There’s a knock on Catra’s door.
“Catra, are you there?”
“Hey!” Scorpia says, entering and closing the door. “Were you taking a nap?”
“No.” Catra says as she yawns. She’s sprawled on her bed where she’s been for most of the day, trying to not think about a certain someone but failing. She wonders if Adora is done with her interview by now. “I was just lying here.”
Catra finds enough energy to sit up, stretching her arms out and feeling some joint crack with the motion.
“What’s up, Scorps?” She realizes she hasn’t seen Scorpia since the formal.
“Just wanted to say a quick hi,” Scorpia sits at the end of the bed, “did you do anything today?”
“Just mostly stared at the ceiling.”
“So you’ve been moping?” Scorpia asks with a slightly worried voice.
“What? No! I was just… contemplating,”
“Then why have you been listening to your emo playlist for the longest time?”
“Scorpia…” Catra quickly reaches for her phone and pauses some angsty emo song that was playing. “What did I say about stalking my Spotify?
“It’s not stalking!” Scorpia raises her hands in defense. “Sometimes I like to check on my friends, you know that. For example, Entrapta was listening to dubstep, so I know she’s probably gaming or something. But you’ve been quiet all week, I already wanted to check on you anyway.”
"Well, I'm checked." Catra raises two thumbs up. "Thanks?"
"Adora said you two kissed─"
"What!?" Catra's voice raises an octave.
Scorpia startles. "At the formal? For the filming you two had?"
"Oh," Catra's shoulders drop, "yeah. Why did she tell you that?"
"I don't know, she was pretty drunk."
"She was." Catra nods.
"So I wanted to see how you were─"
"Are you and Perfuma dating?"
"Uh─? N-no," Scorpia's cheeks turn red, "not yet, at least, but we hung out all day yesterday," she giggles, "Wait! Stop deflecting!"
“You two look very cute.”
“Thanks," Scorpia blushes more, "but see, the thing with Perfuma is that we’ve been open about things, you know? Communication? The basis of any type of relationship?”
Catra examines her nails, avoiding Scorpia’s stare. “Sounds fake.”
Catra glances at her. Scorpia’s big worried eyes begging her to be honest.
“It’s─ complicated, ok?” Catra frowns. “It’s not like you and Perfuma.”
Catra lies back down again with a groan. “Well, you haven’t been friends with Perfuma since you were a kid, or been in love with her for most of your life, or ruined your friendship just to get over her, or gotten back into her life just to fucking fall for her again!”
“Oh. You never told me much about any of this”
Catra takes a deep breath. “Yeah, well, it was weird. You know why.”
Scorpia hums. “That stopped being weird a long time ago, ok? I’m here for you.” Her voice goes soft. “Have you talked to her about it?”
“No, Scorpia, I can’t. You don’t understand, she doesn’t─” Catra raises her arms up, then drops them, defeated, “...want me.”
"But she looked so excited talking about you at the formal─"
"She was drunk, Scorpia, she doesn't even remember half of it." Catra sits up again. She rubs at her eyes. "I can't keep feeding myself false hopes, ok? I'm over that phase, it's not healthy for me."
Scorpia scoots closer. “Can I give you a hug?”
“Sure.” Catra tries to smile.
Scorpia’s big and warm arms embrace her.
“I still think you should open your heart to her,” Scorpia says, squeezing her but being kind enough to not crush her ribs, “you two are friends again, that’s not gonna change, but it’s your call. I’m here to support you, alright?”
Catra nods. “Thank you.”
“So, what’s the plan?” She asks, letting her go. “Something that is not sulking in bed all day, please.”
Catra snorts. “I don’t know… do you think Entrapta is free right now? I think we’re way overdue for a super pal trio night."
Scorpia’s face lights up.
“And I could use some distraction.” Catra adds.
“I know she’s at her place, so let’s just show up!” Scorpia says, getting up. “Oh, and let’s get some takeout on the way. This is gonna be so much fun!”
Catra smiles with Scorpia’s excitement. Spending some time with her friends will be good for her. She gets up too and puts on a comfy hoodie, then looks for her keys and wallet.
“Don’t forget your phone.” Scorpia reminds her.
Catra hesitates. If she takes it she’ll probably keep looking through her pictures with Adora, or will keep scrolling through her texts with her. She doesn’t need that right now.
“I think I need a phone break for once.”
“Then turn it off.” Scorpia smiles.
“Yeah.” Catra takes it and does so. “I don’t think I ever turned this thing off.”
Scorpia blinks. “Me neither! Should I turn mine off too?”
“Why?” Catra frowns. “No, text Entrapta we’re on our way. Ask her if she wants us to get any of that disgusting energy drink she loves.”
“Okay!” Scorpia says.
“Cool, let’s go.”
Catra opens the door for her.
“So, how was your date yesterday?” She asks, genuinely interested in knowing more about her friend’s soon to be girlfriend. She doesn’t really know Perfuma, but if she's Adora's friend she assumes she must be a good person, and Scorpia deserves only the best.
"It wasn't a date!” Scorpia stops. “Wait. Oh God, was it?"
Catra laughs. “Maybe ask her that?”
Adora gets up from the floor, letters still in hand. Her first impulse is to run to Catra and tell her everything, but she needs to know where she is first. She finds her phone and texts Catra asking if she’s free right now.
Pacing around the room for thirty seconds, she realizes she’s too impatient to wait for a message back so she just clicks on the phone icon. It rings… and rings, and goes to voicemail. She ends the call.
Well, that’s anticlimactic.
Adora might explode if she just stays put, so she decides to go to Catra’s dorm. Maybe she’s there and her phone is dead or something.
On her way she tries calling Catra again, but it goes to voicemail one more time. The voice is just a generic voicemail message, but this time she doesn’t hang up.
“Hey, it’s me. Can you text me or call me when you get this? It’s… important. I’m walking to your dorm right now but I don’t know if you’re there. Uh, yeah, bye.”
