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Be Patient With Me

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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. 

“Soul finder?”

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.

Chapter Text

Catra’s leg jostled nervously as she watched the groups of people board the plane in front of her. It was natural to feel like puking, right? 

Her nerves had bubbled ever since she had gotten that acceptance letter two months ago. Had brimmed the edge of her senses when she accepted the offer, the little voice in the back of her mind wondering why any place would want her enough to offer so much. Her nerves had run over the edge when she had booked that one-way flight, Scorpia right behind her squeezing tight at the thought of a new life for her, new adventures. Scorpia’s hugs, while initially too tight and aggravating, had eventually become one of the only things to hold her together at times. But now those would be gone too, not forever, but Catra couldn’t help but feel the loss keenly even if her friend was beyond animated to see her take this next step. 

Taking the step, letting that next piece click in towards a goal she had decided on however many years ago, it was always a step. 

As it was her first plane ride ever, Catra considered it a distinct possibility that the pit in her stomach was just preflight jitters. As she stood up to join her boarding group, the last, her legs were jelly and her throat went tight. But Catra never let her fear show, not directly anyway. She had memorized the process of scanning her ticket by watching the people before her do it over and over. Well, she had watched for hours, since oversleeping had meant she missed her first flight and had somehow, thankfully, been fit onto this one. 

That was probably the other reason why her stomach was doing insane flips underneath her skin, because missing that first flight had meant she sat in the terminal for over four hours, just stewing in her mind about the sequence of events that had led her here now. She had gotten so much better at not being late, but today she just couldn’t catch a break. Catra scanned her ticket with feigned expertise and walked down the gangway, hearing a muttered last call for ‘flight 103 to Bright Moon’ before taking that last step. Once her foot touched the inside of that plane, she left her old life behind. 

Twenty three years of, in a sense, less than ideal living conditions had finally surmounted to taking the leap and doing something. She pushed her way through the semi-full plane, giving a single small nod to Scorpia who had literally bounced at the sight of her, and found her seat. Thankful that no one was scheduled to sit next to her, Catra slumped down into the surprising soft chair and buckled herself in. Removing a baggy hoodie before stowing her duffle under the seat in front of her as directed, Catra slipped the garment on backwards and flipped the hood over her face for some peace. Leaning into the uncomfortable crook between seat and window, she closed her eyes and tried to relax. 

She couldn’t second guess herself this time, as she had done so many before now. The soft spot under her boob where that small name lay written itched, as it had for the last five years. It didn’t itch in an annoying and uncomfortable way, but it itched at her senses of somehow belonging to someone. Catra has detested the thought when she was younger, her life being less than happy at all and couldn’t imagine the thought of bringing someone into that pit. Couldn’t imagine who could possibly be paired with her. It had been a long road, years of seeing that name in the mirror and trying to cover it with her hand; not out of disdain for the owner, but out of what with many years of therapy she came to know as fear. 

Catra wasn’t stupid, her degrees, honors, and awards only served to prove that in abundance. When she had seen that name on her skin, Adora, she knew who she was. Her stupid movies and stupidly cute face with an aching jawline had caught Catra’s eye even before she woke up on that 18th year, but at that point she wasn’t ready. Not for Adora, her supposed soulmate, not even herself. She still wasn’t sure she was ready, but there was time to figure that out. Catra let her mind wander to blue eyes and a stupidly hot, tight, white jumpsuit and fell asleep to the thoughts of Adora before the plane even left the runway.

______

 

Sprinting through the terminal with her hood pulled tight hadn’t been the plan when Adora arrived at the airport that afternoon. Yet when a tour group of young kids had spotted her and rushed her, there was no getting out of autographs and pictures. She could usually brush off adults, they took the disappointment better, but kids were innocent and if they looked at her as a role model, what would being a dick say about her character? 

It took far too long, cutting into her already overdrawn schedule, and that’s how she found herself nearly missing her plane. As the door to the gangway shut behind her, Adora swore to never take an afternoon flight again. Not that she didn’t appreciate the fans, but they really were a lot of work and people forgot that though her face was plastered on screens and billboards, Adora was still a human being who had a life beyond what she could give people. 

Slumping into her seat between two beefy men, Adora let out a breath and wished that she for once had bought a first class ticket. She had money now, but growing up in a foster home and then in a modest living with her moms, Adora couldn’t yet brush off her upbringing and spend so frivolously. Next time, she thought, as the plane rose steadily into the air. 

Never one to sleep on planes, Adora slapped on her headphones and melted into her seat in wait of snacks and drinks. A five hour flight, and then she was home and on a break for at least a few months. She was bone tired, press tours always sucking nearly every inch of life out of her, but it was fun to travel and meet so many new people from all over the world. The fact that she got months off at a time was an added bonus of course, but even after years of living this lifestyle she couldn’t relax on a plane. Not that she was afraid of flying, but Adora was just a bad sleeper in general. 

By the third hour, when her snacks were gone and the snoring of the men flanking her grew to be too much, Adora got up to stretch her legs and hopefully find a vacant seat elsewhere to spend the remainder of the flight. Heavy snores and zero armrest space weren’t exactly her idea of a nice plane ride. 

After walking the aisles a few times, she had the option between a seat next to a mom with a sleeping baby, or a seat next to some girl (she thinks) that was sound asleep against the window. Reckoning that a baby could wake up screaming at any time, Adora opted for the quiet seat at the back of the plane. At least the girl wasn’t snoring. 

She bought some more snacks, because somehow even though airplane food was gross she just really loved snacks, and loaded the next movie on her downloaded cue to finish off the flight. 

She caught glances out of the corner of her eye every now and then when the girl, who was completely balled up in her seat, would twitch or shuffle around slightly. It had grown dark in the cabin, night falling long ago as they flew past time zones, but somehow each movement was endearing in a way. She couldn’t see a face, but a messy tuft of dark brown hair stuck out from the backwards sweatshirt hood she had over her face and bright purple socks with cats on them adorned feet that were close to Adora’s leg. She held back a giggle at the socks and hoped that the girl wouldn’t be too shocked to have someone next to her when she woke up. 

As the pilot came over the speakers to announce the beginning of their descent into Bright Moon, Adora went back and forth on whether she should wake the girl up before wheels hit the ground. The Pilots on Alliance Airlines were some of the best in the world, she knew from experience, but landings could sometimes be a little rough. She figured it was at least common courtesy and as the flight attendants walked up and down the aisles collecting trash, Adora tapped the sleeping girl’s shoulder to rouse her. 

“Hey, sorry,” she whispered as she tapped, “we’re about to land.” The girl groaned and wrapped herself into a tighter ball, making Adora smile. “Come on,” she said with a more insistent tap, “you don’t want to be asleep when we land.”

The girl startled finally, feet falling to the floor and she pulled the hood off of her face which brought a bunch of staticky hair with it. Adora let out a light giggle at the sight, because the girl was angry and cute, but stopped when the mess of brown hair finally looked at her with the most shocked expression she had ever seen. It wasn’t even shock, more like...dread?

“Hey, are you ok?” Adora asked the girl. After a few beats with no answer she silently hoped that the girl wasn’t some crazy fan who was just in awe right now. She wasn’t so cocky as to say everyone loved her, but it was nearing 1am Bright Moon time and Adora was tired. She didn’t want to deal with a crazy fan right now.

“You-“ the girl started with a sleepy, raspy voice and the sound was incredibly alluring, but this situation was weird and Adora didn’t know what was going on. She was too tired. “What are you doing here?” 

“I’m on a plane, what are you doing here?” What kind of question was that? Everyone on this plane had a reason to be here, so why was she being questioned. Eyes stared at her incredulously, one blue one golden, and Adora was taken aback at how beautiful she was, however grumpy. Actually, the grumpiness was kind of cute, and Adora realized she must be beyond tired if she thought grumpiness was cute. 

“That’s not what I, ugh-“ the girl stammered out and brushed her wild hair back. Ok yea, she’s definitely really cute. 

Adora was about to ask if she was ok again when an incredibly bright voice jumped in behind her. 

“Hey, Wildcat! We’re about to land so-oh, hello.” It was the flight attendant from business class that she had caught a few glimpses of on her journey around the aisles earlier, but catching a sight of Adora had the attendant holding just as shocked expression as the girl in the seat. “Miss Power, I’m so sorry to interrupt.”

She cringed at the formality, but honestly, what the fuck is going on? “Please, call me Adora, and don’t be sorry. Do I need to move back to my seat?” She had caught the nickname and assumed that the two were friends and now she was encroaching on both of them. Though as a flight attendant, Scorpia as her name tag showed, should be in her own seat.

“Oh, no no!” Scorpia said animatedly with a wave of her muscular arms. “No, I just wanted to make sure Catra was awake before we landed. I’ll just uhh, leave you two alone now. Please buckle up and prepare for landing.”

Adora has stopped listening. In fact, she had stopped breathing. Catra . Could it be? Somehow this entire situation from waking the girl next to her up to hearing Catra had only been about two minutes, but now every second stretched out into what felt like years. The shocked expression, the dread, the grumpiness. There was no way that this wasn’t Catra Applesauce fucking Meowmeow herself, and Adora slowly turned her body back the other way to face her soulmate. 

Her soulmate.  

A face was hidden behind hands and Adora felt more than heard the most exasperated sigh break loose. “Catra?”

The girl flinched ever so slightly at the mention of her name and Adora couldn’t keep a handle on her emotions. Anger, sadness, longing, need. Everything she’s felt over the last five years culminated to the inability to speak, and confused anger started to bubble up her throat. 

Catra groaned and slid the hands off her face, eyes tired not just from the sleep she just had, but it was an everlasting tired. “It wasn’t supposed to be like this.” 

Oh yea, anger was the right feeling. “What? What does that even mean?” Her pitch rose steadily and she couldn’t care less that the cabin was quiet and full of tired passengers. 

“Keep your voice down,” Catra hushed and looked around to see if anyone was eyeing them. She must have deemed them safe because she slumped back into her chair and looked at Adora for a moment before continuing. “I’m too tired for this.” She said it more to herself but Adora still heard. 

“Oh, you’re tired?” She trilled with a loud whisper, beyond annoyed. 

Catra glared at her. “Yes, I’m tired. Not all of us get to fly around the world and live the life of luxury, Adora . Some of us have had to work for what we got.”

She tried to ignore the sound of her own name tumbling out of those lips, but even said in a sneer she still got goosebumps. She was still damn near enraged at what Catra had said though and she laughed darkly. “You think I don’t work? Luxury, really? God, you don’t know a thing about me.”

Mismatched eyes flickered at Adora’s rebuttal but Catra marched on. “Yea well can you blame me? Your life is all over stupid tabloids, what am I supposed to think?”

Adora scoffed. “You could have found out yourself and not from magazines, Catra. ” It was childish to sneer back, but honestly. 

Catra didn’t reply, and they both sat and seethed in silence as the plane approached the ground quickly. Adora noticed as hands gripped both armrests in a vice hold, Catra’s entire body tense and her eyes were closed tightly. She was afraid. 

Luckily it was a perfect landing, as expected with the quality of these pilots, and Catra relaxed with a long exhale. 

“Are you afraid of flying?” Adora asked curiously before she could stop herself. All anger had left her body at the sight of Catra’s fear, somehow being replaced by a need to protect. 

“I’ve never flown before,” Catra muttered, which only sparked Adora’s interest more. 

“Really?” She continued. “What’s the occasion then?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know.” Catra flinched at how quickly she had quipped and ran hands through her somewhat knotted hair. “That was uncalled for, I shouldn’t have said that.” She looked over at Adora again as the plane bounced towards its gate. “I owe you an explanation, about everything, but right now I truly am tired.”

The sincerity in Catra’s voice held no room for Adora to deny, and honestly she was tired too. Forcing a conversation now just wouldn’t bode well for either of them. 

“I’d like that,” Adora said with a small smile. “How long are you in Bright Moon for?” Five years was a lot of time to explain. 

Catra smirked. “I’m actually moving here.”

They matched stupid smiles as the plane finally stopped at its destination, but they had some time to wait since they were in the back of the plane. Adora had so many questions now and she tried to contain herself. 

“So where are you staying?” She asked. “Do you have an apartment already?” 

Catra shook her head. “No, I was just going to find a hotel for a bit until I could get a place.”

“Wait, you don’t even have a hotel booked?”

Catra laughed at Adora’s astonished look and it lit up her face in an entirely new light. “That’s another story too, I missed my first flight so I really should have been here hours ago”

Fate, Adora decided. It’s what she had wanted from the very beginning, to find her soulmate by fate, not by searching a name on the internet. But now Catra was right here in front of her, and she wasn’t ready to let go. 

“You can stay with me for a bit?” She offered and continued before Catra could speak. “I have a spare room, so not like, with me with me since we only just met but I also don’t want to lose you and it’s easier this way and-“

“Adora relax,” Catra cut off her ramble with another smirk. “If it means that much to you, I’ll stay.”

She wanted to banter but it was their turn to leave the plane and they busied themselves with grabbing their carry-ons. Adora thanked the flight attendants as she passed by them all and gave a knowing nod to Scorpia, who looked concerned at them both. 

“I’ll talk to you later, Wildcat,” she said to Catra and smiled at Adora. “Have a good night now.”

They waited at baggage claim for their luggage and were happy to watch the minimal people around them. Usually Adora had a few people come and talk to her for a photo or autograph, but something about having Catra next to her warded anyone off. It was probably the deep, sleepy scowl that rested on that pretty face of hers, but right now all Adora could be was thankful. She saw her two bags and Catra pointed out her sole suitcase for Adora to grab, and they were on their way. 

“You only have one suitcase?” Adora questioned as they waited outside for an Uber. Hiring a driver to pick her up at this time of night probably would have been better, or even Bow and Glimmer could have done it, but as she got to sneak glances at the sleepy girl next to her in the overbearing, fake light of the airport none of it mattered. 

Catra’s face went from sleepy to an incredible eye roll instantly. “I have my essentials. Scorpia was going to send me the rest of my stuff once I found a place.”  

“And Scorpia is your...”

“Roommate,” she said easily and straddled the handle of her suitcase, resting her arm and head on the small bar. “We met in college and have stuck together since.”

Adora hummed. “So you went to college? What was your major?”

Catra laughed and Adora was quickly becoming addicted to the raspy sound. “I’m not giving up all my secrets so quickly. Tell me something about you.”

“Don’t you already know about me?” The annoyed look she got in return made her flush in embarrassment. She hadn’t meant to sound so pompous. “I just meant, you mentioned tabloids so I kind of assumed...” she was feeling dumber by the second and just shut her mouth. 

Catra softened. “One of my majors was communication, so if there’s one thing I do know, it's that tabloids lie. What I said earlier was out of frustration, but I want to know about you, not what the media says about you.”

Oh. That was different, no one had ever said it like that before. She blushed slightly at the thought but was also intrigued by the first part. “Wait, one of your majors?”

Catra just smiled and winked as the Uber rolled up. Adora checked the plates and driver before loading their luggage into the back, thankful she ordered an SUV because with their added carry-ons they really did have a lot of stuff. Her apartment wasn’t far and the driver entertained them with small chatter for a while. Well, entertained Adora anyway, Catra fell asleep before they even left the airport. Could she always fall asleep at the drop of a hat like that?

Waking her up had been less of a mess, though no less grumpy and cute, when they got to the apartment building and Adora finally felt her nerves kick in once the elevator started to ascend. It was a quick ride they shared in companionable silence, but they could both feel a weird tension. Not awkward, just...unknown. 

It smelled fresh as they walked into the entryway and Adora relaxed immediately at finally being home. Hope always came by before Adora was due home to clean up and freshen the place as a ‘welcome back.’ When she had first moved out on her own she was annoyed at the lack of independence, but as the less affectionate parent, Adora quickly realized that it was Hope’s way of telling her she loved her, and now every time it was like a hug when she walked through that door. 

Catra walked around her, not knowing to join in the little taste of home, and glanced around the room. 

“Not the life of luxury, huh?” She said with an even tone and Adora couldn’t tell if she was being serious or not. 

“I bought this place for the view,” she offered diplomatically. It definitely had been an expense, but she could afford to treat herself. “Other than that I’m really not frivolous.”

Those mismatched eyes studied her for a moment before Catra stretched and yawned. “Ok. Where’s that spare room you wanted me in so bad? Or I could take the couch if you don’t want me to mess up the bed or anything.” She glanced around at the pristine conditions of the wide living room and kitchen space. 

Adora laughed, knowing that she would turn everything into a chaotic mess soon enough, and grabbed all of their luggage again. “I’m not going to make you sleep on the couch, Catra.”

She missed the soft smile that bloomed across Catra’s face as she walked by, but as it neared two in the morning it was about time they got some sleep. Adora showed her the room, which was marginally smaller than her own master bedroom but still boasted its own shower and walk-in closet. They mumbled goodnights to each other and split ways. 

Adora knew that she should probably shower before slipping into bed, but she was too exhausted. She took off her sweatshirt and pants and slipped into cold, fresh sheets and sighed. 

Catra. 

Always the shitty sleeper, her tiredness vanished when she thought of her apparent soulmate who was probably already sound asleep in the room across from her own. Catra, who had been missing in action for five years now, and showed up so suddenly. Adora had never fantasized about meeting her on an airplane of all places, which now that she thought of it would have been an incredibly apt setting. Adora was always on planes. 

It had been a little over an hour since the name fell so effortlessly through Scorpia’s lips and now there was just so much to think about. Her mind was racing and she thought of the first thing Catra had said. ‘It wasn’t supposed to be like this.’ What did that even mean? Did she even want to get to know Adora? Was this a mistake and Catra had planned to ignore her but that was flouted by meeting so suddenly?

That couldn’t be the case, or if so Catra never would have agreed to stay at Adora’s apartment. Catra had said that she wanted to get to know Adora, the real Adora, so that was something. She didn’t exactly come across as someone who would do things for others to satisfy them, that had been Adora’s job back in the day. She knew the type, and Catra wasn’t that. 

Feeling like she wasn’t going to get to sleep for some time, Adora got out of bed and slipped on some pajamas to go sit on the balcony, hoping fresh air would offer her some answers. 

It seemed that someone else had the same idea.

“Catra, I’m so sorry,” she said quickly when she pulled the slider open and Catra had startled at the sound. “I’ll just find somewhere else...”

“Adora, it’s fine.” Her tone was light, all traces of tired gone. “This is your apartment, you can sit wherever you want.”

It sounded like an open invitation and she decided to take it, so she sat down in the other available chiar. Catra had changed into a different sweatshirt and pants, clearly having tried sleeping as well. 

“Couldn’t sleep either?” Adora asked and Catra shook her head. 

“I slept pretty much the entire flight, so I’m sort of screwed there.”

Adora hummed in response and they sat for a moment, enjoying the quiet breeze and muffled sound of the empty streets far below them. She always came out here to clear her mind. It was something she had done even as a little girl in the foster home. Escaping to some form of high ground had always offered a quick reprieve from whatever troubled her, so when she had seen the view from this balcony in her search for an apartment, it had been a clear choice. 

Catra was the first to speak up. “I know you must have a lot of questions, and I know you deserve an explanation, but can you just go easy on me? This has been a lot to take in so quickly.”

Adora perked up at the offer of information, though needing to be gentle about it, and thought for a moment. “You said that it wasn’t supposed to be like this, what did you mean?”

A soft laugh caught in the breeze and Adora stared unashamedly as Catra looked into the skyline. She was breathtaking. “I had it all planned, you know? I got a job out here and I wanted some time to figure this place out. Where I come from, it’s just so different than here so I knew there would be a major adjustment period. I thought I was hallucinating when you woke me up, and then I panicked.” She shook her head and took a deep breath. “It’s the one plan I really wanted to work out but obviously the fates had other ideas.”

“Oh,” Adora said lamely. “Do you want to pretend we didn’t meet and try again in a few months?”

Catra laughed a little harder at her attempt of a joke and finally looked her way. “No, I don’t think that will work anymore. I’m here now and there must be a reason for it but...” those eyes bore into her own and the way the night sky danced in them had Adora entranced. “Adora, I’m not very good at letting people into my life. This whole thing terrifies me, and I’m trying to do a lot better but I just need time to adjust. I want to know about you also, and I know it’s a lot to ask of someone who made you wait five years, but can I ask you to just be patient with me? For a little longer?”

