Catra likes to disappear.
When things get tough, when nights get hard, when people get mean, she vanishes, leaving nothing behind in her wake.
She doesn’t do it as often now, knowing she can hold her own and that she’s got Adora behind her (or, at least, Adora hopes she knows that), but still, Catra likes to sink into the habit sometimes.
She knows all of Catra’s secret places, the ones she’ll hide in whenever she needs. First, there’s behind the crates, but that was more common when she was younger and smaller. Then, Adora’ll check the unused supply closet. Next, it’s a small corner in the locker room, unseen by everyone else. Last, it’s the hallway outside the bunks that has the perfect place for Catra to fall into the shadows.
Of course, there’s plenty more. But those are always the main ones.
Lately, though, she’s been disappearing somewhere Adora can’t find her. Which means she probably has a new hiding spot. That she hasn’t told Adora about Which then could mean one of two things.
One: It’s a challenge. Catra wants Adora to look for her, to come for her, to never stop looking for her. Almost like their own secret game of hide-and-seek.
Two: Catra doesn’t want to be found. By Adora, at least.
Adora’s starting to believe the second option more and more. She cannot find Catra anywhere in the Fright Zone. And therefore it’s probably not the faux-hide-and-seek.
Plus, she seemed mad last time she went up there. Adora probably did something . She can’t remember what exactly, but there has to be a reason Catra’s mad. And it’s the “Adora did something” mad.
Where she turns her back to her whenever she can. When she barely speaks, except for a passable comment here and there. Where she’ll barely touch her all day. Where she stares at Adora with this, this look from a distance, but looks away as soon as Adora catches her.
So yeah. Adora probably did something wrong, said the wrong thing. But she’ll make it up to Catra.
If she ever finds her.
Adora wishes she wasn’t so good at disappearing anymore. She wishes Catra would tell her what she did wrong.
Sighing, she searches the main hiding spots again.
Again, there was nothing there, not a single sign of Catra left there at all.
She checks everywhere around the Fright Zone; the corners, the closets, the little spaces no one thinks to look.
Still no Catra. It’s like she’s not even in here.
Adora takes a deep breath, then releases it.
Catra will come out when she’s ready. Adora just has to wait.
Adora still does not know where Catra has been disappearing off to.
This time, it’s less of a “Adora did something”, and more of a “Shadow Weaver sucks”.
Adora thinks that it might have to do with the fact that she had talked back to Shadow Weaver. Maybe I can stop her from getting hurt , she realizes. If I can just get her to understand that the more she just follows Shadow Weaver, the less that’ll happen to her.
She begins looking in the regular spots, and as what seems to be usual now, Catra’s not there. She checks everywhere else in the Fright Zone, and there’s still no sign of Catra.
Adora nearly screams, but instead just drops down on the floor in the bunks, grits her teeth, and squeezes her eyes to avoid the tears falling, wondering where the hell Catra could be.
She just wants to talk to Catra, to hold her, to comfort her. But Catra is being impossible right now, by not being able to be found.
She groans softly and puts her head in her hands. It’s less about Catra needing her now, and more about Adora realizing she can’t keep being left without any clue of where Catra is.
She’s just lucky everyone else (except Catra, of course) is eating lunch right now, and not witnessing her mental torrent of wanting to find her best friend.
Reluctantly, Adora gets up. Then she is immediately struck with the realization that Catra might not be inside anymore.
Racing out the side door, Adora wonders where you might be able to even hide out here. But then she looks up and realizes oh so she’s been right there this whole time.
Catra is sitting on the edge of the roof, Adora barely being able to make out her shape. There isn’t really a way for Adora to get up there. Catra could, at least, but that’s because she’s always been better at climbing than Adora.
Without even thinking about it much, Adora begins to try and climb up the rickety metal that holds up the roof. She’s always been like that, a kind of “act now, think later” person. Sure, it’s cost her before, but she’s gotten this far.
This is a lot harder than it seems, Adora realizes, then wonders how Catra even made it up there. She misses her footing, but catches it, and continues to grab for the piece she can, scaling the wall at this point. Because she will, she will make it to Catra up there.
When Adora finally makes it up there, breathing heavily just able to pull herself up onto the little ledge, she spots Catra in front of her.
She’s sitting at the very edge, knees pulled up close to her chest, elbows resting atop them. She keeps her eyes forward, on the never ending sky, not even looking at Adora when she comes up. Her tail is flicking lazily behind her, and that’s Adora’s only indication that Catra does want her here.
And then, “Took you long enough.” It’s quiet, almost murmured, but Adora knows she was meant to hear it.
That’s how all their moments are. Quiet, secluded, peaceful but only for a split second. Then it passes, and they’re back to training or whatever.
Here, though, here it’s different. No one can see them, no one can reach them. Adora could barely make it up here herself, and that’s only because she’s spent her whole life trying to keep up with Catra.
So Adora moves toward her, hoping that maybe they’ll get longer quiet moments, no longer in the dark after everyone else has gone to sleep, no, not that kind of quiet. The quiet that’s comfortable. The quiet that sends a million words and none at the same time. The quiet that’s theirs and never allowed.
Adora silently slides down next Catra, legs dangling off the edge. She’s not scared; Catra will catch her if she falls, she always will.
Catra visibly relaxes when Adora sits next to her. Her shoulders drop a bit, her back isn’t as tense, and her hands move from across her knees to the metal they’re sitting on. Both of their gazes stay on the horizon, on the sky.
Moments pass. Nothing happens. Adora expects that Catra might abruptly stand up and leave, go back inside after being out here so long.
Instead, the smallest of movements happens.
Catra’s tail, which had been waving just a little up until now, brushes against Adora’s waist.
It’s just a ghost, but it’s intentional. A sign.
Adora obeys. Wordlessly, she slips her hand into Catra’s next to her, intertwining their fingers like they were meant to be like that always.
And they sit. In the quiet moment, it’s just them. No one else matters, no one else is needed.
Nothing happens in this moment. Everything happens in this moment; an apology, a declaration, a promise, they all pass through the emptiness.
They stay, as they always will. Just them against the world, as it should be.
Catra disappears again. She’s still doing it.
But this time, Adora checks the same normal places, but when met with no Catra there, she knows exactly where to go.
Getting up the roof is harder the second time.
Apparently, her frustration and desperation last time helped her climb up this impossible wall. This time, she’s got none of that, something only akin to hope. Hope that she’ll find Catra up here. Hope that she’ll be able to cheer her up.
She’s only about halfway up and grunting periodically when something sticks out above her. It’s a hand. More specifically, it’s Catra’s hand.
Adora stares at it for a minute, and then smiles. Taking it, she feels Catra pull her up to the roof. She’s met with Catra’s beautiful blue and gold eyes, shimmering like gemstones, even if she’ll never admit that to her.
She stares for a while, she guesses, because she suddenly feels Catra drop her hand turn away.
“Dummy,” Catra mutters. She walks back to the edge of the roof like last time, and then falls to sit with her legs over the edge. “Can’t believe you still suck at climbing.”
Adora rolls her eyes, still smiling. “It’s not my fault. You just have an advantage.” She plops down next to Catra on the edge, matching her position.
Catra looks over and raises an eyebrow, challenging, “Oh yeah? And what advantage is that?”
Adora sits there with her mouth open for a while, searching for something, but comes up empty. Instead, she lightly jabs Catra’s side with her elbow.
They both laugh, freely and happily, away from any eyes, away from any responsibilities.
And they’re together, in their own little space, in their own little hiding spot.