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take a lover (who looks at you like maybe you are magic)

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Catra’s first day in Bright Moon, though uneventful, is the best day she’s had in ages. Sure, she spends it lugging up box after box up to her apartment, and sure, it’s the beginning of spring and her allergies are going to kill her if she doesn’t take her allergy meds soon, but she’s moving into her own apartment, far away from her mother. It’s a kind of freedom Catra almost never thought she would get, the kind of freedom that she’s more than earned after years and years of pain that feels soul-and-bone deep by now. But she’s gone now, she’s free, and even though she can faintly hear her new neighbor’s music through the slightly too-thin walls, and even though she’s sweating and disheveled and sore already, she’s happy.

It’s when she’s bringing up the last box that she meets Bow.

He’s politely holding the elevator doors open for her, and he looks at her curiously when she’s finally situated. “Did you just move in?” he asks, and when Catra nods, he brightens considerably.

“Cool! Do you need any help with your stuff? I’d be more than happy to help!”

“Well, considering this is the last box…” Catra shrugs, shakes her head. “Besides, no offense, but I don’t exactly know you, and I’m not stupid enough to let a stranger into my apartment.”

The boy across from her nods, “None taken, I get it! We’re just all pretty close here, small town and all. We’re neighbors now though, so I hope we can get along! My name’s Bow and I live in 326. Come by if you ever need anything, okay?”

And he seems so genuine, so open and honest, that Catra finds herself nodding. “Sure. I’m Catra, and as you can tell, I just moved in here...I was living in Half Moon before. And that’s all you’re going to get from me for now, Bow.”

“Sounds fair to me,” Bow’s grin is infectious and as they reach the third floor, he holds out his phone. “Do you want my number? I can show you around town if you’d like, introduce you to people. Or just give you some nice places to go to.”

“Sure, unless this is your way of trying to hit on me.”

Definitely not. Purely a friend thing, promise.”

“Then sure.” Once Catra’s number is plugged into Bow’s phone, he gives her another bright smile and a wave, then heads out of the elevator, leaving her alone with her thoughts. So she’s already made her first friend—and by the looks of it, she’ll be making more soon. Things here are getting off to a good start.


And even more so as she stands in the middle of her ocean of boxes. She’s never really liked unpacking, organizing or cleaning, but this is her place, and it feels different somehow. Even though it takes the whole day and most of the night, Catra works on unpacking until everything is done, and finally falls into bed close to 3am, beyond satisfied and sore. The last thought that runs through her mind is that her new life in Bright Moon is definitely off to a good start.

Catra startles awake.

She’s used to the heart-racing and dizziness that comes with being startled out of sleep, though the unfamiliar room quickly calms her as she remembers that Weaver isn’t here. It’s just someone knocking on the door from the next room over, and after a moment of lying still and relishing the freedom she now has to even do that, Catra throws on a hoodie before padding over to stand on tiptoe and peek through the peephole.

No one’s there, but there’s something on the ground in front of her door, and when Catra opens the door, she finds a paper bag that smells delicious and a little note that in pretty handwriting, says: breakfast because I know you probably didn’t eat! See you later, have a great day!

It’s from Bow, and Catra makes a mental note to send him a thank you text after she devours whatever he’s gotten for her. It turns out to be a few pastries, still hot, still fresh. One is an apple danish, the dough flaking on her fingers and melting in her mouth as she chews. Another smells and tastes like it had been steeped in honey, and though Catra doesn’t know what it is, she’s already craving another one even as she finishes licking her sticky-sweet fingers clean.

There’s a third pastry in the bag, but Catra reluctantly puts it in the fridge to snack on later, then washes her hands and heads back to her new bedroom, content beyond belief as she grabs her phone from the night table.

TO Bow (apartment): thanks, bow, those were really good

FROM Bow (apartment): i figured you hadnt eaten lol you and my friend adora are pretty alike!

FROM Bow (apartment): but im glad you liked them !! glimmer made them when i told her about you

TO Bow (apartment): tell her thanks then

FROM Bow (apartment): of course! And she’d totally kill me if i didnt mention it

FROM Bow (apartment): but i work at her coffee place, Yesterdaze

FROM Bow (apartment): and im not just saying it but its seriously the best coffee place in town

FROM Bow (apartment): you should come by sometime !

TO Bow (apartment): i don’t drink much coffee tbh 

FROM Bow (apartment): DDD:

TO Bow (apartment): ughhh fine i’ll check it out. But only if you get me more of those pastries

FROM Bow (apartment): :DDD

FROM Bow (apartment): u wont regret it! If im not there, just say i sent you and whoever’s there will get you something on the house!

TO Bow (apartment): thanks, arrow. really

FROM Bow (apartment): <3

And with that, Catra gets back into bed, ready to go back to sleep now that she’s warm and has a full stomach.

The next time she wakes, the sun is high in the sky, and there are a few more messages from Bow.

FROM Bow (apartment): heyy so i’m at the cafe now and no one’s here so i’m gonna just send you a list of places to check out :)

FROM Bow (apartment): they’re all my friends but i’m not being biased, promise

FROM Bow (apartment): anyway

FROM Bow (apartment): perfuma runs a flower shop a few blocks away from our apartment building

FROM Bow (apartment): and then there’s mermista, she’s a lifeguard down by the town pool!

FROM Bow (apartment): you HAVE to go to spinerella and netossa’s diner, really. They have the BEST burgers and milkshakes ever!!!

FROM Bow (apartment): oh and of course there’s yesterdaze, it’s down by the river, but still on the west side of town

FROM Bow (apartment): idk if you know about the lore of our town? I assume so but idk how you feel about magic but anyway...yesterdaze  is on the west side

TO Bow (apartment): what do u mean, town lore?

FROM Bow (apartment): oh, you dont know? I’ll explain it over coffee :)

TO Bow (apartment): >:(

FROM Bow (apartment): PLEASE it’s still just me here, im BORED

TO Bow (apartment): fine, be there in a bit

“A bit” turns out to be closer to an hour; Catra first has to shower, and get dressed, and wrangle her curls into space buns. She’s a bit nervous, honestly, but she looks good, and she feels good, so there’s honestly not much that can go wrong at this point. Besides, Bow has been nice so far. Maybe a bit motherly, but he’s friendly, and sweet, and he’s quickly worming his way into her heart despite the fact that they’ve just met.

So yeah, it’s easy to search up Yesterdaze and find directions. It’s only a ten minute walk, and Catra tries not to stare down at her phone as she walks, observing the people around her. It’s so... lively here, in compared to Half Moon. There are street vendors, and groups of people just laughing and talking on the sidewalks, and just about all of the little stores of the main square are open air, so it seems like the whole town is out.

And then there’s Yesterdaze.

The outside of the cafe is simple; window lined and painted a pretty pastel pink. There are flowers and hanging ivy lining the sides and top of the front door, and a few empty tables shielded by pale pink umbrellas.

Bow sees her through the window and waves, and true to his word, it’s just him inside.

“For the best coffee place in town, business sure is slow,” Catra drawls, and Bow laughs.

“Most of our customers come in the morning and at night! Besides, it’s Market Day—I forgot to tell you.”

So that’s what it was. “So it’s not always like this?”

“Sometimes, but only on the weekends. Market Day is always a big event every month—other than the solstices. But that’s a It’s more so a big party—I’ll let Glimmer explain that when she gets here.”

“You mentioned the lore of the town too,” Catra says, “don’t think you’re getting away without explaining that.”

“ you want a drink first? I’m nowhere near as good with drinks as Adora is, so she left some stuff preprepared—it’ll be chilled, though!”

And—Catra does. She wasn’t thirsty when she arrived, but now she is. “That’d be good, thanks.”

Bow nods and disappears into the back room, presumably to fix her drink, and Catra takes the time to look around the cafe’s interior. Unlike the outside, the inside is drenched in warm shades of honey gold and cream and lavender. There are fairy lights in jars and strings of lightbulbs burning gold, and it should be tacky, but it somehow isn’t. It feels natural, and cozy, and safe here, and Catra kind of never wants to leave.

“So this is what we call a Summer Sunset!” Bow calls out as he returns. In his hands is a clear glass filled to the brim with a drink that is a vibrant orange around the rim, and that steadily fades into an equally vibrant pink. It looks both delicious and tooth-achingly sweet, and Catra accepts it with a dubious raised brow.

But the drink is good, cold and refreshing and just the right amount of sweet. It tastes of raspberry and mango and passionfruit, and somehow, it tastes of the first jump into the pool and warm sand underfoot and bright sunlight on skin. Catra drinks up half of the glass in what feels like seconds, and only pulls away at the first pangs of brain freeze. Even then, she still wants more of it, and idly stirs her straw to mix the orange and pink around as she glances up at Bow.

“It’s... good, what’s in it?”

Bow waggles his eyebrows. “Would you believe me if I said magic?

Magic again. “Well, since you’re saying it, yes.”

“It’s a part of Bright Moon,” Bow explains, “the old parts of town—east of the river—are full of magic. It’s not like...contagious or anything, don’t worry, you’re still completely human, the drink doesn’t do anything. Please don’t freak out.”

And—she’s not. Magic is real. She just drank a magic drink. She’s totally not freaking out.

“I am not freaking out,” Catra grumbles, “I just...didn’t think it was real. Magic, I mean.”

Bow nods in understanding, then breaks out into a bright smile. “Well, I hope you’ll like it here now that you know! Magic is part of Bright Moon down to its roots, and it can be a little jarring at first, but I know I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

“I’ll...have to see. I like it so far, thanks to you.”

“Aww, Catra, you’re so sweet!”

“I am not sweet.”

Bow gives her a look that Catra pointedly returns, but he must see that she’s not going to relent because he just shakes his head. “Well, I think you are.”

And then the bells above the door begin to chime as a few more people spill in, and Catra steps away from the front counter to take a table by the windows to finish her drink. With nothing to distract her now, she quickly finishes her drink, and takes it up to the counter before taking out her card to pay, though Bow quickly stops her.

“It’s on the house, remember?”

Catra huffs, but puts her card back and reminds herself to do something extra nice for Bow as soon as she gets really settled into town. “I’ll see you later, yeah?”

“Yeah! Have a great rest of your day, Catra!”

A genuine smile tugs at the corners of Catra’s lips as she exits the cafe and finds herself back in the warmth of spring; on a whim, she heads down to the river to walk along its edge, curious if it’ll somehow feel different because of all the magic.

Unfortunately, it feels no different than the rest of Bright Moon, save for the lack of people around. She can’t help thinking that If Bow were here, he’d probably suggest that they have a picnic lunch.

Reluctantly, Catra turns away from the babbling river and heads back home, pace still slow as she takes in this new part of town that she’s just moved to. It’s when she’s passing a dark alleyway between two empty stores that she hears the quiet mew coming from deeper within. It’s bright enough outside that the alley should be lit up, but it’s dark, and Catra feels an odd chill as she takes out her phone to turn her flashlight on. Evidently, she’s lost some of her city edge, as she’s forgotten her pepper spray at home, but Catra remains on edge as she creeps towards the sound. And there it is again, a quiet noise, something that sounds almost like a plea for help.

Around a trash can is the culprit: a tiny brown kitten curled up around itself. It looks up curiously when it sees Catra and blinks its bright blue eyes and Catra falls in love instantly.

“You okay, little guy?” Catra holds out her hand and the kitten cautiously sniffs at it, then bumps its head against her hand, a little rumbling purr escaping it. It still doesn’t move though, and when Catra carefully reaches out to pick it up, she sees why: its little leg is twisted at an odd angle, and it whines when she touches it.

“Oh, poor baby, ” Catra coos. The kitten just nestles its head against her chest and mews again as if in agreement, and as Catra returns to the sunlit sidewalk, she texts Bow as best she can with only one hand free.

TO Bow (apartment): any good vets in the area?

FROM Bow (apartment): hmm

FROM Bow (apartment): oh, you could try Entrapta’s! She’s the best

FROM Bow (apartment): why?

TO Bow (apartment): found a kitten with a broken leg in an alley

FROM Bow (apartment): oh DDD: take it asap !! and send pictures !!! are you gonna keep it?

TO Bow (apartment): am I allowed to?

FROM Bow (apartment): umm i dont think its technically allowed but you could easily smuggle it in :)

FROM Bow (apartment): plus our landlord is very easily bribed. Just say you’ll go berry picking with her sometime

TO Bow (apartment):, ig. I’ll text you after I get to the vet ok?

