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Infected Hearts

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Catra had really expected this day to go differently. She had expected at worst to be working fruitlessly through the cold, or best case scenario, they’d find this First One’s tech and get the heck out of this wretched place before they all freeze to death. But no, instead she was sitting in the supply room glaring at her ex-best friend, who had just slapped her in the face with a mop. How was she still dealing with this as second-in-command?

Adora fell ungracefully to the floor, cuddling the mop and giggling like an idiot. Is this what Entrapta meant by her getting “floppy” while infected?

“Ugh, enough games.” Catra demanded, grabbing Adora by her arm in an attempt to haul her up. “I’m taking you back.”

The Alliance warrior looked up at the Horde soldier, a not-quite-there look in her eyes as she slurred. “Wow, you’re a pretty kitty.”

Catra barred her teeth. “You know I hate when you call me that. Shut up and get to your feet, prisoner.” If she’d known she was going to be on babysitting duty, she would have gone after those rebel idiots herself instead of sending Scorpia. This was going to drive her insane.

“Or what?’ Adora smirked fiercely, as if she wasn’t in the hands of her greatest enemy.

Finally, Catra hauled her prisoner up. Grabbing Adora roughly by the collar, she pulled her in close, her fiery eyes looking to burn a message into the other woman. “You do not want to test me. You know I have no problems with hurting you, or your friends. I will not stop until everything you love has been burnt to the ground. How do you not understand this yet?”

Adora’s face slacked, and Catra could almost hear the gears slowly cranking in her brain, realising what was being said. Her entire body seemed to slump in defeat. Catra released her grip, and the blonde fell to the floor.

“You’re so mean.” Adora said, staring at the ground, tears in her eyes. “You’ve always been mean but you were never this mean.”

Catra scoffed. She turned away, crossing her arms. “Yeah? Well some things change I guess, don’t they?”

Infected Adora was so annoying and overdramatic. It would almost be funny, if the honesty of it didn’t sting so much. Not that she’d let that show.

Analysing the situation, Catra decided that it would be best to keep Adora in here for now. Being so loud, she would just distract Entrapta, and honestly, dragging her all the way back seemed like way too much of a mission. It’d be best the two of them stayed in here for now, but not like this.

I’m sure I saw some rope somewhere in here earlier. Catra thought to herself. And there’s got to be some tape around too.

“You stay here.” Catra commanded the now weeping girl on the floor. What a sad mess. Adora the Horde soldier would never be found in a state like this.

Catra jumped into a box and began rummaging through its contents, tossing anything deemed useless over her shoulder. Most of what they seemed to contain was junk. Boots, maps and random machine parts she couldn’t understand.

She was just about to open her third box, when the door leading to the outside opened, letting in a force of cold air that made Catra’s fur stand on end. I hate this place, she thought.

“Adora, I’m here to save you!” A strained voice came, one that Catra was unfamiliar with. Ugh, How many new friends does Adora have?

Poking her head out from her boxes, she got a better look at the man. Was this the guy that set his boat on fire during the Battle of Brightmoon? Great.

“More like I’m here to rescue you.” Adora snorted, apparently over her emotional break from a minute earlier.

Using their conversation as distraction, Catra picked up the shovel sitting on a shelf nearby, and darted between boxes, using them as cover. She circled in on the man, raising the makeshift weapon above her head.

“That doesn’t make any-“ The man’s sentence was cut off by a loud whack to the back of his head, knocking him out cold.

“Wow, Adora, do you have any intelligent friends?” Catra smirked, kicking the fallen Sea-Hawk’s unconscious body to the side.

No reply. Catra’s eyes shot up to find Adora no longer where she had been left. Fantastic. Now, where could she have gotten to?

Turns out, she didn’t need to look far. “BEEP BOOP”, Adora was yelling as she slammed her fingers down on the security panel. Catra smirked, strolling over completely unconcerned with the events. “Don’t bother with that, Adora, pressing random buttons will get you nowhere.”

“BOOP!” Adora input the final digit, and the green light flashed. She turned around and smirked at Catra, who was suddenly too stunned to move. Adora let out a victorious snort as she stepped backwards towards the door. Unfortunately for her, she wasn’t too dexterous in this state, and caught one foot on another, sending her plummeting backwards.

Instinctively, Catra reached out and grabbed the stumbling girl’s arm just in time.

“Whoop!” Adora giggled as she was dragged back to her feet. “Ya know, I find it funny that you keep saying you’ll kill me, but you won’t even let me fall.”

