than to be disrespectful to me, Catrina," Hordak reminds her. Catra only grunts in response. "We'll work on that once you've been…conditioned." Her stomach drops.

"Conditioned?"

Hordak smirks at her. "You'll soon find out. Hurry, now, Lorde Prime is not a patient man," Hordak notes. Catra purposefully limps a little more slowly just to piss him off. You really shouldn't be provoking him right now, Catra…but at the same time, it gives the extraction team more time to get Sparkles out and it's really funny. Adora feels sick at the word 'conditioned.' She has no idea what it means, and she thinks she'd probably like to keep it that way. Eventually, Hordak and Catra stop in front of a large opening to a dark room. "You will go alone," Hordak explains. Catra gulps and nods. Adora curses in her head, trying to get a better look at what's going on. She sees Prime sitting on what looks to be a large throne made of marble. His scalp is covered in medical wires, like his head is hooked up to some machine.

"Prime," Catra calls out, standing at the bottom of the steps that lead up to the throne.

"Ah, Little Sister, so nice of you to have returned." Prime croons.

"I've got a question for you before we get this whole thing started. Why me?" Catra asks.

"What, you don't believe that you're meant for the greatness of my light?"

Catra's face scrunches up. "Okay, not gonna question that, but no. Is it just because I was the captain of the team? That can't be right, because you've acted creepy since I was a kid."

"To tell you the truth, I knew your mother before you were born."

"…Really?"

"Yes, but there will be plenty of time for that story after we continue what we started while you were under my care."

"You're not getting your dirty hands on me ever again," Catra tells him.

"Is that so?" Prime smirks as one of his men stabs a small metal disk into the back of Catra's neck.

"FUCK!!" She cries out.

 

----

 

The extraction team finds the room with little trouble due to Adam's uncanny sense of direction. Sea Hawk has the door unlocked in a matter of moments, and Mermista agrees to play lookout while the rest of the team heads inside. "GLIMMER!!" Bow shouts as soon as he sees his friend. She perks up immediately and calls back, but it's muffled by the gag.

"Hey, you shouldn't be in here!" A guard yells. He reaches for a pistol he has holstered on his belt and races towards the kids. Adam smiles broadly and rushes directly at him. Clearly the guard wasn't expecting that, and Adam lands a headbutt to his nose. "SON OF A BITCH, FUCKING KIDS!" With one hand covering his broken nose, he catches Adam in the jaw with the butt of his pistol. The boy stumbles for a moment, nearly getting pistol-whipped again, before Sea Hawk makes his dramatic entrance with a Molotov cocktail. He throws it to the far wall, and the guard turns to see what the noise was.

"ADVENTURE!" Sea Hawk cries. While the guard and Adam are locked in a grappling fistfight, Bow runs to Glimmer.

"Hey, Glim, it's gonna be okay," he promises as he looks to the back of the chair she's tied up to. He pulls a knife from his pocket and makes quick work of the ropes constraining his best friend, and he's rewarded with a crushing hug as soon as he's finished.

"I- I didn't think anyone was gonna come," Glimmer sobs into Bow's shoulder. The boy hugs back as tightly as he can.

"I'd never let that happen. Did they hurt you?"

"Not since I was knocked out last night. I've been tied up in here all day."

"Well, we're here to get you out. C'mon, let's go!" He holds Glimmer's hand and the two of the jog towards the door.

"Sea Hawk," Adam grits from the receiving end of a headlock, "I could use a little help here!" Sea Hawk stops staring at the fire and gasps.

"No friend of mine will be in danger for very long!" He dashes to the guard and is immediately kicked to the side. Luckily, this gives Adam enough space to jam his heel into the man's groin, causing him to squeak in pain. He promptly falls over and Adam takes a second to catch his breath.

"Check his pockets for a phone or a radio or something," he pants. Sea Hawk nods his head and rifles through the man's belongings, confiscating a walkie-talkie and a phone. He also ties the man's wrists behind his back, just for good measure. The group exits the room and re-locks the door, then sprint to the car as fast as possible, hoping no one sees them.

"Extraction team out," Bow relays into the earpiece, "distraction team, get out of there."

 

----

 

"What did you just do to me?!" Catra shouts.

"If this is how I must assure you will stay with me, then I will do what needs to be done. I've had the greatest scientists in Etheria working on this," Prime explains. He closes his eyes and Adora watches Catra's body jerk forward. Something's incredibly unsettling about it- probably the fact that she's walking on her broken leg as if it doesn't hurt at all.

Adora watches in horror as Prime laughs, both of them seeing Catra walk up the stairs to Prime's throne on her bad leg. "Prime!!" Adora calls out. Catra stops and turns around, a look of terror seemingly frozen onto her face.

"Oh, the Greyskull girl. The younger one, anyway. Little Sister, you didn't tell me you had brought friends," Prime says. "I suppose you want her for yourself?"

"Whatever you're doing to Catra needs to stop," she announces as she walks up to his throne.

"Unless you can remove this," Prime says, tapping the chip on the back of Catra's neck, "then I'm afraid she's mine now."

Adora confidently glares at the man. "You know what? I can stop you without that."

"And how would you accomplish that?"

Adora takes a deep breath, walks forward, and drives her foot into Prime's groin, causing him to roar in pain. Adora snatches the wires off Prime's head. "MEN, DETAIN THEM!!" Prime shouts.

"Don't worry, I gotcha," Adora assures Catra. She lifts her up onto her back and full-on sprints towards the exit. Three of Prime's men are guarding the door, nearly bringing Adora to a screeching halt before Scorpia takes them out with a baseball bat.

"You got her!" Scorpia says. "We need to go, now!"

It doesn't matter how many men chase after them- they're not catching up to two teenagers who can outrun most everybody in a footrace, even while carrying another person. Scorpia and Adora hop into Perfuma's car and Adora yells for her to start driving. "Thanks, guys," Catra tells her friends. "Is Sparkles okay?"

"Yeah," Glimmer mumbles. "Thanks."

Catra's smile quickly turns into a grimace of pain. "Shit- Adora, I- I think something's wrong…"

"Catra?" Adora says. Catra looks like she's going to fall over, so Adora moves to catch her. She turns to see the chip on the back of Catra's neck and notices the green liquid inside draining. It isn't draining off of Catra's neck, though, it almost looks like it's draining into her neck.

"Get…Glimmer home,"

"What's wrong? Catra, you need to tell me what's going on!"

"My face's all fuzzy…" Catra slurs.

"Is she normally like this?" Mermista asks. "Because this looks like the type of thing you go to the hospital for."

"That's a good idea," Perfuma notes. She drops everyone but Catra and Adora off at their homes before driving to the hospital. Catra dazedly laughs while Adora panics, but she's cooperative when a nurse wheels her back into a room. Adora is told to follow her back, so she does.

"Alright, Catra? Can you tell us anything about your family medical history?" The doctor asks.

"Uh…I'm adopted," Catra says.

The doctor scribbles something down on a notepad while Adora watches nervously. "Can you lift your arms up above your head for me?" They ask.

"Am I dying?" Catra replies as she holds her arms up. Her left arm starts to slowly fall.

"You're not gonna die on my watch. Um, Adora, was it? Can you tell me what happened just before the symptoms started?"

"There's- there's a chip on the back of her neck, and that green stuff inside got injected, I think?" Adora sputters.

The doctor turns and looks at the chip. "I've never seen anything like this. Catra, we're going to take you back and do some scans, alright?"

"Uh-huh," Catra murmurs. Adora is sent back to the waiting room and calls the Runes as she sits down, tapping her foot on the ground and fidgeting with her fingers. Finally, she's distracted when Micah and Angella walk through the doors.

"Mrs. and Mr. Rune!" Adora calls out and jumps up from her seat. She grabs onto Angella and hugs her as tightly as she can. Angella hugs back and tries her best to comfort the girl while Micah walks up to the reception desk and asks about his daughter.

"Yeah, her name's Catra? Well, her name's Catrina, but nobody-" the receptionist cuts him off.

"She's in surgery right now, sir. I'll let you know when you can go back and see her."

"Surgery?!" Micah almost yells.

"Adora, dear, what happened?" Angella asks.

"It's- you should probably sit down for this."

 

----

 

"-and she said something was wrong, and then she got all loopy," Adora finishes. Both Runes have intently watched her tell the story, not willing to miss any details.

"Catra was the one who planned this?" Micah asks. Adora shrugs.

"Yeah, she, uh, she knows Prime the best and his mansion. Plus, she knew that he'd be distracted if she gave herself up," Adora explains.

"It sounds like we owe you our thanks for saving our daughters," Angella starts, "even if what you did was stupid and irresponsible. Thank you." Adora smiles at the woman and Micah pats the girl's back.

A few hours pass before Adora and the Runes are let back into Catra's hospital room. They find the girl laying back with her leg propped up on a few pillows. She looks tired and confused. "Hey, Dad. Mom. Adora," she mumbles.

Micah doesn't hesitate to squeeze her in a tight hug, and Angella and Adora don't wait much longer. "Thank god you're alright, kiddo!! You had me scared out of my mind!!" Micah chastises.

"Sorry. The lady said I had a stroke, but I really don't feel that bad," Catra tells them.

"A STROKE?!" Adora yells.

"Oh, dear. That’s very serious," Angella says.

"That thing that Prime put in my neck apparently popped a blood vessel in my head. I'm okay, though, we can go home-"

"No, Catra, we talked about this," Netossa says, running into the room, "you're not going anywhere yet!"

"I'm fine," Catra whines.

"What she's leaving out is that she just had open brain surgery."

"Catra, why wouldn't you tell us that, like, first thing?!" Adora shouts.

"It's not a big deal, really, I'm fine," Catra argues.

"Oh yeah? Hold this with your left hand," Netossa tells her, handing her a book. It immediately drops onto Catra's lap and she struggles to pick it back up.

"Oh. Why isn't this working?"

"That's what happens when you have a stroke. Since the burst blood vessel was on the right side of your brain, the left side of your body is weaker now."

"Can I fix it?"

Netossa grimaces. "Maybe? It's not a sure thing. We're going to keep you here for about a week just so we can make sure you're going to be okay."

"We're allowed to come see her, right?" Micah asks.

"Of course! Having family present is important in the recovery process. You'll get to learn all about how you can better care for this little troublemaker." Catra pouts while Netossa ruffles her hair. "We took a strange chip out of her neck. Do you have any idea what it is?"

"Prime put it on her," Adora answers. "Is that what caused it?"

"That's our working theory. We're going to have the police investigate that mansion of his if he's pulling medical experiments on teenagers."

"I bet they'll take you seriously," Angella huffs.

"Alright, alright, it's been a long day for everyone," Netossa says. "We should give Catra some time to rest and you can come back tomorrow, alright?"

"I'm not even tired," Catra protests.

"Bullshit," Adora calls out. "Go to bed."

"So bossy," Catra grumbles.

"We're gonna be here bright and early for you tomorrow, alright, kiddo? You think you're gonna be okay?" Micah asks.

"Yeah. I'll be fine."

The Runes and Adora all hug Catra before leaving the hospital for the night. When Catra falls asleep, she doesn't have a nightmare for the first time in a long time.

Chapter Text

After two weeks, the hospital finally decides to let Catra go. There's a lot she still has to work on- balance, strength on her left side, memory, general comprehension, and getting everyday tasks done, but with family at home, Netossa determines that she'll be fine. It's night by the time she gets home.

"Catra! How do you feel?" Adora asks, clearly concerned.

"Okay. My neck kind of hurts," Catra cedes. Adora looks to the back of Catra's neck and sees a heavy bandage placed over where the chip was. "I can't really feel anything back there."

"Did the hospital say you were gonna live?"

Catra snorts. "Don't be so dramatic, idiot, I'm here, aren't I? Don't worry so much about me. I'm always fine." Glimmer breaks up the conversation by clearing her throat. She's sitting in front of the desk looking guiltily at the bed Catra and Adora are on.

"Hey, um…hey, Catra," she mumbles.

"Sparkles."

"Thanks for, uh, planning the trip to get me back. I…appreciate it." Catra shrugs.

"Don't gotta make it a big deal or anything, I didn't even do most of the work," she admits.

"I probably never would've gotten out of there without you. I'd- I'd probably still be stuck there with one of those metal things in my neck," Glimmer says.

"How'd you get there, anyway? Someone said you got knocked out. They've been checking the locks of this house for a few days, how'd they get in?" Catra asks. Glimmer stares at her. She hadn't wanted to discuss this with Catra at all.

"I, um, I drove over there. Asked him about you," Glimmer murmurs. "I was pissed that he'd…you know, that he wanted to do whatever with you, so I told him Mom and Dad would sue him. He just held me hostage."

"That was stupid," Catra notes.

"I know that now, but it made sense at the time."

"…That was pretty okay of you, though. Thanks."

Glimmer smiles. Maybe things between her and Catra won't be shitty forever.

 

----

 

"Little Sister…"

Catra looks around. Wherever she is, it's completely dark. She can't even see her hands when she puts them in front of her face. "Who's there?"

"You really thought you could be rid of me that easily? I know all. I see all." Catra rubs the back of her neck reflexively.

"I don't know what the hell you're talking about. You- you're under investigation, there's nothing you can do to me now."

"How amusing. You can't escape me, even in death."

"What?" Catra hears a laugh.

"You haven't figured it out yet, Little Sister? You're dead. I couldn't have you, so now no one can."

"That's- that's not true, I went to the hospital-"

"Do you know how long brain cells last after a person dies?"

"No-"

"Long enough for you to create a splendid fantasy in which you returned to your false home safely. You're stuck here with me, now. Forever."

"Stop it, that's not funny-"

"Oh, I'm not joking, Little Sister. Go ahead, try to leave." Catra tries walking forward, but her legs won't move. She tries desperately to prove Prime wrong, but her body isn't listening to her. He laughs again. "Don't worry, I'll make sure we have fun together. There's nothing more for you to lose, now, is there?"

"This can't be real, I-I'm sure this is just some drug-induced hallucination."

"If this was a hallucination, could I do this?" Suddenly, Catra can see Prime in front of her, clear as day. Everything else is still dark, but somehow, Prime is perfectly lit. Catra panics. She tries as hard as she can to do something, anything, and-

 

Catra gasps awake in Adora's arms. "It's okay," her friend affirms, "you're okay. It's just a nightmare. You're breathing. Everything's fine. Can you take a deep breath for me?" Catra nods and takes as deep of a breath as she can manage. "You're doing great, Catra. Do you want to talk about what happened?"

"Prime. He- he told me I was dead, and that everything that happened i-in real life was just a fantasy," Catra sputters. Adora takes Catra's hand in her own and places it on the girl's heart.

"You feel that? Your heart's beating just fine. This is real," Adora promises. Catra turns to face the other girl and curls into her as tightly as possible, crying softly. Adora holds her in an embrace, tight enough that Catra will know she's safe.

"Sorry," Catra murmurs.

"Hm?"

"Sorry I'm useless and can't even sleep right."

"You're not useless, Catra, you've been through something incredibly traumatic. You had a stroke. You're allowed to have trouble sleeping after that," Adora assures with a chuckle.

"…Promise?"

"I promise. Come on, let's try to get back to sleep. You need to rest." Catra nods and tucks her head under Adora's chin. She doesn't have nightmares as Adora holds her.

 

----

 

"Rise and shine, girls, it's breakfast time!!" Micah bursts through the bedroom door carrying a tray full of breakfast foods. "I got you all a little bit of everything, I know you're probably hungry." Glimmer sits up, looking tired, and smiles at the sight of her dad. Adora's been awake for a little while comforting Catra in her sleep. Catra grumbles nonsense as she gets up slowly.

"Thanks, Mr. Rune," Adora says.

"You saved both of my daughters a few weeks ago, Adora, I think you can call me Micah," he responds. Adora blushes and mumbles a thank you. "I'll leave this on the desk for you three to dole out amongst yourselves. Catra, how are you feeling?"

"Been better," she answers. "I'm okay, though. Thanks."

"Hey, as long as you're okay, I'm okay, too. Glimmer? Is something wrong? You've been awful quiet this morning."

"I'm…I'm just tired, Dad," she says.

"If you say so," Micah replies with a shrug. "Let me know if you girls need anything, alright? I'll be downstairs with Angie." Once Micah leaves, no one says anything for a moment. Adora is the one to break the silence.

"Catra, what do you want to eat?" She asks.

"Get me some of whatever you're having. I trust your judgement," she mumbles, still exhausted.

Adora gives her a soft smile and loads two plates up with as much food as they can carry. "Glimmer? You coming down?"

"I'm…headed downstairs," she answers, and jumps down off her bed to do just that, leaving Catra and Adora alone.

"Try one of those mini scones," Adora recommends as she sits back down on the bed. "They're blueberry!" She watches her friend take a bite and smile.

"'S pretty good," Catra admits.

"Your hand's a little shaky," Adora notes, "are you cold? I can get another blanket."

"No, it's- my body's been weird since I got to the hospital."

"Oh. Want to turn on the TV? We don't have to watch something shitty like fish racing," Adora offers.

"Your brother's weird, but I like him," Catra notes. Adora hands her the remote to channel surf. Catra stares at the buttons for a moment, wondering whether or not to ask the question in her head.

"Is everything okay?" Adora asks.

"Yeah, just- I'm supposed to press that button, right?" Catra points to the button in question. Adora nods. Catra looks back down at the remote and tries pressing the button with her thumb, but she can't press down hard enough for it to work. She furrows her eyebrows and moves the remote to her left hand, now pressing the button with more force from her right index finger. Don't ask about it, Adora, don't ask-

"You want me to do it?"

"No, I got it, I just- gotta press harder." She eventually gets the remote to work for her and flips around channels before settling on some movie she's never seen just for background noise. Catra picks up an apple and bites into it aggressively.

"It's okay to ask for help, you know," Adora points out.

"I don't need help. I'm fine," Catra protests. This happens a few times throughout the morning: Catra will have trouble with something, Adora will offer help, and Catra will throw the offer back in her face. Adora decides she's had enough when Catra refuses help for poking a straw through a juice box.

"Catra, you need to stop. Just ask me to do it, okay? It's not a big deal, I don't mind," she sternly offers.

"I don't need help, Adora, I'm not weak!" Catra shouts back.

"I didn't say you were! Is that what this is about?"

"You've always been better than me, and now's your chance to rub it in, huh? Kick me while I'm down," Catra argues.

"Is that what you think is going on? I'm not any better than you, Catra. I never have been! You're not weak for needing help, especially when your fucking brain started bleeding a week ago. Just let me help you," Adora pleads. Catra glares at her before reluctantly handing her the juice box. "Thank you. It doesn't have to be a big deal."

"Sorry," Catra mutters.

"It's okay. I know you're upset, just don't take it out on me, okay?" Catra nods her head. She accepts Adora's help much more readily after that.

 

----

 

"Let's take a look at that burn on the back of your neck, huh?" Micah offers to Catra the next day.

"Uh, sure," she replies. It's just the two of them in Glimmer and Catra's room right now: Adora is visiting her family and Glimmer is out with friends. Micah slowly removes the bandage protecting the wound and reveals a burn in the shape of the chip, which extends out past where the chip itself was removed. There are a few cuts around it, too, from where some extra wires had to be removed. "How bad does it look?"

