Chapter 10 - Like Dark Turning Into Day, Somehow We'll Come Through
Catra stared down at her target and she couldn't help the wry grin that crossed her face.
The last time she'd stared down at Bright Moon like this, she had planned on conquering it.
She snorted. How times have changed…
They weren't even expecting her until tomorrow, but she'd left Dryl early so she could stop by Razz's place and check on the old lady. The last time she'd seen her the two of them had taken a walk and stumbled across an old Horde base that Adora had demolished. Upon seeing Shadow Weaver there ordering troops to assemble what supplies they could scavenge and using her magic to just barely glue tanks together to make their next assault possible, Catra hadn't even taken the time to say goodbye and immediately raced to Bright Moon to try to warn them.
Of course, that had been made all the more difficult by her inability to control her transformations and maintain her normal and cat-beast forms as well as the apparent lack of paper and pens in Adora's room. Catra had no clue how that girl found anything useful in there.
Luckily, Razz had been the same as ever. She'd certainly seemed pleased to see her though and had patted her on the head before breaking out the snacks and tea.
Catra had ended up staying through dinner, a lot later than she had planned. Night had fallen and Catra contemplated all that had happened as she noted the almost faint glow the palace had in the wash of moonlight.
Catra was tired though, and she certainly didn't want to sleep out here. She'd had enough of that before Razz had found her half-dead body lying somewhere in the woods and taken her in to let her heal and get some cryptic advice about the whole transforming thing. At the same time, it was probably late enough that it'd be bothersome to get someone to open up Bright Moon's doors and find her a place for the night.
A smirk settled on her face.
Well, she had her own ways around that.
In a flash, Catra was in her cat-beast form, a thrill zinging through her heart as she rushed down towards the castle, quickly gaining speed. By the time she got to the walls, she'd gained enough momentum to easily jump up onto them, her claws catching on the stone. In another flash, she was back to normal, and her added dexterity and flexibility let her move from foothold to foothold that she had found dotted along the castle's outside until she reached a vent that lead into the castle's main room. With a flash, she was small enough to simply walk through it.
Once she was inside, she simply stayed in her cat form. None of the patrolling guards batted an eye at her, too used to her presence like this and probably not realizing the significance of who and what she really was. It made it all too easy to make her way to Adora's room.
Actually getting into Adora's room could be a bit tricky. It seemed that since moving to Princess-ville Adora had learned how to lock her door at night. It'd been a pain before when Catra had wanted to get in even without the added problem of not having opposable thumbs. She'd found a workaround that, too.
Adora's door may be locked, but the rooms above hers certainly weren't.
Catra slipped into the room above Adora's and ran to the window. With another flash, she was back to normal and she swung herself into Adora's room, deftly landing on her feet.
She smirked again as she rose to her feet. Catra had figured out the routes to get to Adora's room while she'd been stuck in her cat form, but it was so much easier now that she could control the shifts at will. Sure, she needed her head guard for now to lock into her form, but eventually she knew she'd get it down.
Her face settled into a frown as she looked around. She hadn't gotten a good look at the place while she was normal, even if she had gotten used to it from a much shorter perspective. Catra snorted as she looked around. Things in Bright Moon were really fancy, weren't they?
And apparently safe enough for Adora to let her guard down, Catra thought as she rolled her eyes at the way Adora was snoring away on her bed. She hadn't even stirred at Catra's presence, something that used to bring her to the surface of her dreams though Catra knew she'd made no sound getting in here. Her frown deepened as she moved to watch over her old friend.
Why was Adora's bed here even smaller than the one they'd shared back at the Fright Zone?
Catra had wandered through plenty of bedrooms here at Bright Moon; she knew pretty much all of the bedrooms here had cushy beds that were a dream to lay on.
Maybe Adora was just weird like that. Just like how she slept with a knife under her pillow, just in case, but Catra could at least understand that sentiment.
Catra sighed and began to scoop up some of the loose pillows scattered about to make her own makeshift bed, when she paused. She looked at Adora again.
Adora's bed was smaller than the one they used to share. There was no way she could fit on it as her normal self. However…
There was plenty of space if she turned into a cat.
Catra tapped her foot as she thought it over.
She had slept with Adora before, both as herself and in her cat form, but when she was a cat, Adora had been unaware of who she really was and Catra had mainly done it because Adora had been crying left, right, and center and it was the best method she could think of to get her to relax and chill for a bit. As well as the only thing she could do as a cat. Plus, Adora had been crying over her of all people and it just hadn't felt right to just leave her hanging when she was actually right there in front of her.
