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You Understand

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“Of course, you understand. I’m only doing what you’ve already done.”

Glimmer knelt on Horde Prime’s ship, weakened, gasping for air as she felt her life slowly fade away. Horde Prime looked at her with cruel eyes of approval as the Heart of Etheria raged in power.

“Thank you for bringing me here, Glimmer. And thank you for activating the weapon. I couldn’t have done any of this without you.”

She choked on her remaining breath as she saw Etheria start to burn away, the pained screams of her friends ringing in her ears. She saw her fellow princesses lose their powers. She saw Adora, desperately trying to turn into She-Ra, losing hope with every passing moment. And she saw Bow - her Bow - glaring at her through Horde Prime’s screen. 

“... Bow?”

“Why did you do it, Glimmer? We told you. Adora and I - we told you what would happen. Don’t you trust us? How could you betray us like that?”

“... Bow, I didn’t mean it! I was just trying to be the Queen I thought I should be. The Queen I thought Etheria needed.”

“You destroyed everything, Glimmer. Etheria is gone because of you. What would Angella say?”

The screen cut to black as Horde Prime relished in his victory. Glimmer tried to scream, but no sound came out of her mouth. She knelt on the ground as she succumbed to her injury, the sleek white of Horde Prime’s ship fading to darkness.

“AH!” Glimmer jolted out of bed, startling her slumbering partner as she tried to take deep breaths to calm herself down.

“Glimmer! Whoa, whoa, what’s going on? Are you okay?” Bow already knew the answer, but he tried to sound as soothing as he could. He reached for Glimmer’s hand.

“I’m - whew, okay - I’m fine, Bow. It was just a bad dream.”

“Okay, I know what fine looks like, and you are certainly NOT fine. Do you want to talk about it? Was it about being stuck on Prime’s ship again?”

Glimmer didn’t want to trouble him, and it hurt to see him talk so tenderly to her after that terrifying vision. “Look, I’m fine. I just - I think I”m going to go for a walk around the palace grounds. It’ll help me clear my head. I’ll be back so soon, you’ll hardly know I’m gone!”

“Glimmer - you know I’ll just be sitting in here worried about you. Let me come -“

Before he could finish the sentence, Glimmer vanished in front of his eyes.


The fountain outside was normally a place of comfort for Glimmer, but she hardly felt comfortable anywhere right now. She walked along the edges of the water, looking at her reflection with derision. Horde Prime had been gone for two weeks now, and everybody had seemed to settle in place, but she couldn’t find the strength to do it. 

How could they have welcomed me back? As queen?

She was so happy to see her father at first. She made Adora promise that they would take at least a month before going to space, just so she could get to know her Dad. The joy of reunion quickly gave way to anxiety, as the memories of what Glimmer had done flooded back to her. 

What if I had succeeded? What if I had destroyed everything - and I never had the chance to meet my Dad? 

She now spent the days avoiding Micah - and she knew it killed him. He was so eager to prove himself as a father. But how could she ever tell him about the mistakes she made? How could she be honest with him about her failure?

And the worst part of it was that nobody was talking about it. As soon as Prime was defeated, they welcomed Glimmer back as a hero. How had they forgotten so easily? She was the whole reason Prime was able to find Etheria in the first place. The final battle was a fight to stop Prime from activating the Heart of Etheria - something that Glimmer had already done. How could they have forgiven her for that?

Adora and Bow knew something was wrong, and they tried to talk to her, but the guilt kept festering up around her skin, and she couldn’t open up. She knew she had already apologized, and she knew they had forgiven her - but how? She made Adora break the sword to stop her. And Bow…

The image of Bow’s disapproving, heartbroken face flashed in her mind, and her chest caved in. She looked at her reflection in the fountain water and a surge of anger bubbled up inside her throat. A flash of pink surrounded her fist as she punched the water with a loud grunt. 

Water flew out of the fountain and splashed Glimmer, but she was surprised to hear a hiss as water droplets also landed on an unexpected presence behind her. Glimmer whipped around.

“...Catra? What are you doing out here?”

Catra shook the water out of her hair and ran her hand along her tail. “Well, I was coming out here to be alone...”

Catra looked away from Glimmer awkwardly, shifting her weight between her feet. Glimmer looked at her newest friend and was unable to hide the sadness in her eyes. Catra glanced back up and softened her face, forcing herself to find a friendly tone. “Is there something wrong, Sparkles? Or is punching your own reflection just a normal thing you princesses do?”