She found herself nodding with the pleading look in those eyes. “Yes. I can try, just let me know if ever I’m overstepping, ok? I want to know you too, Catra.”

“Deal,” she said with a smirk. “I think I’m going to try and sleep though, I’ll see you later?”

“I’ll see you later,” Adora replied with a small wave. “Goodnight, Catra.”

She stayed out for a bit longer, just letting her mind rest from the events of the previous few hours, until the chill got to be too much. A smile graced her face as she walked by the spare bedroom, happy to know exactly who was in there, and she quickly fell asleep once her head hit the pillow.

Chapter Text

The last thing Catra wanted to wake up to that morning was someone pounding on the door. Jet lag and too much sleep on the flight had completely fucked her sleep schedule, but add to the fact that she didn’t immediately recognize where she was had her jumping out of bed in a panic. White walls with soft gold drapes over the window, an enormous bed with a pillowy down comforter: Adora. Somehow the answer came to her so quick in her muffled brain and she went to investigate the loud, infernal knocking. 

She tumbled sleepily into the hall and heard voices from where she knew the kitchen to be. 

“You didn’t need to come banging on my door at 7 in the morning.” It was Adora, she sounded pissed. “You have my location on your phone! And keys to the door!”

“Ok yes,” a girl's voice, “but they might have kidnapped you and come here to steal stuff and then your phone was left here before they murdered you.”

Wow, now that’s some extrapolation. 

“Glimmer, really? Bow, come on.”

“Hey I tried to tell her,” a much deeper voice now. Jesus, how many of them are there? 

“Ok well a simple phone call would be just fine next time, you know I don’t sleep on planes.” Adora crossed her arms in annoyance but the two people in front of her couldn’t see, they were a little distracted by the person who just walked into the living room in a pair of shorts and a tight tank top. Yet, Catra seemed to be more clothed than the dark boy who was sporting a lovely white crop top. 

He looks fun. 

Miss Shiny next to him with purple and pink hair looked like a vein was about to burst in her head. Glitter, was it? 

“Good morning,” Catra said with a raspy drawl. “Who’s getting murdered?”

“These two are if they don’t let me get back to sleep,” Adora huffed. The small bags under her eyes didn’t take away from how cute she was, and yea, she was way better in person. 

“I’m just saying,” Sparkles said with a cock to her hip, “a simple, ‘I’m home,’ would have been nice.” She turned to Catra and furrowed her brows in a scowl. “And who are you?”

Catra grinned widely, showing off her rather pointy canines. “Wouldn’t you like to know, Glitter.” 

“It’s Glimmer.”

“Semantics.” She said with a wave and ignored the angry quip on the smaller girl, then turned to Adora who was now holding back a smile. “Hey Adora, is there coffee? I wasn’t expecting a wake up call this early.”

Adora grunted. “Me either. But also, no there isn’t. I’ll have to run to the store, I haven’t been home in a while so there’s nothing here.”

“Honestly who is this girl?” That small voice was getting angrier and if she wasn’t so annoyed, Catra might think it was actually kind of cute. 

“Is it that hard to figure out, Sparkles? Or does Adora always have a random girl in pajamas in her apartment?” She was joking, but a pang of jealousy seared through her body as she said it. 

“No way,” Crop Top finally said and his head snapped back and forth between her and Adora. “Is this...?”

Adora nodded and Catra gave a slow clap. “I figured you would be the quick one. I’m Catra, it’s nice to meet you.” She reached out to shake his hand and noted his mark plastered along his forearm. Glimmer Moon. God even her name was shiny.

She was thankful to have Adora’s name in a much more concealable spot, but Bow here didn’t seem to care much about covering anything so he must just be proud. Not that Catra wasn’t proud, it was just a little more complicated than that. 

“You’re Catra?” That tone was really starting to get on her nerves. Were these two really Adora’s best friends? There’s always pictures of them together and Bow she can understand, but dynamite over here was a little too feisty. Maybe it was just early. 

“Yes, I think we covered that I’m Catra.”

“She’s hot.” Everyone turned to look at Bow, Adora punching him and Glimmer looking like she was about to throw him off the balcony. “What?! I’m just saying...you know, in a sort of ‘I’ll rip your throat out and destroy the planet’ kind of way.”

Catra laughed. “Thanks, but I don’t exactly swing for your team if you know what I mean.”

Shiny was looking ready to explode any instant and huffed indignantly. “Ok well if we’re all just saying our minds here then what the hell kind of name is Applesauce Meowmeow then?”

Bow and Adora sucked in breaths while Catra and Glimmer glared at each other. Practice patience, she could practically hear her therapist whisper against her ear. Patience. The question wasn’t something she’d never heard, growing up a lot of kids made fun of her name, but back then she would beat them up until no one said anything again. But a feeling prickled the back of her neck, did Adora make fun of her? She didn’t seem the type, but if Sparkles brought it up then it must have been a topic of conversation.

She crossed her arms and turned her glare into a straight face. “It’s the kind of name that nurses in Horde give you when you’ve been abandoned at the hospital. Throwaway name for a throwaway kid.” That shut her up real damn quick and Catra could feel Adora’s eyes on her. Nope, not looking. She grinned again. “What about you, Sparkles? Did you just burst out of your mom’s vagina like a confetti cannon and the name stuck?”

You could hear a pin drop in the room until a crack of breath came from her right and suddenly Adora was doubled over in laughter. Glimmer stormed out, pinker than the hair on her head, and Bow chased after her with a mumbled ‘sorry’ as he passed by.

“That was the greatest thing I’ve ever heard,” Adora said after she could breathe again, wiping away a tear that had fallen from laughing. “I’m sorry about Glimmer, she’s really not all bad but she can be...intense sometimes.”

“You mean a dick?”

“Yea she can definitely be a dick,” Adora agreed. “Is that true though, you were abandoned at a hospital in Horde?”

“Yep,” she said with a pop, figuring Adora would want the whole story eventually anyway. “The nurse said my pointy ears looked like a cat, hence Catra, and Applesauce was probably her lunch that day. Meowmeow was just to reaffirm the cat ears.” She brushed hair back to show her ears which weren’t really that pointy anymore. 

“I guess the nurse who named me was feeling a little nicer the day I was abandoned then. I just got a nostalgic name.”

That caught Catra’s attention. “You mean...?”

“Yep,” Adora copied the pop with a smile. “Abandoned in Horde, was in foster care until I was 12, and then my moms adopted me.”

“Wow. I had no idea.”

Adora shrugged. “Not a lot of people do, as I tend to keep private as much of my life as I can. I love my job and what I do, but I hate the attention sometimes.” 

Catra was surprised, that was easy enough to say. Of course out of curiosity she had looked at Adora’s Wikipedia page but there really hadn’t been a lot of information on it about her, but knowing they grew up in the same place? It was kind of throwing her in a loop right now. Adora might actually be able to understand some of the trauma that she’d been through when not a lot of people could. That name under her boob prickled at the thought of someone who could understand, someone who wouldn’t judge. 

“Speaking of jobs,” Adora steamrolled through Catra’s tiny epiphany, “you said you got a job out here? What is it, if you don’t mind me asking?”

The weight of the question immediately pushed down on Catra’s shoulders and she shook her head. “Coffee first, deep questions later.”

They never did get around to that question that day, or even a few days later. They had walked to the store that was a few blocks from the apartment to get food and had talked more about Bright Moon and what it had to offer. They perused aisles and loaded a cart full of stuff, pausing only every so often to judge each other on food choices, and headed back with incredibly full arms. Catra dared to stare a few times at the way Adora’s biceps bulged as she carried the majority of the bags, but what else is a girl to do, really? 

After a large pot of coffee for the both of them and an easy breakfast made by Catra, who actually was a really good cook, they sagged into the couch to watch a show on Netflix. The coffee seemed to have no affect on their exhaustion and both of them fell asleep before the end of the first episode. 

Catra didn’t know how much later it was before she woke up but Netflix was asking them if they were still watching, so it must have been a decent nap. Adora was still asleep however and wound up laying at an awkward angle, arms crazy, and a leg thrown over Catra’s lap. The sight of it made her stomach flip and she took this moment of freedom to really look at her. Adora’s skin was much lighter than her own and she couldn’t help but wonder how nice they would look together, though she would never admit that. Her blonde hair, which was generally in a ponytail with some stupid puff on top, had fallen from its holder and now was spread haphazardly around that pretty face. 

And oh was Adora pretty. Beautiful. Hot. Adorable, pun intended. Catra had seen a few of her movies (all of them) but nothing could compare to having Adora here in front of her. Her strong jaw and toned body were unparalleled in person and it was all rather frightening. 

Soulmate. Growing up, the word was pretty much beaten out of all the kids in her foster home. Shadow Weaver had ripped every last shred of hope from any of them, and even after years of therapy once she had become emancipated, Catra still struggled to let go of the uneasy feeling of having a soulmate. That’s what frightened her most, the thought of being predestined for one person and one person only. Shouldn’t people be allowed to choose? RomComs made it seem so easy, like people would meet and fall in love instantly, but life had never been easy for Catra. She’s had to work hard and she couldn’t expect any different than a situation like this. 

When she was young she had scorned the thought, feeling as though a mark on her skin was some disgusting tag of ownership. No one owned her but herself, and while Adora seemed nice enough so far, who’s to say she won’t turn out to be controlling and manipulative? What if the fact that Catra’s name on her skin meant she was hers, like a lunchbox in a corporate break room: that’s to say hands off, don’t touch, mine. 

But sitting here on this couch, Adora snoring softly with a leg propped easily into her lap, Catra was willing to put in the effort to find out. She was an adult now, had legally been so since she was 16: no one owned her. If Adora didn’t turn out to be good, if somehow the fates got their marks mixed up, there was nothing stopping Catra from leaving. She could go whenever she wanted, she never had to be held down by some ethereal construct. 

Yet there she was, being held down so gently by a rogue leg, hardly breathing in hopes of not waking up the one who bore her name somewhere on light skin. Catra placed a hand over her own mark and marveled at how long it had taken to get here, in this moment. The years of therapy to get past the block of thinking people would only ever use her, and that was even before her skin was raised with the black lettering. Over five years since it showed up and as soft puffs of breath rose out of the person whose name was literally right under her heart, it was almost as if no time had passed at all. 

Adora huffed groggily and began to blink blearily, Catra’s heart clenched at the softness in those stormy blue eyes. 

“Hey, Adora,” Catra purred. 

Adora noticed where her leg was and moved it quickly, sitting up and curling her legs against her body. “Sorry, I kick a lot in my sleep.”

“I noticed.” 

“Did I hurt you?” The worried look on her face made Catra giggle and shake her head. 

“Did you sleep well, Princess?” She didn’t know why she said that, but now she had to run with it. 

Adora practically growled. “Don’t call me that.”

It was too cute, really. “Oh but your hair looks like a crown. Maybe that’s why they named you Princess.”

Her face went from annoyed to embarrassed as she realized about her hair and Adora quickly tried to fix it. Slightly knotty from sleeping on the couch, she fought to rake her hands through it and eventually gave up with a huff. 

“Have I been asleep long?”

Catra shrugged and brushed her own stray hair from her face. “No clue, I was asleep too but I woke up a bit before you.” A good half an hour before her, she didn’t say. “I really like pancakes.”

“What?” Adora looked confused and Catra smiled a little shyly. 

“Growing up, we never got to eat anything other than these horrible ration bars.” Adora wanted to know about Catra, so she figured she could start somewhere. “When I first lived on my own, I had to teach myself to cook and when I found out about pancakes I was obsessed. Like I literally ate only pancakes for a month.”

Adora laughed. “And you still have teeth?”

“Yea it was bad, and I eventually got sick of them for a while but now I kind of use them as a little gift to myself.”

“Sounds like we need to have pancakes for dinner then.”

______

 

"No, hold on-Adora stop!" Catra cringed as flour exploded all over the counter and the person trying to mix it. "For fucks sake, have you never mixed pancake batter before?"

Adora smiled sheepishly at her and attempted to wipe as much of what had hit her face off. "I tried to help cook when I started to live with my moms but I made a lot of messes and, well, it was never my strong suit."

No shit Sherlock. "Ok, there's always a learning curve," like learning to mix batter at 23, "so you want to go slow to mix the wet and dry ingredients before really whisking it so that flour explosion doesn't happen again."

"Ok, let me try again." The look of determination that dropped onto Adora's face was priceless. Her eyes narrowed and she stuck the tip of her tongue out while meticulously scraping the sides of the bowl and mixed gently until it was a more homogenous looking mixture. Adora then proceeded to take personal offense to the batter and whisk the shit out of it, but at least it was entertaining.

"Easy tiger," Catra said and placed her hand on Adora's forearm to calm her down. "I think you showed the batter who's boss. Now let's ladle it onto the skillet."

Which had been another nightmare in its own right, since Adora had zero coordination when it came to dripping batter and hot pans, but it was ok. It was worth the memories.

So when they sat on the balcony a little while later and she watched Adora smiling proudly as she ate her pancakes, streaks of flour still on her face and the setting sun illuminating her blue eyes, Catra decided every mess they ever made would be worth it, so long as she could always have moments like these. Something deep in the pit of her heart thrummed heavily watching that dork try to wipe off syrup with the back of her hand, only to realize it was sticky and now she had to lick it off. Her soulmate. It was starting to have a nice ring to it. 

Chapter Text

A few days passed by such as that first day, minus the early morning assault from Bow and Glimmer, but relaxing and opening up slowly had been the prime topic. 

Bow and Glimmer had also tried to call a few times a day only for Adora to ignore each one. I just need a few mental health days after a press tour, she would say. Catra understood that. Well not the press tour thing, but she knew what it was like to need some mental health days. Living with Scorpia was generally nice, but oh man did that girl have too upbeat of an attitude sometimes. It might sound weird to need to get away from someone who was literally always happy, but with her knack for hugs and the constant smiles, Catra needed to breathe. 

She opened up about small things like the pancakes to Adora, as it was a step. She really was trying, but Catra wasn’t exactly ready to drop the gauntlet on the poor girl and let her know all about the trauma and horrors of her childhood. Adora had touched on the fact that she dealt with similar issues in her own foster home, abuse apparently being an overarching theme when it came to the Horde’s foster system, but still. Baby steps. 

They knew each other’s favorite color now, Adora’s was red and Catra’s was burgundy. They bickered for some time as to whether those were the same thing, but agreed to disagree that burgundy fell under the red umbrella on the color wheel. They knew each other’s favorite movie genre, favorite food, ideal pet, shoe size: they knew the generic stuff. It had hardly been a week since they met, and while their conversations remained light, talking to each other was easy. They spent hours on the balcony, on the couch, outside walking around and nothing they had done so far had felt contrived, it all seemed so natural. Adora was proving to be very patient with her questions, which made Catra feel more comfortable each day. 

“I start work tomorrow,” she said one night after they cleaned up dinner together. Catra cooked all of their meals, but she also liked to help clean as well. If it had anything to do with the fact that they bumped elbows a lot when washing the dishes, well that was her business. 

Adora hummed, trying to be nonchalant but Catra could see how she perked up. “Oh yea? Where?”

“Bright Moon University.”

The pan Adora was drying dropped to the counter with a crash and they both flinched at the noise. She picked it back up and finished drying it, reaching for the next dish and brushing fingers across Catra’s. Goosebumps were normal with dishes, right?

“So what are you doing for work there?”

“Teaching a few classes.” Catra kept washing the spoon she was holding and fought a smile when Adora almost dropped the plate in her hand. “It’s part of the PhD program I got accepted to. I teach a few classes, my tuition is far less.”

At this point Adora just put the plate down and was staring at her. “PhD? Teaching? Catra what the hell? I mean I know you said you double majored but I feel like I’m missing something here.”

Catra reached over and grabbed the drying towel to finish the last of their dishes and then hopped onto the counter. Time to open up a little more. “I became an emancipated minor at 16 when my foster mom...” nope, not ready yet, “well, I graduated high school early and got a full-ride scholarship to University of Dryl for gymnastics. That’s where I met Scorpia and our other friend Entrapta, and we all kind of helped each other out in ways. I graduated there at 20, then got my Master’s in Media and Communication Management, and now I’m here.”

Adora’s eyes went comically wide and she wondered if maybe they should be sitting down for this conversation.

“A Master’s Degree? Are you just fucking with me right now?”

There wasn’t a tone of doubt in Adora’s words but Catra’s untrustworthy nature reared its head. “You don’t believe me? Do you think I’m not smart enough?”

“What? No!” Adora took a step towards her and placed a hand on her shoulder. “Catra that’s not what I mean at all, I promise. You’re incredibly smart from what I’ve seen, and of course I believe you. I think I’m just a little in awe at the moment.”

“You are?” No one had ever been in awe of her before. 

“Of course I am!” Adora boasted. “My soulmate is a genius, how could I not be?”

They both froze, Adora’s hand still on her shoulder where the skin beneath it burned and ached. In a week, neither of them had used the ‘s’ word and here she was just throwing it out so flippantly. 

“Well that just happened,” Catra said, trying to cut the tension but somehow made it more awkward. “Look, I know there’s been this whole elephant in the room thing about us being...you know. It’s just still hard for me, and it’s only been a week, but I swear we will talk about it.”

Adora’s hand came off her shoulder and she missed the contact acutely until a warm hand wrapped into her own and she sighed. “It’s ok, I told you I would be patient. I kind of really like this though, doing things slow and getting to know you on a personal level first.”

“Yea?” Her heart rate sped up at not feeling rushed. 

“Definitely,” Adora said with a smile. “So what are you getting your PhD in?”

“Interdisciplinary Engineering.”

“Catra what the fuck.”

_______

 

She was awake and had the pot of coffee ready by the time Catra rolled out of bed and stumbled into the kitchen. They were both bleary eyed and slightly grumpy but it had been their easiest ritual this last week, today was just earlier than normal because it was Catra’s first day of work. 

As a lecturer. At Bright Moon University. Where she was teaching three classes while getting her PhD. Her mind spoke for itself last night when she had proclaimed that her soulmate was a genius. It might not have been the right time to drop the ‘s’ bomb, but Adora was still proud as hell. It was hot. 

Catra made them a small breakfast since neither of them were very hungry and Adora shooed her away to get ready for her first day. She cleaned up from breakfast and packed up the lunch that Catra had made for herself the night before, humming quietly to herself as she went through the motions. 

“What do you think?” She heard Catra say from behind her and stopped dead when she turned around. 

Catra was in a suit. A maroon suit with ridiculous pink lining on the lapels and her bow tie was undone but somehow it worked perfectly and she couldn’t stop staring. Catra was in a suit. Fuck.

“Is it too much, you think?” 

Adora shook her head and tried to come back to the land of the living after she dropped dead from the sight. “No, it’s good. It’s...you. Gotta make a good first impression on the first day!” She was so, so damn gay. Wow. 

“If you say so,” Catra said with a shrug and looked in the fridge, finding her already made lunch. “Thanks for putting this together for me,” she finished with a smile and pulled it out to head for the door. “I’ll see you later?”

“How are you getting there?” Somehow she hadn’t thought about that until this moment. 

“The bus?” Catra replied and tossed her backpack onto her shoulder. “The A-line goes straight to the university.”

Adora nodded and leaned on the counter. “Ok, well have a good day then. Umm, text me if you need anything? I’ll see you later.”

Catra gave her a bright grin and was out the door. Adora wondered suddenly about whether it would be a good idea to buy a car. She never needed one since she traveled so much and she lived in an area where it was sort of unnecessary, but the thought of Catra taking the bus everyday didn’t sit too well with her. Not that she thought the girl would be unable to protect herself, the look on her face was probably enough to ward people off, but Adora wondered about practicality. If Catra could drive to work, maybe she wouldn’t have to leave as soon. She wouldn’t have to leave Adora so soon.