"Well, I wouldn't say it looks good, but it's not oozing, so that’s a step in the right direction," Micah points out. "I've got some ointment here that Spinnerella said would help reduce some of the pain."

"I can't really…feel anything back there," Catra admits. "Like, the back of my neck is just kind of numb."

"Probably nerve damage," Micah speculates. "At least it doesn't hurt, I guess? I'll just wipe it down real quick and put a new bandage over it."

"Thanks. You're the best dad I've ever had, you know that?"

"I'm also the only dad you've ever had."

"That doesn't make what I said any less true." Catra really enjoys the time she spends with Micah. He never tries to shortchange her or make her feel dumb like Weaver did.

"Is it okay if we test some of those good ol' cognitive functions?" Micah asks. Catra groans inwardly.

"Yeah, I guess we probably should," Catra agrees. She hates the cognitive testing. She feels like she should know the answers to the questions Micah asks within a few seconds, but it takes Catra a lot of time and effort.

"Cool. What's two plus four?"

"Six."

"Perfect! Are you up for another?" Catra nods. "Okay, what's three times six?"

"Oh, fuck. Twenty-one?" Catra answers.

"Not quite, but you're close."

"Shit. Give me a minute, I got it…"

"Keep going, you're getting there."

"Uh…" Catra squeezes her eyes shut. She hates that even though she already graduated high school, the stupid stroke is making multiplication difficult. "Eighteen?"

"You got it!"

"Really?"

"Yeah! You couldn't do that a few days ago, you're making progress!"

"I guess so," Catra ponders.

"Good timing, too. You're all patched up back here," Micah notes. "Do you want to keep going?"

"I think I can keep going."

"Got it." Catra turns to face Micah. "Seven times seven?"

"God, you know I hate this one…it's forty-something, isn't it?"

"Yup!"

"Forty-nine?"

"Look, you hardly even had to think about that one!"

"Yes I did, it took a little while," Catra protests.

"One of these days, you're gonna accept a compliment I give you," Micah responds.

"Unlikely." The pair turns to the door as they hear is opening, and Adora walks into the room.

"Hi, guys, are we doing math?" She asks.

"It's just little numbers," Catra mumbles.

"Little numbers are better than no numbers," Adora counters. "My dad said he wanted to visit you soon, Catra."

"Your dad? Isn't he the one who let Prime's goons kidnap me at your house?"

"Yeah. We've been talking through it and I think he feels badly about it," Adora explains.

"He must be doing some growing, then, because I've never known Randor to change his mind easily about something," Micah notes, "or maybe you're just a good influence, Adora."

"…I'll go see him," Catra says. "Just- I don't want to look stupid in front of him. He already doesn't like me."

"It'll be fine, he's just gonna invite you to dinner with my mom and talk," Adora adds.

"Can you come, too?"

"I mean, if you want me to…" Adora's face goes pink. "I don't have to be there if you don't want me to be."

"Adora, I can't walk. How else am I going to get there?" Micah snorts and Adora's face gets redder.

"Okay, okay, I get it! I'll go call him," Adora states, walking back out of the room. Catra looks to Micah.

"You have to tell me if I look stupid," she says.

"I don't think you look stupid," Micah notes. "All things considered, you look pretty good for someone who fell out of a truck a little while ago!" Catra shoves his arm as he laughs at his own joke.

"You know what I mean! I want to make a good impression with her dad."

"You've already met him, haven't you?"

"Yeah, but- he doesn't…" Catra sputters, trying to find the right words.

"Oh, I think I see what's going on. You like her, don't you?" Micah accuses.

"WHAT?! No, that's- absolutely not. What makes you say that??"

"Catra, you just about lost your mind when Glimmer said she was dating Adora, plus, you cuddle every night. You also already told me that you did."

"It- fine, maybe I like her, but she doesn't like me back, so what's the point?" Micah scoffs.

"You're kidding, right? …Oh, you're not. Listen," Micah explains as he puts his arm around Catra's shoulder, "your old man's dated a few women back in the day, and I know what it looks like when a woman likes someone. Why else would she completely stop talking to her dad after she found out that you went missing because of him?"

"She's so good, though, and this is the first time in my life I've been anything other than a problem," Catra argues. "She deserves someone better, so it doesn't matter."

"You don't have to do anything you don't want to do, kiddo. All I'm saying is that you would get in her pants so fast if you asked her out."

"Dad!!"

"What? I'm just saying!" Adora comes back into the room, breaking up the conversation.

"Dad's made reservations at a restaurant for 7 this evening. Do you…have anything fancy to wear?" Adora asks.

"Oh, don't worry about that, I've got it covered," Micah assures. "You should probably get washed up, first, though."

"Are you saying I smell?" Catra responds.

"Hey, you still smell better than expected for someone who spends most of her time in bed," he jokes, standing up. "I'll leave you girls to it. Let me know when you're ready to get fancy, Catra!"

"Do you remember the last time I gave you a bath?" Adora asks.

"No. When was that?"

"Back when you were staying at my house," Adora explains. "I still have those cast covers so you won't damage the one on your leg when you get in the water. I can help again, uh, if you want."

"…Okay. Just don't drown me," Catra requests. Adora chuckles.

"Done. Let's get you wheeled over to the bathroom." Catra hops onto the wheelchair and Adora helps her take off any of the bandages she can't reach.

"Damn, Micah just re-did the one on my neck…"

"Hey, now it'll be extra clean," Adora offers.

"I don't think that's how it works. Should I, uh, get undressed?"

"Oh! Yeah, that's- I mean, unless you want to take a bath with your clothes on."

"Don't make it weird," Catra mutters as she lifts her shirt up. "I can't twist the water-thingies, can you do it?"

"'Water-thingies?' You mean those knobs?"

"Don't laugh!"

"I'm not, I'm not! Just making sure, I promise." The truth is, Adora had barely held back her laugh. She twists the knobs and the tub starts filling up.

"Could you get the back of my bra? My left hand isn't grabbing it right," Catra asks.

"Sure, I got it." Adora's quick to unclasp her friend's bra and turns her focus back on the water. She's trying very hard to not think about how Catra is somehow even thinner than the first time she helped her with a bath. Once it's warm enough, Catra crawls into the water with Adora's help.

"Fuck, this feels nice," Catra moans. "How'd you get the water this hot?"

"I just…turned the knob for the hot water?"

"Never felt this good at Weaver's house. Where's the, um…shit, what's- what's the word for hair soap?"

"Shampoo," Adora answers, "and I got it." She gently scrubs the shampoo into Catra's scalp and the girl completely relaxes under the pressure.

"Ohhhh my god…keep doing that," Catra pleads. Her eyes are closed and Adora doesn't know if she's ever seen the girl look more at peace.

"Maybe I should take up a career as a hair-washer," Adora jokes.

"This shit feels so nice, Adora…" After a few minutes, Adora's done actually washing Catra's hair, but she spends extra time massaging her scalp because she likes it so much. When Adora takes her hands away, Catra immediately looks up. "What happened? Why'd you stop?"

"Your hair's clean, silly," Adora giggles.

"Oh." Catra blushes and looks away. "What's next?"

"Close your eyes, I'll wash your face." Catra does as she's told and Adora does as she'd promised. Afterwards, Adora rinses out the shampoo and starts putting conditioner in Catra's hair. "This is Sparkles' soap, isn't it?"

"Oh. I hadn't really thought about that, but I guess it is," Adora answers. "Why?"

"It smells sweet like she does."

"What do I smell like?"

"Fruity," Catra tells her with a smirk. Adora lightly shoves her arm and laughs. "No, you really smell like men's deodorant, but, like, the ocean kind, if that makes any sense?"

"I think I see what you're getting at. Lift up your arm."

"You didn't have to wash me if you wanted to see my tits, you know," Catra jokes as she does as she's told.

"That's- your tits have nothing to do with this!" Adora protests.

"You could've just asked. I mean, I get it, they're pretty spectacular."

"They aren't even that big!"

"Does that make them any less spectacular?"

"…No. Give me your other arm." Adora pauses as Catra complies. "Where'd you get all these scratches from?"

"When I fell out of Prime's truck, I think," Catra says. "I don't really remember much about what happened right after that, but I'm pretty sure there was a lot of blood involved. Also a surgery, I think? My bone isn't poking out anymore."

"I am never letting you drive my car," Adora notes.

"Hey, none of these car-induced injuries are my fault, okay? Both situations were Prime's fault."

"You're right, you're right. Lift up your leg for me?"

"Oh, I didn't know it was gonna be that type of bath…" Adora's face goes red as Catra cackles at her.

"I'm gonna dunk you under the water if you don't knock it off!" Adora threatens.

"I don't think you would," Catra counters.

"Really? Do you want to test it?"

"I don't think there's enough water in here to-" Catra's cut off by Adora following through on her threat, and she brings Catra right back up afterwards. "FUCK, ADORA!" The girl's too busy laughing at her own antics to respond to her friend. "I can't believe you're bullying me."

"Come on, don't be a baby. You're fine, aren't you?"

"Yeah, well, you got water all over the place. You think I'm gonna be the one cleaning it up?"

"Damn, I didn't think of it like that. Other leg?"

"Oh my, Miss Greyskull, whatever would your father-blgb!!" Adora dunks Catra underwater again, causing the girl to start coughing this time.

"Shit, oh, no, are you okay?? I didn't mean to hurt you!" Adora cries.

"No, it's fine, I'm cool…" Catra assures between coughs. Her coughing fit doesn't last long, and Adora feels like she can breathe again. "What, you afraid I'm gonna die?"

"Don't joke about that, it was scary when you went loopy in Perfuma's car," Adora says with a pout.

"If it makes you feel any better, it was scary for me, too."

"…What was it like for you?"

Catra furrows her eyebrows. "Well, I remember everything that happened at Prime's house, where I wasn't really, like, in control of my body? It was weird, I-I didn't like it. Then you showed up and got me out of there, and we ran into Flower Girl's car-"

"You mean Perfuma?" Adora interjects.

"Sure, whatever," Catra allows, "we jumped into her car and I remember saying something feeling bad, I think? Then I felt that thing on my neck start to burn, like, a lot. I don't remember a whole lot about what happened directly after that, but I know you were there."

"That sounds terrifying, Catra, I'm so sorry," Adora murmurs.

"It is what it is." Catra shrugs. "I guess I'm glad enough to be back."

Adora giggles. "I've never heard you say something so positive. You mind if I rinse you off?" Catra nods and Adora pours water over her friend. Soon enough, all the soap is washed off and Adora drains the water in the bathtub. She hands Catra a towel to wrap around herself. "I'll help you dry off with another towel, okay? I just don't want you to get cold.

"Thanks, Adora," Catra mumbles. Adora lifts her back into her own arms and sits her down on the bed, removing the cast cover so it doesn't soak the sheets. The first thing she dries is Catra's hair, since she remembers how cute it looked last time. Her hair is a little longer now, but that only makes it even cuter. "What are you smiling at?"

"Your hair is so cute…" Adora remarks.

"I am not cute!" Catra protests.

"You are, you're the cutest! Look at how poofy your hair is!"

"I can't see my own head, idiot."

"Oh, right." Adora pulls out her phone camera and shows Catra.

"You just made me look stupid…"

"No, I made you look adorable. Let me get those bandages back on." Little by little, Adora re-applies all the many bandages covering Catra's body. It really is kind of a wonder she hasn't died throughout this entire ordeal. "What colour underwear do you want?"

"What? I don't care, just grab whatever," Catra answers. "Not like I can tell the difference most of the time anyway."

"You don't have a lucky pair of underwear?" Adora asks as she walks towards Catra's wardrobe.

"No? Adora, I just got all that stuff," she reminds her friend.

"Oh, yeah. Well, this'll be your lucky pair, then." Adora tosses Catra a maroon pair of boxer briefs.

"Great, so if my period somehow starts during dinner, I won't notice!"

"Alright, Miss Snarky, just put 'em on. Do you want help with your bra?"

"Yeah, that'd be nice." Once she's got her undergarments on, Catra moves from her wheelchair to her bed. "Could you bring Micah over? He told me he was gonna help me dress fancy."

"Sure thing! And, hey, don't stress over this, alright? You don't have anything to prove: Dad's trying to apologize." Adora leaves and soon Micah enters.

"Feeling clean, kiddo?" He asks.

"Hopefully I smell better now," Catra says. "What am I supposed to wear for something like this?"

"Meeting the parents, huh? Let's see…when I met Angie's parents, I just wore a nice shirt and tie. I was a little older than you at the time, I think," Micah recalls.

"First of all, Adora isn't my girlfriend, and second of all, do you have anything that would fit me?"

"We'll see about that first thing, and let me go check my closet for something. I'm pretty sure I kept stuff from when I was younger. You're…pretty small, though, so I might have to fudge it a little. Be right back." Micah walks off and leaves Catra alone in her room. She absentmindedly rubs the back of her neck.

Don't think about it, Catra, you're fine. No one else is in here. There's no one who could sneak up on you, okay? Don't freak out. Don't-

Catra's train of thought is interrupted when Melog meows from their food bowl, causing the girl to shriek. "Jesus, don't scare me like that!!" Melog just looks at her, unimpressed. "Don't give me that look! I scare easy, you know that." They take that as an invitation to jump onto Catra's lap and nuzzle into her. "It's okay, buddy, I'm not really mad, just a little freaked out." Out of nowhere, Micah bursts through the door.

"What's going on?? Are you okay??" He asks quickly, holding a tube of wrapping paper in his hand.

"Yeah, Melog just scared me a bit. What…why are you holding that?" Catra points at the wrapping paper.

"Oh. I thought someone might've snuck in here somehow and I was gonna whack 'em with this."

"How much damage do you think that'd do?"

"You know what? I never really thought about it. Here, you hold this and I'll go back to my novelty tie collection," Micah says.

"Please don't bring back a novelty tie," Catra complains.

"No promises!"

Catra looks back down at Melog and smiles. It's a little difficult to pet them as quickly as they want to be pet, but they don't make a big deal out of it. "Sorry, Melog, my hands are kinda fucked up now. Hopefully it'll get better soon," she explains." They respond with a rumbling purr. This time, she's not as alone as before, so she doesn't get spooked by anything else. Micah comes back in with a dress shirt and a pair of dress pants in his arms.

"Let's see how these fit you, huh? I wore this when I was…gee, I think it was probably at homecoming my freshman year of high school? I wasn't really a tall kid, so hopefully it'll fit okay," Micah notes. The shirt is a nice shade of magenta, and the pants are darker and match perfectly. Catra takes the shirt and pulls her arms through. "I can roll up the sleeves, don't worry."

"I like the colour," Catra comments. She fiddles with the first button for a few moments, but she isn't getting anywhere with it. Her fingers can't make the button turn the way she needs it too. God damn it, not again…

"You want me to get that for you?" Micah asks. Catra lowers her head and nods. "Nothing to be embarrassed about, kiddo, okay? It kind of has weird buttons, anyway." The shirt ends up being a few inches too long, but Catra figures she can just tuck it away in her pants. Micah pulls a tie around Catra's neck and she freezes.

Shit, he can't- how did he get back here?? Prime is standing in front of her now, wearing his signature evil smirk. He's tightening the tie around her neck, and suddenly she can't breathe in enough air. Where did all the air go? No, I can't stop breathing again, where did Micah go?? God, I'm gonna die for real this time, and no one's ever gonna find me, and Weaver was right, I was always a useless thing to keep around…is someone calling my name?

At some point, Catra must've squeezed her eyes shut, because when she opens them, she sees Micah in front of her, looking concerned. "Catra? It's me, it's Micah. You're in your room, remember? Everything's okay, you're safe," he assures her. "Can you take a few deep breaths for me?" Catra hadn't noticed how quickly she was breathing. She does her best to take deep breaths, and the worried look on Micah's face slowly dissolves. "There you go. Are you feeling any better?"

"What just happened?" Catra asks, her voice shaky.

"I was putting on your tie for you and you just…froze up and started hyperventilating. You closed your eyes and started mumbling something I couldn't understand. I think you might've had a flashback, or something similar to one."

"Oh." Catra swallows. "I-I felt like I couldn't get enough air. It was like I was back at Prime's mansion and I just- I just couldn't breathe right."

"Hey, it's okay, Catra. You don't have to wear a tie, it's not a big deal. Tell you what, I've got something that might look even better." Micah reaches into his pocket and pulls out a bowtie. "Here, wrap this around the back of your neck and leave it undone around your collarbones. It's a guaranteed heartbreaker look." She nods and picks up the bowtie with shaky hands, doing as she was told. "Just like that. Can I adjust it for you?" Another nod, so Micah pulls one side down so they're more even. "Lookin' sharp! Do you feel okay?"

"Uh, I think- it's…why'd that happen?"

"I figure I should've asked you before I helped you with the tie. I'm sorry, I didn't even think about it. I'll make sure to ask you first next time, I promise," Micah tells her. "Flashbacks happen sometimes when you've gone through a traumatic event, and you've been through several in the past few months. It's completely normal."

"I guess that makes sense," Catra responds.

"Do you want to take a break?"

"No, I'm okay, I think. We can keep going."

"Sounds good to me. I brought pants that are bigger than I would've usually picked out for you so it'll go over your cast. Do you want help putting them on?" Micah asks.

"Yeah." It takes a few minutes for Catra to hop her way into the dress pants, but she makes it eventually.

"Since they're so big, usually I'd have you wear a belt, but I don't think anything constricting would be good for you. What if…ah! One second-" Micah rambles, jogging out of the room. He comes back with more clothes in his arms. "Suspenders and a vest! Sometimes my mind amazes even me sometimes." Micah has little trouble helping Catra with both items, and afterwards, he wheels Catra over to a mirror. "What do you think?"

"I don't think I've ever looked this good in my life," Catra remarks. "Thank you, Dad."

"Sure thing, kiddo! There's no way I have any dress shoes that'll fit, but you won't be doing any walking, so it shouldn't matter. You want me to grab some socks and your high tops?" Catra nods, earning a smile from Micah as he walks over to grab the items. "You're gonna do great tonight, you know that? There's nothing to worry about."

"I'm kinda nervous, still," Catra confesses.

"That's okay, you're allowed to be as nervous as you feel like being. You didn't do anything wrong, remember? He's supposed to be sucking up to you. All you have to do is sit there and look like you're paying attention, and I already know you're an expert at that," Micah says.

"Thanks. Sorry for freaking out…"

"Don't be! This is what dads are for, you know."

"Helping daughters put on their shoes when their hands are too fucked up to do it themselves?"

"Among other things, yes," he confirms. Soon enough, Catra's finished getting dressed, and Micah carries her downstairs. He hands her to Adora so he can go back and pick up the wheelchair. Adora is staring at Catra with a bright red face.

"You like what you see?" Catra teases.

"V-vest- YES!! Uh, I mean yes. You look good!" Adora sputters. Catra laughs and wraps her arms around Adora's shoulders.

"You're such a dork." Micah comes down with the wheelchair and the trio walks outside to Adora's car.

"Listen here, girl," Micah says to Adora, "you'd better have my daughter home before 11, you hear me? I know what you kids get up to at night." Adora laughs nervously and Catra groans, hiding her face in Adora's shoulder.

