Actions

Work Header

Word Games

Chapter Text

The bitter, yet calming smell of coffee grounds was known to inspire a lot of work. The Queen’s Brew, the most popular coffee shop on Bright Moon University’s campus, was where you could find students having sweet first dates, reading the bestselling series “The Princesses of Power” (a guilty pleasure for many readers), or Adora, where she sat nearly every day, typing and scratching her thoughts down in her notebook.
Adora only stopped typing to take a sip of her cold brew and recollect her thoughts once in a while. The smooth, bold coffee almost felt like a push forward with every taste. Her roommate, Glimmer, said that black coffee was disgusting and that it was meant to be paired with something sweet.
Adora would never admit it, but she agreed. Black coffee was invented for people with no soul. The secret aftertaste of caramel appeared on her tongue. It was a guilty pleasure, caramel coffee.
She continued to type at a superhuman speed, desperately trying to tie up loose ends in her work and finish it seamlessly. There was a lot at stake for this particular work, she couldn’t afford to leave anything out or miss a beat.

Katrina lay limp in Anna’s arms. Anna was done being angry-- she let go of every single feeling of resentment towards the girl she held and cried.
A beam of light blinded the others on the ship as Anna became one with She-Ra once again. Her form had been present, but the connection solidified for good this time. Light seeped through her body and into Katrina’s: the healing.
Anna had never been able to use She-Ra’s powers to heal before now.
Katrina coughed weakly and opened her eyes to Anna’s waiting, worried face.
“Hey, Anna.”

Adora stared at those sentences for a while. They felt like they weren’t big enough to encompass all of the work she had done. It felt anticlimactic.
However, her supervisor had told her to put all of the energy into the actual novel, but save the very end for a quiet, simple moment of reflection, and that’s exactly what she did.
Finally, after about three hours in the same seat, Adora saved her work and drafted a message in a new tab.

NEW EMAIL:

Hey, Mara. Got that manuscript for you attached here! See you Monday.

Adora Gray

Before she closed her laptop, she double-checked that her document was hidden. Her latest story in progress, “Save the Cat,” was in a document named “ENG350,” just in case.

Adora had a secret, and it wasn’t about coffee flavors. “Save the Cat” was actually a published novel. It was the fourth of five installments in the Princesses of Power series. She wrote under the pen name She-Ra. It was the perfect name: it kept her anonymous and was even the main character’s alter ego, an 8-foot tall warrior princess.
No one could ever know that Adora was, in fact, the author of these groundbreaking novels. The characters reflected every single person or event in her life in some way.

Just in time for her to hide her work, Glimmer came bursting through the doors of the coffee shop.
“Adora, thank goodness you’re here. Well, I knew you would be, you always are.”
“Glimmer, what’s up? Is everything okay?” Adora asked, with only a tinge of worry in her voice. Her best friend always had a ton of energy, but she was always cautious with the sudden entrances, especially in public.

“Yes! Everything is PERFECT. In fact, so perfect that I found you because we are going to a party tonight!! Bow just texted me. It’s at one of the honor houses. ”

Adora raised her eyebrow. “A party? It’s a Thursday.”
In response, Glimmer rolled her eyes.
“You know people go out on Thursdays, Adora. Thirsty Thursday? Hello?”
“I know what Thirsty Thursday is.” Adora said flatly. “I’m hip.”
Glimmer crossed her arms over her chest. “Well, if you’re so hip, then come with us to the party. You need to relax more. Let loose for once!”

She’s right, Adora thought to herself. All I’ve done for weeks is work.
Finally, she sighed and shook her head. “Fiiine. I’ll go.”
“YAY!!!” Glimmer cried. “I’ll have you home at 2 AM at the latest, captain.” Glimmer said with a mockingly serious tone.
Adora smiled as she packed her bag to leave with her friend. Just like the caramel, she’d never admit to Glimmer that she was pretty excited for the party.

In addition to being a secret bestselling author, Adora was also a Linguistics major. She loved languages and the forms of words. It felt like magic to her. But it was also hell, being a full-time student and a writer.
A hell she sort of… loved.

--

Back at their apartment, Adora and Glimmer were greeted by their 2 other roommates.
“Bow, Perfuma, guess who’s coming with us tonight?!”
They gasped. “You got ADORA to agree to going out on a school night?!” Bow said in disbelief.
Glimmer nodded proudly. “Mhm! She’s even letting me do her makeup.”
Adora’s eyes widened. “I did not say that.”
Perfuma grabbed her arm. “Oh, but we’re going to make you look hotter than ever. Trust me.” she beamed.

At 10 that night, the four friends were at the front door of the Computer Science house, which ten CS majors called home.
The main street of Bright Moon U’s campus was lined with dated houses, each with a specific group of students living in each one: Music, Physics, Spanish, and more. As dorky as it sounded, this also happened to be the home of the best party hosts on campus. The four friends were very close with one of the residents, Entrapta.

Adora smoothed her shirt. She was wearing a white button-up shirt with short sleeves, accompanied by baggy jean shorts and Chacos. While the outfit was something she was used to wearing, Perfuma and Glimmer had given her a dark smokey eyeshadow look, something she definitely did not do on the regular. When she saw herself in the mirror, though, she was pretty impressed by how good she looked with makeup on. It gave her a boost of confidence that she needed after the long day of working on her manuscript.

A girl with long, purple pigtails opened the door to greet them.
“Entrapta, hey!” Perfuma said, embracing her in a side hug. They all made their way through the door, greeting friends and strangers. Adora held onto her drink tightly so it didn’t spill over. Glimmer had mixed everyone a cocktail with copious amounts of alcohol in it, and insisted that they all get wasted.
The house was dimly lit: LED strip lights flashing in different colors and a few lamps in the corners. As she danced with Bow, her drink got more and more empty. She was actually… having fun. As long as she didn’t cross paths with a certain person, she’d be good to go for the night.

Perfuma and another very tall girl came bursting down the hallway in a frenzy of drunken laughter. With Perfuma behind the other girl, they could barely see where they were going.
It was probably Scorpia, another friend of theirs. Scorpia and Perfuma had an interesting relationship-- no one could tell if they were just friends or more, but the way they acted together was sweet and wholesome, they’d make a great couple.
To avoid a fumble, Adora backed up to get out of the way and found herself pressed into someone’s chest. A mystery hand grasped her hip, but she wasn’t losing her balance. It felt strange, but familiar.
“Hey, Adora.” the chest murmured.
Adora’s stomach fell to the floor. She swore that the soles of her shoes started to melt into the floorboards. Panic.
“Catra.” that’s all she could utter.
She couldn’t see it, but she knew Catra was giving a deviously cryptic half-smile-- her famous look.
“Looks like you’re having fun, princess.”
Adora turned dark red. Thank God no one could see her face, not even Catra.
“I-- I am. Thanks.” She stammered, surprised that she even wanted to talk to Adora.

“Hey, why don’t you lighten up? It’s dark in here. You’re the light of everyone’s life, after all.” Catra said slyly, addressing the shake in Adora’s voice.

Adora tried to turn around and face her, but just as soon as she had appeared, Catra was gone. She disappeared down the dark hallway, not even looking back.
Adora should have expected that.

Catra and Adora were best friends as kids. The two girls were inseparable from kindergarten until they graduated from high school, and even decided to go to Bright Moon University together.
Then, Adora met Bow and Glimmer during their first semester of college. She thought that making new friends would be good for her and Catra. Maybe they’d have new people to hang out with, maybe it’d be fun.

Catra disagreed. She became possessive, like Adora belonged to her. For years, honestly, they did belong to one another. They clung onto their childhood comfort all the way through high school, never letting anyone into their little world of their own. Having one another masked any pain or sadness they felt outside of one another.
Catra’s comment about being “the light of everyone’s life” was a reference to Glimmer’s Instagram. She had posted a photo to wish Adora a happy birthday the year prior, claiming she had become the light of her life.
Adora had never received such a wholesome compliment, at least not in words.

Catra ignored Adora in public, never dared to look her in the eye, especially if her “new and improved friends” were around (in Catra’s words). People told Adora that Catra had become mean. As much as it looked that way, Adora didn’t know how to call her mean. She didn’t know how to say anything bad about her.
It hurt to be away from her best friend. Adora missed Catra more than she could ever imagine, but there was just never going to be a way to bring her back into her life without giving up something.
They both knew it was unhealthy for those expectations to exist.
It was also unhealthy for her to stand here, in the middle of this party, and flash back to the entire past life of Adora and Catra, and to analyze every moment that she had just experienced with her.

“Adora!” a voice pulled her from the depths of her own head.
Glimmer was standing in front of her. “Finally, I found you. Come on, we need to get to the living room and dance! My favorite song is playing!”

Adora blamed the feeling of dissociation on the alcohol and followed her spunky friend down the hallway where Catra had disappeared. She tried her hardest to let go of that moment and move on.
Bow appeared shortly after, a lifeline for Adora’s slipping thoughts. He grabbed her hands and they danced wildly, giving Adora the release of stress she deserved.
All thoughts of Catra disappeared and there was only Bow and her friends and the buzzing dizziness of her drinks coming and going down her throat.

Chapter Text

On Monday morning, a few days after the party (which, by the way, she did not get back from by 2 AM like Glimmer had promised), Adora was standing in a small office, handling two coffees, from The Queen’s Brew, of course.
A dark-haired woman turned the corner and smiled warmly as Adora handed off one of the drinks to her.
“Adora! You didn’t have to.” the woman exclaimed, sighing as she took a sip of the dark roast.
Adora shrugged. “I know, Mara. I’m just excited for today.”
Mara raised her eyebrows and nodded, the coffee still at her lips.
“As you should be. I’m floored. I have a feeling that this is going to be the most popular installment yet. I’m really proud of you.”

Adora beamed.
“I put all of my soul into this one.”

Mara was one of the kindest people Adora had ever met. She was someone that she wanted to be like as she grew older. Mara never lost that glint of youth-- she was spirited, friendly and incredibly nurturing.
Adora got lucky to have a mentor like her.
A man appeared in the doorway and smiled at the two women.
“Adora, Mara, do you have some good news for me?” he asked.
Mara nodded. “Kyle, this kid right here is about to publish another bestseller. She’s got one of the most moving manuscripts to present to us this morning.” She squeezed Adora’s shoulder.

Kyle grinned. “Okay, She-Ra, you know the drill. Mara screened the first draft already, but now I’m going to pass it along. Me and the team are going to be in touch with you for any changes, suggestions or questions.”

“Great. So, this latest book is all about the beginning of the end. All of them think that She-Ra is gone for good, and Gracie and Katrina are being held prisoner by Horde Prime. As far as everyone’s concerned, this is pretty fucking hopeless.”

Kyle was writing a few notes down. Adora took a slight breath, then continued.

“But we also start to see a redemption of the friendship between Anna and Katrina. The crew goes back so Anna can rescue her. I won’t spoil much, but it’s emotional and definitely solidifies the fact that these two have always had something special.”

She kept describing the story’s nooks and crannies, the side characters that are, in fact, more important than anyone could imagine, and the parallels between Gracie and Katrina-- a development she was very proud of.

Kyle put down his pen.
“I really love that, Adora. I think that once we get some of these final permissions in place, we’ll be ready to move forward with the print and pricing procedure. Otherwise, I think we’re done here!”

The three of them sat in a calm quiet for a moment, and then Kyle clicked his pen open one more time.
“You know what I’m about to ask you, Adora.”
Adora sighed. “I’m not confirming anything about the characters! That wouldn’t be very fun, now would it? The most you’ll all get to know is who She-Ra is. The rest is up to you.”

Adora winked at them and excused herself, heading confidently out the door. As she made her way back to the apartment, she passed the Queen’s Brew again.
She never thought about it much, but that place was monumental to her life. Adora stepped into that coffee shop as a freshman three years ago and had no idea that she’d meet the woman that would act as her mentor, her big sister, her dear friend.
Mara.
Mara really was one of Adora’s favorite people to walk the Earth. They technically met in English 110, Adora’s first writing course, where Mara was working as a graduate TA.
About two weeks into classes, they ran into each other at the Queen’s Brew and Mara admitted that Adora’s writing, a short blurb about two characters named Anna and Katrina, was moving and incredible.
As an intern at a publishing company, she wanted to help her create something whole out of that assignment.
This short piece of fiction was now set to be the very ending of Adora’s fifth installment of the Princesses of Power. Only she and Mara knew how it ended, and only they knew that it would shake their readers to the core.

Like a sign from the stars, Adora’s reminiscing was cut short by the feeling of her phone buzzing off a new text message.

MARA: Proud of you <3

Adora smiled at her screen and typed.

ADORA: go team! :) kyle though… smh

MARA: when will he learn? Lol

Kyle could never get the hint: Mara and Adora were secretive about the series’ realistic nature. Much of their meetings were spent giving each other looks of sarcasm over something Kyle would mention inadvertently. He was a fantastic editor, but a ditzy guy for sure.

--

The gentle rush of air conditioning greeted Adora back at the apartment, along with Bow sitting at the kitchen counter.

“Hey, Bow. Do you have class today?” she asked. It was weird to see any of her roommates at home on a Monday before 3:00.

“Nope! Cancelled. I’m just catching up on stuff now.”
Bow was deep in study mode-- notebook and pens scattered across the counter and a fat textbook open in front of him. His laptop glowed and was playing upbeat pop music, the only thing that got Bow in the zone.

“Do you want me to turn this off?” he asked, gesturing at the computer.
“Oh my gosh, no! You have good taste. I just need to make some lunch and then go to class.”
Bow lip synced the chorus to Cruel Summer by Taylor Swift as he smiled at his roommate.

Adora fixed 2 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, offering one to Bow, who delightfully accepted. She knew that he’d forget to eat if he was doing so much homework.

Her only class of the day was studio art, an elective that Perfuma convinced her to sign up for. She loved it-- creating something with something besides words was hard, but a challenge that definitely inspired her to do more with her writing.
The only catch was that Catra also took the same class. At the same time.

The thought of seeing Catra in class didn’t make Adora very happy. Even the successful morning couldn’t make it more bearable to see her ex-friend anywhere.

Catra’s long, dark hair fell down her shoulders, unruly as usual, yet mystically gorgeous. Her hair was always a chore to take care of-- Adora remembered nights of trying to help her brush it, only to find that their efforts made it worse.

Perfuma finally arrived and sat down next to Adora, finally creating a wall between the two girls. Once again, like the party, Adora let go of Catra and worked, chatting with Perfuma on occasion.

---

The walk back to the apartment was a lot more enjoyable with her friend. Perfuma looked like she was deep in thought.
“Adora, why don’t you talk to Catra?”

Adora froze. The question was simple, but it took her a moment to formulate an answer.
The truth was that there were a lot of reasons why she didn’t talk to Catra:
The pain of being apart, the pain of seeing someone she knew so well but didn’t recognize, the secrets the two shared, it was all so overwhelming. Just seeing Catra sent Adora down a path of memories and a series of what-ifs.
“I don’t know how to without becoming someone I don’t like.”

Perfuma nodded solemnly. “I think I understand where you’re coming from there.”
The empathy radiated off of her like sunshine. It comforted Adora.
“Catra and I have too much shit to get through before we could be friends again. I don’t think she wants to get into it.”

They kept walking. Perfuma didn’t push any further questions.

---

Adora sat at her desk in her bedroom after that, reviewing some of her Russian verb conjugations before her exam tomorrow. She was having trouble concentrating after her walk home.

Perfuma rapped her knuckles lightly on the open door.

“Perfuma…”
“Adora. I wanted to apologize for prying today. I love you, and I just don’t like seeing my friends in pain.”
Adora sighed with relief. She thought that maybe Perfuma had gotten upset with her for being so closed off.
Adora offered herself for a hug. The two friends embraced and a sense of peace washed over Adora.
Conflict resolution could be that simple. Communicating could be that clear. It was possible.

