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She's in Love

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Adora charges up the grassy hill, catches Catra while her back is turned, and sweeps her into her arms.

“Hey, put me down!” Catra’s bubbling laughter mixes with her own. It rings in Adora’s ears and sings through her chest as she twirls and twirls.

“Never,” she whispers. We did it. We won.

She has to stop moving only because the world starts spinning off kilter. She stumbles, laughing like she’s drunk, clutching Catra to her. She meets Catra’s sly, toothy grin when something hits the back of her legs and she falls.

Adora tightens her hold and they land close together, knocking the wind out of each other. Catra wraps herself around Adora and tugs.

“Catra, wha-“

And then they’re rolling down the hill. They’re shrieking and cackling as they tumble over and over, bits of grass flying about them as they fight to keep hold of each other until they land at the bottom on their backs, side by side.

Adora’s never laughed like this and doesn’t know how to stop. Doesn’t want to because she feels lighter than air, fuller than a bright star, dazzling as the sky above. 

She’s panting for breath when Catra eventually crawls on top of her and folds her arms on her chest, tail flicking to and fro.

“What’s got you so happy?”

Quick enough to startle, Adora grabs her and kisses her. Catra’s brief surprise melts away and she hums into it. When she pulls back, Adora has the biggest grin on her face.

Catra picks a few blades of grass out of her hair. “Dummy,” she murmurs, eyes soft.

 

......

 

Catra’s at the window seat staring out when Adora gets to her room. Their room. Melog is curled up beside her, sound asleep.

“Haven’t passed out yet?” Adora says as she sits in front of Catra, next to the foot that’s stretched out on the bench, and draws her legs up onto the cushion, crossing them. Her mouth is full of a half eaten cupcake.

“No,” Catra says. She appears relaxed, arm resting on a bent knee. She looks at the cupcake and raises a brow. “Still hungry?”

Adora unapologetically licks frosting off her fingers and takes another bite. “She-Ra was busy today. Want some?”

Catra shakes her head.

“Doing okay?”

“Yeah.” Catra shrugs. “There were a lot of people at the party.”

Adora puts a hand on her shin. “It’s okay to take a break when you need it. I’m glad you told me before you left.”

Catra just nods.

Adora finishes her cupcake. Catra still hasn’t said anything, staring absently out the window.

“So, uh. What do you think of my room?”

Catra gives the room a brief, disinterested look. “It’s certainly different than the barracks.”

“I know, right? It’s so bright and princessy. It’s where I stayed after I- after...“ Oh. “After… you know.”

“I know.”

“Do…” It almost pains her to ask but she has to if it’s what Catra needs to feel comfortable. “Do you want to sleep somewhere else?”

Catra raises a brow. “Of course not. I want to stay with you.”

The words have a way of putting stars in Adora’s eyes as she looks at her with a hopeful smile. “Aww.”

Catra snorts and rolls her eyes. “Dork.”

They smile at each other for a few seconds before a different kind of smirk appears on Catra’s face.

“What?” Adora knows that particular look means she’s being laughed at. “Do I have something on my face?” She reaches for her face, but Catra’s quick as she leans forward and catches her wrist.

“Yeah. Right…” Catra reaches toward her mouth before deftly poking her in the forehead. “Here.”

Adora pouts and swipes at her hand. “Jerk.” She wipes her mouth and finds frosting at the corner. “Hey, you didn’t-“

Catra’s chuckle turns into full laughter as she sits back. Adora glares at her, but she can’t hold it for long because Catra’s laughing, and Adora feels like she’s been starving for that sound.

When Catra’s gleaming eyes return to hers, there’s something in the way the stars — the stars because they have stars now — reflects off them that captures Adora’s attention. There’s a little voice in her head that tells her to look away. Tells her she can’t want this.

But she keeps looking at Catra. Her heterochromatic eyes, her twitching ears, her cute smile.

“Adora?”

Adora holds out a hand. They’re sitting a little closer now, but it feels too far. “Come here.”

Catra’s immediately suspicious, eyeing her hand warily. “Why?”

Because I want you closer. She makes a little grabby motion with her fingers. “I’m not going to do anything. Promise.”

Catra leans toward her hand, ears up and eyes darting around for any sign of foul play, and inches forward. Adora’s fingertips touch her jaw, and Catra pauses.

