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the other half of you (exposure therapy)

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For years – three years, to be exact – if you asked Catra what her opinion of She-ra was, the response would have been singular: she hates her.

She could expand on that, if pressed. She hated that she was an obstacle to all her plans. She hated that she was an embodiment of everything she – they – had been raised to hate. She hated that she looked off, just to the left of someone known and aching. She hated that she smelled like a mix of familiar comfort and the electric current of magic, only ever a source of pain in her life. She hated that her blue eyes shined like beacons, drawing Catra in like a siren song.

She hated that she took her best friend from her.

But beneath She-ra – beneath all the hair, and the glow, and the wrong smell, wrong look, wrong skin even – beneath her was Adora. She-ra’s skin chafes on her uncomfortably, it is obvious immediately. Catra sees a gap in the armor and digs her claws in with all her might.

It isn’t enough, but those gaps – those slivers down to the girl underneath – those are what Catra lives for, what she fights for. She returns to the Fright Zone from battles, won or lost, body singing with those little glimpses of Adora – her Adora – beneath it all. On the battlefield she acts a menace, reckless and wild until She-ra turns to her and the look of frustration is pure Adora. She comes alive under her attention.

That is what Catra thinks of, when she is alone. It is never She-ra, but rather Adora she claws and scratches for. Always Adora she thinks about bringing back, having back, even once it is abundantly clear that will never happen. It is always Adora in her fantasies, alone in her bed with her.

She-ra is an obstacle, nothing more.

 

--

 

She is bound to feel different, after. After she wakes in Adora’s arms, body singing with She-ra’s magic, no longer electric, discordant, wrong but warm and full of light, just like Adora herself. She does not remember anything between her fall and waking up in Adora’s arms – does not think she needs to. She-ra healed her, she felt it all the way to the tips of her fingers.

Then Adora transforms in front of her, and all those assumptions go out the window.

Yes, She-ra is still different from Adora. She is nearly eight feet tall and glowing. But, for the first time in her life, Catra looks at She-ra and does not need to look under her skin to see Adora. They are one and the same. Her magic radiates from her like a glow, rather than buzzing like a contained energy.

Even her scent is different, Catra realizes in a daze, as Adora leaves the room. Before she smelled like Adora and magic – comfort and Shadow Weaver. Now she radiates Adora’s warmth, her kindness and light, just like her healing.

The sword is shattered, Catra will find out. This is what She-ra is meant to be without shackles – who Adora is, when she follows her heart rather than that stupid destiny that got them into this mess. It is beautiful – she is beautiful – and Catra knows suddenly that nothing is going to take her away from this, not now.

When Entrapta goes to leave, she stops her. Thanks her.

She has a lot of ground to cover.

 

--

 

Catra has spent almost a decade wanting to kiss Adora. It has never crossed her mind in the last three years to think of kissing She-ra. Not seriously, not as more than a powerplay to get Adora too flustered to keep up the transformation so the real fun can begin.

But those were just fantasies. This? This is real.

This is Adora in her arms, love declaration hanging in the air between them like a lantern, guiding them home. Catra can do nothing but kiss her with all the tenderness she has always wanted to. She feels the hum of magic, can see the glow of light even with her eyes closed. When she opens them, she is in She-ra’s arms.

Except she is not, because She-ra is just Adora. Her Adora. Who loves her back.

“Wow,” Adora whispers, reverent, as her eyes finally open to meet Catra’s again. Catra can’t help the chuckle rising in her chest – she is still her Adora, alright.

“Don’t ruin it,” Catra tells her, but she is purring because nothing, nothing could ruin this moment in her mind. She hadn’t known the weight of her unspoken love was choking her all these years until she spoke it, gave it life, and could suddenly breathe for the first time.

The Heart looms above them, but it isn’t a threat, not anymore.

 

--

 

It takes two days for Catra to notice. To her credit, one and a half, and there is a lot going on around her. Suddenly she is thrust into the brave new world of the princesses, a world she has tried to destroy several times. There would be a lot to adjust to in normal circumstances, but the post-war celebrating also means there are people everywhere, and more just keep coming. They flood back into the abandoned capital with a volume that would put even the loud machinery of the Fright Zone to shame. From up in Bright Moon Castle, the sound is distant, and the nights are calm, but the days are a blur of activity and more people than Catra has ever had to interact with before.

If Adora’s eyes flash an unnatural blue sometimes when she throws her a smile, who is going to notice, really?

Catra stays close by Adora’s side, following her from meeting to meeting. After taking the brunt of the Heart, even Adora needs rest. Glimmer orders her to take things slow, so She-ra remains regaled within the castle walls for a few days. There is plenty to do there, battle planning replaced with citizen resettling, enemy troop movements replaced with gathering reports of rogue war-bots, still fighting on their last commands, and the beginning of post-war reconstruction plans need to be laid out.

It is noon on the second full day, the crowd of princesses and rebellion leaders gathered around a bordering-on-overcrowded dining table to eat and just relax in the glow of being alive for a while, when Catra notices.

Adora slides her a plate, a hopeful sparkle in her eye. Adora had told her how excited she was to introduce Catra to real food when she joined the rebellion, and though Catra had already experienced life beyond ration bars, there is still so much she has yet to taste.

“Try this one. Scorpia said you liked fish, so I think you will love this,” Adora tells her, pushing a pale biscuit in her direction. Catra eyes it, flecks of indistinct colours hidden in the dough, before she picks it up and takes a bite. She means to ask when, exactly, Adora had found time to discuss her favourite foods with Scorpia, seeing as she hasn’t even managed a one-on-one conversation with the other woman herself yet, but all her thoughts go out the window when she actually tastes the treat Adora has offered her.

“What is this?” she whispers to her, knowing she must have stars in her eyes, but – damn. She stares down in awe at the little cake in her hand, already taking another slow bite.

“Crab cake. I figured if you like fish, well – clearly I was right,” Adora says, somewhere off to her right, but Catra is in crab cake world now, thank you. She doesn’t look up again until she has devoured the small cake in careful bites, savoring each one. She knows her ears are twitching, tail flicking happily in Adora’s lap, but she truly could not give a damn. Now she knows why Adora was so excited to show her food.

She looks up to meet Adora’s gaze, expecting her to look self-satisfied if not downright smug, but instead cool, clear blue greets her. Adora is giving her that downright idiotic smile that makes her chest clench and breath catch. She can’t tear her eyes away, completely caught by Adora’s loving gaze. That is when she notices the light, blue eyes growing brighter, almost glowing before-

“Hey, saps. You coming to the meeting?” Netossa cuts in. The moment snaps, Adora’s eyes return to normal again, and they both turn to see several members of the Princess Alliance standing from the table, lunch apparently ended while they were in their own little world. Netossa just looks at them, waiting, thumb thrown over her shoulder to indicate the direction they are leaving.

They should go, Catra knows. Important decisions are being made, even if Catra and Adora are not the ones strictly making them. Still, Glimmer had ordered that Adora rest for once, and Catra wants to explore what just happened between them there.

“We’ll catch up soon,” she tells Netossa. Netossa rolls her eyes – she clearly does not believe her. Whatever, that is her problem - also, she is probably right.

Catra turns back to Adora, grabbing her hand and pulling her away from the table. Adora goes with no protest, throwing a wave over her shoulder at the emptying room with a completely unapologetic smile as she follows Catra wordlessly. Catra takes them to Adora’s – their – room. As soon as the door is closed, she turns around, peering into Adora’s eyes questioningly.

“What was that?” she asks, suspicious. She can feel her tail flicking questioningly behind her. Adora blushes, shuffling under her gaze.

“No idea what you’re talking about. Just appreciating my- just appreciating you,” Adora says, face burning and voice obviously lying. Catra continues to narrow her eyes at her and Adora fidgets nervously, pointedly not meeting her gaze.

Fine, if Adora wants to play a game, she can play.