"He's just teasing you, don't worry." The car is packed up and Adora backs out of the Runes' driveway. "So…where are we going, anyway?"

"Oh, Scorpia's moms own this fancy place on the outskirts of Fright City!" Catra's eyes widen.

"Scorpia?"

"Yeah! You remember her, right?"

"I do, yeah, I just…I didn't expect this," Catra explains.

"Scorpia's busy tonight, so I don't think she'll be there, if that's what you're worried about," Adora assures.

"Right. Okay. Let's get this show on the road," Catra resolves with a deep breath.

Chapter Text

When Adora and Catra arrive at the restaurant, Randor and Marlena are already sitting down at a table. Catra gulps as Adora wheels her forward. "Remember, you didn't do anything wrong," Adora whispers. "You've got this."

"Adora, dear, you look so nice!" Marlena compliments as she gets up to hug her daughter. She's right: Adora's wearing a red blouse with tan dress pants. "How have you been at the Runes' house?"

"It's been great! I missed you, too, Mom," Adora answers. "Um, you already know Catra, but, uh, here she is!" Catra smiles nervously and waves with a shaky hand.

"Hey, Mrs. and Mr. Greyskull," she says.

"Oh, please, I've told you that you can call me Marlena. How are you feeling?" Marlena asks.

"Me?" Catra points to herself and Marlena nods. "Oh, uh, y'know, not so bad. It's- it could be worse."

"Let's go sit down, I don't want to stand in everyone's way," Adora requests so Catra stops talking. She looks up at Adora with a silent 'thank you.' "Hi, Dad."

"Adora. Your mother's right, you look lovely. We've missed you at home," Randor comments. "And Catra. I see you're dressed up, too."

"Yes sir- uh, th-thank you," Catra stumbles over her words. An awkward silence ensues after this.

"Soooo…" Adora leads off, "let's look at these menus, huh?" When Catra picks up one of the menus, she isn't sure if her hands are shakier than usual because she's so nervous. "Have you guys been here before?"

"We don't usually drive down to Fright City, Adora, you know that," Randor states.

"Maybe we'll have to drive over here some more, I love the decorations in here," Marlena counters. Catra isn't exactly sure what the theme is supposed to be, but there are vines and flowers everywhere. Each table has a vase in the middle with a bouquet of assorted flowers. "Have you ever been here, Catra?"

"Um, no, I didn't go out to eat a lot when I lived here…but I do know the daughter of the people who own this place," Catra answers. "She's really, really nice. I don't know why she hung out with me." Marlena chuckles. Oh, thank god, I thought there was gonna be another pause. This is torture…

"Hey there!" A lady in an apron walks up to the table. She's tall with white hair, and surprisingly built for an older woman. Adora can't keep her eyes off her. "My name's Linda, and I'll be taking care of you today! Can I get you four something to drink?" The three others list off their orders, and when it's Catra's turn, Linda gasps. "Oh, you must be Scorpia's Wildcat!!"

"Huh? Oh, y-yeah, she did call me that," Catra recalls.

"Gosh, she just had the nicest things to say about you, honey. She'd come home every night and gush over how much of a good leader you were on the ice, or how you helped one of the junior players tie the laces on their skates." Linda looks down at the wheelchair. "Oh dear, what happened?"

"It's, uh, kind of a long story? But I got hit by a car," Catra explains. It's a vast simplification, but she doesn't particularly want to get into it.

"Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that! I hope you recover soon. Oh- silly me, I forgot I was working! What would you like to drink?" Linda asks.

"Just a water, uh, please."

"Sounds good! I'll be right back with those drinks!" The woman walks off, leaving the family and Catra to their conversations once more. Fuck, I haven't even looked at the menu!! Catra holds it up and starts reading the pages. Some of the words are jumbling together, and she can't quite make out everything. You could probably get pasta, that sounds pretty good. Wait, no, it's too messy! What if you get it on your shirt? Adora must notice her struggling, because she puts a hand on her back as a sign of comfort. Right. Deep breaths, Catra.

"Are you finding anything you'd like, honey?" Marlena asks her husband.

"It all looks pretty good. You know I'm not much of a picky eater. How about you, Adora?" The girl in question stares at her dad for a moment before answering.

"I've got something picked out. Don't you have something you want to tell Catra?" Adora challenges. Catra pales and looks back at the menu.

"It-it's fine, Adora," she mumbles.

"Yes, well…how's your leg doing these days?" Randor asks.

"Oh. It, uh, well, I fell out of a truck and broke it more, I think? Um, it- I had a surgery to put it back together, my femur, that is, and it's still infected. The bone kinda…broke out of my skin," Catra explains.

"That sounds extremely painful," Randor notes.

"It- it's not so bad, sir, I've got a high pain tolerance."

"Good to know." Marlena frowns at her husband and whacks his thigh. "I mean- at least it's healing, that's good."

"She ended up in Eridani after you sold her out, Dad," Adora bites. Adora, what the hell are you doing??

"Eridani? That's on the other end of the country," Randor says. "How'd you get there?" Catra clears her throat.

"I don't remember. There's this drug, uh, and when Prime uses it, I don't really remember what happens. I don't know what it is, but I don’t remember that month and a half where I went missing."

"So you've been using drugs?"

"Randor!" Marlena scolds.

"I'm just trying to clarify," he argues.

"Well, i-it was non-consensual, sir," Catra states. "I'd rather not get into it."

"Of course, dear. You'll have to excuse my husband, he isn't very good at admitting when he's wrong," Marlena explains.

"You're admitting that you were wrong, Dad?" Adora provokes. Randor takes a deep breath and sighs.

"It was a complicated situation, sweetie. I'm not proud of the outcome, but I believe I made the right choice at the time," Randor tells her. Adora's eye twitches as she keeps a strained smile on her face. Catra accidentally drops the menu and scrambles to pick it back up.

"S-sorry," she mumbles. Thankfully, Linda comes back with everyone's drinks and they're saved from having to talk to one another.

"Alright, two lemonades, one Coke, and a water, here you are! So, are we ready to order, or do we need a few minutes?" Linda asks.

"You know what you want?" Adora says to her friend.

"Yeah, I-I'm good."

"Yes, thank you, Linda. I'd like the lobster rolls, please, and could I get a side salad with that?" Marlena requests. Lobster rolls? How loaded are these two?

"Sounds good, how about for you, mister?"

"I'll do the ribeye, medium-rare," Randor tells Linda.

"Alright, and how about for you, Miss Blondie in the back?"

"Oh, uh, I'll get the baked pasta," Adora says.

"And last but not least, what can I get you, Wildcat?" Catra blushes at the nickname.

"Could I have the, uh, grilled salmon? Please?" Catra asks. Linda giggles.

"Fits your name and everything! Alright, I'll be back with your orders as soon as they're ready," Linda notes with a smile. She once again leaves the table and no one knows quite what to say. Marlena clears her throat and looks to Catra.

"I've been on the phone recently with Angella Rune, Catra, and she says she's enjoying having you stay at her house," Marlena remarks.

"It's- yeah, I'm enjoying being there. They're really nice to let me stay, even after I kept getting injured," Catra says with a nervous chuckle.

"Have they been paying for your hospital bills? The Runes?" Randor asks.

"Yes sir," Catra answers.

"Why haven't you chipped in yourself?"

"Dad!!" Adora cries out.

"I don't- well, my adoptive mother never let me get a job, so, uh, I don't have any money, sir," Catra explains.

"She wouldn't let you get a job? Interesting," Randor notes.

"Weaver is a cold-hearted bitch," Adora spits. Catra can't help the snort that escapes her.

"Adora, no cursing at the dinner table," Marlena scolds.

"Sorry, Mom, but she is!"

"I think you put it a little lightly, actually," Catra responds. Adora gives her friend one of her signature bright smiles.

"You shouldn't speak about someone's parents like that, honey," Randor tells his daughter.

"With all due respect, um, sir, she was never much of a parent," Catra points out.

"She didn't raise you? Feed you? Keep a roof over your head?"

"Not- well, not always, sir."

"Dad, will you knock it off? I thought you said you were going to apologize!" Adora reminds him.

"I suppose I did say that, didn't I?" Randor recalls. "Well, Catra, I'm sorry you keep finding trouble with authority figures. Your injuries are unfortunate as well."

"Th-thank you, sir," she replies.

"That's it?" Adora asks. "Seriously?"

"What would you have me say, Adora?" Randor counters.

"Gee, I don't know, maybe something like 'I'm sorry I handed you over to a rapist, Catra, is there any way I can make up for it?'"

"I'm not sure that Prime exactly classifies as a rapist."

"Randor," Marlena warns.

"Okay, Dad, what would you call him, then?"

"He sounds like a powerful man that's been grossly misunderstood," Randor explains. Catra sinks into her chair a little. "There hasn't been any proof of him violating any women, so why should I believe her? Why haven't they brought it up to the police?"

"Are you being serious right now?" Adora asks, not wanting to believe that her father is saying what he's saying.

"Yes, Adora, all the women that he allegedly 'raped' are just trying to get his money. There's been no proof, no police reports, nothing!" Everyone is silent for a moment.

"…Catra and I are going to use the restroom," Adora announces as she sits up and wheels Catra away from the table.

 

----

 

"Oh my god, I'm so sorry," Adora groans once they get into the bathroom. She's sinking to the floor while Catra stays in her wheelchair. "Tonight wasn't supposed to be like this. He was supposed to apologize!"

"Hah, yeah, he really doesn't like me," Catra notes.

"It's like- he told me he felt badly about what happened to you and he wanted to take you to dinner with him and Mom, and I assumed he was going to apologize. He told me he was sorry about it!!"

"It's fine, Adora, you shouldn't fight with your dad over me. I don't even remember it, anyway."

"Catra, that doesn't make what happened any less wrong!"

"Sure, but I'm not worth risking your relationship with your father. You have a family, and I'm not getting in the way of that."

"You've been my family for much longer than he has. You are absolutely worth risking that relationship, Catra! Plus, he's being a majour pain in the ass!!" Catra chuckles.

"Yeah, you're right about that. You really are too nice to be hanging out with me," Catra remarks.

"Good thing it's my choice, then," Adora responds.

"So, did you actually have to take a leak?" Catra asks.

"No, I just wanted to get you out of there," Adora admits. "You looked miserable and the shit he was saying somehow just kept getting worse. I couldn't let you sit through that."

"Thanks, Adora. It's fine, though, he isn't directly attacking me, for the most part. Weaver's said a lot worse."

"That doesn't make it okay. The shit Weaver's said is a very low bar."

"Yeah, well, you know…men."

Adora sighs. "Unfortunately. Are you ready to get back out there?" She asks.

"I don’t see why not," Catra replies. The two girls exit the bathroom and take their places at the table. By the looks of it, Marlena and Randor have been having their own discussion about Randor's behaviour.

"Welcome back, girls," Marlena greets with a smile on her face. Randor draws his eyebrows and takes a sip of his drink. "So, Catra, what kinds of plans do you have for the future?" Oh my god, you've got to be kidding me.

"Um, well, I was planning on registering for the Etherian Hockey League draft, but, um, I don't think I'm ever going to be able to play at a competitive level again, so I'm not sure," Catra speculates.

"So, essentially, you're out of future prospects," Randor points out.

"Y-yes sir. Maybe there's still time to apply for a college or something? I never really liked school that much, though."

"Quite the dead end position you've put yourself in. Maybe you'll find a job for yourself if you're willing to put any work in."

"Randor, dear, don't you think you're being unfair?" Marlena points out.

"Well, she's going to be an adult soon, she ought to know what she plans on doing with her life by now," he argues. "Adora has things planned out for the next ten years." Catra swallows thickly. So we're back to the Adora comparisons, huh?

"My entire life wasn't flipped upside-down within the span of a few months, Dad," Adora counters.

"Some people just aren't made for good things, sweetie, I know it's a difficult reality to accept, but it's the one we're living in," Randor explains. "Life is unfair, and your friend isn't going to be coddled forever." The look on Adora's face indicates that she's about to start screaming bloody murder at her father, so Catra puts her hand on Adora's thigh.

"Don't worry about it, Adora, it's fine," she tells her friend.

"No, it's not!! You've been treated like shit for your entire life, what part of that is coddling? You were kidnapped and abused, and he's gonna sit here and say you're screwed?! You're wrong, Dad! Why is it so hard for you to apologize??" Adora nearly shouts.

"You're just a kid, Adora, I don't expect you to understand how the world works," Randor says. "Your friend needs to start keeping herself out of positions where she'll be harmed-" He's mercifully cut off by Linda coming back with everyone's food.

"Alright, folks, here we are! Careful, sweetie, that plate's gonna be hot," she warns Catra as she sets the food on the table. "Is there anything else I can get for you four?"

"No, but thank you," Randor answers. Linda smiles and walks away, probably off to serve other customers. Catra looks down at her dinner. Holy shit, this smells amazing. Did she put coke in this or something? "Anyway, as I was saying," Randor continues, "Etheria wasn't built for the weak. Everyone has to earn their keep, and that's the way it's always been."

Catra tries her best to ignore Randor as she picks up a fork and knife. She's having trouble keeping a firm grip on both utensils, but maybe if she just goes slowly, it'll turn out okay. She grunts as she pushes the knife down into the fish. Why can't I get enough pressure?? Fuck! After a minute or two, Catra manages to cut a few pieces off. Oh, shit, wait, they're all looking at me.

"Uh- sorry, what was the question?" Catra asks.

"I asked if you had visited your mother since you ran away," Randor says with a scoff.

"Oh. Well, uh, no. Maybe? I don't remember anything from the month and a half I was with Prime, so it's possible, sir."

"And she never would've been in that position if you hadn't sold her out, Dad," Adora accuses.

"Ah, I think I see the problem now," Randor says around a mouthful of steak, "Prime was doing what was best for you and, like most teenagers, you refused to accept that he knew best." Catra feels her heart drop to her stomach.

"Dad, are you serious?! He drugged her, for god's sake!!" Adora yells. Catra idly takes a bite of the salmon and holy shit, that is incredible. "Would you do that to me??"

"Of course not!" Randor reels back as if offended. "You aren't a troublemaker like your little friend here, I would never discipline you like that."

"Honey, maybe we should talk about something else," Marlena says.

"No, if Adora likes this kid so much, I want to know why. I haven't seen anything tonight that would lead me to believe that she could take care of my daughter. I won't let Adora choose a girlfriend who's nothing but dead weight," he argues.

"Girlfriend?" Catra squeaks. She drops her fork. Adora's face is burning red, and she's clearly at a loss for words.

"Randor! The poor girl didn't know!" Marlena scolds.

"Maybe it's for the better," Randor says. He turns his head to look at Catra. "Look, I don't want you dating my daughter. It's nothing against you personally, I just don't want Adora to be dragged down by someone like you. She's meant for big things, and you…aren't." Catra's speechless. There's too much going on for her to latch onto one coherent thought, so she just sits there with her mouth open. "Well? Don't you have something to say?"

"Um. I- uh, I…I didn't know Adora had feelings for me, s-sir," Catra admits, then clears her throat. "You'll- I'm sorry. I didn't…I know she deserves better."

"At least you know where you stand," Randor cedes.

"Catra, what?? There's no one in the whole world I'd rather date! Are you kidding me?" Adora cries.

"To be fair, I've been in love with you since we were, like, eleven. You were always out of my league." Adora just stares at Catra.

"That doesn't matter," Randor tells Catra, "I don't want you dating my daughter."

"Y-yes sir," Catra mumbles. She stares down at her lap and picks up the fork, wincing when she drops it again.

"Randor, you've been so rude to Catra this evening, you aren't usually like this," Marlena notes. "What's gotten into you?"

"Do you want someone like…her dating Adora?" Randor counters.

"Adora is eighteen years old, she can date whoever she wants to. I'm extremely disappointed in you. Catra, I'd like to apologize for my husband's behaviour, he's usually much more pleasant, I promise." All Catra can manage is a nod.

"You love me?" Adora asks Catra softly.

"You're such an idiot," Catra replies with a chuckle.

"Marlena, unless you have any other business here, I think it's time we left," Randor comments, taking money from his wallet and leaving it on the table. "Come on, dear."

"Sorry, Adora, your father needs some time to get his head back on straight. We love you very much, dear," Marlena says as she stands up with her husband. The couple leaves the two girls at the table, neither knowing quite what to say.

"Well," Catra starts, "I didn't think that was how dinner would turn out." Adora laughs, and Catra feels her shoulders drop.

"I can't believe him! He was just attacking you this entire time! You've hardly even touched your dinner," Adora notes.

"I'm- I'm having trouble cutting into it," Catra confesses.

"Oh! D-do you want help?" Catra nods and Adora smiles at her friend. "I never would've taken you here if I'd known he was gonna act like that." She picks up Catra's fork and knife. "We don't have to talk about the whole, uh, liking each other part if you don't want to."

"Why do you even like me?" Catra asks. "You could have any girl in town and you picked me? Why?" Adora sets down the fork and looks her friend in the eye before drawing her into a kiss. Catra's brain completely shuts down and she's running on autopilot, now. They come apart and Catra is once again capable of thought.

"You're the only girl I want, Catra. You're so strong, and brilliant, and super hot, you don't give yourself enough credit! I like the way you mumble in your sleep, and how your right eye twitches a little when you're tired, and how you never, ever give up, even when the deck's stacked against you," Adora explains.

"Oh." Catra sniffles, holding back tears. "That's…thanks…"

"So…do you maybe wanna be girlfriends?" Adora asks with a hopeful glint in her eye. Catra nods emphatically and Adora laughs, hugging the other girl tightly. If Catra's crying a little, no one needs to know. Adora helps Catra eat the rest of her dinner and the two of them drive home, still basking in the recent confessions. Once the car is parked in the driveway, Adora carries Catra upstairs to her bed. Micah grabs the wheelchair and follows the girls.

"How was dinner?" He asks as they walk up the steps.

"Terrible, but we're dating now!" Adora explains, and Micah laughs.

"See? I told you, kiddo, guaranteed heartbreaker look." Catra groans and hides her face in the crook of Adora's neck. "I'm guessing Randor didn't behave himself?"

Adora huffs. "No. He kept passive-aggressively insulting Catra and saying shit like 'some people just aren't meant for good things,' and 'you really want someone like her dating our daughter, Marlena?' Fucking awful," Adora recalls.

"Oh, he's gone and poked the bear, now. No one talks about my daughter like that," Micah growls. They reach the bedroom and Adora gently sets Catra down on the bed. "You two sleep well, okay? Glimmer, you too. If you need anything, you know where to find me."

"Where were you guys?" Glimmer asks.

"Makin' out at a restaurant," Catra answers. Adora playfully shoves her as Catra laughs.

"God, it's about time. Lesbians, man…" Adora helps Catra into her pyjamas and the two girls curl up under the covers.

"Sorry my dad was such a dick," Adora says softly.

"Well, sorry my breath tasted like fish for our first kiss," Catra replies.

"I didn't even notice, honestly."

"Yeah? My brain kinda shut down, too." Catra yawns and rubs her jaw.

"You tired?"

"A little."

"Let's go to sleep, then. 'Night, Glimmer!"

"Yeah, yeah, please don't fuck on that bed."

