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“Oh, for fuck’s sake, Adora, just turn on my daily mix or something!” Catra was already done with this road trip and they were only... 20 minutes into it. But that had been 20 minutes of Adora scrolling through playlist after playlist, skipping songs every fifteen seconds after she started them. Catra had no idea what she was looking for, but she did know that it was really fucking annoying. She also had absolutely no idea why she had agreed to do this; shut in a car for six hours plus, stuck with Adora’s nonsense? All to meet up with Adora’s merry band of idiots at some cabin in the middle of bum-fuck nowhere. She had to have better ways of spending her spring break.

 

Better than being shut in a car for six hours plus, stuck with Adora’s nonsense? Yeah, keep dreaming. “Okay, fine, sorry! Catra’s Daily Mix 1 it is. Let’s see what the Spotify gods think we should be listening to.” Adora tapped the playlist, dropping Catra’s phone into her lap as a folksy opener filled the car. “Banjo? Banjo!” Adora was nearly bouncing in her seat in excitement. 

 

“... Really?” Catra smiled despite herself, relaxing a little. The blonde’s enthusiasm for the dumbest little things could do that to her.

 

“I should get a banjo; how much do they even cost? I’m sure I could find someone to teach me and then I’d play the banjo ! Or there’s probably like, thousands of instructional YouTube videos!”

 

“You are not getting a fucking banjo, unless you also want a new goddamned roommate.” Catra could see it already: a month of listening to Adora clumsily pluck at strings, Banjo For Dummies videos playing at all hours of the day… Just so the stupid thing could be shoved in her closet and totally forgotten. 

 

Adora pouted as she turned her attention towards looking out the window. “I would be a good banjo player.”

 

“Yeah, sure you would. Say, how’s that crocheting going? Or the calligraphy?” Catra chuckled as she remembered the large box of Adora’s crafting shit in the back corner of her bedroom, gathering dust. It did make for a decent spot for her “dirty but not dirty enough to wash” clothes. Catra found even the idea of that pile to be absolutely fucking disgusting.

 

“Low blow, low blow! You leave my yarn arts out of this. Besides, I haven’t heard you complaining about having that blanket I made you to snuggle up with every night.” A satisfied smirk spread across Adora’s face, knowing she had Catra beat.

 

Catra warmed at the thought of the handmade blanket spread across the bottom of her bed. It was full of dropped stitches, irregular lines, and the brown, lime green, yellow, and orange chevron stripes were more than a little weird. What the fuck had Adora been thinking with that color scheme? But she still treasured it, wrapping herself in it every damn night since she was gifted it. It just felt just what she envisioned snuggling up to Adora would feel like; warm and secure and completely safe. “I got something out of that obsession. What’s a banjo going to do for me?”

 

“I’d play it for you! Just think how much better this trip would be if it also included a personal concert in the woods.” Catra clammed up immediately, jaw set, and thoughts racing as she tried to not unpack whatever the fuck that meant. It was shit like that that made Catra wonder about the blonde’s true intent. Do friends just say shit like that to one another? Catra really had no idea, having never been the type to have a ton of friends before. Let alone ones that actually really truly seemed to like her . Adora was probably just joking around, trying to find any excuse to get whatever she wanted (apparently a banjo today, of all the fucking things in the world). It made Catra’s head hurt to analyze too hard. Jesus, this girl is too much…

 

Fortunately, the folksy song had turned into a heavy metal rager, and any conversations around banjos and personal concerts could be dropped. Catra decided to focus on driving, letting the angry music distract her from her thoughts. Adora suffered through the song, obviously much happier when it settled into a more soothing, acoustic indie piece. 

 

She saw Adora reach into her bag and pull out a travel neck pillow, the print covered in horses, settling her head against the window. That pillow was unquestionably designed for a 7 year old in mind. It made Catra think about how in the world she could be so attracted to a goddamn horse girl? The universe really is a sick motherfucker.

 

A couple songs later, Catra realized Adora had fallen asleep. It was the blonde’s superpower; she really could sleep anywhere or in any position and once out, slept like fucking the dead. Getting her to slow down enough to utilize the power was the real trick. Still, Catra had always been very envious of the ability; she was a stupidly light sleeper. The music continued on, Catra barely paying attention by this point. Until... uh oh. One of her favorite songs ever. But also one that made the tips of her ears go red given her current situation and the company she was with.

 

Your pussy is God and I love it… The song began.

 

She really should just turn it off. That would be the smart thing to do, instead of tormenting herself to listen to a song about worshipping pussy when Adora was right there . She opted to just turn it down, reminding herself it would be over in three minutes and twenty five seconds. Not a big deal.

 

Slowly her fingers began to beat against the steering wheel in beat with the bass line of the song. She really did love King Princess. Catra stole a quick glance to Adora; still out cold, thank god.

 

Feeling braver, her tapping turned to humming along. It was just so fucking catchy. Before she knew it, less than a minute into the song, she heard her own voice softly croon out…

 

I’ve never been good at this nice shit,

But I can try if you like it.

It gets hard when you give a fuck,

Get knocked down from some other love

But their best wasn’t good enough

And you’re number one to me.

 

Catra wanted to close her eyes and just breathe for a minute once the song had finished; too bad she was driving. She had sung along to the rest of the song, voice not that much higher than a whisper- she was pretty sure at least.  It had felt almost…exhibitionistic to be singing along to it. Catra knew she had a decent voice, some might even call it good. It gave her a sense of quiet pride, though she really didn’t care for others to know about it. She only sang when she was alone in the car or certain Adora was out of the apartment. It was her own special thing.

 

“Done much worshipping lately?” Catra’s hands gripped the steering wheel, nails digging in sharply to the cover. Adora was still resting against the window, that stupid travel pillow around her neck, and Catra groaned in misery at her smirk. That song was like, really gay. Like, wow. And in your daily mix, hmmm, isn’t that just soooo interesting.”

 

Catra snorted sharply, trying to fight rising panic. Adora had heard her; the sneaky snake only looked to be sleeping. And she was asking about it- what the fuck? 

 

At this point, she should probably just steer into the skid. Isn’t that what they tell you to do when you’re it looks like you’ll be hurtling towards a fiery crash? “Yeah, well. In case you’ve forgotten, princess, I AM “like, really gay. Like wow.” Not exactly a huge surprise that some of my music would be queer as fuck.” 

 

“... I definitely haven’t forgotten.” Blue eyes turned to her, considering her closely. Now what did that mean?

 

Get ready for impact. Catra knew she was just directly diving into collison aaaaaand with hours of drive time left no less. “Mmm… Been pretty much an atheist lately.”

 

“That’s surprising. I would have guessed you were pretty devout.”

 

“Trust me, princess, if I were doing any worshiping, you’d hear the reverent prayers of the other follower. Your room isn’t that far from mine.” Catra sniggered as Adora had the decency to turn bright red, suddenly outsmarted in her own game.

 

“... Good.” She stammered, sitting up and concentrating at the passing scenery.

 

“Good that I’m not getting laid. Thanks, princess. Love knowing my friends want to see me die all alone.” 

 

Adora’s arms thrashed up in surprise as she whipped around towards the driver. “N-no! That’s not what I meant! It’s, it’s good that I wouldn’t have to hear any… any noises that might come from… your bedroom .” She squeaked out lamely. “... And I don’t think you’ll be dying alone. I mean, anyone with eyes and half a brain would want to…”

 

“... Want to, what , Adora?” 

 

“H-hey, rest stop in half a mile! Need to pee; can we stop, please?” 

 

“...Sure, Adora. I could use a stretch and maybe some caffeine. Still a long way to go.” 

 

Refreshed by the quick break, the pair climbed back into the car. Catra started up the daily mix where they left off, not wanting to risk another bout of Adora ADD. 

 

“... Sing for me again?” What- sing for her? No, not a fucking chance. Plus earlier she hadn’t been singing for Adora, more just *around* Adora. 

 

“Not a chance in hell, princess.”

 

“Please?”

 

“No.”

 

“Please, please, please...”

 

“I said NO, Adora!” Catra lightly smacked her hand against the steering wheel to emphasize her point. “I am not a goddamn record for you to play whenever you want.”

 

“Your voice is just… so beautiful. I’m not trying to force you to be like a record, though really, a record, Catra? Who listens to records any more? I just… wanted to hear it again…”

 

A deep inward sigh, stony silence outwardly. Adora watched Catra for a while, hoping that the other girl would relent. It didn’t seem likely, so she pulled out her phone and sank into the nightmare rectangle. It was the first time this trip any sort of entertainment other than conversation and music seemed necessary. Catra berated herself for driving the other girl away.

Soon the playlist ended and crushing silence surrounded the interior of the car. Catra couldn’t take it any more; she was feeling guilty at losing her cool over something as stupid as being asked to sing, something she really, really enjoyed doing. But it was also like, so personal? And to be asked to do it by her

 

“Hey, uh, could you turn on some more music?” Catra said tentatively, trying to make it sound like a peace treaty.

 

Adora didn’t even glance up from her phone. “What do you want to hear?”

 

“Uh, look, go under my private lists and find the one that’s called ‘Her’. A-And make sure it’s not on shuffle; I like to listen to this one in order…” Was she really going to do this? Catra had spent months creating this list. The list was a carefully constructed window to her innermost thoughts surrounding love, relationships, and well, Adora . It ranged all over the fucking place; angsty songs of yearning (ugh, pathetic) to songs that made her feel exceedingly cocky and just a bit horny. The list wasn’t just all gay music; Catra was not completely one-dimensional. But the overall vibe just screamed I’m a big, gay, lonely lesbian! Love me you beautiful idiot!  

 

And yet she was going to willingly let Adora listen? What kind of mind altering drugs was she on, really; must have been something in that cheap rest station coffee.

 

But the truth of it was that she just couldn’t take the silence any more and the fucking tension! Maybe she was getting ready to give herself an absolutely miserable vacation, but this car ride made Catra realize that something had to give. Something really should have been done about this months ago; the pair had been living together since their random freshman dorm placement. It was now almost the end of junior year and things just kept being so hot and cold between them. Well, not cold; they worked together too well to say that (which is why they decided to carry their living arrangement into their second and years of undergrad- just not in the dorms). It was more like a fucking rollercoaster for Catra, trying to figure out if her roommate was gay or not. Or even just into her like that, labels be damned. 

 

If this plan didn’t work, there had to be at least one cliff near the cabin she could throw herself off; nature was good like that.

 

Adora stared at the driver for a moment, brow clearly furrowed, before complying with the request. Catra could practically feel the curiosity dripping off her. Adora didn’t look through the list, merely pressed play and rested her head against the headrest, fully prepared to listen. A private playlist of Catra’s demanded full attention.

 

Catra gave a shuddering inhale, knowing what the first song on the list was, preparing herself to start singing. The familiar guitar chords began too soon. If I can make it through this one...

 

Am I allowed to look at her like that?

Could it be wrong

When she’s just so nice to look at?

 

Adora sucked in a huge breath, completely captivated by what was happening right in front of her. Catra was singing! And not like earlier when she was clearly attempting to hide it. No. This was steady and strong… and completely heart wrenching. Even Adora’s oblivious self could see just how much this song resonated with Catra.

 

“...She means everything to me…” Catra ended with the song softly, speaking more than singing by this point. That was more emotionally demanding than she could have ever imagined. Each word felt like a piercing blade through her heart. It was only through purely obstinate willpower she managed to finish and finish without tears.

 

The next song began, an upbeat and catchy song by Zedd. Catra purposefully designed her list to jump from depressing to peppy, so hopefully she wouldn’t completely bottom out every time she listened. It was a bit jarring at first, but now she couldn’t imagine the list any other way. She let the background violins dull her senses, trying to regain her composure.

 

“Catra?” Adora began, biting her lip.

 

“Hmmm?”

 

“... Thank you. For singing. That was…” Words failed Adora. Catra again wished she could close her eyes for a few moments. “... Indescribable.”

 

Catra just nodded wearily. “You’re welcome, princess. I sang it for you.”

 

Adora gave a stifled cry almost akin to pain. It made Catra’s eyebrows crinkle together in resignation as her heart broke. And here it is: the inevitable fallout from my stupid, stupid decisions. Goodbye vacation, goodbye hopes, dreams, any chance at happiness... goodbye Adora. Catra’s world was spiraling.

 

“... You mean everything to me, Catra. I know! I know I have a really fucking weird way of showing it; I mean I never even told you I was gay! … But it’s true, I swear it…” Adora’s eyes were filling.

 

Abruptly, Catra pulled to the shoulder, only dimly aware that it was actually a scenic overview area. Lucky timing on her part. She needed to process what the actual fuck was happening right now. Operating a motorized vehicle would not be possible when her brain finally imploded.

 

Once the car was safely turned off, she ripped the AUX cord out of her phone as if she were blaming it for the situation Catra currently found herself in. She could only sit and stare straight ahead, breathing shallowly. “You’re gay.”

 

“Well, I mean, I-I think so? I, uh, really just started to figure it out for sure in the last year or so.” She chuckled nervously. “Though, I started to wonder shortly after meeting you, go figure... But I’d gone to a couple presentations from the Pride Center for, like, questioning people and a lot of what they said just, y’know, fit . I haven’t been on many dates or anything like that! A f-fling here and there; gotta try it before you commit! ... But yeah. I’m gay. My love of field hockey and summers spent playing softball should have probably tipped me off waaaaay sooner though…”

 

Catra shook her head, absorbing all the new information, snorting at Adora’s attempt at humor with stereotypes. Flings? Huh. She wouldn’t have guessed the princess had it in her (or let anyone put it in her), only momentarily wondering who and when. Didn’t matter, wasn’t important, and actually she was actually a little impressed that Adora had managed to be so stealthy about it when they freaking lived together. What better way was there to figure out if you had the hots for chicks then to just… dive right in?  

 

A loud horrified gasp from Adora caused Catra to jump so high her head smacked against the ceiling of the car.  “OH MY GOD.”

 

“What!” Catra was gripping at her chest, heart hammering, and looking around wildy to figure out what sort of mortal peril the two were in.

 

“I just… I just assumed ! I mean, oh my god! I’m so sorry, I assumed the song was about me when, really, you just said it was FOR me and since I asked you to sing then it probably wasn’t even about me, and oh, I am such an idiot… Just leave me on the side of the road to die, please...” Adora put her face in her hands, head hung low in shame.

 

Catra began to laugh uproariously, though really there was very little humor in it. She began smacking her head against the steering wheel. Of fucking course she’d be that completely dense. Definitely going to have some head trauma before this car ride is over. After she was sure if she hit her head one more time it would cause permanent damage, Catra lifted and deadpanned.   “No, Adora, it was definitely about you. And for you. It can be two things.”

 

“Oh.” Adora peeked one blue eye out to regard her as if trying to determine whether the other woman was pulling her leg. Like Catra would ever fucking joke about something this raw. “Really?”

 

Catra’s head was throbbing and not just from her sustained cranial damage. “Yes, really. Did I give you the impression that I sing an emotional song of pure unrequited yearning for every single girl that sat in my car? No. That’s just for you, dummy. It’s always been just you. For as long as I’ve known you...”

 

“So… So, what do we do now?” Adora’s voice was small and shy, but she hummed in appreciation at Catra’s confession.

 

Catra gave a long exhale. Fuck if I know, never thought I’d get to this point in my wildest dreams. Just to give her hands something to do while she considered the question, Catra picked up her phone to start the music back up and see where in the playlist they’d even left off.  

 

Oh. That was just too good.

 

“Well, princess, I’m really not too sure; unfamiliar territory, for sure.” She flashed a quick smile at the blonde who bit her lip in appreciation back at her. “But hey, let’s keep heading to the cabin. Maybe the music can help us figure it out along the way. Got us this far, didn’t it?” 

 

Adora smiled faintly and nodded her head in agreement, so obviously relieved. 

 

Catra’s smile turned devilish as she pressed play. The pulsing beat of Bestie by Sizzy Rocket began. “Let’s just see if this gives us a few ideas on how to spend the week…”

 

Adora’s face was burning with embarrassment 50 seconds into the song. Catra just laughed and laughed, so thankful for music that allowed them to say the things they couldn’t otherwise.

Chapter Text

Bow and Glimmer had rushed outside to meet them as soon as Catra’s car had pulled into the gravel drive. They wasted no time cornering Adora, hanging on her, hugging her, and just being generally animated nuisances. They barely flicked a glance towards Catra, mumbling a quick “Hey, Catra…” but she knew that was of her own design, not their rudeness.

Bow, Glimmer, and Adora had been inseparable all throughout high school, even following one another to college. It was only by the magic of random freshman housing assignments that Catra and Adora had even met. Once it was clear to all that she and Adora had hit it off as roommates, the incumbent friend pair had tried to include Catra in their adventures. Catra wanted no part of this ‘Best Friend Squad’. The sickly, saccharine friendship dynamic would ruin her teeth and she couldn’t afford to get cavities filled all the fucking time. She made her presence known enough over the years to not be a full-on bitch, but that was just for Adora’s sake more than any desire on Catra’s part. She pulled her suitcase from the trunk, hating herself for packing so damn much for only a week trip. This fucker was heavy and she was stupid to think that the muscle she came with would carry it for her once in the orbit of her two stupid friends. It’s amazing they even let me drive with her… Catra was feeling a little bitter towards the welcome committee. Nothing new there.

Adora watched the other girl enter the cabin, wincing at the slight difficulty Catra was having getting the bag up the stairs. Dammit, I should have carried that for her… Damn you, Bow. Adora glared slightly at her friend, who gave her a confused look in response. “Soooo, did it work? Are you two… together now?” He could barely get the words out past his excitement, which was not even weakened by the frostiness in the look Adora shot at him. 

“Does it look like we’re together, Bow? She just went into the house by herself. And had to carry her own bag!” Adora crossed her arms over her chest. She was fully irritated that her friends had blocked her so effectively from Catra, but more so mad at herself for letting it happen.

“Oh… Yeah. We probably should have, uh, given you two a minute, huh? Maybe at least get in the door…” Bow rubbed a hand against the back of his head in a clearly guilty manner. “We were just so excited, we know you’ve been wanting the chance to do this for a while…”

“Bow, they had six hours alone together, not to mention all this time of being roommates, for Christ’s sake. If Adora chose to squander the time given, that’s her own fault.” Glimmer huffed, not one to watch her boyfriend be chastised without getting some jab back in retaliation. “So, spill it. Did you go through with it? You two a thing yet?”

“Well, um… I’m not really sure?” Adora watched as Bow’s face fell and Glimmer’s eyebrow raised. 

“You’re not sure.” Glimmer’s voice was clipped. “What exactly happened in the six hours you had alone with her. Let me guess- more of the same as the last three years that you’ve had with her.”

“Hey! That’s not fair! You know I was… figuring some things out.” She lightly punched Glimmer in the shoulder. “Don’t be a jerk. I mean, something DID happen…” Adora trailed off, debating the merits of keeping Catra’s privacy against the dying urge to process with her best friends over the events in the car. 

As she had said to Catra, what had happened between them was indescribable. It wasn’t the plan. So, so, SO far from Adora’s plan... but she really couldn’t argue with the end results. Or could she? Because really there hadn’t been any end results. She liked when Catra told her to let the music lead them, though the song that played right after nearly sent her into cardiac arrest. A song about wanting to fuck your best friend? Well, it wasn’t off the table, no way, but Adora was in it for more than a quick fuck. She had had that already and was smart enough to know there were enough thirsty girls out there she could have her fill, if she really wanted. But no, Adora was not interested in just that, not with Catra. She wanted Catra fully and completely and when Adora wanted something… She made it happen.

Adora just needed to get things back on track. She reasoned with herself that it had been through Bow and Glimmer that Adora and Catra were even in that car together in the first place. It was Bow and Glimmer who had come up with the idea of Spring Break Wilderness Week and they were the ones to make it a reality. In many ways, it was wrangling cats to get it to happen but about a month and a half before break, things were settled enough to nail down who was carpooling with whom. Bow asserted that he couldn’t stand the thought of not being there at the cabin right at check-in, a surprisingly early 1 PM. Glimmer hated the idea of leaving so early in the morning (“Check-in is an estimate not a goal, Bow!”) but eventually gave into her boyfriend’s desire for ‘punctuality’. Adora was planning on going with the flow, happy to get down there at whatever time her friends wanted. 

The flow was mildly upset when Glimmer surprised her with, “Doesn’t Catra have a mid-morning class on Thursdays?”

Adora crinkled her brows in surprise. “Well, yes… but how’d you know that?”

“Adora. You talk about her schedule all the time. You practically plan your schedule around hers! I had the damn thing memorized by the second week of the semester.” Glimmer threw her hands up as Adora blushed as her own opacity. “Here’s what’s going to happen. One, you’re going to invite her to join us on our vacation. Don’t give me that look , there’s no way she’s going to say no if it’s something you truly want, trust me.  Two, you two are going to drive down together with no one else in that damn car after her class is finished, and three, you’re going to finally ‘fess the fuck up because I cannot take the ‘Lesbian Pining Hour’ any more!”

Adora had tried to protest at first, though half-heartedly. Bow did his part to soften some of his girlfriend’s… directness, while also encouraging Adora that it was a pretty solid plan. She relented before long, fully convinced that it was a moot point because there was no chance of Catra even agreeing to give up her spring break to hang with them, anyway. 

Except, it didn’t happen that way at all. As soon as Adora said to Catra that they could ride down together after her last class the day before break, Catra simply agreed to go and asked the logistics of the vacation- who was going, how much would it cost, exactly what part of nature was she resigning herself to? And… that was it. The vacation was on.

Of course, Adora still had step three of Glimmer’s instructions to follow. She spent the month leading up to the break mentally preparing exactly how she was going to confess her feelings and ask Catra out. Obsessing over every little syllable in every word she had prepared. Once she even thought about play-acting it out with Bow (when Glimmer wasn’t around; Glim would want no part of that) but couldn’t bring herself to face that embarrassment. Besides… it was private. 

Adora finally decided she would share some of what happened in the car. Not all; that was strictly between her and Catra. “... She sang to me, guys.”

Bow’s eyes were bursting with stars. “ She did?! Oh, my gosh that is SO CUTE. What did she sing?”

Adora just shook her head in response. That was hers. It would always be hers. “Not for you to know, Bow. That’s mine.”

Bow knew better than to press when Adora spoke like that. “Oookay, possessive much?” He smiled slightly and held up his hands in surrender. 

Adora chuckled in spite of herself; she knew Bow would never pressure her into sharing more than she wanted. No, that was Glimmer’s job. She glanced over at the short girl, surprised at her lack of commentary on the situation. Glimmer appeared to be thinking something over very deeply. “All right there, Glim?”

Glimmer clapped her hands together loudly, causing both Bow and Adora to start. “Well! That settles it then.” She said happily, as if the trio had just been in deep argument over something that needed settling. 

“Uh, what’s settled?” Bow started to look nervous, never quite knowing the depth of the machinations of his girlfriend’s mind.

“We’re having a karaoke night. Tonight.”

Adora and Bow shared a look and then groaned. They couldn’t stop this, they both knew it. Bow’s look to Adora said I’ll do my best to temper her as much as I can… Maybe we can push it off a night or two? Adora just nodded, biting her lip, hoping Glimmer’s tenacity and love of parties (usually themed ones at that) wouldn’t destroy what she had started to build in the car. She wasn’t sure she could forgive Glimmer if she did anything permanent between her and Catra. But it was also her meddling that got the ball rolling, so let’s cut her a little slack.

Before this could merit any more discussions amongst the trio, Catra appeared in the doorway of the cabin. “Look, I know you all just had to spend- what, a whole morning apart. But would one of you jackasses,” She pointed to Bow and Glimmer. “Mind coming in to show me where my room is? I’m sick of just hanging out in the front hallway with my bag. As amazing company as it is.”

“Oh! Right. We’re coming right now.” Glimmer called up to Catra. “Okay, I’m going to go let Catra know where you two are staying, then head to the kitchen to figure out food for tonight. Bow, why don’t you go gather the others. Adora, just grab your stuff and follow behind us. If you get lost, second floor, door on the left.”

“Pretty sure I can manage, Glim.” Adora huffed back to the trunk. “I’m not that dumb…”

“Eh, remains to be seen. See you in a minute!” She blew an over the top kiss at the blonde, just to rankle her ire even more.

At Sparkle’s call, Catra had given a hmph and walked back into the cabin. There was absolutely no question in her mind of what the three had been discussing; she only hoped Adora had the sense to not embarrass her too much. Besides, there’s nothing really to discuss. You sang, you two talked for like a minute, and then… things just went back to normal for you guys. Not a big deal. Catra could lie to herself better than any con artist flim-flammer out there.

It had been a big deal. There were feelings afoot and honestly the only saving grace of the situation was how quickly the pair had fallen back into their normal routine. The lude song had eased so much of the tension inherent in the situation. The break to normalcy gave Catra a respite, a chance to ponder Adora’s earlier question of “What do we do now?”

What now, indeed. Catra didn’t know how to answer. She’d never had a… girlfriend before, wouldn’t even know where to begin on how to get one. She’d had hook-ups a plenty and even those had stopped when she realized just how into Adora she really was. Her heart ( ugh gross ) and body just weren’t… into it. She’d also had a shitty date here or there but never a stable, long term investment. Meaningless sex (once upon a time) and festering yearning were kind of Catra’s thing.

But she couldn’t help but admit to herself that maybe it was time to try a new thing. In fact, it dawned on Catra that she could have everything she’d been wanting for the last three years. If only she could figure out how to tell that to Adora. Always came down to talking with them, didn’t it?

“All right, Kit Cat, you two are on the second floor, first door on the left.” Glimmer said as she walked past towards the kitchen.

“The fuck did you just call me!”

Her only response was Glimmer’s raucous laughter. She stewed in the hallway, apparently her new fucking home with as much time as she was spending there, long enough for Adora to catch up.

“Hey.” Adora said simply, smiling widely. 

“Hey yourself.” Catra couldn’t stop herself from returning the grin as she gazed into those blue, blue eyes. Her irritation melted away instantly under those eyes. Everything she’d been wanting… and it was right in front of her, waiting. 

“You coming?” Adora jerked her head towards the stairs.

Not yet, princess, but there’s always the chance. She smirked at her own inner wit. “Lead the way.”

Adora paused and placed a hand on Catra’s shoulder. “... I think they’re up to something.” She knew Glimmer’s karaoke night was going to happen, though she had hoped that with Bow running interference that it could at least be put off for a night. Or maybe the crew would be too tired after traveling to participate tonight… Not likely with Sea Hawk around.

Catra rolled her eyes so hard they might burst out of her skull. Not exactly earth shattering news, but she appreciated that Adora was trying to give her the heads up so she could brace herself for something she inevitably wasn’t going to like. Catra didn’t like many things and surprises were near the top of the list (as apparent from the blunt head trauma she put herself through after Adora’s surprise outburst in the car).

But Adora knew this about her, accepted it about her, and even more wanted to make the situation as easy as possible for Catra. It was things like that, like actually caring for her , that put Adora at the top of Catra’s Likes list. “When aren’t the Moron Twins up to something, Adora? Listen. Did you tell them about the car? The… song?” She lowered her eyes, surprised at herself for asking so outrightly. But she had to know exactly what she was walking into this week. Because if Bow and Glimmer knew, then everyone else would after the first drop of booze passed their lips. Catra could take it- with enough mental preparation. Maybe. Hurling herself off a cliff was always there as plan B.

Adora heaved a big sigh. “A little bit. Not all of it! No, god, I want to keep that memory all for myself…” Adora lifted Catra’s head up gently, soft fingers under her chin. “That’s for us.”

Such gentle words and with such a powerful one ending it. Us . They could be an us. She swallowed hard and tried to regain her footing in the situation, feeling so relieved that they at least hadn’t heard every gory detail. “Us, huh? Getting mighty ahead of ourselves, aren’t we?”

Adora laughed and dropped her hand from Catra’s face. She turned to head up the stairs, but not before looking over her shoulder at Catra. “I like my chances.” Unwavering blue eyes twinkled down at her. “Besides, you just said “we” so…” Adora turned and marched up the stairs, an obvious challenge in her stride.

“That- that’s not what I meant! God, you’re so stupid!” Catra sputtered, burning a little at the intensity of Adora’s words. She considered staying rooted in the hallway, not wanting to give in so easily to the blonde, but she had spent enough time in this fucking hallway. She had paid for the chance to be humiliated in a whole damn cabin, so it was time to take advantage of that privilege. “You could have at least carried my things, Adora!”

Footsteps thundered back down the steps, faster than Catra could possibly comprehend what was happening. “Oh, my gosh! Yes, yes! Give it to me!” Adora ripped the bag out of Catra’s hands, easily lifting it despite having her own luggage to wrangle with. 

“... Bet I can make you say that again.” Catra brushed a hand across Adora’s collarbone, lightly dragging her nails over the exposed skin as she passed to ascend the stairs to the second floor. Catra was feeling emboldened by her own flirting, but pointedly did not look back to see if the other girl was following. Your chances will be on my terms, princess.

Adora just stood there, breathless, and not from her exterion it took to rush down the stairs. A large puppy-grin broke out across her face as she exalted in the certainty that this was going to be the best trip ever. “Adora, get up here. Now; I need my stuff.”

She happily complied, only banging the bags against the walls a few times as she climbed. Catra was already in the room when she arrived and was checking out the digs. It was simple; two full size beds with an end table in the middle, a dresser and small closet. Catra pointed to the bed furthest from the door. “Mine. You can put the bag on it; I’d like to unpack a bit before I’m forced to socialize .” She shuddered heavily at the word.

Adora set her own suitcase down and obliged Catra’s command. She wasn’t really in the mood to unpack yet though, content to just watch Catra begin to set up around the room. “You mind if I put on some music?”

Adora shook her head, still watching the other girl. “Music’s been real good to me this trip, so nope. Definitely don’t mind.” She swore she saw Catra blush a little as she pulled out her phone.

What to play, what to play… God, if I start acting like Adora earlier with her music frenzy... She finally settled on what she figured would be safe and right up the blonde’s alley. It was one of Catra’s happy mixes, uncreatively named Bops , containing all the ear-candy and playful nonsense she could possibly want. It also lived in her private lists, because the world couldn’t possibly know that sometimes Catra was happy , rare as it was, or that she might even listen to the occasional Carly Rae Jepsen song. That would totally ruin her rep. Murder would likely need to be committed.

Catra allowed this list to play on shuffle and was pleased with the Spotify roulette’s first choice: Nights With You by MØ. A perfect start. The artist swore up and down that was it not a gay anthem, though Catra was firmly in the “Yeah, they gay” camp. Regardless of the artist’s intent, it was the upbeat jam she needed right now to get herself in the right mindset. It also perfectly described how she wanted to spend this next week, not to mention every other week: With you . She let herself relax as she went about putting her things away, and maybe- if someone were watching very closely, even seeming to dance a little.

Adora was that person who was watching very closely. She pulled her knees up to her chest and rested her head there, blue eyes tracking the other woman intensely. She should probably feel some shame in her gaze; it was possibly a little creepy. But she couldn’t tear her eyes away, especially the first time she saw a little extra movement in her hips. Already an exciting area of the other woman’s body to Adora, but was that… dancing? Adora giggled at the thought. “What’s so funny over there, princess?”

“You. You were dancing a little.”

“Was not!”

“Okay, Catra. You were just… walking rhythmically. Whatever helps you sleep at night.” Adora laid back against the bed, pleased at her quip back. It wasn’t often she got in a hit to Catra first. Adora knew what she saw and loved that she got to witness it. 

“Listen here, bub,” Catra had stalked over to Adora’s bed as she lay there preening and was now leaning over top of the girl. Her body was to the side of Adora’s, arms supporting herself next to Adora’s head. Catra was dimly aware of the song change, but not enough to register what was next in the line-up. There were more interesting things to be focused on currently. “If I were dancing… You’d know it. Because you’d be begging me for more.” She closed her argument with a devilish smile.

Adora sucked in a breath, eyes widening. With every word she spoke, Catra had begun to lean further and further in towards Adora. Soon their faces were mere inches apart. One tiny stretch and the gap would close entirely, only marred slightly at the somewhat strange angle. Adora had just given some thought to opening her legs a little wider, hoping the girl above her would take the hint and reposition herself better. Unfortunately, that was when Adora realized what song was playing around them. Never one to ask questions later, Adora blurted out. “Excuse me- is this Party in the USA?”

Catra pulled back slightly, gritting her teeth. Way to break the mood there, babe. It was a damn good thing Adora was hot as hell; it made up for her complete lack of timing and awareness. Catra had a choice. She briefly considered explaining the history behind the song; once under a cocktail of mind-altering chemicals Catra had heard this song and absolutely rocked the fuck out to it and now when she heard it she was briefly transported back to one good night . Or she could get this moment back on track for god’s sake and maybe move them a little further out of limbo. “What? It’s a goddamned jam.”

“Yeah, but you’re Catra! And this is… Miley fucking Cyrus!” 

“So what?”

“It’s just so… sweet and happy and dumb. And you like it ?”

“Well, I like you too, don’t I?” Catra was proud of how easily she said it. No angst this time. “Maybe I like sweet and happy and dumb things. Deep down.” She allowed herself to once again be positioned just over the blonde’s face.

“Mmmm… I must be sweet, happy, dumb and lucky then…” Adora could take it no longer. She pulled Catra over top her properly, amazed at how pliant and yielding the woman was in being repositioned, then closed the distance between them. Instantly their lips slid together, though staying soft and sweet as the moment had been. A voltage Adora had never felt before shot through her entire system; she was certain she felt her mind do a complete wipe and reboot.

It was easily the best kiss she ever had. She completely lost track of time, her position on earth, practically her own name… There was only Catra. 

“Adora, Catra; get your lesbo asses down here! Everyone is back and waiting outside for us!” Glimmer loved that she could finally lump Adora into that category a little more publically. She didn’t begrudge anyone who was questioning; especially in Adora’s case, as Glimmer knew she grew up in a less than supportive environment. Had watched the effects of that upbringing on her best friend for years. Nonetheless, it was about time there was some progress in that area of Adora’s life. She wasn’t necessarily the biggest fan of Catra, but couldn’t deny that she made Adora really fucking happy. And in the end, that’s all Glimmer really cared about; she could dish the bitch right back to Catra, no problem. 

Reluctantly, the pair broke their kiss. Catra stayed on top of Adora and Adora’s hands were still glued to Catra’s hips. They weren’t that ready to break the moment, especially after just one holler up to them. They could easily push the limits for another 15, 20  minutes before Glimmer came stomping up the stairs,  with a bucket of water to throw over them. Quite possibly literally. Kissing Adora more was definitely worth the risk, but also Catra wasn’t quite ready to be caught in a full on make-out yet. She pulled them both upright, deciding that was a slightly less damning position. Leaving Adora’s lap entirely was out of the question, however.

Still overwhelmed with the urge to kiss her again and never stop, Catra figured conversation would be a better use for their mouths… For now. “Lesbo asses, huh? So Sparkles knew you were gay before me? Not cool, Princess.” Catra was kidding; obviously Adora’s best friend of how many years would know something like that about her already. She just needed some deflection before she did something really dumb like tell Adora how mind-blowing kissing her was or how she didn’t want to kiss anyone else ever again. That Adora was the girl for her for always and forever, no questions asked. 

“Yeah, well, I didn’t spend the last three years half in lo…” Adora halted and blushed. Probably a little strong so soon; though totally true. “... Majorly crushing on Glimmer so it felt like a pretty safe bet to let her know first. Besides, I just had to, y’know, be sure before I told you.” She gave a little shrug as if the matter were settled.

“How did you figure it out, by the way? What was the major tipping point?” Adora’s coming out could be really interesting, given she was pretty much a dumbass even before she decided to throw gay in there.

Considering the question, Adora turned her focus to the music that was still playing, more than a little struck by the coincidence that such a song would be playing right now. 

But I’m sick of hiding my heart

When the stars move on

I came to the conclusion I like girls

I’ve seen this girl on the tv

See this girl in the mall

I see picture in my head

Of my head between their legs...

It had taken Adora a lot of late night soul searching to finally admit to herself that she had always been attracted to women. She just never had been in an environment to explore it when she was younger. Super religious and conservative foster parents did not make for an out and proud gay girl. She busied herself with academic excellence and more extracurriculars than her schedule could handle in high school instead of facing anything along those lines; boys or girls. She was pretty sure Bow and Glimmer tried to coax it out of her more than once but eh, stubbornness was one of Adora’s most endearing qualities.

Now that she was away from the Bible thumping, Adora was free to do whatever (and whoever) she wanted. So in conclusion, not a very interesting or unique story. Nothing really worth sharing since there was never a big moment for her. Basically she stopped fighting it one day and decided it was time to face facts. I’ve got the girl on my mind all the time Yeah, that probably had a lot to do with it. Adora shrugged again. “Aside from again, majorly crushing on you for years? Eh, you know. ‘I kissed a girl and liked it’ and all that…”

Catra wrinkled her nose in disgust. Katy fucking Perry?! And she knocked me for ‘Party in the USA’... “Don’t ever quote that queer-baiting travesty at me again. Ugh. If that’s your go-to for gay music, we have a long way to go in your education, princess. Speaking of education… Your hook-ups. Who and when, Adora?”

“What- you jealous?” Adora cocked an eyebrow, a smug smile on her face. The thought of making Catra jealous was more than a little appealing. There were enough nights in their first year or so of living together where Catra did not come home until very late at night. Which meant Adora did not sleep that night. She could remember the saint-like patience Bow had shown even after the first dozen times this happened; she’d call him at some ungodly hour, frantically pacing around their dorm room and spouting off impossible scenarios for why Catra wouldn’t be home yet. They usually involved some sort of mortal peril (that naturally Adora would need to rescue her from). Bow always danced around the subject, more worldly and perceptive than he appeared but also tactful and gentle with others feelings. It was Glimmer, naturally, who flatly told Adora one night, “She’s probably out getting some. I’d also like to point out this call interrupted my own chance at getting laid- oh hush Bow, it can’t be a great secret; we’ve been together for years! So goodnight, Adora. ” 

It was around then Adora decided to put some investment into that area of her own life, now that she was thinking about it. Is that the start of my coming out; cockblocking Glimmer and Bow put me on the path to figure out my sexual identity? Or was it the almost creepy levels of possessiveness I’ve always had for my roommate? 

Adora was glad when her thoughts were interrupted by Catra’s voice. “Hardly. I’m more… impressed. I seriously had no idea that you had it in you for that kind of thing and to a finer point, we live together. Gotta give you props for keeping it under wraps, even if it was just like last week.” Catra wasn’t going to let this one slide. She really wasn’t jealous; not really. It would be pretty damn hypocritical of her given the notches on her own bed frame. Plus, virgins didn’t hold any fucking appeal to her whatsoever. … Not that that would have been a problem either. Catra was a bitch, but she wasn’t going to slut-shame or prude-bash anyone. What people did or didn’t do between the sheets (or against walls, or on the floor, or in front of the Virgin Mary statue at their ex-flame’s uber Catholic college...) was completely between them. “So, again: who? Or at least give me a general idea. The campus is huge, not like I’d for sure know them.”

“Ahhh, haha, you know you know...!” Adora was growing red at this line of questioning. It wasn’t that she wanted to hide this from Catra but a lot of it wasn’t exactly a source of great pride in her life. Still, end results. She figured out what needed to be figured out and it wasn’t all bad. Biting her lip for a moment, she finally caved. “I mean, the moderator of the presentation for questioning people did say if there was anything else she could do for us… Ahem…” Adora gave a sheepish smile. 

“You hooked up with the person who put on the get together for questioning people?” Catra could only blink as she absorbed. “That has got to be the most stereotypical, lazy hook-up I’ve ever heard of. I was impressed before but man, that was short-lived.”

“Hey! She was cute…”

“Uh-huh.”

“... Anyway, that was last year sometime. There was also Library Chick-” Adora rolled her eyes when Catra cut in with a loud call of “Nerd!” but pressed on anyway. Why she gave into this woman she would never understand. “Buff Lady and early last semester, Coffee Girl.” 

“Queer Presenter, Library Chick, Buff Lady, you have to tell me the story there some day if a woman was so jacked you call her buff, and Coffee Girl. Huh. Makes me wonder what descriptive moniker you’ll give me some day. Bitchy Roommate? Snarky Singer? Best I Ever Had? Yeah, probably that one.” Catra gave a cheeky smile, exposing one abnormally sharp canine in a way that absolutely did not drive Adora wild. Not at all. 

“Bold of you to assume I’ll even have you, Pain In My Ass.”

Catra took that moment to lean in and press a line of hard kisses mingled with a few playful nips along Adora’s neck. She did not care if anyone saw; there was a war to be won. Adora closed her eyes and threw her head back, granting the other woman greater purchase, softly moaning at the contact. Catra worked her way up to Adora’s ear and breathed out, “If I said to you right now, ‘Take me’, you’d have your fingers in me so fast...”

Adora shivered, swallowing down a sure to be embarrassingly loud moan. But she wasn’t one to give up a fight that quickly. “... Even Coffee Girl had the decency to buy me a cup of joe before I put out. Step up your game and take me out first. Then we can see about my fingers going anywhere.”

Catra had to give it up to the blonde; she really expected Adora to crumble. Good thing Catra loved a challenge- and found her stubborn tenacity damn sexy. “Gladly would, but we are in the middle of the woods for the next 9 days. So might as well…” She moved forward to continue her teasing against Adora’s neck.

Though it pained her to do so because she very much wanted Catra to continue her onslaught, Adora pulled Catra back from her. “So get creative.” Her steel-blue eyes were determined and voice low. 

Catra pulled her hands back towards her sides, eyes narrowing. She wasn’t mad; oh no, assertive Adora was a complete turn-on. This was a development that Catra hadn’t been anticipating, but she knew when to fold her hand to play another round. “... Anything for you, ‘Dor.”

Chapter Text

The playlist had long since ended (Catra didn’t exactly have a huge selection of ear candy), the pair filled the room with idle chit chat instead, so the rushed and thundering footsteps up the stairs were quite audible. “I’m coming up there! And I swear to god if I see anything indecent …” Glimmer’s head poked around the corner of their doorway tentatively, ready to bolt in an instant if need be. She didn’t trust for one second that nothing much had really happened between the women in the car; Adora could keep it as close to her chest as she wanted, but Glimmer wasn’t dumb. Something had changed during their travels, she was certain of what her intuition was telling her. 

 

Catra was still in Adora’s lap, but otherwise it was a completely PG scene: Adora was resting upright on both arms and Catra had her own arms crossed in front of her. Catra turned with an arched eyebrow to look at the visitor. “Why, Sparkles, whatever could you mean by ‘indecent’? I’m just sitting here with my roommate.” Catra felt Adora’s slink in defeat at the word. She could already hear Adora’s kicked puppy voice whimper out “... Just roommate?” and Catra did not want to deal with that catastrophe whilst on vacation. Before Adora could have any time to spiral, she turned to face the blonde. “... My roommate who’s gorgeous, stunning, truly beautiful, and oh so fuckable…” The last word was said at barely above a whisper, just for Adora’s benefit. 

 

Adora gave a shiver and closed her eyes for a moment. Oh, thank god, I was about to lose my mind there for a minute. I know we haven’t defined anything yet, but ‘roommate’ is not the goal. Relieved and bolstered at the unanticipated flattery, Adora’s resolve was returned. She gently shoved the brunette’s shoulder. “What did I just say? None of that until you take me out on a date. I won’t have you teasing me all week…”

 

“Aww, but Adora. I always tease you.”

 

“I know, and you know I love it… But I’m serious, Catra. Date.”

 

“And what happens after the date, princess?” Catra uncrossed her arms, subconsciously moving a little closer to the blonde. Pushing the envelope was just too much fun.

 

Adora bit her lip and flushed, eyes shining brightly. “Take me out and find out.”

 

Glimmer dragged a hand down her face and loudly sighed, interrupting this entirely TMI moment before could escalate any further. “My god, I already miss the pining. I never thought I would miss the pining!” Still, inwardly she was intensely proud of her bestie for putting her foot down so early. She couldn’t deny that a small part of her had been worried. Adora was at heart a total people-pleaser, a bit of a doormat if she were being honest, and Catra… Well, she liked to push boundaries. That was about the nicest thing Glimmer could say about her. With an aggrieved sigh, she realized it was probably time to make nice with the aggravating woman. Somewhat. 

 

At least her bae was holding off until they had a date or two. Maybe this wouldn’t burn up in a fiery wreck. Maybe Glimmer wouldn’t have to pick up the pieces later and commit homicide.

 

Adora gave a hearty laugh with a large, bright smile. “Sorry, Glim, Lesbian Pining Hour is over. I am way too happy for that shit now.” 

 

Two sets of love struck eyes mooned over one another. Glimmer smiled and shook her head; even the staunchest hardass would have trouble not thinking that was way too cute. “All right, you Lovey Idiots. Everyone really is waiting on you two downstairs. Please remember you came to spend time with all your friends and will have all the time in the world to gush over one another once you’re back at the apartment you share.”

 

She turned to exit the doorway. “... And for the love of all that’s holy, please try to keep in your pants or be as quiet as possible. We already have Hawk and Mermista sequestered on their own floor so they don’t keep everyone else up all night. I won’t hesitate to lock you two in the woods if you can’t behave.”

 

“Eh, fucking in the forest might be fun.” Catra shrugged as Glimmer threw up her hands and stomped away. God, irritating her would never get old. 

 

“Date first! Keep this up and it’s going up to 5 dates- minimum, and not even a single peck on the cheek before! I’m not some floozy you picked up at a party; I’m your next relationship, damn it.” Adora crossed her arms and huffed. It had been fun at first, but this cavalier attitude was seriously starting to irritate her. Was Catra even interested in taking this seriously? Had Adora just assumed they were on the same page on what this should be? A small wave of panic washed over her mind. But that song… that’s not something you’d sing for a casual hook-up, right? ‘She means everything to me’?  “If that’s what you want at least. Some day.” Her voice was small, a stark contrast to what it had been just a moment before.

 

Catra read the room quickly and adjusted, berating herself internally. Don’t fuck this up, genius. “Of course I do, Adora. I’m sorry. Really.” She uncrossed one of the blonde’s arms from in front of her and held her hand. “I’m not offering this as an excuse for my behavior here, but I’ve just wanted you for so long. Guess I got caught up in some of my baser thoughts… And turned myself into an absolute ass in the meantime. I am so sorry. But you’re right; I wanna do this right, even if I think it’s funny as hell you actually believe I’ve had a relationship before. Yeeeah, sure. Regardless, you’re worth it. Prepare to be wined and dined, Princess!” Catra placed a suave kiss on the top of Adora’s hand before gliding off her lap. “Perfect gentlelady right here, rest of the week. I promise.”

 

“Trust me, I get those ‘baser thoughts’; I’m right in the same boat as you.” She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively. It’s going to be so damn hard to keep my hands off her… Not looking for a quick fuck though, eyes on the prize, Adora! “And you’re worth it too, Catra. This isn’t one-sided. I’m ready to try and woo you.” She gave a dreamy half-smile and lost herself for a moment in romantic fantasy. She recovered quickly and tried to clarify the boundaries she was setting. “But, we also don’t have to be completely prim and proper. I think I’ll go crazy if I have to spend the next week with you and couldn’t kiss you at all. I know we don’t have to do the whole ‘get to know you’ part of dating, but let’s just try to keep it more or less respectful, okay? For now?”

 

Catra nodded, feeling completely warm and gooey at her words. This isn’t one-sided. God, this woman was going to make her completely soft. How the other inhabitants of the cabin would prod and make fun. But also… What did she care; like these moron’s opinions mattered to her in the slightest when she had Adora, finally. “You won me a long time ago, ‘Dor, but I appreciate the sentiment. You ready to go downstairs yet?”

 

“No, not at all. But I sincerely fear for our lives if we drag this out any longer. Glimmer can be very scary. And worse, she could send Bow to like… Dad at us. I can’t take disappointment from him.”

 

Catra wasn’t really ready either but knew it had to be done. Still, one last subject had to be broached first. “... How do you want to act around the others? I mean, we know how brainless they all are but I think even Sea Hawk would catch on that something was up if I’m suddenly in your lap or like, holding your hand constantly. Does the idea of that bug you at all?” Catra tried to keep the anxiety out of her voice. She wasn’t sure how out Adora really was; god knows it had been a big fucking surprise to her. If they needed to keep things under wraps for now, she could deal for a bit, but… It could also be a major stumbling block down the line. Catra had been out for years; in fact, she wasn’t sure if she had ever really been ‘in’.

 

“Nope, doesn’t bother me one bit. We don’t owe anyone an explanation. Plus, also ‘she was a gay, she was a gay, can I make it any more obvious’…?” Adora gave a dopey laugh-snort at her own joke.

 

Catra scoffed loudly and carefully regarded the woman in front of her, trying to figure out if she was really making a clumsy, outdated Arvil Lavigne reference. First Katy Perry and now this… God, there’s work to be done here. “Fucking hell, Adora, I’m giving you homework this week; Lesbian Pride station on Spotify. Listen, learn, and for god’s sake, get some taste.”

 

“Eh, can’t be surprised at me not having any taste if I’m into you.” 

 

“Ooh, nice burn, idiot. So witty.” Catra rolled her eyes, but held out her hand. “Let’s go, dumbass.”

 

The pair finally left the semi-privacy of the room to go meet with everyone downstairs. At the bottom of the stairs, Adora brought Catra into one sound kiss. “For luck.” 

 

Catra blushed despite her forward behavior upstairs. “Goof. It’s not going to be that bad. I’m scarier than any of them combined.” They walked towards where they heard a plethora of voices, fingers trailing apart wistfully from one another as they reached their friends. 

 

“Finally! I was just telling Bow to go get the bucket.” Glimmer snarked at them, though with a well-intentioned smile. 

 

In a flash, strong arms caught Catra around the middle and lifted her from the floor. Adora just laughed at her plight and moved to join the rest of the crew in the open concept kitchen/dining area, abandoning Catra to her burly, excitable fate. “Wildcat! You’re here!” 

 

“Yes, Scorpia, as I told you several times for the past month, I am indeed coming on the trip to the cabin.” She waved her free hand in mock jazz-hands. “And here I am: Ta-da. Will you please put me down now?”

 

“It’s just so exciting! I know we haven’t gotten a ton of time to hang out this semester, so we really gotta make up for it this week. I mean gosh, we’re practically in our senior year already. The big finale is right around the corner!” Scorpia set Catra down on the floor, but did not leave her personal bubble.

 

Catra snorted. Eh, there’s probably going to be a Victory Lap in my future. Getting it done in 4 years is an absurdity anymore… Still, she wasn’t in the mood to argue. And though she’d never admit it, she had missed the exuberant woman quite a bit. They didn’t have any classes together right now and rarely did their schedules line up to meet for long. Their friendship made little sense to anyone looking too closely. Catra idly wondered if she really was just a big sucker for sweet, happy, and dumb things. Guess I’ve got a type, even in my platonic relationships. “Yeah, well. How about we just focus on the vacation for now? Y’know, having fun? Where’s your lady?”

 

“Right here.” Perfuma appeared out of nowhere and immediately nestled herself under Scorpia’s arm, causing the large woman to beam from ear to ear. “Good to see you here, Catra.” 

 

“Likewise.” Did everyone think she would bail? God, how did she look to these people? Catra shook it off and didn’t give it a second thought. Scorp and ‘Fuma were good folk, no point in getting prickly over what was probably nothing. She called out a little louder, directed to the rest of the room. “What’s going on?”

 

“Well, Scorpia and Perfuma were kind enough to make the grocery trek earlier to get everything on the lists you all turned in- please check with them to see how much you owe. And thank you both very much.” The couple gave a small wave and dipped their heads in acknowledgment. “We had just decided to let everyone graze on their own for the night. I had thought about throwing some food on earlier, but eh, didn’t happen.” Glimmer said with a dismissive wave of her hand. “So the couples ,” She enunciated the word with a knowing flick of her eyebrow towards Adora, “have more or less decided to do their own thing. But everyone is to meet back, drink in hand, by 9 PM sharp!”

 

Adora grew uneasy and tried to meet Bow’s eye as he hid behind his much shorter girlfriend. When she did finally catch it, he gave a small shake of his head and apologetic shrug. “And what’s at 9, Glimmer?” Like she didn’t already know. 

 

“Karaoke!” She leaned an arm on the counter and placed her chin in her hand, daring Adora to protest.

 

A cacophony of cheers and overlapping talk (“I love karaoke!” “They will have some folksy shanties, yes?” “Ugh, whatever. Fine, I guess.”) filled the space instantly. Adora just groaned and used the mayhem to leave the joint area with her friends. She headed towards a family room near the stairs she had seen on her way up earlier. Once there, she stood simmering in the room, before putting her face in her hands. She just needed a minute alone. 

 

Under the best of circumstances, she hated karaoke as much as Glimmer loved it. So did Bow and for a second Adora questioned how hard he’d fought to postpone the activity. She waved the thought away, knowing her stalwart friend could be trusted to have her back. Adora just did not see the appeal of getting up in front of a crowd just to be jeered at. Everyone told her she just needed to get drunk enough, but there was not enough alcohol in the world for Adora to enjoy this form of torture. Plus, Glimmer was doing it because of what Adora had said happened between her and Catra in the car. Or at least was forcing it like this. She didn’t know what the spirited woman’s end game was, but knew enough about her best friend to not trust it. 

 

Adora was pulled from her thoughts by an arm wrapped around her shoulder, bringing her into a half-hug. “What’s up, Adora?” Catra gave a small reassuring squeeze when Adora lifted her head up out of her hands. 

 

“I hate karaoke. So much.”

 

“So, let’s dip. I’m sure we can find something else to do in this big house.” Catra shrugged. “And no, for the record, I don’t mean anything like that. Gentlelady.” She held up her hands away from Adora innocently. 

 

Adora gave a small smile that faded quickly into a scowl. “Ugh, Glimmer would track me down no matter where I went. And it’s not just my loathing of this particular activity…” She trailed off.

