Adora looked at her. There. Up on the rooftop. She was leaning over the rails as the rain poured down over the town. It was a warm summer night. Adora was tired. Years she’d been watching Catra from afar, the magicat always somewhere in the corner of her vision, in the background noise of life, or an echo in her mind when she was alone.
Adora knew Catra, but she didn’t know her.
They talked, but never face to face.
Adora doesn’t even know if Catra knew her voice was hers.
They talked through walls, through doors, through private accounts none of their irls followed.
Adora knew who Catra was.
They were friends, close friends, even.
But how could she tell that to her?
Because in real life, Catra hates Adora.
She doesn’t know why, Adora has only ever done her best to befriend the magicat— but each time they come face to face Catra is all claws and fangs and hisses towards her.
At least she has this.
Adora walked up the stairs and stopped at the rooftop door. She knocked the secret little knock Catraroof told her over DMs. Short long short short, a breath, long long long, a breath, short short short long, a breath, short. Adora didn’t know why she had to knock this, just that Catra would only answer her to it.
Adora sat her back against the door and waited.
“Do you believe in soulmates, Princess?” Catra’s voice was muffled by the door and the rain outside, but the rasp of her voice still made it to Adora’s ears. With that voice, that beautiful voice Adora was in love with, was a question Adora wasn’t expecting at all.
“Of course I do, everyone has a soulmate.” Adora replied simply, looking down at the heart shape on her chest. Mara told her that the closer a soul mark was to a person's heart, the stronger their connection was.
The more inevitable their destiny.
“Where’s your mark?” Catra’s voice was small, barely audible from Adora’s side. But Adora heard it still.
“Over my heart.”
A bark of laughter from the other side turned into a wheezing fit and gasping for air.
Adora turned to face the door, “Hey! What's so funny about that?” she whined while Catra slumped against the door too.
“Nothing, Nothing really… Just didn’t expect for us to have that in common too.” Catra chuckled. Adora’s heartbeat in her chest, crumbling just a bit.
Catra had a soulmark on her chest too.
And Catra hated her.
But Adora loved Catra.
She forced a smile, even though the magicat would never see it, and chuckled a bit too.
“Yeah, I guess that is a bit… curious”
“Curious? Really? You can’t do any better than that Princess?”
An hour they spent on the roof before Adora said her goodbyes and left, walking out of sight and watching Catra leave the roof and get safely back to her apartment in the same building.
Adora retreated back to her bed and cried over the fact that even though she knew Catra better than anyone else, she could never be beside her.
Catra stared at her phone. Her DMs with “Princess”. Adora’s messages to her. Adora doesn’t know it's her— she’s just a friend on the other side of a door, or a wall, or the screen that was burning its light into Catra’s eyes. It’d been a month since the last time Adora had met her at the roof and talked. She watched the three dots move as Adora typed. The essential radio silence since their last meeting in person, along with the weird vibe Adora had been giving off in real life was putting Catra a bit on edge.
Minutes passed and Adora was still typing, leading Catra to become more anxious. What could have happened? Did she do something? Did Adora find out that it was her she was talking to and want to cut it all off? Did something bad happen with her friends? With her classes? The thoughts raced through Catra’s mind as those three fucking dots made the same repetitive motion at the bottom of her screen.
Really? After all that time typing and typing away, she just fucking said “Hi”??? Catra growled as she read the message, but something was CLEARLY up, so she wasn’t going to call her out on this utter bullshit right now. She’d tease her about it later or something for sure though.
It’s been a while since we last talked, huh?
bit of an understatement there, princess
Sorry, just… some things happened irl
wanna talk about it?
I mean I dont want to like… burden you or anything
you listen to my bs all the time princess
i think i can at least return the favor
Well, if you’re sure, it's kind of a lot and really heavy and
depressing and I know that you… well… dont like those
You know what I meant!
doesn’t mean i cant make fun of you for it anyways
now stop avoiding what happened and get it out already
unless you dont want to
I am NOT avoiding it! You’re the one who
derailed the conversation with correcting my
mhmm, still deflecting princess
Ok well fine
Catra waited, watching the dancing dots again as Adora typed. As Princess told her what was wrong, instead of dismissing her worry like she’d watched Adora do to her friends in class multiple times.
So I haven’t really told anyone this
Catra could feel her frustration from the other side of the screen. Could feel the anxiety. Could feel the tension of “I want to tell them, but it hurts to speak”.
hey, its ok.
take your time.
you dont have to tell me anything before you’re ready
Can you come over?
