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never have i ever

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“Can everyone gather around me please?” Adora shouted as she twisted her hair back up into a ponytail, it had become a little loose when she was helping Bow put a canoe back on a rack.

The other camp counselors made a circle around her, everyone was already sweating from the heat of the sun on their backs. Adora looked through her notes on the clipboard in her hands to make sure that they were still on schedule for their setup.

“Cool,” She smiled at all of them, “Campers are coming in three days, so we have a little time to just hang out. Um, cabins are the same as they’ve always been. I’m with Bow and Glimmer, then Mermista, Perfuma, and Seahawk are together.”

The group gave her a collective nod and thumbs up before they went back to talking. Glimmer ran over to her so fast she almost knocked her over before she was brought into a hug.

“I’m so excited!” She cheered, “It’s our fifth year working here, we need to celebrate.”

Adora had been the head counselor of Camp Bright Moon for the last four years, Angella had promoted her after her first year there, since Adora may have been a little bit of a control freak about her camp duties.

“Perfuma has weed.” Mermista chimed in, “We’re gonna smoke in the forest and go hammocking.”

Adora gave them a nod as they made their way into the woods, knowing they would probably join them later.

“How do you want to celebrate?” Adora laughed as Bow joined their group hug.

“We could go skinny dipping?” Glimmer wiggled her eyebrows as she playfully shoved Adora backward.

“It’s like, noon, Glimmer.” Bow laughed and shook his head.

“Okay, fine,” Glimmer huffed. “Solution, let’s just go jump in with our clothes on.”

Adora and Bow laughed in agreement, and they all walked hand in hand down a small hill to get to the lake.

“I don’t think I’ve been under the influence of anything since last summer,” Adora said as all three of them stripped themselves of their shirts. Adora and Glimmer both had sports bras on so they weren’t completely naked.

“Under the influence?” Glimmer scrunched her nose, “That’s such a lame way to put it.”

“Yeah, Adora,” Bow teased, “Quite lame.”

“Okay, you know what,” Adora said as she scooped Glimmer up into her arms to hold her bridal style. “You’re getting thrown in the lake.”

Glimmer kicked and yelled as Adora carried her to the end of the dock before she threw her off of it into the deep end.

“Oh, you’re dead, Grayskull.” Glimmer shouted, coughing up a bit of water.

Bow ended up running up behind Adora and shoving her into the water before he jumped in. After a couple of minutes of splashing each other and laughing, they were interrupted.

“Hey, guys! Wow, I just spent a while trying to find you, but I’m here!”

Adora felt like her whole body turned to ice as she watched Scorpia walk to the end of the dock, a huge duffle bag slung over her shoulder.

“What?” Adora looked at her with wide eyes, “I’m sorry, what are you doing here?”

“Oh, shit.” Glimmer dunked herself under the water before slicking back her hair. “Shit, uh, hey.” She went up behind Adora to wrap her arms around her neck. “Did my mom forget to tell you?”

Scorpia looked between the two of them with a puzzled expression before setting her bag down. “Sorry if I got here late, Catra is a terrible driver.”

Adora felt her face go numb, she hoisted herself back up onto the dock. “Why is Catra here?”

Scorpia laughed, clearly uncomfortable. “Uh, anyone wanna help me out here?”

Scorpia was one of the counselors from their rival camp across the lake, The Horde Camp. Which the Bright Moon counselors so generously nicknamed, “The Fright Zone.” They would frequently play against each other in scavenger hunts or sports games, which led to a mostly healthy rivalry.

The Bright Moon counselors didn’t mind Scorpia, she was one of the few they actually would invite over so they could all hang out.

But there were two or so people that none of them liked to be around.

And, Adora had made a mistake, a couple of times.

“Adora,” Glimmer said as she got out of the water. “I don’t know why my mom wouldn’t tell you, but The Horde Camp shut down… They merged with Camp Bright Moon this year so their campers would still have a place to go this summer.”

Adora’s throat went dry, she curled her hands into a fist before trying her best to plaster on a smile. “So… Catra’s here?”

“Yes?” Scorpia said, still trying to look between the three of them to get some clarity. “Can someone show me where my cabin is? This bag is super heavy. Entrapta gets here tomorrow and I think I’m sharing it with her?”

Bow also joined them on the dock and gave Scorpia a high five and a grin, “I will.”

Adora watched as the two of them walked away, she was mentally trying to trace her steps to remember where she left her water bottle so she could fix the dryness in her mouth.

“Adora, what’s up?” Glimmer placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “I know it’ll be annoying to have some of them here, but it’ll be fine. You have us.”

Adora held in a cynical laugh, everything would probably be fine, but it was also just not that easy.

“I’m going to go change, a wet sports bra is an uncomfortable feeling.” She walked away as quickly as she could, crossing her fingers that Glimmer wouldn’t follow her.

Adora was supposed to hate Catra on principle. They were both head counselors at their respective camps, and their sports teams always played against each other. There had definitely been some nasty words exchanged between the two of them, and neither of them was against arguing in public.

The basis for a rivalry was there.

They were always competing, always trying to one-up each other, to the point where it was common knowledge that you didn’t want to be in the same room as the two of them.

So, all of her friends hated Catra. For many reasons, really.

But Adora never really did.

She pretended, she engaged in whatever yelling match they had at volleyball tournaments, she nodded when Glimmer would rant about Catra being annoying. She tried really hard.

But Catra was… Catra.

Adora could say many things about Catra. She was funny, witty, and great at her job to the point where Adora was jealous.

But, everything initially started because Catra was just, super hot, and Adora was extremely gay.

When she saw that Catra’s nails were considerably longer, besides… three of them, she had panicked and downed all of the water in her water bottle in under two minutes.

Adora finally reached her cabin and stumbled through the door. They hadn’t even had the chance to unpack or set up, the bunk beds still completely bare.

She sat down on the bottom bunk, holding her face in her hands as her mind raced, trying to plan how she was going to hide everything that happened between the two of them. She needed a plan, she needed to think of a backstory that resembled anything but the truth. She needed-

“Hey, Adora.”

Adora sat up so quickly she knocked her head on the top bunk, “Catra, did you seriously… Are you, why are you in here?”

“Uh, I’m staying here?”

“This is mine, with Glimmer and Bow.”

“There are four beds.” Catra pointed to the top bunk and shrugged.

“Ask to switch.” Adora crossed her arms, she tried her best to look angry, but Catra met her with a smirk.

“Nah, I’m not gonna, it’s more fun this way. And I like to see you get flustered.”

“Did you really not think to at least text me that you were coming here?”

“You blocked me,” Catra’s smirk widened, “Also, I wasn’t aware that you didn’t know. Angella should have told you.”

Catra grabbed the clipboard that Adora had set down on her bed and started flipping through it, Adora tried to snatch it out of her hands but Catra darted backward.

“Catra, can you please- that is my clipboard.”

Catra grinned and kept it out of Adora’s reach. “We have to share it for a bit until I get my own.”

“I am the only one who needs it,” Adora crossed her arms and let out a huff. She was very protective of her clipboard.

“Adora,” Catra sat on the bottom bunk next to Adora and placed a hand on her upper thigh. “I was head counselor at the Horde, and Angella didn’t want to demote me. We are sharing the title. Also, why are your clothes wet?” Catra took one of the straps of Adora’s sports bra and snapped it lightly.

“Maybe I should just go hang out with everyone else.” Adora scowled before standing up to shuffle through her clothes. She was already compiling a list of things to text Angella about when she was alone later.

Telling Adora would have literally taken two seconds, but now she just needed to move past it. 

Now that everything was happening, apparently.

“Wow, don’t sound so happy to see me. I haven’t seen you since last summer, I expected a warmer welcome.”

“Well, we kind of… made the rule that we don’t talk... or see each other.” Adora stumbled over her words and busied herself with putting random things away from her suitcase.

“We’ve always reinstated friends with benefits when the summer starts again, Adora,” Catra said, almost purring over the sound of her name.

“Can it be friends with benefits if we aren’t friends?” Adora tried to keep her tone as monotone as possible.

“So, you’re saying that you’re good with us hooking up as long as we aren’t friends?”

No, that is not what I meant, Catra-”

“Okay, okay.” Catra cackled, and Adora hated that it made her smile. “Anyway, I’m getting the top bunk.”

“Can you just let me have one thing?” Adora exhaled dramatically as she found a dry sports bra and a tank top to change into.

“You know I won’t tell anyone if you won’t. This is just as embarrassing for me as it is for you.”

“You think sleeping with me is embarrassing?” Even with the AC on in the cabin, Adora felt herself get uncomfortably hot.

“Yeah, Grayskull, kinda is.”

“Well,” Adora turned her back to Catra so she could strip out of her wet clothes. “We can’t sleep with each other at camp now that you work here. Employees aren’t supposed to… Be romantic with each other.”

“Romantic with each other? Wow, didn’t know you were planning on asking me on a date.”

“Shut up,” Adora let out a laugh as she struggled out of her wet clothes. “You know what I mean.”

“I’m good with just making you flustered for the next couple of weeks. No romantic things involved.”

“You know what,” Adora scoffed, “I can make you flustered just as much.”

“Is that a challenge?”

Adora turned around slowly still topless looking in Catra’s directions with a smirk that mirrored her's earlier, she let out a giggle as Catra’s jaw dropped slightly. “Yeah,” Adora shrugged, “It is.”

Adora almost fell over as she heard the door handle turn, she dashed quickly into the bathroom and shut the door to hastily pull her clothes back on.

“Oh, you.”

Adora stepped out of the bathroom, trying to act as neutral as possible when she saw Glimmer with her arms crossed near the front door, her discontent directed at Catra.

“Hi, Sparkles. Good to see you, too.”

“Adora, Double Trouble is here and they are already on my nerves. They think we should do August Osage County scenes, with teenagers. To get them to think critically, but there is death and addiction-”

“I’ll handle it, Glim,” Adora said, putting her hand up. “We have a pre-approved parents list that they signed off on for what plays we can do. I have it in a folder, I’ll grab it for you later.”

Catra started cackling into her hands and shook her head at Glimmer.

Glimmer looked back and forth between the two of them, her scowl growing by the second. “What, are you two friends now?”

“No-”

“Not yet,” Catra smiled and stood up to sling her arm over Adora’s shoulders. “But since we’re all living and working together for a couple of weeks, Adora is making an effort.”

Glimmer scrunched up her nose. “I hate that.”

“What, you don’t want me to join your lame ass ‘best friends group'-”

“It’s squad - You know what. I’ll leave you two alone. Adora can come to get high after so she can relax after dealing with you.”

“Always a pleasure, Sparkles.” Catra waved as Glimmer stomped out of their cabin.

“I hate-” Adora stopped herself and scratched the back of her neck. She frowned as Catra’s grin grew wider. “Okay, fine, I don’t hate you, but-”

“Hey, I don’t hate you either.” Catra’s grin softened into the slightest bit of fondness. She stood and pulled Adora by the elastic waistband of her athletic shorts. “You look really good.” She whispered, her eyes blatantly scanning over all of Adora’s body, making her shiver under her touch.

“You do, too… Um, I think everyone will be gone for a while.” Adora chewed on her bottom lip and let Catra pull her in a little closer.

“Yeah, I think you’re right.” Catra’s voice dropped lower as she moved her hand up under the fabric of Adora’s shirt to place it on her side.

“So, you know… If-”

“Yeah,” Catra cut her off immediately and sat back down on the lower bunk. She pulled Adora by her hips so she was standing in between her legs.

“Just this once?” Adora whispered, her eyes flickered up to Catra’s lips.

“Yeah,” Catra tightened her grip on Adora’s waist.

“But, uh, maybe,” Adora cringed at how her voice shook, “We should talk about last year…”

Catra’s hands dropped from Adora’s body and her face turned to stone. “I don’t want to.”

“Oh, okay, cool.” Adora’s voice cracked, her body already ached from the loss of contact. “Sounds great.”

“We can stop if you want. For real," Catra said reassuringly, "I should go find Scorpia.”

Adora shook her head, she placed her hands on the sides of Catra’s face and they locked eyes. “No,” She brought her mouth just above Catra’s so their lips brushed slightly. “Let’s keep going.”



Adora unceremoniously put her clothes back on, turning her back to Catra and stumbling a bit as she tried to get her leg through her shorts. “That is the only time that will happen,” She said with anything but confidence in her voice.

“Whatever you say,” Catra said, and Adora could tell she was grinning without even having to look at her.

“I should probably go catch up with everyone,” Adora sighed. “You could probably come if you wanted to. It might be a good idea to at least be acquaintances with everyone.”

“You might want to at least jump in the lake because you smell like pussy.” Catra playfully shoved her and stuck her tongue out. “You know that I’ll be civil, I take my job just as seriously as you do. If that’s even possible, control freak.”

“Okay, well,” Adora wrung her hands together, “We still have to… You know… Not tell anyone about this.”

“I told you, I won’t.” Catra crossed her arms, “I’m sure you don’t want everyone to know you’re a bottom.”

Catra,” Adora felt heat flush to her face, “Can you please-”

“We have gone three years without anyone finding out,” Catra rolled her eyes, “I think we’ll be okay as long as you keep your cool.”

“I always keep my cool,” Adora huffed.

Catra laughed, “Whatever you say. Do I have your permission to tease you at least?” She lifted an eyebrow before she started shuffling through her own things and pulling out clothes.

Adora felt a weird mix of shame but also excitement claw its way to her heart, “Yeah,” She whispered, “Just like… Secretly, I guess.”

“That can be arranged,” Catra shrugged. “Go catch up with everyone, we need to talk about logistics together anyway. Have fun beforehand, at least.”

“You could jump in the lake with me?” Adora said, hoping it wouldn’t sound too desperate.

One of the worst things about Catra was that she was so incredibly intoxicating. Adora always wanted to fill her lungs with any drip of attention that she’d give back to her. And she always wanted to spend more time with her, which Catra would occasionally indulge her with.

Catra had a better grip on making sure nothing got too… Messy… They mostly kept it to hooking up in random places, the most that they had done together was hang out before or after the fact.

Adora would rather jump off a cliff than have any semblance of real feelings for Catra. 

Catra had also made it very clear the previous year that nothing like that would ever happen between them. 

Adora had to pretend it didn’t make her occasionally sick to her stomach.

Not the not having feelings part, but just… The way she let her know.

“I will not be jumping in the lake,” Catra scrunched her nose up. “I’ll accompany you if you want, I like seeing you wet.”

“Catra,” Adora shook her head, “Never say I am the lame one again, that was super lame.”

Catra laughed, she slid on a pair of athletic shorts and a tank top before turning to Adora and giving her a thumbs up. Adora momentarily pretended that she wasn't stuck on the fact that Catra was not wearing a bra.

Whatever will people say if they see us together?” Catra said, dramatically. 

“They’ll think that we are talking about logistics.” Adora shrugged, motioning for Catra to follow her out the door.

They had barely taken two steps outside before they were stopped.

“Catra,” Bow smiled, clearly doing his best to fake enthusiasm. “You’re… Here!”

“You know what,” Catra squeezed Adora’s shoulder, causing Adora to become momentarily flustered. “I should go catch up with Scorpia, see if she’s okay.”

“Oh, yeah, okay.” Adora did her best not to frown as she watched Catra walk away.

“The fact that she has to sleep in the same place as us makes everything a million times worse.” Glimmer groaned before throwing an arm over Adora’s shoulders. “Would you like to be under the influence, in a couple of minutes?”

Adora smiled, “Sure,” She turned her head one last time to watch Catra again before she allowed herself to be dragged away by her two best friends.

 

--

 

“Scorpia?” Catra said hesitantly as she walked into the cabin, it was a disaster inside, clothes were strewn about everywhere and mass amounts of outdoor equipment were on the floor.

“Oh, Catra!” Scorpia chuckled nervously as she stared at the pile of stuff on the ground. “I’m just trying to unpack, I think I forgot sunscreen?”

Catra pointed to the exactly eight bottles of sunscreen on the bottom bunk of the bed. “That looks like sunscreen to me.”

“Oh,” Scorpia laughed again. “I feel like a little bit of a mess, no one here seems… Really inviting so far.”

Catra chuckled sarcastically, “Totally, I get that.” She started picking up things off the floor to sort them into piles based on their respective categories while Scorpia paced around the room.

“Scorp, I don’t think you should worry. It’s really hard for someone not to love you.” Catra patted her on the back and stopped her from pacing. “I will make sure that you feel comfortable here, okay?” She narrowed her eyes as she stared at her.

“Okay,” Scorpia sighed with relief. “Adora just seems so…”

“Uptight?” Catra smirked, “Yeah, I see that. But, I dare to say Glimmer is more uptight than she is.”

“I just want her to like me, you know?” Scorpia scratched her head. “Maybe that’s dumb, but if we have to spend so much time here with everyone, I just want us to be at least civil.”

“You know what?” Catra squeezed her shoulder in reassurance, “I will absolutely make sure Adora is at least civil with you.”

Scorpia cocked her head to the side, “How?”

Catra swallowed down the panic rising in her throat, “Don’t worry about it.” She said with every ounce of confidence she could muster. “I’ll just make sure.”

“Maybe we should join everyone in the woods?” Scorpia bit her lip nervously, “Will it not just make it worse if we spend time apart from everyone?”

“Uh,” Catra took a deep breath to ground herself. “You can, I think I might just walk around and familiarize myself with everything.”

Scorpia sighed dramatically before rubbing her eyes, “I can’t go alone.” She shrugged sheepishly, “Please, for me?”

“Fuck,” Catra groaned, “Alright. But you owe me, okay?”

“Catra, you also need to be civil.”

Catra held in another cynical laugh, she could be civil, but she did not want to be.

Catra hated Adora for quite a long time, until after a volleyball game had ended three summers ago and Adora came up to her with her arms crossed. She’d accused Catra’s team of cheating, which made Catra burst into a fit of laughter.

“How the fuck do you cheat at volleyball?” Catra shook her head and shoved her back lightly.

Adora’s eyes trailed down to Catra’s hands, up to her lips, and then back to her eyes. Purposefully enough that Catra definitely noticed. “I don’t know,” Adora conceded as a blush spread over the tip of her nose.

Catra was used to their back and forth of light insults and banter every time they had to have their teams play against each other or any time the camps were doing something together. It was just the assumed thing that they were supposed to hate each other.

She also just got on Catra’s nerves.

Until Adora turned away that same day and told her team to go get changed so they could get ready for dinner. She studied Catra for a little bit longer, Catra remembered she felt her entire body flush under her blue eyes.

“So,” Adora had said, clearly pondering what to say next. “Are you… Um, are you-”

“Am I… What?” Catra laughed a bit at her awkwardness, which she sort of found charming.

“Are you gay?”

Catra had laughed and thrown a hand over her mouth. “Are you serious?” She snorted, “Are you gay?”

“Um,” Adora twirled a strand of hair from her ponytail around her finger. “Yeah, that’s um, that’s why I’m asking.”

“You’re-” Catra cocked her head to the side. “Oh,” Realization slowly dawned upon her as she took in Adora’s expression a bit longer. “Sorry,” Catra stuttered a little, before taking a deep breath. “Are you trying to ask me out? Not really interested in that, especially with you.”

“Oh,” Adora looked like she was about to reach out and grab Catra’s hand but stopped herself. “That was,” She coughed a bit, “Never mind. But don’t let that get to your head, I was not asking you of all people on a date.”

“So-”

“Let’s drop it,” Adora turned on her heel so quickly that she almost fell over. She was so clumsy that Catra consistently wondered how she didn’t always have a concussion.

Catra looked back to her team and quickly shouted at them to start to head back to camp. “Grayskull,” Catra yelled, making Adora stop in her tracks. “Tell me what you’re trying to ask.”

“No,” Adora crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes. “I don’t like you.”

“I don’t like you either,” Catra mirrored her expression. “Then why’d you ask?”

Adora scratched the back of her head, “It’s dumb.”

“Fuck,” Catra said, exasperated. “Alright, I’m gonna head back.”

Adora grabbed her wrist making Catra freeze in place. “If you ever wanna… Hang out,” She tightened her grip. “I guess, um, you know where to find me.”

“I told you, I don’t want to date-”

“Can you just,” Adora took a deep breath in and let it out through her nose. “Shut up for a second?”

“Excuse me?” Catra tore her hand away, “I’m heading back.”

“No,” Adora moved so she was standing in Catra’s path. “I meant, just let me think, okay,” She took a couple of steps closer so there was barely any space between them. Her hand shook a bit as she reached out to tuck a loose piece of Catra’s hair behind her ear.

Catra’s eyes went wide, they had gotten in each other's faces or been close in proximity but they had never touched like that, not really. She looked back up at her to make eye contact. Adora looked surprised that Catra had yet to bolt in the other direction.

“This is quite bold of you,” Catra forced out an awkward laugh. “But if you want me to fuck you,” She moved her hand to wrap her arm around Adora’s waist. “You should at least say it.”

Adora made a high-pitched squeaking noise and stumbled back a bit. “Yeah, okay, um,” She broke out into a grin. She looked around a bit surveying their surroundings before nodding. Her usual dorkiness faded for a slight moment when she leaned in close enough to whisper into Catra’s ear. “Then, do you want to fuck?”

Catra felt her heart in her throat at the raspiness of her voice and nodded a bit too eagerly.