"Love you too, Sparkles."

Chapter Text

A week has passed since Catra and Adora started dating, and neither of them could be any happier. Most of their time is still spent in Glimmer and Catra's room since Catra can't exactly walk downstairs, but neither of them mind much. Today, Catra wakes up before Adora, for once. Even Melog is surprised, though they don't stay awake for much longer. She yawns and sits up, looking down at her girlfriend. I still can't believe she wants me, too. She's always been a dummy, I guess. Catra winces as she feels a sharp pain roll down her leg. "Shit," she mumbles, trying not to wake Adora. The girl in question immediately wakes up anyway.

"Catra? 'S that you?" She asks.

"Yeah, I'm fine, my leg just hurts extra today," Catra explains. "Head doesn't feel great, either."

"Let's get you some medicine for this morning, then. It's a shame the doctors said you can't take the really strong pills anymore since they could mess with your blood pressure."

"I never liked those, anyway."

"Maybe not, but you weren't in pain after you took them."

"Do you think kisses help with pain?"

"There's only one way to find out." The two girls close in on each other and Glimmer groans from the top bunk. She throws her pillow down at the couple.

"You two are gross," Glimmer complains.

"Sorry I've got a hot girlfriend and you don't Sparkles," Catra snarks. "Actually, I'm not sorry. Get your own." Adora giggles at her girlfriend.

DING DONG

"Who would ring the doorbell this early in the morning?" Catra whines as she holds her head in her hands.

"It's 12:30 in the afternoon, babe," Adora notes as she rubs Catra's back.

"Why did we sleep for so long?"

"We had game night with Glimmer, remember?"

"Yeah, and I kicked both of your asses at Uno," Glimmer interjects.

"You know I don't like numbers," Catra grumbles.

"HEY, UH, ADORA? COULD YOU BRING CATRA DOWNSTAIRS?" The girls hear Micah call out. Catra allows herself to be picked up and Glimmer jumps off the bed, looking out the window.

"Oh, shit," Glimmer mumbles as the couple leaves the room. "That doesn't look good." Adora carries Catra down with no trouble at all, and Catra shamelessly wraps her arms around Adora's shoulders. Both Micah and Angella are standing by the front door with troubled looks on their faces. When they step away, Catra and Adora see Weaver standing on the porch along with two police officers.

"Miss, are you Catrina Weaver?" One of the officers asks Catra.

"Yeah. Why?" She hangs onto Adora tighter.

"Your mother's reported you missing, so we're here to take you home." Catra's heart drops to her stomach.

"Huh?"

"Oh, Catrina, I was so worried about you!" Weaver lies through her teeth. "Why would you run away?"

"What do you mean run away? I can't even walk right now!!" Catra yells.

"Thank you so much, officers, I don't know what I would've done without you. Come on, Catrina, let's get you home," Weaver subtly commands.

"She's not going anywhere, least of all with you," Adora growls, strengthening her grip on her girlfriend.

"Please, Adora, I know you two are friends, but don't make this any harder than it needs to be. Put my daughter down so we can go home." Adora looks to Micah and Angella.

"She can't do this, can she?"

"Legally, there's nothing we can do." Micah explains with a frown as he rubs the back of Catra's head. "I'm so, so sorry, kiddo."

"Miss, drop the girl," an officer warns. Adora glares and does as she's told. Naturally, Catra holds all of her weight on her right leg.

"Are you just going to make her walk?" Adora asks, hate burning in her eyes.

"Oh, her leg healed weeks ago, she's just putting up a show of it for attention, now," Weaver answers slickly. "I won't ask again, now, Catrina, we're going home." Catra looks back at Micah, Angella, and Adora one more time before taking a deep breath and taking a step forward. She immediately has to bite back an exclamation of pain. Oh, god, why does it hurt so badly?! Hasn't it healed at all? With time and a lot of effort, Catra limps over to Weaver's car in the driveway and hops into the backseat.

"Shit," Catra lets out as her leg bounces against the floor off the car. Weaver walks up to the car after thanking the police officers and threatening the Runes and sits back in the drivers seat.

"Do you have any idea how much money you've cost me, you insolent child?!" Weaver asks angrily.

"I don't care, and I'm not scared of you anymore, old lady. You can't keep me at that house," Catra warns her. Weaver chuckles darkly at this.

"Oh, no, you'll pay for what you've done, one way or another. I raised you exclusively to become useful to Lord Prime, and you couldn't even accomplish that." Weaver takes a deep breath and lets it out. "Luckily, Prime's light is eternal, and despite your incessant meddling, he will not be charged with anything."

"No. You-you're lying. He had all those drugs there, and the chip thingies, and I know there has to be more!" Catra bites back.

"There is still a place for you in Prime's light, Catrina. If it were up to me, I would have a pathetic waste such as yourself disposed of, but our Lord has decided that you are still valuable to him."

"News flash: I can't play hockey on a broken leg. I don't think I'm ever gonna be able to play at a competitive level again, why can't he bother someone else?"

"Lord Prime was involved with your birth mother, you know." Weaver starts. "She was a whore working off the streets before Prime took her in out of mercy and kept her services to himself."

"Wait, what?" On one hand, Catra's well aware that Weaver is a liar, but she also knows that nobody else can tell her anything about her birth family.

Weaver chuckles darkly. "Once your mother became pregnant, she ran from our lord in an effort to keep you sheltered from him. You look just like her, you know."

Catra looks at the locks on the car door. You can still get out of this, Catra. It's going to hurt, but you can do it. "Why would he want a little kid so bad, he already has everything he could ever need!"

"I always knew you were stupid, Catrina, but I hadn't thought it was this bad. You're his daughter," Weaver answers. "After you were born, your mother put you up for adoption and ran like the coward she was. Lord Prime was much too busy to raise a child, so as his loyal acolyte, I took you in as my own."

"Funny, I almost believed you there for a minute." Catra unlocks the door as she talks so that Weaver won't be able to hear it. "You're just fucking with me."

"What reason would I have to lie to you now? You'll have plenty of time to ask Lord Prime once we get home. He figured you might have some use as a success for his newest business venture until you were of age, but clearly you were too much of a failure to make that work," Weaver mocks.

"And what does he want from me now that I'm almost of age?"

"Well, your mother was reasonably talented, I assume he would hope the same for you."

Catra gulps and tries not to think about what Weaver is saying. I think I know this road- the speed limit isn't nearly as fast as Prime's truck was going, and since Weaver's in the left lane, I'd probably land out of the way of other cars so I wouldn't be hit.

"You made one big mistake, old lady," Catra goads as she puts her hand on the door handle, "You finally let me leave. I know there are people that care about me now, and you're even dumber than I thought you were if you think I'm not gonna do everything in my power to get back to them." She punctuates the last sentence by pushing forward as hard as she can with her right leg and propelling herself out of the car. Before she can brace herself, Catra lands roughly on the grassy median and skids until she's out of momentum.

 

----

 

"Ohhhh, fuck, shit-" Catra says before her stomach flips and she vomits onto the grass. She coughs for a minute and flops back onto the ground, catching her breath. That definitely wasn't the smartest thing to do considering her healing body, but it was this or staying with Weaver. "C'mon, Catra," she says weakly to herself, "get up, you're not done yet." She pushes herself onto her feet and limps forward as quickly as possible. People driving next to me right now are probably confused as hell. Catra snickers at the idea.

"Okay, I'm back in- in Fright City. Where can I hide out?" She hisses as she trips over something and has to make an unexpected step with her left foot to stop herself from falling. "Well, my heart's beating like crazy, so at least I know I'm not dead yet." Catra keeps limping until she reaches the end of the median and waits at a crosswalk, frantically pressing the button that signals pedestrians to cross the street. "Come on, come on, can't you change a little faster??" The light changes and indicates she can move forward, so she does exactly that, limping until she can find an alley to collapse in.

Catra pants until she catches some her breath and looks around. There's a dumpster to her left and she crawls to hide on the other side of it, so she isn't visible from the entry to the alley. "Oh, god," Catra wails quietly, "what am I gonna do now…she had to be fucking lying…" She's ripped out of her pity-spiral when she feels something buzz. She checks her pockets and finds her phone, which she'd totally forgotten she'd had. Apparently, Adora has texted her several times already.

Adora: Catra

Adora: Catra are you ok?

Adora: Please tell me if you're ok

Adora: God I knew I shouldn't have handed you over to that bitch

Catra smiles softly. Thinking about Adora makes her feel slightly better. She video calls her girlfriend and she picks up on the first ring. "Catra, oh my god, where are you?? Are you safe??"

"Calm down, Adora, I'm okay. I jumped out of Weaver's car somewhere in Fright City and I'm resting in an alley right now," Catra explains.

"Thank fuck, ohhhh my god, I don't know what I would've done if you were stuck with that bitch," Adora says. She looks like she's been crying. "Where can I come pick you up?"

Catra shakes her head. "No, she'll expect me to go back home, I can't risk the cops going back. She'll suspect your house, too. I haven't- I don't know where I'm going. I'll figure it out."

"Is that Catra??" Adora's camera turns and Catra sees Micah, who also looks like he's been crying. "Catra!! Holy shit, you're okay!"

"She's hiding out in an alley right now," Adora explains to Micah, "and she says she can't come home because Weaver will expect that."

"…As much as I hate to think about it, she's right. Do you have anywhere else you can stay, Catra? Somewhere that isn't an alley?" Micah asks.

"I might. I don't know, I- I need to think about it." The adrenaline fueling Catra to this point has worn off, and she feels like she ran a marathon on her broken leg; it hurts like all hell. Her stomach churns again and she squeezes her eyes shut, swallowing it back. "I'll be okay, though. I just- I'll call you when I find somewhere to stay, I promise."

"Good, you'd fucking better," Adora warns with a wet chuckle. "I hope you don't plan on walking too far with that leg of yours."

"Only as far as I need to. There's a dumpster next to me and I'm hoping I can find something to hold some of my weight while I'm walking. You know, like a pole or a stick or something," Catra explains. "Is Mom okay? Where is she?"

"She's taken to the Bright Moon police, telling them about your abusive excuse for an adoptive mother, since the Fright City police don't seem to care," Micah answers. "You know how she is. Won't take no for an answer. You- are you okay, kiddo? You're looking a little pale and you're kind of swaying a bit there."

"No, yeah, I'm fine, I…I just-" Catra drops her phone and holds her stomach as she pukes for the second time that day, coughing harshly afterwards. "Ugh…" She picks her phone back up. "Sorry. I don't think my body was ready for all this exertion. Kinda feel like shit."

"Oh, I swear to god, I'm going to kill that woman," Catra hears Micah growl offscreen.

"Promise me that you'll rest before you start walking again," Adora demands, "and that you'll drink some water as soon as you can."

"Okay, okay, I promise. I…I miss you guys," Catra confesses.

"We miss you too, sweetheart, just- please take care of yourself so you're still kicking when we get back to you," Micah requests.

"She told me- she said Prime was my biological dad."

Neither Adora nor Micah know what to say for a moment. "Do you think she was lying?" Adora asks.

"I don't know. Probably not. I don't want to think about it right now."

"Got it. Just make sure you call me back when you get somewhere safe, okay?"

"I will. I, um…I love you guys," Catra mumbles, but Micah and Adora must've caught it based on the faces of awe they're making.

"We love you too, kiddo! Stay safe, okay?" Micah asks.

"Yeah, for sure. Bye." Catra sits back and sighs as she hangs up the phone. "Fuck…" She grumbles, rubbing her hands against her temples. Suddenly, she hears footsteps near the entrance of the alley. They walk forward a little, but apprehensively, as if whoever is there doesn't particularly want to be there.

"Catrina?" Weaver calls out. "I know you're here, I heard your voice!" Catra's eyes widen and she puts her hands over her mouth. Please be bluffing, please be bluffing, please be bluffing… She can feel a cold sweat trickling down her neck as a moment of silence passes. "Insolent pest," Weaver growls, and Catra hears her footsteps walking out of the alley. She lets out a breath she didn't know she was holding.

"Oh my god," Catra whispers. "Ohhhh my god…" She waits until her breathing has calmed down and eventually stands up with a groan. "Okay, dumpster, let's see what you got." Catra opens the lid with one hand and rifles through the trash with her other hand. It isn't the first time Catra's done this, but she wouldn't go as far as to say she's actually good at it.

After a few minutes of searching, Catra wraps her hand around something round and a bit heavy, cursing when she can't lift it up. "Stupid, useless hands…" Finally, she finds something she can use after maybe ten minutes of rummaging through the dumpster: a dented, rusty pipe that barely reaches up to the bottom of her ribs, reminding her of when she found something similar in Bright Moon. "Okay. Okay, I can work with this." She shuts the dumpster and tests her new walking stick out with a few steps around the alley. Limping around still doesn't feel good, but it's a little better than before.

Catra looks both ways before leaving the alley, and after assuring herself that Weaver isn't there, she starts in the opposite direction of where she heard Weaver's footsteps going. One of the only benefits of being stuck in Fright City is that no one will bother you while you're walking down the sidewalk, no matter how stupid you look. Catra limps past a few buildings before she finds one she recognizes: a candy store that Catra always wanted to go to as a kid, but Weaver never took her.

"Thank fuck," she grunts. Catra knows where she can go from here. She keeps going in the direction she was headed in and takes a left turn after a couple of blocks. Why is this taking so much energy? Catra is already out of breath, and she's been limping pretty slowly. What time is it? When's the last time I ate something? She shakes her head and keeps moving forward. No time for questions like that. You've still got, like, six miles to go, Catra, focus on going forward.

 

----

 

It's very dark outside by the time Catra makes it to Scorpia's moms' restaurant. Catra grunts and bangs weakly at the doors when they don't open. "Come on," she murmurs between panting, "please be here…" She lifts her head and sees a light turn on inside. The outline of a person seems to notice her and rushes forward to the door. It's Scorpia's mom from the dinner she and Adora went to a week ago. She opens the door and greets the girl.

"Wildcat! To what do I owe this pleas- oh!" Catra collapses into her arms, completely out of energy from limping around Fright City all day. Luckily, Linda catches the girl before she falls down. "Oh, dear, honey, are you alright?" Catra groans and forces herself to look up at the woman.

"No, I…can I stay here? Don't have…anywhere else t' go…" she explains.

"Of course, you're always welcome here, sweetie! Let's get you upstairs and into bed, huh?" Catra nods weakly and Linda places Catra's arm around her shoulder (as best she can with the significant height difference), supporting her as they walk forward. "If you don't mind me asking, what happened? You look like you've been through something awful."

"You know, uh, Sharon? Weaver?" Catra asks.

"Yes, she's your adoptive mother, right?"

"Yeah. 'S a long story…but she wants to hand me over to Prime, and…an' he's just gonna drug me again…" Catra sighs. "Might've raped me? Also might be my biological dad? I dunno."

"Oh my god," Linda whispers. "…I am so, so sorry."

"Can't go back…" Catra manages. Soon enough, they're at the top of the steps and Catra can see where Scorpia must live: it's an apartment, but deceptively large for one in Fright City. She's moved since the last time the two girls hung out. There's a little kitchenette that pales to the actual kitchen downstairs, and at least four bedrooms, all with their own bathrooms. Linda leads Catra through a door and into a bedroom, helping her sit down on the bed.

"Is there anything I can get you, honey?" Linda asks.

"Uh…water, please?" The woman nods and leaves the room, coming back quickly with a glass of water. She must notice how badly Catra's hands are shaking, because she sets it down on the nightstand next to the bed.

"Is there anything else?" Catra slowly shakes her head. "Okay. Well, if you need anything, call out for me or my wife. We'll keep the door open so that we can hear you. I'd better not see you walking on your own," Linda playfully warns, "you're clearly too hurt to be doing that any more. Good night, honey." Once the woman has left the room, Catra pulls out her phone and calls Adora, who answers almost immediately.

"Catra!! Did you find somewhere safe? Are- oh, are you okay?" Catra swallows and nods.

"Yeah. Walked pretty- pretty far to get here. Can't tell you, don't want you to get in trouble," Catra explains. "Look, though." She points the camera to the glass of water on the nightstand.

"Oh, good, at least you've got that," Adora cedes. "Does your leg feel okay?"

"No. It'll be fine." Adora frowns but doesn't counter with anything. "Do…do you mind if I sleep now, 'Dora?"

"Oh, god, of course not!! I didn't even think about that! Yeah, you get some sleep, as much as you want, okay? Call me when you get up," Adora requests.

"'Course. See you tomorrow," Catra mumbles.

"Good night, Catra." Adora hangs up and Catra takes a deep breath, letting it out in a heavy sigh. She takes both of her hands to steady the glass of water, and though it's still pretty shaky, she manages to get most of it into her mouth and not spilled on the floor. As soon as she's finished, Catra lays down in the bed, practically falling asleep the moment her head hits the pillow.

Chapter Text

"Did you really think you could get away that easily? You must be even dumber than I'd thought." Weaver delivers another kick to Catra's stomach. The girl is curled up on the ground, trying to protect herself from any further damage, but clearly failing. "When Lord Prime returns, I will ensure that his presence is especially painful for you."

"Y-you can't be real-" Catra cries out in pain as Weaver kicks her once more.

"Does that not feel real to you? Should I continue?" Weaver threatens.

"Please…stop," Catra begs. Weaver grabs the girl by the collar of her shirt.

"Perhaps you should've considered this outcome before you tried to escape once again." This time, she knees Catra in the stomach. The girl groans weakly, trying to get out of the woman's grasp. "When will you learn that there is no escape, Catrina? Lord Prime may not take pride in destruction, but you must know by now that I do." She tosses Catra down on the floor. "Get up, you miserable wretch, or do I have to make you?"

"W-where-" is all Catra can say before Weaver kicks her. Catra can't hold out any longer, and she loses her lunch, causing Weaver to kick her yet again.

"You're disgusting," the woman spits. "Get up. Now. I won't ask again." Catra fumbles with her hands, trying to find some leverage to stand up with. She picks herself up and looks at Weaver. "Good. Follow me." Catra elects not to ask any more questions. They walk to some kind of prison, and Prime stands just outside the front door, as though he was expecting visitors.

"Ah, thank you, Sharon. You've been most helpful," he says. Weaver grabs Catra by the shirt and throws her to Prime. "Hello again, Little Sister. Are you ready for my light?"

"No…n-no, please…"

 

----

 

Catra squirms in bed, as if trying to escape from something. Linda peeks into the room to check on the girl in the morning, and she finds her mumbling. "Nuh…can- can't…" The woman watches with concern. Should she wake Catra up? Clearly she's having some sort of nightmare. She doesn't have to make a decision in the end: Catra gasps awake and jolts up, putting a hand on the back of her neck. The girl turns to the door and sees Linda, causing her to yelp in surprise and fear.

"Oh, no, it's okay, honey, it's just me, remember?" Linda tries to comfort her. "I'm Mrs. Scorpioni, one of Scorpia's moms. You're okay- you're safe here." Catra's breathing slows to the point where Linda is no longer concerned that she might pass out.

"Scorpia's mom?" Catra asks.

"That's right. You showed up at the door to the restaurant last night and asked if you could stay here, and I said yes, of course," Linda explains.

"Oh. O-okay. Sorry for, um, screaming," the girl mumbles.

