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Better Angels Of Our Nature

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Angella brushed a lock of hair out of Micah’s face, watching him sleep. She reveled in his peaceful expression, having heard by then of his nightmares and whimpered “Angie”s during the invasion. After hours of just him and Glimmer, then a few hours more of just Micah, the newly-reinstated queen had insisted that he sleep

In all honesty, it hadn’t taken long, she mused. He was still tired – years on Beast Island fighting to survive, then months fighting against (and then for) Horde Prime, had taken their toll. He’s just so – careworn. Angella let in her hatred for Shadow Weaver and Hordak, then tried to let it go. It was more successful than she expected. All the same, a small part of me will probably still hate them when Hordak’s bones are dust.

Her mind wandered, for the first time since her family had made time for itself, back to Adora and Catra. Castriska, whom Shadow Weaver had violated in more ways than Angella could have imagined in her nightmares. Catra, the most brilliant and determined foe the Rebellion had ever faced. Catra, who had literally saved the entire universe by climbing out of the pit of her grief and pain to admit her love at the end of all things. Catra, who had nearly died saving Angella herself.

(Catra, who pulled the lever where Shadow Weaver had held Glimmer’s hand and abused both children. Let go, Angella commanded herself, but she still imagined pummelling Shadow Weaver flat.)

The queen wrote a quick note to Micah in case he woke to find her missing, and wandered the halls as she had on so many nights thinking him lost. Hordak, not only defeated but an ally. Shadow Weaver, dead for good and all. The Stars, returned at last. You do have trouble with sudden change, Angella. She paused when she realized where her feet were taking her. Stars, I’m headed for his mural, Angella realized, chuckling. Even away from him, she sought her husband’s comfort. I do believe it is time for me to return to my actual husband’s–

“What am I doing here?” Catra muttered just before she came into view.

In a few moments, Angella amended, well aware the coming conversation could take much longer. “That,” she offered gently – which didn’t stop Catra from leaping back and yelping – “is a rather broad question. Can you narrow it down, perhaps?”

“Y-Your Majesty!” Catra blurted, doing something Angella imagined was an attempt at a bow, yet also included a salute of some kind. It looked so familiar in its earnest clumsiness, the queen’s heart ached.

Oh. Of course. It was a near-exact replica of Adora’s attempt at etiquette when they had first run into each other before this very mural. “I did say that right, right? I mean – Bow coached me on titles, but not the...curtsying thing, since you’re supposed to do that in a dress or something? I–” Catra babbled.

“Commander Catra. Stop. Breathe,” Angella commanded. Catra obeyed, her deep breath almost comical. Angella remembered threatening Adora during a similar encounter. I will do better this time, she promised herself. “What is troubling you?”

Catra’s ears shot upright. “Me? I’m fine.” The last word stuck in the magicat’s throat for an instant. Ah. A deflection too well worn to deceive her friends, but she hoped it might work with me. “I’m just, y’know, not used to someplace this sparkly. I mean, I’ve never been to Brightmoon – i mean, inside,” she trailed off, eyes darting down, head lowering. “sorry.”

The last word, whispered as it was, echoed through the queen’s heart. “First, let me say that I accept your apology for all its implied...misjudgments.” Catra sighed, shaking her head. “That said. Micah determined, during the time you planned my rescue, that Shadow Weaver erased your memory of Halfmoon. Brightmoon law is clear that in any case where magic is used to tamper with the mind, any crimes committed by the victim are the responsibility of the sorceress.”

Catra stared, jaw slack for a moment. “But, wait, Shadow Weaver always bragged that she didn’t need mind control,” she objected.

“And yet she attempted the same thing with Adora,” Angella reminded her. “Catra, had you remembered a past of love and family, the Horde could not have turned you into the person you were for a time.”

“I was five! At the most!” Catra blurted. “I still did those things, chose to do them, hurt Adora’s friends, hurt Adora, I can’t, I can’t–” Catra’s knees buckled. Angella was grateful for experience in catching an exhausted Glimmer, holding the girl before she could collapse. “I...I found a letter.”