Catra drops Adora’s hand, stepping forward to drape herself across the front of her body. “Want to finish that sentence how you meant to, Adora?” she purrs, leaning in against her ear. Adora gasps, stiffening beneath her, and then-

Light. Bright and blinding, except Catra’s ready for it and just closes her eyes, leaning in as the chest she is draped across swells. When the light fades, she blinks up at She-ra. If possible, Adora is more flustered than before, cheeks flaming beneath the golden glow.

“That is not fair,” Adora tells her, petulantly, despite the fact her arms have come up to wrap around Catra and keep her from pulling away.

“I always fought dirty,” Catra practically sing-songs, smug and content in being right. She lounges in Adora’s arms, humming appreciatively as she runs her hands along her biceps. “So, what gives?”

Adora looks away, blush still furious. She opens her mouth to speak but makes the mistake of making eye contact with Catra first, which seems to be the last straw. She practically growls, leaning down as Catra feels strong arms tighten around her, lifting her up in her arms. She meets Adora’s kiss gladly.

It is different, kissing She-ra. Different than the first time, when adrenaline was pumping through her and every cell in her body was singing Adora loves me. Now she can truly focus on it – and she has a few Adora kisses under her belt – she can tell the differences. The slide of their mouths has changed, Adora’s mouth just a bit bigger and coordination slightly off for it. She can feel the steady hum of magic running through her girlfriend as they kiss, like life itself being breathed between their lips. It makes her toes curl, fur stand on end, and it is equal parts addicting and overwhelming. Adora tries to deepen the kiss and Catra, already gasping for air, is forced to pull back.

Now she is the one blushing, while Adora is looking increasingly smug. No, that is not the game they are playing. Catra is the one in charge here, she is not letting Adora turn it around on her.

“She-ra, Adora?” Catra prods, placing one claw on her chest with purposeful pressure. Not enough to hurt, but enough to make the heat rise in her cheeks again. Adora actually grumbles, like a petulant kid, and it shouldn’t be cute but it is – the absolute dichotomy of this glowing goddess, holding her in the air effortlessly, reluctant to admit anything.

“I keep having to push her down. Since the Heart,” Adora admits, eyes wandering over any part of the room but Catra. Catra narrows her eyes and slowly drags the nail on her chest down, leaving a trail of pressure in her wake. She knows that a touch like that would normally leave a raised red line, just short of bleeding. Even on She-ra, it does the job. Adora’s breath stutters and her gaze locks in on Catra again, holding her in place with the downright intensity of those blue orbs. Catra’s demand is silent, but it sends Adora’s body screaming. “I just- I look at you and my heart feels so full and then I feel her coming out.”

Catra feels herself blushing, eyes wide and ears twitching uselessly on either side of her head as she tries to process that. As she tries to come to terms with the fact that Adora apparently loves her so much she turns into a healing, warrior goddess when she sees her.

“I- I didn’t get it, before. Probably because Light Hope and Sha– and everyone else told me otherwise, but She-ra is love and hope. And I love you. So she keeps just trying to show up around you,” Adora tells her, gaze still locked on hers, voice edging just towards breathless.

Catra feels like she can’t breathe. She retracts the claw on Adora’s chest, struggling a bit in her arms. Adora gets the hint and places her back on the ground. Catra takes a few careful steps back, flattening her back against the wall just out of arms’ reach. She closes her eyes, tipping her head back, and focuses on Adora.

That much love, that much power, all directed at her – it should be terrifying. It is, in a way. It makes her breath catch, her chest tight. Her entire life spent thinking no loved her – no one could, if they said they did they were lying, and yet Adora had been there the whole time. Despite the fear, the attention makes her fur stand on end, arms trembling slightly, body washing with a feeling of relief she has never known before. The assurance of how loved she is – of how much of Adora she holds. The assurance she is not alone in this feeling. That she has laid herself bare before Adora, and yet the other woman has done the same for her. It is something she never thought could be true, not for her, and even if she knows it, now, moments like this hit.

“Catra?” is the careful, worried call, and Catra comes back to herself. She opens her eyes to find Adora back to normal, the glow faded, and open fear written across her face. Right. Adora just bared her soul and confessed her love and Catra walked away. Catra gives a shaky breath, unsure if it is trying to come out as a laugh or tears.

“You’re so much, Adora,” Catra tells her, honestly, and those are definitely tears. The fear on Adora’s face crystallizes into full-blown panic, but Catra’s body still is not responding well to her commands, so all she can do to assure her is shake her head and reach out her hand. “Come here,” she orders, voice still breathless, tears threatening to spill but mercifully clinging to her lashes. Adora takes her hand and she does not hesitate to reel her in, tucking her in against her chest, rising and falling with every shuddering breath.

“I love you. I love you so much it scares me,” Catra whispers into her hair, trying to offer reassurance and explanation at once. “I spent my whole life running from this, and suddenly just letting myself feel your love- it overwhelmed me,” the confession is quiet, barely audible between her shuddering breaths. Adora straightens against her, raising a hand to cup her cheek and Catra takes a moment to see the fear has left Adora’s face before she lets her eyes flutter closed, leaning into the touch.

“I love you, too,” Adora murmurs, pressing their foreheads together, and a purr begins to rumble between them. “I don’t know how to be… less intense about this. You make me feel so much, to finally be able to say it- I can try to reign it in? I don’t know– Catra, if I push you away with this-“ Adora’s voice trembles until she can’t seem to maintain it any more, opting to press forward instead. She is practically pinning Catra to the wall now, and Catra is still shaking a little, but it is good because it is Adora and she loves her back.

“I don’t want you to be less intense. You’re intense, Adora. It is one of the things I love about you. I just need you to let me breathe sometimes- No, come back here,” Catra cuts off as Adora starts to follow her request immediately. She snatches out with claws, hooking onto Adora’s shoulders and pulling her harshly back against her. Adora’s breath stutters. Catra opens her eyes to find Adora staring back at her with wide, shining eyes. “I’m not going to leave because you love me too much. You know how fucked up that would be?”

“The average amount for our lives, actually,” Adora counters, voice shaky, but the humour is there. Catra chuckles to herself, nuzzling into Adora’s neck.

“Fair. All I am asking for is patience,” Catra tells her, carefully rubbing her cheek along Adora’s jaw in reassurance. She feels Adora let out a breath before the arms around her squeeze tighter for a minute.

“I can do that,” Adora assures her.

“Can She-ra?” Catra asks, and it is a joke, but Adora still flushes the same shade as her jacket.

I’m working on it,” she hisses in return.

 

--

 

She-ra cannot, it turns out, do that. For the next several days, Catra catches Adora looking at her with shining eyes, blue boring straight into her soul. She-ra does not make any surprise appearances just from longing looks, at least. There is a close call, when they kiss on Adora’s balcony one afternoon and suddenly the sunset isn’t the only thing glowing, but Adora pulls herself away with a hasty apology, wrapping her own arms around herself to keep from reaching back out for Catra. In private, Adora manages to keep She-ra down. Not that Catra minds She-ra, that was not really what she was trying to get at, but she appreciates Adora making the effort for her. When she lets her mind wander too far down the rabbit hole thinking about that, though, it makes her breath catch just as much as kissing She-ra had.

Adora succeeds in keeping She-ra down all the way until Catra trails her fingertips along Adora’s arm, claws featherlight, as she walks past her to sit down at her side. The entire meeting table has to suddenly shield their eyes from a blinding flash.

“What the fuck, Adora,” Mermista says, monotone not really a question, and Catra bursts out laughing at the look of sheer embarrassment as Adora drops the transformation – and two feet in height.

“Is that really all it takes?” Catra asks, leaning down to purr the words directly into her ear. Adora flushes a delightful shade and fixes her with a glare, moderately cut in intensity by the fact her eyes are starting to glow again at Catra’s proximity.

“No, actually, what was that?” Frosta asks, indignant, from across the table. It is probably a ploy to cut off PDA before it begins; they have already been banned from kissing in front of her once because it went too far – in Sparkles’ opinion, Catra could have kept going – a few days before.