They had both walked about six feet away from each other as they headed to the woods, deep enough in that no one would accidentally see them unless they were going for a hike.

It was definitely not favorable conditions, but they made it work.

Afterward, They both turned their backs away from each other as they got dressed until Adora needed help retying her swimsuit top.

“We should never talk about this.” Adora gulped and Catra smirked when she shuddered under her touch.

“Agreed,” Catra nodded and stepped away after she was done helping her. “That was dumb.”

“Really dumb,” Adora said as she twiddled her thumbs. “It was, uh… Nice though.”

“Nice?” Catra rolled her eyes, “Glad to hear it.”

“But uh,” Adora reached out and grabbed Catra’s hand and pulled her closer. “If you want to do that again… You know where to find me.”

“You’re such an idiot,” Catra shook her head and forced herself not to smile when Adora giggled. “If you tell anyone, I swear I’ll kill you.”

“Oh, I am so scared.” Adora threw her hands up in the air dramatically. “I won’t, I promise.”

“Good,” Catra said, still forcing a neutral expression. “I’m going to head back.”

What started as an extremely awkward, but also surprisingly… Okay mistake in the forest a couple of summers ago, turned into a pattern. It happened so often that all they would have to do was look at each other to know that it was going to happen again.

The worst part about Adora was that even when she was irritating she still was kind of cute. Her amount of cockiness had always bothered Catra, but after she found out how easy it was to wipe the smirk off her face, she also started to like that.

Being around Adora alone was one thing, Catra could handle that.

They had fallen into a sort of routine around how they acted when they were with each other, something Catra knew well enough that she could mend it to their new situation.

But she was worried about how Adora would act when they were in a big group together. Especially now that they were expected to work more closely and with all of their friends, that created a lot of opportunities for things to get fucked up.

So, everything was fine.

Catra groaned again when Scorpia had picked up enough of her things for the room to be presentable so that they could join everyone else in the woods. She made sure to stop by her own cabin again to grab a sweatshirt since the sun would be starting to set in an hour or two.

Scorpia was going on a long-winded rant as they walked about all of the different camp bonding activities she had planned for the upcoming weeks. She was usually left in charge of making sure the campers and the counselors bonded together, with dumb (in Catra’s opinion) things like trust falls or walking someone down an obstacle course with a blindfold on.

They reached the part of the woods where the rest of the group was, and Catra had to hold back a laugh when she saw Adora leaning up against the now infamous tree.

“Oh,” Adora’s eyes went wide as she looked between the two of them. “Hey.”

“Hey,” Catra said back pursing her lips. “We wanted to mingle.”

“Cool,” Mermista shrugged, “As long as you and Adora don’t kill each other, and Glimmer doesn’t kill you, I’m good.”

“I say, this will be fun.” Perfuma clapped her hands together. “We can play a game.”

“See,” Scorpia laughed, nudging Catra with her elbow. “Someone will appreciate me talking about different camp games.”

“Be my guest, go ramble.” Catra smiled, she awkwardly sat a few feet back from the circle everyone else was around until Bow gave her a confused look.

“You’re allowed to sit near us, Catra.”

“I’m good, actually.” She shrugged, wrapping her arms around herself.

“Don’t make me ask Scorpia to pick you up,” Bow shrugged, scooting over so there was room for Catra to join everyone else.

“Whatever,” Catra rolled her eyes and moved over to the circle. “Are you guys smoking?”

“We were,” Bow smiled, “You can ask Perfuma if you want any.”

“I’m good for now,” Catra sighed, she could basically feel Adora’s eyes glued on her. 

Catra was doing her best not to look at her at all. She didn’t know what the right combination between ignoring her or engaging with her would be, and she didn’t feel like finding out.

“You know who is really funny high?” Bow said, basically giggling.

Catra did not know why he was still trying to talk to her, but it made some sort of fondness wash over her. She liked Bow, she could do her best to hate everyone else, but hating Bow was like kicking a puppy.

“Who?” Catra said, staring at the unlit bonfire pit in the middle of the circle.

“Adora.”

Catra froze a bit before she nodded in agreement, “I can see that.”

“I just thought that you know, you could get a few laughs out of it. Maybe, I don’t know, laugh? Lighten up?”

“Fuck off,” Catra laughed, knocking her shoulder into his. “It’s hard to lighten up when everyone hates me.”

“Well, you’re kind of a dick sometimes.”

Catra laughed again, “Fair point. I’d like to keep it that way.”

“Suit yourself,” Bow said, he shook his head but Catra could tell he was being playful.

She let herself glance over to where Adora was standing, they made eye contact and both turned their heads away at the same time.

But what was the point, Catra thought, of being allowed to make Adora flustered if she couldn’t do it at the most inconvenient times.

Catra wanted to use their competitive nature to her advantage, maybe then she could really lighten up.

She waltzed over to Adora and leaned up on the other side of the tree.

“Please don’t come here to make fun of me,” Adora sighed. “Everyone always makes fun of me when we smoke."

Catra held in a laugh with the back of her hand, “Need water?”

“No,” Adora chuckled, “Maybe a really hot girl could carry me back to my cabin.”

“I’ll grab Perfuma for you.”

“You think Perfuma is hot? I’m kind of jealous.”

“Shut up,” Catra kicked the side of Adora’s heel. “That’s too much.”

“Me pretending to be jealous is too much for you?” Catra could hear the smirk in Adora’s voice even without looking.

“Oh, sure, pretending.”

Catra reached her hand out just enough around the tree so her pinky was brushing Adora’s, she felt Adora seize up before exhaling. 

They both were looking in opposite directions, Catra focused on whatever conversation Scorpia was having. Her face was already flushed with happiness which was all Catra needed. Hopefully, she could just leave soon.

Catra loved camp, she loved being around her friends when she was there, she loved her job, but she really just hated the Bright Moon counselors.

They were at most annoying, but even their way of doing things just bothered her. And it was clear they felt the same way about her. She knew they’d all want her to adapt to doing it their way, or, Adora’s way. Which made her a whole different type of angry. 

But Scorpia had said the whole drive there to, do it for the kids, which Catra growled at but knew was true.

She’d stay neutral, as long as no one fucked with her, or her friends.

She wasn’t going to so easily let her guard down and act like they had all been friends for years as if they weren’t as equally rude to Catra as she was to them.

Catra felt Adora’s hand brush hers, she traced her fingers over Catra’s palm then ran them slowly over her wrist. She reached out like she was going to intertwine their fingers but pulled away from the contact completely.

Catra narrowed her eyes and smirked. She double-checked everyone was still lost in conversation before she leaned over. “You want to fuck me so bad it makes you look stupid.”

Adora’s eyes widened and she playfully shoved Catra backward, causing everyone to look over at them.

“I had a… Spider in my hair.” Catra breathed, before giving everyone a thumbs up.

“She did.” Adora nodded, “She… Hates spiders.”

“Very true,” Catra ran a hand through her hair and repositioned herself up against the tree.

Everyone in the group brushed it off easily and went back to talking, Catra shook her head and pursed her lips.

“You’re an idiot.”

Adora yawned dramatically and stretched her arms in the air. “I think I need to go lie down. Maybe take a nap for a bit. Rest, I guess.”

“You?” Glimmer tilted her head, “Nap? Rest? Are you okay?”

“Totally,” Adora nodded, “Totally okay, do you guys think you’re like… Gonna head back soon?”

“Probably not,” Glimmer checked the time on her phone. “We’ll probably eat some food or something. I can try to give you a heads up when we’re going to head in so we don’t scare you.”

“Perfect,” Adora nodded, and Catra was doing her absolute best not to break her composure. It was almost comical how obvious Adora could be and how oblivious literally everyone else was.

It made everything a bit more fun.

Adora looked back once and made eye contact with Catra before walking away.

Catra waited about two minutes before speaking,

“Hey, Scorp? I think I left something in the car, I’m going to get it and maybe take a walk.”

“Okay,” Scorpia smiled and waved at her as she walked away.

Catra gave herself a small internal lecture about how stupid of a decision this was as she ran to catch up with Adora, squeezing her sides from behind and making her giggle and jump.

“I wasn’t sure you’d catch up,” Adora smirked and crossed her arms.

“Oh, please,” Catra scoffed. “You couldn’t be more obvious if you tried.”

“Next time,” Adora cleared her throat and held up her hand. “Next time I will just say, hey, Catra, would you like to maybe fuck me in the shower before we go to bed?” Adora stumbled on her feet a bit before blushing. “Was that too forward?”

“I think we’ve passed the stage where that would be forward, lead the way.”

“Just checking,” Adora smiled and held open the front door of their cabin.

Catra was barely able to take a breath before Adora pulled her by the edges of her shorts to bring her in for a kiss. Adora ran her hands up Catra’s neck then placed them gently on her face, then in her hair.

Catra smiled, not breaking the kiss as she grabbed under Adora’s thighs to pick her up and carry her to the way too small of a shower, that was incredibly inconvenient.

But they made it work.

Chapter Text

“Adora, you know we don’t have to wake up this fucking early until the campers get here, right?” Catra grumbled as she hopped off the top bunk, immediately pulling a sweatshirt over the sports bra she slept in.

Adora smirked and shrugged, she wasn’t going to bring up the fact that she already went for a run around the lake that morning, or that Catra was the last one to wake up.

“We have a lot of set up to do, and if you’re so dead set on being head co-counselor with me, maybe you should get up earlier.”

“Fuck off,” Catra shoved her lightly before dragging her feet to the bathroom and slamming the door.

Adora chuckled to herself before going through her clipboard and double-checking everything on the itinerary for the day. She didn’t know if she should schedule her and Catra to be working together at all times or if she should not. She had opted into a mix of both because trying to force Catra and literally anyone else to work together side by side would be a task in and of itself.

“So,” Adora started, leaning up against the bathroom door. “I think you should thank me for not making you work with Glimmer at all today. It took a hot minute for me to figure that out.”

Catra opened the door, making Adora stumble backward. “Whatever,” She said with her toothbrush hanging out of her mouth. “I bet you also didn’t schedule me with Perfuma now that you know I think she’s hot.”

Adora’s mouth dropped open slightly and she crossed her arms, “What? Well, okay, you know what, whatever, never mind, don’t thank me then. Maybe I’ll change the whole thing up anyway-”

Catra grabbed Adora by her shirt and pulled her in, “Come on, princess. I’m just teasing.”

Adora felt heat rise to her cheeks, she did her best to take a deep breath, trying to briefly plead with the universe to have her look cool just one time. “I am going to set up the volleyball nets, you’re scheduled to help me if you want to show up.”

“Do I get something in return?”

“Yes,” Adora shrugged, “Your paycheck.”

Catra cackled and pulled her in closer. “Whatever you say.”

The cabin door opened and Adora physically threw herself backward, tripping over a duffle bag and landing on the ground.

She didn’t even want to begin to count how many times they were going to be interrupted.

“Adora?” Bow said, singing the syllables of her name. “Why are you on the ground?”

“I fell,” Adora pursed her lips and faked a laugh. “Clumsy.”

“Okay,” Bow shrugged and reached out to help her stand. “Hey, Catra.” Bow waved to her and Adora heard the bathroom door shut.

“How are you two getting along?” He whispered as he dragged her out of their cabin.

“Um,” Adora scratched the back of her neck. “You know, we’re trying our best. It’s… I don’t know, it’s not terrible.”

“Good to hear,” Bow smiled and patted her on the back. “So, I set up most of the sports stuff. All of the archery equipment and targets are set up if you want to come to check it out.”

“Okay,” Adora nodded, trying to let go of the image of Catra’s expression when she pulled her in closer. “Sure thing,” She let out a sigh before giving him a thumbs up.

“There is one thing,” Bow smiled sheepishly and handed her a backpack. “I told Glimmer I’d help her set up the kitchen a little bit more. Since she’s starting the ‘cooking club’ this year.”

Adora stopped herself from (lovingly) rolling her eyes. Glimmer was always wanting to pioneer different activities. With her mom owning the camp, she got to, but Adora was the one to create tasks and get everything in order.

There were many failed clubs on Glimmer’s end. Improv club that turned into just the theatre club, math club, film club, and beach cleanup club. They had all failed.

This year, there was a cooking club.

They didn’t need anyone else to help cook, especially teenagers who had no experience. Adora had secretly prepared for all of the inevitable fires that would happen.

“So? What’s this?” Adora looked at the backpack and unzipped it to look inside.

“Well,” Bow nervously cracked his knuckles, “Since Perfuma is checking out the horse stables right now, and I am helping Glimmer… Someone needs to set up the first-day-of-camp scavenger hunt.”

“What?” Adora’s eyes went wide, “That will take forever, and I have so many things to do-”

“Hey,” Catra walked up to them and looked between the both of them with an eyebrow raised. “Why are you freaking out?”

“Catra can help,” Bow said hurriedly as he jogged away, “Bye!”

Adora watched him walk away with her mouth hanging open. “I cannot believe him right now.” She grumbled and took out the instructions for the scavenger hunt out of his backpack.

“What’s up?” Catra asked, she reached her hand into the backpack and looked through the items inside.

Adora took a deep breath, “I have to go make sure all of the sports stations are set up, I have to set up the volleyball net, make sure Sea Hawk and Mermista are good to go with the boats, make sure Entrapta is alright, help Kyle set up crafts, and then do this scavenger hunt setup which Bow is supposed to be doing.” She was completely out of breath after all of the words came out, putting a hand to her forehead in frustration.

Catra laughed beside her, “Oh my gods,” She shook her head and grabbed the backpack out of Adora’s hands. “Do you usually have to do this much?”

Adora crossed her arms and took a step backward, “No,” She huffed, “Usually I have way fewer counselors to check in with.”

“And that’s my fault?” Catra laughed again, “Let me help you out.”

“I scheduled you-”

“Adora,” Catra placed her hands on her shoulders. “Calm down, let me help you. That’s literally what I’m supposed to be doing.”

Adora brushed Catra’s hands off of her and looked around to make sure no one had seen them. “Why would you even want to be helpful?”

“Don’t act like you're special,” Catra shrugged, “Remember? I get a paycheck.”

“Fine,” Adora sighed and bit her lip, she didn’t want to accept the help, but she knew Catra would be too stubborn to back down. “Can you check in by the lake? You might have to check out the water ski equipment.”

Catra instantly tensed, “By… The water?”

“Uh, yes, Catra, by the water.”

“No,” Catra laughed bitterly and threw her hands in the air. “I am not going to help them in the water. You can go do that, and I can do literally anything else.”

“Catra, please. Otherwise, you’ll probably have to help Glimmer and I am not letting that happen.”

“You’re not the only one who gets to make decisions, Adora. Remember?”

“Catra,” Adora groaned and placed her head in her hands.

“I’ll go find Kyle and Entrapta. Text me when you’re ready to set up the scavenger hunt. Remember to unblock me first, though.” Catra winked at the end of her sentence, her frustration still all over her face as she walked away.

“You know,” Adora called after her, “You’re going to have to make an effort to work with people not from The Horde.”

“See you later, Grayskull,” Catra yelled back without turning around.

Adora clenched her fists, digging her nails into her palm out of anger. They were clearly both used to being in charge, and neither of them seemed willing to compromise.

--

Catra waltzed into the activities hall with her hands behind her back. She chuckled when she spotted Kyle, who was flushed up to his ears holding a box of crafts supplies, dangerously close to spilling everything onto the ground.

“This is what they have you doing?” Catra raised a brow and grabbed a box out of his arms.

“This place is huge,” Kyle breathed as his arms shook, setting down another box onto the table in front of him. “They have way too many things.”

“I know,” Catra smirked and pushed herself up so she was sitting on the table.

“I thought The Horde was fancy but this place… Geez.”

“Makes sense that Glimmer is so annoying when her family is this fucking rich, huh?”

Kyle sheepishly shrugged, “No comment.”

Catra ruffled her hands through his hair and patted him on the top of the head, “What are you planning for crafts?”

“They’re making me do birdhouses, but I wanted to do scrapbooking.”

Catra took in a deep shaky breath, she was already irritated enough, feeling like she was being forced to fill the ‘Camp Bright Moon’ role, and that all of her friends were getting the short end of the stick when it came to doing what they wanted.

“No,” She shoved the supplies off of the table making Kyle gasp and scramble to the floor. “You’ll do scrapbooking, at the very least you’re going to do both, okay?”

“Maybe,” Kyle said apprehensively as he tried to set things back up. “Check with… Adora?”

“No,” Catra said again, hopping off the table. “They want us to all work together, remember?”

“Yeah, I- I know, I just, uh,” Kyle’s voice shook as he ruffled through his box of things. “Causing conflict right away… Freaks me out.”

“I got you, okay?” Catra narrowed her eyes and placed her pointer finger on the tip of his nose.

“Okay,” He sighed and looked around quickly, “You might also want to help Entrapta and Scorpia out, too… They’re in their cabin… But, uh, it’s not looking good.”

Catra felt her chest go tight as a small wave of anger brushed over her. Catra didn’t mind not being liked by some of the other counselors because they didn’t know her. They just had their perceptions of her, and she didn’t care if they were wrong or not. She didn’t have time to deal with that. She was not worried about talking back to others or causing chaos if it meant her friends were getting what they wanted and actually having fun.

“The Horde was already shut down, we already lost that,” Catra said, surprising herself at how resentful she sounded. “If they wanted us to merge, that includes us still having things of our own, at least that’s what it means to me. Adora Grayskull,” Catra took a deep breath, “Is not the only one in charge. She listens to me, I’ll get you what you want, don’t worry about it.”

“She listens to you?”

Catra was already walking out the door and waving, “Don’t worry about it.”

Catra was on her way to Scorpia and Entrapta’s cabin when she ran into Adora again. She had to stop herself from smiling at how unfairly cute she looked. The sun was already adding a bit of a pink flush across the bridge of her nose, her ponytail was a little messy, and she had stripped out of her shirt and was in just her sports bra, a little sweaty.

Catra instantly stopped in her tracks and filled her head back up with the annoyance she felt about the Kyle situation to flood out any of the Adora looks cute thoughts. That was literally the last thing she wanted on her mind.

“Adora,” Catra called and crossed her arms.

Adora jumped and gave her a look of confusion, she quickly scrambled over to meet Catra, almost tripping over herself like usual.

“Oh,” Adora rolled her eyes dramatically, “You're calling me by my first name in public? I thought it was only Grayskull in these situations so you can save face.”

Catra’s lip twitched up but she forced herself not to smile. “You really get off on being a control freak all of the fucking time?”

“What?” Adora’s eyes went wide, “What are you talking about? And why… Why are you being mean?”

Catra’s defensiveness flickered, “Why am I being-? Kyle, birdhouses.” She finished quickly, not wanting to dive into anything else.

“Oh, we always do birdhouses for the first craft. It’s like a tradition.”

“Why can’t he do what he wants to do?” Catra scoffed and crossed her arms.

“Catra, we always do them. We have a list of things we always do. It’s just how it is.”

“So, we are expected just to come here and do everything your way?”

“Catra-”

“Stop, stop saying my name like that. This is logistics remember?”

Adora frowned and looked around their vicinity. Glimmer and Bow were a good couple feet away from them eyeing the two of them with uncertainty. Perfuma was sitting in the sun reading in the other direction.

“Can we not like… Make a scene? I’m just following the rules.”

“Of course you are,” Catra laughed cynically and shook her head. “My team is already struggling to deal with our camp being shut down. Did you ever stop and think that we have our own traditions? Our campers are coming here, too. We already lost everything.”

Adora’s frown grew deeper, she reached out to grab Catra’s hand but pulled back just as quickly. “This isn’t my fault, I’ll give you Angella’s home phone number if you need to make a house call. You don’t have to be here.”

Catra’s stare grew deeper as she looked into Adora’s eyes, “Thanks for the sympathy, Grayskull.” She said, seething.

“Catra- I mean, okay,” Adora took a deep breath and looked toward Bow and Glimmer who were still keeping their eyes on them. Glimmer looked like she was one second away from punching Catra in the face and Bow looked like he was ready to bolt in the other direction.

“How about,” Catra lowered her voice and leaned toward Adora, “You listen to me, or,” Her eyes flickered to the people around them one more time, but it wouldn’t be as fun if they weren’t watching. “I won't let you come, for a week.”

Adora’s eyes grew wide and her mouth dropped open, the slight sunburn on her face grew more prominent with the heat rising from her chest.

They had a mutual understanding that Adora could still choose not to follow Catra’s directions, with no real punishment or reprehension. They had safe words in place, Adora still had free will and so did Catra. If Adora truly did not want to follow anything Catra said, Catra would still carefully take care of her and drop the act.

Sometimes it just made things more fun.

“Catra,” Adora whined under her breath, “That’s… That’s not fair.”

To be able to avoid questions from other people, they had come up with different motions to check in with each other about how they were feeling. They had a color system, green for go, yellow for slow down and check-in, red for stop. If Catra tapped her nose twice, she was silently asking for Adora to check in color-wise.

Catra tapped her nose, Adora squeezed her eyes shut and let out another exasperated sigh. She nodded twice and gave Catra a thumbs up, signaling green.

“Okay,” Catra smirked, “So, we’ll compromise together then?”

Adora nodded quickly, “I just have to check on Mermista and Sea Hawk… Um, if you want to come with me.”

“Sounds good,” Catra said smugly, “Thanks for agreeing with me.” She softened her expression a bit, “You, um,” She leaned forward close enough to whisper in Adora’s ear, smiling a bit as she shuddered when Catra’s lips got closer. “Still good?”

