Soulmates. It had been a hushed topic of conversation among the kids in the foster home, as they hardly dared to dream of something so hopeful. That was their daily routine: you got food in your belly and a roof over your head, and anything more was a luxury that only loved children could receive. It wasn’t all bad and dark, they had each other, but being sheltered and repressed could really put a damper on emotional growth.
So when Adora was adopted at 12 years old, she finally understood what it was like to be loved, what it was like to actually get to be a child. Her new moms were soulmates, of course, and they doted on her with every fiber of their being. Hope and Mara, while not perfect by any means, raised Adora to be a confident and strong young woman, helped her to see past the general horrors that had been inflicted on her at a young age. They helped her hope, something she dared not to do before.
When her 18th birthday came around and she woke up without a mark, she had been only slightly crestfallen. It was a 50/50 chance of being older than her soulmate, so Adora had just hoped she would have been the youngest of the pair, or set, and get to find out right away. She had stripped bare and searched high and low for any sort of scribble of name indicating her designed life partner, but after studious exploration she relented to having to wait for her mate.
It wasn’t a big deal though, she was busy anyway and 18 just seemed a little young to begin settling down.
It could take years, really. Some soulmates even waited a decade for their other half to turn 18. The longest distance in age on record so far had been 33 years, which seemed incredibly weird and sad, but who had the right to judge or question fate?
Adora was lucky though, she only had to wait a few months and in that time she had watched other friends, Glimmer and Bow mainly, wake up on their 18th birthdays and find their marks. It was only human to feel the pangs of envy, but there was nothing else she could do but be happy for all of them.
When she had woken up four months later, on set for her newest movie, and saw that intriguing scroll on her hip she nearly fainted. Her hand flew to it immediately and she could feel the slightly raised imprint of the name now on her skin, for life: the name of her soulmate. Her skin prickled over her body and a nervous cold sweat ran the length of her spine, so she took a moment to collect herself before looking down to read the name.
And when she did, her jaw dropped to the floor.
“Oh you’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”
She looked in the mirror, and then back down again to make sure she wasn’t seeing things, but it was clear as day. In the lovely, black writing of her soulmate stood the name: Catra Applesauce Meowmeow.
“Who the fuck names their kid that?”
“Maybe she’s vegan?” Typical Bow, always looking on the bright side of things. “She could just be really earthy and....unique.”
“Applesauce, Bow?” Adora replied with her arms crossed, throwing incredulous looks at Glimmer who couldn’t stop giggling. “Stop laughing, Glimmer.”
“Ok well,” Bow said with a pause, “she’s your soulmate so...interesting name or not, I’m sure she’s worth it. I wouldn’t expect anything but the best for you!”
Adora softened at that. Bow always knew what to say, especially when she was upset about something. He lent it to the fact he grew up in a literal library and read numerous books on emotions, but Adora knew that he just had that kind of understanding personality.
Glimmer was just always along for the ride.
“You’re right,” Adora offered after a beat. “Kids can’t help what they’re named, so it’s not a big deal. I guess I was just a little shocked.”
“Yea, you don’t have too much room to talk either, Adora Princess Power,” Glimmer finally piped up once she had finished laughing and getting glared at. “I mean, you’re named after an old tv show, which you then somehow starred in the reboot decades later. Things just work weirdly, you know?”
Adora shrugged in agreement. “I just call that destiny, and I like my name.”
“Do you want me to try and find her?” Bow asked with a slight bounce, he really loved to find things out with his ways.
“I already checked Instagram and Facebook a little but I couldn’t find her.” Adora admitted.
Adora shook her head, it was the first day and she was patient enough to not download the app that lets soulmates connect from all over the world by name searching. And who knows, maybe this Catra will search for her first...it wouldn’t be hard. “I just have this feeling that I need to let it happen naturally, you know? And I’m already really busy, it would just be a weird time. I don’t think it would be fair to either of us.”
Her two best friends shared a look, which Adora knew meant they were having their weird mental discussion without saying anything like they’ve always been able to do, even before the marks showed up.
“You’re still going to look, aren’t you?” She asked with a sigh once the two of them were done.
“Of course we are,” Glimmer said easily.
After a week, then two, and then a month, Bow still hadn’t found a trace of Catra. Adora wasn’t concerned as the months dragged on without any sign of her soulmate. Perhaps this unknown girl was just as stubborn as she was and wanted to meet naturally somehow, just like people had to before the internet and technology. They were soulmates, right? If they were destined to be together, somehow fate would bring them to meet someday.