 

“Yes…? Go on, Adora, use your words.”

 

“You’re smart enough to know why she chose to do this, especially tonight. They know you sang to me in the car and they’re just doing it to… I don’t know. Be absolute assholes intent on ruining my life? Nosy busybodies who need every detail of what happens to me? Or to embarrass you? Ugh. I swear, if they do anything to screw this up for us…” Adora was spiraling. “I think it must be to embarrass us. You. Since I had no idea you could sing so beautifully, I really doubt it’s something you want to showcase for the world and I wouldn’t put it past them to also put two and two together. You and Glim have an antagonistic relationship at best, which also sucks if I’m being totally honest, even if I think sometimes it’s just a weird game you two play at this point…” Catra gave a noncommittal shrug. Well, she ain’t wrong.

 

Adora took a second to breathe again before continuing. “And to a further point, I can’t sing at all . No way I’m putting myself or anyone here through that torture, all in the name of ‘fun’. So I can’t even take the heat off you and distract them… Not like they ever really can be stopped. Glimmer is relentless and Bow’s a simp.” 

 

Catra raised an eyebrow, absorbing the neuroticism and internally cackling at the swipe at Bow. Mean Adora can be such fun. Well, she wasn’t going to touch the stuff about her and Glimmer; way too much to unpack there for now. But the rest could be addressed.

 

“Adora, relax.” She put her hands on the taller woman’s arms and gave a small, soothing massage of her very tense deltoids and biceps. Catra fought to stay focused as she kneaded the rigidity out, feeling the strength and raw power in them. Jesus Christ, she could break me in half… Focus. Gentlelady. “One, I’d like to see them sabotage what we got going. Just fucking try. Two, yes, you’re right. I am a very private person but boo-fucking-hoo, it’s one night of karaoke, not like a recording of my latest therapy session. I bet these chumps will get so drunk at dinner and during, they won’t even remember what happens. And if they don’t get wasted enough, that leads us to three. I’ve heard you in your room from time to time and completely agree. You can deadlift a horse, but let’s make it my job to entertain the masses tonight, Princess. I’m pretty decent, even if you’ve only gotten a single performance.” She pulled her hands back with a cocky grin that Adora couldn’t help but melt at. “So, let’s just go grab a bite to eat and we’ll take it as it comes, yeah? It’s all good.”

 

“If you keep being this wonderful and sweet, I’m going to end up breaking my own rule.” She leaned her face in close, with a sultry smolder. 

 

“Hey, if I have to behave, so do you.” Catra gave her nose a light tap and Adora backed off slightly, though looked like the cat who got the cream. “May I interest the lady in the finest Hot Pocket this hick town’s grocery store has to offer?” She held her arm out gallantly. 

 

“God, you really do eat crap, don’t you? And yet still look like that…” She gestured helplessly at the woman’s lithe form before taking her arm. “I’m going to have real food, however. Like an adult.”

 

“Eh, suit yourself. I enjoy my life, which means Hot Pockets, pizza rolls, and Cheetos. It’s a damn good way of living too. I’m sure I’ll corrupt you.” They walked arm in arm to the now empty kitchen; their friends long since coupled off to enjoy a meal together.

 

Adora made a quick chickpea salad, even treating herself to grated parmesan cheese over top. It was a vacation after all. Eying Catra’s once frozen meat and cheese filled pastry, complete with ranch dressing to dip in, Adora wondered who was going to influence who’s eating habits first. The thought made her smile, which Catra caught instantly.

 

“Feeling better, I see.” Catra took a long drag from her beer. They’d returned to the family room they’d originally come from to eat. She decided a joke would be received okay. “Hey, this totally counts as a date, right?” 

 

Adora rolled her eyes, knowing Catra was just being a jerk. “Mmmm, I think you know the answer to that one.”

 

“For the record, I happen to find frozen food very romantic. Guess it’s going to be easy when it’s your turn to set one up, huh?” The pair laughed together as they finished their radically different meals, each enjoying the simplicity of one another’s company.

 

Some short time later, Bow entered the room, rubbing his hands together eagerly. Adora knew that hand motion; Bow had been drinking. “Aha, see we have some anxious participants already! I’m here to get things set up, set the stage, if you will.”

 

“Here? Isn’t there like a huge furnished basement in this place? Feel like I remember that from the website.” Adora raised her eye in question. Truthfully, she was hoping to use this room as a hideaway when the event got to be too much for her.

 

“We’re closer to the bathroom and kitchen up here. Drinks are a necessary part of karaoke and once that seal is broken, forget it. So scooch up, you two. My muscle needs to rearrange a bit.” Glimmer explained as she joined her paramour, who flashed his guns. She laid an affectionate hand on his bicep. “Yes, love. They’re wonderful; well done. Now move that couch over there against the wall more.”

 

Adora chose to help Bow, uncertain how much he’d already had to drink and not wanting to risk any injury. She caught Catra staring at her as she lifted by herself a solid oak coffee table as easily as if it were made of wicker. She stuck out her tongue in response to the ogling woman. Catra left to get another beer.

 

Before long, everything was ready. In the fairly small room they had foregone the use of the microphone, but the system was easily connected to the wall-mounted TV in the room so everyone could see the lyrics across the screen and make fun of the trippy visuals. The machine itself had a small screen to feed the lines to the performer. Couples dutifully filtered into the room shortly before 9, only Sea Hawk and Mermista earning the Glimmer Stink Eye when they walked in nearly 10 minutes late. “Whatever. I was convincing him,” Mermista pointed accusingly at her mustachioed on-again, off-again. “to not light a giant ass bonfire that would probably end up taking down the entire fucking forest. You’re welcome.”

 

“Ah, Mermista, my love! It would serve a beacon to the heavens, a sign of the towering inferno that is my love for you!” He sunk to a knee and threw his hands towards the apathetic woman who held his heart.

 

“... Whatever. You are not to go outside unaccompanied for any reason. You all hear that? This is a damn vacation and I cannot babysit him the entire time.” She sat as far away from Sea Hawk as possible, moodily sipping her Jameson and ginger.

 

“Aaanyway, karaoke time! Some ground rules to start off. One, everyone sings at least once. Everyone .” Glimmer clapped her hands together at each syllable, staring each person down but lingering on Adora. “Two, duets and group songs are absolutely encouraged and yes, Adora, you hiding behind someone and mouthing the words can count as your participation but please know I will be terribly disappointed in your lack of effort.”

 

“I can live with that.” Adora offered sweetly. Catra chortled.

 

“Three, we go on a volunteer basis but if things drag out and no one steps up, I can and will use the fish bowl.” Glimmer picked up a glass bowl from the coffee table and waved it around threateningly. “It not only has everyone’s names in it individually, I also added pairs. And they are not all just the various couples. I’m sure Sea Hawk and Catra would make an excellent duet pair…”

 

“Ah yes, I know not of her musical ability, but I’m sure old Sea Hawk would carry us just fine!” Sea Hawk twirled his mustache as he spoke. “Adventure accepted!”

 

Catra snorted in contempt, not dignifying him with a response. She had never once said a single word to the overbearing blowhard and didn’t plan on changing that during this trip.

 

“That being said, who’s up first?” Glimmer looked around only to see Bow bouncing in his seat. “Bow, love, did you want to go?”

 

“Glimmer. You know the tradition. It must happen!”

 

“Yes. Yes it must.” She sighed theatrically and placed a hand over her forehead. Adora was gritting her teeth; she knew it would be one of two possibilities, though they both came from the same irritating source. They put on this act every time, even in high school when it was usually just the three of them. It had been the same for years; the enthusiasm from Bow and faked reluctance from Glimmer. Bow bounded up to the front as Glimmer pressed play on the already queued screen. It did not take the room long to recognize the track. Scorpia gave a loud whoop before Perfuma gently shushed her and lowered the brawny arm.

 

“I got chills,

 They’re multiplyin’, 

And I’m losin’ control,

‘Cause the power you’re supplyin’...

It’s *electrifying*!”

 

Bow sank to both knees in front of Glimmer as he belted out the last word. She smiled at the age-old move and sashayed through her part, trying her best to mimic the black-clothed energy of Olivia Newton-John. 

 

Catra gagged as the pair made it to the joint chorus, nearly sickened at the brainless looks the couple shared with one another. Adora grabbed her hand soothingly and nodded at her distress. “... I know. It’s always this or Summer Nights. And with Summer Night, they switch parts. It’s not as cute as they think; Glimmer cannot hit Johnny’s note at the end. And that’s coming from tone-deaf me.”

 

“At least we were spared that. The whole musical is so problematic; I’m amazed the Woke Warriors condone it.” Catra tried to look away, but like a trainwreck she was drawn in.

 

“Apparently they watched Grease together nearly every weekend of their childhood, so there’s like nostalgia or whatever. How George and Lance, not to mention Angella, okayed this I will never know. They swap the parts to somehow make it better? It doesn’t work; nothing can make this movie better. I would say this is the worst part of this whole night, but with so many new factors and participants, I can’t promise anything.” Adora shook her head sadly. 

 

The under three minute song felt like an eternity, but when it was over the room clapped and hollered at the show. Catra and Adora joined the applause lightly, but only because the travesty was over. Until next time… Adora thought glumly.

 

“So, friends! Who’s next?” Glimmer exclaimed, already exhilarated. 

 

“Well, gosh, I’m not sure I can top that but I do have a song in mind. It’s probably not anything like what everyone else will go with... We can sing anything, right? I can follow with the musicals theme though if that’s what’s going on!” Scorpia looked around for confirmation.

 

“Yes, baby. You can sing whatever you’d like. There is no theme.” Perfuma answered for the organizers, while gently caressing Scorpia’s arm. “Go make me proud, babe!”

 

Scorpia flashed a smile and whispered her song choice to Glimmer, who checked it against the big index that came with the system. She nodded and queued the song, intensely curious if Scorpia had the pipes to back it up. “Just press play whenever you’re ready.”

 

Scorpia nodded eagerly, then took a moment to compose herself before her face slid into a determined set. With a quick push, she began to croon out.

 

“Birds flying high you know how I feel,

Sun in the sky you know how I feel,

Breeze driftin’ on by you know how I feel…”

 

The room was held in quiet rapture at this very different song from the opener. Catra raised an eyebrow, suitably impressed with the choice. I might actually have competition here. The first almost minute of the song was pure vocals and Scorpia could deliver. 

 

And I’m feelin’ good…” 

 

Scorpia really shone once the jazz accompaniment began. Perfuma had her knees tucked to her chest, watching with breathless excitement. After the last ‘ And I’m feeling good.’ she was off the couch in an instant and literally threw herself onto the large woman. Scorpia laughed and just managed to catch her, twirling in a circle before Perfuma gave her an unashamed kiss in front of everyone. 

 

Scorpia turned bright red at the affection, but did not pull away until they naturally broke. Perfuma was still latched onto her as she walked them back to their spot, but Scorpia walked as if she were completely unencumbered. She sat them down, Perfuma curled in her lap. “So, uh, guess I did all right?”

 

“Baby, that was amazing.” The willowy blonde then whispered something in the built woman’s ear that made her turn an even brighter red. Catra guessed it was likely an invitation for one of them to make the other feel really good later. She shook her head from the image.

 

Adora arched an eye at Catra. “Could you sing that?”

 

She scoffed in response. “Yeah, probably. But not really my scene, princess. Gotta hand it to Scorp though, that was pretty good.”

 

“Yeah, sure was. You thought about what you will sing tonight?” Adora was sure she wasn’t hiding the eagerness to know in her voice in the slightest.

 

“Eh, I know this is great mandatory fun and all, but nope not really.” Catra hoped Adora couldn’t spot the bald-faced lie. Of course she’d been thinking about it. This would be her first ever time singing even somewhat publicly. She didn’t know if she should go with a show-stopper or just something that really spoke to her. She could also use it as a chance to dazzle Adora again, which admittedly was a huge push to choose just the right song. She continued to ponder as Sparkles looked around for another volunteer.

 

“Well, that will be quite a tough act to follow, but I may be ready to give it a shot.” Sea Hawk stood from his seat with a flourish.

 

Mermista deadpanned. “There are no fucking shanties in the book, shanties are not a thing any more, so please for the love of god, choose something normal.”

 

“Mmm, ever disappointing that such a fine tradition has been lost to the war with time. No matter, I have another in mind! All for you, my sweet.” He blew a kiss towards Mermista who groaned in reply, then worked with Glimmer to get it set up. No one was surprised when it turned out to be Ring of Fire, though he performed in such an obnoxious and upbeat way (complete with an alarming amount of jumping and near-writhing of his body) that likely Mr. Cash was rolling in his grave.  

 

That odd rendition of a classic seemed to re-open the gates to silly. Glimmer performed Cherry Bomb, followed by Bow nearly being kicked out for the ear worm that was Happy. Perfuma asserted she was still reading her mood and couldn’t possibly decide yet. Scorpia went again instead but took it easy on them with a playful bout of Brown Eyed Girl, all while making puppy dog eyes at Perfuma the entire time. Sea Hawk managed to convince Mermista to join him for Total Eclipse of the Heart, but with the first bellowed “Turn around!” from him, she did just that and left him up there all alone. He finished the song without her, completely nonplussed as usual. “That counts as my turn.” Her monotone voice dared anyone to argue with her. 

 

The crew continued to drink and cavort, and Adora did have to admit she was having more fun than she anticipated. So far, other than at the beginning with Glimmer’s call out, no one had made any attempts to get her up there. It was far more enjoyable to watch her friends make asses of themselves. Still she drummed her fingers against her thigh, wondering when Catra would deign to grace them with a show, flicking her eyes to the woman beside her frequently.

 

“I know what you’re thinking, Adora.” Catra finally drawled out to her after minutes and minutes of tapping and nervous gazes. She gave a withering sigh. “Is it really time, princess?”

 

Adora bit her tongue in excitement and nodded eagerly. “... Only if you’re ready, of course.”

 

Catra had been thinking long and hard, almost wishing she could just draw a song out of the fishbowl and have the decision made for her. She wasn’t normally quite this indecisive, but also knew she probably wouldn’t ever come up with the perfect song anyway. Or maybe you already performed it earlier today for a big, blonde goof. As she watched the Wonder Twins pouring over the book of songs, prepping for their next duet no doubt, a chilling but also brilliant idea struck her. She could indeed have the choice made for her. 

 

This would be either the bravest or the stupidest she had ever been in her life; either way she needed some more liquid courage to follow through. Before she left to get something more potent, she hollered towards the moderators of this stupid event. “Yo, Sparkles, put me on next!”

 

Two heads snapped up in shock, both sets of eyebrows netted together.

 

Catra didn’t give them a chance to respond further. “I’m gonna go grab a beer. You want anything, beautiful?” Catra brushed a loose strand of hair behind Adora’s ear, letting her fingertips linger against her cheek for a moment longer.

 

Adora couldn’t suppress her grin if her life depended on it. Whether it was from a chance to hear Catra sing again or at being called beautiful so naturally by her, Adora didn’t know or care. She nodded. “Anything sweet and fruity, please.” 

 

“Yup, just like you are…” Catra cackled as she rose from the couch to make her way to the kitchen. Adora rolled her eyes fondly at the dumb joke.

 

“Uh, excuse you, what do you even want to sing?” Glimmer demanded as Catra was about to exit the room. 

 

Catra approached the pair and spoke nonchalantly, though quietly, as she did not want Adora to hear her plan. Adora might try to intercede on her behalf and honestly, Catra wanted the challenge. She knew she could bring any song to its knee.  “Surprise me. I can handle whatever you and Arrow Boy throw at me, Sparkles.” From the first gleam in Glimmer’s eye, She knew she would be set up. But even if it was something humiliating, Catra would endure. Debasing myself in front of our friend group just for you, princess. 

 

Glimmer just nodded and let Catra exit before whirling on her boyfriend with a far too intense stare. “Bow. This is it. This is our chance. We cannot squander this opportunity.”

 

Bow nodded in solemn agreement, before giggling in the way he only could after a few hard ciders were in his system. “So what are we going to choose- something romantic to help our budding young lesbians? Or something mortifying for one needlessly cranky girl?”

 

“Why, Bow, I can’t believe you would even have to ask.” She held a hand to her chest in mock indignation. “Of course we’re going to embarrass the dog shit out of her. Her status as Adora’s suitor does not change the fact it is fun as fuck to mess with her.

 

The more than tipsy man clapped his hands together with delight, tearing through the pages of the list of songs. He squealed suddenly. “Oh my gosh! This one for sure! She would die .” He pointed to The Divinyls one hit wonder about self-love. 

 

Glimmer blanched. “Yeah, except I think Adora would jump her bones right in the middle of it. That Big Gay can barey keep control without needing images of Catra doing… that .”

 

“Eh, you’re probably right. Waaaaaay too dangerous.” His eyebrows crinkled together in concentration. But what was he doing, anyway? This was definitely his beloved’s area of expertise. He was the nice one in the relationship. “Any thoughts, Glim?”

 

Glimmer considered, narrowing her eyes. When stalking prey, it was always best to lure them into a false sense of security. “Actually, let’s take it easy on her at first. Maybe we can get her in round two or three… How about this? Not over the top, but enough out of our ill-tempered friend’s comfort zone. Can’t imagine she’s into music from 90s Canandian country pop stars.”

 

“Oh, absolutely. Plus, I kinda want to see it. Catra isn’t really all that butch, but just something about her singing that … It’s like Adora on any given Tuesday; cute but totally cringeworthy and awkward.” I’m a bit of a catty bitch while drinking, aren’t I ? Bow giggled at his inner-monologue. 

 

“I do love it when we plot together, mi amor.” She gave him a small kiss and got Catra’s song queued.

 

In the kitchen, Catra poured herself a generous portion of Fireball, always her liquor of choice, with a tiny splash of ginger ale over top. She peered through the fridge to consider what to bring Adora. She really didn’t want to get her crush wasted; that felt way too frat-boy smarmy. But also, a tipsy Adora was aso fun as hell. She settled on some sort of alcoholic koolaid in a bottle and turned to face the music. Literally.

 

Adora had been completely lost in her thoughts of what song Catra possibly could have chosen as her request. She was so far gone in fantasy, she failed to register Bow and Glimmer’s giggling and obvious scheming, as well as the general buzz from the other observers over what would be chosen for the most surly member of their group. Though Catra had spoken quietly as to not tip off Adora, she couldn’t help that others were close enough to overhear. 

 

Catra returned in short order with her cinnamon delight and barely grown up juicebox for Adora. “Here we are, a fruity drink for a fruity girl. Ah, will that ever not be funny? No, don’t think so.” She took a healthy drink from her own glass, enjoying the burn all the way down. “Well, here goes nothing. See you on the other side, Adora.”

 

Adora took the bottle that was offered and gave a small sip. She wasn’t a huge drinker, but certainly could stomach something of this ilk. Her eyebrow raised at Catra’s last comment. She sounds like she’s walking up to the gallows. I swear, Glimmer, I will kill you if this sets us back in any way.


Once situated at the front of the room, Glimmer blocking her view from what was queued, Catra gave the short woman a small wave that clearly stated “Go on, if you must.” Glimmer pressed play and scampered off, guffawing as she did. The iconic opener sounded through the living room and the beginning of the lyrics scrolled across the prompter: Let’s go, girls… Catra rolled her shoulders and gave a fierce, but not openly dissatisfied leer at Adora’s self-congratulatory looking best friends. If this was Sparkles’ best attempt at embarrassing her, they had another thing coming to them. She would give them a damn show.

Chapter Text

“I’m going out tonight, 

I’m feelin’ all right,

Gonna let it all hang out…”

 

Catra gave a slight roll of her hips as she drew the last word into an “ooow-uttttt”. Nothing too provocative, but definitely noticeable. Adora sure picked up on it, a curious blend of confusion and intrigue clear on her face. 

 

“Wanna make some noise,

Really raise my voice,

Yeah I wanna scream and shout…”

 

“Whoop, whoop! Get it, Wildcat!” Scorpia couldn’t hold the cheer back any longer. Catra just gave her a fond smile and continued to strut through the next few lines of the song. 

 

… Only wanna have a good time” She took advantage of the natural pause in the track to open her mouth slightly and run her tongue over the sharp point of her incisor and then along her upper lip. Catra arched an eyebrow and stared point blank at Adora, who tried to take a long drag from an empty bottle. Mmm, not very gentlelady of me but for the sake of the show...

 

As the chorus hit for the first time, she undid one button of her flannel shirt, “ men’s shirts ”. She popped her hip out challengingly and flipped her leg so her inner thigh faced out with, “ short skirts ” while moving back and forth to the beat of the song. At mock wolf whistles and calls of appreciation from her audience , she rolled her hips again, much more vigorously this time. It was all in good fun. And Catra was definitely eating up every second. 

 

Adora did not know what in the world possessed Catra to choose this song. But from the first peek of a lacy bralette now visible from yet another undone button to how she ran her fingers through her wild locks at “Color my hair, do what I dare” while closing her eyes and languishing in it… There was a lot Adora could be all there for. Was not expecting tonight to have what is basically a striptease for me and my best buds from my long-term crush. But that’s life for ya. 

 

Still something was bugging Adora. The choice just didn’t feel very Catra. It also wasn’t what Adora had been expecting. Maybe she just wanted to subvert expectations from everyone, especially me, by doing a song like this? 

 

Adora sucked in a breath at a flash of jutting hip bones and toned abs. Maybe it doesn’t matter because she’s obviously having a hell of a good time. And so am I. 

 

She sat back and enjoyed the show, feeling a strange mixture of turned on, highly amused, and a little confused. Despite the cocktail of emotions, Adora joined the rest in enthusiastic applause as Catra gave a final, resonating “Man I feel like a woman!”

 

If they had been using the microphone, Catra would have dropped it. The room went crazy as she finished; both from the song (“It just makes me want to do like 3 shots back to back!” “Mmm, gender may be just a presentation, but it can be so fun!”) and the reveal that their prickly friend could sing , not to mention dance. Though really they ain’t seen nothin’ yet. 

 

Catra soaked up the energy, letting it feed her ego. I can’t be stopped . As she passed by the pair who tried to tear her down, she couldn’t help but to ground in her success. “That was fun. You guys can choose my next one too. Make it good .” She gave a little wave behind her as she turned to rejoin Adora. 

 

“Hey, Adora.” She drained the remainder of her drink upon sitting. “What’d ya think?” 

 

“Catra, that was so much fun and your voice… my god. But I have to ask, why that song?” Adora quirked her head to the side, eyebrows in a cute, puzzled crinkle.  Maybe she needed to rethink her stance on not having to do the whole “get to know you” part of dating. Seemed like there was always something new to learn with Catra. 

 

Catra gave a long, withering sigh, still all about the theatrics. “I couldn’t decide what to sing, so I put my fate in the hands of Tweedle-Dumb and Tweedle-Dumber. They actually thought some faux-country was going to stop me. Pretty sure I showed them.” 

 

“Oh! Oh gosh, that makes so much more sense. I mean it was good, don’t get me wrong but…” Adora held her hands out in front of her and shrugged.

 

“Wasn’t planning on watching your big, badass crush wiggle around to a bachelorette party’s main theme song?”

 

“Mmm, not especially. Though I am filing away some of those moves you did with your hips for later.” She pretended to fan herself before fainting dramatically over the arm of the loveseat they were sharing. 

 

“Dork. Hey, I hope I didn’t break too many rules with that. I know the shirt might have been a bit over the top... I really was just trying to beat Glimmer and Bow at their own game.” Catra was feeling a little anxious in the afterglow, worried she had barrelled through the boundaries that had been set for her. To ease herself, she briefly ran a thumb over the top of Adora’s hand, strongly considering holding it properly. Everyone seemed distracted, discussing their next performance choices (not to mention still exclaiming over her; that felt good), and Adora had said it was okay...

 

“... ‘Glimmer and Bow’? Their real names?! My god, that makes me want to ravage you more than anything.” 

 

“If hearing their names makes you this hot, I think we need to have a long discussion.” 

 

Adora stuck out her tongue. “But no, that was for everyone as a joke so… No harm, no foul.” 

 

“Oh, well good then. I know I need another drink after that. How about you, babe, need a top off?” 

 

Adora beamed as she wondered if the pet names would ever get played out. “Sure, why not. I’ll run an extra mile or something tomorrow.”

 

Catra made a mental note to follow up on that at a later time. She knew Adora was a bit of a health nut, definitely a gym rat, but… “Same thing as before okay with you?”

 

“Yup, but make yourself another one of those cinnamon drinks. I want some.” 

 

“You’re not going to like it!” Catra hollered back at her as left to replenish their beverages. 

 

“You don’t know that!” Smarty pants thinks she knows everything. Can’t tell me what I want. 

 

Adora choked at the first sip. “It burns.”

 

“Mmmm yup. Burns so good.” She gave a healthy swallow as Adora gagged. Catra then watched Scorpia and Perfuma perform a sickeningly sweet duet of Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart. If those two aren’t engaged by graduation day, I’ll date a dude because love truly is dead. 

 

Their song continued, the participants nearly in giggles over their own preciousness. Also, can’t believe this is the closest to gay music we’ve gotten this whole time considering we’re all practically a Pride poster. Further, why did I spend all that wondering about tall, built, and gorgeous’s orientation? Like calls to like after all. She took a moment to appreciate her tall, built, and gorgeous. Not at all slipping into cutesy daydreams of having with Adora something akin to what Scorpia and Perfuma had currently. Nope. Not for a split second. 

 

Adora mentally cursed when she saw the lithe blonde and statuesque woman step up and begin to sing. She was the last one to go. Maybe I can pull a Mermista? Would Catra sing with me? She actually might prefer it if I did walk away. Adora dismissed the idea. She wasn’t going to tarnish her… whatever Catra was to her now. She wouldn’t sully her beautiful voice with the harrowing croak she produced. Maybe Bow and Glimmer won’t notice? She flicked an eye to the pair, willing them to experience memory lapse. 

 

“Okay, this is round two. Catra aced round one, which I’m equally surprised and not surprised by. She does have a voice and… presence.” Glimmer kept her voice low and shook her head to clear the image of Catra swaying her hips back and forth to the beat, raising her shirt to expose her toned stomach and sharp hip bones as she did so. It was just a hint of midriff, Bow showed more skin on the regular, but she understood Adora’s brainless attraction in that moment. The girl was hot, no question. “We played into her ego with that one, got her feeling confident. I think we can really strike now.” 

 

“Right. But with what? What’s the plan?” Bow kept his voice equally low, a soldier waiting for orders from his commander. 

 

“Ehhhhh… Let’s ask Google!” She quickly did a search for the most difficult karaoke songs. As would be expected, the search engine provided. She chose a top 50 list at random. They poured over the list of songs, trying to find the one that would break her. 

 

“Can’t do Bohemian Rhapsody, that’s the group song at the very end…”

 

“I will not endure ‘Let It Go’; I’m scarred from the 50 billion times I heard it when Frozen first came out. Plus I think Elsa is a queer icon. She’d probably enjoy it too much.”

 

They continued their whispered debate, giving reasons why each song just wouldn’t be it . Bow returned to the top of the ranking and hesitated. Neither one had brought any attention to number 7 on the list. It was pure. It was practically holy literature. Dare he profane such a masterpiece?

 

“I don’t want to make this into a tour of 90s Canadian singers but we could always choose… the penny whistle solo .” Bow whispered the last words reverently, raising his eyes in prayer.  “It is musically a very challenging song, she might not be able to pull it off, and we know she’s a heathen that must be punished for her transgressions. How anyone could hate the greatest love story of all time, I will never know. But she makes her position abundantly clear every time we let Adora know it’s time for a Best Friend’s Squad rewatch.” 

 

“... It’s a gamble against powers higher than our own. It’s also better than anything I can see. If we do this, we don’t do it lightly, and we watch it at least 10 times over the next month as holy tribute, yes?” 

 

Bow nodded his agreement. “May Leo forgive us.” 

 

“Ugh. She’s going to harp on us about the theme though. I hate being that uncreative.” Glimmer huffed and lightly slammed her fist into the table. “It can’t be helped. Catra! We have your next song!” 

 

Glimmer still set up the song, but did not stay to block Catra’s view. It did not feel right; one must fully consent to the power the song possessed before embarking on its journey. 

 

Catra glanced down at the screen in front of her. “... Really? You two have a very specific and sick kink.” She pointed directly at the pair, who sat wide-eyed in anticipation. ”I do *not* give you permission to EITHER of you to jerk it later to any fantasies you have of me singing songs from Canadian pop stars! Fucking penny whistle bullshit…” 

 

She could back down from this. Catra could raise a fit; demand something else. But she also knew Adora fucking worshipped this goddamned movie. 

 

Jesus Christ, is this real life? Catra pressed play while massaging her temples. As the opening penny whistle washed over the room, Catra felt her drink rise in her stomach. An exclamation of “I love this movie!” was quickly hushed by the other audience members. 

 

Catra was not indestructible; there was only so much she could handle. So much she would do. And this was too much. She decided she wouldn’t chicken out entirely but...

 

“Every night. In my dreams. 

I see you. I feel you. 

That is how I know you. Go on.”

 

She spoke the lyrics in a flat monotone that made Mermista sound bubbly. She glared daggers at the now cackling and high-fiving duo that were Adora’s best friends. Catra could hear their stupid chants of “We got her, we got her!” The jeering could be ignored; the thought of retaliation in the near future making it possible to do so. But what she could not disregard was puppy-dog eyes Adora, now two koolaids gone in drink, who was so obviously disappointed in Catra’s lackluster attempt.  Roiling derision could be contended with. The absolute despondency on such a beautiful, cherished face could not. Every inch of Adora’s body language screamed out, “But ‘King of the World’, Catra!”

 

Wishing she had a ton more to drink tonight than she had, Catra gritted her teeth so hard she was positive she heard a crack. Fuck you, Leo. Choke on it, Céline. 

 

“Far across the distance,

And spaces between us,

You have come to show you go on.”

 

Gradually she pushed herself from a flat speaking voice to a half lilted tone. Not quite singing, but closer. Dopey blue eyes filled with hope. Forget everything from today; I do not like her. At all. 

 

Knowing her inner monologue was full of horseshit the minute she spotted those pleading eyes, Catra opened her chest and breathed deep for the next parts, readying herself mentally and physically for the upcoming crescendo. This was it; no turning back. 

 

“Near, far, wherever you are

I believe that the heart does go on,

Once more you open the door,

And you’re here in my heart,

And my heart will go on.”

 

A look of unbridled enchantment spread full across Adora’s visage. She leaned in, hands holding her face and arms resting on her knees. Nothing short of the end of the world could take her focus away from this moment. 

 

Love can touch us,

And last for a lifetime,

And never let go ‘til we’re gone. 

Love was when I loved you,

One true time I’d hold to,

In my life we’ll always go on. 

 

Despite her disdain for everything surrounding this song and its source, Catra briefly locked eyes with Adora and gave her a warm smile. Each softened at the shared moment, a glow filling them both. 

 

Catra repeated the chorus, letting the glow spark the lyrics that left her mouth with more emotion than she really thought could be generated from something that usually lived in the dark depths of her hatred. 

 

At the infamous penny whistle solo in the middle of the song, Catra took a moment to breathe deeply. She shut her eyes to prepare for the finale. This is all for you, babe. Every mortifying moment. As the end of the instrumentals approached, Catra threw her head back to belt at the top of her lungs. 

 

“You’re here, there’s nothing I fear!

And I know that my heart will go on!

We’ll stay forever this way,

You are safe in my heart, 

My heart will go on and on. 

 

Cheers and clapping began immediately following the finale, but Catra held up a hand and flashed the room a look that no one dared to cross. Silence fell over them. Catra just couldn’t even right now. 

 

Adora was lightly bouncing her seat when Catra returned, face awash with joy. Catra gave her a flicker of a smile and became very invested in finishing her drink as quickly as possible. Probably another right after. 

 

It was a whole 45 seconds, practically a record, before Adora spoke. “... Maybe it could be our so-“

 

“No.”

 

“I mean some day...”

 

“No.”

 

“But…”

 

“I swear to GOD, Adora. If you keep this up, I will leave the cabin immediately, pack up all my shit from the apartment, and you’ll never see me again. Do not test me right now.” More teeth were cracking, maybe even Catra’s whole jaw by this point. 

 

Adora grew silent. It lasted for approximately twenty five seconds. “I just think if you step back and really consider the movie or if we watched togeth-...”

 

Catra threw up her hands and then planted her mouth over Adora’s. Please stop talking. I want to like you. I want to date you. Please stop.

 

The room erupted instantly, everyone later claiming they were the first to witness The Kiss. 

 

“OH! The power of Céline at work, my friends! So beautiful!”

 

“Fucking finally. Like, the yearning was so annoying.”

 

“Say, didn’t that movie feature a burning sea vessel? We really ought to watch, Mermista, dear.”

 

The kiss was held for just slightly longer than was decent in polite society. They broke with a small blush at someone’s cough. 

 

Adora pulled Catra back against her, arm wrapped around her tightly. She ran her hands through silky curls as they snuggled in quiet contentment, oblivious to the discussion around them. Of course Adora showed her inability to gauge the moment within due time. “See! I knew you’d see it my way. It is the greatest love story ever told.”

 

“Just promise you’ll let me on that giant ass door too.” Catra buried her head further against Adora’s shoulder, surrendering in defeat. 

 

Jack and Rose have got nothing on us, Princess. 

Chapter Text

“Well, that was quite the interlude .” Glimmer said, while standing up from her spot. The focus really had become less on the karaoke and more a vehicle in which these two dumb, obliviously so in love with each other lesbians could finally Get the Fuck On With It. She was happy for Adora, in her own way. She still had reservations over Catra but the fact the normally proud woman would humiliate herself in such a way to be able to serenade Adora like that (because it was so painfully obvious that Catra was singing every mushy word only to her)... Glimmer decided that a reevaluation could be performed at a later date. For now, however, more important things were at hand! Meaning she needed another drink in her hand.

 

It was her job as moderator and Supreme Party Planner/Hostess to get this party back on track. She whipped out her phone, already paired with the bluetooth speakers mounted in the corners of the room and throughout every common area of the whole house. “And I know we’re all very happy that these two idiots might actually be moving past just pining for one another in the soul crushing, completely annoying way that they have been forever.” She flashed the cuddled pair a bratty smile and returned Catra’s stuck out tongue with her own. “But this is a goddamned party soo…!”

 

I’m fucked upppppp...

If you’re not drunk, ladies and gentleman,

Get ready to get fucked up!

 

“Time for shots!” She danced her way into the kitchen as most of the party followed behind excitedly, the Pied Piper of Inebriation Seekers.

 

Adora gave Catra’s shoulders a little squeeze. “You ready to go get krunk?”

 

“... Please do not say that ever, ever again.” She shuddered at the proper pronunciation, almost formal way the blonde had said the word. “It’s just… wrong coming from you. Wrong from anyone, but especially you.”

 

Adora just laughed and made no promises. “C’mon, grumpy, let’s go take a shot.”

 

“A shot, Adora? Really?”

 

“Uhuh, really failing to see what’s so difficult about this concept here.”

 

“So let me get this straight-” Catra rolled her eyes at the blonde interjecting with ‘Okay, but I’m not.’ before continuing. “You think beer is gross. Fireball makes you choke on the first taste. But somehow, taking shots with the Wonder Squad is a good idea?”

 

Adora gave a small shrug. “Wonder Squad is really not one of your best.”

 

“I’m distracted by the stupidity of this decision; cut me some slack.”

 

Adora crossed her arms, eyebrows going into a crinkle. “Look, Catra, if you don’t want me to drink any more tonight…”

 

“Oh, no babe. That’s really not it, I swear. One, I don’t own you: you make your own decisions and also face your own consequences. I will never tell you what you can and cannot do. I may advise, offer suggestions here and there, but your choices are one hundred percent yours, always. And when you’re hurling later, I’ll even be nice enough to hold your hair back.” She gave a sweet smile. “But really, it’s two that’s more important. Do you really think they have something you’ll like enough to take a shot of? Really, it’s your enjoyment I’m most concerned over.” I think you’ll find out later that’s always going to be my goal… Gentlelady, gentlelady.

 

Adora flushed over the sense of agency Catra’s words gave her. Life with her foster parents had been full of rules and restrictions; proper ways to act as to avoid disappointment and discipline. They weren’t bad people, not really, just rigid. Conservative. Adora’s middle school and high school years had been spent doing everything in her power to make them happy, always with the constant knowledge that they could return her any time they grew tired of her. Like she was an unwanted White Elephant gift at some shitty Christmas party, if she stepped even one toe out of line they could decide to exchange her for a better, shinier gift at the table. And they would have too- it’s amazing how ‘God’s work’ came with a big, fat government check too.

 

But to be told she could make her own decisions, face her own mistakes, and the person she cared for so deeply would be there for her through it all… Her feelings for Catra moved a notch up from just ‘half in love’. She gave Catra a goofy grin that probably just reeked of the affection she held for her before again prompting it was time to go to the kitchen. 

 

“Heyyyy, bae!” Glimmer called out, already pouring another round. “Thought you might be too married to join us.”

 

“Ha, ha Glim, that’s very funny. You got Goose?”

 

“Of course, my love. I would never disappoint you like that.” She gestured towards the row of shot glasses in front of her. “Take your pick; everyone decided to be birds of a feather and flock together tonight.”

 

Catra stood behind Adora by a few steps, wordlessly watching the exchange. She declined one of her own, ready to inevitably swoop in and finish Adora’s when the woman declared it ‘icky’. She watched the blonde join the rest of the crew in what was obviously a very well-oiled practice. “Clink!” The party raised their tiny glasses in front of them as a sudden free-for-all broke out to make sure to lightly tap glasses with each other participant. “Down!” The sound of the bottom of six glasses hit the countertop simultaneously. “And back!” Liquid poured down the throats of the partakers.

 

Adora smacked her lips after downing the vodka in a single go and flashed Catra a cocky grin. It burned, but in a pleasant and smooth way. She understood Catra’s point; she’d yet to find a beer she really liked and most mixed drinks were a polite ‘No, thank you’ as well. But something about downing it all in one go worked for her. Plus there was challenge eminent in the action; on nights like this in the past, she felt superior when during the third or fourth round she wasn’t the one choking and sputtering at the burn. She fixed Catra with a warm smile. “Mmm, tasty.”

 

Catra raised an eyebrow, suitably impressed, but chose to not comment further.

 

Glimmer immediately tried to set Adora up with a shot all her own, so she could “catch up” but the blonde flipped her shot glass over. “Nope! Enough for me, thanks.” She was met with a whine of protest but held firm. “This isn’t a peer pressure PSA, Glim. Get over it.” Adora put her arm over Catra’s shoulder and they walked out of the room together to settle back in the sitting room and finish up the musical activity of the night. 

 

Catra crowed internally at the resolute firmness Adora had shown her bestie and took one non-Gentlelady moment of reflection to appreciate the way she’d fixed Catra in her gaze, licking her lips, and proclaimed “Tasty”. That did things to her she would definitely recall in a private moment much later.

 

The rest of the karaoke experience was enjoyable, though largely uneventful. Truthfully, as the spirits the group had imbibed in worked their magic, it really just devolved into a competition for utter dumbassery. Boy bands, girl groups, and over the top cheesy love songs (nothing even approaching the magic of the penny whistle solo, however) filled the remainder of the evening. Adora struggled through a song with Bow and Glimmer who finally dragged her up with them just when she was beginning to think she might be off the hook for the night. Of course, that false sense of security was probably what they had been waiting for. Predictably she stood behind them, just mouthing the words. Though even she couldn’t help but join the whole room at each “Hey-ey-ey, Hey-ey-ey, I said hey, a-what’s going on?” 

 

Before long, tradition was broken as the normal closer of Bohemian Rhapsody (“That’s been our thing- Adora reluctantly as well, but we have more people now. Change is okay, Glim!”) was replaced with the entire group performing the Time Warp. Catra was pleased to end the night on such a queer note; Rocky Horror was definitely one of her favorite movies/shows. 

 

The party broke up shortly after that, everyone going their own separate ways until the morning and most choosing to call it a night. Catra and Adora shared a wordless glance, both shrugging to say, “I’m not really tired either.”

 

Adora gave Catra a nudge with her shoulder. “C’mon, follow me.”

 

Catra half-smiled and let herself be led at the blonde’s whimsy. If tonight was any indication, it was clear that she would do anything that even remotely made Adora happy. 

 

She led them through the sitting room they’d been in all night and towards the back of the house through a sliding glass door. Adora was so glad she’d spent so much prep time memorizing the layout of the house on the website so she could seamlessly look like she knew where she was going. Fortunately, her obsessive tendencies paid off when they found themselves in a relatively small room. Screened windows lined all along the walls and a patio table with chairs was to the immediate right. The focal point of the room however was the sizable hot tub to the left. It was the perfect way to experience the outdoors- from the inside. The many screened windows allowed for nature sounds to filter in, but kept the worst of nature (bugs) out. 

 

Adora pulled up two chairs to a window and motioned for Catra to sit. Once she had, Adora linked their arms together and placed her head on Catra’s shoulder. “I had a really nice time tonight. And thank you for singing. It was… magical.”

 

A faint blush dusted Catra’s face and she was glad for the cover of the sleepy woods around them and that they had not deigned to turn on the porchlight, lest they bother the other inhabitants of the house. “Watch it, ‘Dor, you’re starting to sound like a bad romance movie.” She teased, though placed a peck on the top of her head. “But yeah, I had a good time too.”

 

“D’you think we were as bad as everyone makes us out to be? I mean, I know I was crushing pretty hard for the longest but…”

 

“Eh, fuck ‘em. Crush away, baby.” 

 

“Mmm, I think we’re past just crushing.” Adora removed her head from Catra’s shoulder and gave her a knowing smile. Catra took the hint and led them through a long, slow kiss. They broke apart naturally and rested their foreheads together, each sighing contentedly. 

 

“Good riddance to that…” Catra softly breathed out. 

 

The pair stayed cuddled on the back covered deck until the stars were high in the sky and both could barely keep their eyes open any longer. Without discussion, they decided to lug their tired bodies upstairs to finally rest. There was a quick nightly maintenance of teeth being brushed and clothes being changed, before the pair of women stood somewhat awkwardly regarding one another. “Maybe just for tonight… Separate…”

 

“Yeah, agreed.”

 

“I’ll miss you, though.”

 

“I’m three feet away, goof.” 

 

“I always miss you.”

 

One more long, slow kiss. “Goodnight, Adora.”

 

“Goodnight, Catra.”




“Shit.” A stage whispered curse after a clatter that seemed to hit every piece of furniture in the room. Catra groaned; there was a reason she had invested in a pair of earplugs when the two shared an entire living space together. How Adora could be so graceful on the playing field but an absolute klutz elsewhere was beyond her. Catra reached over to glance at her phone on the nightstand; 7:28. Well, at least Adora had slept in on vacation. “Did I wake you? I’m so sorry, my phone just slipped…”

 

“I knew the consequences of sharing a small space with you; learned it all too well freshman year.” Adora was down on her hands and knees, searching for the dropped phone under her bed. She was in a pair of yoga pants that left absolutely nothing to the imagination. Also comes with a lot of damn benefits too. Catra allowed herself to appreciate the view as the searching blonde reached further under, her ass sticking up in the air even higher with the stretch. 

 

Her reverie was broken when Adora finally managed to fish out her prize. She held it up proudly to show Catra. “I’m gonna listen to that Lesbian Pride station while I run!”

 

“Such a good girl, doing her homework on vacation.” Catra called out sleepily. She instantly tried to not think of the implications behind ‘good girl’ after being treated to such an amazing display of her ass. It was even harder now, because Adora was definitely just in a sports bra and those damned yoga pants. It was taking all of Catra’s focus to not just stare pointedly at so much exposed skin. It wasn’t anything she hadn’t seen before; the athletic woman basically lived in this kind of attire. But now that they were making out, it definitely held a new weight.

 

Adora seemed to have the same thought process, flushing at the loaded phrase. Catra noticed in a forcibly detached way that the blush carried far down past her collarbone. “Uhhh, yup. So. You know, if you wanted you could join me. Since you’re already awake…” Running with her would be so hot. First date, first date, focus. 

 

“I’m only awake because you’re an absolute disaster. Go for your run; wake me in three hours.” Catra pointedly turned away from her and snuggled deeper into the bed. Adora tried not to look too crestfallen as she threw a cropped tech hoodie over herself and went to leave. “What? No kiss goodbye?” Catra called out from the pillow.

 

“Kisses are for good girls who get out of bed.” Adora was out the door without a single glance back at her. 

 

“They’re also for bad girls that stay in bed…” Catra muttered to herself. 

 

“Date first!” Echoed in the hallway, oblivious to her volume and anyone that did not want to wake up at the ass crack of early. 

 

Shit, she wasn’t supposed to hear that. Catra groaned and buried her face in her pillow, wanting nothing more to get back to sleep. Well, that was a tertiary want but her real desire was off to pound the trail and not her. She can’t possibly expect me to behave when she instigates. 

 

She considered taking care of things now that she had a bit of alone time, but that felt brash even for her. It would be just her luck that a sudden storm would roll in, forcing Adora back to their room or something. Besides, she was pretty sure Bow and Glimmer were in the room adjacent and if that wasn’t just the biggest turn-off…

 

Catra sighed, unwillingly awake and still a little keyed up, and slid herself into one of Adora’s hoodies. Being seen in it really didn’t bother her; they had moved out of the realm of speculation last night- god, had it really only been a single day? They really were so pathetic and obvious. And Adora’s clothes were just far more comfortable. Also armed with her AirPods in her ears to drown out the world, Catra was ready to greet the morning. 

 

It came to no surprise to her that Perfuma and Scorpia were already awake. Scorp was cooking something up, eggs of some kind, maybe an omelette, and Perfuma was seated at the kitchen bar, a rolled yoga mat next to her. Whether it was before or after practice, Catra did not know or care. Yoga held little appeal to her. 

 

“Morning, Wildcat!” Scorpia flashed her a huge smile from in front of the stove. “You hungry? Got eggs going!”

 

Catra pointed to her ears and shook her head. No music was playing, but really she just wasn’t ready to deal with people yet.

 

“Oh! Right, of course.” The large woman smacked her head. “Clear as can be that you can’t hear me. Gosh, why am I still even talking?”

 

Scorpia chuckled and left the stove long enough to hold up a half full coffee pot and mimic pouring it in Catra’s direction. She only managed to spill a couple drops, which really for her was damn impressive. Catra nodded yes and graced her with an appreciative smile. Perfuma watched the exchange wordlessly.

 

A large cup of “I can handle this now” in hand, Catra turned to exit the kitchen and make her way to the large wrap-around porch. She heard Scorpia make some remark about how she wished Catra had been in a more talkative mood this morning but Perfuma was quick to console her. “Mmm, don’t take it personal, babe. Adora probably kept her up late…” Perfuma stated placidly, though was obviously trying to hold back a smirk. 

 

Catra kept her face even, though really her middle finger itched to be presented to the willowy blonde. But that would give away her very tenuous cover, so she let her win this round. 

 

Once on the deck, Catra was pleased to find she was alone. She did her best to wipe the dew from the chair, but still grimaced as the cool wetness seeped into her clothes. Still, it was better than being inside where the likelihood of people was far higher. 

 

Catra finally turned her attention to Spotify and tried to discern what she was feeling like this morning.  She flipped through playlist after playlist, both public and private, before concluding nothing was really mood. She could fight it as much as she wanted; hide under prickly thoughts and unwillingness to interact with others, but it was starkly clear: Catra was happy. And not like, elicit chemical happy or even brief spurt of mania happy. She was cloud nine, grade-A content and fuck all if that wasn’t a hell of a lot to handle. It’s not even been 24 goddamned hours; you truly are a pathetic mess of a lesbian.  

 

She ran a hand down her face and finally gave into another user’s playlist, Lesbian Lover Songs. It was simply a jumping off point; she would spend the morning creating her own (private) list. Catra shuffled through the songs, flicking past ones she knew, intent on finding something new to her. Finally, one came on that fit the bill. It wasn’t super sweet and sappy, had a hell of a catchy beat to it, and pretty much said everything she wanted to. 

Before you I was drowning way deep in this fountain,

Pulled me to the surface, no way I deserve this,

Sweet like sugar cane, I’m so glad that you came,

No clouds in my sky, ‘cause she bring that sunshine

...

She my cherry cola,

She gonna' keep me sober

Let me keep you closer

Bubbly like a soda

Sweeter than the champagne

Smoother than this Coltrane

Keep me from the chardonnay

I'm just sipping one thing

 

Catra knew there would be only one she’d be sippin’ for as long as she could. She listened to it several times in a row, letting herself get lost in the feeling of the song and inspire the rest of the list. It wasn’t that long before the whole list was just every gooey, sappy, butterflies-in-the-stomach song that just made her think of blue eyes, blonde hair and a smile that warmed the darkest, coldest reaches of her black little heart.

 

Adora had decided even before getting out of bed for the morning that she would be running a mile and a half and rounding it out with a runner’s yoga routine, likely her own design; all in all, a very light session. But this was Spring Break after all. She had also decided that listening to some gay music was another priority for the morning. Adora had a casual relationship with music; it was there, it was enjoyable for the most part, but much of it did not speak to her beyond that. Sometimes she put a list on as background noise for a longer run, but mostly preferred her own thoughts to keep her entertained while she exercised. She couldn’t even really tell you any particular artists or genres she really enjoyed, now or when she was younger. Adora mostly just listened to whatever Bow and Glimmer had growing up; it was partially why her references were so outdated. Afterall, back then it wasn’t like she was going to beg her foster parents for the newest CDs or a music playing device when she was most concerned with making sure they kept a roof over her head. And by the time college rolled around… Music just wasn’t part of her normal routine. 

 

This trip definitely changed things already, however. It was becoming increasingly clear that music very much spoke to Catra’s soul; idly Adora reflected on how that had possibly gone unnoticed for so long, considering she saw the woman with her AirPods in about 80% of their downtime in the apartment. But she also had usually just been so taken in by Catra, appreciating her as a whole as she cleaned, cooked, or did homework. Little details were beyond her most of the time. 

 

She was intensely curious to hear the rest of that playlist, Her, (Adora’s cheeks flushed rapidly as she soaked in being the ‘her’ the list referred to. Maybe. Probably.) but would never be so bold as to ask her to share. At least not right now.

 

No, for now Adora would do her own research, though following Catra’s suggestion. Lesbian Pride seemed like a great place to start and besides, forming her own opinions and favorites seemed like the healthy thing to do. As much as she would love to have a shared interest with Catra, especially one that meant so much to the other woman, if it was anything less than genuine the whole thing was moot. Was it unhealthy to do something to please another person if you did it on your own terms and more or less at your own volition? Already her running thoughts were kicking in.

 

Their little banter about good (and bad) girls left her feeling a little flushed, but she was determined to work it out on the trail. She knew from her research that there was a path around the lake and figured that was the best place around to run until she could get a chance to really explore the surrounding areas and their trails. After some light stretching, Adora popped in her headphones and shuffled the Lesbian Pride station. She was determined to give each song at least a minute and to try to really focus on really enjoying the experience each song wanted to send her through. 

 

Adora came jogging into view a little less than 20 minutes after Catra had situated herself on the porch to build her new list. She had a large smile on her face and was nodding her head along to a beat only she could hear. Suddenly realizing who was on the porch, the blonde shot finger guns at her (What a complete dork.) and entered the house. Catra really expected Adora to come join her on the porch, but was surprised when a few minutes later she came back into view, this time barefoot and carrying what looked to be Perfuma’s yoga mat.

 

Adora spread her borrowed mat (of course she had her own but it was all the way out in Catra’s car and that was way more effort than just borrowing Perfuma’s) out in a sunny patch in the yard. The morning dew tickled her feet but didn’t leave them completely soaked; likely this is where Perfuma herself had practice earlier in the morning. She contemplated running through a video, Adrienne did aways make her smile, but really this was going to be a short practice and she wanted to continue to listen to the Pride music. Adora reasoned that later on would probably involve some sort of physical activity- hiking, swimming, something of the like, so she really didn’t need to push it. Yoga wasn’t her specialty by any means, but it did always leave her feeling loose and more centered.

 

Catra was still mainly focused on her own music, each song growing more pathetically lovestruck by the minute, especially when she saw Adora in a cross-legged position, basking in a patch of soft sunlight that seemed to be beaming to earth just for her. 

 

After a few cycles of breath, Adora moved to a table-top position, grounding the tops of her feet into the earth beneath her mat and spreading her fingers wide. Finding her balance with more breath cycles, at her next inhale she dropped her stomach towards the ground, enjoying the stretch in her lower back. Exhale, she arched her lower back up, and repeated the cat-cows several times before curling her toes under, allowing any tension in the muscles there to release before sitting up right against her calves.

 

Out of the corner of her eye, Catra saw Adora had switched to an upright position, with her fingers laced behind her and chest sticking out. She still was goddamned resplendent in the sunlight. Catra began to have the sneaking suspicion that her tranquil morning was about to get interrupted by non-gentlelady thoughts and impulses. Then again, those had already peppered her entire morning, so what was the difference?

 

Adora’s chest suitably opened and any stress in her pectoral muscles from the swinging of her arms as she ran released, she moved into gate pose, centered on her knees and lengthening her torso to sit tall. She extended her left leg out to the same side, reaching her right arm to the sky and her left one down her extended leg. After a few more inhales and exhales, she returned to table-top and repeated the sequence again; cat-cows, gate, but extended her right leg this time.

 

Really, Catra could have dealt with all that. It was interesting to watch, a way to appreciate the care Adora showed for her body. Really should consider something like that for myself; high metabolism isn’t gonna last forever. But what was just not fair was when she moved into the standing portions and beyond. Catra watched Adora rise slowly to her feet, opening her legs wide, even wider than her shoulder width. Hands on her hips, she bent forward at the hips with her head dipping down to practically between her own outstretched knees. Her hands went flat against the ground, fingers spread wide before raising the top part of her body to be parallel to the ground. At least, that was Catra’s best guess, because naturally the blonde’s front was facing away from the deck so really for the second time this morning, Catra was graced with a very prominent view of her firm ass. Other areas as well, but Catra dare not think too hard on that for her own well-being. I’ve got 8 more days surrounded by morons with zero chance at privacy and not to mention no date plans yet; let’s not make this celibacy any more difficult than it needs to be.

