ave / stories / Party Crasher Memories ch.0

They were not meant to be there. She had felt something was wrong, people's jewelery changing, little details, but she blamed it on the drinks and excitement and didn't pay much attention to it. The moment she saw that black mass, the sly grin from the corner of her eye, she knew exactly who it was, but, fast as ever, they disappeared back into the crowd, letting her think it had been just another trick her dumb mind played on her. Could she ever be sure?

"Catraaah! You're not danciiing!" Glimmer, drunk as no queen should be, stumbled over to Catra and fell into her arms, not spilliing a drop from her cocktail. The first time Adora had dragged her girlfriend along to a party, she had been surprised how much the pink one loved drinking, but she also quickly learned that, despite her grunge style, she was definitely not a party person.

Catra looked around, still holding Glimmer up, who was still lazily swaying her hips. On the dancefloor a few meters off, among the crowd, a blonde was vigorously shaking around, like a fish in a desert. Alcohol did have that effect on Adora, yet no matter how drunk, Catra was always surprised how well the blonde got along with people, and didn't worry about her. Still, she was definitely not going to take Glimmer off her hands. Where was Bow? He had installed most of the music equipment, so Catra was surprised he wasn't on the DJ table. He usually took good care of his girl, Catra was surprised he wasn't around.

A hand caressed her shoulder, too gentle to be by accident. Catra whipped her head around - only one person dared touch her like that. She was pretty sure the girl next to her had been there a while, and, despite looking at her for a few moments more, she was pretty sure she couldn't have been it.


She slashed her claw behind her, and tipped a random cup into the chips bowl. No one noticed. Where had that whisper come from? She could swear she had felt a breath by her ear.

"Where the fuck are you?!"

"Catraaah, why you shouting?" Glimmer snorted, somehow hearing her over the deafening music blasting in the room. "Are you drunk?"

"I think I saw . . . an old friend. Glimmer, I'll have to leave you here for a while, can you manage?"

"Friend? Heh, you had friends in the Fright Zone?"

"I uh." That had been too close to home. "I'll be back soon." She propped Glimmer up, who still kept swaying to the sides, whether from dance or alcohol Catra didn't know. Probably both. Pushing people aside, Catra made her way through the crowd. She didn't know where she was going, or what she was looking for - with someone so elusive, they usually found you before you found them.

The main hall was basically one huge dancefloor. The corridors were not as tightly packed, but it seemed hard to find a place with no people in the castle tonight. Private quarters were closed, but Catra knew from previous embarassing experience that they usually didn't stay empty during parties. She had slept on the floor after the first party at Brightmoon, until Glimmer agreed to buy her new bedcovers. She had slowly grown accustomed to the idea of people doing . . . stuff . . . in her bed, but was still a bit embarassed that she herself never got to. At least she had made sure to lock her room before people started coming.

Now, where were they hiding? Or rather, who were they this time? Those tricks had not been funny years ago, and they weren't fun now. In one of the rooms, Catra spotted a fluffy pink thing with wings, a boy awkwardly flirting with her and a very conspicuous drink in her hand. Catra watched her for a while before leaving. It was not them - too obvious. And she had grown up quite a bit, it was her own business what she decided to do at parties. Catra of all people was not going to stop someone from drinking. That boy, though . . . nah, still too obvious.

She kept aimlessly stalking the corridors, eyeing everyone who seemed suspicious to her, getting tired. What had gotten to her? She had never been good with alcohol. She will definitely need a talk with Adora later. But not today. Today, she needed sleep, and when the blonde was done partying, cuddles.

Yeah, cuddles were good.

Somewhat embarassed, she pushed her way back through to her girlfriend. Adora, noticing her kitten approaching her, put on her jock grin and pushed out her muscles in a most cringeworthy way.

"Well, what's a place like this doing in a- hic!" She had quite a noticeable slur.

"Adora, I-" Hey it might be the alcohol, but I think I heard someone who almost killed me years ago? Adora was too drunk for that. And she still had to calm Catra when she had nightmares about their mother, so that was definitely not something to bring up if she wanted the jock to have a good time. "I'm feeling a bit bad, I think I'll leave a bit early."

Adora leaned in with her worried face. Catra had used to hate it - it made her feel vulnerable. She still hated it when Adora showed it in front of others, but she had also learned how good it felt to trust someone.

"Adora, I'm fine. I just need a little rest from - from this all!" She had to shout the last few words, as the music had gotten louder again. Adora nodded and stepped back, working an awkward swing in her arms again.