Adora’s legs burn a little by the time she arrives in front of Catra’s door in record time. She takes a deep breath before knocking.
She waits for a moment and knocks again. No response.
She groans and rests her forehead against the door. She should’ve thought this through. There are a million places Catra could be at right now on a Friday evening, momentarily away from her phone. She will get back to her eventually. Still, Adora can’t relax.
She sits down, back against the door, letters still in one hand, clutched tight. She pouts. They’re gonna get all wrinkly. The denim jacket she’s wearing has big inside pockets where the letters can fit and will be safer than in her hands. She should’ve put them there from the start.
She tries calling one more time. Voicemail. She leaves another message.
She considers just waiting here, but her stomach rumbles. It’s dinner time so she decides to head to a dining hall and after that go back to her room and wait for her to reply.
There’s so much Adora wants to tell her.
Catra really missed spending some time with Scorpia and Entrapta. They’re a very particular combo of personalities which can turn things into chaos very quickly, but it’s always a fun time. Entrapta has lived off campus since when she made two entire dorm buildings go out of power because of all the gadgets and computers or whatever she had draining power in her room. She didn’t want to get rid of her things so she simply moved, and found a way for power outages to not happen again where she lives, apparently.
While they eat, Entrapta spends a good amount of time explaining to them about the game she’s been playing (Scorpia was right about the dubstep being her gaming music), which Catra doesn’t understand much, then she turns to explain about some new computer science thing Catra understands even less. She knows it’s rare for her to speak freely about her interests without being interrupted so she and Scorpia always let her tell them everything she wants.
“That was all really interesting, Entrapta,” Catra says, finishing eating her noodles, “I didn’t understand much, though.”
“That’s okay!” She says. “I can explain more later.”
“I’m glad you’ve been having fun.” Scorpia smiles.
“I got a new board game I wanted to play with you two!” Entrapta jumps up, then stops. “If you wanna play a board game today, that is.”
“What is it about?”
“War!” She exclaims. “It looks fun. There’s a lot of strategy which you like, and there’s also diplomacy and possibilities for teamwork, which Scorpia likes.”
“Ooh!” Scorpia says. “I’m down.”
“Sure, let’s play it.” Catra says.
A complicated board game is everything Catra needs to have her mind focus on something that isn’t Adora. They are not familiar with the rules so they end up creating their own as the game goes on. Catra is very good at strategy and quickly gains a lot of territory from the map and from Scorpia. Entrapta spends all her resources in technology points and has a sudden boom of expansion. Scorpia tries to advance by making treaties and deals with neighboring territories, but that goes too slow compared to Catra’s and Entrapta’s more morally questionable ways of advancing. At the end, Scorpia convinces them to make a peace treaty so that they don’t end up killing each other.
“We all win!” Scorpia claps.
“We should probably follow the game’s rules next time.” Entrapta says, playing with the tiny pieces of the game.
“Improvising is fun.” Catra shrugs. “Thanks for the game! How long did we even play for?”
Entrapta looks at the big watch on her wrist.
“Plus 26 minutes of us reading the rules and choosing to ignore most of them.” Entrapta smiles.
Scorpia scratches her head, counting something on her fingers, then gives up and checks the time on her phone.
“Oh, wow.” She says. “We should probably head out soon.”
“Are you going to meet up with your girlfriend?” Catra asks, smiling and raising an eyebrow.
“You have a girlfriend?” Entrapta asks.
“No! And no!” Scorpia blushes.
“She will have soon.” Catra tells Entrapta.
“I did say I’d call her tonight, though…”
“What about yours?” Entrapta asks Catra.
“She’s not my─ we were only faking it for that film project, remember? It ended yesterday.”
Entrapta hums curiously. “Then why did she tell me she kissed her ‘girlfriend Catra’ at the formal last weekend?”
“How did I miss Adora telling the entire population of the formal that!?” Catra throws her hands in the air. “Wait, you were there?”
“I went for the tiny food – which was delicious – said hi to Scorpia and her not yet girlfriend,” Scorpia nods happily, “said hi to Adora when she bumped into me and almost fell then told me that, thought about saying hi to you but you were surrounded by too many people, then I left.”
“Yeah, that checks.” Catra blinks. “Well, we should go. Thanks for having us, Entrapta.”
“Okay! Tell your not girlfriends I said hi, or something, I’m not sure… you two can be very confusing.”
“Yeah, we are, sometimes.” Scorpia laughs and gets up to give Entrapta a hug. “Don’t go to sleep too late, ok?”
Entrapta lets out a high pitched laugh as Scorpia lets her go then stops abruptly. “Wait, you’re serious?”
“She doesn’t need sleep, Scorpia, she’s a superhuman.”
“We all need healthy sleep schedules!” Scorpia replies. “But you do look rested, though, so alright, enjoy your games.”
After Scorpia insists on checking if Entrapta has food in her fridge and not just energy drinks (which she does, but she should have more healthy things, according to Scorpia) they say bye again and actually leave this time.
“Feeling better?” Scorpia asks.
They’re in Scorpia’s car on their way back to campus.
“Yeah, it was fun.” Catra answers.
She’s in a better mood than she was before, but she’s still a bit restless. Usually going for a walk is what works best to relax her mind a bit. It’s a short ride back anyway, so when they enter the campus, she tells Scorpia she’ll walk the rest of the way.
“Are you sure?” Scorpia says once she stops the car. “It’s kinda late already.”
“There are lots of people out and about, don’t worry. My dorm is not too far.”
“Okay… you sure you’re alright?”
Catra nods. “I go for late walks all the time.”
“Fine. Call me if you need anything, ok? And turn your phone back on!”
“Oh, yeah.” Catra leaves the car. “Thanks, Scorps, you’re the best.”
“Have a good night!”
“You too.” Catra waves before Scorpia drives away.