“Come on, closer.” Adora spreads her legs out to give a clear path toward herself. It’s hard to miss when Catra’s eyes wander. Adora feels her cheeks heat, but she doesn’t move.

Catra gets to her hands and knees, and Adora’s heart flip-flops as soon as she nudges into her hand. Adora strokes a thumb along her cheek and lightly scratches under her jaw.

Catra makes an annoyed sound as she tilts her head into it. “Ugh, gross. Stop it.”

“Nah.” Adora reaches further and scratches at the corner of her jaw and beneath her ear.

Catra leans in. Her eyes have closed as she says through her teeth, “I hate it, why are you like this?”

“You’re blushing.”

Catra’s tail flicks behind her. “No I’m not.”

“You definitely are.” Adora can see the hair on her tail stand up, her ears bending down and back. 

Delighted, Adora places both hands on either side of her face, scratching along the sides of her neck and up into her scalp. Catra continues making a show of being distressed by this. But she shifts closer and closer, walking on hands and knees, purrs rolling through her. She ducks her head under Adora’s chin and rubs against her neck, then tucks her limbs in and rests against Adora’s chest.

Adora gentles her touch, brushing her hands through Catra’s hair. “Is this okay?”

“S’okay,” Catra says quietly. She nuzzles into Adora’s chest. “I can hear your heartbeat.”

Adora’s heart is hammering, even more so with Catra’s weight against her. She can’t think of a way to reply and just draws her knees up and loosely embraces her.

They sit comfortably like that for a while. Adora’s looking out the window when she yawns and looks down. She brushes a hand down Catra’s shoulder. “Hey, you asleep?”

Catra inhales deeply and rubs her cheek against Adora’s chest. “No,” she mutters.

“Think we should go to bed? I can look for some pajamas for you. We forgot to unload stuff from the ship.”

“Or I could sleep naked.”

The well oiled gears in Adora’s brain grind to a stop. Catra’s peeking up at her through one half-lidded eye, smirking in a way that makes her fang hook over her lip.

And Adora’s just- staring at her and picturing her without her shirt because she can’t not think of that now. “Um.” She’s flustered enough to miss the initial curiosity layered under Catra’s gaze. Misses the way it transforms into a calculating gleam as it’s witness to her whole moment of turmoil.

“Now who’s blushing?” Catra asks in a low, husky voice.

“N-no one, not me.” Adora tugs at her collar, more aware now than before of Catra’s weight against her. When did it get so hot in here? She’s vaguely aware how obvious she is but doesn’t know how to fix that.

Catra chuckles, “Good to know.” She snuggles even closer and hooks her tail around Adora’s ankle.

Adora releases a breath. “Tease.”

The tip of Catra’s tail just wags and taps against her ankle.

Somehow the bed seems so far away now. Adora rests her head atop Catra’s, arms wrapping around her, and drags her down along the bench.

She can tell Catra’s pleased by this from the brief flutter of her purrs. It doesn’t take too long for both of them to fall asleep.

 

......

 

Adora’s awake way too early in the morning and her stomach is rumbling. She groans internally at her body, wondering why it has to be so greedy at a time like this.

With great reluctance, Adora slowly and carefully pushes away from Catra’s warm body, an action made more difficult because Melog has curled up on Catra’s other side and trapped one of Adora’s arms. She’s almost clear when Catra’s hand loosely wraps around her wrist.

“I’m just gonna get some food,” Adora whispers. She realizes after a moment that Catra is actually still asleep.

With a fond smile, Adora gingerly pulls the hand off her arm and places it back down. She tiptoes to the bed to grab a blanket and tucks it around Catra — and a little over Melog by proximity — and as she’s leaning over her, she feels the urge to kiss the freckles on Catra’s cheek. With some reluctance she refrains, not wanting to wake her.

Melog's head perks up as she’s about to leave. Adora puts a finger to her lips, unsure if they understand, but they settle back down nonetheless.

The halls are quiet at this hour. There are guards on duty, and they smile and nod to Adora as she makes her way to the kitchen.

She’s in the middle of hunting for cupcakes when Bow enters the room.

“Good morning, Adora. You’re up earlier than I expected.”

“Oh, hey Bow. You’re up as early as expected.” Well, if we ignore the part where we saved the universe yesterday.

Bow smiles and says, “Habit. What’re you looking for?”

