“I don’t know what they are called, the spaces between those seconds - but I think of you always in those intervals.” - Salvador Plascencia
“Come love, make me better than I was. Come teach me a kinder way to say my own name.” - Andrea Gibson
Adora felt herself holding her breath as her hand went to turn the door handle. It was odd to her, to care so much about what Catra would think of what she had made her home in the time in-between being allowed to mean something to one another. They had shared so much of their lives with each other, and the room existed like its own pocket dimension, another world that Adora never thought Catra would get a chance to see, let alone Adora getting the privilege to show her. Somewhere in the midst of nerves from the idea, the thought of Catra there settled in like it she was always meant to be there, taking a step forward right by Adora’s side. Like being handed the last piece of a puzzle with the empty spot staring back waiting for it to be placed. With that certainty, she opened the door.
The walls were covered in detailed plan after plan, maps strewn across the floor. It was as if it existed as its own pastel shaded warzone, the bed the landing spot of an unfortunate explosion. It was sure a sight to behold. In the small down time between the Sword ripping them through the cosmos and loading up Darla to find Glimmer, she and Bow didn’t leave that room. They gathered every resource they could find and turned the bed into a certified nest, switching back to the mattress that had attempted to swallow her whole, neither willing to let each other drift out of sight for a second. They had lost too much to lose again.
Catra stepped through. Her eyes traveled across every surface, and Adora stood back, observing. The gravity of it all still slipped its way out of her comprehension. Catra was in Brightmoon. Catra was in Brightmoon.
Something warm brushed against Adora’s shin and made its way towards the monstrosity that was the bed. And Melog was in Brightmoon. Sweet, sweet Melog. When they all stepped foot through the walls of the castle, Melog fell in silently behind Catra and Adora matching their pace. Catra and Melog had quickly become a matched set, and the idea made Adora feel warm. There were so many years that Catra felt aimless, unable to find comfort in the company around her. Every time she saw someone hold her just a little bit closer, everything felt worth it.
“This is cute.” Catra was standing by the desk in the front corner of the room, somehow the clearest spot of the entire room, with her hand placed on the corner of what looked to be a piece of paper. Adora took a step closer, leaning against Catra’s back and placing chin against the tip of her shoulder. She let her hand rest gently against Catra’s stomach. It was a photograph, faded slightly from being carried in a pocket for far too long. In it, Adora was in the middle of what appeared to be a harrowing rant about the utility of the Horde’s weapon documenting system, but still Bow and Glimmer looked to her like she personally played a role in hanging the moon in the sky. She pinned it to the wall shortly after the Sword shattered and their world was plunged further into an unknown. The feeling of her fingers brushing across it in her jacket was enough for the guilt to rise up in her stomach to a sickening level. Perfuma had taken it after the Battle of Brightmoon, something about giving Adora tangible pieces of her place with the Rebellion . She knew now to take the gesture for what it was - an act of care.
“Does this mean you like my friends now?”
Catra scoffed, but a smile was evident in her voice when she spoke. “Don’t get ahead of yourself.”
“It kinda sounds to me like you like them.”
“They are tolerable.” Without looking, Catra tapped her finger against Adora’s cheek right into the divot of the dimple formed by her grin. She spun out of Adora’s embrace and continued surveying the mess, hands tucked neatly behind her back like the captain Adora knew she became in her absence. She had always had a specific way to her movement, and fluidity Adora admired. She moved with a purpose in everything she did, even when Adora knew it was to her detriment, it entranced her. God, she was in love.
“Wow, you really let your habits die when you left, huh?” Catra remarked, shaking her foot in a futile effort to dislodge a sticky piece of paper from her heel.
Adora took the few steps forward towards Catra and knelt next to her. She grabbed the paper, a tiny schematic of Darla’s vent system courtesy of Bow, and crumbled it up in the pocket of her jacket. As she stood, she knocked her shoulder against Catra’s. “We can straighten it up tomorrow.”
“We? Why am I being roped into manual labor?”
“I’ll have you know, it wasn’t this bad when we left,” Adora replied, scooping up as many of the rogue accent pillows she could find scattered around the room. They hadn’t originally been a part of the deal when Adora agreed to put the monstrous bed back in the room, but Bow kept accumulating them like moss on a rock. Catra tried kicking each further away as Adora got closer but only succeeded in nearly making herself slip and fall on a pile of loose documents. Adora stuck her hand out placing it on the Catras’s lower back, steadying her. “The clones must have ransacked it.”