Catra stood back, gritting her teeth. “Shut up, it’s just cat reflexes is all. Don’t forget all those times I’ve literally tried to kill you. I won’t let you fall unless I’m the reason.” She sucked in a deep breath, reminding herself not to let her enemy see her get worked up. She was the one in control, she was the one that should be infuriating Adora, not the other way around. “So, how’d you guess the passcode?”

“It’s your favourite number.” Adora said, a dumb smile on her face.

Catra started to blush. So much for not getting worked up. “You… You remembered my favourite number? Why?”

“Because you’re my favourite and my favourite’s favourite is my favourite.” Adora giggled again, then shifted her attention back into the storage room. Suddenly, Adora skipped over to a set of boxes and started to scour through them, their conversation apparently already forgotten.

Catra watched dumbly, attempting to understand the chaos that seemed to be spilling from Adora’s mouth. Was it worth trying to figure out what that meant? Did she even mean this stuff, or was it just She-Ra getting infected? Obviously there was a lot of Adora left in there, if she could remember Catra’s favourite number, so were all the emotions real too? Did Catra want them to be?

Ugh, shut up, brain, Catra shook herself to refocus, clearly I can use this as an opportunity to get information from Adora.

The Horde soldier sighed, then approached her enemy with a raised eyebrow, studying what she was doing. “Uh, Adora, what are you up to?”

“Looking for snacks. Can’t have a date night without snacks!” Adora grabbed a box and tipped it over, spilling its contents everywhere. “Where’s all the food?”

Catra didn’t answer immediately. She didn’t know why, but she was starting to get this warm feeling inside of her with everything Adora said, and suddenly the cold of this place didn’t seem so bad. Her heart had jumped. Was that normal? Should she get that checked out?

“Uh… this isn’t… date night?” She mumbled far too quietly to have hopes of being heard, something she was grateful for. She clenched her fist, letting her nails dig into her skin, hoping to regain her composure. “I mean, yeah, there are rations somewhere around here.”

Catra wandered over to another nearby stack of boxes, sifting through until she uncovered a heap of ration bars. “Found them.” She grabbed two of the grey ones, and made her way back to Adora. One part of her brain, the sane part, was screaming at her to put the food down and go back to searching for rope. The other side (The sick side? Seriously, maybe she’s just got a cold) was going through excuse after excuse attempting to justify this. Why?

“And I found a blankie! Yay!” Adora wrapped it around herself tightly before sinking to the floor. “Now we can get cosy and catch up.”

Catra rolled her eyes, handing a bar over to Adora, who looked at the gift with disgust. “If I comply do you agree to not run off anywhere? Or slap me in the face with a mop again?”

“Ha, that was funny. Yeah okay but our convos better be suuuuuuper fun to make up for this sad food.” She unwrapped the bar and stared at the rock hard slab of disappointment.

“Sorry we don’t have feasts of whatever we want, whenever we want in the Horde.” Catra spat bitterly before plunging her teeth into her own bar. “You know, I really can’t believe you. You used to swear by these bars because they were optimal for nutrients and keep us strong and healthy.” Catra mocked Adora’s voice. “I swear you even liked the grey ones.”

“Yeah, but have you ever tried chocolate?” Adora started to drool just from the thought.

“See, look at what they’ve done to you! You’re a mess, Adora. You’re so weak.” Catra stared at her ex-best friend, a note of sadness and desperation she forgot she could produce escaping in her voice. What was happening to her? She was losing control.

Adora simply smiled, staring back happily as she rocked back and forth. “Maybe, but I’m happy. They’re so great, you should really-“

“See, that’s just the thing.” Catra tossed her bar to the side, and rage took hold of her. “Sure, the Fright Zone was fucking miserable. The Horde sucks, the food is garbage, and Shadow Weaver is a piece of shit. But it was ok with you. With us. We were going to get through all of this together.”

Adora stopped rocking, a sudden sober look of concern crossing over her. “Catra-“

“Don’t, Adora.” Catra sneered. It was like all the emotions she’s been keeping in over the past few months were about to come spilling out, and she was terrified. She had completely lost control of this situation. But then she had a thought. “Hey, Adora, last time you got infected, did you remember what happened?”

Adora’s mouth fell open dramatically, almost offended. “I’ve never been sick in my entire life!”

Well, it wasn’t an answer, but she hoped that she was right. She couldn’t hold back now. Tears were already starting to well.

“The worst thing is, you left the Horde because it’s evil. But it was only evil out there, you never saw it as evil when it was me they were hurting. You saw me hurt every day, and that was never enough for you. But some strangers out there suffer a little and you run to their aid? Abandon me?” Her voice cracked, and she could feel the flood gates open.

Adora reached out to touch Catra’s leg, her eyes wide and pleading. “I would never abandon you.”