FROM Bow (apartment): yeah yeah of course! Kiss the little guy for me :(

TO Bow (apartment): pfft ok bow

Luckily, the vet is close by, and within the hour, the kitten is in good hands, and Catra sits in the waiting room, anxious despite barely knowing the kitten at all. Her hands feel strangely empty without cradling it, and she misses the feeling of its tiny purrs and warmth against her.

The vet’s assistant—Scorpia, her name is—had asked Catra a series of questions as the vet carefully took the kitten into one of the back rooms. Where did she find the kitten, how did it behave? Did it have any other symptoms, did she have any clue about an owner or about how the injury could have occurred? Does she think the kitten is cute, and is she a cat person? (In an alley between two stores, it was friendly despite her being a stranger, no other symptoms, no and no, and yes and yes. )

Scorpia then reassures Catra that the kitten will be in good hands, and then asks if she knows what she’ll do with it after, and Catra immediately answers that if no one’s come inquiring about it, she’ll keep it. She’s already got a name too, despite telling herself not to get too attached.

“So usually, Entrapta starts with X-rays and simple tests; we want to see what the extent of the damage is. Since the kitten was found in an alley, we’re definitely going to have to make sure it doesn’t have any disease, and then we’ll put it in a cast or splint. I doubt the injury was serious enough to need surgery, so she should be out soon! But Entrapta can tell you what to do next after she’s done, okay? Really, you don’t have to worry, Entrapta’s the best with animals.”

“Thanks, Scorpia. Really.”

After what feels like no time at all, the vet—Entrapta—is back, holding the kitten carefully in a little box. Just like Scorpia said, it now has a cast, and mews when it sees Catra. Once Catra has the box and is petting the kitten’s head until it purrs, Entrapta says, “So you’re lucky, it was a clean break, and this little guy’s a trooper! The healing process should go absolutely smoothly, but feel free to come back if you think there’s any problems. I’m going to write down a treatment for you: just things like antibiotics, and what to do and not do. I will say that it’ll take about a month to heal, and not to move the cast. I put in extra padding just to make your kitten more comfortable, and I doubt we’ll need it, but I’ll give you a sling just in case this little guy doesn’t want to stay still. Let him rest in a cozy, quiet spot—I know this isn’t your kitten so I’ll have Scorpia grab you a litter box, cat food, some blankets and toys.”

“I always think that laying down with kittens helps,” Scorpia breaks in, “so they can be comforted by the fact that you’re laying down together!”

Entrapta nods like this is very sage advice, and continues, “Warm blankets will also give extra warmth and comfort. He might not want to eat or drink a lot at first, but make sure you have fresh water and food just in case. And keep the litter box close, and take him there so he doesn’t have to walk on that leg. I don’t have to tell you twice but petting is always good if he wants it, and talking to him too. Just be as gentle as you can, okay? He’ll be fine in no time,” and then, to the kitten, Entrapta coos, “and he was so good while I put the cast on! Such a lovely kitten!”

The kitten meows again at this and blinks those blue blue eyes at Entrapta, much to her delight.

“Have you thought of a name for him?”

Catra nods. “Melog. I don’t really know where the name came from, but...I like it.”

“Melog!” Scorpia tries out. The kitten obediently mews at her and Catra has never felt more happy in her life.

And then— “You’re new in town, aren’t you?” Entrapta asks.

“Yeah, I moved in yesterday. I’m uh—I live near Bow, if you know him?”

Scorpia nods in delight. “Bow’s great! He and Entrapta are pretty close too!”

“He’s an excellent partner,” Entrapta nods, “and a wonderful friend. But anyway—let’s let you and Melog get home, do you need a ride?”

“I live close by—” and then Catra remembers all of the kitten-related things she’ll have to carry now as well, and reconsiders. “Actually, yeah, a ride would be great. Thanks.”

“Not a problem at all,” Scorpia beams, “especially if it can help this little guy out!”

Melog meows again and bumps his head against Scorpia’s hand when she reach out to pet him. Then he curls up again and closes his eyes and seems to fall asleep, content as anything even with the cast, even in his tiny box.

When they get to Scorpia’s van, Melog wakes, but he quickly settles down as Catra begins to pet him, and she can feel more than hear his quiet purrs as she strokes his soft fur all the way home.

Getting inside, up the elevator, and to Catra’s apartment is a bit of a challenge; Melog wakes again and seems to want to see everything, and Catra is this close to just scooping him up and abandoning the box so he’ll just stop wriggling around. But when she tells him to settle down, he does, blinking slow at her as if in apology, and even when they make it to Catra’s apartment and to her bedroom, he remains quiet and still, only mewling when Catra gently places him on her bed.

Scorpia’s placed all of Melog’s new things in the main room, and after reminding her to check in with the vet’s office whenever she needs to, heads out. And then it’s just Catra and Melog.

Catra lays down next to him, carefully petting his fur as they stare at each other. If cats could smile, Melog would be right now; he looks the picture of contentment lying on soft blankets and being pet and scratched. “This is your new home, Melog,” Catra murmurs, “I hope you like it. I’m gonna go get you some food and water just in case, but I’ll be right back, okay? Please no more wiggling, okay?”

Melog rubs the side of his face against Catra’s hand and closes his eyes again, purring as Catra pets him one last time before reluctantly getting up. She skims the note Entrapta had left her, then takes out the two bowls, one of the many cans of cat food, and the bathroom pad, carefully measuring out what the note says and bringing them back to her room. The bathroom pad goes under Melog in case of accidents, and she quickly fluffs a blanket around him before he can mewl at her again. The food and water she leaves on her night table, then curls back up around him, resuming her gentle petting.

Melog’s purrs start back up again as well and though she doesn’t mean to, Catra feels herself begin to relax and drift off to sleep, her hand finally stilling around Melog to keep him close.

When she wakes, Melog is asleep too, and the sun is much lower in the sky. It’s been a lazy day and Catra relishes the fact that she’d been able to absolutely nothing all day without being yelled at or punished. She has a new kitten now too, and—before she can forget, she rolls over, grabs her phone, and takes a few pictures of Melog to send to Bow.

FROM Bow (apartment): OMG!!!!

FROM Bow (apartment): SOOO CUTE !!!!! ur keeping it right???

TO Bow (apartment): oh yeah. We’ve bonded already, he’s even slow blinked at me twice

FROM Bow (apartment): oh my gosh i am loving this...send updates !!

TO Bow (apartment): well we just napped together, he’s still sleeping. He took the trip to the vet really well, the only trouble i had was that he kept trying to wiggle around to get a good view of the apartment

TO Bow (apartment): which like i get it but still

FROM Bow (apartment): he’s just a baby!!! I love him!!! What’s his name?

TO Bow (apartment): melog :)

FROM Bow (apartment): pls give melog lots of kisses from me <3

TO Bow (apartment): no promises. or at least not until i know he doesn’t have any diseases or anything

FROM Bow (apartment): ohhh ok! Makes sense but :(((

FROM Bow (apartment): oh hey do u want me to bring u dinner?

FROM Bow (apartment): I figured you haven’t gotten to go grocery shopping yet

TO Bow (apartment): that’s sweet! I still have one of the pastries from this morning tho, that’ll be enough

FROM Bow (apartment): ok...if anything the cafe is open 24/7

FROM Bow (apartment): it’s the only 24/7 eatery in town actually!

TO Bow (apartment): will definitely keep that in mind, ty

FROM Bow (apartment): <333

After she puts her phone back down and begins to stretch, Melog shakes awake and gives a huge yawn, his whole tiny body trembling as he does so. Then he stretches out as well, tiny tailtip wagging in delight as he sees Catra still there before he curls up again.

Catra reaches over for the food and water bowls and helps Melog sit up so he can take a few delicate bites of food and a few sips of water, then puts them back on her nightstand and lays down with Melog again, more than happy to spend the rest of her evening like this. Melog seems to agree by the way he lays quiet and content against her chest, and Catra idly scrolls through her socials before going to clear out her watch later list. It’s not until her stomach growls that she remembers she needs to eat, and Catra reluctantly peels herself away from her kitten to go warm up the pastry.

This one is soft even after being in the fridge all day, and tastes of cheese and butter and garlic with just a hint of sweetness. It’s filling, but Catra is still craving more, so she goes back to her room and pulls on an old hoodie, talking to Melog all the while. “I’m gonna go grab myself a snack, will you be okay by yourself for a bit?” Melog mews. “Of course you will, you’re such a lovely kitty!”

Another meow, this time louder. Melog is staring at her with that funny little cat’s smile, and before she can think twice, Catra leans down and kisses his little forehead. Melog somehow looks infinitely pleased, and splays out, tail wagging in delight.

With one long last look cast Melog’s way, Catra forces herself to leave the apartment and head back towards Yesterdaze. The streets are quieter now, but are are lined with delicate fairy lights that light up storefronts and disappear into trees, that twinkle and glow soft in the late night sky. The first thing Catra notices once she gets the Yesterdazze is that the tiny cafe is no exception: the store’s overhead lights are off, and it is lit entirely by the warm glow of delicate light bulbs trapped in jars and fairy lights lining the ceiling.

The second thing Catra notices is that Bow is no longer at the counter: instead there is a girl with her hair pulled back into a tight ponytail, and when she looks up to watch Catra as she approaches, Catra feels so very seen, so vulnerable, so flustered all at once.

The third thing Catra notices is that the girl is kind of cute, and that she’s noticing Catra too.

Hey, you’re that girl Bow was talking about, aren’t you?”

“What, am I famous now or something?”

The girl grins and laughs, soft and bright bright bright, and the third thing Catra notices is that up close, the girl is actually really hot. “Maybe a bit, we don’t get newcomers here often. My name’s Adora, by the way.”


“So, Catra, ” Adora says, and the way she says her name makes a pleasant shiver roll down Catra’s spine, “What are you doing here so late?”

“I don’t know if Bow mentioned it, but I kind of got a cat and his leg is broken...I spent the afternoon taking care of him and I haven’t gone grocery shopping yet, so I kind of forgot to eat.”

Adora nods and gestures to the tables behind them. “Go sit down, I’ll bring you something.”

“Not gonna ask me what I want, Adora?”

Adora laughs, bright and bright and bright, and Catra feels a grin slip onto her face as well at the sound. “You look like a honey girl, Catra, ” Adora says, clearly teasing. After Catra finishes spluttering, she continues, “If you don’t like what I get you, I’ll pay for it.”

“Sounds like a date.” Catra doesn’t know why exactly she says it, just that the words slip out as easy as breathing.

Adora winks— winks —and disappears to the back room, and Catra is extremely grateful that she’s gone because she is absolutely blushing. Maybe Adora’s always like this, maybe it’s just her way of getting more customers, but Catra’s never been used to any kind of attention , much less from girls, much less from attractive girls.

It’s probably just a joke, Catra reassures herself, because she looks like shit right now in her paint-splattered hoodie and ripped jeans, in the messiest bun she’s ever made and mismatched socks with slides.

With that thought in mind, Catra sits herself down and waits patiently for Adora to come back out, and when she does it’s with another one of those honey pastries, a drink that is as golden as the summer sun, a giant cookie, and a simple smelling coffee. The golden drink and honey pastry she gives to Catra, and keeps the cookie and coffee to herself.

The ice cubes in Catra’s drink twinkle when she picks it up, and it might just be the warmth of the evening or how flustered she is, but Catra feels warmer when Adora sits down across from her.

Adora props her face on one hand, watching eagerly as Catra picks up her drink and takes a slow sip. Sweetness bursts on her tongue and Catra closes her eyes to fully appreciate the taste, so sweet that it makes her melt even more.

“Good, isn’t it?” Adora sounds very pleased with herself, and Catra reluctantly has to nod despite the smug look Adora is giving her.

“What’s the secret, how is everything you make so good?”

Adora’s grin only widens and she winks again. “Trade secret, Catra.”

“Bow said you do drinks around here—is it magic? Are you magic?”

Though Adora looks startled, she nods, dipping her cookie into her coffee as she thinks of what to say. “I’m not as magic as other people, I can’t really do anything. I’m a fae, but I was a changeling so I’m much weaker than other fae. I can’t compel you or put you under my thrall, so don’t worry about that.”

(Somehow, even if she could, Catra doesn’t think she’d mind it all that much.)

“Glimmer and Bow always say I smell like summer, though, whatever that means, and that they’re warmer around me. I think that’s all I can really do, magic wise.”

“And the drinks.”

“Hah, yeah, and the drinks,” Adora nods, “but anyone can do drinks.”

Catra shakes her head, stirs her drink and listens to the ice sing out before responding. “Your drinks...they taste like magic, somehow. I think if anyone else made what you make, it wouldn’t taste even half as good. There’s something about you that makes things taste sweeter.”

