The Horde army stormed through the frozen forest, what used to be Bright Moon’s main defense against invasion crushed under infantry and treads. Tanks, soldiers, and artillery gathered before the wards protecting the castle, striking at it with rhythmless blasts until finally, the barrier disappeared, and Bright Moon was vulnerable.
Catra stepped forward, confident, ready to rid Etheria of the Rebellion once and for all. He tail slashed the air behind her violently, excitement clear on her face as she eyed She-Ra across the battlefield.
The Horde’s second-in-command opened her mouth, ready to give a patronizing speech and taunt Adora for her inevitable loss, when a blast of energy tore open the space in between them. Catra covered her eyes, the raging ball of bright colors intense even with her eyes fully slitted. Briefly blinking away the flash, she stood in an instinctive fighting position, ready for whatever secret weapon Adora had prepared for her.
What she was not ready for was a child.
They seemed to be of the same species as her, the tail, fur, and ears making that quite clear, but what struck Catra the most about the child was their eyes, a familiar brilliant blue she could never forget. Said eyes were pointed at her directly, piercing through Catra’s entire body just like…
Just like Adora’s.
Catra didn’t need to smell the mix of her and Adora’s scents, or hear the cry of “Mom!” as the child ran towards her to know their identity. That was her child.
Her and Adora’s child.
The zapping of a Horde taser from aside her startled her out of her reverie, as a Horde soldier stepped forward to strike at the oncoming enemy.
They’re going to hurt my child. Before Catra could even finish the thought, she had already swept the soldier's legs from under them, causing the taser to misfire and knock them out. A small “Oof!” was heard as Catra grabbed her kid and bounded in the woods.
Adora, the Horde, and the rest of the princesses that had managed to arrive just in time to watch the scene simply stared, not knowing how to handle any of what had just happened.
Adora couldn’t sleep.
Sure, this was nothing new, especially with her nightmares and anxieties keeping her awake more nights than she ever admitted to Bow and Glimmer, and certainly, today would have made her feel restless because of the battle, as easy a victory it had been with the Horde leaderless, but even so.
Adora couldn’t sleep.
She rolled over on the mattress for the upteenth time, trying to stop the racing thoughts in her head. She did not think at all about Catra almost destroying Bright Moon, her new home. She didn’t think about the mystery child, who had to be no more than a handful of years old, appearing in the middle of the battlefield. She especially didn’t think about the child running to Catra, calling her “Mom”, looking almost exactly like Catra had when she was-
Adora slammed a pillow against her face and groaned into it. How was it even possible for Catra to have a child? They had been apart for not even a year, and before that Adora would have absolutely known if Catra had gotten pregnant. Right?
Adora sat up. Okay, so she was a little oblivious, fine. She hadn’t even noticed Netossa and Spinnerella were married (whatever that meant) until the regretful
incident, but still. There is absolutely no way Adora would have missed Catra having an illicit secret relationship while they were in the Horde. She was her best friend, how could Adora simply not notice something that major?
An uncomfortable uncertainty settled in her stomach. Maybe she had missed it. Catra had told her, in no uncertain terms, that Adora was unaware of much of what happened during their time in the Horde. Maybe Catra had gotten close to someone else when she skipped classes, or maybe she met someone after Adora left and Magicat kittens grow up very quickly. Or, maybe she could actually think things through properly if that stupid tapping sound would stop!
Wait. Adora jerked her head towards the window, a fuzzy moonlit silhouette shuffling in place before she heard the sound again.
Tap tap. Tap tap, tap tap.
Adora. It’s me, Catra.
Adora gasped. That was her and Catra’s specific rhythm for each other, something that they had always used to comfort each other. Quickly, Adora jumped out of bed, hissing as her feet hit the cold. She strode with purpose towards the window, trying to hide her nervousness and disregard the fumbling in her hands as she opened the latch.
“Shh!” Adora turned to see Catra, finger to her lips, cradling her child while balancing on the moonlit windowsill to her room in Bright Moon. It was the most surreal sight Adora had ever bore witness to, quite frankly. Catra’s tail lashed in annoyance, and Adora could almost see her eyes rolling. “Are you going to just stand there and watch us freeze to death or are you going to let us in?”
Her whispering tone was a surprise, until she realized that it must be because the child in her arms was asleep. Adora nodded stiffly before stepping back inside, watching as Catra followed her and commandeered her bed.
The sight of Catra gently laying down her kid and tucking them under the covers, gently holding their hand and stroking their short gold mane was quite the sight. Adora wished she had Bow’s tablet, because she wouldn’t have hesitated to take a picture and frame that moment for eternity. She thought about asking Bow in the morning to make something similar for her. If he made sure to tell her how to turn off the annoying shutter sound, anyway.