Catra let her remain there for a moment, softness drawing her in, but she soon swiped the hand away. She would not give into the warm feeling; she’d much prefer the familiarity of the cold. “But you did. Now you have new friends, lots of them, and I’m stuck all alone. You know I never wanted to be force captain. I still don’t.”

She sucked in, readying herself for all the emotion was finally about to let out. “All I ever wanted was to see the world with you. And to rise above all the shit we went through and come out on top, sticking it to Shadow Weaver together. And now that you’re gone, I just feel like I’ve lost-” She trailed off.

There was this look in Adora’s eyes, like she was trying so hard to concentrate on Catra’s words, focusing all her energy on being present, but her eyes kept glazing over.

Catra huffed. “Right, even now that I have you captive you still won’t listen to me.”

Adora stared at something across the room, and absentmindedly licked at the ration bar like an ice-cream. She quickly recoiled at the taste, letting out a long, disgusted drone. Catra couldn’t help but smile at the other girl, reminded by all the good memories she had with her dorky best friend months ago.

“Maybe one day, when you’re less… Like this, we can actually talk about it.” Catra frowned, staring off into the distance. The good memories tended to hurt the most, and the pain of being around her ex-best friend was setting in.

Adora looked over, seeing the look of sadness across her captor’s face, and frowned herself. She never liked seeing the ones she loved be upset. Then she scooched closer, unwrapping half the blanket from around herself and placing it around Catra.

The sudden gentle touch of Adora made Catra flinch. It had been a long time since she’d felt the girl so close. Her brain told her to fight her off, to hiss and scratch and run, but her body just pressed in closer.

“I miss doing this.” Adora hummed, leaning her head down onto Catra’s shoulders. “You’re so warm. I think about it sometimes when I can’t sleep.” Adora seemed to almost fall asleep right then and there. “I miss you.”

Catra’s heart got caught in her throat. What was happening? Why did this feel okay? And why the hell wasn’t she listening to her head? She needed to shut up before… “I miss you, too. I think I love you, Adora.” Fuck.

Stupid emotions, they were making Catra dumb. Love? What the fuck? She hated Adora, didn’t she? Obviously she was spilling out garbage she didn’t mean, because that came out of nowhere, she didn’t even register what she said until after the matter. Please let Adora forget about this.

Adora giggled softly, smiling to herself as she raised her head slightly from Catra’s shoulder, and planted a gentle kiss to the other girl’s cheek.

Heat crossed Catra’s face, spreading like wildfire. This feeling was… very unexpected. Her heart sped up, and she could feel her screaming thoughts suddenly quiet. She stared dumbly down at Adora, who looked up at her with an unreadable look in her eyes.

Adora sat back up, turning to face Catra better, and letting a hand cup the other girl’s face. She smiled gently, and leaned in.

Catra didn’t quite know what was happening until it did, like she was caught in some weird trance. The two of them kissed, gently at first, testing the waters. When Catra started to kiss back, though, Adora didn’t hesitate to quicken the pace, kissing the other girl deeply, albeit sloppily. Their teeth clashed and their noses bumped. But Catra didn’t care, she hadn’t felt warmth like this even in the sun. She could lose herself in this. It just felt so right.

But wrong. This wasn’t Adora kissing her, this was infected Adora. She had no idea how much of her was really in there.

Catra leaned back, forcing herself back to reality, letting the voices of reason back in before she could get too attached. She’s still the enemy, she reminded herself.

“I’ve been wanting to do that for soooooo long.” Adora smiled, before lying down, leaning her head on Catra’s leg. “Best date night ever.”

Catra didn’t say anything. She didn’t move. She couldn’t even think of a witty comment to make. All she did was stare straight ahead, mouth open, shocked. She could still taste Adora on her lips, and feel the tears drying on her face, and… Damn it, when had she started to purr?

It was quiet for just a moment, barely long enough to catch her breath, before she heard a loud crash and a scream. “Catra!” Scorpia’s voice called just beyond the door. Great, the rest of Adora’s rescue party must have arrived.

“Stay here.” Catra said, lifting Adora’s head off her leg and readying herself to fight. “Or just… Don’t get rescued.”

Adora raised to her feet, a sudden look of excitement in her eyes. “But what if they have cake?”

“Then I’ll steal it and bring it back. Just stay here, okay?”

“Okie dokie!” Adora agreed cheerfully.

Catra had expected this to go differently. She didn’t expect that the best part would be spending time with her ex-best friend. And she definitely didn’t think that the worst part would be walking away from Adora, knowing full well she wouldn’t be there when Catra got back.