Chapter 1: Catra
“You love me?” Adora’s word rang over and over in her ears. “I love you too.” Her ears folded back as she attempted to keep her cheeks from burning. Adora had run out to take care of Prime’s ending the world scheme. Catra now stood alone in Heart; its beating sound echoing her own.
She shook her head and started for the exit, back the way they had come. She clenched her fists as she passed the room where Shadow Weaver had died. She paused for a moment, staring at the mask on the floor. That mask has terrorized her all of her life and yet she still felt a weight on her heart. Why would she feel bad? Shadow Weaver was finally gone out of their lives for good. Her last words haunted Catra.
“Stop.” She spoke out loud to herself. She took a deep breath and padded into the room. Picking up the mask, she starred it down. So many words fumbled around in her brain, but nothing came out. Anger, hurt, sadness, joy. How she could feel all of this for the woman who had spent all of her life tormenting her, she couldn’t understand. She sighed. She didn’t want to be the one to make this call.
She put the mask down and made a note to return with Adora at a later date. As she stepped outside, she was met with a new world flowing with new flora and fauna. Everything was so bright.
Adora as She-Ra stood tall and glowing as people around her celebrated. Prime was gone. Catra started towards her when she saw Scorpia. She took a deep breath and walked towards her. She was talking loudly with Frosta and Perfuma. When they saw each other, Catra tried for a shy smile. She had been preparing this and she knew what she would say. If Scorpia would ever forgive her, that was another question.
“Hey, Scorpia. Look, I…” She was swooped into a big hug, crushing the words out of her. “Oh, there it is.”
“You know, I’m a hugger.” Scorpia smiled. Catra returned it. They still would need to talk but for now, Scorpia was saying everything was forgiven. Perfuma tackled them, calling for a “Princess Hug!” Frosta joined in, tackling them to the ground.
After Scorpia finally put her down, she talked with them briefly before she spotted Adora again. She had walked away from the others, shrinking back into the Adora she knew and loved. She stood looking over the new place she had created, a new, small slope in front of them. Catra excused herself and made her way over to Adora.
“Adora.” The blonde smiled as Catra approached, the Horde behind her symbolizing Catra’s journey from there back into Adora’s arms.
“It’s over.” She breathed as they touched foreheads. Catra purred in response. “He’s gone.”
Suddenly, Glimmer and Bow yelled and tackled them. The four slid down the hill, laughter erupting into the air.
“So, what are we going to do now?” Bow propped himself up on an elbow.
“We can bring magic back to the Universe.” Adora sighed happily. “What do you guys say to one more Best Friend Squad road trip?”
“I’m in!” Glimmer said.
“Obviously!” Bow chimed in.
“Of course, I’m going with you, dummy.” Catra smiled.
“Then, let’s do this, together!”
“Can we do that road trip now?” Glimmer groaned as she facepalmed the table.
“We gotta figure out what to do first.” Bow said gently. He shuffled some of the papers and wiped some forgotten grime off his forehead. Catra looked on with a very bored look. Adora had fallen asleep, leaning against Catra’s back. She should be worried about the weird angle of her body, but she couldn’t bring herself wake her.
After everything, the Princess Alliance all returned to Bright Moon for a celebration and to get things in order. Most everyone was asleep. Catra could hear those who were still awake having whispered conversations. Apparently, Mermista had fallen asleep as well shortly after arriving back and it was starting to cause worry. Catra felt a phantom pain in her neck. She remembered what it was like under the chip. The first time she actually slept after she was free, she didn’t wake for a while either. Adora had freaked out too. Against her better judgement, Catra got Bow to help her move Adora so she could go talk to Seahawk.
She hadn’t really spoken to him before. She knew that he was at least something to Mermista as most of her encounters with him were because of her. That and the way he carried himself at the moment, it was evident. He loved her.