When she glances back up, Adora has a dopey smile on her lips. “Wow, you do like me!”

Catra’s blush comes back with a vengeance and she scowls in a feeble attempt to hide how flustered she now is. “Shut up, I do not like you! I have to get back to my cat, stop smiling at me like that!”

Though Adora relents, she doesn’t stop smiling, and laughs when Catra stands, her chair squeaking loudly in protest. But as Catra passes her to go up to the counter and pay, Adora reaches out and touches just her fingertips to Catra’s wrist, locking her in place all at once. She’d said she couldn’t compel Catra, but god, just four pinpoints of warmth on Catra’s skin and Catra is ready to obey Adora’s every command.

But all Adora says is, “You don’t have to pay, I’ve got it.”

When Adora takes her fingers away, Catra lets out a sigh of breath and shakes her head. “I liked the drink though, and Bow already bought me a drink...I couldn’t possibly—”

“Catra,” Adora gently interrupts, “please let me buy this for you.”

And Catra finds herself nodding. She feels flushed through, made somehow even hotter standing this close to Adora, and she’s sure that if she were to look at her wrist, she’d see the imprints of Adora’s fingertips where they’d touched her. “I—okay. But only if I can buy you something next time, okay?”

Adora smiles, warm and bright, and nods. “Sounds like a date.”

Adora even grabs her a muffin to go—“because you told me you hadn’t gotten a chance to go grocery shopping, and you’ll probably be hungry in the morning again, but please get something healthy to eat soon, okay?”—and sees her to the door. It isn’t until the door swings shut behind her and Adora disappears back into the shop that Catra really realizes what a sap she’d been, all for some girl she’d only just met.

Then she realizes that Adora had flirted just as much as she had, and—god . God. She’d flirted with one of the only people she knew in town, just because she was cute, just because she winked at her. If Lonnie were here, if she and Lonnie were still friends, she’d probably just laugh at her and call her a useless lesbian and make fun of her for weeks to come.

But as it is—Catra remembers Melog, all alone in her bed, and quickly heads home to check on him. But Melog is okay, and his ears perk up when he sees Catra standing in the doorframe.

Before Catra can stroke Melog’s soft fur or cover him in kisses, she grabs his food and water bowls, and obediently, he drinks and eats until he finishes with a content little meow and licks his nose clean. “You’re so good, ” Catra coos, and Melog tilts his head into her hand as she pets and scratches between his ears, “you’re the best kitten in the world, Melog. Just the best boy ever!”

Melog seems to agree by the way he starts purring again, and Catra kisses the top of his head before throwing off her hoodie and pulling on her pajamas and getting into bed. Then she gets her notebook from inside the night table and tries to focus on writing.

This is...the first time she’s been able to write without having to worry about her mom finding her notebook or her poetry, and it feels weird, but good . But of course, of course, now that she’s free, the words simply refuse to come.

  And then, as Melog curls up to sleep next to her, the words come.

She writes of hair shining gold in the sunlight, of fingertips gently trailing against inner wrists, of seeing the summer sun in someone’s smile, of sipping a cold drink together, of kisses that are sugar sweet, of honeyed words murmured between lovers.

She writes until the words run out, and then she closes her notebook and puts it back on the nightstand, checks Melog—still sleeping soundly—and eases herself into bed and turns out the lamp. Catra carefully curls herself around Melog the best she can, and falls asleep like that, thoughts of summer and magic chasing her to sleep.

When she wakes, it is to her alarm, which is louder than usual and startles both her and Melog out of sleep. After Catra lurches up to shut off the alarm, she slumps back down and stares at Melog as he blinks sleepily at her.

“Sorry, Melog,” Catra mumbles, “I forgot I set that, I’ll—” she yawns, “I’ll turn it down more tomorrow.”

Melog just yawns back and sits himself up, and Catra can’t resist picking him up and putting him on her chest so they can be just a little bit closer. Now Melog looks happy again, and Catra pets him as she checks her phone for anything important. There are a few messages from Bow, but they don’t look too important, so Catra leaves them for later and after nearly dozing off again, stands with Melog still snug in her arms. She knows Entrapta said not to jostle his leg too much, but—Catra still can’t stand seeing those sad blue eyes watching her as she leaves.

So she takes him around her apartment, showing him the bathroom, the living room, the kitchen, the spare room that she’s planning on converting to a study once she really gets settled in. Then she carefully puts Melog down on the counter as she goes to the fridge to get the muffin (pumpkin with a coffee crumb crust, her absolute favorite ) and pops it in the microwave. Then she gets Melog’s breakfast ready and they eat together in comfortable silence, and once they’ve finished, Catra takes them both to the couch as she tells Melog about meeting Bow and Adora. Somehow, that turns into her talking about Weaver too, and Melog presses close as if trying to comfort her.

“You’re so sweet,” Catra kisses Melog’s head again, “Bow’s gonna love you whenever he meets you. Actually—maybe he can come over today...I’ll go grocery shopping and make us something to eat. What do you think?”

Melog licks Catra’s hand in response and Catra laughs, petting him again and trying to think of what to make. She’s definitely nowhere near as good a chef as Adora, but surely Bow won’t mind if she makes lunch or dinner for him, and, well, if he doesn’t want to come, that’s just more food for her.

So with that in mind, Catra gets her phone from her pocket and opens her messages, skimming through Bow’s with a small smile on her lips.

FROM Bow (apartment): soooo you met adora huh

FROM Bow (apartment): she said you’re cute :)))

FROM Bow (apartment): well not technically? Those weren’t her exact words

FROM Bow (apartment): but like i know how adora is and she definitely thinks ur cute

TO Bow (apartment): lol and what hould i do with that

FROM Bow (apartment): :) i am a saint i just thought should know

FROM Bow (apartment): *you should know

TO Bow (apartment): hm. Interesting theory, too bad theres nothing to back it up. Anyway come over for lunch/dinner tonight, I’m cooking

FROM Bow (apartment): :OOO i KNEW you were sweet!!!

TO Bow (apartment): ... anyway. what time do you get off?

FROM Bow (apartment): 2pm!

TO Bow (apartment): ok just head over after u get off

FROM Bow (apartment): i’ll bring drinks!

TO Bow (apartment): ughhhh do Not tell adora

FROM Bow (apartment): :) why not?

TO Bow (apartment): just dont !!!

FROM Bow (apartment): :))))

TO Bow (apartment): shut UP

FROM Bow (apartment): ok fine i wont tell her

TO Bow (apartment): thank u >:(

FROM Bow (apartment): of course :)

That said, Catra shuts her phone off and very reluctantly gets up to bring Melog back to bed. “I have to go find the grocery store,” she explains to him as she turns to look through her closet, “so I can find something to make for me and Bow. And you’ll get something nice too, don’t worry. I’ll see if I can get you some more treats and toys, okay?”

Melog mews and when Catra looks away from the closet, finds him lying down facing her with his head tucked on both front paws. His back legs and tail are splayed out behind him and Catra winces as she sees the bulky cast on his leg again.

“I just wish you could tell me what happened to you…”

Melog meows and Catra can’t resist walking back over to pet between his ears. “I just wish I’d gotten there before it happened, that’s all. Maybe I could’ve helped you out more.”

As usual, there is no answer, but Melog closes his eyes and begins to purr, and Catra somehow has the feeling that he’s trying to tell her that this—that what’s she’s done—it’s all more than enough. When she pulls her hand away, Melog blinks up at her, and Catra bends down to kiss him once and then again. “Okay, I gotta go to the store. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

That said, Catra heads out and to her car, plugging in directions and heading to the store. She’s already decided to make an old favorite: teriyaki bowls. It’s easy enough to make and she’s been craving takeout for a while, so this will be perfect. She finds all of the ingredients easily enough, then wanders through the store, grabbing whatever she thinks she’ll need for the next few weeks. She does get a few stares, but whenever her gaze meets with a stranger’s, the stranger smiles, and Catra nods in response, a bit weirded out at all of the attention.

But Bright Moon is a small place, and like Bow and Adora had said, they apparently don’t get many newcomers, so this should be expected. The people are more than friendly at least, and soon enough, and it takes much longer than usual to get home just because of how many people stop her to initiate a conversation. It’s weird, especially after living in the city where everyone pretty much ignores everyone and rushes from one place to the next with barely a smile or nod of acknowledgement of others, but it’s nice. Draining, but nice.

Once she has all the food she needs, Catra picks some things up for Melog, then finally starts back home, eager to get back to her kitten. Again, upon seeing her, Melog perks up, and when Catra dumps out the bag of toys, he sniffs a few of them curiously before dragging one of the chewy toys closer with his front paws for a better inspection. Satisfied, Catra leaves him to it and then goes back to the kitchen to get lunch ready.

It’s been a while since she’s cooked with the intention of having someone else eat it, so she takes her time measuring out ingredients, chopping vegetables and taking all of the tails off of the shrimp. Finally, once she has the sauce, meat and rice all sizzling away on low, Catra goes to take a quick shower and get changed. She’s unsure of what Bow is going to wear, but she doesn’t want to look as sloppy as she’d looked every other time she met him, so she ties her hair back in a quick braid and pulls on a pair of leggings and one of her favorite cotton button downs.

Once she’s done, Catra quickly heads back to the kitchen to check on the food, then turns the burners up a notch higher and scrolls through her phone as she waits just a bit more. It’s nearing 1:45 now, and Bow should be heading over soon—Catra would be lying if she said she weren’t nervous, though she has no idea why. It’s not like this is a date or anything; it’s just her wanting to pay a new friend back, and that’s...probably it. Bow is her first new friend in so long, and she doesn’t want to fuck this up.

But Bow seems to like her well enough so far, so Catra tries to calm her nerves as she texts him again.

TO Bow (apartment): food’s just about ready, just head over whenever

FROM Bow (apartment): cool !! glimmer is chronically late to work but i told her i’d be going to urs

FROM Bow (apartment): so i may have told her to bring me some wine for us if she’s late :)

TO Bow (apartment): wooow..what if she’s on time?

FROM Bow (apartment): trust me, she wont be

FROM Bow (apartment): ud think someone that can TELEPORT would be on time for things

FROM Bow (apartment): but she just treats it like

FROM Bow (apartment): i can just teleport if i think i’ll be late

FROM Bow (apartment): and then she loses track of time

FROM Bow (apartment): and then she’s late

TO Bow (apartment): you’ve really got her figured out huh...

FROM Bow (apartment): ...shut up

TO Bow (apartment): we WILL be talking about this later you know

FROM Bow (apartment): NOOOOO

TO Bow (apartment): :)))

TO Bow: <3

FROM Bow: ughhh <3

Okay, now the food is definitely ready. Catra glazes the shrimp with the teriyaki sauce and then covers the pans of shrimp and rice before heading back to her room, and to Melog.

“Food’s ready,” she calls out, and Melog perks up at her from where he’s been duly inspecting a yarn ball. “Bow’s gonna be here soon too, he’s very excited to meet you, y’know.”

Melog makes a distinctly grumbly noise, but allows himself to be picked up and carried back out into the living room easily enough, and after a few minutes of talking to and babying Melog around, there are three knocks on the door. Melog’s tail fluffs up but he calms down when Catra shushes him as she scoops him up to bring him to the door.

When he sees Melog in Catra’s arms, Bow gasps, smile huge, and Catra almost swears she can see sparkles in his eyes. “Bow, this is Melog. Melog, this is Bow,” she introduces, and Bow slowly reaches out to let Melog sniff his hand.

Melog cranes his head around to look up at Catra, then sniffs at Bow’s hand and presses his face into it, and Bow melts. “Catra, oh my gosh, he is just the cutest I think I’m going to explode—

“You two have fun, I’ll fix up our food.” Catra tries for brusque as she carefully trades the bottle of wine for Melog, but she feels fiercely proud over her pet already, and listens with half an ear to Bow’s coos and gasps as she ladles huge mounds of rice and then shrimp into bowls. The wine is still cool, so she pops the cork and pours them both hefty glasses, then decides to get Melog one of his treats so he doesn’t feel left out either.

Eventually, Bow comes in with Melog curled up close in his arms, and he still looks so enamoured that Catra laughs. “You can come over whenever you want if you want to visit him, you know,” she says, “especially after his leg heals.”

“Can I petsit? Please?

Catra shrugs, watches Melog snuggle into Bow’s shirt, and nods. “I don’t see why not, he really likes you.”

“That’s because he’s the best! ” Bow punctuates each word with a kiss to the top of Melog’s head, and earns himself an excited mew and a rub of Melog’s cheek against his. Bow now looks very close to tears, and Catra can’t help laughing again.