“Just getting a snack before I go back to bed. Using all of She-Ra’s powers yesterday is apparently going to make me eat everything in this palace by the end of the day. Right now I was just hoping there would be more cupcakes.”

Bow laughs. “Come on. It’s almost breakfast. Why not make something?”

“Uh, make something?”

“Oh right, the Horde didn’t offer cooking lessons.”

“‘Fraid not. Do you know how to cook, Bow?”

It strikes Adora that their conversation almost feels too mundane considering the events of the previous day. But then again, what’s wrong with that? Isn’t this exactly what they fought for? Was there supposed to be a time limit before meeting in the kitchen for snacks would be allowed?

“Of course. My dads taught me. Sometimes they’d… Hey, I have an idea.” Bows eyes light up. “We can make something for Catra and Glimmer and bring them breakfast in bed.”

Adora raises an eyebrow. “You think they’d like having breakfast in bed?” She’d never heard of such a thing.

“Of course! My dads would bring breakfast to each other all the time. Sometimes I’d get to help.” Bow shrugs matter-of-factly. “We all need to eat, right? What better way to show someone you love them than by giving them food you made yourself?”

Adora ponders this for all of a second before she responds, “That makes complete sense to me.”

“Adora.” Bow is utterly serious as he slings an arm around her shoulders and levels a finger at her. “I am going to teach you. How to cook.”

“Wait, what?” The implications hit her as she blinks at him a couple times. She didn’t think she had anything to be afraid of now that Etheria had been saved, but apparently she’d been wrong. “Me? Cook? Are you sure that’s a good idea?”

“Of course. You need to learn sometime. Don’t worry, I’ll get all the ingredients out and help you every step of the way.” Bow suddenly sucks in a huge, noisy breath. “You know what we need?”

“I have a feeling you’re about to tell me.”

Aprons.

In no time they’re both decked out in ‘kiss the cook’ aprons with hearts embroidered all over. Bow’s apron has a hole for his stomach, and he’s found a chef’s hat for himself. There’s a pile of food between them that Adora is eyeing warily. They’ve each got a chopping board in front of them and their own mixing bowls on either side.

“We’ll make it simple this time. A ham and cheese omelet.”

“What’s that?”

“That’s butter, Adora.”

Adora scoffs. “I knew that. It was wrapped funny, that’s all.”

Bow takes a knife and cuts off a couple chunks of ham. “Here, cut this into little pieces first.”

Feeling confident for the first time, Adora puffs out her chest. “Oh-ho, I can do this. For the honor of-“

Bow frantically waves a hand. “No, no. Nope. No magic. Just use this.” He passes her a kitchen knife.

She turns the tiny blade over in her hands. She shrugs and swings it onto the board in a beautiful arc, severing the ham slice in two with a, “Hya!

“O-kay, hold up. We are not at war with the food,” Bow says in a consoling sort of way, as patient as if he were instructing a child. “We’re not trying to kill it. Let me show you.” Bow sets up on his own chopping board. His knife slides through the ham with practiced ease, showing hardly any effort with the motions. “Now you try. And watch your fingers. It’s not like swinging a sword around.”

Adora tries to mimic the posture and motions, peeking over at him to check if she has it right. When she starts chopping the ham, she feels a little awkward and less graceful than Bow, but eventually she’s able to get a neat little pile. He then helps her shred cheese with a handy device, and that pile goes next to the ham.

“Okay, next. These are eggs.”

Adora gives him a flat look. “I know what eggs are, Bow.”

Bow winks. “Just checking.” He places the bowl in front of her. “Crack these into here.”

“Um.” Adora looks at the egg for a moment before gently tapping it on the counter.

“Try it on the corner. A little bit harder.”

Crunch.

They both wince as Adora takes her yolk-smeared hand away from the edge of the counter. “Oops.”

Bow coughs, sounding suspiciously like a laugh. “Why don’t I show you?”

Bow demonstrates with a couple of eggs and then gestures for her to try. Adora gets the hang of it as well as the experience of trying to pick egg shell pieces out of the bowl. She mimics the tiny amount of salt that Bow adds — arguing briefly that it doesn’t seem like it’s enough to make any difference — and then follows Bow’s lead when he whisks the eggs, eyes darting back and forth to make sure she’s doing it right.

“Now we need to heat up the pans and melt the butter. Watch me do mine, and then I’ll help you with yours, okay?”

