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Prologue | Summer, 1965 | Catra

“He’s going to be home any minute - we can’t -” Adora protested, but her eyes briefly flicked to Catra’s lips.

“That hasn’t stopped us before,” Catra replied softly, pulling Adora’s high ponytail out to fluster her. Right on cue, Adora made a small, displeased whine at the motion.

“Hey! It took me a long time to get that stupid ponytail to look right,” she huffed, patting her hair down. Catra took over for her, running her hands through the blonde strands, scratching slightly at her scalp. Adora’s eyes fluttered shut at the sensation, her exasperation visibly fading. She leaned in to kiss Catra, apparently done with pretense.

Catra couldn't blame her for giving in so easily or for being worried in the first place. They hadn’t had any time alone over the past two weeks, as Adora’s husband was uncharacteristically present. Adora resumed her duties as his housewife and property. Catra resumed her duties as Finn’s full-time nanny, with an additional job from Adora's husband - keeping an eye on his wife.

Catra tightened her hand in Adora’s hair, feeling her shuddering breath against her lips. She walked Adora back to the washing machine and smiled as Adora lifted herself onto the hood. She whimpered as Catra’s hands found her waist again - such a pretty noise, all for her. Catra's hands dipped under Adora’s dress, running her hands up her thighs, groaning when she realized there was nothing underneath.

Adora leaned back, moving her dress out of the way, slowly, spreading her legs wider, so Catra could see more of her. She looked fucking beautiful with her lips swollen, her hair a mess, her dress rucked up against her hips. Catra pulled Adora forward to the edge of the machine wordlessly, dropping to her knees.

Adora gently stopped Catra’s head with her hand, running a thumb over her cheekbone. “I missed you,” she whispered.

“I’m right here,” Catra promised, delighting in Adora’s sharp cry at the first flick of Catra’s tongue.

Catra kept an eye on Adora - just not in the way her husband had intended upon her employment.


January 1965 | Adora

Adora’s husband was away on business, but he’d made himself clear on a few things before he’d left. For one, she was no longer allowed to be alone, apparently. She was accustomed to having this time to herself, free of dresses, dishes, and heels - and not being forced to discipline her child for arbitrary things. The two of them didn’t have to put on a show when her husband was gone; everything didn’t have to be so pristine and perfect. She looked forward to the times she could just be with Finn.

She had never met anyone like her child before. He - they, she corrected herself - didn't really fit into any gender category. Or maybe, there wasn't a name for this one, yet. Adora and Finn talked about this regularly, eventually picking out how Adora would refer to Finn together. Finn loved camping, trucks, and baseball; they pleaded with Adora to teach them how to apply makeup and style dresses. She let them do whatever they wanted when the two of them were alone. Adora didn’t care about the optics of having a son as her husband did. She just wanted a happy child.

“We have to be careful, Finn,” Adora had said to them last summer, a safe night when they had the house to themselves. She had just taught them how to apply lipstick - holding Finn's hand as she traced their cupid’s bow, sharing the importance of blotting before reapplying. “You can’t let anyone know that we’re doing this, especially not your father.”

They’d nodded in agreement, understanding the severity with which this would come to an end should he find out. Adora had kissed them on the forehead, showing them the finished look in the mirror.

“I feel pretty, mom,” they’d said, smiling.

“You’re beautiful, honey.”

That December, Finn had asked her for their own makeup kit in secret for Christmas, and she’d fulfilled that promise on Christmas Eve. Her husband had found the kit a few days later and punished her dearly for it.

Better me than Finn, she’d thought to herself.

That was the reason why Adora’s husband had hired this nanny, this babysitter, to “help around the house” while he was away. Adora knew what he was doing. Ms. Weaver was sent to watch Finn and Adora when he was away from home. He was concerned Adora was indoctrinating their child, embarrassing him and the image he had crafted of their perfect family. Adora was worried that her husband would institutionalize her at the slightest misstep. In her darker moments, she wished he would just get it over with.

She shook her head to relieve herself of her thoughts, flattening a crease in her dress. Just because he was gone didn’t mean that she wasn’t here, watching her on his behalf. Her blissful days of freedom were over. Adora sighed, pouring herself a large glass of red wine when Ms. Weaver walked in.

“Mrs. Hope? I just put Finn to bed,” she said, pausing in the hallway. Adora winced at the mention of her married name. She hated the sound of it coming from the nanny's lips, but she couldn’t quite place the reason why.

“Thank you, Ms. Weaver - and please, call me Adora,” she replied, briefly sipping her wine.

“Catrina,” the woman replied in turn. "I prefer Catra, though."

Catra," Adora said, smiling despite herself. "That's a lovely name."

She's actually quite pretty, Adora thought. She hadn't looked at Catra properly before now.

"T-thank you," Catra said, looking a bit flustered.

Oh, was that too much?

"Catra," Adora said again, clearing her throat a little. "My husband might have given the impression that I can’t handle Finn on my own, but I promise that I can. You can take the night off if you'd like.”

“Oh,” Catra hesitated before sealing her lips, her face falling. Adora panicked a little at the sight, wondering if she had made the wrong move. She didn’t want Catra to tell her husband she was a bad hostess. Adora wanted the time alone, yes - but it could also be advantageous to know her warden.

Another part of her, the one that was much more dangerous, wanted Catra closer.

“Or...” Adora started with a careful smile, “you can have a glass of wine with me if you’d like. There’s plenty.” Catra nodded, accepting the glass that Adora provided, and thanked her. 

One drink turned into two, three into four. Adora had stepped into her room to change into her nightgown after glass number three, sighing in relief as she slipped on one of her high-necked negligees she usually wore when she was alone. She’d opted to go braless, too, letting her skin breathe after a day in restrictive, coarse fabric. Catra had changed into her own nightgown as well, a deep red color that complimented her complexion. Adora was acutely aware of their knees brushing as they faced each other on the couch.

“How are you finding the guest room?” Adora asked.

“It’s perfect for what I need. The bed is comfortable, too,” Catra reassured her.

“That - that’s good,” Adora stammered. If Catra noticed the flush that was surely creeping up Adora’s neck, she was too polite to say anything. Adora cleared her throat to recover. “How did you get into this line of work?”

Catra began speaking to her overall employment history, and Adora was mesmerized. The smattering of freckles across her face bunched up when she laughed - and her eyes. Her eyes were different colors and looked like they glowed in the low light of the living room. Her lips looked so soft -

What would it feel like? Adora thought. To finally kiss someone I wanted to?

Adora was in deep, deep trouble. Her husband employed Catra, and he had a bad habit of controlling what he felt belonged to him. Part of her was terrified - the other didn’t care in the slightest. If this woman were to be her death, she’d gladly accept that fate.

“My employment confused me, candidly,” Catra said after a few minutes, her lips stained red from the merlot. “Your husband made some…very interesting requests of me.”

Shit -” Adora nearly spilled out her wine onto the carpet, sputtering at the bluntness.

“Cursing isn’t very ladylike,” Catra quipped. Adora ignored the teasing, knocking back another swig of her wine. She swallowed, swearing she saw Catra’s eyes flicker to her neck at the motion. Adora was suddenly unsure under the watchful gaze of her keeper.

“Neither is a married woman sitting with a guest in nothing but her underwear,” Adora hesitated, carefully choosing her next words. “Are you going to tell on me?”

Apparently, Adora’s anxiety was not as subtle as she thought it was. She could see Catra’s demeanor shift, sensing the tension, becoming more serious. “I see the way he treats you and Finn, and I wouldn’t put you in a position that jeopardizes your safety, no matter what he paid me,” Catra replied. It was a nice sentiment, but sentiments didn’t keep her family safe.

“How do I know I can trust you?” Adora asked bluntly. Catra winced. She liked Catra, but her comfort didn’t matter when asking about Finn’s wellbeing. Adora silently waited for a response.

“Finn asked me if he could borrow one of my dresses the other day,” Catra cautioned after a moment. 

Adora froze. Was that a threat?

“And-and what did you say to my husband?” Adora asked, cursing herself for sounding so timid. She felt a hand rest on hers and met Catra’s eyes.

“I didn’t tell him anything. I won’t put either of you in danger. It’s okay if it takes a while to believe me - I don’t think you’ve had a friend in a really long time. I’d like to be yours if you’ll let me,” Catra said, rubbing her thumb across Adora’s knuckles. The gesture shot through the anxiety and gave way to an entirely different feeling, one that made her pulse race.

“I’d like that,” Adora finally answered, distracted by Catra’s touch, feeling like embers were dancing on her skin.

Catra worried her bottom lip between her teeth, contemplating her next statement. “I have a younger sister, Lonnie. I’m sure that I can nab one of her dresses in Finn’s size.”

“You’d - you’d do that?”

“Sure. I’m helping take care of the kid, right? That means doing whatever will make them happy. I’ll hide it in my room. If your husband finds it, I’ll say I keep it with me so I can fix my sister’s dresses while Finn is playing.”

Adora smiled brightly, launching herself into Catra’s arms, hugging her tight to her chest. Her skin was as soft and warm as she’d thought it'd be. Adora felt the woman inhale shakily at the contact before she realized how inappropriate she was being.

“Sorry - I just -” Adora stammered.

“No, no, it’s - it’s fine,” Catra said, her face redder than she’d ever seen it.

“Um,” Adora said, lifting her glass to cheers. “To the start of our - our friendship.”

Catra paused, clinking her glass against Adora's. “To our friendship.”


February 1965 | Catra

Catra had been living with the Hopes for about a month and a half, but she realized something was wrong within the first week of her employment. The tension between the married couple - the arguments she overheard, the weird power plays she saw firsthand - was unbearable. Catra didn’t know how Adora survived before her arrival. Since she was still technically a guest in Mr. Hope’s eyes, she was witnessing him behaving himself, apparently. Based on how Adora recoiled at his touch, Catra was afraid to see what he did when he didn’t feel like keeping up pretenses.

She overheard arguments between the couple when Mr. Hope was home, and their bedroom door was shut late at night. He was drunk when they argued, most of the time - she picked up pieces through the walls of him asking why she won’t touch him anymore, telling her she was a horrible mother. Adora would often bolt to Finn’s room before quietly shutting and locking the door, trying to prevent waking them. Her husband never followed her. When Mr. Hope was home, Adora slept in Finn’s room.

At this point, Catra felt as though it was her job to care just as much for her employer as she did Finn.

The word employer wasn’t quite right, though, was it? Catra and Adora were closer than that. The nights where the two of them could sit on the floor and share a bottle of wine, giggling quietly when Finn was asleep, were her favorite. She didn’t have to hold herself back from looking at Adora’s blue eyes or from admiring the delicate lines of her wrists and hands when they curled around her wine glass. She gladly watched Adora describe things that she loved as if she was starving for space to speak, and Catra was the first person to give it to her in years. She wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case. Adora was so animated when she felt comfortable and safe - especially when she was caring for Finn. Adora was a wonderful mother. There was no reason for Catra to be there, and yet she never wanted to leave.

It was one of those nights where they were blissfully alone. The weather was dreary this time of the year, and Adora had lit a fire to keep both of them warm, her shoulder bumping into Catra’s occasionally as she spoke.

“Has my husband asked you to sleep with him yet?” Adora blurted, her eyes widening before snorting and laughing.

“No! Uh -“ Catra squeaked, horrified, remembering that Finn was asleep and switching to a whisper. “He hasn’t. Will he?”

“He just - pfft, he always does, and I don’t understand why women agree to it,” Adora said, shrugging. "Promise me you won't?"

"I promise," Catra mock-whispered. Adora laughed - this time, definitely loud enough to rouse a sleeping kid. Catra was shocked Finn hadn't woken up yet.

“Shh, Adora - you’re gonna wake Finn,” Catra chastised, leaning closer and placing her palm against Adora’s mouth to quiet her. She saw Adora’s eyes widen, felt her breath stutter on her palm. Catra removed her hand hastily, looking away to hide the flush burning her cheeks.

“You’re right, hah, sorry,” Adora giggled, wiping a tear and inhaling quietly to calm her breathing down. She took a sip of her wine, still struggling to hold it together.

“Since we’re on the topic,” Catra trod carefully, “why did you marry him?”

Adora paused. “I knew I was never going to marry for love, and he was...there, I guess? I think I convinced myself that this would make me happy, even though I knew deep down I was only doing it to appease my parents. I know he sleeps around, but honestly, I couldn’t be bothered to care.”

Catra nearly choked on her wine, sputtering, “I-is that so?” 

“Yeeeeep,” she said, drawing out the word and finishing it with a soft pop of her lips. That sound shouldn’t have been as attractive as it was. “We had Finn about nine months after we were married. I never really wanted children before I had them. So despite...everything, I’m glad they’re here.”

Catra met her eyes and agreed. “They're wonderful, Adora.”