"You're fine, honey, you don't have to apologize for anything! Are you feeling any better?"

"Uh…my leg hurts. Did I walk here?"

"I don't know, I'm sorry. You just sort of…appeared." Something clicks in Catra's head and she remembers the events of the day before.

"Oh, I remember now. Sorry I just…showed up out of nowhere," she apologizes.

"Please, you've been no trouble at all! I'm glad to see you awake, though, you looked like you were having quite the nightmare," Linda tells her.

"Yeah, I…I get those a lot," Catra admits. Oh, fuck, I'm supposed to take those antibiotics for the infection on my leg. You know what? I have more important things to worry about right now. "What time is it?"

"Just a little after eight, honey."

"In the morning?"

"Yes."

"Okay. Right. I don't have to stay here for long, I just- well, I needed a break, and my leg hurt-"

"Catra, you said you had nowhere else to go. I'm not letting you walk around Fright City on a broken leg again," Linda protests. "You're welcome to stay here for as long as you'd like."

"…Oh. Thanks," Catra murmurs.

"Of course! Now, Scorpia has been waiting to see you ever since she woke up, are you feeling up for visitors?"

"Scorpia wants to see me?"

"Yes, honey, she just adores you!"

"You can tell her to come in, I guess." She doesn't hate me? I was such an asshole to her… Linda smiles and leaves the room, calling for Scorpia. The girl rushes in to see Catra and squeezes her in an enormous hug. "Urf- h-hey, Scorpia."

"Oh, Wildcat, what happened??" Scorpia sets Catra down. "I was terrified when we were at that crazy guy's house, and you got that thing in your neck, and I just- Mom told me you came to the restaurant awhile ago, but seeing you face-to-face? Oh, man, I'm just so happy you're alive!!" Is she crying? Over ME?

"Yeah, I'm okay. Thanks for helping with, uh, y'know, everything at Prime's house," Catra says.

"I wouldn't ever leave you hanging like that, Wildcat, come on! We're friends!" Scorpia assures her.

"…I thought you hated me," Catra confesses.

"What?" Scorpia lets out a laugh. "How could you think that?"

"Back during the season, I was such a dick to you, and I said all these things that I shouldn't have said, remember? When you kinda let Octavia and, uh, Lonnie and the rest of them kinda beat me up in the locker room?"

Scorpia sighs. "I…I knew you were going through a rough time then, but I didn't know how to help. You were working yourself non-stop and wouldn't listen to anyone. I know you didn't mean it, and I shouldn't have let them do that to you. No, it wasn't fair that you lashed out on me, but I took some time for myself and I think you've grown as a person, too," Scorpia explains. Catra just stares at her.

"Thanks, Scorpia. I won't do something like that again. I promise."

"Don't worry, I know! So, what brings you to House Scorpioni?" Scorpia asks.

"…Is your name really 'Scorpia Scorpioni?'"

"Oh! No, my first name is actually Cindy, but that just doesn't have the same ring to it, you know?"

"Yeah, I get it. Catrina isn't as catchy as Catra. Uh, anyway, thanks for letting me stay here."

"For sure! How'd you end up here, anyway?"

Catra sighs. "Well, after the whole thing at Prime's house, I went back home and everything was fine for a little while, but Weaver showed up and pretty much forced me to go back to her house," Catra tells her.

"Wait, you weren't staying with Ms. Weaver?"

"No, no, she's a piece of shit. I've been staying with the Runes. Uh- anyway, Weaver wanted to let Prime abuse me, pretty much, so I, um, jumped out of her car and walked here."

"Is- is that what he was going to do if we didn't get you out in time?" Scorpia asks, horrified. Catra shrugs. "Oh, no, Wildcat, he- he's been raping you?"

"Uh…maybe," Catra answers, and that must've tipped Scorpia over the edge, because she starts bawling and scoops Catra up in another hug. "There, there, big gal…" She pats Scorpia on the back as best she can.

"Y-you shouldn't have'ta comfort me!!" Scorpia just starts crying harder.

"It's okay. I didn't want to think about it at first, either." Catra rests her head on Scorpia's shoulder and lets her hold on tighter. She's still so tired from how much energy she exerted yesterday. I miss Adora.

"I'm s-so sorry, I-I would've d-done something," Scorpia blubbers.

"There was nothing you could've done, Scorpia. He's the richest man in both Fright City and Bright Moon, and we're just kids. It's not your fault." Catra lets Scorpia hug her for as long as she needs to, which ends up being several minutes. When the larger girl looks into Catra's eyes after separating, she shows her concern on her face.

"Don't worry, Wildcat, we're gonna take care of you," Scorpia promises. Catra gives her a small smile.

"Oh, is our visitor awake?" A voice from outside the room asks. Scorpia's face lights up.

"Mama!! Come in here, this is Catra!" Scorpia calls out. Another woman, Catra assumes Scorpia's other mother, comes into the bedroom and gasps.

"Kitty!!" She somehow squeezes Catra into an even larger hug, lifting her up and pulling her off the bed.

"H-hey, Mrs. Scorpioni," Catra manages to say. The woman sets Catra down on her feet and she hisses at the unexpected pain.

"Oh, are you hurt?" She looks down at Catra's leg. "OH!! Oh, no, I'm so sorry, here, let's get you back into bed!" She picks Catra back up and sets her down on the bed. The girl blushes as she looks at the woman's biceps. Catra clears her throat.

"It's fine. Um, I'm Catra. Thanks for letting me stay here," she says.

"It is just so nice to meet you! Our little Scorpia has told us so much about you over the years! You've, well, you've probably figured this out, but I'm Scorpia's mom, Helen. And of course you're welcome here!! Linda explained to me that you're in a tough situation right now, and it is absolutely our pleasure to have you stay with us." Yeah, I see where Scorpia gets it from.

"Oh, yeah, uh, I'll find some way to pay you back," Catra promises. Helen scoffs.

"Nonsense! You are a guest here at the Scorpioni household, and we would never let a guest pay for anything! Now, is there anything I can grab for you, dear? Some breakfast, or maybe help you to the bathroom, or a set of clothes?"

"Could…could I use your shower?" Catra asks hesitantly.

"Oh, silly me, of course! You had quite the day yesterday, didn't you? Here, I'll help you into the bathroom. Scorpia, sweetie, could you grab some clean clothes for Catra to wear?" Scorpia nods happily and trots off. "Isn't she just the best? Come on, I'll get you over to the bathroom." Helen lifts Catra with ease and holds the girl over her shoulder with one arm. Holy shit, what the fuck?? Catra grabs on for dear life as the woman walks towards the bathroom. She sets her down on the toilet (the lid is closed, thankfully) and leaves for a moment. Scorpia comes in with an armful of clothes.

"Here you go, Wildcat! They'll, uh, they'll be pretty big on you, but I hope that's okay! Mama's getting you a chair so you can wash yourself more easily." She looks down at Catra's cast. "Oh, gosh, you probably can't get that wet, can you? I'll be right back!" Scorpia runs out of the room and her mother walks in, as though there was some sort of revolving door.

"This should make things easier for you!" Helen places a plastic chair in the shower and smiles at Catra. "…Do you think I could sign your cast?"

"S-sure," Catra allows, and the woman giggles, pulling a sharpie from her pocket.

"Aaaaaand there we go!" Her signature is oddly elegant. Catra is impressed. Scorpia comes back into the bathroom with a tube of plastic wrap. "Oh, well three's a crowd, isn't it? I'll leave you to it, Wildcat!" Helen leaves Catra in a revolving daze of Scorpioni women.

"What?? She signed your cast before I did? Mama! Come back with the sharpie!!" Once she gets the marker, Scorpia uncaps it and looks up at Catra. "Can I…?" The girl in question nods and Scorpia happily scribbles her signature near her mother's. "Isn't that just lovely? Oh, right, let me get your cast covered!" Catra sits and watches Scorpia enthusiastically wrap her cast in plastic several times over. "Okay, I think you should have everything in here that you might need. I'll leave you alone with some privacy, Wildcat, but you just call out if you need something, alright?"

"Uh- yeah. Thanks, Scorpia," Catra says. Suddenly, she's alone in the bathroom as promised. Catra stands up and hops on one foot over to the shower. She takes off all her clothes and tears off her bandages, tossing them outside the shower door. Catra closes herself in and tries turning one of the knobs to start the water. Of course, she'd forgotten that her hands are pretty much useless.

"Fuck," she grumbles as she twists as hard as she can. Catra adds in her other hand and finally she gets it moving. The only problem is that she got the cold knob going first. She squeaks and tries to turn the hot knob, but her hands are wet now, and too slippery to get it moving. "Shit." Catra sighs and resigns herself to her freezing fate. Okay, what did Adora call the hair soap again? Um… She looks at the many bottles in the shower, trying to match a name with the one in her memory. It's either the S one or the C one…Catra ends up picking the one that smells the nicest to use last.

Why can't you just relax, huh? You're just taking a shower, Catra. Then, you can call Adora and tell her you're still alive, and hopefully lay in bed for a while. She scrubs her head with the soap she decided was the one that went first. It's not as nice as when Adora does it, but it still feels pretty good. Catra closes her eyes and smiles, imagining Adora is with her and she's not on the run from her psychopathic adoptive mother. Eventually, she sighs and lets the fantasy pass. It's too cold to sit around thinking about her girlfriend forever.

 

----

 

By the time she's finished washing up, Catra is freezing cold. She grabs onto the first towel she can reach and quickly drapes it over herself, trying to ignore her chattering teeth. "St-stupid, useless h-hands," she mutters. Catra hops back over to the toilet and sits down, holding the towel closer to herself. Oh, thank god, Scorpia gave me some actual pants…I don't think I'd survive wearing shorts. She sniffles and puts on the clothes her friend gave her: a pair of boxers, sweatpants, a Fright City Horde shirt, and…a bra, but it's way too large to fit Catra. Once she tears the plastic wrap off her cast, she shivers and hops out of the bathroom on one leg, leaning on the wall for support.

Scorpia is waiting on Catra's bed when she hobbles back into the room. "Oh, jeez, here, let me help!" She supports Catra by her waist and walks her to the bed. "Gee, you're freezing up, Wildcat, are you okay? Do you want a sweatshirt?"

"Tha-thanks," Catra says with a nod. She sits down and Scorpia dashes to get a sweatshirt, coming back a few seconds later.

"I hope the clothes are okay, I know it's probably a weird fit," Scorpia tells her friend as she hands her the sweatshirt. It's black with some logo on it that Catra doesn't recognize. She pulls it over her head and finds that not only is it large, but her hands aren't even close to making it out of the sleeves.

"It-it's fine, Scorpia, I-I like it," Catra assures her, sneezing shortly thereafter.

"You aren't getting sick, are you?"

"No, jus-just cold."

"Well, okay, if you say so. I'm gonna go see what my moms have cooking for breakfast!" Scorpia bounces out of the room. How does she have so much energy even though she woke up so early? I don't think I'll ever understand morning people. Catra shivers again, so she crawls under the covers and remembers her phone on the nightstand. Just like last time, Adora picks up the phone almost as soon as Catra calls her.

"Woah, you're up early! How are you feeling?" Adora asks.

"Okay. N-not so bad, a-all things cons-sidered," Catra admits.

"Are you sure? You sound kind of, uh, stuttery?"

"No, I-I just took a sh-shower's all, a-and I couldn't g-get the hot water. St-stupid hands," Catra grumbles.

"Oh, good. You had me worried there for a second. How's your leg?"

"Hurts."

"Yeah, I bet, you must've been walking around for hours. Oh, Catra, I'm so sorry," Adora says.

"N-not your fault. It's Weaver," Catra reminds her.

"Hey, if you want to hang up and get more sleep, I won't be offended. You look kind of exhausted."

"You s-sure?"

"I just asked you to call me so I knew you were still alive, and now that I know you are, in fact, alive, I think you probably should get some more sleep. You're probably really tired after yesterday."

"Yeah, k-kinda. Thanks, Ad-Adora," Catra mumbles.

"Of course! Sweet dreams, babe." Adora hangs up and Catra places her phone back on the nightstand. She curls up tighter in the blankets, still trying to get warm. Before she knows it, she's fallen asleep again.

 

----

 

"Ugh…" When Catra wakes up, she somehow feels worse than she did before she went back to sleep. She's so cold, but her body is hot, and now her nose is stuffy. At least she didn't have any nightmares this time. Miraculously. How do I have a headache, I just woke up? Why can't I just get a stupid break for once… Catra sneezes once, then twice, then a third time. That's probably not good. She shivers and tries to curl up more, but her body is curled up as tight as it physically can be with her leg in a cast.

"Catra, honey? Are you awake?" She hears a voice whisper from the doorway. Catra sits up and sees Linda holding a plate of food. "Oh, good! You slept through breakfast, but I saved some for you since I figured you'd be hungry. I guess you're pretty tired, huh?"

"Uh-huh. Danks," Catra mumbles. Linda narrows her eyes.

"Your eyes are a little glassy, are you feeling alright?" The woman asks, and Catra shivers.

"Me? Dah, I'b fide." Sniffle.

"Oh, I don't buy that for a second. Let me bring you some cold medicine," Linda offers as she hands Catra the plate. She picks up a slice of toast and idly nibbles at it. While she isn't especially hungry, Catra knows she should eat something after yesterday. Her head feels sort of soupy, like her thoughts are all jumbled up in a puddle and indistinguishable from each other. She scratches at the back of her neck. Huh. That wasn't itchy before. Something was covering it, right? Linda comes back with a few pills and a glass of water.

"Here, take these once you've eaten something, alright? I don't want you to feel poorly on top of all your injuries," Linda notes. "Is there anything else you need, honey?" Catra slowly shakes her head. "Okay, I'll leave your door cracked open if you change your mind." Sniffle.

Catra looks over at the pills Linda had placed on the nightstand and scowls. I don't need to take some stupid pills from some lady. I feel fine. Nothing's wrong! She takes a few more bites of toast and sneezes almost immediately afterwards. It's a wonder she didn't spit half-chewed bread all over herself. Catra finishes the toast and decides to save the rest of the food for later, placing it on the nightstand. She drinks the glass of water and sighs. I just need a little more sleep, then I'll feel better. Catra itches her neck and curls back up under the covers. Hopefully she'll feel alright once she's slept a little bit more.

 

 

Catra does not feel alright once she's slept a little bit more. In fact, the next time she wakes up, it's already the end of the day and Scorpia has to physically shake her in order to wake her up, and even then she can hardly open her eyes.

"Huh…" she mumbles.

"Wildcat!! Oh, gosh, I was really worried about you, I didn't know if you were gonna wake up or not! What's going on? Do you have a cold or something? Do you need to be nursed tenderly back to health??" Scorpia all but yells.

"Whas' goin' od?" Catra has trouble even getting those words out of her mouth. Scorpia keeps trying to let Catra sit up on her own, since she knows how much the girl likes her independence, but she's pretty much limp in Scorpia's arms.

"I've been shaking you for, like, two minutes," Scorpia explains. "Something's really wrong, Catra, what made you sick? I don't think this is a regular cold." Catra blinks slowly at her friend.

"…Huh?" Her eyes are glazed over as she continues to idly stare at Scorpia's torso, not putting in the energy to look at her face. She does furrow her eyebrows, though, so Scorpia is pretty sure she's thinking.

"Come on, you have to tell me what's wrong; what's making you sick?" Catra's phone starts buzzing and she weakly turns her head to look at it.

"'Dora…I'b subbosed d' call 'Dora," she says.

"Adora? Is she the one calling?" Scorpia gently lets Catra fall back into bed and picks up the girl's phone. Sure enough, Adora's face pops on-screen, but it quickly dissolves from a grin to a frown once she sees Catra isn't the one who answered.

"Scorpia? How'd you get Catra's phone?" She asks with just a hint of suspicion.

"Oh, man, Adora, am I ever glad to hear from you! Catra's been sleeping almost all day and she's got a fever, do you know what's making her so sick? She can barely keep her eyes open," Scorpia explains.

"She's SICK?? Oh, god, okay, think, Adora…OH!! Scorpia, I need you to meet me somewhere between Bright Moon and Fright City; Weaver can't know either of us are helping Catra right now. Catra- uh, she has an open fracture on one of her legs, and it got infected, and she's supposed to take these antibiotics so she doesn't get sick again, that's gotta be it!"

"Hey, 'Dora," Catra mumbles from her pillow.

"We're gonna help you out, Catra, I promise. Just hang in there, okay?"

"You said you want us to meet somewhere between Bright Moon and Fright City?" Scorpia asks. "You know that grocery store off Serenia Street?"

"Yeah, I think I know what you're talking about. I can get there in about 10 minutes," Adora tells her.

"Okay, good, I'll ask my moms and be over there soon. Thanks, Adora!" Scorpia looks down at Catra. "…Well, I don't really want to leave you here all alone. Do you…want to come with me? You can sleep in the car."

"'Kay," Catra responds lazily, so Scorpia tells her moms where she's going and loads Catra into her car. It only takes her a few minutes to get there, and now the pair has to wait for Adora to arrive. Catra is leaning against the window and snoring, fast asleep. Scorpia sighs. Soon, Adora's car pulls into the parking lot and the girl jumps out, dashing over to Scorpia's car.

"Come on, Wildcat, time to wake up," Scorpia coaxes, and by some miracle, Catra opens her eyes and briefly looks at Scorpia. She runs around to the passenger door and helps Catra out of the car so that she can see Adora, who wraps Catra in a tight hug and kisses her forehead.

"Thank you so much, Scorpia, I don't know what I'd do without you, like, you have no idea how much this means to me," Adora rambles, "I didn't know where she was gonna go, and she was walking around on that broken leg, it- I'm glad she made her way to you."

"Aw, shucks, it's not a big deal," Scorpia says and blushes. "I know she'd do the same for me. Do you have those antibiotics?"

"Yes! Make sure she takes one as soon as you get home, okay?" Adora asks her. Catra shivers in her arms and nuzzles her head into Adora's shoulder. "I know, Catra, it's gonna be okay. Scorpia's gonna take care of you."

"'Dora," Catra whines softly. Adora reaches into her pocket and gives Scorpia the orange bottle of pills.

"Don't worry, Wildcat, we'll get you feeling better real soon! Is there anything else I should know before we get going?" Scorpia asks.

"If a man that looks like Hordak asks if you know where Catra is, tell him that you don't. He works with Prime. Well, actually, I think there are a bunch of him that work for Prime? I don't know. Anyway, make sure she's eating and drinking, since I know she won't unless someone else makes her, and tell her to call me when she's feeling better," Adora notes.

"Got it. Hopefully I'll see you soon?" Scorpia responds.

"We will. Alright, Catra, I gotta let you go," Adora tells her girlfriend.

"Doh…" She helps Catra up into the passenger seat of Scorpia's car and kisses her cheek before she shuts the door.

"Thanks again, Scorpia!" Adora calls out as she walks back to her own car.

"No problem, thank you!" Scorpia yells back and gets behind the wheel. She looks over to the girl next to her and she's leaned against the window again with heavy eyelids and a dopey smile. "Let's get going, Wildcat."