 

Really, if she had any sense at all, she would just go inside. Go take a shower, a cold, cold shower, and get ready to face the day that hopefully did not include too many displays of Adora’s limber abilities. Unfortunately, Catra was Dumb and Gay, so what chance did she really have at all?

 

Adora ran through the rest of her standing positions, but had to admit that the wide legged forward bend was her absolute favorite. It just stretched each major muscle group of her body so well, especially after a run. It also was helping her gear up for the next part of this homebrew routine, which had her back on the ground in table-top. She ‘wagged her tail’, as Adrienne would say, gently swaying her hips back and forth through several more cat-cows then contorted herself into pigeon pose to open her hips, awakened her groin muscles with cobbler’s pose, and rounded it all out with puppy pose, only slightly self-conscious at how she must look with her butt way up in the air in the yard like that.

 

Catra just watched; Dumb, Gay, and Frozen.

 

All of her work so far was in preparation of the more dynamic part of her sequence; downward facing dog, straight into a plank, a push-up (maybe one-handed if she really felt the desire), back to plank and repeat. She was going to aim for 7-10 reps of this sequence and try to make herself go as slow as possible to get the most out of the exercises. With a large exhale, she pushed herself off her puppy arms and spread her fingers wide into downward facing dog.

 

At the first rotation of Adora moving from a perfect, steady plank into a slow, almost langourious push-up Catra gave up any pretense of not watching. She also found herself moving from sappy romantic music (as lovely as King Princess’s cover of ‘Happy Together’ truly was) and immediately knew there was only one song to accompany this real life wet dream.

 

I think I need attention, I think I need your touch

Don't have to say a word 'cause you know what I'm thinking of

Fall into these ways, wake up in this haze

Know you feel this connection, I taste it on your lips

My body's calling as you chase it with your fingertips

Crash until we break, take your breath away...

 

Catra continued to watch, slack-jawed, perfectly aware this did not fall under the realm of gentlelady behavior, but really, if she didn’t act on the dirty, dirty thoughts in her mind, was there any harm? She reasoned the only damage being done was to herself; she was willingly putting herself through the torture of watching this display of Adora’s strength and coordination. She audibly groaned when Adora did her next push-up one handed; even from this distance Catra could see the sweat rolling down her face from the exertion. I want to be under her while she does this… That body dropping down towards me, ass high in the air, sweat dripping… The song was not helping, but Catra really didn’t choose it to cool things off.

 

All this woman, all this woman

Boy, you're mad if you got all this woman

And don't want every inch of all this woman...

 

“Jesus, you’re practically drooling, Kit Cat.” Glimmer’s cutting, judgemental tone broke through Catra’s trance. “I would say you’re an absolute creep for this, but honestly, with where Adora situated herself, directly in your line of sight, I can’t possibly say this is not some weird lesbian courting ritual.”

 

Catra ground her teeth, annoyed she hadn’t had the foresight to keep her music loud enough to block out any irritants. Especially pipsqueak dye-jobs who served to just try to piss her the fuck off. She could think of any number of biting comments to throw back at her, but decided the best revenge was living well. She relaxed her face into a guise of calm and made her voice as even as possible. It was hard as hell, but also Catra knew it would be completely unexpected. “Good morning. What can I do for you, Glimmer?”

 

Instantly, obnoxiously lavender eyebrows shot up in astonishment. “My god. Has the secret to you not being a complete bitch all the time just been Adora’s... You know what, I’m going to make myself hurl if I continue that train of thought. Instead, I’ll take the olive branch at face-value and cut to the chase so we can get back to pointedly ignoring one another except when strictly necessary.”

 

“Nothing would make me happier, not even Adora’s-...”

 

“Ah, ah, nope, no, uh-uh! I started that; that’s on me. But please, I beg you to not finish that sentence. I will even drop my sass to four for the remainder of this conversation if you show mercy on me and the error of my ways.” Glimmer had her hands up by the side of her head, ready to earmuff at any time should Catra not be feeling benevolent.

 

Catra couldn’t help but smirk at the power she held in this situation. She definitely knew this wasn’t a social call; like hell GIimmer would seek her out without reason. At the same token, she recalled a hurt Adora saying how much it sucked that they didn’t get along… “I’ll spare you the details, even if they’re completely made-up ones currently. I’ll take it one step further, no less. Temporary truce?” Only a quick eye flick to the side betrayed the nervousness she felt in being the one to extend such a thing.

 

“Yes, truce.” Glimmer dropped her hands, considered extending one out to shake on it before thinking better of it. No matter what was between them, Catra and Glimmer also understood one another. A truce was called and the truce would be respected. “Look, we need you to get Adora out of the house for a few hours this morning.”

 

Catra arched an eyebrow and gave the other woman a look that clearly said ‘Why the fuck do you need that?’ The look seemed more polite than the words themselves.

 

“We’re throwing her a coming out party!” Not even the weirdness of their cease-fire could keep the excitement out of her voice as Glimmer explained.

 

“I’m sorry, a what now?”

 

“A coming out party! Since you decided to display her leanings in such a public way last night, not that she really hadn’t been obliviously doing that herself for years now, Bow and I decided a party is the best way to celebrate her finally taking a running leap out of the closet. Assuming she answers positively to the thorough line of questioning I have planned, of course. We aren’t here to embarrass her, after all.”

 

Catra sat wordlessly, trying to figure out if this was a real thing or an Idiot Twins thing. A coming out party; really? She thought back to her own coming out where honestly the fact she still had a home after all the... drama was a damn miracle. Certainly no one ever threw her a party over it. “What is all this going to entail? And why do you need her gone?”

 

“It’s a surprise party, you twit! God, that should be obvious.” Glimmer took a moment to draw her temper in, not wanting to be the one who broke this fragile truce. “As for what it will involve, eh, I’d prefer to keep most of the details to myself but I can assure you that your part is simply distraction. This is purely for Adora’s sake, so don’t get any ideas just because you happen to somehow be the person of her interest.” Glimmer bit back the ending of that sentence, For some fucked-up reason I’ll never understand.  

 

She did not let Catra reply before continuing. “Anyway, I’ve got the batter prepped for the cake- rainbow, of course; that’s what I did all of yesterday afternoon while you two were serenading one another in the car on the way down. It’s all chilling in the downstairs fridge, the actual reason we did not have karaoke down there last night.”

 

“... How? What?” Catra was baffled; what had happened in their travels down here was a completely spontaneous decision she had made on the spot. But somehow there was cake involved? “What happened between us was like… spur-of-the-moment, adrenaline-rush… I mean it wasn’t planned, so why would you have spent time prepping a cake? Or was Adora planning on coming out this trip?” Her mind was reeling at the information being presented to her. The fact she might not have had to expose herself as she had was a tough pill to swallow. 

 

Glimmer regarded the seated, so very confused woman for several moments before pursing her lips tightly. “I’ll let Adora fill you in on that one. But really, you ever take a moment to wonder why the Best Friend Squad didn’t all travel together? Or really why, after years of us trying to include you, to welcome you into this fold because we know how important you are to Adora, only to have you shoot us down every time and often in the most embarrassing and frankly cruel ways, that you were even invited on this trip in the first place? I don’t think it’s breaking our cease-fire for me to point these things out when they’re just simple facts. You’ve never really been very nice to us but I’ll own up to my part, even take Bow’s share too, when I say we responded no better.”

 

It was Catra’s turn to remain quiet. Really, it had entered her mind that being on this trip, let alone able to travel here with just Adora was truly a damned miracle. Several pieces began to click together for her and she couldn’t decide how she felt about the whole thing. 

 

“What happened on your commute here is your business- but now that it seems like you’re going to be dating my best friend in the whole fucking world… I think it’s time we both try to be better. For Adora. So, please, let’s start by you participating in what will be a really fun time to show Adora she is celebrated, loved, and supported. Because you know she’s not going to get that in her home life and no matter what she may say, that will hurt her. We’re the best family she’s got and I just want her to really feel it, y’know?”

 

“... Yeah. Yeah, you’re right. Okay, I’m still really fucking confused here, about a lot of different things, but I agree. I’ll find some way of keeping her entertained for a couple hours.” If Catra had ears, they’d be plastered flat against her head in a cocktail of shame and fear. “And since we’re like, I don’t know, talking like adults and putting side the penchant to be petulant, near-violent children…”

 

Glimmer chuckled a little, thinking of any number of “pranks” that had definitely gotten out of hand between them over the years. She was pretty sure Catra still had the scars from the sparklers incident freshman year… 

 

Catra gulped, trying to force down her pride. “Do you have any fucking date ideas? Because here in the middle of nowhere, I am absolutely lost. Okay, maybe not just because we’re out here in the woods. Glimmer, I want to date her so bad. I want her to be my y’know, girlfriend.” The last word came out as a squeak.

 

Glimmer’s responding tone was surprisingly gentle, as she took in this new side of Catra: uncertain, if not downright scared. In the spirit of their truce, plus the fact she really needed Catra to do this favor for her (not that it was particularly fucking difficult; she was giving them free license to run off together for a few hours for Christs’ sake), she found herself nodding to the concern and not prodding the weakness. “Yeah, I know you do. Look, can we maybe get through this party first? And in honor of our new budding… neutrality? Not open animosity, at least? I will say this. Adora doesn’t care about what you two do. Somehow, she’s just head over heels at the idea of dating you. So, don’t overthink it too much, k?”

 

Catra’s eyes were dangerously close to filling. She was so happy; she treasured this tiny bud of hope and possibility between them so much. And if anyone could fuck it up, it would be Catra. For sure. “I know, I know. But I’m… me? And it’s Adora . She deserves like, just the absolute best and I just really, really want to sweep her off her feet. It’s Adora, Glimmer. Adora.” She blamed every single lovey-dovey and unrealistic song she’d listened to this morning for her pitiful display, but it didn’t stop her for one second to call for the help she so needed.

 

“You’re pathetic.” Her voice was surprisingly gentle, almost friendly. She put a hand on Catra’s shoulder and chanced giving it a small reassuring squeeze. “Scratch my back today, I’ll scratch yours tomorrow. Take her to some trails for a few hours, drive around the hills for a while, whatever. Just text me when you’re on your way back so I can make sure we’re all in place.”

 

Coming out of her vulnerable state, Catra finally had a slip-up. She scoffed sharply. “Like I really have your number.”

 

“You do, unless you make it a habit of cleaning up your contacts. Freshman year, spring semester, group project on Carl Jung, Intro to Psych. Adora made the three of us group together and physically entered my number into your phone and yours into mine, even though we both tried to say we would just work through her. Bow, who wasn’t even in the class, spent most of that semester mediating our planning sessions to keep us from killing one another.”

 

“Oh. Yeah, I guess I do remember that. ‘Kay, I’ll uh, try to keep her busy for as long as I can and then text you on our way back.” That story really illuminated just how much shared history she  had with Glimmer, Bow too. All at Adora’s behest, of course, but it was eye-opening to be reminded that she really wasn’t quite as distant from Adora’s best friends as she liked to pretend. “And uh, y’know. Thanks. For this and for your help later. You’re a good friend… to Adora.” She tacked the last part on quickly, so there wouldn’t be any misunderstandings. This had been far too close to emotional for her comfort.

 

“Thank you, Catra. This wouldn’t be happening without you, in more ways than one.” Glimmer gave her a small, knowing smile with a wink. “Thank goodness Adora has a bitch-kink otherwise she might have stayed in denial her whole life.”

 

“I’m sure as hell grateful.” Catra returned her smile with one that spoke volumes.

Chapter Text

Glimmer left shortly after their accords were drawn up, mentioning breakfast and coffee before party prep. She made Catra promise that she and Adora would come find her before they left, so Glimmer could ask the questions she had planned to determine Adora’s pliancy towards a coming out party. “Subtly, of course, it’s still a surprise!” Glimmer shrugged. “And hey, if it looks like the party will be a no-go based on her answers, we’re all a bunch of queers. Who’s going to say no to a random rainbow cake?” Catra had to agree; cake good, rainbow good, rainbow cake fantastic.

Back in her solitude, Catra returned to watching her muscle-bound dork keep crushing those push-up and plank combos. She wasn’t sure exactly what the allure with it was, but was also comfortable enough with her own kinks to not question it too deeply. What does it for ya, does it for ya.  

She pushed the deeper implications of conversation with Glimmer to the backburner for now, not really prepared to process everything that had been revealed in all that. For now she would take things at a surface level. She needed to keep Adora away from the house for a while and in turn Glimmer would help her figure something great out for their first date. Win-win, to be honest. It wasn’t like Catra was going to pitch a fit over spending alone time with Adora.

Speaking of Adora, she was rolling up the mat and packing it in finally. Catra considered going down to meet her, but really, it was far more fun to have Adora chase her. Plus, what if she wanted to shower or something first? Catra may have been fantasizing about her sweaty body, but in reality it was probably far less sexy and way grosser. Keep telling yourself that.

It turned out that Adora had no interest in good hygiene and was seated next to Catra within minutes. Her lightweight tech hoodie was plastered to her skin in some spots, not that Catra was really noticing. Or trying not to at least. Her face was faintly pink at her exertions and several strands of her hair had fallen out of their normally kempt ponytail. As the blonde pushed up the sleeves of her shirt to allow the cool morning air to soothe her overheated self, Catra was drawn in by the way her muscles and the veins of her arms seemed to be bulked up right against the surface of her skin. Oh, hey look, I have a forearm kink too. Will the surprises ever stop coming? The overall effect was dazzling on Catra, to say the least. 

“Did I really take three hours to do my workout? I thought someone wasn’t interested in getting out of bed yet.” Adora stretched out against the deck chair, even having the audacity to lace her fingers behind her head with a smug smile spread wide on her ( Perfect, stunning, stupid) face.

“Quiet, you. I believe I was promised a kiss for getting out of bed.” Summoning a superhuman mix of willpower and nerve, Catra not only turned to face the blonde head-on in her chair, but also gently tugged at her sleeve to get her attention.

Adora sat up from her recline, somewhat embarrassed at her current state. Not enough to not lean a little closer to Catra; oh, she had no control over that particular impulse, especially with that little tug. But she still kept some distance, unsure of how fragrant she might be at the moment. “Eh, probably want to let me get cleaned up first. Taking those down dog push-ups as slow as I did was more brutal than I was expecting.” Adora wiped at her brow and grimaced. In no way was that even close to a difficult session, but any body weight exercise was going to cause a certain amount of struggle.

“Mmm… Don’t read into this too much, but don’t care. C’mere.” Catra grabbed the collar of her tech hoodie and pulled her in for a more or less decent kiss. Nice attempt at cover-up there, asshole. Might as well get a giant neon sign next time...

Adora let herself be pulled into the kiss, eyebrow raising in slight surprise. I mean, if it’s not a turn-off that’s probably for the best… I spend most of my time at least somewhat sweaty. She loved that getting to kiss Catra was slowly becoming natural; just something incredible they got to do almost whenever they wanted. After they’d broken apart, hearts still in their eyes, Adora wound their fingers together marveling at just how well they fit in hers. She would never tire of being in some kind of contact with Catra. “Spent my whole run and yoga sesh listening to gay music.” 

“Oh yeah? Any of it speak to you? Almost looked like you were really enjoying one when you came running in.” Catra was glad for the change to a more neutral topic to give herself a fighting chance. Because that display definitely launched every Gay Panic button within her, even despite the Glimmer intermission. Not to mention kissing her like it was no big thing, holding hands with her… Dear lord, I might actually have a flexible Valkyrie for a girlfriend one day. That thought was almost too much for an average dyke like herself to handle. But music, she could talk music even with only a handful of functioning brain cells remaining. 

“Yes! It was the first one I really, really liked. Went something like:  ‘All I want to get is a little bit closer... it’s not all just physical, I’m the top who won’t get critical’. Great line there, for sure. Listened to it a few times.” She wiggled her eyebrows and really hammed up the inflection on the word top.

“... Type.” Catra inwardly groaned, certain before long she’d have one solitary brain cell left to fight the good fight. Not even music is safe...

“Hmm?” Adora wrinkled her brow at this seeming segway in conversation. Is she asking me my type? Pretty sure it’s obvious… 

“The chorus goes: ‘I’m the ‘type’ who won’t get critical’. Not top.” Catra was doing her best, and failing, to not laugh at this slight adjustment in the lyrics. Really, it wasn’t that bad of a miss-hear but it was still damn funny. And it was certainly easier to laugh through the exchange than read into it too much and risk permanent damage to her neuro processors. Typical big top energy right there...

“What? No, it’s not. Because there’s definitely that line later that’s all like ‘getting underneath me’! It’s gotta be top. Sounds just like it.” Adora found herself grounding into the idea; it wasn’t that she was feeling threatened by Catra’s laughter at her or the situation or whatever but… She knew what she heard.

“Okay, Adora, your way works too. Thank goodness for that, because a critical top would be a major turn-off.” Catra was shaking her head, realizing it wasn’t worth the argument.

A turn-off? Huh. Well, I guess maybe, yeah, the critical part but… Adora lost herself for several seconds trying to picture where Catra might fall in those kinds of roles. Then again, not like she had really a strong idea of where she herself might fall; four little random trysts weren’t actually a chance for much exploration. So far Adora had taken what she could get; it was a tool to judge whether she felt into such things, nothing more. More important, does that kind of stuff even matter? It’s just labels; ya like what ya like, plain and simple. She gave a small nod of her head, mostly towards her own inner dialogue, but was thankful when she realized it was an appropriate response for the external dialogue as well.

“Okay, so you enjoyed ‘Closer’ by Tegan and Sara. An absolute classic and like, Lesbo Lyrics 101. Any others?” As proud as she was that Adora was hopping on the queer music train, she also was hoping for two seconds away from any sexual innuendo. It was probably a pipe dream, all things considered.

“Well, I need to keep listening to be absolutely sure of my favorites.” Catra nodded in agreement; music often needed to really marinate to be fully appreciated. “But there was one…” Adora blushed fully, debating whether to continue down this track. The whole ‘top’ conversation already had her head in a way different world. Still she’d liked the song and Catra wanted to hear about the ones she’d enjoyed... “I can’t remember who it was or what it was called; I was pretty deep into that forward bend when it came on.”

Catra didn’t one hundred percent know which of the poses (that she’d been inhumanly tortured by/blessed beyond all reason with) was exactly a forward bend, had a strong suspicion it was the one that had first really caught her attention. She set her teeth and pushed past the visuals in her head to stay in the present moment. “Well, I was able to decode Closer for you. Remember any lines?”

“Uhhh… Heh, just one.” Adora turned an even brighter red. “Honey, on your knees, when you look at me. Oh… and something about ‘begging please’...”

If there were a wall more convenient to her current position, Catra would be bashing her head into it steadily. Instead she bit her tongue- hard. Is that a line of a song or a command, Princess? She allowed herself one steadying breath before continuing the conversation. “Ah. Yes. Holy by King Princess; one of my personal favorites. Really anything by King is right up my alley.”

“Ohhh right, she also did that one about worshipping…”

“Uhuh. Yup, yeah. That’s right.” The stupid song that kickstarted all of this. Cut that conversation off before we can even get there; can’t handle that one right now. Let’s actually get on to other things. “What’s your plan for the rest of the day, babe?”

Adora warmed at the pet name, certain it would never get old. “Not sure what the full day looks like yet, but I definitely need some breakfast; have you eaten yet?”

Catra waved her pretty much empty coffee cup. “You know this is the only breakfast I need. Might go grab a second cup though.”

Adora reached for the mug. “Black as you pretend your heart is, right?”

“... You’re going to get me more coffee?” Catra couldn’t decide if the words or the action warmed her said black heart more. That she knew how Catra liked her coffee, not that it was exceedingly difficult or anything, or that she would offer to bring her more… 

“I’m already going to the kitchen, so yes?” Adora gave her a quizzical little smile. “Not one-sided, Catra. And bringing you coffee is pretty simple.”

Catra could feel her cheeks blazing. She couldn’t look Adora in the eye as she held her cup out in surrender. “You might have to keep reminding me of that…”

Adora leaned in, far closer than she really needed to be, as she took the cup from her hands. Catra’s eyes were drawn to her, a magnetic force field she had no chance to resist. Her voice was gentle and her eyes soft. “Every day, if I have my way.” 

Catra flipped the hood of her stolen sweatshirt over her face in response; the fact it smelled so strongly of Adora did not help matters at all. Her face was bright red though, no way was she going to let anyone see that. But still, she called out softly from below the fabric. “Thank you… and not just for the coffee.” She stayed there until she could no longer hear Adora’s reply of bright, affectionate laughter.

Adora was feeling on top of the world and for once, it was not just endorphins. She busied herself with making breakfast, deciding on greek yogurt, blueberries, nuts and as a treat, a drizzle of raw honey over top. Normally it was a Clif bar halfway eaten before running to class, the other half consumed mid morning when she suddenly realized she was starving . Her busy schedule didn’t always allow for basic needs to be met with regularity. Something else was always pulling her attention away from herself. 

But this morning she felt relaxed, completely at peace as she sought to make a meal that she might really get to savor. The tranquility and contentment could be from the clean, crisp air by the lake during her run. Or maybe she aligned a couple chakras during her yoga practice earlier. Or maybe it’s the beautifully soft-hearted girl of your dreams hiding in your hoodie from the embarrassment that you’re doing something nice for her. Yeah, maybe that one.  

She was pleased that Catra had already made it out of hiding by the time she returned with their provisions. “There’s that beautiful face.” Adora was probably pushing her luck with that, but one should always speak the truth. 

“Ughhhh… I’m gonna hide again if you keep it up.” Oh, god please keep it up; I hate that I love it.

“No promises either way, but I’ll at least let you enjoy your coffee, for now. I’m hungry, anyway.” She handed Catra the mug and sat to enjoy her meal.

“What are you eating?” Catra's next attempt at a neutral topic of conversation. It wasn’t that they couldn’t just sit in a comfortable silence together; talking was just so much better.

“Just some greek yogurt with yummy toppings. Here, have a bite.” Adora scooped some up, making certain to include the nuts, berries and honey so Catra could have the full experience. She paused as she did so; even though she knew the answer (seasonal allergies, controlled with Flonase and Claritin, and slight coconut intolerance), she found herself asking, “Wait- you don’t have any nut allergies, right?” Suddenly the thought of Catra coming to harm or even mild discomfort just filled her with panic. 

“Eh, no more than your average dyke.” Catra chortled at herself, then arched an eyebrow in puzzlement. “But no; no allergies. Thought you knew that considering we have like 12 different kinds of nut butters in the apartment and I’m never above stealing your food. Even the weird healthy stuff.”

“Yeah… Yeah. I did. I really don’t know why I asked that. Anyway, have a bite. It’s really good.” She held the spoon out, only mildly surprised when Catra opened her mouth instead of taking the cutlery for herself. She willed her hand to not shake as she fed the other woman the bite.

“Not bad for healthy crap.”

“Figured I should eat something somewhat decent as I’m sure the rest of the day will be bad food and drinking.”

“As it should be, princess. I want you to remember that I took a bite from yours the next time I offer you something full of salt and fat. Because I promise you, the way you workout plus all your sports and stuff, a bite of frozen pizza will not make a damn bit of difference.”

Adora shrugged. “You’re probably right but also… Gotta keep it tight for you.” She flashed a wicked smile, expecting another endearing retreat from Catra at the boldness of the suggestion that Adora was maintaining her body just for the other woman. God, I am really bad at following my own rules. This really should be addressed… Later.

Catra sucked in a large gulp of air. Appreciated so, so much but... After spending the whole morning being kind of a creeper; hanging out on the deck and lustily watching the woman as she worked out, Catra felt the need to clarify something. “You do know that the tightness is just a really nice perk, right? That I’m into, y’know. You as a person...” Because you’re genuinely kind, intelligent, driven, witty, oblivious in the most endearing way and yet also totally perceptive to the true needs of others… My complete foil, but in what I hope will be a lasting, compatible way? 

Catra couldn’t bring herself to say any of those thoughts out loud. She would try with time; was trying with what she had just managed to say, but this past 24 hours had already been so much. Adora doing kind of homey, familiar things like fetching her coffee and carrying her bags? Calling her face beautiful? Stating flat-out her feelings weren’t one-side, multiple times? Yes, it was everything Catra wanted and more but that didn’t change the fact she was a self-deprecating idiot who would have an internal meltdown every time it happened. 

Meltdowns be damned, this idiot felt she needed to make sure Adora understood this wasn’t just physical attraction for her. Yes, there was a whole hell of a lot of that, especially since the two couldn’t say three words to one another that weren’t just dripping with implication. And more and more it seemed they were always touching; not that Catra was complaining. At. All. 

But while she might not be able to verbalize compliments that maybe weren’t just surface stuff quite yet (Adora was fucking hot; everyone would agree to that point, there was no real substance to that)… Internally, she had a million fucking reasons to be so dopey over her. Her body was maybe midway, if that, on the list. Because flexible Valkyrie with jacked arms and an ass that does not quit could not be discounted entirely but like, the stuff that made Adora, Adora… just mattered so much more at the end of the day.

“You better be.” Adora internally gave a shout of joy and high fived herself. Shelikesmeshelikesmeshelikesme. Sure, that had already been established several times over and in a myriad of different ways; duh.  But also to hear so plainly that this wasn’t just animal attraction. That Catra liked her for her. It was just… reassuring. “I feel the same way about you, Catra.”

“Well, uh, good then.” Catra took a long sip from her coffee. It burned, but not as bad as her face. 

“Another bite?” Adora was already scooping it into her spoon, ready to share the rest of her breakfast. 

And so they did share. Catra even got Adora to have a sip of her coffee, laughing uproariously at the face she made at the bitter flavor. “Hah! That’s how I expected you to act with the shot last night.”

“Ugh, I can do shots. That though… Vile, truly. Not sure how you can drink any of that, let alone as much as you do.”

“Medicine to my cold black heart, m’dear. Anyway, now that breakfast is about done, what do you say we hit some trails this morning?”

“You’re willing to go out into nature with me?”

“Eh, I paid for this week of Wilderness Wonder, didn’t I? Might as well go see it in all its splendor. Let’s make a morning of it; trails, maybe a drive to see what’s around.”

Mmm, is this a date? Adora was all for it, if so. “Okay! I just want to go get changed. I won’t shower yet, but new clothes would be nice. Also pretty sure you need to get dressed for the day; unless you’re just planning on wearing my clothes from now on?”

“Babe, if this goes like I plan, it’s our clothes now. My clothes and our clothes.” Catra rose from the deck chair to go inside, chuckling, and leaving Adora to work that one out for herself. 

A short time later and change of clothes for Adora later (Catra approved greatly of her choice to wear a crop top, So much better on her than Bow...), the pair entered the kitchen. Adora had wanted to leave immediately, but Catra knew she needed to find Glimmer first. “Pretty sure we should bring at least one bottle of water with us. That seems like Smokey the Bear, Hiking 101 shit.” 

“Oh, yeah. I guess so. Maybe a snack as well?” Adora was excited to get out there and explore, but Catra was making a very good point. Being mid-April in the mountains it wasn’t incredibly hot out yet, but having liquid on hand was always a wise choice.

“Heyyy, Adora. Catra. Have a good time last night?” Glimmer smirked over her cup of coffee from her seat at the kitchen bar. She was glad Catra seemed to be following through on her end. She wasn’t that worried but...

“The best I’ve ever had at one of your normally insufferable karaoke events, yes.” Adora snarked out as she approached Glimmer while Catra went to the fridge to grab a couple waters for them and then rummage around for something portable to snack on later. 

Glimmer snorted. I should certainly think so, considering your paramour practically hijacked my event with her stunt. That I more or less incited, fine, whatever. Time to get this ball rolling; regardless of the answers, she had a cake to bake. “Not surprising, given certain events. Which, I have to ask, given the display last night. Adora, do you consider yourself ‘out’ now? At least to friends and family, like us. Obviously professionally that’s completely your choice.”

“I mean, I guess? I hadn’t really thought much about it yet.” She really hadn’t given it much thought. The label just didn’t really feel all that important to her; she was much more interested in defining her thing with Catra than worrying about defining herself. “Not really big on labels; doesn’t seem that important in the grand scheme.”

“To name something is to know something.” Bow pointed out, strolling in from wherever he’d been lurking all morning. Catra sidled up next to Adora, waters and granola bars in hand. She was hoping this supposedly fool-proof line of questioning wouldn’t take that long because while nature was by and large horrifying ( Mud, bugs; gross. I’m a city dyke for a reason.) , she would at least be in damn good company. “I for one love being able to say ‘I’m a trans bisexual!’ It gives me a sense of power; secures my identity in ways that hopefully others can understand too. There’s agency in it.”

Glimmer gave her boyfriend a warm smile before nodding. “Agreed, babe. I mean, sure the general populace might not understand what I mean by ‘pansexual’ but by having a word for it, I can hopefully build better understanding and acceptance!”

Catra wanted to gag through this whole pro-LGBT after school special that was happening before her. *This* was their idea of a subtle line of questioning? What, were they characters in some bad gay teen pride book? No one talks like that in real life, just sputtering out random bits of exposition and personal revelations over coffee!

Adora just blinked. “Uh, sure, you two. Makes total sense.”

Bow nodded. “I’m glad you think so! So gay or queer or lesbian, whatever. That’s a label that you would ascribe to yourself of your own free will? Maybe even something you’d celebrate about yourself?”

Jesus Christ, it got worse. I shouldn’t be surprised; There is absolutely nothing understated about this conversation. Catra inwardly groaned, knowing she would now have to field Adora’s questions about this strange, inorganic conversation all morning. 

“... I suppose, sure. Gay, lesbian. Either is fine.” Adora looked to Catra, with lost eyes that screamed ‘What is happening?!’

Catra swooped in with the mercy kill. “And I’m straight as an arrow. Which is why I kissed this girl right here last night, prompting this whole dumb conversation. Look, she and I are going to go hit some trails. You guys want to join?” Even if they were terrible at subtly, Catra would at least try to make this look somewhat natural. 

Adora’s head snapped to look at Catra in disbelief, who somehow missed the reaction. She’s inviting them to join us?! My god, that’s even weirder than whatever the hell is up with these two. 

“Hiking? Not a chance. There’s a hammock and a trashy romance calling my name.” Glimmer waved off the invite. Not bad, Kit Cat. Laying a false trail. 

“And, uh, I need to go chop some more firewood. Hawk wants to do a bonfire tonight and I think Mermista might let him- under heavy supervision.” Bow supplied, shrugging a little too stiffly as he did. 

Adora stopped trying to puzzle out this bizarre interaction and zoned into Bow’s words. “Chopping wood?!” Her muscles were already clamoring at the challenge. She never had used an axe to cord wood before, but man it sounded fun. And gay. Very, very gay. Look Bow, I’m using a label. Are you proud? 

Catra knew Adora was almost lost at this point. “Okay, futch, calm down. I’m sure you could split like ten logs with a single stroke. But hi, did you want to hang out with me or…?” 

“Oh, yes. Yeah, of course! Should we see if anyone else wants to join?” Adora really wasn’t trying to sabotage any alone time, especially if this was a date, but she couldn’t live with the thought of not including any one who might want to join. 

“Well, Sea Hawk is joinin’ me to go a-cording.” Bow threw on his best country accent, while swinging his arms down in an overhand chopping motion. 

“And ‘Mista is dead set on day drinking today; think she’s already started…” Glimmer supplied, wondering why her boyfriend thought chopping wood would somehow dissuade their Amazonian, muscle-bound bestie. 

“And I’m sure that Scorpia and Perfuma are perfectly fine entertaining themselves. Also, they can go to the trails themselves any time they want.” Catra cut in before Adora could ask. “Man, Princess, I didn’t think spending time with just me would be that abhorrent to you. Trying to find anyone to join us, sheesh.” 

“No! That’s not it at all. I just thought it would be polite to make sure. But yeah, seems like everyone is set. So what trail do you wanna hit up?” She doesn’t really think that, right? Just her normal teasing? Adora made a note to do something to really make her feel special later. Her mind started to glaze over, thinking about all the mischief they could get up to while all alone in the woods… Goddamn it, behave already! She snarled at her own sex drive, then changed mental paths, picturing all sorts of romantic grand gestures to lavish the woman with instead. God, she just wanted to spoil her with everything. Catra deserved to be treated like the absolute queen she was. Bow’s next words were quick to draw her out of any intriguing daydreams, romantic or carnal.

“Y’all should go ‘Slob the Knob’.” Bow still hadn’t dropped the accent. 

“Excuse me? You wanna run that by me again, not in your weird country bro-speak?” That activity had been long since put to death after one very confusing and disgusting summer and Catra wasn’t looking to rekindle old disappointments. Not that she was dumb enough to not recognize a “joke” when she heard one, even if she didn’t get the reference overall. 

He flashed a large grin at the confusion and discomfort, but his face crumbled when he saw the less than amused look on his companion’s faces. “Sorry. Crude joke. Not cool of me at all; even if that’s what the locals supposedly call it... I was referring to Morgan’s Knob; it’s a trail about 20-30 minutes from here. Only a couple miles long but it leads to this great overlook and hooks up with another trail that will lead you to a pretty wicked cave. At least that’s what the All Trails site said. Haven’t done it myself.”

“Sounds like as good a plan as any. But I swear if you ever suggest something like that to me ever again…” Catra tapped her long nails against the counter top and stared daggers at Bow. While they’re great for intimidation, should probably think about trimming these back soon… God, focus. Like her for her, her for her. Gentlelady. 

Bow threw up his hands and backed away. “Wouldn’t dream of it; already chalking it up as the biggest regret of my life. Sorry; sometimes think I’m a lot funnier than I actually am…”

Glimmer just watched wordlessly; she was all for defending her man, but only when he deserved it. And this was not a time he did. Catra and Adora took their leave shortly after, leaving Glimmer to stare him down and Bow looking still vaguely ashamed of himself.

“Any preference on what we listen to?” Catra said as she buckled herself into the car. 

“Titanic soundtrack?” Adora flashed her a cocky grin. 

“... You get one a day, Princess. You sure you wanna use it on that ?” 

“Mmm, no better save it for a better opportunity then. Whatever you want to listen to; I shall be guided by you, oh Master of Music.”

“Good answer.” Catra smirked as she flicked on her newest playlist. It felt a little risky; she really hadn’t had the time to cultivate this list. At this point it was just gut reactions of her feelings. But in a way, that almost made it better. It was visceral. And I’m not saying a damn word to explain why I chose this list, even if she asks again and again the entire ride. 

Adora did not question the music choices during the relatively short drive, just allowed herself to relax and enjoy the moment. She did make note that they were generally... romantic in nature. Okay, they were downright lovey-dovey and completely passionate. Her heart was fluttering like a hummingbird as her stomach clenched in the most pleasant way. “Take my hand, Take my whole heart too, For I can’t help… Falling in love with you…” Her brain was slowly turning into complete mush, but she didn’t mind in the least. She could live like this.

Even in spite of the dreamy soundtrack around them, t hey made small, normal chatter between themselves; commenting on weird road signs they saw along the way and discussing what kind of people would live in a house decorated like that . Only one song, towards the end of the ride, inspired a small bit of chatter. 

Oh, kiss me beneath the milky twilight

Lead me out on the moonlit floor

Lift your open hand

Strike up the band, and make the fireflies dance

Silvermoon's sparkling

So kiss me…

No longer able to keep her feelings solely contained to herself, Adora heard herself exhale a long, audible, fluttering sigh. Visions of herself and Catra in their finery, dancing under the moonlight filled her head. Idly she wondered if Catra would wear a suit or a dress to such a thing; they’d never really had much occasion for formal wear, but she knew the woman had both in her closet. Adora appreciated the flexibility in her presentation and knew no matter which, Catra would be absolutely stunning. And with Glimmer’s formal dinner night on the last day of the trip, I guess I’ll get to see something… Excitement and anticipation flooded her stomach at the idea. She was aware she had an absolutely stupid grin on her face, but nothing could make that budge any time soon. 

The dreamy look on her passengers' faces did not escape Catra’s attention. “All right over there, Princess?” Her voice was soft, not exactly without teasing but more a gentle, knowing prod.

“Mmm, yes. This song is just so romantic. Kinda got lost in it for a moment…” Kinda been completely swept up in you for the last… Forever. But especially right now.

Romantic? Catra wanted to shout in triumph; finally something she could work with! “That’s how music should make you feel; lost in wherever it tries to take you. It’s a good song. Not strictly queer but to me it just screams gay. “You’ll wear those shoes and I’ll wear that dress”; just something about it.” I’ve got the shoes, you wear the dress, Princess.

“Yeah… Play it again for me?” Adora wasn't quite ready to give up her daydreams yet. They were just too amazing.

“Of course, Princess.” I'm yours; whatever you want.

Chapter Text

Catra’s car joined two others in the small parking lot of their destination before long. As the pair got out of the car, it took them a moment to even register where the trailhead began; long pine branches draped over the entrance almost completely obscuring it from view. The only indication it was a trail at all was a single post in the ground with a blue arrow pointing in the direction of the trees and a small weathered sign that stated “MORGAN’S KNOB- 2.6 MI”.

Adora lightly pushed back the encroaching branches and held them for Catra to pass through. “Such a gentleman…” Catra sighed out as she dipped in between them, fluttering her eyelashes outrageously at the blonde.

“Anything for you, my lady.” Adora echoed back in the same over-the-top manner, capping it with a slight and clumsy bow that had Catra laughing at her goofiness. 

After entering, the pair registered that they were surrounded by pine trees as far as the eye could see. They grew so tightly together that any one who dared to wander off the beaten path would quickly find themselves lost and adrift in the coniferous ocean. It made Catra uneasy; sure, in the city you couldn’t look out to the horizon without something blocking your view either, but those were known things like buildings and panhandlers. But the trees, though very beautiful as the sun fought tooth and nail to reach the ground between them, they were unknown. Unknown in their age, unknown in what inhabitants lurked between them, and so stoically silent in their presence. The quiet made Catra a little nervous.

Adora on the other hand, looked like she was ready to charge into the trees to make her mark and earn her place amongst the Earharts and Barets of history. She turned to Catra and gave her a beaming smile. “Just look at it! It’s so peaceful! And it smells so good.”

Pine was not a bad scent, but the faintly fetid smell of loam and fungus that just permeated nature was not exactly on the top of Catra’s favorite aromas. “Sure, ‘Dor. I love the scent of decaying plant matter. Can we actually walk or are you still huffin’ that good shit?”

“High on life, baby. High on life.”

Catra groaned and started to walk, to hell if Adora was following or not. The path itself was covered in rocks and roots; Catra had her head trained down so she wouldn’t eat it any time soon. Adora strode past her, head on a swivel, as she took in even the most commonplace markers of their wooded environment as pinnacles of wonder and awe. “Look! Mushrooms; man, if ‘Fuma were here she’d probably know exactly what kind of ‘fun guy’ we were looking at.”

“Oh, my god.” Catra took the risk of falling and cracking her head open on a rock as she walked so she could cover her face in her hands and bemoan her tragedy. Busting her skull open would be preferable to listening to Adora’s ‘jokes’.  “I have the hots for the biggest dork on the planet. What does that make me…”

“I’d say pretty lucky, considering this dork doesn’t mind your crabby ass. C’mon, Catra! Just breathe it in. Enjoy it. We’re away from the world right now and well… We’re together. That’s gotta count for something, right?” Adora slid in next to the other woman as she talked, fingers reaching out to grab her hand and pull it from her face. 

The crabby ass smiled in spite of herself and let her hand be pulled down between them, linking her fingers with Adora’s. “Something, yeah.”

They walked hand-in-hand for a while, not really in any rush, with Adora calling out random things that excited her (“Ferns! They’re so green!”) as she saw them. Catra just took her excitement in stride and enjoyed the feeling of being out here with this dweeb. It was actually pretty nice, she had to admit. Once she got over the sheer number of them around her, the trees were kind of comforting in their steadfastness. It also started to be less quiet; she could hear the various cheeps and chitters of the birds above her and low buzzing of insects (way, way far away, thank you very much). It wasn’t that she’d never been out on a hike before, it just wasn't a common thing for her. And wasn’t something she ever thought she would enjoy in her spare time. But with Adora’s almost childlike exuberance leading them down the path, it was hard to not be at least a little enchanted by the whole environment. The whispers of the woods around them only helped to create this feeling that they were on another planet, all to themselves.

Catra felt her phone buzz in her pocket and briefly let go of Adora’s hand to check it, but the blonde barely noticed. There was a pond ahead that Adora was dying to check out; she gave a cry of “Froggies?!” before scampering off to investigate. 

Sparkler Bitch: Any songs help you through your coming out that you’d want to share with A? Making a playlist for the party/her with songs from everyone.

Catra sniggered at the contact name; she knew it would need to be changed to honor this attempt for peace between them, but damn it all, that little escapade Glimmer pulled with the sparklers freshman year hurt . She pulled herself out of memory lane and focused on the question.

Cuntra: What do you guys have already?

Glimmer promised Bow before sending her a text that she would update Catra’s name just as soon as she saw the evidence of her past self’s amazing wit and wordplay pop up just once. Bow only sighed and shook his head in reply. Glimmer cackled loudly at the name as it appeared on her screen before making the adjustment to something far less profane. Though admittedly much more boring… Shall have to think of something good; ‘Kit Cat’ has already lost its zing.

Glimmer: We’re asking you first; don’t let it go to your head.

Catra: … I’m first draft pick? How can I not?

Glimmer: Draft pick? Sports? God, you’re such a lesbian. Opportunity to participate disappearing quickly... 

Catra: Wait, are we going with serious songs or like party ragers? Give me more on theme here you threw this at me so quick.

Glimmer: Whatever you want. No guidelines.

Catra quickly fired off a couple songs; they weren’t necessarily inspired choices but she’d only had like two minutes of prep so they’d have to do. She cackled heavily as she rattled one more off; not really sure if it counted as a “coming out” song, but it was inspirational in it’s own way and had certainly gotten her through a gay day or two. Good-natured, old-fashioned, lesbian love story… She hummed along to the song in her head.

Catra: Will text later if I think of any better ones.  

Adora was so enamored with the little placid pond and its surroundings, she didn’t even notice Catra’s attention to her phone. As Catra approached her, Adora was intently looking around the base of a tree that was near the pond edge. She was circling the tree and making very careful, slow footfalls as she walked. Catra stalked up behind her, mimicking her careful movements. “What are we doing?”

“Looking for frogs! It’s spring so they’re just starting to be active. The spring peepers especially.” Adora stopped her searching to flash a dazzling grin at Catra. Aww, she’s taking an interest!

“Spring… peepers?”

“Yup! Little tiny dudes. Very cute. Like an inch long, tan-ish gray color. I hear them all around; they’re that sharp little ‘peep, peep, peep!’ noise.” Adora’s head shot up in excitement as she heard the tell-tale chirp out in the distance. “See! That’s a peeper!”

Catra wasn’t sure exactly which sound Adora was so excited by. They all sort of sounded the same; general forest noises. “Uhuh. And what will we do with them if we find them?” She shuddered at the image of Adora holding a frog out for her to touch. Gross.

Adora blinked at her. “Well… nothing. But they’re cute and…” She trailed off, taking in the skeptical look on Catra’s face. “This is really boring to you, isn’t it?”

“Well, I mean. Look, I can’t say this is completely my scene, but also I can’t really argue with the company? I’m happy that you’re happy, dork.” Catra tried to soften her body language, hoping Adora would believe her. It really wasn’t that bad out here, even if she couldn’t quite get into frogs and ferns like Forest Futch could.

Adora weighed her options. She didn’t really want to make Catra do anything she didn’t want to, but being out in the woods was totally cathartic for her. There was just so much to see and explore; an entirely different world from the concrete and plastic they were normally surrounded by. And if Catra was marking her down as good company, she couldn’t be that displeased by the activity. But as Adora continued to survey the woman before her, it occurred to her that perhaps there were one or two things she could do to make the hike a little more interesting.

“Mmm, I’m not sure I believe you. Maybe we need to do something a little more engaging for us both…” She took a step towards Catra, almost seeming to push her backwards with her movement.

“What did you have in mind, Adora?” Catra’s voice was careful, but there was an edge of excitement that came out as she uttered the blonde’s name. She took a quick note of the tree behind her and stepped back in response to Adora’s step forward. Let’s see if I’m reading the mood right…

Another step forward, two steps in retreat. Catra’s back was now against the tree Adora had been investigating moments before. She could feel the rough bark pressing into her, but Adora was blocking was the only way forward. Not that she was thinking anything along the lines of escape; no, this position held way too much possibility. Adora placed one hand loosely above Catra’s head. She could see the definition of her bicep out of her periphery; it took a considerable amount of willpower to not turn and gawk at it’s corded majesty. Instead, her eyes were firmly locked to Adora’s own; watching, waiting. Adora closed the distance between them a little more, slotting her feet between the delightfully trapped woman’s own. “I was sort of thinking…”

Catra tilted her head back, just a small reposition, not wanting to reveal too many of her cards at once; desperation was unbecoming, afterall. Fortunately, Adora had been counting the deck and did not let the movement escape her notice. She closed the final, short distance between them to bring their lips together. Catra found herself instantly giving a deep, breathy moan at the contact. It had been a long, frustrating morning, okay? 

Adora inwardly cheered at the sound, moving to deepen the kiss to coax even more noises out of the gorgeous girl she had pinned to the tree. They held this position, while moving their mouths steadily together before Adora upped the ante with a gentle bite of Catra’s bottom lip. The receiving woman gasped and increased the vigor of their kiss at the introduction of her teeth, in no uncertain terms telling Adora “Yes.” and “More.” But Catra also decided the motion was an invitation to start a new game. She settled her hands at the top of Adora’s high waisted yoga pants, grasping the firm but giving hips below her fingertips just tight enough. Catra was certain to not let her fingers splay on to exposed flesh yet, enjoying the feel of her hands slotted against the woman as they continued to kiss heavily. 

The longer her hands stayed against her hips, the more Adora upped the pace at which their mouths moved against one another, tongues rolling together, and both their breathing becoming more exerted with every swipe. 

The tension ached deep within her, and Catra’s fingers were soon drawn forward to the next stop of their journey, where they would finally encounter bare flesh; the stripe of abs exposed by Adora’s crop top. Hovering fingertips gently trailed along her torso and when encouraged by whines, quickly turned into dragging nails and firm grasps. 

Adora sucked in a breath at the tantalizing touches, delighting in the ache Catra’s nails cultivated against her unclothed waist. It made her push herself against Catra harder, wanting there to be absolutely no space between them. Thrilled at the increased closeness, Catra’s hands moved higher, thumbs circling the sides of her glorious abs. Against every burning desire within herself, Adora pulled her lips away slightly, giggling as she did. “Tickles…”

“D’you want me to stop?” Catra’s voice came out thicker than she meant it to; she had been caught up in the feel of Adora’s naked skin under her hands. But never far enough gone to not pull the breaks as soon as it was even hinted at.

“Mmmm… no. I think I’ll live.” She then kissed Catra with even more hunger, a feat that barely seemed possible. Catra’s hands paused against her, taking the time to really luxuriate in the rough kiss. Teeth that were no longer a gentle, teasing nibble regularly sank into Catra’s lip, but she sure as hell was not complaining. Her hands regained their movement, but paused again as they reached the bottom of Adora’s top. Tentatively, she allowed a single finger to tamely move underneath her shirt, waiting for reaction. Adora’s breath hitched, her body rolling into the touch. 

Catra took that as one giant green light, even though her head was pointing out that making out in the woods and groping Adora was not exactly more or less respectable as the blonde asked her to be yesterday. But Adora didn’t seem to be complaining at the breech in conduct, her breath coming in excited pants as Catra’s hands moved ever higher up her shirt.

Soon Catra’s fingers met resistance in the form of the tight elastic band from Adora’s sports bra. She attempted to work her fingers under the band, but her long nails along the skin-tight apparel made her pause. Burrowing and scratching into Adora as she struggled against a stupid piece of elastic would probably be the biggest turn-off on the face of the planet. No matter how she moved her hand, their current position made it an extremely awkward attempt. I am cutting these fuckers off as soon as we get back and never growing them out again. 

“Better figure it out, hot stuff. This is about all I own… For now.” Adora broke their kiss just long enough to kiss along Catra’s jaw and breathe her silky words into her ear, polishing it off with a quick, playful nip of her earlobe. 

Catra gave a cross between a growl and moan; frustrated at the clothing keeping her from really exploring as far as she’d like, but mind reeling in lusty delight at the thought of Adora’s shopping spree. “Just don’t want to hurt you. Nails. And hard to get the right position when I’m pinned against a fucking tree.” 

Adora smirked, a little glad for once to not be the one fumbling through something, but stepped back to allow a little space between them and hopefully aid Catra’s movements.

Once again recalling that this really should probably be halted for propriety’s sake, Catra compromised with herself and abandoned the quest to get under the fabric for now. She placed her hand fully over Adora’s breast, pushing and molding her hand against the shape of it. 

Adora gasped and whined against the contact, her head tilting back at the oh so pleasant feel of Catra’s hand. Catra took advantage of her now more easily accessible neck and began to kiss along it, dragging her teeth lightly against the flesh. Adora was burning at the joint ministrations against her body. Her inner dialogue was warning her that they really needed to stop; this was not necessarily a public space, but also not private enough to continue. Oh, and also, she probably shouldn’t even be continuing anyway. Date. Respectful. This could be date, though… That was reason enough to keep going for Adora.

Catra was steadily making her way down Adora’s neck and had begun lavishing small bites and gently sucking at the skin of her collarbone and chest, though being certain to not leave any trace of her presence there. Yet… Her hand was still fully massaging Adora’s breast, giving the hardening peak under her bra a gentle pinch between her fingers. “Mmmm… We really should stop.”

Adora’s pants were heavier now, not quite heaving, but definitely more than a little worked up. She nodded at Catra’s words, but made no motion to stop her. “Yeah… Should…”

“Still a long way to go on our walk…” She sucked at the top of Adora’s chest, beneath her shirt collar, a little more insistently. Here would be safe to mark, right?  

“Uhuh.” Adora was barely comprehending her words, focused solely on the sweet, sultry pain Catra was inflicting on her. She knew it would bruise; she was like a damn peach.

“And any one on the trail could so easily see us like this…”

“Right…”

“So, really the only thing to do is…” Catra stopped holding back, giving a sharp bite, followed by soothing laps of her tongue and pulls against the skin of Adora’s upper chest. She worked against Adora’s flesh, satisfied at the mark she would leave there as Adora gave an intense moan of pleasure in response. Gentleladies attend to the needs of their dames, right?

Adora buried her fingers into Catra’s hair, pulling at it though not pulling her away from her performance. It just felt so damn good and her hands needed to grip something to keep herself from crying out even louder.

Feeling satisfied with herself and smug as all get out (though also immensely frustrated and leaning towards a touch desperate), Catra felt her task was completed and pulled away from Adora’s chest, dropping her hands as she did so. 

Adora worked on trying to cool her inner thermostat, while a barrage of thoughts like Pin her down and take her now! ran a train in her head. “God, I need a minute.”

Catra gloated mightily in her head at Adora’s obvious loss of composure. Pin me to a damn tree, sure, but I’ll still get what I want.  

“Water?” Adora asked, still quite breathless.

“Ah, fuck. I left them both in the car. I could go back?” Catra wasn’t really sure how far they’d walked at this point, but if she needed water… Honestly wouldn’t say no to some myself, though, have to ask, where did she think I was keeping them? We just had our hands all over each other… Dummy. She thought it with no small amount of affection.

“Nah, s’fine. Let’s just, um, keep walking?” Adora gave a controlled smile, thoughts still ablaze with activities much different than just walking in mind. The water would have been welcomed, but really it was just a hopeful distraction.

“Love to, babe.” She wiggled herself under Adora’s arm and wrapped her own arm around Adora’s waist in a chaste side embrace. “Ready when you are, ‘hot stuff’.”

Adora blushed at her own words being returned to her, but smiled at the dynamic cuddle. They walked like this for a while longer, as the trail began to show signs of ascending. Eventually, they had to disentangle themselves from one another as the trail narrowed considerably and was becoming much steeper.

As the elevation continued to increase, Catra was beginning to feel the effects of the exertion it took to climb. Sweat was dripping down her neck and rolling down her back, which was not very comfortable. She was also beginning to feel a little dehydrated, cursing at herself for forgetting the items she had insisted they bring and not going back for them when it first came up. Back at the car, her mind had just been caught up in ideas surrounding milky twilight and moonlit floors ; brainstorming at how she could incorporate Adora’s idea of romance in their pending date. She couldn't be expected to remember something as mundane as life-giving liquid.

Adora, ever the athlete, seemed generally unphased by their climb. She was chattering away as they walked and wasn’t even the least bit out of breath. Catra gritted her teeth, fighting the wave of annoyance that came from seeing Adora so at ease when her legs were beginning to burn. Hmph. At least I can make you breathless, princess.  

Some time later, they were granted a respite as the ground evened out into a small plateau. There was a bench at this obvious rest spot, as well as a post similar to what they saw at the beginning of the trail and a sign that read “TO OVERVIEW”. The post pointed away from the direction they’d come, but still had a blue arrow and a small cartoon of a car. The sign was along the path they’d been following, but as Catra examined what lay ahead, she groaned. Further up the trail, incline was so steep that it looked like they’d be scaling a fucking mountain. “Jesus, it’s like a sheer fucking cliff up there!” 

“Yeah, it's a bit sharp, huh? Well, I think this sign,” Adora pointed to the post, “means the trail will loop around to the parking lot. If we wanted to go back?”