The pirate in question paced the room slowly beside the cot where the Water Princess slumbered. The green marks had finally receded, but the damage was done. Scorpia had also collapsed from exhaustion shortly after getting back and now rested nearby, her head on Perfuma’s lap. Catra was glad Scorpia had someone who was nice to her in the way Catra couldn’t have been.
“Hey.” Catra whispered, crossing her arms in insecurity. “How is she?” Seahawk didn’t even blink twice at her.
“She’s exhausted to say the least. I wish I knew what I could do the help. If she were awake, I could sing a sea shanty or tell her of adventures of past.” Catra wasn’t sure if that would help but she returned his tense smile.
“I don’t really know her but I’m sure that could help…” She gulped and rubbed her arm. With a sigh, she looked down. She at least couldn’t look at him and say it. “You know, when Adora…when she…. saved me from the chip…” She cleared her throat and looked down at the girl. “I slept for a while too. The nightmares were pretty bad but I’m sure she’ll be fine. She seems like a strong person.” It was so weird to be this nice!!! Catra wanted to punch a wall. She bit her tongue to stop the retort that wanted so badly to tag itself on her nice statement.
When she finally looked back up, Seahawk’s eyes were shining like Bow’s did when he called her cute. He sniffled a little before clearing his throat and returning to normal.
“Thanks, Catra. It means a lot.” He turned to start pacing again. “I’m glad you’re here. Adora definitely missed you.” He started off, leaving Catra alone with that. And she thought she was cruel.
Catra blinked herself back to reality and returned to her spot with Adora. Bow immediately asked for her help concerning some village before Glimmer answered. She smiled a little. Maybe life with them wouldn’t be too terrible. She took Adora’s hand by the pinky and held it quietly. She resisted folding her ears down and tried to focus. She didn’t want to let go again.
An hour passed with the three of them discussing what they would do about the Horde armies and what life would look like now. Finally, some food was brought in for everyone who was still awake. Catra reached for a steam bun, like the ones they had eaten on the ride back to Etheria. She looked towards Adora to offer her one and panic welled in her. Green veins snaked their way up Adora’s body as her eyebrows contorted in pain.
“Adora!” Catra dropped it and shook her awake. Adora jolted upright, sputtering a confused ‘What?!’. Bow and Glimmer stood from their seats and the room hushed. Catra felt her fur spike, ending any chance she had of playing things off. Adora met her eyes and made Catra feel stupid. The green marks weren’t there. She was seeing things.
“Catra, what’s wrong?” Glimmer asked.
“Nothing.” Catra took a breath and stroked her tail’s fur down. “It’s nothing.” She stood and walked out the door.
As she stepped outside, she walked to the railing. She hung her head over it, letting the wind blow through her fur. That was exactly what she wanted to deal with today.
“Catra?” Adora stepped out. She was still pretty tired, but Adora was clearly not going to lay back down. “What’s wrong?”
Catra shook her head. The pain in her abdomen from leaning over the railing helped ground her. This was reality. Everything was finally good for once. She wasn’t going to be left behind anymore.
“Catra.” Adora poked her side. “Catra~!” Poke. “Catra.” Poke. Poke. “Are you just going to ignore me?” Poke. Poke. Poke. Catra felt her tail thrash a little and decided she was gonna have some fun.
“AH!” Adora squealed as the two suddenly fell to the ground. Catra, pinning Adora’s arms to the ground and sitting on her chest, smiled proudly.
“Now what…Princess~.” They laughed together before Adora slammed Catra’s back into the ground.
“Now what yourself.” Adora giggled. Despite the lame comeback, Catra chuckled. “Now tell me.”
“I don’t want to.” Catra murmured.
“Please. I thought we agreed to talk about stuff.” Leave it to Adora to bring up their discussion on Darla.
“Just…” Sigh. “Give me five minutes alone. I’m not leaving, I just need a moment to think.” Perfuma’s advice on how to deal with moments like this had come in handy. Maybe she should talk to Flowers more often.