“Yes,” Adora said hurriedly, so fast that Catra laughed. “Green, still.”

“Good girl,” Catra pulled away to watch Adora blush like she always did when she was praised.

“You know to always let me know, right?”

Adora nodded again, a look of desperation filling her eyes. She whipped her head around to Bow and Glimmer who looked even more perplexed than before. “I, um-”

“Go talk to them,” Catra shrugged, “I’d love to hear what you have to say, but I’ll meet you by the water.” She cringed at the thought of being by the lake but walked toward it anyway.

 

--

 

Adora jogged away from Catra, making sure not to trip over herself, and made her way to Bow and Glimmer.

She and Catra had always been able to keep whatever they had going on as vague and secretive as possible. Adora hadn’t realized how much harder it would be with all of her friends constantly watching.

Glimmer had already expressed she felt weird about leaving them alone together, worried that Catra would upset Adora too much.

Adora had pretended to nod in sympathy, saying, “Glim, I can handle myself. I don’t think Catra is as bad as she seems.”

Which just inclined Glimmer to scoff at her, “If she does anything, I will fight her.”

Adora had to leave the room to keep from laughing at Glimmer’s defensiveness, she appreciated the love, but still secretly enjoyed that no one knew Catra the way she did. At least… None of her close friends did.

Adora’s stomach had done a flip when the thought crossed her mind. She tried to remind herself she didn’t need Catra all to herself, and that was fine.

She was totally okay with the fact that she probably looked at everyone the same way she looked at her. When her eyes grew dark and a smirk parted her lips and she leaned forward knowing she was going to wreck you later.

She could totally deal with other people seeing her like that.

Definitely.

“Hey,” Adora waved awkwardly when she caught up with her two best friends, who had been eyeing her and Catra the whole time.

“Hello,” Glimmer rolled her eyes and gripped Adora’s hand with so much force that Adora let out a grunt of pain. “What did she say to you?”

“I think,” Adora scratched the back of her head, “I think some of the counselors from The Horde are feeling a little… Out of place. Or smothered, I guess. By how we do things here.”

Bow audibly gasped, “What?” He sounded like he had just taken a personal blow to the gut. “That’s it,” He took a step back and crossed his arms. “Team bonding exercise later tonight.”

“Oh my gods,” Glimmer groaned and dragged her hands down her face. “Do not make me do this, Bow.”

“We all need to become a team. It will be extremely obvious to the campers if we don’t like each other.” Bow argued back, his stare hardening as he glared at Glimmer. “Especially if you and Double Trouble want to make sure the theatre club runs smoothly. You two need to get along.”

“But Bow!” Glimmer cried and sat down on the ground, “Double Trouble and I will literally never get along, and there is no way that Catra and I-”

“Okay!” Adora interjected and crouched down on the ground to be eye level with Glimmer. Hearing Double Trouble’s name paired with Catra’s in the same sentence was enough for her. “Let’s let Bow plan something, you can take a little break right now, Glimmer. Maybe go get a snack.”

“Fine,” Glimmer glared at the two of them as she stood up. “I will go steal all of the Oreos.”

“Don’t make us call your mom,” Bow teased as she started walking away.

Glimmer stopped in her tracks and turned around, clearly holding back a smile. “Can we stop using that one?”

“No,” Bow and Adora said in unison and high-fived, making Glimmer smile for real.

Adora was thankful that the team bonding talk got in the way of whatever other questions the two of them had wanted to ask about her conversation with Catra.

Hopefully, they would just forget about it.

She knew a couple of things were clear, they could do their best to act like they didn’t like each other. They could try to keep their ‘relationship’ under wraps. But Adora knew too many things about the way Catra moved, how she spoke, how to sometimes even get her to smile. It would be difficult, at least for Adora, to pretend they didn’t at least have a bond.

Especially when Catra was going to make a bold move and whisper in her ear in front of everyone. Adora could hardly keep a straight face, but she couldn’t hide the heat that always rose to her cheeks every time Catra put on her low voice that made Adora dizzy.

Bow and Adora walked down to the beach, he was going on a ramble about how he couldn’t wait to have a bonfire later, and how he was very excited to be on a boat with Sea Hawk.

“You have a crush on him,” Adora snorted and playfully shoved him as he was in the middle of another sentence about the excuses he could come up with to make sure he was on boating duty.

“What?” Bow sputtered and shoved her back, “I do not,”

Adora laughed and ran ahead of him, calling “I’m going to go tell him!” jokingly as she made her way to the dock.

Bow rushed after her and jumped behind her, hoisting himself up so Adora was basically giving him a piggyback ride. “I’ll put ants in your bed.” He cackled into her ear as she carried him to the end of the dock.

Adora came to a halt, almost dropping Bow with the quick motion as she spotted Catra and Mermista at the end of the dock. Catra had taken her clothes off so she was standing in just her bathing suit and was very clearly showing off her tattoos to an interested Mermista.

“Adora?” Bow asked, confused, as he hopped off her back.

“Sea Hawk and Mermista are together right?” Adora bit her lip and turned around, trying to hide the worry on her face.

“I mean, yeah,” Bow eyed her with one brow raised. “They’re in an open relationship, though. Which I know that you know. What’s up?”

“Oh, duh,” Adora laughed awkwardly and looked down at herself. She had her top off but still was in her athletic shorts. “What if I just like, stripped and jumped topless into the water?”

“What?” Bow’s eyes went wide, and he looked at her worriedly, “Why in the world would you do that?” He clearly could not tell if she was joking or not.

Adora looked back over to Mermista and Catra. Mermista, who was now touching Catra’s forearm, still looking at her tattoos.

“I’m just really sweaty,” Adora pursed her lips together. “You’re right, though.” She said as she strolled toward them. “Why in the world would I do that?”

“Do what?” Mermista eyed her with uncertainty as Adora accidentally bumped into her due to the fact she was walking backward.

“Uh-”

“She wanted to jump topless into the lake because it’s hot.” Bow teased and ran up to her, bumping her shoulder with his own.

“Did you now?” Catra cackled, lowering her arm from Mermista’s fingertips. “And what’s stopping you?”

“Well,” Adora crossed her arms, “For one, you’re all here and-”

“We’ve all seen you naked, Adora.” Mermista cut in, “Well, I guess everyone besides Catra.”

Adora turned her face toward Catra, not moving a muscle to hold in any involuntary expression.

Catra seemed to be in the same predicament and nodded her head slowly in agreement. “Yeah, save that for drunk skinny dipping, Adora. I’ll close my eyes then.”

“Ditto,” Adora forced out. “You guys, um, look like you’re getting along.”

“Yeah, Catra has some sick tattoos.” Mermista grinned, poking Catra’s shoulder.

Catra glanced at Adora, and she swore she saw a look of quick regret glaze over her eyes before she smirked, even though her eyes still drooped.

“They said they’re all good to go down here, by the way. If we want to start the scavenger hunt set-up.” Catra said, avoiding eye contact.

“Yes,” Adora nodded and already started walking back up to the beach and away from everyone, “I’m going to go change first. We should take a lunch break or something? See you in a couple of hours.” She yelled, without looking back.



Adora was pulling a crew neck sweater over her head when Catra came through the door, letting it slam shut.

“You’re such an idiot, you know that, right?” Catra smiled as she leaned up against the door.

“What?” Adora narrowed her eyes, “On what grounds?”

“The fact that Mermista gently grazed my arms and then you wanted to show your tits off to everyone on the dock.”

“It is hot outside.”

“Sure,” Catra tilted her head and teasingly pouted her lips. “Next time just forcefully grab me by the arm and flash me behind a tree or something.”

“Oh, because that would instantly make you stop flirting with anyone else? And besides, me being jealous is too much, remember?”

“I was not flirting,” Catra rolled her eyes and took a step closer to Adora. “And…” She cleared her throat and her eyes darted to the ground. “It is, but it’s… It’s cute how worked up it makes you.”

Adora’s whole body felt like it lit up at the praise, “Really,” She smiled, elongating the syllables. “I see, so it’s not too much as long as you get to see me naked afterward.”

“Shut up,” Catra laughed, “You’re such a dork.”

“Whatever,” Adora forced another smile and changed out of her shorts to put on some jeans. “You can flirt with whoever you want.”

Catra was silent for a minute before clearing her throat again, “I know.” She responded, before searching in her own things to grab a sweater.

They made sure to put on bug spray, even though Catra complained through the whole process about the smell. The sun was going down, and the bugs would be out. Adora could stand a lot of things about the wilderness, but the buzzing sound of the mosquitos, or horse flies, or just flies, in general, drove her crazy. She liked bugs, but only if they were silent.

Which in retrospect, was very few of them.

Adora grabbed the backpack full of the things before giving Catra a thumbs up, they walked into the woods, staying several feet apart from each other.

“We should have done this earlier in the day,” Catra said as they started along the trail.

“Are you scared of the dark?” Adora poked her tongue out at her before turning her attention back to the map. Bow was very precise and descriptive of where every clue was supposed to be hidden. Each camper got their own digital compass device that helped lead them to each clue. They started with their first coordinates, then each clue had another set until they grabbed the last one to head back.

Again, it was tradition.

“I’m not scared, I’m just staying. If we see a raccoon, I’m using you as a shield.”

“Seriously?” Adora giggled, “You’re afraid of raccoons? Why do you even work at a summer camp?”

Catra went silent for a moment, Adora’s ears were filled with the sound of rustling leaves and cracking branches

“I like to work with kids,” Catra mumbled. “Sometimes they don’t have good role models at home.”

“Oh,” Adora’s breath hitched, she turned to look at her, but she was looking directly at the ground. She wasn’t expecting a real answer, but that was probably the most real thing Catra had ever said to her.

Even if it wasn’t much, it was still surprising.

“Why do you?” Catra said back, she stopped to make sure Adora didn’t trip over a branch as they came up to their first location to hide a clue.

“About the same,” Adora responded. “Um, I didn’t… Have a great home life. My parents… Were terrible. I like working with kids, they’re hilarious, and it’s rewarding. It’s nice to be there for them, I don’t know. Give them an escape for a little bit.”

“Yeah,” Catra nodded, she was still avoiding eye contact as they continued walking. “That’s, um, that’s really great. Maybe explains why you take your job so seriously,” Catra chuckled.

Adora scoffed and shoved her playfully, taking a step closer to her. “It’s important to take it seriously, someone has to.”

They had hidden most of the clues in the forest after about thirty minutes, and Adora stopped to grab a drink of water.

“Adora,” Catra said hesitantly, she grabbed the map out of Adora’s hands and looked down at it with a quizzical brow raised. “Do you know where we are?”

“What? Of course, I do,” Adora gulped the rest of the water bottle down and looked at the map over Catra’s shoulder. “We’re right here, by the big tree and the hill that leads back down toward the lake.”

“Uh, no,” Catra shook her head, “It would be a little colder if we were closer to the lake, and we’d at least be able to hear the waves if we were because it’s windy out right now.”

“But there’s a hill right there,” Adora pointed and scrunched her nose in frustration, “I’m sure if we walk down it, we'll get to the lake.”

“Oh my gods,” Catra groaned and leaned back up against a tree, covering her eyes with her hands. “We literally are going to get eaten by a bear.”

“There are no bears out here, Catra.” Adora grabbed her by the wrist to pull her hands down. “The lake is down there, let’s just go to it.”

They walked with even more space between them than before down the hill. Adora crossed her arms in defiance, slightly hurt that Catra didn’t trust her navigation skills.

“Adora,” Catra hissed as they walked down to nothing but a bunch of trees, they were clearly off the trail. “See, no lake.”

“It’s probably farther down,” Adora said surveying her surroundings. A hint of worry sparked in her stomach as she looked around, she knew the woods like the back of her hand.

Or, at least, she thought she did.

And she knew they weren’t in the right spot.

“Did you bring your phone?” She turned to Catra, trying to hide the worry in her eyes.

Catra glared at her, “I don’t have any pockets.”

“What?” Adora choked out, exasperated. “I literally have a backpack with me.”

“Then why didn’t you bring your phone?”

“I did,” Adora looked at her briefly, embarrassment flooding her face. “It’s dead.”

“Are you fucking kidding?” Catra cried and sat down on the ground up against a tree. “It’s basically pitch-black outside, there’s no way we can find our way back. Not even with your stupid electronic compass or whatever.”

“It’s not stupid. It’s actually very resourceful. If you have a map and actually… Know where you are.” Adora sat down next to Catra by the tree and placed a hand on her knee. “Bow and Glimmer will come to find us when they realize we should have been back already.”

Catra glanced down at the hand placed on her then up at Adora’s eyes, before scooting away. “I don’t need you to comfort me.”

“I was just trying to be nice.” Adora frowned and grabbed Catra’s leg to pull her back towards her. “Catra, you’ve been… Messing with me all day.”

“Don’t say my name like that,” Catra placed her head on her knees and hid her face.

“What?” Adora dropped the contact she had on her, “Like what?”

“Like, we’re friends, or like... You care deeply about me.”

“Really?” Adora glared at her, trying to hide the hurt in her eyes with forced frustration instead. “We’re going to stick with the, ‘we’re not friends’, thing?” She wanted to say so many other things. At least tell Catra that she did care about her. There was no way that she couldn’t. Adora knew Catra could try to write her off a million times and Adora would always come back anyway.

You said we weren’t,” Catra retorted, she cracked her knuckles and turned to make eye contact with Adora again. “So, yep.”

“Catra,” Adora tried to say her name as monotone as possible. She took a deep breath and twisted a piece of her hair around her fingers, watching it unravel on its own. “People can’t find out.” She said meekly, even though at the moment she didn’t feel like she cared about that.

Of course, she did, in the long run. When they somehow found their way back to the cabin, when the sun rose tomorrow, and when they had one day left for the campers to arrive. When sense came back to her and she didn’t want to lose her job or cause tension with the counselors, or any of the bad things that would happen if they got closer.

Sometimes, on rare nights, for a split second, she didn’t care.

“Duh,” Catra responded, “Your friends hate me, my friends hate you.”

“What?” Adora gasped, instantly hurt. “They hate me?”

“You’ve been such an uptight brat the whole fucking day,”

“But I’m compromising and listening to you, remember?” Adora choked up a bit remembering their conversation from earlier.

“And why is that?” Catra grabbed Adora’s thigh and pulled her close to her, so her legs were wrapped around her. “Because I’m the only one you’ll listen to?”

“Shut up,” Adora scrunched her nose up, trying to hide how easily flustered she had become. “I don’t always need to listen to you.”

“Sure,” Catra nodded, even in the dark Adora could still see the gleam in her eye. “But you know that I won’t fuck you unless you do.”

Adora felt her mouth go dry, she pulled Catra toward her and laid down on her back. She didn’t care about the uncomfortable feeling of the twigs and rocks under her.

Catra straddled her and looked down at her, her smirk sent heat throughout Adora’s whole body.

“See, there you go.” Catra pushed a loose strand of hair behind Adora’s ear. “Doing exactly what I want you to.”

Adora knew how quickly she gave into Catra, every single time. The way she would lower her voice, smirk at her, edge her on. Adora’s knees would buckle from just one look, and every time it made Catra just a bit cockier.

But Catra had been so terrible to work with that day, and had… Possibly flirted with Mermista earlier, Adora at least wanted to challenge her.

She reached a hand down in between Catra’s legs, holding in a gasp when she felt she was already wet. She looked up, back into her eyes, and smirked. “You’re easy,” Adora breathed, running her fingers over the edges of her athletic shorts. “Turned on from the possibility of getting to fuck me.”

Catra forcibly grabbed Adora’s wrist and pinned it back near her head, she glared down at her before pinning down the other one. She rolled her hips down onto Adora’s thigh, letting out a soft moan, before leaning down closer to Adora’s lips, just to tease her. “Check-in?” She said. Adora nodded quickly, flustered by the rasp in her voice.

“I’m- I’m good,” She said, glancing down to watch Catra grind down on her thigh.

“No,” Catra shook her head and gently released her grip on Adora’s wrist. “Color, and safe word.”

“Green,” Adora said, not being able to take her eyes off Catra’s hips and motions and how she knew she was already wet and so clearly wanting her. “And, cinnamon.”

“Good girl,” Catra stopped the motion of her hips and Adora let out a whine, trying to press her thigh into her again. “You think I’m easy?” Catra leaned down, her lips brushing over Adora’s as she smiled, “You should see how desperate you look right now.”

Catra’s lips smelt like bubblegum chapstick and her hands were so soft and Adora leaned up to kiss her, but Catra pushed her back down.

“So needy,” Catra whispered, she ran a thumb over Adora’s lips. “Arguing with me all day and now all you want me to do is touch you.”

Adora remembered Mermista touching Catra’s forearm which made her ribcage burn, “You’re the one who’s wet already.” She whispered, making sure to lock eyes with her.

Catra tilted her head to the side, “That’s cute,” She gently placed her hand around Adora’s throat.

Adora wanted nothing more at that moment for Catra to tighten the grip around her throat, her lips ached to kiss her, “Also,” She whispered, “You were the one who came up to me in broad daylight to tease me. I’m not the only needy one.”

Catra tightened the grip on her throat, Adora squirmed underneath her, she tried to bite back a smile from getting the pressure back on her, but Catra’s eyes flickered to her lips. She kissed her, heavy, fast, with her hand wrapped around her throat. Giving Adora no opportunity to touch her.

Adora felt every sense of wanting to tease her dissolve as they kissed, bubble gum and soft lips flooding all of her senses as she whined against her, needing more contact.

Catra broke the kiss and released her grip, “Color?”

“Green,” Adora breathed, aching for the tightness back on her throat. Catra gave her a soft reassuring smile that sent butterflies through her whole body.

“So,” Catra shook her head, “Are you going to listen?”

“Make me,” Adora tried to shrug the best she could without the control of her arms, drinking in the way Catra’s expression changed in front of her. She loved to challenge her, see the cracks in the way she presented herself so dominantly and in control. Loved to see the split second where she looked just as flustered as Adora felt.

“Wrong answer,” Catra’s expression darkened, and she stared down at Adora, making everything in her ache.

She shifted underneath her and reached her free hand to place it over Catra’s, gently squeezing the hand around her throat.

Catra chuckled and pinned both of Adora’s hands back again. “Here’s what’s going to happen, I’m going to fuck you, but not let you come. Then, I’ll ride your face and not let you touch me.”

“Catra-”

“Remember how I said you listen to me or you don’t come for a week?” Adora nodded, heat flooding in between her thighs remembering how hard it was to keep it together earlier for it all to come undone so quickly.

“Catra,” Adora whined again, “Please, that’s not fair. I-please, please, I-”

Catra placed her hand over Adora’s mouth and narrowed her eyes, “Baby, stop whining.”

Baby, one night of tipsy truth or dare when they were still at their respective camps led Adora to admit some of her favorite things to be called by a partner. Catra had taken a sip of her drink and smiled, then said it non-stop when they hooked up later that night.

“Okay,” Catra said, releasing her hand from Adora’s mouth. She ran her thumb over Adora’s cheek, “Let’s come back for a second,” She quickly dropped her dominant act and cradled Adora’s face in her hands. “You always have free will, you can always ask for what you need, we stop any time you want, no matter what, and no repercussions.”

“I know,” Adora smiled, trying to hide the fondness in her voice. When she liked to think about how no one else got to see Catra the way she did, she didn’t just mean naked or flushed or moaning. She meant the softness in her eyes making sure Adora felt taken care of, even if it was just during sex.

“One more time, color?”

“Green,” Adora said again, gasping when Catra placed pressure around her throat again and used her other hand to undo Adora’s pants, not waiting to slide her hand down. Her hands stumbled a bit trying to maneuver them in Adora’s skinny jeans, causing them both to giggle and Catra to get further back on her knees to pull them off.

Catra laughed again, “Do you want to get up against a tree or something or are you okay with being basically naked on the dirt? Two very enticing choices.”

“I’m good here,” Adora grinned, she didn’t want to go through the process of situating herself to stand up, or Catra deciding to tease her all over again if they changed positions. Too desperate to move, she pulled Catra’s hand back to her, using her grip on her wrist to move her hand over the dampness of her underwear.

Catra watched her for a moment with her mouth parted, letting her use her hand to touch her.

Adora wanted to remember the look of her worked up and flushed face forever so when she was away from her the rest of the year, she’d remember the way she’d made her feel good, or try to hear in her mind Catra’s exact tone of voice every time she whispered, “Good girl."

Catra pinned Adora’s hands above her head again, a little more forcefully than before, using one hand to keep them both down. “If you move your hands,” Catra said, already breathing heavily, “I’ll stop.”

“O-Okay,” Adora whined. She wanted to use her hands to touch all of her, to pull her hair or feel the back of her neck or dig her fingernails gently into her. But she kept them still over her head, watching intently as Catra stayed up on her knees, pulling Adora’s underwear off of her while making direct eye contact.

Catra didn’t hesitate to press one finger in, dropping her gaze from Adora’s eyes down to her own hands.

They never really looked each other in the eyes during everything.

Adora sometimes wanted it, but she knew in her core it would cause even more complications than there already were.

She gripped her own wrist to be able to grab at something from the already overwhelming feeling, holding in her moans out of habit while Catra kept a steady pace.

“Catra,” Adora whimpered, lifting her head to look at her, “Please.”