It was sorely tempting. Though her mood and overall interest in the splendors of the wooded wilderness had spiked dramatically after their escapades at the tree, Catra was starting to feel pretty gross now. Her hair was getting plastered to the sides of her face, which she knew was not a cute look. Her mouth was uncomfortably dry and she was pretty certain she had rubbed at least one blister along her heel, possibly another on her smallest toe. Catra took a minute to glance at the time on her phone. Shit. Even with their detour at the pond, barely over an hour had passed since they’d left the car. This better be the fucking party of the year, Glimmer. “Nah, we can go ahead. We made it this far, right?”

“Are you sure- I mean, I’m totally down but…” Adora could tell that Catra was starting to feel a little uncomfortable. She wished she hadn’t been so absent-minded to have forgotten the waters in the car, but her mind was swept up in fairytale-esque daydreams as an aftereffect of all that beautiful music. Who could blame her for being a tiny bit flighty when inundated with musical romance?

Catra bit her lip and nodded. “Yeah, ‘course. Gotta take the full length of that knob, right?”

“No thank you; think I’ll pass on that life experience.” Adora wrinkled her nose at the prospect contained in the joke before a curious expression crossed her face. She gave a quick glance at Catra. “... Have you ever…? You know what, don’t answer. I don’t want to know that badly.”

“One bad, bad summer, ‘Dor. Never again.”

 

 

The climb was as arduous as Catra had been expecting. Even Adora was showing signs of the strain, though to a lesser degree than Catra, but that was still telling in and of itself. They did not engage in conversation as they trekked along, not wanting to waste the breath on speech. I am going to kill Bow for this suggestion. Straight up murder is in my future. Not only were her feet aching from being bent at near 45 degrees against the ever-ascending ground, not only was she drenched in sweat and immensely regretting Adora’s hoodie (sans t-shirt or tank underneath; what had she been thinking?), but more than once she saw the glitter of silky webs spun between the trees bordering the rough path. What industrious hellspawn for choosing here to call home. I will burn this place to the ground if one touches me. Catra did not fuck with spiders.

Though both of the women had begun to question if it was actually ever going to happen, eventually the trail did open up to a large grassy cliffside. The overlook was beautiful; the surrounding trees of the landscape had mostly begun to bloom, the patches of green holding a promise of the weather to come. Hazy mountains slumbered in the distance, their blue-gray purples complimenting the awakening forest below them. Adora paused to catch her breath, but could not take her eyes from the view. She called over her shoulder reaching her hand back with a grabbing motion towards where Catra had been lagging behind. “C’mere, it’s gorgeous! Just look at it!”

“Yeah, yeah; I’m coming.” She joined Adora near the cliff’s edge, but did not take up the extended hand. Too gross for touch. Despite the visual majesty in front of her, Catra’s overall bodily discomfort was making it difficult to appreciate the scene. Even Adora’s slight pout at her underreaction wasn’t even for her to even pretend to care. She was overheated, parched, and clammy with sweat. 

Adora wasn’t unobservant enough to not notice Catra’s state, especially her emotional one. But she was trying to make the best of it and most importantly, not bring attention to it. She knew better than to point out any of Catra’s perceived “weaknesses”. She dropped her hand, but did shift a little closer to her. “Thank you for taking me up here. The view is worth the climb.”

Catra gave a non-commital grunt in reply. 

“Sit with me?” Adora asked, taking a few steps away from the edge of the overhang.

“Where? On the ground?”

“Either that or my lap; your choice.”

Catra scoffed softly. Normally that prospect would be an oh so pleasant one, but she really wasn’t feeling up to cuddling. She sat herself in the grass and pulled her legs up to her chest. The muscles of her calves groaned in protest at the position and she audibly winced.

“Are you sore? I could show you a couple stretches that might help.” Catra shook her head and extended her legs straight out in front of her instead. It hurt, but less so than the hunched position had been. “It is gonna be my job one day, so I really could help.”

“I’m fine, Adora. Give it a rest.” Catra really didn’t necessarily mean to snap quite like that, but sometimes shit happens.

Adora sighed inwardly. She knew from experience when Catra got like this, little to nothing would get her out of it. The woman would just need to sulk for a while, work through whatever was bothering her, and then things would be fine. But I want them to be fine now… It occurred to her that maybe some of their new tricks might expedite the process. Adora leaned in close to her. “You know, you kind of took over earlier. I had you right up against that tree but didn’t really get to do much with it… I had plans.”

Catra bit her tongue to keep the venom she was thinking from pouring out of her mouth. Jesus, can she not read the mood here? I am way too disgusting for any of that right now. She regarded the implying look the blonde was giving her and stopped herself short. Dumbass, you have Adora flirting hardcore with you right now- get your head out of your ass and don’t fuck this up. “Well, hopefully you’re not too upset with the way things went. I know I certainly enjoyed myself.”

“No major complaints here. Well, I guess I do have one. It was supposed to be my hand up your shirt. My shirt, really.” She flashed Catra a cocky grin and raised a single eyebrow. 

Why now? Catra sighed deeply, a little worried at how this would go over. She was feeling less surly now that they’d rested for a bit, but was still really freaking thirsty and just grimey. “Look, I really, really like what you’re saying right now and am completely, one hundred percent for it... but not right now? I feel, like, super gross and not the least bit attractive. So, can we maybe take a rain check on this until after I shower?”

“Of course! I completely get it and respect that.” Adora moved away from Catra’s bubble, not wanting to intrude upon her space. She really didn’t mind her speaking up; actually, it was a relief that she trusted Adora with her boundaries like that. And even better, she was at least talking again. It was probably a little on the manipulative side, but that really had been the goal. Well, also wasn’t kidding about having my hand up her shirt. “I do have to say though, you’re always attractive. Ridiculously hot all the time, really. Wow.” Her thoughts began to glaze over as she studied the woman’s form.

Catra blushed lightly at the compliments and gaze, before giving a pleading murmur of “Rain check?” 

“Sorry.” Adora smiled lazily, before laying back in the grass, her fingers laced behind her head. “I’m really bad at following my own rules, huh?”

Catra shook her head but smiled down at the prone figure next to her. “Yeah, you are. But I’m not really any better, either. Pretty sure gentleladies know to not give their ladies giant hickies in the woods.” And not doing the best at the whole ‘wine and dine’ part, either. Realistically, Catra knew it had only been a day, barely even a full 24 hours, since she sang She to Adora in the car. But, so much had happened ever since then. It was like getting to the cabin just kicked everything into high gear, so it really felt by now she should have come up with some great date idea that would really blow Adora’s mind. 

She sighed at her own incompetence. Instead, she had nothing but hope in Glimmer. Fucking terrifying prospect right there.

Adora absently brushed her hand against the mark on her chest and shivered. Can’t wait to see how that one looks… “Not complaining; I’m not much of a lady if we’re being completely honest.”

Catra felt it was best all around to not respond at this time.

They continued to rest in the serene landscape until most of Catra’s soreness had settled into dull ache. She still felt sticky and very thirsty, but also knew the only way to fix those problems was to head back to the car. “It’s nice up here and all, but I think I’m ready to call it.”

“Yeah, I really could use a drink. Before we head back, which way did you wanna take? I mean, really, I don’t know why it’s a loop; if we go straight,” She held an arm out in front of her, gesturing in the direction of the route they’d just walked. “Then boom, we end up back at the lot.”

“Adora! How dare you. We don’t go straight, only ‘gaily forward’!”

“Oh, my god. I have the hots for the biggest dork on the planet. What does that make me…”

“Quiet, you. That was funny shit and you know it.” Catra bit down on her annoyance at having her own words thrown back at her, not to mention the lack of appreciation for her wit. Cheeky, very cheeky. “You do have a point, though I’m surprised little Miss Explorer isn’t curious about seeing the other side of the trail.” The slim part of her that wasn’t beaten down and bruised currently still wanted to see Adora happy and this seemed like a way to do it.

Adora shrugged. If she wants to, fine by me. Even if it’s not really logical. “Never said I wasn’t interested. Let’s get to it, then.”

It was apparent very quickly into the new part of the trail that most travelers had the same thought as Adora. Though the original trail had been rough, this section was downright feral. Each woman had to step carefully around rocks and roots that jutted up from the path and the ferns and grasses along the edge of the forest encroached mightly over the walkway. With each brush of the plants against her calves, Catra shuddered. It felt like creepy crawl legs. She swore more than once she felt the disgusting stick of webs against her skin.

Adora seemed less enthused by this more wild area. She had to step so carefully that it really didn’t leave a lot of time to look around. Plus, Catra wasn’t the only one ready for a drink and a shower. Still she kept her spirits up, knowing that was the best way to make the trip go faster. “Bit rough over here.”

Catra only nodded in response, eyes trained on the huge spider web slung between some saplings ahead on the trail to her right. The one who constructed the gruesome display was home too. She made a retching noise at the sight of the eight-legged freak perched in its home. It really wasn’t that big, but big enough to cause alarm. She gave a small squeak as she passed and quickened her pace as fast as the rustic path allowed.

Adora watched Catra slink around the web on the side of the trail and regarded it for herself. Beautiful in its own way, though arachnids were not really something she super enjoyed. Not afraid of them like she knew Catra to be (Catra felt that way generally about all insects; Adora was the resident bug catcher/releaser of the apartment for that reason), but they also didn’t appeal much. She matched Catra’s increased gait and quickly caught up to the tense woman. Adora put her arm around her, bringing her into a side hug. “I’ll protect you from any bugs, I promise. And I’ll get you home.”

Catra snorted, but put her head against Adora’s shoulder for a moment. “I don’t like the woods.”

“I know, but you’ve been doing this for me and I so appreciate it.” And when that rain check is finally redeemed, I’ll show you just how much I appreciate it. She glanced at her Apple watch, really wishing she had been keeping better track of their distance. She knew 2.6 miles really wasn’t that long, but had no idea how far they might still have to go. “Just keep walking; we’ll be back to the car before you know it.” 

Catra soldiered on, hackles starting to rise again. She really didn’t need any fucking pep talks; she just needed to be out of this hell. Except it seemed she was just descending to the next layer of her punishment, as inexplicably she felt the soles of her shoes begin to squish against the ground. “Of course it would be muddy.”

And muddy it was. For the most part, the puddles of ick were easily stepped over and avoided. The pair might have to clean their shoes a bit after, but it was generally manageable- until it wasn’t. At the sight of a large pit of mud that took up the entire width of the trail, Catra buried her face in her hands, anger at the pure stupidity and unfairness of it all blazing within her. I had to fall for the Nature Gay, didn’t I?  

A haphazard looking log was laid out in the middle of the puddle; a half-assed attempt at safe passage by some supposedly helpful fellow traveler. It was mostly sunk into the muck already though, so really, what was the point?

Adora regarded the obstacle carefully, determining if going around was a possibility. It could probably be done, but the grasses and shrubbery along the outskirts were pretty thick. Still, that log looked shaky at best, so weaving around the muck seemed their best shot. “Okay, I think we should try to walk around the mud; stick to the grass as best we can.”

“I hate this.” Catra growled out in reply. Her patience was completely gone; her whole body was sore and it was really beginning to feel like the universe just wanted to pick on her. A small part of her knew needling at Adora wasn’t helping matters, but she was just so, so done.

“Yes, I know. Your hatred is noted, but also completely unhelpful.” Adora’s patience was wearing a bit thin. She had offered for them to travel the path known, after all. “Bit further, Cat, we’ll get there.”

“Cat?! Do not ever call me that again. That is the stupidest nickname; I’m not some stupid housepet!” She couldn’t count the number of times someone had tried to brandish her with that moniker; it wasn’t her fucking fault she had been dubbed with the worst name on the planet. Her vexed self knew it was a complete overreaction, but currently lacked the collectedness to restrain herself. 

Adora breathed in once through her mouth, then out through her nose. “You call me ‘door’ on a regular basis and I have never complained once.”

“Yeah, well… That’s completely different!” She was already this far into her tantrum; couldn’t give up now. Catra was no quitter, especially when it might be in her best interest.

“I really don’t see how it is, CatRA, but sure, let’s go ahead and fight over it instead of moving along and out of this situation! Because that’s really going to help things and make us both feel loads better, I’m sure.” Adora crossed her arms over her chest and waited. 

Catra narrowed her eyes in response, uncertain of how to proceed. Adora didn’t get cross, let alone angry, often. It made her incredibly nervous to behold.

“Don’t feel like talking? Fine.” She stared intensely at the guarded woman before her. “Even with all this nonsense, I’m still going to make sure you get back home, even if I have to carry you there myself. Let’s get moving.” Adora pointedly walked past the stationary woman with the intent to further investigate the brush they would traverse through. 

Catra decided to follow, stalking ahead of Adora, and defiantly pressed into the growth. Her feet skirted just barely between the plant life and mud puddle.

Adora sighed and shook her head. I can’t keep up with her sometimes. She moved forward, eyes trained on Catra ahead of her as she inched her own way past.

Really it was all going well until Catra had crossed about halfway. With a sinking feeling in her stomach, Adora noticed that Catra had a small eight-legged passenger crawling along her shoulder blade, likely picked up from some bush they were trampling past. She kept her voice calm and even, as to not alert the woman. “Catra, I need you to stay very still.”

Panic gripped at Catra’s chest at how controlled Adora was keeping her voice. She had a sneaking suspicion that the last phantom web she felt on her was not actually a barely controlled stress response. “Why.” She halted instantly.

“Don’t worry about it. Just stand still for a second, okay?” Adora swiftly moved up and brushed the freeloader off Catra’s back. There, one problem solved.

At the clear swipe of something being removed from her, any semblance of forced composure Catra retained was instantly demolished. “OH HELL NO!” She recoiled backwards, clawing at her body manically to try and brush non-existent creepies from herself. In her panic, her foot overstepped from the edge and landed squarely into the mud. “God damn it!”

Adora watched the whole scene with wide eyes. The fall, slip really, hadn’t been all the great but it was as if she watched Catra get flung from some great height. She wanted to reach out and prevent the catastrophe, but was too late. Lamely, she just watched Catra attempting to free her foot from the slime.

“You. Have. Got . To. Be. KIDDING. Me!” Her foot was firmly and deeply rooted into the muck. She yanked and pulled at her partial entrapment, before her foot finally slid loose, though her shoe resigned itself to it’s muddy prison. Almost not understanding what happened, she stared at her now just socked foot and then down at her shoe in the mud. What am I, fucking Cinderella?

Adora watched the whole exchange, eyes flicking dimly to the mucked shoe in the puddle, and considering her response to the situation. It wasn’t a hard choice. “Only one thing to do.” She stepped up to the stationary brunette, who was currently pondering exactly what harm she’d caused that required this level of torment, and hefted Catra into her arms.

Catra gave a squeal of shock as she felt her mismatched feet leave the earth. Is she really carrying me bridal style right now?! What the fuck is this vacation! “Just hold on, all right?” Adora’s voice was calm and collected, unphased by the weight in her arms.

What choice did Catra really have? Plus, Jesus Christ, she can lift me like it’s nothing.

The rest of the journey around the mudhole was completely uneventful. Catra regretted the loss of her tennis shoe, but was currently more focused on the fact she was being carried out of the woods by a blonde goddess. The thought, when mixed with the shame of her completely unnecessary and frankly embarrassing temper tantrum, made her extra nervous and mortified. She looked for a way out, even if the feel of Adora’s arms under her was pretty freaking great. Rain check, if she’ll still let me have it...

“Um. I can probably get down now.”

“Too rocky without both shoes.” Adora was focused at this point. Save Catra. Get her home.

Catra glanced down at the rough terrain around them. “Okay… Yeah, I see your point. Could we maybe just switch it up? This hold’s a little weird.” In truth, it didn’t bother her at all, but that almost bothered her more.

“Suit yourself.” Adora found the clearest patch of earth she could and gently let Catra’s legs slide from her hold to settle on firm ground once again.

Once released, Catra was at a loss. How the hell should she carry me? Piggy-back? That felt way too demeaning, almost as if Adora were her beast of burden to carry her along. Also, very juvenile. But quickly she realized no matter what, she was going to look like a child being carried out of the park. She decided to steer into the skid again and faced Adora, lifting her arms almost like a toddler wanting to be picked up. 

Despite their recent bickering and tension between them currently, Adora stifled a small giggle at Catra holding her arms out to be picked up. It was just so… vulnerable and downright cute . She lifted the girl up once more, letting her legs slide around her waist. Adora was a little perplexed at where to position her own hands, but ultimately decided that the small of her back was just fine. Catra was tense against her front, but as they continued their trek, Adora felt her unclench.

Catra’s face was trained on Adora’s, who was back to focusing on getting them out of this damnable forest. Her jaw was set, her mouth pressed together just a little too tightly for comfort. Adora’s normally mellow and friendly googly-eyes were unreadable. Unable to take this view of Adora’s face (that she caused with her stupid hot-temperedness), she laid her head against her shoulder and prayed it wouldn’t be the last time she got to do so. The thought made her sigh rather forlornly.

“Not all that bad to be in my arms, is it?” Adora asked plaintively when she heard the discontented sigh against her shoulder. Even though things weren’t great right now, she couldn’t help but soften somewhat.

“No… Not at all.” Catra whispered out, as guilt continued to crush her. She wasn’t sure if Adora had heard, as the woman gave no further response but just continued to walk them towards the car.

Adora was rather exhausted. Catra wasn’t heavy, but this hike had been more than just draining on her physical body. She really didn’t like arguing, especially over just pointless things as… God, what had even caused the bickering? Nothing. She was tired and stressed and took it out on you. The thought did not make Adora feel better. She wanted to get things back to normal between them and decided one more attempt could be extended. “So, some first date, huh? ‘Bout on par for us.”

“What? … No, this isn’t a...” Catra was beat, though really with her free ride she probably had no right to be. That climb sucked; she was covered in mud, dehydrated, and still convinced there were at least three spiders crawling all over her. She repressed a sickened shudder at the idea of arachnids on her flesh. How could Adora think this was her idea of a date for them? “It’s been more like a disaster.” 

“Oh.” Adora was crushed; it felt pretty date-like to her. Really, up until the mud incident, she would say that they’d been having a really great time. The setting was beautiful, they were together, and not to mention had a pretty great time against that tree. She couldn’t believe Catra would dub it a disaster . It stung her deeply and acutely. She decided any attempt to bridge the gap between them was on hiatus.

Adora’s absolutely devastated “Oh.” broke Catra’s heart. I’m the disaster... She blinked back the feeling of tears. “Fuck, I-I didn’t mean it like that…”

“Let’s just get to the car.” Adora couldn’t deal right now. She was too tired for this crap.

Chapter Text

 

They walked in uncomfortable, tense silence. Adora had tunnel vision on her goal of getting them back to the car; her eyes were fixed forward, no longer registering any of the natural beauty that was around them. Don’t think, just walk.

Catra was trying to soak up as much of Adora as she could, while trying to not make it obvious that she was doing so, lest she provoke the woman’s current disdain for her. This is probably it; gotta take what I can get.  

Her heart ached at that single, definitive “Oh.” It played and replayed in her mind. She breathed in Adora’s scent and tried to commit to memory exactly how Adora’s strong arms felt wrapped around her, carrying her to safety. She wallowed in the recollection of their passionate kisses earlier; mourning the loss of what could have been. It felt as though her chest was being ripped in two. Adora was so stable and sure; a force of positivity and light that had always drawn Catra out of her darkest times. She stayed for me; always has. I can’t lose this... Not yet, please. I’ll do anything; she means everything to me. Reflexively, her arms and legs tightened against Adora’s certain core. 

Catra resolved to take this time to contemplate how she could possibly set this right. She knew it was time to think and evaluate like a rational adult, instead of just blindly reacting to the world like a petulant child. Adora was too important and too precious to her for anything less. She deserved no less consideration. Reacting with impulse was a mixed bag; it could as easily lead to beautiful moments like serenading the girl of your dreams in the car as it could be the catalyst for insensitive words and undeserved pain. She did this. But she could fix this. 

Catra hoped, at least.

They reached the parking lot with no further adventures, much to Adora’s relief. She hated the strain and pressure that existed between them in their current state. But also, she respected herself too much to just back down. This lashing out over nothing could not be the precedent that they started things with.

After Catra had been safely returned to the ground and they were both back in the car, she mentally fortified herself. She wasn’t sure if she really had a plan, per se, but had collected enough of herself to at least start somewhere. “Hey, Adora…” It sounded impossibly soft and worn out. Catra’s eyes were trained downwards as she wrung her hands together nervously. She risked a glance at her passenger to gauge her reaction.

The only indication Adora gave that she had heard Catra at all was a slight flare of her nostrils.

Fuck, she’s really pissed. Not that I blame her... “Can we talk?” Catra’s voice was pleading, but it was also a true, legitimate chance for Adora to say no. And if she did, Catra would respect that. Try again later, of course, but respect her boundaries and what she needed right now.

Adora hesitated for a moment, grappling with her decision. She was bone-tired, limbs aching with the strain of the climb and the passenger she had carried for however long. She was also still working through her emotional hurt; maybe this wouldn’t be the most productive time for a debrief. But when things were off-kilter like this, Adora felt like her whole world was disrupted and frankly, she was sick of feeling that way. Damn it all, I deserve an apology. She gave a curt nod and turned to Catra with an expectant look on her face.

Catra felt the first flickers of relief, but reminded herself this wasn’t so she could feel better. It was for Adora. “Thank you. First, I’m sorry for being such a jerk. I shouldn’t have taken my bad mood out on you, especially since you carried my muddy, disgusting self all that way.”

“No, not really. I know the mud sucked and that you were scared of the spiders, but I was trying to make the best of it; trying to get us through the situation.” 

“Yeah, you’re right. And I was not helping things. Again, I’m sorry.” Catra paused, knowing this really was not cutting it. Sure she was apologizing, but was it really getting at the meat of things? C’mon, stupid, dig a little deeper.

“Okay.” Adora knew it was ungracious to not indicate she accepted the woman’s apology, but she wasn’t quite there yet, in all honesty. Catra could take being a little uncomfortable for a while. 

Catra did not believe for one second it was actually okay. But this was just the beginning; the easy part. At least as easy as apologizing ever was for her. “Second… When you made that comment about this being a date… ” 

“Yeah, well, stupid of me to say.” Adora mentally cursed at herself. It wasn’t okay and she was only cheating herself with her own words. So often she brushed aside the things that stung her instead of confronting the stinger for it, just to avoid causing them discomfort. But if Catra was going to be her somebody… That wasn’t the dynamic she wanted for them. It wouldn’t be sustainable. 

Before she could rescind her own words, Catra cut in sharply. “No! No it wasn’t. I was the stupid one with my answer. I never should have called it a disaster. That was so, so not okay of me to do.” She looked genuinely ashamed of herself and was nervously running a hand through her hair. “No time spent with you is ever a disaster, Adora… I am so, so sorry for saying it.”

Catra continued on, not wanting to break her momentum. “You don’t have to forgive me, right now or ever... but if I could try to explain? Look... yeah, maybe that was a date. Because it was you and I, just us, doing an activity together, and isn’t that the definition of us dating?”

“I wouldn’t know; haven’t been on one with you yet.” Adora wasn’t sure if she meant it to be the jab that it quite sounded like. But it was what it was.

Catra winced at the response, but wasn’t sanctimonious enough to think she didn’t deserve it- and more. “Touch é …” She drew in a deep breath and willed herself to stay strong. This is for Adora. “I promise you, it’s coming. It just might take me a minute to get something planned. This is important and I don’t want to rush it. I want it to be special... Because you’re special to me…” She whispered the last part. It wasn’t perfect, but she was trying to speak from the heart.

Adora didn’t quite know how to respond. She just wanted to get a few actual dates in with the woman so they could maybe take the next logical step. Though she wasn’t sure exactly what ‘next step’ meant to her, to be completely honest. The answer likely existed somewhere in between more hardcore makeouts like earlier, if not full on sex, and using the ‘g’ word to describe their relationship. She idly realized they really weren’t mutually exclusive steps and that what she wanted was pretty damn clear. Catra could be maddening, but her current earnestness was absolutely endearing. Adora resolved to give her the benefit of the doubt. “Okay, Catra. I trust you.” 

Well, fuck. That’s harder to swallow than if she’d gotten pissed again. Catra was fairly certain she was gaping at the girl’s words. “You do?”

“God, and you call me the dummy… Yes. Of course I do. Why would I want to date someone I didn’t trust?” Boredom. Curiosity. Hormones. A chance to prepare and practice for someone better. The list of cynical reasons cycled through Catra’s head automatically; a byproduct of the few other experiences she had with the dating world. Adora continued, bringing Catra out of her head. “I like you, remember? Even if you can be such a jerk sometimes… Usually it ends up just working for me.” 

Catra worshipped silently. Bitch kink, I praise you. 

“Still, that’s not blanket permission to treat me like crap, okay? I’m pretty forgiving, but I need you to do your part too. If you’re feeling pissy or whatever, just tell me. Like when you didn’t want to fool around up at the overlook; you told me and it was fine. I am not your punching bag and I cannot stress that enough. I want this to work, but not at the cost of myself.” 

Catra felt like crying, though whether out of shame, relief, or some other emotion she couldn’t name, she did not know. “I want this to work too… I’ll do better. I promise.”

“Seal that promise with a kiss?” Adora asked, almost shyly. When she was done being angry, she was done with being angry.

It was cheesy as all hell, an utterly sickeningly-sweet thing straight out of a bad romance movie, and the best words Catra had ever heard. As she leaned in to finalize their covenant, Catra was certain she would never truly deserve this dork. But she would try.

More than a few sweet, not to mention quite a few not so sweet, kisses later Catra took a moment to glance at the clock. It seemed like enough time had passed for the party planners, but she shot off a text to Glimmer to make sure. Adora seemed content with checking back in on the rest of the world on her own phone and did not question the delay.

 

Catra: Can we come back yet? Me and Adora want a shower.

 

Glimmer: If you’re at least 30 mins away still cake is out and almost cool but needs frosted. Just go upstairs immediately & SEPARATE SHOWERS. 

 

Catra: Ugh, yes! God, that didn’t need to be said. Perv. Heading back now.  ETA is 30, not including shower time.

 

Glimmer: When you’re done getting cleaned up go right to the basement try to shoot me a warning text if you can? But otherwise we’ll just hope we hear you. 

 

Catra sent a thumbs up to the latest message and shot a smile over to Adora. “Ready to go, babe?”

“Yup! Let’s get something gay playing; I’m in the mood for more.” She blushed as she said it, not entirely certain what she wanted ‘more’ of; music or Catra. Both? It can be two things, right?

As Catra queued up something nice and queer from the Lesbian Pride playlist (All I Want is to Be Your Girl by Holly Miranda felt about the right mood; We could fuck in the sun and dance till dawn, And all I want is to be your girl… ) she privately lamented that joint showers were in fact not on the table yet. Me too, princess. Me too.

When the pair reached the cabin, they took no time in getting upstairs to finally wash the residue of the trail off themselves. Adora was a little surprised to not hear anyone wandering about the interior of their temporary home; then again, it was a beautiful day so everyone was probably off enjoying it. As much as she loved spending time with Catra, she resolved to find a group activity once she was cleaned up; as Glimmer had rightly said, they were here to spend time with all their friends and not just each other. 

She picked out a new outfit (all athleisure wear, naturally; Adora was consistent to say the least) and grabbed her towel. “I’m gonna get showered in the master bath; I’m sure Bow and Glim won’t mind.” 

Catra nodded. “Sounds good, babe. I’ll be thinking of you…” She called it over her shoulder as she sauntered towards the bathroom nearest their room. Adora couldn’t really decide if there was a second meaning behind it or not.

Reaching the rather plush en suite, Adora began to strip off the clothes that were plastered to her skin by general grime and sweat. She felt as though she were stripping layers of any residual negativity from the rough spots of her morning with the action. Maybe other people would take what had happened on the trail and Catra’s unthinking tongue as some sort of ‘red flag’ in their pending relationship, but Adora preferred to think of it as a chance to do better. They weren’t perfect, after all. A genuine apology could be met with forgiveness (under the right set of circumstances, of course; she was firm that she wouldn’t just roll over and take whatever was thrown at her). She just hoped when it was her turn to mess something up, Catra would extend her the same courtesy. That’s part of a relationship, right?

After she had shed her utterly foul crop top from her torso, Adora gasped as she spotted herself in the large bathroom mirror. Oh, my god… She knew Catra had been rather zealous across her chest earlier but the tapestry of marks and colors against her skin was honestly impressive and more than a little mesmerizing; like her own personal, carnal galaxy.

She eyed the amorous work of the exceedingly talented woman and found her appreciation showing itself somewhere from the vicinity of between her legs. Adora ran her fingers over the largest of the contusions and shivered in delight. This is fucking hot as hell. Coldest shower she could stand it was, then.

Catra finished her shower before Adora and busied herself with dressing before her return. She knew the next thing on the agenda was this coming out party (sure, whatever) and considered for a moment trying to look a little extra gay for the occasion. Catra really didn’t do pride apparel much; she was of the view that her whole damn presence furthered the gay agenda enough on its own. Besides, everyone has probably guessed I’m making out with the guest of honor. Gay enough.  

She finished dressing and slung herself on her bed, shooting Glimmer a quick text to say they were back from the trail and that Adora was still in the shower.

 

Glimmer: How much longer

 

Catra: Idk. I could go check on her, but it might end up slowing things down instead.

 

Glimmer: Don’t you fucking dare. I’m hunting you down if I don’t get an update in 20 minutes.

 

Catra: All I need, baby.

 

Glimmer: 20 whole minutes?! Adora is just so lucky to have you.

 

Catra: When you’re good, you’re good.

 

Glimmer: Gross. Just text me when you and A are coming.

Glimmer: DO NOT SAY A FUCKING WORD TO THAT.  

Glimmer: I MEAN IT JUST DON’T

 

Catra gave an actual laugh out loud at their correspondence, pleased that she had definitely won that round, before flicking to some mindless social media platform to kill time and wait for Adora to come back to the room.

When Adora returned to their room, Catra was laying across her bed, idly playing on her phone. She breathed in the scent of her clean body, shuddering at how utterly delectable it was to her senses. Her soap was an intoxicating blend of cedarwood and sweet almond from a local shop. It was clean, crisp, and finished with a vaguely woodsy musk that never failed to drive Adora crazy. 

And now what was even more maddeningly tempting? Catra was already on the bed, practically waiting for her. Actually, likely waiting for her. With Adora’s thoughts still solely centered around the many lovebites the other woman had lavished over her chest earlier, she did not hesitate for a single moment to join Catra.

As soon as she approached the bedside, she lightly shoved Catra flat on her back, smiling fiendishly at the slightly startled noise the woman made as she did so. Adora absently took her phone from her hands and tossed it more or less in the direction of her bed across the way, not really caring whether it landed safely or not. She wouldn’t be needing it. 

“Well, hello to you too.” She smirked as Adora climbed in next to her and drew Catra close. 

Adora ignored the greeting entirely. “Saw my chest before I showered…” Her voice was low and rough. It was all she had been able to think about in the shower; frigid waters be damned.

Catra flushed with a mix of pride and low burn arousal at how she imagined the area must look if it left Adora sounding like that. And I wasn’t even going that hard, at least until the end. … Right? “Oh, really?” 

“Uh-huh. Rain check time?” Adora raised an eyebrow questioningly, though her grin and the rest of her face seemed to say she was already confident about the answer.

Oh, she’s looking far too pleased with herself; we can’t have that, can we. Catra gave a small shrug, trying to keep her face neutral. “Only if you want, princess.” When Adora’s face lost some of its certainty, Catra flashed her a vicious smile that showed her true feelings. “Yes, Adora. Rain check time. Now.” It was a gamble, but Catra hoped it would pay off.

Adora burned hotter at her command. She is such a bitch… Why does it work for me; it shouldn’t work for me. “Good, because if I don’t get my hands on you right now…” Adora pressed her mouth against hers, bringing them into an immediate, serious kiss. 

Catra for her part, really had not been expecting quite this level of enthusiasm. She knew she was feeling revitalized and completely refreshed after getting cleaned up, which probably explained why she had been cocky enough to tease Adora like that. Oh, that and I’m a bitch. Right. But Adora had gotten way more of a workout than she had during that last leg of the trail; not that she was showing it with the intensity at which they were starting things off at. Catra marvelled at the perks of being with an athlete. 

Glimmer’s going to kill me. Though once Adora’s hands had begun to travel up her shirt in a determined, no nonsense manner with a very obvious goal in mind, she decided the public execution for delaying a Glimmer Moone event would be well worth it.

When her hands reached their intended destination, Adora gave a heady moan. She was graced with the feel of bare skin under her hands, all the way up. Catra swallowed her own cry, not quite ready to give in that easily. With no small amount of difficulty, she purred out, “Mmm, yeah, princess. I’m not much for bras. Hope that’s not a problem?”

“Hell no.” Adora growled out, as her hands moved across Catra’s chest. She felt wonderful against her; just enough for a handful. She could feel the woman tense below her and saw she was already biting her lip at the first touch. It only fueled Adora more.

Despite her stubbornness moments before, once Adora had really gotten into the motion, massaging her entire breast and occasionally tweaking her hardening peak between her fingers, Catra finally let loose the whine she’d been holding in the back of her throat. Shit, if Adora misses her coming out so I can come... “A-Adora…” 

She intended the full sentence to be, “Adora, we should stop because the world hates me and wants to see me miserable, plus your friends are up to something stupid because they also want to see me miserable. In fact, everything that has ever existed and will ever exist in the future must delight in my misery, because hah, isn’t this so not funny, we should stop.” But currently the subject that sentence would be directed to was doing amazing things with her hands, oh my god, and words weren’t possible any longer .

At the noise and hearing her own name choked out like that, Adora left the neck she’d been kissing and nipping at long enough to brush her lips against Catra’s ear. “God, you’re so fucking sexy.” Catra moaned harder. She took a moment to drink in the woman below her; her head was thrown back, eyes shut tight, as she panted heavily. It sent a feverish jolt of pure eroticism to Adora’s entire system. Her body begged for action, but her mind finally decided to have some small role. There should at least be some sort of check-in. Words weren’t her forte at the moment, but Adora would give it a shot. “Should we stop…” She left it hanging, because honestly, if Catra said anything even remotely adjacent to the concept of ‘Take me.’ the girl would be took.

“Yeah, should… unfortunate...ly...” Catra just barely managed to whimper out, equal parts amazed with her self-control and disgusted by it. Apparently it also wanted to make her miserable.

“I want more.” Her hand eased its motion at Catra’s agreement, though she couldn’t help but give one last meaningful pinch to the stiff nipple under her hand.

“Ah! God! M-me too. But…”

“I know.” Adora pouted as she reluctantly pulled her hands out from under Catra’s shirt, instantly missing the silky warmth and vowing to get back there as soon as her own fucking rules would allow. Goddamned desire for longevity in a serious relationship.  

Catra’s head fell back against the pillow as she heaved a great sigh, willing her heartbeat to slow and maybe regain some semblance of stability. How the hell am I supposed to go to a party after that ?!

She was still pouting when Catra finally opened her eyes again. Adora had sat up and was perched on the side of the bed, looking thoroughly discontented with her lot in life. 

Catra reached up and ran her hand down the back of the sulking woman’s shirt in what she hoped was more consoling than carnal manner. “I get it, god, do I get it. One hundred percent right there with you. But. Date? Gentleladies?” 

Adora huffed. “I make stupid rules.”

“No, you make very smart, adult, unimpulsive rules that we are both very bad at following.” With some difficulty, Catra sat herself up. “And I appreciate that about you. Maybe tumbling into bed together right away would be fine, but…” She shrugged. “we’re not worth that risk in my book.”

Adora turned to face the now upright woman, her lower lip jutting out. “And now you’re gonna be all sweet about it. Catra! I am just barely hanging on here!”

She laughed at the goofy desperation in the blonde’s outburst. “What, you want to me to be mean instead? That got me into trouble earlier.”

“No! Ugh, that works for me too!” Adora flopped herself back against the bed with a strangled groan. “Just give me a minute to keep hating my dumb rules and stop being so irresistible for one damn minute.”

“Not sure I can, but for you, princess…” Her words rolled off her tongue in velvet self-confidence.

“Whyyyyyyy…!” It was barely audible through the pillow Adora was currently muttering curses into.

Catra gave a full bodied laugh at her predicament and position while leaving the bed to retrieve her phone. Told her I’d be thinking of her in the shower; she really didn’t think to do the same? Least took the edge off...

After a few minutes of controlled breathing, Adora finally removed the pillow from her face. Though she was still staring up at the ceiling, unblinking. 

“D’you want to… maybe check out the rest of the house? I’m not sure where the others are and there’s an entire floor we haven’t been to. Or at least I haven’t.” Even with the cooldown, a party was so not what Catra wanted to be doing this afternoon. Still, best to use it to get back into a gentlelady frame of mind; though a fat lot of good that had been doing her for the past 24 hours. Glimmer, you will never be able to pay me back for this sacrifice. Our scales will never be balanced.

Adora shrugged stiffly, still panting her way through at how she had enthusiastically greeted Catra. She knew it was supposed to be a killer part of the house. A bar, pool table, and of course, the large open tiled area she remembered Glimmer referring to as the dance floor when they had looked at the numerous photos of the cabin online. “Guess we can. At least until we can figure out how to spend the afternoon.”

As they made their way downstairs, Catra was sure to hang back a moment to let Glimmer know they were on their way. Adora moved ahead, ready to sink herself into something that wasn’t Catra’s perfect tits so maybe she could stop thinking about them already.

As they reached the kitchen, it suddenly dawned on Adora that breakfast really was quite a while ago and maybe some food would help her state of mind. “Hey, let’s grab some lunch before we go down.” She eyed the refrigerator, knowing she would have the fixings for something tasty in there.

“Uh, no, let’s just head down, look real quick, and then we can talk food?” Catra really hadn’t prepared herself for any deviation, but really with Adora’s attention span at times, that was definitely her bad. She is the most unfocused, fixated person I’ve ever met. The thought didn’t come unfondly.

Adora really did not understand what the fascination with the basement was. She almost dug in her heels over the issue, but was fairly certain when Catra saw the furnished room, no matter the amount of entertainment that supposedly existed there, she would quickly grow bored. At least until they could come back down later with a couple of other chumps and Catra would show them all up at the pool table. “Fine, we’ll take a quick peek.”

Oh thank god because if she told me to go check it out without her, I would have so been lost. “Why, thank you.” Catra gestured towards the door off the entryway off the kitchen that led to the lower part of the cabin. “After you, my lady.”

Adora rolled her eyes with a grin, shaking her head at the display. “Again, not much of a lady.”

“... Don’t I know it. Now, scoot. Faster we get down there, the faster you eat.” Catra hoped that there would be some food at this shindig, rainbow cake aside. Breakfast really had been a minute ago.

Adora began to walk down the stairs, Catra just a step or two behind her. “Grab the light, will you? It’s pretty dark down here.”

Catra feigned at searching for the lightswitch, certain that the darkness was intentional to seal the people she suspected were waiting in surprise. “Can’t find it; just be careful and keep walking.”

“Really? C’mon, that doesn’t seem-” At least she was already near the bottom, at least from what she could tell.

Adora’s sentence was cut off abruptly as the lights flicked on and the sound of music began to play.

I’m coming out

I’m coming

I’m coming out…

Adora blinked, feeling instant sensory overload. Catra bounded down the steps behind her, already failing to hold back her laughter. Oh, classic opener right there…

All at once their hidden friends revealed themselves, each decked out in their Pride Fest best. They gave a great shout of “Surprise!” almost in tandem, Catra was certain they’d practiced at least once, before big smiles and laughs were thrown in the direction of a very startled, very confused looking Adora.

I'm coming out

I want the world to know

I got to let it show

“W-what is this?” Her wide-eyed expression tinged with fear and downright bewilderment was priceless. Glimmer was so thankful that Mermista was recording the whole thing for posterity’s sake.

“Happy Gay Day, Adora!” Glimmer said, rushing over to throw a rainbow colored flower lei over her head and giggling at her poor utterly lost bestie’s expression. “Take a gay lei too!”

Chapter Text

Adora gaped at Glimmer’s vibrant greeting, her eyes darting wildly to take on the explosion of colors and sounds around her. Everyone was still watching and honestly, it was a bit unnerving. “I… I don’t understand?”

 

I have to shout

That I am coming out!

 

“Oh goodness, my love. It’s not that difficult. We literally have a song playing about ‘coming out’. We’re celebrating you!”

“Oh… But why?” Adora looked around blankly at each of her friends, begging anyone to please, please buy her a vowel.

“Because you’ve made a big, positive step in your life! Because we love you, even if you’re currently driving me a little crazy.” Glimmer pulled at her hand. “C’mon. Cake!”

Adora was led to the bar and forced into a stool there. Before her lay a beautiful cake, tall and covered in fluffy white buttercream frosting. The edge had been ridged all around and the top was piped with billows of frosting; a radius of delicious, sweet clouds. The bottom was lined with sixlets lined in ascending order that Mr. Roy G Biv would approve of. Adora was still baffled by this whole deal, but had to admit, it was a stunning confection.

“Glimmer, did you make this? It’s beautiful.” Adora examined the edges of the cake, wondering how her best friend had managed to get the lines so uniform. 

“Sure did! That’s not even the best part.” She offered Adora a knife and triangular spatula. “Will the guest of honor be so kind as to cut the cake?”

“Oh, me? Um.” Adora eyed the knife hesitantly. The music was still blasting out, loud and proud, and now everyone was crowding around waiting for a slice. Her nervous nature increased tenfold at the expectation of action. “I… I don’t want to mess it up.”

“Adora. It’s cake. We are going to chew it up and swallow it no matter what it looks like.” Catra spoke evenly, uncertain where her anxiety was coming from. Sure Adora could be a little on the neurotic side from time to time, but it was cutting a cake for God’s sake.

“... Yeah. You’re right; I’m being really dumb.” Adora shook her head clear and took the offered cutlery. As she cut off the first sizable slab, she was greeted with even more color; seven perfect colored layers, all with more buttercream in between. “Wow! Impressive.” How many more rainbows can they hide?!

She served everyone a slice and they began to eat with gusto, enjoying every sugar-laced bite. The music continued to play around them, each song more validating than the last, as people began to break off into small groups to chat and drink, rainbow cake having been thoroughly enjoyed. 

 

Say what you wanna say

And let the words fall out

I wanna see you be brave

 

“Not a bad mix.” Catra commented as she licked the frosting from her fork. Haven’t heard any of mine yet though. “Cake’s pretty decent too.” She raised an eyebrow at Glimmer and smirked.

“Oh, I’m so glad it meets your approval.” Glimmer said, rolling her eyes but smiling. “I’m more interested in what Adora has to say about the music, so hush, you. Everyone submitted at least one song that spoke to their coming out or general pride experience. Aaaaand of course, it’s all mostly party songs because duh, dancing and queers. Which, get over it now, you will be out on the floor with us this afternoon. This is your own Personal Pride Fest and I’m here to make sure you enjoy it!”

“Ah, well, thanks? I think?” Adora smiled weakly, a little wide-eyed. Of course she had been invited to Pride festivals any number of times before, given her friend group. But somehow something had always come up to prevent her from joining, especially when she hadn’t quite been ready to explore and accept that part of herself. Huh. Convenient. 

Glimmer regarded her sternly. “You really aren’t going to chill out any time soon, are you? Guess we’ll be breaking out the shots sooner than I thought…” She scurried away towards the refrigerator near the bar, intent on holding up her role as Supreme Party Planner/Hostess. She really couldn’t get enough of that self-appointed title.

“My own personal Pride fest… Not really sure what to make of that.” Adora set her plate down on the bar and rubbed her hands over the tops of her thighs a couple times, licking her lips nervously as she did so.

Catra was quick to pick up on the nervous ticks and set her own plate down next to Adora’s. She spoke carefully, unconcerned at Adora’s anxious motions. “Eh, Pride is peak gay culture for a lot of folks. Loud music, loud outfits, even louder people shouting their heads off and well, being themselves, whoever that may be. It can be fun and really validating.” From a distance. As a curious on-looker, away from the crowds.  

“Okay, sure. I get that, I think. This is great, really, but it’s also so... much…” Her hands had stopped moving across her own thighs, at least. Adora crinkled a brow as she considered. “Where do the quiet gays go, then?”  

Catra laughed heartily, impressed by the reference. “Was that a Hannah Gadsby joke? Color me impressed if so, babe.”

“Who?” God, now even more things Adora didn’t understand. Her leg began to bounce as she sat in the stool, obviously thinking way too hard over… everything. 

It wasn’t that she didn’t appreciate what was being done. Adora wasn’t a complete loser; parties were fun! She just really hadn’t been to any that had been so solely focused on her, except for birthday parties. But that was normal and to be expected every January. Not to mention this event was focused on her new self-identifier; a label she really hadn’t had that much time to process in its now more public light. She just wished she had been consulted in the whole matter, rather than having it sprung on her like this. But with Glimmer’s need for drama and pageantry... Adora was pretty sure she would have agreed had she been asked, but this was also a lot to take in for a newly minted baby gay.

Leg bounce; losing ground here. “Ah, well. Never mind then; I’ll introduce you once we’re home.” Catra took her hand and guided her away from the bar, towards a more private corner of the room. She knew everyone could still see them, but she was trying her best to get Adora into a better headspace and give her at least the illusion of seclusion. “Look, I’m with you, this is a lot. My eyes are near bleeding at all the colors... But Glimmer and Bow, they came up with this for you because this really is an amazing step you’ve taken in your life. I mean, I know I kind of… helped it along.” She gave a knowing half-smirk. “But really, you’re choosing to live as authentically as you can and that’s just amazing, babe. They just want to show you that you have a safe space in this new world. And just like them: it’s over-the-top, entirely too fucking loud, and annoying as shit… But generally well-meaning.” She paused to let Adora soak in her words, absently thumbing her hand as she did so.

Adora gave a small nod, processing as quickly as the situation allowed her to. 

Catra gave her hand a small squeeze of encouragement to help the process. “So, you wanna just roll with it? This is just a party with all your favorite queers, babe; that’s all. And hey, you’re on that list now, too.”

“I know you’re right. Honestly there’s only like… five less rainbow decorations here than at one of their standard parties.” She laughed as she looked around, warmed to the core at hearing Catra saying something nice about her friends. Our friends… “Yeah, okay. We can roll with it, but did they really have to make it about me? They couldn’t have just said, “Everyone come down to the basement, we have cake!” and let it just be, y’know, a normal Glimmer Moone Event?”

“You know them better than anyone here, babe. Did you really think they were going to just let a big event in their best friend’s life slip by totally unnoticed? God, you guys still celebrate your ‘Friendiversary’ every year and think how long you guys have been friends! This is just like that, with the addition of even more people who like you. S’not scary at all.” She paused and narrowed her eyes reflectively. “Except for Mermista’s shirt about swinging both ways, violently… I know I said I’m scarier than anyone here yesterday, but she’s really in a field all her own.” 

Adora chuckled, easing up slightly. “Catra, are you afraid of Mermista?”

“Not a fucking chance. But I watch the quiet ones, okay, and she probably has like a whole fucking armory . You do remember she almost pushed me into that pool last year…” Fucking water-loving bitch. “Anyway, getting way off track here…”

Adora bit her tongue, knowing better than to push Catra any further on the subject. You also kind of deserved it, if I remember correctly...

“One last point, here. Everything about you should be celebrated, Adora.” Catra couldn’t help the overly large grin that spread across her face as she really began to think about how much she appreciated the woman standing before her. She was just… everything. And deserved so much goodness and attention and lov-... She cleared her throat slightly, bringing her own thoughts back. “I’m thanking every deity that’s ever been that you’re a big homo.”

Adora gave a soft sound and found herself drawing just a little closer to Catra. “Keep that up and you’ll be calling out ‘god’ in no time…”

Before Catra could respond, maybe even instigate things a little further, Glimmer came in with the clitoference. “Uh-uh, you two! Get your gay asses out of that corner and spend some goddamned time with your friends. Adora! Shot time; get over here.” Glimmer shouted from the bar, holding up small plastic cups with lids in each of her hands. “Catra… Just, shoo. Spend like 10 minutes apart; I swear, you will not die no matter what your U-Haul loving brains tell you.”

“Hah! We already live together so.” Adora stuck out her tongue at Glimmer, who threw her arms up with a “All the more reason to fucking uncling!”

She flicked her middle finger up at the woman with a sweet grin in response, much to Catra’s delight. Adora knew Glimmer was ready to throw an award-winning tantrum, however. “She’s right. We probably should spend at least a little time with other people.” The corner of Adora’s mouth dipped in a small frown as she said it. “I don’t like it though, just for the record.”

Catra laughed and grabbed her hand, her thumb sliding across the top of it gently. “Okay, she’s right, Miss Clingy. I’m gonna be,” She pointed with her other thumb over towards Scorpia who had just seated herself on the couch with a drink, watching the show like everyone else with barely contained amusement. “Just right over there with Scorp for a bit. Try not to miss me too much.”

“Impossible. Already do.” 

“You’re impossible, goof.” Before Catra left to follow through, she brought Adora’s hand up to her lips and laid a tender kiss against it. “But it’s damn cute.”

Adora watched as Catra left her and swore her hips had never swayed quite like that before. Which considering their natural flexibility and rhythmic inclinations truly was a feat. Just a quickie, I swear, no one will even notice we’re gone… She sighed, thinking thoughts entirely unbecoming for the company she was in, and joined Glimmer at the bar. 

“Oh! My name is Glimmer; it’s great to meet you!” The purple haired woman held out a hand to shake politely. 

“Ha-ha, Glim. You’re very, very funny.”

“I am, even if you don’t appreciate it. Or me for that matter, it seems.”

“Hey, you’re not being fair! Look, I know I’ve been a little… preoccupied, but you more than anyone knows what this,” She made a small motion between herself and the now seated with Scorpia on the couch Catra. “means to me. For me. I promise I’ll be a better friend going forward. And of course I appreciate you!” Adora chose to not dive into how if she had her choice, she would have been part of the Party Planning Committee to begin with. Maybe someday that backbone will really stick…

“... Yeah, I know. I knew this was a likelihood given your plan for the car and everything. Honestly, thank god it went down like it did or this week would have been a whole hell of a lot more awkward all around.”

“You mean if I confessed on the way here and she said, ‘Nah, I’m good on that’? Yeah, would have been a bit of a damper. I know it didn’t quite go like I practiced, but I really can’t argue with how it’s going. Bit of a blip this morning, but we worked it out.”

“A… blip? Do tell.” Adora could physically see Glimmer tensing, as she began to drum her fingers across the top of the bar.

Fuck, like a goddamned dog with a bone… “Look, we were overtired, forgot the waters in the car so also really dehydrated, and then she stepped in some mud… After a spider crawled on her, may I add! So, she sort of lost her temper a bit. Nothing bad, just generally being a snapish, pain in the ass like usual.”

“Uh-huh. Interesting behavior for a first date.”

Adora winced inwardly at the words. You’re a master at needling at my wounds, Glim, even if you aren’t aware of what they are . She shrugged, trying to shake off the stab of hurt. “We talked it over and I told her shit like that wasn’t gonna fly. That I wanted this to work, but not at the cost of myself.”

Glimmer’s fingers stopped their judgmental beat and her eyes softened. “... Did you, really?”

“Um, yeah? I did. And she took it really well, too. Didn’t argue and just apologized for being an asshole.”

Glimmer paused to study Adora’s face intently. After several breaths, just when Adora was beginning to feel entirely too exposed under the microscopic glare of her best friend’s light brown eyes, Glimmer suddenly clapped her hands together. It really was quite an annoying and jarring habit, even if Adora appreciated the telltale sign the woman had come to some sort of inmutable conclusion. I always know when you’re lying, bae, and this time… you’re not.  “Shot time!”

Jesus, between her moods and Catra’s it’s a goddamned wonder I haven’t committed myself yet. In the back of her mind, she considered the threads of commonality and different approaches the two women she held so dear to her heart possessed. They really were eerily similar, if not also worlds apart. It almost gave her a headache to consider too deeply. I’ve got a type, that’s for sure. “All right, grab the bottle. I’m down.”

“Mmm, no, Mermista spent way too long making these beauties this morning.” Glimmer gestured to a large tray that contained a jeweled assortment of Jell-O shots. She plucked a lime flavored one from the bunch. “Bottoms up, babe!”

Out of the corner of her eye on the couch, Catra saw Adora’s tongue dart into the shot glass, eagerly trying to lap up the alcoholic jelly within. Unable to take her attention from the endearing, though admittedly clumsy attempt, she excused herself from Scorpia’s story under the guise of needing a drink. She sauntered towards the general area Adora happened to be present in, daring Glimmer to take issue. Can’t help it if the fridge is this way...

As she passed the tray of rainbow shots, without a single word, Catra grabbed a cup and popped off the lid. She began to roll her tongue around the edge, working at an achingly slow pace to free the alcoholic gelatin out, making sure to finish the job completely. Her eyes did not leave Adora’s for a single second, even as she tossed the spotless container on to the bar, grabbing for another as she did.

Fortunately, or unfortunately as it were, for Adora she did not repeat the performance with the new cup but just raised her eyebrow in a clear challenge towards the blonde. Adora glanced at her own cup, half the contents still left in the bottom, her stomach seizing. “... That’s not… I’m not... I mean, I would definitely… Do better? Um…. elsewhere .” The last word was a tiny squeak of Barely Holding It Together.

“I’m sure you will.” Catra flashed a look that clearly said she couldn’t wait to find out for absolute certainty before continuing on her quest for a beer, leaving Adora a trembling mess.

“... My fault. Absolutely my fault.” Glimmer sunk her head to the bar for a brief second, breathing deeply and wondering why she thought fucking Jell-O shots would ever be a good idea with this abundance of Big Gay Tension. I keep setting it up and somehow I’m surprised when they barrel right on through.  “I swear to god, I’m getting a spray bottle and using it on both of you. Is it too much to ask to not eye-fuck at the party? Really? Is it?”