Adora stared her down, clearly contemplating her options. After a long moment, she sat back. Wordlessly, she walked back into the room. Catra had her five minutes. She moved to sit back against the railing.
Why was this so difficult?! Catra had made up with Glimmer, Bow, and Entrapta on Darla. She had made friends with Melog on Krytis. If that’s what you call an entity imprinting on you suddenly. But who doesn’t do that when someone is nice to them?!
Speaking of the Krytian, Melog mewed into view and curled on her lap.
“I’m glad you’re alive too. Thanks for all your help, buddy.”
“Catra.” Melog headbutted her. “We saved each other.”
“You’ve been talking to Flowers, haven’t you?”
“Maybe.” Melog snickered. “She does give good ear scratches. You should try one sometime.”
“No thanks.” Catra didn’t even want to go there with her imagination. “So. What now?”
“Now we live here.” Melog asked. “Is that not the plan?”
“I mean…” She didn’t think they’d stay with her past this point.
“Did you think I would leave as well?” Catra’s silence answered that question. “We imprint for life.” They lick her face. “As you would say, you are stuck with me.”
“Thanks, Melog. I’m gonna let what you said slide this time.”
“I only speak the truth. I do reflect your emotions.” Melog snickered again. Catra looked out to all the new scenery again.
“Melog, how do I even start to make this better?” She buried her face in their fur. Tears were unbecoming of Force Captains. Not when others were present, at least. She shouldn’t cry. Today has been a victory.
“Catra.” Melog purred louder. “You are free to cry. She was the only thing you had as a mother. She was not a good mother. Good mothers give lots of headbutts and cuddles.”
“That might have been your mom.” Catra said, muffled by the fur.
“Regardless, you are still allowed to cry. I would go get Adora, but I heard you asked for a few minutes alone.”
“Yeah, alone. That’s going well.”
“We are imprinted. You will never be alone again.”
“I don’t know how I feel about that.” Catra tried for a joke.
“I will always be here.” Melog headbutted her again. “Adora and I will make sure you are always loved.”
“You know I’m supposed to be sulking.”
“Ah yes. You were not given the proper outlet for teen angst with the Horde situation. Please continue as if I’m not here.”
“Where has this sass been?” Catra pulled back and stared Melog down.
“We are imprinted.”
“Are you giving me my own sass then?”
“Yes.” Melog chirped. Catra chuckled, wiping the tears from her eyes.
“Thanks.” She could feel her cheeks growing red but didn’t mind it. “How do I even explain anything to them?” The door to the War Room creaked open. “I still have another minute!” She rushed to bury her face again.
“Oh.” The deepness of the voice forced her head back up. Seahawk shifted awkwardly. “I didn’t realize you were busy…”
“Seahawk?” Melog asked.
“Yeah.” Catra tapped Melog and they both stand. “Did Mermista wake up?”
“No. Adora tried another healing spell before collapsing herself again.” Catra’s fur stood up. Of course, she would do that again. Adora didn’t know when to stop. “I saw you walk out here and Adora was upset when she came back in.”
Adora and the others had described the Princess Alliance to her on their way back from Prime’s ship. Loyal, Arson, Shanties, and Random were the words used to describe Seahawk. Since Catra had never really faced him in a fight, that was what she had to go off of. She was not expecting this.
“King Micah suggested those of us awake should try to relax. He took over some of the planning and sent the others to their rooms.” Four minutes and she missed that much? “And I was wondering if you were busy.” Catra blinked at him. Was…was he asking her for something?
“I mean I was going to go…” Her cheeks burned. She couldn’t admit she was going to go cuddle Adora while she slept. That would be weird. The Princess Alliance was definitely weird but not that weird.
“Perfuma suggested something.” Seahawk said. “If you’re up for it.” Flowers suggested something? Catra felt the anxiety creep up in her a little. Perfuma’s help seemed to work half the time.
“You’re okay with me?” She asked hesitantly. Melog’s mane shifted to a muted red.
