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sometimes it feels just like i'm falling in the ocean

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When Adora woke up, she had a headache, and it sucked. She was also freezing, which was probably her own fault for not bringing a thicker jacket to a winter wonderland. She groaned and tried to sit up, and then realized that she wasn’t on Sea Hawk’s boat. 

And then she maybe freaked out a bit. 

Deep breaths , she thought to herself, trying to remember what happened before she was knocked out. It was kind of hard to breathe, much less think, when she was shivering her ass off. Why was she wet ? The last thing she remembered was standing over Catra, trying not to show that she was shaking, trying not to let her know just how much her stupid smirk affected her. Because Catra was right. She’d never have the guts to really hurt her. She never did. And Catra was talking, and Adora was just about to drop her sword because she was weak like that, but there was something flashing red in the corner of her vision and then she was out and— 

Oh. The red disk. 

Shit. 

But that was impossible. They destroyed the disk months ago. Unless Entrapta had found another one… It would explain why she couldn’t remember anything. If she had been as useless and “floppy” and Glimmer told her she had been before, well, that wasn’t good. Had she been captured? Surely, they wouldn’t leave her alone and untied. Maybe Sea Hawk had burned yet another ship, and so they were on a different one. Had her friends managed without her? 

Adora sneezed when she stood up. A blanket slipped off her shoulders, and she felt a chill go up her spine. She picked up the blanket and put it back over her shoulders. Not that it really helped much, but it was better than nothing. She needed to find dry clothes before she caught a cold, that is, if she didn’t have one already. She sniffed and hugged herself to keep warm, then took a step forward. 

That’s when Catra walked by. 

Oh. So she had been captured. Maybe she was free because they thought she was all floppy and useless. But if she wasn’t anymore, then that meant the disk was destroyed. Had they accidentally broken it? Did they know it was broken? Perhaps if Adora could act floppy, they wouldn’t know the difference, and therefore wouldn’t try to disable her which would give her time to escape. 

But Catra was staring now, and not saying anything which was very out of character for her. Adora stared right back. And then she sneezed again. 

“Bless you,” Catra said without thinking. 

“Thanks.” Adora shivered, rubbing at the goosebumps on her arms. She looked at Catra again, who was trying to avert her gaze. Adora noticed her eyes were red and her ears were pointed down, defensive. She was only ever so quiet when she was upset. Did that mean… “Were you crying?” 

Catra turned around abruptly to hide herself, wiping her face with her arm. “Of course not.” 

And okay, Adora knew she probably should’ve taken advantage of the situation. It would’ve been easy for her to take down Catra if she was thrown off, but Catra hardly ever cried, so something really bad must have happened, and as far as Adora knew, she was always there for her when things got bad. Every single time Catra ran away in tears at the Horde when they were children, Adora chased her down and stayed with her until she was better. There was too much history between them and Adora couldn’t help but be worried. 

“Hey. What happened?” she asked softly, inching closer to her. Catra huffed and crossed her arms, but still didn’t meet her eye.

“Just go, Adora. You’re free.” She made a half-hearted shooing motion with her hand. Adora frowned and put her hand on Catra’s shoulder. It was supposed to be a comforting gesture, but she was cold to the touch, and her fur was soaked. Catra flinched and Adora let go. 

“You’re wet too. You hate the water.” Catra would have avoided water at all costs, especially in the cold.

“Thanks, Captain Obvious,” Catra muttered. 

“What happened?” Adora reached for her shoulder again without thinking, but Catra scowled and she backed off. 

“Why do you care? I’m tired, Adora. Just leave me alone, you didn’t seem to have a problem with it before.” Adora winced. She was right. Adora wasn’t there for her. She briefly wondered if Catra cried when she defected. If she did, then Adora wasn’t there to make her feel better. She had no right to feel bad about it now, after all this time, but… she still worried. 

“I can’t exactly leave while we’re still floating in the middle of the sea, now, can I?” She tried to make it sound like a joke, tried in vain to cheer Catra up, but it was a dumb thought. It came out in a sad whisper and only seemed to irritate Catra. 

“Fine, just sit there and look pretty! Don’t bother me.” And then she sneezed. Her tail fluffed up. It was precious, and Adora almost felt bad for smiling. “Stop looking at me like that!” 