As soon as Scorpia sits Catra down in bed, she makes her take the antibiotic pill that Adora gave her. It takes a little bit of coaxing, but she swallows it all the same. Scorpia tucks her into bed and pats her shoulder before she leaves to go to her own bedroom for the night. Catra nuzzles into her pillow, dreaming about Adora.

Chapter Text

Catra wakes up the next morning feeling better than she had the night before, but still not 100%. She yawns and rubs her jaw, looking at the nightstand to find a glass of water and a pill waiting for her along with a note:

Hey, Wildcat!

I don't know if you remember last night at all, but we got your antibiotics and you're gonna feel better soon! Yay! Make sure you take this pill whenever you get up. I'll see you in the morning!

Scorpia :)

Catra gives the note a small smile. She even sounds like herself in writing form. Two shaky hands are used to hold the glass of water, and Catra takes the pill as asked. It's strange: she's gotten used to the nightmares happening every night, but maybe she was just too sick last night to come up with one in her head? She shrugs. It's not like it actually matters. Scorpia even connected a charger to Catra's phone. I'll pay her back for this one day. Catra picks up her phone to text her girlfriend- she must've seen her last night, even if she doesn't remember it. How else would Scorpia have gotten the antibiotics?

Catra: hey adora

Catra lays back in bed and sighs. I can't fucking stand being sick. She doesn't have to wait for Adora's reply for very long at all; just a couple of seconds.

Adora: Hi Catra! How do you feel?

Catra: ok. you got me the pills right?

Adora: Yeah do you not remember? You hugged me from the minute you saw me to the minute I had to leave

Catra: what a lucky girl i am

Adora: Haha. Did you take your antibiotic?

Catra: no i made scorpia meet up with you for nothing. yes i took the antibiotic

Adora: Glad you can still be sassy over text. How is it at Scorpia's house?

Catra: her moms are nice. i mean anyone who's related to scorpia is probably legally obligated to be nice but whatever

Adora: Yeah they always brought the best snacks at hockey practice when we were kids

Catra: man fuck weaver. the bitch never let me have snacks when i was little

Adora: I'm glad you have your priorities in order

Catra: lets be real not having fruit snacks as a kid is its own kind of abuse

Instead of a regular reply from Adora, she gets a video call request, which she happily answers. "Hey Adora. Couldn't wait to see this face again?

"You already know the answer to that. Hey, your voice sounds a lot better than it did last night! It sounded like you could hardly make any words out," Adora explains.

"I didn't know not taking my medicine would feel that shitty," Catra mentions as she scratches the back of her neck.

"What did you think antibiotics were for? Their only purpose is to help you feel less like shit. Are you scratching your neck?"

"Huh? Yeah, I guess."

"You didn't re-bandage yourself after you took a shower, did you." Adora accuses.

"Oh. Yeah. I guess I kinda forgot about it, the whole bandaging thing. Is it really that big of a deal?"

"It is if you're going to itch at every injury! That'll just make the reopen and get worse."

"Sorry, mom, I didn't think about it. I'll ask Scorpia to help when she wakes up," Catra cedes. The girls talk for a little while until Catra inevitably falls asleep with Adora on the line, her girlfriend's voice soothing her eyes into closing. Scorpia comes to wake Catra up around two hours later.

"Good morning, Wildcat, how are you feeling?" She asks.

"Tired," Catra grumbles, "but better. Thanks."

"Aw, you do sound better! That is just so great. Now, first things first: you need to eat something because you've hardly had anything to eat at all since you got here, and it took you hours limping around the city to make it here. What do you think you can handle for breakfast?"

"Oh, I'm not picky. I'll just eat whatever you guys are having. If that's fine."

"Of course it's fine!" Scorpia assures her. "I'll tell my moms that you're feeling better. They were really worried, you know."

"Because I was asleep all day?" Catra teases.

"You know, most people don't do that when they're healthy. I'll be right back!" Catra only has to wait a few minutes before Scorpia comes back with a large plate of breakfast food for Catra and herself.

"Oh, wow. Thanks, Scorpia," Catra notes as she looks at the size of her breakfast.

"You don't have to eat everything; we're all pretty big and our portions are, too. You're just so tiny!" Scorpia explains.

"I am not tiny! I'm 5'5, that's average!"

"Catra, I'm 6'3, and you look like you're hardly pushing 95lbs. You're tiny." Catra grumbles and sticks a piece of fruit in her mouth as Scorpia laughs. "I still think you're great, if it makes you feel any better."

"Stupid genetics. Pain in my ass. I don't even know how tall I'm supposed to be," Catra whines.

"Well, you said you were average, right? I think you're just fine, don't worry about it, Wildcat! I'm just teasing you."

"Yeah, yeah…" Catra finishes around a third of her plate before she physically can't eat anything else, and to rub salt in the wound, Scorpia finished 10 minutes before she did. Scorpia gives Catra a hard pat on the back and goes to clean the dishes in the kitchen. Catra spends the rest of the day resting in bed, either talking to Adora or Scorpia.

 

----

 

"Please? At least let me run the register for you, or something, I can't just sit up here and take up space all day!"

"Sorry, Wildcat, but you're on strict bedrest, Adora's orders." Catra is trying to convince Scorpia to let her do some work downstairs in the restaurant. She feels worthless taking up this much space and not paying it forward.

"Adora doesn't need to know! We can just keep it our secret, huh?" Catra convinces.

"I don't know, you still look a little bit pale…" Scorpia notes.

"No, the lighting's just bad in here, and I've been taking my antibiotics, remember? It's been, like, a week! I'm totally fine. Just sit me down behind the register and I'll save you the trouble."

"…Aw, you know I can't say no to that face! Come on, let me help you downstairs so I can show you the ropes." The two girls hobble downstairs and Scorpia makes sure to get the most comfortable seat she can find for Catra and sets it behind the register. "Okay, it's pretty easy: all you have to do is accept people's money and print out the receipts, alright? This little guy handles card transactions," Scorpia points at a little box, "and you can take in the paper money yourself. Any questions?"

"Nope, I'm ready!" Scorpia laughs and leaves Catra to her little station. The first few transactions are made with cards, so Catra has no trouble with that. All she has to do is hand the customers their receipts. The next customers pay with paper money, though, and Catra has to calculate the change in her head. Oh, shit…uh, they owe $17.95 and gave me a $20 bill. You can do this, Catra. Just…imagine you're working with single digits.

It takes her a moment, but she gets it eventually and the customers don't seem upset with the wait. Catra practically beams at having done something right without prompting from anyone else. It's honestly the perfect gig for Catra; she doesn't have to move and further hurt her leg, and most people pay with cards these days, anyway. Plus, she feels like she's actually earning her stay now! Scorpia visits around 2 in the afternoon to bring her lunch.

"Hey, Wildcat, how's it going? Are you having any trouble?" Scorpia asks as she sets down a plate for Catra.

"Not really, actually! Thanks again for letting me do this, Scorpia, I really appreciate it," Catra tells her.

"Oh, it's not a big deal! As long as you aren't moving around on that leg, you should be okay, right?"

"Yeah, I mean, it can't get worse if I'm just sitting." The girls talk for a bit and Catra picks at her lunch, still a little bit full from breakfast. Once the lunch rush is over, things slow down until around 7 or so. Catra doesn't remember the last time she felt this relaxed. There's soft jazz playing, the lighting is dimmed, and it isn't even that loud, despite all the people sitting in and eating dinner. A tiny bell rings, indicating that someone has opened the door, and Catra lazily glances over to see who it is. Much to her surprise, it's Adora's parents.

"Oh, hello, Catra!" Marlena says with a wide smile. "I didn't know you worked here!"

"Hi, Mrs. Greyskull. Uh, I don’t usually work here, but Scorpia's letting me stay here for a little while," Catra explains.

"I thought you were staying with the Runes," Randor notes.

"N-no, sir. It's a long story, but I'll probably go back in a week or two." After this, there's a brief moment of silence before Catra clears her throat. "Um. If you wait just a couple of minutes, I'm sure one of Scorpia's moms will come get you a table."

"Why don't you do it yourself?" Randor asks.

"Her leg is broken, honey," Marlena reminds him.

"You'd think it would be healed by now…"

Catra smiles nervously until Helen comes to seat the couple, then Catra whips out her phone and texts Adora.

Catra: hey adora

Adora: What's up babe?

Catra: your parents are here rn

Adora: Omg did dad say something mean to you?

Catra: not yet. have you told them were dating yet?

Adora: No should I?

Catra: NO your dad literally already hates me and told me explicitly not to date you

Adora. Oh yeah. If you see them again will you tell them I say hi?

Catra: fine but its not bc i like you

Adora: Ok miss "I've been in love with you since we were 11"

Catra: stfu

The Greyskulls spend about 45 minutes at the restaurant before finishing up and taking their bill back to Catra. "How was it?" Catra asks.

"It was delicious, thank you! I really do love it here," Marlena remarks.

"Good, I'm glad! Uh- Adora says hi, by the way."

"You're still in contact with our daughter?" Randor scoffs. Marlena angrily elbows him in the side.

"Yes sir. We're best friends," Catra says confidently as she directs for him to put in his debit card pin.

"Is your leg feeling any better?" Marlena asks, desperate to change the subject.

"A little bit, thanks. I think I'll be good enough to start walking on crutches soon."

"That's fantastic news! Are you planning on watching the draft coming up?"

Oh, right. Catra had completely forgotten about the Etherian Hockey League Draft. Adora's probably gonna get picked first overall, and then she'll move across Etheria to play for some team and be far away from Catra. It's not like Catra herself could register, anyway. She's still getting her strength back from the most recent Prime incident.

"You'll probably be proud to watch Adora's name get picked first, right?" Catra jokes.

Marlena laughs. "Fingers crossed! She's just worked so hard for this her whole life, and with the recent championship, I'm sure she'll be picked in the top three!"

Catra deflates a little bit. "Hah, right. Uh- well, you two have a nice night."

The Greyskulls leave and Catra sighs to herself. She's been actively trying not to think about hockey or her career since she broke her leg, because she knows that no matter how hard she trains, she's never going to be able to play like she used to. She worked just as hard as Adora did to get here, maybe even harder, and it all led to nothing. Catra takes her phone back out and texts her girlfriend again.

Catra: your parents say hi back

Adora: Thanks :) What did you guys talk about?

Catra: your dad reminded me how much he didn't like me, then your mom mentioned the draft

Adora: Oh yeah I forgot all about that. I don't think I'm gonna register

Catra: wdym

Adora: I'm not ready yet

Catra: adora istg if this has anything to do with me

Adora: I promised I wouldn't leave you again

Catra: and that means jack shit if its costing you millions of dollars stupid!!!

Adora: Are you really getting pissed about this?

Catra: you cant just throw away your career come on

Adora: I'm not throwing anything away. I'm doing what I want to do

Catra: then youre even dumber than i thought

Adora: Catra that's not fair

Catra: youre being fucking stupid

Adora: I'm not!

Catra: dont you fucking dare not register bc of me

Catra: adora

Catra: adora i know youre getting these answer me

Catra grumbles angrily to herself as the Scorpioni family closes their restaurant. Scorpia notices and calls out, "hey Wildcat! Are you doing alright?"

"Yeah, I'm fine, I'm just talking with Adora," Catra answers.

"Is this your first fight as a couple?" Linda asks.

"We're not fighting, she's just being stupid." Scorpia's moms share a look. "Stop looking like that!! Everything's fine, she just doesn't want to register for the draft because she doesn't want to leave me."

"That's so romantic!" Helen tells her.

"No, it's dumb! Think about all of the money she's missing out on!!"

"Oh! Speaking of money, I need to give you your paycheck for the day!" Linda jogs over to the cash register and takes out a few bills, handing Catra $126.

"What? No, you don't have to pay me. I just didn't want to feel useless upstairs. You're already doing so much for me by letting me stay here," Catra says.

"Too bad, we're the bosses, and we say you earned this!" Linda replies.

"What- what am I even gonna do with all of this money?"

Linda shrugs. "Whatever you want, dear! Maybe buy Adora a bouquet of flowers for getting into a fight with her?"

"We're not fighting!"

"If you say so…"

 

----

 

Next week, Catra decides that Weaver probably won't be looking out for her at the Runes' house, so Scorpia's moms take her home. Scorpia bids her a teary farewell as she hobbles into the house on crutches. "Hey kiddo, long time no see!" Micah says, giving Catra a big hug.

"Yeah, yeah, I missed you too…" She mumbles into his chest.

"Look at you, you're up and walking! When did that happen?"

"Just a couple of days ago. Where's Mom?"

"She's making some tea in the kitchen. Ooh, you wanna surprise her?"

"Okay."

Micah and Catra go into the kitchen and wait for Angella to finish making her tea. As she takes a sip, she looks up and sees Catra in the doorway. She quickly abandons her tea so that she can give Catra a hug. "How long have you been home??" Angella asks.

"I just got here," Catra answers.

"Well, we missed you very much. It's great to see you back. Oh, can I get you something to eat? Maybe some tea? I just brewed some, you know."

"Uh- sure."

The trio settles in and Catra finally relaxes for the first time in nearly a month. Soon, Glimmer comes downstairs to see what all the commotion is about. "Oh, hi, Catra. I didn't know you'd be back so soon," she says.

"What, did you enjoy having the entire bunk bed setup all to yourself?" Catra counters.

"Well, no, Adora was here for most of it. She's at her house today helping Adam pick out something nice to wear at the draft."

Catra lowers her head a little. "Uh…yeah."

"What's wrong, dear?" Angella asks.

"Adora and I haven't really talked since she said she wasn't going to register for the draft because of me."

"I'm sure she didn't word it like that."

Catra scrolls through her texts. "She said: 'I promised I wouldn't leave you again,' but that's, like, potentially millions of dollars she's giving up!"

"She must really love you, kiddo," Micah tells her.

"But- but that's stupid!! She shouldn't pick me over a multi-million dollar career!!"

"You can't control what she does, but you can choose to support her."

"That's- I don't…I don't get it!"

"You don't have to understand," Angella says. "She's doing what makes her happy, and what makes her happy is staying with you. I know it can be a bit difficult to accept others' love for you, but that's where this is coming from."

"I don't know, I just…I don't want her to hate me one day in the future when she realizes I'm not worth her time and she should've taken the money," Catra murmurs.

"I think I'm gonna skip out on this little therapy session," Glimmer notes, going back upstairs. "It's nice to see you again, Horde Scum."

"I don't need therapy," Catra grumbles.

Micah holds back a laugh before saying, "therapy's not a bad thing, you know. It's just like all the physical therapy they had you do at the hospital, just with your feelings, instead."

"…Feelings are stupid." Catra slumps her head onto the table.

"Don't I know it." Micah rubs her back as she sighs. "Is this okay?"

"Yeah. Thanks." This goes on for a little while before she hears a click behind her and turns around to see Angella holding a camera. "Were you just taking a picture of me?"

"Glimmer has her own photo album, so we need to make up for lost time on yours," Angella explains. "I'm titling it 'baby's first relationship fight.'"

"Don't take pictures of that!" Catra cries out, her face burning red.

"You'll thank me one day when you're older, trust me!"

"…Can you show me Glimmer's photo album?" The family spends the next couple of hours looking through an album of Glimmer's baby photos, some more embarrassing than others. One in particular of a baby Glimmer trying to escape a bathtub is particularly funny to Catra, who's howling in laughter. "Oh my god, my ribs hurt…I kind of wish I had baby pictures of myself now."

"Do you see why I need to start taking photos now?" Angella asks with a smile.

"I guess. I just wish you'd pick less embarrassing moments," Catra says.

"Well, that's enough embarrassment for one night. What do you two want for dinner?" Micah asks.

"Do we have any frozen oven pizzas?"

"You bet we do, kiddo! I'll go heat some of those up for us." Micah ruffles Catra's hair before heading into the kitchen.

"I really am glad to have you back home," Angella tells Catra.

"Thanks. I'm really glad to be back. Scorpia's family was nice, but I never really had my own family before, and I kind of want to stay here for a while longer," Catra murmurs.

"You're a very sweet girl." Angella hugs Catra one more time before helping her up onto her crutches and back into the kitchen.

After the family feasts on oven pizzas, Catra heads upstairs to relax and watch TV. Her bed feels empty without Adora, but she tries not to think about it. Glimmer is up on the top bunk, probably messing around on her phone. "So, Catra, are you coming to the draft?" Glimmer asks.

Catra sighs. "Yeah. I'm not- well, I mean, I want to, but I also don't, you know?"

"Nope. But I'm not in your position."

"I guess it'll just be bittersweet. I thought I'd at least get to watch Adora go first."

"You really haven't talked to her in a week?"

"I'm trying not to think about it, Sparkles," Catra growls.

"My drinking invitation from a while back still stands."

"I really don't think alcohol is the solution to this."

"It couldn't hurt, right?"

"…Why are you doing this?"

"Look, I still feel bad for being a dick," Glimmer explains. "I'm just trying to show you a good time! If you don't like it, we can stop whenever you want."

"Just give me the stupid bottle."

Glimmer laughs. "Oh, you're gonna love this." She hops down from her bed and rifles through her closet before taking out two shot glasses and a bottle of…well, Catra doesn't know what it is. Alcohol, probably. "Alright, do you want to start with something-"

"I said give me the bottle. Fuck the little glasses," Catra says.

"Damn, okay." Glimmer hands Catra the bottle. She uncaps it before taking a huge swig, then just barely swallowing it in time to cough her lungs out. "Don't like the taste?"

"God, it's like rubbing alcohol and popsicles…"

"Yeah, that's the flavour!" Glimmer pours herself a shot and hands the bottle back to Catra. "Cheers!" She downs it without much trouble.

"How'd you do that?" Catra asks.

"Practice. You want a little glass this time? We can make it a competition," Glimmer offers.

Catra scoffs. "I'm not losing to you. Give me another one."

"I'm gonna drink you under the table, Horde Scum."

Six shots and about an hour later, Glimmer emerges champion as Catra doesn't even have the coordination to get most of the seventh shot into her mouth. Most of it dribbles down her shirt and she giggles. "Whoops. I'm not- does that wash out?" Catra asks.

"It'll be fine. Isn't it Scorpia's?"

Catra looks down, then looks back up at Glimmer for an uncomfortable amount of time. "…I think you won the contest."

"You're off your ass right now," Glimmer confirms.

"Why'd they- why'd they make it taste so bad? It feels good, though…"

"Yeah, you like that? I went to a couple of classes drunk this past year."

Catra snorts. "I've gone to class high."

"Have you ever been cross-faded before?"

"What's that?"

"When you're drunk and high at the same time. Here." Glimmer goes back to her closet and pulls a small bottle from one of her jacket pockets. She hands Catra a gummy bear.

Catra doesn't think before putting it in her mouth and chewing it. "This tastes funny," she notes.

"It's a weed gummy, you're only supposed to eat, like, half of it."

"Oh. How long, uh, how long does it take?"

"Probably about half an hour. If you think you're off your ass now, just wait until this kicks in."

Glimmer's right- in 45 minutes, Catra's laying out on the floor staring up at the ceiling with Glimmer's headphones in her ears, listening to some experimental indie music. "Oh my god…" She mumbles. Before Glimmer can hide her contraband, the door opens, but luckily it's only Adora.

"Uh- Glimmer, what's going on?" Adora asks.