Adora watches diligently as Bow melts the small piece of butter, letting it coat the surface of the pan. She’s riveted when he pours the eggs in and enjoys the sizzling sounds it makes. Bow explains the process, what to watch for, how to make sure the whole egg is cooked, and she tries to absorb every word.

At some point he adds the ham and shredded cheese in. He loosens the omelet from the pan and neatly flips half of it over. A moment later it’s on a plate.

“Wow, it looks so good,” Adora breathes. “Is it my turn? I wanna try.”

Bow passes the spatula like a torch.

Somehow it’s harder when she’s doing it. It looked so easy when she was just watching Bow. She has to rely more on her own instincts, which aren’t strong in this area to begin with, but Bow is always there to direct her to the next step or gently offer advice.

When it’s time to flip half of the omelet, Bow offers, “If you want I can do that part.”

“I wanna do it,” Adora says a little too quickly, utterly focused.

Adora doesn’t notice she has her tongue sticking out to the side as she gingerly slides the spatula under half of the omelet and flips it over. She gasps with genuine despair and her voice is wobbly as she says, “Oh no I broke it.”

Bow chuckles and puts a hand on her shoulder. “That’s okay. You’ll get better with practice. It’s still perfectly edible.”

She puts it onto a plate next to Bow’s. It looks like a jumbled disaster next to his perfect one, but somehow no less appetizing.

“Ready to make another one?” They share matching grins and get to work.

Some of the palace chefs have shown up by this time, but they maneuver around each other with minimal difficulty. Adora enjoys the process even more a second time through, feeling a little more competent. Soon she has two plates of omelets on a tray and a bowl of leftover ham and scrambled eggs for Melog.

“I am so proud of you.” Bow puts an arm across her shoulders and wipes an imaginary tear from the corner of his eye. At least, Adora thinks it’s imaginary. “Our girlfriends are gonna love us.”

Our girlfriends. Catra’s my girlfriend. Her heart starts doing the funny flip-flop thing again.

“You think so?” She’s oddly breathless when she says it. Catra’s my girlfriend.

Bow puts both hands on her shoulders. “I have no doubt. Now put these lids on so the food doesn’t get cold on the way to the rooms. And don’t forget forks...”

Eventually they part ways to their respective rooms. Adora carefully navigates the door and her precious cargo. She’s nervous. She feels like she’s delivering what may be the ultimate gift of love.

Catra is still asleep, although she’s moved at some point, curled up next to Melog.

Adora sets the tray down and sits across from Catra. Melog’s head has already raised, sniffing the air, and when Adora removes the lids with a soft ting, Catra’s ears move.

“Catra,” Adora says in an excited whisper. “I made food. I cooked. Me!”

Catra lifts her head. Her hair is adorably tousled, sleepy eyes sliding toward her, and Adora’s heart does the thing again. Catra raises onto an elbow, looks down at the tray, then slowly wanders up to Adora.

“My condolences to Bright Moon’s chefs.” Her morning voice is a little rough.

“Huh?”

“I assume the kitchen burned down in the process.”

Adora scoffs, offering the bowl to Melog and says, “I did not burn down the kitchen. Bow was helping me.”

Catra has the gall to look less worried. She sits up and says, “It smells good.” Even her tail wags a bit.

Adora grins. “Doesn’t it? It was so much fun to make. Here, try it before it gets cold.” Adora cuts off and spears a piece of the omelet. Holding a hand underneath, she offers for Catra to take a bite.

Catra leans toward it, opening her mouth a little, and then pauses. “You’re really staring at me. Like, really really staring.”

Adora nods rapidly. “Uh huh.”

Catra sighs and takes a bite. Chews. Her ears and eyebrows lift slowly. “Adora, this is really good.”

“What? Really?”

“Yeah, really. Haven’t you tried it yet?” Catra takes Adora’s fork and offers her a piece of her own omelet. “You gotta eat yours too, dummy.”

Adora obligingly takes a bite. “Holy shit. It is good. I made this, Catra.”

Catra laughs. Adora beams at her. They share a look over the food before self-consciously averting their eyes. They quietly continue their meal.

Catra spends most of the time sneaking looks at Adora, who pretends not to notice because she doesn’t want to discourage her. Finally Catra asks, “What are you wearing?”

Adora glances down. She still has the apron on. “Oh, I completely forgot. I’ll have to return it to the kitchen later.”