Catra remembers she hasn’t been to the library’s rooftop in a very long time. That place always helps her put her thoughts into place, so she decides to go there before heading back to her room.
As she walks, she takes her phone from her pocket and turns it back on. It was weird not mindless checking it every 10 minutes, but kind of good too. The screen lights up and she almost thinks the phone has glitched out when it vibrates like crazy and several notifications pop up. Catra freezes when she sees a bunch of missed calls notifications from Adora.
Worried, she first opens her texts. There’s one from right around the time she left her room asking if she was free, and another a couple hours later saying ‘ sorry for all the voicemails omg’.
Initial worry washes away. If there was anything wrong she’d have said something in that last text, but now Catra couldn’t be more curious to know what on Earth is going on. She taps on the first voicemail Adora left.
“Hey, it’s me.” Adora says, her voice is a little shaky, though it may just be the phone’s distortion. That still works to make Catra a little worried again. “Can you text me or call me when you get this? It’s… important. I’m walking to your dorm right now but I don’t know if you’re there.” There’s a small pause, like Adora expected Catra to somehow reply. “Uh, yeah, bye.”
Catra quietly curses. Of course she would turn her phone off right before Adora tried to reach her. She went all the way to her room?
She taps on the next voicemail.
“Hi. Me again. So you’re not in your room, but you already know that.” There’s a cute snort followed by a sigh. “Sorry I’m calling so much, it’s not a health emergency or anything like that, so don’t be worried in case you are. It’s just… anyway, call me when you can, please.”
Catra wonders if Adora is still awake. She’ll at least message her once she finishes listening to the voicemails. She taps on the next one.
“Hi. It’s─ you know it’s me. Do people even leave voicemails anymore? Or listen to them?” Now Adora sounds like she’s outside, walking somewhere. “Anyway, I just had dinner and now I’m getting a little worried. You’re always with your phone, but maybe it’s just out of battery. I bet you think I’m being dramatic.” There’s a pause. “ I just hope you’re ok. This will be my last voicemail, ok, sorry for all the notifications.”
Catra promises herself she will never turn her phone off again in her life.
She taps on the next one.
“So, I lied. That wasn’t my last voicemail. You know what I’ve been meaning to ask you? If you ever found a rooftop to go hide like you did back in high school.” Catra frowns, finding it both funny and weird that Adora mentioned that when she’s on her way there. “I don’t think you’re hiding right now, or anything, but that just crossed my mind.” Her voice softens. ”I remember those days when I couldn’t find you anywhere until I got to that spot only us knew about. It always felt like our own little hideout from the world…” she sighs. “I don’t know why I’m calling to tell you that.”
Something tugs in Catra’s chest. She’s almost at the library and there’s one voicemail left. She taps on it.
“Funny story, I found it! Well, I’m pretty sure this is it. I may or may not have looked through your instagram and found a picture from a very high angle that looked like it could be from the top of the library? I’m gonna try going there now, the sky looks pretty tonight and I’m not doing anything anyway, so… Oh, I also saw you on an insta story that Scorpia posted, so now I know you’re okay, yay!” There’s a tiny laugh. “I got all worried for nothing. You looked pretty─ happy! Pretty happy, uh, hope you’re having fun, we can talk tomorrow then.” Catra blushes. Did Adora just call her pretty out of nowhere? “Guess I could just be texting you that, what am I doing,” her voice gets low at the end, like she put her phone away as she hung up.
Catra finds her student ID to open the library’s door. She checks the time of the last voicemail, it’s from about a half hour ago. Her heart suddenly beats loud in her ears. Why is Adora doing all of this? Could she still be there?
Catra tries to call her as she enters the elevator but the phone loses signal. Fucking elevator. She presses the top floor button over and over again as if that’ll make it go faster. As soon as it stops she hits the call button again and turns to the door next to it that leads to the rooftop.
Adora picks up after one ring.
“Catra!” There’s a mix of surprise and happiness in her voice.
“Hey, Adora,” Catra breathes out, opening the door and quickly going up the small staircase, “just listened to your messages. Are you still at the rooftop?” She asks as she opens the rooftop door.
She finds Adora staring right back at her.
“Yes.” Adora smiles that big smile that lights up all of Catra’s world.
“Hi,” Catra says, not able to stop her mouth from mirroring the expression.
“Hi,” Adora laughs.
“I guess we can hang up now.” Catra puts her phone back in her pocket and walks towards Adora by the ledge.
“Oh,” Adora snorts, “yeah.”
The ledge is about the height of Catra’s stomach, so she leans on it. Adora just stands next to it, watching her carefully, clearly anxious. Catra always knows when she’s anxious.
“Sorry for missing your calls.” Catra says. “I don’t ever turn off my phone, I don’t know why I decided to do that today out of all days.”
“That’s okay.” Adora replies, rubbing the back of her neck. “Sorry for spamming your phone.”
“That’s okay.” Catra repeats and they smile again.
Adora is watching her so intensely that it’s starting to make her nervous. Catra straightens up and turns to her.
“So… what’s so important?”
“Right.” Adora quickly breathes in and out. She swallows and averts her eyes. “So, um─”
“Hey,” Catra says, softly, placing her hands on Adora’s shoulders, “it’s just me. Relax, okay?”
Adora looks back at her. Catra feels her shoulders relaxing and lets go of her.
“I need to give you something,” Adora says, looking calmer now. She reaches for the inside of her jacket and holds what looks like envelopes with both hands.
“I never stopped writing to you,” she says. “Your birthday letters.”
Catra blinks. “What?”
“Here,” Adora gives her one envelope that has a familiar cat sticker.
Catra takes it, not really comprehending what is happening.