Catra tilted her head, feigning confusion, “Please what, princess?”

Adora stilled, “Two,” She said shyly, looking up at the sky and focusing on the stars to hide the embarrassment she always felt when she asked for what she wanted.

Catra obliged, sliding in another finger, Adora flew her hand over her mouth to hold back the sounds slipping out.

“Hey,” Catra pulled her hand away, “We’re alone out here, I want you to be loud.”

Adora softly cried out, squirming and repositioning her hands over her head, letting every moan and noise and string of desperate words out as Catra continued her steady pace, eyes still locked on her own hand or Adora’s chest still covered by her sweater.

She tried to move her hips down and deeper into her fingers but Catra placed a heavy hand on her hips to keep her still. “You have to ask,” Catra said, voice still so low that another whimper escaped Adora’s mouth.

“Faster,” Adora whispered, squeezing her eyes shut when Catra started to slow down.

“Say please.”

“Please faster, please, I want to feel you, more please.” Adora cried out, already losing herself and her breaths growing more desperate the longer Catra didn’t move her fingers.

“See, all you had to do was ask nicely,” Catra said, picking up her pace again and using her other hand to move circles around Adora’s clit.

Adora kept her eyes shut, the pressure and stretch from just two fingers already overwhelming as Catra thrust deeper and faster, slowly picking up her pace more and more and keeping her thumb softly dragging over her. The desire of wanting to come flooded her whole body. Not having anything to grab onto still, she was biting her lips so hard she started to taste blood when Catra curled her fingers up.

“Catra,” She cried out, hips reflexively jerking up into her touch, “Please, I kept my hands still, please I want to come so badly, I want you so badly I’ve been so good.” At that moment, Adora knew she would do absolutely anything to have Catra work her gently through her orgasm, longing for the moment she would look down at her with the only real flash of care she ever received from her.

Catra didn’t say anything, just shook her head with a smirk and continued her pace.

“Please, I’ve been good this whole time, I need you, and I’m so close-”

Catra stopped, pulling her fingers out and moving one hand to push Adora’s hips down again, and sliding her fingers into Adora’s mouth. Adora sucked herself desperately off of Catra’s fingers and looked up into her eyes, trying her best to plead with her expression and mouth full.

“So needy,” Catra removed her fingers and brushed them over Adora’s cheek. “Think about that the next time you decide to be a brat.”

Adora’s lip and whole body trembled, “Please, but I-”

Catra pulled her into a kiss, running her hands up Adora’s arms and pushing her hands further into the ground. “You still don’t get to come, but you get to watch me come with your hands pinned above your head.”

“Can I please touch?” She whispered against Catra’s lips, before bringing them back into a kiss, moaning into her mouth when Catra bit at her lip that was already bruised from before.

“If you’re good, I’ll let you,” Catra said, breaking the kiss to awkwardly pull off her shorts. Adora watched fondly and almost moved to help her get them off before bringing her hands back down.

“Color?” Catra asked when her shorts were fully off, “You’re still okay?”

“Green, and yes,” Adora breathed watching when Catra moved her hand down to touch herself.

“Good girl,” Catra broke to smile and nod at her, and Adora wished that it didn’t make her feel so taken care of and appreciated.

Catra continued to touch herself, squeezing her eyes shut and moaning while Adora watched with dark eyes, almost squinting so it was easier to see with night falling all around them and the only light being the moon peeking through the trees.

She moved to position herself over Adora, looking straight in front of her and still not back down at her. “Keep your hands above your head,” She warned before bringing herself down onto Adora’s mouth.

Adora moaned when she finally got to taste her, forcing every instinct away to be able to grab her hips or feel her ass just to feel how soft she was and memorize the way she always would grind down onto Adora’s face.

She held back a grin or another sarcastic remark that would get her in more trouble at how fast Catra’s pace was and how much noise she was already making. She was always making Adora wait, teasing her relentlessly, and punishing her for wanting more without asking. But whenever she actually let Adora make her come instead of just making her watch, she never waited, always desperate.

Adora flickered between keeping her eyes shut as she ate Catra out and opening them to watch the expressions change on her face. She was rolling her nipples through her fingers under her sweater and throwing her head back.

Catra was already so clearly worked up from touching Adora that she was already close, her mouth dropped open and Adora was extremely grateful that they didn’t have to worry about being quiet this time.

She picked up the speed of her hips, riding Adora’s face, “You can touch,” She gasped out, dropping her own hands so they were on either side of Adora’s head. Catra’s movements no longer steady, just desperately grinding down onto her tongue.

Adora’s hands instantly flew to Catra’s hips, running them over every part she could reach. Grabbing and running her fingernails into her lower back. Catra cried out from the contact, gasping out a string of words and, “Fuck, fuck, fuck.” Adora wanted nothing more than to see her face.

She moved a hand to Adora’s shoulder to dig her nails in as she came, working herself through it while Adora loosened up her grip to be able to hold her while she slowed her pace and collapsed gently on top of her.

They laid like that for a couple of minutes. Catra on top of her, breathing heavily and keeping her eyes squeezed shut, Adora softly running her hands over her back.

Embarrassment grew deep in Adora’s stomach again as she looked up at Catra with pleading eyes, “Did I do-”

“Yeah,” Catra ran her hands through Adora’s now falling apart ponytail, “You did so good for me.” She moved so she could position Adora in her arms to hold her. Kissing the top of her head and around her face. “How are you feeling?”

“I’m good,” Adora sighed, nestling her head into the crook of Catra’s neck.

At the beginning of everything, Catra wasn't one to cuddle or kiss after sex. Until they started doing heavier scenes and doing more than fucking quickly in the bathroom. She started to take care of Adora afterward. It was truly the best part of everything.

At least for Adora.

A sense of pride filled her as she looked up into Catra’s face, but when they locked eyes Catra immediately looked away. Disappointment crept in but Adora tried to let it fade as they continued to hold each other.

“Wait,” Catra bolted upright, reaching for her athletic shorts and stumbling as she stood up. “Do you hear that?” Her voice cracked and she threw Adora’s pants toward her.

“What-?”

“Be quiet,” Catra hissed and looked around them, “People are coming.”

Adora grabbed her jeans and tried to pull them on as quickly as she could, struggling and cursing herself for deciding to wear skinny jeans of all things into the forest.

“Adora? Catra?” Whoever was coming to find them called out. Adora spotted a phone flashlight in the distance and tripped standing up to button and zip up her pants.

She glanced at Catra, who looked wrecked and flushed, and Adora knew she looked the same or worse. At least it was dark outside.

“What do we do?” Adora whispered, panicking.

“We’re dressed,” Catra looked down at herself then at Adora, “Just… Act cool. If you’re capable of that.”

“Shut up,” Adora grinned, wiping off her face just in case.

The light came closer to them, Catra stepped a few feet away from her and Adora decided to lean up against the tree.

There you are,” Glimmer cried, running over to Adora with worry all over her face. “I went to great lengths to find you,” She said, basically shouting.

“Catra, so good to see you.” An all too familiar voice called out.

Adora took a step away from Glimmer’s grasp to see Double Trouble waltz in behind her with Bow just a couple of steps behind them.

“You… You came with them?” Adora seethed, watching them walk up to put an arm around Catra’s shoulder. “Don’t you hate them?”

“I said I went to great lengths,” Glimmer crossed her arms. “And Bow came with as a mediator.”

Bow looked relieved when he stepped into view. Each of them grabbed Adora’s hands and Adora almost cringed knowing where they had just been, removing her hands and gluing them to her sides.

“Let’s get out of here,” She said as her stomach dropped watching DT and Catra laugh a couple of feet away from her.

Adora walked away with Bow and Glimmer, pretending that the ever-growing pit in her stomach wasn’t making it hard to breathe.

Chapter Text

Adora woke up early again.

The sunrise was peaking through the front windows. She forced her eyes open to stare at the light to make herself not fall back asleep. The heat from outside was already seeping into the cabin, Adora could feel a gross and thick layer of sweat already on her body.

She threw her blankets off and walked to the bathroom, wincing a bit at how badly her limbs hurt from the night before.

Looking in the mirror made her break out into laughter, she still looked wrecked. There was dirt in her hair, and she couldn’t tell if all of the scratches on her were from Catra or from the twigs and branches she had been laying on in the forest.

She didn’t know if the lie the two of them would be telling to everyone would hold up. Getting lost in the woods doesn’t necessarily mean you are covered in things from the forest floor.

Adora stumbled back into the bedroom. Bow and Glimmer were still sound asleep, but Catra’s bed was neat and made up, there wasn’t a trace of her.

Since she had passed out the second she fell into her bed, she didn’t even know if Catra had slept there last night at all. She had assumed as much, but staring at the emptiness made her think otherwise.

Adora didn’t want to think about it.

Think about whatever else she could have been doing.

It wasn’t any of her business.

She changed into some workout clothes and took two painkillers to ease the soreness of her limbs before lacing up her running shoes and walking outside.

The heat was even worse when she stepped out, even with how early in the morning it was.

Ten minutes into her run and she already regretted skipping putting on sunscreen, but she just wanted to clear her head a bit.

The campers were coming tomorrow, and everything still needed to be perfect. There were only a couple of more things she would have to do during the day, but she felt good about it. She would be able to focus on work, and not anything else.

Not about Catra.

But she was just in her head.

They were just seeing each other more often, that was it. Every other year they only see each other once a week at most. And the only reason they’d hang out was for one specific reason only, instead of being forced to see each other every waking moment.

But, seeing Catra open up for a brief moment was nice, maybe they could dip their toe into the water that spelled ‘friends’ in rocks at the bottom.

Nothing made sense about the whole thing, so she just kept running.

Running until she got halfway around the lake and back to the docks at camp. Hoping she’d be able to jump in quickly to get the sweat off before she had to shower for real back at the cabin.

But then, she saw her. 

Holding something with her hands and kicking her feet in the water. A mug and a backpack next to her while she rocked back and forth to whatever music she was listening to in her headphones.

Adora almost didn’t want to disturb her. She looked completely peaceful, enjoying a moment in her own little world. And clearly got up early enough to do it alone. Or, again, maybe she never went to bed.

But she still didn’t want to think about that.

Adora stepped on a branch, wincing at the sound as Catra turned around to look at her. She shoved whatever she was holding into her backpack and made eye contact with her.

“Are you stalking me?” Catra asked, crossing her arms as Adora walked toward her.

“No,” Adora rolled her eyes and sat far enough away from Catra so that there was no chance for an accidental touch. “I go on a run every morning and you’re never here.”

“Yeah,” Catra stretched her arms in the air and took a sip from her mug. “I got up really early, I couldn’t sleep.”

“What were you doing?” Adora pointed to Catra’s backpack and was about to reach out before Catra grabbed her wrist.

“Adora,” Catra tightened her grip and locked eyes with her. “I literally will shove you into the lake.”

“Woah,” Adora broke out into a smile, even with the grip on her wrist. “How is that even fair? I just want to know-”

“No, nope,” Catra said, and Adora only smiled more when she saw the corners of Catra’s mouth slowly turning up into a grin.

“Fine,” Adora laughed and pulled her hand back, “What did you even do last night?”

Catra tilted her head to the side and looked at her before poking her on the forehead. “You are so sweaty,” She said, scrunching up her nose. “Jump in, or I’ll push you in.”

Adora scoffed, “I was going to do that anyway until you told me to.”

“Oh, yeah?” Catra smirked, pushing a piece of loose hair behind Adora’s ear before cupping her face. “Jump in.”

Adora scoffed, leaning into the touch anyway. “I don’t think so.”

Catra stood up, pulling Adora up with her.

“Very funny, Catra,” Adora said. Catra was holding her over the edge of the dock, if she let go Adora would fall in. “You know I’ll just pull you in with me, right?”

Catra’s eyes went wide, “I’m scared of the water.” She said it so gently that Adora wasn’t even sure she heard her right.

“Let go, I won’t pull you in.”

Catra’s eyes perked back up, followed by another grin. She let go instantly, dropping Adora into the water.

Adora came up for air and squeezed the water out of her ponytail. She swam over to rest her arms on the edge of the dock to look back up at Catra. “Show me what you were working on?” She asked, just as gently as Catra spoke before.

Catra cracked her knuckles and sat back down, pulling her backpack in her lap. “Fine, but only because you didn’t pull me in.”

Adora smiled and watched eagerly as Catra pulled out some yarn and a knitting loom, along with other craft items.

“Don’t laugh,” Catra warned.

“I won’t, I promise.”

“I was knitting a hat,” Catra held up her work to Adora. “There’s this one camper that comes every year, and they don’t really have much. Whenever we go down by the lake at night they get cold, so, yeah. I’m making them a hat, maybe a scarf. I know it’s summer, or whatever, but they never even have sweatpants.”

Adora felt every bone, every muscle, everything she had, soften a bit. If for some reason a huge wave washed over her she might float away. “That’s really sweet of you.”

“Nah,” Catra shrugged, stuffing everything back away into her bag. “Sometimes I feel like it’s the bare minimum that I could be doing.”

“No,” Adora shook her head, pulling herself back up on the dock so she could sit closer. “It’s more than most people would even think of doing."

A blush quickly spread over Catra’s face that Adora got to see and take in for a moment before Catra turned her head away. “You really go on a run this early every morning?”

Adora cackled and laid down on her back to look up at the sky. There wasn’t a cloud in sight, just the calming colors floating in the air. “Yeah,” She breathed, letting the sun soak in. “I mean, I try to. You know... You could always come with me if you wanted.”

Catra slowly turned her head around and looked down at Adora. “Are you sure that wouldn’t be suspicious? Inviting your mortal enemy to your peaceful morning run?”

“No one else is awake,” Adora smiled, “They wouldn’t know.”

Catra laid down next to her, taking her by surprise. Close enough so their hands and ankles were touching. “Uh,” She wiggled a bit, turning her head so Adora could see her eyes. “Are you okay after last night? We didn’t get to do much aftercare because of the… Interruption.”

Adora felt frozen, like time stopped just for a second, even in the blistering heat. “Oh,” She said, sitting up a bit, trying to unfreeze to be able to act cool, aloof, anything else besides what she actually felt. “I’m good, thank you for asking.” 

Which was the truth.

Catra’s expression relaxed, “Of course,” Was all she said before squeezing her eyes shut.

Adora was going to say something else before her mouth clamped shut as she saw Scorpia start to walk down the hill toward the dock. “Catra,” She said, shoving her arm, hiding the panic on her face. “Scorpia is-”

Catra bolted upright, and almost like it was pure instinct, pushed Adora back into the lake.

Adora came up from the water instantly, coughing some up and trying to keep quiet. “What the fuck?” She whispered, trying to get back up, but Catra just pushed her in again.

“If you weren’t scared of the water you’d be so dead right now,” Adora said, accepting the fact she was stuck there until Scorpia left.

“Hey, guys!” Scorpia beamed and sat down next to Catra, holding two tiny muffins in her hand. “I brought you a tiny muffin,” She handed one to Catra and stuffed the other one in her mouth. “They aren’t that great, but Glimmer and Entrapta made like, gosh, one hundred of them?”

“They did what?” Adora’s mouth dropped open in shock.

Scorpia glanced at Adora, almost looking annoyed that she spoke at all. “What are you guys doing down here?”

“I was just jumping in the lake after my morning run.” Adora turned to look at Catra to see what her explanation would be, but her whole body was unreadable. “I’m going to take a shower.”

Adora could feel Scorpia and Catra’s eyes on her as she walked away, hating that the sand from the beach stuck to her feet as she left.

 

--

 

Catra finished the hat she was knitting around the time breakfast was officially going to start. Scorpia had left her alone after she talked her way out of hanging out with everyone else before the day started.

She wanted to be alone, just for a little bit.

Just in the morning so she could maybe watch the sunrise, steady her breathing, and tell herself everything was going to be okay.

It felt like everyone else seemed to be getting along while she sat on the sidelines and watched it happen.

But, that’s why the whole day was apparently set aside for team bonding.

Adora clearly wasn’t aware of that fact this morning, because she wasn’t freaking out.

While they were lost in the woods the night before, the rest of the counselors finished setting everything up. That would definitely freak Adora out, and it would probably take a whole team of people to stop her from checking up on things.

Catra walked back to the cabin, letting the fresh air fill her lungs and the sun warm her skin. She almost felt content, like she could handle a whole day doing activities she found pointless.

“There you are,” A familiar voice sneered.

Catra plastered on a smirk before turning around. “Did you come all the way here to find me, Sparkles? I didn’t know you cared about me that much.”

“Oh, fuck off,” Glimmer snapped. “I made french toast, go eat it.”

“Fuck,” Catra held her hands up in defense, “Maybe you should get some coffee in you, you’re acting like a bigger asshole than usual.”

“Whatever,” Glimmer snorted, “Right, I made a conscious decision to come fuck with you. I never have any real reason behind my actions.”

“Just spit it out, Glimmer. What do you want?”

“Did you do something to Adora last night?” Glimmer took a step closer, being surprisingly intimidating.

“What do you mean?” Catra choked out, trying to keep a straight face.

“She’s acting weird this morning.”

Catra laughed, a little too much, Glimmer looked like she was ready to start physically fighting.

Catra almost wanted to tell her the truth, just to wipe that taunting look off Glimmer’s face.

Instead, she said, “Ask Adora.” Patting Glimmer on the head and opening the front door. “I’ll see you at breakfast.”

Catra walked toward the picnic tables out in the sun where everyone else was sitting. Trying to ignore the way Glimmer marched right past her, bumping her shoulder as she did so.

Scorpia waved Catra over to sit by her, sliding a paper plate full of breakfast food and a coffee mug in her direction.

Catra smiled, taking a sip of coffee and trying not to make a face when it burned the roof of her mouth.

Even though she had already seen Adora that morning, sweaty and then soaked with water from the lake, she still had to force down a smile when she looked at her.

Adora, who had freckles starting to spread on her face from the sun, who somehow looked like she was glowing even so early in the morning. Shorts on so Catra could see how good her thighs always looked.

Adora looked back up at her, and Catra wanted to sprint away when she caught the smile she threw her way.

Bow stood up in front of the group and cleared his throat, getting everyone's attention. “So, today we’re spending the whole day doing team bonding. Remember that this is important for all of us. So, please, try to take it a little bit seriously.”

Catra held in a groan, she could get through this.

“I’m going to put you all into groups,” Bow grabbed Adora’s clipboard, and Catra had to hold in a laugh at the squeaking noise that came out of her mouth when it was taken away from her. “I’m with Kyle and Perfuma, Mermista is with Scorpia, Sea Hawk with Entrapta, Glimmer and DT, then Catra and Adora.”

They all went quiet and looked around at each other, all Catra could hear besides breathing was an annoying bird song a couple of feet away.

“I tried to pair you with someone you don’t know that well, or,” His voice went up an octave as he spoke his next words. “People you really should become at least a little bit friendly with.”

Catra felt nauseous. She looked at Adora again, who looked like she was one moment away from panicking.

“So, go pack a bag. We’ll be staying in the woods overnight. Not in a place without a compass in the dark.”

A slight chuckle spread throughout the group as they looked between Catra and Adora.

Catra felt more than uneasy, she chewed on her lip and looked at some of the uneaten food on her plate.

If anyone knew anything, they didn’t say it.

Catra made her way back to the cabin without looking back, even though she could faintly hear and feel Adora trying to catch up with her.

She stopped as she put her hand on the door handle to look back. “Hey, Adora,” She grinned as Adora looked up from the ground just in time to bump into her.

“Hey, Catra,” Adora said, stumbling over her words, reaching over to open the door so they could walk inside. “Ready for, um-”

“No,” Catra cut her off, already starting to pack when she got in the door. “Not even a little, it’s going to be so-”

“Awkward,” Adora’s face flushed red as she grabbed her backpack and slung it over her shoulders. “But, I mean,” She walked over to Catra, wrapping an arm around her waist. “We’re paired together, it won’t be too terrible.”

“Oh, fuck off, Grayskull,” Catra turned around, but Adora kept her arms around her. “You’re not a good actor, if you act even a little suspicious, I’ll push you in the lake again.”

“Oh, deal,” She smiled back at Catra, “Naked?”

Catra raised her eyebrows and leaned closer, “Yeah, naked.”

The sun freckles on Adora’s face were so much better up close, her breath smelled like maple syrup and somehow even that was cute.

“Okay, okay,” Catra forced herself to step back and finish packing. “Let’s go, dumbass. Glimmer and Bow will be back soon so get away from me.” It came off playful, which she almost regretted when a giggle escaped that pretty mouth.

“Adora,” Glimmer’s shrill voice entered the cabin almost if on cue, “Let’s get going. It’s a pretty big hike, I want you to be on call in case Bow needs help to carry me.”

Catra watched as Adora laughed and nodded, pink flushing across the bridge of her nose. “You coming?” She looked back at her, pointing toward the door.

“I’ll catch up,” Catra said, monotone. “I’m gonna meet up with, uh, other people.”

“Sounds good,” Adora whispered, and Catra thought just for a moment she looked disappointed.

Everything was fine.

Catra grabbed her backpack and walked out without another word.

She walked until she found the rest of the Horde crew, Double Trouble in front of all of them with an exasperated look.

“Oh, hey,” They smirked, looking at Catra and reaching out a hand.

Catra grabbed it with a laugh and let them twirl her around. “Ready for a day jam-packed with fun?” She stuck her tongue out, playfully.