Catra’s heart skipped a beat.
The roof, please.
i’m on my way.
Catra fumbled to slip on her sneakers before bolting out of her room and up to the roof. When she got up there the door was already closed, with their little homemade door hanger saying “Gay Gay Homosexual Activities Gay” instead of “Do Not Disturb” on the doorknob.
Catra gave the knock.
Short long short short, L.
Long long long, O.
Short short short long, V.
And she waited. Her back pressed up against the door. It was a silent night, Catra couldn’t see the stars, but she knew Adora could, she knew the stars were comforting Adora tonight instead.
Catra could hear the sniffling through the door, her ears straining to listen to every painful intake of breath and sobbing exhale Adora made. Catra’s heart was twisting and she didn’t even know what was wrong.
They stand there together, separated by the door, for a while. Minutes, hours, years, it felt like; before Adora finally speaks.
“Mara... he…” she took a large, shuddering breath, “he died.” Adora whispered, her voice would have gone unheard by any human— but Catra heard every fluctuation in her voice as she breathed out the words.
Catra’s claws immediately slipped out and dug into the door with a sharp intake of breath. Mara, Adora’s father, was dead. Princess told Cyra about her dad a lot; about how he would take her out places all the time. How she would always hold Adora’s hand whenever they were walking. How she would buy candy and food for Adora every time they hung out. How he would listen and talk to Adora in a way no one else could possibly understand.
Catra felt like she’d been punched in the gut.
She didn’t want to imagine how Adora felt.
“Close your eyes, Princess,” Catra spoke up loud and clear. She kept her voice solid, strong, for Adora. Adora had listened to her time and time again about her problems, and shared some stories of her own in relation to help show understanding. It was Catra’s turn to return to the favor.
Catra grabbed the doorknob and twisted it, opening the door wide. She kept her eyes closed— this was about trust, and even if she knew Princess was Adora, she was not about to break it— and reached out to grab Adora and pull her into a lung-crushing hug.
And she purred.
She purred, her entire body rumbling like an engine, as she took a clawed hand and pet through Adora’s hair. Catra took the time to scratch Adora’s scalp a bit before trailing her fingers through the hair and down her back with careful strokes. Adora latched onto her, clinging to her like she would die if she let go, and cried into the crook of the shorter woman’s neck. She wailed painfully, and was definitely soaking Catra in tears and snot as she trembled in her arms. It probably sounded like someone was getting murdered, but that wasn’t a problem at the moment. She could figure it out if someone actually came up to try and find a dead body or some shit later.
Right now, all that mattered was Adora.
Adora; the girl who did multiple varsity sports in high school, the girl who always had above a 3.5 gpa, the girl who was fucking varsity academic league or jeopardy or whatever the hell it was called, the girl who had played trombone in one of their high school’s top bands. Adora, the girl who had gaggles of girls chasing after her attention at every moment. Adora, who always had the most signs and posters from friends at games and school events. Adora, who didn’t change even in college. Adora, who she’d been paralleled against and a rival to since elementary school. Adora, the ever-present, large enigma who Catra felt dwarfed by so often.
Was so small.
Was so weak.
Catra held her as if she was made of brittle glass, because this woman who was such a large presence in her life— this woman she’d always loved and struggled against— felt so fucking small in her arms right now.
She felt her soulmark was burning against her chest, like it was searing itself even more prominently into her skin, the more Adora’s tears fell onto her. Fire coursed through her blood with the desire to do nothing but hold and protect the woman in her arms; to shield Adora from the world that was tearing her heart out right in front of her.
Tears fell from Catra’s eyes as she held Adora.
There was nothing she could do but hold her, nothing she could do to help her, nothing she could do to fix it.
No one can bring back the dead.
Everything hurt. Adora couldn’t think; all she could do was feel. Like an ocean wave underestimated that crashes down and pulls you under, Adora was disoriented and lost in the sudden blast of emotions that overtook her when she felt herself being pulled into Catra’s arms. Her mind was scrambled. Her mind was blank. There was so much— There was nothing. She gasped for breath, drowning in herself, drowning in her pain. Her heart was twisted and wrenched and she felt like there was a gaping hole inside of her soul-sucking more and more of her inside of it and it hurt and she couldn’t make it stop and it just kept taking and taking and she could barely breathe she was thirsty but the tears just kept falling and it just hurt and hurt and hurt and she can't breathe and it won't stop she feels like she just ran a marathon and fought half an army single-handedly because she fights to keep her grip on Catra but her body is fatigued and feels so weak she can barely keep her hands closed around her.