“Thank you,” Adora sighed, and a comfortable silence fell over the two of them. They talked on and off for hours, sometimes in heated, whispered debates, other times just recounting things Finn had said to them that day. Adora quietly played some records; Catra told some stories about the times she spent caring for nightmarish children. Before they knew it, it was nearly three in the morning. Adora had sleepily rested her head in Catra’s lap when her realization hit.

“Can I ask you something?” Catra breathed, scared to break the spell.

Adora nodded contentedly. “Sure.”

“Why do you care if your husband propositioned me?”

She felt Adora freeze. Catra took the chance, running her fingers through her hair with shaky hands. This was risky, Catra knew that, but she also couldn’t stop herself from taking the leap. Catra knew her eyes were desperate, trying to communicate how much she’d wanted her over the past few months. It’s safe, Adora, she wished she could say, but her chest was fit to explode, and the words died in her mouth.

Adora lifted herself slightly, suddenly closer than she had ever been.

“I…I think you know why,” Adora whispered.

Catra closed the distance.


April 1965 | Adora

Spring felt warmer this year. It was the weather, maybe, but Adora had an inkling it had to do with the woman who had entered her life that winter.

Their affair had started shortly after their first kiss, at the first opportunity they had to be alone. They couldn’t risk making out on the couch and having Finn walk in on them - luckily, Catra agreed with those boundaries wholeheartedly. That didn’t make it easy. Adora had never wanted anyone like she’d wanted Catra. The power that Catra had over her was terrifying - but she never took Adora for granted.

The final snow melted in March. Adora’s husband traveled for work frequently in the spring, and Finn’s baseball season was ramping up, leaving indulgent stretches of time for the two of them to be alone.

They’d enjoyed each other all morning, now lazing in Catra’s bed, limbs tangled. Adora could feel Catra’s chest rise and fall with her steady breathing. She admired the freckles smattering Catra’s nose and cheeks, the slope of her jaw, her lips slightly pink from use on Adora’s body. Her skin glowed in the afternoon sun. Adora reached for Catra’s hand and brought it to her lips, kissing the inside of her wrist.

“When did you first know you liked women?” Adora asked softly, tracing Catra’s fingertips with her own.

Catra hummed, contemplating her answer. “Freshman year of high school, women's tennis team.”

Adora’s hand stilled. “Um, a player in particular? Or -”

“The entire women’s tennis team,” Catra reiterated.

“So it was the skirts, huh?” Adora teased, laughing at Catra’s annoyed huff.

“Yes, it was! Okay? I hadn’t seen that much of another woman’s leg in my life. I became... very dedicated to the sport.”

Adora started giggling, lifting her bare leg ungracefully and pointing to it. “Does this do it for you?”

“Okay, okay, very funny. I’ve seen a naked woman since then.”

Adora let her leg fall back to the bed, brows furrowed in confusion. “It has to have been more than one, based on - uh.” Adora stopped herself, mouth closing and ending in an embarrassing hum.

“No, no, Adora - please continue. Based on what? ” Catra teased, smirking at how furiously red Adora had undoubtedly become, based on how hot her face felt.

“You know how I came to that conclusion,” Adora grumbled. Catra giggled a bit, moving on top of her, sighing into her neck as she nuzzled there. Adora’s hand lowered from the dip of her back, brushing her ass and squeezing a little, just for the sake of touching her there. She felt Catra smile against her pulse point.

“How about you?” Catra asked, kissing Adora’s neck right below her ear, making her shiver. Adora had come three times that morning, and she idly wondered if it would be selfish to ask for a fourth. Catra brought her hand to Adora’s cheek to recapture her attention.

“Hmm?”

“When did you notice women for the first time?”

“Oh,” Adora said, running her hands through Catra’s hair. “I saw Roman Holiday at a drive-in when I was thirteen. All of my friends wanted to be Princess Ann, but I wanted to marry her.”

“So what you’re saying is,” Catra tilted Adora’s head to meet her, kissing her once and lingering there. “You’re into brunettes.”

“Pffft -” Adora pinched Catra’s ass lightly, laughing at her yelp. “Can you blame me?”

Catra shook her head, her breathing settling as the minutes passed. A question had been weighing on Adora since they’d started sleeping together, and she realized now was as good as any other time to ask.

“Catra - I’m going to ask you a question, and - and you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to. I have no right to ask this. It’s none of my business -” Adora rambled.

Catra laughed a bit uncomfortably. “You’re making me nervous, Adora.”

“Um, how many women - people - have you slept with?”

“Oh,” Catra sighed, looking relieved. “I’ve had eleven partners, but none of them were serious.”

Oh, ” Adora parroted, “Can you - can you tell me about them?”

“You want to know about other people I’ve slept with?” Catra asked cautiously.

“I mean...yeah? Is that strange? I feel like you’ve had this life I’ve always dreamt of living, and it’s - it’s not even really about sex. It’s more like...life experience, having a community of people that are like us. I want to know more about that, the sex included,” Adora clarified.

Catra smiled and nodded, launching into stories of previous lovers, friends, and roommates - how the lines between those groups were often blurry and how people in her life would fluctuate between those states. She talked about the private parties she attended with drag queens and other lesbians, how the faint scar she’d gotten above her eyebrow was from a particularly nasty fight with a cop when they raided her favorite bar. Adora held her hand, asked her questions about names and places, and felt less alone as she learned more about this greater community outside of her home.

“Thank you,” Adora said, lips brushing Catra’s forehead. “I just...thank you.”

Catra kissed Adora’s neck softly in response, sucking lightly at her pulse point. Just enough pressure to make her feel it, but not enough to leave a mark. It escalated, like it always did - their kisses becoming more heated. Adora slotted a thigh between Catra’s legs, watching her grind above her.

Catra came with Adora’s name on her lips and Adora with Catra’s soon after.

Chapter Text

June 1965 | Adora

Adora had been dreading this night since she learned of it a few weeks ago. Her husband had returned home after “working late” that evening, smelling like a perfume that was distinctly not Adora’s. She was in the middle of her skincare when he stormed into their room, wordlessly depositing a box onto the bed.

“What’s this?” Adora had asked, keeping her face as neutral as possible.

“A dress - for the party we’re hosting next weekend,” he’d replied cheerfully - as if he had done her a favor. Adora had thanked him with a tight smile.

The night of the party had arrived much faster than Adora would have liked. She finished preparing the Hors D'oeuvres, chilled the wine, and set out the utensils and plates with an hour to spare before guests arrived. The remaining finishing touches would have to wait until she was ready herself.

She entered her bedroom to find the dress laid out on the bed - a bold red gown with a sweetheart neckline and a lace bolero in the same color. The pleated skirt was huge, resembling something that she’d seen in catalogs as a teenager. Adora sighed, massaging the skin of her ribcage in a preemptive apology for the pain it would endure that evening. She was careful as she stepped into it, trying to prevent wrinkles and creases. Adora reached behind her back, pulling the zipper up halfway before completing the task with her other hand. She’d had lots of practice zipping up dresses on her own.

Adora made her way over to the mirror, finishing the look with a swipe of red lipstick to match. She stared at her reflection for a moment. The figure in the mirror looked striking but not like herself. Nothing more than a dressed-up trophy, waiting patiently to be taken out and used whenever her husband wished.

*

Adora was polishing silver with fervor and waiting for Catra. She took out her frustrations on the metal’s imperfections and wore it down until there was an even shine. Her husband hadn’t made a fuss about Catra joining - she suspected it was because he feared her perceived incompetence. It didn’t matter; Adora needed Catra tonight more than anything. Adora heard a cabinet open behind her, whipping her head around to meet the source of the noise.

Catra looked incredible. Her bangs were neatly smoothed and styled around a black headband, framing her face and drawing attention to her mismatched eyes and smattering of freckles. Her dress was sleeveless and significantly less poofy than Adora’s - more fitted, although still demure and appropriate for an employee of the house. A high neckline hid Catra’s chest, but Adora could see her collarbones peeking over the top. She desperately wanted to kiss her there.

“Mrs. Hope?” Adora distantly heard Catra say as she was looking at how the dress accentuated her waist. Mrs. Hope didn’t quite register as her name coming from Catra’s lips. Catra usually said her name like -

Y-yeah, just like that, Adora -

“Mrs. Hope?” Catra repeated, clearing her throat slightly.

“Y-yes, Ms. Weaver. My apologies. Do you need help with something?” Adora asked, hoping that Catra could mistake her flush for the makeup she’d put on earlier in the evening.

“Do you need help with something?” Catra asked quietly, hands reaching for Adora’s waist. Adora shook her head furiously, eyes flicking back and forth to where her husband was sitting on the couch, not ten feet away. Catra realized their situation and quickly course-corrected, discussing Finn’s suit and the evening’s remaining tasks.

The hour ticked away as they checked all of the little details that nobody except Adora’s husband would notice. Before long, they were fifteen minutes out from guests arriving, and Catra left to check on Finn. Adora desperately wanted to join her, but what she wanted didn’t matter tonight.

“Give them a kiss for me?” Adora asked instead, putting the final touches on the bar in the living room. Catra smiled and nodded. Adora made herself a Manhattan while she was at it; she’d have something in her hand while she greeted guests, and it would also soothe her nerves.

“Look at you,” Adora heard her husband say behind her. “Turn around so I can see you better.”

She startled a little at his voice but carefully schooled her expression and did as she was asked. “Thank you,” she said politely.

He walked closer, wrapping an arm around her waist before leaning in to kiss her. She put a gentle hand on his chest to stop him.

“Lipstick, dear. It wouldn’t be appropriate to get it all over you before the party,” Adora said, but she knew her facade had cracked.

“Right,” he responded, jaw tight. He turned on his heels and walked towards their room, pausing and meeting Adora’s eyes again. “Don’t embarrass me tonight.”

Adora barely croaked out a confirmation before he had slammed their bedroom door shut. She planted her hands on the counter, breathing heavily and trying her hardest not to cry. She’d been sitting there for what felt like hours when she heard the dull sound of high heels on the carpet and a hand cautiously brushing hers.

“Everything looks wonderful, Adora. You did such a good job,” she heard Catra whisper, holding her hand until the panic subsided. Adora had calmed down considerably after Catra was there, her touch grounding, safe.

“Thanks, baby,” Adora whispered, running her thumb over Catra’s knuckles. Catra’s returning smile was like honey, seeping into the cracks Adora’s husband created with his words.

*

Adora was surviving, putting on a brilliant show for her husband and his coworker’s families. She played housewife dutifully, laughed at the right moments, and refreshed drinks when they ran low. Adora smiled warmly when other wives complimented her cooking and beautiful home. They looked just as bored as Adora was - or maybe she was just projecting.

Adora’s eyes wandered, catching Catra sneaking heated glances throughout the evening. They weren’t obvious enough to arouse suspicion, but Adora understood their meaning. Mine, her looks said, as she watched Adora’s husband wrap his hand around her waist possessively when they conversed with other families. 

Adora quietly excused herself to re-stock the bar, and Catra followed her under the pretense of helping. The kitchen cutout overlooked the guests, only showing the two women from the waist up. Catra reached into the drawer, pulling out a fork before dropping it. She bent forward to pick up the utensil, running her hand up the front of Adora’s thigh slowly as she stood. Adora inhaled shakily as she realized what Catra was doing; she was embarrassed at how wet Catra’s heated stares had made her throughout the night.

Catra paused at the noise. “Is this okay?” she whispered.

God, they shouldn't do this here, but Adora needed Catra's hands on her.

“Y-yeah,” Adora responded just as quietly. “Be careful.”

Adora kept her face neutral as Catra trailed her fingers up the inside of her thigh. Adora shivered, standing as still as possible as Catra ran her thumb over the lace hem near her hip joint. Catra pretended to be busy, opening the cabinet door to pull out glasses, intentionally affording them some additional privacy. She cupped Adora over the fabric of her underwear, circling her clit once.

“You’re wearing underwear,” Catra said idly, moving her hands slowly across Adora’s lower abdomen, teasing just under the fabric, above her curls. “I’ll have to change that later.”

Adora inhaled sharply at her words, on edge from how reckless they were being. She felt the pads of Catra’s fingers dip underneath, brushing against her lightly before the sensation stopped. Adora held back her soft whimper of disappointment as best she could but failed, based on the look Catra gave her.

Catra went to the sink, hidden by the open cabinet. Adora saw her lift her fingers to her lips, sucking them clean before washing her hands. Adora’s breath stuttered in her throat as her inner walls clenched on nothing but air.

“I’ll meet you back here when everyone leaves,” Catra whispered, lightly brushing Adora’s ass through her skirt. She grabbed a few bottles from the counter and started to exit the kitchen when Adora lightly grabbed her arm.

“Promise?” Adora said, her voice shaky.

“I promise," Catra said with such conviction that it made Adora's heart ache.

Adora was a wreck for the remainder of the party, her underwear soaked with the anticipation of Catra fucking her later that evening.

Only four more hours, she thought to herself - four more hours.