Wading back through the crowd, Catra made her way back to her room, fishing her key out of her pocket and slipping in when no one was looking - she didn't want to talk to people. The walls muffled the music somewhat. She could still hear the boom of the party, the sound of a lot of people coming together and having fun, but now, it was distant, foreign, not something she was a part of. She was in her room now, her own little world she shared with Adora, where she felt save, where she trusted her.

"Took you long enough. I was almost getting bored."

And like that, it was gone. She was definitely having nightmares tonight.

"Double Trouble. You sure have a lot of guts crashing this party."

The room was empty. Or rather, it felt empty, alluringly so. Catra knew better than to trust a sense of comfort. The color of the drapes behind her bed shifted slightly, and a dark silhouette appeared there. Pointy ears, blond mohawk, lime green eyes staring intently into her, a finger poised seductively on their lips.

"Ah, but that's the fun, isn't it? I thought of messing with the queen herself, but she was way too drunk for that to be any fun. You, however . . ."

"Why are you here?" Catra tried not to let her voice shake, and she thought she did a pretty good job. She knew the shapeshifter could probably see right through her, but she was not going to give up without a fight. Though, wasn't that exactly what they wanted, for her to fight back so they could play with her around their little finger? Damn them and damn them again, for getting into her head like that and making her second-guess everything, without even doing anything!

"Well, you still haven't learned to have fun, I see. 'Great party at Brightmoon by the queen herself, free drinks, come one come all', all that jazz. Did you really think I was not going to show up?"

"You are in my room, on my bed, after . . . that. This is not where the party is at. I came here to relax, not to relive my nightmares."

"Yay, you're being honest! That's going to get you real far, kitten. How's the blonde?" They made a show of picking up a hair from their suit. It was a sparkly black thing, like they wanted to look like a spy but for the looks of it and not practicality. Not that they needed extra stealth.

"Adora is fine. Though, she's probably too drunk for your games right now."

"I sure hope she and the queen made up. Do pass my congratulations for the coronation, actually. I couldn't show up for that one."

"Trust me, you weren't missed."

"Oooh, kittie got claws! Though, Catra, I must say I'm disappointed. It's been so long after our last meeting, and you're beign so cold to me? I thought you'd jump in your arms the moment you saw me, and we could relish all the happy memories-"

"Shut up!"

Surprisingly, the lizard did stop talking, tensing up, ready to run. They had seen Catra lash out, but were lucky enough to avoid the brunt of it before. She didn't seem to have gotten better at fighting, but it never hurt to be careful.

"Shut up! This is my place! Not yours! That is Adora's bed! And you were not invited to this party, for a reason! This is not a place for you to play your twisted mind games, Double Trouble! I'm trying, okay? I was a bad person, but at least I'm trying to heal! And I have people helping me! While you are still the same manipulative bastard you were when I first met you! So leave!"

Still frozen in shock, Double Trouble stood immobile as a statue, their big, pretty green eyes staring at Catra. She did actually miss them, sometimes. They had been a fun friend, even if it had all been a facade to get close to her and abuse her like everyone else. Sometimes, she wished she could go back to that, chaotic partners in crime, instead of doubting everyone who was kind to her forever. She was not going to trust them again, and she knew it was dangerous just to talk to them. But somewhere, deep down, she still wished she could see them more often, catch up and even things out.

". . . well. That is . . . progress?"

"I assume you know the way out. Though I can call for guards if you want to."

"Okay, okay, I can get a hint." Double Trouble got up from her bed, walking over to the door with significantly less sass.

"You should probably keep this a secret from Glimmer, actually. She might freak out. However, do congratulate Mermista from me. Though, I guess I wasn't supposed to tell that to anyone. Oops. Oh, and-"

"I am not taking it back, so stop talking."

They stopped next to her, looking her over one last time. Catra was staring through the window as she was holding the door open, letting the music waft in. She refused to look at them. Double Trouble raised a hand to touch her, but thought better - she was angry with them. And they knew how she felt about touching.

". . . to answer your question . . . I missed you, kitten."


After another tense moment of silence, Catra heard a familiar hiss as the shifter changed their shape and disappeared in the party. Catra closed the door, took a deep breath, and fell to her knees, her whole body shaking with the screams of panic she had been holding back. After all her nightmares, Adora had been there to calm her, to coo into her ear until she calmed down, to make her feel safe, but now Adora was drunk and on the other side of a party, and she knew that somewhere in that party was one of her greatest nightmares, slipping through all her defenses and catching her off guard, ruining the perfect illusion of safety.

Still trembling, she grabbed the door for support, waited for the blood to come back to her face, and slowly rose to her shaky feet. For being such a mess, she sure handled it well. And Adora was going to come back for her soon, all dumb and cuddly and smelling softly of sweat. She could wait for her.

Baby steps.

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