With the war won and Hordak and company vanquished, things gradually got back to normal for the citizens of Etheria. The Rebellion had recently dismantled the last remaining Horde stronghold, turning the weapons it housed into scrap metal, and using it in conducive methods for the betterment of Brightmoon.
Adora stares out through a window in Brightmoon castle, head supported by a hand. Gray-blue eyes rove over the land. It's colourful and vibrant; full of life, and so are its citizens. It's like it's never been touched by the dark taint of the Horde.
‘You'd never imagine the nightmares we faced, but we did it.’
Those two words draw Adora from her thoughts. She turns, and smiles. “Hey, Catra.”
Winning the war had been a prize itself, their hardships and struggles paying off. Endless nights of insomnia and night terrors amounting to something grand in the end. But, to Adora, the greatest treasure for her was getting Catra back.
Plainly speaking, Catra had played a major role in Hordak's defeat. Many really did underestimate her abilities. It'd been her who'd helped She-Ra deliver the killing blow, albeit at the cost of receiving her fair share of scars.
After the battle, Catra had seemingly disappeared, reappearing four months later in her room looking worse for wear. She came seeking refuge and forgiveness. Catra explained to Adora what she had been up to during her period of ‘soul searching’. She'd taken that time away to… find herself, to better understand the ramifications of her actions leading up to the final battle, so that she could atone for her misdeeds.
Who was Adora to deny her request?
While most of the Rebellion had been skeptical at first, Queen Angella and Glimmer especially, Adora, with the help of Bow, was able to convince them to give her chance in proving herself.
At the end of it all, Catra had more friends than she ever did in the Horde. Glimmer, surprisingly, being one of the closest. Bow wasn’t too much of a surprise, however, latching onto the hybrid girl with vigour. There really wasn’t a bad bone in his body, was there.
Catra falls back against the window sill, arms crossed across her tummy. “What're you up to this oh so bright and sunny day?”
“Just lost in thought, I guess.” Adora's eyes drop to a group of kids playing with a ball. “Kinda hard to believe we actually did it.”
“What's so hard to believe? I'm awesome, you're awesome, we've always been an awesome duo.” Catra scoffs, teasingly smirking, and Adora's gives her a little shove, sending her lopsided. “I get what you mean, though.” Her voice softens, hetero-chromatic eyes drooping. “That… was scary. Being on the receiving end of a raging Hordak? Yeah, not something I wanna do again in whatever lifetimes I have left. Come to think of it, I’m sure I lost like two lives back there.”
Adora laughs. She's missed this. She's missed Catra's humour. She's missed her smiles, her laughter. She's missed everything that Catra could possibly offer, and she's just so happy their reunited.
Things are good, better than good. Life's great, but not perfect. They still have a lot of things to work through, a lot of well kept secrets that sneak to the surface when they lay in bed at night. A lot of regrets, a lot of ‘should haves and would haves.’ A lot of mental and emotional wounds to heal.
But, they're in no rush.
They have all the time in the world.
They're together now, that's all that matters.
“What?” Adora asks.
“You have that sappy look in your eyes again.” Catra makes a face. “You always do that when you start staring at me, and get lost in whatever wonderland is your mind.”
“What? I can't stare at my girlfriend now?” Glimmer and Bow had explained the meaning behind the word to her, and frankly speaking, her and Catra might have well been girlfriends since their time in the Horde. There was always… something unspoken between them. A weird… dynamic that manifested itself as more than friends yet still less than that special something. At least they had a word for it now.
“Uggh! Now, you have that look and you're using that voice!” Catra fake gags. “You're such a dork, Adora.”
“A dork for you.” Adora puckers her lips, and places a wet kiss with an exaggerated ‘mwah!’ on a fuzzy cheek. “I love you.”
“Eek! You are so gross!” Catra recoils instantly, shoving a hand in Adora's face to ward off her advances. "Get off me!"
“Not until you say it back!” Adora cackles, breaking Catra's resistance. She was always the stronger of the two.
“No!” Catra's using both hands now, pressing firmly against Adora's broad shoulders.
“Come on, say it!” Adora bends her knees, causing Catra to jerk forward over her shoulder as she wraps her arms around the feline's waist.
“Never!” Catra remembers this position. It's the same hold Scorpia trapped her in when they first met. Ugh, what was it about her that screamed ‘hug me!’. She's got claws that can shred steel and fangs that can break bone for crying out loud.
“Say it, say it, say it-!” Adora's chanting comes to an abrupt halt. She sniffs the air experimentally. The scent isn't that strong, but it's noticeable, and it's not too bad, but it's not pleasant either. She sniffs again, moving her nose closer to Catra's wild mane. Her head snaps back immediately before slowly easing forward. Narrowed gray-blue find waiting gold and teal. “Catra?”
“When's the last time you had a bath?”