And that’s what she realized, hardly 10 minutes after the departure of tan skin in that ridiculously hot suit, Adora missed Catra already. A week they had been together and suddenly the apartment seemed larger without the raspy laugh of her soulmate. Too large. She spent most of the morning cleaning an already tidy apartment just to give her hands something to do until it was a decent hour to go for a run. She either had to go before or after the morning rush hour traffic because it wasn’t worth her time to have to run around hoards of people who were on their way to work. 

She hadn’t even realized until she got home that her music wasn’t playing the entire run, which had been over an hour. Her mind swirled around Catra while her legs had pummeled the ground, knowing exactly where to go. 

Catra and her intoxicating voice with a laugh like spiky honey. Catra and her heterochromatic eyes which rested above sweet, tan cheeks that had flecks of freckles all over. Catra, who was slightly shorter than Adora and had to stand on her tippy toes to reach the top shelf at the grocery store. Catra, who had this ability to look like the biggest bitch but to be so fucking hot at doing it. Catra, who looked like she was seconds away from ripping your throat out but liked pancakes and coloring in kiddy coloring books while drunk. 

She craved to know more, she wanted to know it all, and they were getting there but she knew not to push too hard. Adora, though raised in a foster home as well, got the chance at love early, and Catra didn’t. She caught on to the pause and deflection last night when Catra had brought up her foster mom, and she knew that that’s probably where a lot of her setbacks reside. Adora could be patient, she could be understanding. Whatever Catra needed, she would do. 

And she had been completely truthful last night when she had said it was nice to get to know each other first. They had a weird and somewhat unique circumstance that they were under, but every relationship was different. Some soulmates meet and rip each other’s clothes off that day. Some already knew each other before, such as in the case of Bow and Glimmer. But some also date and take it slow, get used to one another and learn before making any steps towards more. Each set was different. 

So the fact that they were building a friendship, a web of trust first? Yea, she could do that, because not only was Catra beautiful and she wouldn’t mind taking her to bed, she was also fun. She was witty and crude but also soft and dorky. The lines and curves of her body were like nothing Adora had ever seen before and she snuck glances whenever she could. Her skin was flawless save for the freckles that scattered over cheeks and shoulder blades. Catra was a damn good cook and liked to clean but also hated laundry with a burning passion. It had been a week, and they needed the time to learn how to balance each other’s strengths before trying more. 

She also wasn’t going to deny herself of the fluttery feeling in her chest when Catra texted her. 

Catra

just finished the first class

i think it went well, but everyone hates the first day

they also hate communication classes but that’s their problem 

miss me yet?

Adora

Why am I not surprised that you’re a multiple texter? 

Also, sorry to say but I’m in the same boat as them. I hated public speaking. 

Catra

i’ll take that evasion of topic as a yes then. 

even i hated public speaking, so i get it. next is my media class though, so that should be better

students are coming in i gotta go

see you later princess, don’t miss me too much ;)

Adora put down her phone with a laugh. Catra was such a little shit even through texts. She shouldn’t be surprised. 

Her run had helped momentarily but she was still bored. She looked around her too big, woefully empty apartment and wondered what she used to do before Catra came into her life. Fresh air seemed apt and Adora decided to walk down to the outdoor market a few blocks away to see if they had anything fun. It was her own little catharsis to walk around and shop in the quiet. Her neighborhood was relatively calm and everyone knew who she was, so they left her alone. That’s what was so great about Bright Moon, she sort of grew up here and had known a lot of people before she became famous so no one was star stuck when she was out and about. It was just home. 

She didn’t stay long, just picked up some random produce and a book that looked like a fun read. Adora passed by a nice ornament with a blue crystal that reminded her to call her moms back as they had been trying to contact her since she had returned home. She circled one last time for good measure and stopped back at the book vendor to pick up a planner. Catra had told her what days she would be lecturing and the days she would meet with her doctoral advisor, but Adora wanted to write it all down and keep track. Not that she was forgetful, but she wanted to be the best she could be. 

She put everything away, reaching for her phone to call her moms but decided against it, and got dressed for the gym instead. By what she had said earlier, Catra probably still had about an hour before class was over so Adora had time to kill. Writing a quick note to leave on the fridge, she headed downstairs. 

Another reason why she bought this apartment was the private gym in the basement for residents only. It was clean and usually empty during the day, but also just the fact that she didn’t need to leave the confines of her building was the main selling point. She remembered to play her music this time and got to work. 

The music and workout helped for a while, Adora letting herself get lost in her regular routine, and she felt good, felt normal. Even a week without somewhat of a routine she could feel the soreness creeping up, but she pushed through.  Finishing a set on the bench press, she closed her eyes and counted through her break before starting another. 

When Adora opened her eyes, Catra was above her. She gasped and tried to sit up, only to smack her face squarely into the bar. She groaned and rubbed her forehead before removing her earphones. 

“Hey Adora,” Catra said with a grin. “There’s a pole there.”

“What are you doing here?” She sat up and tried not to be embarrassed about the red mark that was most likely completely visible right now. 

Catra shrugged. She wasn’t in her suit anymore and Adora missed the sight greatly. “I saw your note and wanted to check it out down here. It’s pretty nice.” She looked around the room in minor interest and Adora wondered if that was the real reason, but she let it drop. 

“How did you even get in here? You need a code to enter.”

“Oh, Adora,” she said softly and leaned on the bar, “you’re a little predictable. It was either the apartment number, your phone number, or your birthday.”

Adora gave her a conceding look and was impressed. Maybe she needed to be a little tougher on passwords, but at the moment that didn’t matter too much. For some reason she felt like Catra was flirting with her a little bit, and the way those mismatched eyes glanced down at her bare biceps only reaffirmed the suspicion. Easy enough to test out. She stood up and began reracking the weights where they should go, flexing more than usual and yea, Catra was definitely looking. 

“Do you ever go to the gym? I could always show you around and help you get a routine.”

Catra laughed and oh how she had missed that sound. “You know competitive gymnasts basically live at the gym, right? I probably can’t match your weight but I bet I could keep up with your routines.” She grinned, “and barely sweat.”

The competitive glint that dropped into Catra’s eyes had Adora roped in in an instant, as she was fiercely competitive too. This could be fun. 

“I think I’m up for that challenge,” she said as she finished wiping down the equipment, “but obviously not today. You caught me at the end of my workout.”

“Whatever you say, Princess.” Catra sauntered off with a wave and Adora was left to wonder what the hell just happened. 

______

 

Saturday came with the chance to finally sleep in, so when the front door slammed and woke her up before 8am, Catra was rightfully pissed. Adora never slammed doors, so to her knowledge it could only be one, no, two people. 

GlimBow. 

It was shorter than Glimmer or Glitter, whatever her name was, and right now Catra was about to get a confetti cannon and shoot them out of the apartment so she could get some sleep. This week had been exhausting, with three days of teaching and attempting to learn her students' names while also having to meet with her advisor to get started on her dissertation. But to top it off Adora had started going to the gym after her week long hiatus and watching all that sweaty muscle walk around so freely was just....exhausting. 

So forgive her if she was a little less than friendly this morning, GlimBow really brought it upon themselves. 

“Do you two have any sort of tact when it comes to social niceties?” She hadn’t even deigned to put on pants, something she was happy for when that vein started to pop out of Sparkles head again. “It’s not even 8 on a fucking Saturday morning, do you not have anything better to do?”

“Good morning to you too, Catra,” Bow sing-songed with a bright smile. She liked him, surprisingly, but it was still too early. So she just grunted and went to go make coffee which she knew would wake Adora up. She should be having to deal with this situation since these two hooligans were her friends after all. 

“Why are you here again? Isn’t this like, breaking and entering? Can I call the police?”

“We usually come and bug Adora when she’s not answering us,” Sparkles said happily and stood up to check the fridge, “so here we are. She hasn’t called us back in over a week, and she hasn’t talked to her moms since she’s been back either.” She closed the fridge and turned on Catra. “Are you holding her hostage or something?”

“Really Glimmer?” Adora was standing in the entrance of the hallway, groggy and hair disheveled. It was Catra’s favorite look of hers and her stomach swooped. Coffee. Make coffee, look away. “You talked to my moms? I text you guys every day, and my moms too for that matter. I’ve been busy.”

Glimmer perched a hand on her hip, not giving up so soon. “Well for all we know Catra could have taken your phone and been the one texting us.”

“Are you a detective or something?” Catra asked, sort of amused now. This girl had some wild ideas. “If so I think you need to be fired.”

Adora cracked a sleepy smile that they shared before a high pitched huff sounded through the room. The little firecracker was pretty cute, attitude and all, but she’d never admit it. 

“Ok, I’m in the wrong for not calling,” Adora offered, “but let’s not break into my house before 8am on a Saturday. I cherish the little sleep I get.” She walked into the kitchen and glanced down at Catra’s lack of clothing, raising a curious brow before walking by to make a cup of coffee. 

She hadn’t felt exposed with GlimBow, but now the idea of her regular tight tank top and boy shorts for bed wasn’t the best attire for the current setting, and she excused herself to go get decent. 

Catra didn’t close her door as she had just planned to slip on some sweats, but her practiced ear caught the voices drifting in from the living room. It was Adora and Glimmer arguing, and she knew that it was bad to eavesdrop but it wasn’t as though they were being quiet. 

‘Kidnapped and now hostage? Do you think I can’t take care of myself or something?’

‘Adora you always call us back, what do you expect me to think? Your soulmate shows up after five years in the dark and you’re not the least bit worried or I don’t know, cautious?’

‘No, I’m really not worried, and to be completely honest it’s really none of your business anyway.’

‘Wow, so her bitchy attitude is already rubbing off on you? You’ve never talked to me like that before.’

‘She isn’t a bitch, actually. Maybe if you could be nice to her you would see that. You come in slamming doors at the crack of dawn to interrogate us, what do you expect? A hug and coffee? No. I have an attitude because all you’ve been is rude to Catra for no reason, and for once someone is giving you a taste of your own medicine and now you’re all huffy.’

‘This isn’t like you, what has she done to you for you to be like this, Adora?’

‘Oh for fucks sake, Glimmer, she makes me happy! Don’t you get it? I like her. I haven’t changed and you’re just mad that I’m not available for your beck and call now.’

‘Whatever Adora. I’m not convinced, but her name is on you so she must be worth it somehow.’

Catra could feel how menacing the pause was even from a room away, and when Adora spoke again she was even-toned but it was laced with anger.

‘Just because Catra is my soulmate doesn’t mean we don’t have to work for it. You and Bow already knew and your marks were just affirmations. Whether it takes weeks, months, or years to learn and trust each other is, again, none of your damn business. Look, I love you guys, but I’ve always been your third wheel. Catra is here, and I’m tired, and I need you guys to leave and not come back until you want to be a little nicer.’

‘Adora-‘

‘Just get out, ok? I’m really upset that you think I don’t know what I’m doing. You seem to forget that I wasn’t always raised with loving parents and a nice home to come back to. I’ve had to fight and take care of myself for a long time, so is it really so shocking to you that my soulmate didn’t turn out to be someone who shits rainbows and smiles all the time? Catra is a person, she’s more than just the name on my hip, and I get the feeling we will understand each other better than you ever could. That’s nothing against you, but it’s the truth. And I’d like it if you would let me have this time to figure things out without assuming the worst of her.’

‘Adora I’m sorry-‘

‘I’m really not the person you need to be apologizing to.’

Catra backed away slowly from the door and leaned against the wall, sliding down it slowly to wrap herself into a little ball. She was torn between wanting to punch Sparkles in the face but also her heart throbbed for how Adora had protected her. No one had ever stuck up for Catra like that and in the exact way she had always needed. Adora said she made her happy, that she liked her. She wanted to work for it, work to understand each other, and not just rely on what was written in cosmic ink. Catra is a person, more than a name on my hip. She repeated it like a mantra in her head until a soft knock landed on her door. 

“Catra?”

She wasn’t ready for Adora to see her like this, curled into a ball on the floor, but is anyone really ready? And with how Adora just protected her, Catra figured that she would understand. Baby steps.

Adora walked into the room and spotted her against the wall and she joined silently on the floor adjacent to her, close but not close enough to touch. “Did you hear all of that?” Soft, her voice was so soft. Catra nodded. “Are you ok?” She paused for a moment before nodding again. 

“Thanks for sticking up for me, I uhh-“ her voice caught in her throat. If Adora could kick out her best friends for her, Catra could be vulnerable. “I’ve never had someone do that before, not like that. It means a lot.”

“I always will,” her voice was still so soft and it was turning her heart to butter, only to completely melt when Adora reached out a hand for her to grab, which she did. “Catra it’s a very important thing for me, and I’m assuming you as well, to know that just because our names are on each other, it’s not a demand. It’s not to be forced. Growing up in foster care made me feel like I was property, and that’s not what you are to me. I want to earn your trust.” 

Catra couldn’t hold back the tears and turned her head away to let them fall. Not that Adora would ever judge her, but it was a self preservation thing. They sat there for a while, holding hands and not talking, until Catra finally stopped her silent tears. 

“Thank you, Adora. I, uhh-” her voice cracked a little and she smiled. “You make me happy too, by the way.”

That smile could power suns, hot damn. “Thanks.” They stared at each other like dorks for a second until Adora tilted her head. “Since our sleep was already ruined, how about we watch Netflix until we crash?”

Catra huffed out a raspier laugh than usual. “You mean until you pass out and kick me in the stomach?”

“Exactly."

“I’d like nothing better.”

Chapter Text

Weeks went by in ease as the two of them fell into their routines, Catra with working and Adora with working out. It was a win-win for both of them, as Adora got to see Catra get dressed up for class and Catra got to see Adora get all sweaty and shiny. They had their early mornings where Adora would pack the lunch that Catra had made the night before, saying sleepy and grumpy goodbyes to each other with a smile.

Catra was still slow to open up, but they had made progress. The whole Glimmer situation, while irritating, had really helped Catra to be more comfortable and the fact that they weren’t bothered every Saturday morning now was an added bonus. Adora still talked to Bow and Glimmer, but she was still mad and they knew that. Her focus was on Catra, bottom line, and she wasn’t sorry. 

Catra was starting to settle in and get used to Bright Moon, aided by their walks and mini adventures they would go on around town. Adora couldn’t claim to be the best tour guide but she pointed out her favorites and sometimes they stumbled on something she had never seen. In a sense, they were both learning. Things were good.

It’s just that Adora hadn’t told her moms yet, and it was really starting to scare her at how they were going to react. It seemed silly for a 23 year old to be afraid of her moms, and Hope and Mara would never punish her for it, but this was a big event that she had neglected to talk about. She would call and talk to them or go visit when Catra was busy, but she hadn’t let it slip yet. 

“Why are you pacing?” 

She was pacing? Adora hadn’t known she was pacing until Catra walked in front of her with her arms crossed. “What’s up with you?”

“I haven’t told my moms yet, about you,” she said and resumed her pacing in the kitchen, now nervous how Catra would react but she had promised to be open about things. “Now so much time has passed and they’re going to be upset that I didn’t tell them.”

“Woah tiger, calm down,” Catra said as she stopped her in her tracks, hands tight around her arms so she couldn’t move. “Why haven’t you told them?” She was curious, not sad. 

Adora took a deep breath and let it out, relaxing a bit at having Catra near her. That always helped. “I guess after five years of waiting I didn’t want to tell anyone because I didn’t want to answer questions. I only wanted to focus on you.” She gave her a shy smile but pushed on. “I just kept putting it off but now I feel awkward trying to bring it up and I don’t want to overwhelm you because they can be pretty intense, like really intense, and-“

“Adora relax.” Catra was good at cutting off her nervous rambling. “Don’t worry about me, I’ll support you if you’re ready to tell them now or want to keep me hidden for another five years.”

Adora smacked her arm off playfully and shook her head. “God no, not another five years.” She smiled and deflated a little. “I’ll give them a call later though, we’ll see how that goes.”

“Sounds good,” Catra said as she let her go completely and went to the fridge to make them some breakfast. “So you can totally say no to this, but what do you think about being a guest speaker in my Mass Media class? We’re about to start the ‘women of media’ chapter and I thought it would be cool.”

“Me?"

“No, the movie star behind you,” Catra deadpanned. “Yes you, dummy. Like I said, you can absolutely say no but I think it would really pique their interest to have a famous guest speaker and be able to ask questions from someone who has real world experience.”

Adora loved when Catra would talk about the classes she was lecturing, the way her eyes would light up when students understood new concepts and related them accordingly. Her voice changed to a much more rigid and commanding tone, and she wondered how it would sound in an actual lecture hall. Probably hot. 

“Ok, I’m in.”  

“Really?” And if the thought of Catra’s commanding voice wasn’t enough, that smile she just received would have sold her in a heartbeat. 

“Of course,” she agreed easily. “We get kids excited to learn and you get brownie points for bringing in a celebrity? Come on, it’s cake.”

Catra rubbed her hands together excitedly and beamed. “Ok, I’ll have to think of a lecture to throw you in. I want to surprise them somehow.”

“Ok you go do that, and I’m going to call Hope and Mara.”

______

 

Adora’s ear still rang as she and Catra rode the metro line to her moms’ house on the outskirts of Bright Moon that afternoon. Mara had screamed so loud when she found out about what happened, not in anger, but in utter joy for her daughter. Hope had to take away the phone so as to stifle the barrage of questions, but then calmly asked the both of them to dinner, if they were ready for it. 

She loved her moms. 

She was still nervous though about introducing Catra, not out of fear of judgment, but Adora knew how many questions her moms could ask and it might get a little overwhelming for the girl sitting next to her. It was why she had decided to have dinner at their house and not her apartment, so they could escape if Catra started feeling suffocated, but with a gentle hand on her bouncing leg Adora calmed down immediately. 

“Glimmer withstanding,” Catra said as she took her hand back from where it had stopped Adora’s leg, “I can actually handle people pretty well. From what you’ve told me, your moms are great, Adora. I’m excited to meet them.”

“You are?”

Catra laughed and nudged her arm. “Of course, dummy. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but I’m not someone who does things that I’m uncomfortable with.”

Adora nodded. “Right, yea. Ok, this will be fine.”

Dinner, of course, went far better than she had expected. Mara had practically bounced off the walls when they first entered the house but Hope was able to give her pointed looks in a way that would calm her down. After watching Catra interact with her moms Adora wondered why she had been nervous in the first place. She had heard stories of how animated Scorpia was so maybe it was just the fact that Catra was a little used to someone being excited all the time. 

Adora offered to help clean up once dinner was over and watched as Catra disappeared somewhere into the house after being told she could go relax. Mara got bored of doing dishes and left as well, so Adora and Hope worked together seamlessly in easy silence until her mom spoke up. 

“You look lighter,” she said without turning away from the sink. 

“What do you mean?”

“Lighter, like a weight was lifted off your chest.” It wasn’t often that Hope talked about feelings, but when she did it really meant something to Adora. She always gave the best, calculated advice. “She makes you happy, happier than I think I’ve seen you in a long time. I can sense that you’re both holding back, her more so, but there’s a warmth there.”

Adora marveled at her mom’s ability to see into her head sometimes, and of course she would be able to see Catra’s feelings as well. “What do you think I can do to help her trust me? I just want to make her happy and feel....loved. I’m obviously not there yet, but I can see it happening and never want her to feel without.” She hadn’t expected that all to come out but she could feel herself lighten even more. 

“Adora, I think you’re already exceeding at it,” her mom replied and turned towards her. “Give her stability and time. It took you awhile when we brought you home for you to trust us and to feel open, so Catra deserves the same. Being soulmates doesn’t mean you’re perfect for each other, it means that you both possess the capability to provide what the other lacks. It’s a balance: you have to work together constantly to keep that balance, and in that you’ll find true love and happiness.”

Adora lunged forward and wrapped herself around Hope’s middle and smiling into her mom’s tall frame. “Thank you, mom. That really helped a lot.”

She hummed into the embrace and felt a hand stroke through her ponytail; she missed them. She missed their guidance and ability to know what she needed and was happy that another step was taken towards....well, wherever her and Catra were headed. 

Where was Catra anyway?

______

 

“Hi there.”

She jumped away from the photo and gasped. “Oh my god,” she rattled before realizing who it was. “Mara, I’m sorry if I was intruding.”

