To be honest she really should have seen it coming. It had been almost too good, too much time had passed without incident, but she was so caught up in the absence of this pain that she forgot about it entirely. The end of the war, the end of the turmoil, the beginning of her new life; all of it seemed to outshine the looming threat that never left. She fought for years, never allowing it to debilitate her or to be used against her.
Catra let her eyes fall closed, letting the first waves of pain roll over her head. The light shining from the far side of the room pierced her eyes when they opened once again. Her vision felt hazy and slightly disorienting and she fisted her hands onto her pants under the table.
Only five more minutes then this meeting would be over and she could find a quiet, dark, empty corner to ride this out.
That was if she could last five minutes. It felt like over the course of the past hour each sense had been driven into high gear, further than they usually were for her. She put as much effort as she was able in keeping her ears still, not flipping at every sound or laying flat against her head to drown it out. Her nose flared, picking up the strong smelling floral scents permeating the air. Her neck muscles were strained keeping her head up to give the illusion of being present.
Her mind narrowed, only thinking about the second she had permission to vacate this area. Her periphery caught Glimmer on her right seemingly wrapping up the meeting. Files were being collected together, attempting to be neatly contained in a folder. The others around her shuffled their own supplies together. Catra took that as her cue to stand, bracing herself for the inevitable head rush. Her head rolled forward a bit before she could catch it and right herself. Her hand pressed against the table as she pushed off and made for the door.
Thankfully no one caught her attention or followed her out. The hallway was relatively empty, but sure to be full with the meeting's occupants any second. Catra walked in the direction of her room, careful to map every step she took, head hung low. As she turned the corner to the hall leading to her room, she felt a presence materialize near her. She looked over to see melog uncloaked, their mane a sickly green color.
“Hey buddy. Sorry, looks like I made you sick too,” she said, patting their head. They mewled sadly and butted their head closer. Her hand moved down to the top of their shoulders, anchoring herself as they both continued forward.
It wasn’t long before they made it to her and Adora’s room. It was late afternoon, but a large amount of sunlight still streamed into the larger windows. Catra winced, entering the room. She trudged over to the dresser, carefully pulling her day clothes off. She pulled out a pair of soft, loose shorts and one of Adora’s T-shirts that barely hung on her shoulders.
“Melog, can you pull the blinds shut?” Catra asked, moving towards the bed. Melong gave an affirmative chirp and trotted over to the window. They grasped a rope in their mouth and pulled it taught. A second later, the drapes swung to cover the windows. It didn’t completely block out the light, but made it much darker in the room. The light canopy surrounding the bed also helped dampen the stubborn flares of light that still made it through.
Catra warily let her weight fall on the bed, still managing to stay up right. She let her head settle as much as it could before she tipped herself to the side and layed down. The change in position had her head spinning and she took deep measured breaths as the waves rolled over her. Her neck muscles spasmed, exhausted from the exertion of the day.
Her head was throbbing steadily now, pulsing up the back of her head and stinging at the top. She fisted her hand atop her head digging her knuckles in to try and distract from the jackhammer drilling into her brain. Catra had hoped this would subside before it had a chance to get much worse, but she had serious doubts
Sometimes it felt like having to be active or productive made the pain less noticeable. In the past, as soon as she went to ride it out the pain seemed to grow exponentially having been the focus of all her attention. On one hand, Catra wished that she wasn’t alone; a distraction would be nice. Sure she had Melog, but they could only do so much. On the other hand would the presence of another aggravate her senses and increase her pain?
Melog came around to stand face to face with Catra. They didn’t look much better than her, but she was fairly certain they couldn’t feel her pain in the same way. She reached out a heavy hand to rest on their head. They leaned into it, resting their head on the side of the bed as they sat down.
That’s the way they both stayed for who’s to say how long. The throbbing continued and the pain came and went. At one point a particularly tight burn drove into Catra’s head and her eyes screwed shut. It quite literally felt like someone decided to insert a chisel into her brain, slowly splitting it apart. The muscles in her neck strained again and she held her breath just waiting for it to subside.