“Freshman year. I was away at a science conference, not sure if you remember it. I wrote it while I was there but when I came back to campus I couldn’t find it anywhere. It was just like me to forget something so important at the hotel… I called them so many times, begging for them to find it but I should’ve just written another one, right? I don’t know what I was thinking, but then a week later I found it inside a notebook that was in my backpack.” She shakes her head. “Of course I had it with me all along, but then… I don’t know, it had been almost two weeks since your birthday and I was so embarrassed with the situation. I also never knew if you actually liked the letters or not, so I just… never gave it to you. I’m sorry.”
“You…?” Catra tries, but fails. She opens her mouth again to say something, anything, but Adora continues,
“Sophomore year,” she gives her another envelope, no sticker this time, “you were being so mean and I just… I couldn’t understand why, and I was just so tired of you treating me like that and barely talking to me, but still, I─ I wrote it. I thought maybe this could be a peace offering. Maybe if I was completely honest you would talk to me and we would be friends again, but─” Adora breathes out, “I was also bitter and angry and scared you’d, I don’t know, just make fun of me or something, so I never gave it to you.” She looks down. “I don’t think I even wished you a happy birthday, I’m sorry.”
Adora shuts her eyes for a moment, when she opens them again they’re glistening.
“Adora,” Catra breathes, barely a whisper.
“And last October,” Adora sighs. She gives Catra the last blank envelope in her hands, “we hadn’t talked in so fucking long. It was worse than when I thought you hated me because you wouldn’t even look at me anymore, like if you didn’t even know who I was. When your birthday came around, it finally hit me that I had really lost you. I wrote this letter more for myself than for you. I was sure you didn’t want anything from me ever again.” She rubs at her eyes. “But I kept all of them. Writing them always made me feel close to you.” She smiles sadly.
All that time that Catra spent thinking the letters were nothing more than meaningless pieces of paper to Adora… she never imagined she could be that wrong.
Catra surges forward for a hug, tiptoeing to fling her arms around Adora’s neck. Adora has to take a step back with the sudden movement, but she catches Catra and holds her close.
“I’m the one who should be apologizing.” Catra finally says something, her own eyes stinging, guilt weighing heavy inside of her. She buries her face in Adora’s neck, too overwhelmed to say everything she wants to say. Back when they talked on their road trip, Catra never told her the full reason for her old, awful behavior. She remembers Scorpia’s words from earlier this evening, telling her to open her heart.
“I had no idea you kept the letters with you, or that they meant so much to you,” Adora says.
“How─?” Catra asks, moving back to look at her, but they’re still close, holding each other by the arms.
“After I was done with my interview I asked if I could watch yours…”
“Oh,” Catra says, remembering the other things she said.
At the time it didn’t even cross her mind that Adora could watch it one day. Adora must sense her panic because she holds her more firmly, as if afraid Catra is about to run away.
Catra doesn’t want to run anymore.
She scrunches up her face. “All those things I said─”
“Wait,” Adora stops her, “that wasn’t the only thing I needed to tell you. Growing up, I was just too dumb to see it, but I had feelings for you too, and… I still do. I like youー fuck, no,” she shakes her head, “I’m so tired of keeping things from you. I love you, Catra.”
Catra inhales sharply. The world enters into slow motion as her brain tries to process those words, that they came out from Adora’s own mouth, that they are directed to her.
“And I know in the video you said those things…” Adora continues,
Catra is still gaping at her, too shocked to express anything else with her face. Everything Adora’s done since they reunited briefly flashes in her head; the amount of care Adora has for her, the things she said that Catra forced herself to not think too hard about, the way she kissed her like she craved for that as bad as Catra─
“...but you also said that… you got over me? And that’s completely okay, obviously, but I just… needed to get this off my chest because─”
“Adora.” Catra snaps back to reality, heart beating so hard she’s sure Adora can hear it. “I don’t think I ever got over you.”
“No!?” Adora widens her eyes, and her genuine surprise makes Catra laugh.
“You’re such an idiot.” Catra grins.
She cups Adora’s face with trembly hands, letters having fallen from them some time ago.
“I love you too.” She says, surprised with how easy it is to finally tell her, already wishing to say it again.
Now it’s Adora’s turn to look stunned, but her mouth quickly stretches into the sweetest smile Catra has ever seen. Catra brings her closer, rests their foreheads together and cradles Adora in her hands. She dreamed of this for so long she never thought one day it would come true.
“I always have.” Catra whispers, closing her eyes, breathing her in.
Adora’s hands find Catra’s waist, bringing her in, flushing their bodies together.
“Catra─” Adora breathes over her mouth, voice full of relief.
Catra angles her head, pauses for a second, cherishing how Adora’s breath catches before their lips finally touch. Catra lets out a shaky breath against Adora’s mouth, fingers tangling on the hair of the back of her head, and presses her lips harder against Adora’s.
This kiss is so much different than their previous drunk, desperate one. Everything is clearer and heightened now; the softness of Adora’s lips, the goosebumps on Catra’s skin when Adora’s hand slides up to the nape of her neck, the soft noise Adora makes when they deepen the kiss. The fire that builds up inside of her is no longer scary. She welcomes it, allows her to give herself completely to Adora. If the world ended right now around them she wouldn’t even notice it.
When they draw apart, breathing hard and faces still close together, Catra smiles so hard her cheeks start to hurt. She flutters her eyes open, dazed, and finds Adora grinning back at her, the corners of her shiny blue eyes crinkling.
“I dropped the letters,” Catra says, speaking the first coherent thought that comes to her mind.
Adora bites her lip and laughs softly. “Do you wanna pick them up?”
Catra leans in and brushes their noses together.
“Can I kiss you again first?”
Adora strokes Catra’s cheek with her thumb.
“You can kiss me all you want.”
And so Catra does.