She finished her studying without the crushing weight of guilt on her shoulders.

Chapter Text

November approached quickly, as did the release of Save the Cat. Mara warned Adora that a plot so emotional and mysterious could create a lot of activity in the online community. They had already begun to see fan art on Twitter, photos of people cosplaying characters, and tweets gushing over the long-awaited release of Save the Cat.
That latest installment was more successful than Adora could have ever imagined-- it sold five thousand copies on its first day.

Bright Moon University was its most popular audience, mainly because one of the kingdoms was, in fact, named Bright Moon. Just like a town called Riverside or Valley Falls, it wasn’t an uncommon name for a place, but the students at BMU held it near and dear to their hearts.

On her way back from class, Adora casually passed by the window of the bookstore downtown, just to see the display.
The cover sported an epic picture of She-Ra and Katrina, back-to-back against a dark backdrop of Horde Prime’s lair.
Nice, Adora thought, nodding to her reflection in the glass.

Just as she suspected, Glimmer and Bow were on the couch in their apartment, holding copies of the new book.

“She-Ra really outdid themselves this time.” Glimmer stated, and Bow nodded in agreement.
“We both bought a copy and stayed up all night reading the. Entire. Thing.” Bow yawned, waving the hardcover in front of his mouth as if to excuse himself.
“Adora, you HAVE to read this one. I know you said you’re not a big fan of sci-fi and fantasy stuff, but this is so, SO amazing!”

Adora laughed and thought to herself: I thought it was pretty good, too.
“I might. But I’d start at the beginning, so it’d take me a while to get to… which book is that now? Five?”
“Four.” Bow corrected.

When She-Ra released the debut novel in the series, Adora lied to cover her tracks. She didn’t want to affiliate herself with the book in any capacity, not even showing interest in it.
She also never expected her best friends to be such diehard fans.

Glimmer turned to her friend. “Bow, I have theories we should talk about once Perfuma and Scorpia are done with it. I think that…”
“...Gracie and Blaine are actually in love but won’t admit it?!” Bow interrupted. Adora’s eyes went wide for a moment.
It’s funny that he would comment on that. She wrote Gracie and Blaine to emanate characteristics of those two. Adora always thought that they had unspoken feelings for one another, but only time would tell her if that were true.
She excused herself and found refuge in her bedroom. Two minutes in front of that book was plenty for her.

When her door closed, she felt her chest decompress. It made her so nervous to be around them if they ever mentioned She-Ra, which, unfortunately, was often. They were really big fans of the books.

She flopped over on her bed and pulled out her phone. She loved looking at Instagram, it was another secret joy of Adora’s. Photos tell a lot of stories, and the glimpse into people’s lives fascinated her.
But nothing was loading. All she saw were grey loading symbols.

“BOW!” she yelled down the hallway.
“I know, Entrapta’s coming over in like two minutes to fix the router!”

Their internet connection was about as stable as Adora’s relationship with Catra.
Exactly two minutes after, and yes, exactly one hundred and twenty seconds, Entrapta busted through the door.
She wasn’t much of a knocker, or anything to do with social graces, really.
“Hi, Adora!” she called out as she made a beeline for the Internet router.
The problem with their router was that if they unplugged it and turned it back on like everyone suggested, it actually erased data from the network somehow.
So, it was now up to their technological genius friend to unpack the secret of their absolute piece of shit wifi.

Entrapta took all of 5 minutes to rewire their internet and get it back to a stable connection. She insisted that it would hold up for more than a day or so, and if Entrapta had said that, Adora believed her. Even though it had been fixed, Glimmer and Adora had plans to meet Scorpia for a study date, so they were excited to take advantage of the free wifi.

--

Adora, Scorpia and Glimmer occupied a large circle table at the Queen’s Brew, working for their respective classes. Adora drank a hot coffee (with a caramel shot) while Glimmer and Scorpia sipped hot chocolate, garnished with miniature candy canes. Adora kind of wished she had gotten the same, but the caffeine was the only way for her to get through her Russian homework.

Adora decided to take a quick break and check Twitter.
What popped up on her timeline made her heart pound:
TRENDING: #SHERA

What now? Adora thought to herself, quickly clicking on the hashtag’s link.

Post after post about fan theories appeared before her eyes.

SHERAFAN18: Theory: Anna and Katrina are in love. That ending was SPICY. No way they’re just friends.

Adora chuckled quietly.

KATRINATRASH: headcanon: anna and katrina get married after the series is over and laugh about their fights

The last post she saw made her stomach twist.

POWERPRINCESS: save the cat theory: it’s actually a coded true story and all of the characters contributed these things to the real life she-ra.

Fuck. Adora thought.
She-Ra had trended on Twitter in the past, but she scanned the furthest corners of the internet to make sure that NO ONE suspected the truth.
She discreetly took a screenshot of the computer screen and tried to calm herself with thoughts of it being impossible for anyone to know who she really was.
Maybe she’d bring it up with Mara, but not until after the holiday. She’d be able to last a week, it wouldn’t drive her insane.
Adora buried her train of thought in Russian vocabulary.

--

After a few hours of homework, Scorpia cleared her throat.
“Guys, I want to have a Friendsgiving. My parents are kind of out of the picture, and I know that it's hard for a lot of us to travel home for such a short time.
Entrapta and I have already started to plan it a little. It’ll be at Comp Sci house.”
Glimmer’s eyes sparkled. “YES! I’d love that.”
Adora grinned. “That sounds awesome. Is it going to be a potluck thing?”

The three continued to talk logistics and got excited for the following week’s big holiday. It was decided that the apartment would bake a dessert, while the house would divide up the main course and a few sides.
Adora knew that Catra would probably be there, it was her house after all. And there was absolutely no way she’d go home for any holiday, much less Thanksgiving. Adora knew damn well that there was nothing left to be thankful for at the Weaver house.
She’d just be civil, and sit as far away from her as possible. No chance of contact.

Chapter Text

On the night of Thanksgiving, Glimmer was standing over the bathroom counter, shoulder to shoulder between Adora and Perfuma.“Scorpia said to dress up, we’re making it into a fancy dinner party!”

Adora nodded in understanding and continued to brush back her hair into a sleek ponytail. She ducked under Perfuma’s arms, hard at work curling her long blonde locks.

Across the hall in her closet, Adora pulled out a black satin tank top and black slacks. On top, she threw on a brown blazer. Admittedly, Adora felt sexy.

“Damn, Adora, you look hot!” Perfuma said from the bathroom. She was wearing a long, black skirt with a dark purple top adorned with tiny, white embroidered flowers. The comment furthered her self-confidence.

“I could say the same to you!” Adora said through a laugh and a flush in her cheeks. “I love your shirt.”
Perfuma blushed. “Scorpia and I are kind of matching. Her socks are dark purple.”
Adora raised one eyebrow. “Is this your way of telling me that you two are finally a couple?”

Perfuma’s face got redder. “Well… Yes! Yes and no. We like each other, but we haven’t asked each other to officially be an exclusive couple. I was planning on asking her tonight to be my girlfriend.”

Adora shot across the hall and cupped Perfuma’s face. “That’s so FUCKING CUTE! Stop it before I vomit. Too much sweetness!” She exclaimed.
She was so happy for Perfuma that she let her do her makeup.
She wasn’t sure what had put Adora in such a good mood, maybe she was still riding the high of such a successful release or that there were no further comments about the retched She-Ra theory on Twitter. Whatever it was, she was confident that nothing could ruin this feeling, not even the inevitable Catra sighting later.
When they left the apartment, Glimmer and Adora had been dolled up by their friend’s expert eye makeup skills. Adora had a sharp, jet black eyeliner that pointed slightly upward, and Glimmer’s eyes were covered in a sheer purple glitter. Even Bow had a hint of blue eyeliner, which everyone admired.
He even blushed a little when Glimmer said he looked handsome. He did, and everyone knew it, but she was the only one to say it out loud.
The other girls said he looked “great,” but the word “handsome” has such a different weight to it.

--

“Welcome!” Scorpia said proudly as she greeted the four roommates at the door. Adora noticed a flush run through her cheeks when she saw Perfuma. Adora shot her a subtle wink. She led them to the kitchen, where they placed a homemade chocolate cake on the counter. Glimmer put 200 percent of her effort into the cake-- Bow and Adora were really just there for moral support.

As the large group sat down to dinner, set hastily by four connected tables and hidden by a long, cheap tablecloth, Mermista and Sea Hawk made sure that everyone had full glasses of wine and water. Water was key-- the friends knew that if none of them were hydrated, the wine could make them a little messy.
The charm of the dining room was sweet and nostalgic, especially the makeshift dining table. It was rare that they all got to be together.

“Let’s go around the table and share our favorite thing about this school year so far!” Perfuma suggested. She smiled and waved her hand at the end of the long arrangement of tables to Bow.

“Oh, me first?!” he asked. “Okay! Well, my favorite thing so far is that I came out to my dads as bisexual, and they were so happy for me!”

A series of “awww”s and “congrats, Bow!”s filled the air, then Entrapta said:
“I met my boyfriend this year, Hordak!” she exclaimed as she threw her arms around the silver-haired boy next to her. Her pigtails swished around his face and he chuckled.
“My favorite thing has been going to school after working so long to afford it. Entrapta’s been amazing, too.” He kissed her cheek.

Hordak grew up as a triplet. He was identical to two other people, which took a toll on him, especially when he was diagnosed with ADHD and his brothers weren’t. They were the “better” two of the triplets. Hordak was simply a disappointment in his strict parents’ image. So, he didn’t get much help with college. It delayed his path by two years, even though all he wanted to do was go straight into engineering.

Everyone loved Hordak, they met in September and started dating briefly after they became lab partners. Entrapta had, somehow, never had a partner before. She was such a kind and amazing soul.

“How about you, Catra?” He asked.
Catra sank into her chair a little.
“Um… Well, I guess that I’ve really loved living here with so many friends.” she said, avoiding eye contact with Adora, even though they were directly across the table from one another.
Her housemates smiled at her and flashed loving eyes.

“Perfuma?” Catra said quickly, shying the attention away from herself.

“I think I have too many favorites, so I’ll say that my favorite thing is being here today and that we are all happy and healthy!”
A few giggles and lighthearted groans made their way to her. Perfuma’s positivity was sickeningly sweet, but the kind that no one got tired of. As nice as she was, she was also the realest of the group.

Lonnie, Scorpia, Glimmer, Mermista, and Sea Hawk talked for a while about their fondest memories of the semester, and then it was Adora’s turn.

“My favorite thing of this year has been getting closer with my friends. It’s been really meaningful to me.” She said, trying to make her tone a little sweeter than usual in order to convey how grateful she felt. Glimmer hugged her from the side and kissed Adora’s cheek.

The conversation rose once again, buzzing all around the dining room, so it was easy for Adora to slip away for a moment to get more wine.

She found Catra in the kitchen, much to her surprise.
It obviously surprised Catra too, because she jumped a little at the sight of her ex-friend.
Catra looked… incredible. She was wearing a black sleeveless jumpsuit and boots, with her hair pulled back into a low ponytail and out of her face.
Adora couldn’t look for more than a second. She stared at the countertop and began to pour the wine into her glass.

“You sounded like a bitch.” Catra muttered. Adora whipped her head around to face her.
“The fuck? When?” she challenged.
Catra scoffed.
“What do you mean, when? You went on and on about how great your friends are, like they saved the world or something!”
Adora set down her glass, but held onto the stem. She leaned slightly into the counter, as if to put off a casual aura.
“Catra, what the hell is wrong with you? They treat me well. They treat me like I deserve love in return for what I put out. I feel like I can be myself around them. They are GOOD friends.”
Catra took one step closer. “Are you saying I was a bad friend?”

Adora stood up taller. “I never said that. You were my best friend. You were mean to me after we moved here. Then you acted like a bad friend. I don’t even know why you hate me so much!”

“Adora, you ABANDONED me! You LEFT! You met your stupid friends and then acted like I was nothing to you!” Catra yelled.

“I NEVER abandoned you! I tried to invite you out, I tried to introduce you, you wanted NOTHING to do with me or them!”

“Adora, I’m so sick of you being such a fake bitch all of the time! Just say I never mattered to you! Tell me why you hate me!”

“I never hated you! I never WILL hate you!
I just… I just don’t understand why you couldn’t be a part of it. Why did you want me to be alone with you? Can’t I have other people in my life?”

Adora didn’t realize how tightly she was holding her glass until she felt the stem crack under her fingers.

They were unaware that their voices had carried into the dining room and the table of friends had fallen silent. When Catra sensed the tension throughout the whole house, she ran out the side door of the kitchen and into the darkness of the evening.

--

Catra didn’t know what to do after she fled the house. She aimlessly wandered the sidewalk and across the road onto the quad, walking faster the more she felt like crying.
Cold, November air bit her bare arms. It was bearable until she felt drops of freezing rain on her skin, and then she fell apart.
Catra fell onto the ground, sobbing, heaving. She ripped the dead, cold grass out in clumps, desperate to feel something. Something as nimble and expendable as grass could withstand Catra’s pure, miserable turmoil, and she soon felt nothing but dirt under her fingernails.
There was no more grass to pull. Catra was alone.

She heaved and sobbed, but no more tears were coming out. She clutched her arms to try and warm herself and to feel something other than the ground beneath her. Her fingers traced the scars that followed the curve of her upper arm and she winced.
She hated her stupid fucking arms; the way they would never be blank and pure. They were deep and never really healed in an attractive or admirable way, unlike some people who end up with a sweet, faded memory of their incidents past.
Not Catra. That day in her life would have to live in her arms forever in its ugly, horrific reality.

--

Catra didn’t do anything wrong growing up. She was just a normal kid: exploratory with a bratty edge.
Mrs. Weaver always let Adora come over-- she idolized the little blonde girl like she was her own daughter. Catra never thought much of her mom’s fondness of her friend, if anything, she appreciated it because that meant they got to spend more time together. More sleepovers, more walks to and from school.
There was only one time that Mrs. Weaver said no to Adora visiting the house, it was in second grade. Catra wasn’t given a reason why, which to a child naturally meant that there was no reason why she couldn’t sneak Adora in anyway.
The two friends slyly tiptoed into Catra’s room and giggled as the door shut, then hid under the bed to start their game of Military.

They army crawled across the barren bedroom floor, whisper-screaming commands and pretending as if Catra had been shot. Adora fired her Nerf gun into the air. “I GOT THE CHOPPER!” she roared quietly, and used her healing powers to bring Catra “back to life.”
The girls had finished three missions before they heard a door slam down the hall. The sounds of angry, intimidating adult voices drifted under Catra’s door.
Before they could decide whether to ignore it or explore further, Mrs. Weaver crashed through the door. She was not herself, she was drunk or high, probably both.
"Catra. What the fuck is she doing here?" she bellowed, pointing her long, pointy fake nails at Adora.
I-- I’m sorry, I just thought it would be OK if she came over for a little b--”
“I told you NO. Do you know how to listen? Do you know how to do ANYTHING?!”
A tiny Adora ran in front of the family and cried, I’ll go! I’m sorry!”
She tried to go past the woman and through the door, but Mrs. Weaver pushed Adora down in her rage.
Then, she picked up Catra by her upper arms and held her in front of her like a soiled napkin.
Her nails dug into Catra’s little arms and she shrieked in pain.
“Why can’t you be like her? I bet she listens to her mother. I bet she isn’t a disgusting, disgraceful little cunt like you.”
She slowly loosened her grip and her nails further drug around Catra’s arms.
Adora kicked and screamed at Mrs. Weaver, begging her to stop torturing the poor child in her hands.