Angella helped Catra sit, leaning against the mural, then sat beside her. “I beg your pardon?”

Catra sighed. “A letter. From Adora. To me. I was looking for a snack.” Her smile looked broken, like a reflection of the Horde Prime...thing that had worn Catra’s folly. “When Adora found out Shadow Weaver liked cutting my rations as punishment, she turned into a stash fiend. She’d hide little slices of ration bar everywhere. She liked reminding me that I’d give her half of mine when she was sick.”

Angella kept her face carefully neutral. She imagined tearing Shadow Weaver’s mask off and pummeling her with it. Unhealthy, that’s unhealthy, she told herself. “What did the letter say, Catra?”

“That she knew we were enemies now – then. That...we’d always be enemies. How much she missed the parts of me that weren’t horrible. That she...wouldn’t change anything she’d done, even if she could.” Catra hugged herself. “That’s the part that hurts the most. It just dragged out all the...messed-up, stupid, angry, everything, inside me.”

“Have you talked to her about it?” Angella asked, rubbing circles in Catra’s back.

“She’s asleep,” Catra muttered. “Adora’s exhausted, it’s been nine days since the end and she still works herself half to death if I’m not paying attention.”

Angella offered the kindest smile she could muster. “And you have not?”

Catra huffed and looked away. “That was different,” she insisted. “We had no idea how much time you had left. Besides, I was right, wasn’t I?” Angella raised an eyebrow. “You were helpless and alone with Horde Prime, for crying out loud.”

Angella briefly considered correcting Catra’s model of her experience in the gap-realm. Later, she decided. “Time flowed differently there. To me, Horde Prime only had me bound for a few moments before your arrival,” she settled on instead. Catra relaxed a fraction. “Very well, you want to wait until Adora has rested. Fair enough.” Catra looked at her in surprise. Has this child received so little respect for her own agency? Angella wondered. “Are you willing to talk to me about it?”

“You?” Catra blurted. “But you’re the queen! And...important!” She slapped her forehead. “Ugh, the stupid’s contagious. Look, I get that you’re grateful for the rescue, but it was my fault you were in there in the first place. I’m just– ” She lifted her head slightly, eyes sliding towards Adora’s door. “I’m such a coward,” she mumbled, slumping back down.

Angella couldn’t help smiling again. “‘Coward?’ Did you not sacrifice yourself to Horde Prime for my daughter? Or fight a First Ones monster, alone, to save Adora?” Catra’s blush grew with each reminder. “Or bare your heart to her to save the universe? Or risk everything after finding happiness at last to rescue one obsolete queen? Twelve years has nothing on your courage, Catriska.”

Catra blinked. “‘Obsolete?’ You know what, never mind. How long have you known who I am?” she asked.

“Since yesterday,” Angella replied, smile vanishing, “though I should have sooner. By the Stars, Shadow Weaver named you ‘Catra,’ It wasn’t exactly a Mer-Mystery.”

Catra’s mouth fell open, then closed. Angella chuckled, remembering Mermista’s father. He was a handful. Or ten. She remembered him wrestling with a squid to impress Mermista’s mother. Angella blinked. I can’t remember their names, she quailed. After a moment, she shook it off. Catra took a breath. “Okay. So, you’re as bad about beating yourself up as Adora. Got it.” Angella chuckled. “Do you think that was really Horde Prime?”

Angella sighed, letting herself smile again. “I could not guess, though I hope he was. I would rather the war ended with exile rather than execution. To think you tried to forgive that monstrosity.” Her smile broadened. “Are you the same girl who nearly toppled Brightmoon? Surely not.”

Catra’s ears shot upright as she blushed. “Sh-shut up!” she blurted, looking away. Angella giggled, feeling a thousand years younger. “I mean – gah! Sorry!” The magicat buried her face in her hands.

With as much gentle care as she could muster, Angella drew Catra closer, curling one wing around her. “Are you quite done deflecting, dear, or have you other questions?”

