One thing that Adora and Catra had learned about their friends was that they loved to party. Glimmer held frequent parties and balls in her ballroom now that the war was over. Things had relaxed, settled. It had only been about 4 months since the war had ended and Catradora became official. That's what Bow loved to call them, his new obsession was making, what he called, 'ship names'.
Adora sat before her vanity, contemplating what earrings she would wear.
The girls had gained quite a few piercings upon their return home. Mermista had taught Bow how to pierce multiple body parts and he insisted on practicing on his friends.
She settled on simple blue crystal ones to match her eyes.
Just as she finished slipping the earrings into her ears, the bathroom door slid open and Catra stepped out. Adora had to hold her breath to stop herself from dying on the spot.
"Holy shit Catra, you look hot." She mumbled.
Catra's hand shifted from her pocket to scratch at the back of her neck, embarrassed.
"Oh," She let out an awkward laugh. "Thanks 'Dora."
A black lace bralette clung to her chest, showing off a fair amount of cleavage. It was covered only slightly by an unbuttoned suit jacket. It was Catra's signature red, almost a maroon color. Her pants matched, held up by a thick black belt. It really showed off Catra's body, something Adora would never be sick of seeing.
Adora rose from her seat, coming to meet her girlfriend. Her hands slid around her small waist and pulled her flush to her body.
Catra pressed to her tip toes, meeting Adora's lips in a gentle kiss.
It wasn't until they pulled away that Adora noticed one small detail, her hair.
Her girlfriends, usually unruly, brown fluff of hair was slicked back behind her ears.
There was something so familiar, painful, about that look. Yet Adora couldn't wrap her head around it.
"You good there Adora?' Catra questioned, peering up into her girlfriends blue eyes.
"Hm? Oh yeah sorry, just got a little distracted."
When she looked down to meet here girlfriends eyes, should could have sworn a light of green swam through them. Suddenly, a thought flooded her brain. It was all she could think about. Her whole body was pulled back to that moment.
She watched as Catra's body convulsed, green pulsating through her. Her body went limp, and she fell backwards off the platform. She tried to force the tears out of her eyes but nothing was working.
"Adora!" A soft hand on her face brought her back to reality and she felt like her heart was gonna fall of out her chest. Catra's mismatched eyes stared back at hers, trying to calm her down.
One of her hands held Catra tightly while the other lay in her hair. The previously slick and neat hair had some strands loose, one notable piece falling in front of her eyes.
"Catra." She gasped out, her breath catching in her throat.
The dazed look in her eyes, the disconnect, the fast breathing. Catra recognized all of these as signs of a flashback and tried to keep her girlfriend grounded.
She stroked her cheek carefully.
"Hey, it's ok. I'm here. You're ok." She murmured. She kept the hand on her face, trying to give her something to ground herself with.
Adora's breathing slowed and she double over, slowly making her way onto the floor. Catra shifted with her.
She knew Adora would be upset that her white dress would be getting dirty, but that was the least of her concerns.
She let Adora lay, her body between her legs. Her head rested on Catra's chest, just above her heartbeat. She absentmindedly ran her fingers over the lace of Catra's top.
Catra rubbed her back gently, every so often planting a kiss on the top of her head. After quite a while, Adora's breathing began to slow. Her form relaxed into Catra's touch and her tears dried.
"Thanks Catra." Adora mumbled, nuzzling more into her girlfriend.
"Of course. Do you wanna talk about it? We've got some time before the party."
"I'd rather not." She spoke softly.
"Alright, that's ok. I'll just hold you for now. If you ever wanna talk though, I'm here for you ok?" She stroked her blonde hair, messing with the half up half down.
After a few minutes, Adora rose.
"I think I'm gonna head to the party a little early." She spoke.
"Ok. I'm gonna fix my hair. I'll meet you in there."
Adora's gold heels clicked softly as she strolled down the hallway to meet Glimmer in the ballroom. Her form was still shaky as she tried to keep herself grounded in her surrounding, breathing in the fresh scent of the halls of Brightmoon.
"Adora!" Glimmer called, embracing Adora.
Bow followed behind.
"Hey are you ok? You look like you were just crying." He questioned. Her puffy, red eyes were a giveaway to her state only minutes before. As well as the particular manner in which she held herself, slightly curled in on herself and holding her arms tightly.
"Oh yeah, sorry, I just had a moment a little bit ago." She murmured.