*

Adora was alone, safe to pour herself another drink while she started the kitchen cleanup. One of the families had offered to host an impromptu sleepover after seeing how well Finn and their son were getting along. Adora, relieved that Finn was having fun, had agreed instantly. Her husband had left shortly after the rest of their guests, saying something about a “work conference” that would keep him away for a few days. She hadn’t heard any of his colleagues mention it and didn’t care to press the issue.

Adora waited until she heard the Chevrolet leave the driveway to take some of the pins out of the bottom half of her hair, massaging her scalp. She was reaching for her top hairpins when she heard high heels on the carpet. Adora’s breathing picked up, her heart taking on the same pace of the footsteps she knew so well. She turned around to find Catra in the doorway, visibly holding herself back.

“Is he gone?” Catra hesitated, looking just as wrecked as Adora felt. Adora nodded. 

Catra crowded her against the kitchen counter, kissing her roughly. She licked along the seam of Adora’s lips, and she gladly allowed entry, sucking lightly on Catra’s tongue.

“You look so fucking good in this dress,” Catra said, running her hands down the bodice. 

Adora hated this dress. She hated that her husband had given it to her, dictated what she should and shouldn’t have done. She hated how restrictive it was, how the corset-like top dug harshly into her skin. Adora never wanted to wear it again.

“Ruin it,” Adora said, voice steady as she turned and bent over the kitchen counter. She could see Catra’s wide eyes in the reflection of the kitchen window, how messy her lipstick had become from Catra claiming her. She ran her hands down the back of the dress that held Adora in place.

“Do it, Catra. Please,” Adora begged. She sighed with relief as she heard the tear of fabric behind her, the clink of the small metal clasps falling to the ground around them.

Catra pulled the bodice down to pool at her waist, and Adora smiled as air filled her lungs. Catra leaned over, circling her nipple with her thumb. Adora shook at the sensation of finally being touched again - so sensitive from Catra’s earlier teasing. Catra’s other hand slipped behind the dress and lifted it, exposing the lace of her underwear. Adora’s skirt hung precariously on the dip of her waist.

Catra leaned in to nip at her earlobe and speak softly into her ear. “Such a shame that this underwear has been in the way the whole night. I could have fucked you properly earlier.” Adora groaned as Catra teased her over the fabric, close to coming just from this. Adora had never felt so worked up.

“I’m sure you’d like these off, wouldn’t you?” Catra asserted.

“Fuck, please -”

“You’re so wet,” Catra breathed, pulling Adora’s underwear down to her thighs, immediately sliding a finger inside her with little resistance. Adora’s eyes fluttered shut, feeling herself tighten as Catra added a second. “Whenever you have to wear a dress, don’t wear anything underneath.”

“W-why?”

Catra sped up her pace, driving into Adora faster. “You don’t have to do what he says. He doesn’t get to control every part of you. He doesn’t own you.”

“Who - ah, owns me, then?” Adora asked, looking over her shoulder. She felt Catra’s hand still inside her, her expression unreadable. Catra pulled her up, so Adora’s back was flush against her chest, fucking her with slower and more deliberate movements, hitting a spot deep inside Adora that she had never been able to find herself.

“Nobody owns you, Adora. I love you - there’s a difference.”

Adora cried out, clenching around Catra’s fingers as her orgasm hit, surprised both by Catra’s words and how gentle she’d been. She turned around and kissed her before the aftershocks had settled, too happy to care. Adora felt tears on her chest, distantly registering that they weren’t her own. 

“I love you too,” Adora whispered as they parted, kissing the corner of her mouth and delighting in the red lipstick stain she’d left behind. She left a second on the other side of her lips for good measure.

“Fuck, I’ve wanted to say that for so long, but it felt too soon,” Catra whispered as Adora wiped her tears from her freckled cheeks. Adora nodded in agreement, kissing her cheek and holding her as tightly as possible. Catra’s hands were skimming over her naked body when she realized Catra was still fully clothed.

“What do you want, Adora?” Catra asked as she ran open-mouthed kisses against her neck.

“Sit on the counter,” Adora said. “Please. I want to feel you behind me again.”

Soon, Adora had both removed their underwear, and they positioned themselves on the kitchen island. Catra had hiked up her skirt to her waist to allow herself more freedom to move her legs. Adora had almost tripped over herself as she kicked her heels off and stepped out of her underwear - making Catra laugh, a bright, incredible noise that Adora couldn’t help but reciprocate. 

“Put your hands behind you,” Catra whispered, and Adora did, placing her hands on either side of Catra’s hips, pushing her chest out. Catra was done teasing, palming Adora’s chest, and finding her clit with two fingers. The sudden onslaught of friction was so good and almost too much. Adora disobeyed, reaching behind her to find Catra just as wet.

“Haaah -” Adora heard Catra moan behind her, speeding up her movements in light-hearted retaliation. “I thought I told you to put your hands behind your back, baby.”

“My hands are still behind my back,” Adora teased, feeling Catra shudder behind her. The angle was a bit awkward, but Adora made the woman behind her a shuddering mess with firm circles on her clit. It wasn’t long before she’d brought Catra to the edge with her, both of them panting and shaking, a slow race to the finish.

“I love hearing all the pretty sounds you make when I’m inside you,” Catra said, slipping two fingers in Adora and setting a much faster pace than before. Catra’s raspy voice in her ear made it harder for Adora to hold off, approaching her peak faster and faster each time she heard Catra moan in her ear.

“Ah - fuck,” Adora cried out as Catra tightened her fist in her hair and pulled.

“Y-yeah, just like that.” Catra moved her hand from Adora’s chest to pull on Adora's hair, her hips still grinding against Adora's palm.

“H-harder,” Adora whimpered. “Please -” 

Catra groaned, curling her fingers against Adora’s front wall and adding pressure, her other hand pulling her hair again. Adora felt Catra twitch behind her, heard a low groan as she hit her peak. Adora came shortly after, shaking in Catra’s arms.

Catra leaned over to kiss her cheek, pulling her fingers out carefully and running her hand along Adora’s still-twitching thigh to soothe it.

Adora took Catra’s arms and pulled her in close. She traced patterns between the freckles on Catra’s arms as their breathing slowed together.

Catra pressed a kiss to her back, lingering there.

“I love you,” she whispered against Adora’s skin.

“I love you too, Catra."

Chapter Text

July 1965 | Catra

“What do you mean, you’ve never danced with someone before?” Adora asked indignantly.

It was a cool summer evening, a relief from the blazing heat that had kept Catra and Adora inside for most of the day. Sunlight streamed through the curtains with a warm glow despite the late hour. Adora’s husband was away, and Finn was on a camping trip with their baseball team. Adora and Catra had the entire house to themselves.

“Don’t act so surprised. I didn’t exactly have people lining up, Adora,” Catra grumbled, rolling her eyes. She couldn’t hold back her smile, though, as she watched Adora bite her lip in thought. The evening light brought out the gold in her hair and made the blue of her eyes even more striking than they already were. Catra felt inordinately lucky.

“I’d line up to dance with you, Catra,” Adora parroted, leaning in to capture her lips before leaving much too quickly. Catra reached for her, huffing a little when Adora escaped Catra’s needy grasp to make her way over to the turntable. 

“What about your other partners?” Adora asked. She bent over at the waist, sifting through her records, apparently on the hunt for one in particular.

Catra had begged Adora to stop wearing dresses when they were alone - for comfort, mostly, but for entirely selfish reasons, too. Adora wore less and less clothing now, opting to forego bras altogether. Catra thought idly how her request had been both a blessing and a curse as she admired the other woman, bent over the console in nothing but a white, sleeveless button-down and a pair of white briefs.

Adora glanced over her shoulder at Catra’s silence. Catra, for her part, kept her eyes locked on Adora - let her vision trail up her thighs and stayed at the curve of her ass. Catra knew that Adora was blushing, heard the change in her breathing even as she continued searching.

“I wasn’t looking for that kind of dance,” Catra finally answered, albeit distractedly, admiring the muscles of Adora’s legs as she moved.

“That’s fair,” Adora quipped a little too breathlessly as she rummaged through her collection.

Catra was a weak woman. She placed her beer on the floor and crept over, wrapping her arms around Adora from behind. Catra beamed at Adora’s yelp of surprise. Adora recovered quickly, bending over again in Catra’s arms, still singularly focused. She made a little joyful noise as she found the song she wanted, carefully removing it from the sleeve and aligning it with the spindle. 

As soon as the record fell onto the platter, Catra pulled Adora back, so she was flush to her chest. She could smell the patchouli of the perfume Adora dabbed on her neck earlier in the evening.

Catra felt Adora’s breath stutter, saw her shaky hand press play. A song started that was mildly familiar to Catra - a few drum beats, shakers, and then finally -

The night we met, I knew I needed you so -

“Oh, I love this one,” Catra whispered. She trailed her hands slowly over Adora’s chest, feeling the warmth of her skin under her thin cotton button-down. They could rarely be so open with their touches, and Catra was going to make the most of this small slice of freedom.

“So won’t you say you love me? -”

“Catra,” Adora whimpered, reaching a hand to grasp the back of Catra’s neck, gasping when Catra circled her thumb over her nipple. “Don’t you w-want to dance with me?”

“There are lots of things I want to do with you,” Catra murmured. She ran her hand down Adora’s stomach, gently brushing the hem of her underwear and teasing her fingers over her. Adora’s breathing was ragged, the hand behind Catra’s neck gripping tighter as she ran her fingers lightly over the fabric.

“This is pretty forward for a first dance,” Adora laughed as Catra started to unbutton Adora’s shirt with her other hand. She let out a choked moan as Catra added pressure, pressing her palm against her over her underwear, making deliberate movements to work Adora into a frenzy.

“I think we’re well past being forward with each other,” Catra whispered in her ear, pinching Adora’s nipple under her shirt.

“Hah - you - you’re too cocky for your own good,” Adora laughed shakily.

“You love it.”

“I do,” Adora replied. “I also love kissing you.”

Catra sighed fondly and stilled her hands. Adora was many things, but subtle wasn’t one of them. Catra was still willing to give in. She had already planned to draw out the evening, and she wasn’t entirely opposed to dancing, despite her inexperience.

“Subtle,” Catra quipped, giving Adora just enough room to turn around in her arms.

I’ll make you happy, baby, just wait and see -

Adora giggled and met her eyes, apparently not caring that her white shirt did little to cover herself. There were goosebumps on Adora’s chest from Catra’s touch. She had managed to open Adora's shirt halfway, but by Catra’s standards, there was still too much fabric in the way. She reached for the buttons again when Adora stopped her.

“Be good,” Adora whispered, bringing Catra’s hands to her hips. She rolled her eyes good-naturedly at Catra’s frustrated groan. “Just one dance, I promise. I want to be your first.”

  

Catra gave in. She let Adora lead at first, moving them around the living room with no particular direction in mind. Catra accidentally stepped on Adora’s feet while she was getting the gist of it. Adora opted to step on Catra’s feet in mock retaliation, laughing at her little joke and again at Catra’s deadpan expression. Catra had bit her neck to gain the upper hand again, feeling herself get wetter at Adora’s shaky exhale. 

Before long, Adora’s hips were distracting her, brushing against her occasionally, and she couldn’t hold off pulling her in any longer. Adora wrapped her hand around Catra’s neck, letting her lead them on the carpet.

Oh, since the day I saw you,” Adora sang off-key, snorting at how off-tune she was. Catra laughed a bit, too, resting her head on her shoulder and taking the following line. 

I have been waiting for you,” Catra sang softly.

Such a beautiful voice,” Adora whispered, leaning in to kiss the column of her throat.

A few slow circles on the carpet and Adora’s hands were wandering, trailing the pads of her fingertips down Catra’s bare arm, intentionally slotting her thigh between Catra’s on their next step. Catra gasped at the contact, her own lips mere inches from Adora’s.

“Ah - the song isn’t over,” Catra whispered, sighing when Adora’s leg brushed against the apex of her thighs on their next step. She leaned in to kiss her, to have her, when Adora pulled back and teased her lips with her tongue.

Catra’s resolve broke, barely registering the click of the needle lifting from the record as she pulled Adora towards the couch, moving her onto her lap.

“You might be the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met,” Catra murmured as she finished undoing Adora’s buttons, leaving the fabric hanging off her shoulders.

Adora’s breathing shifted at Catra’s quick work, exposing her need even as she internally revved herself up for some sort of quip. Adora narrowed her eyes. “Might be? I -”

The rest of Adora’s joke died in her throat as Catra ran her tongue over her nipple, circling once, twice, before bringing it into her mouth and sucking gently. Adora was shaking, her hips bucking in search of friction. Catra let go of her breast with a slick pop, kissing her way over to the other side.

“You were saying?” Catra teased, taking the other nipple into her mouth and sucking harder this time. Catra released her mouth from Adora’s chest again, staring at the mark on her pale skin before meeting her eyes. Adora whimpered when Catra looked at her, and fuck, if that didn’t make her feel wanted.

