But That Was When I Ruled the World

Catra sat on a grassy hill, gazing out over the fields before her. In the distance, she could see children playing and hear their screams of joy at their games. She huffed a laugh and leaned back against a tree.

To think that once upon a time, she'd tried conquering all of this.

She looked up through the top of the tree at the dappled sunlight and closed her eyes.

Catra had been so messed up.

Part of it had been what was done to her, how she had been treated, but without her realizing it, there had come a point when she was making her own decisions. When things happened because of her, not just because of the circumstances and the universe in general.

She'd nearly ended the world in a bid to prove Adora wrong, even though she knew that if Adora was right, she'd probably be destroyed.

At that point, she hadn't cared about dying if she couldn't win.

She'd taken advantage of every trick to survival she'd seen growing up. She manipulated, she destroyed, she seized power anyway and every way she could, because she thought that would fill the void that'd been opened inside her the moment Adora left. To top it all off, she pushed away anyone who reached out, anyone she found herself caring about because why leave herself vulnerable when everyone she had opened up to before had just broken her even more?

She ruled over the Horde.

A position that she'd never truly wanted, but felt that she needed if she never wanted to be hurt again.

It hadn't been enough.

She'd been shocked when she finally realized it. That she wasn't happy, that that void was still there and growing bigger day after day, that despite being at the top she didn't feel safe.

She realized the truth that she should've found when in that First One temple, in that "perfect" world, in that encompassing void she'd fallen into and crawled out of.

All she had wanted -

All she had ever really wanted was -

"Catra?"

Catra opened her eyes to see Adora quizzically gazing down at her, brushing her hair to the side as she bent over Catra's prone form.

Adora's brow furrowed as she took her in. "Are you okay?"

Catra laughed and stood, brushing dirt off her clothes. "Yeah. Just thinking." Her gaze traveled over the scenic view before them once more. The children were gone, probably called away by their parents for dinner.

Adora followed her eyes and her stream of thought. "This is all still here because of you."

Catra snorted. "I nearly destroyed it."

"You ended up saving it." Adora pressed, knowing that like her Catra had her own spirals of guilt and self-doubt and she was never one to stand idly by. "You changed your mind; you fought with us. We wouldn't have won without you."

"I wasn't exactly being altruistic."

"Neither was I." And Catra knew how much it had taken Adora to admit that.

The two of them stood there for a moment and just watched the world go by as the sunset began to paint the landscape in soft yellows and oranges.

Catra hadn't helped save the world simply because it was the right thing to do. She'd never be that good. She hadn't even saved the world because she happened to live on it and wanted to continue to do so.

She'd saved the world because it was where the people she cared about were.

And it was only when standing by their side that she'd found that the void inside her was no longer there.

"Ready to go?" Catra moved on, her tail whipping back and forth at her sudden impatience. She picked up her pack and swung it over her shoulder. "I told Scorpia we'd try to get to her place before it got dark."

"I'm not the one who was practically napping while I took a moment to refill our water bottles." Adora rolled her eyes as the two of them set off, side by side.

"You drank most of the water so you had to refill them. And I wasn't napping, I had my eyes shut for like, one minute."

"Uh-huh. Right."

As the two of them walked and bickered, they reached out in synch and took each other's hand. They both smiled and continued forward, together.

Yes, Catra probably could've easily ruled the world, standing over everything and looking down.

But she found that she much preferred it here on the ground, standing with Adora as equals.

Up above, the first stars of night began to twinkle.

And everything was as perfect as it could be.


AN: Happy Birthday, Catra!

Just a little something for our favorite catgirl's birthday. I wanted to write at least something for her and "Viva la Vida" came and hit me with feels, mostly along the lines of "Oh, this could be a Catra mood post redemption" (because I'm still pulling for that to happen).

I like to think that after the war is over, not only do the stars come back and Adora and Catra make up, but they also finally see the world together like they always wanted. Traveling around and stopping to see their friends and allies as they go.