Finally, Adora bit the woman’s leg so hard that she fell to the floor. In one final swipe, Mrs. Weaver laid a blunt blow to the side of Catra's head. The little girl collapsed and screamed. Adora pulled on Catra’s collar and led them out of the house, into the bushes that lined the front yard. In a panic, she used her sweatshirt to wipe blood off of her friend’s horrifying arms, and they cried softly. The rest of that afternoon was unclear. All Catra remembered was being in the hospital later, and Adora was gone.

The days to follow her mother’s attack on her were hazy. Life materialized in front of her once again when she felt Adora’s hand intertwine with hers in the classroom. It was the first time she had seen Adora since they had run to hide from Mrs. Weaver in the bushes outside, Adora panicking and holding her tiny hands over Catra’s wounds.
Catra felt the same kind of hazy ever since Adora grew so close to Glimmer and Bow.

She knew that she sounded like a fucking idiot every time she trued to justify her reasoning for distancing herself from Adora, but it wasn’t fucking fair that she had moved on from Catra. She should have expected it when they entered the real world.

--
“Catra.” Above the roaring sounds of her own inner despair, a clear and familiar voice.
“Catra! I’m here!”
Warm, strong arms around her finally brought her back from her state of panic.
It was Adora, of fucking course it was Adora.

Chapter Text

Catra looked at Adora, whose face was full of worry.
Her arms were still around her.
“You can let go of me.” Catra muttered, quickly pulling herself away from the blonde.
“You had a panic attack.” Adora announced, more for herself than for Catra.
“No shit, genius! It’s not like you care anyway.”
Adora’s face fell. “Of course I care. Why wouldn’t I? We may not be close anymore, but you’re still a person.”
They sat in silence on the grass for a while, the unsteady drizzle speckling their bodies.

“Do you want to talk?” Adora finally asked, nervously.
Catra didn’t know what to say. She really, truly didn’t know what she wanted. Adora was the only one who knew anything about her past, about her triggers, anything, really. She was the only person she had ever opened up to. Everyone else got a front of the well-known bitchy Catra.
Maybe she did want to talk to her.

“Come on.” She said, standing up and reaching her hand out to Catra.

Reluctantly, but with a hint of relief, Catra accepted the outstretched arm and walked with Adora back to her apartment. They didn’t dare walk too close to one another.

It was a short walk to the building that the four friends lived in-- Catra didn’t realize how close they were to each other. Adora led her to the living room, where they sat down on opposite ends of the couch.

“Do you need anything from me?” Adora asked, scanning the room for a blanket, but Catra shook her head.
“No, thanks.”

Another long moment of silence washed over them. Adora stared at her hands in her lap, and Catra darted her eyes around the apartment, observing.
Both of them opened their mouths, about to speak, but no sounds ever came out. They just sat there, in the soothing silence of the apartment.

--

They must have sat like that for hours, because Catra didn’t remember falling asleep. She woke up on her side, covered by a blanket, and accompanied by Adora in the same spot, who was typing madly on her computer.

“W-what time is it? Catra asked sleepily.
“One-thirty.” Adora replied simply, only glancing briefly at her before going back to her laptop screen.
Catra didn’t know whether she should sit up and leave or go back to sleep. Instead, she laid there, feeling incredibly normal.
Without thinking, she broke the silence. “I had a flashback about my mom.”
Adora closed her computer and set it on the table next to her. She leaned towards Catra in a listening position.
Catra took it as a signal to keep talking. Was she safe to do that?
Only one way to find out.
“Do you ever have them too? About that day?”

Adora looked confused. Her eyebrows bunched together.
“I don’t think I was at your house. I think about missing you at school, though.”
Catra was floored.
“Adora… you were there. You’re the one who got me outside. You can't remember?”

“What? No I wasn’t. I was at home, or at the park with my stepmom…or… I… I can’t remember.”
Her voice shook a little, like she was about to cry.
“Was I there? Did I actually see everything?”

Catra, with hesitation, moved a little closer to put her hand on Adora’s knee.
“Yeah,” she whispered, “you were there.”

Adora didn’t cry, like Catra thought. Instead, she fell silent, as if trying to open a door in her brain that she had been locked out of.
Her eyes widened and she put her hand over her mouth.

Catra nodded, looking at Adora’s socks. She understood what was happening. It all came back to Adora at once: the sneaking, the play missions, the yelling and Catra’s screaming.
Fat, hesitant tears finally fell from Adora’s eyes, but she didn’t make a sound.
“I’m sorry that I’m crying. This is about you.” she said, her voice cracking.

Catra shook her head again and put a little more pressure on Adora’s knee. “It’s okay to cry. I’m fine.”
“No you aren’t!” Adora exclaimed. “I had no fucking idea that I was there, all I remember are my nightmares and not seeing you at school and wondering what the fuck was going on, then suddenly you were back!”

“It’s a trauma response.” Catra said quietly.
“I get it. That’s what all my therapists have told me when I can’t remember shit. Then it comes back sometimes. So you probably knew all along but your brain shut it out to protect you.” She explained.
Unfortunately, Catra had sought enough medical attention to feel like quite the expert in therapy, or at least like maybe she knew what she was talking about some of the time.
Adora nodded, accepting the shock.

Then, she asked, “is there anything I can do for you?”
Catra was a little confused.
“Probably not.” She just wanted to leave, whether it was out the door or back into her deep sleep.

But Adora kept going. “I want to help you.”
Catra was annoyed now. “Adora, you can’t fix this. Can you please let it go?” She snapped.
Then, to cut themselves off from the conversation, Catra laid back down on the couch, facing the back cushions, and buried herself up to her nose in the blanket.

Adora had started scheming with Mara about the fifth and final installment of the Princesses of Power series. Her document was a disaster: random paragraphs, one-line ideas, and the general arcs of character relationships.
Adora sighed heavily and loudly opened her laptop once again, typing away.
there goes our talk, I guess. Adora thought to herself. Catra had been so nonchalant, like this was old news to her. Like Adora was stupid, or something.
She opened a new tab to send an email.

NEW EMAIL:

Mara— I have some new stuff for Heart. Not going to write as we planned.
Meet soon?

-Adora Gray

Then, in a sudden swirl of inspiration and emotion, Adora began to type and didn’t stop until almost two hours later, when her brain had spent all of its energy on the story for the night. She closed her computer and leaned her head back, sinking into the cushion.

--

Catra was still asleep when Adora got up from the couch the next morning. She hadn’t planned on staying there, but she also didn’t want to get up after the heavy emotions hit her. Adora didn’t realize how exhausting it was to simply think.
This was the first time she had seen Catra sleeping since their freshman year of college, during the winter break. Catra looked at peace, something Adora never noticed about her unless she were sleeping.
It was 8:30 AM, much too early for the others to be awake after their night at Comp Sci house. Glimmer and Adora had swapped a few texts back and forth about their respective situations.
Adora was not looking forward to Glimmer’s demand to talk about every detail of her interaction with Catra, but she did want someone to know about it. It was hard to sort it all out on her own.
God damn, was Catra confusing.

Adora decided that the only way to get this shit out of her mind for the day was to go to the gym. She was known amongst her friends to be a jock, using exercise as a form of escapism and running away from her problems, literally.
She went to her room to change into sweatpants, a sports bra and a hoodie, then tiptoed to the front door where she laced up her tennis shoes.
Outside, the air was cold, but manageable for Adora’s naturally warm body and her fleece clothes. Her walk to the gym was short, too.

Adora made a beeline for the punching bag. She tightened the Velcro on her gloves and took a hearty swing at the black bag.
Another swing.
Adora punched and kicked the bag as if it were all of her anger, materialized.
She didn’t even know why she was angry.

In the middle of her punches, she could imagine the chapter with a fight between Anna and Katrina in Save the Cat. Katrina was under the grasp of Horde Prime, and he was using her as a vessel to fight Anna. She didn’t want to hurt Katrina, but she also couldn’t let herself get killed.

At some point, Adora didn’t know if the liquid blocking her vision was sweat or tears.
When she stepped back to take a break, she felt a hand on her shoulder.
She jumped and took out one of her Airpods. She rolled her eyes, it was probably one of the frat guys trying to “offer some advice” or tell her she looked hot, which Adora never once asked for.
But, much to her surprise, it was Bow.
“Bow?!”
Bow shrugged. “I figured you’d be here. I just wanted to check on you. I saw Catra at home when we all got back.”
Adora looked at the ground.
“Yeah. She slept over. Is she still there?”
“No, she left when I did.” He raised an eyebrow. “You guys didn’t… you know… did you?” he asked, dripping with curiosity.
“WHAT?! No, we didn’t do anything like that. Catra hates my guts.” She waved her hand in disgust. Catra wouldn’t want to do anything like that with her.
“We just… had something happen to us when we were younger and it kind of got brought up somehow. She wasn’t in any state to be alone. Neither was I.”
Bow nodded along with her explanation.
“I see. Listen, I’ll let you get back to your workout.”
Adora shook her head and unstrapped her gloves. “No, I’m done. Are you hungry? We could go get some breakfast.”
Bow smiled. “Actually, yes. I’d like that.”

Bow and Adora got bagels and coffee at Queen’s Brew and found a spot to sit on the quad nearby.
“Adora, can I ask you something personal?” Bow asked nervously.
Adora nodded through a bite of her cranberry bagel.
“I don’t want to overstep, but I know you won’t be upset if I ask this.
Do you have a therapist?”

Adora set down her food in her lap and looked at her friend.
“I don’t, actually. Why, do you think I need one?”

Bow tilted his head to the side a little and explained, “Well, yes, but I also think that everyone does. For you, though, I’ve noticed over the past year or so that you hide a lot when things get hard. And I like to give people their space, but I also don’t want to see you hurt. I don’t even know if a lot of people realize they’re hurting.”

Adora was a little surprised. Bow was kind of spot on, especially considering he hadn’t been there last night with her and Catra.

“Adora, I hope I didn’t offend you.”
Adora shook her head madly. “Oh my God, Bow, no not at all! I really love that you felt like you could talk to me. You are a really, really amazing friend. I think you’re right, too. Talking to someone would be good for me.”

She squeezed Bow’s hand as they each took a warm sip of their drinks.
Bow was absolutely right, but she couldn’t help but be annoyed with herself for being so vulnerable. It was scary to open up, but she played it off with herself as an inconvenience.

Chapter Text

“Hi, Adora, come on in!”
The blonde girl sat down and perched lightly on the edge of a leather armchair. She looked at the woman seated across from her, who was waiting with a legal pad and a big smile.
“I’m sorry, um, I don’t really know how this works.” Adora said sheepishly.
“That’s okay! This is a big day for both of us. We’re about to start a really important relationship. Therapy is good for our minds, especially if there’s some things blocking our way to understanding our lives.”
Adora nodded. She wasn’t sure what she was expecting, but Casta seemed like a nice person.
“So, I’m Dr. Spella. You can call me Casta. Adora, tell me about yourself.”
That was a big question. Adora had no idea where to start.
“Well, I’m a linguistics major and I also just declared a minor in English. I live in an apartment with my three best friends, and I also have a stepmom back home. She adopted me when I was a baby.”
Casta scribbled some notes.
“What do you like to do besides study linguistics?”
Again, coming at me with the heavy questions, Adora thought, then said:
“I love to write. I have a secret about writing but I’m not sure if I should talk about that yet. Also, I like to work out.”

“A secret, huh? I look forward to hearing about it someday, if you’re willing. Secrets can weigh us down.”

Adora scratched at the back of her neck. “Yeah… It’s a long story. Maybe next time.”
Next time? I guess I just committed myself.
In a way, Adora felt comfortable after saying that, sitting in the stranger’s office.

An hour flew by. Adora had explained nearly her entire life’s joys and minor inconveniences. She wasn’t one who liked to talk about herself, but to have someone want to listen to Adora was a strange and freeing feeling. It felt selfish, but incredible.
She even brought up that she didn’t have Catra around anymore.
Adora glanced at the clock. 10:57. Three more minutes.
“I want to go back to Catra for a moment before we leave.” Casta announced.
“You two… you’re not on speaking terms anymore?”
Adora’s face fell. “Not really. We’ve seen each other by accident a few times lately, but no. We aren’t friends. It’s not very civil either.”
Casta nodded and scratched more notes, very fast this time.

“I’m sorry to hear that. I hope that we can talk more about your relationship with her in the days to come. Adora, it was so nice to meet you. See you next week!”
Adora stood up and firmly shook Casta’s hand. She thanked her and let herself out of the office.
Her walk to Mara’s office gave her time to think about her appointment. Bow had prepared her a little bit for what therapy would be like, but she didn’t expect it to feel so… comfortable. She had imagined herself awkwardly sitting in the corner, talking about random things that would magically make sense.
But no, this was so systematic and calm.

--

Finally, after her daydreamy state-of-mind walk, she reached the publishing office, and she found Mara at her desk.
“Hey, Adora!” Mara called from her seat. “I really need to talk to you.”
Adora went behind the desk to the second chair next to Mara. She was the only one that sat by Mara, they had the kind of relationship that was more collaborative and friendly. It was sweet.
“Adora, I know you were nervous about Twitter, which is why I wanted to talk to you before you could find it out on your own.”
Mara opened a Reddit post and found a thread of long messages.
“A lot of people are theorizing that Bright Moon is based on a real place, along with the characters.”
Adora slapped the desk. “God damn it!”
Mara put her hand over Adora’s. “Hey, it’s okay! I actually wanted to tell you that this could be good. As long as you haven’t told anybody, your secret is going to stay safe. You and I have altered these situations, conversations and plot enough to where there is absolutely no way that anyone could figure out it’s you unless they’re close in your personal life.”
Adora quietly thought to herself that it could be really good for business.
She’d have her loans paid off for her undergrad AND any other degree she wanted in the future if the books got more famous. Plus, Mara was the only person on the planet that knew that she was She-Ra. She trusted Mara, especially since she was getting part of the deal.
“You’re the only one. Not even Glimmer knows.”
“Good girl.”
They scrolled through the Reddit thread for a while and decided that the theory was good, but it lacked any evidence of Adora’s life whatsoever. She was in the clear.

“Okay, now tell me what you wanted to do with Heart. I’m curious.”
Adora opened her phone and went to her Notes app.
“Basically, I want to scrap every fight with Katrina and Anna from here on out. I’m going to write them in a full state of redemption.”
Mara’s mouth flew open.
“Stop, I love that. Why the sudden change? And does that mean that their only issue is Horde Prime now?”
Adora laughed. “Oh, no. It’s still an issue to be in this complicated situation. But, yes, the villain is only Horde Prime now. Save the Cat made it a little unclear whether or not Katrina would be on their side, but I’m making it official. Anna and Katrina will team up with the princesses.”

Adora looked at the note she typed again.

Catra= not so bitchy? Possibly not as bad as she seems?

Mara put her arm on Adora’s shoulder. “Catra. Something happened.”
Adora nodded and looked at her. “A lot happened, actually. She slept at my place on Thanksgiving.”
Mara gasped. “Adora, did you fuck her?!”
“NO!” Adora retaliated, maybe a little too fast. “She just had a rough night and ended up falling asleep on my couch.”
Mara shrugged. “Hey, sorry, I just wanted to ask, you are making them be a couple at the end, after all. I won’t judge.”
Adora blew a loud puff of air out of her nose. “It’s supposed to be a metaphor for healing, not real love.”

“Right. My bad.”
The two women talked for another two hours, brainstorming the storyline for Heart, but they didn’t talk about Catra again.

--

Back at the apartment, Adora, Bow, and Glimmer were sitting at the kitchen counter and eating a snack of chips and salsa. She talked to her friends about her therapy session, and thanked Bow endlessly for the suggestion.
“I feel pretty good. She told me that it was going to be hard if I decided to keep attending, because healing isn’t easy. I think I’m going to go again.”
Bow gave Adora a big hug.
“She’s right. It might be hard, but we’re always here for you. Adora, I am so proud of you!”
Glimmer chimed in. “I am, too. You’re an amazing person.”

