“Mom, catch me!” The eight year old blur screamed while launching themselves out of the tree and into her, thankfully, ready arms. Even so, the air was knocked out of her lungs and she fell, laughing, onto the seat of her pants on the soft grass.
“Javi, give a girl a chance and shout BEFORE you jump.” Both of them were giggling on the ground, the boy sprawled over her, limbs now gangly with his most recent growth spurt, holding her tight.
The ground was still soft, but autumn was in the air, making the air have a chill and the cold seeping up from the ground eventually made her shiver. She patted his back, just above the boy’s tail and nudged him to let him know she wanted up. He bounced onto his feet like a coiled spring, and gently bounced as she got to her feet and wiped at her butt to get off any dirt of leaves. Thankfully it wasn’t wet or she would have been sporting an embarrassing stain.
She looked down at the little boy by her side, not so little anymore as his head was already topping her shoulder. The legacy of his parenthood meant that he was going to cut quite the imposing figure, although his face was sharpening to look more like his mothers at the chin and brow. She reached out and took one of his hands and he squeezed back, smiling at her with his sharp grin.
“What shall we do now? We’ve got,” she checked her watch, “fifteen minutes.”
They were in the park, Javier had busied himself with climbing around in trees and throwing himself around in a way that might have once looked clumsy and terrifying but with his extended reach and growing strength, looked mesmerising. Seemingly though, if her sudden visit to the ground was anything to go by, that game had run its course. She saw him look around, his recently shorn hair, stylishly short and full of enough styling gel to make it hard and still (she hoped he would grow out of that style, even if he did look cute), while his ears twitched. It was a dead giveaway that he was thinking.
“How about we go to the swings? You can push me and I can go over the top!” There was a familiar look of maniacal glee in his eyes and she found herself laughing again.
“Maybe we could try the swing without the impending visit to the ER?” They were walking to the sparsely occupied playground now, arms swinging between them.
“I remember when you used to be fun,” his words were filled with mirth and she poked her tongue out at him, which he returned.
Soon they were at one of the unoccupied swings and the little boy climbed up onto the seat, he braced his feet on the seat and grasped the chains with his hands. She was pleased to see that he coiled his tail around one of the chains too, securing himself. Standing back, she watched as he started to use his powerful leg muscles to pump the swing back and forth, quickly building speed.
“You don’t even need me anymore!” She put a playful whine in her voice. It was bitter sweet to see him build up speed, no longer needing a helpful hand on his back.
“I need you for mommy love!” Her heart swelled at his shouted words.
Leaning back on the rail that surrounded the swing, she crossed her arms to warm her hands in her armpits, wishing that she had remembered to bring gloves with her. She made a mental note to put a pair into her coat pockets when they got home so that she would have them for next time.
Eyes tracing the arc of the swing up and down, she fell into an almost meditative state, still ready to grab Javier should he hurt himself, but very relaxed. So relaxed that when a pair arms wrapped around her waist, she almost jumped out of her skin, having missed the sound of approaching footfalls. Catching sight of a large, velvety ear out of the corner of her eye, she melted into the touch.
“Did I scare you?” The lips were close to her ear and she could feel the fur tickle against her skin.
Adora rested her hands on top of the clawed ones that linked across her abdomen, teasing the fur with her fingers. She didn’t turn around, but continued to watch the child whooping with glee as he went higher and higher. Catra rested her chin on the other woman’s shoulder, nuzzling her cheek against the blonds and watched Javier with soft eyes.
“Only a little bit. I think Javi was hypnotising me with his swinging.”
“He would try that too, get us to let him have a later bedtime.” Her creaky laugh ghosted breath across Adora’s cheek and she shivered.
“You’re back earlier than we expected.” Now she did turn in the circle of the other woman’s arm, a feat made more difficult by the wood fence that separated their lower bodies. She met Catra’s eyes and was relieved to see nothing there but pleasure to be with her family.
“Yeah, Casta said it was too nice a day to keep me. I was talked out anyway.” She dropped her hand’s from the other woman waist and vaulted over the barrier so that they could stand side by side, quickly reaching down to link their hands. “She thinks I can lower the dosage on some of my meds and go down to two visits a week because I’m ‘making great progress’.”She made air quotes, dragging Adora’s hand up with her own, and rolled her eyes at her own imitation of the therapist.
“That’s great!” And it was. It had been a long, hard way back from everything that had happened with Prime. Catra’s physical rehab had been nothing compared to the psychological toll. She had returned to the therapist that she had been seeing after she had first left the foster home.
“How’d you guys go?” While Catra had her long sessions with Castaspella, Adora and Javier had their own weekly sessions with the other two therapists at the clinic.
“It was good, Spinerella’s really helping me explore how the stuff from when we were kids influenced my adult choices.” Adora had been traumatised by Catra’s kidnap in her own way, she’d fussed and smothered until the group held an intervention on Catra’s behalf and she was not so gently nudged to see somebody. It had helped with a lot. “Javi said he and Netossa played BattleShip and he beat her four times. Apparently she threatened to bring out the sudoko if he beat her again.” The women smiled fondly at the boy, who hadn’t noticed Catra was there yet. The gruff therapist was good for Javier.
“Hey, Beastie!” Her voice carrier to the swinging figure who threw himself off of the moving swing, landing on his feet and running towards her as soon as his feet hit the floor. Whenever the two had been separated since the citadel, he would run to her like he hadn’t seen her for days whether it had been hours or half an hour. He threw his arms around her waist and rested his he on her collar bone. She kissed his hair, or tried to.