“For sure,” They rolled their eyes and looked back at everyone else. “Scorpia is freaking out, though. She’s worried about sunscreen.”

Catra pinched the bridge of her nose, “Stay here, we can walk together. I’ll go help.”

Scorpia’s whole backpack was on display on the grass, she was crouched down next to the mess with her head in her hands.

“Scorp, how many times do we have to go over the fact that you have a million bottles of sunscreen. I packed some, let’s go.”

Scorpia looked up, bashfully. “All right,” She breathed, “I’m just nervous. Help me up?”

Catra helped her off the ground, grunting in pain at the strength of her grip. “Let’s get it over with.”



It was awkward as the Horde counselors caught up with Bright Moon, who were all already by the trail waiting.

Bow grimaced as they all walked up, he dropped his arm off of Sea Hawk’s shoulder and walked up to them. “Okay,” He smiled and clapped his hands, “You know what? Everyone is walking side by side with their buddies. Let’s start mingling, talk about where you want to be in five years and all of the pets you’ve ever wanted.”

Catra turned to look at her friends, everyone looking like they were in pain besides Scorpia.

Double Trouble intertwined their hands with Catra’s and dragged her over to everyone else. She wanted to dig her heels into the gravel beneath her so she could put everything off for just another moment.

“Glimmer,” DT clapped their hands and shoved Catra’s shoulder with their own. “I think we should take the lead, let everyone follow us.”

Catra watched as Glimmer huffed and started up the trail with her arms crossed.

“Rules!” Bow shouted after the two of them, “There are rules! We have to be talking at all times!”

Catra turned to look at Adora who looked like she was stuck in a movie that was paused right before a jump scare. Anticipating the worst.

“Hello, colleague,” Catra said, kicking Adora’s foot with her own. “Let’s get walking?”

Adora kept her eyes ahead on everyone else, “Let’s walk in the back?” She whispered, rocking back and forth on her feet and staring down at her fingers.

“Good with me,” Catra said, waving at her friends as they walked away.

She waited for Adora’s approval, but she started walking down the trail without saying anything.

“Excuse you,” Catra snorted, catching up. “We have to be talking the whole time.”

“Fine,” Adora shrugged, kicking every rock that was in her path like she was a ten-year-old at the playground. “Why did DT get here a day late?”

“Uh,” Catra looked at Adora, stone-cold and far away, “I’m not sure. They’re not the best at being on time, but they usually have a reason.”

“Interesting.”

“Yep,” Catra reached out to kick a rock away before Adora had the chance to.

“That was my rock,” Adora replied like she was speaking to a wall.

“Adora,” Catra said, a bit of worry filling her voice, “What’s up with you?”

“Nothing,” Adora frowned, walking a couple of steps ahead.

“Well, alright,” Catra pursed her lips. “Since we’re far enough away, I can so elegantly describe to you how I’ll fuck you later and what will happen if you don’t keep quiet.”

Adora whipped her head around, and Catra was glad she finally got her to smile. 

“Well,” She grinned, nudging Catra’s shoulder with her own. “If you insist.”



“Catra,” Adora ran her thumb across Catra’s sweat-stained forehead and looked at her with concern. “You look so sleepy.”

Catra looked at her with a scowl, even though her body felt like it was one moment away from failing her. “I am so sleepy, Adora. We have walked up so many hills. I am dangerously close to dying.”

“Again, I don’t think you like hiking.”

“Maybe I just don’t like hiking with you.”

“Sure,” Adora's body shook with laughter, “And the raccoons.”

“Raccoons are scary, they are!” Catra hated that every laugh Adora let out made her smile just a bit more.

“Some people keep them as pets.”

“That is disgusting,” Catra shivered just thinking about it, stopping in her tracks when her head went dizzy.

“Woah,” Adora was on her instantly, placing a hand on her forehead and grabbing her water bottle. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” Catra swatted her away, “Just keep walking.”

“You’re two seconds away from passing out, Catra.”

“We probably have only like ten minutes left, just let me walk.”

Adora stopped her, placing her hands on Catra’s shoulders, and narrowing her eyes. “We have at least fifteen to twenty. Let me carry you? That way you can drink water and eat something on the way.”

“Carry me?” Catra rubbed her eyes, trying to back away without drawing attention from everyone else. “I can handle myself, just keep walking.”

“Hm,” Adora placed a hand on Catra’s chest to keep her from going any further, pretending to be deep in thought. “Remember all those things you just said? How the second we’re alone you want me on your face? When you whispered to me-”

“Okay, okay,” Catra covered her ears, “What’s your point?”

“Carry me and you can do anything you want to me, if you don’t let me, you just get to watch.”

Catra raised her eyebrows. She took a second to sit down on the earth beneath her. “Are you trying to act like a top?”

Adora sat down next to her and double-checked on the group ahead of them. “I give them maybe thirty seconds until they realize we’re all the way back here. Come on, jump on my back.”

“Fine,” Catra mumbled, jumping up on Adora’s back and wrapping her legs around her waist and arms around her neck. “Only because you promised you’d feed me as you do this.”

Adora laughed, walking forward toward the group again and unwrapping a granola bar. “Whatever you say. Here you go, loser.” She held it up high enough so Catra could eat it.

Then they walked in silence for a little bit. Even though it was against the rules.

Catra was trying to listen to Scorpia and Mermista’s conversation that they were having in front of them. They actually seemed to be laughing a bit, albeit a little awkwardly, but still.

Catra rested her head on Adora’s shoulder, taking in a deep breath. She still slightly smelt like maple syrup but mixed in with just her. Just Adora. It was nice, sunscreen, deodorant, breakfast foods, the lake, Adora, Adora, Adora.

It was weird, Catra didn’t mind hanging out with her as much as she thought she would. It was almost calming, like she was at an old friend's house.

But Catra almost didn’t want to enjoy her company, she didn’t want to spend her days swaying as she walked, twirling her hair, and thinking about the rosiness of Adora’s pretty mouth.

“We’re almost there,” Adora said, interrupting Catra’s thoughts.

Catra lifted her head to see everyone looking back down at them, making her jump off Adora’s back quickly. She brushed herself off and fixed her hair before walking in front of Adora up the last part of a hill.

“I was overheating,” Catra announced to the group, “Adora was just-”

“Making sure she didn’t faint,” Adora finished, nudging Catra with her shoulder. “Not a big deal.”

Bow clapped his hands together and walked over to high-five the two of them. “That’s team bonding,” He smiled, “See,” He pointed to them, “This is what we should all be doing.”

“Uh,” Catra crossed her arms, “I don’t know about that.” She walked away from Adora, finding Entrapta who was sitting near the back

“Well,” Bow’s voice cracked and he looked at her with disdain, “If Catra feels rested enough, then we can start some games.”

“Hm,” Catra tapped her finger on her lips, “Let me think.” She looked around to all of her friends who looked bored out of their minds already. Entrapta was scribbling something in her notebook, sitting far away and deep in thought.

She was, she really was going to make it just a bit harder for them.

Until she saw two things.

She saw Scorpia, giving her a pleading and heartfelt look. She had also been the one helping Bow plan, it would mean a lot to her.

And Adora, of course, it was Adora. Who looked annoyed out of her mind. Her face was flushed completely red, most likely a mixture of the sun and frustration.

At that moment, Catra wanted to shove her playfully and shake her head, she wanted to say, “ Sorry, I’m just teasing .” To get her to smile.

Because she really did care about making her smile.

“Yeah,” Catra stretched her arms in the air, looking away from Adora. “I feel better, we can start.”

 

--

 

Adora applied sunblock to her arms as she watched Bow and Scorpia set up some sort of obstacle course. Glimmer kept bumping into Bow, feigning innocence each time. She laughed to herself, if anyone was going to get caught breaking the rules she had a suspicion it would be them.

Even Mermista and Seahawk who were actually together were good about not acting too romantic or obvious at camp. They had already signed a waiver years ago since they’d been together for a while. 

Adora knew why there was the rule, she was told it often and yearly.

There doesn’t need to be any drama between anyone that gets in the way of being able to do your job.” Angella had always said, which was almost charming, considering how much drama was happening now. It was that, and many other things.

And Adora was in charge of keeping things together.

What she had with Catra now definitely had not always been drama-free, but they didn’t work together before.

Looking at all of the counselors trying to mingle with each other was making her incredibly anxious. She was sitting in the corner biting at her thumb and watching everything unravel.

This felt like a test like if she and Catra could make it through this without suspicion they would be okay. 

The Horde counselors might not see Adora when camp was over, but all of the Bright Moon counselors did. They all saw each other at least monthly, Adora, Bow, and Glimmer hung out at least once a week.

They knew the things Adora would do for the people she liked, or whoever she had a crush on, or anything along those lines. To go from enemies who couldn’t even be left in the woods together to carrying Catra up a hill looked like a shift in something.

Adora hadn’t thought about it until she saw Glimmer’s face.

She hoped she was just confused about how friendly they were with each other.

“Everyone,” Bow cupped his hands around his mouth to yell, “We are starting, come join us at the starting point with your partner.”

Everyone grabbed their partner, Adora waited for Catra in the back. Almost glaring at her as she walked over, keeping distance in between them.

“Geesh,” Catra kicked Adora’s foot. “You’re gonna be like this today, princess?”

“You know what,” Adora snapped, taking another step back from her. “Yeah, I am.” 

Catra’s face faltered and Adora immediately broke character. “We have to,” She whispered, staring at the ground.

She wasn’t sure if that made it better or worse. Catra grabbed a blindfold from Bow and didn’t look back at her.

“Pick someone to be blindfolded, then we’ll start.”

Catra smirked, and Adora rolled her eyes. “I guess that’s going to be you, huh?”

“Why me?” Adora crossed her arms, trying to keep up her defensive and cool act.

“You know why,” Catra teased, motioning for Adora to move closer. She tied it tight enough, making sure Adora’s eyes were covered. Leaning in close enough so that only the two of them would hear that she said, “You always look so good like this.”

Adora felt butterflies and nerves fill her stomach, “Stop,” She whined, lightly. Itching to know what Catra’s facial expression looked like and how many people were looking in their direction.

“Okay,” Catra chuckled, and Adora could tell she had taken a couple of steps away from her.

“You will be leading your partner through the obstacle course while they are blindfolded. You can’t touch them, you can only use your words to tell them what they should be doing,” Scorpia explained. 

Adora tried her best to look in the direction of her voice. 

“We’ll have two rounds, so we can switch off who’s blindfolded. The team with the best completion time will win this round.” She was sitting out with Mermista so they could keep track of everyone's times.

“Let’s get lined up!” Bow cheered, “Grab your teammate and go to the starting position.”

“I’m not gonna grab your hand,” Catra said to Adora, “Just follow my voice.”

“Wow,” Adora said, cynically. “That's so kind of you after I carried you for almost a mile earlier.”

“Thank you,” Catra said, mocking her. She grabbed Adora’s shoulders and moved her into position. “We’re here, just listen to me, okay?”

Adora felt overly conscious of everyone around them, she didn’t know what to say, what would be calculated enough. She didn’t know how to be around Catra, if she should hate her or care about her, be her friend, or just a colleague.

She chose colleague at that moment, knowing that Glimmer’s eyes were burning into her.

“Thanks, already knew that,” Adora said back to Catra, who tightened her grip on Adora’s shoulders.

“Alright, Grayskull. If you trip over a rock I won’t catch you.”

“I’m the one who does the carrying.”

“Oh, as if,” Catra cackled, Adora knew it was going to draw attention. She did have an amazingly captivating laugh.

“Just, be quiet, Horde Scum. Let’s just try to win.”

Scorpia yelled for them to start, and Adora took off, knowing that Catra would be going at the same pace.

Adora didn’t trip over any rocks, maybe a branch or two, but she didn’t fall on her face. She was able to tune out everyone else yelling and just listen to Catra, her voice was loud, clear, and direct.

Catra took off Adora’s blindfold when they finished and grinned when they made eye contact. “We finished first,” She shrugged, taking a step back. “Nice job, Grayskull. You really know how to listen to me.”

Adora rolled her eyes, holding back a smile. “You know,” She said, catching up to Catra. “If you want to win the second round, you’ll have to listen to me.”

“Oh, Adora,” Catra smirked, she leaned in close, looking at everyone else still on the obstacle course. “Even when you think you’re topping me, I’m still topping you. Tell me what to do, I dare you.”

“That’s part of the game, Catra.”

“I know,” Catra said, curtly. “Exactly.”

The rest of the counselors finished at least two or three minutes after Catra and Adora. Most of them had their mouths open gaping at the two of them, Adora did her best to avoid eye contact.

“Next round,” Scorpia yelled at all of them, clearly proud.

“Remember,” Catra whispered, looking at Adora before the blindfold was around her eyes. “Remember what I said.”

“You’re such an asshole,” Adora scoffed, making Glimmer turn to look at her.

Glimmer mouthed, Are you okay? Looking anxiously between the two of them.

Adora swallowed hard, nodding toward Glimmer and throwing on a smile.

They won, again.

It took a bit longer the second time, Scorpia had rearranged most of the course so it wouldn’t be as easy.

But they still won, far ahead of everyone else.

“Oh, wow.”

Adora tensed up, watching Double Trouble walk toward them as they took their blindfold off. “You two are really good at working together.” They shrugged, throwing their arm over Catra’s shoulder and walking her away.

“Ugh,” Glimmer walked toward Adora and sat on the grass. “We lost, again. We’re a terrible team.”

“It wasn’t that bad.” Bow chimed in, ruffling Glimmer’s hair.

“Even your team of three beat us,” Glimmer said, “How is that even possible?”

Adora glanced over to Sea Hawk and Entrapta who were actually engaged in a deep conversation, even Perfuma and Kyle were laughing so hard together they had to sit down.

“See,” Bow pointed to everyone, the biggest grin on his face. “Everyone is having fun.”

“I’m not,” Adora said, hoping it sounded genuine. Even with Catra teasing her and shoving her, it was still nice to be around her in a weird way. “Catra is way too competitive.”

“And so are you,” Glimmer poked Adora’s nose. “Maybe you’re perfect together.”

“What?” Adora said hastily, “That is ridiculous, we clearly are awful together. Just fighting and- it’s stupid. Stupid, so stupid-”

“I was kidding, Adora.” Glimmer nudged her shoulder, “Let’s go.” 

The next activity was trust falls.

“You really think I’d drop you?” Catra said, almost looking insulted. “Seriously? I don’t want your pretty head to hit the ground.”

“You know what-”

“Are you planning on dropping me?” Catra said, stepping closer.

No,” Adora said, taking a deep breath to try to stay calm. “I do think you’d drop me, though. To make a point.”

“Oh,” Catra grinned, “Maybe that is a good idea. Don’t want anyone to think that we actually like each other, huh?”

“You like me? That is so embarrassing for you.”

“Fuck off, Grayskull.”

Adora bit back a smile when she saw the flustered look on Catra’s face. “I am teasing you.” She winked, “Drop me, see what happens.”

“Contrary to your popular belief, I actually don’t enjoy it when people hate me. I may think this is stupid, but I’m still going to try .”

“That’s not what I meant.” Adora looked at her, Catra’s face was twisted up, looking unsettled.

“Whatever, let’s go.”

 

--

 

Catra was up on a ledge, not high enough to get hurt if she dropped completely, but high enough to not be able to catch herself.

Adora looked pissed beneath her, standing with her arms crossed and a scowl on her face. “Catra, I am not going to drop you.”

“If we weren’t in front of everyone, you’d drop me,” Catra said, gesturing to everyone else a couple of feet back. The only person who looked amused was DT, smirking in the back.

“Do you not trust me?” Adora said, sounding genuinely hurt for a brief moment.

Catra looked down at her, keeping her expression neutral even though the words pierced through her skull.

And what was she even supposed to say to that?

Because she didn’t know.

She couldn’t walk up to her and take her face in her hands, look her deep in the eyes and reassure her. She couldn’t tell her the truth, More than anyone else here. She wanted to say, Sometimes more than my friends here, more than most people, but not enough

She fell, Adora caught her.

And she walked away to the back without a word.

She was too spaced out to watch anyone else, for some reason Adora’s words were still with her.

Until-

“What the fuck?” Glimmer’s bright pink hair lifted from the ground, dirt on her face.

Double Trouble stepped away from her with their hands in the air, “My hands slipped, are you alright?”

Glimmer stood up and Catra swore that anyone within a ten-mile radius of her would drop dead if she looked at them the way she was looking at DT.

“Your hands slipped?” Glimmer walked up to them, looking ridiculously short in comparison.

Catra walked up behind DT, putting an arm over their shoulder. “Take a step back, Sparkles. They said it was an accident.”

“Oh, fuck off, Catra. I’m going to have bruises for weeks.”

“Don’t be so dramatic,” DT chimed in. “That was barely a fall. It’s like if you missed one step of stairs.”

“I cannot believe you two,” Glimmer cried, moving closer.

“Glimmer,” Adora walked forward, placing a hand on her friend's shoulder. “Let’s cool off for a bit. We can eat lunch?”

Catra made eye contact with Adora and glared, “Great idea.” She said, shortly. “We’ll keep our distance.”

Adora’s mouth dropped open slightly, looking like she was trying to conceal her hurt but failing. “Fine by me,” She said, her voice cracking.

Catra grabbed DT by the wrist and pulled them away, walking toward Entrapta, Kyle, and Scorpia. “I don’t want to be near any of them,” Catra said to DT. Keeping them away from everything else. “I’m sick of this manufactured friendship bullshit.”

“Wildcat,” Scorpia stepped forward. “Let’s cool down, they did technically drop Glimmer.”

Catra clenched her fists, “Hey, Double Trouble, did Glimmer at any time today try to befriend you or be kind to you?”

DT tapped their foot and gave Catra a smirk, “No, not at all.”

Catra looked at all of them and sat down in the grass. “I’ve been your head counselor for four years. No one gets to fuck with any of you.”

Scorpia’s face softened, “And you know we all appreciate that, Catra. This just means a lot to me.”

Catra groaned, putting her face in her hands. “Let’s just eat, okay? We still have the rest of the night. Maybe we can figure things out.”

Catra took one bite out of her sandwich and one sip of a juice box before she was tapped on the shoulder.

“Hey, Catra,” Adora stood behind her with her arms crossed. “Can we go talk? Head counselor, to head counselor?”

Catra looked at all of her friends, all consumed with their food. “Yeah, whatever.”

Adora started walking away without looking back, Catra caught up with her.

There was a small building with bathrooms, a fireplace, and tables. It looked like a small and cozy log cabin which was meant for campers who were up on the hill.

“What was that?” Adora said, sitting down on a chair next to the unlit fireplace.

“What do you mean?” Catra said, standing behind a chair, trying to keep her distance.

“You know they meant to drop Glimmer. There’s no way you don’t know that. You’re supposed to step in and talk to them, not brush it off like you’re a high school bully.”

“Oh,” Catra cackled, sitting down. “That.”

“What happened to, ‘I’m still going to try?’ Was that just some lie?”

“Oh my gods,” Catra shook her head, “Trying goes both ways. I’m not going to keep trying when it feels like I’m talking to a brick wall.”

“I’m sick of this,” Adora pinched the bridge of her nose, standing up and kneeling in front of Catra’s chair. “Maybe you need to, um, let some tension out or something? Maybe you’d feel better, less defensive .”

I’m defensive? Did you have this same talk with Glimmer?”

No,” Adora grinned, “But I don’t do this with Glimmer.” She ran her hand up Catra’s thigh, stopping at the edge of her shorts.

“What do you want, Adora?” Catra sighed, looking down at her.

“What did you say before?” Adora cocked her head to the side, her grin spreading wider. “Even when I think I'm topping you, you're still topping me?”

“That is what I said,” Catra sat up straight, running her hand through the loose end of Adora’s ponytail, undoing it and putting the hair tie around her wrist. “Why?”

“I’d like to test that theory.”

“Everyone is outside.” Catra pointed to the doors and the windows. “Even if they saw you kneeling in front of me, they’d lose it.”

“There are bathrooms? And they know not to bother us, I told them we should talk business alone. To get everything back on track. Because it’s our job, right?”

“Right,” Catra rolled her eyes, tightening her grip on Adora’s hair. “You’re needy.”

“Needy?” Adora pouted, looking up at her. “Why?”

Catra leaned down, keeping her lips just above Adora’s, pulling her head back further so she could look directly at her. “I barely tease you, and you’re ready to drop to your knees for me?”

“I’m just trying to make you feel better,” Adora gasped, throwing her hand to her heart dramatically. “What happened to my punishment if I told you what to do?”

“Oh,” Catra cackled again, pulling Adora by the hair closer to her. “That’s what you want? Right now?”

“Yeah,” Adora nodded, keeping her eyes on Catra. “Let me make you feel better. So the rest of the day isn’t as bad.”

“Fuck,” Catra bit her lip before letting a grin spread across her face. She pulled Adora by the hair again but brought her into a kiss. A little too hard, knowing it might bruise.

Adora pulled back, gasping, pretty blue eyes filled with longing. “Please, can I?”

“Here? Really? You’re seriously not worried about everyone outside? We’d be seriously fucked if they found out.”

“Isn’t that part of the fun?”

“Fuck, Adora,” Catra leaned back, taking in all of her. “Yeah, okay. Please do.”

“You have to be quiet, remember?”