"Adora..." Glimmer hugged her again before guiding her away from the door.
They all got some drinks and sat down at a table.
They made small talk to try to distracts Adora from her overwhelming anxiety. Glimmer placed a hand on her shoulder to try to calm her down but it didn't seem to do much. Guests had begun flooding in, as well.
Soft hands slid down Adora's shoulders and a weight was placed on her head. Catra nuzzled into the soft blonde locks, ignoring the way her girlfriend trembled under her.
"Hello Catra." Glimmer spoke.
"Your hair looks so NICE!" Bow exclaimed, clapping his hands happily. His eyes practically had stars in them.
"Thank you!" Catra brushed a hand over her hair.
Adora's stomach twisted and she looked away from her friends.
As the night continued, Adora couldn't help but focus on the hair. Something about the hair bugged her, filled her chest with anxiety. Maybe she just preferred it messier? Maybe it was too unlike Catra? Maybe her brain was just being weird?
Catra was leaned against a wall, talking to Mermista. A small glass with a strawberry daiquiri sat in her hand. Mermista mentioned something about Catra's outfit, making a downward swooping motion at her body. Catra seemed proud, stepping away from the wall and doing a little spin to show off her carefully planned outfit. Mermista made one last comment before being called by Sea Hawk and stalking off. The entire exchange, Adora just stared at Catra's hair. She loved the brunette's outfit, but every time she stepped away to admire it, her brain pulled her back to the slicked back hair on her head. A hand on her shoulder made her jump.
"Woah Adora you ok?" Glimmer asked. Her eyes were practically dripping concern at her friends shaken state.
"Yeah, sorry you just startled me." She mumbled, looking back to Catra.
"What's going on with you? You've been off all day."
"Is there something off to you about Catra's hair?" Adora questioned, refusing to peel her eyes away from her girlfriend, who had just begun to speak to Scorpia.
Glimmer carefully guided her to the small table they were previously seated at. She dropped into the chair awkwardly tense. Glimmer put a hand on her thigh and brought her back to reality. She turned to face Glimmer, relaxing into her chair. Glimmer settled into the chair next to her.
"Do you mean that it's styled?"
"Yes but no," Adora was agitated, should couldn't figure out what was going on with her and it was making her angry. "It's something about the style."
"Maybe it's a memory you have of her? Have you considered that?"
Adora hadn't even thought it would have anything to do with her past. Catra's hair was always puffy and messy and fluffy. She wrenched through her brain, trying to figure out what would make her feel like this.
"I hadn't. Thanks Glimmer." For the first time in a while, a soft smile fell on her lips.
And with that, Glimmer left.
The entire party, Catra was worried for her girlfriend. Her head shifted and she caught the gaze of the blonde once again, tracing her line of sight to her hair once again. She hoped her girlfriend would pay attention to anything other than her hair. She put special care in showing off her outfit to try to draw her girlfriend's attention away from the way her hair looked. She couldn't figure out what was stressing the blonde out so much about her.
Eventually she gave up and returned to her girlfriend.
"Look Scorpia, I'm sorry to cut this short but Adora has been acting off all day and I need to go check on her." Catra spoke.
Scorpia looked shocked and concerned.
"Oh no! I'm so sorry I've been keeping you here. Go get your girl, I hope she feels better soon." Scorpia pulled the magicat into a tight hug.
"It's ok Scorpia. Thank you." Catra managed to get out, struggling to breathe from the feeling of the tight pincers. Finally Scorpia dropped her and she scurried over to her girlfriend.
She sat next to the blonde and wrapped her arms around her shoulders. Adora let out a gentle sigh and leaned into the brunette, resting her head on her shoulder. Adora's hand slithered up into her girlfriends fluff and began to ruffle it and mess with it.
Catra pulled away quickly slightly agitated. She really tried to be patient with her girlfriend but she was just so confused.
"Look Adora, what is going on with you? Are you ok?"
"I don't know ok!" Adora yelled back, pushing away from the girl.
Catra froze, it was rare Adora ever yelled at her nowadays. Her eyes were wide in shock as it took her a moment to process what had just happened.
"Adora, it's ok. I'm just worried about you." Catra's voice cracked.
Adora leaned into her, burying her face in the crook of Catra's neck. Her fingers raked slowly up her back, her claws retracted. She tried to focus on her girlfriends breathing, making sure she was ok.
