This had to be the worst day of Catra's life.
Or maybe it was the best. She hadn't really had time to decide yet. Well, not a lot of time, at least. She'd been staring at her wrist for at least twenty whole seconds, which is the longest she'd ever looked at anything on her own body. In fact, the only reason why she was gawking at her own wrist at all was because of what seemed to suddenly appear on it.
She grit her teeth. This could only mean one thing. Someone was attracted to her. More than that, actually– someone was in love with her. Someone was in love with her and she had no idea what to do about it. Were they thinking about her right now? Did she even know them? She shuddered at the possibility of her soulmate potentially being some creep she didn't know. Then again, the thought of anyone loving her felt… weird. She just couldn't understand it. Who would be so crazy as to fall in love with her? And then there was the word itself; commitment. What did that mean? Did they associate that word with her because they want to marry her?
Catra wasn't an idiot; she knew she wasn't the most pleasant person in the world. She could be callous and short-tempered and everyone under the son and their grandfather knew that. Who on earth would want to spend the rest of their life with her? Clearly, she didn't know, but one thing was for certain, she was damn determined to find out. Normally, she'd try to figure out such personal matters on her own, however, considering she had no idea who her supposed… "soulmate" was, Catra knew she was going to need some help. She was going to need someone dedicated. She was going to need someone trustworthy. She was going to need–
–a friend. Scropia.
Feeling a surge of desperation, Catra sprints to the door. Scorpia is exactly who she needed for a mission like this. While she wasn't the most serious force captain in the world, she was dedicated to every task given to her. Most importantly, she was loyal to Catra. And that was something she'd been willing to prove countless times to her, with little to no hesitation. Even with her quirks and annoyances, Catra found her to be a dependable confidant and a good friend. Her only friend, really, but still a good one nonetheless. Their fellow soldiers were always sure to make note of that as well. Everyone noticed how Scorpia was the only person that Catra didn't mind being touched by. In fact, there were times Catra was actually doing most of the touching. Some of the soldiers would make snide comments about their companionship, but Catra didn't care. She was the one person who made her feel truly loved and appreciated, and she was not going to deny herself of that.
After Catra practically threw the door open, sure enough, the first person she saw was Scorpia, who had been waiting patiently for her. The older woman held a small cup of coffee delicately between her pinchers and a cheerful expression on her face. "Hey Catra!" she greeted merrily, as if she hadn't witnessed Catra nearly tearing her door off its hinges, "What's up?"
Unfortunately for her, Catra wasn't in the mood for casualties this morning. Without another moment's hesitation, Catra grabbed the collar of Scorpia's uniform, and yanked her into her bedroom. After quickly making sure there was no one else around, she swiftly locked her door, letting out a tiny sigh.
The fellow soldier watched her friend with a concerned expression. "So… uh, what's up?" Scorpia asked, clearly confused.
Catra let out another, but deeper, exhale. She wasn't sure how to explain it, even though most of the population went through the same exact ordeal she was going through, but she decided to just rip the bandage off. "I need your help."
Scorpia brightened at that, "Oh? Well, sure thing! You can count on me, Catra!" she said, giving Catra a playful salute. Her silly demeanor dissipated once she realized Catra's nervous expression. "Is there something wrong? Did Hordak give you something really dangerous?" Scorpia asked, now looking rather concerned, "You can tell me anything, wildcat."
Catra shook her head, "N-no, Hordak hasn't given us any new assignments yet. It's something a lot worse."
Scorpia's eyes widened, "Worse? Wait, are sick or something?" Suddenly, she gasped, covering her mouth with her claw, "Are… are you dying?!"
"No, I'm not dying!" Catra snapped, "It's just… ugh, how do I say this…?" she said, rubbing her temples in frustration. This whole ordeal had her feeling so foggy. She couldn't seem to think straight.
It was then Scorpia extended one of her pinchers, "Here, I made you some coffee! I know mornings can be hard for you sometimes, and it looks like you could really use it right now."
Almost as if on cue, the smell of the hot beverage invaded Catra's senses and she couldn't help but agree with her friend's statement, "That's for sure." she laughed dryly, "Thank you, Scorpia, you take better care of me than I do myself." She carefully took the mug into her hands and took a sip. Oh, did that felt good. She let out a sigh of contentment and sat down on her bed and Scorpia joined her.