“Adora trusts you. As do Bow and Glimmer.” Seahawk said. “It seems we wouldn’t have won without you. If my beautiful Mermista didn’t give me second chances, I would’ve never been her plus one at Princess Prom!” She resisted the urge to snort as he struck some weird pose.
“Fine.” She agreed. Her instincts were all over the place. “Let’s go.”
“This wasn’t what I had in mind.” She admitted. Several piles of rubble laid before them. Seahawk had taken her and Melog on a skiff through the words toward the Fright Zone. There, she had parked it for him, and they disembarked. She held a small log that flickered with flames. Her eyes shifted between that and the person in front of her. “I guess they were telling the truth when they said Arson.” She muttered to Melog.
“Okay!” Seahawk exclaimed before running back to her side. “Throw it as far as you can.” He clasped his hands together, giving her those bright eyes again.
“Throw it?” Her eyes shifted between Melog and Seahawk.
“Yeah!” Seahawk picked up another small log and used her flame to light his. He drew his leg up as he wound up for a throw. He grunted as he threw the small flame.
WOOSH! One of the piles of rubble exploded into flames. Catra felt her eyes grow wide.
“Man. There is nothing like setting things on fire. Though, boats are best for that. That’s what happened to the Dragon’s Daughter 1, 2 and 3.”
Catra listened as he proclaimed stories of ships he had set on fire. She vaguely remembers a burning ship ramming the Horde one she’d rode on during her first trip to Salineas. She glanced at Melog once more, who shrugged at her. She guessed it couldn’t hurt.
She wound up for her throw, aiming for the closest. She was fairly strong, but she didn’t dare go for a further back one yet. She chucked the flame as hard as she could. WOOSH! Another pire lit up the air.
“Good job!” Seahawk laughed loudly. He slapped her arm and reached for two more logs.
“I thought you all were the good guys. Didn’t expect you’d be good burning things.” Catra admitted.
“Perfuma told me Adora said you like to blow things up. What better way than controlled flames!” Seahawk finished with another pire exploding into flames. Catra realized all the rubble piles were set far enough away, no real damage could be done.
“Adora talked about me?” She smirked as she tossed another one. BLOOM!
“Not often other than the battlefield. Mermista told me of a time when they were planning…” BOOM! “An attack on a Horde fortress. Apparently, Adora was focused on how to take you down.” Seahawk laughed. “Mermista said they ended up storming the place.”
“Was that the Giant Plant Golem?” Catra felt the laugh escape her before she could stop it.
“YES! They said Perfuma conjured it!”
“Scorpia reported it. I never believed her.” The two openly laughed.
The two threw more and more until all the pires were alit with fire, the flumes rising through the smog of the Fright Zone close by.
“I’m glad you’ve joined us.” Seahawk panted after throwing his last.
“Really?” Catra grunted as her last stick flew towards the back right. “I thought you’d react more like Frosta did.”
“How can I?” He proclaimed to the sky. “You like to blow things up! We could set so many ships on fire!”
“Thanks.” She felt her cheeks burning and looked down. “Maybe we can do this again soon.” That felt weird to say.
“Of course!” Seahawk slapped a hand on her shoulder with a laugh. “Anytime you wish to blow something up, let me know!”
As they returned to Bright Moon’s castle, night began to fall. All the stars shone brightly in the sky. Maybe she did get a second chance.
Seahawk helped lead her back towards the War Room, which was their current hub of operations. As they entered the room, they realized most everyone was awake now. Adora sat slumped against the table, picking at her plate. Bow and Glimmer were talking with Entrapta and Micah. The other Princesses had their own little posse in the corner of the room.
“MERMISTA~!!” Seahawk sang as he strode across the room towards her. Though she couldn’t see the Water Princess, she could hear the “UGH!!” that came from that corner.
“Catra!” Adora perked up and flew out of her seat. “Did you have fun?!” Someone must have told her. Catra nodded to keep herself under control. Force Captains didn’t show many emotions.