As it turns out, she still does remember how to cook, because Bow all but devours his food, and reluctantly parts with Melog to get them both seconds. Catra nurses on her wine while he’s gone, pulling a face at the taste and forcing it down. She’s never been particularly good with alcohol, tends to mix it with juice, but all she has now is apple juice, and that...won’t taste good.

When Bow comes back, he’s got his phone out and is texting one-handed, and absently says, “Adora wants you to make her dinner.”

Catra very nearly chokes on her wine, but Bow very thoughtfully ignores her and continues: “She said she’s jealous and that she—oh wow. I’m gonna give her your number, okay?”

“Um, what do you mean, wow? What did she say? And no, you cannot give her my number! I don’t even know her! And I told you not to tell her!”

“I didn’t, Glimmer told her! And don’t worry about it, she just called you cute, that’s all. Anyway, I should take you to my dads’ library sometime,” Bow changes the subject all too quickly, and Catra would pursue it, but the thought of Adora calling her cute is enough to make her heart pound, and besides, she was supposed to ask—

“ and Glimmer , huh?”

This time it’s Bow’s turn to stammer out excuses even as a dopey little grin crosses his lips. “There is nothing going on between me and Glimmer!”

“I never said there was. So, you like her?”

“This— no! I mean yes, but—she’s important to me, I don’t want to lose her. She’s been my best friend since we were kids, and what if I ruin everything…”

“You won’t. She’d be an idiot to turn you down.”

Bow brightens at that, his smile turning soft around the edges at Catra’s fierce compliment. “Thanks, Catra. Really.”

And here comes that blush again. “Yeah, well, I just don’t want you to mope or whatever. It’s not because I like you or anything, weirdo.”

“Speaking of liking someone…”

“Oh my god, can you just drop it already? I don’t like Adora! I only met her once!

“Okay, one, I never said anything about Adora.”

When Catra splutters for an explanation and comes up empty, Bow’s expression quickly turns smug, and she crosses both arms across her chest in a fruitless attempt to get Bow to stop his digging. “ Listen, I just—don’t want to mess up my connection with one of the two people I know here.” It isn’t a total lie, and it gets Bow’s expression to soften, so Catra counts it as a win.

“I get that...I’ve lived here all my life though, and I can absolutely say that Adora is one of the best people you could ever be close to, platonically or otherwise. But I’ll back off, okay? You can build your connections your way.”

And that’s...sweet. “Thanks, Bow. Really. I just want to take things—everything—slow. I honestly don’t think I’d mind wherever we end up...she seems really nice.”

“She is! I should tell you how we met!”

And that is how they spend the rest of the afternoon: with Bow telling Catra stories about him and Adora and Glimmer—who call themselves the Best Friends Squad, apparently—and a few of their other friends. At first, Catra thought she would feel left out, hearing about so many stories and people she doesn’t know, but Bow has a way of making her feel included, and before long, they’re sprawled out on the couch with Melog between them, two glasses of wine down and trading even more stories. Catra tells Bow about all the shit she got up to with Lonnie when they were kids, about the way they’d tease Kyle until Rogelio moved just down the block, and Bow tells her about last winter’s solstice, where Adora had just three jello shots and was absolutely gone for the rest of the night.

And then Bow tells her that the summer solstice is coming up soon, and that she totally has to go with them to get dressed up. He’s always been Glimmer’s plus one, and now maybe she can have Adora invite her, and they’ll be the new Best Friends Squad, all four of them!

Catra imagines herself covered in glitter and wearing a dress and shudders, and Bow just laughs loud and bright, and—maybe. Maybe.

Bow only stands up to leave when an alarm on his phone goes off, and to her credit, Catra absolutely does not tease him when he says he walks Glimmer home every night when her shift ends. Even though she lives just over the river. And even though she can teleport.

Maybe it’s only because she stands with a languid stretch and says that she wants to walk with them. And maybe that’s only because she wants to see Adora again. Maybe Bow seems to know that, but if he does, he very graciously does not say anything about it.

Right now, Catra wouldn’t quite call herself intoxicated, just toeing that line between sober and tipsy, and she feels slow and melty as she and Bow move through the apartment, putting away bowls and pans, petting Melog and putting him back in bed with plenty of coos and kisses. Then it’s back outside, and it’s oddly humid out tonight, and she and Bow link arms as they walk down the streets. Bow takes her a different way, gesturing with his free hand as he tells her different stories, and Catra isn’t quite listening to what he’s saying, just to the cadence of his voice and how genuinely happy he sounds when he talks about his friends. She finds herself aching for that kind of connection, to be included. To having a squad.

Eventually, after a few detours, they reach the cafe, and find Glimmer waiting outside, scrolling through her phone. Bow calls out her name and Glimmer looks up with a grin that quickly fades when she sees Catra. And then she’s just. Gone. Catra blinks, Glimmer is suddenly right in front of them in a shower of pink sparkles, and she squeaks and Bow starts laughing and now she’s laughing too and maybe she’s just a bit beyond tipsy.

“Glimmer, this is Catra! Catra, this is Glimmer!”

Bow, ” Glimmer sighs, exhausted but fond beyond belief, “how much did you drink?”

“Not a lot.” Bow considers, holds up his index finger and thumb and pinches them together. Then considers some more and stretches his fingers apart further.

“We drank a lot,” Catra informs Glimmer, “but not in a drunk way. Just tipsy.”

Bow nods eagerly and easily leans into Glimmer when she holds out both arms. She’s still got that fond expression written all over her face, but she still seems to hate Catra, because she abruptly says, “Well, I’ll take it from here. Bye.”

And then with another shower of sparkles, they’re both gone.

Catra does not try to think too hard about that, just pushes past where they were standing just one second ago and heads inside. Adora’s there again, wiping down the counters, and she smiles wide when she sees Catra. “Hey, Catra.”

Hey, Adora,” Catra mimics. She feels warm again, and giddy, and flirty. There is a tiny part of her brain that reminds her that she’s supposed to be taking things slow, but the rest of her brain is wine-sweet and crush-infused, and Catra lets that part take over as she moves closer to Adora.

“Okay...are you drunk?”

Tipsy, ” Catra corrects, “just a little bit. Me and Bow finished a bottle of wine.”

Wow, you two had all that fun without me, huh?” Adora drawls, and though she’s clearly feigning her sadness, Catra’s mouth still falls into a pout.

“Would’ve been more fun if you were there,” she grumbles, and it’s not just the wine now. She’s brave enough to say it now, but she means it, would mean it without the alcohol muddying her up. “We didn’t do anything, just ate. And played with my cat. And talked. Okay?”

“Okay baby, what’d you talk about?”

Baby. “Just dumb childhood stories. Um. You, a bit. Glimmer. Not important stuff. Don’t ask, I don’t know why I said it.”

“Maybe because you’re drunk?” Adora sounds amused, and she comes around the side of the counter to place one warm hand against Catra’s hip, leading them to the back of the cafe to a secluded booth. Then she guides Catra in and slides in next to her, putting both feet up so she can face Catra completely. Catra struggles for a second to mirror her position, and Adora’s still looking at her she’s being cute, so she huffs and plants both feet in Adora’s lap just to prove that she is not cute.

It backfires of course, and Adora seems more than overjoyed to be sitting like this, in a tiny booth with Catra’s feet in her lap. It makes Catra wish that they were in her apartment, sprawled out on the couch together, that—

Catra shakes her head fiercely to get that thought out of her head. If Adora sees, she doesn’t comment, just begins humming under her breath, and as the song drifts on and on, Catra slowly begins to feel even meltier, like honey in the sun. She scoots closer to Adora, as close as she can get like this, and somehow, Adora manhandles her into her lap entirely. Then she winks— winks!!! — and bodily scoops her into her arms and stands like Catra weighs nothing.

Catra is probably clutching Adora too tightly, and she’s really enjoying Adora’s little show of strength, and she’s definitely taking advantage of the situation by pressing her face into Adora’s neck and closing her eyes and breathing her in deep as Adora walks them through a door and up the stairs.

When Catra opens her eyes, it is only because Adora is carefully lowering her into a tiny bed, and Catra totally doesn’t snuggle into the blankets. The blankets that totally don’t smell like Adora, like sun-warmed nectarines and hibiscus.

“You’re a bit more than tipsy, honey girl,” Adora says softly, “I’ll be downstairs, okay? Rest well—”

“Don’t go. Please.”

Adora actually does pause, and then a smile breaks out across her lips, and Catra is reminded of the sun coming out after a storm. She sits on the edge of the bed, so close to Catra, her hand running through Catra’s hair and gently playing with the ends of her curls. “Okay, honey girl. I’ll stay just for a little while.”

“Just until I fall asleep,” Catra mumbles. Sleep is already creeping up quick with Adora this close, and her eyes slip closed as Adora begins to hum that simple song again. The last thing she registers before she gives in to the pull of sleep is the soft brush of lips against her forehead, and Adora’s soft voice, wishing her dreams dipped in honey.

Catra wakes slowly; her bedroom is still dark, and she’s never felt more rested in her life. She’s close to just rolling over and falling back asleep when she reaches out to make sure Melog is still close—and her hand touches nothing. And then she remembers everything.

Having Bow over, the wine, finishing off the bottle between them. Coming to the cafe, meeting Glimmer, seeing Adora—talking to Adora. Her tipsy flirting, and Adora carrying her, and Adora singing to her, and Adora kissing her forehead—

“Oh my god , ” Catra says to herself. And then again, louder, “oh my god.

She has two options right now: man up to everything that had happened, or pretend she didn’t remember a thing—so really, she only has one option.

Catra rolls out of bed and fixes the sheets as best she can in the dark, then fumbles downstairs and into the main cafe area to find Adora washing a few glasses and plates. “Morning...sleep well?”

Catra grumbles under her breath and nods her head. When she realizes that Adora can’t see her, she mutters, “Yeah.”


And yeah, just a bit. Catra grumbles again, a tiny smile tugging at the corners of her lips when it makes Adora laugh. “I’ll make you something, you can go back to bed if you want—”

“No, it’s fine, really. I can just go home and let you work.”

Now Adora turns fully towards her, and it’s honestly unfair that someone can look good this early in the morning. How Adora manages to look so bright and energetic after spending the whole night up, Catra will never know. “Catra, seriously, it’s fine . Whenever Bow gets drunk, Glimmer takes care of him for the rest of the day. He’s not gonna be allowed out until he sleeps a proper eight hours. I’ll just close up shop for the day and walk you home. And don’t feel guilty about getting him drunk, he was the one that brought the wine. It’s seriously okay, hon—Catra.”

And then something in Adora’s expression changes, and slowly, carefully, she asks, “Do you remember last night?”

God, how could she forget it? “Uh—no...did I do anything weird?”

Adora squints at her, perhaps calling her bluff, but she shrugs and very coolly says, “You were cool. Nothing weird at all.”

“That sounds absolutely suspicious, you know.”

“Alright, fine, you acted pretty cute—”

“What? No! I am not cute, take it back!

Adora just gives her the sweetest smile and shakes her head. “Nothing I can do about the truth, Cat.”

“You know what, shut up. ” And with that, Catra stalks back upstairs with Adora’s bell-bright laughter following her all the way up.

She doesn’t quite fall asleep, but she’s almost there when Adora comes back into the tiny spare room, flicking on a tiny lamp on the desk as she does so. The sudden light makes her squint, but it’s dim, and—for some reason, Catra’s breath catches in her throat. Maybe it’s because Adora has a mug of sweet smelling tea cradled carefully in her hands, maybe it’s because she settles right next to Catra on the bed, close enough that their bodies line up and touch all the way down. Maybe it’s because warmth blooms from Adora’s touch, maybe it’s because Adora smells so sweet now.. Maybe it’s just because she’s the most useless lesbian in the world.

“I...don’t know if you like tea, actually. But I always make Bow chamomile tea when his head hurts, and it helps, so…” Adora carefully passes the tea to Catra, who takes it gratefully and takes a careful sip.

It’s good, but she should’ve expected that already. And yeah, it’s helping the headache, and warming her all the way through. “Thanks, Adora.”

“Of course, honey girl.”

“Why...why do you call me that?”

Adora stills, then lets her breath out in a heavy sigh. “I don’t—i don’t really know. I mean...I do, I just—”

“You don’t have to tell me now,” Catra mumbles. She has a feeling that she knows what Adora was going to say, and before Adora can jump to the wrong conclusions, adds, “you can tell me. Later. When we’re both...I want to know you. You can tell me then.”

Adora relaxes, leans her head against Catra’s, nods. “Later,” she echoes.