“You should keep it.”

“Hm? Why?”

Catra stills, like she’s been caught with something. Her ears lower as she looks to the side, scratching her neck and mumbling something.

“What?”

“S’cute.” Catra clears her throat and takes a huge bite of her omelet, the next words muffled around a full mouth. “I mean it looks nice on you.”

Catra is refusing to look at her. Adora finds herself smirking and raises an eyebrow. “Are you flirting with me?”

Catra rolls her eyes. Chews and swallows. “No, dumbass, I’m insulting you with compliments.”

Adora’s grin widens. “You don’t have to get mad just because you’re shy.”

Catra’s eyes narrow. It’s the only warning Adora gets before Catra’s claws sink into the apron, tearing fabric as she’s dragged forward into a kiss.

It’s so sudden she’s momentarily frozen, eyes wide open. It’s not until Catra starts to pull away, when the sense of loss hits her, that she leans forward, dropping her fork with a noisy clatter. She closes the distance and slides her hands up Catra’s neck.

There’s a softness to the kiss that draws Adora in, the initial spark of heat soothing into gentle embers. Catra’s teeth graze her bottom lip and her breath catches. She can feel the responding smirk.

“Shut up.”

“Sure, princess.”

They stay close, foreheads resting together, no longer kissing but unwilling to break apart completely just yet. Catra purrs and rubs their cheeks together.

Eventually they get around to finishing their food. Melog is already done and, according to Catra, has gone off to explore the palace. At some point Adora notices the holes in her apron — holes almost specifically placed around the lettering — and glares at Catra.

“I guess you’ll just have to keep that one,” Catra says, smugly wagging the end of her tail.

Adora rolls her eyes. She pauses and thinks about what Bow said earlier. “Catra, we’re… we’re girlfriends, right?”

Catra blinks. “Adora, we literally just kissed. Not for the first time. I mean… isn’t that what girlfriends do?” There’s a hint of uncertainty in her voice.

Adora laughs self-consciously. “Yeah, of course. I just. Want to make sure that I can think of you that way. Is it weird to ask that? That’s probably weird. I’m overthinking this.” She curls her hands in her lap. “I just want to be able to call you my girlfriend, and think about you that way, and I wanted to make sure that was okay since we haven’t talked about it.”

Catra moves the tray out of the way and scoots closer, taking Adora’s hands in hers. “Of course it’s okay. I want that, too.”

Adora draws her into a hug, and warm, gentle happiness settles over her.

 

......

 

It’s about midday when Catra comes into their room with her ears tucked down, Melog trailing in behind her. She fiddles with a bottle in her hands. “Sparkles says I stink. She’s gonna ban me from the palace if I don’t clean up.”

Adora smiles consolingly, confident she could stop that from happening. She’s in the middle of folding clothes and pauses. “You never did like baths. And for some reason the waterfall is just there to be a… waterfall.” She still hasn’t puzzled that one out. “What’s that you’ve got?”

“She gave this to me. Supposed to make bubbles.”

Adora tries not to laugh at the forlorn look on Catra’s face. “You don’t have to use the bubbles.”

“I guess.” Catra clears her throat, rubs the side of her neck. “Remember when we were younger you’d help me wash my hair? It’s not so long now, but… I thought...”

Adora’s heart flutters, and she jumps to her feet. “I’d be happy to help. I’ll get the water started for you.”

Catra makes a low grumble and unscrews the bottle. Adora doesn’t try to remind her that she doesn’t need it.

With the tub filled most of the way and bubbles foaming furiously — Catra poured most of the bottle in — Catra reaches for the bottom of her shirt and starts to pull it up. Adora’s eyes bug out and she spins around.

Catra snorts. “You don’t have to look away. Nothing you haven’t seen before, if we’re being honest.”

Adora’s fidgets with her hands. She’s not good at hiding the nervousness in her voice as she says, “I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable.”

“What a gentleman,” Catra drawls. “It’s fine, really.”

Not wanting to be the weird one about it, Adora tries to inflect the same chill in herself that she hears from Catra and attempts a casual look over her shoulder. Catra’s half undressed when their eyes meet, leg partway out of her pants. Catra completely stills and it’s a dead giveaway that she’s more flustered by Adora looking than she wanted to let on.