"I'm sorry Catra." Her voice came out muffled, but Catra could feel the vibrations against her chest. Catra's hands hesitated, unsure of what to do now.
"Don't worry princess. How are you feeling?"
It was getting late and the party was finally coming to an end. Most of the guests had already left, and the few who hadn't were some of the princesses hanging out and catching up after not seeing one another casually for a while.
Adora just shrugged and wrapped her arms around her girlfriends waist, pulling her closer. Catra peppered kisses into her girlfriends hair, stroking her back softly. Adora couldn't fine the words for what she was feeling, she just knew that she didn't like it and she wanted it to stop.
"Hey Catra." Bow spoke softly, tapping Catra's back.
Adora lifted her head to look at the couple as Catra turned her head to face them.Glimmer and Bow stood next to them, holding hands tightly. Glimmer was leaning on Bow, one of his arms wrapped carefully around her waist.
"What's up?" Catra spoke softly, afraid to do anything that would cause the trembling girl in her arms any stress.
"Do you guys wanna head out? I think I'm gonna start packing stuff up." Glimmer spoke, motioning to Adora.
"Thanks Glimmer. We'll help you guys out next time."
"It's nothing." Bow returned.
Catra and Adora rose. Adora was still a little shaken, but definitely returning to her normal self. She tried to ignore Catra's, now slightly messier, fluff of hair. It was crazy to know that this girl was the most powerful being in the universe, she was She-Ra, she was mighty and brave. Yet here she stood, shaking and crying in the arms of a 5'2" cat girl. Anyone would think it was crazy from the outside, but to Catra, this was just Adora.
No matter how brave and strong Adora tried to seem, she was scared and she was hurting inside. Catra had seen that from day one. She just wanted to be a rock for Adora, then maybe one day they could both be as confident as they seem.
They made their way back to the bedroom and the minute they set foot inside, Adora fell face first onto their bed. Catra began to undress. She hung her clothes up in the closet and grabbed the first sleepwear items she could find.
After a few minutes, Adora rolled over on the bed and was not prepared for what she was going to see.
Catra stood at the foot of the bed in a simple black bralette and some athletic shorts. Her hair was still styled as she crawled into bed to lay next to her girlfriend.
"Wow, you just get hotter and hotter as the night goes on." Adora giggled, throwing her leg over Catra's waist.
Catra's hands came up to cup her lovers cheeks as she leaned in a kissed her fiercely. Adora just pulled her closer as they lay.
"I'm gonna go change." Adora whispered, rolling out of bed.
Catra let out a groan at the lack of contact and frowned. Reaching out to try to pull Adora back into bed with her.
"It won't be long." Adora snickered, disappearing into the bathroom.
She looked over herself in the mirror, taking in every detail.
There was a small scar on her cheek, a scar Catra had given her. She had forgiven Catra a long time ago, but she knew Catra would never fully forgive herself. They had been through a lot together, but it only made them stronger.
She changed into a grey tank top and some matching grey shorts, too lazy to actually put effort into her sleepwear.
Today was exhausting and she couldn't wait to just curl up with her lover and sleep.
When she walked back into their bedroom, Catra was half asleep on the pillow. A small smile graced her lips as she slid into bed beside the brunette.
Catra's eyes creaked open at the sudden shift of weight.
"Hey Adora." She murmured.
"Hello there." She reached out and ruffled the fluff, breaking it from its gelled hold.
"What is with you and my hair?" Catra questioned.
Adora merely shrugged and looked away.
"I guess I just prefer it messy?"
Catra just nodded and rolled over, allowing Adora to pull her backwards. Adora's breasts were pressed against her back in a big spoon/little spoon cuddle.
There was a weight in her arms. She looked down, and there Catra lay.
This was Adora's least favorite nightmare. But something about this one felt different. Usually she just dreamt about old memories but something was off, this wasn't how it was supposed to be.
Catra's hair was slicked back messily and suddenly everything clicked.
She stared down into her girlfriends mismatched eyes and leaned down to touch her face.
Just as she reached her cheek, the girls eyes flashed green before she glitched. Flashes of green glitched in front of her eyes before suddenly she was moved.
Suddenly Adora was standing on the edge of the platform. Catra stood in front of her, reaching out. Adora couldn't move, or breathe, or speak.
Catra's other arm held her tightly. She was shaking, her jaw clenched. Adora knew she was in excruciating pain.
