Caught in the Crossfire

Summary: (5000 words)
A short ficlet about a training incident that leaves Adora hurt and thus forth no longer useful to the Horde. What will happen to her after being cast out and disposed of?

Drills were going like the always did, fast paced and strenuous. Adora led her group through the Whispering Woods simulation, they already lost Kyle at the get go but luckily they were doing good aside from that. She and Lonnie leading the charge through the maze of trees dealing with the princess bots that came from the front, Rogelio and Catra making do with guarding their flanks and covering the rear in place of Kyle.

"Ambush!" Lonnie shouted ducking out of the way of several blasts aimed for her. Several bots jumped down from the fake canopy above.

"I got this!" Catra called out as she knocked over Adora in order to steal her kill of the first two robots.

Unfortunately for the blonde getting knocked to the floor was only the beginning of her problems. With the impact her head gear had fallen off, leading to her no longer being able to see the digitized princesses in place of the robots, but also leaving her eyes gravely unprotected from their attacks. "Watch it CatrAAA-" She shrieked in pain as a pink laser was shot at her, and still recovering from her fall she had no way to dodge.

"Co-code 3!" Lonnie yelled into the room the emergency code and jumped to her leader's side. Immediately the sim ended and the robots deactivate. "Adora! Adora are you alright!" Her voice more worried than she would ever admit to being. Adora was writhing and crying in pain. Not only from the blast to her face hurting but the burning in her eyes wasn't fading either. "Look what you did!" the feisty soldier quickly turned on Catra shoving her to the floor.

"I- I didn't mean for her to get hurt!" The feline stammered worried what she might have done to her only friend. Seeing the suffering Adora was going through only made the guilty pit in her stomach grow.

Just then the officers in charge of the simulation rushed in followed by two medics. "Move cadets! Out of the way!" he pushed through the group with ease. "Alright load her up." he commanded to the treatment personnel who then rushed her out of the room to the infirmary. "You three, finish your session time sparring. And as for you, you're coming with me." The larger soldier grabbed Catra by the scruff of her neck and dragging her away leaving the rest of their squad in the room alone.

"How dare you!" Shadow Weaver screamed in rage, her powers sparking out of control popping every light in the infirmary. "How dare you even lay a hand on Adora! You rotten waste of space!" She reigned in her powers focusing her intent on Catra.

"Shadow Weaver please, they just sedated her and-"

The pressure from the magic grew intense and painful. "Waking her up will be the least of your worries! You might have just ruined her chances at ever become a force captain!" Catra could feel the pounding in her head from the vengeful magic attacking her, just before she broke out crying in pain she was dropped to the floor. "Pathetic waste."

A medic with a light came over to the shaking cadet, "Are you okay? Here let me-"

"Get off of me." Catra snapped at him pushing his hand away. Without bothering to thank him she went to sit at the side of Adora's bed. With the staff working on finding replacement lights Catra looked on unhindered with her night vision at her friend's sleeping face, or at least the half not covered by bandages. In fact she was thankful for the lights being out for the next hour, it gave her time to keep wiping away the tears that betrayed her as they rolled down her cheeks; both in worry for her friend, and the pain and fear from her tormentor.

"It's been over four days, is there any improvement in her condition?" Lord Hordak asked uncaring as he came to decide Adora's fate with Shadow Weaver in toe as her superior.

The medic swallowed heavily. "No sir. No improvement in recovery. I think it's safe to say that her sight won't be returning to her." He said trying to stay professional with knowing what his verdict meant for the blonde.

"Fine. Dispose of her. We've wasted enough time and resources on her now." The sinister ruler turned to leave.

"Lord Hordak! Please don't do this to her!" Catra shot out in front of him not letting him pass. "I'm the one who knocked off her head gear, blame me. Not her. Please." Her eyes burning from the tears she held back. She would take whatever punishment in order to save Adora.

Without warning his large hand found its way around her throat. "If that's the case then you can join her in her disposal." he hissed at her before throwing her on the floor like trash.

"Lord Hordak-"

"Would you like to join them Shadow Weaver?" He interrupted her before she could plea whatever sorry case she wanted to, and she remained silent. "Good. Now, send them out of the Fright Zone. Or I'll see to it that YOU take responsibility."

Now only an hour later the two disgraced soldiers were in a holding cell waiting for their escort. "What's going to happen to us Catra?" Adora asked with worry in her voice, she was still recovering from sedative, thankfully the pain was gone at least.

"I don't know. Hordac said that we would be disposed of. That's it." Catra was sitting with her knees pulled tightly to her chest, hoping for some form of comfort. "Wait I hear someone coming." She hissed at the whispers and pairs of footsteps approaching. She prepared for the worse, ready to defend Adora in her last moments she would attack the first person that stepped in.