"Better?" She asked, gently placing her claw on her shoulder.
Catra couldn't help but sink into her touch, "Better." Even if she hadn't felt better before, she definitely did now. She always seemed to know how to help.
Scorpia casually put an arm around her, "So, wanna tell your bestie what's going on?" she asked, her wiggling her brows playfully.
Catra couldn't help but laugh as she leaned into Scorpia's side, hugging her arm. "Yeah, uh, I think I have my soulmate."
Scorpia only stared at her for a few moments before her face broke out into a grin, "EEEEEEE! CATRA, I'M SO HAPPY FOR YOU!" she squealed, moving to envelope the smaller woman into a big hug, "C'MERE!"
Before Catra could protest, Scorpia had already scooped her up in her arms, squeezing her tightly before setting her back down. "You're so lucky! I wish I had a soulmate. I mean, I know there's still time but–"
Catra scoffed loudly, "Well, that makes two of us."
That made Scorpia cock her head, "Huh? You mean you're not happy about this?" she asked, her brows furrowed.
"Not really." Catra muttered bluntly, "The last person I thought loved me ended up leaving me. I've known her since childhood. How am I supposed to be happy about some new weirdo I probably don't know being in love with me?"
Scorpia gave her an understanding look and nodded, "Ah, I get it now. You're scared."
Catra was about to deny it, but decided against it. Her friend was right. She was scared. She'd been so sure that she and Adora were meant to be together one day, and she was wrong. How was she to put that same faith in another woman? Besides, she didn't even know who this person was! She didn't know how they were looking at her or how well they knew her. It made her feel alone, like she was floating by herself in space somewhere.
"Yeah," she admitted, "I am scared. I just… I don't know what's going to come out of this. Plus, I don't even understand what this person means by "commitment"!" she cried, showing Scorpia her wrist. "What do I even do?"
Scorpia stared at her friend's wrist. Was she reading that right? Commitment? She felt her stomach flutter with excitement. That was a word that she had been associating with Catra for a long time. It wasn't exactly a secret that Scorpia had always found her force captain to be very attractive, but it was more than just her looks. Catra was a babe, sure, but she was the most brilliant person she's ever met. In all honesty, Scorpia couldn't understand how anyone couldn't be in love with her. Especially in the horde. After all, she was such a hard-worker and she always put everything she had into everything she did. Who wouldn't admire that?
But that was exactly it, Scorpia realized. There's no way she was the only one who'd associate the word "commitment" with Catra. Surely everyone else saw what she did. Besides, she wasn't even marked. She couldn't be certain. As much as she wanted Catra to be her soulmate, she couldn't get her hopes up. Not yet. However, this did add another layer of determination to help her wildcat find out who this person was.
Scorpia gently wrapped an arm around Catra, "Hey, it's gonna be okay wildcat."
Catra couldn't help but note how particularly soft Scorpia felt when she touched her, but quickly put it out of her mind the following second, "Really? Does this mean you're going to help me?"
"Oh, of course!" She said soothingly, "Do you really think I'd leave my best friend hanging?"
Catra let out a sigh of relief. Even though she knew Scorpia would try to help her, it still felt nice to hear it out loud. She leaned into the taller woman and wrapped her arms around her, "Thank you, Scorpia. This means a lot to me."
The other horde soldier was quick to reciprocate the hug, "Aww, of course. Anything for my wildcat."
Catra found herself feeling better about the whole situation. She might not know who her soulmate is yet, but thanks to Scorpia, she suddenly felt a lot less alone. She felt like she was no longer floating by herself in some dark, cold void without a clue about what to do. It was like she had finally come in contact with another ship or a star that could help guide her to where she needs to be. Or in this case, with who she needs to be with.
Eventually, the two had to part so they could carry on with their tasks for the day. After her friend bid her goodbye, Catra felt an odd sense of disappointment. 'I wish it were Scorpia.' she thought to herself briefly before turning her focus to her work.
"Well, that was a bust." Catra sighed, flopping against her bed.
"Which part? The mission? Or the snooping?" Scorpia asked, joining her.
"Both." she groaned. Hordak had sent Catra and her team on an errand of sorts to try and sabotage the weapons at one of their enemies' campsites. As usual, Kyle had to mess everything up, which lead everyone to get their butts royally handed to them by Adora and her pals. At least he was paying for it in the infirmary right now. Stupid Kyle.