The magicat spluttered, then curled in on herself. In spite of all the normal cats she’d cared for, Angella was still amazed at how small Catra could become. “She gave up on me,” Catra whispered. “And I – deserved it.”

“Catra. There is blame, and there is responsibility. You have chosen to take responsibility for your actions, which is all to the good,” Angella explained. “Have you thought, however, that perhaps you are overcompensating?”

Again, Catra spluttered. “Overcompensating? I blew up the world!” she pointed out. “You almost died!”

Angella put a hand on Catra’s shoulder, willing it to be kind. “Yes. It takes great skill to overdo remorse in your case.” Catra tried to speak, but aside from a tiny mew, no sound came out. “Catra, in my experience, people want to believe that we either have absolute control over our fates, or none at all. It is never that simple. Context matters. You were kidnapped as a child, mind-wiped, abused, denigrated, indoctrinated, discriminated against, expertly manipulated, and literally tortured for most of your childhood. I suspect you made sacrifices for Adora that she is not aware of to this day.” Catra huffed – and leaned into Angella’s arm. “Your countless traumas do not make your worst actions right, but to me, those actions are both understandable and forgivable, especially given your extraordinary efforts to atone for them.” Again, Catra mewed, somehow curling further into herself. “You’re angry with her, aren’t you?”

Catra gasped and looked up at Angella. “How – agh!” The magicat’s hands shook. “Yes! Yes, I am, but I’m even angrier that I don’t have the right.”

By the Stars. Angella took care in moving to hug Catra. “Yes you do.” The queen felt Catra’s gasp as much as heard it. “Catra, emotions happen. They are neither right nor wrong, save love, which is never wrong. It is our actions that we must direct, and you have learned the importance of this.”

Catra snorted. “Yeah, the hard way. The really hard way.”

“Yet the pain others have caused you played its part,” Angella insisted. “Further, if I might hazard a guess, you are struggling with how to deal with Adora’s stubborn streak.” Catra chuckled while Angella continued. “While capable of admitting error, she must clearly be confronted with overwhelming evidence.”

Catra growled, ears pivoting back. “I – I’m not blaming her for that again. I can’t.”

Angella blinked; while not as exhausted as the magicat, she had not slept much herself since her ordeal. “Blame? For–” Angella gasped. Shadow Weaver literally tortured Catra. But not Adora. That was more – subtle. She indulged in making a fist with her free hand. “Oh. Oh.” The queen unclenched her fist and rubbed her face. “Catra, have you spoken to Adora about this?”

Catra looked up at her in alarm. “What? No! No, and I’m never going to! You know what Adora’s like, she’ll never forgive herself if she knows that witch was hurting me right in front of–”

“Catra?” Adora’s sleepy voice echoed along the hall. “You there?”

Catra turned pleading eyes on Angella. “Please. You can’t tell her, not now. Even – even at my worst, when I burned the whole world because Shadow Weaver left me for her, there was still enough love left in me to protect her from that.” Angella grimaced, and Catra’s eyes widened. “Please.”

“I understand, Catra, but you are not protecting her,” Angella pointed out. “Adora deserves to know the truth.”

“Catra?” Adora tried again. Angella stroked Catra’s hair as the woman – Stars, barely more than a girl, really, the queen thought – shivered.“If you’re looking for something to eat, we can just go to the kitchen.”

“I will not tell her,” Angella conceded, and Catra gave a surprising hug, “but you should. Talk to one another, Catra. Trust her.”

“Told you. Coward,” Catra said.

“Oh, no,” Adora gasped.

Catra’s ears and tail shot up in alarm. “Crap. I forgot to put the letter back!” she gasped.

“Catra! Catra, where are you?” Adora cried, bursting through the door. Melog bounded towards them. “For the Honor–”

“Over here, Adora,” Catra replied. Quickly.

“I have her, dear,” Angella added. Adora practically appeared before them, Melog mewing and rubbing against Catra’s hip. “You two really should talk, Adora. I would suggest sleep, but I rather doubt either of you will get much tonight.”