Catra ran her index finger over the hem of Adora’s briefs, watched the muscles of her abdomen twitch at the slightest touch. She made her way lower and gently pushed Adora’s underwear to the side, deliberately drawing it out. Catra saw her visibly shiver at her touch. The early evening light was dancing across Adora’s skin, outlining the curve of her hips and showing just the slightest indent in the muscles of her stomach. She was radiant and so, so wet for her.

Catra finally, slowly, trailed her hand where Adora wanted it. Adora’s hand gripped her hair, and she gasped, her short nails leaving tiny pinpricks of pain against Catra’s scalp. Catra took her time, drawing circles around her clit, giving Adora just enough to bring her to the edge and keep her there. She wasn’t in any rush, focusing on the sounds she pulled from Adora’s throat.

Catra could do this forever, drinking in all of the needy moans and sighs, but she sensed Adora’s growing impatience. She loved it when Adora was needy - when she wanted something, begged for it, and took it. Catra encouraged it. She leaned in again to Adora’s chest, this time biting her - delighting in the gasp, in the wetness that continued to flood her hand.

“F-fuck,” Adora groaned. “Please -”

Catra nipped her breast again, leaning back just enough to speak. “Please what, baby?” she asked, punctuating her question with a tight circle to her clit.

Adora’s eyes fluttered shut. “Fuck me,” she pleaded.

Catra brushed her index finger lightly over Adora’s entrance, adding pressure before pulling back, over and over again, teasing her further. “Fuck me,” Adora whined, insistent.

“You’re bossy tonight, aren’t you?” Catra smiled, finally slipping two fingers inside her, cutting off the beginning of Adora’s retort. She felt Adora’s walls tightly grip her finger, adding a second once she knew she could take it. Catra stilled her hand inside her after a few moments, her other hand finding purchase on Adora’s waist.

Adora’s eyes met hers, slightly concerned. “Why’d you stop?”

“I didn’t,” Catra replied, keeping her hand still and her fingers firm, guiding Adora’s hips up and down to fuck herself. She watched Adora’s eyes flutter shut at the feeling.

Oh, fuck,” Adora moaned, moving on her own now, riding Catra’s hand. Catra closed her legs a little, giving Adora room to move, to take whatever she wanted. She guided Adora’s hips down harder, slowing down her pace just enough to add a third. Adora cried out as she adjusted to the stretch, hand grasping the fabric of Catra’s shirt to ground herself.

“You are,” Catra said, pulling Adora’s hips down roughly again, curling her fingers inside her. “So fucking gorgeous, and I’m yours. Do you know how lucky that makes me?”

Adora whimpered at the praise and her touch, collapsing to rest her head on Catra’s shoulder as she shook. Catra took over and fucked her steadily.

“C-Catra,” Adora panted against her neck, her legs locking up. “I’m - I - fuck -

Catra moved the hand on Adora’s waist to circle her clit, keeping her thrusts steady as she felt Adora break, crying out Catra’s name as she shook in her arms. She slowed down her movements, running her other palm gently over Adora’s spine. She waited for Adora to come back down to slowly and carefully remove her fingers, holding her tighter when she heard her hiss slightly at the loss of fullness.

“I love you,” Adora said dreamily, lifting her head to kiss her languidly. 

“I love you too,” Catra promised, petting the slightly sweaty strands of her hair out of her face.

They stayed like that for a while, just enjoying each other’s warmth. Catra was aching after watching her fall apart, but they had all night if Adora wanted to continue. She was content.

To Catra’s surprise, Adora took the hand that had just been inside her and licked the digits clean. Adora moaned as she tasted herself. Catra could do little but become wetter, watching Adora deliberately tease her, feeling Adora’s tongue swirl around her fingers.

Adora let Catra’s fingers go with a slick pop, licking once between them for good measure. “You know what?”

“W-what’s that?” Catra asked, a little dazed, running her hand from Adora’s spine to her lower back, palming her ass. Catra was surprised she even registered Adora’s question.

Adora stood, escaping Catra’s grip again, taking her hands and pulling them towards her room.

“I want what’s mine.”

Chapter Text

August 1965 | Adora

“Ready, Mom?” Finn asked, grabbing two glasses of lemonade. 

The sun had just started to set, red-orange light flickering through the trees. Adora grabbed a blanket to fight the chill that always came after a blazing August afternoon. She followed Finn out to the back porch, taking a seat next to them on the swing and covering their legs with the blanket. Finn rested their head on their shoulder and let Adora place a kiss on the top of their head. They sat in silence for a while, just resting before their talk.

After the Christmas incident, Adora had suggested weekly check-ins for the two of them. A lot was happening in Finn’s home life, and they were smarter than Mr. Hope realized. Adora knew it was naive to think that what was happening between her and her husband wasn’t impacting their child. Of course, it was. These check-ins gave Finn a safe space to feel something instead of pushing their emotions down - as their father preferred.

Catra would make herself scarce every Monday night to give them some alone time, usually with some sort of sugary drink. If Adora intentionally introduced the sugar as a reward for joining her on the back porch, she would never admit it. She was never strict about keeping this time - there were enough rules in the house - yet they hadn’t missed a single one. 

“Okay,” Adora said awkwardly. She was never great at starting conversations. “How are things with Miss Catra?”

“Good,” Finn said, wiping away some of the lemonade that had dripped down on the side of the glass. “She’s really easy to talk to.”

Adora couldn’t help but smile at that, nodding. “What did the two of you get up to this week?”

“Hmm,” Finn hummed. “We mostly played baseball so she could teach me a few things. Her dad used to play for the Cubs.”

Adora’s eyes widened in surprise. “Um. He did?

Finn shrugged. “I don’t think she wants people to know - says it could be ‘borderline cheating’ to know the stuff her dad taught her.”

“Huh,” Adora mused. “So that’s how your game has improved so much. I was wondering how you suddenly learned how to steal bases.”

Finn gave a proud hum in return before re-focusing on their lemonade, a little watered down now but still just as sweet.

“I’m glad that the two of you get along so well,” Adora said contentedly, vision hazing a little at the edges at the thought. “I’m glad she’s here with us.”

“You do that every time I mention Miss Catra,” Finn noted, snapping Adora back from her daydream.

“Uhh -” Adora sputtered. “I-uh, what?”

“You smile,” Finn pointed out, eyes narrowing. “Now you’re blushing!”

“I am not! ” Adora blurted, her face blazing, but it was too late. She had protested too much. Finn was too clever -

“Do you have a crush? ” Finn questioned, eyes wide in realization. Adora covered Finn’s mouth before they could say anything else, unsure of who would be listening. She put her finger against her lips in a shushing motion, letting Finn go when they nodded in understanding.

“I’m…relying on her more than I anticipated I would when your father hired her,” Adora said, wincing a little. It was an awkward way of phrasing it, but it got the message across without too much detail. By the look on Finn’s face, Adora could tell they didn’t buy that story. 

Ultimately Finn didn’t press the issue further. They asked a different question, instead. “Is that why you haven’t come to visit my room as often when you fight with dad?”

Adora could answer this question a bit more straightforwardly. She nodded. “I’m sorry that I used your room to escape fights with your father,” Adora sighed. “I might have made you feel responsible for my feelings. That’s not true - I’m your mother, and I’m an adult. I’ll be better about that in the future.”

“It’s okay, Mom,” Finn said, a reflex. Finn did that quite a bit, reassured her before understanding their feelings. Finn took a sip of their lemonade, pausing for a few moments as if to consider their next move. 

Adora waited as patiently as she could, which is to say that she could barely wait at all. It wasn’t her strongest virtue. Adora gave them as much space as she could bear before reassuring them. 

“Do you remember the rule here, honey?” Adora asked quietly.

Finn nodded thoughtfully, their brow furrowing a little and sighing. Catra mentioned that Adora and Finn shared this trait when they carefully planned their words. The thought made Adora smile a little.

“Whatever it is, we work through it together,” Finn murmured, rolling their eyes a little. Adora took the hand that had been softly petting Finn’s hair and aggressively ruffled the locks.

“That’s right - I’m not gonna be mad at you for feeling things,” she said, fighting Finn’s laughter and cries of mercy and don’t mess up my hair, Mom, please!

Adora conceded, and they were a little out of breath. “Okay, okay. What’s on your mind?”

Finn took a deep breath. “It - it scared me when you came into my room,” Finn seemed to settle on.

“I can see how that would be scary,” Adora started, trying to keep her face as neutral as possible. They’re not responsible for making me feel better for the shitty thing I did when I was scared, Adora reminded herself. She opened her palm, giving Finn the option to hold her hand if they wanted to. They did, their smaller hand dwarfed by Adora’s own. “What scared you the most about it?”

“Dad,” Finn said simply.

“He’s - I think his work -” Adora started to deflect, but Finn interrupted her.

“I know you’re trying to protect me, but I know he hurts you,” Finn’s voice dropped to a whisper. “I don’t want him to hurt us. I’m scared.”

Adora could have lied. She could have said, don’t worry, honey, your father won’t hurt you. She didn’t know that for sure - and that terrified her even more.

“Has - has he hurt you?” Adora said, panic seeping into her voice.

“You’re scared, too,” Finn said, instead of an answer. “Haven’t you thought about us running away?”

Adora had thought about running away - every day since her wedding night. 

“It’s not that simple, honey,” Adora opted for instead. It wasn’t the answer Finn was hoping to hear.

“Be honest with me, Mom,” Finn demanded. 

They were right. Whatever it was, the two of them were a team and worked through it together. Adora felt tears threatening to spill over.

“I’m scared, too.”


September 1965 | Catra

As long as Catra had been working for the Hopes, Mr. Hope had rules he expected Catra to follow. Most - spoken and unspoken - had been broken except for one. Don’t go near the study.

Unfortunately for Catra, Finn had wormed their way in there a few days ago during a game of hide and seek. She’d quickly steered them out and shut the door, more concerned with setting the room straight and ushering them out of there before Mr. Hope returned. Catra had only realized her earring was missing when Adora had brushed her fingertips against Catra’s ear a few hours later. At that point, Adora’s husband had returned home and re-entered his study, and it was too late to retrieve it.

Catra had been biding her time to re-enter and acquire it, but Mr. Hope had been home more than usual. Adora and Catra had both noticed it - Adora, more so, because she had been sleeping next to him each night. They’d stayed up late on the seventh day of sleeping in separate bedrooms, just itching to be around each other after spending so much time apart. Adora had cried; she hadn’t slept well without her, and judging by the bags under her eyes, Catra was inclined to believe it. It’s not like she was faring any better herself.

Catra searched outside the study, praying that by some divine power, her earring had fallen in that area instead. She froze as she heard the sound of heavy feet pacing the floor.

He’s- he’s in there, she thought to herself, trying to tamper down the panic that was threatening to bubble up. Against all better judgment, she inched closer to listen in.

“-strange, I’m telling you,” he said. Catra couldn’t help herself. She put her ear up to the thick, wood door to hear him better. “I bought a beautiful dress for my wife, and I come back home to find that it’s been destroyed and she had to throw it away. Adora said she’d stepped on it, and it had ripped the back right open.”

Catra’s heart stopped.

The lie that Adora told him was excellent - it made sense within the context. The problem was that Catra hadn’t given him the same one. 

“I asked Ms. Weaver the same question,” Catra heard him say. “She said that she had spilled bleach on it while the two of them were cleaning. Now, tell me, brother - why would the nanny be trying to protect my sad excuse for a wife?”

Catra was frozen - her feet glued to the floor. When Mr. Hope had approached her a few weeks ago, she thought she had the upper hand. She felt she had schooled her expression perfectly, told a convincing story. He wasn’t making polite conversation - he was fishing for information - and Catra fell right into that trap.

“At the very least, it’s clear now that my son cannot be near his mother if she’s choosing to live her life with such indiscretion,” Mr. Hope continued. “I’ll send him off to our old boarding school for young men. No more of this nonsense that my wife has put in his head.”

Catra was terrified, caught between wanting to run and needing to know what he was saying.

“Don’t be stupid,” Mr. Hope scoffed to the man on the other end of the line. “I’m not going to alert the authorities. I’ve worked too hard to have this kind of thing ruin my reputation. I’ll deal with them quietly.” Catra heard him pause before lowering his voice. “After all, women go missing all the time.”

A few moments of silence resounded before she heard quick movements - walking, she realized with a paralyzing terror - towards the door. The adrenaline kickstarted her heart, and she launched herself from the door, feet moving her as silently as possible. Once she had made her way out of sight, around a corner, she pressed her back flush to the wall.

The door opened. Catra held her breath, despite her lungs screaming for oxygen. She heard him walk just a bit closer before returning to the study, seemingly satisfied that he’d misheard movement outside his study. She listened to the click of a shutting door and a mirthless, muffled laugh on the other side of the wall before sprinting away.

Catra searched the house on autopilot, the fear hitting her full-force. She found Adora in Finn’s room, and her heart broke at the sight of Adora’s initial grin at the realization she was there. From the feeling of her lungs collapsing to the shake in her hands - she knew she looked like she’d seen a ghost. Maybe she had; one of a life they could have had if she’d only been a little more careful.