Catra shrugs. “I don't know. Three weeks ago?”
“Catra!” Adora releases her at once, arms folded as she regards her friend with disbelief and disgust. “We've talked about this! You can’t be bathing once every three weeks!”
“Uh, I think I can, and have been.” Catra stands akimbo, brow raised. “I don't know why you sound so surprised, Adora. Besides, I'm clean enough as is.”
“Grooming yourself doesn't count, Catra.” Adora pinches her nose bridge.
“There aren't any flies buzzing around me yet, so I think I'm good.” Just then, a single fly buzzes by, brushing dangerously close to Catra's ear. She's quick to squash the bug, reluctantly meeting Adora's flat gaze. “That doesn't count, purely coincidental.”
“You're taking a bath, whether you like it or not.”
“Yeah, not gonna happen.”
Adora takes up a stance like she did when she first faced Catra in the Battle for Brightmoon; her feline companion doing the same. “Catra.”
“ Catra!” Adora might have been the stronger of the two, but Catra was definitely the faster and more agile. The minute Adora lunges for her, she dodges, hopping over her, and using her back as a springboard to propel herself out the window.
Adora's sent crashing into a column, bashing her nose into the concrete structure. Despite, the pain, she gets back to her feet, and rushes to the window. “Get back here, you dirty furball!”
“Yeah, I'll do just that!” Catra's already bobbing and weaving her way through the bustling crowd.
“You are so lucky Mermista isn't here!”
“Thank the First Ones for small mercies!” Once she's clear of the crowd, she starts to lope off to who knows where.
Adora grits her teeth.
That feline was as good as soaked.
It's noon the next day in Brightmoon by the time Catra wakes.
She had spent the night sleeping with Bow, unknown to the boy's knowledge as she slept under his bed.
She walks down a hallway, yawning and scratching her stomach. Her midday stroll is cut short when Adora stands before her, face less than pleased, and oh, this is too precious. There's a pink bandaid on her nose, captioned ‘I Nose That Had To Hurt.’
Catra's reaction is instantaneous as she breaks down with laughter, tears coming to her eyes. “Hey, Adora, what happened to you.” It's not really a question. She's fully aware of the answer. She happened.
“Laugh while you're still dry, you won't be so giggly when I'm done with you.”
“Oh, I might beg to differ.” Catra says wistfully, inspecting her nails, tail lazily swishing back and forth.There's a twitch of fuzzy ears, and Catra's attention shifts to movement behind her. “Really, Adora? You got Glimmer and Bow involved?”
“How'd she-? Never mind.” Glimmer huffs. “Yes, she got us involved, though I have no idea why. Mermista could've easily wrapped up this whole debacle.” At the mere mention of the Princess of Salineas, Catra goes on high alert. “Oh, relax. Mermista isn't here.”
It's enough for Catra to lower her hackles, but not for her to drop her guard.
“I don't mean to be rude or anything, but can we please hurry this along? I didn't get any sleep last night, and the floor's looking really appealing right about now.” Bow whines, indeed looking lackluster compared to the usual glow he carries. “Something was in my room scratching and thumping.”
“Ooh, sorry, Bow, that's on me.” The apology may have felt more authentic if Catra seemed even an ounce regretful. She didn't. She really, really didn't. “I tend to scratch and turn when I sleep.”
“Wait, that was you?” Bow's mouth flaps wordlessly. “Where were you?! I looked everywhere trying to find where the noise was coming from!”
Catra winces slightly when his voice cracks. “Did you check under the bed?”
Bow goes quiet, slowly turning to face Glimmer. “Can we hurry up and drown her?”
Glimmer pats him on the back. “See? Sometimes violence is good therapy.” Suddenly, they take up formation. Bow and Glimmer side by side while Adora stays at the top, directly behind Catra. “Time for a bath, you dirty furball.”
“Okay, first of all, is this some new trend going around, calling me a dirty furball? And, secondly,” Catra readies herself for attack, “bring it, Sparkles.”
Needless to say, the second attempt ended as well as the first did.
In complete, and utter failure.
The Best Friend Squad lies in a pile on the floor, Adora at the very bottom.
“I've never met someone who hates bathing so much.” Glimmer groans, head throbbing.
“This is my fate, I'm content with it,” is all Bow can offer before blacking out.
Something soft and fuzzy strokes Adora's cheek, and her attention shifts to the clawed feet before her. She glares upward, meeting Catra's smug stare. “Hey, babe.”
“This isn’t the end, Catra.”
“Hmm, I'm sure it's not.” She sits on her haunches, face to face with Adora. ”You always do paint a pretty picture whenever you're beneath me.” She says in that husky tone that never fails to send shivers down Adora's spine. “Bye, Adora~” Catra purrs before walking away.
Adora feels the annoyance growing in her chest. She deflates with a weary moan, letting her forehead thump on the floor.