Catra continues to purr with contentment as she finally sits down beside Adora, completely innocently draping her tail across her girlfriend’s lap. Adora glares down at where Catra flicks its tip back and forth before sighing, dejectedly, and looking back up at the table.

“You know how Catra brought She-ra back at the Heart?” Adora asks, pausing a moment for a few confused nods of affirmation. “Well she still can. Just- make her appear, sometimes.”

“Can you control it?” Glimmer asks, leaning forward with concern. Catra waves her off, lounging over the arm of her chair to enter Adora’s space.

“It isn’t like that. I’m not her on-off switch. Adora is just embarrassed to say it,” Catra assures her, smug and preening. To her own surprise, Adora sends her a confused look.

“I didn’t know if you would want me to. If it would be too much,” she says, voice low, words meant only for Catra, even if the sound carries. Catra finds herself blinking back at her, stunned.

“You didn’t think I would want people to know you love me so much I turn you magic? What am I, a monster?” Catra asks. Adora’s expression clears, an easy, brilliant smile breaking across it that Catra just cannot resist.

They both lean in, an energetic hum passing between their lips that has Catra screwing her eyes just a bit tighter as a golden glow overwhelms the table for a second time. Catra leans back, eyes scanning She-ra appreciatively as she settles back in her chair.

“Yes, I’m so embarrassed to have this goddess in love with me,” Catra purrs, smug. In the background, Frosta wretches. Adora beams down at her.

 

--

 

Glimmer successfully keeps Adora in the castle for almost a week, mostly with help from Catra. Catra makes her swear to take things easy, and though Adora still finds plenty to keep her busy in the castle for those first few days, everyone knows it can only last so long. Adora thinks she is a shark: if she stops moving, she dies - or worse, someone is disappointed in her.

Besides, there are still a few rogue Horde forts that haven’t got the message to pack up and go home, and the occasional rampaging war machine. Even Sparkles seems excited to see battle again after a week of meetings and people.

“That is really messed up, guys,” Bow tells them when Glimmer cheers over the report of a bot approaching Elberon.

“Child-soldiers, remember? Come on, let’s hit something!” Adora reminds him, eyes sparking with excitement and blue.

Glimmer teleports them out to the location of the sighting. The bot is not hard to find – war machines aren’t built for stealthy maneuvering through the woods – and it is not even hard to fight – not between the four of them, anyway – but it is fun.

“You guys need hobbies,” Bow tries to reason with them again, pulling arrows from the side of the bot’s haul.

“Your hobby is archery!” Glimmer shoots back, just a little too petulant for a queen. But she isn’t a queen, not in the middle of the woods with just the four of them. Here, they are the Best Friends Squad.

“Yeah, it is my pastime, not my entire life. And I have others,” Bow counters, taking the match point as Glimmer opens and closes her mouth repeatedly, trying to come up with something to refute that. Catra ignores their bickering. Partially because it is just couple stuff, partially because she doesn’t get why Bow thinks it is a big deal, but mostly because her entire body is singing.

Fighting alongside Adora again, even for something so simple and easy, was absolutely electrifying. They have always danced together in battle, whether side-by-side or clashing, but the way her entire body tunes to Adora – to She-ra – now is a brand-new feeling. It was like Adora had her own orbit, Catra spinning away and back in as she dodged blows until she made eye contact with Adora, and she just knew. She ran across the forest clearing, jumping to meet Adora as she reached out and catapulted Catra into the air. Catra twisted backward, landing on the top of the bot to tear into its hull.

Now, back on the ground, the machine just a pile of scrap metal, the adrenaline is still running through her. She tunes out Bow and Glimmer, turning to find Adora grinning down at her. They come together like magnets, Catra reaching up for her gladly as Adora lifts her up so their mouths can meet in a passionate kiss.

Catra’s fur stands on end. Her tail wraps around Adora’s bicep and she feels her claws clutching into those muscled shoulders just a bit too hard but damn is she not stopping.

“Seriously, guys?” she hears Glimmer say in the background. She finds she is capable of pulling a hand away from Adora, but only for long enough to flip the queen off.

 

--

 

There is more for She-ra to do post-war than fight off remaining insurgents. Adora makes appearances, often as She-ra, all over the kingdoms, usually helping to haul aid and building supplies. She cannot swing a hammer to save her life, but transporting a steel beam one-handed? That she can help with.

Normally, Adora tries to coordinate her days out as She-ra to line up with the days Catra spends in the Fright Zone, helping Scorpia tear down everything she spent three years building. As decommissioning the Fright Zone progresses, Catra needs to be physically present less and less as the focus shifts towards rebuilding, and she often finds herself spending several days in a row in Bright Moon Castle, acting as Glimmer’s advisor. When Adora has to spend a day out as She-ra while Catra remains in the castle for the third time in as many weeks, Catra requests the day off. Glimmer looks far too happy for Catra to be showing “an interest in interacting with the public” – her words, not Catra’s – and approves it right away.

That is how Catra ends up in a small town, bordering the edge of Bright Moon and the Crimson Waste, following just outside of Adora’s orbit. Catra does not know why, really, she wanted to be here. Mostly she wanted to see what Adora does on these days where she goes out as She-ra – partially she just wanted to spend time with her. She did not anticipate how hard that would actually be.

Adora is on the move constantly, yanked between various projects as help is needed all over the scattered town. Out this far, construction equipment is scarce and difficult to transport, and so there seem to be a million projects that were not possible until She-ra’s strength came to aid them.

Catra is not here to help with construction. She was put in charge of making sure all the supplies that they brought – that Adora brought, effortlessly carrying the wagon the whole way – get distributed to the right people. She does not mind the work, even if it means letting a lot of people come up and talk to her, but everyone is polite with her. It makes sense, she supposes – this town is small and well out of the way of the Horde. They would not know who she is, not personally, and even if they did, she is here to hand out necessities. Besides, having a giant, magical cat at her heels goes a long way towards polite intimidation.

The differing jobs mean that instead of getting to spend a day with Adora, she gets to spend a day watching Adora, out of the corner of her eye as they both work. Not that a day spent watching Adora is a loss in her book, but it leaves plenty of room for thoughts to take place, and those have long since been her enemy.

People gravitate to She-ra, they always have. Catra even gravitates to She-ra, now. Before, she never understood it. Strategically, yes, it would make sense to want to align with a warrior goddess. But the draw Adora has as She-ra has always seemed to extend beyond that – to extend beyond logic and reason. Citizens flock to her, staring in awe and clamouring with questions and requests. Catra watches through narrowed eyes as a young woman, maybe a few years older than them, reaches out to put her hand on Adora’s arm after she releases the weight of the roofing she was holding up while the supports were put in place. Melog’s mane is steadily shifting to darker and darker hues by Catra’s side. Even from this distance Catra can tell the woman is probably complimenting Adora’s- no, She-ra’s strength.

The thought snaps against her like a rubber band, stilling her lashing tail and making her stare into the distance as she finally makes the realization.

She never understood the draw She-ra had, before, because for her, the draw was always Adora. For a long time, she saw She-ra as an obstacle to Adora – as the one who took Adora away from her. It may have been She-ra’s abilities that drew the Princess Alliance together, but at the end of the day they stayed because of Adora. That is part of why Catra hated the princesses at first – she was convinced they never saw Adora the way she did. They came to realize, if they did not know right away, but these strangers – they know none of that. They see She-ra, like they always have, and flock to her. But Catra knows Adora, loves Adora and she is so much more than She-ra.

The woman still has her hand on Adora’s arm, smiling up at her as she prattles on. Adora has taken a step back, casting around as if looking for the next person to call her over to a new project and save her from this conversation. Normally, Adora soaks in attention and praise, so Catra can only imagine what this woman is saying to her. Catra growls, a selfish part of her preening at the way Melog echoes it, as if it justifies her annoyance. A kid nearby jumps at the sound, turning to stare at both of them. She ignores him, shoving off from where she is leaned against the wagon. She quickly slinks her way through the chaos of construction and destruction, Melog swift at her heels, bristling slightly.

