I debated where I should put this fic. It could really go under He-Man or She-Ra. I realize it might lean more towards She-Ra since it takes place on Etheria, but this is where I usually post my He-Man-centered stories, so this is where I'm comfortable. Please forgive me if you think the She-Ra page might have been better.
Where the Heart Is
He-Man punched the last Destructo Tank and sent it flying through the air. "That just about does it," he said, brushing his hands off together. He turned to his left and saw that She-Ra was still busy with Hordak. Eager to help his sister, he ran over to offer her his assistance.
"She-Ra!" yelled He-Man, taking the Sword of Power out of its sheath as he ran.
She-Ra noticed her brother was motioning for her to get back, so quickly, she used her foot to shove Hordak away from her. Almost instantaneously, she saw He-Man throw the Power Sword at a tree above them. Realizing what he was doing, She-Ra quickly jumped out of the way.
A large branch fell on top of Hordak, but it didn't hurt him. The large stem fell in front of the villain, but it did manage to entangle him in numerous smaller branches that grew out of the larger one. "Blast you, She-Ra! I'll get you for that," the Horde leader cried. Despite his threat, She-Ra reached through the branches, grabbed him under his arm, and pulled him free.
With She-Ra standing behind Hordak and having a firm grip on both his arms, He-Man stood before the Hordesman with his hands on his hips and a big smile emerging. "Well, it looks like you're finally a prisoner of the Rebellion!" he stated proudly.
Hordak didn't look intimidated. Instead, he cried, "Me? Not a chance, Muscle-Head." Immediately, Hordak held his arms up and brought them down quickly, which seemed to have loosened She-Ra's grip. Then, he turned into a rocket shortly after She-Ra took a step back and brought a hand to her face to seemingly cover it. Hordak took off and flew far away in only a few mere seconds.
"Let him go, my brother," She-Ra said as she brought her hand down. "He's going to be in enough trouble with Horde Prime when he hears that he lost to the Rebellion again."
She-Ra walked away, but He-Man stayed frozen in his spot for a few moments and didn't acknowledge his sister. "I didn't see what I think I just saw, did I?" he asked himself hurriedly; "It's not possible…surely it's not!" But he knew it was. He had seen it happen once before.
Prince Adam sat in the rebel camp on a log facing a big bonfire that Madame Razz had made so they could celebrate into the night hours their big victory. Hordak had tried to enslave the people of another town, and the Rebels along with He-Man and She-Ra had thwarted his plans. It was a cause to celebrate, especially when he looked around and saw that most of those townspeople decided to take an active role in the rebellion. A lot of them were lining up to receive weapons and practicing with them despite the party.
Adam knew he should be celebrating, as well, but he couldn't. Not now. And, possibly not ever. "I had to be mistaken," he repeated to himself silently for the millionth time. He wanted desperately to convince himself that repeating the words constantly would make it true, but so far there hadn't been any luck.
Looking around the camp, searching for his sister, he noticed she was talking to Bow and Seahawk at the wagon which carried several barrels of liquor they had bought from a nearby village in Brightmoon. His sister held her mug up in cheers and the two gentlemen clang their glasses together with hers before they drank deeply. Soon, Adam and Adora found themselves watching a competition between the two men to see who could finish their ale in one gulp the fastest. Adora laughed as Seahawk won and she immediately turned around to face her brother.
Their eyes met despite the distance and Adam immediately looked away. He could almost feel Adora's confusion at his actions, but he wouldn't look up at her again. He couldn't. He knew she was beginning to head his way, so he was surprised when he heard someone else speak to him.
"Hi, Adam. Why are you sitting here alone?"
He sighed as he looked up at Glimmer. "I guess I'm not good company tonight," he answered.
Glimmer sat down beside him and said, "I can't imagine why you wouldn't be! He-Man and She-Ra brought in hundreds of new recruits, and Hordak is definitely going to be in trouble when he explains to Horde Prime that he isn't able to send anymore slaves to Horde World."