“You know, you will seriously be fucked if you keep telling me what to do.”

“I’ll keep pushing my luck,” Adora smirked, pulling down Catra’s shorts.

“Where did this cockiness come from?” Catra asked, leaning back in the chair.

“Do you like it?” Adora grinned again, biting lightly on the inside of Catra’s thigh.

“I do.”

Adora looked up toward Catra’s hand that was back at her side, and Catra threaded it back through her hair. Pulling again, closer toward her, not dropping eye contact until her mouth was hovering over her.

“We’re not leaving until I come, so you better be good.”

“You know I’m always good for you.”

“Fuck,” Catra ran a hand through her hair. “Yeah, you are.” She pulled Adora closer until her mouth was fully on her. She held back a moan, briefly remembering that literally, everyone was outside, a couple of feet away.

Catra let herself watch, how Adora’s cheeks flushed pink, over time when sweat was dripping from her forehead from the heat and also from how hard she was trying. She usually didn’t have a hard time keeping quiet, but something between a mixture of Adora’s newfound cockiness in situations like these, and just how good her mouth felt made it more difficult than usual.

“Baby,” Catra shifted her body so she was closer to her. She lifted her chin with her finger, “Kiss me.”

“What-”

“Kiss me,” She said again, because it was all she wanted, for some fucking reason.

Adora stood up quickly, grabbing Catra’s face in her hands before kissing her. Softer than before but faster, both of them gasping for air.

“Come here,” Catra pulled Adora so she was sitting on her lap instead of standing. She ran her hands up under Adora’s shirt to grab her waist.

“Want me to-”

“Just kiss me,” Catra whispered against her lips, they were so warm, they were so soft. Her head was spinning and her senses were flooded with how good she felt.

“Catra,” Adora pulled away, keeping her face in her hands as she looked down at her slightly. “It’s been a while, we’ll need to go back... If you still want-”

“Touch me like this,” Catra moved Adora’s hand to her clit, moving her fingers in a direction and pace for her to follow.

“That good?”

Catra nodded, barely able to form words. Keeping her mouth on Adora’s through shaky breaths, pulling her in, wanting more.

She had Adora in a lot of ways before, but, somehow, not like this.

For some reason, it felt more authentic.

“Listen to me one last time?” Adora smiled against Catra’s lips.

Catra let out a laugh, “Whatever you want, Princess.”

“Kiss me when you come.”

Catra let out a moan, using both of her hands to grab Adora’s face and tug her closer.

Her breathing picked up, her grip tightened on Adora’s face, keeping her close as Adora brought her over the edge.

So that they were still kissing.

They lingered that way for a second after, lips almost on each other but just far enough away so they both could breathe.

“We need to go back,” Catra whispered, handing Adora back her hair tie.

Adora stood up, hurriedly tying her hair back up before she walked to the bathroom. “I have to, um,” She turned back to Catra with a grin, “Wash off my face?”

“Yeah,” Catra smiled back, “Yeah.”

Catra sat in the chair, running her hands over her face and through her hair, trying to wrap her mind around what had just happened.

“Should we walk out of here, like, fighting or something?” Adora said, coming back out and sitting in the chair across from Catra. “We were out… For a bit.”

“Yeah.” Catra nodded, finding it hard to think of a word besides that. “I’ll walk out looking mad or something, wait for a couple of seconds after I leave before you do.”

“Do you want to… Um,” Adora stood up and ran a hand through Catra’s hair. “You look-”

“Great?”

“Oh, for sure, always.”

“It’s fine, it’s hot out.” Catra moved away from her touch and ignored whatever facial expression it would elicit from Adora.

Catra stood in front of the door, almost nervous to go back to the real world. Barely ready to explain or make up anything else that could have just happened.

But, she had to.

There was no way anyone would expect anything that just happened. She was almost sure of it.

She looked back at Adora and gave her a thumbs-up before doing her best to storm out of the cabin and walk directly toward her friends, staring directly at the ground. Sitting down with manufactured rage, and grabbing a bag of chips so she could avoid talking.

She didn’t look back when she heard the door open, she just focused on her food, on her friends laughing.

“Are you guys okay?” Scorpia asked, placing a hand on Catra’s knee. “You were gone a while.”

Catra’s stomach churned, “I’m fine,” She said, brushing it off. “Both of us were just arguing. I don’t think we even came to a conclusion.”

She could feel Double Trouble’s eyes on her as she continued to eat, she decided not to look at them.

Everyone finished eating and Scorpia and Bow called them all into a group. Catra stood by Entrapta and Kyle, still avoiding everything.

“We still have a bit until the sun goes down,” Bow announced, checking his watch. “But we’re going to walk a little farther to the campground and set up for the night. Per multiple people's requests,” He looked at Adora and Glimmer with a blank expression, “You can choose who you share a tent with.”

Catra wanted to believe that it was Glimmer who made the request and Adora backed her up for the sake of staying in character or whatever.

Maybe sleeping together in a tent was too much, she should know that, she should remember that, she should enforce that.

They had never had a sleepover before.

“Want to share a tent?” Double Trouble asked, shoving Catra playfully with their shoulder.

Catra looked to Adora who was walking away hand in hand with Bow and Glimmer.

“Duh,” Catra smiled at them.

She made sure they were walking behind everyone because she knew what was coming.

When everyone was out of reach DT leaned down to her, “Don’t worry, I’m still not going to say anything.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Catra crossed her arms, focusing on a tree ahead of her.

“Please,” DT laughed and shook their head. “I remember what happened last year. After your weird run-in with Adora? When you called me a week later after we were all back home.”

“I don’t recall.”

“Hey,” DT smirked, “If you want to share a tent with the girl you have a crush on, don’t let me stop you.”

“What?” Catra stopped in her tracks and stared at them. “You know that’s not true.”

“I’ve never seen you cry before,” They tapped their lips, thinking. “Not even last year when your volleyball team lost to Bright Moon during the last game.”

“Really? That’s your bar for things I’d cry over?”

You reached out to me to tell me, I didn’t figure it out. You’re good at hiding it.”

“I’m not hiding anything,” Catra snapped, “I’m over her, clearly. It was just some dumb crush, and nothing happened.”

“Sure, sure,” DT walked ahead of her, turning back to smile again. “You know, I’m kind of rooting for you. Imagine how scandalous it would be if you guys started seeing each other.”

Catra took a deep breath, held it in for eight counts, then let it out. “Can we change the subject?”

"I'm just saying, even when you look like you're about to kill each other, you can tell there's a real bond."

It was all bullshit.

It wasn’t a crush.

Double Trouble just interpreted the call differently than Catra meant.

Sure, she did cry, but only a little bit.

She just felt bad.

They didn’t know the whole truth. They didn’t know about the three years, about secret nights, about being alone together.

Catra had called them last year, a week after they left camp.

When she was still thinking about Adora.

She had said she felt like she fucked something up, and admitted it was with Adora.

They didn’t know they were sleeping together, but they knew that they had at least talked one on one. And that was too much, they knew too much.

And if Double Trouble ever admitted to knowing anything, Catra would be the one who was seriously fucked.

 

--

 

Adora helped Glimmer set up their tent, or, Adora set up the tent while Glimmer sat on the ground and told her what to do.

She dropped one of the poles when Catra and Double Trouble walked into the campground a couple of minutes after everyone else.

But, something looked off.

Catra looked upset, and Adora felt momentarily useless.

“Adora,” Glimmer broke Adora’s weird Catra trance, picking up the pole and handing it to her. “The sun is going down soon.”

“Then maybe you should help?” Adora gave the tent pole back to her and walked away. She could faintly hear Glimmer grumbling in annoyance as she sat on the top of the hill that looked down into the lake.

This was one of Adora’s favorite places to be.

She had brought Catra here, just once. It was at the end of the year prior.

It was a pretty big hill. She always felt peaceful there. The trees were taller than usual, and it was a great view of the lake. You could see the place where the Horde Camp used to be, you could see the docks at Bright Moon that looked so tiny from far away.

“Hey,” Bow’s voice came from behind her as he poked her with a stick. “You doing alright? You seem a little off.”

“I’m fine,” Adora said, pulling her knees close to her chest like a child hiding in the dark.

Bow sat down next to her and rested his head on her shoulder. “Is something going on with you and Catra?”

Adora pulled away quickly, almost making Bow fall to the ground. “Why would you say that?”

“It seems like you guys fought about something pretty big in the cabin, it just seems like it’s affecting you.”

“Nothing is going on,” Adora said, staring at him, keeping her breath steady.

“Not like that, Adora. It just seems like something happened.”

“I think we were both just defending our best friends, and we’re both super protective over them. It got nasty, I guess.” Adora barely knew what she was saying, just saying anything she could think of, still shaken by his initial comment.

“Well,” Bow sighed, grabbing her hand to squeeze. “I’m sure Glimmer appreciates you standing up for her, we all appreciate you. But we’re all a team now, it’s not us versus them anymore.”

“Yeah,” Adora said, staring at the sun as it started to set over the trees. “It’s hard for me and Catra to agree on things.” Which wasn’t even a lie.

“Glimmer looks like she’s about to cry setting up the tent, so I’m going to help her.” Bow side hugged her before standing up and walking away.

Adora didn’t know how long she sat there. Usually, she’d be standing up, walking over to each person, and making sure everything was on track. She hoped that Catra would fill in while she took a moment alone.

Some part of her wanted Catra to check on her, but the sun had set, Sea Hawk started a bonfire, and everyone sat around it before she was able to get up and walk over.

Adora looked around at all of them, most people smiling, even Catra.

“S’mores?” Adora asked, grabbing the ingredients out of her backpack.

“You are the best,” Mermista said, grabbing the bag of marshmallows from Adora’s hands.

“I think we should play another game,” Double Trouble smiled, looking at all of them with almost a mischievous glint in their eye.

“What game?” Perfuma asked, looking way too excited. She was also sitting notably close to Scorpia, making Adora silently chuckle to herself.

“Truth or dare?” DT shrugged, “I think that’d be fun.”

Adora made herself a s’more, adding an extra piece of chocolate before taking a bite. She burnt her mouth and did her best to stay neutral through the pain.

“You know,” Bow’s voice cracked, “Maybe we should do something else before that.” He ran to his tent and brought back a guitar, Adora could hear most of the people around the fire groan.

“I have a perfect dare,” DT pushed a piece of Catra’s hair behind her ear and Adora felt sick.

“Of course you do,” Catra said, even by just the glow of the fire Adora could see the massive eye roll.

“I think Bow should play his guitar, and we all dare Catra to sing a song. But, Catra also plays guitar."

“Woah,” Catra scooted away from them, “No fucking way, I’m not doing that.”

“I, personally, would love to see that,” Mermista said, throwing a smirk her way.

“Me too,” Adora blurted out, her voice was rough, but she still didn’t look at her.

“If I do this,” Catra started, “Someone else has to do something embarrassing.”

“Deal,” DT said, shaking Catra’s hand. “Hand her the guitar?”

Bow looked at his guitar like he was about to send his metaphorical three-year-old child alone on a plane before handing it over.

“Anyone have any song requests?” DT asked, looking around at all of them. “Catra has written her own songs, too.”

“Double Trouble,” Catra hissed, “Let’s not tell everyone that information.”

“Sing one of your own,” Adora said, finally making eye contact. “I think that’d be, um, cool.”

Catra stared at her, mouth parted slightly, looking startled at the sound of her voice.

“Fine,” She cleared her throat, “It doesn’t seem like I’m getting out of this. If any of you laugh, I am pushing you in the lake.”

Everyone laughed, and Adora’s heart felt warm from the fire in front of her and from the genuine smiles Catra was pulling from everyone.

Catra took a deep breath before starting to play, she was looking straight at the ground.

Adora was impressed even by the first note.

Everyone quietly made s’mores while she sang, but Adora was focused completely on her.

It's been days and weeks and months, feels like forever since I saw you.

Adora sat up straight, staring at Catra’s fingers strumming the guitar, trying not to look at her face.

All I can imagine is being in your arms.”

Adora felt her eyes and ears melt, like she was not supposed to be doing anything else but listening to her. She almost wanted to yell at everyone who wasn’t fully paying attention. It was like no one else understood.

I don’t need anything fancy, I just need me and you slow dancing,” Catra sang, finally looking up to meet Adora’s eyes.

Her voice was perfect, Adora didn’t know why she had never heard it before.

They both looked away from each other immediately, too close in proximity to do anything.

“Hell's bending keeping me captive, heaven's here it's right where you're standing, slow dancing with you.”

Adora was panicking, absolutely panicking as she watched her.

Even though they couldn’t look at each other, even though Adora could never let anyone know, even with Catra feeling nothing toward her, it felt like it was just them there. Like she was singing it to her.

Fuck, Fuck, Fuck.

Catra finished, and everyone stood up to clap, her face flushed with a smile, “Okay, okay,” She laughed, “It wasn’t that great.”

“It was,” Adora said, the last one to stand up. “It was great.”

Catra looked up at her, she pursed her lips and handed the guitar back to Bow. “Never make me do that again.”

But Adora was already thinking of a million things she could do to hear her voice again.

She handed Catra one of the s’mores she had made, and it seemed like Catra made a deliberate move to have their hands touch more than they needed to.

All Adora could think was,

She was the one who was seriously fucked.

Chapter Text

ONE YEAR AGO

 

Adora sat in her bunk, nervously chewing on her lip and staring down at her phone. She had asked Catra to meet her and had been waiting for a response for two hours. She had tried to busy herself by taking a run around the lake and eating her way through multiple small bags of chips they were supposed to serve with lunch.

It was an extra thirty minutes before Catra agreed. They were going to meet halfway between the two camps, near a spot they met up a couple of nights to stargaze.

Adora put on extra deodorant and a cuter shirt before she ran out the door. She ran past Bow and Glimmer without saying anything, she wasn’t going to be able to lie her way out of this one.

Catra was already there when she got there. She was sitting down in the sand, staring out at the water. Her hair was braided into two pigtails and her cheeks were flushed like she had also ran as fast as she could.

There was no smile when they met eyes, Catra looked like she had died and reluctantly came back to life.

“Hey,” Adora said, apprehensively. She sat down in the sand next to her and looked at the sun starting to set. “We’ve never been here at sunset, it looks really pretty.”

Catra stayed still, Adora could hear the way her breath shook. She was nervous, too, Adora could tell.

“Why did you want to meet?” Catra asked, not taking her eyes off of the water.

“Camp ends tomorrow, I guess I wanted to see you one last time.”

“Ah,” Catra inhaled, she pulled her knees close to her chest and finally looked at Adora. Her blue and gold eyes radiated in the sunlight. “Why?”

Adora cocked her head, trying to read deeper into Catra’s expression. “Because, I guess, I’ll just miss you.” She said it simply, silently hoping Catra wouldn’t hear her correctly and she’d be able to change her answer later.

Catra didn’t respond, she just nodded slowly, she cracked her knuckles before starting to draw mindlessly with her fingers in the sand.

“Ouch,” Adora laughed, trying to brush it off. “I’m guessing that won’t be reciprocated.”

Catra seemed to freeze, she looked up at Adora, clearly mad. “Silence doesn’t mean opposition.”

“We just spent a lot of time together this year, I’ll miss it. I don’t want to wait another whole year-”

“Stop,” Catra said, harsh enough to make Adora’s chest ache. “Don’t do that. You know that’s just not what we do.”

“I mean, that’s not what we've done before , but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it now . I know you’ve felt it, too.”

Catra scoffed, Adora’s chest ached more and more. She started to feel hollow.

“This isn’t a thing,” Catra said. “That’s not what we do, and we can keep it that way. We don’t have to keep doing this next year.”

“That’s not what I want,” Adora said, not sure if she should be reassuring or offended.

“I don’t know,” Catra whispered, “Maybe we shouldn’t.”

Adora didn’t know why it felt like she was getting broken up with, “But-”

“Listen,” Catra cut in, “We aren’t exclusive, we aren’t a thing, we have both it made it very clear what we are to each other.”

“I feel like we are at least friends-”

“No,” Catra laughed cynically, “I don’t think we are.”

Adora frowned “What are you trying to say?”

“I’ve slept with other people this whole time, okay? We aren’t a thing.”

Adora drew in a harsh breath, her eyes widened and she stared at Catra, her lip starting to shake. “You’re lying.”

“I’m not,” Catra shrugged, lifeless. “I think you should go.”

Adora scrambled to stand up, “You’re lying,” She said again, “I can see it on your face.”

Catra stood up, too, but more gradually. “No,” She shook her head, “I’m not.”

“Then tell me who.”

“No.”

Adora scoffed, she just wanted to hear her say it. There was only one other person Catra seemed to be close enough with. “Just tell me.”

Catra just turned away, “I have to go pack.”

Catra ,” Adora grabbed her wrist to stop her from walking away. “I know we aren’t dating, I know you feel like we’re barely friends, but I still deserve to know.”

“Stop,” Catra said, “You know nothing about me, Grayskull. I don’t have to say anything to you.”

Adora let go of her hand and watched her walk away. When she was far enough away she dropped down to the ground to cry.

 

--

 

Catra walked away from Adora, hearing her start to sob behind her. She put her mouth over her hand to muffle her sobs as she left her on the beach. She didn’t let herself cry until she was in her cabin.

She was lying, lying through her teeth so hard they started to ache.

But she couldn’t let it go any further, so she had to end it.

Her mind was yelling at her to run back or to call her, so she picked up her phone. She hit the call button but was met with an automated voice telling her that her number was blocked.


 

PRESENT-DAY

 

“You’re so annoying,” Catra said as she walked up to Adora.

She was sitting with her sweatshirt on and her hair in a braid looking down at the water below. She turned around with her cheeks pink from the cold morning air, “What?” She giggled as she shook her head.

“I was trying to wake up early to have alone time,” Catra rolled her eyes, sitting next to her. “You ruined it.”

Adora looked at her with her big blue eyes, like she was trying to study the expression on Catra’s face. “You can sit with me?” She suggested, her voice so soft and sounding like honey.

“Okay,” Catra gave in, sitting far enough away so that if anyone looked at them they'd look normal.

They sat there in silence, Catra listened to the sounds of the soft waves on the lake and the birds chirping and singing around in the trees. Adora’s eyes looked like they were glazed over, she looked like she was stuck in a painting.

“You’re cold,” Adora said, looking at Catra again. She took off her sweatshirt and Catra instinctually shut her eyes. Adora laughed, “Really? I’m just in a sports bra, weirdo.”

“Someone might be awake,” Catra mumbled, staring at the sweatshirt being held out to her. “That’s all.”

It definitely wasn’t the fact that if she looked at the soft skin that had been covered up she’d want to slowly run her fingers over it.

“Just put it on,” Adora said, pushing it into Catra’s lap.

“It says Camp Bright Moon and Grayskull on the back, I don’t think so.”

“Get over it,” Adora said, her smile growing wider.

Catra stared at it in her lap, the sweatshirt was clearly old, there was a hole in the sleeve and a weird stain near the bottom. It was Adora’s, it was loved and she was just handing it over.

Catra slid it on over her t-shirt, pulling her knees to her chest and staring down at the water again.

“I liked that song,” Adora murmured, keeping her eyes away. “It was really good.”

“You don’t have to say that,” Catra said flatly. “I know it’s good.”

Adora just laughed before she let the silence wash over them again.

The noise of everyone waking up and packing up started to drift in from behind them. Catra didn’t want to take the sweatshirt off, so she didn't.

“I should probably go help Double Trouble,” Catra said, her voice was still rough from sleep. “They hate when I don’t help them with shit like this.”

Adora scrunched up her nose but agreed. “Are you ready for the first day?”

“Kind of,” Catra replied before walking away. She could still feel Adora's eyes on her until she was far enough away.

Double Trouble was standing with their arms crossed while they tapped their foot. Catra ignored the smirk on their face.

“Drop it,” Was all she said as she climbed into the tent to pack everything up.

 

--

 

Adora almost jumped through the cabin door before slamming it shut and flopping onto her bed. She grabbed her water bottle and started drinking it all in one slow gulp, wiping off the sweat from her forehead as she did so.

She was able to get away for two minutes at the most, and she needed to breathe. Her eyes were teary from stress and she had scrapes on her arms from falling into a pile of tree branches.

She groaned when her phone went off and wanted to throw it across the room when she saw it was a text from Catra.

 

CATRA: where did u go

 

The corner of Adora’s lips perked up in a smile, she rolled her eyes and got off of the bed.

 

ADORA: I needed to lay down:(

 

CATRA: lmao ok come back out i’ll come over to help

 

Adora pulled her ponytail tighter and braced herself for the hot air that painted over her and stuck to her skin as she opened the door again.

“Hey,” Catra poked her on the forehead the second she stepped outside. “I got your walkie, we’re the only ones who have them for the day.”

“Thanks,” Adora took it in her hand like Catra had just handed her a piece of expensive jewelry.

“What’s stressing you out?” Catra asked, and Adora raised an eyebrow when she realized she was concerned.

“Parents keep yelling at me,” Adora breathed, “I’ve been stuck checking people in and being screamed at and I just can’t-”

“Okay,” Catra said calmly, squeezing her hand. “Let’s switch, you go help set up for the introduction activities. You’ll have to work with Scorpia, but you’ll get a break.”

Adora cocked her head to the side, studying Catra, trying to figure out if there was a catch or something she was missing. “You’d do that?”