Catra wakes up slowly. Adora’s arm is around her stomach, their legs are tangled, and she has probably never felt so comforted. She moves quietly, turning to face Adora but trying to not wake her up. She sighs at the sight of a sleepy Adora, looking so beautiful and peaceful in a way she hopes to witness every day from now on. She carefully moves the hair falling over her face, tucking it behind her ear. She was afraid she would wake up to find out everything from the previous day had just been a dream, but here is Adora, curled up with her in Catra’s own bed, wearing one of Catra’s old band t-shirts, with a bruising mark near her collarbone Catra is guilty of inflicting.
Adora stirs, brings Catra closer and mumbles something indescifrable, then seems to fall asleep again. Catra tries to stifle a laugh, but her body still shakes, which makes Adora shift again.
“Sorry,” Catra whispers, voice hoarse from sleep.
“Hm?” Adora lazily opens her eyes. It takes a second for them to focus, but when they do she smiles so big and says, “Catra,” in a way like she too is surprised to wake up in Catra’s arms.
Adora stares for another moment, her gaze flickering between Catra’s eyes.
“You’re so beautiful.”
Catra blushes. “I probably look like a mess right now.”
“No.” Adora replies, then moves closer and plants a short and sweet kiss against her lips. “Beautiful.”
That leaves Catra unable to reply with anything else that is not a grin, until she remembers her new favorite words.
“I love you.”
Now Adora is the one grinning at her.
“I love you too.” She cups Catra’s face with one hand and leans in for a longer kiss.
Catra would be more than happy to just stay like that for hours, but she’s very curious about something.
“Can I read the letters?”
“Of course.” Adora smiles. “They’re yours.”
Catra climbs over her to get up from the bed and go look for Adora’s jacket on the floor. She remembers they put the letters back in her pocket once they picked them up last night. She finds it by the door then goes back to sit under the blanket next to Adora, who also sits up.
She opens them chronologically.
“Back then I kept checking my mailbox everyday hoping you decided to put this letter there.” Catra says, holding the first envelope.
Adora wraps her arms around her waist and rests her head on Catra’s shoulder. “I’m sorry.”
“No, no, don’t be,” Catra replies, “I’m just remembering it. I should’ve told you how much I liked them.” She opens it. “Wow, no glitter pens?” Is the first thing she notices.
Adora snorts. “I thought we were too old for glitter pens when we started college.”
Catra smiles. The letter is as sweet as all the birthday letters she’s gotten, but reading it now is bittersweet, especially with the ending being “I can’t wait to experience all the adventures we’ll have here together. Love, Adora.”
“Didn’t you think they were too corny?” Adora asks.
“Definitely, but I loved that about them.”
The second letter has a different tone. It’s the shortest one Adora has written but it manages to make Catra’s chest tight. She wonders what she would’ve done if she had read it back then. Would she still be too blinded by her hurt and resentment to try to fix things?
Happy birthday! I know things have been weird between us so I wanted to be completely open with you. I feel that our friendship is slipping through my fingers and that scares me because I don’t know how to fix it. I would like to understand what’s happening, but I can’t do this alone.
I hope today is a day full of love. I wish I could celebrate it with you.
You mean so much to me and I will always love you. I hope you don’t forget that.
Love and miss you,
The third letter breaks Catra’s heart.
I will never give you this, but I need to let this out somewhere. I have no more hope that we will be friends again, and that makes me so sad, because I miss you, and I will always miss you.
I miss your smile. I miss the gleam in your eyes when you’d beat me in mario kart. I miss laughing with you every day. I even miss you making fun of me for not being able to pronounce words in portuguese right. Those are the things I remember when I think about you. I'm going to try to remember the good times with you instead of the bad ones, because those break my heart.
I'm sorry things ended up like this. I'm sorry I couldn't fix things, and I’m sorry I gave up on trying to fix them. I don’t think I’ll ever meet someone like you, so I’m trying to be grateful for the fact that I did meet you and that I had you in my life. I lost you and the hole you left will never heal completely, but that’s better than if I had never met you at all.
I hope that wherever life takes you, you are happy, and you find people that will make you happy in a way that I could not.
“Wow,” Adora says, “how did I write all of that and still didn’t know I was in love with you?”
Catra snorts. She presses the back of her hands over her stinging eyes.
“I’m so sorry, Adora,” she sighs, “I focused so much on trying to stop my own hurt that I never even considered how that was hurting you.”
Adora hugs her tighter for a moment.
“We both did things we regret, but we’re different people now, we’ve learned. We’ll do better, together.”
“I know, it’s just─ all this time I wasted…”
Adora sits up and gently turns Catra’s face to her.
“We can’t change the past, but we can make up for it, okay? Think about all the time we have ahead.”
“You’re right.” Catra smiles and offers her pinky, “No more keeping things from each other?”
Adora wraps her own pinky around Catra’s.
“No more keeping things from each other.” She nods, then, after a moment, “We’re dating, now, right? Like, for real?”
“What?” Adora asks. “I just want to be sure.”
“You’re just so cute,” Catra grins, then takes both of Adora’s hands. “Adora, would you like to be my girlfriend?”
Even though she already knows the answer, butterflies flutter in her stomach.
“I would love to be your girlfriend.” Adora squeezes her hands.
“Everything clear now?” Catra asks.
Adora nods enthusiastically.
“Great,” Catra smirks, then moves a hand to the back of Adora’s neck, “now come here.” She says, pulling her in for a kiss.
The kiss is interrupted by Adora’s phone ringing.
Catra lets out an annoyed hum against Adora’s lips.
Adora giggles, “I should probably see who it is.”
Catra plops down on the pillow when Adora gets up. She watches her picking up her phone from the floor and answering the call.
“Glimmer, hi!” Adora says. “No, I’m not at the gym, I’m─ brunch? Oh, you two don’t have to─” there’s a pause, then,” but Glimmer, let me─” she blinks and looks at her phone. “Well, bye then.” She looks at Catra. “Wanna go for brunch?”
Adora says Glimmer and Bow want to take her out for brunch to cheer her up. Glimmer didn’t want to accept a no as an answer so Adora couldn’t even explain that she no longer needs cheering up. They decide to go together.
