you I said when you were crying
Catra’s finally starting to come to.
“Give her some space, guys,” Adora instructs them softly. She knows how Catra hates to be crowded, even when she isn’t feeling weak.
“Hey…Catra…Can you hear me?” As if in answer her ears flicker towards her.
“What’s…where…” She murmurs, swallows, tries again. “What happened?” She blinks open one brilliant blue eye.
Bow and Glimmer exchange a look.
“You’re in Bright Moon. We…aren’t exactly sure what happened, either.” Catra puts a paw to her face. It’s covered in bandages. Her yellow eye is completely obscured.
“One of our border patrols picked you up and brought you to the castle. Our doctors patched you up, but you need some time to rest.”
Catra tries to push herself up off the bed, her limbs shaking. Adora reaches over to help.
“Don’t touch me!” She snarls, fangs flashing.
“Sorry, sorry…does it help if I come over to your good side?” Adora moves so that she’s on the other side of the bed.
“What’s wrong with my eye?” She twists her head so she can get a better look at Glimmer and Bow. “What the fuck are they doing here?”
“Maybe you guys should–”
“We’ll be right outside if you need us.” Bow says even as Glimmer opens her mouth to protest. He ignores her pout, grabbing her wrist and leading her away.
Adora reaches out to brush aside some of Catra’s bangs that hang in front of her face. This time, she does not swipe out to stop her.
“There’s a deep slash near your eye. The healers are pretty sure that you’ll recover about 80% functionality. Pretty good, yeah?”
Catra’s fists are bunched in the sheets on her lap. Well, one is. The other is covered in splints. Each finger on that hand is broken. Adora’s heart aches so violently she fears she’ll tear apart at the seams.
“And… and the rest of me?”
“Well it’s…it’s early days still, and you’re young, and strong, but it’s…they said it was a miracle you managed to get as far as you did. Stolen skiff or no. Your leg…” Her leg’s a mess. But how does she tell her that? Catra’s always been so lively. She uses her agility and flexibility to gain an advantage over stronger and more powerful opponents. Now…?
“Just give it to me straight, Adora. Will I be able to walk on it?”
“It’s gone?” Before Adora can stop her, she flips up the edge of the blanket. Her leg ends just below the knee.
Adora braces herself, waiting for the outcry, the outrage, the tears, the frustration, the screaming–
“Are you…is…” She doesn’t even know what question to formulate she just feels like she has to say SOMETHING.
“I’ll attach a peg to it or something.” Catra flips the blanket back over.
“Gods, Catra.” How can she be so flippant about it?
“I’m alive. It’s fine.” She’s alive–barely. She’s covered in horrifying scratches and scrapes and burns. It’s almost like someone went digging around inside of her and didn’t put it all back quite right. Both literally and metaphorically.
“Can I have some space?”
“I–yeah. Of course. I’ll be close by, okay? Just tell one of the…” the guards. How does she explain that there are guards at her door?
“The guards? Yeah, okay.” Catra has always been perceptive.
She doesn’t try to escape.
There’s something off about her but she won’t say anything and Adora can’t read her like she used to.
Catra insists on doing her physical therapy alone, but she allows Adora to hover nearby.
She hears her screaming at night.
They all do.
After the first incident Adora explains that it’s less embarrassing for Catra if they leave her alone. So they do.
She screams at night. Sometimes during the day, too. And it hurts because Adora can hear the anguish in her voice and it’s like slicing herself open, to not go to her, to deny herself this. But she’s doing it for Catra. Not smothering her. Letting her adjust.
One night she wakes to her door opening.
“Hello?” She calls out, reaching for the knife under her pillow.
“Adora?” Catra. She sounds so small.
“Catra.” She exhales, every muscle relaxing, breathing.
“Can I…Can I…”
“Of course.” She pulls back the sheets. There’s a brief moment of pause.
“I should take my leg off first.”
It’s dark but Adora can still make out Catra’s tiny nod. So she gets out of bed. Gets on her knees. Unlaces the prosthetic.
It shouldn’t be this thrilling to be allowed to take care of someone else. It shouldn’t feel like moving mountains. But it does.
They get in bed together so they’re facing, all pointed joints and awkwardly tangled limbs. After a few moments of this, mixed with a heavy silence, Catra huffs heavily and pushes at Adora’s shoulder so that she’s lying on her back.
Catra crawls on top of her and presses her face into the space where Adora’s neck meets her shoulders.
“I missed you so much.” Adora murmurs, feeling suddenly bold. She rubs her hand across Catra’s back like she sometimes used to do in the Fright Zone.
And it…it breaks something. It must. Some dam, some barrier, it falls apart within Catra because suddenly she’s sobbing.
“I’ve got you.” Adora murmurs softly. “I’ve got you.” Catra slips her hands under her back and around her shoulders, her claws digging in. Adora finds that she doesn’t mind.
“He–He–they–and the things they made me do–”
“It’s okay,” she insists, feeling both terrified at not knowing how to handle this and relieved that finally, finally Catra is speaking to her. “You’re not there anymore. I’m here. I’m with you. I’m with you, Catra.”
They stay lying like that until late the next morning.
They stay wrapped in each other for the rest of their lives.