She approaches from the side, so Adora sees her coming a moment before she arrives, and the other woman cannot see her until she is already upon them.
“- we never would have gotten this built without you!” she is saying, voice vibrant, gesturing up with the one hand that is not on Adora’s arm. The hand on Adora’s arm is squeezing, fingers making small circling motions, and Catra suddenly understands why Adora was trying to get away. Adora thrives on praise, but even she would be able to recognize flirting this blatant. If Catra was a lesser woman, she would react more strongly than merely slinking up behind the other woman.

“Isn’t she amazing?” Catra purrs in agreement, and she watches Adora’s face light up at the sight of her, ignoring the other woman as she startles in response to a presence suddenly appearing right behind her. The false start made her drop her hand from Adora, at least.

“I- uh- yes, truly! We are so lucky to have had She-ra come visit our village,” the woman recovers, weakly, eyebrows drawing together as her gaze flicks down Catra’s body. Catra knows what she looks like – a lithe shadow, dressed all in dark colours, sharp claws she cannot seem to retract right now glinting in the afternoon sun, fangs visible from the edge of her smirk, a hulking magic cat skulking behind her. She could not be further from the shining, towering, gold-and-white of She-ra if she tried.

Catra hums an acknowledgement of the words, slipping around the woman with little concern to her suddenly flustered state so she can drape herself against Adora’s arm. She molds herself to it in a way she knows pushes her tits against Adora's bicep, and tugs gently, as if that brings her any closer to her girlfriend's ear. “Almost done with distributing the supplies. You should finish up so we can head home before it gets dark,” she tells her, voice barely above a purr. The implication of going home together is not lost on any party in the conversation – least of all the other woman if the crossed arms are anything to go on. Adora blinks down at her, cheeks flushed, smile dazed, and Catra thinks idiot with a disgusting amount of fondness. She reaches up, grazing a claw down her chest as she gives in to a full purr for the next sentence, “There is a lot to do. Try not to get distracted.”

Catra walks away, smirking to herself as she feels Adora watching her leave. She does not try to hide the sway of her hips or swish of her tail as she goes. She is not jealous – not really. She knows she has no reason to be. Adora was clearly uncomfortable with the attention. Still, it feels nice to put a stop to it. It feels good to have Adora’s eyes on her after a day of watching and longing.

She does not regret it, not one bit, especially not when Adora starts coming over to check on her between every project. Ostensibly, she does it to check on if all the supplies have been distributed yet. The sun is getting low, they really should be getting back soon. In reality, Catra knows she does it for the little bits of affection she offers every time Adora comes circling back to her, draping herself casually against her, pressing a kiss on the outside of her arm – the highest part of her she can reach while standing on her own two feet – or even purring a dirty promise to her of what they will do when they get back home. Every time Adora walks away fighting down a blush. It makes Catra’s tail twitch in satisfaction as she returns to the adoring public.

They can look all they want. Adora is hers – as is She-ra.

 

--

 

They are in their bedroom, tangled close together, halfway between undressed for the day and dressed for bed, but Catra is working on settling them firmly on simply undressed.

Adora is on top, because she likes to be, and Catra likes to watch the flex of her muscles as she suspends herself there. Position does not matter – Catra is in charge as long as she wants to be. Adora has been working on leaving bruises scattered across Catra’s collarbones for the last few minutes, hands sweeping across her body in steadily-widening circles, dancing maddeningly just below her chest and above the waistband of her underwear. Catra is trying, despite herself, to bite back the needy and frustrated noises that are building up in her throat. She wants Adora to touch her, but she can feel Adora’s smirk against her skin, and she is not ready to give control over, not yet.

So she just lets Adora work her further and further into desperation, because she may be on bottom, but Adora has to work for her control. Catra is a conquest, thank you very much, and sometimes Adora has to earn her.

Adora’s fingertips finally slide up to ghost across the underside of her breasts, just as she abandons Catra’s collarbones to latch her mouth onto the side of her neck, targeting the sensitive spot below her ear. Catra’s wavering control snaps like piano wire.

Adora,” she pleads, finally letting her body arch up into Adora’s touch, chasing after pressure, anything after so much teasing. Adora pulls back, just enough to smirk down at her as her hands tighten against her ribcage. Catra should be annoyed at the smug look on her face, but all she can think is blue.

“Keep it in your pants, Adora,” Catra jokes, voice still a bit breathless, but she can hear the edge of trepidation running through her. She winces when it makes Adora pull back all the way and look down at her in confusion.

“Do you want to stop?” Adora asks, genuine confusion with an undercurrent of worry. Her hands have stilled, gone limp against Catra. Catra realizes her mistake – Adora’s one-track mind has been her downfall many times.

“Not that,” she says, shaking her head as she reaches a single claw up to poke Adora’s forehead. “She-ra, Adora.” Adora continues to just stare at her in confusion. Catra raises an eyebrow back at her, huffs at her obliviousness. She really has fallen for an idiot. “Your eyes were going. You started to transform,” she explains. Finally, comprehension dawns on Adora’s face.

“Oh, I – I didn’t realize- I didn’t know they did that,” she admits, biting her lip and looking away. At least her hands have begun to grip at Catra again, even if they remain settled beneath her ribs. Catra almost wants to laugh because – how can she not know? – but now that she thinks about it…

“I think it is ever since you broke the sword. Your eyes go all blue, and then the glow happens, and then all the rest. That is how I knew whenever you had to hold it back, at first,” Catra explains, reaching one hand out to run it up and down Adora’s side. She pulled too far away when she was checking in on Catra – and while she really appreciates her girlfriend taking care of her, she would like her back now, thank you.

Adora smiles, nods, but doesn’t let Catra pull her back in. Catra frowns, tugging lightly as a silent request. This time Adora follows, but she catches herself with one hand beside Catra’s head. Catra can see a concern drawing her girlfriend’s brows together, her bottom lip catching between her teeth so she can worry at it.

“What’s wrong?” Catra asks, reaching out to thumb Adora’s lower lip out from between her teeth. Adora flushes at the touch – which is ridiculous, they have had sex, she should not be embarrassed by Catra touching her face – but she doesn’t break eye contact like she usually does when embarrassed. She looks down at Catra with that single-minded focus.

“Does… She-ra bother you? Like this? Because that’s totally fine! I can try to get a grip on it, I mean you know how I was that first week, but-“ Adora starts, words spilling from her mouth like a fountain before she catches Catra’s expression. Catra doesn’t know what her expression is, but she imagines conflicted is an accurate word.

“We are not having sex tonight, are we?” she jokes, stalling for time. Adora huffs a laugh, tipping over to her right so she can lay on her side, facing Catra rather than boxing her in. They both know what Catra is doing – giving herself enough time to think of the answer. Adora lets her, reaching over to turn Catra so they lay side-by-side, facing each other. Adora sends her a smirk, eyes flashing – but not like She-ra, thankfully – and Catra knows she is thoroughly fucked.

“If this doesn’t get too intense, and you still want to after, you can ride my fingers,” she offers. Catra chokes on her tongue.

Because, yeah. Okay. They have done it, but to hear Adora just say it like that is still startling. She knows if it was not a joke there is no way Adora could say that, at least not outside of the heat of the moment. She also knows Adora is being completely genuine.

Finally recovering a bit, Catra swats at Adora’s arm half-heartedly, claws sheathed. Adora gives her that same smug look she had given her after Catra had leaped into illusionary fire for her – the same one she made when she got Catra to come just from stroking along her body and praising her, clothes still half-on.

But after a moment, Adora’s shit-eating expression softens and she reaches over to cradle her cheek. “I do want to talk about this, though. Because I thought – I don’t know, she seems to stun you sometimes? And I’ve kissed you as her, and I don’t want to make you uncomfortable or anything so, uh, boundaries, yeah?” Adora manages, and it is rambling and sloppy, but it gets the point across. Catra feels her face flush a little, nodding reluctantly into Adora’s hand. Adora seems emboldened. “I mean, in that border town last week you were all over her, and I know you were doing that to fuck with me since we couldn’t actually do anything, but you also don’t usually scent-mark people you don’t like.”