“Yeah, duh,” Catra shrugged. “I’ll keep you updated.” Catra tapped her walkie and waved at Adora before stepping away.

Adora watched her go and tried to ignore the warm feeling that crept in as she made her way to the activities hall.

Scorpia was standing in the middle of it with her arms full of boxes. Adora stared sheepishly at her arm muscles and pretended not to compare them.

“You’re not Catra,” Scorpia laughed, uncomfortably. “Oh.”

“Yeah, um, sorry,” Adora grabbed a couple of boxes out of her arms, “We switched spots.”

Scorpia didn’t respond, she took a box back out of Adora’s arms and walked in the other direction,

“Adora!” Glimmer ran up behind her and jumped up onto her back, “What’s up bestie?”

Adora twirled her around and set her down on one of the picnic tables, “Dying, how are you?”

“Bow is stressing me out,” Glimmer blew a piece of stray hair out of her face, “He’s so on edge.”

“Should I go check on him? I-”

“Adora,” Glimmer shook Adora’s shoulders, “I’m sure you’re doing more than enough.”

Adora’s shoulders slumped, she looked out the window at the groups of campers wandering around outside. “The scavenger hunt will start soon, we should gather some bug spray, water bottles, anything we can think of.”

“Yeah,” Scorpia chimed in, making Adora jump. “We should make sure no one gets lost again, right, Adora?” Scorpia playfully shoved her elbow into Adora’s stomach. 

Adora let out a huge breath, “For sure,” She coughed, holding her stomach in her hands. The faint feeling of Catra’s hands running over her from that night came over her. The whining, the begging, everything.

“Are you okay?” Glimmer tickled Adora’s sides, making her jump.

“Yes,” Adora smiled, trying not to let the heat rise to her face.

Until her walkie beeped.

“Adora?” Catra said through the walkie, “Where are you?”

Adora looked quickly at Glimmer and Scorpia and awkwardly jogged away from them. “Where do you think?” Adora rolled her eyes, “Activities hall.”

“What are you wearing?”

“Shut up,” Adora stifled a giggle. Scorpia and Glimmer weren’t paying attention, but she still walked a little bit further away. “Is everything okay?”

“Yeah,” Catra snorted, “Can I see you soon?”

“Why?” Adora choked on her own words.

“You know,” Catra sounded hesitant on the other end, “I missed- ah, fuck-”

“Catra?”

“Hold on, Grayskull. Someone threw up, talk to you soon.”

Adora started saying something but the line was cut. She tightened her ponytail and continued to help Scorpia and Glimmer.

After an hour, everything was ready. The campers were all gathered together in the activity hall and the counselors all had smiles plastered on their faces. Catra and Adora stood in the front and center of the room, making sure they were just far enough to force themselves not to touch.

They announced the scavenger hunt, and Adora let herself really smile at Catra. She looked sleepy. Her hair was in a braid and strands were falling loose, her shirt was wrinkled and her legs were caked with dirt.

“You think we can get a break tonight?” Catra leaned over to whisper into Adora’s ear, “Just take some hours off? Go to bed early?”

Adora cringed at the thought of leaving everyone, “I can’t,” She said, hurriedly. “I can’t let everyone else down.”

“Fine,” Catra chuckled softly, “After Bow and Glimmer are asleep want to climb into my bunk?”

Adora couldn’t help the smile that appeared on her face, “Maybe,” She said, biting her lip. “For what?”

Catra rolled her eyes, “I want to cuddle, you fucking loser.”

Adora felt her stomach get warm, the heat fled upwards and filled her chest and her throat. “What?” She asked, slowly, but Catra had already walked away.

“Adora,” Perfuma walked toward her, leading the rest of the original Bright Moon counselors toward her. “We’re waiting for your orders.”

Adora took a deep breath, she tried counting to four and eight and sixteen, centering herself and calming her anxiety. She had felt like she had been floating all day as if she was outside of herself and just watching everything play out.

“Um,” She sighed, “Catra and I have everything, let me grab her.” Adora put on a neutral and professional face, even though she was excited for the opportunity to get to talk to her again.

“Grayskull?” Catra asked, and Adora’s stomach sank slightly, not being able to tell if she was annoyed or if she was acting.

“Um,” Adora stuttered, looking into the blue and gold eyes that were somehow sparkling. “We need to assign people-”

“Already on it,” Catra cut her off, and Adora watched as she looked at everyone around them. “Come on,” She whispered and leaned closer, “Take the night off.”

“Catra,” Adora whined softly and turned on her heels so she didn’t have to look at her anymore, otherwise she might break.

Too many thoughts were running through her brain, every other step she took around she pictured her and Catra just cuddling.

They had only cuddled probably twenty minutes max after sex, but that was different. Adora felt like she needed a slap in the face or cold water dunked over her head, she couldn’t get ahead of herself. Catra probably had a bad day, or she probably was just being non-explicit for safety.

Adora wrapped her arms around herself and found her clipboard on the ground near her friends.

She looked over at Catra, talking to all the old Horde counselors. They were already visibly divided within the first 12 hours, but she decided to deal with that later.

They had assigned each counselor a specific group of campers to be with and be in charge of. The groups had grown significantly larger since the year before, even with more counselors.

Before finding her group of campers, Adora ran over to Bow to hug him. She let herself sit there for a while, he smelled like pine trees and deodorant. He didn’t ask any questions, just rubbed her back and smiled at her before they split.

Adora found her group, they were all sitting quietly facing away from each other. She introduced herself a little too loudly and gave some of the campers she remembered from years before hugs.

One of Adora’s favorite campers, whose camp nickname was ‘Ducky’ ran over to stand next to her, clinging onto her with a hug.

“Okay,” Adora smiled, “I have your nametags, choose a camp nickname and write it under your real name if you want.”

Catra came over with her group of campers after a while, they all looked like they adored her. “What’s up, Grayskull?”

“I think we need bug spray.”

Catra rolled her eyes and shoved Adora backward. “They’re already asking about volleyball tryouts.” She pointed to two of the girls behind her, Adora didn’t fully recognize them but they looked like they truly hated her.

“We can do that, um,” Adora tried to make eye contact with Catra but Catra just looked back at her group. “Tomorrow?”

“We’re going to be on Catra’s team though,” The shorter camper said.

“Okay,” Adora smiled as wide as she could, it hurt. “Catra, can you go? Please?

“It’s funny when she gets embarrassed,” Catra smiled, poking Adora on the nose before walking away.

“Teenage girls are so mean,” Adora whispered to herself, taking a deep breath before gathering all of her kids again.

Adora and Catra handed every group supplies for the woods and waved them off.

Catra looked teary-eyed and out of her element, she was nervously playing with a ponytail on her wrist and digging her feet in the sand.

Adora pushed the button on her walkie, even though Catra was only a couple of feet away. She watched as Catra looked down at the walkie in her pocket and back up at Adora.

They both walked away from everyone in different directions. Adora held the walkie as close to her mouth as possible. “If I asked Perfuma to take over, what would we be doing?”

“Forget about it,” Catra laughed, weakly. “You know this looks suspicious, right?”

“Tell me what we would do.”

“Do I need to explain cuddling to you?”

“Hey, Perfuma,” Adora yelled, waving her over. “I think I need to take Catra back to our cabin, she’s not feeling well.”

Perfuma smiled but her eyes twitched, “That’s fine, we can handle that.” Her voice was calm but her tone was bitter.

Adora handed her the walkie, “Call me on this when either of our groups is done, and I’ll come to get them.”

She ran toward Catra without looking back, mentally crossing her fingers that Perfuma wouldn’t be too mad.

“Hey, nerd,” Adora said, kicking Catra’s foot. “I told Perfuma you aren’t feeling well, let’s get you back to your room.”

“No,” Catra shook her head.

“I’ll show you my boobs,” Adora said, flatly.

“Okay, let’s go.”

Adora slung her arm over Catra’s shoulder, “We have to play the part.”

“Sure,” Catra laughed, she reached out her leg and Adora stumbled over it, taking Catra down with her.

“You’re such a brat,” Adora cackled, shoving her and scrambling to stand.

“Perfuma is going to hate me for this,” Catra said as she stood.

“Stop,” Adora motioned for Catra to walk forward. “I’m covering for you and taking the blame, you looked like you were ten seconds away from collapsing.”

“Why would you do that?” Catra asked quietly.

“I just said,” Adora opened the door to the cabin and let Catra walk in first. “You didn’t look well, and you wanted to cuddle. Something must be wrong,” she teased.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Catra scrunched up her nose. “I got stressed. That’s all.”

Adora grabbed one of her sweatshirts out of her bag that she had still yet to have time to unpack. She grabbed Catra’s hand to pull her closer and slipped the sweatshirt over her head, helping her get her arms through the sleeves.

“Is this okay?” Catra asked, so gently.

Adora stared at her, her nose was sunburnt and her freckles seemed more prominent than usual. She was soft, vulnerable, beautiful. “Yeah,” She breathed, “I’ll figure out how to hide this, um, let’s just, yeah.”

Catra climbed up the tiny ladder to her bunk and curled up in her blanket. Adora grabbed a spare blanket off her own bunk and climbed in after her. She put the blanket over Catra and tucked it in around her so she could warm up.

Adora felt like she was holding her breath the whole time. It felt unreal, watching Catra close her eyes and turn over on her side like she was waiting for Adora to lay down next to her. The room was spinning as she laid down and scooted closer, wrapping her arm around Catra so they were spooning.

They were silent the whole time. Catra was warm and her breathing was heavy. She started rubbing her thumb gently over Adora’s knuckles, and Adora went back to holding her breath, forgetting how breathing was supposed to sound.

Time passed too quickly. Adora’s walkie made noise from below, she heard Perfuma’s tired voice come through asking where she was.

“It’s okay,” Catra whispered, “You can go back.”

Adora squeezed Catra’s hand, “Yeah, I need to, but I wish I didn’t have to.”

The confession hung over them heavily with too much weight to the small words. “Yeah,” Catra finally responded, like the weight of the world was on her tongue.

Adora sat up, she quickly ran a hand through Catra's hair, taking it out of the tight braid. “Hey, Catra,” She bit her lip, looking down at the girl who was two seconds away from falling asleep. “You know,” She took a deep breath and turned her head away, pretending she was watching the door. “You’re safe with me, you know that, right?”

Catra sat up slowly, Adora could feel her breath on her neck, she still couldn’t get herself to turn to look at her. She reached out to grab Adora’s hand again, she traced her finger over a scar on Adora’s thumb. “Where did you get this?”

“The scar? I tried to go fishing and the hook caught on my thumb.”

Catra cackled, “Of course that’s what it’s from.”

Adora laughed, “Yeah, I have not gone fishing since.”

Catra moved closer and took Adora’s jaw in her hand, turning her head so they could lock eyes. “You should go.”

Adora nodded, she placed her hand over Catra’s and squeezed it before trying to get out of bed. She decided to process Catra’s silence later, she needed to deal with groups of kids, she needed to focus, to forget. But she knew she probably wouldn’t be able to fall asleep later.

She was about to walk out of the room when Catra said, “Adora, wait.” She had sat up fully, looking at Adora, her eyes seemed to glow in the dark. Catra ran her fingers through the loose ends of her hair, “You’re safe with me, too, okay?”

“Promise?” Adora stared at her.

“I promise,” Catra said before laying back down promptly and turning away.

 

--

 

Catra didn’t feel much better in the morning, she almost felt worse.

She was in the mess hall, standing behind her group of campers, talking to them and waiting until they were done eating. She had barely been able to stomach a bowl of cereal.

Adora hadn’t looked at her the whole morning. Which was probably good, she felt like they were pushing it last night when they had walked away to their cabin together.

But Catra felt like she was hanging on by a thread like she was so embarrassed about her vulnerability that she could throw up and run away. She should have shut it down or pretended to be asleep.

“Hey, bestie,” Scorpia said, knocking her shoulder into Catra’s. “Campers are getting pretty antsy about getting up and starting the day. Do you have today's itinerary?”

“Yep,” Catra flipped some pages on her clipboard and checked Scorpia’s name. “You’re with Perfuma’s group, you’re starting near the horse stables or the gardens. They get to pick between the two. We have free time later in the day after lunch until dinner time.”

“Perfect,” Scorpia patted Catra on the back and it almost knocked the wind out of her. “Do you think she’s into me?”

“What?” Catra choked on her spit, “How would I know?”

“Have you not been paying attention to anyone besides Adora?”

“What?” Catra said again, all of her thoughts came to a halt.

“I know you guys do a lot of things together because you’re both in charge, but we miss you.”

“We don’t do a lot of things together.”

“You do.”

“No-”

Yes.”

Catra let out a heavy sigh, she narrowed her eyes at Scorpia and took a step back. “Let’s hang out later, gather the Horde counselors, we’ll have time alone.”

“I’d love that,” Scorpia gave her a tight side-hug before waving and walking away.

Catra resented the fact that she’d now have to walk up to Adora to make sure everything was set for the day. She didn’t want to act like they barely knew each other today, she was too sleepy and still too flustered.

“Grayskull.” Catra rolled her shoulders back and fixed her posture. “Are we letting groups go one by one or all at once?”

“I already let most people know they can just leave when everyone in their group is done eating.” Adora gave her a smug smile like she had just done Catra a huge favor.

“You could have let me know before you did that.” She didn’t mean for her voice to be ice, but she was still in the frozen state of worry that Scorpia had brought her into.

“You seemed a little out of it,” Adora said softly, like satin and like light coming in through the window in the morning.

“I’m not,” Catra replied, a lie.

“So,” Adora said, looking down at her clipboard and rocking back and forth on her feet. “We’re still not friends?”

Catra’s heart hurt, remembering Adora’s heart-wrenching voice when she asked Catra to promise her she was safe. It made her feel sick now like she was betraying a promise she made to her best friend on the playground at six years old.

“Adora,” She sighed, “We can’t do this here.”

Adora turned to face her, her lips pursed and her eyes gloomy. “I’m going to go check on my campers. I’ll see you in a little bit unless you want to switch what group you work with today.”

Catra’s mouth quivered, her eyes become glossy, but she walked away. Smoothing her ponytail and clenching and unclenching her fists before she went back.



Catra led her group of campers outside, Adora was standing a couple of feet away. They made eye contact and Adora tapped Glimmer on the shoulder.

Glimmer came over, her smug grin and upset expression almost made Catra nervous.

Almost.

“Come with me,” was all she said before walking in a different direction.

They entered a room with a piano and mirrors for walls. There was a platform used as a stage with makeshift red curtains, and Double Trouble in the middle of it all.

“Great, you’re both here.” They smiled, walking up only to Catra and ignoring Glimmer in the process.

“Uh,” Catra looked around at everything, her stomach flipping in knots thinking about Adora banishing her to work with Glimmer. “What are we doing here?”

“It’s musical tryouts,” Glimmer said as if it was written in bright words all over the room. “DT and I are leading them, you’re here to help.”

Why?” Catra said, trying to hide how bothered she was for the sake of the large group of kids starting to circle around them.

Glimmer glared at her, “You’re good with music. You could help us.”

“I thought I was supposed to-”

“Adora changed volleyball tryouts to later in the week, she’s with Bow and Entrapta today.”

Catra nodded slowly and pursed her lips, “Okay,” was all she said. She walked over to the piano and played random chords to check if it was in tune. 

It wasn’t.

Glimmer plastered on a huge smile, which looked slightly genuine. “Anyone can audition,” she said, handing out pieces of music, “We’re all sight-reading and cold reading the monologues so it’s fair.”

Most of Catra’s campers groaned and looked at her to see if she’d save them.

“Let’s just try it,” She told them, her voice was rough with disinterest and frustration.

DT walked over and squeezed Catra’s shoulder with a tight grip. They put down a page of sheet music in front of her and walked away to survey everyone in the room.

Catra quickly read through the music and turned back to the two of them. “Really?” She said, annoyed. “You want me to just sit here and sight-read?”

“Yep,” Glimmer didn't even look at her, it sounded like she was speaking in her customer service voice, she walked over and placed her hand on Catra’s upper back. “We believe in you.”

Only a handful of campers were willing to sing in front of each other, and Catra didn’t blame them. She wasn’t going to say anything, but springing it on all of them wasn’t going to be the way to get their best performance.

DT’s campers were going all out, dramatically moving their whole bodies and taking up the space.

Catra tried to send reassuring glances to her campers, who looked like they would rather jump off the high diving board into the lake.

“You’re good at this,” Glimmer said, leaning up against the old piano. “Who knew you actually talented.”

Catra grinned and motioned for Glimmer to move in closer, she waited until her ear was close enough to say, “Fuck you.”

Glimmer scoffed and continued to observe everyone.

When Adora walked into the room Catra accidentally played about five wrong notes in a row, making the camper singing the song sing in the wrong key and mess up.

Adora led her group of campers inside and lined them up behind Catra’s. She smiled and hugged some of them and didn’t look at Catra once.

“I need a break,” Catra said, cracking her knuckles and trying to regain feeling in her hands.

“Double Trouble can take your spot,” Glimmer sighed, she grabbed Catra’s hand and pulled her up to stand.

Catra looked down at Glimmer’s hand in hers and pulled it away hastily.

Adora finally brought her eyes over to Catra, she gave a weird look to Glimmer and glanced around the room. It looked like all of the colors from her face drained when she looked at Double Trouble, and Catra felt tears come up to her eyes.

“Glimmer,” Catra said, “I just need to get out of here for a second.” She didn’t wait for a response, she walked past Adora and bumped her shoulder with her own. “I’ll be right back,” She said to her group, “Adora will watch you.”

“Adora will not,” Adora said, glaring at Catra. “Take some responsibility instead of running away.”

Catra stopped in her tracks and turned on her heel to meet Adora’s blue eyes. “What did you just say?”

The air felt thick and silence fell over the room like sudden rainfall. Catra felt every eye on them, and tried to remember Bow and Scorpia’s energetic voices about team bonding and doing things for the kids. 

But she just felt hurt.

“Take it outside,” Glimmer’s shrill voice rang through the room so loud it hurt Catra’s ears. “Let’s show everyone healthy ways of communication!”

Adora grabbed Catra’s wrist and dragged her out the door, turning a few corners so that they were out of view from any campers looking through the windows.

“What is your problem?” Catra yanked her arm away and rubbed her fingers over her wrist.

“You can’t just continuously act like everything that happens the night before doesn’t exist in the present moment. You can’t promise me something and disregard it. I don’t care if you don’t want to act like we know each other well enough to pass, like, an exam or something, but I have feelings. They don’t turn off.” Adora’s face became redder after every word that she spoke, she was wheezing and looking at Catra helplessly.

“Adora,” Catra murmured, she stared down at the dirt under their feet. “That’s not what-”

“And, you know what, who cares, I guess. Maybe we’re not meant to spend more time with each other, maybe it’s messing things up.”

Catra bit the inside of her cheek and tried to relax the muscles in her body. “Why would you say that?” Was all she could manage to say.

Adora looked speechless, her breathing started to slow down. “What?” Her voice had calmed, it was filled with confusion and doubt.

Catra already felt sick from opening up before, she looked up into the teary big blue eyes in front of her, and she wanted to say everything, but she choked, “If that’s what you really feel... if that’s what you want. I’m sorry spending time with me upsets you so much.”

“You know that’s not what I meant.”

“Drop it,” Catra wiped her eyes and turned away. “We have to get back anyway.”

“This is what happened last time,” Adora said, Catra could hear the hurt in her voice. Like she had been wanting to say it forever.

“Is this what you want?” Catra asked, she gestured between the two of them. “Us fighting? All of the time? You,” She swallowed hard and narrowed her eyes, “You know what this is.”

“Don’t try to get out of this,” Adora’s voice was louder now like if she raised it just a little bit more everyone in the whole camp would hear. “I trusted you.”

“Past tense?” Catra pursed her lips, “I wasn’t lying. I wasn’t lying last night, and I'd be willing to talk about things when we don’t have twenty kids in the cabin behind us waiting for us to get back.”

“You’re just going to hurt me again, aren’t you?”

Catra felt paralyzed, feeling like every bad thing she’s told herself in the mirror was being said back to her by someone she cares about. “Fuck you,” She said, wiping a tear that fell onto her cheek. “Fuck you, leave me alone.”

She stormed away, walking behind the building to kneel over and muffle her sobs with her hands. 

Guilt, guilt, guilt, guilt.

She heard the cabin door to the music room slam shut, and she knew she was alone outside.

 

--

 

Adora knew she was never able to hide the fact that she had just been crying, but she didn't have a choice.

They always knew how to get on each other's nerves, their fights always seemed to be filled with so much more passion than their simple conversations.

The last time Adora got too close to Catra, she got hurt.

In a sad quest for Catra to tell her, “ No, of course not, everything is safe and we are good .” She got an answer she should have expected.

Catra’s rough and miserable, “ Fuck you,” Was on repeat in her head.

“Earth to Adora?” Glimmer’s voice came from a few feet in front of her. “Can you get Catra back to keep playing the piano?”

“She was just running to the bathroom,” Adora lied, “I’m sure she’ll be back in a second.”

Adora watched as Glimmer studied her face, her eyebrows quirked up and she tilted her head like she was able to see what just happened through Adora’s eyes.

“Come here,” Glimmer motioned, “You can help me take notes.”

Glimmer’s soft skin met hers, she put her arm over Adora’s shoulders and pulled her in. “What’s wrong?” She whispered.