“No need to be sorry,” Mara said with a smile and looked at the picture on the wall Catra had been looking at. “You are welcome to anything in this home, Catra, do remember that. I figured I would find you here though.”

A wall, somewhat more like a little shrine, in a living room off on the other side of the house. Adora was the main subject, though there were few frames here and there of them as a family as well. It was clear how proud they were of their daughter and though the lack of baby photos was apparent, there wasn’t an absence from her later years. Even the awkward and grumpy photos, clearly having not wanted to be taken, showed a girl who was loved. Catra smiled as she looked at all of them, thinking that at one time she might have been jealous but now seeing Adora’s dorky face through the latter years of her life until now, she could only be happy. 

“I don’t think you guys like her or anything,” Catra said with a smirk. 

“Not at all,” Mara bantered. “When we first brought her home, Adora snuck around like she was always going to be in trouble for something. I would sometimes find her in the middle of the night stuffing snacks down her pants to try and hide them.”

“She still does that,” Catra said with a laugh thinking of the few times she had gotten up for water and watched Adora stick a few packs of fruit snacks in the hem of her pants. 

Mara beamed and reached a hand out to caress a photo of the three of them. “We had never planned on adopting an older kid, and it really was a struggle for all of us, but it was so worth it in the end. Adora, she’s our heart and light, and it took her quite a while to understand that she was worthy of our love. If these pictures are anything to show, she really was a happy kid, still is, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen her look as free as when the two of you walked through that door earlier.”

Catra had to look away as her heart slammed in her chest. She had heard Adora say she was happy, but to hear it from the woman who raised her? Now that meant something. 

“I don’t mean to startle you or anything,” Mara continued when Catra paused with the shocked look. “I just want to say thank you. Hope and I, we kind of had it easy, just like Glimmer and Bow did. You and Adora went through things that most people can’t comprehend and I can see why the thought of having a soulmate is daunting, but I swear it’s worth it. I don’t think you two need to rush anything, just as how five years collided in a chance encounter on a plane, life works itself out. You deserve to be happy too, Catra. You’re worth it.”

You’re worth it. Three simple words that seemed to fall from dark lips so easily but they radiated through her chest like shockwaves. What she wouldn’t have given to have someone tell her that when she was growing up. Catra didn’t need anyone’s approval, anyone’s opinion, but hearing it come from the mouth of a mother she so craved made her wonder if she could be a little less fucked up if someone had cared before. 

But she was here now, and she really needed to stop worrying about what happened in the past. It couldn’t define her anymore. “Thank you, Mara. I don’t think you know how much that means to me.”

Mara smiled. “I think I kind of do, honey. Adora told us a little about you, not more than would be a breach of trust of course, but both Hope and I want you to know that we are right here for you whenever you need us. We kind of have some experience in having a daughter who was raised in foster care.” She finished with a wink and they both smiled, Catra feeling like she was halfway between an anxiety attack and pure motherly love. It was a weird feeling.

Any further discussion was curbed when a worried voice floated down the hall. “Catra?”

Adora walked into the room and gave them both a smile, coming up next to Catra and reading the odd expression on her face. “Hey, it’s getting pretty late. Ready to go home?”

Home . Shockwaves were radiating through her heart again and maybe it was getting close to having a talk. 

After many hugs goodbye and promises of coming over more, the girls found themselves back on the metro home. 

“You were right about them being pretty intense,” Catra said as they walked towards the apartment building. They had talked about the night and meeting her moms but Catra could tell Adora was holding back on asking what they talked about in that room. 

“What did she say to you?” She sounded a little worried. 

She laughed. “Nothing bad, I just wasn’t expecting....well any of it really. I clearly never had a mom who cared, so it was nice. I like them.”

Adora’s eyes flickered on the mention of Catra’s mom but she didn’t push. “They like you too, you know. They always make Bow and Glimmer help clean up from dinner.”

They laughed together as the elevator took them upstairs and once inside the apartment Catra paused. “Adora? I know we haven’t talked about it, but should I look for an apartment? I know all my stuff is here now but I don’t want to encroach on your space and I think you’d be too nice to actually tell me to get out and-“

A hand on her shoulder stopped her ramble. “Catra, I was serious when I said I wanted you to stay here so I couldn’t lose you again. You’re not encroaching. I want you to stay.”

And that was the first time Catra hugged her. 

Aside from getting hugs from Scorpia, Catra didn’t hug people. Physical affection wasn’t exactly her thing, at all, but at the moment that hug seemed to be the easiest thing she’d ever done. They both held on tight, slightly shocked at the touch, but neither of them dared to move. It was too good. 

“Thank you,” Catra whispered into Adora’s wide shoulder and she was squeezed harder in reply. 

______

 

Adora was woken up later that night to a blood curdling scream and all her senses were on alert as she jumped out of bed and ran to her door. Not knowing where the noise came from she stopped in the hall and listened, heart hammering when she heard more screaming coming from Catra’s room, and she didn’t hesitate before hurrying inside.

Catra was asleep and laying stick straight, head thrashing from side to side as she grunted through what seemed to be a fight. She was having a nightmare. 

Adora pauses for a fraction of a second, unsure what the right thing to do in this situation was. She was well versed in the art of nightmares and knew it was comforting to have someone with her, but Catra seemed to like her personal space. Save for the few times they’ve fallen asleep on the couch and their hug only hours before, they haven’t been, for a lack of a better word, very touchy. 

Another cry out made her throw all caution to the wind and she hurried to sit on the side of the bed, shaking Catra’s shoulder softly. “Catra,” she said boldly, knowing a whisper wouldn’t help right now. “Catra you need to wake up, you’re having a nightmare.”

Another push on that sweaty shoulder and Catra’s eyes flew open. She sat up in a panic and lashed out, sharp nails grazing the side of Adora’s cheek before she rolled off the bed and was out of sight. Adora winced at the pain momentarily but she wasn’t worried about herself at all, and crawled over the bed. 

Catra was hyperventilating on the floor, curled into a ball with wide eyes filled to the brim with tears as they locked into Adora’s. “I hurt you.” She was desolate, and it wasn’t ok. 

Adora hopped off the bed and sat in front of her, the moonlight through the drapes enough to light up the room. “You didn’t mean it, Catra. I will be ok, I just needed to wake you up.”

“I fucked up,” she whispered. “I’m fucked up. I-I don’t deserve this. Shadow Weaver was right, I’m not good enough. I’ll never be good enough.”

“That’s not true, Catra.” Adora said quickly, heart sinking. “I don’t know who Shadow Weaver is, but if I ever meet them I’ll punch them in the face for you.”

She had hoped Catra might laugh but those mismatched eyes closed in pain. “She was my foster mom, and she’s dead.”

Oh. Oh.  

“Catra, I’m-“ but she was stopped by a soft shake of the head from the girl in front of her. 

“You couldn’t have known,” Catra said and wiped away her tears. “That’s what my nightmare was about. They’ve been getting worse, but this one was-“ she stopped and shuddered, and all Adora wanted to do was wrap her up in a blanket and keep her safe. “Therapy has been pretty intense lately, you know? My therapist, DT, they said...they said that my anxiety from telling you about my past is making them worse, but I’m just so afraid, Adora.”

Her heart froze at the broken sound of her name and Adora wondered how long Catra had been having nightmares and she only just noticed. Catra had her therapy sessions every Thursday over video call, it’s written in Adora’s planner, but it’s been over two months now since she’s been here. Had she not been making Catra comfortable, was there more that she could be doing to show that she mattered? Adora wanted to smack herself. 

“Catra I’m here for you, ok?” She said softly. “We’re a team now, I take care of you, you take care of me. Right now it’s my turn to take care of you, and it’s ok if you’re not ready to talk, but I’m not going anywhere. I won’t leave you, Catra.”

Eyes bore into her own for a few moments before Catra patted the side of the bed next to her in invitation to join, which Adora did so quickly. Once there, they sat in silence and watched moonlight float through the curtains and land softly on the floor around them. It was peaceful. 

“The manipulation was worse than the abuse,” Catra finally said in a flat tone. “I could take a slap to the face but she had this...way of spinning words to get exactly what she wanted, but when she didn’t get it we were punished. Even if it wasn’t our fault, like something hadn’t been in stock at the grocery store, she made us pay for it. Nothing I ever did was good enough for her.” Catra leaned forward and rewrapped herself around her knees. “She had this cage in the basement that she would lock us in as punishment. I was six the first time she put me in there and I was forgotten for hours. After that I did everything, absolutely everything she wanted but it was never enough. That cage wound up being like another bedroom to me, I was always thrown in there.”

She was starting to shake so Adora pulled the comforter off the bed, pausing only momentarily before wrapping it around them both. Catra sighed into their touching arms and she knew she made the right choice. 

“By the time I was 10 I was the oldest kid in the home and I started to figure out her moods, so I did what I could to protect the little ones.” She leaned further into Adora so she wrapped an arm around the girl’s middle, and she almost regretted it when Catra froze for a second but then relaxed again. “I took the blame for everything I could because I could take the punishment, but of course even that was never enough. She started to brainwash the kids against me, told me that I was just hindering their potential and I needed to stay away from them. She isolated me from all of them and that’s when I knew I had to get out of there. When I got my acceptance letter to Dryl she threw me in the cage for a week. Every day she would come in and rip up the letter in front of me, telling me that I would fail, that once they saw me I would be kicked out because I didn’t fit it anywhere; that I would just be a distraction for those who actually had futures.”

Catra took a moment to collect herself and Adora was absentmindedly rubbing soft circles with her thumb on the girl’s taut side. If she was looking, Adora would have seen goosebumps. 

“The day I got out, the house caught on fire. None of us had time to get anything, it burned so quick. The fire department told us someone left the stove on and that’s what started it, but we didn’t know who. The only thing I had was my ID and the acceptance letter I photocopied as I climbed out of my window. I wanted to run as far as I could, but I only made it to the front yard before I heard someone screaming. A kid was still in the basement, in the cage...I didn’t even know she had put one of them in there after me...”

“No,” Adora whispered in horror and Catra wrapped one of her own arms around Adora’s knee. 

“I couldn’t leave him so I went to run back, but Shadow Weaver was already running through the door and she slammed it in my face. I was-I was so scared. All of that abuse and I still wanted to vomit at the thought of her in there, so I ran to the side where there was a tiny window to the basement and she was pushing the kid through it but it wasn’t big enough for her and we both knew it. I pulled him out and she grabbed my arm before I could turn away. The last thing she said to me was ‘you’re welcome,’ and then she was gone. It’s been seven years and I still don’t know what that meant, it was like her last little thing to fuck with my head.”

The manipulation, she knew it all too well, but Adora hadn’t had it as bad as Catra and she could easily see how it has affected her whole life, even years later now. It would be a long road, but Adora was along for the ride. There’s no place she’d rather be. 

“Thank you for telling me that,” she said and turned to look her in the eyes. So pretty, Catra was just so damn pretty, even with puffy, tear stained eyes. “Catra you are an incredible person, I hope you know that I see the good in you and I don’t think you’re a fuck up at all, quite the opposite in fact. You're one of the best people I know and to know you lived through that only makes you more amazing to me. You deserve all the good in the world. You’re worth it, Catra. All of it.”

If Adora hadn’t known any better, she would have thought in that moment that Catra looked like she wanted to kiss her, but then tight arms were around her neck and for a second time in only hours she was getting hugged by her soulmate. It was nice. 

“Thank you,” was mumbled into her shoulder again and she tightened her hold around Catra’s waist for a moment before arms were slipping back off her neck. 

“We were forced to fight each other at my house,” Adora said into the quiet they had found themselves in after the moment. She had done group therapy before and knew it was nice to share collective trauma in a way to bond and empathize. “Hordak, my foster dad, said it was the only way we would make it in the real world. That kindness was a weak man’s fallacy. We were treated like a military regime, broken down and practically beaten out of any sort of individuality. He never hit us, but he would play strong favoritism and get that kid to hit us instead. He would call them ‘captain’ and put them in charge for a few weeks, in charge of food and schooling. It was so fucked up, I had to sneak food so many times for the little kids who hadn’t eaten when a captain would forget to feed us.”

It was Catra’s turn to put her arm around Adora’s middle, not to placate the girl who was talking but almost as if to say I understand, I’m listening, I’m here.  

“Somehow I made captain a few times even though I was so young,” she continued. “Hordak would tell me I was special, that I was going places, but then I would give someone a drop more of milk than I was supposed to and then it was all over. I was excited when Hope and Mara adopted me, but then came the crushing guilt of leaving everyone behind. I tried to sneak out a few times to check in on everyone but it never worked, and then we moved to Bright Moon and that was over. It took me such a long time to trust my moms, that they weren’t just being nice to get something from me, and I had a really hard time not feeling guilty for treating them like shit in the beginning too. For a while when I was a teenager I just turned into this person who would do anything for anyone, even if it would harm me. All that trauma turned me into a huge people pleaser and I forgot that I was allowed to be happy too, that I deserved to get what I wanted.”

Catra finally smiled for the first time that night. Collective trauma had worked, apparently. 

“And what do you want, Adora?” She asked, resting her head on her knees and looking up in wait for a reply. 

“You.” It tumbled from her lips before she could stop it but honestly, it was the easiest answer she’s ever given. “Even if soulmates weren’t a thing and some cosmic power didn’t tell us we’re supposed to be a match, I’d still want you. On that plane, you were so grumpy and cute that there’s no way I wouldn’t have tried to get your number or something. It wouldn’t have gone the way it has these last few months, but it still would have been you, it always has been.”

It felt good to get off her chest but then Catra was taking her arm away and leaning away from their touching bodies and Adora realized she might have gone too far too quick. 

“We wouldn’t have met on that plane if your name wasn’t on me,” Catra said as she turned away. 

“What do you mean?”

Catra just shook her head and sighed. “I’m not ready for that yet, Adora, I’m sorry.” She turned back to face her but they weren’t touching anymore. “This has been a lot and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed right now.”

“It’s ok, it’s ok,” Adora said softly. “Do you want me to go?”

“No,” Catra said quickly and turned to blush. “No, I just don’t want to talk. Can we maybe just go watch something? I’m not sure I can get back to sleep yet.”

When Adora woke that next morning sprawled on the couch and Catra curled around one of her stray feet, she had never felt so at ease. Her back ached at the awkward angle she found herself in but somehow it had been some of the best sleep she’s ever had. Patience had worked off, Catra had finally opened up about that major block in her life and it made Adora’s heart soar knowing that she was trusted with such information. 

Catra had been through hell in her foster home and Adora was truly amazed at how someone she had come to know as kind, thoughtful, and funny as Catra was turned out like that with her background. It must have taken an incredible amount of strength and determination to get where she is today without a decent support system. She had Scorpia and her therapist, but other than that she didn’t have people close to her. Catra didn’t really let people get close to her, it seemed. Adora now understood why. It’s hard to trust when you’ve only ever been broken down.

She wondered, of course, what Catra had meant about how they wouldn’t have met on that plane, but it was ok. They were closer than ever, literally and figuratively, and there was no rush. 

Adora just laid there for a while, thinking about their conversation from the night before, until Catra started to stir. That mess of brown hair rubbed a sleepy face into where it was laying on her foot and Adora giggled at the feeling. Catra’s eyes opened wide and when she realized what she was holding she pushed the foot away and hissed. 

“Get that nasty thing away from me!” 

Tired, grumpy Catra was probably her favorite thing, so Adora just laughed harder. “Hey, you’re the one who cuddled it all night, it can’t be that bad.” She raised the foot up and dangled it in front of Catra’s face, only for her to push it away again. 

She tried not to smile, but Adora could see it. 

She got up to start some coffee for them and she felt more than heard Catra walk up behind her, so when she turned she shouldn’t have been so shocked at how close they were. Catra’s eyes were locked on the side of Adora’s face and she had forgotten until that moment what had happened last night. 

“I hurt you,” Catra said as she lifted her hand to ghost the three red lines that were high up on a cheek bone. “Adora, I-I’m so sorry...”

“Stop,” she said and placed her hand over Catra’s, leaning her cheek into it and feeling the warmth in the tan hand. She could hear the quick intake of breath from the owner. “You didn’t mean it, I know you didn’t. You were having a nightmare and I woke you up, you couldn’t have known what you were doing, ok?”

She let her own hand go where it was holding Catra’s to her face, and Catra swept a single thumb over her cheek before taking her hand away. The touch left a trail of fire that Adora wanted to chase but Catra backed away slightly. 

“Ok,” she said with a nod. “Thank you again, for last night.”

“And I should thank you, for opening up to me.” Adora put her hand on Catra’s shoulder and squeezed. “I know it wasn’t easy, but I’m really glad you were able to tell me about your foster mom. We’re going to be ok, ok?”

“Ok,” she said with a nod. “And thank you for telling me about your foster dad,” Catra bounced back. “You hungry?”

Adora smiled at the deflection of topic, knowing Catra liked to change subjects when she was starting to get uncomfortable, and nodded. “How about pancakes? I can stir the batter.”

“You mean fight the batter?”

“Same thing.”

Chapter Text

The days following had been nice, really really nice, and Catra breathed a little easier. Adora hadn’t run away when she had literally lashed out at her, hadn’t run when Catra opened up about her past, had made it known that she wanted to stay. Adora herself had opened up too, had made Catra feel as though she understood what happened like no one else had ever been able to. On Thursday when she had her video call with her therapist, DT had just smiled as she cried to them, finally letting out so many feelings she had been harboring for months now, too afraid to let anyone in. Adora was there, Adora knew, and it was about damn time Catra told her why everything had been the way it was. 

Soon enough, anyway. It wasn’t as though she wasn’t ready to let it out, but her heart was still so guarded and she wasn’t ready to jump into the pit yet. She knew Adora would catch her, those damn muscles plenty strong enough, but they had time. 

For now she was working on the lecture that Adora had agreed to come to, excited at the prospect of showing her students that there’s more to celebrities than what you see on screen and in magazines. She was also excited and somewhat nervous to have Adora see her in front of a class, but she was always nervous around her anyway. What’s the difference, really. 

A knock on the door took her away from the thought of somehow embarrassing herself in the front of the lecture hall and she went to find out who it was. 

Sparkles, of course, though surprisingly sans Bow. 

“Good morning, Shimmer,” Catra purred as she leaned on the door jam. They hadn’t seen each other since Adora kicked the two of them out that day, but she knew they still all talked. “Adora isn’t here right now. Can I leave a message?”

“I’m actually here to see you,” she said and her sincerity surprised Catra. She didn’t have the annoying, bitchy tone anymore. 

Catra stood to the side to let her in and she followed her into the living room. “Why me?”

Sparkles fidgeted and rubbed her arms to try and gain some confidence. “Because I want to apologize to you. I was rude off the bat and then I was jealous that Adora would just leave us so quickly for you. I know that this is long overdue and you don’t have to forgive me, but I really am sorry. I judged you without even trying to know you when I should have been happy for my best friend. I was being selfish and I took it out on you, which is the last thing you ever deserved.”

Catra was taken aback by how honest Glimmer was being and knew how hard it was to apologize like that. “I-thank you, Glimmer. That actually means a lot.” 

“You make her happy,” she continued. “I’ve known Adora since she was 13 and I’ve never seen her...glow like she does now. I should have seen it right away.” Glimmer paused and gave her a quick once over. “Her favorite birthday cake is mint chocolate ice cream cake, she always sneezes three times in a row, she’s the best drunk you’ll ever know, and she’s a huge sucker for second chances. Anything you want to know, I’m your girl. Adora is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met and I only want the best for her.”

Not that the information wasn’t nice, but Catra was a little confused. “Thank you, I guess? Why are you telling me this?”

Glimmer gave her a soft smile. “For a little while when we were teenagers, I thought Adora might be my soulmate.” She laughed at Catra’s shocked expression and carried on. “I love Bow, and it’s always been him, but there’s just always been something about her. When she moved to Bright Moon and we sort of took her under our wing it was so cute to watch her grow and change into this loving person. It took a long time for her to understand that she deserved good things too, so when you showed up out of the blue I just jumped onto the defensive. It had just been so long since her mark showed up that it was odd to me. I’ve always been protective of her so I was worried, but I don’t think I need to be.”