Catra flushes, deeper, because Adora is not supposed to bring that up, but Catra has also made her feel like she is not into the other half of her, so she lets the scent-marking thing go, for the moment.

“Ok, first of all, still weird when you call She-ra ‘her’ instead of, you know, you,” Catra starts, reaching up to Adora’s wrist so her hand does not leave her face. She nuzzles in closer to it, and Adora huffs at the comment but takes the hint to shuffle closer, pressing their bodies together. Catra usually likes to have them close together for conversations like this, even if it took her weeks to realize it, and longer to admit it.

“And second of all, you are hot as She-ra, just like you are hot as Adora. Adora, you know the things your muscles do to me, and they certainly don’t get smaller as She-ra,” Catra explains. Adora makes a noise, bitten off in the back of her throat, and Catra’s eyes flick down to follow the blush spreading down Adora’s neck. Smirking, she meets Adora’s eyes to find a heat there that she is clearly trying to stamp down. Serious conversation, right.

“But, um, boundaries. I just- I got a little tense because - kissing She-ra is intense, Adora. Wonderful, but I can feel it all the way down to my claws. And you were on top of me and the thought of suddenly having all of that bearing down on me – I thought I might panic like I did before, which would have totally killed the mood, even though really it doesn’t bother me. I just- you know I like to be bossed around but-“ she trails off, face flushing at the series of incredibly embarrassing omissions.

“It’s too much like this?” Adora guesses, and Catra nods eagerly against her palm, relieved that Adora gets it. Adora smiles at her, gentle and maybe a touch relieved. Okay, Catra didn’t ruin it too much. Adora starts idly scratching that spot just below her ear and – oh yeah, she definitely did not ruin it. Unbidden, a purr starts rumbling through her.

“At least for now. When we are out there, it is fine. I like kissing you as She-ra, like showing everyone you are mine, but I also know we are in public so it is not going to go –“ she cuts off, gesturing between them, “- this far. So I get to touch you, kiss you, without having to worry about feeling… overwhelmed, I guess,” she finishes, a bit anxiously, raising her hand to hold onto Adora’s arm as a lifeline again. She needs Adora to know she has never crossed a line with this – didn’t even approach it until the accident tonight – but now they are talking about it she is realizing there is an anxiety there that she has never spoken – not since that conversation after Adora accidentally turned into She-ra the first time, at least.

Adora nods, offering her an oddly proud smile. “Got it. So kisses are okay? In general?” she clarifies. Catra nods eagerly against her palm, purring as she presses closer. Tentatively, she lets her tail sweep over Adora’s side, curling around Adora’s thigh. Her eyes flash – but with want, not an unnatural blue. “And what about kisses right now?” Adora questions, voice low, already leaning in. Catra doesn’t bother to nod – she just rises to meet her.

 

--

 

It is not jealousy so much as boredom that inspires Catra to join Adora the next time she goes out as She-ra. Bow is going too, helping to implement some tech system he and Entrapta designed for the farm town, so if she stayed behind it would just be her and Glimmer in the castle all day. It certainly is funnier to go along with them, if only to watch Glimmer’s expression of frustration as she realizes she is the only one who will be staying behind. Catra cackles, unapologetically, as she sweeps out after Adora and Bow.

That had been hours ago. Now, afternoon sun warming her back, Catra regrets not sticking with Glimmer for the day. She has been pretty successful in keeping out of Adora’s path, carrying out her task of distributing tech while avoiding the site where Adora is helping build some kind of communications tower, but that only works so long as Adora stays where she is supposed to.

Adora has realized she is hiding, now, and so of course she has started seeking her out instead of taking the hint. She does not call out for Catra as she passes where Catra and Melog lounge, invisibly, but Catra knows. She knows her girlfriend, her best friend, and she can smell the concern on her. It makes Catra roll her eyes as she returns to unloading crates. Okay, yes, she has been hiding, but nothing happened between them. Nothing bad, at least. Adora has no reason to be worried, really. If she asked anyone, they could tell her exactly where Catra is right now – Catra just would not be there if Adora was the one to look for her.

Melog meows at her, an admonishment about her foolishness, and Catra just wrinkles her nose at them before returning to her work. Melog can’t get it, not this part of her. They do not feel this emotion, this want, at least not the way she does. She continues to duck her head down when she sees Adora coming, reaching out for Melog each time. Catra knows she looks twitchy as she slinks about the sunny village, but she is feeling just a touch unreasonable, and so she continues to stay alert to the approaching stomp of Adora's boots.

It can only last so long. Her downfall is the only thing that keeps this going as long as it does – she is not avoiding anyone but Adora. Making sure Bow can see her ensures that word makes its way back to Adora that she is still around, happily fulfilling her job. However, it also means Adora can rope Bow into cornering her. Catra sighs as she sees him walking up, boots stomping with determination but expression soft and cautious.

“Hey Catra, can you help over by the main terminal? We are almost done out here, but more hands are needed,” Bow asks, lie wavering in his voice. Catra just fixes him with a look before returning to her work.

“You have She-ra over there. You don’t need me,” she tells him, voice flat and unimpressed. It is the thinnest lie she has seen him come up with yet, and he tends to be terrible at lying if something does not ride on it. Bow sighs behind her.

“Adora is worried,” he tries. Catra sniffs where she crouches, not looking up.

“She doesn’t need to be,” Catra assures him, because she does feel bad. She still is not coming out. The silence stretches between them, Catra feeling the fur on the back of her arms slowly begin to bristle. She can feel Bow watching her. “We are fine, okay? I just- can’t tell you,” she deflates as quickly as she started. She can feel the embarrassment heating her face. She does not want to face him any more than she does Adora, so she flicks her tail towards Melog and walks away before Bow can respond.

That buys her another hour, maybe. It buys her until Bow decides to fight dirty and call in reinforcements. Catra, for all her talents and extra senses, can only avoid people she can see coming. She does not know why she is even surprised when Glimmer pops into existence a few feet behind her.

“There you are!” Glimmer calls, pointing an accusatory finger at her as she walks up.

“I haven’t been hiding,” Catra says, lying through her teeth. Glimmer just raises an eyebrow at her and Catra curses under her breath, wrapping her tail around herself as she amends, “from you, anyway.” The silence stretches. Catra’s sigh rocks her entire body and she gives up the ghost, dropping down to the ground to sit, squinting up at the queen.

“I’m avoiding She-ra,” Catra tells her, like it is a perfectly logical and normal thing to be doing. “And Bow, now, too, I guess,” she adds. Glimmer looks down at her with a look of determination usually reserved for interrogating prisoners, but Catra can see concern dancing in there too. She gives another dejected sigh, wrapping her arms around her knees as she abandons the last scraps of her dignity and mutters her confession into them.

“Catra, come on, you know I couldn’t hear that,” Glimmer tells her, squatting down beside her, but the concern on her face is more prominent, now. Catra feels her face flush. How did this go so wrong, she thinks.

Because you caused your love to worry, Melog meows in reply. She glares at them over Glimmer’s shoulder.

“Whatever they said is annoying you, so they are probably right,” Glimmer adds. Catra glares are her instead, but it is hard to maintain anything approaching intimidation when her ears are plastered down in shame, face practically glowing with embarrassment.

“I’m avoiding She-ra,” Catra starts again, carefully fixing her gaze on a distant cloud, and steeling herself to rush out the rest of the confession, “because she is unreasonably attractive, and it is making me want to do things and we are in public but she has no sense of decency so she just keeps touching me and not realizing what she is doing.” It comes out as a frustrated hiss, rambling and just a touch desperate, because Catra has been losing her mind all day. Adora kept coming bounding over from whatever task she had been given, high on the stupid adrenaline rush she gets from helping, and sweeping Catra into a kiss, or just fixing her with that sunny disposition, or worse yet, placing a hand on her shoulder or cheek, giving Catra only the spark of a moment’s contact before she was dragged off again.