“Nothing?” Adora shrugged her shoulders, “I’m fine.”

“I’m sorry but don’t lie, what you said to her earlier kind of cut deep.”

“I’m just,” Adora racked her head for a lie, it didn’t help when Catra came back looking fine. “I’m mad from last night when she left and I had to, I don’t know, I had to, I don’t know.”

Catra walked back over to the piano, when she passed Adora, it made her regret everything.

She turned her head until Catra had fully sat down, she watched her play a couple of notes and crack her knuckles.

Adora tuned everything out.

She just listened to the song each camper auditioning sang, she focused on not listening to Catra’s breathing or the notes she played. She tried focusing on counting the number of people in the room and the lights hanging overhead.

Adora felt as if she had fucked things up in a matter of four or five days. Maybe that was just meant to be. Maybe she was being stupid the whole time.

When Double Trouble leaned up against the piano and smiled as they spoke to Catra, Adora left,

“We’ll come back later,” She announced, grabbing some of her campers' hands and leaving the room.



“Woah,” Bow said, grabbing Adora’s hand before she could storm past him. “What’s up?”

“It’s fine,” Adora grinned as much as she could, “I’m just stressed.”

It was late enough so the campers were able to have free time, running around to any station or anything they wanted to do.

Her group wanted her to join them swimming, so she was heading toward her cabin to change.

“Whatever you say,” Bow raised an eyebrow and shrugged. 

Adora ran, opening the door and shrieking when Catra was standing by the bathroom door.

“Fuck,” Catra’s eyes widened, “Did you have to scream?”

“You scared me,” Adora gasped. “What are you doing?”

“Glimmer is showering, I’m just waiting for my turn.”

“Where’s your group?” Adora tried to sound mad and intimidating, but it didn’t seem to phase the girl in front of her.

“Some of them stayed with DT to learn a dance, the rest are going to Bow for archery lessons.”

Adora hummed and rummaged through her clothes, finding a one-piece bathing suit and clothes to go over it that she wouldn’t mind getting wet.

The slightly broken air conditioning unit took up most of the noise around them. Adora sat down on her bunk, running the blanket through her fingers to ground herself.

“So,” Adora coughed, “You’re close with Glimmer now?”

Catra turned to her with a confused expression, “What?”

“You probably walked back together.”

“I mean,” Catra rolled her eyes, “We do live in the same cabin.”

“I’m sorry about what I said,” Adora whispered, she stared down at the blanket in her hands. “I’m mad but I shouldn’t have worded it like that.”

Catra stayed silent. The sound of the water running turned off and she walked away to grab her towel and a change of clothes.

“Say something, please,” Adora said, her voice cracking.

Glimmer walked out and smiled at both of them, “Hurry so we can go back. Some of us are going to try to go out on the boat or teach people how to waterski.”

“I’ll pass,” Catra said, clearly annoyed. “I’m sure Adora would love that,”

Adora didn’t want to say that she would only enjoy it if she knew Catra was okay, and if she came with her.

“Okay,” Adora said instead, “I’ll hurry.”

Glimmer walked out a few minutes later, the sound of the air conditioning only got louder as the silence grew longer.

“You can go first,” Catra pointed to the door of the bathroom. “I can just shower later.”

Adora stood up and walked toward her, close enough so Catra’s back was pressed up against the wall. “Just come with.”

“Adora,” Catra pushed her backward and turned away. “Go.”

“I’m sorry,” Adora said again, “I don’t know why I said that.”

“You do,” Catra frowned, Adora wasn’t sure she had ever seen her as sad as she was now. “You do.”

“Then let's talk about it-”

“Why?” Catra asked, her eyes looking so tired. “Because you want to keep fucking?”

“What- I, no- I, okay,” Adora sighed, “Because I care if you’re alright.”

Catra stared at the floor, “I didn’t lie,” She said quietly, “I meant what I said last night. It was hard for me to say so feeling like shit after being open just hurts-”

Adora moved close again and grabbed both of Catra’s hands. “I know,” She said, moving in closer. “I know, if that was too far or too personal, I’m sorry. I know we have… Boundaries and we’re not like that. Maybe I meant it in like a close friend way.”

Catra smirked and let out a small laugh, “Really? That’s what you’re going with?”

“Gal pals, you know how it is,” Adora laughed and let a smile come across her face.

Catra grabbed the side of her face and pulled her in for a kiss. It was considerate and gentle, Adora melted into it. She let everything flow as they pulled each other's shirts off, Catra struggling to get Adora out of her sports bra.

“We have to be quick,” Catra said against her lips, “Like really quick.”

“Then hurry,” Adora said, grabbing Catra’s hand and pulling her away.

 

--

 

Catra ran her hand up Adora’s thigh, she had her pressed against the wall of the shower, a shower meant for one person at a time. Adora’s skin was turning red from the hot temperature of the water and frustration.

“When we said we need to be quick, that meant no teasing.”

Catra shrugged, “It would just be a little funny if you were late.”

Adora rolled her eyes and touched Catra’s hand in the middle of her thigh to try to move it closer.

“No,” Catra said, pulling it back. “You don’t get to decide when.”

Adora whined, but let her head fall back so the water was completely running down her body.

“Color?” Catra asked, moving her hand to Adora’s hip and pressing their bodies together.

“Green, clearly,” Adora sighed, “Please.”

Catra smirked, she pressed more kisses to Adora’s neck just to listen to the way her breath always picked up when she did.

“Wait,” Adora pushed her away, “Did you hear that?”

“What?” Catra turned her head to the door and back to Adora. “No, I don’t think so?”

“Catra,” Adora lowered her voice to a whisper, “We cannot get caught.”

“I am well aware,” Catra rolled her eyes, “Do you want me to check?”

“How can you check without revealing I’m in here?”

“If it’s just Bow and Glimmer they’ll probably leave in a little bit.”

“God, what if it’s like a parent or Angella-”

“Okay, stop,” Catra laughed lightly and intertwined her fingers with Adora’s. “That would be weird if they were here, just let me check it out.”

“Should I get dressed?”

“I mean I can’t fuck you-”

“Catra?”

The two of them froze, they met each other's eyes with a panic surging through them.

“No fucking way,” Catra gritted her teeth, “This is not real.”

“Is that-?”

“Scorpia,” Catra hissed, “Fuck me, okay, just let me deal with it. I won’t let her come in here but if she does, I was brushing my teeth and you were showering and I had my eyes closed the whole time.”

Adora hummed and tilted her head, “We can’t just pretend she’s not here?”

Catra cackled, she walked back into the shower and brushed her thumb over Adora’s cheek. “What happened to not getting caught?” She teased, running her fingers over the back of Adora’s neck.

“Kiss me?” Adora said, softer than all the other whispers they had just exchanged.

Catra stared at her, any remanence of her anger or their fight on her face had washed off with the hot water. The words she said were pounding in her head more lightly, still aching and fading but farther away. She wanted to, she really wanted to, but that was the problem.

But, Adora’s eyes were shining, her lips were red and her skin was soft and smelled like their cheap pineapple scented body wash. The water was loud but they could hear Scorpia pacing back and forth outside the door.

She ran her finger over Adora’s jaw and kissed her on the forehead, then her nose, then her lips. Quick but still soothing, but she didn’t look at her again before she grabbed her towel and dried off.

“Oh, hey,” Scorpia beamed when Catra walked out of the bathroom. “I was thinking we could all have a bonfire tonight again since it was kinda a hit when Bow and I planned one last time.”

Catra nodded slowly, she rummaged through her bag, looking for nothing but trying to look busy. “Sounds good, anything else?”

“The Horde crew is going to eat lunch by the lake, do you want to come?”

“Yeah,” Catra smiled as wide as she could, trying not to glance at the bathroom door. “Let’s go.”

Scorpia laughed and looked toward the bathroom, “Is the water still running?”

Catra pushed her out the door, “I think it’s probably the cabin next door, the walls are thin, I don’t know, let’s go.”



Catra walked next to Scorpia, listening to her talk as they went but barely being able to comprehend anything.

She rubbed her temples, tried taking deep breaths, cracked her knuckles, picked at the side of her thumb.

“You good?” Scorpia asked before they walked down the small hill to the lake.

“Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?”

“You just look… Off.”

“I’m fine, okay? Let’s go.”

Entrapta, Kyle, DT, and Lonnie who had shown up a couple of days late were sitting in a circle and laughing.

Scorpia ran to them and plopped herself down next to Lonnie.

They all cheered when Catra made her way over and sat down. “Thank you, thank you, I love my fans.”

“What has everyone been doing today?” Kyle asked, his mouth full of sandwich. “We haven’t seen you much Catra.”

“Yeah,” Catra coughed, taking a sip of her juice box to spare time to think of a lie, like usual. “There’s a lot more paperwork and logistical stuff than before, I’ve just been busy.”

They all nodded, seeming like they believed her for the time being, besides Double Trouble.

“Scorpia says you’re spending a lot of time with Adora.” They said, giving Catra a piercing grin. “What’s that like?”

Catra looked at them and tried to relax every muscle in her body to stay calm. “It’s fine,” She said, “Nothing crazy, we just stay professional.”

“Sure,” They said, “I feel like Glimmer has a crush on you, by the way.”

Catra choked on her juice. She coughed and some came flying out of her mouth. Scorpia tried patting her on the back and everyone was cackling. “Why in the world would you ever think that?”

“Just a feeling,” DT smirked, “I doubt she’d ever break the rules.”

“Glimmer? I think she'd be the first one,” Catra said.

“Okay, let’s make a bet on who would get caught first for being romantically involved with someone else.”

“If you’re insinuating that it’s me and Glimmer,” Catra almost recoiled, “We would be the last, we do not like each other even a little bit.”

“I think it’ll be Scorpia and Perfuma,” Lonnie laughed, hiding her face in her hands. “It’s all either of them talks about.”

Scorpia’s face flushed completely red, “Bow and Sea Hawk, or you and Catra.”

Lonnie almost fell over, Kyle almost spit out his food.

“Catra and I would never get together, I’m a Gemini and she’s a Scorpio.” Lonnie threw a chip at Catra which hit her in the face.

“What’s Adora’s zodiac sign?” DT asked Catra.

“Capricorn,” Catra responded as she took a bite of her apple, “Why?”

“How do you even know that?” Lonnie laughed.

Catra stared down at her apple, not knowing which lie to go with this time. “I just do, is it crazy to know her birthday? I’ve known her for like five years.”

“Yeah, but you hate her, right?” Scorpia asked, looking concerned. “What’s my zodiac sign?”

Catra rolled her eyes at Scorpia’s attempt at validation, not because she was annoyed, but because Catra would be dumb not to know. “You’re a Cancer, you don’t even need to know your birthday to figure that one out.”

“We should get back to the mess hall,” Kyle said, standing up. He looked nervous and on edge as usual.

Catra stretched her arms and stared out at the sun making the waves on the lake sparkle in the distance. The sunlight felt good, especially because she was still a little cold from getting out of the shower too quickly.

“Let’s make a bet first,” DT said, “Whoever wins gets some sort of prize and all of the losers have to do something embarrassing.”

“I say Perfuma and Scorpia,” Lonnie said and Kyle agreed.

“I think Bow and Sea Hawk or the obvious, Bow and Glimmer,” Scorpia said as she packed up her lunchbox and let out a yawn.

Catra racked her brain for a good answer, “Double Trouble and Glimmer,” She snorted, “The late nights working on the musical will get to you.”

DT rolled their eyes but shrugged, “You never know, but I think it will be Catra and Adora.”

Catra clenched her fists together, “Good luck with that one, you’re going to lose.”



Everyone was together around another bonfire, it was around 11 pm, so all of the campers were supposed to be sleeping. They all kept their phones on in case any of them needed to be contacted, but otherwise, everything was calm and they were alone.

They passed around a flask filled with something, but Catra wasn’t sure what. But she drank some anyway and tried not to watch Adora’s face when she drank some and almost gagged every time. She tried not to watch the way her eyes lit up when she laughed and the ways her cheeks started to flush pink when she was starting to get tipsy.

“Let’s do something,” Glimmer said, as she stood up. “Spin the bottle or truth or dare?”

“We did that last time,” Catra said, rolling her eyes.

“And last time we stopped after you lulled us to sleep with your original song.”

“Oh, fuck off -”

“Anyway,” Adora cut in, looking between the both of them. “Sure, let’s do something. Maybe something else-”

“I like spin the bottle,” Bow shrugged, “I don’t think it counts as breaking the rules, right Adora? Oh, and Catra?”

They looked at each other, clearly both hoping the other one would have the answer.

“Um,” Adora bit her lip, “I guess not.”

Catra could sense her hesitance, and she was trying her absolute best not to look the same way. “I don’t know,” She said, “Maybe we should just hang out.”

“Are you too chicken?” Glimmer asked, glaring at Catra. “It feels like you are.”

“Glimmer, I swear to god-”

“Let’s just do it,” Adora cut in again like she was trying to stop an accident from happening.

But, Catra didn’t want to watch Adora kiss anyone else. And maybe it wasn’t fair but it felt like even if it was harmless and simple, she wanted it to be just for her.

Glimmer found an empty soda bottle in her backpack and they all moved to sit in the grass.

Catra wanted to completely disappear at that moment, she would have rather jumped in the lake than participate in whatever was about to happen. She tried her best not to look at Adora because what if she was excited or had a secret crush on someone else. It made her stomach hurt, even though it was so completely wrong.

But, when she did look, Adora looked like she was one second away from throwing up. The anxiety in her eyes could even be seen in the dark.

“I guess this is one way to do team bonding,” Bow whispered, he had ended up sitting next to Catra, which for some reason made Catra feel safer.

Catra cackled, “I think I’d rather start myself on fire.”

“That’s beautiful,” Bow grinned, “I’ll join you.”

Glimmer decided to spin first, it landed on Mermista, and people cheered. Catra felt the need to close her eyes, but she put them on Adora instead, who was looking right back at her.

Catra thanked the universe that no one had landed her like maybe she could manifest that the possibility would never happen.

“You know,” Bow bumped her shoulder with his own, “If you don’t want to kiss someone, you don’t have to, I’ll stand up for you.”

Catra tilted her head, puzzled. “Why would you do that?”

“Because I’m nice,” He stuck on his tongue and turned back to the group.

It was Catra’s turn, she tried not to roll her eyes or look at anyone in case that would cause the bottle to turn on anyone but Adora.

It landed on Double Trouble, and Catra laughed. “Gross,” She joked, “Don’t know about that.”

They laughed back at her, “Come here,” They motioned with their finger and she scooted closer.

“I don’t want to play anymore,” Adora said, loudly and visibly in distress.

Catra froze and looked at her, she watched as Adora stood up, knocking a few things over and walking away swiftly.

Everyone was silent, Catra moved back to her spot and took a moment to breathe before she stood up. “I’ll-”

“I’ll go check on her,” Glimmer said, but Catra started going first. “You know what, you guys can play and I’ll make sure she’s okay.”

They all stared at her like they were witnessing a natural disaster.

“No,” Glimmer stepped in front of her.

“This was your idea,” Catra gestured to the group, “I don’t want to play anyway.”

Catra pushed past Glimmer and jogged toward their cabin. When she opened the door, Adora wasn’t there, she wasn’t in the bathroom and she wasn’t anywhere outside.

She groaned and grabbed a flashlight from the room before she walked toward the woods. Her heart was pounding, she could barely see anything in the dark even with her flashlight, and she’d rather not be the next protagonist of the Blair Witch Project.

“Adora?” Catra called out, she moved past branches and walked through the mud.

Her anxiety had spiked at least ten times more than usual, but she kept going. There were a couple of places she could be, and Catra was just glad she knew most of them so she wouldn't have to call a search party to help her.

Catra heard crying, and it felt like her heart stopped. She walked toward the sound and found Adora sitting on the ground with her knees pulled up to her chest and her head in her hands.

“Whoever is here to find me just go away,” Adora said, the sound was muffled by her hands and Catra could hear the cracks in her voice.

“No, I don’t think so,” Catra said. She sat in front of Adora and lightly grabbed her hands so she could see her face. “It’s just me, it’s okay.”

Adora looked at her like she had just slapped her in the face, “Why would that make it better?”

“Tell me what’s wrong,” Catra said, she ran her thumb over Adora’s knuckles and held eye contact with her. “We aren’t leaving the woods until you do.”

“I know that it’s them,” She stared at Catra, the harshness of her voice almost scared her.

Catra didn’t need clarification, she knew exactly what she meant. The words were burning in her throat, the truth might be too much, it wouldn’t make sense, it would confuse everyone and everything.

But she couldn’t lie to her, not like this, not when she was feeling all of this.

Catra let go of her hands and scooted back, “It’s not,” She whispered, “It’s not them.”

“Then who?” Adora asked, desperate. “Lonnie? Scorpia? Mermista?”

Catra squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head, “No, not them.”

Adora laughed cynically, Catra could barely hear it through the tears. “Just tell me, Catra.”

“Adora,” She said like it was hard to say her name like her tongue had been cut out. “No, it’s…”

“Please,” Adora begged, “I just need to know.”

“I lied,” Catra said, she choked back her tears, knowing what all of this might do. “I lied.”

Adora stayed silent, her crying stopped abruptly, her breathing picked up. “What do you mean?”

“I lied about sleeping with someone else, I didn’t.”

“Why would you do that?” Adora said, breathlessly. She could hear both of their heart rates pick up in the silence, it filled Catra’s ears blocking out everything else around them.

Catra scrunched up her nose, blinked back tears, and laid down on her back. “I was scared,” She said. She felt like a child, so small and not knowing how to navigate the world around her. “I definitely did not sleep with DT, and why does everyone think me and Lonnie are fucking?”

That got Adora to laugh, “I don’t know.”

“Is that…” Catra trailed off, she watched a squirrel run up a tree and almost fall off a branch.

“Is that, what?”

“Why you left? Because of… Them.”

“You want me to be honest?”

“Yes.”

“Then, yeah. When you told me… It felt like a betrayal.”

Catra sucked in a breath, trying to reconcile with the damage she had caused. Trying not to blame herself or be too hard on herself, but it felt impossible. “I’m sorry,” She said, “I am really sorry.”

Adora stayed still before letting out a long and slow breath. The tension between them felt thick, like one wrong move and Catra’s throat would start to close.

“You know,” Adora sighed, still sounding like sobs were racking through her chest and crushing her ribs. “It’s… It’s fine. I’m… I don’t know.” She groaned and leaned her head back against the tree. “I’m mad that you lied, but feel relieved at the same time. I don’t know.”

“You can be mad,” Catra said, it hurt, everything hurt. The thought that she had caused Adora pain for a whole year made her dizzy. And she had done it selfishly, to protect herself but wanting to protect them both. “I won’t be mad if you’re mad, I understand if you just… Want to stop things. It’s probably too complicated.”

“Is that what you want?” Adora sniffled.

Catra bit the inside of her cheek and started drawing lines in the dirt with her fingers. “No,” She admitted, “That’s not what I want.”

Adora moved close, she grabbed Catra’s face with both of her hands and stared into her eyes. “I don’t either.”

“Okay,” Catra breathed, “So, uh, friends?”

Adora cocked her head to the side and let out a laugh, “Yeah, friends.”

The idea of trying to balance a closer relationship with Adora and not letting herself get hurt felt like the earth was pressing down onto her back. She didn’t want to hurt again, she didn’t want Adora to get hurt again.

So, maybe they’d stay friends. Because Catra would never be able to let herself say anything more.

“Do you want to just sleep out here?” Catra asked, looking at their surroundings, “We’re pretty far away from camp.”

“I thought you were scared of the dark.” Adora teased, moving back so they were only inches apart.

“Yes, exactly,” Catra rolled her eyes, “Which is why I don’t want to walk back.”

Adora nodded and set an alarm on her phone so they’d be able to make it back and get ready in the morning.

They laid down side by side, staring up at the stars poking through the trees. Adora pointed out some of the constellations that they could see up in the sky until her voice started trailing off.

Catra didn’t mind the dirt or the hard ground, it was still comfortable because Adora was there.

They didn’t cuddle, at least at first.

Adora reached out her hand and intertwined her fingers with Catra’s. Catra ran her thumb over the same scar until they both started to drift into sleep.

Just like that, holding hands and on the dirt under the stars.

Catra wasn’t sure if either of them could ever come out of this without getting hurt.

What if they got different jobs? Moved away? And could never come back to camp?

They didn’t live close enough when they were both at home, Catra knew that. They were in the same state but not even close to the same city.

Catra didn’t want to tell her that not only did she not sleep with someone last year, she also didn’t throughout the rest of the months. She didn’t want to tell her that her heart ached every time she’d secretly watch Adora’s Instagram stories from a literal different account. That her heart ached when she wasn’t with her. Or how most of the year she had spent miserable at the thought of losing her.

“Catra?” Adora whispered, her voice was slow like she was going to fall asleep in three seconds.

Catra squeezed her hand to let her know she was still awake, she didn’t know what else to say.

“You know, I don’t just compromise with you or see you because we have sex. I appreciate you and value you, even if we never hooked up again.”

Catra didn’t know how to respond, it was somehow one of the nicest and sweetest things that Adora had said to her. Her head spun, she looked at the stars again, trying to count every single one she could see.

“Adora,” Catra whispered, but she had already fallen asleep. “I feel the same,” She said, even though she knew she couldn’t hear her.