Catra changes into her usual clothes but adds Adora’s denim jacket to her outfit. Adora doesn’t complain as she keeps Catra’s t-shirt on along with her jeans from yesterday. When they show up at the restaurant in town like that, holding hands, they don’t even have to say anything for Bow and Glimmer to figure out why Adora wasn’t in her room in the morning.
They are both so happy for them that it makes Catra all warm inside, grateful for the new friends she’s made in these crazy past weeks.
At some point Catra mentions they can now have double dates, which causes a brief awkward silence. She’s confused because she could swear Bow and Glimmer were a couple, but when Adora tries to explain that they aren’t, Glimmer interrupts them, saying they also have some news to share.
“Since when!?” Adora almost shouts. “Why didn’t you tell me? Your literal best friend and roommate!?”
“I’m sorry!” Bow exclaims, looking genuinely broken for hiding something from Adora. Catra has to cover her mouth with a napkin to not laugh. “Glimmer didn’t let me say anything!”
“Please don’t be mad!” Glimmer pleads. “We were going to tell you soon, I swear, it just happened so recently, and you were so upset about Catra, I didn’t want to bring up relationships─”
“But I’d be so happy for you guys! I mean, I am! What the hell, this is amazing, I love you two so much─” Adora’s anger has already dissipated and she now looks on the verge of tears.
Bow gets up and runs around the table to hug Adora.
“We love you!” He says, also tearing up.
Glimmer also gets up to join the hug. “Stop, you guys, I don’t wanna cry on my pancakes.”
Catra blinks. What the heck did she get into?
“Guys,” Catra says, “this is a restaurant.”
“C’mere you too.” Adora pulls her in for the group hug as Bow’s arm somehow also reaches for her.
Once they let go, Catra tries to pretend she didn’t enjoy it but she can’t hide her smile.
“Are you all always like this?”
They all nod.
“And now you’re stuck with me and with them,” Adora teases her, “because you looove me.”
“Shut up!” Catra squeaks and shoves at her shoulder. “Or I’m gonna steal your food.”
“Please, not my food.” Adora laughs and decides to give Catra mercy.
Bow and Glimmer are looking at them with very endeared eyes which makes Catra blush.
“So, when did you two become a thing?” Catra asks. “I thought you were already dating for all this time.”
They both share a smile.
“At the formal I finally had the courage to confess my feelings for him.” Glimmer says.
“Aww!” Adora says. “That formal was really something.”
“You remember it?” Catra asks.
“Of course.” Adora frowns, then pauses. “Oh, right. I thought you didn’t want to talk about it.”
“I thought the same… or that you just didn’t remember.”
Adora reaches for her hand. “It was literally all I thought about until yesterday.”
“Guess you two have a lot to discuss.” Bow says, softly.
They do, and they have all the time in the world for that.
Catra asks Adora out for dinner that coming week and takes her to a nice restaurant in town. The place is dimly lit, with a small candle on each table and calming music on the background. She sits with an elbow propped on the table, head resting on her hand, admiring the girl in front of her while they wait for their food. Adora looks beautiful as always, dressed up a little less casual than usual, with her hair in a high bun. Catra has hers in a ponytail for a change.
“What’s on your mind?” Adora asks.
“You.” Catra replies promptly.
Adora smiles, a faint blush painting over her cheeks. She mirrors Catra’s pose.
Something about being on their first (official, real) date fills Catra with warmth. Being allowed to stare at her without pretending she isn’t, or just replying like that, completely sincere, is what Catra always dreamed of.
“Do you also have this weird feeling that we’re supposed to be filming right now?”
“A little.” Catra snorts. “I’m glad we don’t have to, but we can still capture some moments, I guess. Can I take a picture of you?”
Catra takes her phone and points it at Adora, then says something that makes her laugh so she can capture her mid giggles.
“Perfect.” Catra says. “New lockscreen. Gonna miss seeing your drunk face and big nostril whenever I look at my phone.”
“You still had that!?”
“It was cute.” Catra shrugs.
Adora rolls her eyes but laughs at the same time.
“Mine is still our selfie from that day.” She says, a bit shyly. “Last week I’d change it before leaving my room in case I ran into you, so you wouldn’t see it.”
Catra raises her eyebrows. She hasn't stopped to think about how Adora was also in her shoes, trying to shove her own feelings away and being afraid of what would happen if the other found out. She reaches for Adora’s hand across the table and intertwines their fingers.
“I’m glad we don’t have to hide or pretend anymore.”
“Me too.” Adora says, voice soft and sweet. “You know what I noticed? This is a candlelit dinner. What are we doing after? Hand holding at the park?”
“I mean, if you want to?” Catra says, a little confused.
“Oh, isn’t that ‘boring and cliché’ ?” Adora teases her, doing the quotes with her free hand.
Catra then remembers her own words describing the date she’s in right now and laughs.
It had crossed her mind to plan something more elaborated, but she realized all she wanted to do was experience all the simple and real and even cliché things with Adora. Anything, as long it was with Adora.
“Nothing is boring with you.” Catra replies, and means it.
Later, when they are walking back (and hand holding), Catra says,
“I have an idea for our second date.”
“Already planning it?” Adora asks, smugly.
“Mhm, but I don’t think you’re going to like it.”
Adora raises an eyebrow in question.
Catra decides to no longer let the fact that she won their bet slide, even with Adora telling her she let her win (which she argues back that Bow would’ve picked her anyway).
When the day comes, Catra makes them wear matching t-shirts that say I’m with stupid (Catra’s) and stupid (Adora’s) and also gives Adora a unicorn cap. She makes sure to register the moment with plenty of pictures. She wouldn’t actually make Adora go through something too terrible, so she chooses to take her to Halfmoon’s poetry night, which happens to be a haiku night. She lets Adora take off her hat but only because she isn’t able to stop laughing whenever she looks at her face.