"Guys its us!" Hissed Kyle as he deactivated the cell door.

Catra's ears flopped up, "Kyle? What are you doing here?"

"We came to get you out." He said before Lonnie and Rogelio stepped into view too.

"Lonnie-" Catra began to say before a strong fist found its way to her right cheek.

The angry cadet was now holding her former squad mate by the collar. "That's for ruining Adora's life!"

"Lonnie! You said you wouldn't!" Kyle shouted as he ran in to separate the two girls. The only reason why it worked is cause Lonnie pushed Catra into the back wall.

"No I said I would think about it." She warned him from interrupting her before a firm scally hand stopped her. "I know, I'm sorry Rogelio, we don't have time. Let's go guys, we're going to sneak you out of here before the guards come back."

Without question Catra guided Adroa through their escape route following their teammates. "Why are you guys doing this? You will get in so much trouble if you're caught." Adora asked worried they didn't think this through.

"We're a team Adora. We might not be able to leave with you, but we can at least make sure you guys don't end up on Beast Island." Lonnie explained stopping the blonde from walking through an open hallway before she checked if it was clear. In a few more minutes they had snuck their way to one of the access points in and out of the Fright Zone.

Kyle was hugging Adora goodbye trying his best not to let the others hear him crying for the loss of his friends as Rogelio tried to comfort him patting his back. "Thanks Lonnie." Catra said shortly not being one to reveal her feelings, but they were understood anyways.

Lonnie pulled a wrapped bandanna bag from her pack handing it off to the feline. "Security around the cafeteria was tight today, this was all we could get." she said as Catra peaked in through the opening at the sack of ration bars. "Listen. You better take care of Adora. Do you hear me." Her voice wavered and her lip quivered.

Catra saw the tears forming in Lonnie's eyes, and she felt her own forming as well. "I will. I won't let another thing happen to her." She nodded with a sniffle. She wasn't going to cry, not in front of Lonnie. And then, Lonnie reached out and squeezed her in a hug.

"You guys be safe." she choked back a sob trying to keep her composure. This might be the last time she ever saw Catra and she'll be damned if it was her crying.

"Keep Kyle out of trouble." Catra whispered back hoping Lonnie wouldn't notice the tear that was rolling down her cheek now. Both girls let go wiping their own tears away with a sad smile. "Come on Adora, we have a lot of ground to cover." Catra took Adora's hand helping her onto the stolen skiff before getting off to the whispering woods. It was dangerous and crawling with princesses, but it was better than trying to hide out in the open plains.

The traveled in silence while Adora sat by the base of the steering pole holding on like it was her last life line. "We're going to need to find food and water. I- I think there was a river about 2 miles west in the Whispering Woods!" she yelled over the wind.

"Okay, just hang on and I'll get us there." Catra called back. She occasionally glanced over her shoulder to make sure they weren't being followed. Soon enough they had reached the mystical woods, and unfortunately it was too thick and dense to go through safely on a skiff with Adora the way she was now. "We're going to have to hike it. Are you going to be okay?"

"It's my eyes that are gone. Not my legs." She said coldly.

Catra was taken back by the hurt those words caused. "I'm sorry Adora, I didn't mean-"

"No I'm sorry Catra. I didn't mean to snap at you. It's just a lot to take in you know." Adora put her head down as she fiddled with the tail that had comfortingly looped over her hand. With help she slid off the edge of the skiff as they left it behind slowly and carefully making their way west.

It was hard for Adora trying to get used to the idea of needing and depending on someone for something like walking. But after tripping over the fifth tree roots she became irritated pounding the side of her fist into the dirt gritting her teeth.

However, seeing this was harder for Catra. Because she knew she's the one who cause this. Her horseplay and inconsideration is what robbed her friend of her sight and ruined her life. Wordlessly she knelt down beside her friend tentatively putting her arms around her. "I'm sorry, Adora. I'm so sorry." She squeezed her friend at the swell of her emotions biting her tongue to keep from sobbing.

Adora snaked her arms around Catra pulling the two of them together. "It's okay Catra, it's okay. " She whispered rubbing circles on the other girl's back "it was an accident, you didn't mean for any of this to happen."


"No buts. Nothing really bad will happen to us as long as we have each other. Remember?" She felt Catra nod against her and she felt her shaking subsided, things would be okay they would get through this together. They stayed like that until a gentle breeze blew through the forest. "It's getting colder, how dark is it getting?