She had hoped that with some space it would be fine to re-enter Adora’s orbit, but every glimpse of She-ra from between a row of houses or around the corner had caused her body to light up with an abandon that threatened to ruin her. And now they are here, confession hanging in the air between her and Glimmer.

The only sound beyond the distant noise of construction and village life is Catra’s tail thudding anxiously up and down in the dirt for several long moments. Then Glimmer bursts out laughing. Catra would like to die on the spot, thanks.

“You can’t tell Adora,” she hisses at her, unfurling from her ball to grip the queen’s arm. Glimmer has not stopped laughing, but she manages to fix her with a wicked grin for a moment in between peals of laughter.

“You can’t tell me what?” Adora’s voice rises from behind her and Catra freezes, ears swiveling back to confirm, yes, that is Adora’s heartbeat thudding anxiously behind her. Catra turns, slowly, peeking up to find her girlfriend – all glowing, seven-something feet of her – looking down at her with concern. Her expression is just a bit pinched, but Catra can smell new relief rolling over the old worry as her gaze flicks between a cackling Glimmer and a frozen Catra.

Catra turns back to Glimmer, gesturing back at all of Adora. “Do you see what I’m dealing with here?!” she hisses.

 

--

 

Catra is lounging contentedly in the afternoon sun, having picked her spot in the garden exclusively for the sun patch. It also is only a few feet up the hill from where a vicious ice-ball game is taking place between various members of the Princess Alliance, but that is completely coincidental. In fact, it is more a detraction against this spot than a positive for it. After all, how is she supposed to relax when She-ra is darting around, grunting with exertion as she jumps into the air to make a catch.

Because yes, Adora has turned into She-ra for an ice-ball game of all things, but you will not find Catra complaining. She stretches languidly, eyes following the shift of her girlfriend’s muscles with feigned disinterest as Melog rumbles steadily in their sleep beside her. Further up the hill, she can hear Bow squealing about something with Spinnerella, but they are both doing the same thing she is – watching their girl show off for absolutely no reason – so she ignores them.

Catra does not know the rules of ice-ball, through a monumental effort of disinterest over the past few weeks. She does not want to. As far as she is concerned, this sport exists to grace her with the sight of Adora’s muscles flexing in the afternoon light, sweat gathering across her arms. Understanding what is happening would only serve as a distraction to her goal. People stop moving about the net and Adora turns toward her, beaming, before taking off up the hill to greet her. Game won, maybe – Adora is not one to abandon a game in progress.

As Adora approaches, Catra opens her mouth to purr out a greeting, but her girlfriend does not give her the chance. Without so much as a hello, she reaches down and scoops Catra up into her arms, causing her to squeak as Adora sits her across one arm. She presses her other hand against her lower back, drawing her in so she can nuzzle into her hair.

“Enjoying the show?” she smirks, just a touch breathless. Catra is in the middle of purring an always when Adora leans closer, pressing kisses against her jaw, and all the sound in Catra’s throat promptly dies.

“Another match?” Netossa calls from somewhere indistinctly down and left, but Catra is not paying attention. Her entire body is suspended in Adora’s arms, fur standing on end as Adora presses happy kisses down her neck, magic sparking with every touch of her lips, contented sighs spilling forth as she goes. Catra feels weightless, lightheaded, completely surrounded by Adora and her love. She can touch, feel, breathe nothing but Adora. It should be like every other time Adora has kissed her as She-ra, but an electric current runs through her body, making her cling to Adora’s shoulders and want more. Want there to be nothing but Adora holding her up, tongue flicking out as her kisses turn open-mouthed.

Someone says something, again, but Catra does not care – at least not until the words make Adora mumble a reluctant apology against her neck and pull away. She bends down, laying Catra back out on her back on the grass with the utmost care before flashing her a brilliant smile and bounding back down the hill into the arena. Catra lays stunned, face flushed, tail lashing as she tries to process whatever that was.

It does not help that her body is still doing it. Craving Adora’s contact again, her touch.

A month ago, such dependency and want would have made her run. Not far, but certainly several steps away, out of Adora’s arms. She spent years trying to cut out the parts of herself that longed for Adora this way. She spent even longer conditioning herself not to accept a good thing for fear of it being taken away. She feels no fear, now, just the shaking longing that Adora had kicked into gear. Just a desperation to be back in her girlfriend’s arms, to have Adora be all she can think about. She wants- She wants-

An image floats into her mind, indistinct and filthy, and Catra feels her face heating as she turns her head to find Adora again, eyes following her as she moves around the net. She felt utterly out of control for a moment and it had felt good.

 

--

 

Catra has decided the only way they are going to talk about this is if she is blunt. She and Adora both have a terrible history of hearing the first word of a paragraph and spiraling down into she doesn’t love me with it. Catra cannot risk messing this up, especially not when it feels so fragile, so she decides that the Adora approach is probably the best one.

That is to say, headfirst with wild abandon.

She is not Adora, however, so she waits. Waits until a day when they are both in the castle, stealing moments away together between duties, lingering touches sizzling on her skin long after they have parted. She wants again, today, like she had wanted on that lazy afternoon. If the heat in Adora’s eyes as they are forced to pull away for a meeting again is anything to go by, Adora is feeling the same way.

Catra dances around her, purposeful and teasing, for the better part of the afternoon. She takes on a little extra work so she has no gap before dinner, making Adora wait longer for her. By the time they are seated next to each other at the dinner table, Adora’s hand has taken up permanent residence on her knee, fingers rubbing purposeful circles on her inner thigh. It makes Catra blush, fighting to keep her tail from lashing as she does her best to think about anything else throughout dinner and thoroughly failing.

The table waves goodnight to them as they leave. Catra ignores the knowing smirk on Glimmer’s face when Melog does not follow them, instead wandering away to make themselves scarce.

“Finally,” Adora breathes when they are in their room together, barely taking the time to close the door before she is pushing Catra against it, kissing her greedily. Catra melts into the kiss, arms coming up to wrap around Adora’s shoulders. She sighs in contentment as Adora’s hands find her waist, firm grip making her wriggle a bit in her hands just to feel her hold her in place.

Yes, okay, they are definitely doing this.

Catra pulls back, pressing herself against the door and tilting her head back invitingly. Adora takes the invitation happily, leaning in to kiss down the line of her throat. “I want to talk, but I don’t want your mind spinning out while I am doing it, so I am just going to tell you where I want this to end up first, and then we can do the feelings bit after, okay?” Catra asks her, sighing a bit as Adora’s teeth graze against her skin. Adora pauses, pulling back to survey her with a curious expression. Catra just smirks up at her, delighting in the blush that it causes to spread across her face. Adora nods. “I want you to fuck me. Here. Against the wall. As She-ra,” she tells Adora, watching her brain promptly pack its bags and leave.

She waits, smug and content, as Adora just stares at her, hands flexing uselessly at her waist, mouth hanging open. She is an idiot, but she is her idiot, so she hums happily, content to wait as she uses the opportunity to run her hands down Adora’s sides, gladly feeling her up.

“I thought – you didn’t want– I mean-” is Adora’s attempt at a reply. Her brain has not quite come back from its vacation – it might never, actually.

“That is the feelings bit, dumbass,” Catra tells her, fondly, poking a claw against her forehead. “I want to do this. It just – took awhile to get there,” she assures her. She watches as slowly, the stunned confusion and unfounded concern slip away from Adora’s face, leaving her eyes bright with determination. Adora presses closer, pinning Catra against the door with her body so her hands can come up to cradle her face. Catra lets her eyes fall closed, feeling the faint tremble of her body under Adora’s attention.

“Talk to me,” Adora requests, and Catra nods against her palms, reluctantly opening her eyes to meet her gaze again.