Glimmer began to scoff, but the soft smirk on Catra’s face surprised her. Glimmer’s mind was still racing, and she felt a sudden wave of affection for the girl in front of her. 

I would have died on Prime’s ship. I would have died without ever getting the chance to apologize to anybody. I would have never met my Dad again, and I would have died a failure. My nightmare - some version of it - would have been exactly what happened, if it wasn’t for the courage of this stupid, sarcastic, irritating, terrible, wonderful girl. 

Glimmer felt herself rush towards Catra and pull her into a tight hug.

“Ack! Sparkles, get off me! I didn’t come out here to get smothered!” Catra flailed her arms in protest of the embrace, but Glimmer just squeezed tighter. 

“I don’t know if I ever thanked you for saving my life.”

Catra’s eyes widened, and she brought her arms down to her side. She let herself gently return the hug.

Glimmer moved out of the hug and placed her hands on Catra’s shoulders. She gave her a knowing smile. “Thank you, Catra.”

Catra smiled for a moment, before a flash of guilt shone in her eyes. Catra tensed up, and Glimmer removed her hands from her shoulders. Catra moved her eyes from Glimmer and attempted to speak. “I don’t, uh…I don’t know what to say.”

Catra turned away from Glimmer, but Glimmer leaned her back up against Catra and took her hand before she had a chance to get away. Catra felt the familiar position, with the two facing away from each other, and felt a strange courage rise in her chest. She stopped attempting to leave, and they both lowered themselves to the ground, sitting back to back with their knees against their chests. Catra’s voice returned. “I had a nightmare. That’s why I’m out here alone. I had a nightmare about, uh, the portal.”

Glimmer’s heart started racing. She clenched her fists and took a deep breath in. 

Is this really going to happen now? Is this when we have this conversation? 

Catra started to speak again. “I don’t deserve your thanks. I don’t even deserve to be here. How are you okay with me being here? How is anybody? After what I’ve done? I pulled that switch. I made that choice.”

Glimmer exhaled and pressed her hands against the cold ground. “You did make that stupid choice, and I hated you for it. I wanted you and the entire Horde to feel exactly how hurt, and confused, and lost I felt after my mother…” Glimmer took in another deep breath and exhaled slowly. Catra dug her claws into her knees before Glimmer began again. “... after she sacrificed herself to stop the portal. I wanted you dead. In fact, I left you for dead after we fought in that hideout, and I knew with every fiber of my being that it was exactly what you deserved.”

Catra started to tremble against Glimmer’s back, breathing quickly, and Glimmer was almost sorry for being so harsh, but she knew that she had to say it. She put her head against her knees and let her voice soften as she continued. “But… you didn’t deserve it, did you? I was wrong. If you had died, I would have died on Prime’s ship, and Adora…” Glimmer giggled “... do you have any idea how much happier Adora has been since you’ve been here? I swear, I could count on one hand how many times Adora actually let herself relax for the whole three years she was here before, but now… I’ve heard her laugh more in the last two weeks than I heard her laugh in three years, Catra.” 

Catra blushed into her own knees, and her breathing slowed down. She let herself speak. “That doesn’t - that doesn’t make up for everything. I just… I’m sorry. I’m going to be better.” 

Glimmer smiled gently. “I know you are. And you are better. Despite everything, you saved my life. You saved Adora’s life, too. And you stopped Prime from…” Glimmer felt the surge of guilt rise up in her body again. Her smile left as she sank her head into her knees.  “... from doing something that I already did.” 

Catra opened her mouth to try and speak, but she couldn’t find any words. Glimmer cut the silence. “I had a nightmare too, Catra. About when I activated the Heart of Etheria. That’s why I’m out here. How could I not forgive you when I did exactly the same thing? I was so angry at the Horde that I nearly destroyed all of Etheria, if not the whole universe, just to have a chance at getting back at you. If Adora hadn’t stopped me - if she hadn’t broken her sword - we wouldn’t be sitting here. And I did all this as queen! People are supposed to trust me, and I couldn’t have possibly been more of a failure. And yet they still trust me! How am I supposed to just pretend like this didn’t happen, that I’m capable of being a good queen?”

Catra took a quick breath in, before allowing herself a small laugh. “So, we’re both out here running from our own nightmares, huh?” 

Glimmer felt a chuckle rise up in her chest. “Yeah, I guess we are.”

Catra felt a strange connection to the girl at her back, and she tried to vocalize it. “Well, maybe it’s like you said. Sometimes good people do horrible things, but… people forgave you because, in the end, you’re a good person. And I might not know anything about being “Queen of Brightmoon” or whatever, but, I do know that you’re a good friend.”