Adora feels like the fire going up her neck and face will burn off her ears. Both of their heads snap away to hide mutual blushes. Neither of them point it out.

There’s the sound of Catra submerging in the tub a few moments later. She makes a displeased sort of noise. “Alright, help me get this over with.”

Adora turns slowly, as if to make sure. Frothy pink bubbles fill the bath, almost completely obscuring Catra and her sad, droopy ears. Her tail is hooked over the edge of the tub as if keeping it out of the water might help some. Melog sits dutifully to one side. Adora has to bite her lip to keep from doing one of Bow’s cooing sounds, but she must not be able to cover it entirely based on the look Catra is giving her.

Before she’s ordered to leave the room, Adora grabs a couple of bottles and a brush and kneels behind the tub.

“You need to get your hair wet.”

“My hair is wet.”

Adora puts a hand on her head and scratches. “Up here, fuzzball.”

Catra makes a noise of protest.

“Don’t be a chicken.”

“Rude.” If there’s one thing neither of them can resist, it’s a challenge. Catra puts a hand over Adora’s, taking it with her as she dunks herself.

In the brief moment she’s under the water, Adora notices Melog’s color shift to a dull red, their eyes narrowing slightly. Catra shakes her head as she comes back up, sprinkling a few drops on Adora.

Adora combs her fingers through Catra’s hair, thinking she feels a slight tremor in her. “Doing okay?”

“Mhm.” Catra wipes at her eyes, still looking sulky. “Just don’t leave.”

“I’m right here,” Adora says, making her voice as soothing as possible. “I’m not going anywhere.” As soon as she speaks, Melog’s color goes back to a calm blue. Catra brings a hand out of the water, flicks some of the water off, and, without looking, reaches out to rub the top of Melog’s head a few times before retracting it back into the water.

Adora pours shampoo into her hands, spreads it into Catra’s hair, and lathers it up. It only takes a few scratches at her scalp to get a sigh out of her.

“Feel good?”

“Yeah.”

After spending some extra time massaging the shampoo in, Adora says to Melog, “Could you get me that cup over by the sink, please?” She points to it, still unsure how much the magical creature can understand.

Melog glances at Catra, ears turning this way and that, and then they bound over to the sink and return the cup to Adora’s hands. Adora gives them a pat on the head and says, “Thank you. Okay, Catra, close your eyes.”

She uses the cup to scoop water out of the tub and pours it over Catra’s head, attempting to direct the flow away from her eyes. It takes several rinses to fully get the shampoo out, and then she repeats the process with conditioner.

Eventually she takes the brush and some soap and starts in on Catra’s back. She scrubs her arms and whatever she can respectfully reach before passing the brush to Catra to finish up.

Catra rinses off one more time and Adora says, “There. All done.” She grabs a towel and holds it up while Catra stands, takes it, and wraps it around herself. As Catra steps out of the tub, Adora grabs another towel. When she turns back, Catra is drying herself off and making no effort to hide herself other than turning a little to the side. 

Adora approaches her with the second towel and brushes her fingertips along Catra’s shoulder, watching the fur stand up a little. “You’re beautiful.”

“T-thanks,” Catra stammers.

Adora drops the towel on her head and rubs it over her hair.

Once Catra’s dry, she puts on a set of fresh, clean clothes. As she’s straightening it, Adora comes from behind, wraps her arms loosely around her, and hooks her chin over a shoulder.

“How are you doing?”

Catra directs a little smile toward her. “It’s not so bad when you’re helping.”

“I’m happy to help any time. And maybe,” she pauses, the idea innocent at first but now that it’s in her head she’s feeling warm. She powers through the ambush of nerves and continues, “Maybe I can join you next time?”

Catra’s tail wraps around her waist almost immediately, and even though Adora can tell, based on the averted eyes, that she’s not the only nervous one, Catra’s voice is a warm hum as she replies, “That sounds nice.”

Adora smiles and nuzzles into her neck, inhaling. “You smell good.”

Catra just purrs, resting easily back against her.

 

......

 

Dusk is falling and the stars are beginning to come out by the time they leave the meeting room where they’d been in discussions with Bow and Glimmer about their future space adventure. Although, most of it had been spent reminiscing and not actually talking about anything important. It was relaxing for all of them.

“How much you wanna bet they started making out as soon as we left?”

Adora chuckles. “I’m not taking that bet.”