“So, remember two weeks ago when you were all playing ice-ball? And you won – or lost, fuck if I know how that works – and you came over and picked me up and kissed me?” Catra asks, watches Adora’s brow wrinkle a bit as she talks. Catra licks her lips, takes the risk of wrapping her tail around Adora’s thigh. “That is when I realized that I had changed my mind. Or, I guess when I accepted I always wanted to do this? To just be yours, let you have me and trust you will take care of me. The wall- because I don’t want to be distracted by anything but you. I want to just feel you. Nothing else,” Catra tells her, watching her expression carefully. The wrinkle clears, heat flooding into her gaze, but she can see an edge of nerves there and it makes her heart clench painfully with doubt. She feels ice spreading up through her limbs, anxiety suddenly gripping her.

“Unless- I mean, unless you don’t want to. We never really talked about- If you don't- Fuck, Adora, I’m spiraling, talk to me,” Catra finds herself rushing out, reaching up her hands to grip at Adora’s wrists, desperately.

“I want to,” Adora intones, pressing closer, and Catra feels her entire body sag from relief. “I just – I need to know you are sure this is what you want me to do. You have been asking me to leave you space until now so - I need to know you really want to do this,” she says, thumbs rubbing small circles against Catra’s cheeks. Catra lets herself melt into the touch, eyes slipping closed again. It is easier when she cannot see Adora’s face and let her anxiety take over with what ifs at every micro-expression.

“I always wanted it,” she confesses, quietly. “But I was scared. Scared of being loved, scared of letting myself have something this good. From that very first day when you had me against this door, I wanted it, but I couldn’t let myself have it. I was so afraid of losing you again. I just- I realized I’m not scared, anymore. I want to feel your love, to trust you with this,” Catra admits, quietly.

Catra,” Adora responds, barely above a growl. Catra feels her insides clench, whimpers a bit when she opens her eyes to find that blue intensity greeting her. She can feel heat burning between her legs, now. “I love you. You are not losing me, not again. Not ever,” she promises her, finally pressing in and kissing her. Catra sighs, lets the last bits of her control go as she opens her mouth, letting Adora in. They kiss for several long moments before Adora seems to remember there is something better they could be doing, hands sliding down her body to grip her hips and force them back, pressing her against the door. The breath leaves her chest, Catra gasping against Adora’s mouth. Adora pulls back, just a fraction, just long enough to make eye contact. “Safe word?” she asks.

Catra huffs a poor attempt as a laugh. “Red for stop. Pink for slow down,” she recites, already arching up into Adora’s touch. Adora smiles at her, just a touch too soft for the unnatural blue in her eyes, borderline-feral with want.

“Good girl,” she tells her, and Catra whimpers, thighs clenching, as she kisses her again, a golden glow enveloping them. She feels herself being lifted in the air with it, reaching out to wrap her legs around Adora’s waist, clutching at her shoulders as She-ra solidifies around her.

She opens her eyes as the glow fades to find that blue intensity right in front of her eyes and it sends a shiver running down her body. Adora takes a careful step forward, the door frame pressing into Catra’s shoulders slowly, and she lets her body relax, pinned between Adora’s weight and the wall. Adora grips her thigh with one strong hand, squeezing a bit as her other hand roams over Catra’s side. Catra bites back a whimper, surprised to find how big Adora’s hands feel against her like this. That sparking current that always seems to flow forth from She-ra is already filling the room around them, making the air just a little sharper, harder to breathe in, but she does not care.

She trusts Adora, she feels it down to her claws as Adora finally slips her fingers beneath Catra’s top to pull it over her head. She has to arch off the wall to remove it, pressing her chest against the cool metal of Adora’s breastplate, and the contact leaves her shivering.

She-ra is strong, and indomitable, and could easily hurt her, even on accident. But wasn’t that what Adora said about her, and her claws, the first time she asked her to keep them out during sex? That she is deadly, and that does plenty for her, and could never scare her, not when she knows she won’t hurt her?

“Put me down so I can take these off,” Catra complains, rolling her hips a bit so Adora gets the idea. Adora makes no motion to put her down and Catra looks down at her questioningly. Adora’s eyes have a spark that, the last time Catra saw it, led to her getting teased for so long that when she finally came it was such an epiphany she passed out. She swallows, feeling the heat rising up her face and down her chest. She realizes she has no idea what Adora is thinking, and she is fine with that.

“No,” Adora finally says, tone firm and just a bit smug. The one hand she is not using to support Catra drops from her chest, tucking into the waistband of both her pants and underwear and yanking harshly. Catra stutters her hips forward, whining as she feels the cold exposing her, stark against the heat between her legs. Adora holds her gaze as she shifts so her previously free hand is grasping Catra’s ass, using the hand from her thigh to pull her leggings down to her knees. “Let go, Catra,” Adora tells her, and Catra just does without protest, unwrapping her legs from Adora’s waist and trusting she will hold her there. Adora pulls the pants free from her ankles, dropping them somewhere on the floor, and then brings both hands up so she can grip Catra’s thighs, spreading them apart.

Catra throws her head back, giving into the keening whine building up in her throat. Adora gives an appreciative hum at the sound, leaning in to leave open-mouthed kisses down Catra’s neck. Her thighs tremble in Adora's grip, Adora’s body offering only the tease of pressure against her. Adora just inches her legs open wider, pressing in between so Catra can grind into her abs, but it isn’t enough. Catra can feel the heat building, knows she must already be wet to the touch, but Adora isn’t touching her, and that is the problem.

Adora,” she whines, trying to roll her hips forward and finding herself unable to move enough to get friction in Adora’s grip. She flushes a deep shade, opting to press forward so she can at least seal their mouths together. Adora’s tongue meets her immediately and Catra gladly opens to greet her, kiss turning sloppy and needy immediately because Catra already feels strung out. She has been strung out all day – all week – just thinking about this. Adora is not moving, but Catra can’t do anything about it, and doesn’t want to - she just wants to wait and see what Adora will give her.

Slowly, Adora’s grip on her right thigh shifts, fingers stroking along her inner thigh as they make their way to her center. When she finally touches her, the caress is light, tender, teasing. Catra whines in frustration into the kiss, but Adora doesn’t let her pull back to make demands, chasing her to keep their mouths sealed together. She continues to stroke along Catra’s folds with a touch that would be sweet if it was placed anywhere else on her body. Catra can feel Adora spreading her slick across her and it makes her twitch under the next touch of Adora’s fingers, the thought of how close she is to finally taking care of the tension building in her core making her entire body flush.

Please,” she manages to pant into the next kiss, and she swears she can taste sparks. Adora groans against her lips, tongue sweeping across Catra’s fangs as she shifts her finger to rub slow, purposeful circles against Catra’s center. The near-relief almost makes Catra lightheaded, claws digging into Adora’s shoulders as she tries to push down and can’t, Adora refusing to give her the chance to chase the pressure.

Adora drinks in the desperate noises working their way up from Catra’s throat greedily, finally pressing her finger in on a high whine. Catra keens, hips flexing down uselessly, because she anticipated She-ra’s fingers being bigger, but the stretch still burns in a delicious way. Adora strokes into her slowly before adjusting her grip a bit so she can thrust into her properly. Catra feels each thrust rolling through her, causing her walls to clench as she chases the sensation, finally seeing satisfaction on the horizon. She rolls down with each of Adora’s motions, feeling herself slide a bit against the wall, and she digs her claws into Adora’s back in desperation. Distantly, she smells blood.

Adora finally pulls her mouth off her, but she does not give Catra the dignity of making demands. “Kitten needs to keep her claws to herself,” Adora tells her, voice low, even though Catra knows she loves it. Adora presses closer, pinning her firmly to the wall as the hand dedicated to supporting Catra’s thigh comes away, leaving her clinging onto Adora’s shoulders so all her weight does not bare down on her hand. Catra keens at the name, so rarely used and so rarely enjoyed, and then keens at the overwhelming pressure of Adora’s finger, not even noticing until it is already done that Adora has gathered her wrists and pinned them to the wall above her head.