And that is strangely more than enough.

Eventually, as the morning light begins to seep through the closed blinds, Adora peels herself from Catra and rolls out of bed, stretching. Then she turns back to Catra and offers a hand to pull her up, and Catra keeps their fingers locked even as they go back downstairs, even as Adora puts the mug in the sink, even as she locks up. It’s a bit chillier out so early, but when Adora walks them to the river, Catra doesn’t object, and they watch the sunrise together, hand in hand, quiet. Once the sun has risen and dyed the sky in rosy pinks and oranges and yellows, Adora turns to Catra with a warm smile and says, “Let’s get you home so you can rest.”

A question is on the tip of her tongue, but Catra swallows it back down and just nods instead, and allows Adora to steer them back towards her apartment building. They walk in silence, but it’s comfortable, familiar, and Adora rubs slow circles against Catra’s knuckles with her thumb all the way home. The thought comes then that this really is her home, and she marvels at how quickly her life has changed: her home is full of magic, and she has friends now, and a cat, and...Adora.

Their steps slow as they get closer to Catra’s building, and when they finally reach it, Catra turns to Adora, her heart stuttering in her chest as she considers how to ask. In the end, all that comes tumbling out is, “Do you want to stay?”

Adora looks shocked, but it quickly melts into something enamoured, and she reaches out with her free hand to brush a curl behind Catra’s ear, keeping her hand against her cheek for a long few moments. “I think if I did, I wouldn’t want to leave.”

Then don’t, Catra wants to say, stay with me. Her plea must show on her face because Adora laughs and strokes her thumb across Catra’s cheek with that endeared smile still on her lips. “How about...I go home, we both take a proper nap and change, and then I could come back? I’ll show you around town, we’ll get something to eat, if that’s...okay?”

Yes, ” Catra blurts out, and as Adora’s smile blooms warmer and a blush blossoms on her cheeks, she glances down and away, trying to play cool as she says, “yeah, that’d be cool.”

“See you later then, honey girl,” Adora’s voice catches on a laugh and only then does she let go of Catra with both hands and turn to leave. There is a bounce in her step that makes Catra feel soft inside, and she watches until Adora spins on her heel and beams when she sees that Catra is still watching. She waves, and Catra laughs as she waves back. Only then does she head inside, smiling all the way until she reaches her room again and collapses into bed, holding Melog close and telling him about everything that’s happened until she manages to drift back asleep again with Melog pressed firmly against her.

The gentle buzz of her phone pulls Catra from sleep, and she squints at the too-bright screen, her heart pounding when she realizes who it is.

FROM Unknown Number: Hey!!!

FROM Unknown Number: I just woke up, about to shower and then I’ll be ready to head over

FROM Unknown Number: It’s Adora btw :-)

TO Adora: hey adora

TO Adora: how’d u get my number btw

FROM Adora: Bow lol I forgot to ask you when we were walking home...kinda got distracted

TO Adora: by…

FROM Adora: You

FROM Adora: :-p

TO Adora: youre SUCH a dork who even writes emojis like that

FROM Adora: idk what u mean :-3

TO Adora: i literally hate u

FROM Adora: D-:

TO Adora: SOTP

FROM Adora: :-(

TO Adora: adora i swear to god

FROM Adora: LOL ok fine i’ll stop for now

FROM Adora: You’re just fun to rile up :)

FROM Adora: Is that better

TO Adora: thank u verymuch

FROM Adora: anything for u

FROM Adora: Anyway im gonna shower now, I’ll be at yours in a bit!

TO Adora: shower well dork

FROM Adora: ♡♡♡

After a few moments spent petting a still-sleeping Melog, Catra carefully rolls out of bed and pads over to her closet, lip caught between her teeth. She’s still unsure of what this is, if it’s a date or just an outing as friends or as some kind of... test date, so she has absolutely no idea what to wear. She also realizes that she’s only ever seen Adora in her plain white shirt, lavender apron, black pants Yesterdaze uniform, and that this will be the first time she’ll see Adora outside of work, wearing whatever she wants to wear.

It’s kind of really nerve wracking, the more she thinks about it.

After a few minutes spent worrying between two outfits, she settles on just a simple black crop top that she’d cut herself years ago, baggy cargo pants, and sneakers. Then she takes a quick shower and ties her hair up into two knots before getting dressed, and after much deliberation, slashes two quick wings of eyeliner across her eyes and texts Adora that she’s ready.

Only minutes after she texts Adora does she respond by saying that she’s outside, and Melog gracefully accepts a kiss on the forehead before Catra rushes out the door, promising to be back as soon as she can.

True to her word, Adora is sitting on one of the benches outside, though she stands and smiles wide when she sees Catra. “You look good, honey girl,” she says, and Catra can’t help the blush that scorches across her cheeks. It’s honestly unfair, how effortlessly gorgeous Adora manages to look in just a faded red button down tucked into leggings, hair tucked neatly away beneath a baseball cap.

“You do too,” Catra finally says, suddenly shy. Adora gives her a soft smile and reaches out for her hand to hold, her thumb stroking across Catra’s knuckles as soon as she twines their fingers together. She’s unsure why, but the simple gesture makes her heart skip beats and if she could stay like this forever, she absolutely would.

Adora first takes her to some of the places Bow told her about: Perfuma’s flower shop, which is practically bursting to the seams with colorful blooms, Spinerella and Netossa’s diner (Adora promises to take Catra later, and says with a wistful smile that the owners are childhood best friends and now wives ), Mara’s bakery.

As they walk, still hand in hand, Adora takes Catra through different tales of her adventures in town (the time she’d gone berry picking with Catra’s landlord to get ingredients for pie, and helping Mara out with deliveries when she was sick during the winter, and the time the whole town blocked off the street in front of Perfuma’s flower shop for a semi-impromptu yoga class). Even without looking at her, Catra can hear the smile on her lips, and it is so very obvious that Adora is full of love, for her friends and her town and the people in it. It makes her wish that Adora would talk about her like that, that she’d smile and gesture and laugh as she retold the story of how they met, or of this day, or of another day far off in the future.

“What about you?” Adora suddenly asks, “why the sudden move?”

At that, Catra’s mouth twists into a frown and she shrugs, hating the way she tenses at the mere thought of her mother. “Just needed to get away from home. I still have to pay Weaver my tuition back, but...I’m out now. That’s all that matters.”

Adora hums, squeezes Catra’s hand to get her attention. When Catra turns to her, Adora looks so very serious that her breath catches in her throat. “I’m proud of you,” she says then, and she doesn’t know what happened in that home, doesn’t know how long Catra has wanted to get out and all the fantasies she’d come up with over the years to keep herself sane, but—

Catra is tearing up anyway, just at the knowledge that someone is proud of her. Adora looks alarmed now, and rightfully so; Catra waves away her attempts to speak and shakes her head, scrubbing away the tears that have fallen and willing the rest away. “I’m fine, Adora, seriously. It was just a lot—I didn’t have the best childhood, but I’m here now, just meant a lot, you saying that. I’m fine.”

Adora looks unconvinced, and nudges Catra to get her attention. “You to me, if you want, you know. About this or anything else. Okay?”

Again, Catra’s heart softens and melts in her chest and she surprises herself by nodding. Adora’s already knocking down so many of Catra’s walls without even trying, and it’s both exciting and scary , how much Catra wants to let her in completely. “I don’t really like talking about...the negative stuff. But I will—I’ll try. I promise. I want to tell you, it’s just a lot. And it’s hard...trusting, being open, being vulnerable. I know it doesn’t mean that I’m weak, but that’s just how I was brought up.”

Adora’s mouth twists and she frowns like she understands, and her thumb smooths across Catra’s knuckles in a gesture that is oddly comforting. “I hope...being here will help. I know it’s definitely helped so many people here—like, I don’t know if you can believe it, but Bow actually had a tough time too when he first moved here. I don’t want to get into the specifics since it’s not my story to tell, but...being here and having friends to talk to seriously helped him.”

“I believe you,” Catra says, and...she does. She doesn’t know what it is about Adora, about this town, but everyone she’s met here just seems so genuine, so open and honest. “I don’t know what it is about you, but I do.”

The frown slips into a giddy little smile, and Adora nudges Catra again, this time softer. “Hey, I’m always here, okay? Even if it’s just for drinks.”

And that— “Oh my god, don’t just—I need to apologize. For last night, and how I acted—”

Adora’s smile sweetens and sharpens even more at that. “I thought you said you didn’t remember.”

“Yeah, well, maybe I remember a bit. Shut up!

Instead of teasing or making fun of her outright like Catra had expected Adora to do, all she does is hum and then quietly say, “You don’t have to apologize.”

And—that’s. What does that mean, exactly? Catra opens her mouth to ask, but before she can say anything, Adora points up ahead, and Catra realizes that she’s lead them to a little wooden bridge that crosses the river. “I figured I’d take you to old town first! Did Bow tell you about the solstice parties?”

“He mentioned it, yeah.”

“There are two of them, in the summer and the winter. Generations ago, they were celebrations of the seasons changing and thanks to the magic that always flows, but now it’s more so just an excuse to dress up and have a night of fun. The winter solstice is a super dressy masquerade, and the summer solstice is...a revel? Lots of magic drinks that you do not drink unless you know what exactly they are, glitter everywhere, that sort of thing.”

“Sounds fun.” It absolutely does not, and Adora hums in apparent sympathy.

“You don’t have to go if you don’t want to. You need an invitation anyway. From someone with magic.”


“I—I mean I guess, ” Adora all but squeaks, and the blush scorched across her cheeks makes Catra grin because there is something else that she’s not telling her.

“You guess?

“It’s just—you don’t—Glimmer is Bow’s invite, and it’s been like that since forever, ” Adora fumbles through her explanation somewhat helplessly, and though Catra kind of gets what she’s saying, or at least trying to imply, it’s worth feigning ignorance just to see how flustered she is now.


Adora makes that flustered, squeaking sound again and Catra breaks out into a laugh, shaking her head before saying, “I’m kidding, I get it, you don’t have to invite me if you don’t want to. I don’t really like parties that much anyway, it’s fine.

“Oh.” That is all Adora says, and she’s probably, definitely imagining it, but Catra is almost sure for a fraction of a second that Adora sounds...disappointed? But she can’t be. She can’t be.

As she’s puzzling this out, Adora points to a tiny little hut that is mostly overtaken by a large tree. “That’s Razz’s place. She kind of took care of me growing up...I wouldn’t call her a mom, but she’s been there for me in her way. You wanna meet her?”

At that, Catra panics, just a bit. Meeting Adora’s...almost-mother this soon? “I—I mean, yes, I just— now?

“Honestly, she might not even be in. Razz is…” Adora pauses, tries to think of a word, comes up blank. “Well, you’ll see once you meet her. But we don’t have to go now, it’s fine. We can go—oh! So there was this gorge that I used to go to with some other kids, when the river flooded we’d jump in from the top and see who could make the coolest landing! I haven’t been in ages, but I think you’d like it!”

And Catra does. The sides of the gorge are oddly smooth, as if carved by man, and she can practically picture a younger Adora hurling herself off the edge and down into the river far below.

Jesus, princess, that’s a huge jump!”

“When it flooded, the river really flooded. It definitely wasn’t safe, but hey, none of us died. I think the worst injury anyone got was when someone tried to slide down. We thought it’d be a smooth ride, but it was definitely not. It’s perfectly safe if you slide down on something though, like a sled. I’ve done it a few times.”

“Is it safe now?”

Adora peers over the side of the gorge, judging the distance with her lower lip caught between her teeth. Then she shrugs, nods. “Should be. Even at its lowest, the water is pretty deep, and there aren’t any rocks. So long as you don’t do anything stupid, it should—what are you doing?

Catra pauses, shirt already off, and after a beat of stillness, Adora flushes pink and averts her gaze. “I’m jumping in, duh?”

“Are you sure? It’s a long drop…”

“I can handle myself, princess,” Catra says somewhat dryly, and when Adora doesn’t protest, she slips out of her shorts as well. Adora’s blush somehow darkens and for a moment, Catra feels silly, but then Adora begins to rid herself of her clothes as well, and Catra grins, victorious.

“Are you sure you want to do this? You really don’t have to...”

In answer, Catra gives Adora a dry look, then backs up a few paces to get a running start before diving off of the edge, a whoop bursting from her throat as her stomach goes to her throat and the water rushes to approach her. It’s freezing, and when she surfaces, it’s just in time to see Adora jump as well. Unlike her, Adora twists into a clean dive perfected by years of gorge-jumping, and barely makes a splash when she hits the water. When she surfaces, she gasps as well, cheeks ruddy and eyes alight.

