“Oh wow, that still looks pretty bad…”
She didn’t need a mirror to see it.
Truth be told, she didn’t want to see it. Ever. Once Bright Moon’s repairs are done, these are the only physical remnants that would be left from the battle. Everyone else seems to have healed perfectly fine. Glimmer’s many cuts and bruises fixed themselves the second she recharged, while Bow didn’t really have much to begin with.
The wounds on her arms healed the minute she turned back from She-ra. The scratch on her cheek took a few more hours. But her back?
It’s been two days and it hasn’t fully healed.
She didn’t pay much attention to it. It hurt, but there were too many more important things to focus on fixing.
She hadn’t realized how bad they were until Bow accidentally brushed his hand on her; she recoiled forward, and he recoiled back. It was infected, apparently. Now she’s being told to rest, so it can heal for a couple days.
Absolutely no ‘She-ra-fying’.
As for scars? According to Perfuma, it’ll probably mar her body permanently.
She clutched her shirt against her chest while Glimmer busied herself with looking over it. Making sure that each scratch was cleaned correctly. “Does it hurt?”
Adora nearly laughed. It came out as a scoff, but nonetheless, it was a noise that caught Glimmer’s attention. “The idea that she gave it hurts a whole lot more than this,” she raises a thumb to point to her back.
She could practically see Glimmer’s angry pout. “I swear, we’ll get her. She’s going to pay for this –”
“No, I don’t…” Adora twists around, obviously a bad choice when she felt a slight sting, “I don’t want revenge, I just want to win this stupid war.”
“After all this? You still don’t hate her? Adora, you might be the most forgiving person in all of Etheria –”
“If Bow had turned his back on you, how would this –” she nods her head to point at her back “—make you feel? Would you hate him?”
Glimmer opened her mouth, then closed it. The anger in her face loosened, and it didn’t take very long her to shrug in defeat. “I’m just saying, Adora. I don’t know if she feels the same for you. I mean, she wasn’t willing to… to change sides to be with you. I thought you said you were both inseparable?”
Adora really could have explained, but even she didn’t get it at all. Catra had the chance to see the Rebellion’s beauty when she went to princess prom. Catra had every single opportunity to come back, and Adora would accept her almost immediately.
Her blind rage.
It was hard to really put a finger on. She didn’t know Catra hated the fact that she was second best every single time. She didn’t – couldn’t – fully grasp why Catra wouldn’t just leave the Horde when Adora gave her the chance. She didn’t know anything until Catra brought it all up in the same instance that Adora couldn’t explain herself.
Maybe she read her friend wrong all these years.
Maybe it was her.
She pushed the thoughts out of her mind. “Yea, maybe you’re right. Maybe she’s completely gone this time.”
Adora pulled her knees up to her chest as Glimmer continued to wash her wound. “I don’t know what else to say, Adora. I’m sorry,” the defeat in her voice was fatal to the blonde.
“You don’t have to be sorry for something she did. How, or even if, she says that? It’s entirely up to her; it’s just that I.. I don’t think – I don’t know if she’s the only one to blame for all of this.”
“It’s a lot to manage, Adora. I’m not saying I’ll ever forgive her for doing this to you or trying to kill my mother. Man, I can think of about a million ways I could show her exactly how much I hate her… but who am I to judge?” Glimmer shrugged, doing one last clean on her wounds, “you were part of the Horde, and now, I don’t ever want to lose you as my friend. Maybe we just need to kidnap her and transform her into a princess somehow.”
“Catra? Have a sword that could turn her into something like She-ra? I don’t think that’s a good idea, even if she is on our side.”
Glim gasped, “Holy Etheria…Cat-ra.”
“Okay, let’s not do that.”
The pair laugh together.
“Not to be a total jerk, but we both should probably get some good night’s sleep.”
“I get it, Glim,” she stood up to her feet with slight struggle. Her muscles still twitched from how much she had exerted herself. She slipped her shirt back on with the help of Glimmer pulling it down.
“You’ll be okay tonight?”
A heavy sigh rumbled within Adora.
Her first night in the Rebellion was sour. Her second? Much better than the last, but it wasn’t the same as her absolute comfort with the Horde. It felt warmer. Yes, Bow and Glimmer were in the room with her. She could check off company, but she couldn’t check off the fact that she constantly woke up in the middle of the night due to something as ridiculous as the cold.
Her warmth was what Adora looked for. What she yearned for.
And it’s not as if her body had gotten used to the cold either.
One would think that every night after the first would be an improvement in her sleeping problems. She felt like it got worse. If she didn’t wake up in the middle of the night because her lower half was cold, she woke up because of night terrors.
She mentally shook her head.
She shouldn’t say it like that. She should just call them ‘nostalgic’ memories.
Adora wondered if Catra dreamed of their times like she had.
“I’ll be okay, Glim. Don’t worry about me,” Adora says “if my back ever starts aching too much, I’ll make sure to give you a holler.”
Glimmer shook her head and walked to spend the rest of the night in her own quarters.
Adora slipped into her sheets that night. The stiffness of her bed gave her comfort… the silence? The stillness? The emptiness whenever she’d open her eyes half way? It didn’t. It made the scratches on her back tingle ever so slightly.
She shifted herself before sharply sucking air through her teeth.
Okay, so, no sleeping on her back tonight.
Adora grumbled in annoyance. Sleep was going to elude her again tonight, and she knew it. After everything that happened, how could she? This was it. The final blow to their friendship. Leaving her to fall to her death was one but almost hurting everybody in Bright Moon? Almost killing her friend’s mother? Giving her scars that she will never forget?
How could they salvage their friendship from this?
Let it go, Adora.