Adora loved the praise and validation from her friends. They hadn’t been with her in the appointment, but in a way, it felt like they were.
As much as she loved the feeling of progress, she wasn’t sure what exactly she was healing from yet.

Chapter Text

As much as the gang missed their families, it felt a little strange to go home. Glimmer stayed in Bright Moon, her parents just lived a few miles away from campus. Bow didn’t talk much about where he was from, but he did go home to his dads, whom he loved very much and was very excited about!.
Adora was headed home to her hometown of Whispering Woods, where her stepmom lived alone. She took the bus home, which only took about two hours.

On her ride, she crossed her legs on the seat and nestled into her hoodie, phone up to her nose. The bus was not warm enough for the winter that billowed on outside, but she wanted to write. If she got out her computer, it would freeze her hands.
Heart was almost finished: Adora had some loose ends to tie up with every subplot and give it a tear-jerking emotional scene between Anna and Katrina. It even made her cry a little when she and Mara brainstormed it.

Adora whispered with defeat, "It's too late. I've failed." Catra's face turned into a look of pure horror. "No, NO! I've got you. I'm not letting go." She kept reaching, grabbing for Adora's hand. Catra cried out desperately. "Don't you get it? I love you. I always have. So please, just this once. Stay!" Her voice cracked.

Razz was waiting for her at the bus station, complete with a little sign that said “My Dear Adora” and a rose.
“Hi, Dearie!” Razz exclaimed, pulling Adora into a tight hug. Adora burst out laughing, feeling the release of tension as she felt her parent’s embrace. Razz was magic, the sweetest woman Adora had ever known.
“Hi, Razz. I’m so happy to see you.”
They made their way home, chatting about the massive snowstorm on the way and other small car ride things. Adora would save the updates for later, once they’d settled down.

They pulled up to a small ranch home surrounded by massive trees. It was one of Adora’s favorite places in the world, those trees. One of the largest oaks had strips of wood hastily nailed into it, leading up to a plank attached to 2 branches like a seat.
Adora spent a lot of her childhood sitting on that plank, thinking and drawing and writing. She brought Catra up there, but no one else. It was her spot, Raz made it for her to be her own spot.

Adora set her backpack in the living room and took her duffel down the hall to her room. It hadn’t changed at all: warm grey walls, a neatly made bed, and a bookshelf that was stuffed with journals, books, and trinkets.
A warm sense of home had fully covered Adora. She didn’t realize how stressed she had been about school, She-Ra, and her personal life until she saw the nostalgic space she grew up in.

“Adora, dearie, can I ask you something?”

Adora turned to face her stepmom in the doorway.
“Sure thing, what’s up?”
“Does Catra have anywhere to go on Christmas Eve?”

Adora’s heart sank. She knew the answer to that; Catra would be alone at the house on campus. She knew it very, very well, and yet she still hesitated when she said “No, she doesn’t,” because she knew what Razz was going to say next.
“I think we should have her here like we used to.”

Catra had spent every Christmas at Adora’s house after she was put in foster care. A knot in her stomach started to form, twisting around inside of her.
“Ok.” She said simply.
Raz put her hands on Adora’s shoulders. “Dearie, you two are a special couple of women. Not many people get to have a friend like you two have in each other. What happened?”

“You’re speaking in the present tense as if we’re still friends.” Adora said quietly. “We’re not.”
Razz shook her head. “Come on, let’s go sit down. I made us tea.”

The little family sat down in the living room and Razz continued her conversation.
“You two are friends. Trust me, I’ve been around a long time, and I’ve met a lot of people. You two are not done. There’s a lot of pain here.”

Adora started to think at one hundred miles per hour. She thought of the night on the quad, finding Catra in a disparaging heap of sadness on the ground. The same night in Adora’s apartment, suddenly remembering the trauma they’d experienced together, not even just the last day with Catra’s mother.

She didn’t realize that she was actually thinking out loud, because her stepmother put her hand on Adora’s shoulder and quietly shushed her, trying to ground her.
What Razz said next broke her out of the spiral, but only for a moment.
“Adora, perhaps you and Catra are in love.”

Those words struck Adora like a bolt of emotional lightning. Finally, she thought of one thing and one thing only: Catra’s face. Adora knew that girl’s face like it was her own. She had grown up with her, noticing the innocence leave her eyes day by day. She noticed every new freckle in the summertime, every new little scrape on her forehead from running through trees with Adora. Grape faces in the classroom. Catra had experienced things that a girl so beautiful and wonderful did not deserve. But she knew they weren’t in love. There was no way.

Adora gave up on thinking. She leaned into her stepmom and started to cry.
“I miss her, Razz.”

--

Christmas Eve. Catra fucking hated the holidays, it was not fair that there was a chunk of the year dedicated to being chummy and sweet with family. She woke up at noon, there was no point in making a whole day out of this.
That is, until her phone went off.

: ADORA: Hey. Razz wants to know if you’d like to come over for Christmas dinner tonight. So you have somewhere to be on the holiday. She misses you.

Catra was mad when she saw Adora’s name on her phone, but she softened when she saw Razz. That woman was Catra’s saving grace. Adora didn’t know, but they sometimes sent emails back and forth, checking in. This time, it was Adora who reached out first. Razz probably asked her to.
Catra replied.

CATRA: sure. Is 4 okay?

--

Razz’s house hadn’t changed at all since Catra had last seen it, other than the fact that Adora’s black Doc Martens sat at the door. Catra wasn’t sure when she bought those, but Adora had always wanted them in high school, and now they were finally hers. They were broken in, but still had the dull shine of new-ish leather.

“Catra, dearie!” Razz exclaimed, rushing through the kitchen to hug Catra tightly. She was much shorter than the young woman, and her face was nearly buried in Catra’s mass of dark, wavy hair.

“Hi, Razz.” she said softly, hugging her back and enjoying the comfortable embrace of someone who she had missed so much.
Then, Adora appeared in the doorway. She wasn’t in her usual business-casual attire, she was wearing a T-shirt and jeans; even her hair was down. Catra hadn’t seen Adora like that in a long, long time. She felt her face turn warm.

She saved herself. “Hey, Adora,” Catra said, with a little more edge. Even though she had let her guard down for a second, she built her walls back up to face the blonde and they sat down for dinner.

“Catra, my dear,” Razz said inquisitively, “what have you been up to? Are you still studying computers?”
Both girls giggled, and even Catra let her genuine laugh loose.
Razz looked confused. “W-what?”
Catra calmed herself. “I study computer science. Studying computers just sounded a little silly, sorry Razz.”
The older woman rolled her eyes and took a bite of her vegetables.
“I’m glad to hear you’re liking your studies. Adora keeps adding majors, I’m sure you’ve heard.”
Catra sat back a little. “No, I actually didn't.” She said, looking at Adora slightly.
Adora smiled. “Yeah, I added the English major. It was just a minor at first, but I wanted to major in it.”
Catra had no idea she had taken such a liking to literature. Adora had always loved the structure of languages and the mystery of them, which explained the linguistics. But English? It seemed like a curveball, even though she had always loved to write. Adora never let anyone read her writing as a child except for Catra.
For the slightest moment, Catra felt… left out. Left out of Adora’s life, as if it were still her concern. whatever, Catra thought.
Their meal was pleasant, bantering still, but Catra stayed mostly quiet.

--

Catra and Adora offered to clean up afterwards, not letting Razz do any of the work, after all, she’d cooked the whole meal. They got to work doing dishes, quietly existing amongst the light sounds of running water and tinkering of silverware.

Without looking up from her bowl, Adora reached for the dish cloth. In her reach, she landed instead on Catra’s hand resting on the counter. She froze at the feeling of the girl’s warm fingers.
They looked at each other, maybe for too long. Adora and Catra were so close, perhaps six inches apart, chest to chest. Tension filled the space between them, it felt like a magnetic force was nearly pushing them together.

The words of Bow, Mara, and Razz all mushed together in Adora’s brain. They all suspected that there was something between them, and maybe they were right. If there were any moment that made her believe them, it was this one. Maybe they were in love.

“I missed this.” Adora whispered. “I miss you.”

Catra didn’t leave Adora’s gaze right away. For a few seconds, they still looked at each other, close as ever. But they weren’t in love.
She finally broke the silence. “I get it.” Catra said simply, quietly.

The succinct answer nearly broke Adora’s heart. She wanted more: more words, more time, more Catra. If they had been in love, Catra would have at least smiled, or said that she missed Adora back.

--

After the kitchen was clean, Adora needed air. She made her way into the front yard and went to where she felt most secure: the tree seat. The plank was strong enough to hold her adult body, and she perched comfortably on the wood and felt the winter wind chill her face. It was just what she needed after spending so much time in the tiny, hot kitchen. She closed her eyes, basking in the rustling of the gray, weathered branches.

The solace didn’t last long. She heard someone else climbing up the oak’s trunk and sit about a foot away from her.
“Hey, Adora.”

The stomach knot inside Adora announced its presence once again. It twisted as Adora looked at the girl across from her.

Catra’s mind was racing. She knew that she could be vulnerable, it probably wasn’t as bad as she imagined. Adora was, after all, one of the kindest people she had ever met, and they knew everything about each other. They pretended to be strangers when really, they were just lying, over and over. The urge finally pushed through as she said,
“I actually miss you too...”

She regretted it as soon as it left her mouth. Fear crept inside her open mouth, making her retract once again.

“...but you hurt me.” she finished.

Chapter Text

No one spoke. They sat in the dark, painfully far apart (though they were only inches away from each other) and in a dead silence, a silence too familiar to them at this point.
Adora was not sure what to think. Razz suggested that they were in love, but was she imagining that it were true just so things made sense?
She closed her eyes again. Adora didn’t love Catra. Of course, she did at one point, in a best friend kind of way, but not in a “let’s get married” kind of way.

Finally, she said, “I didn’t realize that I did that.”

Catra huffed. “Of course you didn’t.”

Adora was genuinely confused. Catra was the one who cut herself off from Adora. She thought in circles, but didn’t say anything else.

“So yeah, that’s basically all that happened. Then, Catra went inside to go to bed and she was gone when I woke up.” Adora said quietly.

Casta nodded and looked over at her patient.
“Adora, I’m really proud of you for having Catra as your guest. I’m sure it was really comforting for her, even if she didn’t show it. And the moments you shared might be you two realizing that there’s potential for healing.” Her voice was smooth and clear, something Adora desperately needed amongst her life full of indecisive voices.

“Casta, I want to tell you my secret now. Remember?” Adora whispered.
Casta met Adora’s level and went into a listening position.
“Have you ever heard of the Princesses of Power?”
Casta giggled. “Yeah, my niece loves them. I’ve read them, too, so we can relate. They’re brilliant!”
Adora smiled halfheartedly. “Well, I’m the anonymous author. I wrote those books. I’m She-Ra.”

Casta’s jaw dropped. She even turned a little red, like she was embarrassed.
“Miss Adora Gray, I’m going to admit this to you right now: I try not to act too surprised with my clients’ stories, but you have to forgive me, you just took me aback like no other.”

Adora laughed heartily, a real, genuine laugh. “It’s okay, I’m glad to keep things interesting.”
Casta collected herself and finally asked, “So, tell me. What does this have to do with Catra?”

The blonde girl fidgeted with the ends of her ponytail. “Well, Anna and Katrina are supposed to be a shadow of myself and Catra. Everyone is, actually. Every character is someone I know. ANd Katrina… She comes around to Anna. They do it for each other. And I wish it would happen in real life.”

Casta scribbled on her legal pad more, a little more frantically than usual, like she had ideas.
Adora raised her eyebrow. “Got anything good for me?”

“Well, Adora, it’s really great that you told me this, because I think we could work through a lot of your confusion in the near future by putting us into both your real world and the world of She-Ra. Does that sound okay to you?”

Adora thought for a moment. It was going to be really hard to fully immerse herself with another human like this with She-Ra involved. She almost felt like an alter ego to her, not someone entirely real, but it was time for Adora to face the truth: She-Ra’s world was everything Adora wanted. For the first time ever, it felt attainable.

“That sounds fantastic, Casta. Thank you. I’ll see you next week.” Adora stood up with a sigh and let herself out, heading over to her next engagement: Heart.

--

 

The smell of fresh coffee hit Adora like a pleasant wave as she entered the Queen’s Brew. The new semester meant new flocks of students discovering the cozy shop and delicious fuel it came with. Adora found her usual seat near the window and opened her computer. Of course, the first place she went to was Twitter. Ever since Mara had announced the theory’s momentum, Adora frantically checked the site several times per day to see if anyone had followed up. Thankfully, since it was so far from Save the Cat’s release and the “fandom” was on a bit of a hiatus, Adora could rest easy.
Just as she relaxed, she noticed a photo with the hashtag #SheRa.
It was a picture of half a piece of paper with a few sentences of Heart scribbled onto it.
The caption was long, too. Every word that Adora read made her feel ten pounds heavier.

SHERASTAN: Ok guys i was at this coffee place at BMU. I looked through every book and this is NOT written, meaning this can only be new material. So… is She-Ra near BMU? #SheRa

Adora tore through her notebook, and much to her dismay, she saw half a sheet ripped out. She thought back to about three days before when she scrapped a paragraph and tossed it towards the recycling bin in Queen’s Brew. It must not have made it into the bin.
She felt like she was going to throw up.
Fuck, fuck fuck fuck. Adora thought, now chugging her cold brew mindlessly through the straw. I’m so fucked.

She managed to finish one assignment and then felt the overwhelming need to go hide in her apartment. Maybe one of her friends would be available to distract her for a while.
Thankfully, Perfuma, Scorpia and Glimmer were on the couch when Adora got home. She flopped over on the armrest and said “Glimmer. Perfuma. Scorp. I need to get drunk.”

Glimmer’s eyes lit up. “Can we go to the Fright Zone?!” she asked excitedly. The Fright Zone was a bar that everyone was meaning to try. It was close to the apartment, and Lonnie and Entrapta were new bartenders there.

--

Later that night, the group of girls found themselves at the counter of the Fright Zone, leaning over to hear Entrapta over the booming music.
“HEY, GUYS! THIS PLACE IS SO FUN!” Entrapta screeched as she poured someone a rum and coke.
Glimmer nodded. “YEAH! ADORA AND I NEED SOMETHING STRONG!”
Their purple-haired friend knew exactly what to do. She poured a drink with two shots of vodka, each.
“I CALL IT THE SYSTEM FAILURE!” Entrapta yelled. “SWEET TEA AND RASPBERRY VODKA!”
Glimmer and Adora burst out laughing at the clever name as they took a sip of their cocktails. The alcohol was barely present, it tasted like the iced tea someone would get at a restaurant. It was disgustingly sweet. Perfect for the night’s agenda, which was to get trashed.

Perfuma and Scorpia were on the dance floor, looking into each other’s drunken eyes and enjoying each other’s company way too much. It looked like Glimmer and Adora would be solo with each other, so they took to the floor themselves and started twirling one another around.
As they sipped their drinks and ordered another glorious tea from Entrapta, the bar started to get fuzzy to Adora. The lights faded together and her steps got clumsier. Glimmer was further gone than Adora, she had thrown her and Adora into another group of people and they were all dancing and shouting.
Adora was thoroughly enjoying herself until she saw dark brown hair flash by her. Of course, it was dark and a lot of people have brown hair, but she knew that hair. It was Catra, accompanied by Hordak, Mermista and Seahawk. Catra led the group through the crowd, wearing a white tank top and a black denim skirt. While she was inevitably looking at Catra (obviously to wonder what she was doing there, nothing more), Hordak bumped into Adora by accident.