She is out of control. She cannot keep track of everything Adora is doing to her. She aches from the stretch of Adora’s finger, from the need to fuck herself down on it, from the pressure of her weight resting against one hand between her legs, from the heavy press of Adora's body keeping her pinned to the wall. She feels totally breathless from the intensity of She-ra’s kiss. It feels wonderful, makes her toes curl and fur stand on end. Adora pulls her wrists higher above her head, and she tightens her legs around Adora’s waist in response to distribute her weight a bit more. She pants a sound that might be approaching Adora’s name, but it does not matter. Her girlfriend is already moving again.

“Keep them there,” she orders. Catra twists her wrists backwards, digging her claws into the wall with an eagerness to follow orders that has never possessed her before. Adora finally returns her hand to grip her upper thigh, supporting her in the air so she can begin to thrust into her with her other hand again. She thrusts steadily, not too rough, but all of Catra’s nerve-endings are on end. All she can do is clutch into the wall, rocking up and down onto Adora’s finger until she stops.

Adora,” she breathes, too spent to admonish her further. Adora smirks at her, pulling her finger out as Catra whines in protest.

“Can you take another?” she asks, leaning down to ghost the words into her ear. Catra’s whine stutters out into a moan in time with her hips flexing down.

Yes,” she hisses. Adora turns her head, sealing their lips together in another open-mouthed kiss as she lines her hand up again, in a new position with two fingers this time. She does the maddeningly slow press in again that she always does, stroking into her slowly like she expects Catra to stop her. It hurts. For once she is glad for the slow movement, for the time to adjust. Adora’s fingers are just so big like this, and her body is not used to the burn but it wants to be.

“Pink,” she gasps, without thinking about it. She feels her breath catch, ears flattening to the side of her head. She has never said the word before. She had to call red, once, when Adora’s hand roamed over her neck and reminded her too much of choking and green – but that had turned out differently, been different.

Adora stills like a statue. Catra can hear her heart pounding in her ears. “Do you want me to pull out, or will that hurt?” Adora asks her, voice even. Catra lets herself release the breath trapped her chest. Adora takes it as a sign that some movement is okay, pulling back enough to establish eye contact again. It should be too intense, looking directly into Adora’s eyes while she is buried in her like this, talking like this, but Catra meets her gaze easily.

“Don’t stop,” she tells her, flexing her hips experimentally down. It burns, still, but she likes it. “Just go slow, alright? I’m not used to this much.” Adora nods, holding her eyes with a questioning look before she rocks her fingers again.

Catra tips her head back, eyes fluttering closed, as she lets her body roll with each one of Adora’s slow, careful strokes. She does not try to moderate her expressions, letting every sigh and twinge spill forward so Adora can read her, judge what is too much. This is not how she imagined this going, not quite, but something about the slow way Adora strokes into her does it for Catra.

She is caring for you, the traitorous part of her mind that she tried to cut out years ago tells her. Looks like it lived - she has always been a stubborn bitch. She digs her claws a little further into the wall above her. It is easier for Catra to let herself want hard, fast sex. It feels more natural, more base. Like it is something she is allowed to want, to have. This is anything but that, and if she is honest with herself, that is why she wanted to do this in the first place.

Adora’s hand supporting her is strong, keeping her still while she strokes into her, crooking her fingers to focus on delivering pressure to that one spot that makes her pant out breathy, open-mouthed moans into the charged air rather than overwhelming her with friction. Magic sparks across her skin like tiny electric shocks, warm and exciting as it makes all her nerves stand alight. At the new angle Adora is using, the palm of her hand presses against Catra’s clit with every slow thrust, delivering a lingering pressure before she pulls back to do it again.

The burn is easing, but the clench is not. She could tell Adora to speed up now – but she doesn’t. The only noises she makes are small, needy gasps and sighs as Adora rocks into her. She lets Adora slowly stroke her to a new high, feeling her orgasm build and crest over her slowly as it washes all the way into her fingertips, hips rocking without her commanding them to. Adora doesn’t stop the thrust of her hand, and it is only when Catra starts hearing her own high whines again that she realizes she is not just stroking her through it, but that she is going to keep going.

Adora,” she pants, somewhat deliriously, rocking down to meet every thrust now. She lets her eyes flutter open, eyes meeting Adora’s intense blue. She can’t speak, cannot word her request, but Adora meets her gaze and understands her, like no one else.

“I love you,” she rumbles, leaning in to kiss her slowly, lovingly, and that is all it takes to push Catra over the edge again. She writhes a bit this time, pleasure less peaceful, aching a bit as her walls clench down on Adora’s fingers. She pants desperately into Adora’s lips, feeling distantly grateful that Adora slides her fingers out while she is still working through it. It would have been painful after her body had figured out how to work again.

She is limp, spent in Adora’s arms, but Adora just draws her close, wrapping her in both arms as she tucks her against her chest and finally pulls away from the door. Distantly, Catra is aware of plaster cracking as dust and debris fall in the wake of her claws releasing the wall, but she really could not give a damn. Purring, she wraps her arms around Adora’s neck, nuzzling into her pulse point to breathe her in deeply.

Adora. Loved. Her purr rumbles louder, tail flicking happily as Adora carries her to the bed, laying her down gently. Catra stretches out, stiff fingers kneading absently into the comforter as she watches She-ra disappear through half-lidded eyes, leaving an extremely flushed Adora standing at the foot of their bed.

“Get naked, Adora,” Catra purrs, rolling her eyes when Adora blinks down at herself in surprise. She snuggles further back into the comforter while she watches Adora strip in the same efficient way she always used to when they took showers back in the Horde. Adora crawls up onto the bed above her, crossing over her so she can lay at Catra's side and pull her back against her chest, spooning her as her purr rises again.

Catra feels a full-body contentment, running deeper than just endorphins. Like Adora's fingers have soothed deeper than her skin, reaching her soul - maybe even that aura of hers that Perfuma is always going on about. Adora’s hands are soft as they roam over her to smooth down her fur before circling around her in a loose embrace, Adora humming at her back as she presses kisses to the back of her neck.

“I need to rest, but- Fuck, Adora, that was amazing. Once I can move again, I’ll take care of you,” Catra promises her, shiver running through her body as she feels Adora’s breath stutter against the back of her neck. Adora shifts against her back, a little restless, making suspicion build in Catra’s mind. “Adora?”

Adora huffs a breath against her neck. “That was- Catra, do you have any idea how hot that was? Watching you get off on that, knowing you were trusting me like that?” Adora asks, arms squeezing Catra tighter as if to prove her point. “I- I got off. Just watching you. That’s why I kept going after the first time. I was- I was running on autopilot through my own orgasm,” Adora admits, voice embarrassed like it always is on the rare occasions she gets off just on touching Catra. Like that is not just about the hottest thing she has ever heard – that her girlfriend enjoys making her feel good so much that it gets her off too.

With great effort, Catra manages to turn over in Adora’s arms so she can look her in the eye.

“We are doing that again. Or something like it,” she orders, ignores the way lust and breathlessness tinges her voice. She knows simple words of encouragement are not going to make Adora accept it does not bother her - she has tried those already. Adora’s eyes flash at the command, the embarrassment replaced with a very different kind of flush. 

“Gladly. Bed next time, though? Glimmer may freak out about the wall,” Adora tells her, smile playing at the corner of her lips. Catra laughs, but she nods in agreement.

 

--

 

“Catra?” Glimmer asks one evening, when she and Bow come to their bedroom to hang out.

“Hm?” Catra hums in reply, not looking up from where she is putting away Adora’s papers – if she lets them stay in her line of sight, she risks Adora noticing she did not finish her work and pulling away from their precious free time.

“Why are there claw marks on the wall above your door?” Glimmer asks with the serene calm of someone who has caused death before and will gladly do so again.

Catra starts cackling as Adora sputters indistinctly behind them. Glimmer’s expression of false calm twitches violently.

“Why ask questions you know the answer to, Sparkles?” Catra asks as she gasps for breath.