For the first time since sitting down, Glimmer looked back to try and meet Catra’s eyes. Catra’s face was firmly against her own knees, but Glimmer smiled at her anyway. She wanted to hug her again, but she wasn’t in any position where that would be feasible, and she felt a twinge of guilt rise in her mind again. “I could be a better friend. I’ve pretty much ignored all the times Bow and Adora have asked me about why I’m feeling so anxious lately. But - that’s really the worst part. How could they not already know? It’s like, as soon as we’re together again, BAM! Instant forgiveness. I made one of the biggest mistakes ever, and Bow and Adora just immediately trust me again. It doesn’t make sense!”

Catra looked puzzled. She thought back to the first days in space after her rescue from Horde Prime. “That’s, uh, that’s not what Adora told me.”

Glimmer’s eyes widened. “What did Adora tell you?”

“Oh, just - when we were travelling back on Mara’s ship - she mentioned that Bow was, I don’t know, mad at you or whatever. She said that he took it really hard when you - when you did what you did.”

Glimmer sighed. She remembered those first couple of days after her rescue. “Yeah, he did. And we had some long talks on that trip back. But it happened so quickly. As soon as we got back here, it was like everything was back to normal. He never brought it up again. It was like he had forgotten - but seeing Etheria again, and everybody addressing me as queen again - it just brought it all back for me.”

Catra thought back to the first night after the end of the war, when her and Adora finally got to talk about what happened. The thought of Adora made her heart flutter, and she felt a flood of love in her chest. “I don’t, uh, I don’t think he’s forgotten, Sparkles.”

Glimmer’s eyebrows furrowed. “What? What do you mean?”

Catra took a deep breath. “I mean, I don’t think he’s forgotten what you’ve done, but I think he loves you anyway. I think he is looking at you, all of you , and saying that no matter what happened before, trying for a future with you will be worth it. He loves you that much.”

Glimmer was shocked to hear Catra be so open, but she hardly let the words past her skin before doubting herself. “I don’t deserve that.”

Catra was still enveloped in the blanket of her memory of dancing under the stars with Adora. “Sometimes, I don’t, uh… I don’t think that love is about what we deserve. It’s just a gift. The only thing we can do is try to be as good as it makes us feel.”

Glimmer closed her eyes to stop the tears from falling. She rubbed her face with her arm. “Okay Horde Scum, don’t look now, but I think you almost sound wise.”

Catra smirked before wiping the tears gathering in her own eyes. “I have my moments.”

An unspoken word passed between them, and they both rose at the same time. Glimmer turned around to look at Catra, and Catra finally turned to look at Glimmer again. Glimmer spoke first. “I kind of can’t believe I’m saying this, but - it really helped to talk to you, Catra.”

Catra was still feeling a warmth she hardly recognized, and she took a risk. She pulled Glimmer into a hug.

Glimmer couldn’t contain the shock in her face as she placed her hand on Catra’s back. “Excuse me, Catra, are you hugging me right now?”

Catra exhaled slowly as the embrace broke. Catra placed her arms on Glimmer’s shoulder. “Yeah, yeah, don’t get used to it. But - it really helped to talk to you too.”

A soft look of acceptance adorned both their faces. Catra dropped her arms to her side and shifted away from Glimmer, before Glimmer spoke. “Well, we should probably get back to our rooms. I’d hate for Bow and Adora to worry - “

“Uh, too late!”

Glimmer and Catra whipped their heads as they heard Bow’s voice. They saw Adora standing there with her hand on her hip, accompanied by Bow, who’s concerned expression barely subsided at the sight of his girlfriend.

“Uh, heh, hi Bow.” Glimmer started, an innocent smile on her face as she waved her hands.

“So much for you coming back soon, eh Glimmer?”

Adora scoffed. “At least she told you she was leaving. I had to wake up in the middle of the night just to see a blank space greeting me.”

Catra’s ears drooped. “Look, I’m sorry. I was just having another nightmare, and I didn’t want to bother you.”

Adora breathed in quickly. “Oh ho ho, and so you think freaking me out by leaving without telling me is better?”

Catra protested. “It’s not like I went very far! We’re just outside.” 

Glimmer put her hand on Catra’s shoulder. “We both had nightmares, and we’re both sorry for leaving you guys. We’ll come back to bed now.”