Adora turned to meet her eyes, took in her state of panic, and knew. She always did.

Chapter Text

October 1965 | Adora

A front brought the cold much earlier in the year than Adora had anticipated. She found herself curling up next to Catra and Finn by the fireplace more often than not, partly due to the draft that seeped into the house, partly due to their anxiety. Adora knew that they weren’t safe here, but they were in even more danger if they stayed together. The risk was too high for Catra to be used as a scapegoat if they were caught. Catra knew this, logically, but she was still determined to stay with them and ignore the risk to her safety.

On a freezing fall evening, the trio put it up to a vote to stay together or leave separately. Finn agreed with their mother. Catra would cease her employment with the family, and Adora would escape with Finn a week or so later, depending on when Mr. Hope was away. The three of them would meet in San Francisco in two months.

Adora had thought arguing with Catra was painful, but the silence following was much worse. It fell over them, thick and heavy, in a way that it hadn’t since they first met. Adora was terrified that she’d lose her long before she left.

The night after their decision, Adora crawled into bed with Catra, her face red from tears. “I’m so sorry,” she’d whispered into the darkness, breathing a sigh of relief as Catra pulled her in tightly.

“I don’t know how to say goodbye,” Catra had replied, her voice hoarse from a day’s worth of crying. “Don’t make me say goodbye.”

They didn’t have a choice.

*

It was their last night together. They had the entire house to themselves.

The two of them had sat near the fireplace for most of the day, holding each other any way they could. Now, Catra’s petite, warm hand was in Adora’s, rubbing circles onto the heel of Adora’s palm. She looked tired in a way that Adora had never known her to be.

Adora rose from her seat on the couch, the cool air hitting her legs through the thick denim of her jeans, making her shiver. She resolutely ignored it. Adora heard Catra’s slight noise of confusion - disappointment? - as she walked to the other side of the living room. She paused in front of her record collection, catching the sound of impatient, restless shifting from the woman behind her.

She scanned the available records, running the pads of her finger along the spines of the sleeves. Adora knew what song she needed to pick; she just couldn’t get herself to do it. She felt a tear fall unbidden down the curve of her cheek.

“Adora?” she heard behind her, and Adora wiped the wetness from her skin as best she could. She’d have time to cry when Catra was gone.

Adora had just gotten back to pretending to contemplate a song choice when she felt two warm arms slipping around her waist. Adora felt her heart pounding, fueled in equal parts by her hypervigilance the past few weeks and the familiar wandering hands slowly trailing up her sides.

“Do you want to dance?” Adora heard Catra say behind her, muffled as she nuzzled into the fabric of Adora's shirt.

“Always,” Adora replied softly, relieved that she no longer bore the burden of asking. Catra slipped around her silently, standing on her toes to place her palms across the back of Adora’s neck. She dipped a little to meet Catra halfway.

Catra’s smooth hum filled the air in a rare gift. It took a few moments for Adora’s brain to catch up, realizing that Catra had started singing the very record that Adora couldn’t get herself to play.

So won’t you say you love me?” Catra sang, and Adora could do little more than bury her face into the crook of Catra’s neck and pull her in tighter.

“I love you,” Adora answered the non-question. “Fuck, I’ll always love you, Catra.”

“You’re saying it like it’s the last time you ever will,” Catra whispered, abandoning the music as quickly as she’d started it. Adora lifted her head from Catra’s neck, but not before placing a kiss over a mark she’d left no less than a day or so ago. She kissed up the column of her throat, biding her time until she reached her lips.

“I don’t want it to be,” Adora settled on. “But if something happens to me, I want you to take Finn and run. They’re more important than I am, and I just - I need to know they’ll be safe.”

Adora couldn’t miss the telltale signs of Catra holding herself back. She was trying not to cry, and Adora hated herself for it. Adora didn’t have a choice - this was always how it was going to end.

“Stop,” Catra said softly, and Adora felt palms on her face gently and firmly direct her to look at heterochromatic eyes.

“Catra, what -” Adora faltered.

“You’re never going to make it if you keep saying things like that.”

Adora frowned. She thought they’d been over this. “The chances of both Finn and me making it out are slim to none, Catra.”

“Love yourself enough to try, Adora,” demanded Catra, her expression turning to one of determination. “Don’t you get it? There is never going to be a situation where I’m happier without you. You’re the only person I have ever loved, and I refuse to let you go.”

Adora felt dizzy. “I-I do love myself, Catra.”

Catra just shook her head. “You don’t. I’m terrified to leave tomorrow, and it’s not because I’m scared to be on my own. I’m scared you’re going to give up on yourself before you’ve even had the chance to live.”

“I - I don’t - fuck,” Adora stammered.

Catra was right.

Adora gripped Catra’s shoulders and felt a wave of grief rock through her like nausea, either from Catra’s words or the pressure of their current situation. Adora couldn’t tell. Her knees threatened to buckle underneath her at the force of her sadness, coming over her, uncontrollable and unannounced. Her vision blurred out slightly at the edges from what she suspected were her tears. She’d lost the ability to hold them back, feeling them stream hot against her cheeks.

“Let’s go lie down, yeah?” she heard Catra suggest, rubbing soothing circles against her back as best she could while holding Adora up. Adora nodded, her eyes still clamped tight to prevent seeing the look of pity on the woman who had just gently, surgically opened Adora’s chest and laid it out bare.

Adora felt the fabric of bedsheets against her cheek, realizing that Catra had brought them to her room. She caught one look at the packed bag in the corner and knew that she wouldn’t be able to do it.

“N-not here,” Adora stammered out. “Please.”

Catra followed Adora’s line of sight. “I’ll move it out to the hall,” she said with an unbelievable calmness. Adora nuzzled into the sheets, trying to calm her breathing. She found herself smiling despite her current state when she felt a familiar weight in the bed and warm, kind hands bringing her to a soft chest.

“I’m sorry,” Adora whispered, her heart rate calming to match that of the woman underneath her.

“There’s nothing to apologize for,” Catra whispered, carding her fingers through Adora’s hair. “You’ve been taught your whole life that what you want doesn’t matter, but it does. I just want you to live long enough to know that.”

They sat in silence together for a while. Adora nodded, but she could sense that the words Catra said hadn’t quite hit her yet. Almost half of her body was splayed on top of Catra - a position both of them were fond of. You’re like a blanket, Catra always said, because it made Adora laugh and drape over her further. Catra began humming again, a song that Adora hadn’t heard before. She wanted nothing more than to listen to that hum, that voice, for the rest of her life.

“What do you want, Adora?”

It clicked. Adora saw a vivid picture in her mind of her future, and not only did she want it, but she deserved it too.

“I want this,” Adora whispered.

“And what is this?” Catra murmured almost absently, running her nails lightly over Adora’s scalp, giving her space to continue. She was always so patient with Adora.

“A life with you and Finn,” Adora whispered, leaning in to brush her lips across Catra’s soft cheek. She carded her fingers through Catra’s hair, mirroring the movements that Catra had made earlier. Their noses brushed briefly. Adora met Catra’s eyes, saw her tongue dart out across her lips to wet them.

“I want to wake up next to you every morning,” she continued, letting her hand fall from Catra’s hair to stroke her side through her sweater. Catra’s lips parted, sighing quietly as Adora’s hand flexed against her hip. “I want to cut off all of my hair and have parties with people like us. Go to those bars you mentioned.” Adora ran her hand under Catra’s sweater slowly, toying with the hem for a moment. Catra looked blissed out and wired, so sensitive to every touch Adora gave her. Her reactions were intoxicating.

“I want to grow a small, really depressing garden on our windowsill and watch you struggle to lie to me about how proud you are of it,” Adora professed, running her fingertips across the plane of Catra’s stomach. She felt the muscles contract underneath her, heard Catra’s shuddering breath with each movement of her hand. “I want to adopt a dog and name it something ridiculous enough to make you roll your eyes.”

Catra’s eyes fluttered shut as Adora’s hand traced the underside of her breast. Adora brushed her lips against Catra’s ear, murmuring, “I want to make you come.”

Catra moaned, back arching, urging Adora to continue. Adora’s hand cupped her, palm dragging across her nipple. Catra’s head shifted at the relief of finally being touched, granting Adora access to her neck. Adora leaned in to lightly bite and suck the skin there, less careful about leaving marks. Adora moved her hand to Catra’s stomach, lifting herself to straddle her in one smooth motion.

“I want you, Catra,” Adora pleaded, admiring her work. Catra’s shirt was bunched up, so her stomach was exposed, her chest heaving from Adora’s gentle touches.

“Then have me,” Catra replied softly.

Adora took Catra’s clothes off slowly, enjoying Catra’s needy, pleading whimpers. She left selfish marks on Catra’s skin, sucking and biting as she went, giving her bruises and bites to take with her when she left. Adora spent time on Catra’s thighs, rubbing circles on her hip crease in a pattern that both of them knew all too well. By the time that Adora had stripped her bare, she was shaking.

“Please,” Catra breathed.

“It’s okay, baby,” Adora reassured her, leaning down to kiss her forehead once. “You took care of me - let me take care of you.” Adora saw the tension visibly leave Catra’s face as she ran her thumb over the crease between her brows.

Adora covered Catra’s naked body with her own, fully clothed one to keep her warm, pressing her lips to hers. She was so soft, everywhere, and Adora still struggled to believe that this was all for her. Catra tried to take the lead, to speed things along, but Adora brought their pace back down every time with her lips, teeth, and tongue.

Adora wanted to give Catra everything. 

She kissed down Catra’s neck, finally reaching her chest. Adora ran her tongue over the hardened nipple there, lightly pinching the other one between her fingers. She spent time there with no intention of leaving Catra’s warm skin or stopping the sounds she made. Adora only pulled away when she felt Catra’s hands tug at her hair.

“Promise you’ll come back to me,” Catra insisted, her chest heaving. Her face was painted in thinly-veiled fear.

Adora rose to meet her, ran her thumb over Catra’s cheekbone, sweeping to run over her bottom lip. She left a lingering kiss at the corner of her mouth. “I promise,” Adora agreed.

Adora switched their positions, so Catra was straddling her chest, palming Catra’s ass, and moving her closer, making her intentions clear. Adora stabilized Catra’s wobbling legs.

“Do you want this?” Adora asked, holding her steady until she was sure.

“Y-yeah,” Catra whimpered. She settled over Adora’s face, breathing harshly when Adora ran her hands up the back of Catra’s thighs, nipping the inside of her left one lightly. Adora didn’t know the next time she would taste her and intended to make it count.

“I love you,” Adora whispered, rubbing Catra’s lower back gently with her thumb, grounding her before leaning in.

Catra cried out when Adora finally ran her tongue up the length of her, soft and flat. Adora felt the muscles in Catra’s thighs twitch under her palms as she dipped lower, circling her entrance with her tongue before finally flicking it over her clit in the way she knew Catra wanted most.

“A-Adora -”  Catra moaned, rocking against Adora’s face.

The way Catra tasted, the way she sounded - Adora could do this forever. It only took a few minutes to find a rhythm that worked. She opened her eyes and met Catra’s needy ones - felt Catra’s hands tighten in her hair as she continued long, slow licks to hold her at the edge as long as she could. It felt like hours of Catra’s pleas before Adora picked up the pace again.

“I’m - I’m gonna - fuck -” Catra whimpered.

Adora took Catra’s clit into her mouth and sucked lightly, felt Catra’s legs clamping around her head as she came. Her hands immediately flew to Catra’s waist to steady her, still working her through it with her mouth. Catra finally came down as Adora slid her hands up and down her hips, kissing her wet thigh.

Catra sighed, seemingly content, but Adora was nowhere near finished. She guided her backward slightly, readjusted her grip, and flipped her onto her back. Adora smiled at how Catra’s surprised yelp turned into a moan when they kissed, tasting herself on Adora’s lips.

Adora knew Catra was ready for her, that she liked the burn and stretch of being full all at once with Adora’s larger hands. She took two fingers and ran them over Catra’s thighs, wet enough to coat them. Adora slipped two fingers inside of her and felt Catra’s back arch up, felt the aftershocks of her last orgasm around her fingers. It would be so easy to push her over the edge again.

Catra broke the kiss, cried out for her as her eyes fluttered shut. “Oh - oh fuck -”

“Wasn’t done with you yet,” Adora said by way of explanation, gently pulling Catra’s lip between her teeth.

Adora pumped her fingers in and out, curling them in a way that had Catra twitching. Catra was beyond words, her freckled chest rising and falling in rapid succession with her heavy breathing. Adora lowered her head to circle her nipple with her tongue, kissing it once before giving her what she needed.

“I’ll come back to you,” she promised with her cheek against Catra’s chest, feeling Catra tighten around her fingers as she came again, a shaking, moaning mess under her.

