Catra barges into their room, laughing as she closes the door behind her. From her vanity, Adora turns to see her walking towards her, still giggling.
"Woah, you look amazing."
"Thank you." Adora says, feeling her cheeks warm up. "Were you running from Glimmer?"
Catra stops behind her and places her hand on Adora's shoulders. She looks at her through the mirror.
"How did you know?"
Adora shrugs. Catra has her hair in a ponytail, making it look more behaved than usual, but Adora bets Glimmer still tried to brush it.
"I forgot to get the jacket." Catra says. "Also, Bow said if we're late to Scorpia's first princess prom she's gonna kill us."
Adora smiles, feeling a weird sense of déjà vu. "It's in the closet. I'm almost ready."
Catra plants a kiss on the top of her head and walks to the closet.
“I think Perfuma would be the one to kill us, so we really shouldn’t be late.” Catra adds.
Adora smiles and takes a final look at herself. She feels good. Her hair is the prettiest it's been, she thinks, and longer too, down below her shoulders out of her usual ponytail.
She adjusts her tiara and gets up.
"How do I look?" Catra asks, walking back towards her. She has the white and gold jacket that matches Adora's long dress draped over a shoulder, over her maroon shirt and high waisted dark pants. It almost takes Adora's breath away.
"Stunning." Adora answers, and something downs on her. A hint of a memory, but she's not sure if it's good or bad, a feeling that suddenly gnaws her insides.
Catra smiles, lovingly and beautiful, and extends a hand to her. "You coming?"
For a split second, Adora sees green, hears his voice which hadn't haunted her in years, feels her chest tightening. Shaking, she reaches out for Catra's hand and─
Takes it. It's real. She's there with her.
"Everything okay?" Catra asks, worry in her voice. She steps closer, places her free hand on the side of Adora's face, caressing her.
Adora focuses on her, on the warmth of her hand, on her worried mismatched eyes, and exhales a shaky breath. She smiles and leans into the touch.
"Yeah, I just spaced out for a second." Adora lets go of her hand to cup Catra's face with both hands and to draw her in for a kiss.
It never gets old. After all these years together it doesn't feel as shocking; that Adora can kiss her, that Catra wants her too. It's more like a feeling of coming home, of peace and certainty.
They pull apart, resting their foreheads together. Adora's hands fall to Catra's shoulders, then slides down her arms until she finds her hands.
"Should we go before Sparkles shows up in here and teleports us by our hairs?"
Adora laughs, feeling all bubbly and warm in the way that only Catra can make her feel. It hits her; how lucky she is, how she somehow has everything she ever wanted in life and more. During so many years of space adventures with the love of her life and her two best friends it's been hard to have a quiet moment to think of how far the two of them have come.
Once, a long time ago, she never imagined she'd have Catra back in her life. Now, she can't imagine they ever being apart again. Everyday, they choose each other. Everyday, they stay.
Though they don't need any formalities to be together, Adora can't help but think of the first Etherian tradition she learned about. Glimmer once explained to her why Spinnerella and Netossa wore each other's necklaces, how that represented that they were each other's, meant to be together forever. Adora also remembers when Glimmer and Bow started wearing matching earrings, not too long after the war ended and before they all went to space together. She doesn't remember ever seeing them without those earrings again. She knows Catra doesn't care about traditions they never learned about, and neither does Adora, but being back in Etheria she realizes how much she missed it and its customs.
“Go ahead, I forgot something. I’ll be quick.”
“Okay, but if we’re late I’m blaming it all on you.” Catra smiles and plants a kiss on Adora’s nose before leaving.
The Fright Zone ─ now called the Scorpion Kingdom ─ is unrecognizable. Scorpia greets them with the tightest hug of the galaxy, and promises to give them a tour once they all have some time. Adora notices a flower necklace around her neck, which she remembers as something Perfuma would always wear, and feels an overwhelming love for her friends.
They mingle with all their friends, everyone together again after so much time, and dance until Adora’s feet are burning. She’s gotten better in dancing, having had a lot of practice with her girlfriend, but Catra is still the naturally talented dancer between them. At some point Catra asks if she wants to go check out their spot, saying that Scorpia kept it for her and that it now has stairs so anyone can safely reach it.
They go, then, hand in hand, pointing out all the things that look different and better on the way, which is basically everything. The Fright Zone has healed, and so have them.