“It’s fucking cold!” she laughs as she pushes her hair from her eyes. The pure joy on her face makes Catra smile despite the fact that yeah, the water is absolutely freezing and they’ll probably be cold for a few hours.

“We didn’t even bring towels,” she mourns, and Adora laughs again before ducking beneath the water again. When she surfaces again a few moments later, it’s to float on her back, eyes closed.

“I haven’t done this in so long,” she murmurs, “thanks, Catra.”

“You’re the one that brought me here,” Catra says, amused, and watches Adora as she hums and opens her eyes to squint up at the cloudless blue.

“Still...even if I had, I don’t think I would’ve jumped. It’s not as much fun on your own, and I haven’t really had a reason to come out here for years...until you. So thank you.”

They’re simple words, but Catra suddenly feels dizzy, made warm and giddy. She ducks under the water to cool her face and stays beneath until her lungs scream for air, and when she comes back up and scrubs water from her eyes, she sees a blurry Adora staring at her with a smile so sweet that it makes her lose her breath all over again.

But then the wind blows, and the chill shocks them to their bones, and without even having to ask, they both start heading to shore, swimming slowly despite the aching cold. Adora laughs as they reach the sun-warmed rocks, flopping down and sticking her toes back in as Catra stretches out to lay fully down. “I missed this,” Adora murmurs, “even the cold.”

“We could do it more often...bring proper swimsuits, and towels. Maybe even Bow and Glimmer.”

“Or just us.”

Catra opens her eyes to look up and over at Adora—pauses. Adora is staring again, and this time her expression is unreadable. She looks happy, but there is fondness written across her features that goes far beyond the simple memories of her childhood. This is something that cuts deeper, something that makes Adora look so melted that it makes Catra’s heart ache.

But all she says is, “Or just us.”

Satisfied at that, Adora lays down as well, a soft sigh leaving her lips as she gets as comfortable as she can on the hard ground. “We used to lay out here until we dried off,” she mumbles, “sometimes we’d stop by the diner first and bring our lunch here to eat. Spinerella wouldn’t let us come in if we were still wet, but Netossa would still sneak us out some ice cream and let us sit outside. We went over there pretty much every day actually...we’d help with deliveries if they needed it, and help polish off any extra food or wrong orders. I’m...actually starting to think that they made extra just for us.”

Catra can’t help the laugh that bursts out of her at that, and after a moment, Adora joins in, curling towards Catra and tucking her face into her neck almost involuntarily. But then Catra freezes, the laugh dying on her lips, and Adora must realize herself because she rolls away, but—

“No, you...can come back if you want. It just startled me.”

Even without looking, Catra can feel Adora’s gaze burning into her, and after a long few seconds, Adora carefully shuffles closer and tucks her whole body against Catra’s. And stays there.

“What about you?” Adora asks. Her voice is breathy, and she talks quietly, as if scared Catra will startle away if she speaks too loudly.

“What about me?”

“Any fun childhood stories?”

“ Not so much. My—Weaver was pretty strict, so I wasn’t really allowed to go out much. It definitely didn’t stop me though,” Catra feels a wry twist of a grin spread across her lips as she remembers all the times she’d crept in and out of her bedroom window. It’d been fun sometimes, exciting—until Weaver caught her one night. “But you said a fun story, so...oh, one year I was actually allowed to go to the state fair that came around every year, so my friend Lonnie and I dragged Kyle to the haunted house. And Kyle’s...he’s scared of everything, his own shadow included. Poor guy nearly fainted a few times in there, it was hilarious. We got some food after and left him to watch our stuff while we rode some more rides that were too scary for him, and they had one of those bungee jump rides...I’ll never forget it, I felt so free up in the air like that. It was one of the best nights I can remember.”


When Catra glances over, startled, she sees that Adora looks so very serious that she starts to apologize. But Adora quickly cuts her off, pressing just her fingertips to Catra’s wrist to reassure her that everything is fine. “No, no, I just wanted to say that I want to give you better memories, I want to fill your life with happiness.”

And. “You already are.”

Adora opens her mouth, closes it, smiles, buries her face in Catra’s neck again. “I’m glad,” she whispers, “I’m really glad, Catra.”

Now would be perhaps a perfect moment to kiss Adora; or it would be if Adora liked her too. Catra’s...pretty much accepted the fact that she definitely has a bit of a crush on Adora, though she’s sure it’ll go away after a while, just like her past crushes have. She just has to stay away from Adora for a few days, maybe weeks, and it’ll be gone, and—

She finds that the thought of avoiding Adora makes her heart ache. Because sure, Adora doesn’t have a crush on her, but she likes her enough to do this, and that is all Catra can let herself want.

Just this. This is enough, it has to be.

“You know…I like to think that everyone that lives here has a bit of magic in them.” Adora pushes herself up as she speaks so that she’s propping herself up with her elbow. She’s leaning over Catra now, and though Catra feels caged in, it feels...nice. Safe, somehow.

“Are you saying I feel magical?”

She feels a laugh begin to bubble up at the thought, but Adora has that unreadable expression on her face again, and Catra stills as Adora reaches out and ghosts her fingertips along the curve of her cheek. “I think you are,” she says eventually, and that is all, but it feels like so much more that Catra flinches away, startled.

At that, Adora’s face falls, and Catra wants to say that she didn’t mean that, that it wasn’t because of her touch, just that it was because of the implication behind her words, that it meant Adora thought she was special.

But Adora draws herself away completely and stands without offering Catra a hand to help her up. “We can head back now if you want.”

And no, Catra most definitely does not want, but she can’t make herself say that. All she can do now is nod and follow Adora back up to where they’d left their clothes and back towards town. The little diner she brings them to now must be the one she’d been talking about, and Adora’s quiet explanation is that she owes Catra lunch, as an apology.

Before she can turn away again though, Catra catches at her wrist, forces her to stay still. “It...doesn’t have to be an apology. I don’t want it to be.”

Adora’s gaze falls to where Catra holds her, then slowly travels up and up to land on Catra’s face. She’s still not quite meeting her gaze, looking somewhere just beneath, but then her gaze comes up those last few inches to look Catra in the eye and—she smiles. Hesitant, wobbly, but it’s a smile all the same. “I don’t want it to be either.”

Abrupt, cheeks going hot, Catra lets go of Adora’s hand and pushes past her, ignoring the way Adora’s bright laughter chases her though the doors and inside. The diner is actually pretty full today, and Adora leads them straight for an empty booth in the back, sliding into the seat facing the doors and sliding a menu across the table to Catra. “You can look through that if you want, or I can order for you, I’ve pretty much got the menu memorized.”

Catra pushes the menu back and watches the tap tap tap of Adora’s fingers against the table to keep from getting even more flustered when she says, “You can order for me then. Since you’ve uh...pretty much got me figured out.”

(She doesn’t look up to see it, but she can already tell that Adora’s smile is practically radiant.)

Just then someone comes up to their tabe, presumably to take their orders, and when Catra glances up, she sees that the pink haired woman is giving Adora a look so endeared that it makes her bristle—until she spots the wedding band wrapped snug around her finger.

“And what are you doing here after so long?” the woman asks, all pleased smiles.

“I’m sorry, Ella, it’s just been so busy at the cafe, and now—” Adora glances her way and shrugs a little helplessly.

“I see,” Ella’s smile sweetens into something a bit more knowing, and though her gaze is now on Catra, to Adora, she asks, “and who is this?”

“This is—well—my…”

“Catra,” Catra interrupts.  Tries not to dwell on the thought that she’d just called herself Adora’s.

“Spinerella, but anyone this close to Adora can call me Ella. You know, you’re the first person Adora’s ever brought here? You must really be special, Catra—”

All right, enough teasing Adora, can we get our food please? My usual, and Catra’s gonna have a modified number three. Thank you!”

Ella gives Catra a knowing little look that Catra can’t help laughing at, but she obediently writes down their orders and turns to leave. Once she’s gone, Adora sags down in her seat, seemingly exhausted. “I’d forgotten how nosy she can be, I’m blaming Netossa.”

“She seemed absolutely splendid,” Catra hums. “I’m special, huh? Never brought anyone else here?”

“Well, I mean, ” Adora begins, somewhat indigent, “I haven’t had any reason to!”

“Uh huh, sure. You know what, I think you like me.”

“Um— no? Definitely not. Absolutely never.

“Keep telling yourself that, princess.”

Adora huffs again and shakes her head. “You’re insufferable.”

“Maybe I just think you’re cute when you’re flustered.”

At that, Adora perks up. “You think I’m cute?”

“That is not the point, dork.”

You think I’m cute.

Catra absolutely refuses to answer that one and instead looks pointedly out the window as Adora begins to laugh again. Really, of course she thinks that Adora’s cute. Anyone with eyes would be able to look at Adora and think that she’s cute. “Dork.”

“Well if it helps, I think you’re pretty cute too. And not just when you’re flustered.”

“Ha ha, very funny. You don’t have to say that, Adora, seriously.”

Adora frowns, but then looks somewhere just beyond Catra and waves frantically. As Catra twists around, she sees two girls heading their way, one dragging the other in a way that very much reminds Catra of herself and Adora. The two girls slide into their both without preamble, the blonde sitting next to Catra and the blue-haired girl next to Adora.

“Hey, it’s been a while! Oh right—Catra, this is Mermista and Perfuma, guys, this is Catra. She just moved in—”

“Near Bow, right? He told us, we were so excited to meet you!” Perfuma gives her a tight hug and Catra stiffens and casts a wild look towards Adora, who just shrugs.

Mermista catches the glance and rolls her eyes. “Perfuma, would you stop? She doesn’t want you to hug her.”

At that, Perfuma immediately pulls away, dismay written all over her face. “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry!”

“No, it’s not that, I just—don’t know you?”

“Catra’s from the city,” Adora interjects, and Perfuma nods solemnly as if that explains everything. “I’m just showing her around town.”

“ took her here. And to the gorge, looks like.” Mermista’s voice is still somewhat flat, but there’s a smirk ticking at the corners of her lips that Catra finds herself seriously appreciating. “So what’s up with that?”


“Yeah. Sure. ” Just two words and Adora is sent spluttering, and yeah, Catra thinks she and this Mermista are going to get along very well.

Though...“And what were you two doing together?”

This time, it’s Mermista that begins to blush, and Adora nudges Catra’s foot under the table as she casts her a grateful look. In response, Catra just sticks her tongue out and then turns her attention to the giant chocolate milkshake that Ella sets on the table in front of Adora.

“Mermista, Perfuma, back again so soon? If I’d have known, I would’ve gotten you two a milkshake to share too.”

“A milkshake to share, huh?”

Mermista shoves Adora hard and ignores her laughter to scowl down at the table. Perfuma looks absolutely radiant. And Catra is drawn to Adora again, mirroring Adora’s smile as she watches her laugh. And then Ella clears her throat and says, “Enjoy your double date, and nice meeting you, Catra. Your food will be out soon!” before floating off as the whole booth is set to groans and flustered denials once again.

By the time they settle down (“We are never speaking of this,” “Deal,” “Okay, but that means you’re admitting— “Shut up!” ) there are two huge milkshakes in front of them. Catra tries to ignore all three of the girls around her and focus on the milkshake, tries to pretend that when she and Aodra both lean in to drink their faces are almost close enough to touch, tries not to think about how much she wants them to.

Mermista looks no better, cheeks darkened by her blush, though it’s Perfuma who is fairing the best between the four of them. Either she’s got an amazing poker face or she plain doesn’t care, and either way, Catra is both impressed and terrified.

And on the other hand, Adora. Whenever she glances at Adora, she finds Adora staring back, an odd little smile in various stages of bloom on her face. Finally, when Catra can’t take it anymore, she jerks her head at Adora and snaps, “ What?

Adora startles, but once she sees that everyone is watching her watch Catra, she shrugs. “I just—I’m glad that we’re all here. My favorite people together, at my favorite place.”

And—oh. “You’re such a dork.”

Adora looks like she wants to say something else, but chooses not to, and instead nudges Mermista so she can slide out of the booth. “Be right back.”

As soon as she’s gone, Mermista and Perfuma turn their attention on her. “ So, what’s the deal with you and Adora?”

“There is no deal!”

Perfuma sends a dubious glance Mermista’s way, one that Mermista easily returns. “There is absolutely a deal,” Perfuma says carefully, “Adora’s never done this much for anyone that’s just moved in.”

Mermista nods in silent confirmation and all Catra can do is shrug because. If Adora really were trying to do something, she would’ve said something. “She probably just wants to be friends then. It’s seriously nothing.”