Damn that cat.
Another day goes, another day comes, and Adora can say without a doubt, she will get Catra today.
Third time's the charm.
With the Sword of Protection strapped to her back, her success is guaranteed.
She stands by her room, counting the minutes as they pass. She's been here for ten minutes so far.
It's by the eleventh minute that Adora catches sight of Catra. It's late in the evening, the sun's setting, dusk rapidly approaching.
Adora positions herself as a blockade in Catra's path.
“Oh, hey, Adora, ready for round three?”
“You bet.” Raising her sword, she shouts her signature catchphrase. “For The Honour Of Grayskull!”
Catra shields her eyes from the blinding light. When her vision clears, She-Ra in all her brilliant glory takes Adora's place. “Bringing out the big guns for little me?” Catra asks, disbelief and amusement coating her words. “I don't know whether to be impressed by the commitment or worried by the obsession.”
“‘Drastic measures.’” Catra snorts. “I hope you have a good excuse prepared for when Angella asks why her castle's been wrecked.”
To her confusion, She-Ra smirks. “Good thing it won't be.”
“Huh?” Catra notes that her feet are no longer touching the ground, suspended in the air by two strong, chitinous pincers. “Wha-! H-Hey, put me down!” For all her struggling, it proves a wasted effort. “Scorpia, you traitor!”
“I'm really sorry about this, Kitty, but while I do love your natural musky scent, I am a big supporter of personal hygiene.” Scorpia leans in close to whisper. “Also, don't take this the wrong way, but you're starting to smell a little ripe.”
“How else am I supposed to take that?” Catra mutters, resigning to her fate as she's handed to She-Ra.
“No problem! Make sure you get behind those ears of hers!”
“You're dead to me, Scorpia! Dead to me!” Catra yells. The image of Scorpia smiling and waving is the last she sees before her and Adora disappear inside their shared room.
Adora doesn't de-transform until their safely within the confines of the bathroom and the door's locked. Slippery creature that Catra is, Adora takes extra precautionary methods by locking the windows.
“There.” Adora starts filling the tub, pouring some kind of purple liquid into the water. Catra won't deny the aroma is slightly pleasant, though she stays far away from the basin, boring holes in the back of Adora's head. “Stop glaring, it won't change anything.” Adora says without turning. She dips her hand in the water, testing its warmth.
“I can't believe you went through all of that to get me to bathe.” Catra twists her mouth to a side, a fang protruding over her lip. “Aren't you supposed to love and accept the person for who they are? Don't you love me, Adora?” Her eyes go big and watery while her ears droop.
“Oh, no, you don't. You're not going to guilt trip me to get out of this.” Satisfied with the water's temperature, Adora faces Catra, no nonsense expression firmly in place. “Strip.”
The wounded look quickly disappears as Catra hisses, expression sour. “Fine, but I don't know why you need to be here. I'm capable of cleaning myself.”
“I wouldn't trust you to use soap and actually soak for more than two minutes.”
“Personally, I think you just want to see me naked.” She's fully disrobed by the time she reaches the rim of the tub, looking on with apprehension at the bubbly, purple liquid.
“I can neither deny nor confirm that.” Adora removes her jacket, and boots, rolling up her pants to her knees. Her top goes next, leaving her in a black sports bra. “But, I know how much trouble your hair gives you to clean, so I'm here to help. Now, get in.”
Catra moves unconsciously, distracted by Adora's half naked body. No one had the right to look so damned good, and those abs?
‘Dirty thoughts with a clean body.’
She sticks a foot in the water, warmth coursing through her body, and not because of the temperature alone. “What's that smell?” She asks, sniffing the air as she slides her whole body inside the tub. “Is it that purple stuff you used earlier?”
“Do you like it?” Adora sits on the rim behind Catra. “It's lavender. Perfuma says it has naturally calming properties.”
“It's nice, I guess.” She sinks further in the bath, already feeling some of those ‘calming properties’ at work. Water gets dumped on her head, her hair acting like a curtain as two strong hands comb through her thick locks. “Ack!”
“You know, I've always had a love/hate relationship with your hair,” Adora begins to say, squirting some shampoo in her hands. “I love its thickness, and the fact it's so silky and soft, but I hate how tangled it gets.”
“Mmhmm.” Catra's totally out of it. Mind clouded by lavender and cozy heat and those calloused, battle worn finger scratching her scalp and base of her ears trap her in euphoria.
“Are-Are you purring?” Adora chuckles, still massaging Catra's scalp.
“Don't know. Probably.” Catra slowly blinks, blowing bubbles.
“That is so cute.”
“‘Mm not cute.”
Adora keeps up her ministrations while Catra lavishes in the attention. “Close your eyes, or not this'll sting.” Catra does as told, more water dumped on her head, washing out the suds and leaving her hair feeling cleaner than she'd like to admit.