"Your girlfriend is tripping balls," Glimmer answers.

"Why would you give her an edible??"

"What? She's having fun, look!" Both girls turn and look at Catra, who's moving her hand close to and away from her face very slowly. "See?"

"Did you get her drunk, too?"

"She wanted to! It's not like I forced any of this down her throat! God, you really are the Catra police, you know that?"

Adora sighs and crouches down so that she's closer to Catra's level. "Hey, Catra. You good?"

"Oh, hey, 'Dora. Are you mad at me?" Catra slurs.

"Why would I be mad at you?"

"Uh…I texted- I texted you something."

"We haven't texted in a week."

"Yeah!"

"…I'm gonna help you into bed, alright?"

"My girlfriend looks just like you," Catra notes.

"Yeah? What can you tell me about her?" Adora asks, snickering.

"Well, she's…nice, and pretty, and- and she loves me, did'ja know that? She's got pretty hair, an' the…uh…the best smile."

"Really?" Adora picks Catra up and lays her down in bed. "So you don't want to go out with me?"

"You look…just like her, do you know her? She's got a twin…"

"Why don't you try to get some sleep?"

"Can you go find my girlfriend first?"

"Catra, I am your girlfriend."

"No, you're not…"

Adora sighs and leaves the room before coming back five seconds later. "Catra! I haven't seen you in forever!"

"'Dora! C'mere! I wanna go to bed."

"Why do you need me to go to bed?"

"I sleep better with you, duh…"

Adora laughs, then puts her pyjamas on. Glimmer carefully hides all of her illegal items and climbs up into her bed as Adora crawls into her own. "Is this better?"

Catra nuzzles her head under Adora's chin. "G'night, babe…"

"Yeah, good night, Catra."

Chapter Text

Adora is putting her clothes on for the day when she hears Catra softly stir in bed. She turns around and watches the girl slowly sit up. "How are you feeling?" Adora asks.

"I've got a real fucker of a headache," Catra answers.

"You drank a lot with Glimmer last night."

"Oh. Right."

"Why'd you do that, anyway? You know you shouldn't be drinking, Catra."

"Look, I…I'm sorry for not texting you for, like, a week. That was really fucked up of me. I didn't know what to say," Catra tells Adora. "Glimmer said the drinking would make me feel better, and it didn't, and here we are."

"Really? You were that upset about it?" Adora sits down on the bed with her girlfriend.

"I know you're trying to be nice and stay with me, but I just don't understand. Why would you do that?" Catra asks.

"It's because I love you, but I know feelings are hard and you don't really know what to do with them. It's okay. I probably should have texted you back, that was kind of immature of me."

"You sound like you've been talking to my dad…"

"Maybe a little," Adora admits with a smile. "My point is that I know that no matter how much money I make playing somewhere without you, I won't be as happy as I am here with you, so I'm staying."

"Why wouldn't you just take me with you?"

"First of all, Catra, you just had a stroke, I really don't think travelling across Etheria is really a good idea for you. You're still recovering, remember?"

Catra sighs. "How could I forget?"

"So…you're not mad at me anymore?" Adora asks.

"No, I'm not. I think you're dumb, but I understand your reasoning now."

"Thanks, babe. Do you wanna go downstairs and get some breakfast?"

"That sounds nice." So, the pair heads to the kitchen and Adora fixes up two bowls of cereal. Both Catra and Adora have learned that the latter is very good at lots of things, but cooking is not one of them. "Since you're so bad at cooking, am I gonna be your trophy housewife when we get married?" Catra jokes.

"Aw, you wanna marry me?" Adora teases, leaning in to kiss Catra.

"Gross, no, I take it all back!!" They playfully tease each other until Angella comes downstairs.

"Hello, dears. Did you sleep well?" She asks.

"I did, thanks!"

"I slept okay."

"Good. Catra, I have some good news for you."

"What is it?" Catra responds.

"We can go to the doctor and see about getting your cast off this week," Angella answers.

"Oh, nice! I can't wait to start walking on my own again."

"Do you think your leg's gonna smell really bad when they take the cast off?" Adora asks.

"Why is that the first thing you thought of?"

"I don't know, but I bet it will." Both girls look at Angella, who nods. "Ha, see?"

"I don't care how bad it's gonna smell, it means I can finally shower on my own again!"

"Your father is setting up an appointment later today. It will likely end up being after the draft," Angella says.

"Are you gonna go to the draft?" Adora asks her girlfriend.

"I probably should, just to support your brother and Scorpia and Sparkles. None of the journalists are asking me any questions, though." Catra takes a bite of her cereal and looks over at Adora, who's staring at Catra. "What? Why are you looking at me like that?"

"Do you think Prime's gonna be there?"

"I doubt it, but I wouldn't be surprised if Weaver showed up. She's probably still looking for me."

"She did come ask us about you a few times while you were at your friend's house," Angella mentions. "She had the police search our house twice, and after that, they stopped giving her any time."

"Oh, she was pissed, too," Adora adds.

"Don't worry, dear, she isn't coming anywhere near you anymore."

"Thanks, Mom." Catra says.

"You guys are so sweet," Adora coos.

Micah walks into the kitchen with an empty coffee mug. "Good morning," he tells his wife, reaching up to kiss her. "The kids aren't giving you too much trouble, are they?"

"Glimmer is still asleep, but Catra and Adora have been little angels this morning," Angella answers.

"Did they make any coffee?"

"It's been in the pot for about ten minutes, Mr. Rune," Adora confirms.

"You're the best, kid. Don't ever change."

"Do you two have any plans for today?" Angella asks.

"No," Catra answers for the both of them. "I'm just gonna relax, I think."

The conversation is interrupted by a knock on the front door. Angella looks at her husband before walking to the door and opening it to find a cardboard box with Catra's name on it sitting on the porch. "…Hello?" Angella calls out, but she doesn't get an answer, so she shrugs and takes the box inside. "This box was on the porch, dear. Do you know who it's from?"

Catra shakes her head as she looks over the box. It's not very large, and it isn't heavy, either, but it's a little bit suspicious. She opens it and takes out a piece of paper that is sitting on the top of the box's contents.

Catrina,

I'm sure you're heard by now, but with Prime under police investigation, there is no longer a use for you. I've included your personal belongings in this box so that you have no reason to come back. I sincerely hope you take the time to reflect on how you've wasted the last seventeen years of my life. I'm extremely disappointed in how you've turned out. I know how much you hated living with me, and now you've got your wish, but at the cost of a grown man's livelihood. I hope you get what's coming to you.

Sharon Weaver

"Jesus," she mumbles, handing the note to Adora. The box is just filled with clothes, and not too many at that. She picks up her old Horde jersey and sighs deeply.

"Hey, you know she doesn't matter, right?" Adora asks.

"I would've liked one last chance to say 'fuck you,' I guess," Catra responds.

Micah walks over to the table and reads the letter, then pats Catra on the back. "How're you feeling about this, kiddo?"

"I don't really know how to feel."

"You're allowed to feel like that," he reminds her.

"…Can I get a hug?"

Micah smiles warmly. "You know you don't have to ask for that." He happily obliges as Angella picks up the box and takes it up to Catra and Glimmer's room.

"I hope this is all over," Catra murmurs into Micah's chest.

"With any luck, it will be."

Maybe things are finally starting to look up.

 

----

 

The draft was, for the most part, uneventful. Adam went first overall, much to Adora's delight, Glimmer went fifth, Scorpia went seventeenth, and Bow went twenty-fifth. For Catra, it was incredibly bittersweet, but she was glad she went. After the event, Adora went back home with her parents to celebrate for Adam. Two days afterwards, Catra sits on the bed in the doctor's office with Micah by her side.

"You nervous, kiddo?" He asks.

Catra scoffs. "No. I can't wait to get this stupid thing off."

"I'm sorry, again, for hitting you with my car."

"You don't have to be sorry. I think it was pretty lucky, actually."

"That's kind of messed up," Micah notes with a chuckle.

A few minutes pass before Netossa opens the door, holding a weird mechanical tool. "Hey, guys! You ready to start walking again?" She asks.

"More than anything," Catra groans.

Netossa approaches with the tool and smiles. "Yeah, I'll bet. It's been a pretty busy couple of months for you, huh?"

"Kind of."

"Hey, doc, how bad is her leg gonna smell after this?" Micah asks jokingly.

"Why does everyone keep asking that?!" Catra says.

"Well, it's not gonna smell good, that's for sure. Don't worry, this saw is made specifically so it won't hurt your skin, alright?"

Catra nods, so Netossa gets started. In a minute or two, Catra can see her leg again for the first time in around a month. There's a large, thick scar from where her bone popped out and it's hairier than she remembers, but otherwise, it looks the same. "Can I go walking now?" Catra asks.

"Not quite, but I like your enthusiasm. It would be pretty weak already, even if you hadn't just suffered a stroke, but that's just going to make recovery a lot slower. I don't think you'll ever get 100% back to where you were, but if you take your rehabilitation seriously, you should get most of your functionality back," Netossa answers.

"Stupid Prime," Catra grunts. "I guess I really won't play hockey at a competitive level again…"

"Buck up, kiddo, you can still play catch with your old man," Micah points out.

"God, you're such a dad!"

"Here, you'll want to use this until you feel like your leg can fully support you again," Netossa says, handing Catra a cane.

Catra inspects the cane for a moment, then scoffs. "I don't need this."

"I mean, you can try walking without it, but I don't think you're gonna get very far…"

So, Catra hops off the bed and takes a step forward before promptly falling on her face. "Don't count that, it was a practice step," she says. She takes another step and gets the same result.

"Remember all of the physical therapy you had to do after your stroke?" Micah asks. "This is just like that, no big deal!"

"But I hated that…" Catra mumbles. Micah helps her up and gives her the cane, then supports her as she takes her next couple of steps.

"How's it feeling?" Netossa asks.

"Weak," Catra answers. "I don't like it."

"You'll probably have to use the cane for the foreseeable future, so I'd get used to it now."

"I hate it already."

"Aw, it's not so bad, it beats me picking you up and carrying you everywhere, doesn't it?" Micah asks.

"Barely."

"That's all you need, so if you want to go about your day, you're more than welcome to be free," Netossa offers.

Micah thanks her, then guides Catra back to the car. "That wasn't so bad, was it?"

"I don't want to have to use a cane," Catra grumbles.

"All things considered, you got the good end of the stick on this one, you know. Some people are paralyzed after they have a stroke. You're lucky to be up and walking again at all."

"I was supposed to be a professional athlete and now I can hardly walk!"

"I know, I know, but if it's any consolation, I'm glad you're here now," Micah says.

Catra looks over to him and sighs. "Yeah, I guess."

When they get home, Angella is waiting at the table, eating lunch with Glimmer. She hasn't taken off her Elberon Aces hat since the team drafted her. "Catra, look at you! You're walking!" Angella says.

"Kinda…I have to use a stupid cane."

"You're still walking, aren't you?"

"Technically, yeah." Catra sits down next to Glimmer and Angella fixes her a plate of takeout that she and Glimmer had gotten earlier. "Sparkles."

"Hi, Catra. How's your leg?"

"Fine."

"It looks a lot better than it did."

Catra mumbles something inaudible and takes a bite of her lunch.

"Look, Angie, now we have two surly teenagers!" Micah jokes. Clearly, now is not the right time to make this joke, because Catra growls and takes her food upstairs. "Hey, Catra, I was just kidding around! Come back!" He waits a few seconds and doesn't hear her come back, so he sighs and slumps down into his seat.

"I suppose she isn't taking the whole cane thing very well?" Angella asks.

"No. I tried telling her that a lot of stroke victims don't ever walk again, but she didn't seem to care. Glimmer, why don't you go try talking to her?"

"Me?" Glimmer asks, pointing to herself. "She hates me!"

"You two kids think alike, I'm sure you could get her to stop being so moody."

"We do not think alike."

Micah and Angella look at each other before laughing, so Glimmer walks upstairs and finds Catra laying on her bed, staring up at the bottom of Glimmer's bunk. "Hey, Catra," Glimmer says.

"What do you want?" Catra grunts.

"Dad told me to come talk to you."

"Cool, mission accomplished. You can go back downstairs now." Glimmer doesn't go back downstairs. Instead, she sits on the end of Catra's bed and looks at the other girl. "…What?"

"Are you really this pissed off about your leg?" Glimmer asks.

"What else would I be pissed about?" Glimmer opens her mouth, but Catra interrupts her, saying, "no, never mind, don't answer that. I am pissed about my leg."

"Would getting back out on the ice help?"

"If I can't fucking walk, what makes you think I'm gonna be able to skate again?"

"I've seen the way you skate, Catra, I don't think this is gonna make you forget that."

"You're just offering so you can shit on me some more."

"Nope, I mean it. Come on, we can take my car," Glimmer offers.

Catra sighs. "Fine, but I don't have any skates of my own. I was borrowing a pair in Fright City."

So, the pair makes it to the Bright Moon rink. It's empty right now, save for a few figure skaters practicing on one end of the ice. Glimmer gets Catra a pair of skates and then laces her own skates up before taking Catra out onto the ice. Instead of stepping right on, Catra stands just outside of the rink itself. "What's wrong?" Glimmer asks.

"What if I can't do it?" Catra mumbles.

"Of course you'll be able to do it. Just lean a little more on your right side."

Catra looks down before nodding and stepping shakily onto the ice. It's only been a few months since Catra has been on the ice, but it feels like it's been a few lifetimes. She slowly skates to the benches and looks out at the ice. "I really like this rink," she admits.

"Yeah?"

"Is it bigger than the one in Fright City?"

"I don't think so. Hey, do you wanna shoot around a little bit?" Glimmer asks.

"…Which one of us is playing goalie?"

"Neither. Just an open net."

Catra shrugs. "Okay." Glimmer tosses her a hockey stick and skates off to go grab a bucket of pucks. She even lets Catra get the first shot on net. "Is this something you usually do?" Shot.

"Sometimes with Adora." Shot. "I used to do it with Bow, but he didn't like wearing the player skates."

"Goalies, man," Catra says with a chuckle. "How's he doing, anyways?" Shot.

"Oh, he's doing alright. I think he's with a few of his brothers today." Shot.

"I shouldn't have ever believed you and Adora were dating with the way you hang around him." Shot. "You're basically attached at the hip."

"Yeah. That was shitty of me. I'm sorry…again."

"It's alright. I think I'd be pissed if I were you, too." Shot.

"You think so?"

"I don't know, I've never had a family before this. I guess I wouldn't want anyone I didn't like intruding on it." Shot.

"If it makes you feel any better, I like you now."

Catra laughs. "Thanks, Sparkles. I appreciate that." Shot.

Glimmer and Catra shoot around for a little while and before they know it, the rink is closing. By the time they get home, Micah and Angella are surprised to see the girls getting along and joking with each other. "So…you're friends now?" Micah asks.

"Yeah, she's okay," Catra confirms.

"What the hell just happened," Micah whispers into his wife's ear.

 

----

 

Catra: hey its catra

Adam: hey kitty cat what's up?

Catra: i want to take your sister out on a date but i dont know how to do that

Adam: so you're asking her twin brother, how romantic

Catra: stfu youre the only teenager i know with relationship experience

Adam: who said i have relationship experience?

Catra: adora told me you make out with that girl teela when you think no ones looking

Adam: tell adora to go fuck herself

Adam: and me and teela aren't in a relationship it's complicated

Catra: thats what they all say pretty boy now are you gonna help me or not

Three weeks have passed since Catra got her cast off. Now that she's become more accustomed to walking with her cane, she's determined to take Adora out on a date. Their first one was kind of ruined by Adora's dad, and it didn't count as a date anyway because they weren't going out. Adam has moved to Elberon to get ready for the upcoming hockey season and Adora has recently moved back home now that she's reasonably sure that Catra isn't going to get kidnapped. Again. So, here Catra is, standing on the Greyskulls' porch with a bouquet of flowers in her hand. She takes a deep breath and knocks on the front door. Thankfully, Marlena is the one who opens it. She sees Catra and immediately smiles.

"Hello, dear! To what do I owe the pleasure of seeing you?" She asks.

"Um- I was hoping I could talk to Adora," Catra explains.

"Oh, sure!" Marlena turns from the door and yells, "ADORA! YOU HAVE A VISITOR!"

"Coming, Mom!" Adora calls out as she jogs down the stairs. She sees Catra and immediately scoops her up in a hug. "Catra!! How are you?"

"Fine," she grunts. "Can you put me down?"

"Oh, yeah, sorry!" She looks at the flowers and smiles. "What's that?"

"Um…they're for you," Catra mumbles, holding them out.

"Really? Aw, thanks, Catra!" She leans in to kiss her girlfriend until she realizes her mother is watching, then she leans back and clears her throat.

Marlena must notice the awkwardness, because she says, "oh, sorry, let me give you two some privacy!"

As soon as she's gone, Adora kisses Catra. "Why'd you get me flowers?"

"I was kinda hoping you'd go out on a date with me?" Catra asks nervously.

"Catra, we're already dating," Adora whispers.

"I know, but I still wanted to take you out on one. A date. You know." Catra looks away and her face turns red.

"Yes, silly, of course I'll go out on a date with you!"

"Oh, my little Adora's all grown up!" Marlena comes back and hugs Adora tightly. "I'm just so proud of you!"

"What's this about Adora growing up?" A voice from inside the house asks.

"Randor, Adora's going out on a date!"

"Mom, you're embarrassing me," Adora murmurs.

"Who's the lucky lady?" Randor asks as he approaches the door. As soon as he sees Catra's face, he scowls. "Absolutely not."

"Don't be unfair, honey, she got dressed up and everything!"

It's true: Micah once again offered to help Catra get dressed up, and she looks pretty good, if she says so herself.

"You know I don't like that girl, Adora," Randor grumbles.

"I don't care, Dad, I love Catra and she's taking me out on a date," Adora argues.

Randor looks Catra up and down and scoffs. "What's with the cane?" He asks.

"Randor, you're being insensitive," Marlena scolds.

"Um, well, I had a stroke, a-and I don't know if it's ever gonna heal 100%, sir. My leg, uh, that is," Catra answers. "I promise I'll have Adora home before dinner, and she can go home whenever she wants."

Randor sighs deeply before saying, "fine. But if I hear one bad thing about this date, you're not allowed back, do you hear me?"

"Yes, sir, thank you!!"

Adora hugs Catra one more time before walking off the porch and towards the driveway. "So, I guess I'm driving?" Adora asks.

"No, actually, I got it," Catra answers. She points towards an old, beaten-up sedan in the driveway. "It got repossessed when Weaver got convicted, so I bought it with the money Scorpia's moms payed me when I helped them out at their restaurant."

After Catra got her cast off, Weaver, Prime, and Hordak were all arrested on counts of medical malpractice, child abuse, and tax evasion, among other things. It didn't take very long for the jury to rule that they would all spend a pretty sizable amount of time in prison. The only reason Catra wasn't thrown into the foster care system was because the court ruled she could stay with the Runes until she turned 18.

"Wow, look at you, miss fancy! Got a car and everything!"

Catra opens the passenger door and smiles. "Allow me."

"How romantic," Adora teases.

"Well, you know me. Always a charmer."

"Where are you taking us, anyway?"