Adora’s eyes were wide and shaken, already rimmed with tears. “Catra, I’m so sorry–”

“For what?” Catra snapped, turning further into Angella’s embrace. “Being right? Again?”

“I was wrong!” Adora blurted, and Catra looked up with such desperate hope that Angella had to suppress the urge to hold them both. “I shouldn’t have given up on you. I should never have – and I would, I’d do so many things differently if I could, I’d talk, I’d listen–”

“Adora!” Catra cried, flinging herself into the heroine’s arms. They held each other, shaking in silent communion.

“Well, that appears to be my cue,” Angella noted, standing. “Still, I think I must elaborate on what I thought my last request.” Both young women looked up at her. “Adora, let Catra take care of you. Catra, let Adora take care of you.” Angella smiled. “Take care of each other.” Then she scooped them up in a cushion made of light, both yelping in alarm. “Now. To bed with you both.” Indulging in a mother’s prerogative, she carried them back to Adora’s room and gently deposited them on her cot. “I will be up for a time if you need me.” With that, she showed herself out.

-SR- -SR- -SR-

Catra and Adora looked at each other and laughed, the magicat collapsing onto the cot. Melog put her paws by Catra’s shoulder and licked her cheek. “Okay, okay, I’m better, Melog.”

Melog huffed and dropped back to the floor, curling up and staring. Her eyes and mane turned orange. Adora smirked. “Busted.” Catra glared. Traitor, she thought. Melog huffed again and looked away. “Melog’s a tell the size of Brightmoon.” The smirk vanished, and Adora sat beside Catra, taking her hand. “Talk to me? Please?”

Catra closed her eyes, too exhausted to even turn over. “Sparkles’ mom is kinda awesome.”

Adora paused. “I know,” she replied, giving Catra’s hand a gentle squeeze. “Did she help?”

“Yeah.” Catra shuddered, remembering too much all at once. “I think. She said it was okay for me to be mad at you, if I didn’t do anything bad.” She managed a faint smirk of her own. “Well, she was way more speechy about it, but hey, queen.”

Adora sighed, and Catra opened her eyes again. The sorrow on her face broke Catra’s heart. “Catra, I’m glad you understand that you hurt people, but that doesn’t make it okay that other people hurt you. It’s not okay that I hurt you, or that I let Shadow Weaver hurt you–”

“You didn’t let her hurt me, Adora!” Catra snapped, failing to sit up. “We were kids, what were you supposed to do?” Then she froze, eyes wide. “Wait, you knew?” Catra whispered. “You knew what she was doing to me?”

Adora’s eyes mirrored Catra’s. “I – I thought I did. I mean, the paralysis, the threats, cruel words every day – Catra, was there more?”

Stupid! Stupid stupid STUPID! Catra howled at herself, curling up as tight as she could. “That was enough,” she whispered. Don’t ask, please don’t ask–

Adora didn’t ask. When Catra felt Adora’s hand quivering in hers, she realized Adora didn’t have to. “I’m such an idiot,” she breathed.

Catra uncurled. Adora’s eyes were wide, and she’d gone pale enough to rival Hordak. “Adora, no, please,” Catra begged.

“The nights you never came to bed, the mornings you could barely move, all the times you were on half-rations, you always flinched at Garnet lightning, you barely had a mark after Scorpia – oh Stars, when we were sixteen, you crawled into bed and begged me to run away with you,” Adora remembered. Nonono not like this! Catra tried to sit up, but collapsed, too exhausted after nine days of pushing herself way too hard. “It was her, wasn’t it? All of it.”

“Now? Seriously?” Catra tried to bare her fangs, in voice and in truth, but neither worked. “You figured it out now?”

Adora took a deep, shuddering breath, then let it go. “Catra? May – may I hold you?” Catra sighed and nodded. The cot was hardly wide enough for one person, but somehow Adora managed to curl around her. “I...I get why you didn’t tell me before. She’s gone now. Please don’t let anyone hurt you again without telling me. Please.”