Adora just grinned sheepishly, in a ‘Sorry, not sorry’ sort of way. Fortunately for the security and permanence of their friendship, the playlist happened to switch a new track.

 

If all of the kings had their queens on the throne

We would pop champagne and raise a toast

To all of the queens who are fighting alone

Baby, you're not dancin' on your own

 

“Ohhhh! This is my song, because all you bitches know I am the queen !” Glimmer quickly rimmed another shot, knowing that while it was a slow release, Mermista did not pull any fucking punches. She would be feeling it and the music out on the floor soon enough. “Finally, getting to the good stuff. I’m all for pride and acceptance, but fuck, we need to DANCE!”

 

No damsel in distress, don't need to save me

Once I start breathin' fire, you can't tame me

And you might think I'm weak without a sword

But if I had one, it'd be bigger than yours

 

Adora did not even argue as she was pulled to their make-shift dance floor, just trying to do her best to move her body in some graceful, even seemingly coordinated way. She hoped that Catra was too engaged with talking with her friend to notice her awkward gyrations. Between this and that damn shot, pretty sure I’ve lost even the whisper of sex appeal I had.

Determined to not let that thought get her down and dead set on being a non-absentee friend again, Adora pushed it away. She let herself get lost in the beat, while unabashedly making a complete fool of herself. And as Bow joined them on the floor and their trio was made whole once more, she found it really wasn’t that difficult a thing to do.  

 

In chess, the king can move one space at a time

But queens are free to go wherever they like

You get too close, you'll get a royalty high

So breathe it in to feel the love

 

Adora, Bow, and Glimmer danced to several more songs before calling a quick break to grab a drink. Sea Hawk had joined in on the fun at some point, but did not stop his groove for a single beat, even when he was the only one out on the floor. Adora caught Mermista giving him the smallest flicker of a smile and shake of her head as she watched from the sidelines. 

After a long drag from his cider bottle, Bow patted his stomach. “I think most of the sugar from that awesome cake has been worked off. I’m definitely ready for something else!”

Glimmer laid an affectionate hand on his arm, giving it a small squeeze as she did so. “Gnosh for my man coming right up! But you’re not getting the good stuff without working for it, either. Upstairs, now. We got snacks to heat up and trays to carry. So many, many things to do...” They both scampered upstairs quickly and Adora half-wondered if she would need a spray bottle as well. At least they have the decency to leave the room, though. Better than us...

Adora surveyed the room; Hawk was still bopping away, moving his body in truly perplexing ways. Mermista watched passively, though Adora noticed that her grip tightened around her glass when he gave a particularly animated lunge of his hips. Catra and Scorpia were still talking together on the couch, seemingly happy for the opportunity to hang out again. And Perfuma was...

Suddenly there, right beside Adora. She appeared out of nowhere but also almost as if she were summoned on command. “Welcome to the sisterhood, Adora!” She wrapped Adora in a full, warm hug and held for just a few seconds outside the norm. But with ‘Fuma, it wasn’t uncomfortable; her whole aura just radiated with tranquility and safety. They broke apart, but Perfuma kept her hands on Adora’s shoulders, friendly but acute eye contact held between them. “It’s a wonderful thing, accepting yourself fully. You should be proud! … And proud of your rather vivacious girlfriend.”  She flashed Adora a knowing, teasing wink.

Adora gulped at the word. She hadn’t even used it herself, in the privacy and safety of her own mind! She found herself stammering, heart pounding slightly faster. “Oh, she’s not... we’re not… I mean, we are obviously s-something, you saw last night... But not…”

“Things not quite defined yet?” Perfuma dropped her hands, a comforting gesture meant to not completely overwhelm Adora with having to deal with casual affection while spiraling out. Adora shook her head; despite all the good that was happening and so much more good slated to happen in the near future, she still found herself trying to not look crushed. Perfuma could just wade past someone’s bullshit like that without even trying. “That’s perfectly okay; these things happen of their own time.” 

Adora nodded in response, unable to get a word out of her mouth.

“Adora, listen to me. I have absolute confidence that you and Catra will find what works for you both. I can’t be certain when things developed between you, but my intuition says it hasn’t been that particularly long. And even if it had been; life does not work on a schedule. There is no right and wrong, just what is. So, enjoy it for what it is! Anyone can see how much you care for one another. The depth that between you is beautiful to witness. In the end, it’s just a word and the emotional component is far more pivotal.”

The wisp took a moment to pause before her next words. “But also, take this from someone who’s made… choices in her past relationships before. We both have such naturally giving hearts, you and I. I want you to remember that you have as much say in anything as Catra does. It’s just as much yours as it is hers. Equality in a relationship really does make things so much smoother. No one does more than the other and no one expects the other to do everything; you do for each other. And no matter what word you use to describe yourselves one day, if any, the honest truth is that you’re a team now. Teammates communicate the play beforehand and don’t just expect the person to be in position.” She gave a throaty chuckle, shaking her head at herself. “How did I do with that bit? Sports metaphors are a bit clumsy for me, I’ll admit it freely. That’s more your deal, but hopefully you understand my intent?”

The gentle advice latched itself at the back of Adora’s mind. Expectations… She realized with a glance over at Catra, who was laughing loudly at something Scorpia had just said while sipping her beer, that she may have had a few too many of those expectations already. Do for each other…  

“I think I’m starting to, ‘Fuma. Truly, thank you. You make the world better for being in it.”

The willowy blonde waved her hand. “Oh, pff. I’m nothing special.”

“No. You really are. I’m so happy to call you my friend.” Adora wrapped her in a brief but tight hug, before deciding enough time had passed that she could go see what was up with Catra and Scorpia.

“Hey, you. What’s so funny?” Adora smiled at Catra’s gleeful expression, settling in neatly next to her on the couch.

“Hey, babe.” Catra gave a small squeeze to her thigh in greeting. “Scorp here was just talking about her coming out- if you can really call it that.”

Scorpia laughed and gave a bashful smile, rubbing the back of her neck. “Yeah, didn’t really have to go through that part; two moms and all.”

Adora raised an eyebrow, returning the general warmth of the moment with her own smile, but not fully understanding. “That’s great, truly. But I’m not sure what’s so funny…?”

Catra grinned toothily. “Scorp here thought that straight people weren’t real when she was little.”

“What? How?” Adora found herself laughing fully at the outrageousness of the idea. It was just… so Scorpia. Endearing to the core.

“I grew up with two moms and we more or less kept to ourselves; not a ton of outside contact. Plus our house was just bursting with pride and representation. Of course, I’d think straight people were made up for movies!” She threw a half-shrug out as she finished her explanation.

Catra leaned back against the couch, resting her head there as she got a handle on her laughter. “Man, that’s the dream, isn’t it? Also you were, what, like four? A literal baby dyke.”

“Eh, a little older but not by much. Identity was encouraged at a young age; my moms didn’t question it and I didn’t either! I got my first crush on the neighbor lady that used to babysit me who had a kid around my age of her own. The crush, uh, heh, stayed for a while… Long, long while. So, when you hear the cover of Stacy’s Mom on the playlist, Adora… You know why!”

She watched Catra’s tenuous resolve burst again, heartily displaying her mirth fully and without abandon. Adora watched her eyes soften to a buttery regard as Catra looked towards her best friend. She was just so… beautiful to behold and Adora was utterly captivated by the moment. Catra smirked a half-grin and patted Scorpia’s shoulder. “Who hasn’t wanted an older woman from time to time? I feel you.”  

Scorpia nodded her agreement eagerly. “Just something about it… Woooo, boy. Golly. Some tough teenage years there dealing with that mess…”

“Still preaching to the choir, Scorp.” 

Catra eased her laughter, but remained open and relaxed. It encouraged Adora to speak up her burning question. “Hey Catra, what’s your coming out story?”

Catra stilled for a half-breath, looking away from Adora. She was clearly a little uncomfortable but righted herself quickly. “Eh. Listen to Daughter by L Devine during your next homework session, add like ten times more drama, and you’ve got the gist.” 

“That’s… not really a story.”

“Awful demanding for someone who also sidestepped this question with a song herself… And at least mine is a good song.” Catra could tell a few curious eyes and ears were starting to listen in around them. It wasn’t necessarily her favorite subject, but could see Adora really wanted to know. “All right, fine. It was high school chemistry class, junior year. I fell for someone so hard and it was mutual. Like stupidly so; we wrote bad poetry to each other and had plans of being ‘together forever’. All that crap. I pretty much knew I was gay from day one of my life, but she… Well. She was a good little Catholic girl so can’t imagine it really crossed her mind before, um, me…”

Adora raised an eyebrow. “And you called my Queer Presenter hook-up stereotypical?”

“Yeah, yeah. I know. Gay bad girl falls for the goody two-shoes religious girl. Read that book a million times before. But anyway, we kept it on the sly because, duh, until it wasn’t any more. Her parents read our emails and confronted me. Actually threatened me with “police action” if I didn’t leave their precious daughter alone.” Catra’s mouth tightened and she spread her fingertips wide across the tops of her legs as she explained.

“What the fuck? God, what did that even mean?” 

“I dunno, restraining order? Even my dumbass 16 year old self knew not to fuck with those boundaries. But since they were throwing around that kind of threat, of course I had to tell my mom… Who didn’t throw me out on the street. So, happy ending?” She raised her shoulder slightly, trying to be done with the subject. There; I spilled. Can we go on to any other topic, please?

“Wow, that had to be some scary stuff for a kid. How’d Miss Catholic take it?” Adora was so lost in trying to imagine what that would have been like for anyone, let alone a child discovering love for the first time, that she missed some of Catra’s “over it” signs.

No, not done because she’s fixated; ugh. “Eh, not sure. Her parents demanded that all her classes be moved around so there was no possible way for us to see one another and she spent the rest of school dodging my every move. I honestly gave up by the time senior year hit.” Catra’s pulse quickened at the absolute lie she told. No, took a lot more time than that to give up fully. It just… wasn’t the place to go into all of that, though.

“Oh, so you never talked to her again? Kinda sad, in a way.”

Catra got quiet. Nearly everyone was listening to her by now. She felt way too seen, too perceived. She had an out; Adora seemed satisfied enough by the conclusion. But something was nagging at her and she realized that she wanted Adora to know the full story, to understand her truth in a way that only she and her therapist did.  “Mmm, maybe we could talk about that later? Not to like, freak you out or anything. It’s really not a big deal but this is supposed to be a party about you. My past gay drama can wait.”

Adora considered her for a moment, finally noticing the rapid shift in her body language and general demeanor. Her wide-spread fingers were now pressing into her thighs tightly, as her eyes darted around nervously at the spotlight trained on her. Adora cursed at herself for bringing it up, but no one could hear the words ‘Tell you later’ and not make absolute certainty that later came as quickly as possible. “Okay. But later for sure?”

“Yeah, for sure…” Catra did her best to give her a reassuring smile, even as she felt her insides tremble. Baggage comes with the territory, doesn’t it?

Chapter Text

Catra’s inner musings of the past were mercifully interrupted by the fact that there was still a party happening around her. A new song had begun to play and at the opening drumroll, Perfuma gave an uncharacteristically loud belly laugh. The spotlight focus of the room turned to her in silent question, to which she shrugged in reply. “My addition to the list.”

 

Racist white dudes aren’t new

Racist white presidents are old news too

A burning cross in the night

Is as American as apple pie…

 

Catra raised an eyebrow at the chuckling blonde. “Interesting choice…?”

 

“Just keep listening, Catra. I think you’ll appreciate it too, Adora.” She hummed along softly, swaying slightly to the jazzy beat before excusing herself for another drink. Scorpia followed along with her, laughing as well at the known submission.

 

But look at us we’re so strong

We fall in love while the whole world tells us

We’re wrong.

Yeah look at us and our hearts

We fall in love while the world tears itself apart.

 

“Can’t really argue with the message here. And I like the sound!” Adora commented, drawn in by the singer’s sweet but no nonsense voice. Catra nodded in agreement, tapping her fingers along to the beat against her leg.

 

Yeah they will come to curse our names

We'll just come and come again

Again

 

Oh, let's go home and have gay sex!

We'll do it for the President

The sons of the Confederates

Oh, they wish they had love like this...

 

At the first line of the chorus, that triumphant declaration to have gay sex, Catra and Adora absolutely lost it. “Oh, my goodness…!”

 

“What the fuck, ‘Fuma, how have you been holding out on me like this?! This song’s great!” Catra hollered over to the satisfied looking woman leaning back against her girlfriend by the bar.

 

“If you don’t share your interests with your friends you miss out, Catra! Perhaps if I’d known before this trip what music meant to you…”

 

“Yeah, yeah. Save the lecture; I’m listening!”

 

Oh, they wish they could fuck like us!

 

This is my civil unrest,

There are so many ways one can protest

Hold up your sign in the street

And when you're done, bring your fine ass home to me...

 

Out of the corner of her eye, Adora noticed Perfuma had turned around and was running one suggestive finger down Scorpia’s front as she sang softly. She was pretty certain ‘Fuma had really emphasised ‘bring your fine ass home to me’ line. It made her giggle, as it was only slightly uncomfortable to see. More an endearing reminder of just how in love these fools were. “You don’t think they bang to this, do you?” It was really very quite obvious what the answer was without asking. 

 

“What the fuck? Really, Adora, what the hell kind of question is that!” Catra stopped drumming peacefully, shaking her head at the images that tried to crop up in her mind.

 

“What? You can give a damn striptease for all your pals, practically makeout with me shortly there after in front of everyone, but even the idle thought of your friends having sex wigs you out?”

 

“Shut up, it’s just a weird thing to talk about at a damn party. Or ever. Ugh, I’m getting a drink.” She rose from the couch and started to walk away before turning back. “D’you want something?”

 

“Jell-o shot, please. I need to do better than the first time.” Adora delighted in this newfound facet of Catra’s apparently weird sense of modesty. “Something else to go with it, too. You know what I like.”

 

Catra didn’t even rise to the opportunity, just walked away to provide for the irritating woman.

 

These sad straight white boys crying into pillows

"What we gonna do if we lose our privilege?"

"Oh good Lord, whose country is this?"

 

Oh, let's go home and have gay sex

We'll do it for the President!

 

As the song drew to a close, Bow and Glimmer returned from their escapades in the kitchen, both carrying a tray of various snack foods. The party descended upon the sustenance voraciously, making certain to stroke Glimmer’s ego sufficiently with their cheers and gratitude for cooking the majority of the cuisine. Despite the earlier discomfort Adora felt, she had to admit it was settling in to be a rather nice event. It wasn’t really about her, she realized, but more of a chance to display the necessary community to survive being part of a minority group. Just like Catra had assured her previously, it was a party with her favorite queers. Only a small part of her still irked that she hadn’t been consulted beforehand; nothing she couldn’t push aside. She hovered near the bar, content to sip her beverage and bask in the warm atmosphere of her friends enjoying themselves around her.

 

“... And they have live music every night!” Scorpia announced excitedly to Bow nearby. “We are so going to check it out later in the week, right, babe?”

 

Perfuma nodded, back to leaning against the tall woman of her affection. “Of course we are. Beer, woodfire pizza, and music; how could we pass that up?”

 

Bow laughed, agreeing wholeheartedly at the combination. “And you said it’s super close to here?”

 

“Yup; a couple miles down the road you’ll start to see signs for it: Wolf Creek Brewery!”

 

“Hey, Adora, what are you up to?” Catra had returned downstairs from her bathroom break. She interrupted Adora’s thoughts, but as always it was a welcome intrusion. “I was thinking of trying to find some suckers for pool; you in?”

 

“Not against you, but sure. I’ll watch at least.” She’d witnessed Catra’s skill level enough times in the student lounge game room. Been the victim enough times, really. Unfortunately, everyone knew the brunette’s ability and all politely declined her invitation. Adora tried not to find her pout too cute and consoled her by grabbing her another beer before they sat on the couch.

 

Before Catra was even halfway through her new drink, Glimmer had come over to announce that it was time to hit the dance floor again. She did her best to make it clear that both Catra and Adora were invited, if not downright required, to join even if it felt a little forced. In fact she summoned everyone to eventually join, the relatively small space a tangled mess of various degrees of ability and rhythm. 

 

The crew danced and drank for the majority of the afternoon, getting sillier and drunker all the while. The culmination of the dance party was one large group hug; Adora was in the center, Catra pressed against her right side under her arm snuggly, Glimmer holding tight to her left. Bow was behind Glimmer, with the rest piled around as they could fit. Scorpia’s large arms were enough to encapsulate all of them, pulling them into a tight hug as the music sounded around them.

 

No matter gay, straight, or bi

Lesbian, transgendered life

I'm on the right track baby

I was born to survive!

...

I'm on the right track baby

I was born this way!

 

Sweaty, but still laughing, the party moved outside to let the cooler air revitalize them all after hearing the somewhat lyrically questionable, though indisputable gay anthem by Lady Gaga. Bow and Sea Hawk began to build up a fire, Mermista assuring Hawk that if his tispy ass catches on fire, she would not be the one to take him to the hospital. Adora smiled faintly at the scene, making her way inside for some water and promising to bring Catra a bottle as well. Upon her return, the pair chattered about nothing particularly important, oftentimes with their surrounding friends throwing in comments here and there for flavor and variety. The flames built to a healthy degree before long and nothing too important was singed too badly.

 

Marshmallows were brought out, with the necessary chocolate and graham crackers to create the best of all campfire desserts. Hot dogs were roasted over open flame and even some wrapped ears of corn were placed in the coals for enjoyment later. Catra was having a good time, all things considered, but couldn’t deny her head was starting to ache from the persistent laughter. The perpetual smile across her own face didn’t help matters either. With a small squeeze of Adora’s hand, she excused herself from the bonfire merriment and made her way to the deck towards the back of the house. Instantly the noise died down, though she missed the heat from the fire against the considerably cooler night air here.

 

Some time had passed, Catra spending most of it dwelling fruitlessly.

 

“Hey…” Adora’s presence broke Catra’s solitude; the voice was hesitant and unsure if it was welcome.

 

“Hey, Adora.” Her capacity for other people may have been at her limit, but Adora was always the exception. “I just needed a minute to myself, y’know?”

 

“Oh! Well, I can go…” Adora turned to leave. It was a little disappointing, but like Glimmer said, they really didn’t need to be attached at the hip. It was just more fun that way.

 

“Nah, you don’t count. I actually like you.” Catra gestured to the chair next to her. “Join me for a minute, then we can go back to the flaming idiots?”

 

“Flaming in every sense of the word.” Adora giggled, happy to be invited to join Catra’s company.

 

The pair sat in silence for a few minutes, letting the cool night air settle between them in a soothing manner. Adora finally broke the quiet, feeling that they’d had enough time with their own thoughts. “Catra, I want to thank you. You helped me so much at the party and… thanks for telling me your story. As for more on mine, I promise it’s not interesting. I stopped being totally in denial, did some soul-searching, and kissed, among other things, a few girls all so I could get into perspective how I felt about you, and more importantly, what that meant for me as a whole. And now we’re here. That really is about the whole thing.” 

 

“Bit powerful to be the cause of someone’s sexual awakening… again …” Catra muttered the last word bitterly under her breath. 

 

Adora caught the venom in the whispered word. She hesitated, but then squared herself. “You in a headspace to tell me the whole story? It’s okay if not, I know we said ‘Later’ but it’s totally fine if you’re not there, yet.” 

 

“...Yeah, I can. It’s kind of long though; you sure you want to hear it? The bonfire is probably a lot more fun.” Her eyes flicked down to the afterparty she had left, reflecting on the general mayhem that a pack of wild gays could produce.

 

“If you’re talking, I’m listening.” Adora’s voice was firm, but it’s cadence still left room for Catra to set her own boundaries and decide if she was prepared.

 

Catra heaved a deep sigh. Here we go, baggage, here we go…  “All right, then, since you’re listening... About halfway through the summer before freshman year I sent ‘Miss Catholic’, as you called her earlier, a big, long, utterly pathetic email to the secret account about how once we were 18 and away at college, we could finally be together. Just like we always planned. I sort of lied earlier about getting over it; I… uh, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty, okay? I was so lost and everything just felt so hopeless.” Catra’s eyes went distant as she remembered. “... Sometimes I’m amazed I even made it to 17. If we’re being completely honest, at first I didn't even want to. Between suddenly everyone knowing at least some of what went down, god, it was all anyone could talk about and nothing good. Then having to deal with shit at home… Dear mumsy didn’t really take well to having a big old dyke for a daughter, especially one that caused so much grief. Always had a bag packed, just in case I needed to bolt…”

 

Adora nodded, certain she’d have been kicked out immediately if her foster parents had known her budding inclinations. It was part of what drove her to avoid that part of herself. Really, thank goodness Bow and Glimmer were at least passing, even if her heart ached at the lies she perpetuated to make certain they got to stay in her life. As Catra continued to speak, she brought her attention away from herself and back to the more important matter at hand.

 

“But I also didn’t want them to win, y’know? Her parents, my mom... Maybe because I spent every free second reading the things we wrote to each other and just knew there was something real there. Something I couldn’t possibly give up on. So, I spent the rest of high school just waiting for the chance to be with her again, but as a free, legal adult. Actually put my nose to the grindstone, so I could make something of myself… For her...” Catra trailed off, face obviously showing she was in another time. “Of course, it made things a lot easier to focus on school when no one wanted to talk with the big homo who forced herself on such an innocent girl.”

 

Adora stilled, eyes wide in shock. She tried to keep the edge of outrage she was feeling from her voice, figuring adding anger to the situation wouldn’t be the best move for Catra’s sake. Her emotions were a part of this right now. It wasn’t easy. “... Is that what people said?”

 

“Never to my face, but… Yeah. I mean, people will make up whatever shit they want to. Why her parents didn’t just fucking transfer her, I’ll never know.” Catra’s jaw was set tight. “Wasn’t an option for me, either. My loving mother just simply told me that ‘There’s consequences for every choice, Catra. Live with yours.’ And that was that. To hell with what I was going through; I had embarrassed her, after all.”

 

“That’s… that’s terrible. I don’t even know what to say. Catra, I…” Adora began, but was quickly cut off.

 

“But you know, now that I think about it, I only got to meet you because of this mess. That roommate preferences form we had to do? Shit, I was putting down every lame, goody-good answer on the list. Because at the time, I was trying to be that perfect person who “didn’t like visitors after 8 PM” and “studied with the TV off; no distractions”. I thought that’s what she would want in her partner since she was always super into her studies and being totally perfect.” Catra chuckled humorlessly in the memory of her answers on that stupid form then, especially the drugs and alcohol consumption part. Yeah, that ended up a bald-faced lie.  “God, life is funny, huh? My high school heartbreak leads to… Yeah.”

 

“Guess I’d thank her for that, if I could.” Adora smiled briefly, appreciating the little twists and turns of life that lead to current paths. “So, you sent her an email? Did she say anything back to it?”

 

Several beats passed as Catra willed herself to continue. You’ve gone this far… It’s Adora. “Yeah. Not sure I was really expecting one so easily, but I had to try, y’know? We had plans and they felt so real once we could get away from the bullshit of shitty people in a shitty town. Anyway, she did write back and it said, “I never wanted anything like that, ever. It was your unnatural influence that led me down the path to sin. You will burn for what you’ve done. Do not contact me again.”  

 

Adora’s heart was cleaved in twain for this woman she knew had such capacity for tenderness. Who she held such affection for and knew that while some people would call her edges rough, there was a truly beautiful soul underneath the armor. A soul she felt privileged to know and to continue to learn about every day. “Oh, Catra…”

 

Catra wasn’t in a place to hear the platitudes, even from Adora. Besides, the story wasn’t done. She kept on talking. “So, that was a kick in the teeth. Last couple years spent playing by the rules of her parents, society if you wanna be dramatic about it, all for her and that’s the response I get? I broke further after that, just in the opposite way. Ready to live life how I wanted; fuck everyone else. Have some fun, all about fun. I figured if I was such an “unnatural influence” and was going to burn in hell, even though my god, we just held hands and I kissed her hand one night; we barely even hugged . Anyway, figured might as well go all in for it. Return the world’s treatment of me, become the sinner they painted me as, and stop trying to be perfect for the girl who didn’t want me. Except I did care, a lot. That shit ate at me and I looked for any way to get it to stop for a while. That’s how you met me; this big pretender who started jumping from bed to bed and taking every substance known to man because of a schoolgirl crush that went wrong years before.”

 

Adora furrowed her brow. Pretending…? Catra had been so much fun when they met. A level of excitement and daring Adora had never experienced before. Sure Bow, Glimmer, and her had fun; loads of it, in their goofy, kinda childish ways. But Catra… Catra had edge. She didn’t give a fuck about anything and made sure the world knew it. But somehow still kept decent enough grades and found time to hang around her lame roommate from time to time? She was just so cool . Adora was hooked from the start, even if it took some more time for it to develop into an actual crush. 

 

“I was so not okay during that time. I was looking for any high to just chase all away for a bit... It just got worse and worse; more stupid ass risks every time. How you ever chose to hang around a dumbass like me, I’ll never understand…”

 

“You weren’t a dumbass! You were so cool. Just so unlike anyone I’d ever met before… This snarky woman who like, could stay out until 4 AM and then still make it through all her classes that day and then find time to hang out with a total dork like me.” Adora laughed, amazed she still had the capacity to do so after absorbing so much hurt from someone she cared so deeply for. “It took me awhile, but honestly, I didn’t know if I wanted to be you or fuck you.”

 

Catra scoffed loudly in response. “You wouldn’t have wanted to be me, Adora. I was miserable. It was all just an act to cover how… damaged I felt. Unnatural. Unwanted .” She trailed off, eyes growing distant. Adora wanted nothing more than to pull her into her arms and tell her how much she was wanted and cared for. Before she could, Catra kept speaking. “It was better when we were goofing around together, sure, but never quite gone, either. Anyway, that email wasn’t the time we talked. You remember around November that year I sort of went… distant for a while? As in like for the rest of the semester, even into the spring to some degree?”

 

Adora nodded. How could she forget? It was like a flip had been switched overnight. Their time before the change had been spent laughing in the room together at all hours in the night- usually because Catra had woken her up with some story about the party she’d just crawled her way from, grabbing a meal in the cafeteria together (sometimes with Bow and Glimmer as well if Catra could stomach it), and so many evenings with Adora studying hard while Catra did her best to distract her from the task, usually by yelling at her to ‘Concentrate, Adora!’. But after the ‘distance’ had settled in... During the rest of the fall semester Catra barely left her bed, not even for class most days, let alone any of the fun and mischief the pair got up to prior. During the peak, Adora did her best to make sure Catra ate from time to time, drank water regularly, and on more than one occasion she probably did enough work on a paper that it really should have had her name as co-author (at the very least). She had the numbers for a bunch of different emergency and non-emergency mental health resources memorized and probably could still recite them today, right now. Adora had been so scared for the once bright flame that had petered out so quickly. She found every excuse to make sure she was in their room as much as possible where she knew Catra would be… Just in case she needed anything. It had gotten better after break, but it would be a while before the smiles felt anywhere close to genuine.

 

“A few weeks before my… seclusion, Miss Catholic called me up and asked me to come see her. It’d been so long and god, I was so fucking terrifed. Everything else was falling to shit, so might as well bite; see what life could throw at me next. Plus there was this stupid part of me, the 16 year old stuck-in-the-past me, who’d been so desperately in love with this girl that jumped at the chance. Met her at her campus… Big Catholic school, are we surprised? Anyway, we met and it was so awkward and painful just to be around her after all this time. But she wanted to talk, right? Hah, I thought that email would be the worst thing she ever said to me but I was wrong there.” Catra stopped to take a deep inhale, her eyes fixated out towards the trees around them. “She told me that she never stopped loving me, even after all this time, and that her mom wrote that email. Made her click send, though, just to really drive it home. But right after she explained this, she said she also had dreams. Dreams of a family, of kids, and would never choose the sinful lesbian lifestyle and jeopardize her place in God’s kingdom. And damn it all, Adora, my world collapsed. Again. I know I screamed at her, asked her why the fuck she felt the need to bring me there to tell me any of this… Which is when she shoved a pamphlet for a “healing center” at me and walked away without another word.”

 

Catra was chewing the side of her mouth as she recalled all of this mess. She sensed Adora’s wooden composure at her dramatic conclusion. “So that really fucked me up. It just felt so unnecessary and so unfair. You call me up, profess your love, reject me, and then try to ‘save me’? Jesus Christ, how I didn’t completely beat the shit out of her I’ll never know. No, instead I took it out on myself, in so many ways, and just… Fuck. But you know what got me through the whole thing, and what was like the tipping point to seek professional help, finally?” Catra paused. “You.”

 

Adora wrinkled her brows together, trying to piece things together. It was true that she had been more than a little desperate to go back to their friendship and how things had been. Already she was so drawn in by that laugh, the dumb inside jokes they shared, and just by Catra herself. To lose it was unacceptable for Adora. But she really hadn’t done anything any person would do for another human being. In retrospect, Adora could not believe she didn’t pull in professional resources sooner for Catra’s well being. Sure having the phone numbers on hand was something, but it was all so minimal. But she didn’t even know what was wrong in the first place (any attempt to talk about it was met with silence and even less self-maintenance; Adora soon learned how far to push), plus their friendship was still so relatively new, that it felt invasive? to do much more than be there for Catra the best she could. “I… what? I don’t understand. I didn’t do anything special. In fact, I really should have done more.

 

“Nothing special? More? Adora, you basically keep me alive ! You… You were just there, this spot of sunshine that I could see every once in while high above the miasma of depression I was living in. If you can call it living…”

 

“Miasma? Pulling out the fancy words…” Adora chuckled weakly, feeling tense. She was just so confused. “Anyone would have…” 

 

“No, they really wouldn’t have. And if all of that wasn’t enough, here’s the real truth of what you did for me. It was almost winter break, maybe two days away if that; not exactly really sure of the timeline given everything. Pretty sure I hadn’t showered in at least a week, maybe more, and my grades almost completely fucked. That really wasn’t helping my precarious mental state either; not only I was an unwanted, unloveable sinner, but a failure too? Not a great combination. Anyway, you were getting ready to go out with everyone, some big thing that I dimly remembered you talking about for days leading up to it. Some combination of “We survived the first semester!” and a really early celebration of your fucking birthday. Like you all weren’t just going to do it again come January.” She tried a faint smile, but it didn’t carry to her eyes. 

 

Oh. Yeah. Adora remembered that. Sea Hawk’s end of the semester party. Adora’s first real college party or at least it should have been. “Catra…”

 

“Adora, can I finish? Please?” The words were a gentle plea; she had already shared so much and couldn’t stop now. Adora nodded, halting her need to fix and reassure. “You were so excited. Excited enough that it actually carried through to the slime pit I was living in then. You tried to get me to go and I refused.” Adora remembered the half-dead girl, laying in her bed glassy-eyed as she shook her head no to Adora’s invitation. She looked so small and broken like that, curled into a tight ball. “And you know what you did when I refused? You fucking sat with me instead. You gave up a night with your friends, a night to celebrate, and you just held this pathetic, dirty girl you’d known for just a couple months while she cried over god knows what. You stayed. You’ve always stayed for me and I... If this naturally good , kind person had decided I was worth it to stay for well… Maybe I could be? It wasn’t an overnight switch, but I’m not sure I would have made it out without you, Adora. I’m not sure I really wanted to.” 

 

“You mean…?”

 

“Not seriously but, y’know. You staying with me like that was just the start for me; to get that bit of human decency and comfort that wasn’t a distraction for myself or some fleeting thing. I mean, I know you’d been trying for weeks to draw me out but never said I wasn’t stubborn as all hell.” Catra flashed her a small self-deprecating grin. “I, uh, didn’t really have a crush on you then; at least not that I was aware of. I mean, don’t get me wrong babe, you were fucking hot as hell and it was damn tempting back when sex was my favorite distraction. But… once I started to get myself right in the head a bit, it’s amazing how quickly my feelings for you grew. Like… ‘Oh, yeah. Her. Of course it’s Her.’”

 

“My brain would have broken if you had tried anything then. Like, just on the spot immediately dribbling out of my nose. So honestly, a little glad you weren’t crushing super hard and knew fucking your roommate was a bad call.” Adora shook her head at herself, knowing the resulting panic attack that would have resulted from a woman- let alone a hottie like Catra, trying to put moves on her. Though part of her wasn’t really sure she would have said no, either...

 

“Wow, I guess my therapist is right, I did show some good qualities and self-control during the cesspool of my life. Huh. Not fucking my roommate leads to fucking my roommate, eventually. Wild world, isn’t it? Though, I think dating her will be even better, if she’ll have me still.” Catra very quickly glanced at Adora and caught her eye before looking away, embarrassed. “Wouldn’t blame her if she didn’t; been a crazy ride this past, fuck... day ?” 

 

“Does kinda feel like whoever is in charge is putting us through the ringer a bit, huh?” Adora laughed, shaking her head as she did. But she quickly turned serious after indulging for a moment in the sweet relief humor provides. “Of course I’ll still have you. What would make you even question that?”

 

“I just don’t want you to think I’m this pathetic person who just tries to live for their partner. I mean, I was totally that person and I don’t really have um, practical experience with… not being them. And maybe the whole ‘You saved me!’ thing is a bit much?” Catra gave Adora a weak, sick smile, anxiety clawing at her chest. “... But, I’ve spent a lot of time working on this shit in therapy and I just want a chance to show that I can be a good partner for someone with her own goals in life and stuff. Especially if that person I’m with is… you. I mean, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing and I’m pretty sure I already came super close to tanking everything already with my bullshit this morning but…” The stress of unloading suddenly became too much for Catra to bear. Because this was her truth, the naked part of her fear and uncertainty. She had thrown herself into the only relationship she had ever had before and it ended in the total destruction of her mental well-being. She wanted a chance to explore a real relationship with such a beautiful, giving woman as an adult, as an equal, not bound by the constraints others tried to throw on to them. But she was also so afraid she would mess it all up by just… being Catra: unwanted and unnatural. Because some wounds never fully close, no matter the time and effort placed into suturing them shut.

 

“Hush, Catra. I won’t hear it about this morning any more, okay? We talked it over already; it’s done. As for your story... I don’t think any less of you and I don’t think you’re pathetic. It’s not like I know what I’m doing either!” Adora started to reach out for Catra’s hand, relieved when the woman met her halfway. “I know this is like a super underwhelming response compared to everything you shared with me, but all I can do is assure you that this it’s something I want to figure out. Together. Because I know you’re that person already and I kinda like that person. A lot.”

 

“... Okay. T-together.” Catra could barely speak, certain she’d just used up her entire allotment of words for the whole year on this stupid deck. Her headache had only gotten worse. She rested her head on Adora’s shoulder to shut her eyes for a moment.

 

The pair continued to hold hands, Catra’s head still on Adora’s shoulder, each lost in her own thoughts. Adora was the first to speak up. “I’m sorry I didn’t do more for you back then. I should have…”

 

Catra’s lips immediately pressed into Adora’s shutting her up firmly. “No. None of that. You stayed, Adora. You took care of me, you never pushed me further than I was ready to go, and you were present with me through the worst of it. It was enough; you’re enough. Always.”

 

“You might need to keep reminding me of that…” Adora spoke softly, a call back to earlier in the day.

 

“Every day, if I have my way.” Catra gave a small smile before gently kissing Adora’s forehead.

 

Shortly after, the pair decided an early bedtime was perfectly fine after day-drinking for hours and all the emotional upheaval the day had brought them. They bid goodnight to their friends and headed upstairs to get ready for bed. There was no discussion of where they would both be sleeping that night. Crawling into Catra’s bed, just as she had that winter night during their freshman year of college, Adora pulled Catra close to her, holding her tight as they drifted off to sleep. Together.




Adora was so glad she hadn’t set an alarm, because if sleeping with Catra tucked against her was amazing, waking up next to Catra was just pure heavenly bliss. Getting to start her day by looking down at the beautiful face next to her… She was certain it would never get old. Without even thinking about it, she placed a small kiss on the sleepy woman’s forehead. When Catra gave a small twitch of a smile in response, so unclear if it was conscious or not, Adora was certain her heart would burst with joy entirely. 

 

She continued to gaze at the sleepy face, before realizing it actually might be a little bit creepy to do for too long. Doing her best to angle ever so carefully as to not wake Catra, Adora reached her arm behind her blindly to grab her phone and distract herself with pointless things in the nightmare rectangle. Not enjoying the awkward angle her arm was in as it felt around the end table, she gave a huff of exasperation, clamping her mouth quickly. She saw Catra’s eyebrows furrow slightly at the noise. Okay, dummy. You regularly perform feats of grace on the field, you can find your damn phone and not wake up your girl- Finally! Gold. She felt the hard plastic case, positioning her fingers around it as best they could grip at the awkward angle and drew it closer to her. Naturally it slipped halfway there but she jerked her hand out to grab it midair. “Hah!” Oops, too loud.

 

Catra groaned. “... Good morning, Adora.”

 

“Um, hi? I didn’t drop my phone again.” The blonde gave an uneasy smile as she waved it in her hand.

 

“No, babe, you didn’t. Now shut up and let me go back to sleep.” Catra firmly entrenched herself onto Adora, nestling right where her shoulder and chest met, and closed her eyes. 

 

Adora softened at the sight, kissing the top of her head gently before she started to play around on her phone; checking in on her platforms before researching whatever topic met her fancy that morning. Catra did seem to be able to fall back to sleep, of which Adora was so grateful for; Catra’s slumber shouldn’t suffer from her clumsiness. They stayed in bed like this for far longer than Adora would ever normally be stationary for, especially first thing in the morning, but she wasn’t complaining. No, this was just about perfect. Mornings were good for physical activity, a chance to jumpstart her body for the day, but the peace inherent in this awakening provided clarity for her mind.

 

Catra awoke, giving a sleepy yawn and body stretch, before settling her head back into what would absolutely be Her Spot going forward. “Hey, Adora… What’re you up to?”

 

“Oh, nothing much.” She quickly closed the tab on her phone, not wanting to risk Catra seeing what she had been looking at just seconds before. “Good to see you awake, beautiful.”

 

“Mmm, somewhat under protest but what can you do…” She flushed slightly at the compliment, but did not acknowledge it, lest it be revealed as a fluke. Catra definitely wanted to hear more nice words said towards and about her again.



“But you’re at least mostly awake?”

 

“We’re talking, aren’t we?” Nice was an impossible goal before at least one cup of coffee.

 

Adora nodded; it was enough. She really wanted to get this off her chest. “I’ve been thinking a lot this morning.” Catra stilled at the blonde’s words, desperately certain that she could not handle a full analysis of her trauma this early in the morning. She would need at least a gallon of coffee in her bloodstream beforehand. Before she could voice her need for caffeine, Adora continued to speak. “Over something Perfuma said to me yesterday at the party. I’ve spent pretty much from the first minute we started to explore this new thing, us, clamoring for a first date. Hounding you practically; almost letting it get in our way on the trail.”

 

“What- no you haven’t…” Catra began, sitting up to meet Adora’s gaze. Hounding me? Is that what she thinks; I want it, it’s just gotta be perfect for her…

 

“Hush, yes, I have. Now lay back down and let me finish.” Gently Adora guided Catra back into the nook she hoped the brunette would spend many hours of their lives in. “Perfuma told me a lot of things, but what stuck out the most was how she mentioned ‘expectations’. The definition of expectation is…” Catra’s head began to raise again, likely to give Adora a blistering look of utter dismay. “... not important because you’re familiar with the term. Ahem. Anyway, ‘Fuma told me that in a relationship, no one expects the other to do everything, adding in her own cute way that we’re teammates and we talk the play over before hitting the field. So, I’d like to embrace both those things and not just because Perfuma is ridiculously smart and has a romance for the ages with Scorpia.”

 

Catra chuckled, agreeing in the wisdom the willowy blonde possessed, having received many mental kicks to the ass before by her. “You’re right about them, babe, but I don’t really see where you’re going with the expectations bit.”

 

“Well, like I was saying, I’ve been hounding you for a date. Expecting you to follow through with it, all on some timetable that I never really communicated with you on top of it. It occurred to me though that if I want a date with you so bad… Why am I not the one asking you out?”

 

Catra froze in her position again, though for a much different reason than the trepidation of discussing her past drama. No, this was far more unexpected than unearthing that trainwreck. 


“That being said...Catra, can I take you out tonight?” Adora raised an eyebrow and shot the frozen brunette snuggled on top of her with a cocky smile. The effect was lessened slightly when Adora realized Catra couldn’t see it at the moment, but she hoped the attitude and confidence shone through anyway. “And to be perfectly, unmistakably clear... I, without question, intend for it to be the first of many, many dates we have. So, what do you say? Can I wine and dine you?”

Chapter Text

Catra stilled at the question. She really should have insisted on coffee before conversation. Could Adora take her out…? Something about it felt a little off; she couldn’t help but feel she should be the one to initiate such things. However, the longer she pondered that feeling, turning it over and over in her mind to make sense of it, the more it unraveled. Why was it so preposterous that Adora wanted to be the one to take her out? It wasn’t like there were any set rules for this crap and they certainly weren’t bound to anything traditional. And even if they were, fuck that antiquated nonsense. She had a kind, funny, hot as hell woman wanting to take her out on a date. It was a goddamned no-brainer. “I’d love that, Adora.” Her voice came out far softer than she meant it to.

Adora’s arm shot up in triumph, pulling it down quickly into a flex. “Yes!” She positioned them on their sides, wrapping her arms around Catra.

Catra melted at suddenly being the little spoon. “Okay, dweeb, you better bring your best tonight. Maybe have an ounce of chill while you’re at it.”

“Chill?”  Adora brought her mouth against her ear, placing a small kiss at the tip, while her hands slowly ran down Catra’s arms. She murmured, “How can I have that when you’re so damn hot?” 

Catra repressed a shiver. You wanna play? Adora’s body was really very close, but… She reached behind her and pulled Adora’s hip firmly against her, grinding her ass back as she did so. “None of that. Date first.” Before the big spoon could react, Catra rolled out of the embrace and the bed entirely. “C’mon, Adora! Time to get up!” 

Adora moaned softly at the now missing contact, so very instantly awake. She gave serious consideration to pulling the grinning woman back into bed and just ravaging her, but ultimately just let her head thwack solidly down against the pillow in defeat. “Bitch.” 

“Yeah, but you started it. And I’m pretty sure you like it.”

“Very, very much...”

Not even bothering to put on real clothes for the day yet, the pair shuffled down to breakfast. Catra headed immediately to the coffee pot while Adora approached her friends seated at the kitchen bar. “Morning, you two!” She beamed at Bow and Glimmer, Bow returning the smile with a raise of his tea mug. Glimmer gave a non-committal noise, vaguely waving her hand in a gesture that could perhaps be seen as a greeting. Adora bit the inside of her lip in thinly veiled frustration. Already? Really? “How’d the rest of the fire go last night? I know we turned in kinda early.”

“It was lovely, thanks for asking.” Glimmer turned her focus to her coffee, pointedly taking a long sip. 

“... Great! Great. So glad.” Adora kept the plastered grin on her face. “What’s the plan for the day?”

“I’m sorry, do you mean our plans,” She pointed towards herself and Bow. “Or yours.” Her eyes flicked over to where Catra was pouring herself an absurdly large cup of coffee before settling to stare Adora dead in the eyes. 

“I’m asking what we are gonna get up to today.” She emphasized the word we, trying her best to show that she meant Best Friend Squad Shenanigans. Adora was not going to let herself be intimidated by an unprovoked Glimmer hissyfit, no matter the sting that came at her words. I don’t know what the hell her problem is, but she really needs to quit.  “And anyone that wants to join in, too. Let me try again, what do you want to do today, Glimmer and Bow?”

Before either friend could answer, Catra swept past them. “Babe, I’m going out on the deck. It’s way too people-y in here for this early in the morning.” She gave Glimmer a slightly acidic smile, having heard most of the conversation that had been taking place at the bar. The kitchen wasn’t that big and Glimmer’s attitude spoke volumes.  

“It’s like…9 already? Not really early?” Bow said, wrinkling his brow. He’d already been up for hours, though he tried to not think too deeply on how his early morning buddy Adora hadn’t joined him. It was just best all around to not consider what could have kept her in bed this late into the morning. 

“Doesn’t change the people part. But don’t worry. I’ll be back to my normal sunshine self once I inject this into my bloodstream.” Catra tapped the side of her mug. She headed out the sliding doors, irritated that this time she didn’t have her AirPods to help pass the time. It was such a crapshoot with those three; they would either waste their entire morning coming up with the perfect itinerary (though not have the hours left in the day to do even half the shit on it) or rush out with zero plan, just hoping for the best. Idly she wondered which side she’d be getting tonight on their date. I should try to get some details. A time at the very least. 

Catra was a good way through her first cup of joe before Adora joined her again, breakfast in hand. She stood in front of the other woman, thankful that this time Catra had chosen to set up camp on the two person glider. It made being as close to her as public decency allowed much easier. “Hey there, this seat taken?” Adora made an awkward gesture with the bowl she was holding towards the space next to Catra.

“You are so lame. Sit.” Adora smiled and complied, Catra immediately resting her head down on her shoulder. “That didn’t take too long. What are the Merry Morons going to get up to today?”

“We’re, uh, gonna go hiking and possibly ziplining after. I’m guessing you don’t want to join…?” Adora took a bite of her morning meal, chewing carefully. She knew what the answer was without asking, but disappointment was difficult to swallow. 

“Not a chance in hell, babe.” Catra said sweetly, placing a light kiss on Adora’s cheek. “One, I’ve had enough of the great outdoors for the foreseeable future. Two, my feet belong on the ground, not strung up on some bungee cords. Though, bonus lesbian points for an activity that uses a carabiner. And three… Go hang with your friends. You can have me all night. For our date.”

Adora chuckled nervously at the implications behind point three. Yes please want that very much. “Yeah! Yes, that sounds good. Okay. I promise I’ll be back in enough time to get cleaned up and then take you out. What are you going to do today?”

“Oh, you know. Sit around. Mope at the fact I’m all alone . Practice singing the blues while I wallow in misery.” Catra removed her head from Adora’s shoulder, sighing deeply. She debated draping a hand across her forehead to really sell her woe. Instead, she dropped her voice so she was half-singing, inwardly cackling at the obnoxiousness of it all. “ Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone, it ain’t warm when she’s away... and she’s always gone too long, anytime she goes away…”

Adora nearly sent the bowl she was holding flying across the deck with how quickly as she whipped towards the woman seated next to her. She was all for hearing Catra sing, but if that was how she really felt... “Catra, I can stay! Really. Bow, Glim and I could go another day or find something else or-...”

“... Adora, I’m kidding. Don’t ruin it, babe, my shit’s hilarious. And ounce of chill, remember? I’ll find something to do. Go have fun with your dumb friends, ya Clingy Lesbo.”

“Are you sure? Because really, I’m sure we could find something else all four of us could do together.” Adora tried her best to sound like she believed it, inwardly wincing at the attitude Glimmer was certain to cop at the mere suggestion of changing their plans to include Catra.

“Yes, I’m very sure.” Catra thumbed the outside of her hand to try and ease Adora’s worry of excluding anyone. “Outside interests with other people are encouraged. Just don’t plummet to your death while ziplining or trip on the trail or something. I’ll be really pissed if our date gets moved to the ER because you broke something.”

“What, sharing a hospital Jell-O cup wouldn’t make for a good enough date? You certainly showed me how sexy Jell-O can be yesterday.” Adora’s thoughts were glazing over very quickly at the memory and demonstration of what Catra was capable of. 

“If you think that the Jell-O was the sexy part of that exchange, we need to have a serious discussion about your turn-ons before I agree to jump into bed with you.” Catra shook her head at the blonde. 

“Oh, I’ll have that talk with you anytime, but only if you return the favor. There’s a few things I’d really like to know about you and a couple more I’d like to share about myself.” Adora shot her a brazen grin, raising a single eyebrow to complement it.

“My, my aren’t we bold this morning?” Catra murmured, headspace hurtling towards the gutter with every passing second. That could certainly be a compelling conversation, one that interested her greatly. But having it out here on the deck was not really the most appropriate setting, Catra reasoned. She did her best to steer them back to a less charged subject, though she made a mental note to circle back to it in the near future when the women had some privacy. “As I was saying, don’t break yourself out there and more importantly, if another girl gets stuck in a mud puddle on the trail, you just keep on walking. I’m the only one you get to play hero with, got it?” She shoved a finger into the blonde’s forehead, pushing her back to the wood frame of the glider and settling into Her Spot against Adora’s chest.

Adora immediately welcomed Catra into her arms, but gave an impish smile. “I’m sorry, I can’t promise that one.You’ll find out that damsels in distress are pretty near the top of my kink list.” She gave a small shrug and glanced down at the woman resting on her chest, delighting in the red cast over her cheeks. “I probably won’t repeat what happened against the tree with said damsel but also if she wants to thank me…” 

Grinding her teeth slightly, Catra struggled to regain her footing. She settled into an overly morose tone of voice. “Ugh, left alone for the day and now heartbroken. Here I thought I was special.”

“You are.” She lifted Catra’s chin up off her chest, looking her deep in the eyes. “Can’t wait to prove that to you tonight.” Catra hummed contentedly as Adora pulled her into a sound kiss.  It was only with great reluctance, and after several long minutes, that they broke apart so Adora could go get ready and spend the day with her friends.

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone…” Catra muttered under her breath, watching with a sigh as Adora went inside the house again. Now that she was awake, caffeinated, and left to her own devices for the day, she was a bit at a loss on what to do. She didn’t really feel like lazing about, but her introverted battery wasn’t fully recharged so she wasn’t in an immediate hurry to seek anyone out for entertainment. Catra resolved to finish her coffee, have a half cup more, then figure something out. Mostly she just needed to kill time until she knew for certain the Trio of Twits had actually left, because if Adora was still around, Catra might not have the fortitude to let her go again. 

After what she felt was an appropriate amount of time, confirmed by the crunch of tires pulling away and down the gravel driveway, Catra made her own way inside. Her AirPods would definitely be a necessary addition to her morning now. She gave a small nod of her head in greeting to Perfuma as she passed by her. The gossamer woman returned the nod with a quirk of a smile, as she busied herself with gathering materials from around the kitchen. Surprisingly, Scorpia didn’t seem to be anywhere nearby but that suited Catra just fine for now. She was certain that she would track down the muscular woman at some point today, but wanted to luxuriate in the joy of solitude for a while first.

Despite her crack to Adora about having enough of the great outdoors for the time being, Catra soon found herself walking the trail around the lake. With her music playing, just shuffling through her Liked Songs, this was her time to rebuild her reserves and most of all, think. She really had uncovered a lot of her past bruising the night before, so a chance to reflect by herself was most welcomed. 

 

All of these lines across my face

Tell you the story of who I am

So many stories of where I've been

And how I got to where I am...

 

All told, she didn’t regret spilling her guts out to Adora or even letting the other partygoers hear the abridged version. It wasn’t exactly a comfortable subject, but enough time had passed and so much active work had gone into processing everything that it wasn’t completely debilitating for her to speak about. Sharing with Adora to the level she had did add some new uneasiness, but even that had worked out in the end. Catra felt more drawn to and connected to the blonde than she ever had before. And now they were mere hours away from their first date. 

 

Oh, because even when I was flat broke

You made me feel like a million bucks...

 

But these stories don't mean anything

When you've got no one to tell them to

It's true that I was made for you

Oh yeah, well, it's true that I was made for you.

 

In the end, her time with Miss Catholic was just one chapter of a much longer story and Catra was more than ready to keep adding to her greater narrative.

It wasn’t until well after Adora, Bow, and Glimmer left to wander the woods that Catra realized she never got a single detail for tonight’s outing. Kink talk and kisses were enough to make anyone the slightest bit absentminded. As she walked back towards the cabin, satisfied with her lakeside ruminations, she pulled out her phone to shoot Adora a text. She probably wouldn’t get an answer right away, the blonde was a terrible texter, but at least the seeds would be sown. If enough time passed, she could actually, shudder , make it a phone call. A thoroughly unpleasant prospect, but she at least needed to know when to be ready by tonight.

Adora halted her trek when she felt a buzz in her pocket. She really wasn’t the type to be glued to her phone, especially when she was hanging out with others. Before this vacation and all its events, she probably would have left it in Bow’s car, figuring whoever might want to talk could wait until she was done. But now that there was a certain someone that Adora couldn’t get off her mind in the mix, someone she couldn’t wait to talk to again... She snatched her phone out, her heart jumping at the name on her lock screen, and her fingers flew to respond as quickly as possible.

 

Catra 😼: Hey, what time should I be ready tonight? 

 

Hey, Adora: hows 6 😊😊😊 

Hey, Adora: missin u 🙃

 

Catra was pleased at the 25 second turnaround time of the reply, not to mention seeing she was on Adora’s mind written out in plain, black and white English. She smiled at the lake, allowing herself a private moment of unfiltered, entirely dopey feelings. Maybe the fish saw the pathetic spectacle, but they could fuck right off if they had a problem with it.

 

Catra 😼: Fine by me. I’m going to guess, knowing you, that you won’t tell me exactly what we’re doing.

Catra 😼: Miss you too, clingy.

 

Hey, Adora: nope its surprise 😛🙃

Hey, Adora: 😁😁😁🤩🥳🥳 😎

 

Catra 😼: Called it. Dress code?

Catra 😼: And nice attempt to add some chill with the sunglasses there, babe.

 

Catra reasoned that Adora had to at least give her that; sure, probably not too many five star establishments out here in the middle of nowhere but she also couldn’t risk looking too slovenly. She rolled her eyes at the blonde’s overuse of emojis, but still found herself responding without fail.

 

Hey, Adora: how bout clothing optional 😏

Hey, Adora: 👇🏻🥵🥵🥵😳🤤🤤💦

 

Catra blinked at the words and emoticons, suitably stunned. Adora really wasn’t a big texter in the first place, so these suggestive hieroglyphics were a definite treat. Though given the blonde’s behavior the past couple days, nothing should come as a surprise to her anymore. Not that I’m even remotely innocent in all that...   