Mermista and Perfuma trade another look, but they fall silent as Adora comes back to the table holding a plastic bag. She grabs their milkshake from the table too and then says, “We’re gonna head out,” by way of explanation, waiting only for Catra to slide out of the booth and give her goodbyes before they head outside again.

“Are you okay?”

Adora heaves a sigh and shrugs. “I love my friends, I really do, but they just...don’t know when to stop. We’d never get any peace if we stayed. I can just give you your food now and head home—”

“Come over,” Catra interrupts in a rush. “Stay. Please.”

And though she looks two parts confused and one part in awe, Adora nods and follows Catra home. They walk in silence, and stay quiet all the way until they reach Catra’s door; as Catra is locking the door shut behind them, Adora gasps and Catra spins around to see Melog perched on the couch, blinking large blue eyes at them.

All at once she realizes that one, that was not where she left him, and two, the cast on his leg is gone. Before she can rush forward, he stands and stretches and easily hops down onto the floor, padding over to them without even a hint of a limp.

“Melog, what happened to your leg? ” Catra asks him, bending down to pick him up. Melog lets himself be carried and even snuggles into Catra’s embrace with a little mew, and Adora laughs, her hand brushing Catra’s cheek as she gently pets Melog behind his ears.

“Well, that one’s actually pretty obvious. Your cat’s magic. A witch’s familiar, maybe.”

Melog meows and wiggles around until Catra trades him for the bag of food in Adora’s hands, and with a soft smile, Adora quietly says, “I’m magic too, Melog.”

In response, Melog stretches up to press his nose to Adora’s to make her laugh. And then Adora carried him further into the apartment, collapsing down on the couch and letting Melog crawl over her as Catra just stares .

Because Adora looks so at home here, like she belongs here; and she could see just the three of them living together like this She sees Adora coming home to her afer work, sees herself going on quick grocery runs, sees them inviting Bow over for dinner. Sees Bow and Adora and maybe even Glimmer having movie nights and spoiling Melog rotten.

And that’s a lot, but it’s nice.

“You gonna just stand there all day?” Adora calls out, She’s still playing with Melog, and as if in a trance, Catra walks around the edge of the couch to join them. Reluctantly, Adora abandons Melog to spread out their food; a burger loaded high with toppings for herself, a giant pile of fries to share, and a smaller sandwich for Catra. Melog mews somewhat indignantly and Catra kisses his forehead before grabbing him a few treats so that he doesn’t feel left out too, and they eat in comfortable silence until Catra remembers the tv and switches on an old action movie that she honestly didn’t care too much for.

Adora seems to share the sentiment by the way she shakes her head, but she doesn’t tell Catra to change the channel, and once the lead actress’s fight scene starts, Catra remembers exactly why she tolerated this movie.

“Did you know,” Adora starts, “that I started working out because of her? I wanted to be ripped like that too.”

Catra glances over as Adora begins to roll up her shirt sleeves and oh. “’re not doing too bad there.”

Adora shrugs and gives a wry little chuckle. “Girls everywhere absolutely adore my biceps.”

This irks Catra more than she cares to admit. “ Anyway, what kind of sandwich is this?”

“A Monte Cristo baked through with honey. It was Bow’s idea and it went over fairly well, so it was put on the menu.”

“Ah, let me guess, you chose it for me because I’m your honey girl.”

Satisfied, Adora grins and nods. “Exactly.”

After this, they quickly fall back into silence until Adora’s phone buzzes once and then again. She laughs as she checks the messages, then tilts the screen so Catra can see.

FROM Bow🏹: hiii

FROM Bow🏹: heard u took catra out :)

FROM Bow🏹: heard u took her to the gorge

FROM Bow🏹: and the diner

FROM Bow🏹: so whats that all about?

TO Bow🏹: oh my god tell perfuma to shut up

FROM Bow🏹: well i mean considering it was mermista

FROM Bow🏹: :)))))

It is there where the conversation stops, and Catra can’t help smiling too. Bow’s impossible to be upset at, even with all of the teasing. “He’s endearing, I like him.”

“You do?” Again comes that kicked puppy look, and Catra scoffs, shoving her with a roll of her eyes.

“Not like that, idiot. I meant as a friend. I’m a lesbian, okay?”

“Oh. Oh… ” Adora ponders this for a moment, then nods decisively, “me too. So like...yeah.”

“Yeah what?”

“I don’t know, I just—” Adora gives up and huffs, standing swiftly and partially dislodging Melog from her lap. “Can I grab a shower? I’m all gross.”

Catra rolls her eyes again, but this time she’s smiling. “Sure, hold on. I’ll get you a towel and some—clothes.” It’s only as she says it that she realizes that Adora will have to wear her clothes, and even just the idea of that is enough to make her throat go dry.

If Adora realizes this too, she doesn’t say so; she just waits patiently as Catra bustles around, finding her a towel, washcloths, soap and clothes. She eventually decides on a simple pair of workout shorts and one of her many oversized tank tops, and drops them all on the bathroom counter, then calls Adora in. “So it’s twist right for hot, left for cold. I have some shampoo and conditioner in here if you want that, and...that should be it.”

With that, she spins around to head out, and finds Adora staring at her with that unreadable expression again. “ Why are you looking at me like that?”

Startled, Adora flinches back, chewing on her lip as she decides on what to say. Eventually, she shakes her head to clear her thoughts and reaches out for Catra’s hand, twining their fingers together and stroking her thumb across Catra’s knuckles. “Can I be honest with you?”

“Yes,” Catra says, just as quiet, just as breathless, “ please.

“It might be weird—”

“Adora, just...say it. Please.”

It’s almost as if the words are bursting out on their own, as all at once, Adora says, “I just...I feel drawn to you. It’s never been like this before, and I want to figure out what it is because I don’t know if it’s you or me or the magic and...”


Adora shrugs helplessly. “I just need to know. Do you at least feel it too?”

And—yeah. She really, really does. But it feels like saying so will break whatever spell they must be under, so Catra just nods, and forces herself to stay still as Adora steps forward once and then again. If either one of them leaned into each other just a bit, they’d touch, but all Adora does is raise her hand to press it against Catra’s cheek. Catra tilts into the gentle touch, eyes fluttering shut as Adora’s breath leaves her in a shaky sigh. She could stay like this forever, connected by such a simple touch, but eventually, Adora steps back again and lets her go.

“Catra, I think—”

“You should shower,” Catra interrupts, hating herself for it even as she speaks. She honestly doesn’t know why she cuts Adora off, just knows that whatever Adora was going to say would change things somehow, and she’s already had to go through so much recently,’s just so much. Too much. Just enough.

But Adora is already nodding, more so like she understands what Catra is thinking. “I’ll be out in a bit, okay?”

Catra nods and makes her way out of the bathroom, and as the door shuts quietly behind her, she wishes with all her heart that she could go back and listen to what Adora wanted to say.

But she can’t, and the next half hour while the water runs is spent idly petting Melog and whispering what she’s thinking and wishing and hoping for into his ears. Melog presses close with his whole body and purrs and presses soft kisses all over her face with his nose, and. Catra feels just a little bit better by the time Adora comes out, towelling her wet hair dry and wearing her clothes.

They fit almost perfectly on her and even Adora looks pleased at this. “Might have to keep this shirt.”

Even if she did, Catra has a feeling that she wouldn’t mind. “Alright princess, my turn. Don’t get too comfy.”

“Too late!” As Adora flops down on the couch and curls around Melog, that pang hits Catra’s heart hard again. It’ll definitely be something to think about during her shower, and think she does, about Adora, and how different it feels being with her. About how much she aches for Adora to stay, and about how Adora seems to...want the same thing in at least some capacity.

She thinks about how Adora’s friends had teased them, and about how it hadn’t bothered her. Thinks about how Adora told her not to apologize for flirting, and about how meled Adora makes her feel.

Tries to think about distancing herself from Adora, about avoiding the cafe and not seeing that bright smile, about going days and weeks and maybe even months without seeing the spark in her eyes and the warmth of her laugh.

And she comes to a realization, all at once.

Once she gets out of the shower and gets dressed, Catra rushes back to the living room, breathless. Adora glances up when she sees her, pushing herself to sit up when she sees the expression on her face. “Catra…?”

“I think I know,” Catra rushes out before she can chicken out. “I think I know, but I don’t want to say the words in case I’m wrong. I just...I want it to be true so badly.

“You don’t have to say it now then, just...tell me? When you know?”

The words are already bubbling up on Catra’s lips, but she bites them back in favor of shaking her head. “I want to tell you now.”

“Then tell me.”

Catra takes in a deep breath and lets it out slowly, trying to steel herself to say the words. It’s not even a lot, just three words if she really wants to cut to the chase, but—


Just one word, just her name coming from Adora’s lips and all of Catra’s careful confidence has disappeared. “Can I—can I show you instead?”

Adora nods, and after a moment, Catra reaches out and cups her cheeks with her hands. When Adora freezes, Catra realizes that this is perhaps the first time she’s initiated touch between them, but instead of dwelling on that, she lets her hands—just the tips of her fingers, just the barest touch—wander across Adora’s face as if trying to map her out and memorize every single curve and line she can. It isn’t until her thumb rests against the soft swell of Adora’s lower lip that Adora’s eyes widen and her mouth drops open.

She looks like she wants to say something, but all that comes out is a quiet gasp, and she covers Catra’s hand with her own, keeping her there. “You…”

Catra nods, because she doesn’t have to say more. Adora knows.

Adora knows, and suddenly Catra can’t breathe, feels unsteady because Adora knows, and this is the everything, the end of the little bit of friendship that they’ve built.

“Catra,” Adora sounds so urgent, but somehow still so gentle at the same time. “Catra, look at me.”

When Catra finally forces her gaze to Adora’s, she finds a look so warm, so soft, so tender, that Adora...doesn’t have to say anything right now. She wouldn’t be looking at her like this if she hated her, if she wanted nothing to do with her, but she’s looking at her she’s a treasure, like she’s something to be held close, and that’s— “Catra, you really are magic, aren’t you?”

“What?” Catra chokes on a laugh, and Adora shakes her head, flushed pink but still happy, still giddy, still smiling bright.

“I mean that I want to get to know you more, but it feels like I already do. I want to know you before I—before anything between us changes, the same time…you feel so familiar.

“Like home,” Catra interrupts. Adora nods eagerly, and reaches up to wind her fingers through Catra’s curls.

“You feel like magic, like some lost part of me that’s finally come home...I want to keep you close to my heart. Do you feel that too?”

Catra nods, bites her lip, tries to think of how to say what she wants to say eloquently, and comes up blank. “I just...I’m scared, Adora. It’s only been two days and I already feel so much, and I know you wouldn't hurt me but I’ve been hurt before and I just…”

“We’ll take our time,” Adora says, and it sounds like a promise, one that she intends to keep. “We can take things as slow as you want, and if you don’t want this at all, we can stay friends.”

No! No, I don’t—I just...slow is good. We can—oh my god stop looking at me like that, I’ve never done this before!”

At that, the tender teasing drops from Adora’s face completely and all that is left is awe. “So I’m...I’m your first?

Shut up. It’s not a big deal. Adora, do not make this a big deal.”

“It is though! I’m gonna be your first girlfriend, that’s huge!

Catra huffs and makes to move away, but Adora catches her and tugs her back down until Catra is half sprawled over Adora’s lap. There is a beat and then another where they both freeze, but when Adora does not object, and Catra makes no move to pull away, they relax, and gradually shift until Catra is curled up mostly in Adora’s lap with Adora’s arm wrapped around her to keep her close.

“Let’s watch a movie,” Catra murmurs, eyes closed and heart racing, “you pick something.”

Adora hums and Catra feels it with how the side of her head is pressed against Adora’s chest. She navigates to Netflix and eventually chooses something, and finally, as the opening credits begin to roll, Adora’s hand slowly, carefully comes up to Catra’s hair to run her fingers through it. And Catra really does mean to stay awake, to watch the movie, but with Adora so warm against her, and the knowledge that this—that they —are now something , and Adora’s hand in her hair…

It’s not long before she lets herself drift off to sleep, Adora quickly following her.

When Catra wakes, it is because Adora is lifting her— like she weighs nothing —and carrying her into her bedroom. It is darker out, the sun already set, and Catra sleepily clings to Adora when she attempts to set her gently down in bed.

“Catra, I have to go,” Adora’s voice is quiet, but amused, fondness shot through. “I’d stay if I could, but I’ve got to go to the cafe.”