“Hey, bro! Sorry about that.” He said, flustered. Adora threw her arms onto his shoulders.
“Hordak. It is so good to see you!” She giggled. They swayed back and forth, laughing.
Then, Hordak looked like he remembered something important. “Hey! Your Catra over there talked about how you’d be here. She must have passed by accident. I’ll go get her.”
All of a sudden, Adora felt hot in the head. your Catra? she thought. What a weird way to put it. She was anything but.
Before she could say no to Hordak, the silver-haired boy was gone in the crowd and had pushed Catra straight into her. There were so many people surrounding them that Adora had to catch Catra by the waist so the push didn’t tip her over. They were obviously both drunk.
Glimmer was nowhere to be found. Adora wanted desperately to cling to her best friend and make her break whatever tension was about to rise between them.
“Hey, Adora.” Catra murmured. She touched Adora’s waist the same way that she was being held onto. A shiver ran down Adora’s entire body at the girl’s touch on her bare midriff under the cropped T-shirt she wore.
Adora felt dirty for thinking this was hot, but she had to admit that being face-to face with her beautiful… enemy? Acquaintance? Person in her presence? ...Was incredibly sexy.
So incredibly sexy, in fact, that Adora let her inhibitions go and she kissed Catra.

“What the fuck?” Catra shouted, but she didn’t run off this time. They stayed there, staring at each other in horror.

Chapter Text

Hey!! No writing tonight, instead I'm sliding in a quick sketch I did for this fic. You can follow me on Twitter @tcherrybepis for more if u want!!

 

catradora

 

back soon :)

Chapter Text

In that state of terror, Adora swore the music got louder and that Catra’s body went further away, when in reality, they were stuck together, hands on each other’s shoulders and lower backs, eyes wide.
Catra didn’t say anything. She just walked away slowly, but the look on her face made Adora think she wanted to be followed.
Adora didn’t know what to think. She only imagined Katrina dragging She-Ra by the collar, threatening to throw her off of a cliff, or worse, degrade her with more comments about her cowardly fuckery. Anna/Adora deserved it: they two hadn’t spoken since Christmas Eve, which was almost a month ago at that point.
The two girls kept walking. Catra’s steps felt angry. They didn’t stop walking until they reached Comp Sci house. Adora struggled to say, “Catra, I’m-- I’m so sorry. That was s-so out of line.” Her words slurred ever so slightly. Damn being a lightweight, that four shots had her so far gone that she kissed the girl she swore she didn’t want to kiss.
They stood on the porch, lit by the small yellow bulb over the front door. No one was home, they were all at the bar.
Catra shook her head. “Adora, I don’t want to hear it.”
Adora braced herself for what was next: a lecture, an hour of silence, maybe.
But she suddenly felt her shirt tug. Catra grabbed the T-shirt and pulled Adora into a kiss.
It was quick, just like the one at the bar. Adora stumbled when Catra let go of the shirt.
“There, how does that fucking feel?!” Catra said through bared teeth, eyes dark with rage and confusion.

Catra didn’t know why she did that. Maybe to give Adora a taste of her own medicine. It was such a bad idea, kissing Adora. She had wasted their first kiss in that stupid bar. It was supposed to be romantic, or at least not in a stupid college bar surrounded by crusty boys and drunk sorority girls.
They were supposed to be alone, like they were at that moment.

Catra felt like she was losing her mind, like she was going to cry. She wanted Adora so badly, just as badly as she wanted her out of her sight. She looked at Adora one more time, and kissed her. Hard.
They didn’t pull away this time. Catra settled into Adora’s lips when she realized this kiss wasn’t going to end right away.
Much to her surprise, Adora kissed her back. Catra sank into the blonde’s lips-- she had always wondered how they felt-- they were thin, but supple and warm.
This kiss was going against everything Catra believed in. She was supposed to put up a front for the rest of her life for Adora only.
She thought about all of the times that her housemates asked her if she and Adora had hooked up each time they encountered one another. She thought about the abysmal void in her stomach that consumed her when she saw Adora in public: a flash of blonde and fresh air in Catra’s day.
Catra focused back to the kiss, which had now completely consumed her with warmth. She wrapped her hands around Adora’s waist and pulled her in closer, more intimately.
For the first time in almost four years, Catra felt softened in Adora’s presence.
Lonnie and Scorpia and the others were right-- Catra and Adora weren’t meant to be apart, and they weren’t meant to be friends either. This was right.

Adora was the first to pull away.
“Catra…” she whispered, just centimeters from Catra’s lips. Catra reached for her, but she pulled away more.
“I’m so sorry… for everything. We are so drunk.” her voice wavered with tears and pain. She slowly made her way down the stairs and walked away quickly, in the direction of her apartment. Catra knew not to follow her or try and say anything— she just watched Adora leave.

--

Adora was dizzy from the alcohol, but the kisses that she had just shared with Catra made her feel sober. Her mind was completely coherent, but her steps said otherwise.
Everyone was right: Razz, Bow, Mara, everyone. This was undeniable: she had feelings for Catra, feelings that were strong and real and… scary.
She stumbled into the apartment and sank to the floor of her bedroom. She could only think of one right thing to do right now, even if it were 12:30 AM. She chose a contact on her phone.

“Hello?” the voice on the other end said.
“Mara…” Adora croaked. “I’m in love… with Catra.” Then, she broke down and cried.
“I love her so much.”
A sigh blew through the phone. “Adora, oh my God, I wish I could hug you.” Mara said sweetly. “What happened?”
Adora took a moment to wipe her tears. “I kissed her at the bar, then we walked down the street to her house and she kissed me again on the porch. It was terrifying. You were right, I’ve been lying to myself.” She rambled, voice quivering.
“Adora, come see me first thing tomorrow at QB. We’ll talk and get hot chocolate, and I’m going to strangle you in a hug, okay?”
Adora laughed through a sob. “Mara, you’re the best.”
“I know I am, hon. Now wash up and go to sleep.”
Adora set down her phone, but stayed on the floor and continued to let tears fall down her face. Mara had certainly helped, but the realization of her feelings was overwhelming.
She heard the door open down the hall, followed by the sounds of drunken giggles and stomping shoes.
Bow burst through the doorway of Adora’s room, and his face fell when he saw his friend sitting on the floor.
“Adora…” he said, calmly. He knew, just from the tears dried on her face and her sunken eyes. “I’m so sorry. Come here.”
He knelt down and pulled Adora close, and she cried more into his arms.
Glimmer came in next: she gave Bow soft, understanding eyes and she joined the hug.
“Let’s have a sleepover. Perfuma!” she called down the hall. Perfuma and Scorpia stood in the doorway, looking concerned.
“We’re having a sleepover in the living room, get your pillows and put on Mamma Mia. Adora and I will be there in a moment.”
Bow stood up and grabbed Adora’s bedding so he could set her up in the living room. Glimmer sat against the wall with Adora and whispered, “hey. Just so you know, I have been talking to Catra lately.”
Adora whipped her head to the side. “Woah, what?!”
Glimmer nodded. “Somehow, we became closer friends when we ran into each other once. It just… became normal for us to hang out and talk. She doesn’t really talk about anything but you, it’s cute.
I think there’s too much between you two to throw it away. And I also want you to know that I think you two could make a really good couple.”
Adora smiled. “Maybe. Only if we can learn to talk to each other.”

Glimmer shrugged and put her arm around Adora.
“It seems like these days, anything can happen. Whatever the case may be, I’m here for you.”

Adora closed her eyes and leaned into the embrace, then they stood up and made their way into the living room, where their friends were waiting in front of the TV with cans of Dr. Pepper, a bag of chips and many, many pillows. They were all pretty drunk, so the snacks went fast, and it made the movie one hundred times more fun to sing along to.

--

Adora woke up the next morning pleasantly surprised: she wasn’t hungover. Her phone read 8:45, which gave her almost an hour to get ready for her meetup with Mara. She hoped to sneak in some conversations about Heart, because it was coming along faster than she thought it would and it was almost ready for editing. The readers would hopefully have a new and final novel within a year of the fourth’s release.
Adora tiptoed through the pile of sleeping people on the living room floor and quietly made her way back to her room to get dressed. In the corner, a copy of Save the Cat was on the floor. Glimmer must have been holding it when she came in the night prior.
Adora found it funny that it was sitting there. What perfect timing.
On her way out, she saw Perfuma stretching and sitting upright in her pile of blankets. Scorpia was sprawled across her lap.
“Hey, hon, have a great day! I’m sending you positive energy your way. Love you!!” Perfuma whispered.
Adora smiled and blew her friend a kiss. She pointed at Glimmer and Bow, who were sleeping awfully close together. Bow had even thrown his arm across Glimmer’s shoulders. Very little space remained between them.
The two awake girls giggled at the sight, and finally, Adora headed down the street to the coffee shop.
Mara was waiting for her at Adora’s usual table, with 2 hot chocolates. Mara jumped out of her chair to, as promised, choke Adora in a warm hug. After a moment, she let go and squeezed Adora's hands.
She looked at Adora and tilted her head to the side. “Hey, how are you, champ?”
Adora sat down and shrugged. “Honestly, I could be worse. My friends were a big help last night but it didn’t really get my mind off the events that it led to. Mara, I fucked up.”
“But did you really?” Mara asked.
“What? Yeah, I drunk kissed Catra. This is CATRA. That was not supposed to happen.”
Mara shook her head. “Adora, listen. I didn’t want to say this while you were drunk and crying because you need to hear this stone cold sober.
You and Catra? You might as well be soulmates. One doesn’t simply write an entire series of bestselling novels based entirely around the love between characters that OBVIOUSLY mirror you and those in your life. Katrina is your soulmate, she’s who Catra really is to you.”
She paused.
“You can say all you want about a healing metaphor, but I’m going to say this as your friend, not your publishing mentor: that’s bullshit. Absolute bullshit. This is real love.”

Adora opened her mouth to speak, but Mara was quick to add more.
“Adora, I know it’s hard, and it’s not perfect between you two, but from what I know, this is a good old-fashioned case of queer feelings unhinged. You didn’t know what to do because you knew each other so young, so you never learned how to transition into something more than platonic or dependent.”

Mara was right, Adora knew that every single word was correct. Now that she and Catra had spent so many years apart, she was able to realize that her feelings were romantic all along, or at least at some point they turned from a friendship love to a true, burning desire type of love.

It’s a strong word, too, but she knew it suited Catra for her. A strong word for a strong girl.
Adora finally spoke.
“I think I know what I need to do. But first, I want to publish Heart. I need time, and that will help me. The manuscript is done. I need two more days to look it over and add anything else, but then it’s all for Kyle.”

Mara nodded. “I like the sound of that. I’m sorry if I sounded harsh. But Adora, you need to understand that you deserve love, too. You don’t have to make it up in the form of a fictional character. Anna and you are so, so intertwined, so treat yourself that way.”

Adora wiped a tear from her eye. She didn’t even realize she was crying. “No, Mara, that wasn’t harsh at all. I needed this. Thank you.”

Her mentor and friend smiled and pushed the cup of hot chocolate towards Adora. “You’re welcome. Drink up, then let’s publish a book, dammit!”

Chapter Text

Catra woke up to the sound of a voice and her body being shaken. “Catra… are you there? Earth to Catra.”
It was Scorpia.
“Hey, wildcat, I just got home. How was your night?” Her voice was calm and soothing. Catra knew exactly what was going on by the tone.
“I take it you heard, then.” Catra scoffed. The clock on the wall read 11:30. Catra hated sleeping in, but she also hated the idea of being a functional person. She tried to turn toward the wall, but Scorpia caught Catra’s shoulder before she could fully flop over. “Yeah, I heard, and I want to know if you’re okay.”
“Actually, I am not okay, thanks for asking. I just took a fire that i started and made it worse.” Catra could feel her chest tighten at the thought of Adora walking off the porch. Finally, she sat herself up and perched next to Scorpia. “I kissed her, I’ve always wanted to. She makes me so mad, but also she doesn’t. I don’t know how to explain it. But I wish I didn’t kiss her like that. We aren’t even friends. I had this whole plan… and I blew it.”
She didn’t realize how long she had been venting. Scorpia was looking at her with soft, intentful eyes.
“Listen, wildcat, I know it’s hard. But you have to get out of bed, you can’t just hide from the world. We can go spar in the gym, if you want. Literally anything, let’s just get you out of this room.”
Catra’s eyes lit up at the sound of sparring. “Okay, we can go to the gym.” She said, trying not to sound too excited.
“Great, I’ll even let you punch me for free.”

--

The two friends made their way to the gym and got their boxing gloves, ready to spar. Catra loved to fight, even though it got her into a lot of trouble as a kid. Meeting Scorpia certainly helped, because she was also very combat-inclined, so they would spar at least once a week.

Scorpia took the first swing, and Catra was quick to dodge, though she barely made it out of the way. She hooked her ankle and caught Scorpia’s foot, who flipped over to the ground.
“Nice job,” Scorpia laughed from the floor. “Ready for that punch?”
She stood up and stretched her arms outward, embracing the impact to come.
“By the way,” Scorpia said, opening one eye, “we’re definitely talking about last night later.”
Catra did NOT want to hear that. She grunted in disagreement and swung at Scorpia as hard as she could, and her glove made a loud smacking noise against her friend’s shoulder.
The two of them fought for another half an hour, and Catra was quite obviously not feeling her best, because she took hit after hit from Scorpia.
Her mind was muddied by the thought of Adora-- no thought of her in particular, just… Adora. She was scared to see her again. Thankfully, they didn’t have any classes together for the spring semester, but the campus was small and their friend groups were even smaller. It was only a matter of time before she had to face Adora again. She was the only thing on her mind.
She kneeled down on the mat and her eyes went glassy. Scorpia could tell that this wasn’t a kneel of physical defeat. She helped Catra up and looked at her dissociated face.
“Let’s go get some air.”
The two girls went out the back door of the gym, where three men were having a cigarette. Catra shot them a dark, stern look and they quickly disappeared into the alley nearby. She hadn’t taken her gloves off, so she probably looked a thousand times more menacing.
There was a moment of quiet, it was almost peaceful.
“Catra, do you mind if I ask what you’re thinking?”
Scorpia’s eyes met Catra’s, and that was the breaking point. Catra burst into tears.
“I don’t KNOW!” she shouted, and punched the concrete wall. Her glove practically bounced off the solid bricks, thanks to the hefty gloves. It just made Catra cry more.
“I don’t know what I’m thinking, or what I was thinking for all of these years! I should have known that it would go like this. All of the pain, all of the loneliness without her, I don’t know why I expected anything but a fucking drunken kiss and then nothing!”
Catra hit the wall again, but with less force. It was more like a slap.
“I-- I love her. I fell in love as soon as I knew what that even meant. When she paid less attention to me after high school, I knew that things would never be the same, and that I never had a chance. Our little bubble was shattered by real life.
I was so fucking stupid to think it would just be me and her against the world. We went through hell and back together. She… she saved me.”
She tried to take a deep breath, but her lungs shook.
“It all sounds so stupid when I put it in words… I threw away our friendship because I was so taken aback. I just got angry. I thought she didn’t care about me at all, and that’s why she wanted more new friends. But it was all just a part of growing up. I could have been by her side the whole time… I ruined everything.”
Scorpia interrupted Catra’s sobbing rant.
“Catra, no you did not. Adora cares for you. She wants you in her life, it’s so clear that she wants to make amends.”
Catra cried again. “But Adora doesn’t want me.
...not like I want her. If she did, that kiss would have been different. She wouldn't have left."
Scorpia hugged her friend, who cried into her broad shoulders.
“And don’t fucking tell anybody I’m crying. I’ll kill you.” she said shakily, through tears.
Catra knew what she had to do, and it wasn’t going to be easy. She would have to tell Adora about her feelings. Knowing herself, it wouldn’t be anytime soon. Perhaps they’d be on their deathbeds together in some strange circumstance, and she’d send Adora off into the peaceful release of death with her confession.
Scorpia laughed. “Your secret’s safe with me, wildcat. You know that you’re a really great person, right?”
Catra thanked her, but she had trouble believing that she was. Great might be a stretch. She knew she was a good person, but if she were great, she would have known how to handle her shit.