They shared a smile and Catra could finally see a sliver of why Adora was friends with the little dynamite. “It was hard watching her wait for you, but somehow I think it was the best thing either of you could have done. I don’t know what the reason was for the wait, but I can see that Adora doesn’t care anymore. She’s happy you’re here now and she’s happy with you. To me, that’s all that really matters.”

First Adora’s moms and now her best friend? Pieces kept clicking into place, pieces that made her feel accepted and wanted, for the first time in her life. Yea she had Scorpia and Entrapta, and she loved them, but this was on a completely different scale. This was starting to feel like home, a feeling she had never dared to let in. 

“I’m happy with her too.” And it was an overwhelming truth. 

______

 

“Ok so I’m thinking of having you sit in the back of the lecture hall with your hood up until I call you, what do you think?” Catra had been musing for a few minutes now as she cooked their breakfast. Today was the day that Adora was going to be guest speaking in her class and they were both thinking of ways to maximize dramatic effect. 

“How about I burst into class and engage you in a sword fight as She-Ra?” Adora offered and held her hand up high. “I have the outfit from the set. Do you have swords?”

Catra threw her head back and laughed. “I don’t have swords, but I’d like to see that outfit.” She said it with a smirk but kept her eyes on the food in front of her. 

It wasn’t too much, but over the last week since that night of the nightmare they had started to be a little more open about flirting. It was cute and pretty fun to see each other blush, which though Catra tended to be the more suave one she usually wound up blushing the most.  

“Ok, no swords then,” Adora offered as Catra dished up their plates. “What if you sit in the back with your hood on and I pretend that I’ve been you the whole time and just try and teach the class? Look look, I can do your face.” She tried to do that evil little grin Catra does but of course it didn’t work and they both dissolved into more laughter. 

“God no,” Catra wheezed. “Please don’t ever do that again, it’s not a good look for you.” She took a bite of food and looked at the clock, it was almost time to go. “Did you want to come all day or...?”

An incredibly smug smile dropped onto Adora’s face. “I’d love to, but we have a class to get to.”

Catra choked on the bite she had just shoved in her mouth and Adora had to slap her back until she could breathe again. 

“Jesus christ Adora,” she rasped. “Warn a girl next time.”

“And miss that opportunity? Never.” She finished her food and dropped her plate into the sink. They’ll clean later. “But yes, I do want to go to both of your classes today if you don’t mind.”

Catra coughed, a little food still stuck in her throat and her nerves kicked back in. “Not at all.”

The bus ride to BMU just reaffirmed more in Adora’s head the prospect of buying a car for herself (for Catra) and since they had also promised to visit her moms more, it really was just more of a thing of convenience. It wasn’t a terrible ride, but sometimes public transportation was less than reliable and with how nicely Catra always dressed for class it would be a damn shame for something to happen to her clothes.

They didn’t have much time to wander around campus so the two of them headed for the class where Adora sat in the back of the lecture hall with a baggy hoodie on. It was one of Catra’s that wasn’t as baggy on her as it was when the girl in the front of the class wore it. She slipped the hood over her head and feigned boredom as students trickled in, giving her no notice. Adora was enjoying the situation greatly though, mainly because Catra decided to wear that damn burgundy suit again. 

She’s so fucking hot.  

She got even hotter when class began. 

Public speaking was generally the bane of everyone’s existence, but somehow Catra roped her students in with her raspy, powerful voice. Maybe it was the fact that anything Catra did had Adora entranced, but non-verbal cues had genuinely never sounded so interesting to her. The class went by almost too quickly for her liking but soon enough the room was empty and they had a few minutes before the actual fun began. 

“Catra that was amazing!” Adora nearly yelled and Catra blushed. 

“You think so?” 

She practically ran down the steps of the small lecture hall to sit in the front desk for a minute. “Are you kidding? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a class so engaged. I don’t even know how you made critical theory sound so interesting but you did.”

“Oh, it’s nothing,” Catra said with a wave of her hand. “They probably just like me because I’m younger than most of their professors.”

Adora rolled her eyes playfully and crossed her arms. “Or the fact that you have a commanding demeanor and can rock a suit had them hooked.”

Catra took a step closer and grinned, sharp canines poking out in that devilish way they do. “Sounds like you’re projecting a little there, Adora.”

Her reply was cut short by the door to the lecture hall opening and they looked at each other briefly before Adora sauntered off back to her seat. Students filed in and Catra returned to her spot of sitting on her desk in the front to wait for everyone to show up. 

Since Mass Media was an upper level course, the students enrolled were actually communication majors and were even more engaged than the students in the previous class. Catra spent the first bit of class answering homework questions and reviewing their previous lesson before it was time for a show. 

She went over their topic for the day, ‘women in media,’ and described why it was so important to have proper, adequate representation. Even Adora herself, who had been in the entertainment industry for nearly seven years now, hadn’t understood the full aspect of what being a strong woman in media could mean for girls and women watching at home. To her it was a job, but to the little girls at home watching her fight the bad guys and win? It showed a purpose. Adora almost forgot why she was even there and was happy to be drawn into Catra’s cathartic voice. 

“Now, let’s talk about some important women in media history and what they’ve done.” It was an open invitation to get the ball rolling on their plan. 

A girl in the middle of class raised her hand. “What about Mermista? I really liked her spy show when I was a kid.”

“Good choice,” Catra said with a smile. “Mermista had a long-running show years ago called ‘Sea and Hawke,’ where she and her pirate partner played spies to aid a rebellion. The major point about that show was how she was the lead, and not her male counterpart. In fact the entire show flipped stereotypical gender roles, which showed people how ridiculous women were portrayed in films. Great choice, who else?”

A boy in the front row gently raised his hand this time. “My mom always watched Spinerella and Netossa’s morning talk show.”

“Perfect. Spinerella and Netossa are a great example of loving, married women who could kick ass but also make amazing pies.” She smiled as the class chuckled. “The two of them covered every major topic they could and did so in a way that anyone watching could comprehend what they were talking about. As retired advisors for the military they were well-versed in defense tactics and weeding through propaganda, but also they just really loved to bake and talk about gardening. They were a wonderful portrayal of being both strong but soft, and that it’s ok to be one of them, both, or neither.”

The class went on for a few more minutes talking about other notable women and their accomplishments for tearing down the systematic imbalance of representation of women before Catra spoke up again. 

“What about Adora Power?” She asked and Adora got a little nervous. These students, while nice, were somehow really good at getting to the bone of a topic and she wasn’t exactly sure she would measure up to all of the other women they’ve been talking about. But there was no way out now, students were already answering. 

“I literally just binged She-Ra! She’s my hero.”

“She’s amazing!”

“I love her! Her hair is so pretty!”

“She’s fucking yolked!”

That was a good one, she smiled and could see a hint of a smirk on Catra’s lips. More praises rang through the classroom and Catra put her hands up to stop them. 

“Hey Adora?” Catra purred and everyone turned to where she was looking. “How do you feel about all of this?”

Adora wanted to laugh at how dramatic they were being but with shocked gasps around her as she threw off her hood and walked to the front of the class, it was pretty worth it. 

“I’m pretty honored, you guys,” she said as she came to sit next to Catra. Up front with the class full of students was incredibly daunting, she didn’t know how Catra did it all the time. “I wasn’t expecting this much praise when Catra and I concocted this little plan.”

All of a sudden a flurry of questions was thrown at them from the students. 

“How do you know each other?”

“Am I being punk’d right now?”

“How is your hair so shiny?”

“Will you marry me?”

"Can I get your gym routine?"

Catra held up her hands again to ring them in and they both had to laugh. “I met Adora on a plane a few weeks ago and asked if she would be willing to come in and answer some questions from you guys.” It was a lie, but none of them needed to know that. “Now last week I had you all think of questions you would like to ask someone who has real world experience with different forms of media, and here she is. Please be nice.”

They spent the remaining hour of class just bouncing from student to student and Adora tried to give it all she had. They really did have amazing questions, ranging from ‘how real is everything?’ to more difficult questions like ‘is harassment really prevalent?’ Catra paid close attention to the latter question, but Adora had always been safe. Some girl really needed her hair care routine which had Adora laughing and telling her to meet up after class, but it really went by smoothly. Near the end of it a lot of students still had questions so Catra told them there might be a chance that Adora could come back and answer more, which practically had them drooling. 

“That was intense, but a lot of fun,” Adora said once the last student finally left. “I’d be happy to come back if you wanted to squeeze me in again.”

“Really? I think they’d love that.”

“Definitely,” Adora said with a nod and helped Catra carry her things. “I’m glad to help but I also really like seeing you teach. You have this presence about you that is just...I don’t know how to describe it.”

“You think I’m hot, admit it,” Catra said with a smirk. 

“Fine, you’re hot.” Adora smiled smugly when Catra fumbled a little. 

“Stop,” she said with a blush. 

“You’re hot, Catra.”

“I don’t like you.”

“Hot hot hot.”

“Ugh.”

Adora smiled to herself the whole way home with the blush that still resided on Catra’s face. She could talk the talk but Catra hadn’t been ready to walk the walk. 

They got some takeout food since it was Thursday and Catra had therapy in a little bit so she wasn’t exactly in the mood to cook. 

“I don’t know how you do that all the time,” Adora said as she hopped off the counter and helped clean. “I’m exhausted and I didn’t even teach anything.”

“You get used to it,” Catra said with a shrug, grabbing the washed plate to dry it. “You were just bombarded with questions, it’s usually not that intense.”

Adora shrugged back and then stretched. She usually went to the gym at night on Thursdays so Catra could have some privacy in the apartment for her therapy sessions, so her stretch was dramatic as she tried to prepare herself for the workout. 

But then Catra squeaked and dropped a plate. 

“What happened? What’s wrong?” Adora said quickly as she opened her eyes. Catra was frozen and staring at her stomach. “Catra? Are you ok?” She waved a hand in front of her face and looked down at where Catra was looking and it clicked. 

“I’m fine, sorry,” Catra said, “my hand just slipped. I’ll clean it up.”

“Catra-“

“I’m ok, just a plate.”

“Hey,” Adora said gently. “It’s ok, you can talk to me.”

Catra took a deep breath but couldn’t look at her still. “I saw your mark, and I just didn’t expect to feel like that. I’m just...I don’t know how to describe it.”

“I’m sorry if you weren’t ready,” Adora replied and bent down to help. “I didn’t realize my shirt had ridden up. Are you ok though, for real?”

Catra finally looked at her and gave her a soft smile. “I’ll be alright. I think I’m just really happy to have therapy tonight. DT is really good about getting me to understand what I’m feeling.”

“Have you ever thought about maybe doing a session together?” Adora asked when they stood up. “It might be easier for you to open up if you’re in a comfortable setting like you are with DT.”

“They’ve mentioned it’s a good idea before,” Catra said with a smile. “I’ll bring it up tonight and see what they think?”

When Adora got dressed for the gym she stood in front of her mirror and traced the name on the jut of her hip. It had been so long that it’s been there that she can hardly remember a time without it, could hardly remember time without Catra. 

Even before the mark showed up it had been a sensitive spot for her and she wondered lately how it would feel with Catra dragging her lips over it. She also wondered where her own name was on that tan skin, how she would feel when she saw it, what the spot might taste like. 

Adora had to do her high intensity workout that night. 

_____

 

Catra was almost shaking by the time she sat down and the video call went through. 

“Hello, Kitten.”

“DT,” she said with a deep, relaxing breath and let it all out like usual. “I saw her mark. It was an accident, but I just-I felt so much.”

DT smiled their almost alarming, spiky smile that Catra had come to find comfort in. “How are you feeling? How did she react?”

“I’m surprisingly ok. I think if I had seen it the first few weeks I would have ran or closed in on myself, but I’m ok. I feel almost...rooted? I’ve never felt so much at one time, it was just...intense. She apologized for me seeing it without warning and checked if I was alright.”

“It sounds like she’s doing well with understanding what you need in a moment of distress. Just like last week when she knew to be close to you but not speak up when you told her about your foster mom and then followed up with her own experience to show you had common ground.”

“She’s amazing,” Catra said and felt her chest start to swell with happiness and also panic, which DT caught onto.

“What’s wrong, Kitten? Everything you told me so far has shown me that she is understanding and caring.”

“She’s that and more, DT. I just...why me?” The panic in her chest that she had tried to quell for so long slammed into her. “What did I do to deserve her? She’s fun, sweet, beautiful….she’s everything I’ve ever wanted, but I don’t know what I did to get so lucky. I just can’t help but to think that the fates got it wrong.”

“That’s a completely natural feeling for someone who has been told that you aren’t worth it for so long. But do you think Adora is someone who would lie to you, would pretend to be a person who works with you to understand your faults and holdbacks? Do you think, perhaps, that maybe she has felt the same way? That she wonders how she got so lucky to have you? She hasn’t shown you anything but patience and understanding, so wouldn’t you say that this is what she wants. That you are what she wants?”

Catra let herself go over every interaction of late that she could remember with Adora. Their recent flirting, the hugs, how much fun they have even with the most mundane things like getting groceries. Even just last week, Adora had said that Catra was what she wanted without hesitation. That even without the marks, Catra would be who she wanted. Adora was always present, genuine, happy. Even when they got annoyed at each other over things it was short lived because they talked it out. They were happy. 

“I think that answers that question, Kitten. That’s the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on you. It looks good.”

“What do I do, DT? I’m nervous, but it’s a good nervous, I think? I think it’s time I told her the whole truth about why it took so long.”

“Only you can know the next step as it has to be whatever you’re comfortable with. You have done so well in the last few months and have made incredible progress. The fact that you’re telling me it’s time for you to come clean is a major step that you’ve been afraid of. How do you think she will take it?”

“I want to say she will understand but I’m not really sure.”

“From what I sense about her, she will be happy to talk it all over with you. It may be hard, but you two will conquer it.”

“Thanks DT. Oh, she also mentioned maybe doing a session together? I know you have brought it up before so I wanted to see what you think.”

“I think it would be wonderful, I would love to meet her. We can get a time together for that but for now I want to know what else has been going on.”

“Ok so-“

Somehow they went nearly an hour over her normal time slot, but Catra could only be thankful for DT and that when she’s having a tough time they always make enough space for her. By the time the video call ended Catra could hear Adora in the shower and took a few minutes to relax.

It was time.

Chapter Text

Adora showered and got ready for bed when she got home since Catra hadn’t been in the living room, which usually meant that therapy had probably been intense or she was just tired even though it wasn’t that late. Her phone pinged with a message right as she got into bed and she giggled when she read it. 

Catra

are you up?

Adora

Booty call before a first date? I’m a little surprised. 

Catra

you wish, Princess 

i was wondering if you were up to talk though?

it’s cool if not, i just have some things to tell you

Adora

Your room or mine?

Catra

balcony?

Adora

I’ll race you

They both opened their doors at the same time, pausing to see that they had the same idea of wrapping their comforters around their shoulders, and Catra pushed her back before taking the lead. 

Adora laughed and they literally raced through the apartment, pushing each other into the walls of the hall until making it to the balcony at pretty much the same time. 

“I totally won,” Catra said with a gleam. 

“You totally cheated, more like it,” Adora said with a huff and they both sat down, taking a moment to enjoy the calm, cold night. 

The balcony was home to many of their mornings, afternoons, and nights. Sometimes they would catch each other here in the middle of the night, not unlike they did that first time Catra came home with her. Foggy morning breakfasts, warm nights with a setting sun; it was their calm place, a place to relax and feel at ease about whatever was happening. 

“I want to explain what I meant about how we would have never met on that plane.” Catra’s tone was even and unwavering. She was ready. “It’s pretty...bad, so I just want to make sure that you’re in a good headspace to talk about this.”

“Of course I am, Catra. I’m ready if you are.”

“I moved to Bright Moon because I knew you were here, I think you kind of realized that after we met on the plane.” Adora nodded and Catra gave her a soft smile. “The PhD program at BMU was the only one I applied to because one way or another I was going to find my way here, but that wasn't always my plan for my life.”

Catra took a deep breath and let it out as she looked out into the night. “I attempted suicide a few days before my 18th birthday.” She paused to wait for something from Adora but it never came, she was silent and listening, but Catra didn’t dare look over at her. “Things were so good at Dryl, I was getting honors and awards for school and gymnastics was incredible, but all of the things that Weaver had told me kept eating at the back of my head. It should have been such a good time for me, but instead I just spiraled into a mental breakdown. Scorpia found me on the floo-” she had to pause and Adora reached over to tentatively take her hand, which she held onto like a lifeline. “She found me on the floor, unconscious and with an empty bottle of sleeping pills. She carried me herself to the hospital and I almost didn’t make it.”

Catra scooted her own chair closer to Adora, she needed the comfort. “When I woke up a few days later I was pissed that I was still alive and was going to attempt again when I got out. I turned 18 while I was on my 72-hour psych hold and kind of had forgotten about soulmates. When I was released I got changed and saw it,” she held a hand over ribs and Adora knew immediately that that's where the mark was. “I swear I stared at it for an hour. For a bit I thought I was just seeing things, like the antipsychotic drugs they pumped me with were making me hallucinate. There was just no way that I could believe you were supposed to be my soulmate, I just...” She had to close her eyes and look away from seeing Adora in her peripheral vision.

“Hey, it’s ok,” Adora said with a squeeze of her hand. “Take your time, Catra. I’m not going anywhere.”

“I’m just a little embarrassed and nervous.” She took another deep breath before continuing. “I left that hospital not wanting to attempt again because I felt like I had a purpose suddenly. I knew who you were of course, I had this dumb little crush on you already,” she glanced over and Adora just offered her a small smile. That will be a discussion for later. “I just couldn’t bear the thought of you having to live and find out that your soulmate killed herself. For a while I really fought with my thoughts because I was still in such a bad place mentally. I thought I was going insane or being tricked; there was just no way someone as fucked up as me could be paired with you, and I was pissed. How could an unwanted, suicidal foster kid be the soulmate to Adora fucking Power, it was just...you have to realize that at that point I thought you lived this perfect and happy life, Adora. I just didn’t understand how I would be able to compete with what you already had, this really wasn’t anything against you.”

“I understand that, I really do,” Adora soothed.

She got a soft smile in return and Catra squeezed her hand before continuing. “ But once I realized that it wasn’t a hallucination it was like my whole world flipped upside down. I couldn’t understand how or why it was your name on my body, but I knew I had to be better and so when I left the hospital I really started to work on myself. DT was my therapist in the hospital so I started seeing them regularly which helped keep me on track for my purpose. I was still really, really fucked up though and there was just no way I could have tried to find and meet you back then, so I wiped myself off the grid. Entrapta, my other roommate in college, she’s practically a tech god and so I had her make it impossible to search for me anywhere. I kind of imagined that you would have resources available to look for me, but I wasn’t ready. I just...I couldn’t meet you yet. I needed to be better, for myself and for you.”

Adora had to laugh a little at that. “Bow and Glimmer were always so mad they couldn’t find anything, so it’s nice to know how you did it.”  

Catra huffed out a small laugh and shook her head lightly. “It was probably a little dramatic, but it was the only way to keep my anxiety about everything to a minimum. Basically my plan was to fix myself to be a better person, a person with goals and aspirations again, and only then would I let myself hope that the fates got it right somehow. I double majored in communication so that I would be able to understand you better with the whole media thing and just to be better at communicating with those around me anyway. I knew with engineering I would make a lot of money so that I could support whatever creative project you wanted to do because as much as I’m sure you love being an actress, it's never a sure thing that you’ll get constant roles.” 

“You did that for me?” Adora said in awe, not meaning to interrupt but really, for her?

“I did everything for you,” Catra said in almost a whisper. “ I obviously wanted to be able to support myself and be proud of what I accomplished, but I worked so hard because I wanted to make sure I could support you and your dreams. I just-I just had such a shitty life, Adora, and I didn’t want to drag you into it somehow. I’ve been so afraid, I was terrified that the cosmic powers that be messed up and you would just laugh at me and tell me that I didn’t matter, but you haven’t. Being here with you has been...incredible, and I wondered why I had ever worried in the first place, but there was still something in me that was eating at the back of my head.” She turned completely towards her and smiled. “That was until I saw your mark today.”