"Promise?" Catra manages to get out. Her body was working against her, she was fighting just to be there.
"Promise." Adora spoke. Her brain was functioning on autopilot.
Just then, Catra started to seize, her body shaking and jerking as electricity coursed through her veins.
Her body went limp and she fumbled backwards off the platform, gravity pulling her down.
Adora wanted to scream, to run, to dive down and save her, but her body wouldn't move. She watched as Catra disappeared into the void.
She jolted awake, screaming at the top of her lungs.
"CATRA!" She cried.
Her girlfriend shot awake.
Adora was hyperventilating. Tears were flowing down her face and she was shaking uncontrollably.
"Adora, Adora princess, it's ok" Her voice was horse and gravelly.
Adora looked at the girl and cried even harder.
"You're ok." Adora croaked.
Catra sat up and pulled her girlfriend into her. One arm slithered around her waist and the other came to cradle her head. She pulled it down so it met her chest, letting her head rest on her heartbeat.
"I'm ok. Listen to my heartbeat. I'm doing good."
Adora just cried. She cried until she felt like she couldn't.
When she had finally cried herself out, almost an hour later, she grabbed Catra and pulled them both down. They laid there in silence until Adora spoke up.
"I think I know why I don't like your hair..." She spoke so quietly that Catra wouldn't have heard it if she didn't have heightened hearing.
"You wanna talk about it?" Catra was quiet, trying to be gentle with her girlfriend
"Last time your hair was like that-" She took in a deep breath and Catra understood where this was going to go.
"I was chipped..."
Adora nodded hesitantly, tears building in her eyes.
"Oh Adora, I'm sorry." Catra pulled her into a hug and let Adora nuzzle into the crook of her neck.
"That's what my nightmare was about. You were chipped, but this time I couldn't save you." Her voice cracked.
Catra knew what that meant. While she had never told Adora this, she was well aware of the fact that she pretty much died when she fell off the platform.
"Well you did. I'm ok. No matter what you dream about, I am here. I'm alive and well and breathing and happy and in love."
"I love you. I'm sorry I'm such a mess like this." Adora breathed.
"I love you too princess. You're not a mess. We've been through a lot and it's hard to get over ok? And if it helps, I won't do my hair like this anymore. You know you can always talk to me though right?"
"I'm sorry. It looks so good on you but I don't wanna keep reliving the scariest moment of my life. I just want these thoughts out of my head."
"I understand. It'll be ok though. We're strong, and we have each other. Besides, I can say from experience that holding your almost dead girlfriend is not fun." Catra was trying to lighten the mood but it did not come out how she intended it to.
Adora was silent for a moment.
"Did- did you know what happened?"
"With the chip?"
Adora's eyes were wavering, her hands shaking against her girlfriends touch.
"That was one of the scariest things that has ever happened to me. When he took control, he would toy with my mind, make me think you would come back for me. When finally I was happy, we were in love, her would rip you away from me. He would tell me that you didn't want me or need me. I was ready to die when he chipped me in the first place. Then, when we were fighting, I'm not sure if you knew this, but I was present. I could see and feel everything, but my body was doing everything I didn't want it too. I felt my shoulder pretty much dislocate and then pop back into place. I felt myself..." She hated this part with every fiber of her being. "I felt myself scratch you. I'm sorry I didn't want to. I'm sorry. Then I fell, and I- I um- I hit the ground. When I woke up with you, I put the pieces together and realized what happened."
"Catra... I'm sorry. It's ok. You didn't mean to scratch me. They barely even scarred. I'm just glad you're ok. You're here, and you're ok."
"Me too. But I don't like to think about it. The only thing that was scarier was when you almost died."
"I'm sorry. I was being stupid"
"Don't apologize. You saved the world. You did what you thought you had to do."
"I did because of you."
"But you stayed. You could have given up and you didn't."
"I stayed for you."
"Let's not talk about this anymore. I'm sleepy and I don't wanna think about you dying anymore, it makes me sad. You're here and healthy and I love you."
"I love you too babe."
"I won't do my hair like this anymore either."
"Ok. Thank you for all of this. It really does mean a lot to me, Catra."
"I'm always here for you."
So they lay, Adora running her fingers through Catra's messy hair, listening to her soft purring against her chest.
Things mat have been hard in the past, but they were here, they were ok. And Catra, well she was so soft.