Adora blinked. “Like what?”

Catra groaned, waving her hands in Adora’s face. “Like you pity me. If I had known you weren’t going to try and leave, I wouldn’t have snapped the disk.” Her ears drooped and she finally looked up at her hesitantly. Adora raised her eyebrows.

“You snapped the disk?” she asked in a soft voice, beaming. So it wasn’t an accident. She didn’t want Adora to be floppy and useless. She helped her. Was she letting her go? Catra scowled, but the anger didn’t quite meet her eyes. She still looked crestfallen.  

“I didn’t do it for you,” Catra mumbled. That’s when Scorpia walked over, holding a stack of blankets and whistling a merry tune. 

“Hey, Catra, Entrapta said we’ll be in Salineas in an hour. I found more blankets so that you could warm up and we could maybe play some board games to make you feel better— ” her voice faltered when she noticed Adora. “Oh, Adora. You… haven’t left.” As if she could just leave while she was stranded miles from any land. What, did they think She-Ra could fly? “I’ll just, um, leave these here, then.” She awkwardly put the blankets down and shuffled away as quickly as she could to the other side of the boat. Adora watched her leave, furrowing her brows. 

“Why are we wet, anyway?” she asked, glancing at Catra who made no move to pick up another blanket and dry off. She stubbornly crossed her arms and stayed rooted to her spot. 

“You jumped into the ocean.” She chuckled dryly. “You’re such an idiot.” Adora felt her cheeks heat up a bit. She looked down at her wet clothes, and then back at Catra. 

“Why are you wet then? If I’m the one that jumped.” Adora grinned when Catra averted her gaze quickly. She could have sworn she saw her cheeks turn red. 

“Yeah, well. Couldn’t let you drown, now could I? It’s not like I like you or anything, don’t flatter yourself!” Oh yeah, her cheeks were definitely red. Maybe the cold was messing with her head or something, but Adora laughed. 

“I didn’t say anything.” She bit her lip. “But… you can’t swim?” 

“Shut up,” Catra muttered, letting out a shaky breath. She gave in and snatched a blanket from the pile Scorpia brought in, pulling it over her head. Adora could see that she was still shaking though. It was too cold for this.

“Catra… I know… I know I left and everything,” a knot started to form in Adora’s throat, “but you know… you know I still care, right? We may be on opposite sides, but—”

“But what?” Catra cut in. “But you’ll go easy on me? But you won’t hurt me?” 

“I— maybe?” 

Catra shook her head. “That’s not how this works, Adora. You can’t keep pulling your punches, you have to,” her voice cracked, “you have to choose a side. You’re not supposed to care.” 

“But you’re my… I’ve known you longer than anyone. You’re my best friend.” 

“Was. I was your friend. You made more,” she spat out bitterly. “Didn’t you, Adora ?” 

“Catra…” 

“No. I don’t… I don’t want to have this conversation with you right now. I can’t. Because you didn’t mean it…” 

Adora frowned. “Mean what?” 

Catra didn’t stop. “... because if you meant it, then you wouldn’t have left .” 

“Catra, what are you—” 

“Leave me alone.” 

“I just want to—”

“JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!” 

Adora wanted to say something, anything, because this was the closest they had gotten to making up since that time they were at the First Ones' ruins in the Whispering Woods. They had been together for so long and Adora just wanted to fix their relationship, and she wanted Catra to see that the Horde had wronged them. She knew Catra didn’t really care about fighting in the war, not really, she knew that everything that Catra did was out of spite or revenge, and maybe if they could make up it would make them both happier. But then she felt a jab on her side, and things got blurry and her head started to spin and the edges of her vision darkened. 

“I know I shouldn’t have been listening and I’m really sorry, but things were escalating and I just thought you might want some peace and quiet after everything that happened so I may have pricked her—”

“Scorpia. It’s fine,” Catra sighed. “Thank you.”

She could have sworn she heard Catra mumble an “I’m sorry” before she blacked out.

Adora woke up later with a runny nose on the shore near Salineas, all alone. Her clothes were still slightly damp, but there was a blanket wrapped around her. It smelled like Catra. It was warm.