“Hey, Seahawk. Are we good?” Bow called. He laughed as the pirate gave him a thumbs up. “We asked him to take some of the rubble out to clear up some of the castle. We’ll have to start rebuilding soon.” He informed them as he and Glimmer joined them.
“Perfuma suggested the two of you go. Figured it’d help burn off any stress.” Glimmer winked.
“I’ll have to thank her later then.” Catra stood a little straighter. No way was Sparkles outdoing her today.
“I don’t know about you guys, but I’m ready for bed.” Adora yawned.
“Are we still doing the sleepover?” Glimmer asked.
“What sleepover?” Catra felt her fur stand a little. She hadn’t heard of this, though she had been gone part of the day.
“Not tonight. I don’t think Catra would be up to it yet.” Adora took her hand and smiled. “Maybe another night?”
“Fine.” Glimmer said. “Tomorrow night it is!” She poofed away.
“Go get some sleep. Celebrations start tomorrow and we’ll all need the rest.” Bow smiled before walking back towards Micah.
“Why do I feel like I’m missing something?” Catra asked.
“Maybe I just want a minute to talk?”
“Nothing bad.” Adora led her out of the War Room. Silence hung in the air until Adora stopped in front of a random door. “In here.” She opened the door with a creak and pulled Catra inside. She shut the door quickly, which set off red flags.
“I just want to talk.” She sounded like she was trying to convince herself of it first.
Catra took in the room briefly. At least the Horde was good at teaching how to assess things quickly. The room was like pastels had thrown up everywhere. Colored curtains were draped around the room with a random cot towards the back of the room. A waterfall bubbled quietly off to the side. No certain threats in the room, except for the blonde behind her.
“Okay?” Catra ended up taking a seat on the cot. Why would Adora chose to sleep on the hard beds like those in the Horde, she didn’t know. Glimmer had said fluffy beds were standard in Bright Moon. Catra was kinda feeling gypped.
“Did you mean it?!” Adora blurted out. She slid down the doorframe and clutched her mouth.
“Did…did you mean it?” Catra raised an eyebrow. “What you said.”
“You’re such an idiot.”
“I…” Adora looked down. “I just can’t believe it.”
Catra’s cheeks flushed for the umptieth time today as she remembered what she said at the Heart. How could she explain? She had spoken in the heat of the moment. All she knew was she had Adora back and she wasn’t losing her again.
They sat in silence for a while.
“Forget I said anything.” Adora finally spoke. She walked to the bed and crawled past Catra. “Goodnight.”
“Adora…” Catra paused, hand outstretched. She wasn’t good at this sort of thing. They sat in silence again. Catra sighed and curled up at the end of the bed, like they used to do.
“You can sleep up here.”
“What?” Catra had barely heard the whisper.
“I said, you can sleep up here.” Adora didn’t turn around or anything. She laid perfectly still, legs pulled up like before. Catra contemplated it. She didn’t mind sleeping at the foot of the bed.
“There’s not a lot of room…”
“We’ve made it work before…on Darla.”
Catra, finally, crept up towards Adora. She laid down with her back to Adora. On Darla, they had slept cuddled together and it had been the best sleep she had gotten since Adora defected three years ago. But now it just felt too awkward.
“Mine.” Adora rolled over and wrapped her arms and legs around Catra. Catra’s claws sprung out and retracted quickly. She took a deep breath to calm herself.
“Adora. I’m not leaving tonight.”
“Mine.” She wrapped around her tighter.
“Whatever.” Catra tried to hide her smile. “Goodnight.”
“Hello Little Sister.” Horde Prime stood over her. She could feel the electricity jumping over the water behind her. The bright white of the ship nearly blinded her after he had thrown her in a dark room.
“I told you, you aren’t getting your hands on Adora.”
“I’m not?” Horde Prime smirked. “I beg to differ, Little Sister. She’ll come back.”