“Even though I knew it was there, I didn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe it yet.” Catra shook her head softly and looked at Adora with almost pleading eyes. “I couldn’t believe that I would get so lucky, and that somehow everyone was just fucking with me. If I could go back to when I was 18 I’m not sure if I would change what I’ve done, because I really am happy about what I’ve accomplished and where I am, but I just need you to know that it was never because I didn’t want you, Adora. You saved me. You gave me a purpose, and I know that you didn’t even know it, or me, but I thought of you every day. With everything I did I thought of you. I’m so, so sorry for making you wait and I wish I could take away the years of the unknown for you, but we’re here now and I want to make good on taking care of you.”

Adora was speechless. Her voice was stuck thick in her throat and she sat wide eyed at the girl who just told her that she made an entire life for someone she hadn’t even met. For her. Catra, who was raised without love and without compassion, who had tried to kill herself because of deep-rooted self hatred courtesy of a lifetime of manipulation, had put aside her own needs for someone who she was afraid wouldn’t have her, for someone she thought would push her away. But she did it anyway. 

“Catra, you are just....” she couldn’t even find the words so she stood up and lifted Catra up and wrapped her in a tight hug before pulling back so they were standing face to face. “Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I wish we could have met sooner, but I could never have taken away from you pursuing your dreams too. I know that it’s been a lot for you, everything has, but all I want is to take care of you too. You fucking astound me daily.” Her voice caught in her throat and she wanted to laugh at the irony. “Sometimes I can’t even talk because I’m just speechless by the thought of you. It sucked waiting, I won’t lie about that, but you’re so worth the wait, you’re so worth everything. I want to be here for you, give you whatever you want and need. I want to learn everything about you. God, Catra, I just want you.”

“I want you too,” she said softly. “Adora, I’m done waiting, I’m done being afraid. I’m ready to see where this goes if you’re ready.”

“I’m ready.” Adora said and she took Catra’s hands in her own. “So where do we start?”

“A date?”

“Are you asking me or are you suggesting it?”

Catra laughed and took a step closer, wild brown hair catching in the breeze. Fuck she was beautiful. “That would be boring. How about we finally do that little workout of yours and the winner picks the first date.”

“Oh you’re on,” Adora said with a smug grin and let her eyes roam over Catra’s body. Gymnasts were no joke, and Catra was incredibly fit, but it was Adora’s job to work out for these last few roles so she had stamina. Guess they’ll find out. “9:00am tomorrow morning. Bring a rag, you’ll need it.”

_____

 

“So what are the rules?” Adora was stretching and trying to ignore the way Catra’s tight ass tank top molded to her body like water. She herself had abs of course, but there was something about the lean power that was obviously under that damn burgundy shirt. Something in the back of her mind told her that this might have not been the best idea when Catra smiled menacingly at her.

“We do your leg day workout, whoever taps first is the loser.” Catra grinned, she knew Adora hated leg day. “I’ll try and match your weight as best I can, but other than that it's equal grounds. I do what you do, and then I get to choose our date when you lose.”

Adora puffed out her cheeks and flexed like an idiot. “Let’s do this!”

Somewhere around the middle of the workout she realized that Catra may have been a little less forthcoming with how fit she actually was, since she was matching Adora’s weight par for par, even on deadlifts. She was being hustled, and it sucked. Not like either of them were really going to lose, since this was for rights to the first date, but still. She was competitive, she had to give it her all.

“How you feeling, Princess?” God she was such a brat sometimes, Adora really just wanted to kiss that stupid smirk off of Catra’s perfect face. Was she really not even sweating? Fuck, she was so going to lose. Adora’s legs were like jello as they headed towards the treadmills for the last part of the workout.

“I feel great,” she lied. “Ten mile run, are you ready?”

“Let’s make it fifteen.”

Fuck. “Deal.”

Adora didn’t make it to seven miles before she had to tap out.

_____

 

“Hey Adora.” Catra leaned over her head on the couch as Adora laid there and wallowed in her own self pity. “How’s it hangin’?”

She just groaned and rolled over. 

“So are you too sore?” Catra asked sweetly, loving the pity party going on in front of her. “Because I wanted to take you on that date tonight, if that’s ok.”

That got her attention. 

“Really?” She asked and bounced up so quickly that she nearly hit Catra in the face. “When, where?”

Catra hummed. “It’s a secret. Meet me at the front door at 6:30.” She walked away to take a shower from their workout but paused before she rounded the corner. “Oh, and wear something nice.”

_____

 

Ever with the flare for dramatics, Catra knocked on the front door at exactly 6:30pm. She had gotten dressed and left the apartment while Adora was in the shower, and now she felt nervous and jittery but she was excited. 

Their first date!  

And when Adora opened the door, at first a little confused, her knees almost buckled. 

“Adora, you look beautiful,” she practically gaped at the sight before her. Adora always looked nice, but the red dress she had on just flattered every bit of her and Catra had never seen something so incredible. 

“You don’t look too bad yourself,” Adora said with a grin. “New suit?”

Catra nodded. “I’ve been waiting for something special.” This date specifically, she didn’t say. She brought a bouquet of flowers from behind her back and smiled. “These are for you.”

Adora smiled like the sun and took the flowers with a blush. She smelled them as she found a vase in the kitchen to put them in and met Catra at the door again. “You really know how to treat a girl, don’t you?”

“Only you,” she said proudly. “Now come on, I don’t want to be late!”

“Where are you taking me?”

Catra grinned. “You’ll find out.”

They left the apartment and headed downstairs onto the street and she led the way for a block or so before daring to slip her hand into Adora’s. Catra could feel the blush on her cheeks and didn’t turn to meet stormy blue eyes, but a reassuring squeeze to her hand let her know it was ok. The touch was so simple but it made her heart beat even faster than it already was because it was Adora’s hand she was holding. Her date, her soulmate that she was going on a date with. Her nerves were on fire but nothing about it was bad.

They walked hand in hand silently, just enjoying the night air before it got too cold, and then finally came to a stop in front of a building. 

“IHOP?”

“Yep!” Catra beamed as she looked through the windows. 

“You brought me to IHOP.”

Catra’s face fell slightly at Adora’s curious expression. “Do you not like it?”

“Are you kidding?” Adora said with a bright smile. “They have the best blueberry syrup in town, come on!”

Catra let out a sigh as she was dragged inside the restaurant. It had been a gamble, but it paid off. And then it paid off again when Adora realized that she had rented out the entire place for two hours. It was pricey, but she had to do something big for their first date. It would have been awkward if the restaurant was filled with people and she didn’t want to do a cliche first date, this was just for them. No other people, just two dorks with stacks of pancakes and wide, sticky smiles.

They used the entire two hours of eating, talking, laughing, and just enjoying each other’s company and finally knowing that they were doing something. They knew what each other wanted, and it was this right here; just being together. That’s all they needed. 

It was ridiculous, but so were they. Adora wound up with syrup on her dress somehow and Catra dropped a bite of food in her lap as she watched her date lick the corner of her mouth to get some residual sugar that was stuck there. She was struck dumb by the fact that they were on a date, together, that maybe someday soon she would be able to just lean over and kiss the sugar off the corner of that sweet mouth. Then Adora dropped food into her own lap and they both dissolved into laughter. A life of this, how perfect was that.

And so when they started their walk home, they didn’t have to wait a few blocks to hold hands. 

“Good first date?” Catra asked as they walked slowly, warm hands swinging in the cold night. They had eaten so much it almost hurt, but truthfully neither of them were ready for it to be over. 

Adora nodded and smiled softly. “Best I’ve ever had.” She realized the meaning of her words and snapped her head towards Catra who was already giving her a knowing smile. 

“It’s ok, Adora. I dated too.” She squeezed her hand in reassurance. “I never expected you to ‘save yourself’ for me. That wouldn’t have been fair.”

She let out a breath and felt lighter. Not that it would have mattered, it was in the past anyway, but some people would be touchy about it. “Thanks, Catra.”

They walked for a bit more in silence until Adora shivered and Catra immediately let her hand go to shrug off her jacket and drape it over broad shoulders. Adora’s biceps wouldn’t have been able to fit into the sleeves and Catra smiled at the thought. She loved those biceps. 

They were both full, sleepy, and happy by the time they got back to the apartment door and Catra hesitated. 

“Is something wrong?” Adora asked as she went to unlock the door. 

“I just hadn’t thought this far,” Catra said awkwardly. “I don’t really know how to officially end a date when we live together. It was easy enough to pretend to pick you up.”

Adora smiled and turned away from where her keys hung out of the doorknob. 

“Catra, can I give you a kiss goodnight?”

Her heart thumped wildly in her chest as she nodded and Adora leaned in slowly, only to kiss her on the cheek. She deflated immediately. 

“I had a wonderful night, Catra,” Adora whispered into her ear and gently pushed her a step back. She finished opening the door and turned before shutting it. “Thank you again.”

She stood in shock for about ten seconds wondering what just happened before taking the steps to open the door. 

Adora was waiting on the other side with that smug look and then Catra was up against a wall. Fingers threading through her hair, grabbing at the base of her skull to tilt her head back, and a body pressed against her own were the only things holding her to this world when Adora’s eyes asked for permission to do what they’ve both wanted for a long time. 

Adora tasted like sunshine on a spring day and blueberry syrup and nothing in the universe had ever felt this good. 

Soft, sugary lips melted against her own and Catra wrapped her arms around Adora’s stomach as she was pushed deeper into the wall. The whimper she gave would have been embarrassing but Adora smiled into it and really, what else mattered but the soft tug of her hair to bring them impossibly closer. The construct of time did not exist as Adora sucked so wonderfully on Catra’s bottom lip and when their tongues glided oh so gently on each other with slightly parted mouths, it was as if new worlds were exploding into reality. Their world was being created, their own little private haven right here in the softly lit hallway entrance.  

When they finally parted for air and saw disheveled hair and swollen lips they nearly collapsed in laughter. The two of them didn’t know what was so funny, but with a tight arm still around Adora’s middle and soft breaths on her neck, Catra couldn’t have cared about anything else in this moment but the feeling of Adora breathing heavily onto her skin. 

“Time to call it a night?” She asked, still buried in the junction between neck and shoulder. 

“I guess,” Catra replied with a sigh. 

Adora laughed and stood back up. “Thank you again for the date, Catra. Goodnight.”

Getting a kiss goodnight was probably her second favorite thing now, next only to Adora herself. 

She was left on the wall as Adora walked away but she turned before rounding the corner, “next date is my choice.” 

She shouldn’t be surprised at the thought of a second date but it didn’t make her any less excited for what it could be. It didn’t matter, really, so long as Adora was there. 

______

 

“A car dealership?” Catra asked incredulously. “You took me on a date to a car dealership?”

“Do you not like it?” Adora replied with her arms crossed. 

Catra shook her head and sighed. “Adora, you couldn’t be more lesbian if you tried.”

“Well I could have taken you to U-Haul, but we already live together.” 

“So Subaru was the next best option?”

“They’re good cars!” Adora cried.

Catra bit back a laugh at how cute she looked. “Ok, Princess, whatever you say. Why are we at a car dealership though?”

Adora took her hand like it was second nature already and they walked around the lot. Soon enough someone would be around to try and sell them on something. “Because it’s about time I get one. You can use it when you have to go to school and since my moms want us to visit more it just seems handy.”

“I don’t mind taking the bus, Adora,” she said as she eyed a nice, white car. It wasn’t exactly her style but something about it screamed Adora to her and she pulled towards it. 

“I’m not saying we’re going to buy one,” Adora bantered, “I just want to get an idea of what’s out there.”

They bought the car. 

Well, Adora did anyway, and she circled it with a smile while they waited for the salesman to get them their keys and paperwork done. 

“We should name him,” Adora said with a gleam.

“Why would we name a car?”

“Because he’s a part of the family now!” Adora looked the car over with a proud eye. “What about Swift Wind?”

Catra snorted but didn’t miss the family bit. “Swift wind? What kind of name is that?”

“He’s swift like the wind!” 

Catra looked at her like she’d gone mad but then shook her head. “Fine, you can name the car Swift Wind, but I’m naming our first kid.” 

They both stopped dead. 

“I mean I-uhh, not that I-“ Catra tried but her tongue was rolling in her mouth and Adora had that stupidly smug look on her face and she really just wanted to die. 

“Damn, not even finished with the second date and you already want my babies?” 

“Shut up.”

“Make me.”

And then they were really, really sorry to the sweet salesman for catching them making out on the hood of their new car. 

“So what do you want to name our first kid?” Adora asked sweetly as they drove home in their new car. 

Catra groaned and sank into the seat. “Are you ever going to let that go?”

“Probably not.”

“If I tell you, will you drop it?”

Adora looked surprised, like she hadn’t actually expected Catra to give in. “Wait, you actually have a name picked?”

“I mean, it’s just one I’ve always liked,” Catra said softly. “So I guess I always hoped I could use it someday.”

Adora looked at her a few times from the side, trying to drive safely but now not knowing if she pushed too far. 

Catra laughed at the look on her face. “Relax.” She leaned over and pushed Adora’s head lovingly. “It’s Finn. Gender neutral, short, cute.”

“Finn,” Adora repeated, tasting the name in her mouth. “I like it.” 

Catra’s heart fluttered and she turned her head to smile out the window as trees flew by. 

Family.

Chapter Text

Best Friends Squad

Glimmer

Welcome to the club, Catra!

Who’s ready for a best friend’s squad double date???

Bow

I am!!

Oooo can we be the ‘Soulmate Best Friend Squad’ now?

Catra  

oooooo can we delete me from this chat?

Adora

Don’t be a party pooper, this will be fun.

Catra

Adora we’re literally in the same room

Bow

I’m going to write us a theme song

Glimmer

Yes!!  

Catra

no

bye

Despite being a brat, Catra was actually pretty excited for their double date tonight, though she wouldn’t give Sparkles that satisfaction. The two of them had been on much better terms since Glimmer apologized but Catra really liked to push her buttons, it was just too cute. 

“Why did they add me to this?” Catra asked as she watched her phone ping again and again with messages from GlimBow. “They do know that you and I are basically always together, right?” She turned the chat on do not disturb . “Aren’t they always together too? Are you guys always this aggressive?”

Adora leaned over and gave her a quick kiss, which still had her giddy that she could finally just kiss her whenever she wanted. “They’re just excited, but yes they do text a lot.”

“I’m definitely leaving the chat then.”

Adora gave her an unimpressed look, knowing that Catra would in no way delete herself from the chat, she could see the small smile when Catra read the texts. 

“Come on, dork,” Adora said as she got off the couch. “Let’s make this lunch and get ready. They’re always early.”

They worked together easily on making a small little picnic for the four of them, well more like Catra made everything and Adora tried to steal little morsels. She would get her hand batted away but then a kiss on those soft lips, it was flawless teamwork, really. 

The simplicity of their new relationship astounded Catra sometimes. The fear that had a grip on her heart for so long melted away to be replaced by stormy blue eyes and a ridiculous hair poof. She thought that once she and Adora solidified their relationship things would change from what they had known the last few months, but nothing really did. They had their mornings on the balcony, grocery store trips, chores, food prepping; everything was still the same but somehow it wasn’t. Now they went on early morning breakfast dates before the sun came up because they hadn’t even gone to bed yet, opting to cuddle on the balcony and talk about the little things. Now they stole kisses and lingering touches between doing the dishes and wiping down counters. 

The only difference now was that they allowed themselves the freedom of each other: soulmates, two halves of a whole. They were caught in each other’s orbit, circling one another in a dance of gravitational pull, not seeing any need to escape. 

To them, their little normal that they found themselves in was as easy as breathing. It blew her mind to think about living a life before Adora was there with her stupid little smug smile and sweet laugh. She might not understand how soulmates work, but Catra thanked the cosmic powers that be for giving her such a gift. 

Mara had said that Adora was the heart and light of their life, Catra couldn’t help but think of how apt a description it was. 

Their picnic turned out to be really nice, in fact, and Catra was glad to spend more than just a few minutes with Adora’s best friends. Well, she guessed that they were supposed to be her best friends now too, and it didn’t seem so bad. Bow was adorable as ever and Glimmer really calmed down now that she wasn’t thinking Catra would kidnap and murder Adora at any given moment. 

She sat against a tree and Adora laid between her legs, it was a comfort like none she had ever known. They were in one of their favorite little parks, off from the general bustle of the main streets, and the cool fall breeze that blew through had the four of them huddling together for warmth. Laughter took flight in the wind and they decided to finish up their double date back at the apartment with movies and hot chocolate. 

Maybe being a part of the ‘Soulmate Best Friend Squad’ wasn’t so bad after all. 

“Catra!” Adora said brightly once they got back to the apartment, all of them sporting pink noses from the cold. “You should make that spiked hot chocolate and we can play a drinking game to a movie!”

“Umm, you kind of finished off the rum last week, Princess.” Catra smirked at the thought of drunk Adora trying to heat up her hot chocolate in the microwave, somehow setting it to cook for over an hour. Drunk Adora was...something else. “We do have some tequila though, but that’s not good with chocolate.”

“Yea, don’t put me down for drinking,” Glimmer added. “I’m driving.”

Adora squinted at her. “It’s 4pm...on a Saturday?”

“So about that movie!” Bow said in his usual jovial manner. Something was a little off about it but Catra and Adora just shrugged and got everything set up. 

Catra was basically groaning at how full her stomach was with hot chocolate by the middle of their movie. It was something lame and mushy so she nestled herself into Adora’s hair. She always smelled so good, like clean body wash and something altogether natural and just... Adora. Not wanting her drink to go to waste though she grabbed her mug and chugged the remaining liquid. 

“So when are you two going to get married?” Glimmer said out of the blue and Catra spit her hot chocolate over herself and Adora. That was going to be a bitch to clean. 

“What the fuck, Sparkles?” Her nose burned and her eyes were watering, but that was nothing compared to the panic in her chest. Fuck, they only went on their first date two weeks ago!

“Jesus Christ, Glimmer.” Adora was gaping at her best friend like she had grown three heads suddenly. “Just....what the fuck?”

Glimmer like unperturbed and went back to watching the movie. “I was just thinking it would be cute to have our kid as your ring bearer or flower girl.”

Adora froze. “What?”

Bow’s face said everything that Catra needed to know and her throat felt tight, somehow tears were stinging her eyes. When the fuck did she become emotional like that?

“Really?” She almost croaked, tightening her hold on Adora’s stomach and she could feel heavy breathing on tight muscles. 

“Really!” Bow cried and Adora’s head was sweeping back and forth between her best friends. 

“You’re pregnant? I’m...I’m going to be an aunt?”

In reply Glimmer just stood up and grabbed Adora in for a hug, followed by Bow. Catra felt awkward just sitting on the couch, she was happy for them of course but she was sort of new to the best friend squad and didn’t know her place. 

But then Bow held out his hand for her and she was swept into the hug that was full of happy tears. 

“You really had to go and get pregnant before we could have a bunch of rowdy double dates?” Adora huffed out a wet laugh and pried herself out of the embrace. 

“It wasn’t exactly planned,” Glimmer said with a blush. “But it’s a new adventure! And we want the two of you to be their godmoms.”

“That’s a thing?” Adora asked but Catra was silently getting choked up at how easily Glimmer had said the both of them. They had been so hot to argue off the bat and now only a few weeks later Sparkles was fully accepting her and wanting her to have a special place in her kid’s life? She was having a moment.

“I don’t know,” Bow said with a shrug. “We’ve seen it in movies and it sounds cute, so it’s the thought that counts. Oh! We have a present that we were going to give you.” He left and got a small box out of Glimmer’s bag and handed it to Adora.

She threw her head back and laughed when she opened it. It was a little baby onesie that said ‘My aunts are better than yours.’ It was lame, but cute, and Catra got choked up again at being an aunt to people she hardly knew but were welcoming her into their lives like water on a hot day.

She wrapped them all in a hug again.