Chapter Text

March brought something huge: the anticipated release of Heart. Kyle announced to Mara and Adora that the release date would be March 11th, which was fast approaching. 100 copies were released early as a promotional stunt, and she knew that Glimmer and Bow were in possession of a copy. Every day, Adora found more tweets that fathomed theories around the dreaded Queen’s Brew photo. It felt like the world was closing in on her, but it was out of her hands. The last book was officially in print, and she didn’t have to hide any more typing or documents. She would only have to endure one more release with Glimmer and Bow’s hellfire of gushing, reading and analyzing. She made it.

“Hey, can I talk to you?” Glimmer asked Adora, who was sitting at her desk, reading off her computer screen.
“Sure, what’s up?”
Glimmer sat gently on the edge of Adora’s bed. “First of all, I want you to know that I’m not mad at you.”
Adora’s heart started to race. Her mind darted back and forth between possibilities of her fucking up: leaving her shoes in the living room way too often, eating Glimmer’s yogurt by accident, kissing Catra.
“Adora, I know.”
Her heartbeat increased.
“You know… what?” Adora was sweating.
Glimmer tenderly held out her copy of Heart. “Page 129.”
Adora snatched the book and quickly opened it to Glimmer’s bookmark, which had a light penciled-in circle around a paragraph on 129.

Katrina quietly scanned the room, then grabbed her pack and took Melog out the camp’s entrance. She looked back once, but then ran as fast as she could into the Whispering Woods. Catra couldn’t bear the thought of losing Anna, not again.

Adora felt like she was going to throw up when she saw Catra’s name in print.
“Adora, you’re She-Ra, aren’t you?” Glimmer whispered.
Adora couldn’t speak. She was sweating beyond measure and her eyes were blurry.
“Um…” She tried to utter any word. “I…” She couldn’t even imagine how such a big mistake got through editing. She was so angry at Kyle, and so very terrified. There was no way that the printing could be recalled, not with copies already out and not with release being only ten days away. She had read the prototype: there were absolutely ZERO errors. Something went wrong since that, very wrong. Or maybe Kyle was just a little bitch.
“It’s okay, again, I’m not mad. I should probably tell you that I’m the one who found that paper, too. And posted it.”
This made Adora chuckle. Of course Glimmer ran a Twitter account named ‘She-Ra Stan.’
Finally, she said: “Yeah. That’s me. But that error? That’s NOT me. That’s my twat of an editor, Kyle. And I’m going to make sure he hears the worst of all this”
Glimmer laughed. “I can’t say I’m surprised. Am I supposed to be Gracie?”
Adora nodded. “But don’t tell anyone. Please. Only two other people know, and not even Kyle does, or anyone at the publishing company. But everybody in these books is based on someone I know.”
Glimmer leafed through the pages mindlessly. “So you think me and Bow are in love?”
Adora shrugged. “I never said that. I said that Gracie and Blaine are in love.”
Glimmer turned red. “Y-yeah, right. Them.”
Adora raised an eyebrow. “Glimmer, spill.”
Glimmer flopped over backwards onto the mattress. “FINE! I wish Bow were my boyfriend.”
Adora joined her in lying down. “I know. You two have such big crushes on each other, it’s cute. So I made it real in some other world. What’s stopping you?”
“Honestly, I thought living together would make my feelings go away because it’s hard to live with a significant other, but it just made them stronger. So I guess what’s stopping me is the living dynamic.”
Adora blew air out her nose. “Pfft, I don’t care. Just don’t fuck in my room and we’re golden.”
Glimmer blushed again, damn Adora for putting the thought of having sex with Bow in her mind, as if it didn’t occur enough already. Suddenly, she turned her head and frowned at her roommate.
“HEY! You’re distracting me! I’m not done talking to you about She-Ra!”

Adora laughed. “Alright, alright. I’ll tell you everything you want to know, as long as you don’t put anything on the internet or even tell Bow. I’m serious. The book doesn’t even get officially released for another three days. I need peace until then.”

“Okay,” Glimmer said, “when did you realize you were in love with Catra?”
This was a heavy hitter for Adora. She quickly recalled all of the moments that she liked to reminisce on when she was lying awake at night, or in therapy.
“I think I always have been, but I didn’t realize it was romantic love until we had our falling out. It wasn’t anything that necessarily one of us did, but we both had some shit to work through and I guess we took it out on each other and weren’t friends anymore.
When she left, I swore I’d never loved her more. So, I started writing to cope, and out came She-Ra. The kiss scene in Heart is actually the first part of the entire series that I wrote. I just worked backwards.”
Glimmer smiled. “Wow. You literally created an entire universe for her.”
“Yeah,” Adora said, realizing the weight of Glimmer’s words. “I did.”

Before she could further process that, Glimmer spoke. “Next question. Why did you make my mom die?”
Adora burst out laughing. “Didn’t you read it?! Andrea wanted to be brave. She didn’t want to die. She wanted to save Gracie. And before you ask, no, I do not think your mom is a coward. Angella is a fantastic woman. I just wanted the queen to have different qualities than you.”

Glimmer nodded. “I’ll take it.”

Adora spilled her secrets to her best friend, and it was less scary than she had always imagined it. Glimmer was excited, she was accepting. It made Adora happy to finally tell someone.

After their long conversation, Adora called Mara as fast as she could.
“Hey, Adora. Before you say anything, Kyle’s ass is fired.”
Adora choked on a laugh and an inhale. “Oh, got it.”
Mara scoffed into the phone. “That little shit. I always knew he had something up with him, and I tried so hard, I really did. But really? He had one job: edit the damn book.”
Adora felt kind of bad for Kyle, after all, he only made one mistake. But Mara was cutthroat and very serious about these novels. She was serious about Adora’s career.
“Hon, I hope you know this means that you were basically just outed to the world.”
Adora nodded, even though Mara couldn’t see her. “Yeah. Glimmer’s actually the one who showed me the page.”
“Damn, are you okay?” Mara asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine, as long as Catra doesn’t read it, which I’m pretty sure she doesn’t. She doesn’t read a lot of novels.”

--

The official release date finally arrived. The bookstore at BMU was flooded with students and kids from around town, many more than Adora expected. She spent an hour slinking about the aisles of books, observing the excited audience.
Then, she saw Catra and Mermista walk through the dense main section of the store, where Mermista picked up a copy of Heart. Adora’s heart rate increased twofold, or at least that’s how it felt. She hid around the corner against an endcap.

“Hey, Adora.” Catra mumbled. Caught.
“Oh, hi. I promise I’m not spying. I just… wanted to read the new book without actually having to buy it. You know me.” She stammered.
Catra shrugged. “Yeah, what’s the point? You read way too fast anyway. Um… I hope you have a good day.”
That last sentence was hard to say, unfortunately. Catra wanted to say more, to start a conversation, but Adora felt so far away. The words got stuck in her throat.
But the words melted away when Adora smiled.
“Thank you, Catra. I hope you’re doing alright.” She obviously was indicating the dark circles under Catra’s eyes and her slumped posture. Catra immediately straightened up, then turned away, hesitant to leave.
“Catra, wait.” Adora grabbed her wrist as Catra took a step.
“Do you want to get coffee soon?”
Shock ran through Catra like a wave. It wasn’t relief, but it also wasn’t fear. She was simply shocked.
“Yeah, that’d be nice.” Catra replied, simply and quietly.

Chapter Text

About a week passed, then it was time for Catra and Adora to meet for coffee. It was snowing, not an uncommon feat for March in their area.
She entered the Queen’s Brew in a flurry of snow and a blast of warm air from the doorway. She shook the droplets from her newly cut hair-- Catra was so nervous to speak to Adora that she demanded change in her life to distract her. The night prior, she marched into the kitchen and asked her housemates to chop her hair off. All of them were beyond excited to take turns hacking away at Catra’s mop of hair until it reached her shoulders, then Sea Hawk took over and gave her a tasteful pixie cut.
It was just hair, but Catra felt free. Maybe a new haircut could encourage a new start for her, maybe she would stop being such a little bitch and finally face her biggest fear.

She spotted Adora a few feet away in a chair by the window. Her face was bright red and her eyes were wide.
“Yeah, I know, big cut.” Catra laughed, nervously running a hand through her hair.
“It looks really nice. It suits you.” Adora said sheepishly. “How are you today?”
Catra stood across from her. “Not too bad, actually. Do you want something to drink? My treat.”
Adora hesitated, then nodded. “That’s really nice of you. Can I get a--”
“Medium cold brew with a shot of caramel.” Catra interrupted, then headed over to the line.

Adora blushed. Catra remembered her coffee order from almost four years ago. The simple fact made her head spin. She wanted to hug her and kiss her with thanks. But no, instead she sat awkwardly across from Catra when she returned with the two drinks.
“I don’t get how you drink iced coffee when it’s snowing.” Catra said, sipping her hot mocha.
Adora watched the ice cubes mindlessly float in her drink. “It just wakes me up more.”

Catra set down her coffee on the table that separated them. “Adora, I wanted to apologize. I should have sooner, but I didn’t really know how. I guess it doesn’t matter if this is awkward, it has to happen. I’m sorry. For everything.”
Adora didn’t know what to say. She was relieved to hear an apology from Catra, that meant she didn’t hate her.
“I am too. I shouldn’t have kissed you, even if I was drunk.”
Catra used her cup as a cover for her blushing face. She could blame it on the hot coffee.
I want to kiss you again. Catra thought.
I’m not sorry that I kissed you. Adora thought.
The silence was so fucking loud between them. Tension built with every second. It was a feeling that they found themselves in almost every time they spoke.
Finally, Adora broke the seal of quiet. “Do you have class today?”
Catra shook her head. “No, I had it this morning so I am off the hook for the rest of the day.”
They talked about school, about Razz, about other things that they didn’t want to waste time on, but neither of them could bring themselves to bring up their kiss or their feelings.

--

Adora walked home more slowly than usual. The wind and snow bit her ears, but she didn’t feel like rushing home. She was bogged down by the weight of Catra, who she left behind in the shop.
She thought of her most recent appointment with Casta, how she’d told her to remember that she’s able to be vulnerable without dying. It often felt like death to Adora. Inviting Catra to coffee had been Casta’s suggestion, and though she would have rather avoided her for the rest of time, she was glad to have faced her fear.

She opened the front door of the apartment to reveal quite the sight of Glimmer sitting on Bow’s lap, and they were making out. They didn’t hear the door open, and Adora averted her eyes and cleared her throat.
“Ahem. Wow, good to see you too, Adora, how was your morning?” Adora said, addressing herself as the two shrieked and Glimmer practically teleported off of Bow’s lap. Adora burst out laughing, leaning onto the door frame.
“Guys, I don’t care, like I told Glimmer, just not in my room. I’m glad you finally came to your senses, though. Congrats.”

The two lovebirds’ faces were burning, but Bow smiled. “Haha… thanks I guess… Yeah, Glimmer and I are dating now.”
“No shit. Gross.” Adora said jokingly.
“So, how’s things with you and your… situation?” Glimmer asked.
Adora sat down on the barstool nearby. “No situation. Just awkward.”
Bow chimed in. “Adora, that is one hundred percent a situation. I’m sorry it’s going like this.”
The blonde shrugged and stared at her shoes. She didn’t realize that she was crying until a tear hit her black leather boot.
“I have never loved anyone else like this. It’s always been… lesser.” She whispered, recalling the other people she had encountered romantically in her past days. They all made perfect sense, all of the hookups and dates were to mask the fact that Catra had been nearby. Adora had never told anybody that she loved them, either. Her heart had always belonged to Catra, even when she didn’t realize it. Her heart had always told her, even if she didn’t understand.
Unhealthy, for sure, but she couldn’t change the past.
“I have this dream sometimes… that you and Bow are together and me and Catra too. And we’re all happy and getting ready to go hang out with all of our friends. Glim and Catra are bickering over her hair and whatever else. It’s so pure. I want that.”

Bow giggled. “That sounds like something they’d do.”
They sat in reflective quiet for a few moments, then Glimmer gave the crying girl a hug.
“I want the best for you, Adora. Please let me know if you need anything from me. I’m going to do some homework.”
Adora thanked her, and was glad to go to her room and have some time alone. She was a little embarrassed to share her little fantasy, but her best friends thought that it was sweet.

Adora started a FaceTime call. Please pick up… she thought. The face of an older woman appeared on the screen. thank God.
“Hi, dearie, I was just thinking of you! Well, I always am.” Razz exclaimed, and then she noticed her daughter’s red eyes and tear-stained cheeks.
“My dear, what’s wrong?”
Adora sniffled. “Razz… you were right the whole time. I love Catra very much… I’m stuck.”
Razz smiled widely. ‘Oh, Adora… I know. I’ve always known. There is no hiding love like you two have. I know how it goes. My best friend as a child… we were married in my younger days. She was the love of my life, before you, of course.”
Adora was shocked. Her jaw fell. Razz was an open woman, but she also didn’t share much about her past before Adora was adopted. “Razz, I didn’t know you were…”
“Gay? Of course, dearie. I drive a Subaru.”
The off-handed comment suddenly made Adora crack up. She wiped tears from her eyes and giggled.
“Razz, why don’t you talk about your wife?”
Through the screen, Razz looked down.
“Well, Hope and I were not married for long. She passed away when we were twenty-five. I swore I would never love anybody again, and I was angry after she was ripped away from me. And then you appeared in my life, a beacon, my dear. I spent nearly twenty years wallowing in the sorrow of her death. When you arrived, I didn’t hurt anymore. I saw so much of her in you, and I knew it was meant to be. I miss her every day, but I have you to thank.”
Adora started to cry again. She remembered being placed in Razz’s house one night, her first foster home after her birth parents died. Razz was so welcoming and motherly, and Adora felt safe from the moment she crossed the threshold into her home. She had been so lucky to have one foster home, her forever home.
These weren’t tears of sadness anymore.
“Adora, listen to me. I know that love is scary. But life is so, so short. You and Catra deserve each other. Embrace your pasts and move forward. Be in love. Please.”
Adora’s breath shook as she nodded. “You’re right. You’ve always been right.
“I know, Adora. I love you. I love you endlessly! Kisses!”
Adora blew a kiss to her phone and hung up. She stared at the wall, contemplating when she’d be able to muster the courage to do what she knew was the next right thing. She was terrified.