Catra climbs into the drivers seat. "I was thinking maybe we could go get some lunch."

"Sounds good to me." They stop at a restaurant in Fright City where Catra had made reservations for the two of them. "I would've dressed nicer if I'd known we were going somewhere fancy…"

"It's just a Mexican chain, Adora, it's not exactly fancy," Catra says.

"But you got reservations, that makes it fancy!"

"You're ridiculous."

"Oh, I'm the ridiculous one? Your dad eats flies off of his shoulder!" Adora protests.

"Hey, that has nothing to do with me!"

The two enjoy their date until Adora notices Octavia in the back of the restaurant eating with a few friends. "Oh my god, Catra, Octavia is back there."

"So?" Catra asks.

"Wasn't she the one that knocked your tooth out?"

"Yeah, but that was months ago. I'm not mad about it anymore," Catra says. Adora huffs and stands up, walking over to the table. "Hey, where are you going?"

Adora approaches Octavia and scowls as she makes it to her table. Octavia sneers. "Well, look who it is, the traitor herself. What do you want?"

"You fucked with my girlfriend," Adora growls.

"Adora, come on, let's just go back to the table," Catra tells her.

"Oh, you're dating the runt?" The whole table laughs as Catra shrinks a little into herself. "Come on, funny joke."

"I'm not joking, bitch. I want you to apologize for knocking Catra's tooth out."

"I didn't even know I knocked a tooth out! I always knew you were pathetic, Captain, but this is another level entirely," Octavia jeers, looking at Catra.

"Apologize," Adora repeats.

"I'm not apologizing for shit. Your little girlfriend deserved it."

Adora takes a deep breath before smacking Octavia cleanly across the face. Predictably, Octavia is immediately enraged and pops out of her seat to fight Adora. It isn't long before both parties get kicked out of the restaurant and told not to bother coming back. "Shit. Sorry, Catra, I didn't mean to ruin our date…" Adora mumbles in the car.

"Are you kidding me? That was awesome!!" Catra tells her. "You just stood up to the person who's been picking on me since I was eleven!"

"It's not that big of a deal."

"Yes it is! I have the coolest, most badass girlfriend in the world." Catra leans in and kisses Adora, who gladly kisses back. They spend the rest of the afternoon driving around town and hanging out. When Catra drops Adora off at home, Randor answers the door this time.

"Oh, you're back. How was it, Adora?" He asks.

"It was the best!! Thanks, Catra." She kisses her girlfriend on the cheek before she walks inside, leaving Randor and Catra out alone.

"Listen to me, girl. You might be dating my daughter, but if I hear anything about you treating her wrong, I'll end the relationship right there, do you understand me?"

"Yes sir," Catra says with a nod.

Randor huffs and shuts the door. All in all, it was probably the best interaction she's ever had with him.

Chapter Text

"Hey, Weaver, you've got a visitor."

Weaver looks up from her book and glares at the corrections officer staring at her. "You have me confused with someone else. I don't get visitors."

"Well, you got one today. Come on, get up, you only get half an hour with whoever it is," the officer tells her.

It's been six years out of her lengthy thirty-year sentence, and nobody has ever visited Weaver. It isn't like she's surprised- the only people that would visit her are already in prison. She and Prime keep in contact whenever they can. He got the longest sentence: eighty years for a multitude of offenses. Hordak is stuck with only ten, a fact that Weaver thinks is unfair almost daily. When she ends up in the visitation room, she's surprised to see Catra sitting down at a table waiting for her.

"I thought I told you I didn't want to see you again," Weaver spits as she sits down at the same table.

"Well, surprise," Catra replies. "How's prison been?"

"I would prefer staying in my cell than having to be here and talk with you. It's your fault I'm in here, after all."

Catra scoffs. "No, it's your fault that you're in here. You knew child abuse was a felony, and you did it anyway."

"Fright City has a very loose definition of child abuse, in my opinion. Did you just come here to mock me?"

"Well, that's a part of it, but I still want to know why."

"Why what?"

"Why you treated me the way you did. I know there was that whole thing with my birth mom and Prime, but why did you have to be the one stuck with me?" Catra asks.

"You think I wanted to be in charge of you?" Weaver laughs. "No. Lord Prime asked it of me."

"You know he was running a cult, right? Like, you know that's what you were a part of?"

"'Cult' is just a word used by the lesser-minded to describe what we had."

"You're dodging my question. Why did you treat me the way you did?"

"You reminded me so much of your mother. She could please Lord Prime in ways I couldn't, and you seemed to take over her legacy the moment you were born. You were always so needy as a child; it isn't as though you made my job any easier. I never wanted to be a mother."

"You took out your frustrations on my birth mom onto me? I was a fucking kid," Catra growls.

"Tell me, is it embarrassing that you cannot walk on your own? How long has it been since you've been out of your cast?" Weaver asks.

"I had a stroke, asshole. I'm lucky to be walking at all."

"If either of us were lucky, you would have died long ago."

"Oh, that's how this is gonna be, huh? I hope you rot in here."

"How kind of you to say."

Catra sighs. "…Why'd you even tell me that part about my birth mom when I was in the car with you?"

"I didn't think you deserved to know that you're Lord Prime's spawn-"

"Don't call it that."

"-and I still don't particularly think you deserve that knowledge nor that lineage. I suppose I knew how much you'd hate it."

"I fucking hate you."

"And yet here you are visiting me."

"If you want me gone so bad, I'll just go."

"You can waste your insignificant life in whichever manner you see fit," Weaver counters.

"…This was a mistake." Catra stands up and leaves the prison. She drives back to the apartment she shares with Adora, then slumps onto the couch with a sigh.

"Hey, babe," Adora greets with a kiss on the head. "I guess Weaver was still a bitch?"

"Yeah," Catra murmurs.

"It's not your fault, you know."

"You sound like my therapist."

"She has some good points." Adora sits down next to Catra and drags her girlfriend's head down to her lap, then combs through her hair.

"I guess."

"You know I love you very much, right?"

"I know. I love you too."

"You better. I'm ordering your favourite for dinner."

Catra hums and closes her eyes. "You're the best."

"I really am, aren't I?" Adora jokes.

"Shut up," Catra says with a smile.

"You said it, not me."

"You think you're clever, huh?"

"Something like that."

Melog jumps up onto the couch and rubs their head against Catra's. "Hey, buddy, I'm trying to get attention from my girlfriend here, do you mind?" Clearly, they don't seem to care, because they don't stop until Catra pets them.

"They're just as clingy as you," Adora notes.

"Can you blame me? If you had a girlfriend as hot as mine, you'd be clingy, too."

"My girlfriend is way hotter than yours."

"Don't you talk about my girlfriend like that," Catra jokes.

"What are you gonna do about it, huh?"

"Probably fall asleep on your lap."

"Aw, you did that as a kid, too," Adora says.

"I had pneumonia, and I passed out on your lap," Catra corrects her.

"Six one, half-dozen the other. Why'd you even go visit Weaver in the first place?"

Catra sighs. "I don't know. I kind of wanted her to admit she was wrong, I guess? I should've known she'd just talk out of her ass more."

"I think you deserve an apology from her, babe."

"I know you do, you're a stupidly good person. She said her reasoning was because I reminded her of my birth mom."

"She knew your birth mom?"

"…Yeah. Remember how I said Prime was my biological dad? I got a paternity test done a few months ago. Turns out Weaver wasn't lying."

"I'm so sorry, Catra."

Catra shrugs. "It's whatever. He's in prison now, and he's never getting back out."

"And he still wanted…Jesus Christ, that's so fucked up."

"That's a good way to put it. Have you looked at the power play lines yet?" Catra asks, changing the subject.

Adora and Catra were recently appointed coaches of the Bright Moon Rebels. Catra handles the behind-the-bench coaching while Adora takes care of any on-ice coaching that needs to be done. It's an unorthodox method, but it's worked well for them so far.

"Not yet," Adora replies. "I'm sure you came up with good ones."

"I need to make sure they're good with you before we ice them, babe."

"I know, I know. Maybe I've been feeling lazy."

"They're retiring your number next week, you know," Catra reminds her.

"Fright City's retiring yours, too."

"Can't blame them, it's a pretty good number."

"I think it probably has something to do with how you smashed most of the standing records when you were a kid."

"Yeah, I'm just talented like that," Catra jokes. "I think your brother's gonna be at the ceremony."

"Oh, he's gracing us with his presence?"

"Come on, you know he's been busy since they made him captain. He's gotta make sure all the little shits don't suck too bad."

"He's already won a championship, you'd think he could visit home more."

Catra hums. "Maybe. I think he's got the right idea staying in Elberon."

"Nah, I think Glimmer's the lucky one. Getting drafted by the water seems like the dream."

"I never knew you wanted to visit Salineas."

"I don't. I might be persuaded to go with you, though," Adora notes.

"Aw, you like me?"

"You know I do." She leans down and kisses Catra.

"Gross," Catra chuckles, "you really do like me."

"Yeah, yeah."

 

----

 

Catra and Adora stand beside each other behind the bench, watching nervously as a Horde player skates towards the goalie. The same thing happened all those years ago: Fright City pushed the finals to a game seven, and it all depends on the shootout. The Horde kid misses, and the Fright City crowd groans. "Hey," Catra says, tapping a player on the back. "You're up, bud." They look up at her and nod, their face held in a grimace of both determination and fear.

Adora takes a deep breath. "It's worse from this side of the bench," she admits.

"Really? I was just thinking the opposite." A Rebel skates to centre ice next, kicking the back of their skates to the ice and taking off. They skate forward slowly at first, then rush forwards with a slick deke and just barely get the puck past the goaltender. As soon as the goal horn sounds, the Bright Moon bench explodes into cheers and rallies around each other on the ice, hugging and shouting. The Horde players look devastated. Catra bitterly remembers that feeling.

"You know what? Winning feels better back here," Adora tells her with a kiss. "C'mon, let's go out and congratulate those kids." The pair hops onto the ice and walks towards their players, only to be tackled in a giant crowd hug.

"WE DID IT!! WE DID IT!! HOLY SHIT!!"

"DUDE, THAT SHOT WAS SO FUCKING SICK!!"

"MS. ADORA, MS. ADORA, DID YOU SEE THAT??"

"I DID WHAT YOU SAID, MS. CATRA, I DID THE KICK THINGS AND IT WORKED!!"

Eventually, the kids calm down enough so they can take a team picture together with the trophy, Catra and Adora included. It feels better than Catra had ever hoped it could feel. She and Adora even got to hold up the 'big shiny trophy' up in the air together like they'd promised each other they would nearly twenty-one years ago. The players go back to the locker room and celebrate with their parents, leaving the rink alone. Alone except for Catra and Adora. "Is this what it felt like?" Catra asks.

"No. This is much better. Wanna sit at centre ice with me?"

"Your ass is gonna get cold, but sure." They walk to the middle of the ice and sit down, leaning on each other as usual.

"It's weird to think we learned to skate here," Adora notes.

"That was a long time ago," Catra responds.

"Yeah. It was, wasn't it?"

"What, you liked things better back then?" Catra teases.

"No! Just…it's funny. We both ended up coaching for a team that we hated growing up." Catra hums. "I'm glad you're here with me."

"Yeah. Me too."

"You know I love you, right?" Adora asks.

"Of course. I love you, too," her girlfriend tells her, kissing her cheek.

"…I was thinking about something the other day."

"That's dangerous," Catra comments.

"Maybe. You know how we both got a place together a little while back?"

"I remember you breaking your nose after you fell down running up the steps."

"Hey, we match!" Adora points out, and Catra laughs. "It's nice to have, like, our own little world now. As grown-ups."

"Yeah, it sure beats childhood."

"I've always wanted you in my world," Adora admits. "I always do, and I always will."

"You're such a sap."

"Would you have me in yours?"

"Where are you going with this, Ad-" Catra looks up and sees Adora, bent down on one knee in front of her, holding a small silver ring.

"Would you make me the happiest girl in the world and marry me?"

"…Yes- YES!! OH, MY GOD, ADORA!!" Catra can't believe it. As soon as Adora slips the ring on her finger, she tackles her girlfrie- no, fiancée to the ice and kisses her. They laugh and kiss on the ice until the zamboni driver kicks them out of the rink.

"You think that was smooth?" Adora asks as she and Catra walk back to the car.

"Something like that. I love you," Catra responds.

"Yeah, I love you too." When they get home, they fall asleep on the bed they share, tucked into each other like they've done since they were kids.

 

----

 

"Mommy, wake up!!" A young voice calls out.

Catra, who is beginning to regret taking a nap on the couch of all places, cracks one eye open and sees her son before closing her eye again. "Come back later, Mommy's still tired," Catra mumbles.

"Come on, Grampa and Granma are here!!"

"Mmm, that's great, honey." Catra pretends to sleep for another moment before her brain registers that her parents are here. "Oh!" She gets up off the couch and dusts herself off, ruffling her son's hair as she walks into the kitchen. "Thanks, Freddie. Couch is all yours and Grampa's now." Catra walks into the kitchen, watching Angella show her two daughters photos of Catra when she was younger.

"And here's your mother when she got her wisdom teeth taken out," Angella explains as she holds up a photograph.

"Why's her face so big?" Serenia asks.

"Well, when you have your wisdom teeth taken out, your jaw tends to swell."

"Mommy looks funny!" Natalie laughs out.

"Gee, thanks," Catra huffs, pretending to be offended.

"Hello, dear," Angella says to Catra. "Can I make you some tea?"

"We're at my house, Mom."

"Perhaps, but I'll always be your mother."

Catra chuckles. "I'm okay, thanks. I see you're already busy entertaining the girls."

"Mommy, look at these funny pictures!" Serenia holds up a picture of Catra just after she'd given birth to Freddie. She'd been in labour for fourteen hours, so in the photo, she's dead asleep on the hospital bed while Freddie tries to feed himself.

"And what's so funny about that?" Catra asks.

"You're so tired!"

"Hey, just wait until you have kids, huh? See how awake you feel after." Serenia giggles and Catra gives her a soft smile in return. "Thanks for offering to look after the kids, Mom." Catra adds, turning to Angella

"Of course, Catra. I'm sure Adora has something lovely planned for your anniversary," Angella tells her.

"I wouldn't know: she won't let me in on any of the planning."

"Mama said it's a secret," Natalie points out.

"Oh, I'm sure she did, but I’ll give you a piece of candy before dinner if you tell me what she's planning," Catra offers.

"Sorry, Mommy! Mama said she'd give us two pieces of candy if we stayed quiet!"

"Well played…"

"Hey, kiddo! I caught one of your little rascals!" Catra hears Micah call out. She turns to see Micah standing in the doorway of the kitchen holding a giggling Freddie under his arm.

"Hey, Dad. Glad to see he hasn't tired you out, yet."

"Oh, please, if your sister didn't tire me out, then this one'll be a cakewalk! Isn't that right, buddy?" Micah lets Freddie down and the boy tugs at the hem of Micah's shirt.

"Come on, let's play hide and seek, you count to one thousand!" Freddie says before shooting off.

"He gets this from your wife," Micah notes.

"Don't I know it. I swear, sometimes I need to hide my cane from him or else he'll break it trying to whack it against something," Catra sighs.

"Speaking of your wife, Adora is upstairs getting dressed for tonight," Angella adds in.

"Mama's gonna look so pretty!!" Serenia says.

"I think she always looks pretty," Catra counters.

"Nuh-uh, not when she just wakes up," Natalie argues. "Then she's got drool everywhere."

"And I'd still kiss her," Catra confirms, laughing as her daughters let out a chorus of 'ewwww's.

"So, what do my two favourite granddaughters want to do while their moms are away?" Micah asks playfully, taking a seat at the kitchen table.

"Can we get pizza, Grampa?" Serenia asks.

"Hm…what kind?"

"Meat pizza!!"

"Meat pizza, huh? Do bugs count as meat?"

"Ewww, no!!" Serenia yells.

"Dad, please don't feed her bugs," Catra says.

"I'm offended that you think I'd do that to them! But, to be fair, they're full of protein. Technically a meat."

"Yeah, but that's like saying a tomato's a fruit. It's true, but it feels wrong." The chatter continues for a little while before Adora comes downstairs and debuts her outfit in the kitchen. Catra can't take her eyes off her wife's pristine red satin suit. "…I- wow," she murmurs.

"Adora, dear, you look wonderful," Angella compliments.

"Thanks. I knew a certain someone would like it," Adora notes. Catra can't quite string together a full sentence right now, still staring at Adora. "Come on, babe, let's get you dressed. Kids, your mom and I are off to go have a fancy dinner, so be good for your grandparents, alright?"

"Bye, Mama!!" Their daughters call out.

"Freddie?" Adora calls out, then hears a smattering of footsteps come down the stairs.

"Grampa was supposed to find me, we were playing hide and seek!!"

"Aw, sorry, buddy! I just wanted to say bye for the night."

"Bye, Mama!"

Adora giggles and takes a still-speechless Catra upstairs, then outside to the car.

"So, you guys wanna learn how to play poker?" Micah offers once the young couple is gone.

"Yeah!!" All three of the kids shout.

 

 

The sun has long set by the time Catra and Adora get home. They unlock the door and the house is dead quiet, which isn't surprising. It's way past the kids' bedtime. "You think they tuckered themselves out?" Adora asks.

Catra huffs. "They have too much of you in them for that to be true."

"Yeah, that's fair."

The couple finds all three of their kids sitting quietly on their grandparents, who are knocked out on the couch. There's some animated movie on the TV, but all of the kids have focused their attention to Catra and Adora. "Shh, they're asleep," Freddie warns his mothers. A loud snore from Micah confirms this.

"You three should be, too," Adora reminds them. "Come on, let's get you in bed." She picks up Freddie and Natalie while Catra gives Serenia a piggyback ride upstairs to their bedrooms. Once everyone's been tucked in and given goodnight kisses, Catra and Adora return downstairs.

"Mom, Dad, get up. It's, like, eleven at night," Catra says.

Angella's eyes flutter open and she seems immediately embarrassed. "Oh! Oh, dear, we fell asleep again, didn't we?"

"Huh?" Micah grunts. "Oh. 'S not my fault they like to cuddle. Wonder who they get that from…"

"Yeah, yeah. You guys can stay the night, if you want. The guest room is always open," Catra offers.

"That's very sweet of you, Catra, thank you." Angella tells her daughter.

"No worries. Me and Adora are gonna head to bed, alright?"

"Love you, kiddo," Micah mumbles sleepily.

"Love you too, Dad. I'll see you guys in the morning." Once Catra and Adora have undressed and gotten into bed, Catra instinctively curls into Adora's embrace. "Tonight was really nice. Thanks, Adora."

"Anything for you," Adora replies happily.

"I'm glad the kids didn't destroy the place while my parents were asleep," Catra murmurs.

Adora hums. "They're good kids. Not as good as the best mom in the world, though."

"You mean the pretty lady in bed with me?" Catra asks playfully.

"No, silly, I mean you. They love you a whole lot."

"I mean, they love you too."

"Yeah, but I know how nervous you were about being a mom. I think you're killing it."

Catra snorts. "You're such a dork. Thanks, babe."

"I love you."

Catra sighs happily, already falling asleep in her wife's arms. "I love you, too."