Adora placed the tiara on her head, fiddling with it a moment to make sure it was straight. She pulled most of her hair off her shoulders, but let some remain draped over them. She readjusted the golden straps of her dress and did a quick spin, watching the white fabric sway with the movement, and smiled.
It had been a while since she had to dress this fancy. The last time was probably Sea Hawk and Mermista’s wedding two years prior. Stars willing this event would be a bit less...rowdy. Not that she necessarily minded a good party, but having to keep the groom from leaping off the docks in a drunken stupor while screaming “ ADVENTURE!” at the top of his lungs got old after the fifth time or so. The distinct lack of docks and oceans in the Scorpion Kingdom should rid them of that problem, but she was sure Sea Hawk could still find himself in trouble with little effort and even less drink. The man was honestly such a lightweight.
Her smile faded slightly as she stared at her reflection in the waterfall in the room. Something was pressing at her mind. This seemed...familiar, somehow. In a way it should, she had been to Princess Frosta’s Princess Prom ten years ago after all, but this was different. She should know this...what was-?
“Just let me brush it!”
Yelling just outside her door pulled her thoughts away as Catra dashed into the room, long hair pulled into a wild ponytail and shirt unbuttoned at the top, laughing with a large grin on her face. Glimmer was close behind in a beautiful light purple dress, waving a brush in the air and laughing right along with her. Catra swiftly ducked behind Adora, running laps around her with her shoulder cape whipping against Adora's body as she tried desperately to escape Glimmer's wrath.
“Don’t let her touch me, she’s gonna torture me!”
Adora started, body stiffening and eyes widening.
Scenery glitching. Sadness. Pain? Was there pain? No. It was happy. It was...like this?
“Do you always have to be-”
“-this dramatic?” Glimmer mocked, as Catra stayed behind Adora, hands on her shoulders and peering over the right one. Adora shook her head, eyes flicking around the room. Glitching. Was there glitching. Why would there be? What would-?
“Come on guys,” Bow walked in. Hair pulled back in a bun and dressed in a sharp tux, midriff showing, of course.
“If we’re late for Scorpia’s first ball-”
“ She’s gonna kill us!” Glimmer moved to Bow.
Tucked against his chest...what was happening? She shook her head again, eyes flicking more rapidly around her surroundings. The others didn’t seem to notice.
“Fine!” Glimmer said glaring playfully at Catra, “You’re off the hook! This time. ”
Catra stuck her tongue out as the young couple shared a smile, both with each other and with Adora and Catra, and left the room. Adora watched them leave and a fleeting thought, surprising in its clarity, went through her mind; Perhaps another reason to dress fancy would be coming in the future.
Future. There was a future, right? There was a past...she remembered. She remembered what brought them here, to this moment. Right?
Catra moved in front of Adora, and held out her hand with a smile.
Adora stared, at Catra, at her hand.
She reached out, and her hand passed through. The world faded. It was gone. It wasn’t real. It was gone fake a trick a lie a lie a lie-!
“Adora?” Her eyes flicked up to Catra’s, her smile was gone, worry formed a crease in her brow. She stepped forward, Adora stepped back. Catra froze. “Adora?” She said again, hesitant.
Adora shook her head, her breathing turned to sharp pants as her eyes flicked around the room. Glitches. There should be glitches, something wrong, something off, it can’t be this-
“A beautiful wish.” Cold, sinister, confident. He stood tall before her. Prime. “But there will be no future.”
“No!” Adora shouted, eyes clenched shut, hands to her head as she shook it harshly. Go away, get out of my head,get away!"
“Adora!” Catra yelped, moving forward.
Adora’s eyes snapped open and she lept back, “Don’t touch me!” Her eyes were wild, afraid, and Catra stepped back, outstretched hand snatched back to her chest.
“I-I can’t,” Adora panted, still shaking her head. “I can’t-it’s not-what if?” Her breath hitched into a sob and she looked up at Catra, tears in her eyes.
“I don’t know if this is real,” She whimpered, and Catra blinked.
“Adora...Of course it’s real. Why wouldn’t it be?” Catra took a slow step forward, Adora allowed it. Or perhaps was so lost in her mind that she didn’t notice.
“I’ve seen this. I’ve been here. All of this- at the Heart- I saw it all. You, Bow, Glimmer, all of this.” Adora shook her head again, hands gripping at her hair, knocking her tiara askew as she dropped to her knees. Catra could only watch as Adora fought with herself, her memories, her doubts. Sharp teeth dug into her lip. She didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t just stand here, she had to comfort her, but she wouldn't let her touch her and she didn’t know what to do - Her ears perked up at the sound of a soft, almost silent whisper.