Catra’s blue and gold eyes met hers, the dim moonlight causing her pupils to appear as wide as possible. Adora took a sharp breath, realizing that she had been staring. Okay, Adora, think this through. Catra was in her room. In Bright Moon. And she had brought her child.
What is happening.
Adora opened her mouth to start the barrage of questions that had plagued her all night, but Catra immediately put a hand on her mouth and raised a finger to her own lips. Adora could only roll her eyes at the patronizing gesture, before she nodded and started speaking much more quietly than she had been about to.
“Catra, what are you doing here!?” Okay, so maybe still not quiet enough, if the kid’s mumbling and Catra’s exasperated look were anything to go by. “Why did you bring them here? Who are they!?”
Catra glared at her as Adora’s voice grew in volume, until Adora sheepishly nodded to communicate she understood to be even quieter. Really, though, how could Catra expect her to not freak out?
“This is Finn.” Catra’s voice, low and raspy in her ear, gave Adora a start. “They’re seven years old, and I just managed to get them to go to sleep after hours , so don’t ruin this.” Catra breathed out a sigh, and the warmth tickled Adora’s neck and caused her to shiver.
“Catra.” Adora swallowed, and bent down to whisper more quietly into her ex-...friend’s ear. “Since when did you have a kid?”
The feeling of Catra’s head thudding against her shoulder was a familiar sign that Catra thought what Adora had just asked was the stupidest thing to ever come out of her mouth. “Really, Adora? Do you think I could have a child who is that old?”
A blush arose on Adora’s cheeks. Okay, so maybe that had been a stupid question, but what else was she supposed to ask? “Then where did they come from? They called you Mom , Catra!”
Catra breathed in and out deeply, and Adora could feel her tail lash around their ankles. Huh, so maybe they were both nervous. “Yeah. But they also said that I look a lot younger than they remember.” Adora blinked, and the realization dawned on her just as Catra spoke again.
“Finn’s our kid from the future.”
Great, time travel. Sure that made sense, she talked to an annoying hologram in her spare time, that made total-
Catra stopped Adora from screaming by again placing a hand on her mouth, and Adora couldn’t even manage to feel chagrined under the extreme embarrassment and shock that she was feeling. Our. Our. Her and Catra’s child. Adora and Catra had a child together in the future oh She-Ra what is happening.
The shaking of Catra’s hand against her mouth brought her back to the present, and quickly she noted the coming signs of panic that emanated from Catra. Adora reached out and held her close, wrapping her arms tightly against Catra’s body to still the trembling.
“It’s okay, it’s okay.” Adora felt Catra bury her head into the crook of her neck and breathe deeply, something that had always helped her since they were children. “We can get through this, we can figure it out together.”
A flare of possessiveness arose in Adora as Catra’s heavy breathing slowly settled into a quiet purr. She hadn’t expected to be Finn’s other parent, but it seemed obvious in hindsight, and satisfied a wish she didn’t dare give a voice to. Not now, anyway. Maybe when the war is over, and Etheria is saved.
Maybe then, Adora would be able to ask Catra if she felt the same.
The hints of dawn were now filling the room, and Catra seemed to be aware enough to speak. She took a step back, not quite leaving Adora’s arms, and Adora noticed that Catra’s hands had stayed at her sides.
“I need to go.” Adora’s grip tightened. “The Horde can’t take care of children, Adora. We both know that.” Catra looked up at her mournfully, and Adora realizes it’s the first time she’s seen Catra ever look like she’s begging.
“Catra, wait. Are you just going to leave Finn here?” Alarm had crept into her voice. Catra would never abandon her child, their child, would she? And besides, she had attacked a Horde soldier in plain sight to protect them, there was no way the Horde would accept her again.
“I can’t stay here, Adora. We both know that. The princesses hate my guts, and I just hope that you can watch out for Finn since I can’t. If I stayed-“
Catra gasped and turned to look at Finn. They were holding Catra’s tail tightly, stubby claws peeking out from their fingers. A sleepy mumble that sounded suspiciously like “Mom?” came from the bed, and Adora looked back at Catra to see an agonized look on her face.
So she didn’t want to leave Finn behind, instead she felt like she had to leave Finn behind.
“Catra.” Adora reached up to gently hold Catra’s face in her hands, forcing them to make eye contact. “Stay, please? Not for Etheria, not for the Rebellion, but for us?”
Catra’s eyes watered, and Adora was surprised to note that her vision had turned blurry. Catra, her childhood friend, maybe also her future lover, sunk back into her embrace, this time reaching around to dig half-unsheathed claws into Adora's back.
Adora felt Catra nod against her, and she smiled as they hugged each other more tightly.