But she just… can’t.
“So, you’re just going to not realize I’m standing right here?”
Adora jolted up so fast at the sound of that voice, and she knew it was a bad mistake the second she felt a sharp sting on her back. She raised her hand and grabbed the aching area over her shoulders, but it didn’t make it any better.
Her eyes focused themselves on the direction of the voice. The moon did some justice in shedding enough light to see her silhouette, but if the wild, unkempt hair wasn’t enough of a clue? Those narrowed mismatched eyes certainly were.
“Hey, Adora,” the purr on the ‘r’ was also irrefutable “you’ve gotten pretty dull during your stay here.”
She was seconds from yelling for Glimmer, but Catra was half a second faster. The cat raised a hand to stop her.
Adora followed her movements with her eyes as she snapped her mouth shut. Catra moved to the end of her bed, curling herself up into a ball.
The comfort she felt… it was such an agonizing warmth. Something she missed, something she didn’t think she could get back. A power only Catra could weild at the palm of her hand. Something Etheria diminished from her because of a stupid war.
Really, that’s what they were right? Her, Catra, Glimmer, Bow?
Teenagers caught in their parents’ wars.
“Catra,” she started, quietly. The feline only gave her a flick of her ear as a response. “What are you doing here?”
She didn’t answer.
“We’re enemies, or did you forget what you literally did to me – to my friends – not two days ago?”
Catra’s tail flicked.
“We can’t do this –”
“Look,” Catra started, not bothering to shift to look at Adora “you left me when I stuck with the Horde to be with you. You want to talk about hurt? Try thinking about what I’ve been through for once. Just once Adora.”
Adora let the thought marinate in her head.
But it couldn’t.
“Why didn’t you just come with me then? If you want to be stuck with me so much –”
“You left the Horde for a bunch of strangers,” Catra, her voice evidently irritated, raised her head to look at her once the words had left her lips “for a sword that gave you magic powers –”
“It’s not like I chose –”
“Don’t, Adora.” Her tone was strained and forced out of her throat. “I don’t think you want to talk about this right now. That is a problem for future Catra and Adora –”
She couldn’t help her voice raising at the mention of that sentence. “Then why are you here? You owe me an explanation for that, at least.”
Catra sighed, “why is talking to you such a goddamn waste of my time nowadays.”
Adora scoffed, feeling a touch offended by the words. “Yeah, well trying to apologize to you is exhausting enough as it is – hey, what are you doing!”
Catra had gotten up from her curled position to flop on the empty space where Adora had her back turned. The blonde tried to turn around, but the wounds were just too painful.
“I’ve been spying Bright Moon while it’s still super unsecured,” Catra lowered herself before pulling her by the arm, pressing her front with Adora’s back. She gritted her teeth, expecting some pain, but it never happened. In fact, the pressure on her back stopped the wound from hurting too much.
“I’ve been watching you. That’s how I found out about these,” Adora couldn’t focus on her words as the feline traced a very gentle finger against the cloth between Catra’s finger and her skin. “What I didn’t know was how bad it was until today when I saw you very nearly collapse after a tap from that friend of yours.”
Catra started dragging her nails along her arms where very light remnants of their fight still lingered. "Hmm, you know, I thought She-ra took the blunt of these.”
“She did,” for the most part, she waned to add.
“But she couldn’t fix it fast enough,” Catra finished “and you thought, turning into she-ra again would cure it, but it didn’t. And you didn’t want to bother your dear majesty and her daughter because their focus is on Bright Moon right now,” as if on cue, Catra pressed herself closer “so you tried to sleep it off, but you can’t because it just doesn’t feel right.”
Adora didn’t answer.
Catra scoffed, and Adora shivered at the hot breath blowing against her pulse. “I hope you know, if it weren’t for you, these rebel idiots wouldn’t even be here today.”
“Is that supposed to make me feel guilty?” Adora’s whisper is barely audible.
Thankfully, Catra’s a cat. Catra nuzzled against the crook of her neck. “No. Just wanted to let you know that you’re the only thing in the way of the Horde,” she mumbled into her neck “Someone of that importance? I’d watch your back if I were you.”
There was another silence.
“I should let you know,” Adora squirmed at how close Catra was to her ear. The tail snaking around Adora’s ankle wasn’t left unnoticed either. “I’m second-in-command now.”
Adora chuckled darkly.
She wasn’t just about to sleep with Catra, her ex best friend who tried to kill everyone in Bright Moon. She was about to sleep with the person who could possibly be the next ruler of the Horde. “I guess you were right about me stopping you from becoming the best, huh?”
“I was wrong about that, you know?” Adora almost – she almost – fought against the pain to turn around and make sure Catra wasn’t just saying that to make her feel better about what they were doing. Adora almost spun around, reopen her wounds, and wait for Catra’s apology. But instead, Catra let her down once again, “you helped me get better by proving to Hordak that I am the best option. Not you.”
Adora deflated. Catra’s hand rested at her hipbone, nails digging right at the flesh there. “Go to sleep, Adora.”
“Sleep,” she reiterated, flicking her tail on Adora’s foot as if to scold her.
This was wrong.
For both of them, really. But with how cruel life, destiny, and all of Etheria had treated them, with how they had to sever their life long attachment in less than a day… Adora felt like someone owed her an apology.
And if the only thing the universe can offer is lying in bed with her alleged enemy to fend off those sleepless nights?
Then so be it.
“I was just going to say that you need to be gone before the sun comes up. That’s all,” Adora scooted closer to Catra.
Adora let the wave of exhaustion engulf her, the last words she heard from her rival were words she hadn't heard in almost a month.
“Good night, princess.”