“I think that should do it.” Adora squeezes out as much water from Catra's hair as she can. “You can get out now.”
Still in a daze, Catra rises from the water, fur a sopping mess. Carefully, she steps out of the tub, onto the bath mat. Adora offers her two towels, one for her body, the other for her hair.
“I'll come help dry your hair after I put these to wash,” she informs Catra, gesturing to her clothes.
Catra grunts her acknowledgement, leaving Adora to it.
Once outside the bathroom, Catra pauses for a couple of minutes, blinking once, then twice before she regains her senses.
She's sopping wet, fur and mane feeling like ten extra pounds on her.
Catra narrows her eyes. Free from that pleasure inducing trap Adora caught her in. She's growls. She’s grouchy and dripping and clean.
‘Damn that Adora.’
Out of spite, Catra drops her wet body down on the edge of their bed. To show Adora how displeased she is. She'll go for any petty discomfort she can offer Adora for making her extremely uncomfortable.
She draws her knees up to her chest underneath the towel, glaring heatedly at the bathroom until the door opens and out steps Adora wearing a red crop top and black tights. She must’ve tidied up when Catra left.
“Oh my gosh.” Adora snorts at the cocoon Catra's made for herself, gold and blue peeking out angrily.
“I'm going to strangle you in your sleep.” Catra hisses.
“No, you won't.”
“Since when you do wear crop tops?”
“A gift from Bow. He gave us matching pairs.” Adora holds up an outfit similar to hers, but the top’s magenta with dark purple tights. “He even got a set for you.”
“You look stupid, and there's no way I'm wearing that.”
“Is that why you've been staring at my stomach for the past five minutes?” Adora's expression is smug with those stupidly thick brows of hers, and that cocky, attractive quirk of her lips that just screams confidence, and Catra wants to both choke her and kiss that look off her face.
“Uh-huh.” Adora hops on the bed, jostling the mass of wet fur sat in front her. “Come on, I'll dry you off.”
Catra makes a noise, though she allows Adora to remove the towel on her head. There's more movement to her rear, then the sound of being plugged in before a whirring noise fills the air and warm air starts to blow on her.
She's startled, ready to bolt, but Adora gently grabbing her keeps her in place, and very soon, she gets used to the sensation.
“This was so unnecessary.” Catra grumbles.
“This was so necessary.”
“I survived four months in the wild just fine.” Catra realizes her slip up too late. Adora most definitely picked up on that.
“Are you implying you didn't bathe during your time away?” Adora tries to meet her eyes, unable to catch even a glimpse of gold or blue.
“I'm not implying anything.”
“You're not denying anything either.”
She falls silent.
“Oh, you little stinker.”
“Hey! I bathed while I was gone.” The feline turns to look at Adora, hissing when hot air blows her bangs back.
“Oh, yeah? How often?” Adora hears her murmur something under her breath. “What?”
“I said… once… every two months.” Catra braces for it because she knows what's coming next.
It doesn't take long for Adora to do the math. “That's gross. You're gross.”
“Well, you're the one stuck with my gross butt, so there.” Catra sticks out her tongue, yelping at the slight pinch she receives.
“Yeah, really beginning to question my taste in partners.” She switches off the blow dryer, fluffing the thick mane in her hands. “Finished.”
“About time.” Catra hops from the bed, toweling off any excess water followed by a quick shake. Her ears twitch when she hears snickering. “What?”
“You.. You look like a fluff ball.” Adora says, giggling. “Adorable.”
“And, whose fault is that.” Catra sneers, stepping into her clothing. She makes a show to brush down her fur, going as far as to lick a few stubborn strands. “Ugh, I hate you.”
“No, you don't.” Adora shuts her eyes and reclines on their bed, preparing to settle in for the night. The sun's set, and the moon takes up residence, shining brightly in the dark canvas above.
Catra, ever the devious creature, lopes towards the resting girl, deliberately jumping onto Adora's larger body, enjoying the ‘oof!’ she draws forth. “Hey, Adora.” Catra's taken up her sleeping position, face buried in Adora's neck, arms wound tightly around her midsection.
“Hm?” She opens an eye to look at her girlfriend, said eye slipping close when warm lips find hers. Catra nips at her plump bottom lip before easing her tongue inside Adora's mouth. She knows how much Adora loves the feel of her tongue, calling the sensation unique and electric. Soon enough, they break and Catra returns to her previous position.
Adora laughs, scratching the area just above her tail. “I knew that.”
“Say it back, you jerk.” Catra chirrups, bucking when Adora hits that good spot.
“I love you, too.”
A moment passes.
“And, we're never doing that again.”
“Yes, we are. At least once a week. Even if I have to go through that again.”
“Your stinky kitty, though.”
“That you are,” Adora sighs, smiling softly. “That you are.”