As the first year after her mark appeared came to a close, Adora just smiled and wished Catra a silent happy birthday. She wondered what she might be doing for her 19th birthday; would she have a party with some friends, or maybe spend the day with her parents? Late April called for beautiful weather in Bright Moon, but perhaps Catra lived somewhere with a less moderate climate, such as Kingdom of Snows. Whatever be the case, Adora hoped it was a good day at least.
By the end of the second year Adora was getting a bit more flustered at the prospect of having to wait for a natural course of action. Bow and Glimmer had been rather incessant, always coming up with a new idea to find Catra that didn’t involve a form of social media, but nothing delivered. It had been another busy and rough year, Adora had been pulled away from Bright Moon to be on location for her most recent series and without being surrounded by friends and family she had nothing but time to think.
What was Catra like? Was she tall or average height; did she have a proclivity for dying her hair weird colors and only eat nutty granola bars? What was her personality like, did she bend her will to help those around her? Adora had been chastised many times in her life for doing so, and it was a very hard habit to break. But the saying goes that opposites attract, right? So could she be selfish instead of selfless? Was she lazy and unmotivated to do anything that could better her life or the life of those around her?
Adora knew that nobody was perfect, and she’s sure that her soulmate would come with many attributes that she found annoying, but that was just a part of life. To keep her mind at bay while touring and doing rounds of mind numbing press tours, Adora would fantasize about how they would finally meet.
She was standing off to the side at Starbucks waiting for order, eyes drawn to the mural on the wall depicting where the new roast of beans came from. The barista would yell ‘Catra, grande caramel macchiato!’ and Adora’s head would snap towards the woman walking up. Their eyes would meet, knowing, and they would smile.
That one was pretty cute. Generic.
Or maybe she was on tour and Catra would try and run past security, yelling Adora’s full name and showing the name written on perhaps an arm. A sonnet would burst from soft lips about how she had been nervous finding her but when Adora had come to town Catra knew she had to find her.
No, that one sucked.
She felt the biting cold whip around her face as she sailed down the mountain. A getaway after months on the road, just her and the freshly packed snow, board cutting wavy lines where only a few people had crossed in the early afternoon. Bow and Glimmer, because the best friend squad never vacationed alone, had already retired for the afternoon and had trudged off to find hot chocolate and a bonfire. Adora smiled as she came around a bend but it vanished when someone had flown from out of the trees, no doubt having been boarding on an unbeaten path. They both only had seconds to realize they were going to crash and then suddenly they were in a pile of snow clothes and awkward angles. She stood up, offering the girl a hand once they realized that neither was hurt, and they would sizzle at the contact and smile, knowing.
Some fantasies were better than others and she would replay those again and again. Adora knew that she shouldn’t get too wild with her imagination, that it would probably be a lot less chaotic once they finally met, but she couldn’t help but wonder.
By year three, Adora began considering the possibility that Catra was one of those people who didn’t hold the notion of having a predestined life partner very highly. It was a position held only for the most cynical, but it wasn’t unheard of to have people think that it was a stupid idea to be someone’s soulmate. These few never sought out the one written on their skin, nearly actively avoided them if possible, and would carve their own path in life and meet someone with shared cynical ideologies.
But was it really cynical? Adora had been raised both ways, having been told that soulmates were a luxury and love was useless, but then she was raised by two women who loved each other beyond compare. It was easy to fantasize that the one written on your skin would be your perfect match, but the more she thought about it the more Adora understood how people would want to find their own paths. How would the cosmic powers really know who was perfect for each other and who wasn’t? Were people just so lost in the thought that the cosmos already had things in order and they just went through the motions until they found their supposed person?
Did everyone really just wait and not explore the possibilities? Having a name printed on your skin was destined, yes, but did that mean it would always be perfect? That soulmates never had to work for it? She had been hopeful growing up that she would be swept off her feet and live happily ever after like in the fairy tales, but even her moms had arguments. Shouldn’t that have been a sign that life wasn’t always glitter and rainbows? The years passed and she felt silly for thinking that perfection existed, and the more she thought about it the more boring it seemed. What’s life without a little adventure?
Dating while waiting for your soulmate to arrive was sort of a divided topic. Some people spat on the idea of seeking out others in the meantime, some just called it a part of life. Adora herself hadn’t exactly held out on dating just so she could be ‘pure’ for her ‘one and only.’ Even now, as the time steadily approached year four with no sign of Catra Applesauce Meowmeow, Adora dated. She worked, she traveled the world, and why would she deny herself the fun of meeting people and experiencing them as well?
That name written so gently on the jut of her hip had a place, a permanence, and Adora knew that Catra would show up someday. She had gotten better at being patient, was better at understanding that not everyone believed in fairytales, and she was perfectly fine to wait for someday . But someday could be years away, and life calls to be in the present, not worrying about when.