*

It took a while for Catra to come down. Adora pulled her onto her chest and hummed, stroking her hair. She took the end of her sleeve and wiped the thin sheen of sweat from Catra’s forehead. The woman in her arms gave a contented sigh, and after being held for a bit longer, finally spoke.

“Hey, Adora,” she said, voice hoarse. Adora leaned over to grab the glass of water from that morning, bringing it to Catra’s lips and letting the cool water soothe her throat.

“Better?” Adora asked before placing the glass back.

“Better,” Catra agreed with a small smile. “I love you.”

Catra kissed her neck once, taking in Adora’s change in breathing to do it again. Adora felt Catra’s eyelashes flutter against her cheek and a thigh slip between her still-clothed legs. She shuddered at finally having some contact there.

Catra brought her lips to her ear, just as Adora had earlier in the evening. “What do you want, Adora?” she asked again, increasing the pressure of her thigh. Adora bucked against it, starting a rhythm, only half-registering the question until Catra let up.

Adora turned them onto their sides, breathing a sigh as Catra undressed her quickly. She’d been close to coming for what felt like hours. Watching Catra had nearly pushed her over the edge.

“I’m a-already close,” Adora admitted quietly, bringing her hand to circle her own clit while Catra adjusted them. She swung Adora’s leg over her hip, watching Adora’s frantic movements against herself. It was too much and not enough. Adora let out a frustrated, feverish groan at not finding something that worked for her. She felt Catra’s hand lace her own gently, tender lips against her cheek to soothe her as she replaced it with her own.

“Mine,” Adora heard Catra say with admiration, feeling full as Catra’s fingers pressed inside her. Catra’s slower, firmer strokes against her walls, on her clit, were perfect. Tears pricked her eyes as she rolled her hips.

“Y-yours, fuck - all yours,” Adora agreed as she came. Catra kept moving with that same torturous pace, kept pushing her further and further towards a second peak that Adora knew would rock her. Her leg tightened around Catra’s hip, her whole body locking as she came again, soaking Catra’s hand.

“I - I love you,” Adora stammered, hugging her as tight as she could with Catra’s fingers still inside her. “I love you so much.”

“I love you too,” Catra whispered.

“We’re going to make it,” Adora offered.

“We’re going to make it,” Catra agreed.

They held each other throughout the night. Adora only slept an hour or so before waking up, restless, quietly watching the woman tangled up with her as she slept. Adora studied the small lines on Catra’s face, counted the freckles there that had faded slightly since the summer. She found herself tracing her thumb lightly over Catra’s cheek, enough to feel her but not enough to wake her.

“I’ll come back to you,” Adora promised again, for no one to hear but herself.

Chapter Text

November 1965 | Catra

Catra had a misconception about the weather in San Francisco, either from films or the stories her father told about his away games there. She imagined her bus would arrive at the West Coast, and she’d be met with warmth - that the light would dance off her skin, and she’d feel the heat from the lazy afternoon sun seep into her bones. Catra imagined a sort of contentment. As she stepped off of her bus and made her way to the pickup area, the clouds hung heavy and wet in the sky above her, threatening to pour over any minute. The rain was light, for now, but it was just another thing outside of her control.

Catra had left her heavier coat and a few personal items with her friend Lonnie in New York, as well as a letter to send a week after her departure. Its return address would bring anyone looking for her to a condemned building on the Lower East Side.

To the Hopes -

Thank you for your kindness and generosity during my stay. I am sending this to inform you of my safe arrival to New York, where I await the start of my subsequent employment. I wish your family a wonderful Holiday and a Happy New Year.

Sincerely,

Catra

Catra cried the first time she wrote it, scrapping that draft for another, fresh piece of paper. A tear-stained letter would never convey detachment. In her second draft, she had signed the letter with love. It took her two other tries before she could write out those three simple lines on that plain white parchment.

Catra started her journey west after a single night in New York. A cross-country bus wasn’t an ideal mode of transportation, but the line didn’t require identification to purchase a ticket. She handed five dollars to the clerk and was on her way an hour later. Catra could tolerate a week in a freezing bus, could handle wearing all of the clothing items she currently owned for warmth. She could be a ghost, suffer a little bit if it meant the possibility of seeing Adora and Finn again.

What she couldn’t handle was the lack of sleep. It had become a foreign, distant concept since she left. She only slept for a few minutes at a time, and although the bus was uncomfortable and loud, it wasn’t the source of her insomnia.

The nightmare was always the same. Catra could swear she felt Adora’s arms wrapped around her, the cadence of her breathing behind Catra lulling her into a sense of safety. But Adora’s breathing would stop, it always stopped, and Adora’s arms would turn bloodied and unfamiliar, cold, and they’d tighten around her -

Catra would wake with a gasping jolt, face wet from her tears. She cried as silently as she could, but it became increasingly difficult to hide her sobbing from the other passengers. She knew they could tell.

Catra began to dread sleep as much as she longed for it.

This would be worth it. Adora and Finn will make it, Catra told herself. But the more she repeated those words, the emptier they felt. All of her thoughts felt like lies. Voices wormed their way into her head without her bidding; mean, small ones that belonged to her mother, father, and sometimes herself. She questioned whether she was worth coming home to. She worried if she did enough to save them, what she would do if they didn’t make it.

They’re going to make it, she told herself, interrupting her thoughts. She’ll come home to me. We’ll have our whole lives ahead of us.

Catra tried and failed to ignore the voices in her head that told her it wasn’t true.

*

Catra arrived in San Francisco a week and a day later. She hadn’t showered since she left New York, her once shiny hair now matted from the fabric of her bus seat. The bags under her eyes were prominent, and she knew she needed to brush her teeth. She’d looked better, felt better. When Glimmer met her at the station, she was reminded of this fact quite abruptly.

“You look like shit,” Glimmer remarked upon seeing Catra for the first time.

“Thanks, Sparkles,” Catra returned with as much malice as she could muster, but her heart wasn’t in it. She was exhausted. 

Glimmer could tell and dropped the teasing, taking her bag and helping her carry it to the car. Catra had passed out as soon as they began the journey back to Glimmer’s apartment, too tired to let the nightmares stop her.

Bow, Glimmer’s partner, must have carried her up the stairs. Catra had no idea how she’d gotten to bed when she woke up eighteen hours later. She found her bathroom stocked with items to clean herself up with and a note telling her to take her time and not worry about using up the hot water. She brushed out her curls using a borrowed comb and scrubbed her hair and body under the hot water. She brushed her teeth, finally feeling clean after weeks when she finished. Catra didn’t feel whole, but it helped.

Time moved slowly without Adora, but she did her best to keep herself occupied. She looked for a job, refusing to mooch off of her friends’ kindness longer than necessary. There were a few open positions for a music teacher in the area, and one school, in particular, was looking for a softball coach. If everything went to plan, she could be in final interviews by the time Adora arrived. 

Catra hadn’t been sleeping again, the exhaustion of the journey no longer keeping the nightmares at bay.

“You’re not sleeping,” Glimmer said one night.

Catra felt her eyes on her, and she pulled her knees into her chest. She shook her head. Glimmer and Bow shared a look before handing Catra a lit joint. Catra hadn’t been one for drugs or even cigarettes in the past, and she looked at them skeptically.

“Just try it,” Bow said, smiling kindly. “It helps my shell shock.”

Catra nodded, placing the end joint between her lips, inhaling the smoke too quickly. She felt her lungs burn and the coughing rise from deep in her chest. Her traitorous friends were laughing at her, but her small smile undermined her proclaimed annoyance.

Catra relaxed for the first time in almost a month, surrounded by her friends. She wondered what Adora would think of Glimmer and Bow. Catra imagined them sitting on a balcony in an apartment of their own. They’d hide it from Finn as Adora tried it for the first time, and Catra would watch her laugh at things that weren’t even funny. She’d tell Adora how pretty she looked and watch her get flustered with immense satisfaction.

Catra’s heart was still aching, but her hope felt like less of a lie the more she leaned on her friends.


November 1965 | Adora

“Adora?”

An unfamiliar voice cracked through her hazy mind. Everything had been a bit fuzzy before then, and Adora forgot where she was. She’d been doing that quite a bit recently, numbing herself from whatever was around her.

She heard kids’ delighted yelling and footsteps from tiny, bare feet on the linoleum beneath her. The room smelled faintly of vanilla cake and champagne.

Right - the birthday party.

Adora and Finn had to keep up their routine while they waited for the opportunity to escape. That meant grocery shopping on Wednesdays, cooking nightly, keeping the house clean, and attending practices and parties. Adora was on autopilot most days.

She looked down at her dress briefly, dusting off a bit of flour that had made its way there from her time helping in the host’s kitchen. Otherwise, from an outsider’s standpoint, she looked perfect. Adora took extra time that morning to select her dress and apply her makeup, relying on her mother’s tricks to conceal blemishes and bruises.

Her husband was terrifying in the days since Catra left her and more present than he’d been before. Adora didn’t anticipate this. She, maybe unrealistically, thought he’d be happy to have Catra gone, but he’d just become more volatile, more dangerous. The letter that Catra had addressed to them added fuel to his anger. He saw it as a reminder that Catra had left without his permission. Finn had cried when they saw Catra’s handwriting, and Adora, too, when she was alone. She always waited until she was alone to cry.

Adora wanted to leave - she knew she had to go, but she couldn’t. She often felt as if her feet were planted to the floor. Her hands shook more than usual. She jumped at any sudden noise, grimaced at any touch. Her husband told her she was worthless, and the words traveled so deep in her body, gutting her, paralyzing her.

Maybe I am worthless, she found herself thinking more often than not.

“Adora, are you okay?” she heard from the woman in front of her, processing her concerned expression. Adora might have zoned out again.

“Sorry, Bonnie,” Adora finally responded. She’d known Bonnie for about a year now, a newer member of Finn’s baseball team. She was always sweet, Adora reminded herself, and the smile she’d forced earlier became a bit more genuine. “What was your question?”

Bonnie gave a soft, understanding hum, swaying a little as she spoke. “It’s okay. I was just wondering how your husband has been. Alexander and I haven’t seen him in a while.”

“He’s been traveling quite a bit for family and work,” Adora replied just as she had practiced with Finn. “His sister is in Chicago. They’re close, so he flies out once every few weeks or so to see her.” 

Good, Adora thought. Just enough detail to satisfy her. However, Bonnie paused again, gathering courage for her next question. A question for which Adora most likely did not have an answer prepared. Adora swallowed, her anxiety spiking a bit as Bonnie took a deep breath. 

“Can I - can I ask you something that will be rude of me?” Bonnie asked carefully.

Fuck, Adora thought.

“I don’t get offended easily,” Adora offered carefully, hoping that Bonnie was drunk enough to overlook her discomfort.

“How - how do you afford such nice things on your husband’s salary?” Bonnie asked quietly, her eyes nervously shifting between Adora and the other people in the room.

Adora blinked at the question, her expression betraying her surprise before she could hold it back.

“I - I shouldn’t have asked -”

“No,” Adora said quickly. “I just - I don’t understand the question.”

“We’re barely making it work, and our husbands have the same role at the company,” Bonnie rambled, sloshing her drink a little bit as she waved her hands. Adora nicked her champagne glass before it spilled all over both of them. Bonnie continued, waving her hands a bit more enthusiastically now that they were free. “I want to know how you do it - do you invest?”

Bonnie’s sentence hung uneasily in the air between them. Adora kept her voice even. “I was under the impression that our husbands make a substantial salary.”

Bonnie’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion, inching just a bit closer. Adora could smell the Chanel Bonnie had spritzed on her neck earlier in the evening. She leaned in to whisper. “They get paid...a decent salary. Nothing would allow us to afford a house of that size, or a nanny for that matter. Speaking of which, I haven’t seen her today -”

Oh. That crushing grief Adora had tried to squash all week had just returned like a freshly opened wound.

“Ah, she - she received an offer that was too good to refuse,” Adora said, her voice small, trying and failing to look disengaged. “She moved to New York not too long ago. I’m happy for her.”

“Hm, what a shame,” Bonnie murmured, slurring her words a bit and downing a new glass of champagne that had seemingly come out of nowhere. “She was lovely - her eyes were so interesting, too. Two different colors, right?”

I can’t - Adora thought, feeling the stinging, hot tears well up in her eyes. I can’t do this.

“To answer your question - I’m not entirely sure how my husband finds his money, and I’m not concerned about it, either,” Adora lied poorly. She knew she was short with Bonnie, but if she didn’t move now, she’d start sobbing in the living room.

“I’m sorry, Adora -”

“Do you know where the powder room is?” Adora interrupted, ignoring Bonnie’s surprise. She nodded confusedly, pointing towards the other side of the house. Adora didn’t even say goodbye before walking swiftly in that direction and shutting the door behind her.

Adora held back her tears, but a few escaped and ran down her cheeks. She couldn’t cry, not now. There were too many people out there that could tell him how she rudely hid from the party, how she’d embarrassed him by being too emotional.