Adora doesn’t understand why people snap their fingers instead of clapping (and neither does Catra, really), and struggles really hard to not roll her eyes with every hipster kid that goes on stage to say something neither of them gets. It’s hilarious to watch her, and definitely a terrible date, except for the fact that they’re still managing to have fun together.
When someone asks if there are any volunteers from the audience, Catra raises her hand. Adora panics, thinking she’s going to make her go up the stage, and if Adora wasn't a little ball of anxiety she totally would make her, but she’s the one who goes instead. She says her poem is dedicated to her girlfriend, says some string of words that very likely do not form a haiku, then bows. There are a few shy finger snaps from the audience as she walks back to her table, finding Adora with tears in her eyes from laughing.
Afraid they might get kicked out, Catra decides Adora has suffered enough and they leave to go get ice cream. Adora tells her that was the worst “worst date” because it wasn’t even all that bad, but she still wants revenge, so they need to think of a new bet soon.
About two weeks later, Mel sends them the edited documentary. They were planning to watch it together, but when Bow finds out about it he makes the whole gang have a movie night to watch it along with Mermista and Sea Hawk’s one. It’s sweet to watch things from a new light now, but it’s also terribly embarrassing. Especially when their friends point out so many things that there was no way that they could be actually faking ─ and, well, they weren’t. Catra tries leaving but Adora doesn’t let her, holding her on her lap so she can’t escape. That isn’t the worst place to be if Catra is being honest, so she stays.
When it shows Catra singing under the cherry blossom tree, Adora quietly tells her that was probably when she started to fall in love again. Catra would've kissed her right then if Glimmer hadn’t already complained about their PDA five times that evening. Instead, she takes a mental note of that, promises herself to keep writing songs for Adora, and to surprise her with them on her birthday. Adora deserves a yearly tradition too, but nothing ever felt right until then. That sounds perfect.
Their routines become even more intertwined as they can’t seem to stand to stay more than a few hours apart from each other. Catra tells Adora everything she never thought she’d be able to or even want to share from their past. It feels surreal but so good to finally be completely honest with her.
Adora joins her on tango lessons, and even though she insists for Catra to dance with someone more experienced, Catra always picks Adora to be her partner. She’s getting better (slowly) and Catra wouldn’t want to dance with anyone else. Scorpia still appears sometimes, and she also has a new dance partner with Perfuma always accompanying her.
Catra follows Adora in her weird sword fighting club, joining only for the light, fun practice, and cheering for Adora as she beats up dudes on the serious fights. Adora tries to convince Catra to join her in the gym in the mornings, but what often happens is the opposite ─ Catra convincing her to stay in bed for just a little longer.
One day, Adora surprises her with a cheesy promposal cardboard sign. Catra is very confused because there’s obviously no prom in college, but Adora says they’re throwing their own with Bow and Glimmer’s help, to make up for the proms that they should’ve shared together. The four of them dress up in fancy clothes and sneak to the library’s rooftop, with a speaker and some balloons for decoration, and dance together until their feet beg them to stop.
Catra never thought all the pieces of her life would feel so right or that she could ever be this happy.
The academic semester is almost over. With only finals left, summer is on the horizon. Before they have to focus on studying for the exams, they allow themselves a day to breathe and not worry about that. Halfmoon always has a big concert night on the last day of classes of the semester and this time Catra is performing, so it’s a great opportunity to have a friends night out. Adora already became a regular at Halfmoon, following Catra to either see the day’s performances or to watch her rehearsing or jamming with friends. Tonight she couldn’t be more excited.
Adora and all her friends are seating at two conjoined tables, talking and watching the performances, Catra by her side. Adora still can’t quite believe how lucky she is to have the best friends in the world and the best girlfriend in the world.
“I think there’s one after this band then it’s me,” Catra says, turning to her, “so I should go soon.”
“Okay.” Adora smiles. “Nervous?”
“Not really. More like pumped and excited."
Adora’s eyes travel up and down Catra’s body. She has her full rockstar look on, so Adora can’t stop staring at her.
“What?” Catra asks, noticing Adora’s non subtlety.
“Do you even know how hot you look?”
Catra first smiles that shy smile of when Adora catches her off guard, but it then turns into a smirk. She flips her hair to one side.
“I do, yeah.”
She also has her full rockstar confidence on. Adora can’t even be mad.
“You should see my girlfriend, though.” Catra twitches an eyebrow. “Hottest girl you’ll ever meet.”
Adora laughs. “You’re such a dork.”
“I don’t think a dork would look this cool,” she gestures at herself, “dork.”
Adora rolls her eyes. “Don’t you have a song to go sing, or something?”
Catra leans closer.
“Can I get a good luck kiss first?”
Without thinking twice Adora closes the distance and feels the soothing warmth that blooms in her chest whenever their lips touch.
“You got this.” Adora says.
“Thanks, babe.” Catra smiles and leaves towards the stage area.
Adora turns back to the table.
“Hey guys, Catra is playing soon. Who wants to go join the crowd in front of the stage?”
Scorpia and Bow are the first ones to jump off their chairs in excitement.
Adora stands in front of the stage. When Catra appears with her band, she first looks somewhere above them with a confused look, then her eyes search the crowd and lock with Adora’s. She beams, seeing her and everyone right in front of her.
She looks to her bandmates to make sure everyone is ready before shouting into the mic, “Halfmoon, how are we feeling tonight!?”
Adora screams along with everyone.
“I hope you all like some good old Paramore!” She says, then the band starts playing Still Into You.
Adora feels so proud seeing her having so much fun on stage, making the whole place sing and dance along with her. At one point she takes the mic from the stand and walks towards the edge of the stage where Adora is. She kneels and reaches for Adora’s hand as she belts “Baby, not a day goes by that I'm not into you,” before she winks and runs to put the mic back and properly finish the song.