 

“I can’t believe they’re having a baby,” Adora said later after GlimBow left and they had to clean up Catra’s hot chocolate spit. With the movie easily forgotten the four of them had spent a few hours just talking baby stuff and while she was 100% out of her element, Catra couldn’t help but be happy for the soon-to-be parents. She could see it now, a small little dark-skinned thing with purple hair and a sparkly crop top, the perfect mix of their parents. “I feel like it was yesterday that we were worried about graduating middle school, and now this? We’re so young.”

Catra coughed a little awkwardly. “Umm, what is a good age do you think then? For marriage and, you know, babies.” She wheezed out that last part and itched with embarrassment. They’d have to talk about it eventually, right?

“I’m in no rush, Catra.” Adora was smiling at her knowingly and reached to grab her clammy hand. “I want you all to myself for as long as I can.”

She let out a shaky breath. “Oh thank god, I’m glad we’re on the same page.”

Adora tilted her head and gave her that incredible soft smile. “Aren’t we always?”

And of course they were. 

______

 

“Do you want to come to class today?” Catra rinsed out her coffee mug and hopped onto the counter, holding her hands out for Adora to join her. “We’re doing a few days of review of the whole class before finals start and I was thinking the kids would like if you were there for questions again.”

“I’d love to,” Adora said with a laugh and kissed up her jaw, loving the shiver it illicit. “I had a lot of fun last time. Should we do a dramatic entrance or...?”

“I thought about it but I think they would all be more pumped if you were already up front when they all walked in.” Catra ran her hands through Adora’s hair, she always loved how soft it was. “They’ve asked about you almost every class. It’s been hard to keep our little secret.”

“Do you want to keep it a secret?” They hadn’t really talked about what would happen once it got out that they were soulmates. For famous people it usually meant that their soulmate would have to deal with the new publicity and living a life somewhat in the limelight. Catra knew the risks, it was why she majored in communication in the first place to be able to be more in control of how the two of them would be represented, but there’s always more. 

They had been happy in their little bubble, and they both knew eventually people would find out, but they could still control when. Adora just wanted to protect Catra. She knew what life was like when everyone knew your name and for someone like the girl she currently had her arms wrapped around who avoided people a major part of the time, it would be a huge transition. To her, it was whatever Catra wanted. 

“My plans don’t usually work out,” Catra said with a laugh, “so I’m ok either way. I think if we don’t make a big deal out of it no one will care, you know? I mean, you already live somewhat under the radar already.”

“Good point.” She kissed those delicious lips for good measure. “Come on, lets not be late.”

Catra was right, once students started to come in for the media class they all took one look at Adora and basically screamed. The room was full of chatter by the time class started and they both were trying to get their bearings straight with all of the students talking at them. 

“You’re back! Yes!”

“Professor M, you’re a legend.”

“Adora, my hair is so shiny now, look!”

“Can I get your number?”

Catra whipped her head around to that one and stared daggers. “Can it, kid.” She raised up her hands to stop the barrage of questions finally and smiled at all of their enthusiasm. “As you can see, Adora has been so kind as to come back and be here for our review. While I’m sure you all have a lot of questions, let’s try and keep it geared towards topics we have discussed in class, ok?”

Catra acted as a mediator for a good portion of the beginning of class, but thankfully everyone stayed on topic. It was easy for this generation to understand the prevalence and intricacies that came along with various forms of media since they were raised with its creation. Although Adora hadn’t been in the class through the semester and didn’t know the names of theories, she fared well with being able to answer questions on implementation of media in her daily life. 

After a quick break Catra paced the front of the room and discussed some deeper topics so they could actually get a little work done so Adora leaned against the desk and enjoyed the view. Catra was wearing the suit she had worn for their first date and holy shit did she look hot. Adora always thought she looked hot, but something about that glowing tan skin in a suit, speaking so raspy and eloquently to her students....it really had Adora mesmerized. She gawked like an idiot when Catra ran a hand through her messy hair and she nearly dropped the sandwich she had been eating at the sight. 

Maybe she shouldn’t have been sitting in the front so she could gawk shamelessly. Oh well. 

Adora resumed eating but choked a little since her throat was dry from Catra being so damn hot and she started coughing. 

Catra stopped talking and turned to see what was happening. “You ok over there, Princess?” She walked over to pat her on the back and get her water. 

“I’m alive, I swear,” Adora wheezed. 

“Well that’s good.” Catra gave her a soft smile and wiped off a few crumbs from the corner of her mouth before dropping a kiss where her thumb had just been. 

Adora’s eyes went wide and Catra looked at her confused for a split second before she realized what she had done. “Fuck,” she muttered softly and the room erupted. 

“OH MY GOD!”

“ARE YOU TWO-“

“PROFESSOR M YOU’RE A FUCKING LEGEND!”

“NO WAY!”

“So much for our little secret,” Adora said and only Catra could hear since everyone was going apeshit. 

Catra seemed to think for a moment before giving a soft shrug. “I guess it had to happen eventually.” She turned and raised her hands up once more to calm everyone down. 

“Ok, obviously I didn’t mean to do that,” she started and looked around the room a little lost. “I think it’s pretty safe to say that Adora and I would like it if you kept this under wraps. We like our privacy."

Almost everyone’s hands shot up to ask a question and the two of them looked at each other. “I got this,” Adora said and stood up. 

“I know this seems like big news to you all, but it’s pretty new to us for reasons we’re not going to say for the sake of our privacy.” Adora looked around and could see a few of their faces fall but look understanding. “From what you’ve learned in this course and others I think it’s safe to say that we all know the media is the devil and they spin stories in ways that don’t even make sense. I don’t want Catra caught up in any of that just because of who I am, so I’m asking you all to please be nice. Obviously this won’t stay a secret forever, but someday when it’s out in the open you can be happy knowing you were all the first to find out.”

“We’re the first?” Someone asked in awe. 

“Yep,” Catra said with a smile. “Adora’s moms, a few of our friends, and a car salesman we scarred for life are the only ones who know. So you guys are very special. You’re my favorite class.”

“Professor, we’re your only class.”

“Not true,” Catra said indignantly. “I have comm 101 and intro to engineering too.”

“No one likes public speaking and the engineers probably don’t even know who Adora is.”

“They have a point, you know,” Adora said with a nudge. 

“Oh whatever,” she conceded. “My point is that I actually like you guys and I’m not mad that you know. It’s a pretty big thing for me, you know?”

Adora felt safe to reach over and squeeze her hand. The whole class cooed. 

“You sure you’re ok?” They were driving back home and Catra had been a little more quiet than usual. 

She looked over and smiled. “Yea, just thinking about my plans never going to plan.” She laughed and shook her head. “Typical.”

“It didn’t go too bad at least, right?”

“Definitely,” she agreed. “I actually really like that class so I’m ok with it. It’s weird, I didn’t think I would get attached to them but being my first class who actually really wants to be there, they’ve kind of grown on me. I thought I would be more anxious when people found out, but I almost feel relieved?”

Adora pulled in to their spot and parked before leaning over and kissing her stupid like she had wanted to all day. “Good. Now come on, we have our first session with DT tonight. I'm sure they'll love to hear about what happened.”

Chapter Text

“Hey Adora, when do you go back to work?” Catra asked as she stirred their dinner. “How does your work....work, actually? Do you usually have this much time off? It’s been like, over three months now.”

Not that she wanted Adora to leave or anything, especially with the last month being as amazing as it had been since their first date, but Catra had begun to wonder. 

Adora walked over and hopped onto the counter next to Catra. “I have a job lined up to start at the end of January, so a little less than two months from now. It’s just a voice acting thing, so I don’t need to be on location.”

Catra hummed. “What about when you’re on location? How long are you gone for?” It’s been something that’s nagged on her brain, how often would Adora be gone? How would they make it work?

“Sometimes it’s a few days, sometimes it could be months,” Adora said somberly and ran a hand down Catra’s back. They’ve been avoiding this topic because neither of them wanted to admit that they might have to part eventually. “It just depends on the job. I have one more installment to do for this She-Ra series but then that’s done, and maybe I can just take some easy stuff for a while so I won’t have to go anywhere.”

Catra put a lid on the pot and came to stand between Adora’s legs and wrapped herself around her. “Don’t hurt your career just for me, Adora. I don’t need to teach classes.” She squeezed a little bit. “Maybe I can get some online ones so I can go with you.” I don’t want to be without you.

“And you can’t hurt your career for me either,” Adora said with a laugh and buried herself in that messy brown hair. “We’ll figure it out when the time comes, ok? We’ll be ok. As for now though, Hope and Mara will be here soon.”

It was the second time they’ve had Adora’s moms over for dinner instead of driving to the edge of town. Not that it was a burden to drive, but hosting together was a next step in solidifying their relationship, which had been smoothly advancing. Glimmer and Bow had been coming over more and Catra was opening up little by little with them about why she had stayed away for so long. It wasn’t that they really needed to know everything, but as a new member of the Soulmate Best Friend Squad she felt it was her responsibility to show that she cared for not just Adora but the two of them as well. Things were good. 

“Catra you’ll have to send me this recipe,” Hope said a little later that night. “This was fantastic. I didn’t know you could do that with cauliflower.”

“I’ll send you all my cauliflower recipes,” Catra said with a laugh. “Adora loves this one, I can’t even pronounce the name, but they’re these little patties and she always munches on the leftovers.”

Something about the way Hope smiled at her made Catra think that the woman knew something that she didn’t yet, but then Mara was hugging her tight and saying her goodbyes.

Adora’s moms really were fun, and she was definitely growing attached to them, but they still had this odd intensity to everything they did. Catra just attested it to being a mom thing. So she just smiled and waved goodnight and gave an easy promise for dinner next week.

Cleaning up was routine, domestic, and Catra hummed happily as they worked in tandem to get everything settled for the night. Adora had run off somewhere in the middle of drying, which wasn’t a big deal because she never really did a good job at it anyway, and Catra finished the rest. Warm hands eventually found their way around her stomach and she swayed with Adora while she finished the job. 

“Catra?” 

“Hmm?”

Adora paused for just a second. “Can I see it? The mark?”

Though it had been a month since their first date and kiss, the two of them hadn’t ventured past heavy make outs and generous ass grabs. That little fact had obviously led to Adora not seeing the mark on Catra’s skin. It had been an accident when Catra had seen the one on Adora’s hip, but it had changed so much about their relationship that she wondered what this might do now. She found she was excited to find out. 

“Can I ask why first?”

“I want to see how it feels,” Adora said softly, “to see it. I want to know that I’m on there.”

Catra shivered at the thought. She knew what it felt like to see it and hoped that Adora would feel the same. She nodded and turned around. She grabbed the hem of her shirt, pulling it up expertly as she had many times before to stare at it in the mirror, right to the edge of her boob. Her stomach clenched when Adora gasped softly. 

“Woah.”

“I know,” Catra agreed. This was different somehow, when she had seen her name on Adora’s hip it had been quick and accidental and while no less meaningful, this moment held power. She could see the dawning on Adora’s eyes. It was belonging, a place in this world. Commitment. Trust. Devotion. Affirmation. Not ownership, not branding, but a connection of cosmic power. They were each other’s, and it was an indescribable feeling. 

Except it wasn’t indescribable, not really. At the time it had felt like her entire body was rewired, neurons bursting through synapses that chanted Adora. It was like Catra’s DNA wasn’t formed from proteins anymore but by blue eyes and that disastrously sweet smile. It was Adora. It was love. 

“You’ve felt this way this whole time and you didn’t tell me?” Adora asked, eyes still firm on that soft spot over ribs. 

She huffed out laugh. “I wasn’t trying to rush anything, I knew you’d get around to it.”

Catra started to lower her shirt finally, which broke Adora out of her trance and she reached up to bring Catra in for the sweetest kiss they’ve ever shared. Unbounded by the construct of time, their lips pushed and pulled like the tides of a full moon as they let themselves feel. Feel tongues and teeth, roaming hands, scorching bodies as eons or seconds passed until Catra broke off. 

“Do you want-“

She didn’t even have to finish asking and Adora was nodding and slotting lips back against her own, turning and pushing them back toward their bedrooms. They fumbled and bumped into walls on the way there, laughing against wet, swollen lips that just made their need for one another stronger. When they got to their doors Adora picked her up and pinned her against the wall to suck hard at the dip in her throat. Catra locked her legs around tight abs and felt the fire rip through each vein of her body as Adora pushed further into her. She grasped needy hands through silky hair once more and pulled back to crash their lips together. 

It wasn’t until her back hit familiar sheets that Catra realized Adora picked her room for no other reason than to make Catra feel more at ease, more at home. It was almost silly because home, she knew with every ounce of her soul, was wherever Adora was. 

Adora, who was now crawling on top of her, and fuck what a sight that was. Blue eyes were hungry, she had never seen them so blown and wanting and Catra throbbed at the sight. Lips met once more with searing need as Adora pressed her into the mattress with one hand and rolled her hips down hard. She smiled as Catra gasped at the movement and dragged a hot mouth along the column of her neck, never ceasing her rolling hips. 

Catra was too close far too soon. “Adora,” she gasped as her own hips disobeyed and searched for the pressure. “Adora hold on...”

Hips stopped immediately and Adora raised herself completely off Catra’s body with all signs of hunger gone in an instant. “Catra, I’m so sorry! If I pushed you too far...I should have asked-“

“No, it’s not that,” she said breathlessly and closed her eyes for a moment to get her bearings straight. “It’s just I...”

“Have you never done this before?” Adora asked curiously. “It’s ok if you’re not ready.”

“I have,” Catra replied and opened her eyes so she could see those beautiful blues above her. She smiled and tucked a stray piece of hair behind Adora’s ear, pausing for a deep breath to steady herself. “It’s just never meant something before.”

Adora softened immediately, “oh.” She searched Catra’s face in awe, “me either.”

Catra laughed and shook her head, then pulled her back down to her lips. It was all slow and tender, lips tasting and sucking where they could reach until Catra slipped hot hands under the hem of Adora’s shirt in question and then that was gone in a heap at the side of the bed. 

“Holy shit,” Catra said as her eyes raked over the sight in front of her. She knew Adora was fit but seeing those muscles contract with each heavy breath was mesmerizing. She ran a hand over taut lines of abdomen until she reached the band of Adora’s sports bra. “This thing? Off.” And when Adora obliged she scraped blunt nails down to the button on her pants and popped it open with a flick of her fingers. 

“Fuck, Catra.” She was panting and closed her eyes as Catra pulled down the zipper on her pants and before Adora could fight it, she was flipped onto her back. “Fuck.”

Catra smirked at her as she loomed above, hands trying to wedge off pants and Adora lifted her hips for a moment to help speed up the process. 

“You’re wearing way too much clothing,” Adora said as pants flew across the room and she practically ripped Catra’s shirt off of her. 

Catra wanted to say something snarky but she got distracted by pink nipples and decided to shut them both up as her head dove in and she sucked one into her mouth. 

“Fucking hell, Cat-ah!”

Catra hummed and rolled her tongue over the firm flesh. “Not my name,” she mumbled as her fingers blazed a trail up to give attention to the other nipple. Apparently that didn’t shut either of them up, but it was something. She switched sides, humming as Adora squirmed below her, and doubled down her efforts quickly before popping off pink nipples audibly. 

Her hands traveled slowly downward, mouth following close behind leaving teasing bites and soft kisses until she brushed against the edge of Adora’s boxers, pulling them off quickly when hips were raised once more to help, and Catra sat back on her heels to admire the view. Adora, in all her naked glory, panting, open, wanting. She was breathtaking. Catra slid the pads of her fingers oh so softly up Adora’s leg from her ankle, grinning like mad as she felt goosebumps burst at her touch, and came to right under those three words on hot, pale flesh. She paused before running her thumb gently over it and Adora gasped at the touch. 

Catra looked up and saw the complete look of devotion in Adora’s eyes and she nearly fainted at the sight. She swept her thumb again and Adora’s eyes fluttered closed to relish in their connection. It was in that instant she knew what Hope’s smile had meant, and Catra wondered how she never realized before.

“Hey Adora,” Catra said as she put her hand over the mark and held her down into the bed. They locked eyes once more, Adora trembling, and she leaned in until they were a breath apart. “I love you.”

“You...you love me?” 

Catra smiled and cupped her cheek, bringing their foreheads together and sighing. “You’re such an idiot.” She huffed out a small laugh and brought their bodies even closer. 

Adora brought her hand to graze over the mark on the tan skin above her and Catra shuddered at the touch. They were both breathing heavy, nothing had ever felt like this, so electric and grounding. So right. “I love you too.”

Neither of them knew who moved first but their lips were together once more and Adora was throwing Catra’s bra off to the side and Catra was running a hand down between them and into slick folds without hesitation, feeling Adora jolt as she slid a finger along each side of her clit. She nibbled and sucked on soft lips as her hips and fingers pulsed with a slow rhythm; she took her time feeling. When she moved to trace that sharp jaw with lips to the soft spot behind Adora’s ear that she knew would make the girl quiver Catra picked up the pace on her hips and fingers and felt hips begin to meet her motions. She could feel the pulse quicken under her lips and Adora’s breathing became ragged and she pulled her hips and fingers away. 

“No!” Adora groaned and tried to pull Catra back in by her ass so she bit that soft spot a little harder than normal. 

“Not yet.” She licked where she had bit and gave it a kiss before ghosting lips down the lines of firm abdomen. She left three, hot, wet open mouth kisses over the mark on the jut of Adora’s hip which had her mewling before finally getting to her destination. Her mouth watered with anticipation, and for the life of her she couldn’t see a reason to deny Adora anything any longer than she already had been, so Catra didn’t hesitate one second before diving head in and licking a hot trail through folds. 

“Thank god, yes,” Adora moaned and arched into the touch. Catra kept a firm hand on Adora’s stomach to keep her in place while her tongue tried to gain traction in the slick, wet folds. Her other hand came to meet her mouth and two already wet fingers ran through the slick a few more times before she sunk them into Adora’s center. Catra’s vision nearly went blank at the hot, tight feeling around her fingers and Adora cried out at the stretch. She took a deep breath to steady her heart at the nearly overwhelming feeling surrounding her but when hips started to buck up into her face she knew she had a job to do. 

With wide, even strokes of her tongue and steady curling thrusts of her fingers Catra set a pace that she could feel would have Adora spilling over the edge in no time, but she still wasn’t ready for it to be done yet. Her mouth left it’s ministrations with a small whine from Adora but she sucked hard and bit down on the inside of her thigh before looking up to watch that beautiful face of her soulmate ride her fingers through ecstasy. 

Her soulmate. Who she loved, without a doubt, without question. Her soulmate, who was silently chanting her name as fingers fucked her so deep and good. Catra growled and dove back in to suck on the bundle of nerves and Adora’s hand flew to the back of her head to keep her in place this time. Whatever Adora wanted, she got. 

“So good, so so good, Catra,” her voice was heady and laced with love and desire. “Fuck, don’t stop. Please.”

She did as she was told and opened her eyes to watch as Adora slammed hers shut and her mouth dropped open in a silent scream as her whole body tensed, insides clenching around Catra’s thrusting digits. It was the most incredible thing she’s ever witnessed. 

She kept pressure on that sweet spot inside while Adora slowly came back down from her high. “Hey Adora.”

“Hi,” she said with a light laugh. “I’m pretty sure I flew to another planet right there. Fuck, how did you even do that?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” she replied with a snarky grin and Adora laughed again. 

“Shut up and come here,” she patted her lap and waited, wincing slightly as Catra removed her fingers and shivered as she watched them be licked clean. “You’re so, so damn hot. Hurry and come here.” She sat up slightly and pulled her down by the neck and moaned at the taste of herself on wet lips. 

“That was a lot of fun,” Catra said when they finally parted for air. “I don’t think I want to leave this bedroom for like, a week if I can get you to do that every time.”

Adora ran hands up and down Catra’s thighs and looked up at her now, eyes grazing over brown nipples and her own name etched below them. “I won’t argue with that, though now it’s your turn. Are you attached to these panties in anyway?”

“Adora I can stand up and take them off,” Catra said dryly. 

“But where’s the fun in that?” She asked through the sound of cotton ripping easily from her strong hands. She peeled them away from under Catra and grabbed her ass to bring her up to where she wanted. “Come here.”