To add salt into their wounds, or specifically Catra's and Scorpia's, they couldn't find out a single thing about their soulmate situation. During the past few days, Scorpia had asked around, questioning people's opinions on Catra, which was fairly easy for her to do since she talked about her non-stop anyway. Nearly everyone said their initial thoughts of her were "cranky" or "mean". Scorpia found it difficult not to argue with them, but made sure to make a mental note not to use either of those words or their colorful variations with Catra. She didn't want to hurt her wildcat's feelings, after all. However, when pressed, most did come to agree that Catra was committed. Plus, they had to factor in the possibility that someone might've been lying because they were too shy to share their true feelings.
They were basically back to square one, except worse off because they were both horribly exhausted.
"Ugh, I'm so sore…" Catra whined. She hated to admit it, but Adora had gotten a lot stronger since their last encounter. At least she didn't have to worry about her being her soulmate.
"Me too," Scorpia whimpered, "wanna have a cuddle sesh?" she asked, her eyes glimmering excitedly over the suggestion.
"Sounds good to me." Catra grunted, moving closer to her friend until she was in her arms. Scorpia still layed on her back while she was curled up next to her on her side, her upper body pressed against her chest. Within seconds, Scorpia was dead to the world. Their room was nearly quiet apart from the occasional snore that came from her mouth. Catra was about to doze off as she usually did whenever she cuddled and napped with Scorpia. After all, Scorpia was just so warm and gentle. Despite all her muscle, she was like a pillow, firm but soft. She never failed to bring her a sense of ease whenever she had trouble sleeping.
Hell, she never failed to bring her a sense of ease whenever she was awake either. Her kindness and compassion has helped her through more than enough turmoils and conflicts through the duration of their friendship. Not to mention bright too. She had such a positive outlook on everything and Catra admired that greatly. The more she thought about it, there really wasn't much that she didn't love about Scorpia. She was warm and soft inside and out.
Catra adjusted her position in concentration. There was a word for that, but she was having trouble remembering what it was. She let out a frustrated sigh. She hated when that happened. She readjusted herself once more as she tried to let her thoughts flow. For awhile, it worked, but she eventually found herself thinking about her soulmate, or rather her potential soulmate, again. She couldn't help but wonder who they may be. She wasn't as anxious about it as she was the other day, but it still felt weird to her.
She had to admit though, she was starting to warm up to the idea of someone loving her and looking at her differently from everybody else. Clearly her soulmate wouldn't be some random creep after all, right? After giving it some thought, she had concluded awhile ago that this person had to really know her in order to truly love her. But who would know her that well? It certainly wasn't Adora, and she doubted it would be anyone like Lonnie, and thankfully not anyone like Kyle.
Her eyes suddenly widened.
Could it be… Scorpia? It would make a lot of sense. They were always more comfortable around each other than they were with other people. They always enjoyed touching each other, casually hanging out, and just naturally clicked together. Not to mention, they knew each other better than anyone else. Not just that, they truly understood each other. Catra always felt a unique sense of love and warmth around her and she never fully understood, but wasn't afraid of either. The idea wasn't totally unappealing. In fact, it was the exact opposite.
The more she thought about it, Catra realized Scorpia is exactly the type of person she'd want as her soulmate. She had a few fleeting thoughts about it ever since the word showed up on her wrist, but now, she really wanted it to be true. The only thing about this that scared her anymore was it not being Scorpia.
"You okay, wildcat?"
Catra jolted and turned to look up at Scorpia who was now wide awake, "Oh, yeah, sorry. Did I wake you?"
"Nah, I just keep drifting in and out." She yawned, her eyes half-lidded, "Did I wake you? I know my claws are kinda… big. And uncomfortable." She chuckled sheepishly.
Catra scoffed, "Uncomfortable? No way," she protested, "I love your claws!"
That seemed to cheer Scorpia up, "Really? You don't mind them? Oh good, I've always been super self-conscious about them!" she said with a sigh of relief.