As they’re walking side by side through the hall, Adora feels something brush her leg and looks down — Catra’s tail. She finds herself smiling and gets the sudden urge to hold her hand.

She’s not sure on the best tactical approach, though. Just reach out and grab it? Ask first? Maybe brush her arm and then…?

“Adora, what are you doing?”

Adora jolts as if she’s been caught contemplating theft. “Uh, your hand, I was-. Um.”

Catra raises an eyebrow and looks down between them.

“My hand…?”

“I… wanted to hold it.” Adora rubs the back of her neck, feeling embarrassed now.

Catra blinks at her, silent for a moment. “You’re such a dork,” she says and snatches Adora’s hand in hers, dragging her along.

“Sorry. Sometimes I start overanalyzing things instead of just doing them because I want to. Like what if I screw up? What if I do something you don’t like?”

Catra shrugs. “Then I’ll tell you and we’ll talk about it.”

Adora’s not really satisfied with that answer and says, “I guess. I’d rather not screw up in the first place.”

After a moment of contemplation, Catra gets a smirk on her face that’s all too familiar. “Adora, if you want something, sometimes you have to go after it.” She snatches her hand out of Adora’s and sprints down the hall.

“Wait, Catra-“ Adora’s moment of confusion is quickly overridden with the instinct to chase. She takes off after her, and Catra laughs when she looks over her shoulder.

Catra has a head start. She’s fast. Agile. There’s no way Adora will be able to catch her until she’s ready to be caught.

Or so she thinks.

Adora feels a smirk of her own. When Catra rounds a corner and disappears out of sight, Adora whispers under her breath and light encompasses her from head to toe. In a moment she’s taller, stronger, and charging even faster after her quarry.

She surges back into Catra’s line of sight. Catra lazily glances over her shoulder, only for her eyes to widen, tail hair instantly poofing out. She scrambles in a series of wall jumps to get out of reach, but Adora matches her jump for jump, reaching a neighboring window at nearly the same time.

“Hey, Catra,” Adora sings at her.

Catra leaps for a balcony, but Adora is already ahead of her, grabbing her right out of the night air as they sail forward. She lands squarely on her feet atop the balcony.

Argh.”

“Got you.”

Catra puts up a small fight, trying to wiggle out, but Adora gets a firm grip under her legs and another around her back, partially trapping her arms.

Catra growls, “You cheated.”

Adora chuckles, grinning as her ponytail breezily sways behind her. She’s amazed at how small Catra feels in her arms like this, and reminds herself not to be too rough. “Guess I just really wanted you.” She could swear she feels a responding tremor.

Catra runs a fretful hand over her face, mutters something under her breath and says aloud, “Well you got me, now put me down.”

Adora secures her hold to keep Catra from hopping out. “Nah, I don’t want to.” She strides back into the building and down the hall.

Adora.”

“Something wrong?”

“People are gonna see.”

“So?”

Catra groans into her hands. With a final, resigned sigh she crosses her arms and accepts her fate. She stays like that as they pass a few guards on the way to their room. Adora just nods to them while they smile back. Catra hisses, daring them to say anything.

“Be nice.”

“No.” Catra’s tail twitches aggressively at times, but always seems to find it’s way back around Adora’s arm.

Adora has to loosen her hold in order to open the door to their room, but Catra doesn’t take the opportunity to escape. Adora carries her inside and closes the door with a foot.

She grins at her. “Still mad at me?”

“I’m not mad.”

“Then what’s with the scowl?”

Catra doesn’t appear to want to answer at first, sort of side-eying her, but eventually says, “You’re just… glowing.”

“You don’t like it?”

“That’s not-“ Catra scoffs. Her arms are still crossed and her fingers flair out from where they’re holding her arms, “I’m sorry if I get a little flustered when you’re even more buff and hot all of a sudden, okay? There.”

Adora blinks. “Oh.” Then her grin returns in full swing. “Oh.”

She really can’t stop smiling now. She expects Catra to call her an idiot or bluster in some way, but instead Catra softens, shakes her head, and peers up at her with her own smile.

Adora’s heard someone describe this feeling as butterflies in your stomach. It honestly feels a bit overwhelming. So much that she can’t help but say, “I love you.”

The tail wrapped around her bicep tightens as a low purr rumbles through Catra’s body. Catra huffs, aware of how transparent her response is, but her gaze is still gentle as she says, “Love you, too.”