“What are you doi-oh. Ohh.” Catra caught on quickly and positioned herself to be just above Adora’s face and she looked down in wonder. But then Adora winked and pulled her in tight, sticking her tongue straight through her folds, teasing her entrance, and all Catra could do was yelp and grab onto the bed frame while that firm tongue fucked her steadily. 

“Oh good god,” she husked as her hips canted with the pace Adora set. She had never done this before, and it really was something else entirely. She was starting to feel the build up when a hand moved from its place on her stomach to run two fingers through her slick before one pushed in slowly and her movements faltered. 

“You ok?” Adora asked softly. 

“Yea, do another.” Catra groaned as she clenched around the one. 

“Are you sure?”

“Adora please.”

They looked at each other and Adora blinked a few times before pulling the one out, wetting them both back up, and sliding the two in slowly while her tongue did this incredible wave thing over her clit. The stretch was intense, Adora’s fingers weren’t exactly small, but it burned so good that she pushed her own hips down to speed up the process. “Fuck. So good, Adora. I’m good.”

That seemed to be enough for Adora because she went back to work on her previous motions and started a slow, deep thrust with her fingers. Catra threw her head to the sky and leaned back onto Adora’s raised knees with her hands so she could ride that tongue and fingers to her delight. She rolled her hips and her stomach clenched deliciously each time Adora hit that spot in her but then fingers became more insistent and she knew it wasn’t her show anymore. Her hands found purchase once more on the bed frame as she was pounded into and when Adora latched onto her clit and when that wave motion became a tsunami it was all she could do to hold on for dear life as her vision went white and she was sure she died for a second. 

When her waves of pleasure started to relax she noticed that Adora was still licking her through her orgasm and when she looked down and locked eyes with hungry blue ones, Catra knew it wasn’t over yet. She had never, never come again so quick but with the devil incarnate below her thrusting again and sucking at her clit so beautifully Catra grasped and handful of hair and screamed into the heavens as her second orgasm hit her like a freight train. 

When she came back from it the second time she was sitting up against the bed frame, panting, with Adora looking smug. 

“Did you just cum so hard you passed out?” She asked, stupidly smug smile plastered on her slick coated face. The idiot had never looked so beautiful. 

Catra pushed her face away and grunted. “Don’t ruin it for me,” but her smile betrayed her. “Fuck, Adora,” she panted, still quivering from aftershocks. “We are never leaving this bed.”

“I really like the sound of that.”

______

 

It couldn’t be. It really could not be a door slamming and people knocking on the walls this morning. She wouldn’t believe it. 

“Adoraaaaa? Catraaaa?”

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” Catra said into Adora’s neck who wasn’t stirring. “Adora I’m going to murder your friends.”

“No don’t,” she whispered sleepily. “I don’t want you to go to jail. Go make them leave and then come back here with me.” She finished with a sloppy kiss to Catra’s forehead and sighed happily. 

“They’re your friends, Adora. You make them leave.”

“You’re scarier.”

She paused. “Ok, you have a point. You so owe me for this.”

“I love you,” she offered with Catra’s favorite, sleepy, groggy smile and she was about to stay and kiss the daylights out of her until more banging on the walls sounded. 

“You sure I can kill them?”

“No murdering.”

“Fine.” She got up and slipped on Adora’s boxers and tshirt because they were convenient and honestly, really comfortable. She might have to steal more of Adora’s clothes. Catra stopped at the door to put on her bitchiest face and went out to deal with the intruders. 

“Do you two understand the meaning of privacy?” She ripped through her morning throat and they both jumped at the tone. 

“Hey, Catra!” Bow gleamed and honestly, she struggles to stay mad at him. 

“You two finally did it then?” Sparkles asked with a bored face. “About damn time. Your sexual tension was crushing me from miles away.”

Catra took a deep breath and ignored her. “Again, privacy, ever heard of it? In fact, have you heard of morning sex? Because I’d really like to have some right now but here I am at-“ she looked at the clock on the wall and wanted to die, “7:43 in the morning. On a Saturday. In November.”

“Saturday is our day off,” Bow stated proudly, “so we like to get up early and explore and find new things to do."

Honestly, how was he so damn cute? “Ok, that’s very nice, but can you guys leave me and Adora out of it for a while? Because we just found out do-ing each other is fun so we’re going to be locked up there for a while. And I don’t want interruptions.”

“Gross.”

“What’s that, Sparkles?” Catra said with her hand behind her ear. “You want to hear how Adora literally ripped my panties off and then did this thing with her fingers? Oh god, you wouldn’t belie-“

“That’s enough!” She squealed with that high pitched voice of hers and Catra grinned. Bingo. “We will uhh, leave you to it then. Text us when you’re done and...” she leaned forward and sniffed the air, “showered. God you even reek like sex. Come on Bow, let’s go visit your dads. They like us at least.”

“Ok, be right there!” He said and hung back, waiting for her to be out of earshot before he turned back to Catra. “Tell Adora I need to know about that thing , ok?” She winked at him and his blush bloomed even on dark cheeks. 

“You got it, arrow boy. But seriously, I will rip your throat out if you guys come bother us again before 10am, got it?”

“Yes ma’am!” He saluted and ran out of the apartment and she locked the door behind them. 

She smiled at the thought of Bow and went back to where she had left Adora, pausing momentarily in the door jam to look at the sight before her. Naked, sleepy, tangled in soft white sheets, this is easily what she could wake up to for the rest of her life, and nothing would make her happier. As she slipped back into bed again, not bothering to remove the clothes she knows will be gone later, Catra nearly choked on the lump in her throat when Adora turned and cuddled into her chest. 

Home. It’s something she had, for a very long time, never expected to find. She never dreamed of being able to call something home, something hers. The uncertainty of her upbringing led to years of torment and impossible levels of self deprecation that was masked by her staunch bitchiness which, if anybody had dared to look deeper, would have seen it was just a cover. Scorpia knew it, and that’s why Catra had let her into her life. Entrapta might have known as well but she worked better with ones and zeroes rather than human emotion, so that was ok. 

But Adora had worked with her, had been patient and persistent, loving and giving. Some may say it was only because of the mark, that Adora knew for some reason that Catra was to be her one and that’s why she tried so hard, but that wasn’t it. Adora was just that type of person, to always listen and give someone a chance, because she herself had been given a chance. As they lay there, hearts finding each other to beat in tandem, Catra knew that Adora’s soul was the one she would always be meant to find, no matter what life or universe, soulmate markings or not. They understood each other in a way that no one else could. Adora brought out the good in her, made Catra want to be a better person than she had ever been. It wouldn’t always be perfect, there’s no such thing in life as that, but so long as they had each other they could conquer anything. 

So long as they could lay there, cuddled and unbothered, completely in love, there was no way they couldn’t be happy. That’s what mattered. 

Catra pulled her closer and rubbed her cheek into silky blonde hair. Utter, bone deep contentment washing over her as storm clouds rolled outside and while there was no way she was getting back to sleep now, she wasn’t going to ruin this moment for anything. 

“I love you, Adora.”

_____

 

Adora’s thighs screamed as she rocked her hips down hard, but with the way Catra was pushing against the headboard, deeper against the toy and making those fucking sounds , there was nothing that could stop her even if she tried. She pushed her hands down harder, one on the junction of a tan hip and the other splayed over her own name scribbled on a rib, completely lost in the wildness below her. 

She gave a few more thrusts before Catra sucked in that shaky breath she had come to know as a bone rattling orgasm and Adora slowed down to let her ride it out in bliss. When those mismatched eyes finally came back to the present, blinking ever so slowly and drowned in pleasure, Adora just laughed and collapsed into a sweaty, tan neck. 

“We are never going to get your stuff moved in at this rate.” Her breathing was choppy, unsteady from her exertion and she could feel the goosebumps rise under her lips. Catra was always so sensitive after an orgasm. 

“Well,” Catra tried, voice thick and lustful, “you’re the one who dropped the box and found this.” She rolled her hips to gesture but let out a whimper at the feeling, she was ready again. 

Adora lifted herself back up onto her elbows and gave her a smirk while she pulled almost all the way out and sank back in even slower, watching in awe as those eyes she loved so much fluttered closed and Catra pawed at her back. “And are you complaining?”

“N-no,” she breathed and grabbed Adora’s ass to slam their hips together. “Come on, Princess. Show me what you got.”

She took the bait and drove right in, their pull bringing them ever closer. 

Sometime later when she really was tapped out, unable to go any longer and her whole body was fiery jello, Adora wrapped herself around the sweaty body of her soulmate. 

“Do you think a week is too soon to move you into my room?” A week, that was all it had been since that first night they had sex, but since then there had been no way they could part. 

Catra laughed sleepily, exhausted from the workout and numerous orgasms. “Why wouldn’t we? We already sleep together every night, in both meanings of the word.” Adora could hear the smirk in her voice. “It’s just easier this way. I don’t want to be away from you, Adora. I mean that.”

“Me either,” Adora said softly and dropped a kiss on Catra’s forehead. 

“Can we redecorate though?” The sleepy voice said again. “The white and gold is just a little….bright.”

“Anything you want.” That was the easiest thing she could ever give. Whatever Catra wanted, she would move worlds to get it for her. New decorations? Perfect. They could make it theirs, because that’s what they were now, wholly and completely. A pair, partners, bonded, soulmates. Whatever language, word, variation of what two people who loved each other so irrevocably was, that’s what they were. 

Adora could hear soft breaths turn slow and patterned and she knew Catra was asleep. 

Catra. There had been a spark from the moment Adora had chosen to sit next to her on that plane all those months ago, it was like she was drawn to those ridiculous socks and wild hair, drawn to the atmosphere that surrounded the person who was so closed off from the beginning. She took a long look over the sleeping form in front of her, so wonderfully naked and earth shatteringly gorgeous. Words couldn’t even describe how beautiful Catra was, how perfect and incredible she was. Maybe it was just the love talking, and oh holy fuck did she love her, but it was an all-encompassing truth. Catra was hers, and she was Catra’s. For this life and any that they may have lived before or after, in any universe or dimension. 

Adora closed her eyes and took in a deep breath, smelling the heady mixture of ravenous sex and just...Catra. She smelled like chaos and Adora wanted to bottle it up forever, but they had forever. She ran her thumb over that freckle ridden cheek, knowing that Catra slept soundly after such a workout, and got lost in silky smooth skin. She let tears flow freely as she thought about this move they were doing. It had been her idea, though it sounded silly to ask Catra to move in with her when she was just across the hall, but they hadn’t done anything that could be considered ‘normal’ yet, so why start now? 

Adora had noticed that she slept better when Catra was close, the many times they had fallen asleep together on the couch or balcony, but none of those times held a candle to being able to pretzel together and hold on all through the night. She had been a shitty sleeper her whole life, stemming from a subconscious need to be alert at all times in her foster home. It had gotten better when she lived with her moms and then on her own, but Catra made her feel whole. She made her feel safe and at home. Adora had been hooked from the start, wondering how 23 years of her life had passed by without that raspy voice and squeaky laugh. 

But they were here now, so open and alive together. Catra had been slow to open up, she understood why, but now she was completely unencumbered by her reservations. Their session with DT together had been the catalyst for Catra finally letting go, letting herself open up and believe that Adora wanted this too. It had broken her heart to hear that Catra worried for so long that she wasn’t wanted, when it was so far from the truth. Adora wanted her, all of her, every bad day, every issue, every argument and grumpy morning. She didn’t want that goopy, soft love that Glimmer and Bow had. Not that they weren’t cute, but Adora wanted something different. 

She wanted Catra, the chaos, the feeling that they could work together and bring down the barriers that they both had built up over a life of questioning. She wanted tight tank tops and ridiculous suits, she wanted dorky pancake dates and naming cars, she wanted to bump elbows while washing dishes and to kiss those stupid grins off that perfect face. She wanted to hold her through the nightmares that would never truly be gone, to learn how to be better at reading her emotions, she wanted to spend hours charting every line, scar, divot on tan skin and hear those breaths falter in needy lust. 

Adora was in love, and could reckon that she had been from the moment those sleepy, grumpy eyes turned to her in shock on that plane, but it didn’t matter when it happened. All that mattered was the woman sleeping so peacefully in her arms. She could see the edge of those black words written in that ethereal cosmic ink under the boob she now knew what tasted like and smiled. 

It had taken three days thus far to move the majority of Catra’s clothes across the hall, the two of them getting caught up in each other’s bodies every time. Not that they were complaining at all, the sex was just...fuck, she didn’t know it could be like this. Adora wondered if every set of soulmates had this kind of connection? If so, how did the world even continue to run? To her, there was currently no other place she would rather be than between Catra’s legs and she knew that her soulmate felt the same way. Their competitiveness had translated magically to the bedroom and Adora could already feel new muscles growing in places she hadn’t even known existed from the way Catra could bend her. 

Her breath caught in her throat as thoughts bombarded her conscience: Catra. She could chant that name every hour of the day and never be tired of it. Adora knew she would bore people to no end by just going on and on about her soulmate but her brain couldn’t process anything else. The moment she had seen that mark for the first time had been the most incredible, but oddest experience of her life. It was like everything she had ever known had been a lie, and Catra was her truth. They had talked about it, soft whispers in the night of how incredible a feeling it was to feel connected, whole, attached. Loved. Catra had explained the feeling as being completely rewired and she found that suiting. 

Growing up, the thought of soulmates to her sounded like a fairytale, but Catra wasn’t sunshine and rainbows. She wasn’t a glittery princess who woke up with perfect hair and shiny teeth and danced around tall grass. No. Catra had wild, untamable hair and lived in deep reds and blacks. She woke up with stinky morning breath and a near permanent growl on her face at the mere thought of having to get out of bed. Catra danced, but it wasn’t while singing through beautiful fields of tall green blades high on the mountain tops. Catra danced drunk, like the dork she was, danced to her music while she cleaned, had come to dancing in Adora’s lap (which was just...fuck).

Catra wasn’t sunshine and rainbows; she wasn’t crisp pastels and shiny hair. 

Catra wasn’t like anything Adora had expected, but she sure as fucking hell was her fairytale.

_____



“Hey Adora?” Catra called from the living room, “can you get me my birth certificate out of my drawer? I have to renew my license apparently.”

“Where is it?” She called back from their room which at the moment was...clearly lived in. Catra had been gone for the last week on some PhD conference resort. Adora didn’t know exactly what they did but she hadn’t been allowed to go and it was the first time in over a year and a half that they had been apart for more than a few days. Adora took the distance...not well, and had moped the entire time, not bothering to keep their room tidy. So now that Catra was back she had to stop her pity party. 

What, can’t a girl miss the love of her life?

“In a box, back corner of my left top drawer!”

Adora didn’t really know why she couldn’t just get up and get it herself but she didn’t mind. Knowing Catra, Melog had probably fallen asleep in her lap and there was no way that she would ever move a muscle to wake him up. It always made her smile, thinking about the day they were bored and ventured into the animal shelter down the road. Neither of them had planned to adopt an animal but the second Melog stuck his paw out of the cage and clawed Catra, she was hooked. The dorky name came with the cat and the two of them thought it fitting; a weird named cat for weird named parents. 

Adora opened the drawer and rifled through Catra’s nicely folded shirts and found the box at the back. Old habits die hard, and as a foster kid there was a general rule that you only keep the most important possessions you have in something you can grab quickly, you never knew when it was time to bolt. They were safe and comfortable here but Catra still clung to her habit of keeping her necessary documents in a box where no one but her would touch them. 

But the box didn’t have any kind of document Adora recognized when she opened it. Slips of mismatched paper filled it to the brim and at first she didn’t understand what they were but when she did her whole world stopped. 

Notes. Her notes, ones that she left randomly around the house for Catra to find. Notes she left in the lunch she would pack for her soulmate before leaving for school. Every single one looked to be in there, over a year and a half worth of silly little nothings that Adora hardly even remembered writing. Her hands worked of their own accord and she brushed trembling fingers over them and read as they turned over. 

Remind me we need more rice - Adora 

I’m at the gym - Adora

Melog threw up in the kitchen, I might have too. Love Adora

You’re like, really pretty. I’m also drunk, I love you - Adora

They were all just like that, random nothings. To her writing them at the time they seemed inconsequential, just words to let Catra know what the plan was. 

Taped to the underside of the top of the box were three notes, their separation from the others an obvious marking of favoritism, and Adora felt dizzy. 

I hope you have a great first day! Your students are lucky to have you. I’ll see you later - Adora

Can you make those patty things again when you get home? I’ve been craving them. - Adora 

I love you. 

She remembered the first and last one, the first one being from Catra’s first day teaching and the last one had been the first time she wrote down her love. She was confused for a moment why the middle one would be special but then she saw ‘home’ and understood. It had been so easy for Adora to see their apartment as home so quickly but it had taken a lot longer for Catra to understand that she was wanted, so she must have held onto that word that slipped so easily from Adora’s pen. Home, Catra was home.

“Adora? I didn’t think it would be that hard to fi-“ she turned and locked eyes with Catra who had stopped dead in the doorway. “That’s not the left drawer.” Her tone was flat and surprisingly even for coming across someone who had been carding through her personal belongings. 

“You saved all these?” Adora choked out and looked back at the box in awe. 

“Why would I throw them away?” Catra sounded affronted and finally moved into the room. “Adora why are you crying?”

She touched her cheek and hadn’t realized that tears had spilled over but honestly, what else was she supposed to do? “It’s just...you saved these? All of them?” She sounded like a broken record but didn’t know what else to do. 

“Of course I did,” Catra said easily. “They were from you, I could never throw them out. I-“ she paused and swiped her thumb over a tear on Adora’s cheek before continuing. “They’re really special to me, Adora. When I would get home after a bad day and I would find one they always made me feel better. Even if it was something small, knowing you thought of me….I had to keep them.”

Adora looked into her eyes and they were so set, so soft, so determined. Blue and gold held onto her own so reverently and she thought of how easily it had become for Catra to be so open about her feelings on everything. She was confident about herself now, about them, and it was the most attractive thing Adora had ever seen. There was no question, it was them. 

“Marry me,” Adora said in wonder. 

Catra looked shocked for a split second before a wide grin settled in, canines bearing so beautifully. “Ok.”

“Wait, really?” As if she hadn’t expected that answer for some reason. 

Catra threw her head back with the force of her laugh and wrapped her arms tightly around Adora’s stomach. “Of course I will, idiot. Who else would I marry, Sparkles? She’s cute and all but…”

“You want to marry me?”

“Without a doubt,” she said and rubbed a gentle thumb expertly over the spot on Adora’s hip and oh. “Unless you’re having second thoughts...but I kind of think you’re stuck with me.”

Adora kisses that stupid grin off her face, her favorite thing to do. “I think I like the sound of that.” 

Blue and gold had never looked so soft. “Me too.” Catra leaned forward and touched her forehead to Adora’s. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

And that’s all it ever was to them, it was that easy to just fall into something. They were soulmates, cosmically connected and fates deemed them designed for one another but at the end of the day it was just them, just Catra and Adora. Marks were only the map that led them to each other but they both had decided long ago that it would have always been them somehow. They both had their struggles, Catra even more so, but the balance they created with their teamwork of trust and love made every struggle from there on out one that they could conquer with barely a blink. 

Wherever they went, wherever they lived, who they met, if they got married right now or twenty years from now; none of that mattered so long as they were together, eternally circling each other in their own little orbit. No matter the time, no matter the universe or dimension, their souls would always find each other. 

Someday, one day maybe, if they ever have children the discussion of soulmates won’t have to be hushed, won’t have to be something to fear. They’ll tell their children the tale of two dorks who loved so wholly and didn’t let some construct get in the way of learning first, that would be the most important lesson. They will someday get marks of their own, and finding their person would be their own adventure, but they need to never forget the importance of growing together. It’s the best part, the part of earning their trust and love, not just accepting that the cosmic powers got it right.

But they had time for all of that, kids and places and other people would be a thought for later. Right now though, and oh how they loved to live in the now, all that mattered was each other. Stormy blues holding a steady gaze with mismatched eyes, effortlessly in love. Her soulmate, her future wife, Catra. Was there anything else that ever mattered?

Of course not.