Catra kissed her on top of the head, “Cry as much as you need to,” her voice was soft, and so beautifully distorted by the purr that is reverberating between both of them, “I’m not going anywhere. The world is shitty, you aren’t ok, and that’s alright.” She spoke with conviction, sealing the sentiment with another kiss on Adora’s head.
Her legs give out.
She doesn’t know how, but she can feel herself wrapped up in Catra’s arms and in her lap on the ground. She’s still holding her. Still petting her hair and letting her suffocate on her emotions on her shoulder.
Adora could feel her— feel her purr, her tail coiled strongly around Adora’s waist to help support her, and her leanly muscular arms holding her firmly in place. Catra breathed in and out with a steady rhythm, the exaggerated rise and fall of her chest moved Adora as well— lulling her into breathing to the same beat as she cried.
Her heartfelt like there was a gaping hole in it, and blood was seeping from her body— but with every whisper of assurance, every comb of a hand through her hair, every minute of purring in her chest— felt like patchwork over the tear. It wouldn’t fix it. It would never be truly whole again. But it wasn’t the end. Her heart was salvageable. Savable. By her touch. By her love. Her presence and patience. Her care.
Part of Adora felt like she'd been stabbed in the gut with a sword, but another felt the same safety and warmth that filled her when she cuddled with her dad as a child, the same sense of home Adora felt holding her hand.
The world felt like it was collapsing around her, but she wasn't alone.
And for now, that was enough.
Adora was slouched in her chair. Her head lulled back and legs stretched out under the table. They weren't doing anything in class that Adora didn't already have notes for, or that would be on any upcoming exam. It was a student lead side-note of a topic the teacher had a great interest in and wanted them to share.
Adora was bored, staring at the ceiling thinking of nothing. Her heart started to feel heavy, and she started to turn her gaze to look for a distraction. Glimmer was sleeping and Bow actually paying attention to the presentation, so nothing there. Shit. Her gaze swept across the classroom until she saw Catra, awake and just staring at her pencil as she flipped it around and between her fingers.
Adora grabbed her phone from where she was half sitting on it on her chair and opened their DM's. She went to start typing but… the mark on her chest felt warm. She touched it softly, butterflies in her stomach and warmth in her chest. Adora knew she had a soulmate. Knew Catra did too. Everyone does. Adora wanted it to be Catra, but she only ever gets harsh looks and closed-off, clipped language from her in real life.
Adora debates a bit, and decides instead of talking, she'll just… send a meme.
is that a fucking star wars droid
no offense princess
but what the everliving FUCK
Adora looked up from her phone to look over to Catra, and she slapped her hand over her mouth. Her breaths came short and shallow and she desperately held back laughter. Catra was squinting at her phone, her nose scrunched up and her tail lashing behind her chair. She had the most incredulous look on her face. The confusion and "what the fuck?" was so clear in her expression, Adora wanted to get up from her seat and walk over to her laughing and ruffle her hair and kiss the confusion right off her face and—
Adora slammed her head down on the desk.
Catra startled when she heard a bang from the other side of the classroom, and looked over to see Adora, face-planted onto her desk, Glimmer looking affronted at being woken up, and a few other students staring in her direction.
She looked down at her phone, at the images, and at Adora. She watched Adora raise her head to answer Glimmer and her cheeks were flushed.
"What in the fuck is going on over there," Catra thought, opening their DMs and beginning to type.
so you gonna tell me what's up?
or am i supposed to be able to
decrypt your memes like im translating
ancient egyptian hieroglyphs?
Give me a sec, just hit my head
NOTHING I just… Thought of somethjng
make me, princess
ooo bringing out the big words
i do love intelligent women
Catra heard another bang from across the room and glanced over to see Adora scrambling for her phone off the ground. She smiled to herself as she noticed how red Adora's ears were as she recovered herself and started typing again.
I could tell you so much about the intricacies of characters from media you don't even know abojt
Catra was about to explode. She was too cute.
oh I would LOVE to hear ALL abojt it
what? im not doing anything
You know EXACTLY what you're doing
mmmm maybe, maybe not
what IS it that I'm doing, princess?
Before Adora got the chance to type her reply, the bell rang and Catra watched as she stuffed her phone into her back pocket and hurriedly started to stow away all her notes and shit. Catra didn't bring much to the class, she took out a loose piece of paper and pencil in case she got bored but other than that she had nothing to clean up. Catra walked out of the classroom, glancing back at Adora.
She didn't expect Adora to be looking back.