Adora stepped up and took Catra’s hand. Catra smiled sheepishly as she walked with Adora back to their bedroom.


“So do you want to tell me what happened?” Adora led Catra into their bedroom and sat on the bed, barely wasting any time before speaking.

Catra couldn’t help but smile at her girlfriend, despite the tension. She was surprised at how happy she felt. That talk with Glimmer really worked. “Adora, it’s okay, I just had another nightmare.”

Adora frowned, confused at Catra’s satisfied face.“You could have woken me up, you know.”

“What, for the third time this week?”

“Catra, you can always wake me up.”

Catra tried to look at her girlfriend with all the affection she felt. “I know. But you need to sleep. Besides - I think this time, it helped to talk to Sparkles. She’s uhh - I think she’s a good friend.”

Adora felt a glow of warmth in her chest. How could this be the same girl who was trying to destroy them just a few months ago? But Adora always knew this was who she really was. She was just so happy to finally see it.  “Aww, you do?”

Catra sat down on the bed and kissed Adora on the cheek. “Yeah, I do.” 

Adora looked at Catra’s face, and the rest of her worry washed away when she saw how happy Catra looked. She placed her hand on her cheek and kissed her.

Catra leaned into the kiss before letting her head sink into Adora’s body. “I love you, you dummy.”

Adora leaned her head on Catra’s head. “I love you too. So much.”

Catra purred loudly, looking up at Adora’s face. “You know? I think that everything is actually going to be okay. It’s funny, I went my whole life basically never feeling that way - and now, in the last two weeks, I’ve felt it so many times. I’m just really happy.”

Adora felt the tears come to her eyes. “Wow, what did Glimmer say to you?”

“Nothing, really. She just - she reminded me how much I love you.”

Adora squeezed Catra tighter as they both fell into the bed. Adora cuddled Catra into her body and closed her eyes. “I’m really happy too, Catra.”

Catra closed her eyes, falling asleep cradled in Adora’s arms. She knew that the nightmare was gone now.


“Two hours, Glimmer!”

“Bow, I’m sorry! I should have come back sooner. I’m really sorry!”

Bow folded his arms as he entered their room, but he was surprised to look back and see Glimmer smiling. “So, what happened? It looks like whatever Catra said to you really worked.”

Glimmer let out a small laugh. “You know, I think that girl has more wisdom than she lets on.”

Bow raised an eyebrow. “Really? What did she say?”

Glimmer approached Bow and reached her hand behind his back slowly, before pulling him into a fierce kiss. Bow’s eyes widened, surprised at the sudden affection, before sinking into the kiss and pulling Glimmer in closer.

As she pulled away, Glimmer smiled deeply and looked into Bow’s eyes. “She just reminded me how much I love you.”

Bow stammered. “Uhh, not that I’m complaining - but, what exactly did she say?”

Glimmer laughed at his disarmed face before speaking. “I had a nightmare about the Heart of Etheria - about when I activated it. I’ve been having a hard time being back here and being accepted as queen again, after everything that I did. Catra just reminded me that you were always honest with me. You told me that it wasn’t okay - you stood up to me, you didn’t just brush it under the table, but then you… Bow, you still love me anyway. You believe in me. I can’t begin to tell you how much that means to me. It’s like - you are really looking at me, and still choosing me.”

Bow pulled Glimmer into his body and squeezed her tightly. “Of course I still love you, Glimmer. Who do you think taught me how to accept somebody for all that they are? You were the first person I was ever really honest with about what I wanted. I lied to my family for years about being a historian - You were the first person I told about tech, about archery, about everything that I really cared about. And when you found out I was lying to you about my family - you forgave me too. You accepted all that craziness - my dads, the puns, the whole thing. You still chose me, too.”

Glimmer looked in Bow’s eyes with all the affection she could muster. “Of course I chose you.” 

Bow returned her smile. He couldn’t believe how happy she looked. She had been so anxious the last two weeks. “Catra really told you all that?”

Glimmer giggled. “Like I said, more wisdom than you think.”

“You’re telling me. But no more secret nightmares, okay? Next time, just tell me what is bothering you.”

“Okay, okay, I promise.”

Bow led Glimmer back down to the bed, and she snuggled into his arms. Glimmer let herself sink into the pillows with Bow’s warm embrace around her. Bow whispered against her back. “You know, I know you’re going to be a great queen. But I’ll always love you anyway. No matter what.”

Glimmer let the tears gather in her eyes as she squeezed Bow’s arms around her tighter. She knew that the nightmare was gone for her, too.