Seeing Scorpia happy never failed to make Catra happy. She liked that she was cause of it too. "Yeah!" Catra continued, turning on her side so she could pull her arm closer to her, "They're so large and sturdy. I love that they can knock people out, but also touch and hold things so carefully too." She gave Scorpia as sideways glance and had to fight back a grin of her own when she saw her blush and attempt to suppress a laugh.
"Catra, stoooop!" she giggled, her face completely flushed as she covered her mouth with her free claw.
Catra had no intention of stopping. "Yeah, yeah! And I love the way you carry me with them. They're so strong but also… they feel so… " she trailed off. What was that damn word? She quickly glanced back at Scorpia who was waiting eagerly for her answer. It was so similar to 'soft', which was basically the embodiment of Scorpia. She always felt it whenever she was around her but she could never seem to place it. Her downy hair, her silky skin, her vulnerable eyes, her sensitive heart…
Then it came to her. The word broke through to her like a shooting star flying through the dark night sky and she wanted to mentally kick herself for never being able to place it sooner.
"Tender." she said finally, "Your touch is so tender."
"Tender," Scorpia repeated. She didn't know why she liked the sound of that so much, but she did. Her grin widened and she pulled Catra closer, "I love it! Thank you, Catra."
Catra smirked, a sense of pride and smugness washed over her. She did that. She made Scorpia feel good about herself.
"Anytime, Scorpia." she chuckled softly, "Also, hey, could I ask you something?" she asked, her tone turning more serious. She didn't want to ruin the cozy atmosphere they had created together, but she had to know. She knew she wasn't going to be content until she found what she was looking for.
"Uh, sure, anything!" The larger woman responded, "What do you want to know?"
Catra hesitated before flipping over on her other side to face her. Their faces were so close and she tried not to let that make her blush before she could even ask her question. "What do you think of me?"
"Oh! That's super easy!" Scorpia said, elated, "You're my best friend! And you're so smart and pretty. Not to mention I love how you give everything you got! You're so dedicated and, uh, did I mention smart?"
"Yes, twice, actually." Catra said, giggling a little. She tried not to read into her compliments too much.
"Got'cha! But yeah, you're great, Catra!" Scorpia went on, "You're the most committed person I know!"
That last sentence struck them both hard. Catra then sat upright and Scorpia did the same. The latter looked as equally surprised with her own words as the former did.
"Scorpia," she started carefully, "are you attracted to me?"
The other woman's face turned pink as her eyes shifted to the side, "I… would you be weirded out if I said yes?" she asked bashfully.
Catra's hands reached for her pinchers. With anyone else the answer would probably have been a solid "yes", but Scorpia wasn't anyone else. She offered her a comforting smile, "No. Never," although there was one thing she wanted to know, "but why didn't you say anything?"
Scorpia shifted uncomfortably, "Well, I know this past week hasn't been easy for you. You've been nervous since day one about this soulmate stuff and, yeah, I was starting to wonder if it was me, but I didn't know for sure. I didn't want to get my hopes up, and I didn't want to accidentally lie to you either." she finished honestly, "Plus, I don't even have my mark yet."
For a few moments, neither of them said anything as Catra pondered over her words. It made sense. While soulmates don't always fall in love with each other around the same time anyway, it seemed more logical at the time to stay quiet. On the other hand, she felt guilty that Scorpia had to help her search for her soulmate while she was harboring feelings for her. However, the more Catra thought about it, the more she realized she loved her. That warm, comfortable feeling she always had around her had existed since the beginning of their friendship.
That warmth had persisted and even grown into fully developed affection as she increasingly opened her comfort zone to Scorpia. That affection had continued to grow stronger as she realized that she was very special to her. She was never able to take the time and dissect her own feelings for the fellow soldier, but they were always there. They were there earlier this morning when they were fighting She-Ra and the Princess Alliance and Scorpia blocked one of Bow's arrows that was meant for her. They were there yesterday when Catra had to hide her anger after Lonnie made a flirtatious comment towards Scorpia after training. They were there last week when Scorpia was recovering from an illness and she couldn't help but fuss and worry over her even though it wasn't serious. They were there last month when they were playing board games and were almost in tears from laughter after they kept getting ties.
And those feelings were still here now. But… then why wasn't Scorpia marked if she had loved her all this time? Catra's brows furrowed and she stood up to pace. It didn't make any sense. There had to be more to it, there just had to be! After all, how complicated could it be? You fall in love, and the word you associate with that person shows up on their wrist. Bam! Simple! Unless…
Catra suddenly stopped pacing.