Catra turned her head up to look for some indication of time through the thick canopy, all she had to go on was the angle of the lift poking through occasionally. "It looks like it's getting late. We can probably make it a bit further before we should find somewhere for the night.

And as the sun set Catra lead them through the forest west bound hoping to make it to the river before they had to set camp. Frequently she would now warn Adora about the roots and rocks by telling her and lifting her hand up to step over it, a system which worked without any more issues like before. Surely enough, their efforts paid off; they both slowly began hearing the trickling of running water. With new found vigor they continued on carefully until they reached their goal.

Adora was guided around the rocky river bed to the water so she could drink with Catra kneeling beside her to drink too. "We need to be careful with the water, without something to boil it we could get sick." Adora warned as her survival training came to the front of her mind briefly.

"The water is crystal clear and it's moving around enough, we should be okay right?" Catra quirked her ears. She learned from experience that she had a stronger stomach than Adora, so at the very least she didn't need to worry. But that's what made her worry. While she was relatively safe from certain things, Adora had to be careful about what she ate or drank; and they had no way to make it safe.

"No you're right, as long as we stay by where it's moving it should be safe until we can find something." Adora agreed taking another handful of water for herself. "Is there any signs of wildlife? We will be okay for a little but we need to find food next."

"Give me a second, I'll look around really quick." Catra wiped the water from her chin before she hoped around the area scouring for any signs of tracks. Adora paid close attention listening to the shift of gravel as her friend moved around and the constant sniffing that made her chuckle. "I'm finding small tracks, maybe squirrels or something. But nothing bigger." Catra informed as she came back over.

Adora nodded not knowing if her response was seen. "Well that's good. At least we know that there are animals around the area." With the air now cold and deciding it best not to send up a smoke signal by starting a fire they made 'camp' by piling turn up shrubbery together for a padding to keep them off the floor. Adora tried offering her jacket as a blanket but Catra was having none of that, insisting on she like the open air and never having used a blanket before.

She curled up behind Adora as close as she could pull the bigger girl into a spoon so she would be warm throughout the night. Catra could deal with the cold seeping into her back, she wasn't going to let Adora go through the night without something to keep the cold away. That night she kept reliving the horrors of her day; seeing Adora getting blasted, being attacked by Shadow Weaver, and all the fears and worries she now had for her friend.

Morning came with the annoying twiddle of bird. "Uhg, shut up." Catra groaned at all the chirping. "Wait-" she shot upright looking around. The river, the forest, the bandages around Adora's eyes. 'it wasn't a dream…' she thought to herself. "Adora?" She hesitantly reached out to out a hand on the blondes shoulder.

"I'm awake." Adora said without moving. A few moments later she slowly sat up with her face blankly pointed to the floor. "Catra?" Her voice quivered as her bottom lip wobbled with sadness. Without hesitation Catra wrapped her arms around her tightly and her damn broke. Adora sobbed her heart out venting all that pain and sadness that had built up the previous day.

"It's okay Adora. I've got you." Catra rocked her slightly tenderly nuzzling her head against the sad girl. "I'm right here Adora." She said as she felt arms squeeze firmly around her, she was the only certainty Adora had anymore.

After a while Adora's heart settled down and she stopped crying, but her bandages were now soaked around the eyes. And more embarrassing for her, her stomach grumbled; and even if Catra somehow didn't hear it, being pressed together she definitely would have felt it. "I guess crying makes me hungry." she gave a lopsided smile as she took off her bandages.

Catra fought back her own tears seeing Adora's eyes for the first time since the incident. They looked fine aside from the slight burn from the laser on around her left eye. The haunting thing being the blank emotionless gaze that stared at her unfocused. "Um- Lonnie gave us a bag of ration bars." She stated getting the bag and dumping out the bars in their packaging. 'Only twelve?' she thought. Typically it was three a day, it didn't sound like much but the Horde managed to pack enough nutrients into the small servings that it was enough.

"Well how many?"

"Um, we only have twelve." Catra responded leaving the implications open as Adora did the math in her head, for the two of them that was only two day's worth they would really have to stretch it. "But that's better than nothing. We can make it work."

"If we cut back to one a day that gives us almost a week to find food." Adora agreed, this wasn't meant to be their only food, they would find something. "There has to be something; berries, fish, animals, we can do this Catra." She reached out trying to find her friend in her darkness.

However Catra had other ideas, 'Half, I can make do with half.' she thought heavily as she put the bars back in the bag. "We'll eat it at lunch, in the meantime we can look for anything that would be okay to eat."

"I think it would be better if I just stayed here." Adora pulled in on herself. "I'll just get in your way and slow you down. This way you'll know I'm at least safe here."