“Oh, so they skipped over the entire castle and just destroyed your room?”
Adora shook her head and made a shoo-ing motion with her hands, but Catra shot to the left to dodge out of her range. “You mean She-Ra’s secret lair? Absolutely.”
“You’re full of shit,” Catra said, her smile completely betraying her statement. It had been so long since Adora had seen it so bright. It made her dizzy.
“Don’t act like you don’t enjoy it.”
Catra watched from the doorway of the closet in silence as Adora attempted to gain some semblance of control over the mess. Once she was satisfied with the sequestered clutter, she kicked her shoes off and hung her jacket off the back of the chair. Catra had turned by that point, head slightly cocked, eyebrows furrowed. Of the main emotions Adora had anticipated encountering, abrupt confusion was not one. “What?”
Catra held a pointing finger up towards the fountain cascading down the wall. “Is that a shower?”
“For now, yes,” Adora laughed and the memory of her first time in Brightmoon pinged in her chest. They were both older now, matured from their time as cadets in the Horde, but this was still a new world for Catra. In the few times she let herself imagine, hope even, of a Brightmoon that contained Catra, she always worried that the novelty of it would hurt. The castle stood as a physical monument to the ways they had grown as different people apart. What she thought would burn only made her excited. It didn’t have to be a reminder of what Catra missed, of each night Adora ached in the silence of her own room alone. It could be the future if she would let herself have it. “But ask me again tomorrow. I need sleep.”
She gently grabbed Catra’s wrist pulling her towards the bed and sat her down on the edge of the bed. Melog watched from the home they had made for themself at the end of the bed as Adora shut off the last of the lights. In the darkness, bits of their magic glowed around the room like fallen stars. She stood behind Catra and lightly shoved against the backs of her shoulders, knocking her face first into the bed.
“Why is this so squishy?” Catra asked, her voice muffled by a massive pink throw. Adora ignored it and flopped next to her, making the sea of fluff bounce.
“Tomorrow problem,” She responded.
Adora tucked herself underneath the nearest cover and held her arm out for Catra. As she settled in beside her, Adora felt the weight of an overwhelming need for sleep once again slip into her bones. They fit together easily, they always did. Like a steady rhythm. It was laced with a hint of unknown to it. It didn’t escape Adora that miasma still lingering around them. She had never gotten to hold Catra like it wasn’t potentially the last.
“How long did it take for you to get promoted after I left?”
“Oh, instantly. You should have seen the look…” Catra said with that tone in her voice that Adora loved when they were on the same side, but knew to fear when against her. Sensing a door she didn’t want to open that late at night, Catra cut herself off. “Never mind.”
“Did they give you one of the Force Captain Barracks?”
“Was it weird for you too? Just having space?” Adora asked. She never quite got the hang of having her own room herself. The initial little foray into cohabitation with Bow and Glimmer was short lived. Glimmer was a thrasher, and Adora got up before the sun. It wasn’t that she didn’t sleep for that reason. (Her list of reasons why she didn’t were unique from that struggle.) But the nights she had someone nearby, she felt safe. She felt cared for. There was comfort in the knowledge that she was not alone in the moments her mind was given full rein.
“Too weird. I didn’t sleep the first few nights. Lonnie gave me so much shit for it.”
Catra laughed, “Nowhere in the Horde is quiet. It had noise. Just the wrong noise.” Her tiredness had slipped into her voice making it rasp, and Adora gave up her questioning.
Somewhere in the time after, Catra’s breath began evening out next to her while Adora kept blinking her eyes over and over each time expecting with some part of her brain to wake up. To wake up back in Brightmoon alone in the midst of a war. To wake up back in the cold captain’s quarter of Darla with no idea what the future would hold. To wake up with every good thing that happened in the last few days to be wiped away. She spoke into the night thinking Catra had long gone into sleep, “When we wake up tomorrow, will you still be here?”
“Of course I will.”
“And the day after that?”
She could feel the sensation of Catra’s hair brush against her chin as she nodded. “And every other one after that one too.”
When Adora woke up the next morning, she registered the pressure first. It was warm, and it was familiar. She registered the light second. As she opened her eyes and saw Catra’s sleeping face with the light of the outside world shining in through the window, the puzzle piece clicked in place.