Stay, ” Catra mumbles, and Adora almost, almost does. All she allows herself is to sit on the edge of Catra’s bed, and when Catra reaches out and clings to her, it’s only a moment before Adora hugs her tight too.

“I’d stay if I could, honey girl, I’d always stay.” 

If Catra were brave right now, she would ask more of Adora, but she is not, and sleep is already reclaiming her, so this time, when Adora untangles herself, Catra lets her. And lets Adora push her gently back down into the pillows, lets her tuck her in. Listens as Adora whispers a gentle goodbye, and accepts the softest kiss brushed against her forehead, and finally closes her eyes as she hears the front door shut behind Adora. As she drifts off, Melog wanders into the room and hops up on the bed, carefully pushing his face against hers and settling down there with a content purr.

She wants to tell him everything, but somehow, she gets the feeling that he already knows.

The next few weeks pass by in a haze, each day full of something new, something learned, and Adora. Catra takes Melog to Entrapta, who confirms with delight that he’s absolutely fine, and Bow comes over most evenings after his shifts with dinner and treats for Melog, who absolutely adores the attention. Slowly, Catra meets more of Adora’s friends, and eventually realizes that she’s started to call them her friends too; and though they all tease her and Adora about their relationship, things are still the same as they tiptoe that ever-blurring line between friends and more.

And honestly? Catra would be perfectly fine if things between them were to stay like this, because they meet up whenever they can, and Adora texts her silly things to make her laugh, and if Catra is up when Adora’s shift finishes, she walks her home. There is one night where they look at each other on Adora’s doorstep, and on some unspoken agreement, Catra follows her inside, and they doze off on the couch together, the tv playing on mute.

Her poetry reflects so much of Adora that it’s honestly embarrassing, but Bow and Perfuma love it enough to suggest that she make a little book of her poems to sell, or at least to give to Adora once they, “well, you know”, they say with a lot of eyebrow wiggles and winks.

And she does.

It isn’t until the start of June that things around town begin to change. Catra is fully situated now and the lack of Market Day makes her wary, but it isn’t until she gets to Adora’s little cottage across the river that she remembers: the summer solstice is in a few weeks.

Mostly everyone is already piled in the backyard, but none of them have touched the food yet, and they all look up when Catra barges in, awkwardly holding up the bag of drinks she’s brought. Adora rushes up to meet her and Catra has to fight back a giddy smile as their hands touch when she takes the bag, and purposefully sits right between Bow and Glimmer, ignoring the indignant noise Glimmer makes at being pushed away from Bow.

“The solstice is soon, isn’t it?”

As if waiting for those words, the whole friend group explodes into subsequent conversations about last year’s solstice, and about what they’ll wear for this year’s, and did you hear who’s going with who?

Helpful as ever, Bow nudges Catra and tilts his phone screen so she can see the picture he’s pulled up: a slightly blurry shot of the whole group, dressed up in vibrant shades of pinks and purples and greens and blues. Catra’s gaze passes over each of them in little interest—and then she sees Adora, and she stares, because Adora is decked out in gold from head to toe, and she looks gorgeous. She’s the only one not matching (Glimmer and Bow in pastel pink, Perfuma and Mermista and ocean greens and blues, Netossa and Spinerella in deep purples) and she shines like a beacon with the delicate circlet that sits upon her forehead and the gold flakes dusted across all of the skin not covered by her chainmail dress. Her hair is shorter, let loose, and though she is barefoot, she still stands tall, caught midlaugh by the camera. She looks like some kind of goddess, like the fae that she really is.

Catra stares long and hard at that Adora, then twists around to look at her Adora in her shorts and loose tank top, and somehow falls even more for her.

“Are you going to the solstice?” Perfuma asks, much too loud for the words to be directed at her. Pretty much the whole group is looking at Adora, and Catra resists the urge to look at her again.

Even still, she can feel Adora’s gaze boring into her back and she forces herself to shrug and hope that her voice comes across like normal when she says, “I don’t know, no one’s invited me, and you’re all pretty much spoken for.”

“Oh, I can invite you!” Perfuma looks absolutely thrilled at the idea; Mermista snorts and gives Catra a look that could curdle milk.

“Thanks, but it’s fine.” and to Mermista, “You should go with your girlfriend .”

(Predictably, Mermista and Perfuma both blush, though Mermista looks more flustered while Perfuma just looks pleased.)

Surprisingly, it’s Glimmer that says, “How about Mermista goes with Sea Hawk— don’t make that face, I know you had a crush on him, and he’d love to take you—and Perfuma takes Bow, and I’ll take you, Catra.”

“Aww, Sparkles, you do care!”

“Can it, furball.”

“Oh my god, would you stop calling me that? It doesn’t even make any sense!”

There is a positively wicked gleam to Glimmer’s eyes that Catra is simultaneously terrified of and proud of. “Okay, how about kitten?”

From behind them, Adora makes a very strangled sound in the back of her throat, and when Catra turns to her with an innocent smile on her lips, she sees Adora looking very, very stressed out. “You are not taking Catra to the solstice,” she tells Glimmer.

“Why not?”

“Because— because— !” Adora throws both hands in the air and points to the house, gaze pointedly averted from the lot of them. “Catra. You, me, inside. Now.

“Of course, princess,” Catra drawls. As much as she wants to deny it, she’s suddenly nervous, a thousand thoughts swirling through her mind at what Adora could say. But with a wink thrown Glimmer’s way, Catra tries to conjure up all of the confidence she has, and receives a pleased little curtsy in return.

Once inside however, all of her bravado disappears. Adora is leaning against the counter, still staring hard at the ground, and she stays quiet and still until Catra closes the door behind them and draws the blinds across so their friends won’t be able to glean any trace of information from their conversation.

“I don’t want you to go to the solstice with her,” Adora starts, and she’s still tense, but she’s at least looking at Catra now. “I don’t want you to go to the solstice with anyone else. I want…I want you to go with me.”

Catra swears her heart stops at those words, and she presses a hand to her chest to make sure she can still feel it beating, to make sure she’s not dreamed up those words. “ You want to go with me?

“Yes, yes, I wanted to wait and ask you properly, but they—you know how they are.”

“Well, they were doing it on purpose. Since you wouldn’t ask me on your own terms. Idiot.

“I was trying to be romantic, ” Adora hisses, but a smile is bubbling up through her words and the sight makes Catra have to bite her lip hard to keep from laughing. “I had a plan, Catra! I was going to take you to the river for a picnic, and I was going to ask you out properly and it was going to be so romantic and they ruined it.

“Wait—wait, you were going to ask me out? Like—to be your girlfriend?”

Adora’s expression swiftly turns confused, brows furrowed and mouth slashed into a pout. And then she shakes her head and promptly bursts out laughing. “ Yes, I was going to ask you to be my girlfriend. I like you, you know.” Her voice is shot through with endearment, but there is a hint of nervousness there as she asks, “ that okay?”

In response, Catra surges forward the few feet to hug Adora tight, just breathing her in, head tucked into Adora’s neck, arms wrapped around her tight. “ Yes, it’s okay. But you still have to ask me properly, okay?”

As Adora’s arms come up to hold her the same, Adora whispers, “I will.”

And she does. Adora takes them to the gorge again, and it feels so different, to jump into the river and swim with her now. The water is much warmer, and they spend what feels like forever just floating and talking, about anything and nothing at all and everything but what is between them. And eventually, as the sun warms the flat rocks at the riverbank, Adora heads to shore and Catra follows her to find two towels, a picnic blanket already spread out, and a cute little basket from which Adora is pulling out food.

She gives Catra an embarrassed little smile and rolls her eyes when Catra coos at her, telling her to help out so they can both eat. Adora’s brought bowls of fruit meticulously cut, and melted cheese on thin sliced bread that she proudly says she baked herself. There are little pastries from Glimmer, and iced tea in thermoses, and little chocolates cut into flowers and hearts from Bow. There is even a bouquet of flowers in a rainbow of pinks and oranges and white from Perfmua, along with a note from Mermista that very politely reminds them that Catra will absolutely not be going to the solstice with either of them. It’s so very Mermista that Catra leans over to show Adora—and freezes.

Because Adora is staring at her, gaze warm like melted caramel, and again comes the fleeting thought that now would be another perfect moment to kiss her.

And now, Catra knows Adora enough to know that she likes to do things by the book. She likes to make plans, and stick to them until the very end. So knowing Adora, she’s planned to wait until the very end of their picnic—of their date, her brain helpfully reminds her—to ask Catra to go to the solstice and to be her girlfriend, but—

“Ask me,” Catra blurts out. Adora looks startled, and then conflicted. “ Please, ask me now. I’ll say yes either way, and I know you had a plan, but I just—I don’t want to wait any longer, Adora. Ask me.”

One beat, two, and Adora opens her mouth, closes it. Appears to be thinking for another long minute, and then, before she can change her mind, she blurts out, “Catra, will you go to the solstice with me? And—will you be my girlfriend?”

Catra’s nodding before Adora even finishes speaking; and she’s never felt more giddy in her life. By the way Adora is laughing, she can tell that she feels just the same.

(Maybe that’s why everything tastes so much sweeter on her lips.)

FROM Bow🏹: Soooooo did u say yes :)

FROM Glimmer✨: of course she said yes, theyve been mooning over each other all month

FROM Adora⚔️: guys shut up youre ruining our date

FROM Glimmer✨: HKSJFDHJ!!!!!!!!!!!

FROM Bow🏹: DATE????????

FROM Glimmer✨: DATE!!!!!!!!

FROM Perfuma🌸: details later <3

FROM Mermista🌊: soooo we’re all going to the solstice together right

FROM Bow🏹: omg best friends squad at the solstice !!!

FROM Catra🐱: so it’ll be a triple date huh?



FROM Adora⚔️: well like us aid glim. You guys have been mooning over each other for years

FROM Glimmer✨: goodbye

FROM Bow🏹: </3

“You think they’ll get together?”

Adora leans back on the heels of her hands, pondering this. “They’re...pretty much already together, it’s just the label that’s missing. And if they prefer it like this, that’s fine. So long as they’re happy, you know?”

God, does she. “Adora, you know what would make me happy?”


Shy now, Catra crawls over from her side of the blanket to Adora’s, leaning against her with a content sigh. This isn’t exactly what she wanted, but it’s close enough, and it’s enough to ease the thudthudthud of her heart to a much more reasonable pace. Adora laughs under her breath and wraps an arm around her to keep her close, and this is enough for just a few moments. But—



Catra pushes away just enough to twist around and look up her girlfriend , resting one hand on her thigh as the other comes up to cup Adora’s cheek and keep her still. And surely, Adora must know what’s coming—she must, she has to—but somehow, she still looks surprised when Catra asks, “Can I kiss you?”

Just as quiet, just as soft, just as giddily nervous, Adora says, “ Please do.”

And so she does.

It’s not Catra’s first kiss, but it’s her first in a while, and it feels like a proper first somehow, clumsy and sweet. Adora’s lips are chapped from how often she bites them, but still soft, and she melts for Catra’s touch like cotton candy touched to the tongue. She’s smiling, Catra can feel it against her own, and right now, Catra wants nothing more than to live in this moment for the rest of her life.

But eventually, she pulls away, and faces a still-smiling Adora with her lower lip caught between her teeth and her heart pounding rabbit-quick in her chest. “Is—was that okay?”

Adora nods, eyes still on Catra’s mouth. “It was very much okay.”

“Then can I kiss you again?” She’s already leaning in as she asks, and Adora meets her halfway in answer.

By the time they pack up, the sun has fallen behind the trees, and Catra feels like syrup spilt out of the bottle, sticky sweet. She’s holding Adora’s hand and doesn’t feel like letting go, not even when they get to Adora’s house. She knows that they’ll see each other tomorrow, and every day after that, but Catra still feels a pout slip onto her lips at the thought of leaving Adora for just the night. She’s felt this so many times before, so tonight should be no different, but—

This time she can pull Adora to a stop. This time she can stand on her toes and kiss Adora goodnight, this time she can whisper her well wishes against Adora’s lips. This time Adora can keep her held close for a few more precious seconds, and stroke her hair, and promise between kisses to see her in the morning.

They’ll have this for this night and every night after, and maybe in the future—maybe in the future, they’ll be able to come home to each other. Catra knows that it should be too soon to think about this, but Adora has already begun to carve out a place in her heart to call her own, and all Catra wants to do is give, and give, and give. And she may not have much now, but what she does have—a squeeze of Adora’s hand, another and another soft kiss, a promise of tomorrow—she gives. And with Adora’s gaze soft on her back, and the ghost-touch of her kiss, and the fleeting warmth of her touch wrapped around her like a blanket, Catra finally heads home.