"Scorpia, can you come over here for a second?"
"Uh, sure." The other horde solider did what she was asked and stood next to her.
Catra gently grabbed one of her pinchers, running a finger soothingly up her arm before asking, "Can I see your wrist?"
Confused, Scorpia nodded. She didn't really understand, but she supposed it couldn't hurt. Catra slowly turned her pincher over. Both of them looked focus as small beads of sweat dripped down their faces. Then, Scorpia could feel herself gasp.
"I… I have a mark! And– and it says…"
"Tender." Catra finished, running her hand over the word gently.
Tears of joy had begun to form in her eyes, "B-but how? Did you just fall in love with me or…?"
"No, Scorpia, I've… I've loved you for so long. I didn't understand it until now, but I have." she confessed, "You've always made me feel safe and happy. You always know how to help me, and you actually appreciate me. You make me feel loved."
Catra had to bite back a snicker, "It's so stupid– I'm so stupid! I've loved you all this time but I've never had the right word to associate with you until now." She couldn't hold back her laughter anymore, "If I had a better vocabulary, this could have been solved so much sooner!"
"You? Dude, what about me? Like, I'm pretty sure I've loved you longer than I've thought of the word "commitment" with you!" Scorpia's voice started to break out into a laugh, "If you're stupid, then I'm an idiot!"
Both women finally allowed themselves to brake down in hysterics over their absurdity of the whole ordeal. Catra fell into the other woman's arms as they held each other tightly. Waves of relief and joy still continued to wash over them even once their laughter faded.
Suddenly, Catra could feel could feel her arms tighten around her.
"Catra," Scorpia asks nervously, her voice sounding hoarse, "am I… what you wanted? In– in a soulmate, I mean?"
"Well," she Catra replies, her eyes becoming half-lidded as pulls out of her arms, "you're going to find out."
She doesn't have a plan. She doesn't know what to say next. She's tired and has burned herself out after stressing about her soulmate for so long. She takes a deep breath and she steps even closer, moving her hands to Scorpia's shoulders. The other woman looks at her. She's anxious and confused, but also curious. Her eyes are still wide, but also oh so soft.
Catra smiles as soon as she thinks of the word once more. She feels the familiar rush of affection flowing through her core and chest and it gives her the courage to do what she's been wanting to do for such a long time now. Finally, she steps on her tips of her feet and clenches her eyes shut, and before she realizes it, her lips are pressed against Scorpia's.
Scorpia lets out a sound of surprise, but slowly eases into it. It's awkward, gentle, and brief, but it's the first time she's ever kissed someone, and it's Scorpia's first too. It only lasts a few seconds, a practically meaningless amount of time in the grand scheme of eternity, but it fills the empty void behind Catra's eyelids with enough stars to cover the entire universe that made them up so that they could collide.
When Catra opens her eyes, and they instantly meet Scorpia's. Looking into her own eyes, she can see everything she's been missing and wanting for so long. The loneliness, the insecurity, the pain, and every other horrible thing under the sun that's happened to her is finally paying her back. The love that she's been so hungry– starving for has come for her and it has her practically quivering.
Before anyone can blink, Scorpia lunges for Catra, crashing her lips against hers. This time, it's Catra's turn to be surprised. Another vision of the galaxy emits under her eyelids and she nearly cries because it feels so good. She's felt so worthless ever since Adora left and she was sure her life was never going to be the same. She was right, but also so wrong. Yes, she no longer had Adora, but what did that matter? Catra was born again in Scorpia's love. She was the same, and yet so different and it was all for the much needed better.
They become grounded once more after they finally pull apart, gasping slightly, their eyes half-lidded as the corners of their mouths turn upwards. In a moment of pure glee, Scorpia scoops Catra up in her arms and Catra welcomes it, laughing as they twirl around in her room without a care in the world.
No matter what would happen next, Catra realizes, she'll be okay. It doesn't matter that Adora hates her. It doesn't matter that her other teammates don't like her. It doesn't matter if Hordak never trusts her. It doesn't matter that Shadow Weaver never truly cared about her. The only thing that mattered is that Catra has the one person who'll never leave her.
And for once, Catra can allow herself to feel truly happy.