There was a shriek from the other room that had Adora leaping to her feet, chair clattering behind her, sword starting to come into existence in her hand. The civilian administrators and diplomats around her all take involuntary steps back as her eyes start to glow. Energy crackles in the air around her as the magic of She-Ra starts to surface.
That noise was most definitely Bow. She’d spent too much time, too many dangerous missions with him to not recognize it. And no matter how much diplomacy Queen Glimmer and the rest of the Princess Alliance had put into laying the groundwork for this mission, if anything, anything , happened to her friends, Adora would not hesitate to bring the whole planet down. She’s halfway out the door, when there’s a follow up shriek, though this time, there are words that she can make out.
“Oh my gosh Catra!” Again, Bow’s voice. And now Adora’s sprinting, the words to fully summon She-Ra’s magic on the tip of her tongue. Bow being in danger is bad enough, but he can at least handle himself through most non-magical threats (and quite a few magical ones as well). Something threatening both her best friend and her girlfriend, enough that Bow is crying out for Catra? Whatever it is, it had better prepare to face her wrath. The people behind her can only stare as she goes charging out.
“Bow! Catra! Hold on!” Adora yells, skidding around a bend in the hallway. She knows where they are. Unless whatever it is has tried to kidnap them, her team is still in the loading bay. They’re here delivering medicine! And food! This was supposed to be a peaceful mission! The planet they’re visiting has been nearly destroyed by Horde Prime and they’re here to help rebuild. Diplomacy! Peace treaties! Humanitarian aid! All that stuff that Glimmer and surprisingly Catra are really good at! Who would try to ambush them?
She makes it to the door to the loading bay, currently half open. Adora kicks it all the way open with enough force for the knob to shatter upon contact with the wall. She raises the now fully-formed sword above her head and begins to speak.
“For the honor of Gray- wait what?”
For as much combat training as she has, and as she would like to be able to process the scene in front of her, Adora’s brain comes crashing to a halt.
“Adora! Tell him to stop laughing at me!” Catra cries in indignation.
“But you’re just too,” Bow pauses, and instead of actually describing Catra, settles for the squeal he reserves for puppies trying to walk and bouncing off each other and babies trying to have conversations despite not being able to do more than babble
“I am not!”
“Yes you are!”
“No! I’m not!”
“You totally are!”
“Adora! Make him stop!”
“Adora! Just look at her!”
Adora manages to process and act upon Bow’s last statement. Lowering her hand and releasing her magic, she finally is able to focus on and process the scene in the loading bay.
Most of the boxes of supplies have been emptied and moved to wherever the locals want them. A few are still sitting in the bay of Mara’s ship, which is still docked exactly as it was two hours ago when she left for the meeting and Bow and Catra started working with the dock crew to offload.
The local crew is not presently anywhere to be seen. Moving supplies, probably. Not kidnapping her team, definitely. Bow has collapsed to the ground, half-sitting and half-falling over, staring at Catra with massive eyes. His hands are covering his mouth, like he’s trying to contain his laughter. He’s only half succeeding. Catra is sitting. Squatting, actually.
No, Adora thinks to herself. Half-squatting, half sitting. Squitting? Sauting?
It takes her doing a full double-take to realize that Catra is sit/squatting in an empty crate. No wonder she’s in such an awkward position, Adora adds to her previous train of thought. She’s trying to cram her body into a space maybe a quarter of what she would need to succeed.
“Catra?” Her voice comes out a little strangled. “What, um, what’re you doing?” Catra glares at Adora, eyes filled with even more indignation than her voice had held moments before.
“Well obviously I’m, um, I’m trying to, um,” Catra peters out as she looks down at the box she has jammed her feet and hands into. She tilts her head and wiggles one of her arms.
“You don’t know, do you?”
“No! I don’t! Okay? There was an empty box and I needed to sit in it!” She stops moving her arm and tries to sit back with mixed results.
Bow giggles. “And you’re just so cute in there!”
“I am not cute! I’m vicious! And terrifying! I was a Force Captain in the Horde and I was a Colonel in the Brightmoon Armed Forces and now I’m a renowned diplomat who people recognize across the universe! I am not cute!”
Adora glances at Bow, who has not stopped fawning over her girlfriend. It also appears he did not pay attention to a single word Catra said.
“Catra, you know I love you, right?” Adora asks, eyes not leaving Bow.
“Of course I know that! Now tell Bow to stop making that face at me!”
“And I’ll stand with you through anything life may throw at us? You know this, right?”