Before she could formulate an appropriate response (or even more fun, an inappropriate one), Adora sent her a follow-up message.

 

Hey, Adora: lol sry 😇   nothing crazy dont need to get dressed up or anything. comfy cozy but where those jeans

 

Catra 😼:  *wear What jeans?

 

Hey, Adora: the ones that make ur ass look great 

 

Catra 😼: That’s all my jeans, Princess. My ass always looks great.

 

Hey, Adora: 👍🏼 😈 i know 👀 

 

“I know that smile. Hoooow’s Catra?” Bow asked in a singsong voice, falling into place beside her. Adora, grinning at her phone like a lusty lunatic, had been falling behind considerably on the path. He didn’t want to completely interrupt his friend’s good time, but they were out here for one another’s company and the beautiful setting. 

“Great! We’re just setting up our date tonight.” Pure sunshine beamed from her as she removed her eyes from the screen momentarily to smile at her friend.

Glimmer was further up the trail, though still in earshot. Seeming to argue with herself for a moment, she turned around and stomped her way back to join the pair. “So, she finally figured something out, huh?” 

“Hmm?” Adora peered up from her messages, wincing at the flat brown eyes staring her down expectantly. She pocketed her phone rather regretfully to focus on the real world once more.  

“Where is Catra taking you tonight, Adora?” Bow eased in before his girlfriend’s fire started to blaze in earnest. 

“Oh! No, I’m taking her out.” She stated it with such pride, wonder, and excitement, one could almost believe she had invented the concept of dating herself.

“Woo! Get it, girl!” Bow clapped her on the back. “Lemme rephrase then, where are you taking Catra tonight?”

“Actually, I sort of have you to thank for the idea. I overheard Scorp and ‘Fuma talking to you about that brewery, Wolf Creek, during the party. So I stole it. But it should be perfect! Beer, pizza, and music… I’m not sure Catra likes anything more than those three things.”

Bow gave her a velvet smile, truly elated for his best friend. “I think you’re on that list too. Probably even a little higher than beer; though questionable where you rank compared to pizza.”

Adora nodded good naturedly and agreed with his assessment. “Ya ain’t wrong. But, music is her One True Love; I accept that I stand no chance in comparison.”

“True love?” Glimmer scoffed, crossing her arms over her chest. “Getting mighty ahead of yourself, aren’t you?”

“Uhhh…” Adora stammered, trying to make the connection her friend had. It really didn’t make any sense, much like this continued contrary behavior Glimmer had been displaying. “I think you might have heard me wrong ; I wasn’t saying...”

“Ooookay! We’re on a trail with quite a few miles left to go, so let’s get back to walking! Right, honey? Walking? Walking and not talking for a while?” Bow dove onto the landmine without hesitation, linking his hand in his girlfriend’s to gently lead her along. By the grace of the divine, she acquiesced to his tug with barely a narrowed eye or foul word. He flashed a quick glance back at Adora, clearly chiding her for using the word ‘wrong’ to Glimmer, especially when she was in such a cantankerous state to begin with. 

Adora shrugged, not the least bit sorry. Keeping Glimmer pleased was his job and at the end of the day, she had totally misunderstood the rather poor joke. Maybe she wasn’t entirely off in questioning Adora’s feelings but…That was really neither here nor there. She jogged the short distance to catch up to them. “Actually, I think we do need to talk.”

Glimmer stopped in her tracks, turning around slowly to face her friend. Bow gave a withering groan, powerless to stop the oncoming avalanche. “About what? Let me guess. You and Catra?” The inner layers of Antarctic glaciers had more warmth than was present in her tone.  

“Yeah, that’s exactly what I want to talk about. I don’t understand, Glimmer. You wanted this for me. You arranged for this to happen. ‘I’m over the lesbian pining, Adora; talk to her!’ Those were your exact words.”

“I…” The diminutive woman stopped short, eyes flicking around nervously. “I know, okay? I know that I told you to do this, that I bullied you into it. I know!”

“So now that it’s happened, why are you acting like it’s the worst possible thing in the world for me? What’s the deal, Glimmer? Because it doesn’t make a damn bit of sense and frankly, it’s getting way old.” Adora stared her down with a flinty, unwavering gaze.

Glimmer struggled with herself a few moments, clenching her jaw. “… I don’t want to lose you to her, okay? It was bad enough when she was just a crush; that person you followed around like a clueless puppy dog for a couple years. But god, Adora, I see you with her now and it’s just like… the rest of the world vanishes! No one else matters if Catra is in a mile radius. With your flirting and all the fucking inneundo and sexual tension. It’s just planet Catra-Adora and no one else exists.”

Adora was doing her best not to seethe. She is the most unaware person on the face of this planet. She took several long breaths, her mind working overtime to organize her thoughts. Bow looked like he wanted to say something, but she held up a hand to stop him from joining this special layer of hell. “Okay. There’s a lot to unpack here… First off, I’m going to point out that I’m currently out here with you two, Catra nowhere in sight. I know it’s a bigger radius than a mile, but did I even try to make sure she fit with our plans? No. So, yeah, not exactly buying that whole ‘Everything is about Catra, poor Glimmer’ act. We’re hanging out now and supposedly having fun together.”

“Act? Excuse me!” Glimmer sputtered, shocked at the sudden growth of a backbone in her bestie. “Oh, how very gracious to be granted a few minutes of your unoccupied time. Again, losing you to her.”

“Losing me to her, what the hell does that even mean ? Do you think Catra is going to like, steal me away into the night? Isolate me from all of my friends and loved ones? Or maybe you think she’ll bind me in a back room somewhere and throw away the key. I honestly don’t know whether to be more disgusted that you think she would have the capacity or desire to do that… or that you think I’d put up with that level of toxicity in exchange for a hot babe. Glimmer, you and Bow have been my best friends for years. I am not going anywhere .” She crossed her arms in front of her chest, drawing up to her full height. “What was that gay rights campaign you were all about- ‘Equal rights doesn’t mean less rights for others; it’s not pie’? Something stupid like that? Guess what; love isn’t pie either! I can care for Catra and love you at the same time . You both mean different things to me, but it’s not any less important in my life.”

Glimmer huffed, glancing away from Adora’s steely glare and searching the surrounding glen, like the appropriately seering reply was just waiting behind a tree for her to use to shut up the blonde. However, the longer she turned away, the more her face fell, the furious scowl softening and the furrowed brows relaxing until she almost- almost , looked ashamed with herself. But Adora wasn’t done with her yet. 

“Also, do you not remember how it was when you and Bow first got together? You were so stupidly all over each other. It was almost sickening and a billion times worse considering you were hormonal teens with not even a shred of impulse control and so many damn feelings . I endured endless flirting, uncertain and yearning sobs from both sides, not to mention walking in on way, way too much on a regular basis. For months, it wasn’t what we,” She made a circular motion around the three of them, “would be getting up to, it would be ‘Let’s plan Glimbow’s next date; we’ll tell you all about it after we spend every other waking minute together without you, Adora!’ And for someone who didn’t exactly have a bustling social calendar outside you two that shit was hard. But you know what, we still managed to keep our friendship intact because once again it’s not pie! ” 

Adora rubbed a hand against her temple, feeling the beginnings of a cluster headache deep within her skull. “I know you two have been together for a long time, but seriously. Cut me some slack. It’s barely been 48 hours since we confessed to one another and we haven’t gotten any time together to really be alone and figure things out. Between the karaoke and unprompted coming out parties and…”

Glimmer cut Adora off with an accusatory finger pointed at her chest. “I knew you didn’t appreciate the party!”

Burying her face with her hands for a moment, and wondering when she’d be granted a moment of respite, Adora spoke flatly after she removed her hands. “Way to miss the forest for the trees, Glimmer. But you know what, fine. At first, no. I did not appreciate it. I don’t enjoy decisions being made for me because I’m not some sort of ’Buff Barbie’ for you to position around as you like. Consult me. Ask me. Make me part of the planning committee because sometimes I do want to have a say in the things that happen in my life.”

“I… don’t do that!” Glimmer protested, taking a step backwards as if to subconsciously show she knew she didn’t have a leg to stand on with that particular assertion. Bow reached out to steady her, stunned into silence.

“You’re kidding, right? You tell me we’re doing a thing, or in the case of the party don’t even tell me, and expect me to just go along for the ride. ‘Confess to her, Adora!’ ‘Make her sing for you again in public, Adora!’ ‘You’re out of the closet now, enjoy it, Adora!’ And when by some damned miracle I do go along with whatever you decide, you still give me absolute shit the whole way. Or at least you have been recently. I love you, Glimmer, but you’re making things really difficult right now. And you still haven’t even explained why you’re acting this way, other than fear of ‘losing me’ or whatever.”

“I also don’t want to see you get hurt. To make a mistake, again.” Glimmer muttered the last part under her breath before pressing on, louder. “Do you remember your first hook-up? You caught feelings for that girl instantly, and were crushed when it turned out she only wanted to bang you because you’re ‘Buff Barbie.’ Fucking bitch, preying on the questioning community… But who was there after it all came crashing down with a pint of Phish Food and all the bad boxed wine you could want? We barely got through that debacle! I see how you look at Catra; you’re already practically in love with her! So it’s going to take a lot more than Ben & Jerry’s when this thing goes south.” 

“I...know it wasn’t great after Alex... I couldn’t separate my feelings out and didn’t exactly take the hint right away that she wasn’t interested in having more. Extra confusing because I felt guilty, almost like I was betraying Catra by being interested in some other girl? Ugh, okay, yeah. It was a mess. But what I’ve got going with Catra now isn’t like that at all! She cares for me just as much as I care about her.” Adora bit her tongue hard to keep from screaming about how deep that affection for Catra went at this point. Glimmer in this state would not respond well to that confession. “That first time was really rough, fine, you’re right. But you know at the heart of everything, I was just with any of those other idiots to make sure I would have some skills to date Catra.”

“Date her, ugh. A hike is not a good enough first date for you! I thought, after our talk, she was serious and would be making more of an effort for you, but now I hear that you’re the one taking her out!” Glimmer shook her head, the disgust plain on her face. 

“Talk? Did you and Catra… talk about me? About us? And what’s so wrong with me taking her out! There’s no set rules for this stuff.” Adora threw her hands up into the air in her exasperation, beginning to pace along the width of the trail. “You’ve always been watching my back, Glim, ever since we were kids. But the simple truth of it all is that even if being with Catra is a mistake- which I highly doubt it is, it would be my mistake to make. You can’t protect me forever; I’m not the little horse girl afraid to talk to the other kids on the playground anymore. I’ll always appreciate what you did for that weird kid, including her in your life and helping curb some of her freakishness but… You and Bow did a good enough job supporting me over the years that I’m my own person now. So either accept that or…” Adora left it hanging for a moment. She knew it was a tough end, but something really had to give. “I am the one responsible for myself and my own happiness, Glimmer. I can and will make my own choices and you need to be okay with that. I love you, but you need to drop this. Catra makes me happy, planning this date makes me happy, and that’s all you need to be concerned about; my happiness . I’m allowed to have a life outside of you.”

Glimmer sniffed loudly, as Bow placed a comforting arm over her shoulder. Her eyes were trained down to the ground, unwilling to look up and face the blonde’s words.

Adora crossed over to her, pulling them all into a group hug. “But what I promise, without question, is that you and Bow have a place in that life. A damn big one because for as much as you two can irritate me, I couldn’t ask for more dedicated and loyal friends to have in my corner. Who else would plan a whole damn vacation with the side goal of maybe getting me a steady girlfriend? Or throw me my own personal Pride party? Which I did come around to enjoying a lot and really appreciate all your efforts in making it happen.” She grabbed Glimmer’s hand and stared at her with pleading eyes. “Just trust me with this. She… We’re the real thing, I think. It’s real enough that I have to at least try. I want this so bad .”

“... I know you do.” Glimmer was chewing the inside of her lip, finally daring to look at her friend in the eye again. “Okay, fine . I’ll trust you. Just don’t blindly accept any crumbs of affection from her. Demand the real thing. Her track record is shit, but I guess since she looks at you with just as much empty-headed affection as you do her, maybe she’s legit this time.”

“Thank you.” Adora wrapped her into a large hug, easily pulling her up from the ground. 

“Put me down, you big, dumb jock!” The blonde complied with the squealing girl’s request, chortling as she lowered her best friend back to the earth.

Adora looked at both her friends with great affection, thanking her lucky stars they’d met and clicked so well all those years ago. She arched a brow at Glimmer. “What are the chances I can also get you and Catra to play nice together too? I know I’m probably pushing it with that one but…”

“Ugh, we agreed to a ceasefire, for you , so I guess I’ll go back to trying to honor that.” Glimmer crossed her arms across her chest in a clear pout. She soon forced her shoulders to relax, obviously making a true effort to do better. “But can we maybe tone it down a little with the public flirting and suggestiveness in return? I know you two probably just need to go bang it out for a couple days, a week tops, but can you not torture the rest of us until you get the opportunity? We’re all very happy for you, I guess, but watching you mutilate Jell-O shots with your tongue… I’m actually a little worried for Catra’s well-being after seeing it, honestly.” She clapped her hands at each syllable as she continued, flashing her friend a puckish grin. “Al-pha-bet, bae. Trace the alphabet.” 

Adora blushed profoundly, trying to shrug off her embarrassment. “Very funny; so glad we’re back to you picking on me so soon. Honestly, she and I have both been saying we’ll keep it cool from the get-go. Turns out we’re just pretty bad at following it, so you might just have to deal for a while. But considering the number of times I walked in on your head shoved in Bow’s crotch, or vice versa, in high school… Our flirting is nothing compared to that and the others really don’t seem nearly as bothered by it as you do.” 

“She’s got a point, babe. We really were pretty bad back then, heh. And I think they’re being kind of cute. They’ve moved on from being Useless Lesbians to Lascivious Lesbians. Let them have their coquetry.” He smiled encouragingly at Adora, who blinked at the unfamiliar term but appreciated the support nonetheless.

Glimmer shot her boyfriend a disgusted look. “I am taking away your Word-a-Day calendar as soon as we get home, because no one talks like that in real life!”

“Only because they choose not to expand themselves! My vernacular is laudable, if you’ll pardon the faux pas of such a boorish gasconade.” He gave his girlfriend a beguiling wink to cap off his point.

“...I’m not sure I like you, anymore.” Glimmer harrumphed, immediately betraying herself by leaning her back against him.

“But you love me, right?” Bow placed a small kiss on top of her head.

“Always.” She reached back behind to place a hand fondly against his cheek. “Fine, keep your pathetic flirting; I guess we’re really no better, though at least our shit is c ute . And again, I’ll try to be civil towards her but that’s completely off the table if she hurts you even the tiniest bit. The second that happens, I’m slugging her across the damn face.”

Adora shook her head, immediately wanting to assure her that wouldn’t be necessary because it likely wouldn’t happen in the first place. But instead she gave Gimmer a warm, genuine smile while choosing to see the positives of her best friend’s overbearing, but well-intentioned, nature. “And that’s why you’re my best friend, Glim. I can count on you.”

“Soooo, we all feeling good now? Anything else to get off our chests?” Bow asked kindly, though with a slightly tentative tilt to his voice. “Because I actually would like to keep on with our hike, even if I’m so glad you guys got all that shit out into the open. It’s been a little weird between us all these past couple days. I’m sure I’m equally responsible for enough of it too, though… I’m real sorry, Adora.” He flashed his friend mournful doe-eyes, the regret plain as day on his face. “Forgive me?”

Glimmer rolled her eyes heavily, shaking her head at her boyfriend’s unnecessary apology and request for pardon. “Bow, stop. I’m the bitch here and everyone knows it. I got stupidly jealous and overprotective but I’ll at least try to quit with that shit. Dunno if I’ll be perfect but...I trust Adora to make her own decisions. Even if it kills me to not play Grand Puppetmaster anymore.”

“You can still pull some strings, Glim, just maybe talk it over with me before you yank too many at one time. And you have nothing to be sorry over, bro. Nothing to forgive either; the Best Friends Squad is golden.” Adora glanced at her phone to check the time, doing some mental calculations. She still had plenty of time before her date, but did not want to risk being even thirty seconds behind schedule. “But what do you say we actually nix the trail and head to the ziplining place? It’s getting close to lunchtime and I’d like to be back to the house long enough to grab a bite and chill a bit before my date tonight.” Her eyes got a slightly dreamy, far-away cast to them.

“Sounds like a plan to me; Zip City USA, here we come!” Bow could barely contain his excitement as he set off back towards the trailhead. “We’re gonna be flying!”

Chapter Text

The Squad pulled into the parking lot of the ziplining facility a short time later and climbed out of the car to head in. The day had heated up to a temperature that was just slightly too warm for Adora to comfortably stay in her hoodie, so she started to strip it off, thinking nothing of the action. When the fabric was slotted over her face, obscuring her view, she heard a sharp gasp.  

“What?!” She gave a startled yank to free herself from the material and was instantly greeted by the sight of a gaping and wide-eyed Bow staring directly at her. 

“... It’s like a Pollock painting. On your chest.” Bow’s voice was a reverent whimper as he slowly raised a finger to his own front and gestured vaguely around the same area.

Adora peered down at herself, and the rather low cut tank top she’d been wearing underneath her top layer, before catching her friend’s eye with a sheepish grin. She nodded, not even trying to hide her pride at the marks displayed across her skin.

“Bow,” Glimmer began slowly, eyes tracing the constellations across her friend’s collarbone and peeks of her upper chest. “I need you to become besties with Catra, because there’s a few things I’d like you to learn from her…”

“Hey, I think I do pretty well for myself! Haven’t heard any complaints…” Bow gave his utterly captivated girlfriend a slightly reproachful glance.

“Yes, yes. You’re great, I promise.” Glimmer could only blink as she beheld the majesty. “But honey, that’s a fucking masterpiece .”

Bow surrendered easily, eyes returning to study Adora and try to soak up the expertise of the woman who’d marked her so thoroughly.  “... Yeah. It really is.” 

“Ooookay, well, glad you’re all saying nice things about her but can we maybe not be so focused on it? It’s kind of on me and you’re staring at it really intensely. It’s getting creepy.” Adora brought her hoodie up to provide herself some level of modesty as Bow and Glimmer tried to shake their veneration and not ogle their friend like a piece of meat. After a few quiet seconds between the group, Adora flashed her friends an unrestrained grin, all traces of discomfort gone from her face. “It’s fucking hot though, right? And this is just what you two can see; lower down is just wow. I mean, really wow . Do you guys get it now? This is what I have been living with for two days! Two days, no relief! The fact I haven’t jumped her bones at any and every opportunity is just an absolute miracle. I should get a medal, honestly.”

“I get it, girl. I’m ready to bang her and that’s saying something.” Glimmer shut her eyes for a moment, shaking her head rapidly to clear the encroaching thoughts.

Adora rolled her eyes. She found the subject of Glimmer-Catra laughable in its absurdity and not threatening in the least. She arched a brow at the silent Bow. “Nothing to say to that Mr. Long-term, Exclusive Partner?”

“I feel like I should say ‘No, you can’t sleep with her, Glimmer!’ but…” Bow shrugged, eyes unconcerned as he regarded his girlfriend. “Looking at the results of just the foreplay, pretty sure the real show is a once in a lifetime experience. Go there if you can, babe.”

“God, you’re the perfect boyfriend, I swear.” Glimmer wrapped her arms around his waist, eyes mischievous. 

Adora’s gaze flicked back and forth between her friends wildly, neither one having the decency to not cackle maniacally at her stunned reaction. “If you two are going to just be all horny about her, I think I’m going to request we go back to hatred. Also pretty sure Catra would be understandably skeeved out by all this, soooo can we actually get to ziplining? Because otherwise I’m going to have to beat the crap out of you both to uphold my lady’s honor.”

Glimmer nodded her consent to move on, but then gave her best friend a hard, no-nonsense stare. “Afterwards, I will require Every. Damn. Detail.”

“Glim, I’m confident it’s going to be all I’ll want to discuss for weeks after. You’re gonna get sick of hearing about it, I swear it.” Adora gave her a cocky grin, pleased that she would be dating such a desirable woman, one she might even be so bold as to call hers one day.

“Okay, gals. This is a beautiful moment, promising future communication and all, but...” Bow swept in behind his girlfriend, pushing her along towards the entrance of the park. “... ziplining awaits!”

The trio rushed into the park, ready to soar amongst the treetops for a couple hours before heading back to the cabin to allow Adora plenty of time to prepare for her date.

 

As Catra returned from her mid-morning stroll around the lake, the rumbling in her stomach drew her into the kitchen. She grabbed something to gnaw on, some sort of weird fitness protein bar she knew belonged to Adora, and settled herself on a stool. She was in a pretty damn good mood after those texts, not even too disappointed that the messaging had dried up before things could get really interesting. The fact they happened at all bespoke of future possibilities. Catra could be a patient woman if the payoff was high enough. “Hey, ‘Fuma. Whatcha up to?”

Perfuma glanced up, a plethora of ingredients and bowls spread across the counter in front of her and her hands rolling out a large rectangle of dough. “Hello, Catra. I’m baking.”

The brunette nodded, grimacing at the chocolate dipped chalk she’d just taken a bite out of. “Uh-huh, gathered as much. What are you baking?”

“A poor man’s couronne.” The long haired woman caught Catra’s raised brow and explained. “It means ‘crown’ in French. It’s a ring-shaped bread that can be served savory or sweet. My end results with them are usually fairly mediocre at best, but what better way to spend an evening than to break bread with friends?” She laughed softly. “And I have to believe they’ll forgive me not only for the poor quality of what I’ll provide for them, but also tolerate my bad jokes. I was thinking a meal together tonight as a group would be marvelous.”

“I’m not arguing; I love to eat and carbs are life. But, uh, you’ll be down a couple people.” Catra stared down at the snack in her hand before setting it aside, unable to choke down any more. The brown kind really was so much worse than the gray. “... Adora’s taking me out tonight.”

The blonde stopped rolling the bread dough and gave the shy-sounding woman before her a speculative look. “Really now? Taking you out?” 

“Um. Yeah. She said she talked to you and sort of got the idea?” Catra risked looking up at her friend again, certain the judgment she heard in the tone was completely imagined. She was immediately reassured of that by the encouraging smile on Perfuma’s face. “Something about expectations in a... relationship .” 

She had hesitated at the final word of her sentence, a fact that did not escape Perfuma’s notice. The blonde’s eyebrows wrinkled together in slight confusion before relaxing back into a warm gaze. “Is that what she took from all that? Not necessarily my intent but… Good for her.”

Catra remained silent, at a loss for a proper reply.

“... And good for you, Catra. You’re making a positive choice for yourself. Adora is a tremendous individual.” She returned to tending her dough, not in an attempt to end their conversation, but baking was serious business for her. 

“Heh, don’t I know it. And, uh, I’m trying at least. Ellen’s gonna be so proud next session.” She said the words with a slightly mocking undertone, as if sincerely praising herself was an impossibility. Sure, she’d come a long way, achieved so much good progress, but…

“I shouldn’t comment at all, given the conflict of interest that comes from all the relationships involved, but I will say I admire Ellen greatly and know she’ll provide appropriate support for all of her client’s achievements, as well as gentle guidance to discover a better path if needed.” Perfuma raised an eyebrow and nodded at the finality of the subject, not wanting to encroach on the sanctity and privacy of the therapeutic relationship. 

“Yeah, she’s pretty great.” Catra said simply, uncertain if she’d crossed a line by bringing up Perfuma’s grad student mentor in casual conversation. She took a long swill of water trying to wash the taste of the fitness bar, not to mention her foot, from her mouth.

“But truly, Catra, this is a good thing. I mean how long have you been in love with Adora?” She asked the question absently, more intent on spreading the pesto mixture evenly across her dough. It was the flavor center and needed to be just right.

“In love?! What… No…! What… W-we haven’t even gone on a date yet!” Pure panic streaked across Catra’s face, as she dug her fingers into the seat of the bar stool, searching for anything to ground herself. This is why I don’t fucking talk to people!

Perfuma shook her head, muttering lowly to herself about Adora being unable to stomach the word ‘girlfriend’ and Catra coming completely unhinged at the bare mention of feelings. She rolled the pesto covered dough into a thick sausage shape before cutting the dough block in half lengthwise. Satisfied by her efforts for the moment, she sighed and fortified herself to soothe yet another Useless Lesbian. “My apologies, Catra. I didn’t mean to alarm you or use words you’re not comfortable with. Only you know how you truly feel and I overstepped with my assumption.”

Catra worked herself through a quick breathing exercise, blinking a little too frequently to be entirely relaxed. After a moment’s pause, she felt her heart rate begin to decelerate and was able to respond. “... It’s fine.”

The pair sat in silence as Perfuma began to twist the strands of dough together, working it into a circular braid.

“But, uh, I mean…” Catra began, apparently wishing cardiac arrest to be her untimely end. She tapped her fingernails on the countertop, Perfuma grimacing only slightly at the persistent noise. “If... I was there… and I’m not!” She asserted, barely fooling anyone, least of all herself.

“Uh-huh. Go on, Catra.” 

“... Perfuma, you really think this is good? That we, uh, have a chance to y’know, make it?” Catra stared at her with lost eyes, the vulnerability she was feeling at the question clear in them.

“Oh, goodness! Love, I have no idea.” Perfuma gave a twinkling laugh, flattered to pieces that her friend thought so highly of her viewpoint. “Who knows what will work out and what won’t. I don’t even take for granted that Scorp and I will ‘make it’ and you all seem to think we’re soulmates with a bond forged in the heavens.” She rolled her eyes fondly.

“Well, aren’t you?” Catra scoffed, trying to work past her disappointment at not being validated entirely. “You’re constantly all over each other in like the grossest, most loving ways. And you never fight or even get the least bit pissed at one another…”

She regarded the brunette closely, looking for any trace of sarcasm above her normal amount. “Is that what you think? If so, that means you’ve never seen Scorpia’s side of the bedroom with her incessant piles of things . Things, everywhere! On the floor, on her dresser, under her dresser tucked in bags… She has an entire box of mismatched socks. A box , Catra!” Perfuma’s eyes were a little wild, as she thought of the most detested sock box. With a small shake of her head to clear it, she forced herself to remain focused on her friend, rather than simmer over her girlfriend’s materialistic chaos compared to her own minimalist order. “We work for what we have. It’s not automatic and it’s not always smooth. As for you and Adora… I guess the question is, how much are you both willing to put into this? Is it worth the necessary effort?”

“I… know she’s worth it.” Catra rested her head against the countertop, a little overwhelmed by the questioning. “I’m trying to be too but I’ve already screwed up once with my stupid temper. And it’s only been two freaking days! I’m just so worried she’s gonna decide that I’m not...”

“Keeping your heart open like this is difficult. It makes you vulnerable, but I have to believe that it's worth it.” Perfuma wiped her hands clean on a kitchen towel before laying a comforting hand on Catra’s shoulder. “Adora is many things, but she has a good head on her shoulders. So maybe also trust her judgement thus far. Has she given you any indication you might not be enough for her?”

“Well, no, but… What if-” Catra began, mortified at how quickly a simple chat with a friend had turned into an impromptu therapy session. She really should charge us a retainer...  

“Oh, no thank you. I don’t play the ‘what if’ game; it’s utterly endless and just so tiring.” She removed her hand, giving a slight wave in the air as if to brush off the inane question. “The only things you can control, Catra, are your actions and reactions. Make good choices with both.” 

Catra was quick to pick up on the approaching end to their conversation. The woman had just been trying to bake for her friends and Catra had already taken so much of her time and focus. The least she could do was pick up on social cues. “Yeah. Okay. Uh, thanks, Perfuma. I’ll think about what you said.”

“Good. Now, unless you want to help me with these dishes, I ask that you go find Scorpia. She misses you.”

“I miss her too.” Catra answered automatically, much to Perfuma’s warm surprise. She hopped down from the stool to leave, but turned around. “Err, do you actually need help? Seems like the least I can do…”

“Amazingly, I find cleaning dishes to be immensely relaxing, so no, you’re off the hook. Scorp was meandering around outside the last I saw her; scoot.” Perfuma began stacking bowls and cleaning up her mess. She paused as her friend reached the sliding doors that led outside. “Oh, but Catra?”

“Yeah?”

“Under no circumstances are you to share that I actually enjoy doing dishes. That’s Scorpia’s job and she knows it. I’ll be most put out if we have to redistribute the household chores again .” Perfuma kept her tone light, but it wasn’t hard to hear the steel underneath. “And tell her that you miss her. She’ll be delighted.”

“What’s a couple of cracked ribs compared to a friend’s happiness?” Catra wrly shook her head, certain an admission like that would lead to the World’s Greatest Hug. The thought brought a tinge of a smile to her face as she headed out to track the woman down.

It did not take long for Catra to find Scorpia. Really, the fact the two had missed one another at all on Catra’s return from her walk was a bit puzzling. As the large woman came into her view, Catra called out to her. “Yo, Scorp!”

Scorpia turned in the direction of the greeting, before bounding over and scooping Catra into a tight hug. “Wildcat!”

“Yup, it’s me.” She gave an awkward pat to the exuberant woman’s shoulder blade, resigning herself to just relax and go with the embrace, however long it took. “Any plans for the day? Been missing you.”

“You have ? Oh gosh, Catra, I miss you too! I hate this semester’s schedule; have you made up your roster for next Fall? Oh! Or summer classes! Gosh, wouldn’t it be so great if we pulled a couple of quick courses over the summer? Get ahead, learn some new things together, Best Friends style.”

“Uhhh, it’s an idea. But wouldn’t hanging out, not bound by notes or classes, be an even better way to spend the summer? And the semester is already half over, so yeah, definitely have classes planned out for next year...” 

“That’s my Wildcat, seeing right to the heart of things.” Scorpia finally let her down to the ground again, beaming. “You’re on the nose, as always. That would be a lot better; who wants to write papers when it could be play time instead?”

“Right, right. So, uh, as I said, plans today?” It wasn’t that keeping Scorpia on task was a challenge, but she did have a tendency to skip things when she was excited. And excitement was a natural state for her. 

“Oh right! You did ask about that. Well, Sea Hawk and I are gonna go have some WAP out on the deck here in a bit. You in?” The look on the woman’s face as she asked was neutral, but pleasant.

Catra choked, blinking rapidly as her brain tried to wrap itself around the invitation. “E-excuse me?! I, uh,... You’re gonna have some WAP, Scorpia? And share… with Sea Hawk.”

“Sure! It’s so delicious that I just want it all to myself, but I promised I wouldn’t do that to him again. Poor guy barely got a taste last time before I finished them all off.” Scorpia gave her a sheepish smile. “I just get so excited; it’s hard to hold back once I get going, y’know? Personally, I like to lick all over before I dive in and really take a bite. Gotta get all the good stuff in your mouth first for the whole experience. Hawk doesn’t care about that; just wants it to be thick and greasy and is totally a quantity over quality kind of guy. Fortunately, the good news is that with WAP... even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good!” 

Catra’s head was spinning and she felt vaguely sick to her stomach. She knew she had to be missing something but the longer the muscular woman spoke, the more confused she became. “I… I’m not sure I’m understanding. What’s WAP to you?” Her voice was faint.

“Wildcat, not sure there’s much to understand here; WAP, you know, wings and pizza! Hawk is headed into town right now specially for it. He’s bound to get way too much for just us two, since I ate more than my fair share last time we did this, so come join our bro-time!” 

“That’s not…” Catra stopped herself and stared at her friend. Dare I? Does she really need to have all her innocence stolen away? She inhaled deeply. “...That sounds great, Scorp. I would be happy to join you for lunch. I had a small snack inside but there’s always room for pizza. But let’s just drop the WAP abbreviation; it’s a bit… confusing. Didn’t, uh, quite know what you meant.”

“Gosh, if you say so. Can’t imagine what you were thinking.” Scorpia turned to head up to the deck and wait for Sea Hawk’s return from town, but paused after a couple steps. Turning her head over her shoulder, she gave Catra a wink so salacious in nature, it was hard to believe it came from such a naturally sweet woman. “Betcha it had something to do with Adora, hmm?”

“Uhhhhh…” She knows. She has to. She’s fucking with me. Catra stomped off, convinced this had to be punishment for all the ill she’d ever caused her friend over the years. “Let’s just go eat.” 

The pair reached the deck to await the return of their friend’s journey into town for unhealthy but delicious sustenance. “A little surprised to not see you hanging out with Adora today. Gotta say, Wildcat, expected you two to be inseparable all week!” Scorpia said, settling into a padded deck chair.

“Yeah, well.” Even though she still felt a little sore at being the butt of Scorpia’s joke, her short, non-answer was more from weariness of once again discussing the topic of her and Adora. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to; there was part of her that longed to talk about Adora and only Adora for all time. But she’d already let loose with Perfuma way more than she meant to and was still recovering from that.

“... How’s that going? With her?” Scorpia asked lightly, catching on to the terseness in her friend’s voice. She followed-up only out of care and concern, not trying to push Catra too far. She had noticed that the pair had disappeared from the fire rather early in the night, but who knew what kind of misunderstandings could crop up since then? If Catra wanted to talk it out, Scorp was her girl.

Catra sighed, certain by doing so she was making her friend even more nervous. She fortified herself and let a small, but genuine smile onto her face. “It’s great, Scorp. Thanks for asking. We’re going out tonight on a date and everything.”

“Whoop, whoop! Get it, Wildcat!” Scorpia was instantly relieved. “How are you not jumping up and down for joy right now? Adora is so great and gosh, everyone knows you two have been crazy about each other for years!” 

“Yeah, I’m learning everyone knew that except for us.” She sat back in her chair, trying to balance her desire to keep her cards close to her chest and let her friend at least peek behind the curtain of her insecurities. “I am excited, really. Just also a little worried I’ll screw things up? I’m trying to work through it all, stop being so damn anxious over a totally unfounded fear but… Brains suck sometimes.” She gave a small shrug, satisfied at how much of the truth she’d revealed while keeping herself safe with the dismissal as well.

“I know that story; I can see what you’re going through. Yeah.” Scorpia murmured as she listened. 

“A date with Adora is… I wasn’t sure I’d ever get here and just the idea is so amazing, nevermind that actually it’s happening in a few hours! Really need to figure out how to stop my mental nonsense in the meantime, though. ”

Scorpia nodded sagely. “It’s an uphill climb, but I know it’ll come to you.”

The brunette smiled at her friend’s optimism. “Yeah and if not…” She let her sentence trail off, not sure where she was heading with that train of thought. Losing this thing with Adora, even after just a couple days, would completely suck. She couldn’t even pretend to be nonchalant about it.

“Hey! Don’t surrender; you can win in this game called love!” Scorpia gave her an encouraging look. “When you want it the most, there’s no easy way out, Catra. Love comes to those who believe it.”

Catra’s eyes narrowed, suspicion dawning on her. “Uh-huh… Anything else to say on the matter?”

“Well, when you question me for a simple answer? I don’t know what to say.” The short haired woman, one of Catra’s dearest friends, was very clearly biting back a smile. “But it’s plain to see, that if you stick together, you’re gonna find the way!”

Catra’s eyes were flat, but Scorpia pressed on. “ But when you’re ready to go and your heart’s left in doubt Don’t give up on your faith, love comes to those who believe it, and that’s the way it is! Ohhh-whoa oh-ohhh!”

As the tall, broad woman’s voice tilted into song, Sea Hawk appeared. He immediately rushed to place the mountain of food onto the deck’s table, swinging the guitar strapped to his back around and strumming a few quick chords to accompany Scorpia’s lyrics.

“Very fucking funny. You get one crack a week, Scorpia!” She held up a single finger, making certain it was the one that would display her irritation the best.

Scorpia guffawed at the bird presented to her. “And that’s the way it is, Wildcat. Now, I know you were being serious and I really appreciate your honesty. I wasn’t trying to go there at first, but it just fit way too perfectly. And it’s also just never not going to be funny. Catra and Queen Celine; a match made in music heaven!”

“Why the fuck did I actually want to hang out with you?” Catra snapped, but there was no real bite behind it. She was vaguely miffed, but not full on mad over the whole thing. 

“Really though, Catra,” The normally jocular woman dropped into complete seriousness. “I don’t think you have anything to worry about. You’re great, Adora’s great, and everything is gonna work out just fine. You’ve come so far, my friend. Past you? Yeah, she would have struggled and honestly probably made a complete mess of things. Just sabotaged herself instantly, woof.”

“Super encouraging, Scorp. Feeling loads better now.”

“It is and you should be! Because you’re not that person anymore. You’re self-aware enough to curb most of your not-so-kind impulses. And you’re clever as all get out; not to mention that wit you have! Gosh, I wish I didn’t have to rely on cheap musical word play to get a laugh. Snark and banter just comes so naturally for you and it’s always darn hilarious in a pretty endearing way. Speaking of endearing... I’ve seen how attentive you are to Adora and I could just burst with pride every time I get to witness it. You’re soft with her, Wildcat, and it’s just beautiful.”

Catra flushed at her friend’s words; an equal mix of embarrassed as hell and beyond pleased that a third party had noticed how hard she had been trying to care for Adora; to anticipate her needs and put the blonde before herself. The word ‘soft’ irked her slightly, but she also couldn’t deny the truth of it, either.

“Now, I could keep listing all the good stuff about you real easily, but I can tell it might be getting to be a bit much for you to take in.” Scorpia gave her a knowing wink, sensing her friend’s upper capacity for compliments was nearing. “I’ll just finish off with this. You reached some pretty low lows in your life and man, that was rough . But you came out of that wanting to do better; wanting to be better! And you show every day that you are. So, quit doubting yourself, okay? That’s my friend you’re hurting and I won’t stand for that treatment of her.” Scorpa gave a smile that showed all her fierce affection and loyalty, so intense that Catra was humbled to be the recipient of it. “Adora’s gonna be real lucky to have you by her side, I just know it.”

“You really think so?” The corner of Catra’s mouth pulled up as she soaked in the reassurances. She knew she needed to stop questioning herself so much; she was the one driving her own actions. If she wanted to be a good partner for Adora then it was up to her to make that happen. And except for the one slip-up, Catra had to admit she’d been doing a pretty good job so far. Soft and vulnerable could have its upsides; maybe she deserved to give herself some credit along the way. 

“I wouldn’t lie to you, Wildcat. Tweak your nose whenever I can, but never lie to you.”

“Okay. I know I’m being ridiculous but I just want this to work, y’know? But, uh, I trust your judgment, Scorp. I guess I can be pretty decent, all told. …Thanks.” 

Sea Hawk had continued to strum along to their conversation. It was a little annoying, but he was actually a more than decent guitar player. Catra turned to face the impromptu musician, ready to put any conversation that was so focused on her to the backburner. “Can I ask why we suddenly have an acoustic soundtrack to our lives?”  

“I apologize, my fine friend. I thought it would add a nice ambiance to the Moment.” Sea Hawk said mildly, still continuing to pluck at the strings of his instrument. 

She set her teeth and continued to show her capacity to want to be a better person. “It’s fine... You’re actually not half bad. How long have you been playing?” Look at me, talking to one of the most annoying people on the planet. Willingly. Personal growth.

“Years and years! A vessel out on open water, the breeze filling her sails, and melodies drifting across the waves… My ideal day.” His eyes got a misty overcast to them as he envisioned the scene. “Music was a huge part of daily life aboard ships in the Golden Age of sailing. Being who I am, I wanted nothing more to imitate the lifestyle of those roguish mariners. The guitar is the choice my parents offered for me as a lad and fortunately, I had a knack for it.” He demonstrated with a reasonably complex set of chords.

Catra nodded, as Scorpia busied herself with dividing out portions of the food for them. “I’ve certainly heard worse.”

“Quite the compliment coming from you. Thank you.”

“Sure.” She accepted the plate of food handed to her, gears of her mind turning so quickly it didn’t even register that Scorpia had been the one to serve her. She looked down at the plate in her hands and smiled in thanks at her friend. “... I gotta say, I’m a little surprised you didn’t sing anything from the Decemberists during karaoke. Since y’know, you said you wanted shanties and all…”

“Hmmm, what was that?” Sea Hawk immediately stopped playing, eyes wide. “I’m not familiar…”

“I don’t really see how that’s possible but yeah. Uh, give them a listen, I think you might be pleased? Mariners Revenge Song is like, the only shanty that’s been kinda popular in the last century.” Or ever.

“I shall be guided by you. You displayed some real musical prowess the other night; I was quite impressed by that voice you’ve been hiding! Goodness knows our fair Adora seemed to enjoy it quite a bit .” With a wink, he plucked three strings to accent the last three words before finally setting the instrument aside to eat.

“Heh, yeah, I guess I did all right.” She took a bite of her pizza, chewing thoughtfully. The trio sat in companionable silence as they enjoyed their meal. After a time, Catra finally spoke up, needing to reveal a fraction of the blueprints that were running rampant through her mind. “Hey Hawk, uh, how would you be at learning to play a particular song? Like... with just a few days to do it?” Her voice was tentative; uncertain how the man would react at the implied request for a favor.

His smile was sincere, voice uncharacteristically mellow as he answered. “Sounds like a great adventure, my dear Catra. And if I can be so bold as to guess the nature of the reason behind it, a noble one. Tabs would be appreciated, but I am fairly proficient at picking things up even just at a listen. Consider it done, friend.” 

Catra blushed at how easily this person she’d disdainfully ignored for however long was so quick to provide his assistance in her personal endeavor. It was just one step down out of many, but progress was progress. “... Thanks. Yeah, I think it will be an adventure.”

 

 

“That was amazing !” Bow held both arms out as if they were wings as he zoomed through the parking lot. Only he and 8-year-olds could get away with such a winsome action.  “Zipping down the cords, wind rushing through your hair, and don’t get me started on the view!”

Adora giggled at the 20-something airplane man cruising towards the car. “Not a bad adrenaline rush either.”

“Speaking of adrenaline… Getting nervous for your date, bae?” Glimmer shot her a knowing smile as they climbed into the car. 

“Mmm, maybe a little. But being with Catra is like the opposite of nerve racking for me. She totally calms me.” Adora clicked her seatbelt into place. “I am really excited, though.”

“Awwww, she calms you? That’s so cute!” Bow gave her heart-eyes from the rear view mirror, as Adora returned the look with a sheepish grin that just screamed ‘I know we are.’  

“Very cute.” Glimmer turned around in the front seat to make certain Adora could see that she  was being genuine. “Whatcha gonna wear? Oh! Please tell me it’s that jacket with those boots!” 

Adora nodded eagerly, so glad to be back to the point with her best friend where descriptors and details weren’t necessary. Glimmer knew her closet better than she did, having picked out ninety percent of the articles in it. “You know it. It’s like the cutest outfit I have! All thanks to you, of course.”

Her friend waved off the thanks and fired ahead. “Hair up or down? And what are you doing about make-up?” 

“Oh, well… You know I’m kind of at a loss with all that stuff, so I was wondering if you…?”

Glimmer's eyes burned with excitement, a determined set to her jaw. “Say no more, babe. Catra won’t be able to take her eyes off you all night. Cute’s nice and all, but I’m gonna make you look hot.

The smallest bundle of nerves flickered awake in her stomach. Looking hot for Catra was a pretty big draw, she had to admit. Big enough that enduring make-over for Buff Barbie time would definitely be worth it. Bow caught Adora’s eye in the rear view mirror, giving them a small flick up as if to say ‘She’s being supportive, at least.’ She grinned back at the silent reassurance from her stalwart friend. “Yeah, I know you will. I can always count on you, Glim.”

Chapter Text

When the Best Friend Squad got back to the cabin, the first thing Adora did (to absolutely no one’s surprise) was seek out Catra. It wasn’t hard; she was able to follow the distinctive cackle of the woman straight to the source. She was a little surprised to see her hanging with Scorpia and Sea Hawk , but the mounds of disgusting food and few empty beer bottles strewn about the deck filled her in a bit. “Hey, you.”

“Hey, babe. Good to see you back and not in a cast.” Catra bit the mouth of her beer bottle lightly, eyes very quickly appreciating just how fine Adora was looking in her low-cut tank.

“And only a couple trail damsels.”

“Explains your marks… Frisky trail tramps out there today.” She replied blandly, but the corner of her mouth twitched up slightly.

“Oh, no.” Adora settled herself onto the arm of the chair across from the brunette, leaning in slightly towards her. “We both know who gave me those.”

“Got the tramp part right at least.” Her smirk turned into a razor sharp grin, before suddenly she realized their banter was on center stage for their friends. Catra didn’t care that much, but Scorpia had already gotten in enough good jabs earlier. The muscle-bound woman didn’t need any more ammo. “Ahem, ah, so what’s next for your day?”

Adora snickered at the change in conversation but decided to follow her lead. “Lunch, then date prep.”

“It requires prep?” Catra arched a brow, intrigued at what the blonde could possibly have up her sleeves for them.

“Oh, no. My prep. Glimmer’s gonna make sure I look halfway decent, at least.” Adora gave a small half-shrug. “Pff, gonna probably take all afternoon…” 

“Adora, you’re beautiful. Always.” Catra stared at her with absolute seriousness as she reached out and took her hand, giving it a small swipe over top with her thumb. 

“Awww, Wildcat, I can’t even with you two right now!” Scorpia exclaimed, eyes full of stars as she held her face in both hands and stared at the pair with rapt attention. “The beginnings of young love. Hawk, is there really anything better?”

“No, my dear friend, there is not. It seems to me that caring about someone is the greatest adventure of them all. And these two are embracing that adventure with full sails ahead!”

Scorpia, still holding her face and watching the pair, began to croon out. “ L is for the way you look at me, O is for the only one I see, V is very, very extraordinary…”

“Scorpia…!” Catra warned, eyes flicking towards Adora to gauge reaction. The blonde looked positively lost on how to deal with this sudden musical interlude. 

“Two in love can make it, Take my heart but please don't break it! Love was made for me and you…”

“Knock it off, Scorp, seriously! Not fucking around here.” Catra dropped the hand she was holding and hissed. Her friend stopped in the midst of repeating her ability to spell and sing simultaneously, but the occasional jazzy hum still came from her direction. 

If Adora was blushing from Catra’s firm, sincere compliment she was now blazing at the addition of two of her friends commenting on their ‘young love’ and serenading them about such matters. “Heh, well, I better get going… Glim takes hours on this kind of stuff… Um, Catra, d’you need anything from our room? I’m pretty sure we’ll be in Bow and Glimmer’s but just in case they decide to set up our operations there I don’t want to, like, block you from getting changed or whatever.”

“Nah, I should be good for now.” Catra was fighting to stay in control of the situation, especially after Scorpia’s latest impromptu concert. She was completely focused on trying to block her friend’s next move, whatever it may be.

“Oh, um, okay.” Adora turned to leave but paused, turning her head over her shoulder to address the brunette again. “So, no reason to come upstairs? Don’t need to, like, plan your outfit or anything?”

After a well placed death glare at the melodious buzzing coming from Scorpia’s direction, the muscular woman finally gave Catra a shiteating grin and mimicked zipping her mouth shut. Catra narrowed her eyes at the suspicious surrender, but finally was able to refocus her attention on Adora. “Uhh, I mean, I don’t think so. Have a pretty good idea already. And it shouldn’t take me that long to get ready, like, 15-20 minutes max.” She swore she saw Sea Hawk wince before turning his head away to look out in the distance.

Adora gave a little nod, eyes troubled. “... Right. Just, um, text if you need to come upstairs, I guess. If we’re in there I’ll just have Bow hand you the stuff you might need. Otherwise I guess I’ll meet you down here… a little before six?”

Satisfied her friend might actually shut up now, Catra didn’t miss the glint of disappointment in Adora’s eyes. She quickly rerouted, internally screaming at Scorpia for messing with her. Again . “Ah- actually, you know, now that you mention it I probably do need to grab a couple things for tonight. Maybe look at my choices again. I’ll, uh, go do that here in just a minute. So, maybe see you up there? Maybe, since you did say you were grabbing lunch first.”

“Yup! Maybe!” Adora gave her a beaming grin and a little wave before leaving. Catra watched after her as she left, wondering how long before she could excuse herself. It wasn’t a great secret and they really hadn’t been showing much subtly but… If she knew Scorpia, the woman would have something to say. Catra didn’t need to make it any harder on herself by rushing away for a rendezvous immediately.

As the blonde exited the scene, Scorpia and Sea Hawk exchanged a quick glance, the short-haired woman idly stroking at her chin as she eyed Catra carefully. “What do you think, Hawk? I’d say a solid… eh, 4.5 out of ten. Clear areas of improvement identified, but she did save it in the end.”

“I concur, she does need to develop her sea legs, but it wasn’t a complete disaster of a performance.” Sea Hawk twirled his mustache as he regarded the increasingly surly brunette, the corner of her mouth begging to turn upwards into a grin at his friend’s expense. 

“What are you two morons talking about? And why the fuck am I getting rated- lowly?” Catra tapped her fingernails against the arm of the chair, anxious to make her way upstairs but unable to ignore the hook her friends were dangling in front of her. Knew they’d have something to say... 

Scorpia gave an overdramatic cringe, a hand coming behind her to rub her head awkwardly.  “Gosh, Wildcat, we had to knock off major points because woof! She’s going to spend the entire afternoon getting ready for you and you basically tell her you’ll need, what, like five minutes? Not sure what your play with that one is. I should have probably tried to save you there, but honestly, I was waiting for the signature Catra flip. Y’know, be all playfully dismissive before you turned it into some searing banter. But you just seemed… distracted.”

Catra gaped at her friend, only able to blink for several seconds as the realization dawned on her. Adora did say she was going to be spending the whole rest of the day getting ready and for some stupid reason, she had downplayed her own preparation time. She glanced back and forth from her friends, irritation mounting higher. “Distracted, Scorpia? Gee, I wonder why! Could it be from you mentioning that shit about young love or your singing ? Maybe if that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have had my head up my ass!”

“Then two, it took you long enough to figure out she wanted you to follow her.” Scorpia nodded sagely, ignoring her friend’s annoyed accusations. “I imagine our blushing friend was looking to thank you for your compliment, especially after being apart all morning. I mean, you got there eventually, but… Surprisingly clumsy for you.” 

“Actually, I’m not even sure why you’re still out here with us instead of upstairs.” Sea Hawk piped in, the absolute voice of reason.

Because you’re both talking to me!” Catra threw her hands up in the air and stalked off, irritated at losing time to such a pointless conversation. 

“Well, gosh, Wildcat. Pretty rude to storm out in the middle of a conversation like this.” She heard Scorpia call out to her. Catra flipped them the bird from the doorway, their fit of laughter at her expense all she could hear even after sliding the door shut just a smidge too harshly. She took a moment to collect herself, brushing off all thoughts of ‘4.5’, before she strolled leisurely into the kitchen, where she figured Adora and her friends would be. “Hey, Adora.” With a quick flick of her eyes, she nodded her greeting to Bow and Glimmer as well.

“Catra! Hi, again. What’s up?” Adora’s entire body language perked up as soon as Catra entered her field of vision.

“Oh, just heading upstairs like I mentioned outside. Need to start getting ready for my date soon.”

The blonde nodded eagerly as she nibbled at her sandwich. “Oh? Hot date tonight?”

Catra took a step around the kitchen island to give herself a better view, eying Adora from head to toe, in a lingering appraisal. “Very hot.”

Adora giggled, looking towards her friends to share the joy all around. Vapid delight spread across her face; clearly the only thought going through her head currently was ‘Me! She means me.

Bow and Glimmer, for their parts, gave their friend an encouraging smile and loving eye roll, as Catra preened at her flirtatious recovery from the fumble outside. She turned and sashayed upstairs, a simple ‘Later, Adora.’ trailing behind her as she left. 

The blonde could only watch in utter fascination at the swaying hips leaving her view, biting at her sandwich again just to give her mouth something to do. 

Only a few beats passed before Glimmer chimed in, jokingly resigned. “Go. No more than twenty minutes and not too many new marks, please. I’m already going to have a hell of a time trying to find a concealer for your pasty ass, I don’t need extra work.”

Adora instantly set her plate down, wincing slightly at the loud clatter it made, before shooting her friends an apologetic, though feisty grin. “No promises! Though, I think I want it to be her turn… again.”

Her friend sighed and waved her off, a clear dismissal. “Her decorum and presentation isn't my problem today, so do what you will. But seriously, twenty minutes, tops!”

Adora's feet were already on the stairs by the time she heard Glimmer’s second time warning.

The pair managed to untangle themselves 47 minutes later, the barrage of texts from Glimmer finally doing their job. Adora’s phone was still in her pocket and on vibrate, so with the way she was currently positioned over Catra, each text was a poignant interruption to them both. 

“Okay, we really have to stop, because Glimmer was not invited to this party and she is making her presence way too known.” Catra grumbled, glancing down, the phantoms of the near-constant vibration through her jeans still buzzing across her thigh.

Adora giggled and arched a brow at the woman below her. “What, it’s not adding to the experience?”

“Again, not invited .” Catra gritted her teeth at the slight jibe, before letting her mouth turn into a rascally smirk. “And besides, I’ve got much better things at home we could be using… things that give a much more deliberate buzz. I’d be happy to give you a demonstration, if you’re interested. A show, really, is a better word.”

Adora nodded vigorously, as she trailed her eyes down the body of the woman below her and shuddering in delight at the mental image of that particular show. “Definitely interested. But I don’t think you’re going to need that buzz for a while. Not while I’m around.”

Catra hummed with approval, pulling Adora into another biting kiss, her tongue soothing the blonde’s tender lower lip. “Why not both…”

Before Adora could reply with her agreement to that statement, Glimmer resorted to drastic measures. She called Adora’s phone, while Bow rang Catra’s. Adora rolled off to fish her phone from her pocket, answering in a cheery voice. “Hi, Glim! Yup. I’m sorry. Yeah, sorry. I’m just very gay. Thanks, I’ll be right there.”

Catra suppressed a chuckle as she listened to Adora’s side of the conversation for a few seconds, but then turned her attention to her own call. With a sickeningly sweet tone to her voice, she answered. “Why, Bow, my dear old friend! To what do I owe the pleasure of this telephone call?”