Catra released a thoroughly catlike whine, then surrendered. “Fine. Okay.”

Adora shuddered against the magicat. “I get why you were so mad in Thaymor, now. I saw it with strangers, but not–” A tear dropped onto Catra’s shoulder. “I’m such an idiot.”

“Adora, please, enough,” Catra sighed. “I kinda overreacted. A lot. And it was still me not wanting to share you, and feeling like second best, I didn’t make those up–” Catra froze. Oh. Oh, WOW. This is exactly what I deserve, isn’t it?

Catra laughed, stopping when Adora stiffened and looked her in the eyes. “Catra, that sounded like a bad laugh,” Adora said.

“Nah. I just realized, I did all those horrible things to prove I’m worth something without you.” Catra smirked and shook her head. “And oh look, all I proved is, I’m not.” Adora gasped. “Everything I’m good for is about you. Isn’t that just the perfect punishment?” Melog whimpered. Catra’s smirk vanished at the horror on Adora’s face. Oh. Crap. “Well, except that I love you and I’m still happy with you but–”

Adora uncurled from around her and stood. “Okay, no.” She reached into the air. “For the Honor of Grayskull!”

Before Catra’s eyes had adjusted to the blinding flash, She-Ra had scooped her up in her arms and carried her out into the hall. “Adora! Did you turn into She-Ra or Scorpia?” Catra tried to squirm out of Adora’s arms, but even though Adora wasn’t pinning her down, she lacked the strength to pull herself out.

In moments, they were in front of Glimmer’s door. “Glimmer? I need your–” Adora began.

They vanished and reappeared in a burst of shimmering light. Catra’s stomach was too tired to overload, settling for a nasty lurch and one gulp. “Sorry, Catra,” Glimmer looked her over with a gasp. “Stars, are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” Catra muttered before she could stop herself. She tried to facepalm – and missed, covering her mouth instead.

Glimmer stared for a moment. “I’m getting Bow,” she announced, vanishing and reappearing with a pajama-clad, teeth-brushing Bow before either of them could react.

Bow dropped his toothbrush, jaw following. “Catra?” he gasped. “Have you been eating?”

“Aagh – of course I’ve been eating!” she objected, clenching fists. Her stomach didn’t so much growl as roar. Adora glared. Catra looked away. “I’ve been eating light, so what?”

“Catra thinks she’s not worth anything without me,” Adora explained to the Best Friends Squad. “Help?”

Glimmer looked at Bow with a pleading gaze that stunned Catra, whose attempt at a growl came out as a mewl. How did this sparkly princess end up caring about me of all people? she wondered.

Bow grinned. “Actually, I was going to do this in a few days anyway–” he began.

“Wait, what?” Catra blurted.

Bow sighed. “Look, Catra, it took me a while to get past – you know,” Bow began.

“You know, it took me a while, but I finally figured out your character.” Catra shook it off. “Yeah.”

“But I finally realized that all you ever wanted was for people to accept and appreciate you for the person you are. I really get that,” Bow continued, briefly subdued. “So, since you need food and rest, first thing is, we’re gonna have a sleepover!”

Glimmer lit up. “Bow, that’s a great idea!” she gushed, teleporting a mass of blankets and pillows to the floor.

“We’re gonna talk about all the amazing things you’ve done,” Bow continued, Adora smiling like a star and Melog purring like an engine, “and when you’re rested, you’re gonna lead a mission to remind you how awesome you are.”

Catra scoffed. “The only good I’ve done is fixing my own mistakes,” she muttered.

“Ugh!” Glimmer threw her hands up. “Look, Catra, no one’s gonna say you didn’t do anything wrong, but you didn’t build the portal, kidnap children, or create the Horde. You’re doing way more good now than any bad you did.”

“You’re also wrong about the mistakes thing,” Adora added. “You didn’t have anything to do with the First Ones, but you saved me from that monster, and then again in the Heart.” She chuckled. “Besides, you took down Shadow Weaver and Hordak! As a bad guy, you were a better hero than I was.”