Adora's heart thudded in her chest as she locked eyes with Catra. The mark on her chest burned. She couldn't breathe as she looked into those piercing heterochromatic eyes. It was only a few seconds, maybe even a minute at most— but Adora felt like she'd been staring into Catra's eyes for several minutes before she turned and rushed out the door, tail lashing and ears pointed back at her.
Adora didn't have much time to think, to maybe chase after her— to ask her if her mark burned when their eyes met too, to grab her by the hand and ask to talk or anything— because all too quickly Bow and Glimmer were grabbing Adora's hands instead, and guiding her to their next class as usual. In the opposite direction of Catra. Away from her.
The burning of her mark stopped, but the pang in her heart didn't.
Adora spent the rest of her day thinking back to that moment. Every spare second she could, she thought about it. The way Catra had looked back at her. The surprise. The standstill. The connection. The burning.
Adora opened her door and tossed her bag into the room, grabbed "Princess's" door hanger from inside, and shut and locked the door without taking a single step inside before turning on her heel and heading up to the roof.
She walked up to the roof, put the door hanger on the handle, and closed the door behind her. She opened their DMs as she leaned back against the wall.
Roof? I could use some company
what, your friends ditch you or something?
Would rather be with you
Adora's heart was pounding in her chest, nervous energy rolling through her as her legs bounce beneath her and she couldn't stop one hand from fidgeting with her clothes as the other held her phone in an iron grip.
Catra read the message.
be there in 5
Warmth flared in her chest again. She turned and pressed her forehead against the door. She breathed in slowly, and out for twice as long. Catra was on her way. Catra was coming. She let herself just… Exist. In time. In space. Feel the soft breeze. Listen to the sounds of cars and people. She can feel the sun on her back, cooled by the scattered puffy clouds that decorated the blue sky.
It wasn't long before she heard familiar steps up the stairs. She waited quietly, still. Until she felt the gentle knock against the door.
“Hey,” Adora breathed against the door.
"Hey," Catra's beautiful voice was muffled by the door, but brought Adora's heart peace all the same. "What's wrong, Princess?"
Adora breathed in big and slow, "So much, so much is wrong, Cyra. Mara's gone, Hope is hours away, none of my friends can even tell that something actually terrible happened and are too busy worrying about their own lives which is fine, but it still fucking sucks ass and I just feel so alone and overwhelmed and—"
The door thudded, and Catra's voice came through a bit clearer, "Breathe, Princess. You're working yourself up and I can't hold you from the other side of this door, dummy."
So Adora breathed. She calmed herself down. Her left hand was splayed out against the door. She wanted to touch Catra. She wanted to hold her hand, hug her, look her in the eyes, and smile at her with all the stupid love Adora knows she'd never be able to hide from Catra bursting out of her heart and seeping into her expression.
But that was a risk. Because while Cyra might like Adora, Catra had hated her since elementary school, since she sat at Glimmer's table instead of her's at lunch.
Adora pulled her phone out of her back pocket and held it in her right hand. She relished in the knowledge Catra was on the other side of the door, oblivious the person she's hated since ele-fucking-mentary was the person she was talking to.
Adora opened their DMs. She had an image ready. She couldn't— she couldn't stay like this anymore. Having Catra so close but so fucking far away. She took in a shaky breath.
"Princess?" Her cautious voice came from the door. Adora had to do something, say something.
"There's… Someone I like. A lot," Adora started, "and I'm pretty sure she hates me. She's a bit on the wild side, and we've been in opposite friend groups since elementary school. She has the most beautiful eyes." Adora's voice cracked. "And she hates my friends and they don't get along with her either and think she's rude and mean and shit but— but I know she's not. She's beautiful and kind and sweet and cool and I have been in love with her since I first saw her and that fucking sucks because I'm pretty sure she hates me." Adora took in a gulp of air, her heart was pounding. She laughed, hating herself, because she was probably going to finally seal the deal on never getting to talk to Catra ever again. "And I'm an idiot because I can't stop my heart from pounding when I see her smile or listen to her laugh, from feeling warmth in my chest whenever she's around. And really, I know, there's only one thing left I can do."
Adora opened their DMs, and pulled out the stupid fucking reaction pic she'd chosen.
"And that's to break everything and ruin what little I have."
Catra's heart was going to beat out of her chest. She grabbed the handle and ripped the door open. Adora stumbled a bit— she was facing towards Catra and leaning against the door, apparently. Adora blinked back at her, and Catra watched as the idiot she fell in love with straightened up and backed away a bit, obviously holding back tears.