“Yes!” Catra groans out. “I love you too, Adora!” Despite the rage in her voice, Adora can’t help but smile. Catra always means it when she tells Adora she loves her. “Now get Bow to stop!”
“I’m glad you understand how much I love you. But, um, you are totally adorable right now. Like, a new level of adorable I didn’t think you could reach.”
“You too?” Catra shouts this time, betrayal written in every feature. She begins rocking the crate back and forth ”How could you? I trusted you Adora! I swear, when I get out, I’m going to come for you!” Adora coughs to cover a laugh. Bow perks up.
“When you get out?” he asks. “Are you- no! You’re totally stuck!”
“I am not!” Catra cries.
“Oh my gosh, you’re stuck!” Adora whispers through her hands, which are now covering her mouth in the same adorably surprised manner Bow’s were when she walked in. “You tried to sit in the crate and now you’re stuck!”
The crate topples over, Catra falling with it. No one speaks for a few seconds. Adora is about to ask Catra if she needs help, when Catra sighs.
“Okay, maybe I’m a little stuck.” Bow squeals again. Catra hisses at him, and then turns her head to Adora. “Can you, maybe, possibly, help get me out?”
“Of course! Just, um, Bow? Do you have a camera on you?” Adora asks, glancing over to where Bow has practically melted into a puddle. Catra’s eyes go wide.
“No! No no no no no! You do not get proof of this! No one else shall ever hear of this!” Catra resumes her squirming, but her luck hasn’t changed. Bow manages to stand up and reaches into his pocket. “Bow! Don’t you dare!”
“I love you Catra, but I’m with Adora on this,” Bow whispers from behind the camera. Adora can see the effort it’s taking for him to not go and start cooing over her girlfriend again. “How about this? I won’t show anyone these photos until your wedding?”
“No! You never get to show anyone these photos! This never happened! Adora! Make him stop!”
“Our wedding?” Adora asks.
“Not the important part, Adora! Ugh! Stupid box! Release me!”
“Glimmer and I have a whole album of embarrassing photos that we’re gonna show.” Bow doesn’t even look up from his camera. “Scorpia’s even thrown a few in that she found of the two of you when you were younger. Evidently your teammates in the Horde had, um, blackmail material, as she put it,” Bow finishes and starts looking over the pictures.
“Hey! Those photos also don’t exist. Just like there will be no proof of this. Now Adora! Can you please help me get out?”
“Of course, love. Um, okay, here.” Adora scrunches her face up in concentration, and then she’s holding a golden crowbar with a slight glow to it. “Hold still.”
Catra slowly closes the door after Adora leaves, the concerned officials following after her. They’d been standing just outside in the hallway the whole time, but hadn’t said anything. Evidently they were just as confused as Adora had been.
The door doesn’t line up with the frame, so Catra pokes her head out into the hallway quickly. After confirming that Adora is far enough away, she turns back into the loading bay and stalks right up to Bow.
“You!” Her whispered shout is accentuated by a single finger pointing right at Bow’s nose, maybe an inch off of contact. “You almost just ruined it!”
“What? The photos? If it really means that much, I’ll delete-”
“Not that, Bow,” Despite being the only two people in the large room, Catra glances around and leans in close. “I haven’t proposed yet!” she whispers.
“No!” She’s back to full volume now, arms thrown up in the air. “We’re having a picnic the night after we get back from this, and I’ve got this whole thing planned.”
“Wait, but, she’s wearing your pin today-”
“Bow,” Catra pauses and pinches her nose. “Bow, listen. I love Adora, and I want to spend the rest of my life with her, but she can be totally oblivious. Pretty much every day, she ends up wearing something of mine entirely by accident.”
“Maybe she thinks you’re already engaged.” Bow steps away from Catra, who upon realizing how close to his face she was, stumbles back a few steps as well.
“Well I haven’t proposed! And I don’t think she has. I would know if she had, probably. Right? No! Unimportant! The pin’s not the engagement gift, it’s that cuff you and Glimmer helped me pick out.”
“I know, I know. But at least she didn’t get stuck on that for too long, right?”
“Yeah. I should be fine. She doesn’t know, right? It’ll be fine. Everything will be just fine. Well, um, I guess we better finish unloading.” Catra turns back towards Mara’s ship and begins to climb back inside.
“And hey, Catra,” Bow calls after her, following into the bowels of the ship. “Look on the bright side! I sent the pictures back to Glimmer, and she’s already put them in the slideshow we’re making! Everyone you two invite is gonna get to see!”
“Ugh! I am so going to end you!” Catra shouts from deeper in the ship. Bow can’t help but smile at the empty threat.