Chapter Text

Catra didn’t like attention. In fact, she hated it, there was nothing she despised more than being constantly asked questions about herself or talking about her life.
Her childhood had been full of questions: by peers, by the police, by random strangers who might have seen her out on the street past curfew. Catra made it a point to let people know as little about her as possible before they got to know her, earning her trust and respect. Like most children, she handed out trust so freely and it hurt her in the long run (or rather, the short run, she was pretty young when her life went to further shit).
She leaned on Adora for all of her young life. Adora would never judge her for wearing the same shirt 3 days in a row because she was hiding in the woods from her mother, nor did she judge her for having a short temper. Adora understood, at least enough to not hate her for it. She quickly realized at the age of six that Adora was, and forever would be, her favorite person in the world. Catra didn’t have the luxury of saying her parents were her favorite people, but most kids did. Catra chose Adora.
Adora knew when to ask questions, too, and she rarely did because she either knew what was going on or she could put two and two together and make a fair assumption. She was smart and efficient, just what Catra liked. None of the police officers were efficient, they asked her the same things over and over until she cried. Her mother was even worse, she didn’t ask questions, only yelled. But then her mother was gone, Ms. Weaver went to prison and Catra was raised by one of the officers: Rogelio. Rogelio knew how to stay out Catra’s way while still giving her a roof over her head, which she also admired. They never had much of a connection, just enough where he knew she was safe and still alive.
She preferred it that way, and unfortunately she thought that life would be that easy forever.
This preference of hers was rudely ignored when her Twitter and Instagram suddenly exploded one night with messages and mentions.
Her eyes darted through the notifications: Catra— is it true that you and Adora are the two main characters? CATRA!! ARE YOU AND ADORA GFS IRL??? Catra! Are you the Catra from the mistake in Heart?
Heart? The fuck? Catra recognized that. It was that stupid book that Mermista and half of her house had been raving over.
She stormed out of her room and down the stairs to the living room, where Mermista, Lonnie, and Entrapta were sitting. They looked at each other nervously and Entrapta muttered “ah, shit.”
Catra’s glare pierced through Entrapta and followed her eyes to Heart, sitting on the coffee table, then back to Entrapta. Catra suddenly lunged forward and grabbed the book before any of the girls could intercept her.
Catra tore through the pages until she saw 129 in the upper corner. She swore she’d never read faster in her life, nor had she ever stopped with such a force so suddenly when she saw the printed word “Catra” in the midst of a sentence.
She snapped the book shut and took a deep breath.
“Who the fuck is She-Ra?” She asked. Her calmness terrified the girls sitting near her.
“Eh… um…” Entrapta stammered, “I don’t think you’d like that answer, so I’m going to tell you that Mermista is.”
“Entrapta!” Lonnie shouted. “She’s gonna find out sometime. Look, we don’t know. Sorry.”
Catra stared at the book so hard she thought she might burn a hole through it. She wouldn’t have minded that.
Then, she called Glimmer.
“Hey, Sparkles, what do you know about She-Ra?”
Glimmer gulped. “Listen… I know you might be mad that I didn’t tell you, but…”
Catra’s heart sank. She didn’t need her to finish the sentence. She hung up the phone and closed her eyes, taking a deep breath.
“Okay. I’m leaving. Please do not follow me. I’m fine.”
“Catra!” Mermista yelled, but Catra waved her hand at her and walked out the side door of the kitchen. She slung a tote bag over her arm and shoved Heart inside.

--

Adora was in the living room, watching TV on the couch. Perfuma was at Comp Sci house, spending the night with Scorpia, and Bow and Glimmer were in one of their rooms, doing things Adora did not wish to imagine. She had a text from Glimmer, but she didn’t look at it because she just assumed it was a “do not disturb us please” message. Adora knew how to read a room.
It kind of sucked being the only single roommate. There were less movie nights, less dinners as a group. It gave Adora far too much time to be alone with her thoughts-- and her phone, which had been blowing up with allegations of her being She-Ra. People knew. They all knew, the entire Internet knew it was Adora by now, or at least that it was some girl involved with Catra. God, how she wished to be involved with Catra… Whatever. She just ignored all of the messages. It didn’t matter who knew at this point as long as Catra didn’t. And thankfully, she wasn’t interested in the “ditsy fantasy world” as Catra had described it, apparently. People were trying to tweet at Catra, hundreds of mentions cluttered her feed and Adora felt the familiar lump in her throat. She felt so bad that this was happening to Catra. Adora wanted nothing more than to fix it, to make it up to her somehow.
Her phone went off once more, but this time it was a notification from Razz: a single picture.
Adora opened this text, leaving the others in her inbox untouched.
It was a photo of an old Polaroid, where two young women were grinning ear-to ear. Adora recognized the light brown hair and round, thick glasses that belonged to one of them: it was undeniably Razz. Adora could only assume that the woman alongside her was Hope, Razz’s wife.
Adora smiled at her phone and even found herself touching the screen over Hope’s face. She had a huge, goofy grin on her face, which made Adora smile back. Hope was beautiful.
Suddenly, Adora was suddenly jolted from her screen trance by a banging on the door.
She rushed over and greeted the mystery guest. Catra was standing there, holding a tote bag and sporting a very angry look.
Fire started in Adora’s stomach. This wasn’t going to be good. She wasn’t looking as nervous as this morning.
“Adora, what the fuck is wrong with you? I thought that we were getting better, then I get some fucking shit thrown at me.”
She was rambling on and on, Adora couldn’t get a word out.
“Why the fuck are people messaging me, approaching me, telling me all of this shit? Who is Anna? Who’s Katrina? Oh wait, I already know.”
Catra reached into her tote bag and pulled out a purple and pink book. Adora froze. There was a post-it note about halfway through the book, and she knew damn well that it was marking page 129.
“Catra...”
“What is this?” Catra asked nervously, angrily. She was holding a copy of Heart. She was holding Adora’s entire life’s secret right before them.
One misprint. One mention of her real life.
This is the end. Adora thought. Her eyes were welling up and she reached for the book, but Catra swiped it away.
“Adora… please, just tell me the truth.” Her voice lost its anger, it grew soft.
The lump in Adora’s throat felt like it was growing faster. Her voice may have been soft, but she wouldn’t be fooled. Catra was probably still mad.
“I’m…” she croaked. “She-Ra. I’m She-Ra and I wrote all of these books and yes, you’re Katrina and I’m Anna and… and I love you. I really love you, Catra.”

Silence.

More silence.

Catra took one step in Adora’s direction.
One step that made it feel like every ounce of the world’s weight was rushing towards Adora. Gravity wasn’t working, she swore it wasn’t. Adora felt like the entire planet was crashing down on her.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”
Adora gulped. She spent a split second regretting that entire series. She wished she had never taken that assignment so seriously, writing about Catra like that.
It didn’t matter anymore that she loved this project of hers. It didn’t matter that she had met a friend for life-- perhaps she and Mara would have been friends even with just class to relate to. None of it mattered: the money she was making, the growth as a writer, nothing at all. None of it was worth it if Catra weren’t going to be in her life.
Even when she and Catra weren’t friends (so to speak), having interactions with her was so important. Adora savored every nervous conversation, every glare, every passing at the gy, or sitting nearby in that stupid art class.
She should have never imagined that confession scene in the first place. She should have left her alone and moved on. Adora was heartbroken, even with the beautiful girl standing in front of her. She couldn’t speak.
Again, she told herself, this is… the end. I really fucked it up for good. It’s over.
Her mind was screaming, it sounded like there was a humming inside her head that would never cease after putting Catra in that position, to be so rudely attacked on the internet and to have to face Adora like this when she knew deep in her heart that maybe they just didn’t belong in the same 10 mile radius. But Catra’s voice cut through the mental noise like a knife:

… I love you too. I always have.”

The tension from the morning coffee meeting rose again. Cheeks turned red and eyes followed up and down the two bodies. There was a thick fog of desire and resentment in the air, and Catra finally decided that once and for all, it was time to let the resentment go. She dropped the book and grabbed Adora’s face, kissing her with all of the force that she’d always wanted. Adora wrapped her arms around her neck as the book hit the ground and pulled Catra closer.
“Fuck you, Adora.”

Chapter Text

Adora was taken aback by what felt like one hundred things at once: the kiss, the slap of the book on the tile, Catra’s arms around her, the “fuck you.”
This time, the fuck you didn’t sting-- didn’t feel like it was being branded onto her skin. It was playful, like Catra wanted to say something completely sassy and out of pocket.
But Adora didn’t have time to think about that. She was too busy trying (and failing) to process the brunette girl practically stuck to her.
Adora felt her lips curl into a smile and she suddenly pulled away.
“You’re… not mad at me?”
Catra cackled. “How could I be mad? You wrote one of the most popular current sci-fi and romance series of the decade and I’m a main character.”
Adora looked to the side. “Well, technically Katrina is the main character… not you.”
Catra kissed her again, mumbling “shut up” between pecks and interrupting whatever else Adora might say. She was caught off guard by being suddenly pushed against the wall, and she opened her eyes to see Adora’s arm above her head, trapping her in.
“Make me.”
Now, Catra knew that Adora was hot, she had always thought that. She thought it ever since she knew that objectifying women was possible, though she always wanted to be respectful… but god DAMN, was Adora sexy. High school was a pain: gym class, track and field, when Adora would wear those stupidly cute tennis skirts so she could still romp around with the guys and not have to worry about her underwear showing. When she stuck her tongue out in her senior yearbook photo and the principal couldn’t say no because she played the orphan card. Adora was always sexy, even when she wasn’t trying. Catra always wondered who thought that about her, or maybe it was just herself… no. Definitely not. There was no way she could be the only one who knew it.
College Adora was even more of a pain. She always tried to look busy when Catra was near, but always ended up with this little furrow in her brow that made her look really hot. Adora also went to the gym a lot, and Catra would see her through the glass on the street side, where she’d be punching the bag or doing push-ups. Or, good God, when she’d be sitting with her stupid ponytail in the coffee shop, nose deep in her computer.
But being in her arms and within a kisses’ reach of her, being kissed by her… this made her feel ways that no other woman ever had before. The absolute lust between them was at a breaking point, at least for Catra. She gave into Adora’s teasing, putting her hands on her shoulders and kissing her once again, desperate to deepen their contact. Her muscles were toned and tight, giving Catra a place to hold onto while Adora’s hands slipped behind her, running up and down her back. Her fists closed around her shirt, and she pulled Catra closer, then pulled away and started walking towards her bedroom. Catra followed, nervous but all too excited.
Catra barely made it through the door before Adora had closed it again, pinning her once more, this time on the door. Her leg made its way in between Catra’s, sending a shock of heat up her spine. Catra gulped. Their eyes were locked, smoldering, and Adora dove back in. They kissed for what felt like hours, but in reality, only a minute had passed before Adora was pulling off her T-shirt to reveal a black sports bra. Her abdomen was pale, but toned and solid, and Catra couldn’t help but look her up and down.
“It’s okay to look,” Adora said darkly. This tone of voice took Catra by surprise, Adora sounded horny out of her mind, but who could blame her? She was too. Adora stepped back and playfully flexed her arms and abs for Catra, then shot her a wink.
Catra rolled her eyes, but took Adora’s suggestion to heart. She couldn’t take her eyes off of the blonde’s figure.

Adora took one step back towards Catra and gently draped her arms over her shoulders. She leaned in so her nose was touching Catra’s.
“I’m glad you aren’t mad at me. I had a whole speech prepared. Catra… I’m sorry.”
Catra sighed and leaned into the girl’s embrace. “I really just can’t be mad at you. I’m done being angry at the world.”
Adora wiped her eye with her thumb. A single tear had fallen from the corner.
“I’m really proud of you.” She whispered. “I’m so glad you’re here… with me. I missed you so much.
Adora’s words were gliding through Catra’s ears like butter. Her voice was so sweet and Catra couldn’t help but fall into yet another kiss. She couldn’t find the words to express how she was feeling, so she hoped she could show Adora.

Catra lifted off her shirt as well. Adora helped her get it over her head, and then buried her face in Catra’s neck, planting soft kisses in the crook. Catra shuddered, it felt cold when Adora’s lips moved away.
“Is this okay?” Adora whispered as she kissed the brunette. She tilted her head upwards to beckon Catra’s response.
“Yes, Adora. Yes, it’s more than okay.” She sighed as Adora’s welcomed hands outlined her torso.

Moments of exploration led to more, and before they knew it, the two girls were lying on Adora’s bed.
Adora’s hands were less nervous and more demanding now. She had known for years what it felt like to hold Catra, but not like this. They had held onto each other when they staggered through Adora’s bedroom window drunk at 17, and they hugged tightly when it stormed outside at 9. But now, Catra was at her complete disposal.
Maybe she always was, but she was too fucking scared to admit that maybe this girl was the love of her life.
Adora’s hands crept across Catra’s chest and under her bra, her palms meeting skin as smooth as ever. She sighed and kissed at Catra’s collarbones, aching for more of her to be seen, to be appreciated.
Catra felt like she was going to explode. She sat up and quickly unhooked her bra with one hand, and while she was up she unbuttoned her jeans too.
“I’m sorry, I’m really impatient.” Catra giggled as she kissed Adora again. Adora didn’t say anything, she just smiled into the kiss and gently helped Catra out of her jeans.
The sight of Catra nearly naked had Adora torn between wanting to ravish her and wanting to savor what was about to happen next.
Catra practically read her mind.
“Adora, please… I want you. So badly.”
Adora didn’t need any more than that. She pushed Catra back down onto the bed and found one of her breasts in her mouth, and her hand on the other, gently rubbing her thumb in circles on her nipple.
Catra’s vision got blurry. She didn’t know how to act-- Adora knew her way around a woman. Her face grew hot, like she was in a furious blend of pleasure and jealousy. Other people have seen Adora like this, have felt her like this. She grabbed Adora’s hair and moaned, as if to claim her. Adora raised her eyebrows and sucked lightly on her nipple, then bit underneath her breast and left a bright red mark.
“I love you,” Adora said breathlessly.
“I love you.” Catra said back, and moaned again when Adora started kissing her way down her stomach. Only her panties kept Adora from taking her, finally, after all this time wondering and pining and wishing.
Adora kissed along her hip bones, running her fingertips along the waistband of her underwear. Catra wanted to tell her to hurry up, it was too much to wait any longer, but she could only hum and shiver.
That sound drove Adora insane-- she pulled the underwear down slowly over Catra’s legs, leaving kisses on what felt like every inch of her thighs.
Before Catra could compliment her kissing, Adora ran her tongue up her already wet folds. Catra’s eyes went wide, she couldn’t utter a sound, even though she wanted to scream.
This could not be happening. It felt like a dream.
Adora dove into her, lapping her tongue around Catra’s clit, making circles and lines and God knows what else, Catra lost track of the direction.
“Catra… You’re incredible.” Adora murmured from between her legs.
Adora was completely overcome with a feeling indescribable. She’d never felt sex quite like this, especially not when Catra was coming. It felt like something godly and completely inaccessible to her until finally owning up to her feelings for Catra. Every single encounter before this didn’t matter anymore. It all added up to this night, this moment of finally making Catra hers.
It didn’t take long for Catra to come, either. She was seeing stars and pulling on Adora’s ponytal, riding the high of her orgasm. Adora crawled up to her lover’s face to kiss her, and Catra panted into long, blonde hair.
Catra noticed that Adora was still in her bra and sweatpants.
“Hey, why are you still wearing clothes?” she exclaimed jokingly, but hurriedly pulled the black bra over Adora’s head, revealing the most perfect breasts she’d ever seen: small, but perky, and definitely didn’t match the breadth of her wide shoulders. Adora was perfect.
Adora was standing now, untying the drawstring of her sweatpants, and Catra helped pull them down. A pair of bright pink boxers with white stripes were hidden underneath, and Catra nearly cackled. “Boxers?!”
“Hey, they’re comfy! I prefer them.” Adora scoffed, crossing her arms. Catra shook off the laugh immediately pulled Adora back in for a kiss and left her right hand trailing down to Adora’s core, feeling around over her boxers.
“I think they’re sexy.”
Adora inhaled sharply, and as soon as she said the word “sexy,” Catra entered the pink and white cotton. Her jaw nearly dropped at the feeling of Adora on her fingertips, she was so close to her now.
“Holy fuck, you’re wet.”
Adora hummed “mm-hmm,” and nodded frantically. Catra grinned and let her mouth fall to Adora’s chest as she slid a finger inside of her. Adora gasped at the feeling.
Catra tried so hard to fight that jealous feeling from before, that someone had gotten to Adora first. She kissed up her collarbones and towards the crook of her neck as she delicately worked a second finger inside, feeling Adora fully.
She couldn’t resist: Catra bit down on Adora’s neck and made sure to leave a hickey.
“You’re mine, Adora.” She whispered, and Adora threw her head back with pleasure.
“Oh my God, Catra…” she moaned, and found her own hand at Catra’s opening. Catra nodded and Adora immediately slipped 2 fingers inside of her, making them both gasp. Upon her entrance, Catra hooked her fingers upward and found Adora’s sweet spot, making her fuck Catra even harder than she had planned.
The two girls’ eyes met. Their looks seared into each other, but not like they had for the past 4 years. This was the turning point. There was no going back now.
Catra could feel herself getting close to climax again, And Adora was just barely ahead of her. They came, hard, crying out each other’s names in pure ecstasy, with no regard for the world outside of that room. As far as they were concerned, nothing existed beyond each other and the bed they soon collapsed onto together.
--
The girls laid in silence for a few minutes, taking in the heat and spinning madness of the moment they shared. Adora guided them both under her comforter and pulled Catra close to her chest.
“Catra… I wish I had said that sooner.”
Catra hushed her. “We can’t do anything about that, but I’m here now. And I’m not going anywhere. I promise.”
Adora kissed her forehead and sighed. “That was incredible.”
Catra nodded in agreement. “I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Another few moments of quiet passed until Catra looked up into Adora’s eyes.
“I want you to tell me about She-Ra.”
Adora raised an eyebrow. “What about her do you want to know?”
Catra shrugged. “I dunno… EVERYTHING! You kind of made me into a badass character and I had no idea or say in it. So you’re lucky Katrina is cool. Or I’d kill you.”
Adora laughed. “To be honest, I thought you were going to kill me when you showed up tonight. I was fucking terrified.”
Catra looked off to the side. “I won’t say I wasn’t thinking about it. I thought this was going to go differently.”
Adora looked worried. “How so?”
Catra sighed.
“I kind of got it in my head that you made Katrina to be a better version of me, and that you would say something like that to me.”
Adora hugged Catra as tightly as she could. “Catra… no. Of course not. If anything, I wished I were Anna so I could just write my way into whatever situation I wanted with you. I’ve always loved you… you are the perfect version. Katrina’s just fiction.”
Catra leaned her head on Adora’s chest. She took a deep breath in, catching her scent of lavender deodorant and tea tree body wash.
“I appreciate that.”
Adora was the one to shrug this time. “Eh, it’s no big deal, just don’t let anyone else on this goddamn planet think that they’re the best girlfriend ever, when I’M the one who wrote a whole series of novels to proclaim my love.”
Catra looked up at her. “Girlfriend?”
Adora laughed again, but more heartily. “Well, duh! I’m not living another moment without you as my girlfriend, and you as mine. I won’t do it.”
Catra smiled ear-to-ear and kissed her girlfriend. Soon after, well, maybe not soon, but many kisses after, the two fell asleep, tangled in each other’s arms and unruly hair.
Catra felt comfortable and safe for what felt like the first time in a while, perhaps 4 years.