“No, she won’t.” Catra could still picture Adora’s ship indicator moving off his screen as she was dragged into this room last time. “She’s not coming back for me. We both saw her ship leaving. You won’t get your hands on the Heart of Etheria.”
“You don’t need to worry about that anymore, child. You’ll be in the light soon enough. Come and find peace.”
CAST OUT THE SHADOWS!
CAST OUT THE SHADOWS!
CAST OUT THE SHADOWS!
CAST OUT THE SHADOWS!
The chant grew louder and louder. Two of the clones picked Catra up by the chains that bound her hands to her back. Kicking and screaming, she thrashed around.
“Find peace, Little Sister.” The two clones dropped her chains as they threw her into the water.
The green water caked itself to her fur like mud and the burning smell of the electricity filled her nostrils. She broke the surface, gasping for air.
“You!!” Catra’s declaration turned into a scream as the electricity pulsed. As the surge stopped, she fell under the water again, her breath stolen from her. Her hands flew to her throat, gasping for air. She clawed her way up to the surface again. As soon as she did, the electricity surged through her again. Her hands shook in front of her, framing Horde Prime’s smirk that was glaring down at her.
“Little Sister. Do not fight me.”
“Catra!” A voice broke through it. “Catra, wake up!”
“AH!” A scream echoed through the night as she bolted straight up. Her chest burned for air and claws raked the sheets, looking for her target.
“Hey!” Hands wrapped around her wrists. Catra jumped and pinned her target. Horde Prime had found her again. She wasn’t going down like this. She moved one hand towards the throat of her target. She squeezed her fist and could hear Horde Prime choking for air. She wasn’t being baptized again. She wasn’t putting Adora at risk again!
“Get off her!” Glimmer’s voice echoed loudly as the lights flashed on. Temporarily blinded, Catra hissed. A ball of sparkles hit her side, throwing her off balance.
“Catra. Wake up!” Bow’s hands wrapped around her waist, lifting her in the air. She clawed at them. Everything was blurry and loud. What was happening…
“Are you okay?” Glimmer was leaning over Horde Prime. Why was she asking him if he was fine?! That was their enemy!
“I’m fine.” Adora’s voice rasped. Catra shook her head a second and blinked. The room finally came into focus. Pastels. Ripped cloth all over. Adora’s bending over at the stomach.
It wasn’t Horde Prime. Catra’s stomach turned. What had she done?
“Hey.” Adora stood, despite Glimmer’s protests. She walked to Catra and waved for Bow to release her. He put her feet on the ground but still held his arms tight. “I’m okay. It was a nightmare.” Adora wiped her cheek for her, when Catra realized she was the one crying. “You’re okay. We’re not leaving.” Adora hugged her tight.
“Goodness, what would’ve happened had we not still been up?” Glimmer pinched her nose. Catra buried her head in Adora’s shoulder. Bow’s arms finally released as he backed away. Adora hugged her tighter, supporting their body weight. She lowered them to the ground.
“I haven’t seen one this bad since the trip back.” Bow whispered. Did he forget she had better hearing than them? “Adora, we’ll be right back.” Catra felt the air ripple as they teleported away.
Catra wanted to speak. What did she say? She had just made up with them all. She had finally told Adora she loved her. She thought maybe things would get better and here she was, messing everything up again.
Maybe this is what she deserved. Maybe she was still stuck on the Velvet Glove, chipped and at Prime’s command. She had done so many things to hurt people. She deserved every piece of hate she got. She figured if nothing else, in the morning she’d be forced to leave. Glimmer and Bow wouldn’t let her keep hurting Adora like this. Everything she had done up to this point was for nothing. All she did was hurt people. Adora, Scorpia, her old team in the Horde, herself…Catra wasn’t made for this life.
“Hey.” Adora’s voice cut through. “Catra.” No. She wasn’t listening. Adora was going to say something about how it didn’t matter. “It’s okay.” It wasn’t okay. Shadow Weaver was right. “I’m not leaving.” They all hate her anyway. “Talk to me.” How could she? “I’m not mad.” The love in Adora’s voice made her sick to her stomach.