Melog’s worry increased with every second that passed. They’re eyes grew wide and sad for their companion. The next time Catra’s eyes shut in pain they backed up, turning on their heel and dematerialized through the door. Catra didn’t have the motivation or energy to care where they went or why, though it did seem strange.
Melog leapt through the halls, one thought on their mind. They kept their head on a swivel, searching for a familiar red jacket and tight ponytail. Eventually, at the end of the hall they spotted Adora exiting a meeting room. They skidded to a halt right in front of her. Adora’s eyebrows rose comically high staring at Melog.
“Hey, Melog, what’s up?” Adora asked. It wasn’t necessarily concerning for Melog to search her out alone like this. Sometimes they cajoled her into seeing something cool they found in the woods or just because they could reach her while Catra was otherwise engaged.
They did however yowl concerningly at her, hopping down the hallway they came from. Adora’s brows furrowed, stepping towards Melog.
“You need me to follow you?” Adora said, the worry starting to seep into her voice.
Melog yowled again, seemingly in affirmation. Adora’s eyes shot up again and she started forward, jogging with the large cat.
“Is it Catra? Is she Ok?” Adora said, firing off questions while trying to keep up pace. Melog did not respond, just kept on moving.
Eventually they made it to their bedroom hallway, but before Adora could bust down the door, Melog bit down on her wrist. It wasn’t very hard, just enough to stop her and swivel to face them. They mewled at her, starting loud and getting softer.
“Ok, ok, I’ll be quiet,” Adora assured, moving towards the door again. She laid her hand on the door knob and twisted it slowly letting the door latch fall open. The room was fairly dark, just faint speckles of light shimmering from the drapes. The bed in the center room held the slumped outline of someone resting on it. As Adora fully entered and shut the door, she saw Catra’s face scrunched up in pain, breathing strained.
She walked over, letting her foot fall softly, but loud enough that her partner could hear. Her ears flickered towards her but otherwise Catra remained still. Adora kneeled down in front of her.
“Hey Cat. What’s going on?” Adora asked, her voice disrupting the heavy silence in the room. She didn’t dare touch Catra in case it would make the pain worse.
Catra’s face scrunched, looking as if she was trying to work through the pain to find an answer that made sense. Her thoughts felt rushed and jumbled, but couldn’t make her mouth produce any of the necessary words.
“Migraine…real bad,” She answered, letting a breath blow out.
“Is there anything I can do to help?”
Adora got up again moving around to the side of the bed then, gently as she was able to, climbed in next to Catra, facing her back, still not touching her. She remembered from the few times she saw Catra with a migraine in the Horde. She always felt terrible that there was nothing that she could do that could help. The most she could do was divert any attention to her friend until she got better.
They stayed like that for a while, quietly laying while Catra tensed every few minutes in pain. Adora felt useless knowing that she couldn’t be doing more, but if Catra said this was making her feel better, she would do it.
Eventually, Catra rolled over, wincing as her head shifted on the pillow. She faced Adora and lowely cleared her throat.
“Can you try doing something?” She asked, so softly it was almost as if she hadn’t spoken at all.
“Of course,” Adora replied.
“Can you, um, press your fingers to the back of my head?”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, start slowly I can tell you when”
Adora shuffled forward and reached her arms up, lightly drawing her hands around Catra’s head. The edge of her fingertips grazed the back of Catra’s head, pressing slowly through her fluffy hair.
“You can go a little harder,” Catra prompted.
Adora did. She must’ve hit just the right amount of pressure, Catra exhaled, almost in relief, slumping inward toward Adora. Adora pressed a soft kiss to her forehead humming quietly.
They migrated even closer after that. Catra leaned into Adora’s sternum as an unsteady purr rolled through her chest. Adora hugged Catra to her chest, shifting one hand to lay on the back of her neck, the other still on her head.
Adora never considered patience or stillness to be one of her virtues, but it seemed she just needed the right reason to. She remained steady the whole time, diligently being the rock that Catra needed right now.