Chapter Text

Here is some fan art that a reader made!! visit @ frecklez_the_artist on Instagram for more of their art. She did a beautiful job and I'm so honored to have someone love this fic so much to make their own art from it!! Woohoo!

 

Again... I'm so impressed and flattered. Thanks, Frecklez. :) 

Chapter Text

Adora and Catra woke up to the sound of the door pounding.
“HEY! Are you okay, you never lock the door! ADORA!” Bow screeched.
Adora covered Catra’s ears. “GO AWAY!” she yelled. “I’LL BE OUT SOON!”
She flopped back onto the bed and groaned.
“So much for a nice morning together.”
Catra, still groggy, rolled over to face Adora. She clearly had not processed what had just happened.
“Hey, Adora.” She said, eyes half-open.
Adora smiled and kissed her forehead. “Hi, Catra. I’ll be back okay?”
She sat up, but Catra pulled her by the arm and wrapped her arms around her waist. “No, pleeeease?”
“Right back. I promise.”
Catra reluctantly let go of Adora and watched her put on new boxers, this time navy tie-die. She also changed into new sweatpants and a Foo Fighters t-shirt.
Adora combed her hair with her fingers and tied it back up into a ponytail, staring over at Catra the whole time. She had fallen back asleep, curled up tightly like a cat. She looked so cozy.
Adora tiptoed out of her bedroom and closed the door as quietly as she could, then switched gears and stormed down the hall into the kitchen.
“Hey, fuckers, what’s the deal?!” She snapped.
Bow, Glimmer and Perfuma fell silent.
Perfuma laughed nervously. “Good morning, sunshine, how’d you sle- Oh my goodness!” She gasped, pointing at Adora’s neck, which had the hickey proudly on display. She turned dark red and clapped a hand over her neck.
“Why’d you come banging on my door, Bow?”
Bow sighed. “Mermista facetimed me and Glimmer last night. She said Catra ran off angry. We wondered if you’d heard from her.”
Adora turned even redder. “Oh… yeah, I’ve heard from her all right.”
Bow looked relieved. “Thank God, is she okay?”
Glimmer slapped him on the arm. “BOW! Do the math!”
Perfuma was giggling uncontrollably. “Yeah, Bow, since when does Adora get hickeys?”
Adora stamped her foot playfully. “HEY! I get plenty of hickeys!”
The roommates all exchanged eyerolls as Bow realized what was going on. His eyes widened and he clap

“Sorryyyyyy,” Glimmer pleaded, “I tried to explain to him but he ran right past me and down the hall. We didn’t mean to disturb you.”
Adora waved at them passively. “Eh, it’s fine, we should probably get up anyway. We both have homework.”
She turned on her heels and walked awkwardly out of the kitchen, leaving the group of snickering friends.
Once again, Glimmer gave Bow’s arm a smack, more excitedly this time. “Did I not call it?! It was only a matter of time. I told you they’d be together by the end of the semester!”

Adora opened the door to reveal Catra sitting upright on the bed. She grinned and ran towards Catra, nearly tackling her in a hug as she leapt onto the bed.
“Welcome back, nerd!” Catra mumbled from underneath Adora’s tight embrace. She sighed and breathed in the smell of lavender once more, feeling like she was about to be sucked into Adora’s loving aura and hug.
The sweet calm was broken by the sound of her phone going off-- again.
Adora picked up the device and handed it to Catra, but couldn’t help but notice the amount of twitter notifications popping up on the screen. Her face fell.
Catra shrugged. “Yeah, it’s been like this a few days now. I seem to be the only Catra in the world, or at least it feels like that.”
She swiped away every message and mention.
“Catra, I’m so sorry you’re getting so much thrown at you. This wasn’t supposed to happen.”
She cursed Kyle silently.
“Adora, it’s okay. I really should turn off my notifications anyway. It’ll blow over. That’s how the Internet works.”
She tapped through a few screens and then turned off the phone. “See, all gone! Twitter can’t bother me now.”
Adora put her arm around Catra. “Still, I feel horrible. They should all be contacting ME. Not bothering you. You have much better things to do than answer weird questions from strangers.”
Catra laughed and leaned into Adora.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right. What time is it anyway?”
“9:45,” Adora stated, “Why?”
Catra’s eyes widened. “Oh, wow, I really need to go then. I have to be somewhere at ten.”
Adora stood up and helped Catra start gathering her things. “Do you need me to walk you there? Or get you something to eat? Anything!”
Catra cupped Adora’s face and kissed her gently. “No, Adora, you’re so sweet, but I’m okay. Really.”
Adora’s face softened and she leaned her forehead to Catra’s. “Okay. I love you.”
“I love you too… Maybe I’ll see you later?”
Adora nodded eagerly as she led Catra down the hall and to the front door.

--

Catra barely made it to her destination on time. She quickly walked through the doors of a large building and made her way to office number 132.
“Hi, sorry I’m late,” Catra huffed.
“Catra, you’re right on time, that’s not late.” A man chuckled. “Come have a seat.”
She sank into the comfortable armchair and took a deep breath.
“I need to tell you something. Adora and I hooked up last night. But it wasn’t a one-time thing. She wants me to be her girlfriend. She said she loves me, I said it too. Wow, that was a lot.”
The man looked surprised.
“Wow, Catra! This has been a long time coming, from what you’ve told me! I’m happy for you.”
“Thanks, Micah. It wasn’t scary, either. I went into it sort of mad because I found out about something she had been keeping a secret, but I’m not mad.”
Micah scratched down some notes.
“That’s a really big step, being able to regulate your feelings of anger. I’m proud of you.”
Catra smiled a little.
“I will admit, I have seen that you are a pretty big subject on the Internet right now. I understand that you’re getting a lot of unsolicited attention. How are you feeling about that?”
Catra took another deep breath.
“Honestly, it’s fucking scary. I hate when people give me attention. It… It reminds me…”
She stopped talking to wipe a tear from her eye and fidgeted in her seat.
“...Of when I had to spend a lot of time at the police station.”
Micah nodded solemnly.
“Yes, I can see why these two things out of your control can make you feel similar.”
Catra cried. “But this Twitter thing… It’s not even harmful! The other thing… that was harmful. Why am I feeling like this?!” She covered her face with her hands and sobbed.
Micah continued with a soothing voice, “Catra, there is no right or wrong way to be triggered. This is triggering to you because you are getting a lot of questions that you feel you can’t answer, or don’t want to in order to keep yourself safe.”
“I love Adora so much, but I don’t want this! I want this to all go away.”
Micah continued, “Well, catra, it seems that Adora has a lot of leverage in the situation. Perhaps there is something she and her publishing team can do to get some of the chaos under control.”
There was a long pause, but Catra’s mind was running at high speeds, thinking of all the ways she could confront Adora about this rather odd situation.
Catra sniffled. “Maybe. I think I could ask her.”

The next hour was pretty standard for Catra: a massive loop of sadness and joy and fear and back to sadness. Micah was an incredible therapist: he knew how to take all of Catra’s fears and make them seem manageable. She didn’t think a lot about the appointment on her way home, she only thought of Adora and the time they had spent together.
She walked in her usual post-appointment haze, not feeling totally grounded in her feelings after being so vulnerable. Catra felt unsteady, not sure if she actually wanted to go spend time alone in front of her computer. Coding in a corner didn’t feel ideal at a time like this, not when she could be around something or someone that made her feel happy.
At the quad on campus, she turned towards Adora’s apartment building instead of her house. It was time to feel safe again.

--

Glimmer was working on preparing dinner for her and her roommates when there was a knock at the door. It pulled her quickly from her deep train of thought on the dumplings.

“Come in!” she called.
“Oh, hi, Catra!”
Catra leaned her elbows on the counter. “Hi, Glimmer. How are you?”
Glimmer smiled. “I’m having a good day. Are you looking for Adora?”
Catra shrugged. “Or you, or Bow, or Scorpia. Anyone really. I had a rough morning.”
Glimmer set down her knife and led the two to sit at the barstools. “Oh? What’s wrong?”
Catra hesitated.
“Is it about She-Ra?”
Glimmer got a small nod out of Catra.
“It’s going to sound stupid but…”
“Stop right there, Catra.” Glimmer interrupted. “You are getting something thrown at you. It’s not stupid, and your feelings are valid.”
Catra’s voice cracked. “I don’t know how to be the center of attention without being totally freaked out. I had a pretty fucked up childhood and… and… I just want this to stop.”

“Catra…” a voice from down the hall said quietly. Adora stood in the doorway, looking shaken up.
Catra quickly sat up. “Oh God, Adora, I didn’t mean it that way.”
Adora ran over to her girlfriend and hugged her tightly. “I know exactly what you meant. Tell me what I can do for you.”
She sighed as she sank into Catra more, holding her like she was protecting her from an outside force. She didn’t care that someone was right there, she just wanted to make things right.

Catra looked over Adora’s arm, at Glimmer, who nodded and smiled at her.
She was safe.

Chapter Text

“WHAT?!” Adora yelled, loud enough for a passing intern to lean his head in the door with concern. Adora waved him off and slammed the door after he was gone.
“You REINSTATED him?!” Adora shouted at a tall man across the room. “He RUINED EVERYTHING!!”

“Adora, no he did not.” The man said sternly, putting his hand on Kyle’s shoulder. Adora wasn’t sure who he was, but apparently he had been scheming up a fucking storm behind her and Mara’s backs.

“Kyle, listen to me. You’re going to throw this shit at me in the middle of literal Internet hell? My girlfriend hates this. I hate it! This is your fault!”

“Adora, calm down. This is just business,” Kyle said cooly, “Sales have skyrocketed ever since your identity was leaked. You’re going to be making almost double what you are now.”

Adora slapped the table. “I don’t give a FUCK about sales or making money. These books were a personal project that just happened to gain momentum. We were clear about this. You put my friends in a horrible position, ME in a horrible position. How did you even know anything about these characters?”

Kyle slicked his hair back and sighed, as if to ensue that Adora had asked a stupid question. “I’ve been keeping up with trends to make sure we were releasing at the right times. There were leaks, and it was a fantastic business opportunity.”

Fuming, Adora took a step towards Kyle. The taller man, dressed in a dark green blazer and black slacks, stepped in front of him and crossed his arms over his chest.
Adora bunched the hem of her shirt in a tight fist, and thank God Mara walked in, because she was on the fence between civility and… the opposite.

“Adora…” Mara reached out to grab Adora’s white-knuckled hand. Reluctantly, Adora let her grip loosen and be held tenderly by her friend.

“Kyle, Rogelio, listen to me. You’ve made a grave mistake.” Mara said cooly, reaching into her tote bag. She pulled out a manila folder full of neatly stacked papers and walked silently over to a paper shredder.

“This contract is over. Adora and I are taking the rights of She-Ra elsewhere.”
Adora’s eyes widened as she watched the nearly three-year-old contract disappear into destruction. She wasn’t sure why she had that reaction, because she didn’t feel upset at all with Mara. She felt free.

“And Kyle? I quit. Good luck finding someone as smart and hardworking as me.”

Mara looked at Adora, and they both nodded, leaving the office hand-in-hand, with Rogelio and Kyle stunned.

--

When they reached the front doors, Mara burst through.

“FUCK PRIME PUBLISHERS!” She chanted, raising her hands in the air.
Adora beamed and tilted her head back. “YEAH! FUCK PRIME PUBLISHERS!”

The women burst out laughing and made their way down the sidewalk.
“Adora, I am so sorry that this ever happened to you. It’s my fau--”
“Mara, it’s absolutely not your fault. You had no idea. You were a new graduate looking for a job and thought you found the perfect place. You were looking out for me by submitting my first manuscript. That’s absolutely not a bad thing.”

Adora smiled. “She-Ra is OURS now. To do whatever we want with. Remember when they wanted to pitch a movie?”
Mara cackled. “Oh, my God, that would have been a mess. You know that the entire movie would be produced by white men. Gross.”
Adora nodded in agreement. Gross, indeed.

Like it was embedded in their feet, they appeared at the front door of Queen’s Brew.
“Coffee?” Mara asked.
“Wait!” Adora exclaimed. “What about all of your stuff at the office?”
Mara held up her tote bag. “Ever since I found out about Kyle’s intentional mistake, I’ve been packing up since last night. Fuck that place.”
Adora grinned, again, and opened the door. The two were greeted by the smell of freshly ground coffee.

Immediately, a student approached her.
“Are you Adora Gray?”

Adora nodded sheepishly. “Um, yeah.” She knew what was next.

“Wow, awesome! I’m Frosta, I am a huge fan of your books. I was wondering if you, maybe, had some tips for me? I want to be a writer. I do fanfictions of She-Ra, but I want to make my own stories, you know?”

Adora was surprised. This wasn’t as bad as she expected. “Uh… Well, I don’t really know how to explain…”
Mara interrupted. “Frosta, I’m Mara, Adora’s manager.”
Manager?
“I’m founding a freelance publishing company, Etheria Press, and I think you two should co-write something to get you into the field.”

Adora whipped her head around to look at Mara, who simply winked and kept smiling at the dark-haired student.

Mara had this planned out all along, Adora could tell. She was far too confident to have any doubts about the new press.

“Yeah!” Adora said in agreement. “I think that’d be super cool.”

Frosta beamed. “Woah! That’s like, the best news I’ve ever gotten! Let me buy you two coffee!”