“Adora, we should get that bandaged.” Bow said, announcing their return. Catra remembered seeing a bathroom to the right, by the waterfall. She pushed Adora back, eyes closed so she wouldn’t see the hurt in the blonde’s eyes. She ran into the bathroom and slammed the door shut.
Air. She just needed some air. Too late. She reached for the toilet and threw up everything she had left. She could hear the pounding on the door. She could hear their voices. She felt the air ripple as Glimmer teleported into the room.
“We are not doing this tonight.” The queen spoke sharply. She unlocked the door with her back to the cat girl, letting Catra have some privacy. Adora rushed into the room and immediately started rubbing circles on Catra’s back.
“Get off!” Catra’s voice went shrill as she pushed Adora away. “Just stop it.”
“Catra.” Bow spoke first. “How can we help?”
“Leave me alone.” Catra curled into herself. Her ears folded down and her tail curled around her legs. “Just leave me alone. I’ll leave in the morning and you won’t have to deal with me.”
“Why do you think I want you gone?” Adora’s voice broke. “Did what happen today mean nothing?”
“All I do is hurt people!” Her muscles screamed as she held herself tighter. “If I don’t go, you’ll never be happy.”
“You promised to stay with me.”
“Catra.” Bow’s voice calmed spoke. “We need to get you cleaned up. Adora, would you move for a second?”
“I can do it.”
“Adora, we need to clean your arm.” Catra finally looked up when Glimmer spoke. She could see the gash on Adora’s arm, blood dripping to the floor. How could they look at that and say she could stay?
“I’ll heal it with …”
“Adora.” Bow said. “Let Glimmer bandage it. You’re too tired from today to use She-Ra right now, safely.”
“And even if you aren’t, something tells me we’re going to need our energy for the next few hours.” Glimmer said. “Come on.” Adora grumbled as she stood up. She squeezed Catra’s shoulder and moved away for Glimmer to bandage her arm.
“Hey Catra.” Bow’s tone was calm, and it felt patronizing. She tried not to take it personally. She knew what he was thinking. She was like a cornered animal and he was trying not to die. “Can you turn towards me?”
“We’re not mad. Adora had this too.” Catra froze a little and finally met his eyes. They were bright, despite the dark circles. “When she first arrived here, she had nightmares too. We slept in her room the first few nights because she couldn’t sleep alone. She missed you sleeping at the end of the bed. She still sleeps with her legs up.”
“How did you know that?”
“That she missed me…”
“She’s not good at hiding it.” Catra snorted at his answer. “And neither are you.”
“Wow. Didn’t realize it was shoot Catra hour.”
“I’m just speaking truth.” Bow put his hands in the air. “but really, none of us are mad. Can we get you cleaned up?” Catra hesitated. “You can’t really go back to sleep in those.”
She finally looked down at herself. Her gray tank and shorts, standard in the Horde, were covered in blood, and remnants of dinner, and had several tears. She nodded a little and her body ached as she finally released her curled form.
“Adora. Do you have another set of these?”
“Yeah, let me grab them.” Glimmer had been blocking Adora from walking back over. Adora exited the bathroom.
“It’s a good thing we set that up.” Glimmer sighed.
“We knew it would be needed.” Bow chuckled. Adora entered with another set. Bow took them and handed them to Catra. “Go ahead with Adora. Catra and I will join in a second.” With that, Glimmer poofed them away. Bow stood and pointed to the door. “I’ll be right outside so you can change. Knock when you’re ready.”
“Why are you being so nice?” Catra whispered.
“Why wouldn’t we be?” Bow answered. “You’re one of us now, the Best Friend Squad.” He closed the door.