“Heeey, Catra. Uh, look. I know you and Adora are enjoying yourselves but we really do want to get started soon. And really, it’s all for your benefit, so maybe you two could call a time-out? For now at least?” 

Catra pretended to consider for a moment, tapping her index finger against her cheek. Adora rolled her eyes at the theatrics and having finished talking to Glimmer, left the bed to find wherever her shirt had managed to land. It had been thrown aside earlier with quite some haste and zero regard. “A time-out?”

“Yeah, I mean, I know it’s not really comfortable for anyone to think of their friends doing things but y’know, I get it. New relationship; you’re both feeling a certain sort of way…” Bow, ever the good boy, trailed off; his discomfort at trying to appear comfortable being far too good of an opening for Catra to let slip past. 

“‘A certain sort of way’, Bow? I’m not sure I understand...” She began, ready to fuck with the earnest man as much as she could. She felt blue eyes from across the room give her a look of reproach, accompanied by a single raised eyebrow. “Ah, you know what, it just clicked for me. I appreciate the maturity and sincerity of this call; it is indeed for our benefit that Adora meet up with you two. Where should she go to find you?”

Bow heaved a sigh of relief and indicated that the blonde could head over to their room before hanging up as quickly as possible. 

Adora finally decided to just replace her shirt, unable to locate the one she’d been wearing when she entered the room 50 minutes prior. She crossed back to Catra on the bed and placed a kiss on the lounging woman’s forehead. “Good girl. Gotta go now but let’s meet downstairs at 5:30?” 

Catra smiled at the brush of Adora’s lips against her head. “Can’t wait, Princess.”

“Heyyyy…” Adora gave a small, hesitant wave as she entered the bedroom her friends were sharing for the week. “Sorry I’m, um, late. Hopefully I didn’t put us behind schedule?”

Glimmer was busy in the en suite, laying out the supplies she would need to utilize in Adora’s preparations. But at the sound of her best friend’s voice, she peeked her head out, looking amused as hell. “You’re joking, right? I built in way more time than an extra half hour for you two horny lovebirds before you start to actually mess with my timetable.”

“Oh! So, you’re saying I can go back?” Adora turned around to leave as Bow caught her arm.

“Uh, no. Though, I have to ask about this change in outfits; I’m not saying your ass doesn’t look fabulous in every pair of yoga pants you own, but I’m questioning the choice of our senior year class t-shirt as really the look you want to go for on your big date tonight.” Glimmer eyed her clothes carefully, arms crossed over her chest.

Adora glanced down at what she was wearing, confused. “I’m not wearing this. We already talked about this in the car… the jacket and boots?”

“Well, you can’t really blame me for being confused, considering you didn’t bring them with you. And since that shirt definitely wasn’t what you were wearing before we parted an hour ago, it seemed to be a logical enough conclusion that you’d decided to change your outfit on me. I am glad to see we’re ditching the signature ponytail tonight at least.”

“Oh. Heh.” The blonde blushed slightly and ran a hand through her locks, mind immediately drawn to how quickly Catra had removed her hair tie to thread her fingers through Adora’s hair as they tussled across the bed. “I, uh, didn’t think to bring what I’ll be wearing tonight over. That probably would help, huh? Also wanted to catch a shower... Lemme just run back and grab-”

“Ah, ah, ah! Bow, would you please go gather what our friend is planning on wearing tonight? I wouldn’t want there to be any distractions.”

“Uhhh…” Adora gulped; it was one thing for Bow to grab her outerwear but she really had been planning on a fresh change of everything. She wasn’t keen on the idea of her friend rifling through her delicates. “Can we compromise here? Maybe he could escort me over? I’d say I would just promise to be good but… We all know how that would end.”

“Yeah, we really do. Fine; you two go gather up what you need while I finish laying things out here. We’ve got plenty of time, friends, but let’s not squander it, either!”

Under Bow’s watch, Adora’s trip back to her bedroom was uneventful. He steered her into the room, straight to her side of the closet and dresser. He used his body to block the blonde’s view of Catra still lounging on the bed, to limit temptation, and only allowed for a few flirtatious quips between the two women. Adora barely had time to blow a kiss in the direction of the amused brunette before she was bodily pushed out the door, outfit in hand. Catra shook her head at the dorky gesture, but still glowed at the familiarity of it.

“Okay, so I’m not even going to bother to explain what I’ll be doing. It’s going to be the same deal as every dance and formal event we’ve ever had: follow my directions and you’ll end up looking like a goddess.” Glimmer stated plainly, passively watching the blonde towel dry her hair after her shower and quickly run a brush through it.

“Yup, I know the drill by now.” Adora dutifully sat in a chair in the bathroom. “‘Close your eye- no, just one!’, ‘Tilt your head back’ and ‘Quit fidgeting, Adora!’. That one is probably the most common, huh?”

“Mmm, I don’t know. You’re forgetting ‘Bend down so I can reach, She-Hulk’!” Bow offered helpfully, spread out across the king sized bed in the adjacent room. More times than not he had played the role of the audience for these makeovers, tasked with giving the appropriate amount of praise to both artist and human canvas. The friends chuckled as Glimmer began.

As befit a true master, the work Glimmer did was subtle enough that if Adora hadn’t been present through the whole thing, she might have questioned if the other woman had really done anything. Though as she continued to stare at her own reflection, the enhancements her friend had made became evident. She still looked like herself, just more.  

“So…?” Glimmer asked, only eighty percent hedging for a compliment as she cleaned the counter space of her various products.

“I look better, definitely.” Adora nodded, appreciating the sheen to her eyelids from whatever Glimmer had used on them as it caught in the bathroom light. 

“You are so hopeless.” The words were said with plenty of affection, though a fair share of exasperation as well. “Bow, love?”

He trotted into the bathroom, ready to perform his duty and adequately praise both women he loved so dearly. But as he caught view of Adora, first her reflection and then the real thing, he stopped for a moment. Girlfriend and best friend raised an eyebrow at the freeze, a split second of anxiety passing through the small room. 

“Is everything… okay?” Adora asked in a small voice, eyes flicking to take in her own appearance again. She thought she looked better but...

“What? Oh yes! Sorry, sorry! It’s just... Adora, you look downright ethereal. Like, beautiful beyond all reason. I totally got lost for a minute.” He examined the seated blonde closely enough that she felt positively probed under his dark eyed gaze. “... Have your eyes always been that blue? Glimmer, you’re a genius, an artist of the highest degree!”

“Oh, stop!” The lavender haired woman demanded in a tone that clearly was an open invitation for more compliments. “But does she look hot?”

“Despite the fact that I think of her as my sister... I can firmly, without question, say yes, smokin’ hot . But it’s also so much more than that. Glim, you gave her look layers and complexity. I’m blown away!”

“Hah! She’s not even in her outfit yet and I’ve still got hair to do.”

Bow closed his eyes for a moment and shook his head, before retreating back to their bed to await the next phases of her preparation. “Catra’s not gonna stand a damn chance.”

Adora, though a bit flummoxed over the intensity of the praise, decided she liked the idea of that quite a bit.

Even if her friends hadn’t called her out on it, Catra never would have just taken twenty minutes to get ready for her evening outing. There was work to do, particularly since the majority of her most alluring and attractive clothing was left at home. This was originally just a Spring Break retreat to the wilderness, after all. She couldn’t help but feel a bit hoodwinked, coming to hate nature just a little bit more as she thought of all the skintight clothes she had hanging at home that would be far more appropriate for a date. But she would make the best with what she had here; glad she at least looked damn fine in her leather jacket and could easily oblige her date’s request to wear ‘those jeans’. 

By the time she showered, dressed herself, and finally got her hair slicked back just right, Catra was pleased to see it was already a little after five. She continued to hide out in their room, not real keen on having any more heart-to-heart pep talks or being roasted by her friends. She wouldn’t say she was nervous per se ... but there was a reasonable amount of anticipation. All the more salient since she was just killing time at this point, stuck in the waiting game.

At 5:21 she finally allowed herself to slip from the room and out the front door as quietly as possible. They really hadn’t specified where downstairs they would meet up, but Catra was most concerned with avoiding other people. She could practically see Scorpia turning it into an opportunity for pictures, like they were going to some stupid high school dance. No thank you.

Catra paced along the length of the porch, checking the time every thirty seconds. As the clock hit 5:29, she forced herself to lean against the railing of the porch- now the picture of comfortable nonchalance. Maybe if she acted hard enough, the uncharacteristic and detested butterflies in her stomach would fuck off already. They really had no place in any of this; she was just spending time with Adora. The woman who, not even three hours ago, had been shirtless over top of her as they kissed, bit, and groped one another with great fervor. To be nervous about a date with that person was honestly just stupid. But as she heard the front door start to open, Catra couldn’t help but draw in an anxious breath as her head snapped up towards the figure that emerged. 

“You look…” She could only stare dumbfounded, certain the gods themselves had decided to bless her with a little good luck. It was the only explanation behind how it was that she would get to spend tonight out with this ravishing, dazzling, and positively breathtaking woman before her. It wasn’t often that Catra felt legitimately at a loss for words but this... This was a special occasion. “Wow.”

Adora giggled, as Glimmer had predicted the rosy cast to her cheeks that came from being around Catra only enhancing the cosmetics she had used. “I thought only I was capable of such verbal elegance. But gotta say, I return the sentiment. Wow , Catra. You’re gorgeous.”

“No, you.” Catra swallowed thickly, shaking her head. “Adora, I… You’re stunning.”

“I’m pretty sure we could stand here complimenting one another all night, but I do have some other things in mind to entertain us.” The blonde held out her hand for Catra to take. “Also we should get out of here before one of the assholes we call friends decides to do something to try and embarrass us.”

Catra laughed, linking her hand in Adora’s as they walked towards her car. “Yeah, I was thinking the same. Had visions of a homecoming photoshoot. Speaking of, surprised mom and dad didn’t walk you down; I was getting ready to answer Bow’s question of ‘What are your intentions with my daughter?’ He probably wouldn’t have liked my answer, though.”

“I’m sure they’re pretty similar to my own intentions with you.” Adora flexed her other arm as they walked. “And it’s amazing what a few threats of bodily harm can accomplish. Though I’m sure they were inside watching from somewhere, the weirdos.” 

The pair had finally reached where Catra’s car was parked in the driveway. Adora allowed herself one breath to prepare and then asked in a very steady, certain voice. “Okay. Can I have your keys?”

“Eh? What for?” Catra placed a protective hand over her jacket pocket where her car keys were, the fingers that were intertwined with Adora’s slightly twitching at the request. Melog, in all its Buick LeSabre glory, was her baby. Other people didn’t understand them, therefore, no one drove Melog but her. 

“I know that I’m asking a lot, given how important Melog is to you. But it’s a short drive to where we’re headed, and I’d like to keep it secret for as long as I can. So will you let me drive you tonight?” The night wasn’t hinging on Catra saying yes, but it just felt a lot more date-like to Adora if she was the one to drive them there.

Catra was conflicted. It wasn’t that Adora was a bad driver exactly, though she simultaneously managed to be uptight and easily distractible behind the wheel. She also just did not drive very often, so Catra was hesitant to hand over her keys that readily. “Err, how short of a drive are we talking?”

Adora glanced at the directions she had queued up on her phone. “Seventeen minutes. We can compromise; I promise you can drive us back. Just let me get us there, okay?” Impossibly blue eyes helped to plead her case. 

The brunette nodded and slowly surrendered her keys. Adora gave her an appreciative grin, knowing this decision hadn’t been a light one. Before Catra could change her mind though, she bounded over to the passenger’s side, threw open the door, and gestured inside with a single hand. “My lady.” 

Catra chuckled, shaking her head, her uneasiness dissipating over the blonde’s enthusiastic attempt at chivalry. “Pretty sure you’re supposed to walk me over first then open the door for me, you goon.”

“Rats!” Adora left the car door standing open to escort her over, but Catra had already made it most of the short distance. That didn’t stop the blonde from gently taking her hand and walking her the five remaining steps. “I’ll do it right from the start next time, I swear.”

After giving the hand laced in hers a squeeze of acknowledgement for her charming efforts, Catra climbed into the passenger seat, trying her best to not feel too weirded out at being on the wrong side. She watched as Adora nearly vaulted over the hood of her car in her haste to begin their drive. The blonde clamored in, immediately starting to readjust the seat and mirrors. 

Catra sighed inwardly as she watched the adjustments being made, but quickly got her priorities in order. It was just a seat; the perfect spot would be rediscovered. Someday.

With a great grin, Adora plugged her phone in with the AUX cord and turned the keys in the ignition. Noticing the convenient phone holder clipped to the air vent on the driver’s side, she positioned her device so it faced away from Catra as much as possible. It was then that it dawned on her that the holder had probably been there the entire time during their commute down. Adora was warmed at the thought that Catra had put her in charge of music and navigation anyway. 

Of its own volition, her Apple music app opened itself after connecting to Melog. She decided to roll with it; figuring even if absolute crap started to play, it was a short enough drive.  

 

Betty, I won't make assumptions

About why you switched your homeroom

But I think it's 'cause of me...

 

“Wait… This song is gay!” Adora could not believe she hadn’t thought to mention it at all during their conversations around queer music. Bow and Glimmer were so obsessed with T-Swizzle that when folklore dropped, it was all she heard any time she was around either one of them regardless of what they were doing together. Her friends had decided to share their joy by loading the tracks onto her phone. Adora really hadn’t spent much time with it, though Bow had told her with a small wink to give betty a listen, which she obliged. “Hah! I’ve known a lesbian song all along.”

Catra scoffed heavily, though she tried her best to soften her disdain with a joking cadence. “Rookie mistake. It only seems that way.”

“But… She’s singing about another girl. It’s so obvious. I know she says James but it’s all girls!”

“Look, I’ve read the arguments, I know Betty, James, and Inez are three of her friend’s daughters and all.” Catra gave her a mock sympathetic look that Adora barely caught from the corner of her eye as she drove. “Dear, dear Adora. Took that queerbaiting hook without hesitation.You’re still a baby gay; happens to the best of us.”

Adora tried to not pout, her brows crinkling together in frustration at the insincere pity. “I just… can’t believe it’s baiting. What if she’s leaving it purposely ambiguous so anyone, regardless of orientation, can put their spin on it? Just, y’know, enjoy the music and let it relate to their situation. Plus it’s Taylor freaking Swift. The queers don't need the bait; they’ll snatch it up regardless. It’s a woman singing about another woman, so that counts in my book.” She shrugged her shoulders and just let herself enjoy the song, regardless of the artist’s true motivations.

“Okay, Adora. betty can be just as gay you want it to be.” The brunette shook her head with a smile, turning to face out the window and let the subject drop. She tried to listen to the remainder of the song under the lens the blonde had suggested. It made for a much more enjoyable experience and maybe, just maybe , it wasn’t that terrible of a song.

 

I don’t know anything

But I know I miss you

Standing in your cardigan

Kissing in my car again

Stopped at a streetlight, you know I miss you

 

With almost five minutes of their drive time taken up by betty, Adora could feel herself growing excited as she diligently followed the blue line of the GPS towards their destination. She really wanted tonight to go well and for Catra to be blown away by her choices for their date. There was some amount of anxiety present as well, only because it was a new location in a completely unfamiliar area. But as she glanced over towards the woman she’d be spending her evening with, Adora quickly realized even if it was terrible, they’d find some way to make it fun. Or just bail entirely and pick up where they left off upstairs earlier; a win-win either way.

 

Laying low with your heartbeat

Kinda drunk a side street

Like a kid on a shoulder

Always need to be closer

Right now, right now

I just wanna be with you...

 

“What’s playing right now?” Catra gestured towards Adora’s phone. “Since I know better than to just look for myself and ruin the secret date spot.”

“Oh, uh.” Adora focused into the music again, running through her memory bank to place it before it clicked. “Hah, a total guilty pleasure; Aly & AJ.”

“... Am I supposed to know who that is?”

“Only if you were a Disney channel kid. I sure as hell wasn’t, but when they came out with a new album a couple years back and- surprise, surprise! Bow and Glim latched on. Childhood nostalgia at its finest. This one stuck with me, though. I like the sound.”

Catra arched a brow at the explanation but continued to listen. It was a little pop/cookie cutter-esque, but really she had heard worse. “Eh, it’s not terrible. Though pretty sure I could sing better than her …” She vaguely gestured towards the speakers of the car.

The corner of Adora’s mouth twitched upwards in amusement at the declaration, distracting her to the point of almost missing the single turn they needed to make. She quickly flipped the wheel, a sheepish grin of apology thrown towards her passenger as they made the rough turn. “Oops. But you can sing around me any time. I love your voice.”

“Might be able to make that happen for you, babe. Just try not to kill us before that or harm Melog in any way. Pretty sure you know it’s a done deal between us if that happens.” 

“Hard to date if we’re dead; I agree.” Adora replied glibly, redoubling her efforts to make it the remainder of the trip without incident. “And yes, before you say anything, I know you actually meant damaging your car; the most unforgivable offense possible. Just six minutes left. I have everything under control.”

“Normally I’m highly doubtful when you say that, but yeah. I trust you, babe. Can I know where we’re going yet- since we’re only five minutes away?”

“Wolf Creek Brewery! I know next to nothing about it, so this honestly might be the worst, most boring first date in history. But we’ll be together so…” Adora trailed off, just slightly too embarrassed to continue her thought.

“So it can’t be that bad, no matter what it’s like.” Catra finished plainly, more than ready for the final few minutes of their drive to come to an end. A night out with a cold beer sounded like a very promising time, damn near perfect in Catra’s eyes. Especially when it was with her girl.

Chapter Text

After Melog had come to a complete stop in the brewery parking lot, Catra unclicked her seatbelt and prepared to exit the vehicle. Her hand made it as far as the door handle before a panicked cry echoed to her left. “Wait!” She turned to see Adora bolt from the driver’s side, run around the front of the car at top speed, and pause for a moment outside Catra’s door before calmly opening it for her. “Better?”

“Oh, very smooth, dear.” Catra said, taking the blonde’s outstretched hand. “You are proving that chivlary is alive and well in the lesbian community tonight.”

The pair walked hand in hand up the concrete path towards what could only be the entrance to the brewery. The interior of the venue was modeled to look like a comfortable lodge, complete with a floor to ceiling rough stone fireplace as the centerpiece around the ample indoor seating. But what caught Adora’s attention most was the highly polished wrap-around bar and the multitudes of taps that lined the back wall behind it. In truth, there were probably only about twelve or so, but it still left her feeling a tad overwhelmed by all the choices. The several large glass-fronted refrigerators with even more beverage options didn’t help matters either.

“Hey ladies, first time in?” A friendly voice from behind the bar greeted the gawking pair.

Catra swung herself in a barstool and nodded, glancing at the tap list while Adora stared at the options written on a chalkboard above the bar. She didn’t even know what half the words meant. 

Catra drew the woman she arrived with forward to sit at the bar with her. “Anything looking good, ‘Dor?” She shared the tap list with the woman, wondering if seeing the draft options in a smaller print might be less overwhelming for her date.

“Um, no idea. Sorry, lots of choices and not real familiar with most of this stuff.”

The bartender slid into the conversation, the ever-friendly field guide on their alcoholic adventure. “Well, I can probably make some recommendations. What do you like to drink normally?”

“Uhhh...” Adora blinked. Now that she was put on the spot, she couldn’t remember a single beverage she liked.

The bartender gave a patient smile. “We also have a whole array of non-alcoholic choices, if that would be more your speed.”

“No! Uh, definitely want something stronger… Just, um…” She looked down at the menu, words like hefeweizen and bock entirely foreign to her; getting lost in the weeds of her brain by wondering what NEIPA could possibly stand for.

“She likes drinks that are sweet and fruity, she can tolerate white wines if they’re light enough, and yet somehow will down a shot of Grey Goose like its water. Not a beer fan.” Catra interjected calmly, still trying to decide if the chocolate fluffernutter stout sounded amazing or disgusting. The raspberry wheat lager seemed a solid enough choice, not too adventurous, but if they didn’t screw that up maybe she’d branch out later.

“First time here, but definitely not your first date, hmm?” The bartender gave a small wink and grabbed a glass, pouring a taste of a rich, ruby-colored liquid into it. “Here- try this.” 

The cup was placed in front of Adora, who was glad to be out with someone that didn’t freeze up at the smallest things like she did. Someone here should have a functioning brain. Picking up the glass to sniff it, she was intrigued by the sweet fragrance and ended up downing the mystery liquid like a shot. She smacked her lips at the tartness of the drink, smiling brightly at the taste. “Yum!”

The bartender arched a brow at Catra. “A little spirited, isn’t she?”

“You don’t know the half of it… So, what did she just drink without a second thought? I’m going to guess it was not a shot, whatever it was.” Catra raised an eyebrow, but couldn’t help but feel a rush of affection for the blonde. How the woman could go from shell shocked by beer descriptions to just gulping down whatever was handed to her… 

“Mead!” The bartender exclaimed proudly. “Fermented on site from a local honey farm down the ways a bit. Cherry mead, specifically.”

Adora blinked, wondering where honey came into the picture. “I thought that was like, old timey warrior stuff? Not that it really matters since it was delicious!”

“Heh, glad you liked it. Mead has been around a long time, but I’ve learned that for people who might not like beer, it’s a good choice most of the time. Would you like a full pint?”

“Yes! Oh, and of course whatever this lovely lady would like.” Adora gave a beaming smile in Catra’s direction, draping an arm over her shoulder. “Leave the tab open, please.”

After they had each gotten a beverage, Catra deciding to play it safe for now with the lager, they followed the bartender’s directions towards the area to order food. It didn’t take them long to agree on the margherita pizza, also deciding the garlic parmesan Bavarian pretzels made from the spent grain of the beer sounded incredible. They were handed a stand with a queen of hearts playing card stuck in the top and were told that the server would find them when the food was done based on their card.

The sound of a jaunty harmonica accompanied by a guitar filled their ears as they left the main brew hall to find a seat outside. They walked out onto a large uncovered deck that had a mix of classic wooden picnic tables, as one might find in a park, and more intimate two person wrought iron tables. Not wanting to block a larger party from utilizing the ample space of the wooden tables, Adora directed them to a two-person table some distance from the door that led back inside the brewery. She sat, making certain to pull out Catra’s chair for her before she did so, and took a good look around at her surroundings. 

The first thing that caught her attention was that the music was coming from above them; the band was set up on a large balcony over the outdoor seating. To her left and down some stairs, there appeared to be additional seating spread across the lawn. She briefly considered suggesting they move to a table down there, but realized she didn’t need to inconvenience whomever was bringing their food by moving further away. Besides, part of the reason she chose to bring them here at all was the live music, which Catra already seemed to be enjoying. It didn’t make sense to move away from that either.

Beyond the lawn there was a dirt path that led to and around a sizable lake. It would still be a little while before the sun set, but a stroll to watch the descent seemed quite romantic. If her date were interested in doing so, of course. She turned her attention back up to the deck and saw what she surmised to be an area for dancing, surrounded by ivy wrapped trellises and string lights. The lights weren’t on yet, given that the sun was still out, but that was yet another stirring possibility for their evening. She took a long sip of her mead to cover her blush at the idea of dancing under the moonlight with Catra. “So, what do you think of this place so far?” Adora nodded her head along to the music, enjoying the twangy voice of the lead singer.

 

If I was a flower growing wild and free

All I'd want is you to be my sweet honey bee

And if I was a tree growing tall and green

All I'd want is you to shade me and be my leaves...

 

Catra glanced around them, pint in hand, briefly notating the same features Adora just had. “Pretty cool, I like the live band. Smart to have them up above us; the sound carries nicely without being overwhelming. How’d you find this place?”

“Scorpia and Perfuma were talking about it at the party yesterday. When they said it had pizza, beer, and music, I really couldn’t resist bringing you here.” 

“All of that is an easy way to my heart.” She quickly took a drink of her beer, flushing slightly at the words out of her own mouth. Adora followed suit with her own glass, but not before the flash of a satisfied grin was thrown in her direction.

 

If you were a wink, I’d be a nod

If you were a seed, well, I’d be a pod

If you were the floor, I’d wanna be the rug

And if you were a kiss, I know I’d be a hug

 

All I want is you, will you be my bride

Take me by the hand and stand by my side

 

A natural pause in conversation hung over the pair as they continued to listen to the sweet song. Catra gave a small uptick of the corner of her mouth as she watched Adora take another long quaff from her mug. The blonde blinked when she realized she was being observed. “Hmm?” 

“It’s just funny; you drinking mead. Since you’re practically a Viking already… All muscles, blonde, and now swilling back a pint. It’s almost too much for a gal to handle.” Adora shrugged in response, taking the opportunity to remove her jacket, knowing the tight white shirt she had underneath hugged her biceps ever so nicely. She smirked at the reaction removing a single layer had garnered. “And now you’re just not even playing fair.” Catra’s eyes roamed over her, unconsciously licking her lips as she did so.

“Girl’s gotta use whatever advantage she’s got. Plus I work way too hard for these gains to not show them off.” 

“Absolutely no complaints on my end, Adora. Show them off as much as you’d like. Certainly don’t mind the world seeing me out with a super hot Valkyrie.”  

The pair made idle chit chat, dotted with suggestive banter, while relaxing to the music above them as they waited for the arrival of their food. It was an acoustic set, primarily led by a male singer though occasionally a female voice broke through. Adora hadn’t been overly familiar with any of the songs yet, but it didn’t matter. She loved to see Catra tapping her slender fingers against her glass to the beat, occasionally humming along gently. That was the best music she could ever hope for. 

Adora was just going to suggest she grab them a second drink when their food arrived. It looked magnificent; her mouth began to water instantly at the sight. The server noticed their near empty glasses and offered to bring them another, which both women quickly agreed to. Adora stuck with her mead while Catra switched over to a simple pilsner, still undecided on the stout. “It says it won a bunch of awards but I’m skeptical. Plus, I don’t think tomato-basil-marshmallow-peanut butter-chocolate would be very pleasant.”

“Mmmm, probably not. Sounds kinda like a good dessert option, though. If you’re not too full after we finish this. ” Adora reached for a second slice, her hand pausing midway before it dropped to the table. “... I just realized that I saw pizza boxes on the deck earlier. And beer bottles.”

“Okay?” Catra was already debating grabbing a third piece, after finishing the last pretzel. It was genius to use the leftover grains from the brewing process in the pretzel dough. It added only the slightest taste of hops, mellowed out by the buttery garlic spread.

“If I’d known that you’d have that for lunch, I would have tried to think of something better for us tonight…  Or maybe at least look at the other stuff on the menu...” Her mouth was twisted into a worried frown.

“Adora, this has already been perfect.” Catra reached over and grabbed her date’s hands, giving them a gentle, reassuring squeeze. “You know better than anyone that I can eat pizza every meal for days on end and not get sick of it. How many frozen ones are currently shoved in our freezer? Plus this is really good pizza, unlike that cardboard with sauce Hawk brought back. The wings weren’t terrible and I definitely still ate it but… It doesn’t even remotely compare to a slice from a wood fire oven. I’m happy, babe.”

The blonde perked immensely at the assurance the date was perfect, not to mention Catra admitting she was happy; no matter what the rest of the night held, that was a victory. She smiled and brought her date’s knuckles up to her lips to kiss them lightly before releasing them for more pizza. Catra always knew the right thing to say to bring down her anxiety. “How’d you even end up hanging with those two earlier?”

“Eh, I went to see what Scorp was up to and got invited to join bro time.” Catra purposely kept it vague, not wanting to delve too deeply into her several embarrassments earlier in the day. Adora had already witnessed enough just in her short visit. 

“Oh? You have bros?” She took a bite of her food, somehow managing to look amused while chewing.

“All lesbians have at least one bro, babe. Might be a dude, might be another lesbian… Hell, I won’t exclude the possibility that a straight girl or a gay man could be a bro under the right circumstances. Can’t discount those wily bi folks either. Whoever it’s with, bro-dom is a very sacred type of friendship. It’s mostly based on roasting each other at every turn but also knowing you’d bend over backwards for them if they needed it. You trying to tell me that Bow isn’t yours?”

“... Point taken. Pretty sure I even called him that earlier today. Huh. I wonder how many more quintessentially gay trends I unknowingly follow.”

“Not solely a gay trend, but I’m sure there’s plenty. The world is so much gayer than you could ever imagine, Adora.”

The pizza and pretzels were beyond scrumptious and the pair were soon sated. Before they considered ordering a third drink, Adora’s head already pleasantly buzzing from the good food, good drink, and great company, she suggested they walk the grounds below. The sun was beginning to dip below the horizon, and its departure would soon drench the world in a cacophony of colors. Catra eyed the natural ambiance and twitched her lip up in gentle amusement. “Really going for all the romantic tropes, aren’t we? Surprised our dinner wasn’t by candlelight…”

“Only because it was still light out; trust me. Kinda wish I still had asked for one, though. Ugh! Eh, anyway, walk with me. It’s pretty!” She gestured towards the grounds and the falling sun.

It’s got nothing on you, babe. Catra surrendered easily; the chance to make the blonde smile was impossible to resist. 

They meandered down the trail that led around the lake, Adora’s arm effortlessly looped around Catra’s waist. The sounds made by the other patrons of the venue faded away as they walked, though the band still echoed clearly in the distance. They reached the lake as the setting sun dappled the surface into stained glass. Settling onto a bench at the water’s edge, Catra immediately nuzzled against Adora’s chest. Adora was captivated by the genuine, soft smile on the woman’s face, the menagerie of colors from the sunset framing her face with a grace that was almost unfair to behold. The sight made Adora’s heart quiver, then freeze, then bloom into a pool of pure liquid honey. She placed a flutter of a kiss on her date’s brow, certain it was the setting sun that benefited from Catra’s beauty and not the other way around.

Catra gave a lopsided smile at the brush of Adora’s lips against her before rising from Her Spot in the nook of the blonde’s shoulder. Her multi-hued eyes cast out over the body of water in front of them, taking a moment to just appreciate her life as it currently was. The food had been excellent, the beer was beyond tasty, and she couldn’t ask for a better person to share the evening with. Bonus points that the band was still audible from the lakefront. She sighed contentedly and murmured, more to herself than anything, “Dolly is a national treasure.”

Adora’s brows drew together in supreme confusion as she tried to piece together the meaning behind the words the woman had spoken. She knew they were in English but the synapses of her brain were simply not connecting them into anything that made sense for the context. “Uhhh…” 

A melodious chuckle sweetened the scene even more. “The band, babe. They’re playing Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’. Maybe not the most romantic background music to this rom-com clich é , but still a great song. And the woman up there is doing a hell of a job with it.” 

 

I had to have this talk with you

My happiness depends on you

And whatever you decide to do

Jolene

 

Adora briefly tuned into the song, agreeing that the unfiltered emotion the singer was putting into the performance was pretty incredible. But it didn’t hold her attention for long. “Oh, right. There’s music playing back there. I was far too distracted by the absolutely gorgeous woman next to me who makes the setting sun look plain in comparison.”

Catra made several retching noises in reply, though she hoped fervently that the red cast over her cheeks could be shrugged off as a reflection from the nightly descent of the star that warmed their planet rather than admit how much she liked the sap Adora was spouting. “Oh, god . That was cringey as hell, Adora. You’re killing me…”

“Mmmm, such a dramatic response. That makes me think you actually liked it quite a bit, kitten.” Adora pulled Catra close again, the pride at her words written all over her face. 

“Kitten? You all just love playing up the first syllable of my name so much.” The brunette rolled her eyes heavily, but a satisfied sigh escaped from being snuggled in close again. Adora’s arms were wrapped around her fully and Catra had to admit, being enveloped by the woman of her affection was damn nice. Adora could call her whatever she liked.

“Absolutely you’re my little kitten. You’re cute, cuddly, and don’t always know how to retract your claws when you’re feeling too much.” The blonde snickered at her own wit, before lowering her head to murmur into her date’s ear. “Though, I’m mad that Scorpia uses ‘Wildcat’. I’m pretty sure that’s a perfect description of how you’ll be in bed... Remind me to punch her for it later.”

“With pleasure. That asshole deserves to be socked and it’ll be even better when it comes out of nowhere. Just, y’know, remember to dodge when she hits back. Tree trunks for arms and all.” 

“I could take her.” Subconsciously, Adora’s arms embraced Catra’s form even tighter as if demonstrating she wasn’t the only one with corded thickness.

Feeling her date’s muscles encase her, it was difficult for Catra to not begin to fantasize in all the ways Adora could take her instead. But there would be plenty of time- and reason, for those types of thoughts later. “Mmm, as thrilling as this display of jock lesbianism is, I think we’ve successfully seen the sun set. Buy me another beer, babe?”

“Absolutely. But first, I’m going to lose it if I don’t kiss you.”

Catra turned to face her, pulling on the collar of Adora’s shirt. Their foreheads rested against one another as Catra brought up a hand to the blonde’s cheek, her thumb lightly tracing her jawline. “Don’t know what you’re waiting for. I think you know by now it’s not by invitation only.”

Adora hummed in satisfaction at being brought so close to Catra in such a way before closing the distance between their lips. They kissed long and slow as the night began to drift over them.

By the time they returned to the deck, the lights around the dance area were turned on, twinkling merrily against the growing darkness. There was also a lit candle on their table, much to Adora’s delight. Sure, there were servers going around to each table to light one, but it still made for a nice atmosphere.

 

I wish I was a flame dancing in a candle

Lighting up your living room high on the mantle

I could bring some romance without any scandal

And then when you were done you'd just put me out

 

Idly Adora wondered if this was the beginning of a nightly ritual; playing this song as the servers lit the candles. She chose instead to believe it was serendipitous, a romantic happenstance just for them. Her eyes flicked over to the dance floor. It wasn’t packed by any stretch, but enough couples were out there that she felt assured of relative anonymity. The mead and the setting sun snuggles and kisses fortified her decision. “You… wouldn’t want to dance? With me, over there?” She pointed to the dance area and swallowed thickly. It could so easily be far too corny for her date’s liking, though she was pretty sure Catra would at least let her down gently were that the case. 

 

I wish I was a tune you sang in your kitchen

Putting your groceries away and washing your dishes

I could float around your tongue and ease the tension

And then when you were done you'd just quiet down...

 

Catra didn’t respond to the question, merely stood from her chair and offered a hand out. “You coming?”

They crossed hand-in-hand to the dancefloor, making certain to stay at the periphery for easy escape. As they drew together, it was immediately apparent to Catra that Adora probably hadn’t had too many slow dance partners in her life. Her hands were awkwardly tense as one locked onto Catra’s left hand and the other cemented itself to the middle of her back. It didn’t bother her exactly... she just wanted the beautiful woman to unclench her body and let the music guide them. 

 

But if I get too close

Will the magic fade?

Would I turn you off or away?

If I pull you in

Would I push you out

Of something here you care about?

 

Adora tried to not look down at her feet, even though they were barely moving, fully convinced she’d be crushing her date’s toes any second with her big, dumb boots. She blamed the lingering effects of the alcohol for her awkwardness and gnawing uncertainty; that was her story and she was sticking to it.

When the blonde did not unfurl her grasp by the end of the chorus, Catra gently let go of their interlaced hands, sliding both of her arms to join around Adora’s neck. She peered up at her dance partner, reveling in how stunning she looked under the darkening sky. The twinkling lights around them framed her so exquisitely; Adora only needed to stop thinking so much. Catra kissed the tip of her nose, before settling into their famous forehead touch. “Relax. It’s just me.”

Adora gave a grateful smile, closing her eyes to internally dissolve into a puddle of sweetness and bliss. Any held tension in her posture was instantly released at the tender peck and simple assurance. The hand that previously had been entwined with Catra’s joined the other against her back. The brunette hummed in approval as familiarity and ease finally cut into their dance.

 

I wish I was a sweater wrapped around your hips

And when it got too cold into me you'd slip...

 

Adora’s hands moved down to the small of her dance partner’s back, before dipping them underneath the woman’s leather jacket. She would keep things appropriate, but she really needed to be in as close of contact as possible. They slotted around Catra’s waist, thumbs tracing the curves below the soft cotton of her shirt. 

 

Well I'm at a loss for what to do

But I'm drawn to you.

 

The pair continued to circle slowly together until the last of the lyrics sounded; an aching ‘ I love you, I’m sorry ’. During the brief pause in between songs of the set, Catra repositioned so her head could lay against Adora’s chest for their next dance.

Adora smiled at the change, giving her partner a tame squeeze. “Did you still want that beer, kitten?”

“No, I want this. Just you.” Catra sighed and somehow managed to pull Adora closer. Even suggesting there was space between their bodies was laughable.

They danced together for several more songs, showing themselves to be that couple on the floor who stayed latched together no matter what, even during the one upbeat tune that played. Adora did take the opportunity to dip Catra during the lively song, her partner protesting with giggles at the action. The moonlight reflecting in her two-toned eyes, Adora couldn’t help but cover her face with kisses as she supported the woman in the backwards hold.

 

Hey citrus, hey liquor, 

I love it when you touch each other

Hey whiskey, hey ginger,

I come to you with rigid fingers...

 

Neither woman was familiar with the latest song, but to no longer be swaying together under the soft string lights was a grave affront to all that was good and right in the world so they stayed put.

 

I feel Jesus in the clumsiness of young and awkward lovers...

 

“I’m not sure if that song was about alcoholism or hooking up at a bar.” Catra remarked as it finished, mentally making a note to investigate later. Religious imagery wasn’t super her thing, but she was surprisingly struck by feeling ‘ Jesus in the tenderness of honest, nervous lovers’ and comparing questionable kisses to Judas.

“Don’t ask me; my music critiques are either ‘I liked that.’ or ‘Not my jam.’ I think I would give it a ‘I liked that’, though.”

“Me too, but it’s also sort of drawn me out of the mood to dance. You mind if we go back to the table, babe?”

“Not at all. Truthfully, between our walk and all this time out on the floor, I’m realizing that this was not appropriate footwear for the evening.” The blonde raised a foot from the ground, wincing slightly as she shook it out. “Cute but not functional.”

“You should have said something earlier; we could have gone back at any time.” Catra glanced down with worry at her date’s foot, vaguely annoyed with herself for not thinking of checking in on her comfort three songs ago.

“Catra, I wouldn’t have stopped dancing with you if my feet had become just two giant blisters. No way.”

“Kinda gross, but sweet all the same. Come on, let’s get back to the table and rest for a bit.”

The pair did not stay much longer after returning to their seats, a passing server kind enough to close out their tab to avoid the line inside of other patrons calling it a night. 

Catra climbed into the driver’s seat, so blissed from what had been such an ideal night out. She regarded her date, coming to understand every romantic cliche out there so acutely. Her heart did feel so full that it could burst at any second. She was setting up a stable residence on cloud nine and maybe love really did make the world go ‘round. 

Everything had just been perfect and it was all due to the thoughtfulness of the woman in her passenger’s seat. The kind, genuine, caring person that made Catra soft and somehow be okay with that. The stunningly beautiful, oh-so-sexy, ‘throw me down and ravage me for hours on end’ woman of her dreams. Catra’s thoughts were very quickly sliding into a most colorful and distracting place. “Hmm, wondering how I can thank you for such an amazing time out tonight.” She was already leaning over the gear shift as she spoke, her hand settled on Adora’s upper thigh, tracing odd swirls into it with the very tip of her finger.

“I might have a few ideas... Oh, wait, we agreed. Not until after the first date.” Adora looked around the dark parking lot, thankful she’d chosen to park in an area decently far away from the other brewery goers. They weren’t completely hidden but… “Eh, close enough.”

Catra chuckled at the green light as Adora moved in to close the distance between them. Their kisses took no time to boil over; Catra leading the way. Her hands were all over the blonde, squeezing the defined muscles of her arms, running down the tightness of her torso. With every swipe and pull, Adora’s moans deepened and her breath quickened. When Catra finally deigned to slip under her shirt, Adora purred approval and want into her mouth, laying back against the car door in total surrender to wherever her date would take her at the end of their night. 

The brunette wasted no time, hands immediately massaging and kneading Adora’s breasts. She was normally not quite so hasty, but every breathy cry of appreciation from the woman below her drove up her desire to inconceivable heights. Catra was vaguely aware that she had left the driver’s seat nearly all the way, almost fully entrenched over the woman. The change of position enthralled her; topping was its own special delight. 

She had Adora’s shirt halfway up her body, more than ready to let the unlit parking lot protect her modesty before she paused. Her date, judging by the needy and persistent sounds she was making, seemed downright eager for things to take a new, southern direction. Catra swallowed her own thirst, striving to maintain a clear head. She wanted to remember this in stark, glorious detail until her dying day.

Catra’s fingers trailed lightly down the panes of her stomach, tracing along the top of her jeans. The blonde whimpered at the furtive brushes, her body twitching upwards in hopes of finding more definitive contact. Catra gave a lazy smile, deciding that trembling, aroused mess was a damn good look for Adora and one she would need to wear often. Her hand moved to circle the button of the other woman’s jeans. She knew one small flick of her fingers and they’d be undone. Then she would be free to slowly ease the zipper down, drawing it out for as long as she could. Adora would be flushed and wrecked beneath her, ready to beg Catra for any relief. She would satisfy the blonde’s needs only when she was driven to the absolute brink of desperation. But what sweet succor it would be when Catra finally slipped her hand down and ran her fingers through Adora’s slick heat to assuage her needy clit.

Before Catra could make her ruminations reality, a strobe of multicolored lights flashed in her periphery. Fortunately, there were no sirens; truthfully, the local law enforcement probably made it a habit to stop at the venue near closing every night, just to make certain everyone was following safe driving behaviors. Pop in, make it known to the patrons that tipsy driving was still drunk driving, and then move along. Business as usual and nothing she couldn’t wait out by driving up the blonde’s desire even more. 

She certainly didn’t expect to see a beam of light that looked suspiciously like a flashlight begin to move across the parking lot as the officers left the car. Whether they were searching for someone in particular or if this was just a normal part of their nightly sweep, Catra wasn’t ready to find out. She very calmly removed herself from Adora, a heavy, resigned sigh escaping from deep in her chest as she did so. 

The blonde made a near feral noise of indignation and objection at the loss of Catra’s body against her own. She had had her eyes shut the entire time, exercising every ounce of self-control and perseverance she could muster. With Catra’s hand fluttering against the fly of her jeans for so long, it was an absolute wonder Adora hadn’t shoved the brunette’s hand down on her, rocking her hips hard against it until she came undone. Or how she hadn’t taken charge to bring the woman’s thigh to grind against and ease her ache was also a miracle. Essentially, Adora was being a very good and very patient girl, so why the hell was she pulling away!  

Catra was highly amused by the protests. “I agree, babe, trust me. But the fuzz just pulled in and it looks like they’re encouraging people to vacate the lot or something. I’d prefer the first time my hand goes down your pants to not get immortalized in a police report for public indecency.”

“The only indecent thing here is being interrupted.” Adora pouted, her heart rate still erratic. So close. So damn close; thirty seconds more and Catra would have had her pants undone, if not a hand slipped under the material. Why, why, why were they always interrupted! “Ughh. Fine. Let’s go before they decide we’re suspicious and worth arresting or whatever. Useless assholes; don’t have anything better to do in this shitty little town.” 

“Awww. You’re cute when you’re frustrated and ticked off at the cops. My inner anti-establishment, anarchist is swooning. Maybe we should go tag some buildings? That could be a fun way to end our date.” The brunette suggested, pulling forward out of the parking spot. 

Adora crossed her arms over her chest, sinking low in her seat to thoroughly sulk. “Shut up and get us out of here. It’s a 17 minute drive, but you better make it in ten.”

“Peeling out of here and speeding down the road isn’t a great way to avoid the police, babe.” Catra pointed out, creeping out of the lot at several miles per hour lower than she needed to before realizing that kind of behavior might also attract their friends in uniform. She pressed the pedal down to continue at a normal speed. “I’ll compromise and see if we can make it in fifteen.”

“Thirteen.” Adora growled. 

Catra chucked her tongue. “So, so eager. You just think long and hard on what you want the rest of our night to look like and I will too. I’m sure that will make these fifteen short minutes just fly by .”

Chapter Text

Catra did her best to stay focused on the road, though her mind was certainly elsewhere. Neither woman was speaking, each following the directive to consider what they wanted the rest of the night to look like. She had said it mostly to tease Adora, but what was her answer to her own question? Having Adora below her, pressed against the car door, breathing heavily, and just waiting for her to finally slip a hand down her pants had been insanely hot. The fact she was able to exercise any amount of cognitive reasoning, enough to think “Cops bad, leave now.” was truly a feat beyond measure. It was uncanny how often they had been interrupted right when things were about to reach the tipping point. 

Front seat or back? Just hands? Maybe if we recline I can get my mouth... As she contemplated the Rubik’s cube, drawing out the pros and cons of the various ways they could contort themselves for maximize pleasure in minimal space, a lilliputian whisper in her mind fluttered out, ‘That’s what you truly want the end of this night to be?’ 

Of course that’s what Catra wanted the end of the night to look like; she finally had the chance to have sex with Adora ! Sure, if she took a moment to check in with herself there were some weird first-time-with-someone-new jitters… some amount of unease... but that was pretty standard, especially since her worship of pussy had been devoutly self-guided now for a good long while. It’s not like anything more was going on, because it wasn’t exactly hesitation or anything along those lines. She just needed to work past the block of her own nerves.

The tiny voice in the back of her mind squeaked at her to take a closer look at those so-called jitters. Catra gave a big ‘Fuck you’ to that and got lost instead over how soft Adora’s skin was and how delectable she would taste. The voice harrumphed pointedly, regaining her attention to tell her what a giant neon sign her denial was. Why did she feel the need to assert there was nothing more happening below the surface in the first place? Catra drowned it out with the memory of Adora’s ragged breathing and needy moans; the flush that stretched from her cheeks to well below her collarbone. Her internal compass got fed up at that point, sending her images of how resplendent Adora had looked in the moonlight, twinkling fairy lights framing her face and reflecting in the blue pools of her eyes as they danced. So beautiful… Catra didn’t even have a chance to distract herself with more lewd thoughts before her subconscious came in with the final blow. A collage of the entire night: Adora’s uncertainty over beer before gulping down mead, every laugh over their dinner, the way she flexed her arms at the table just for Catra, her sickenly sweet lakeside words with the backdrop of the setting sun, and just how happy she had been over the small lit candle that had appeared at their table after their stroll. It was a romantic punch in the gut, a complete sucker punch of genuine affection. The voice drawled out at her mercilessly, ‘And you want your first time with her to be in a car ?’

Catra knew at that point that she had been outsmarted by her own damn self.

“Adora…” She began when they parked in the long gravel drive of the cabin. All of the lights downstairs were off, most of the ones in the bedroom as well. Such Spring Break party animals, it’s barely even midnight . Though she was glad for it; Catra really didn’t want to have to face anyone after this conversation. 

“Mmm. Yes, Catra?” Adora placed two fingers on top of Catra’s hand, lightly tracing nonsensical designs against the skin there. Feeling the hand below her flex and grip the gear shaft it had been resting on tightly, Adora let a single fingertip climb the arm of the other woman, before trailing back down again. Catra shivered beneath the simple touch as Adora leaned towards her, voice dropping low. “Ready to pick up where we were so rudely interrupted? I’m not opposed to car sex, but I do want to point out there are two large beds in our room we could use instead. You might have to cover my mouth, though; I’m not sure how quiet I can be.” She punctuated the end of her sentence with a smug, suggestive grin.

Catra groaned, wanting to smack her head against the steering wheel repeatedly for the second time this trip. Instead she gently placed it against the top of the wheel, breathing in through her nose and out through her mouth steadily as she tried to find the right words to say. She once more beseeched her inner monologue. Adora said it herself; it wouldn’t have to be in the car! Bed? It remained unmoved at her plight, choosing to send a very unhelpful image of all of their friend’s reactions to overhearing… things. The torture that would come from Scorpia alone was enough to make her blanch and surrender entirely. Perfuma would be quietly amused, but she didn’t even want to think about the colossal snit Glimmer would throw or the awkward dad look from Bow. Mermista and Sea Hawk wouldn’t give a shit; they probably wouldn’t even register it over their own cacophony. As the reactions faded from her mind, Catra sighed morosely, hands running over the tops of her thighs. 

This was not the response Adora had been anticipating. She envisioned Catra pinning her almost before the car was in park so they could pick up again right away. Or maybe Adora would carry her up to bed as Catra placed a hot trail of kisses down her neck, fingernails digging into her back, the heat radiating from the other woman making it so they barely even made it upstairs before the clothes came flying off... She wasn’t that sure; she only had about fifteen minutes to plan. But as her date continued her measured breathing coupled with the nervous tic of her hands, Adora’s racy smile faded only to be replaced with the cold grip of anxiety. “Oh… is everything okay?”

In, out. In, out. This is the right call. “... Yeah, it is. Promise.” Catra lifted her head, the smallest quake of a smile on her lips. She took the blonde’s hand in hers, bringing it to her mouth to kiss each knuckle. “I absolutely love everything you’re saying.” The icy hand of Adora’s nervousness loosened its chokehold more and more with every tender kiss, though was quickly overtaken by the smothering warmth of confusion. She sensed a ‘but’ lurking here somewhere and it didn’t seem like the perfect one in Catra’s jeans. After finishing up with her knuckles, Catra let her lips linger on the top of Adora’s hand, her warm breath tickling slightly as she spoke into it. “And oh, god. I want it. Badly. So, so badly. But…” She rested her forehead against the blonde’s hand and grew unnaturally quiet.

There it is… Adora’s voice was no more than a meager whisper as the chill stifled her once more. “What is it, Catra?” 

“I think we should wait.” The words came out between gritted teeth. Catra was certain of her feelings on the matter, her mind had made sure of that, but damn if it still didn’t hurt to say. Adora screaming out her pleasure, so loud that Catra would need to physically muffle the sound… It could be hers tonight . And yet somehow she was knowingly delaying it.

“Oh.” Adora cocked her head to the side. She cleared her throat a couple times, the frog stuck in it just as lost for words as she was. “Gotta say, I’m a little surprised? Sorta seemed like...” She trailed off, knowing for her own peace of mind that she really ought to ask some questions, and try to figure out where the change had happened. Catra certainly had not seemed anywhere adjacent to the idea of waiting twenty minutes ago. But as the tiny seed of rejection burrowed into her chest, her tongue shrivelled in her mouth. Adora managed a small shrug of a single shoulder, hoping that would suffice as a complete response and see the matter drop for now.

That barely perceptible raise of the blonde’s shoulder felt as resolute as a smack across the face. Catra rushed forward with her explanation, not even caring how panicked she sounded. Adora could not think for one second she was anything less than the most desirable woman in the woman to her. “Fuck, a-are you okay? I swear , I just mean until we’re done with the trip! The second we set foot in our apartment, I’m tearing your clothes off.” Catra tried to clear her voice of the alarm she felt, uncertain if any lasting damage had been done. Adora had to know how badly she wanted this and why holding off just a few more days would make everything so much better. “I just… I just think it’s going to be really special and babe, I want to take my time. I want to run my hands over every inch of you, draw out every sound you can possibly make, and make you come over and over again. And I just can’t do that with all of our friends a room away. Car sex is only hot up and to a point. I’m sure we could make it work but… Titanic only made it look good; there’s not nearly enough space for everything I want to do to you.” The timbre of her panic faded, making her voice faint and almost shy. “Also, you said it yourself on day one; you’re not some floozy from a party. I know that like, every time with you is going to be special and amazing, but this relationship is just really important to me… So let’s do it right from the start?” Catra gave a weak smile as she finished speaking, hoping she was coming across as endearing more than full on pathetic.

Adora thought long and hard at the brunette’s words, giving each emotion that popped up in her mind its own time to speak. Disappointment made a lengthy appearance, paired with fevered impatience because holy hell, Catra’s descriptions of what they’d get up to once they got home were something to consider. Her mouth ticked up at the mention of one of her favorite movies, a quickly developing inside joke, trying to reconcile her dismay that it wouldn’t be her hand dragging down a fogged up car window tonight. But those feelings were eclipsed overall by a melding of affection and appreciation. The tumultuous winter of her anxiety gave way to the promise of spring as she considered the last part of what Catra had said. She certainly wasn’t going to let that one slip by her. “Relationship, huh?”

Catra nodded slowly, relief palpable that Adora was finally speaking to her even if it was rather succinct. She had watched a whole range of emotions flicker across the blonde’s face as she waited in silent agony, uncertain where Adora would land by the end of it. Catra just couldn’t bear the thought of screwing things up again . She released a breath she hadn’t even realized she’d been holding and took a moment to let the frenzied beating of her heart fade to just mere relentless hammering. 

Adora turned to face her, eyes bright and set. The corner of her pink lips lifted upwards in a smile that was almost challenging. “So. We’re in one of those?” Her leg began to bounce incessantly as she waited for a response. Catra was certain the motion was entirely subconscious to her.

She paused, back to holding her breath as she sought to reconcile the enormity of what had come out of her own mouth. Catra was at a crossroads moment; the lever could be flipped either way and it was her choice to make. Her inner dialogue piped up once more, reminding her that this, being an ‘us’ with Adora, was what she really wanted. And it wasn’t just her choice. It was one they would make together. The more she pondered that, the easier it became for her to speak her truth. “Err… Yes? Because we’re Useless Lesbians who don’t know the meaning behind the words ‘take it slow’ at least, um, e-emotionally…” She blinked at the blonde who was practically vibrating out of her seat. With a long exhale to expel any amount of nervousness held, she softened her gaze. “I think we are. If that’s what you want.”

Adora reached over and grabbed Catra’s hand, thumbing along the side of it. She gave it a gentle squeeze, no longer fidgeting in her seat. “Of course it is. And three years is plenty slow enough for me. I’ve been wanting to call you my girlfriend for a long, long time, Catra.” Adora settled against the headrest, suddenly composed, completely at ease, and more than a little satisfied. A brief respite settled over the pair in the car, each reveling in their moment. Adora broke the quiet eventually, speaking in a slow, thoughtful tone. “I understand where you’re coming from and honestly, if I started to use my brain to think for two seconds, I would have come to the same conclusion. I think being intentional in a space we can take our time is the right call.” The blonde pondered for a few more breaths, before giggling wickedly. “Yeah, I completely agree with you, we’ll wait. But we can totally add car sex to our sex bucket list, right?”