Catra’s ears shot upright. What?! “Are you crazy?” Catra snapped. “Queen Angella–”

“Home,” Glimmer retorted.

“Salineas–” Catra tried again.

“Completely restored,” Bow pointed out, waving a Galactic Horde control pad Catra recognized. He pulled it out of her reach before she could grab it. “Funny how the Horde’s bots fixed the place up like new. But you’d know all about that, huh?”

“Only you could conquer an entire kingdom without killing anyone, Horde scum,” Glimmer quipped, her smile gentle.

“Aagh,” Catra groaned, curling up in Adora’s arms. “Don’t sleepovers have sleep? Princesses don’t make sense.”

The other three laughed, then Adora lowered Catra into a nest of bedding. “Everyone deserves love, Catra,” Bow continued. “Love’s not about earning.”

Glimmer’s smile vanished. “No matter what Shadow Weaver taught you.”

“And we’ll be here to prove it to you,” Adora insisted. Catra couldn’t help mewing and curling up against She-Ra when she dropped down behind her. “As long as it takes.”

“...thanks,” Catra murmured, already drifting off. Bow’s eyes sparkled like his girlfriend. She was too tired to let it bother her.

For the first time in her life, Catra felt completely safe, letting herself rest at long last.

-SR- -SR- -SR-

Adora watched, pretending not to be terrified, as Catra marched towards the renegade Horde company, walking into the kill-box of a valley apparently alone. She’ll be fine. We found their commander’s snipers. Netossa, Spinerella, Perfuma, and – Angella, of all people – are ready to take them out. Glimmer’s overhead with Swift Wind for a fast rescue if we need one. Melog has me and Bow cloaked if she needs us. Entrapta and Hordak are in Darla if things get really messy. Adora took a long, deep breath. She’ll be fine. Breathe.

A smile crept across Adora’s face when she remembered Catra explaining why she wanted to bring Angella along. “The lady who wanted to stay trapped in a void with Horde Prime to protect me thinks she’s a coward. I’m not gonna let that slide.” All the same, she imagined the Sword in her hand as a vanguard strode out to meet her love. “Commander Catra,” the leader said. Adora didn’t recognize the voice, but from the way Catra’s ears swiveled up, she did. “So good to see you again.”

“Hey, Dreer,” Catra replied, and their leader slid off his helmet. He looked like a male Light Spinner, his smirk on an azure face, pointed ears as long as Catra’s. “You’re good, but you were one of Shadow Weaver’s. This isn’t your show. Where’s Vultak?”

Dreer’s smirk vanished. “How–” he stopped, then snarled a curse. “Sneaky. You’ve always been sneaky. Doesn’t matter. General Vultak is beyond you. He’s rebuilding the Horde, and he has an entire terrified galaxy ready to obey someone who can lead them.” He glared at Catra, one finger pointed out, glowing with dark power. “It could have been you. The Horde would have followed you into the void, but you went back to her. Shadow Weaver’s golden child – she gave Adora everything, while she took even your magic!”

Adora’s heart lurched, tears forming – until Catra laughed. She drew a magic circle in the air, then shattered it with her claws. “Please. I’ve got magic, but we both know I never needed it. Stand down.” Her smirk vanished. “The Horde was a lie.” Dreer’s soldiers murmured behind her. “The princesses were never evil. We didn’t bring peace. Prime literally stuck Hordak’s dream in his head, and it was a boot stamping on every face, forever. I never cared about any of that crap. All I wanted was to prove myself to someone. I chose the wrong people.”

“We believe in you!” one of the other soldiers cried, and Adora’s heart started again.

The one voice turned into a torrent, Catra’s eyes growing wider with each addition. “You destroyed the Box!” “You ended rationing punishment!” “You fixed requisitions!” Adora gasped as one voice after another cried out the things she’d done, not to them, but for them.