Not to mention that part of her had… missed the comfort and warmth that came with sleeping with another person. Especially when that person was Adora.
Scorpia loved cuddles, and Catra was fine with accommodating her when she wanted to snuggle. Catra knew that when she wanted some physical affection, Scorpia was always there with open arms. However, Scorpia did not make a good sleeping buddy.
The few times when they'd fallen asleep together, Catra had woken up either due to Scorpia squeezing her too tight in the middle of the night or Scorpia flopping over in her sleep and Catra ended up crushed under her bulk or with her tail whapping her in the face. Scorpia was always apologetic about it in the morning, but it wasn't really her fault. They just weren't compatible as sleeping buddies.
Entrapta was better in some ways. Her hair was soft to the touch and despite the perpetual smell of oil and melted iron, she was okay to sleep with. She wouldn't reach out, she wouldn't kick you, and Catra could just curl up around her and fall asleep.
The problem was actually getting Entrapta to sleep.
Catra didn't know if Entrapta was capable of running around on fewer hours of sleep or if she just managed to find places to sleep where no one could find her, but the times she'd slept with Entrapta were few and far between because of how rare it was to find her actually sleeping.
So really, it was a no brainer that of course Adora was the best sleeping partner she'd ever had.
It more came down to what sleeping with Adora would signify.
Catra looked out the window, avoiding looking at Adora's stupid sleeping face.
Part of her was still mad about the past, about Adora leaving and treating her like an extra, an afterthought, when she had already made her decision. However, Adora had made a lot of strides when she thought Catra was gone or dead and she seemed to finally be getting things from her perspective. And Catra knew that she'd done a lot to her as well that she had to make up to her. This was on both of them, and they each had things to feel guilty over.
And admittedly, Adora was trying.
For once, she was letting Catra define what their relationship was. She was letting Catra decide the pace of their reconciliation.
Adora had never done anything like that before.
Adora was allowing Catra to set the terms and have control of their relationship.
That, more than anything else, was what settled Catra's decision.
With a flash of orange light and a small hop, Catra curled up in the divet of space between Adora's arm and chest.
This wasn't because they were friends or anything like that again. Catra was tired, and she just wanted to get to sleep. She tended to sleep better when she was with someone else, so it was only natural to choose Adora to sleep with here. She needed to be at the top of her game. Adora was the person she knew best in Bright Moon, and even with her other usual options, she was the best choice if Catra wanted a decent amount of sleep.
So she didn't really react as Adora gave a soft sigh of contentment and wrapped her arm around her body. She certainly didn't snuggle closer to Adora's warmth and allow herself to truly relax for the first time in a long time. And she certainly didn't let out a small purr of approval as she began to drift off to sleep.
This was all so she could get a good night's rest and be fully refreshed for tomorrow's work.
Though she could admit, as she fell asleep, that maybe, just maybe, despite knowing what was going on, despite being right there the whole time -
Catra had missed Adora, too.
It hadn't been her intention when she'd decided to leave the Horde and take everyone she could with her, but this was a consequence that she had absolutely no problems with.
(And if in the morning, Catra woke up purring to Adora's grin and some head scritches, then that was just because her instinctive responses were stronger in her other forms.)
(And if she let Adora introduce her as a friend, it was just because gaining allies with the other kingdoms would be easier if she had a clear, positive connection to She-ra and Adora.)
(And if the next time Catra snuck into Adora's room she found that Adora's bed was the same type as before, but now big enough to accommodate two people even when Catra was normal, then that was none of their business.)
(Because Catra was fully prepared to handle anything that came her way.)
(And even if she didn't want to admit it, she and Adora had always been stronger together, because that's simply how they worked.)
(They'd always been connected, whether for good or bad, and this time they were fighting for what's right.)
(And because of that, along with all the others, Catra couldn't help the feeling that this time, they'd win.)
AN: So Catra's decided to take the next step forward in repairing her relationship with Adora. And now, they're on the same side! (Though admittedly, Catra can't admit all of this out loud. It'd make her way too vulnerable to talk about feelings like that.) Still, it's progress. I think that if Adora let Catra control how their relationship gets repaired, it'd be huge because Catra needs to have control. She's been rendered powerless so often that it would help her feel safe and secure and watching season 1 again, it was really obvious that previously Adora dictated a lot of their relationship. So Adora giving up that control to her would go a long way in fixing things between them.
Though they aren't fully there yet, that'd take more work.
But admitting that she missed Adora too and wanting the comfort that she used to feel with her is a good start for Catra.
Thank you so much for reading this! It's been a while since I wrote a large multi-chapter fanfic like this (especially when I didn't have all/most of it written before I even contemplated posting it).