Adora can hear Glimmer making fun of her but she’s too over the moon to care, and too hypnotized to pay attention to anything else that’s not Catra. When the song ends Adora screams even louder than before.
As the band leaves, Adora goes to the side of the stage to wait for Catra. After a short while she approaches with her guitar case on her back.
“Hey, princess,” Catra says, “come here often?”
Adora crosses her arms. “Only when my girlfriend is singing.”
“Aw, you’re not single? Wanna ditch her for me?”
Adora hums. “I don’t know, she’s one of a kind. What do you have to offer?”
“This,” Catra pulls her by the waist and plants a kiss against her lips.
Adora cradles her face when they draw apart.
“Interesting offer, will think about it,” she says, as they break into giggles.
“I wanna take you somewhere.” Catra says in that soft voice she reserves only to Adora.
“It’s a surprise.”
Catra borrows Scorpia’s car and drives them to the other side of the campus, where the Bright Moon observatory is.
“Isn’t it closed right now?” Adora asks when they park by the entrance.
“I have my ways.” Catra replies.
“You always do.” Adora can barely contain her curiosity.
“Did you know I took an intro to Astronomy once?”
“Really?” Adora frowns.
“I needed an easy A class for the semester,” Catra shrugs, “and we got to come here and look at cool stuff.”
Before leaving the car, Catra takes what looks like a poster tube from the back seat with her, then she leads them to the projection room. The ceiling is curved and made of a giant screen and there are chairs circling the middle where there’s a computer with what looks like a weird projector.
“Wow.” Adora says.
“Yeah, this is the coolest room.”
Catra turns the projector on and the room goes dark as the ceiling lights up with a beautiful night sky, dotted with thousands of stars. Adora spends a good moment just looking up, enchanted by the view.
“This is amazing.”
“Right?” Catra says, “and we can travel around.”
She zooms where Polaris is.
“So you obviously know the Ursa Minor constellation.” She says.
Adora hums as the Little Dipper gets bigger on the ceiling.
“There’s a little star in the middle of it…” she zooms even more, stopping when the now big shiny spheres look blurry, “that one that is more yellow and a little bigger than the others?”
“I see it.” Adora nods. “What about it?”
“Well,” Catra takes a piece of paper from the poster tube and hands it to her.
Adora frowns and examines it. It’s a certificate with some coordinates Adora assumes is from that star, saying it’s been registered and named… Mara .
“I know people can’t actually buy stars, but there’s this big celestial database where you can choose a constellation and name a star from it,” Catra says.
“You adopted a star in my name?” Adora asks, surprised, “And named it my mom’s…?”
“I know how that constellation is important to you, and how when we were little you always said your mom had turned into a star, so… that star has your mom’s name now.”
Adora blinks, still looking down at the paper, suddenly overwhelmed with so much she can’t even put it into words, but mostly with love. She inhales deeply and sniffs.
“Adora?” Catra puts a hand on her shoulder. “Did I mess up? Should I have not─”
Adora turns to her and hugs her.
“No, no, I love it─ I just─ I love you so much,” she holds Catra tighter, “this is beautiful, I don’t even know what to say,”
“You don’t have to say anything.” Catra replies, pressing a kiss to her cheek. “I’m happy you liked it.”
They stay like that for a while, with the stars above them and the low humming buzz of the projector filling the silence.
Adora puts the certificate back in the tube so it’s safe.
“Thank you.” Adora says, gently cupping Catra’s cheeks in her hands. “I wasn’t expecting anything. What is it for?”
“I just felt like it.” Catra smiles, holding her waist. “And I wanted to bring you here before the semester ended.”
Adora spends a long moment just staring at those sweet mismatched eyes, wondering how it’s possible that every day she loves her more and more.
“So are you gonna kiss me, or what?” Catra asks, wiggling her eyebrows.
Adora laughs, bright and light, and brings her in.
It’s the first week of summer break. Adora and Catra are home (Adora’s home, but she hopes it feels like Catra’s too). Razz couldn’t be happier to see Catra again, and teared up seeing the star certificate that now hangs framed in the living room, along with pictures that have been there for years, and a new picture of both of them.
Adora and Catra are lying on the grass in the backyard at night, just like they did so many summer nights when they were little. So much has changed, but so many things are still the same: the warm summer breeze that envelops them, how wonderful her grandma’s pie is, how Adora is at her happiest when Catra is right next to her.
“Excited for your internship?” Catra asks.
Adora nods. “Yes, but I’m gonna miss you much.”
“We’ll visit each other, remember? But I’ll miss you too.”
Catra got an internship in New York, while Adora got one at the Bright Moon rehabilitation center. She’s been thinking of going to a physical therapy post grad program instead of med school, which is probably less anxiety inducing and more close to what Adora would like to help people with. Catra’s been so helpful with her full support for Adora to explore and discover what she really wants to pursue.
They still have another week before their internships start, and they will get to see each other throughout the summer as they will only be a few hours long train ride away. Still, Adora misses her already.
“What if you meet a girl that actually knows how to play instruments or dance tango and is way cooler than me?”
Catra laughs that squeaky laugh that Adora can’t get enough of. She then turns on her side, propping herself up on her elbow, and takes Adora's hand, holding it close to her chest.
“Adora, it’s always been you. Always. Why do you think I’ve always been so paralyzed by fear? I knew I’d never find anyone else like you,” she presses a feather light kiss to the back of Adora’s hand, “or love anyone like I love you.”
Adora’s heart flutters, her lips curling up into a fond smile.
“I feel like I spent most of my life chasing something that I couldn’t even name,” Adora says, “but it was in front of me all along. It’s always been you too, Catra.”
Catra grins, eyes sparkling as much as the stars above them.
Adora reaches for Catra’s cheek, caressing it, and Catra leans down, closing the distance between them.
It has always been her, and it will always be the two of them.
Adora keeps Catra in her arms for the rest of the night.