“Enough!” Catra roared, holding up her hands. Dreer turned, jaw dropping at the sight of his soldiers obeying her. “If you believe in me, go home. The war is over! No one is going to attack the Fright – Scorpion Hill. Queen Angella has declared an amnesty for everyone in the Horde, if we can just live in peace.” The soldiers stared for a moment, then murmured among each other.

Dreer gulped. “E-enough of this farce! Fire!” he ordered.

Nothing happened. Dreer gasped. A bear-woman tore off her helmet and glared at him. “Do you think we’re going to attack Commander Catra, you traitor?”

Catra laughed. “Nah. He just means the snipers my team took out five minutes ago.” At those words, Netossa and Spinnerella stood, revealing one windblown group caught in blue strands, while Perfuma and Angella emerged with half their captives bound in vines and half sealed in jeweled light. “You really want to give up now, Dreer.”

“Feckless child!” Dreer snapped, magic glowing around one hand and a stun baton flying into the other. “I challenge you for leadership of the Horde!”

Catra shrugged, her smirk growing. “Okay.” Adora gasped, leaping forward and reaching for the Sword, magic words on her lips–

It was over in a flash. Before Dreer could fire his baton, let alone form a spell, Catra had dashed into his face, leaped, slashed his baton into diced metal with one hand, kicked his spell hand, and driven a knuckle-punch into the gap between breastplate and belt. Dreer folded like Bow playing Bridge. Catra tossed the fringe of hair that had grown back aside while Dreer groaned at her feet. Oh, Stars, Adora thought, staring as she licked her lips. Catra looks amazing like that.

Bow chuckled. “Come on,” he said, waving as Melog turned them visible and he headed over to help get the former soldiers home. “You can ogle your girlfriend later.”

Adora’s face went blazing hot. “I – I wasn’t ogling!” Melog chuckled and padded after Bow. Adora wondered if sinking into the ground might be one of She-Ra’s powers.

It wasn’t, so she had to endure more than a few chuckles – even from the Horde soldiers! – as she jogged over to Catra’s side. Adora watched, glowing with pride, while Catra moved through the group, assuring them that the Princess Alliance wouldn’t harm them. “Skiffs are on the way,” she told one fire team. “Scorpia’s got the Zone running. You’ll be fine.”

“So, you’re not good for anything besides me, huh?” Adora asked. Catra yelped, leaped, and whirled on Adora. The soldiers spun, hands on baton holsters. She-Ra put up her hands. “Hey, her words, not mine. This operation’s secondary goal was proving her wrong.”

Adora bit down on a squee when even the team of random Horde soldiers turned “really?” looks on Catra. Catra’s blush was the most exquisite thing Adora had ever seen. “ADORA!” Catra wailed. Melog leaped to her side, and the two vanished. The Alliance members laughed.

It didn’t take long for Adora to find Angella, Catra and Melog under a tree, looking towards the distant Fright Zone. “It is good to see Scorpion Hill recovering,” Angella explained, Catra scratching Melog’s head while the big cat licked her arm. “I’ve petitioned the Alliance to hold the next Princess Prom in Scorpia’s realm.”

Catra laughed. It was the most beautiful sound in the universe. “And I promise 100% less Heat Bombs this time.” She finally saw Adora standing there. “Hey, Adora. Enjoying the view?”

“Yep. Best in the world,” Adora replied, looking at Catra. The magicat looked away, blushing.

“I should check on Glimmer,” Angella said, spreading her wings and soaring off.

“Subtle,” Catra chuckled. She gave Adora that smile. “Thanks, Adora. For trusting me.”

“Of course,” Adora replied, hugging Catra. “I have faith in you.”

“You never did have much faith in me.” The old memory seemed to glitch into oblivion as Catra returned the hug. “So,” Catra said. “Still want that road trip?”

“Only if you’re ready,” Adora insisted.

Catra laughed again. “Come on. What would you dorks do without me?”

Adora joined her laugh. “Good thing we’ll never have to find out,” she replied, sliding out of the hug to hold Catra’s hand. Side by side, they walked together toward the future.