But Bonnie had mentioned Catra’s eyes. Adora knew those eyes - how the light refracted differently in each iris when they looked at her, how they shone when she smiled, how bright they were when she blushed. For once, Adora didn’t stop herself from thinking about Catra. She let the visions and memories come to her, let them soothe her.

Bonnie had done her multiple, unintentional kindnesses today. She’d reminded Adora what she was running towards and given her and Finn a potential ticket to safety.

Adora’s husband hadn’t come from money; he boasted how he was a “self-made man” when they were courting. He refused to show her the books. Adora had assumed his secrecy was due to his opinion of her, but now, she wasn’t so sure. Adora had to get to his study and find something - anything - to give them a leg up they so desperately needed. Her husband would be home in the early hours of the morning at the latest - if they left now, they could arrive home, grab the documents and escape.

*

Adora and Finn slipped away from the party quietly, driving home as quickly as they could. It was already early evening, and Adora had to switch on the headlights to see. Her heels had been kicked off and strewn somewhere beneath the long front bench as soon as they entered the car.

“We’re leaving tonight,” Adora said to Finn after a brief retelling of her conversation with Bonnie.

“Okay,” was all they said. Adora looked at them in a bit of shock.

“O-okay?” Adora asked, putting her eyes back on the road. “How are you not terrified right now?”

“I am,” Finn said quietly. “I am scared. But we look out for each other. Nothing really bad can happen to us if we stick together.”

Adora took a deep breath in and exhaled shakily. Her hands flexed on the steering wheel as she tried to steady herself. “There might be a situation where you need to leave me behind, honey.”

“No,” Finn said.

Finn -”

“No,” Finn said with an air of finality. “I know you’re trying to protect me, but I know what’s been going on, and I know you’re scared -”

Finn seemed to surprise themself, cutting off their sentence midway. Adora blinked a few times, shifting the car into the next gear while pressing her stocking-covered foot on the clutch.

“I’m terrified,” she said honestly, shaking a little, trying her best to focus on the road. “I’m terrified that your father is going to hurt you, and I’m terrified that if I hurt him, you’ll never forgive me. I’m scared I’ll never see Catra again because I love her, Finn. I love her, and I love you, and I just can’t lose either of you.”

“I know you do,” Finn replied. “I can’t lose my mom, either.”

“Finn,” Adora said instantly, pulling Finn closer to her on the bench so they could lean into her side. Adora kissed them on the forehead, eyes still focused ahead of her. “I’m - I’m sorry that this is so scary, honey,” Adora let out in a broken whisper.

Finn pulled back to look at her. “It’s not your fault, Mom.”

Adora didn’t realize until that moment how much she needed to hear that and how scared she had been to ask. It felt like a revelation. “Thank you,” Adora whispered.

The pair were quiet for the remainder of the drive, with Finn holding onto her tightly. When she wasn’t shifting gears, she combed her hand through Finn’s hair like she did when they were a baby, hoping that it would calm them both.

It seemed to work. By the time they arrived at the house, Adora had long stopped crying. She pulled the car into the driveway, flicking the switch for the headlights and killing the engine.

“Okay,” Adora whispered as they walked up to the front door. “Remember to be quiet so we can listen for a car pulling up.”

Finn held onto her arm in acknowledgment, gripping it tightly for reassurance. Adora used her free hand to unlock the door before the two scanned the house and backyard for her husband. She breathed a half-sigh of relief when she realized he hadn’t returned.

“Do you feel okay taking our bag out back to the corner of the yard?” Adora asked Finn, but they had already started walking to grab it before she finished her question. She entered the master bedroom to quickly take off her makeup, scrubbing only her face clean in the sink and wiping it down with a dark towel. She quickly undressed, changing into warm, high-waisted pants and a turtleneck that Catra had given her the day she left.

It still smells like her, Adora realized as she double-checked her clean face in the vanity mirror. A brief flash of light against metal caught her eye - their small pair of haircutting scissors, recently sharpened. She slipped them into her pocket.

Adora made her way to the living room, flipping off most of the lights to help them see any headlights from cars approaching the house. By the time that she finished, Finn was locking the back door. 

“Done,” they said, sounding proud of themself. Adora was, a little, too.

“Your eyes will take a minute to adjust,” Adora said, holding her hand out to them, smiling when they took it. “I’ll lead the way.”

They walked down the hall towards the study together, and the feeling of Finn’s tiny hand in Adora’s own grounded her. 

“We’ll just have to look at the dust around the room to figure out what drawers he uses the most,” Adora suggested as a plan of attack. She squeezed Finn’s hand once as they stood before the large, wooden doors. She held the handle in her palm, weighty and gilded, and turned it.

Adora opened the door, finding it unlocked. The lights were on.

Her husband sat behind his desk.

“Hello, dear.”

Adora froze, her legs rendered useless where they stood. The blood in her veins turned to ice at that horrible voice. Adora took in deep, shaky gulps of air, trying to cut her nausea, but it just made her sicker.

“Hi, d-dear,” Adora stammered anxiously. “I wasn’t expecting you back so soon.”

“Now see, that,” he mocked, “That’s not a lie. You’ve been telling them so much lately that I almost forgot what you look like when you’re telling the truth.”

There was a glass on the table, half-drank, and an open bottle of whiskey. The room smelled like sweat and ink and something distinctly metallic. It looked like he’d been here for hours.

“You were waiting for us,” Adora realized. “You’ve - you’ve been planning this since Catra left.”

He nodded with a horrific smirk. “I found your bag weeks ago. Bonnie rang and let me know that you had disappeared from the party, so I assumed you were leaving tonight to run off with that little whore of yours.”

Adora opened her mouth, but the words died in her throat. What would she even say? I’m sorry? Forgive me? Adora had nothing to apologize for, and she wasn’t sorry for loving Catra and caring for Finn.

His face contorted into something more familiar at her silence, something Adora feared. She felt Finn behind her, shaking, and Adora fought every fiber of her being that screamed at her to freeze and make herself smaller.

“This doesn’t change anything. I’m still leaving you tonight,” Adora finally found the courage to insist.

“God, I always knew you were stupid, but this is pathetic,” he said, slicking back his hair and laughing mirthlessly. “You’re not going to run away with her. I’m calling the police and telling them what you two are. It’s over, Adora.”

“You’re bluffing,” Adora asserted. “You care too much about appearances, and I know for sure you have documents in here that you don’t want authorities to see. You’re doing something illegal, and I won’t hesitate to use it against you.”

He laughed again. “Adora,” he said after a few moments. “The police are working with the same family I am. They’re in on it. You’re so dense, sometimes.”

Adora suspected this already, but she was satisfied to have him confirm it so quickly. He saved her hours of searching through his desk to piece the narrative together. Adora wondered if he’d even realized what he’d just done.

“Now, Finn,” she heard her husband say. “You haven’t even said hello to me yet. Don’t be rude. Come and give your father a handshake.”

“Absolutely not,” Adora snapped. She felt Finn’s fists crumple the fabric of her slacks. They held on so tightly - Adora knew they were terrified. She was too. Looking her husband in the eye for the first time that evening, she knew this wouldn’t end peacefully.

Just a little longer, honey. This will be over soon.

“Don’t be a coward, Finn,” he said sternly, ignoring her blatant disagreement. “Be a man and give your father a handshake.”

“That’s enough,” Adora spat. “Don’t talk to my child like that.”

“Excuse me?” He was visibly enraged, but she couldn’t stop herself. The words just kept tumbling out. 

“You heard me,” she sneered. “You’re the goddamn coward. What a pathetic little man you are, using violence to terrify us. We're leaving tonight.

“You better tread carefully, Adora,” he growled, standing up from his leather chair.

She planted her feet to the ground, patting Finn gently away behind her, silently telling them to run.

“Go fuck yourself,” Adora seethed in hot white anger. She felt Finn’s grip on her pants loosen and heard footsteps as they sprinted down the hall. 

Adora watched as her husband barrelled over the desk towards her. She did the best she could to stand her ground, but he was much stronger. He grabbed her, slamming her against the wall. She heard a thud and felt her head rattle as it smacked into the drywall.

“Fuck!” she cried out, kicking and hitting him, but he just kept pushing her chest, trying to grab her hands. Her head throbbed.

“You’re such a bitch,” he growled, grabbing her hands and holding them tightly with one, pressing harder onto her chest with the other. “You know I’m going to kill you, right?”

Adora tried to breathe, but it became increasingly difficult. She was suffocating, she realized with an overwhelming terror. Adora reached for the shears in her pocket and pushed him away as best she could, but she just couldn’t reach -

He readjusted his hands on her, and she acted quickly. She slipped the shears from her pocket, gripping the handle and stabbing his thigh. He recoiled, crying out. Adora took the opening and stabbed him in his other leg, dragging downwards before removing it and readjusting it in her palm.

He screamed in shock and pain, collapsing to the floor, gripping his wounds. He looked at Adora with wide eyes, the shears still in her hand, his blood dripping down onto the carpet. He was breathing heavily, slowly bleeding out.

It’s over, Adora thought, the weapon still in her hand. She breathed heavily, felt an initial sense of relief at the sensation. Adora looked over at him, watched him clutch his wounds, and try to say something to her.

“You don’t get to speak. The only reason why I’m not finishing you off is that my child is here, and you’ve already put them through enough. I won’t make them watch you die,” she said calmly. 

He refused to look at her, either too weak or still retaliating. She took her foot and adjusted his head with it, forcing him to look at her.

“If you don’t bleed out on the carpet,” Adora said, “it would be a real shame if the people you’re working with had the impression that you snitched. With a good haircut and some of your clothes, I could pass as you in the middle of the night and drop them off at the next county station.”

Adora watched his anxiety spike with deep satisfaction.

“You better start running,” Adora sneered as she watched his eyes glaze over. “After all, men go missing all the time.”

She kicked him in the side, hard, making sure he was out cold before even thinking about taking her eyes off him.

“Is he dead?” Finn whispered behind her. She jumped a little at the sudden, unexpected question.

“No, honey. He’s badly hurt, though,” Adora replied, still looking at the barely breathing body in front of her. “Don’t come in.”

“Good,” Finn said, although they stayed in the hallway. “He deserves it.”

Satisfied that he was unconscious, Adora wiped off the blades before walking outside, wrapping Finn in a hug, carefully avoiding the bloodstains on her clothing.

“We need to move, Finn,” Adora whispered after a while. “We have a lot to do before we can leave, and we’re out of time.”

One briefcase full of paperwork, two haircuts, and a change of clothes later, they slipped into the night.


December 1965 | Catra

Two weeks had passed since Adora and Finn were supposed to arrive in San Francisco. Catra had barely eaten or slept. She was lucky that her full-time teaching job didn’t start for another few weeks because, at this point, she was catatonic. She’d lost all hope.

“Catra, you have to get up,” Glimmer said gently in the early hours of the evening. Catra had been bundled up in blankets all day.

“She promised,” Catra admitted in a broken whisper. She was facing the other way, but she felt the pity radiating off her friend in waves.

“Sometimes we make promises we don’t know we can’t keep,” Glimmer replied softly. “It could be that she’s -”

A knock on the door interrupted Glimmer.

“Glimmer,” Catra said, eyes wide. Her heart thumped in her chest. “Are you expecting company?”

“I’m not,” Glimmer said hopefully.

Catra lept out of bed and sprinted across the floor in her socks, nearly slipping and crashing into the wood underneath her. When she reached the door, she stopped. Her excitement turned into terror.

What if it isn’t her?

What if it is?

Catra unhooked the chain from the latch, flung the door open to see a woman with cropped blonde hair and bright blue eyes.

“Adora?”

Adora looked just as startled as Catra was, shivering from the cold and holding Finn’s hand in hers.

“Catra, I’m so sorry we’re -”

Catra didn’t let her finish. She pulled Adora in and kissed her, wrapped her arms around her as tightly as she could. She’d never felt so broken with relief.

“You m-made it,” Catra said, kissing her again, only stopping to pick Finn up in a crushing hug. Catra leaned into them both, felt an exhilarating rush from feeling Adora’s warmth and her grin against Catra’s skin.

“I promised,” Adora whispered.

Chapter Text

April 1973 | Catra

Catra awoke to a warm bed and the smell of night jasmine. 

Her vision met the mirrored reflection of their window; her eyes followed the curtains as they moved in and out, slowly, as if they were alive and breathing. Noise floated up to their room from the street below. They were quiet and courteous sounds, careful not to wake residents too early on a Saturday morning. The sun hadn’t quite met their side of the building, hiding just a little longer, basking their wallpaper in a warm hue. The wallpaper itself had painted vines of green against an eggshell blue background and gilded, tiny flowers scattered amongst the leaves. It seemed to come to life against the flickering morning light. Catra remembered how easy it was to pick out the wallpaper; Adora wanted a bit of green to match her plants, and Catra thought the blue matched Adora’s eyes. It was an even easier decision when she’d told Adora that and saw her blush furiously for it. 