Adora thought Catra hated her.
Adora liked her. Liked her since the beginning.
"Catra I—" She didn't let her finish. Catra reached forward and cupped her face in her hands. She wiped the tears away from Adora's cheeks with her thumb, and looked at the absolute dumbass she'd been in love with for over a decade.
Adora was frozen under her touch, and it broke Catra's heart a bit to think about how Adora thought Catra hated her, when that was the farthest thing from the truth.
"Adora," Catra started, she felt Adora tense under her hands, "you goof," she said, as softly as she could. Catra took a step closer, so they were both on the other side of the door.
"Can I kiss you?"
She heard the almost imperceptible hitch of Adora's breath as she processed the words.
"I, uh, well um I I you don't have to but I guess if you—"
Adora brought her hands, a bit shaky, up to Catra's face. She tucked some stray hairs behind her ear with a little scratch on the base, her eyes never leaving Catra's. Catra closed her eyes, and waited.
Adora's lips were soft, and warm. Catra could feel the mark on her chest burn as she kissed Adora back, a gentle purr buzzing through her body alongside the pure bliss of kissing Adora.
Slowly, Catra pulled back from the kiss and looked at Adora.
"Hey, Adora," She purred.
"Catra I— I don't—"
Catra chuckled a bit, looking up at the doofus.
"Don't you get it? I love you, I always have." Catra smiled, and she pressed up to kiss Adora on the nose.
Adora blinked owlishly, "You love me?"
Catra rolled her eyes, "You're such an idiot— yes Adora, I love you, even if you are the densest girl in the whole universe, dummy."
Catra watched as the biggest smile she'd ever seen exploded onto Adora's face and then—
Her feet left the ground. And that beautiful laugh she loved filled the air as Adora fucking spun her around in her arms. Adora didn't put her down when she stopped spinning them.
"You love me." Adora said, a statement, as she beamed at Catra.
"I love you." Catra confirmed, pulling herself up higher and wrapping her legs around Adora to ease the burden and get more comfortable in her arms.
"I love you, too." Adora breathed. Catra kissed her, soft and lovingly. Everything she'd dreamed of since she saw Adora walk into class that first day of third grade was right here. In her arms.
It was the time of year where the wind had a bite to it. Shivers would run down your spine from seeping cold even when you wore three jackets and two layers of pants and a scarf.
But Adora wasn't cold at all. She was laying inside her apartment, on her couch, with her girlfriend on top of her. A rumbling purr soothing all her worries and banishing her stress to the underworld as they cuddled.
Adora was scratching Catra's ears and scalp as her other hand slowly ran its way up and down her back over and over. The snow was falling softly outside, the ground powered with white, cold and damp. Adora remembered the year past, when she lived a few doors down and would spend days like this alone, curled up in her bed reading a book or fanfiction.
She wasn't alone now.
It wasn't long after they finally cleared up that they'd both been in love with each other since the very beginning that Adora moved in with Catra. It saved them money and they finally got to be together in a way they always dreamed to be.
Adora kissed Catra's ear, earning her a thwap from the other girl's tail. She gave a soft burst of laughter before looking back to the TV. They were watching Catra's favorite show— an animated series called She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. A very gay show about a girl called She-Ra finding a sword and fighting against the Evil Horde and her former best friend, Force Captain Cyra, alongside her friends Princess Sparkles and Arrow.
Needless to say, Adora understood where Catra had picked up all her nicknames for everyone from— they practically had a person for every character in the show!
The writing wasn't perfect, the animation has its flaws, and it was a reboot of a very old spin-off of a gay-vibed hetero show— but they loved it nonetheless. Adora loved to hold Catra as she rewatched it happily in her arms. Adora had plenty of other things she could look at if she wanted to. The woman in her arms, the pictures of them together taken with Adora's camera decorating their walls, their actual fucking cat, Melog, who occasionally joined for snuggles— because all this time Catra had a cat and Adora didn't know until the day she moved in.
Adora was happy. Happier than she ever thought she'd be. She had bad days and terrible days. Mara's birthday hit her hard. But she wasn't alone. She had her friends— and more importantly, she had Catra. Catra who had always been on her side, through a door and a screen and closed eyes.
Losing Mara still hurt, and will never not hurt, but having Catra and their friends make it better.
Adora, cuddling the woman she loves— her soulmate—, in their home, surrounded by pictures of the two of them and her frie— her family feels her eyelids grow heavy. Warm. Safe. Loved.
She lets herself truly smile again.