“Can I kiss you?”

Catra raises a brow as her eyes fall to Adora’s mouth, “You need to ask?”

“Seems only fair, since I’m not letting you go anywhere.”

“Oh, now we’re being fair?”

Adora is vaguely aware she’s leaning closer. Is extremely aware of Catra’s tongue wetting her lips. She eases Catra a bit higher against her chest and Catra’s arms go around her neck.

They’re nose to nose now, and there’s a little shudder in Catra’s next exhale. Adora tilts her head and watches as Catra’s eyes fall shut, and in that moment she can’t help but stare, the expression so open and vulnerable and wanting.

She feels Catra’s hands tense at her neck and cheek, the barest hint of claws, and she thinks she probably can’t keep her waiting much longer.

“I love you,” Adora whispers against Catra’s lips before capturing her in a kiss to seal the words between them.

There’s a little sound in the back of Catra’s throat. She responds with an earnestness that has her grasping at Adora’s neck and shoulder. Claws graze but don’t break skin.

Adora feels a weakness in her knees as she tilts her head the other way and Catra opens her mouth and runs her tongue over her lips. Adora groans, their breath hot, mingling.

“Catra,” Adora gasps. “Catra, I can’t stand.”

Catra runs her claws up the back of Adora’s neck and into her hair. She brushes Adora’s chin with a knuckle, pressing for her to tilt her head back and Catra touches her lips to her neck. The boldness sends fresh heat through Adora’s chest and stomach and lower.

Catra purrs, “Then sit down, sweetheart. I’m not done with you, yet.”

Whatever thought Adora tries to get ahold of next completely burns out of existence. “What-“. She's already breathless and Catra’s constant kisses back up to her mouth make it hard to get the words out. She almost gets lost in it again, but she has to sit down. Has to. Right there on the floor. Thankfully the door is close enough for her to lean against. “What did you call me?”

“Hm?”

“Did you just call me sweetheart?”

Catra hums against her mouth, brushes their noses, kisses her again. “Something like that.”

Light shines around them as Adora drops She-Ra's form and returns to her usual self. Catra hasn’t stopped kissing her through it, and a moment passes before there’s a shudder in Adora’s chest. Catra jolts away from the kiss, ears perked straight up. “Are you crying?”

Adora blinks and wipes at her eyes. “Oh no, I am.” Her voice hitches around the words as if to remove any sort of doubt. “Oh no, this is stupid.” She covers her face with both hands and laughs brokenly.

She feels Catra’s hands around her wrists, hesitate, and then arms wrap around her shoulders. “Jeez. Here I am trying to be seductive and you start crying over a pet name.”

There’s little hiccups in Adora’s laugh as she buries her face into Catra’s shoulder, hugging her back. Her heart is so full she can hardly stand it. “You make me so happy, Catra.”

Catra’s breath shudders this time and she tries to cover it with a growl. “Why are you like this?” She buries her face in Adora’s neck, and Adora hears her sniff. In a quiet voice she says, “You’re not supposed to make me cry too, dummy.”

Adora just giggles and cries more into her shoulder.

As they settle down and wipe their eyes, Adora feels a bone-draining fatigue take over her. She drops her head against the door and says, “Are we going to get ready for bed like normal people this time?”

“We should probably try.”

Catra helps her up and they quietly go about washing their faces and brushing their teeth. By the time they’ve changed into their pajamas, Melog has returned to the room. They glance at Catra and then rush over to Adora and start rubbing against her legs.

Adora smiles and pets them. “It’s good to see you too, Melog.”

When Adora climbs onto the bed, she notices Catra hesitating near the foot of it. Melog sits beside her, watching.

Adora pats the space next to her. “Up here, silly.”

Catra walks closer and sits on the edge. Her tail flicks around a couple times and then she smiles over her shoulder before crawling in beside Adora and turns so her back is against her. Adora pulls the blanket over them and curls up to her, fitting their legs easily together. Melog hops up near their feet and settles in.

Adora’s a little stumped about what to do with her inside arm as it’s just sort of crammed between them, but she finds a spot under the crook of Catra’s neck. It lets her slide closer, her whole front in contact with Catra’s body. She holds her in both arms, feels Catra’s purrs rumble against her, and a relaxed sensation fills her from head to toe.

She feels safe, at home.

And in love.