Catra shook her head and joined in with the blonde’s laughter. The anxiety that had been a stone wedged deep in her chest bloomed into something akin to a marshmallow, spreading gooey warmth through all her extremities. Which made absolutely no sense at all, but Catra wasn’t too concerned with the trivialities of reality. Not when she and her girlfriend were safe in their own little world. “We haven’t even done it yet and you’re already making a list? Geez, Adora, you’re incorrigible! But, duh , ‘course we can.” She let the rapture of the moment wash over her, wondering which demigoddess had decided to bless her this time. They definitely deserved an offering or two; would dark chocolate and jug wine suffice? Chuckling inwardly at her own continued silliness, she felt Adora drop her hand. It did not venture far, coming to rest on her upper thigh. Catra glanced down at it, then back up at the blonde, and cleared her throat, not missing the mood change. “I, uh, hope you agree that this little pause won’t stop everything we do...”   

Adora leaned forward, inviting herself into Catra’s space. It was a most welcomed intrusion. “Yeah, like I’d really be able to keep my hands off my girlfriend for the next…” She did a quick mental calculation, eyes widening in disbelief at the result. “ Seven days ? This has been the longest, most ridiculous vacation ever.”

“You’re telling me, babe. But hey, it’s after midnight so really it’s only six days. Bright side to everything and all that.”

“Still way too long for my taste, but I know it’ll be worth the wait.” She started to close the distance between their lips, but ended up pulling back slightly, brows furrowed.  “Just one thing, though.”

Catra gulped, once again shifting gears to try and keep up with her girlfriend.“Uh, yeah, babe? What is it?” 

“... You are totally down for skipping class the first day back, right? Because I’m going to make sure we fuck in every room of the apartment, multiple times, and on every surface possible. Saturday and Sunday won’t be long enough.”

Catra threaded her hands into the front of Adora’s jacket, bringing her in close. She felt a low growl of satisfaction rise from the back of her throat. “Who the hell does anything the first day back from break? You’ll be all mine, Adora. Anywhere and any way you’d like.”

Despite how late into the night the pair had stayed in the car ardently celebrating their new status, Adora walked into the kitchen bright-eyed and bushy-tailed relatively early in the morning. She knew that the people she needed to see would be there munching away on breakfast. Sure enough, Bow and Glimmer were seated at the kitchen island, chatting over pancakes and their preferred caffeinated hot beverages. Scorpia’s presence in the kitchen as well was an unexpected variable, but that certainly wasn’t going to stop her from going forward with things as planned.

Setting her face into a neutral gaze, Adora situated herself in front of her breakfasting besties.“Bow, Glimmer. Scorpia.” She looked at each one of them as she said their names, holding eye contact for just a split second longer than normal. The shimmer of discomfort and confusion from her grave greeting was better than any breakfast spread she’d ever had before. Adora did not allow her visage to crack; she was all business. “There’s someone I’d like you to meet.”

The pair at the island raised their eyebrows, and pursed their lips, a mirror image of one another. They made eye contact out of the corner of their eyes, silently discussing what the hell could have happened last night on Adora’s date. No reasonable circumstance either could come up with would end in Adora making an introduction to them the following morning. Bow gave a small shrug as Glimmer’s mouth tightened. Scorpia for her part stopped whisking the eggs and milk for her scramble at the sudden seriousness in the air. Without inquiry or demand for explanation beforehand, they all nodded in tandem, eyes wide with apprehension.

It was at that moment that Catra walked in, the blonde throwing her hands out to display the beauty in front of them, who only rolled her eyes at the ostentatious display. Catra twirled a finger in the air with a flat ‘Ta-da’, not bothering to really register anyone’s reaction, even going as far as to turn away from them. She’d agreed to this in a delirium of morning kisses and a hazy, non-caffeinated state of mind. Adora would get her dumb joke as promised, but it better not delay her coffee for much longer. 

Glimmer drummed her fingers against the countertop, miffed at all the drama. She felt a bit like the butt of a joke she didn’t quite understand, though she was glad her bestie hadn’t like, bought a horse from a local farm last night or something equally Adora. She had been having visions of being ushered outside to meet Swift Wind or whatever she’d call the damn thing. “Uhhh, bae. Not how much booze is still coursing through your system from last night, but we met Catra years ago. Like a day after you did.”

Adora gave her a humongous, utterly unashamed, and unfiltered smile that threatened to crack her face in twain. “Maybe you’ve met Catra… but not my girlfriend Catra!”

Instantly her two best friends broke out in cheers, springing up from their seats to smother the new couple with their joy. Catra narrowly escaped the group embrace, ducking under Bow’s arm with a smirk and dexterous dodge. While the three morons hugged one another to death she’d seize a cup of joe. Maybe after that life-giving liquid she would be in the mood to celebrate because currently, Catra couldn’t believe the twentysomethings were literally jumping up and down with glee. She and Adora had gone on a single date and defined their relationship, not like, saved the universe or something like that. Shaking her head at the over the top jubilation, she turned towards the coffee pot only to stop dead in her tracks. She hadn’t realized who else had been present for the entire exchange. “Ah, fuck, Scorpia’s here too! Babe, what the hell? This couldn’t have waited until later when it was just you and your two idiots?” Her girlfriend only stuck out her tongue at Catra’s accusing stare. She dragged a hand down her face in exasperation, muttering under her breath. Catra knew she was about to be thoroughly heckled and wasn’t exactly thrilled by the prospect. “It was so dumb to agree to this. Why did I agree to this?”

Adora untangled herself from Bow and Glimmer, folding Catra in a great hug that lifted her off the ground easily. It was annoying when Scorpia did it, but coming from Adora? Catra felt very small, but in a way that sent a pleasant jolt down her stomach. She wrapped her legs around her girlfriend’s waist, half because she could and half to secure herself better as Adora spun them around the kitchen. “Because you’re my girlfriend!” The blonde squealed in elation, thick arms holding the smaller girl tight to her chest. “And you want to make me happyyyyyy!”

One date, Wildcat?! ” Scorpia exclaimed, throwing the bowl she was holding down on the counter, contents splashing everywhere. She erupted into great peals of laughter. “Ohmygoshohmygosh! Even ‘Fuma and I waited until after the third date to make it exclusive!” 

“Oh, fuck off Scorpia, you were calling her your girlfriend back when you were just texting here and there; well before any date! Don’t give me any of that gay ‘holier than thou’ shit.” And if Scorpia really wanted to talk about rushing things , pointing out just how long the muscular woman had been hiding an engagement ring would be a sure way to shut her up. But even as riled as she was, Catra wouldn’t cross that line. She had held on to it for Scorp, the excitable, head-over-heels in love woman not trusting herself to not propose with it immediately after it had been purchased. Scorpia wanted the right moment and while Catra wasn’t exactly sure what that meant to her friend, she had her private suspicions. Around the same time they’d all decided on this week in the wilderness, Scorp had asked her for it. “Yes, okay, we’ve had one real date but as you all love to point out, we’ve been hooked on one another for years. So, hell yes she’s my girlfriend. And I’m damn happy to say it!” Catra snarled at the large woman, almost baring her teeth, but the happy noise that reverberated from the woman holding her shook most of the real bite out of it.

“Mmm, say it again.” Adora purred, fitting her hands against the small of Catra’s back as she continued to cling. Her fingers itched to go lower, but she refrained when she saw her friends from the corner of her eye. Bow was gnawing on his hand to hold back a squeal of pure delight. Glimmer was shaking her head, but had a fond smile on her face as she beheld the saccharine sapphic display. She wasn’t able to see Scorpia, but was satisfied enough that her raucous laughter had eased.

Any residual irritation faded from Catra as she fixed her gaze back on Adora. The kitchen and the other inhabitants of the room simply ceased to be at that point. She placed a hand on the blonde’s cheek, stroking along her jaw, both women’s eyes fading to a dreamlike state at the tenderness. “Adora is my girlfriend.” Catra leaned in and brushed her lips against the other woman, grinning vapidly against the contact. “You’re my girlfriend.” She and Adora stared deeply into one another’s eyes, not even the suggestion of thought between the two of them. Catra’s voice dropped her voice to a low, raspy trill. “I’m your girlfriend.” 

Glimmer noticed that Adora’s eyes were burning bright blue and she looked ready to whisk the pair back to the seclusion of their bedroom at any moment. The spinning bear hug really had been very cute, she could admit that. But she could see the tips of Adora’s fingers had dipped to below the waistband of Catra’s lounge pants as they nestled on to her back. That was something else entirely and not anything she was willing to witness, especially first thing in the morning. She raised her eyebrow at her boyfriend, uncharacteristically asking for permission before interrupting the scene happening before them. He nodded his agreement that this should be doused before things got messy. Glimmer cleared her throat loudly, though the pair barely reacted to the sound. She enunciated, even daring to step up relatively close to the lesbian love bubble. “So, what are you two fools going to get up to today?” 

“No clue…” The pair murmured, almost at the exact same time, still not looking away from one another even as a visitor to their little world hovered on the periphery. 

Glimmer turned away, jerking a thumb towards the dopey-eyed couple as she silently told Bow it was his turn to try. She could easily play the Black Hearted Buzzkill and do something to break this up, but that probably wouldn’t sit well with her bestie. Her boyfriend could be the bad guy for once.

Bow rose up to the challenge, taking the spot his lady had just vacated. “Oooookay, that’s fair, I guess. Glim and I were going to check out the hot tub after breakfast. We figure it must be something because Mermista has been like, living in it this entire trip. Do you two want to join us…?” 

Scorpia had been leaning on the kitchen counter, hands holding her face, and eyes sparkling as she watched. Suddenly wanting to be helpful, she smacked her hand down against the counter, managing to catch the whisk in the mixing bowl of her forgotten breakfast preparation. The utensil went flying into the air before clattering down far more loudly than seemed possible. Scorpia ignored her clumsiness, rushing over to envelop the pair in a crushing hug. “Ooo, ooo! Or ‘Fuma and I were going to have a picnic! I’ll be packing up some sandwiches and stuff here for it soon. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind if you joined!”

The metallic clamor and raw egg effectively ended their sweet moment, but the appearance of a third person cuddled around them really cinched it. Adora chuckled nervously, wondering how long it would be before she could extract herself from the hold. Catra gave her a withering look that clearly said ‘It’s best to just let it happen. Fight and she’ll only latch on tighter.’ A bit tied down at the moment, Adora took the time to consider both paths her friends had laid out for their day. Truthfully, each sounded equally appealing. The hot tub for obvious Catra-in-a-bikini related reasons and the picnic for oh-my-gosh-double-date-DOUBLE-DATE related ones. What an impossible choice. 

She looked towards her girlfriend, hoping for input. Catra merely shrugged as best she could in her current state and made a slight face. The pair hadn’t mastered the art of silent communication in the 8 hours they’d been a couple, but Adora caught in the look that Catra wasn’t keen on making things any harder for their currently leashed sex drives. Sandwiches over skimpy bathing suits it was then. “Well, I mean… We haven’t eaten yet?” Catra nodded encouragingly as Adora congratulated herself for her read of the situation. “So, if Perfuma really wouldn’t mind it…”

“Oh, whatever it is, she certainly would !” The willowy blonde appeared from nowhere, fixing a stern glance to her friends, hands on her hips. Adora blinked at the surprise debut, the woman’s stealth never ceasing to amaze her. Perfuma phased into and out of planes; there was no other explanation. She held the irritated pose for a full three seconds before giving a tinkling laugh. “Sorry, sorry. What were you all talking about?”

At the arrival of her girlfriend, the world’s best double hug was completed. Scorpia gave a beaming smile as Perfuma supplanted herself next to the much larger woman. “Heya, sweetness. Any objections if Mrs. and Mrs. Wildcat here joined us for lunch?” She gestured towards the couple. Catra had slipped out of Adora’s hold, her feet forlornly settled on the ground once more, but their hands remained laced together. Glimmer and Bow gave a quick goodbye to all, begging off to hit the hot tub, since the new couple had extracted themselves from their cling and didn’t feel like joining in their activity.

The sylphlike woman quietly assessed the pair in front of her, the corner of her mouth quirking up for a beat before dropping off as quickly as it came on. “Mrs. and Mrs.? Was there a wedding I missed? I must say I’m a little hurt to have not merited an invitation.”

“Nah, babe, don’t be hurt. You didn’t miss a thing! These crazy kids may have finally started throwing that ‘girlfriend’ word around after their date last night, but of course they’ll at least wait a full seven days to get hitched.” Scorpia waggled her eyebrows at Catra, just daring the short tempered woman to reply. “Counting today, of course.”

Catra opened her mouth to take the bait, practically foaming already, but before she could get a single scalding word out, Adora shook her head with an even murmur. “Six days, actually.” 

The tall woman arched her brow up, not expecting the blonde to be the one to respond to her goading, let alone to be quietly corrected by her. “Oh? Why six?”

Adora shrugged, speaking as if it were the most logical thing in the world. “It’s Sunday. Since we’re eager and counting today, that would make the Big Day on Saturday. I have to work all day.” It was an absolute lie, of course, because she had much more interesting weekend plans for when they returned home than work or fictitious weddings. She gave Catra’s hand a fluttering squeeze, hoping the other woman would understand through the touch that she was being utterly facetious. The fingers or the woman they were attached to did not respond, but Adora took that as a sign to continue.

She was pretty sure she knew how to handle this. She reasoned that steering into the skid might be the best method to combat this kind of crap. Adora hadn’t spent much one-on-one time with her girlfriend’s best friend really, but liked her well enough. Scorpia had a heart of gold, however she did love to get a rise out of her Wildcat. Adora could appreciate that, since it was obvious Scorpia meant no real harm. “It might have been five days if someone ,” She nudged Catra’s shoulder; two-toned eyes narrowed slightly at the contact, knowing no good was going to come of the end of the sentence, “hadn’t ordered the thousand white doves to be released after the ceremony at the very last minute.” 

Catra was given no chance to adjust to the idea that her sham wedding was going to feature a large flock of white birds or to defend herself against being scolded for delaying their arrangement. Scorpia was too quick to retort. She grinned wildly, eyes alight with unbridled excitement that someone decided to play with her. “Shucks, forget the birds! ‘Fuma, you still close with that entomology prof? Let’s have the ceremony in the butterfly house and release them instead. So much more unique! And it means we can have you two crazy kids hitched by Thursday, no problem."

Perfuma gave a tolerant smile, neither confirming nor denying her relationship with the study of insects professor. She knew better than anyone that the best thing to do when Scorpia got going was to just let things lie. She wordlessly excused herself from the scene, fluttering off deeper into the kitchen.

Adora had no idea of that strategy, but if she had to be honest, part of her wanted to stump the other woman. Jocks could be competitive over the strangest things. She pretended to consider a moment, before nodding her head in agreement. “Okay, that solves that! I should be able to catch the saber-wielding belly dancer and tell her things have been moved up a couple days. She’s local, so that’ll help.”

“Oh, we gotta make sure of that! Prime entertainment there.” Scorpia crossed her arms, staring the blonde down carefully, suitably impressed that the volley had been served once again. “Now Adora, I know you and Wildcat were pretty set on that 15-tier cake. But the baker isn’t sure if he can get it done in time, even if we compromise and drop it down to 10.” 

Adora hung her head gloomily. “That delay is my fault, but it’s not because of the number of layers. I’m insisting on custom wedding cake toppers; naturally me as a golden warrior complete with forged mini-sword. Catra chose to be her beautiful self, though with cat ears and a tail for some reason? I didn’t question it, but the decorator gave her a bit of a funny look…” She draped her arm around her girlfriend, comforting the woman and her artistic choices. 

Scorpia guffawed, bending at the waist to laugh. “A tail and cute, fuzzy ears? Wildcat, just wanting to live up to her name! Oh, man.”

Catra shoved herself out of Adora’s hold, muttering to herself as she walked away. She was not awake enough for this shit, but as unamusing as it was, the damn thing seemed to be making two idiots she cared for ridiculously happy. Perfuma wordlessly held out a cup of coffee to the disgruntled woman, taking a long sip of out of her own mug as she observed the two jocks continue to try and outdo one another in their ridiculousness. Adora watched her girlfriend sulk with no small amount of affection before returning to the game. “He did guarantee the figures by Thursday though, so let’s shoot for that.”

“That’s just as well, because I think there’s a couple day waiting period to be ordained online and there’s no way I’m letting anyone else perform this amazing ceremony! Back to the cake issue though… Would you consider instead a bunch of donuts stacked to look like a cake? Because I got a hook-up at Jubilee Donuts. I’m sure Rogelio would give you a sweet deal. That guy and his partners are all about love and they work quickly!”

“Fine by me, so long as the figures fit on top and they have jelly filled. That’s my favorite.” She called over to her sipping, seething girlfriend. “Babe, you like just a plain glazed, right?”

“I’d like for you and the other himbo to shut up, but considering I have both you dummies to deal with now, that might be a pipe dream.” If her coffee needed a warm up, the heat from Catra’s glare would handle it. 

Scorpia chuckled good-naturedly, clapping her verbal sparring partner on the back. “Right you are, Wildcat! Good work finding this one; how did I go so long without knowing how fun she was? I mean, I knew she was great but… Gosh. All this time wasted. We’ve got a lot to make up for!” To her credit, Adora only flinched slightly at the brute force suddenly colliding into her. She smiled at the compliments, glad to be endearing herself to the girlfriend’s best friend. That just seemed like a smart move, though really, it was also hard to not like Scorpia. “Say, Adora, how many live bands did you say there was going to be- seven?”

“Only five, one for every day of our engagement. They all specialize in different genres though, Catra’s idea. Bluegrass, ska, classical… Even bagpipes! It’s going to be magical. We were actually hoping that you’d perform the ceremony via song.” Adora bit her lip, wondering if her teasing was going to end her relationship less than twelve hours before it was made official. But Catra did say she got one a day… “And Scorpia, you’re not going to believe this. Céline Dion actually did agree to attend. It was a long shot, but I’m so glad we reached out. She should be here by Wednesday.”

“No! Oh my gosh, how exciting!” Scorpia fist pumped into the air, while chanting ‘Best wedding ever’ several times. She halted, face open, with a gentle seriousness to her eyes. “My friend. Do you think Queen Céline would join me in duet as you say your vows?”

“She’s already performing a certain song that Catra holds very dear to her heart- may it go on, but… Yes, yes I think she would.” Adora gave a firm, resolute nod of her head before flashing Catra her most winsome smile.

Catra looked back and forth between her girlfriend and best friend several times, uncertain where to direct her vexation. Ultimately, she gave a heavy groan and simply surrendered, lowering her forehead to the counter to wallow. She had no chance at victory when their forces combined like this.

Perfuma put a comforting hand on her shoulder, clucking her tongue. “Awww, poor thing. Here, I’ll manage mine if you handle yours?”

Catra nodded mournfully as she lifted her head from the counter, but still kept her chin resting there. Adora and Scorpia were still going at the subject, though it had delved into such absurdity she couldn’t even follow along any more. “But how?” She sounded like a small child, begging for any direction in this big, impossible world.

“Oh, Catra, dearest. I promise that you’ll figure it out.” Perfuma squeezed her shoulder once before turning her attention towards her girlfriend. She lifted an eyebrow and gave the smallest clearing of her throat.

Despite the fun she was having, the look she was being given was like a honing device, an instant kill-switch. Scorpia gave a self-effacing smile, wiping a tear from the corner of her eye. “Oh, goodness, got a bit caught up there! Ahem, but it was fun. Still, I’ve got lunch to make, so better get to it.” Catra watched with some interest at how effectively Perfuma managed to communicate ‘That’s enough, dear.’ without ever actually saying so. She might need to take some notes. “Adora, you wanna help me load up the car when it’s all said and done? We’ll have the cooler of food and a few chairs to throw in.” 

“Sure, if you can’t handle that all by yourself.” Adora challenged, before drawing back into a happy-go-lucky smile. “Nah, I’m just teasing. I’ll even help you make up lunch. Least I can do for our officiant!” She and Scorpia happily skipped towards the pantry and fridge to pull out the provisions. Watching as Scorpia pulled down the cooler from the top pantry shelf, the woman barely having to stretch to reach it, Adora was a bit taken back when she found herself noticing just how ripped she was. Sure her brawn was a hard thing to miss, starkly evident, but there was no small spark of envy as she saw how Scorpia’s trapezius muscles were molded by the gods themselves. It was an odd thing to take in about someone she viewed in a strictly platonic manner, but she quickly reasoned it was no different than when she complimented Bow’s muscular gains. Adora paused, a little shy about voicing her observation, even if it could lead to another gym buddy or some great lifting tips. She decided instead to continue to capitalize on the friendly, jovial rivalry they had going. A sly grin spread across her face, though she made sure to keep her tone very light and conversational. “Hey Scorpia, did you hear that Bow and Hawk went out to chop wood the other day?” 

The white-haired woman blinked for a moment as she set the cooler down on the counter, far away from the mess she had made earlier but Adora suspected the mild bafflement was a ruse. Her suspicions were confirmed when Scorpia replied in an equally casual manner.  “You don’t say. Isn’t that something?”

“Yup. Suuuure is.” Adora stretched her arms over her head, giving an exaggerated yawn. She was certain the definition of her arms was made rather prevalent by the action.

Scorpia dove right past their coquettish stand-off. “… I could totally chop more than you. No question.” She gave a mighty flex to show off her impossibly corded arms and make her point quite clear. 

She had bypassed several formalities, but Adora didn’t mind one bit. This was the content she was really looking for as the challenge had been extended. “Pffft. In your dreams! I’d level half the forest before you got one tree down.” She playfully nudged into the other woman, matching her flex in turn. They dissolved into a fit of giggles; two inherently happy jock lesbians bonding over the thrill of competition and embracing the whimsy of life as their friendship increased a level or two.

“Hmm, I wouldn’t mind watching that. Both of them.” Perfuma tittered over her coffee, a placid smile on her face. Catra sputtered in response, head snapping over to look at her in disbelief. How exactly was she supposed to feel about her best friend’s girlfriend, her own good friend, smarming over her new girlfriend? Said good friend did not overlook her floundering, but apparently it was too early for office hours, because Perfuma wasn’t interested in a processing session and coddling her confusion. “Oh, dear. Lighten up, Catra. You’re dating a hottie. You know Scorpia has my whole heart, but a competition of strength and dexterity between the two would be something to see.”

Catra took a breath as she tapped her fingernails against her mug, deciding she probably was taking things a bit too seriously. It was not that big of a deal and Adora was beyond hot. Still, she didn’t need anyone to make things harder for her this week. “Don’t get any ideas, ‘Fuma. Adora and I agreed last night to hold off on our own personal test of stamina until we got home. It’s going to be difficult enough to not climb that girl like one of those trees she so desperately wants to cut down; I don't need to see her all amped up on jock adrenaline as well. So, please, for me and my fragile self-control, curb your interest.”

Perfuma hummed, thoroughly amused by her friend’s plight. “A touch silly if you ask me. Good luck being noble for the next week.”

“Yeeeeeeah, didn’t ask for your input this time, friend.” Catra ground her back teeth together before she slanted her mouth into a sharp grin. “But we’ll make up for it. I can guarantee that.”

The slender blonde just hummed in agreement, both women enjoying their coffee as their girlfriends fought to make them the best picnic lunch they could.

Chapter Text

Working together, it did not take Scorpia and Adora long to pack the cooler with their lunch and load everything into the car, particularly when even cutting vegetables turned into a bit of a race. Though, Perfuma once again worked her magic to put an end to that before stitches were required. 

Shoving the final chair into the back of Scorpia’s Subaru, Adora heard a call of “Incoming!” At the last second she turned around, and noticing an object spiraling towards her, automatically threw her hands up to catch it.

“Oops, sorry! Heh, got excited, probably should have timed that a little better.” Scorpia apologized as she jogged over to her friend. “But great reflexes- for a soccer player!”

Adora tossed the football between her hands a couple times, wondering if she and Scorpia were at the point of their friendship that a cocky “ What can I say, I’m good with my hands.” would be well received. She ultimately decided it wasn’t worth the risk; the tall woman was probably not as innocent as she came across, but she’d also never heard her make a dirty joke before. Adora made a mental note to ask Catra about it later. “Heh, thanks! You play rugby, right?”

“Yup, sure do! Intramural, pick-up games on Thursday nights. You should come by sometime.” Scorpia gave her a beaming smile. “We’re like a little family and I think you’d fit in real well.”

Adora warmed at the comment. Her average week had about three seconds of free time and she already was mentally cancelling things that weren’t essential for the foreseeable future to be able to spend more time with her girlfriend, but it was nice all the same to know Scorpia wanted her there. “As soon as they add a few more hours in the day! But seriously, if I ever can make it, I’m there. I, uh, kind of want to keep my evenings open for a while…” Her eyes drifted over to Catra who was seated on the top step of the porch, flicking through her phone. She can have my evenings, my mornings, my weekends… How many classes do you really have to attend in your senior year?

The short-haired woman didn’t miss the glance and smiled to show she clearly understood. “Yeah, I get that. Hard to be away from them, huh? Especially at the start!” She hesitated for a moment, then seemed to make up her mind about something. “Just, friendly bit of advice, not that you asked for it. Remember that having your own things only makes coming back together every night even sweeter.”

Adora nodded absently. The comment was made with the best of intentions, but it really wasn’t what she wanted to hear. Her returned smile was a little strained, even as she tried to remain focused on the heart behind the words. “Yeah, I get what you’re saying. Definitely for a little while though, I just wanna be with her…”

Scorpia laughed to herself, rocking back and forth on her heels in an exaggerated attempt at innocence. When Adora was good and truly perplexed, she quietly began to lilt out, “ I don’t wanna go to work, I don’t wanna go to sleep, I don’t wanna do it…”

While Adora had learned on the deck the day before that the woman was prone to bursting out into song, it still surprised her all the same. She gave a flustered grin, but that only encouraged her friend all the more. Scorpia picked up the volume, continuing to tease her through the song. “Everyone’s been wondering, where have I been, when they’re cuttin’ it loose… I just wanna hang out with you!”

Catra overheard the lyrics and really after everything these two put her through during the wedding planning earlier, she didn’t feel the need to hurry to rescue her girlfriend. Adora had wanted to bond with Scorpia and this was all part of the ride. Eventually she strode over, still taking her sweet, sweet time. “Why is Mary Lambert here?”

 “I think the better question is, how have we gone this many days without Mary showing up?” Scorpia countered with a sly grin. 

“Excellent point, Scorp. Though I can't help but feel there was a reason for it…” Catra trailed off, noticing the small blush on her girlfriend’s cheeks. She actively chose to be merciful and let the topic drop because Adora looked just so cute. Whatever the morons were discussing before the musical interlude didn’t need to be explored; plus Catra was clever enough to deduce most of it herself. “But now I’m gonna have that damn song stuck in my head for days. Hope you’re prepared to listen to it at least once on our way to the park. Which, speaking of, am I correct in assuming you two are done packing things up?”

“Yup! All finished. We’ve got the cooler, with plenty of drinks and snacks, chairs, a blanket…” Adora proudly ticked off the items for their picnic. “And this!” She tossed the football up into the air, catching it and then tucking it under her arm as if she were about to charge it into the end zone. She shot Catra a large smile, seeking approval for the activity and her athletic prowess. 

Catra eyed the sports equipment as Adora tossed it into the air again. Call her Perfuma, because she would watch the two jocks play all day long. But something in Adora’s smile led her to believe that her girlfriend was picturing this would be a team effort. “You expect me to join you on the field, babe? Do I come off as a Sports Gay?”

“Well, no not really. But it’s fun! C’mon, it’ll at least give us something to do after we eat.”

“Unlike you, I don’t require constant entertainment and will be perfectly happy just relaxing this afternoon.” Adora stuck out her tongue in response, Catra smirking at the thought of how much entertainment that tongue would bring them both over the weekend. “I’m sure you and Scorpia will have a blast passin’ around the old pigskin or whatever… But somehow I think Perfuma will agree with me when I say, hard pass. And do not make a sports pun out of that, either one of you.” She eyed the two muscular women dangerously. 

Adora pouted at the easy opening, knowing it was a slam dunk. Before she could ignore the yellow flag that Catra threw and just accept the penalty shot against her later, a stern voice sounded behind her. 

“You people really love speaking for me, don’t you?” Again Perfuma appeared from nowhere, strolling up to the car with her hands behind her back. “But Catra is correct in this instance. I’ll watch every Sunday, but I’m not much of a player.” The slender blonde continued. “There is compromise, however.” She produced a frisbee from behind her back, holding it out for the group to register what she was proposing. 

Adora glanced at the prolate spheroid in her hand. Was it truly any worse than the disc with an airfoil cross-section? She hadn’t been suggesting a scrimmage or anything, just some catch, so didn’t really understand why frisbee would be so much better. In the end, she decided it simply wasn’t worth the argument. Maybe footballs had bad energy or something; who knew with the Zen Master. “Sure! I’ll just run this back up to the porch.”

After she had returned, Scorpia gave a huge, cheesy grin and gestured towards the SUV. “All right everyone, it’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining and bright, and we’re going to have a great time. You kids all ready to hit the road?”

Catra thought Scorpia was coming off a bit like a dad trying to pep up the crew for a long road trip. It was rather unnecessary since their trip was bound to be maybe twenty minutes long, but that was just driving with Scorp. And her friend was right, it was a pristine day; not a cloud in the sky, the temperature just right that she needn’t worry about getting cold but would likely get to see Adora strip down to her tank top if their game of catch got a little too rambunctious. Not for the first time in their history or last time for their future, Catra was happy that her girlfriend ran hot.

Moments later they piled into the Subaru, Scorpia behind the wheel. She refused to even put the keys into the ignition until she heard three other seatbelts click into place. Not being aware of the rules of driving in her car, Adora hadn’t been as prompt as Catra and Perfuma with her safety fastening. That earned her a slight nudge from her girlfriend, Catra mimicking the motion of the seatbelt being pulled across her chest. 

After Adora had taken the hint and sped up her in-car safety measures, Scorpia finally turned the engine over. “All right, looks like we’re ready to rock and roll! I believe Wildcat requested some Mary Lambert; sweetness, you wanna throw on that one list I made- ‘Music is My Love Language’? It’s a pretty great mix and I know there are at least three songs by her on there.”

Perfuma complied with the request, throwing the songs on shuffle, as Catra did her best to not gag at the title. Sure, it was true, music was absolutely its own love language. But love languages at all? Really? Still, she knew from past listening that it was a solid list with some great tracks. 

“Love language? Isn’t that what they call French?” Adora’s brows furrowed together as she tried to make the connection. She certainly didn’t mind listening to music in other languages, but she was a little surprised Catra would request it. Mary Lamberr é or whoever they were talking about must be one hell of a singer.

Perfuma giggled, rolling her eyes affectionately. “Oui, le français est super romantique.

But that’s not what that means. Don’t worry, Adora, yours is acts of service. That’s all you need to know.”

“She should probably know Wildcat’s too, all things considered. It’s quality time.” Scorpia offered helpfully as she turned onto the main road. “Ohhh, but babe, we’re saying how they communicate, not what they necessarily want to receive from their partner…”

“Can we quit with the fucking pseudo-psychology?” Catra bristled, not appreciating that apparently her friends had discussed the subject enough times in the past that her so-called preferred way of showing love would just so effortlessly roll off Scorpia’s tongue. It was absolutely the type of thing the pair would discuss over morning coffee, made all the more irritating that whatever they came up with was probably right. “Maybe turn up the music louder?”

Perfuma mercifully turned it up a few notches, Scorpia overwhelmingly excited at what had begun to play. “Ohhh, this is a good one!”

 

Damn, you look so good, 

Laying there wearing nothing but my t-shirt...

 

“She acts so surprised and pleased, but is the creator of the list.” Catra murmured, her eyes warm as she took in the unrestrained joy of her friend now singing along. She laced her hand in Adora’s, turning to watch out the window as they made their way to whatever park Scorpia had decided was the best collection of trees and grass around. Adora was more than happy to just enjoy the ride, the comforting presence of her girlfriend’s hand in her own making her blissfully zone out. 

“... In your blueberry eyes… ” A soft, raspy croon sounded on Adora’s left.

Drawn out of her thoughts by the melodic whisper, the blonde did a double take, staring at her girlfriend’s mouth and not for the normal, amorous reasons. Though it was now set into a neutral position and closed, she knew what she heard. “Were you just singing?”

Catra blinked at her, considering for a half-second playing dumb. Not that she really cared at this point about keeping her voice to herself, but messing with her girlfriend was just so much fun. She’d save it for a better opportunity, though. “Sure was, princess. This song is good. Plus, I know it’s not all of them, but BTS slaps or whatever the hell it is that the kids are saying nowadays.”

“What the kids are saying nowadays… You mean us? Our friends?” Adora eyed her carefully, unable to let that one lie. “I find that kind of sus. Spill the tea; how old are you really?”

“You are the worst, I swear.” 

Despite the edge to her words, Catra gripped her hand all the tighter. It was only the encouragement Adora needed. “Ready to yeet me from the car?”

“Just stop talking.” 

It was at that point that the song shifted into another language, Scorpia effortlessly following along with the words outside of her native tongue. Adora blinked in surprise, listening with rapt attention at the flow of lyrics she did not know in a language she couldn’t even recognize. “Wow…”

“It’s not that impressive, princess.” The brunette muttered. “She’s a parrot, not a master linguist. I could do it too, but absolutely not. I’ll stick to the English parts only.” Wanting to demonstrate, Catra’s voice lifted slightly, as she held Adora’s gaze. “ ‘Cause I get so lost… in your blueberry eyes.”

Listening to Scorpia perfectly execute another language didn’t hold a candle to her girlfriend quietly murmuring the words to her. Nothing could compare to that. 

Perfuma glanced at the pair from the rear view mirror, unable to hold back her fond grin. “Les amoureuses… I’ve got just the perfect song for you two cuties.”

 

Chez moi les forêts se balancent,

Et les toits grattent le ciel,

Les eaux des torrents sont violence,

 

“Wait! That’s for sure French.” Adora said pointing up at the speaker in a slightly agitated manner. She knew it would come up eventually. Language of love!  

At the same time as Adora’s accusing outburst, Catra groaned. “I should have seen this one coming… Once a month, Perfuma. No more!” 

 

J'habite où tes yeux brillent où ton sang coule 

Où des bras me serrent

J'irai où tu iras, mon pays sera toi

 

“C’mon, Wildcat, you know you love this song!” Their driver teased, in between following along with the words. “You listen to it with us all the time.”

“Only because every time you get drunk it’s all you and your belle femme over there seem to want to listen to!” The surly brunette motioned between her friends in the front seat who only giggled at the accusation. “Why that is I’ll never understand. It’s the creepy, ‘I’ll stalk you all over the world’ song.” 

“What! Since when do you speak French?” Adora turned to face her girlfriend, an incredulous look on her face. Was she the only one who barely managed English? But also, if she could get some foreign sweet nothings whispered in her ear late at night… 

“I don’t, dear.” 

“Well, how do you know what they’re saying then? That it’s a song about stalking?”

Catra patiently explained, stroking the top of Adora’s hand with her thumb. “Like I said, it’s all these two want to listen to when they’ve been drinking. After hearing it 8 million times, I finally used a thing called Google translate.”

Perfuma turned around in her seat, unable to keep quiet at the gross oversimplification of such a beautiful bop any longer. She was also thoroughly appalled at Catra’s translation expert. "Non mais je rêve, Google Translate. Et puis quoi encore?" She took a deep, calming breath, composing herself. “I’ve offered to teach you a few phrases, Catra. Maybe if you took me up on my lessons, you’d see that C éline ‘s ‘J'irai ou tu iras’ is so much more than that .” She turned back around to face the windshield, muttering under her breath in a mix of English and French. Adora really only caught ‘not about stalking, bouffonne’.

In hopes of bringing her multilingual friend back into a better mood, or really at least just get the car talking again, Adora tentatively asked, “So, you said this was C éline? Who’s the dude- just some rando?”

It probably was not a great sign that her normally poised, peaceful friend was tight lipped and ignoring her question completely. Catra, however, was more than happy to explain with a devilish smirk that just screamed mischief. “That’s Jean-Jacques Goldman. But don’t worry about him, babe. He’s just an old hippie with a guitar and a weird voice. He’s only important if you live in France… or spend all your summers with your family in Montréal.” She waggled her eyebrows in Perfuma’s direction, who stuck out her tongue in reply much to Catra’s delight.

Even after a few intentional, deep breaths the typically composed woman was having trouble finding her center again. She reached a hand over and Scorpia actually broke a cardinal rule of driving by no longer keeping both hands on the wheel at all times to meet her. Perfuma asserted in a flat, no-nonsense tone, “He’s an icon . Les Enfoirés!”

Scorpia glanced at the GPS, breaking yet another cardinal rule by not keeping her eyes on the road at all times (“except to check side and rear view mirrors!”). She clucked her tongue softly, trying to soothe her beloved. “I know, sweetheart, I know. JJ is wonderful. Only a couple more minutes until we get there. You wanna listen to J'irai ou tu iras again? Should be just enough time to go all over the world together once more.”  

“Only if some people will keep their mouths shut.”

“Qui moi?” Catra’s cackle practically carried them all the way to the park.

After Scorpia had parked, Adora and Catra offered to unload the vehicle so the other couple could have a moment alone. A small part of Catra felt a little bad that her jeering had irritated the slender blonde so much, knowing how much she owed her friend for years of free, peer-to-peer therapy, but she absolved her guilt by reminding herself that she’d been the butt of quite a few jokes the past couple days. Perfuma wasn’t nearly as fragile as she might appear; in fact, she was probably the strongest of them all.

It was a fairly standard issue park, the vast majority of it was a large grassy field spotted with charcoal grills and weathered tables. Adora noticed a few trails jutting off in the other direction of the picnic area, but the flat look in her girlfriend’s eyes told her that was probably going to be another ‘hard pass’. Oh, well. Nature was probably much the same all over and with as little sleep as the pair got last night, a non-strenuous afternoon was probably for the best.

Scorpia and Perfuma arrived just as they were finished setting everything up; four chairs, a large quilt laid out in a delightful sunbeam, and even a tablecloth to cover the surface they’d be eating off of. It looked rather picturesque, Adora had to admit. Her muscle bound friend agreed, cooing at the sight. “Aww, gals, it looks great! Made it look like something out of a dang magazine!”

“A magazine for picnic enthusiasts. Something tells me you get that delivered every month, Scorp.” Catra snickered, eying her friend. Magazines; who the hell looks at magazines anymore?

“You betcha! How else are you supposed to stay on top of the best baskets to use and top rated grilling techniques?” Scorpia replied, hooking an arm around her girlfriend’s shoulder and grinning. It was actually a little difficult to tell if she was kidding or not. 

Catra glanced over at Perfuma, who more or less appeared to have forgiven her for her treatment of the French language and culture. “I hope you two are planning on having kids, because your girlfriend is already such a dad.”

“I know.” The willowy blonde rose up on her tiptoes to fondly place a kiss on the tall woman’s cheek, who beamed at the familiar affection. “I’m into it.”

“Hah, do you call her ‘daddy’ already?” Adora chimed in, happily unpacking the cooler and laying out their lunch.

The couple looked at each other out of the corner of their eyes, then glanced away quickly. 

Catra rushed to the table to help her oblivious girlfriend, cringing at having to witness that particular exchange. “Just set up the sandwich stuff, Adora.” She muttered, pulling out the fruits and veggies the jocks had diced and sliced earlier.

Their lunch fare was simple, but satisfying. Her belly full and the sun so warm, Adora stretched out in the grass, breathing in the sweet scent of the earth. She beckoned for a certain someone to join her. “C’mere, kitten.”

Catra slunk over to where her girlfriend was sprawled out and softly chuckled. “A huge quilt right over there and you choose the dirt. Such a Nature Gay.”

“I am not laying in the dirt; I’m in Mother Nature’s embrace.” The blonde laced her hands behind her head, stifling a yawn, and closing her eyes. “It’s comfortable.”

“Mm, if you say so ‘Dor. Any reason you called me over?” Adora pointed behind her, jutting her bottom lip out. Catra rolled her eyes, but inwardly melted at the wordless plea. “Really? Lip tremble and everything, huh?”

“It’s the only way I’ll get you to lay in the dirt with me.” One blue-gray eye peeked open as she smirked up.

“Can’t believe it’s about to work too. Even with that annoying little grin.” Catra muttered, lowering next to Adora’s prone form. 

“Grin’s the best part, baby.” Her girlfriend immediately wiggled her way over, laying her head in Catra’s lap with a sigh and settling in. “That’s much better.” 

Catra couldn’t help but dissolve a little more, matching Adora’s sigh with a noise of contentment all her own. 

The pair lay like that, basking in the sun. Adora wasn’t sure what her other friends were up to; for all she knew and cared, they’d packed up and left them here. That would suit the blonde just fine, so long as she could continue to snuggle against her girlfriend. Just when she thought the scene couldn’t get any better, couldn’t possibly be any more relaxing, and utterly perfect in every way... Catra casually loosened her ponytail, the hair tie going around her wrist. Long, graceful fingers began to glide through her locks, starting at the root and sweeping along to the ends. Adora closed her eyes, melting into the gentle strokes, the sun warming her cheeks. It hit her all at once; her normal go, go, go was long gone. “I could fall asleep like this.”

“You can take a nap, babe.” Catra said simply, reveling in the flaxen silk of her girlfriend’s hair through her fingertips.

“Wanna be with you.” The blonde mumbled, eyelids fluttering. It was an appealing suggestion though, maybe there was something to this whole ‘relaxation’ business. 

Catra laughed softly, the deepest parts of her now permanently insulated and fortified against life’s coldest disappointments by that tiny murmur. “I’ll be here when you wake, silly girl.”

Unbidden, Adora yawned once more, truly to the point where fighting the urge to sleep might be a losing battle. She decided she could compromise with her body’s betrayal. “No mor’ than 20 minutes, ‘k?”

“I’m not sure if you’re telling me that or asking me to wake you, but just sleep, Adora.” Catra gently commanded, pleased when she saw her girlfriend’s eyes close fully. She shifted slightly, preparing herself for the possibility of Adora being knocked out for far longer than twenty minutes. Catra didn’t mind; Scorpia and Perfuma had wandered off somewhere and honestly, she could be content holding Adora for hours, if not days. The blonde stirred slightly at her readjustment, and tried to rouse. “Ah, ah, ah. None of that, beautiful. Just relax; sleep. I’ve got you.” 

Adora weakly asserted a time limit on her rest once more, but as Catra’s soft lips met her forehead, even she was willing to surrender to however long her body dictated she sleep. 

Catra couldn’t be sure where the urge had come from. Maybe it was because of the cozy rays streaming down to the surface of the planet she dwelled on. Maybe it was because of the far too precious and few afternoons with her mother when Catra would lay her head in her lap, just like Adora was resting on her, mama singing it to her. Maybe it was because Adora radiated an infectious warmth that brightened the darkest parts of her and she stubbornly wanted nothing more than to keep it for herself forever. Whatever the reason, without further thought, she crooned out softly, “ You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…”

Though on the precipice of Hypnos’ realm, Adora gave a long, shuddering sigh of absolute tranquility, the corner of her mouth ticking up. As much as she wanted to watch, to take in every second of the lullaby, she could not fight her exhaustion. She was far too safe and warm in her girlfriend’s embrace.

 “ You make me happy when skies are gray...” Catra began to hum the next few bars, still carding her hands through blonde tresses. 

Please don’t take my sunshine away.” She finished, though was certain Adora was asleep by this point at how her breathing had evened. As if she were in a round, she circled back, barely whispering the words. “ You’ll never know dear… how much I love you… Please don’t take my sunshine away.”

Scorpia and her girlfriend returned to their spot sometime later. Adora was still out cold and even Catra had shut her eyes, though still was periodically petting through Adora’s hair. She had heard them approach, but ignored their reappearance, electing to stay in the little bubble she’d created with her girlfriend.

“Oh, my gosh! So, so cute !” Scorpia stage-whispered. Perfuma giggled quietly, flashing the cuddled couple an approving smile. 

Catra flicked one eye open, shooting the pair a warning glare. If they dared to wake Adora before she was ready… Naturally, Scorpia had been just about to snap a picture right as the glower occurred. It made the shot somehow sweeter; Adora fast asleep with a small smile on her face and Catra over her, threatening bodily harm against any who might disturb her rest. 

Satisfied that they’d gotten photographic evidence of the moment, Scorpia put a single finger over her mouth as a promise she would keep quiet and then settled herself onto the quilt. Perfuma followed after and the pair snuggled up together, just as content as their friends to spend part of their afternoon relaxing.

Adora awoke a short while later, all of her own accord. Her blue eyes slowly opened and a smile as large as could be broke out over her face. The first thing she saw as she came to was Catra’s two-toned eyes looking down at her. She lifted her head slightly, Scorpia giving her a little wave, greeting her back into consciousness. “How long was I out?” Adora mumbled after weakly returning the gesture, voice still thick with sleep.

“Eh, twenty minutes give or take.” Catra replied, with a small shrug of her shoulders. Or well over an hour, whatever.

“Really?” 

“If it makes you feel better to think that, sure.” The brunette gave her a teasing grin. “Haven’t a clue, babe. But it doesn’t matter; welcome to vacationing my way.”

“I don’t usually take naps. Felt pretty good though.” The blonde sat up after a moment of adjustment, rolling her shoulders out. She reached a hand back towards Catra’s wrist, the other woman letting her slide the hair tie off. As she fixed her hair up she announced, “I think I’m ready to play now.”

“Yes! Let’s do this, friends!” Scorpia called out, eyes alight at the prospect of fun . She had just been about to push off the ground and scramble to grab the disc off the table before remembering Perfuma was currently lounging on her, comfy and content. With a gentle brush, she traced a finger down her girlfriend’s cheek. “Are you ready to play some frisbee, dearest?”

“Yes, love. We can go play now.” Perfuma sat up, giving the enthusiastic woman who so held her heart a chance to spring up and begin the activity. The large woman was on her feet in an instant, but not before pressing a kiss to the top of her girlfriend’s head.

The two couples spend the rest of their time at the park tossing the disc around, Scorpia and Adora doing their best to make each throw more challenging than the last. Throws that had great distance, hurtling the disc up so high that even Scorpia had trouble catching it, to arcing it around objects that would make the other have to dive to catch it. It seemed impossible to think a game of frisbee would get that intensive, but Scorpia and Adora were just talented like that. Judging that they had no real interest in being anything more than spectators after some four-person back and forth, their respective girlfriends watched with great amusement, the jocks only showing off all the more at the attention of their lovely ladies. By the end, all the women’s sides hurt from laughter and their cheeks ached from grinning. It was a most ideal way to spend an afternoon.

It was midafternoon when everyone in the party concurred that it was time to head back to the cabin. They dismantled their idyllic picnicking spot, but not before Scorpia took a plethora of pictures. “For the amateurs competition!” Adora and Catra both still couldn’t tell if she was kidding about Picnickers Monthly or not. The ride home was uneventful; the group enjoying some more quality tunes and some even more refreshing AC. To say the jocks had worked up a sweat with their athletic escapades was putting it lightly.

“I’m a little snacky, you want anything?” Adora asked as the pair had made their way back into the house. Since Catra and Adora had set up their picnic spot, Scorpia and Perfuma volunteered to do the final clean-up, clearing out the Subaru and bringing everything inside.

“We ate just a few hours ago, babe.”

“Yeah and I worked up quite an appetite when I was out there impressing you with my mad frisbee skills.”

Catra snorted, shaking her head despite the goddamned truth of it all. One almost vertical leap into the air to catch a particularly high toss stuck out in her mind as unfairly impressive; unfair only because she still had so many days left before she could take the woman to bed. “Yeah, yeah. You’re a lesbian Adoniss. But no, I’m not hungry in the slightest.” She waved her girlfriend off towards the pantry. “Go grab something for yourself and then we’ll figure out what the rest of our day looks like.” 

Adora grinned, happily trotting off to find something to munch on. Catra followed with a sort of bemused smile, wondering how it was possible for Adora to look well, adorable, in everything that she did. She settled herself at the kitchen island, glancing over at Glimmer who was already seated there when she arrived. “This just your spot? Seems like every time I wander in here your butt’s on that stool.”

“Hello, Catra.” Glimmer toned out, sipping at a White Claw. Catra’s comment wasn’t nearly as antagonistic as usual, but it still took some small control to not lash back with her normal bite. She kept her voice neutral, knowing it was just better all around if she played nicely. “Did you have a nice time at the park?”

The brunette stilled for a moment, briefly wondering if she should check the normally fiery woman for a chip or something. This polite Glimmer clone was a little… eerie. Instead she answered, just as genteel. “Quite pleasant, thank you. I’m surprised to see you inside.”

“I needed a break from the tub and to get some air conditioning. It really warmed up out there.”

“Yeah, it certainly did. Adora and Scorpia were flipping around like fools, playing with a frisbee for a couple hours. They were both dripping by the end; pretty gross.”

The short woman cleared her throat, nodding absently. A small silence broke over them. She tried again, wanting to at least get brownie points for an attempt. “You two should definitely check it out though, the hot tub. I see why ‘Mista’s set up shop there.”

“I’m not much one for water, but yeah. Sure.” The awkwardness returned in full force; Catra wondering what in the world was taking her girlfriend so long. But Adora was just happily opening up cabinets, looking for a tasty treat to satisfy her tummy, oblivious that her girlfriend and best friend were in small talk hell. When she wandered into the pantry and fully disappeared, Catra simply couldn’t take the weirdness any longer. “Look, Sparkles. This isn’t us. I know we agreed to a truce and I know something went down with you and Adora the other day… But we aren’t two ladies sipping tea after Sunday school. I promise I won’t get mad unless you decide to be a completely heinous bitch; I can take your normal levels of sass just fine.”

Despite the insult, Glimmer laughed heartily, tension visibly loosening from her shoulders. “God knows I’ve been dealing with your attitude for long enough. Eh, maybe that’s just our version of ceasefire; accepting we’re both Grade A Bitches and not taking it personally.” 

Before Catra could confirm that that particular set up was fine by her, a noise caught her attention. “ Psst!” She turned, raising a brow as she registered Sea Hawk trying- and failing, to be covert. The mustachioed man was uncharacteristically not wanting to draw attention to himself; hiding behind the wall between the kitchen and dining room. It was only by sheer dumb luck that Adora had closed a pantry drawer just a little too forcefully, more or less masking the hissing noise that came from the thoroughly unstealthy man. He made an exaggerated pointing motion towards the front of the house before holding up all five of his fingers and slinking off. 

Catra could practically hear the xylophone overhead playing tiptoe noises as he disappeared. Apparently Sea Hawk wanted to meet with her privately in the family room in five minute’s time. She suspected, and hoped, it had to do with the favor she’d asked of him the other day.

Glimmer witnessed the exchange, giving Catra a questioning look, and thankfully remaining quiet during the whole thing. The brunette pulled out her phone, jotting off an explanation text to the baffled woman.

 

Catra: He’s helping me with the date for Adora. Which speaking of, you still game to help me with a couple things?

 

Glimmer: That’s still happening? Thought with last night you’d just be off the hook.

 

Catra: I’m never going to pass up a chance to treat her, Glim. She deserves it and so much more.

 

The diminutive woman stared at the words on her phone, eyebrows meeting in a crinkle, before smiling up at her bestie’s girlfriend. Catra wasn’t sure if she’d ever seen the woman give her such a chummy look before. She decided she didn’t exactly mind it. Glimmer whispered a soft, “You’re such a sap.” but nodded her head in what Catra hoped was her agreement to help. She needed someone with some culinary prowess to pull off what she had in mind; Hot Pockets and pop tarts just weren’t going to cut it.

“Hey babe, I’m gonna run upstairs and change since you’re taking twelve years to find a snack.” Catra called out loud enough for the blonde to hear, since apparently that pantry was near soundproof. Only explanation as to how she hadn’t caught onto her little heart to heart with Glimmer.

“Okay! I’ll be up soon too. I’m a little stinky and wanna catch a shower.” 

Glimmer sat back in her chair, decidedly amused. “How do you feel about your new girlfriend calling herself stinky? At least the romance lasted twelve hours.”

“Eh, that’s just Adora. Love it or leave it.” The brunette dismissed, nonplussed by the hygienic state of her girlfriend. She rose up from her seat, but did not go far. Instead she plunked an elbow down on the counter, almost seeming to pull Glimmer into a conspiratory conference. “Plus, wait until you hear all about how sweat-drenched we both get this weekend. We’ll climb into the shower together then. Nothing between our hot, soapy bodies as we…”

The woman gagged into her drink, casting daggers at Catra. “Shut up, shut up, shut up! I hate you.”

“I know you do. But keep her in here a little longer so I can talk to Hawk, okay?”

Glimmer waved the cheeky woman away; banishing her from her sight. “Fine, fine. You owe me, though.”

Catra knew she was just cutting into her own time to meet with her other friend before Adora noticed anything, but she simply couldn’t resist one final jab. “ Owe you, huh? How about this; I make my time with Adora this weekend just absolutely worthy of a tale… since someone here requires every damn detail ? Give you something and Arrow Boy to aspire to.” The grin she capped the deal off with was positively devious.

The color drained from the woman’s face, her eyes wide in utter dismay. “She told you about that ? I’m going to kill her!” Glimmer’s glare was fixed on the small room Adora rummaged through, as she planned all the ways to commit homicide with the dry goods of the pantry shelves. The news story coverage would be unique, to say the least.

“Not before the weekend, you won’t!” Catra called out with a laugh, sauntering her way out of the kitchen. Five minutes was probably since long up; time to see what the merry mariner wanted from her.