About a week after the Liberation of Etheria, Mermista cornered Catra.
It was late and she had slipped out of the bed she and Adora shared to go on a walk after an hour of laying down looking at the ceiling wide awake. The halls of Bright Moon, despite being the seat of power of the Princess Alliance, got fairly quiet at night. Combined with the elaborate murals that littered the halls created a good atmosphere to walk and clear your head.
Eventually, Catra wandered in front of the war room’s open doors. For a brief second Catra caught the face of Queen Angella of Bright Moon, her rough image captured on the wall facing the door and Catra froze. Here she is wandering the hallways of the home of woman she killed. With an overwhelming sense of unease and unbelonging and fear, she spun on her heel determined to walk straight back towards her shared room. She needed to apologize? Run? Ask sparkles to finally let the other shoe drop and punish her?
These thoughts swirled around in her head until she rounded a corner and saw Mermista.
It wasn’t surprising to see another person wandering the halls, but it was surprising that Mermista was there looking out the opening into the bay that surrounded the castle. She had both hands curled up into fists resting on the windowsill, as she leaned into the opening keeping her eyes dead on the horizon. It looked like she hadn’t even noticed Catra’s approach. Still, the sight of her caused Catra to stop dead. Mermista didn’t even bother looking at her, keeping her eyes on the water.
“You destroyed Salineas.”
Oh, this is going to be one of those conversations.
Catra could feel the fur on her tail beginning to bristle as she reflexively crossed her arms. She began to open her mouth to satisfy the knee-jerk reaction of spitting out some snide or sarcastic comment.
Catra stopped. She breathed. And said
“Hordak and I came up with the plan to destroy Salineas, and I was there when it happened. I’m sorry. I can’t take it back, but I can try my best to help fix it.”
Perfuma taught her to say that last sentence.
There were a couple beats of crushingly awkward silence as Mermista stared at the bay, and Catra stared at Mermista, and Catra could have sworn she felt the mural of the Queen staring at her despite the distance she had put between herself and the war room.
Suddenly Mermista pushed herself from her leaning position and sighed deeply. Another beat passed, the silence this time seemed heavier than the first.
Mermista turned her entire body towards Catra and looked her in the eyes.
“You destroyed Salineas and I can’t forget that, and I don’t think I can forgive that.”
Catra stepped back breaking eye contact to look at the ground and opened her mouth to-
“Stop I’m not done yet. I can’t forgive it, but I don’t think I can hold it against you.”
Catra’s head jerked up to look at Mermista.
“Yeah, what you did was messed up and don’t think for a second you’re not going help fix what you did. But we were at war and as angry as I am that it happened, I’m just as angry at myself for staying here to play murder mystery with Double Trouble and not being there to protect my city.”
That was not how Catra expected this to go, and stupidly said the first thing that came to mind to try an prevent another round of awkward silence.
“Double Trouble murdered someone?”
“Ugh!” Mermista flushed and stomped her foot on the ground “No not yet but that’s not the point!”
Any tension that had existed left the hall immediately at the childishness of what just happened, Mermista’s foot stomp echoing down the nearly deserted hall. The previous tension amplifying Catra’s amusement until she was doubled over with laughter, wiping tears out of her eyes. Wheezing as straightened up to look at the princess again.
“What does that even mean?”
“That’s not important right now!” Mermista flushed violently at Catra’s renewed laughter. “Can you be serious right now.”
Nodding, Catra breathed deeply trying to prevent anymore laughter from breaking out as she looked at Mermista again. “Alright, I’m good now. Where are you going with this or are we done here?”
“Just listen…Glimmer and Bow vouch for you and that’s good enough for me to at least tolerate you. But…but you look after Adora better than anyone else, she’s obviously head over heels for you.”
Catra’s amusement became replaced by embarrassment immediately. “What does that have to do with this?”
“Crap” Catra could feel her face burning with embarrassment. “Crap are we really that obvious?”
“It means that I think you deserve a second chance. Adora’s a wonderful person but she takes care of herself last no matter what. ‘Everyone matters, I need to protect them, I don’t need sleep, blah, blah, I’m a 9-foot-tall warrior woman come face me cowards, blah, blah’ you know how she is.” Mermista deadpanned. “It can be infuriating.”
“But she loves you and more importantly she listens to you when you say it’s time to go to bed, which I’m choosing to believe means that you two just go to sleep like good children.”
Catra’s face was literally on fire, there’s no way it couldn’t be. The embarrassed flush was almost painful.
Mermista chuckled at her obvious discomfort before quickly smothering it. “Seriously though, you take care of Adora and that’s a big point in your favor. We all owe her a lot, and if this is what she wants then we have her back.” Mermista moved forward and placed a hand on Catra’s shoulder “Which I guess means we have your back. I’m not as nice as the other princesses, I can’t promise we’ll be BFF’s or whatever. But you deserve a chance.”
Mermista clapped Catra’s shoulder once, before moving past her further down the hall. Without looking back she tossed out “Don’t mess it up.”
A second later Mermista rounded a corner and she was gone, leaving Catra staring after her in shock. Shaking her head, Catra made her way back towards her room in a confused daze.
Her room was the same as she left it. Taking off the clothes she put on when she left for her walk, she tried to slide carefully back underneath the sheets to not wake up Adora.
“mmm..Catra?” Adora groggily asked as she flipped over on her back to look at her. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah, I just had to go for a walk real quick.” Moving a little more quickly having already woken up Adora, Catra slid under the covers burying her face in the other woman’s neck before flopping an arm over her.
“Everything ok?” Adora sounded concerned and Catra felt Adora bring her arm up scratch Catra’s head between her ears.
“Yeah everything’s fine”