“Javier Reyes, you have got to stop putting so much of that muck in your hair, it’s like kissing a porcupine!” He responded by rubbing the stiff spikes on her chin and giggling.
“Are you ok Mama?”
“I am great. In fact I thought we could all go get an ice cream from that place Adora likes and then walk to see Aunt Glimmer and Uncle Bow.” It might be cold out but neither the blond or the boy were going to turn down ice cream.
The little family linked hands, Adora and Catra to either side with Javier between them, and walked purposefully towards the street.
Lonnie looked at the documents in front of her. That was it, she was free and so were Kyle and Rogelio. They could move on with their lives and know that their slate was clean. Finally. The weight of what she had done for ‘The Light’, and she could scoff at her own gullibility, had been lifting from her shoulders, bit by bit, and now she Felt she could at last take a deep breath.
She looked up at the older man who sat across from her at the table. Rogelio and Kyle were still back at the warehouse, no need to wheel them all out if there was still a hint at any danger. He was greying at the temples and twenty pounds overweight, but he had a kind face and smiled triumphantly at her, making her face break into a matching smile.
“It’s over? That’s it, we’re done?” She had to be sure that she understood.
“That’s it. As you can see, all of the cult’s holdings and accounts have be liquidated and ceased. The main players are all now in custody, including the well placed moles they had in the policed government. The Citadel of The Light is gone. You have been so instrumental in this take down, you and your friends. Without the paperwork that you leaked to us we wouldn’t be here now.”
“It was, it was nothing.” He voice was small as she ducked away from the praise.
“It was something, Lonnie. Don’t downplay that. With the arrests of Shadow Weaver and Hordak we can close the case. You’ll be needed to testify against them but it’s over.”
“I know me and the boys will have to testify, but you won’t call…” She couldn’t finish, it still made her feel sick to think about what had happened in that place at the end.
“No, we won’t be calling Ms Reyes. We have the police reports, and their prosecution has very little to do with events surrounding that.” Lonnie let out a breath she hadn’t realised she’d been keeping.
“As you know, we will help you build new identities after all of this. You three will be able to go and start whatever new life you want. You’re still young. The world should be your oyster.” He sounded so sincere and hopeful. Lonnie hoped he was right.
“I should go and tell the others.” It was over.
Catra stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom and looked long and hard at herself. Eighteen months on from everything and she was back to full health. Better than before, physically at least. Her muscles were bigger, she could go faster and thanks to some weird tea that Perfuma insisted she drink her fur was thicker and more lustrous. It hid all but the worse scars, laying in odd swirled patterns on her shoulder and thigh.
She looked ok. She would never look at herself and not see HIM but she had rebuilt herself once, and she was doing it again. Except this time she had help. She moved her clawed hand up to her hair, still not sure about it. The sides were cropped close to her head and the top left longer and wild, sticking up with a mind of its own. Like her son she filled it with product to keep it artful tousled, unlike Javier she kept it feeling soft. The studio had asked her to cut it, saying it was right for the character, and as somebody moving from faceless stunty to a leading role, even if she wasn’t the star, she hadn’t said no.
She remembers going for the haircut, Adora had sat with her the whole time, holding her hand, and she had tensed when they started to shave the sides. But it hadn’t been too bacd. The large scar that stretched halfway across her ear, was visible in places and she had initially worried that the director would demand it be covered, but they had said it just made her look more dangerous and as she was playing an assassin it saved them the time to add them themselves.
Adora walked in just as she was touching her hair, dressed only in her underwear. She walked up to her girlfriend and wrapped herself around the naked furry body in front of her, feeling a tail wind around her bare calf. She ran her hands up and down the toned abdomen and revelled in the softness of the fur there.
“You’re going to be fine. The table read went well and you’ve had your promo stills taken. You and the guys are going to have so much fun!” She peppered kisses on the exposed shoulders and Catra squirmed delightfully.
“You better stop that before you make us both late!” But she was purring as she said it.
It had taken them a while to even kiss again and longer still to start to day or be intimate but the last three months had been amazing. They were finally a couple, Javier had been calling the school teacher ‘mom’ for over a year and with her living in the apartment with them it felt like everything was finally going to work out for her.
“You used to be fun!” Whined Adora as she led the cat woman back into their bedroom where their clothes were laid out on the bed. Catra just threw on underwear and sweats, knowing that she had wardrobe and primping to endure when she arrived. Adora was fussing with the collar of her white shirt before tucking it into her grey slacks. They were decent by the time Javier burst through the door and threw himself onto the centre of the bed, making sure to bounce as high as he could. The idea of knocking before he came in was proving to be a learning curve.
“Are you excited, Mama?” His eyes were twinkling at her.
“Yes, Beastie, I am very excited.” She reached over and pulled his tail. “You should be dressed though!”
The boy stretched out on the bed, clad only in his long pyjama bottoms, torso bare as he had taken to sleeping. With his last growth spurt had come a sudden, and unexpected change in the boy’s appearance. Fur had started to grow across his shoulders and down the centre of his back to meet his tail. It was tawny and just as soft as his mothers. His face had changed as well, features becoming more pointed like her own. He had been so excited that he had refused to wear a shirt around the house for weeks. Now they had it down to just bedtime.
“Fine.” He pouted as he got off of the bed, sounding too much like a teen for a boy of eight. He pressed a kiss to each of their cheeks on his way out.
“Come on movie star, let’s get you fed before Sea Hawk gets here.”
It was nice not to have to hide anymore.