“It can’t be real. It’s too perfect to be real.” Tears splashed to the floor below Adora, and Catra felt a familiar dampness race down her cheeks. She hadn’t even noticed the tears forming. She knelt in front of Adora, inches away, but not touching.
“Adora,” She murmured, “Look at me.”
Adora let out a single, choked sob, and her face stayed aimed at the floor.
“Look at me.” Catra said, more firmly this time, and slowly, Adora raised her head.
Catra’s heart broke. She looked so lost. Her eyes looked almost dead, the spark that was there when she had come in had dimmed to the point of almost being non-existent. The only real shine in them was from the tears that dripped down her face. They looked at her, but didn't seem to see.
“It’s just a beautiful wish.” Adora whispered.
Catra shook her head sharply. “No! No, Adora it is so much more than that.” She stopped, took a deep breath and closed her eyes. When she opened them again, they were soft, but focused, determined.
“Do you trust me?” She asked slowly. Bicolored eyes staring into gray-blue, searching.
Adora stared back, they were so close, Catra was all she could see. There was nowhere else to look. She could lose herself here. Wait. She had asked a question, hadn’t she? Trust. Did she trust her? After years together in the Fright Zone, after years of fighting each other, after years of peace. If that peace was real. Could she trust it was real? No, that wasn’t the question. Did she trust Catra?
“Always,” she whispered. Forceful, confident. No false reality could take that from her. From them. Her breathing began to even out, just slightly.
Catra stared for a moment, then nodded, and slowly lifted her hand, watching Adora’s face intently. Adora fought the urge to flinch away as the hand neared her face. What if it fazed through her? What if it glitched? What if it all glitched and fell away and it wasn’t real-
“Trust me,” Catra whispered, foreheads almost touching, but not quite.
And her hand brushed Adora’s cheek.
They stayed like that for a moment, frozen. Adora’s eyes were wide, shocked even. She waited for a beat, then two. The warmth of her palm stayed. The soft fur brushed gently against her face. Permanent, there, real. She sobbed out a laugh and threw herself at Catra, knocking her on her back with an ‘oof!’ as she pressed her forehead to hers.
“It’s real,” Adora whispered, eyes shut but tears dripping onto Catra’s face. “You’re real.”
Catra wrapped her arms tight around Adora, holding her close as she nodded as best she could with their foreheads pressed together.
“I’m real,” She affirmed, tilting her head up to press a soft, comforting, kiss to Adora’s lips. “I’m real,” she repeated against her mouth before Adora pressed forward to trap her into another kiss, breaking it after a few moments to bury her face into Catra’s shoulder, sobbing out of relief instead of the fear that gripped her so firmly moments prior.
They laid there for several minutes, Catra gently stroking Adora’s back as Adora let out the last of her tears against Catra’s neck. Only when her breaths were even and her eyes were somewhat dry did they sit up, Adora pulling Catra up to a sitting position as she pressed their foreheads together, eyes closed as she savored the small moment of peace. Adora opened her eyes, finding Catra watching her with a contented, loving smile on her face, and laughed, soft and breathy.
“What’s so funny, Princess?” Catra whispered, carding her claws through Adora's hair.
“You’ll call me a dork,” Adora grinned, and Catra matched it,
“I already call you a dork. What’s one more reason to do it?”
“This is a wish,” Adora said, pressing a quick peck to Catra’s lips, just to watch her ears perk up and a blush race across her cheeks, “It’s a wish come true.”
Catra blinked, grinned, and laughed, “You are such a dork!” She cackled, throwing her head back and laughing loud and free.
“See! You’re so predictable!” Adora said, tackling Catra back to the ground and getting her into a headlock.
“Hey, get off! We’ve got a prom to go to remember!” Catra yelped, squirming to get out of her girlfriends hold.
“Say it’s a wish come true!” Adora chided, keeping her position despite Catra’s best efforts.
“What!? No way!”
“Say it or we’re never making it to that prom, and I’ll make sure Scorpia knows exactly who’s fault it is!”
“Yours! It is exclusively your fault for being such a dork!” At the last word Catra surged up, somehow freeing herself from the grapple and pinning Adora to the floor, their laughter echoing throughout Brightmoon Castle. Looking at Adora, flushed and laughing beneath her, hair a mess and tiara hopelessly tangled in her thick hair, Catra couldn’t help but silently agree.
Etheria was a world of magic. And it made their wish come true.