They sit side by side at the highest point of the Scorpion Kingdom. Legs hanging over the edge, a cool breeze touching their faces, Catra’s tail wrapped tightly around Adora’s waist, Adora’s hand over Catra’s between them. Their old platform has been renovated and doesn’t look like it’s gonna crumble into pieces at any second anymore. The view is also completely different than it used to be. The dense, green and purple industrial zone long gone, replaced by beautiful buildings and architecture, gardens and trees, and clean air.
Stars already dot the sky as the last moon of the day sets. The moonsets here used to be of a deep, strong orange because of the pollution, but now it casts a warm, golden light over them, making the gold details of their outfits almost sparkle.
“Do you know why I always came up here?” Catra asks her, voice low and soft.
“Because no one could find you?”
“Because only you could find me.”
Adora’s heart flutters. It feels like just yesterday they were at this same spot, wondering about what was outside of the Fright Zone, making plans to explore the world together. Now, they not only explored this world but so many others that they’ve even lost count. Together, always together. She’s so lucky to have Catra, to be here with her again, after everything. She squeezes her hand and thinks if she doesn’t focus enough she might slip into She-Ra’s form right there.
“I have so many bad memories from this place, most of them faded from my head, I think.” Adora says. “But all the good ones involve you. You were my light in the darkness that this place once was, and the light that brought me back to life when, you know─”
“When you saved the universe.” Catra says, casually.
Adora laughs. “When we saved the universe.” She corrects her. “Our love, to be more precise. I love you so much, Catra.”
Catra smiles as a faint blush paints over her cheeks.
It still feels important to say those words. It’s not as world-shifting, literally, as it was when they confessed to each other, but just as important.
“I love you too.” Catra replies, softly. “Why are you getting so sappy? Did you have too much of that blue drink?”
“You started it.” Adora grins. “I wanted to give you something tonight.”
Adora lets go of her hand and reaches for the inside of her left shoulder strap, where she hid her golden wing pin. She takes it and takes Catra’s hand again, then puts the pin on it, covering it with her own hand so Catra can’t see what it is yet.
She has an eyebrow raised and a curious look on her face.
“Catra, I’ve loved you for all my life, and I will love you until the day I’m gone. If there’s an afterlife I’ll keep loving you then. My love for you is one of the few things I’m certain in life, and one of the things I’ll keep choosing everyday; to love you, to be with you,”
“Adora─” Catra says, eyes glistening.
“Let me finish.” Adora smiles, feeling her own eyes wet as well. “I want to give you this as a token of my love for you, as a promise. I want to promise you that I’ll always be yours, and that you’ll always have a little piece of me with you. If you want it, of course.”
Adora removes her hand from Catra’s, revealing the pin. Catra traces it with the index finger of her other hand, a big smile forming on her face.
“I know we don’t really get all the traditions that people do, but this one feels important somehow.” Adora says. “I don’t care much about material things but I’ve had this pin since I first took off my Horde badge. I’ve grown to think of it as my little amulet of good luck, almost a part of me, but now I want it to be yours. I know it’s a bit scratched, but─”
“I love it.” Catra says. She carefully attaches it to her shirt. “I’ll wear it everyday.”
She cups Adora’s face with one hand and smiles the softest smile Adora has ever seen. She leans in and Adora follows until their foreheads touch.
“Be my wife, Catra. Marry me.”
“Of course I’ll marry you, dummy.” She brushes their noses together. “I’m yours, too, Adora. Always and forever. I promise.”
Adora tilts her head and meets Catra’s lips with her own, smiling against her mouth. Her hand finds the back of Catra’s neck, fingers touching the remains of a now healed wound, and she pulls Catra closer, deepening the kiss.
“Should─” they draw apart, “should I be giving you something too?”
Adora takes her hand and interlaces their fingers.
“You already did. Remember my She-Ra mask?”
“Does that count?” Catra grins.
Adora leans her head on Catra’s shoulder and moves closer. Catra places her free hand over Adora’s forearm, gently stroking it.
“I love you, Adora.”
“I love you too.”
Adora feels more than hears a low purrl.
“We should have a ceremony, right? A big party?”
“Scorpia’s ball didn’t even end yet and you already want another party?” Adora laughs.
“Yeah, to celebrate us, our love. We can get an us cake!”
Adora gasps. “I’ll start planning tomorrow.”
“Of course you will.” Catra squeezes her hand. “Do you wanna go back to the ball?”
“Can we stay here a little longer?”
“As long as you want.” Catra answers, resting her head over Adora’s.
They stay there until it’s completely dark. Just the two of them, together, safe in each other’s warmth, as it was always meant to be.