The feline's ears flicked forward to her. "Adora you aren't-"

"Catra I mean it. I'll be okay right here. Go find us some food okay?" She smiled tilting her head.

That look hurt Catra, Adora's closed eyes didn't help to put her at ease and the smile hardly evened the effect out. "Okay, but if anything- anything. Happens. You call me right away." Catra looked back at Adora before leaving and hugged her briefly. "I will be right back." and she took off biting her lip nervously. Just before noon Catra managed to find a small bush of blueberries, there wasn't an abundance of ripe ones but there was enough for a handful for the two of them to share with the bars.

In the meantime Adora had been carefully listening to the sounds of the forest around her. All the birds chirping, the leaves rustling together, and the somewhat constant sound of Catra rustling around working her way further and further till she couldn't be heard. Her day alone in her head dragged on until she heard Catra coming back quickly. "Did you find anything." she said turning to her left focusing on the footsteps.

"Yeah, I found a few berries for us. Were you okay?" She asked. At the beginning she was constantly poking her head around the brush and trees to check on Adora. But as time went she got further away and she could no longer see her.

"Yep, just listening to the river." Adora shrugged slightly. It wasn't a good answer considering, but she said it before she thought about it.

Catra sat herself beside Adora instead of responding back, "Here hold your hand out." she prompted before giving the blonde over half the blueberries.

"Wow this is a lot, this isn't all of it is it?" she asked wanting to make sure.

"Pft don't flatter yourself, I kept my half." Catra scoffed as she blatantly lied to her friend. 'she doesn't need to know.' she thought to herself idly while eating her berries quietly. She passed one of the bars to Adora who opened it and started eating. She on the other hand snapped hers in half putting the other piece back in for tomorrow. "As dry as always." She chuckled after finishing hers and dusting her hands off from the crumbs.

"You're done already? What did you just hork it down or something?" Adora questions surprised that Catra was done so fast. She always complained about them more than she ate them.

That comment made Catra turn a bright red, thankfully her blush wouldn't be seen. "No! I didn't just hork it down!" She protested at the implementation of being called a pig.

Catra had gathered up enough sticks and twigs to given them a small fire to burn as they drifted off to bed together again, this time allowing herself to be persuaded into sharing the jacket as a blanket.

They continued that pattern steadily running out of food while moving upstream steadily to find new areas to search, all the while both of them feeling the impact of rationing their food. And Catra even worse so with her idea of running on fumes.

"Are you listening Catra? I said I think I hear something." Adora repeated for the third time.

"Sorry I spaced out. Where did you hear it?" Catra asked flicking her ears around on high alert. She couldn't hear anything aside for the damn birds. "I don't hear anything Adora." She said unsure. Maybe whatever it was stopped.

Adora got up and slowly walked into the stream "There's something this way." She said almost more to herself.

"Adora! That's the water, you can't just go running off!" Catra hissed irritated at her friend as she scrambled to get up after her. She grumbled at having to walk through the knee deep water, she helped guide Adora on her way through the trees to wherever it was she was going. "I think, I think there's something up ahead. How did you know?" she finally said seeing a bluish glow through the forest.

"I don't know, I guess i just felt this feeling." The blonde said as she quickened her pace, whatever was up ahead she wanted to know, and she wanted to know now.

Catra's eyes grew wide when they made it through the clearing, "A sword?" she breathed confused as the two of them made their way closer to the glowing artifact. All the exertion from coming here finally hit and she stumbled to one knee feeling exhaustion overwhelming her making her breath heavy.

Adora had grabbed the sword and flashes of visions she couldn't explain before she was left in the blackness of her new life. "Catra! Catra did you see that-" She began yelling excitedly before hearing the labored breath coming from behind her. "Catra what's wrong?" She was quickly at her side trying to hold her, that was the first time she really got a feel for the other girl since being out here. Until now Catra hadn't let her be the one hugged or touched, but now Adora could feel just how thin and frail Catra was.

"I'm fine." She tries brushing Adora off as her vision begins to get hazy. They were both so distracted they failed to hear the pair coming through the treeline.

"Bow! Horde soldiers!" An unfamiliar voice shouted off in front somewhere.

Both Catra and Adora sprung up turning in the direction. "Adora there's two of them. You have to run." Catra huffed as she staggered to her feet. "You princesses need to mind your business if you know what's- good for… you" she trailed off her threat as a new wave of exhaustion rolled over her from getting up so fast.

Bow and Glimmer watched with worry and confusion they didn't expect to feel for the enemy, but hearing the cries of the blonde soldier for her friend was heart wrenching. "Glimmer?"