Catra stood and went to the mirror. He was right. She hadn’t had a nightmare like this since they first rescued her from the Velvet Glove. She could still remember the first several times she had woken up. She tore off the soiled versions and threw them to the trash. She grabbed a small towel, cleaning off herself with warm water. She may have hated it, but it was a necessary evil to avoid crusty fur.
She picked up the gray shorts and realized Adora had already cut out a hole for her tail. She wondered how many pairs Adora had like this. A few times when they were kids, Adora would accidently grab the wrong pair of shorts and Catra would tease her endlessly about it. She pulled them on and then the top. She sighed before knocking on the door. Bow opened it with a smile.
“Ready?” He held out a blue blanket. “Adora said you might like this.” She took it gingerly and sniffed it. It smelled like Adora. She threw it around her shoulders and held it close. “Let’s go.”
He led her out into the hallway. As they wound their way around, Catra vaguely realized they were heading back to the War Room. Of course, that is where they would kick her out. They’d do it in front of everyone. Hordak had done that when he banished her to the Crimson Waste. She figured they’d be no different.
She glanced out at the stars as they passed a window. Maybe they’d banish her off planet. Princesses were liars after all. She knew they didn’t mean it when they said they’d forgive her. Nothing she could ever do would fix everything she had done.
Bow finally stopped, in front of the War Room. She had guessed right. He knocked and waited for a voice to answer. He pushed the doors open. She hissed as the lights forced her eyes closed again. The hallway was barely lit for the hour of night it was.
“There she is.” Scorpia’s voice made her open her eyes again. Scorpia, Perfuma, Glimmer and Adora sat in a small semi-circle. They had set up beds nearby. Mermista and the others were nowhere to be seen. “Hey Wildcat.”
“We’re having a sleepover.” Perfuma answered.
“I’m not really comfortable sleeping alone either.” Scorpia scratched the back of her head. “So, we’ll all sleep together, and it’ll be fun.”
Catra ignored the rest of the banter. Adora’s arm was properly bandaged and no longer was bleeding. She had changed clothes as well.
“Come on.” Bow’s hand brushed her arm. “Let’s go lay down.” He took a few steps in front of her and stopped.
“Why.” Catra swallowed hard. “Why aren’t you kicking me out?”
“We don’t do that here.” Glimmer answered. “I’m Queen and it’s my castle. I get to decide who stays and who goes.”
“But nothing, Catra.” Glimmer smiled. “Now get over here and cuddle with Adora.”
“We weren’t cuddling!” Adora’s cheeks flushed. The others laughed and Catra felt a small smile form on her lips. “We were just sleeping.”
“In that small bed?”
“You and Bow cuddled on the way back! On Darla!”
“No, it’s not!”
“Cuddling is good for you. It’s okay to admit it.”
“Perfuma!” Adora whined. Snickers and giggles rose through the group.
“Are you coming?” Scorpia asked, pointing to the spot next to Adora.
What if’s ran rampant through Catra’s head. She didn’t want to wake from another nightmare and do this all over again?
“You have three seconds to get over here or I’ll teleport you over.” Glimmer threatened. That made her move. She sat next to Adora, as Glimmer smirked at her. “Now we know what to say to get Catra to move.”
“If you don’t want to talk about it tonight,” Bow chimed in. “We can talk tomorrow. But when you want to talk, we’re here.” It reminded Catra of when she and Bow first talked on the ride back. He had said the same thing.
“I don’t know. I might throw you off a cliff again.” Catra repeated the memory.
“I guess Glimmer will have to get us both then, huh?”
“Wait, you did what?!” Adora looked between the two. “When did this happen?!”
“Did we not tell you about it?!” Glimmer guffawed. “Okay so like early on…”
The story continued, laughter interrupting at several points. Catra felt herself relax. At least for tonight. If they wanted her to leave tomorrow, she would. As more stories were exchanged, she felt her eyelids grow heavy. She rested her head on Adora’s shoulder. A soft purr vibrated through her.
“I love you too.” Adora whispered. Catra couldn’t bring herself to respond as sleep took hold.