When they’re both seven, Adora asks Catra to cut her hair.
Blond strands are resting in her left hand. They feel soft against her skin, and it looks so pretty, shimmering gold against delicate brown.
On her right hand, her claws catch the light in a completely different way. Dark, and dangerous, and she feels like if she gets this hand, this dangerous hand, closer to Adora’s pretty hair, something terrible will happen.
But Adora asks. And Catra isn’t afraid of anything.
“You’re sure?” She prefers to ask again, and her voice sounds confidant and cool. No reason at all for Adora to snort softly through her nose. But it’s fine, Catra can never truly complain about hearing that noise.
“Yes, Catra, I’m sure. Besides,” she turns around abruptly, the hair slipping through her best friend’s fingers. “even if it’s ugly, it will be from you!”
She beams. Her front teeth is growing back, and she looks so stupid, with her shiny hair and shiny smile, and Catra wants, suddenly, desperately. She wants Adora to walk around with her new haircut and she wants to be able to think I gave her that. She looks like that because she asked me, me, to do that for her. Her best friend.
She takes Adora’s shoulders to turn her around, but she can still hear her smile in the air.
“I’ll give you the ugliest haircut the Horde has ever seen then!”
“Okay,” she giggles, “but I’ll still make fun of you!”
She won’t give her an ugly haircut, Catra decides, taking hold of her hair again. It is getting pretty long, almost reaching the middle of her back. Adora is not as good as her at keeping it out of her face, and Shadoweaver will cut it soon. But Adora came to her first.
She’ll give her the prettiest haircut the Horde has ever seen, she decides. A bit longer on the front, so she can still do that funny ponytail she likes. Short enough that the hair will curl golden around her face, so that she’ll blow on it when she sneaks in Catra’s bed, and her own fingers will itch because it will fall in her face, again and again.
It’s so Adora won’t make fun of her, and only for that.
She pulls on the hair, Adora takes an almost silent breath. Her claws slice through it like mud, and she can’t help but think that there should be a softer comparison to make. It’s not her fault she can’t find it.
When she’s seventeen, Catra gets a haircut. It’s the second time.
The first time is almost her first memory, in her whole life. She knows she was young, maybe three or four, and every time she thinks about it, the hands around her change. Shadoweaver, Hordak himself sometimes, nameless soldiers, faceless bots. Not Adora, certainly. She remembers screaming and fighting, the feeling of foreign skin under her claws, and she knows that she was never forced to get a haircut again.
When she’s fifteen, Adora cuts her hair.
Catra is not even sure she notices.
It’s not planned, that’s for sure. Mostly because Adora doesn’t ever plan anything.
Everything about Adora is gold, these days. Hair and skin and outfit and tiara and sword. She still wears her Horde jacket, sometimes, even though she removed the symbol. Catra likes the red. But Adora’s color is gold, definitely, and it shines into Catra’s eyes when they fight sometimes.
That’s never planned either, obviously. Not her kind of strategy. But when she’s fighting in the light, the reflections of her sword dance all around them and into Catra’s eyes, and at this moment, it lands into her right eye, the one that’s more sensitive to the light. Adora knows this, because she used to laugh at how big her right pupil got when there was too much light. But it wasn’t planned, so then again, maybe she forgot.
Adora’s sword shines into her eyes, and swings towards her, and Catra’s not hurt. But she feels the air moving just where her ear was a second ago, and she feels the difference.
They fight. Adora doesn’t notice, she doesn’t think so, she’s pretty sure. They fight, until Adora’s sparkly friend arrives screaming about an emergency and shimmers her away. Which was Catra’s plan, so, really, it’s fine. She’ll get the reports about it soon, and she’ll be satisfied.
When she gets in front of a mirror, she’s not surprised to see a few strands of hair missing below her ear, barely anything. The light tuft on the left side is a bit shorter than the other now, noticeable if you look for it.
It looks weird.
Catra cuts the both of them off. Her hair is a fully dark brown mess now, and she runs her claws through it, shaking off a few loose strands. Much better.
Two days before she turns eighteen, Catra gets a haircut. She doesn’t remember it, anyway.
When they’re both eighteen, Adora asks Catra to cut her hair.
At first, Catra pretty much just looks at her.
Then she says “what the fuck, Adora.” and turns back to the report she was writing. She’s been writing so many reports, working for the kingdom. It’s insufferable, so she decided that she’s allowed to curse more often. Also, Shadoweaver isn’t here anyway.
“You don’t want to?” Adora pouts, which Catra can hear without looking at her, and she’s not, she’s writing her report. “I kind of wanted a shorter style, and I was hoping you could do it before our guests arrive...”
Catra cuts her a sharp glance.
Adora’s standing there, with her usual faux-innocent look. She looks dumb. And cute, kinda. She has her hands behind her back, and her hair is up in the usual ponytail;
She looks at her curiously, and Catra keeps staring.
She’s trying to decide if this is pity.
“You know, they really look like they don’t have hair, I’m sure of it, and if I get a haircut while they’re here they might get confused, and what if they don’t recognize me, and our first space diplomatic mission fails because-”
Adora starts pacing, waving her hands around to signify hair, or the absence of it. At the meeting earlier, Catra bet on the aliens having hair, mostly just to be contrary. The pictures they sent were pretty confusing anyway.
Catra’s still sitting at her desk. Okay, shes sitting on the desk, lounging to do her paperwork, but still. Adora has a thing about “getting on her level” or something when she’s trying to pity her. Right now, she’s pacing away from her desk, and her hand gestures are getting more and more nonsensical. So, not pity, probably.
Catra takes a deep breath through her nose.
Adora’s not asking this out of some fucked up sense of retribution, or bullshit equality, or anything. She just… She wants Catra to cut her hair. And she chose a few hours before the arrival of their first space diplomatic guests (official name of the operation in the records) to do it.
Well, Adora’s still Adora.
“How short do you want?”
The pacing stops, and her… ugh. Girlfriend. Stares at her with huge, shining eyes. She still looks dumb. And cute.
The gestures starts again as she answers: “Well, I was thinking just above the shoulders, so I can still pull it back, but you know, I was thinking that it gets longer anyway when I’m She-Ra so I can try it shorter for a bit and it would be fun!”
She keeps talking and moving while Catra takes her shoulders and pulls her into the chair that no one was using anyway, and she’s gesturing between her ears and collarbones as Catra’s claws slide out. She’s not making a lot of sense, but as Catra gathers golden hair in her right hand, she has a clear idea of what she would like. It’s almost like she knows her or something.
“You see what I mean?” asks Adora.
“Yeah, yeah, don’t worry.” She does see. She smiles, and she can hear Adora smiling back. “I’ll give you the ugliest haircut Etheria has ever seen.”
She worries, for a second, that it’s too much. Her hand clenches around Adora’s hair, her claws brushing against it. It’s not a really funny joke. Maybe Adora won’t remember, and that would be better.
But she laughs, and goes “I’ll still make fun of you!”, and Catra can never complain about hearing her laugh.
She feels the tips of her own hair brushing just below her ears. She wonders.
“Hey Adora, don’t you wanna get bangs?”
She gasps, and Catra’s claws slide through her hair like warm butter. Maybe Adora will really want bangs. Catra would do it for her, she thinks. Or maybe not do it, for her.