"They're Horde, Bow. We shouldn't."

"Catra please! Wake up Catra wake up!" The desperate cry only grew louder and strained as tears began soaking through her bandages. "Please Catra, you're all I have left." A sob bubbled out.

Being one to show compassion to anyone, Bow made the first move. "I promise we won't hurt you, will you let me help you?" His own voice shakes with emotion.

"Yes, please. I'll do anything you ask just please help her." The blonde soldier nodded quickly as the two approached slowly. That's when they first realized the bandages covered both eyes completely.

Bow began looking over the thin feline, her breathes were strained and shallow and her body looked like it was eating itself up. "She looks malnourished, how long have you been out here?" He asked looking at the other girl. She was doing decently better but she was clearly suffering from lack of nutrition too.

"About a week. We've been fashioning food, but, but don't know if she was eating her share, and she's been the one scavenging for more. This is all my fault." Adora closed in on herself, wrapping her arms around her front rocking.

"This isn't your fault, we'll take you guys to Bright Moon and help your friend okay?" Glimmer consoled her, hesitantly putting a hand on the girl's shoulder.

Darkness greeted Catra as she began to stir. The warm and soft bed almost lulling her back to sleep before she realized she wasn't lying on the forest floor. "Adora!" she jerked awake throwing the covered in a mess on the floor.

"It's okay she's okay. She's still asleep too." the voice of a girl said by the door. Catra turned to see a princess with two toned hair sitting in a chair by the door with a dark skinned bow leaning against her snoring. With a gesture of her head Catra looked over to see another bed with a mound of blankets slowly rising and falling.

"What, what I'm awake." Bow mumbled as he was nudged awake and wiping drool from his cheek.

"Adora's okay. She was actually in a lot better condition than you." Glimmer said looking at the feline who hadn't taken her eyes off the other bed. "You almost didn't make it." She informed dryly, she didn't know if it was just to let the soldier know or if it was some passive aggressive threat.

"I know."

Bow now awake enough to respond, "What do you mean you know? Do you have any idea how dangerous that was? You could have died out there if we didn't show up."

"Yeah I know that genius." Catra snapped at them. "It's my fault we were thrown away so I should have been the one suffering not her!"

"That's just being stupid!" Glimmer shouted back, "If you died who would have taken care of Adora? She would have starved to death just like you and died miserable, thinking it was all her fault! You didn't hear her crying over you, she thought she lost you!"

Hearing that made Catra back down. She hadn't thought about what would happen to Adora in that case. She had no idea that Adora was even that worried for her, she thought her friend would still be so angry and hurt she didn't think she would care again.

"What's, what's going on?" Adora's scratchy voice asked pulling everyone's attention to her, all the shouting having pulled her from sleep.

"Nothing, Catra's awake now. She-"

"Catra!" now Adora was the one to shout. She fumbled off the covers being shortly guided by Glimmer to Catra's bed. "Don't you ever do that again! I was so worried!" She pulled Catra into an enormous hug, the bit of treatment already bringing her strength back. Her shoulders starting shaking as sobs escaped her lips. "I was so worried."

Tears welled in Catra's eyes seeing how distraught her friend had become over her. "I'm sorry Adora. I promise I won't let that happen again." She returned the hug pulling Adora closer to her and burying her face in the crook of Adora's neck.

Looking on Bow's lip quivered as he started crying at the sight. "Glimmer."

"Fine." she groaned in response before nearly being squeezed to death and doing her best to hug him back. She gasped for breath when he finally let go. "My mom- the queen wants to see the two of you once you had woken up. If you're okay with it, we agreed you two could stay here with us."

"As prisoners?" Catra was quick to respond pulling protectively on Adora.

Glimmer put her hands up waving off that idea. "No. Adora told us what happened, and we couldn't just send you out into the woods again. You would be guests here in the castle for as long as you like." She waited for Catra to say something back but clearly the ex soldier was waiting for the catch. "Just that in return you help us by giving us any information on the Horde." the princess said sheepishly knowing that bargaining was not her strong suit.

"It's a good trade Catra. We could stay here in Bright Moon together. We would be free from Shadow Weaver, and here we would be safe from the Horde. They already helped us." The blonde reminded her still not pulling away from the hug.

Catra didn't need long to decide either. As long as these princesses would take care of Adora she would give them whatever they wanted. "Okay. We'll stay." She nodded rubbing Adora's arm tenderly.

Author's Notes:

This was so much fun to write and experiment with. Those angsty bits were just calling my name for this idea but I couldn't resist the cute fluffy ending.

loosely inspired by a spop prompt by glitradora on tumblr