Catra smiled at the memory, shivering just a bit at the chilly air that surrounded them. She loved sleeping with the windows open in Spring, loved how cool the air felt juxtaposed to their warm bed. Every night, Catra huddled next to Adora under piles of warm blankets, and Adora would pull her in, and it was more than enough.

And sometimes, Adora’s hands would wander and make Catra hot, so hot, and she wouldn’t need anything else to keep her warm, after all.

Catra shivered again, turning over in Adora’s arms to nuzzle in her chest. Adora adjusted quickly to accommodate her with nothing more than a sleepy sigh. Her deep breathing brought Catra dangerously close to falling again herself. Instead, she opted to fight it just enough to keep her eyes open, to be held and sit with her thoughts for a little while. She idly ran her nails lightly down Adora’s forearm, admiring how the muscle jumped a little under her touch. 

Adora’s job had made her strong over the past year, and Catra admired the changes she saw in her partner regularly. Catra had watched her stumble through a few different professions during their first few months in San Francisco. Adora started as a stenographer but couldn’t quite wrap her head around shorthand. She came home from the office frustrated more days than not, and Catra convinced her that this was normal and that she wasn’t going to find something overnight. In combination with the cheaper rent from living with Glimmer and Bow, and Catra's salary gave them a bit more flexibility for the time being. They would figure it out together.

After some time, Adora landed a gig as a waitress on the other side of town. She enjoyed her coworkers. She always came home tired but happier than Catra had seen her in weeks. It worked - until it didn’t. Adora came home shaking and distant on her last day at the diner. Her uniform was a bit rumpled, her shoes a bit muddied. She admitted quietly that a male customer yelled at her and that she was scared, so terrified that she’d run right out of the restaurant. Catra called in and quit for her the next day.

With Adora's permission, the next call Catra made was to a therapist that Bow had worked with in the past. Catra and Adora kept their weekly appointments from that point forward, and eventually, Finn went on their own as well. It was new and deeply uncomfortable, but the cracks became smaller. Adora’s hands shook less. She laughed more. Finn called Catra Mom now. Catra held Adora through it all, and Adora gave Catra just as much. Adora had always been that way - even when she had barely enough to give herself.

The years went on, and there were a few more unsuccessful odd jobs here and there, but none excited Adora like gardening. A shop called Plumeria Flowers had just opened down the street, and Adora jumped on the opportunity to work there. She returned from her interview, face streaked with sweat and smelling of earth and flowers, more excited than Catra had ever seen her.

“Catra! Catra, I got to take care of so many beautiful plants. And I got to move my body - oh, I probably need a shower right now, don’t I? I’m a little dirty. My boss’s name is Perfuma. Isn’t that a cool name? Oh, I forgot to mention this, but I got the job, and I planted a tree today! Wait. Why are you laughing at me? Stop! Now I can - pfft, come here -”

Catra remembered that day fondly - how she’d teased Adora about her new job just enough to get her riled up. She’d chased Catra throughout the house before catching her in the kitchen and kissing her.

As a result of Adora’s profession, the family of three had acquired a significant amount of greenery. Adora would buy tiny plants from her store or safely cut off pieces of other plants in the wild to propagate them. Finn brought home plants of their own, helping their mother find the best lighting to help them grow. Catra would always make herself scarce to read when they gardened together - these days, they had their weekly check-ins over pots and soil.

One night, while they held each other in the quiet of their room, Adora admitted that she loved gardening because it felt surprisingly gentle. All plants needed was a little care and patience, and they grew.

Slight shifting behind Catra pulled her from her thoughts. Catra tucked herself under Adora’s chin even further, if that were possible. She reached up to run her hands through Adora’s short hair, drawing a deep sigh from the woman in front of her.

“Mmm,” Adora murmured, her voice rough from sleep.

“Morning,” Catra replied, feeling Adora’s questioning hum reverberate around her.

“Too early in the year for night jasmine,” Adora mumbled.

“Guess it was ready to bloom,” Catra offered, turning her head slightly to kiss Adora’s collarbone.

“Hm,” Adora agreed softly, kissing Catra’s forehead. “Smells s’nice.”

Catra trailed her fingers up and down Adora’s spine, pressing a little into the warm, sleepy skin when she reached her shoulders, feeling the muscle tense underneath her palm. She repositioned the both of them slowly and a bit ungracefully to straddle Adora’s hips, with Adora on her stomach. Catra rubbed her hands together, warming up her hands, and started working on Adora’s shoulders.

She gently used her thumbs, knuckles, and the heels of her palms, feeling small pops as the knots came undone under her hands. Adora’s breathing deepened, but Catra knew from its cadence that she wasn’t asleep, just happy and relaxed. She did this often for practical reasons - Adora’s back saw a lot of wear and tear, but it was also just something Adora deserved. Catra loved doing this for her. She ran her fingertips lightly across the places that her hands had just worked, placing kisses before moving to other sections of Adora’s back.

Catra found her mind wandering again as her body pleasantly moved on its own accord. She thought about her week ahead - dreading the homework she had to grade. She wondered idly if Adora would be around tomorrow to help her with some of it. She frequently shared this workload, as her grading was confined to the hours her particular live-in student wasn’t around. Every morning before test day was the same. Finn would light-heartedly ask for a hint on her or other teacher’s tests and laugh when she denied them. “ No special treatment, kid. No matter how much I love you,” she told them, smiling, before handing them breakfast and seeing them off. 

Finn was a young adult after Catra’s own heart. They were clever and brilliant, a joy to raise as her own, but not quiet in the least. She’d heard them sneaking out last night while she was reading, no doubt to see their boyfriend that they thought their moms didn’t know about. She smirked and turned her page as she heard them go down the fire escape, letting them think they’d gotten away clean.

Catra also thought about the new books she acquired, mentally ranking which ones she wanted to read first. In the last few years, Catra had become a bit of a bookworm - reading about politics and philosophy, fiction and non-fiction alike. It took up most of her free time after teaching. Catra knew she wanted to get a degree in the future, but for now, she read voraciously. She found new books all over the house - books that Adora had heard people talking about at work, ones she found in a bookshop just around the corner, recommendations from Catra’s favorite librarian. Catra read every single book that Adora brought her. For her birthday, Adora, Bow, and Glimmer had built an entire wall of bookshelves just for her ever-growing library.

Some nights, when it was just her and Adora, they’d light a joint and sit on their small balcony. Adora would rest her head in Catra’s lap, and she’d comb her hands through the short, golden strands as she read to her. Adora once said she loved the sound of Catra’s voice, that it was home, that she would happily face the end of the world as long as Catra was there to narrate it.

“I love you, you know,” Catra heard Adora say underneath her, unprompted, appearing slightly more awake than she’d been some minutes ago. Although, maybe more time had passed than Catra realized. The sky was noticeably brighter than it had been when she’d started. She only just noticed the comfortable ache in her hands.

“I know,” Catra replied warmly, slowly lying next to Adora again. Adora brushed her hands through Catra’s hair while Catra admired the tiny wrinkles around Adora’s eyes and mouth, little crevices that had just started to form and which Catra adored. Adora smiled, making the creases deeper, as she leaned in to kiss Catra’s forehead, her nose, her cheek, and finally, her lips. Catra sighed as Adora’s calloused thumb lightly brushed against her cheek, adjusting her head to kiss her deeper. She’d been kissing Adora for the better part of a decade now, and it felt softer, better the more time passed. Maybe it was because they didn’t have to rush anymore - they didn’t have to hide. 

“I love you too,” Catra whispered, breaking the kiss briefly. “Forgot to say that.”

Adora’s returning smile was radiant. Catra leaned in to kiss her once before moving to her jaw. She made sure that every press of her lips against Adora’s skin lingered, gave every shaky inhale the attention it deserved. A little whine escaped when Catra pulled Adora’s bottom lip between her teeth and bit. She felt Adora shake when Catra’s hands roamed her body with intent.

Catra smiled against her lips, rubbing small circles across the tense muscle of Adora’s outer thigh, her thumb working the joint in her knee. She moved her hand up to tease her, make her wait. Catra ran her nails across the skin of Adora’s hip, enjoying the goosebumps she felt raise under her touch. She felt Adora’s body relax, her hips shift and pitch towards her, looking for friction. The hand tangled in Catra’s curls tightened when Catra finally touched her, but the grip was still careful. Adora was always thinking about her, caring for her.

How do you always know which books to get? Catra wanted to ask as she watched Adora’s eyes flutter shut at her touch. How can you see me so clearly and not make me feel terrified for it?

“You’re so good to me,” Catra said instead, tracing Adora lightly. “Let me be good to you.”

Catra took her time. Whenever she felt Adora twitch under her hand, she pulled back, kept her there. Adora rarely stayed still long enough for Catra to go slow like this. Catra wanted to draw her pleasure out of her like a loose thread, unraveling each stitch carefully in its knit.

"Please -” Adora let out a broken moan, a plea for Catra to move faster, give her what she finally was ready for. Catra nudged Adora onto her back instead, still rubbing light circles on her clit.

“God, I love the way you taste,” Catra whispered against Adora’s thigh, nipping her there before salving the forming bruise with her tongue. She stopped her hand only for a moment, making her way to -

Oh f-fuck,” Adora cried out, louder, this time, as Catra wrapped her lips around her.

Catra leaned in again before Adora could speak, setting a rhythm with her tongue that she knew Adora loved, one that would draw little whines and gasps from her lips. When Catra slipped two fingers inside and curled upwards, Adora fisted her hands in Catra’s hair. She was close, so close -

Catra, I’m -”

Catra didn’t hold back. She gave Adora everything she could, everything she deserved. Adora’s thighs shook, and Catra kept her pace - to draw out her first or bring her to a second, she didn’t know.

“Keep - keep going,” Adora whimpered, pleaded. Catra moaned in response, mouth still on her, when she felt Adora’s hand tighten in her hair, a little less careful than before.

Catra met her eyes, watched as Adora’s orgasm took her under. Parted lips and hands fisted in their sheets, Adora was radiant, and she was hers. Catra worked her through the aftershocks, only stopping when Adora started to pet through her hair. She settled her cheek on Adora’s wet thigh, giving both of them time to settle. She resisted the urge to touch herself, urging patience. They were safe, and they had time - so much time.

“You’re so pretty,” Adora said softly, blue eyes eclipsed by her pupils. Her hand shifted from Catra’s hair to gently cup her chin, her thumb running lightly against Catra’s now parted lips.

Catra took Adora's thumb into her mouth briefly, bobbing her head to take it further before releasing it with a pop. She lifted herself onto her knees, and Adora sat up to meet her. She kissed Catra softly, luxuriously, pulling Catra down to settle in her lap. Adora’s strong hand idly traced Catra’s spine, making her shiver against her. When Adora slipped her hand down to finally touch her, Catra knew she was lost.

The way that Adora looked at her, the way her hands moved Catra’s hips when she was too overwhelmed to do it herself, rocked her more than anything else. The sensations blurred together - bites, bruises, sharp pain juxtaposed with immense softness - but those blue eyes always kept Catra grounded. She wanted to see that color blue for the rest of her life.

“That’s it,” Adora whispered, running her flat palm against Catra's nipple and squeezing. Catra hadn’t noticed how hard she was shaking, didn’t know how close she was until her orgasm pulled her under.

Adora’s arm wrapped around her, doing the work Catra’s legs couldn’t. It was too much and not enough. Adora knew, somehow, and her touches became softer, less overwhelming. She kissed Catra slowly, touched her carefully, worked her towards a peak that cleared her mind of everything but fuck, please, more -

“Anything,” Adora whispered in response, and Catra realized that she’d been quietly pleading against Adora’s neck. “Anything for you.”

Catra came with Adora’s name on her lips, her heart pumping in rapid-fire. She felt Adora work her through it, only stopping when Catra’s brow furrowed and her hips pulled away. 

Adora held her tightly, pulled Catra against her chest, and brought them back down to the bed carefully. This time, Adora was touching Catra's body, calming her. She felt her heart rate even out, her breathing slow, with every press of Adora’s fingertips on her back.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing you like that,” Adora whispered, kissing Catra’s forehead.

“You could…see me like that again,” Catra suggested. She heard Adora laugh under her.

“We need to shower eventually,” Adora said remorsefully, still giggling a little. “Finn will be home later tonight, and we all have family dinner at eight.”

“If Glimmer brings her dumpling recipe again, I’m hiding them from everyone,” Catra half-heartedly proclaimed. “I didn’t get to try one when Scorpia hosted.”

Adora kissed her cheek. “I promise I’ll save you one this time,” she mumbled, kissing her again.

Catra sighed contentedly, drifting off to the sound of Adora’s heartbeat in her chest and the smell of earth and flowers.

“Can you hold me for a little while longer?” Catra asked sleepily, already halfway there. Her vision was fuzzy at the edges. She felt another press of Adora’s lips to her forehead and hands petting through her hair, lulling her closer and closer to sleep.

“Sure, baby. We have time,” Adora whispered.