Adam nodded and agreed, "You're right. That is a good reason for me to be in a better mood. I just can't help but think, though…"
"Think what?" Glimmer asked, curiously.
Adam looked up when he felt rather than saw Adora arrive. He met his sister's eyes briefly before looking at Glimmer and answering, "That it would have been better if we had captured Hordak. We could have used him as leverage to free the entire planet."
"That would have been nice, Adam, but He-Man and She-Ra did their best! That's all we can ask of them."
"Yes, that's all we can ask of them," he repeated and turned his attention back to his sister, who was now sitting down on the log beside him.
Adora met her brother's gaze and she could tell that something was horribly wrong. He was frightening her with the way he had been acting since they had turned themselves back into their true selves after the battle. Adam had immediately walked away from her, claiming he had to go do something. He didn't share what it was nor did he offer an explanation when he got back. He had merely walked away into the woods and showed back up a few hours later. She realized now that he hadn't said a word the entire time except for the conversation he had just had.
"Can you excuse us, Glimmer?" asked Adora; "I need to discuss some family matters with my brother."
"Of course, Adora. I understand." The Etherian princess immediately walked away and joined a group of rebels on the other side of the bonfire.
Adora remained silent for a few seconds and asked, "Okay, brother, what's wrong?"
Adam cut his eyes toward her before looking back at the fire before him and replied, "What makes you think something's wrong?"
That answer scared her more than anything else. Adam had never evaded her questions before. Never had he lied to her. Never had he tried to shut himself off from her…but he was trying to do all three now. "Adam," she cried softly and touched his arm tenderly. "Please, tell me what's wrong."
Adam tilted his head upward and looked up at the sky. "Do you think you'll ever come home, Adora?"
This startled her. She had no idea where that came from, and she knew that subject wouldn't have him behaving in such a way towards her. Despite this, she decided to play along until she could find out what was bothering him. "Of course, I do," she stated resolutely; "It will happen when the Rebellion wins back their planet and has driven off the Horde for good."
Adam didn't look at her. He simply continued to study the stars. Eventually, after several more seconds of silence, he asked another question. "Do you really believe that will ever happen?"
Without conscious thought, Adora left her seat and kneeled before her brother. She brushed his chin with her fingers to get him to look at her, and he did. "Yes, it will happen, Adam, and on that day, I will finally return home and live with you, Mother, and Father on Eternia."
Adam felt tears in his eyes as he heard Adora's answer. "I want that more than anything," he whispered as he looked down at the ground.
"Adam, what's wrong? Please, I can tell something is bothering you. Let me help!"
Adam closed his eyes as he heard his sister's pleas. He knew she was genuinely concerned. He knew she really did love him and their parents, but…he no longer believed that she wanted the same things he did. Now the only question that remained was should he call her on it. He looked back into his sister's eyes and even those icy blue gems begged him to tell her.
Adam took a deep breath to steady himself and whispered, "What's wrong is that…I don't believe you. You don't really want to return to Eternia. I don't even know what you want in regards to me and our parents." Immediately, he stood as Adora gasped. They were so close together that Adora had to sit back on her butt to avoid them crashing together as he stood up.
"I'm going home," he announced and walked away quickly. He was gone in an instant and disappeared in the trees.
"ADAM!" yelled Adora over the festivities but to no avail.
Glimmer reappeared at her side as she stood and asked, "What in the world is going on?"
"I don't know," Adora replied hurriedly, "but I'm about to find out!"
Adam stood at the spot outside the Whispering Woods where the dimensional gate usually placed itself when he wanted to leave Etheria. He called out for the Sorceress and a gate immediately appeared. He almost stepped through it when he heard someone call his name frantically behind him.
He stopped and turned back. He knew who it was and despite what he had said to her, he didn't have the heart to leave if she had something she wanted to say to him.
"Adam!" she cried as she jumped off of Spirit and ran to him. "What's the meaning of this? Why are you leaving, and why did you say that to me at the camp? You know that's not true!"
Adam shook his head. "Oh, why can't she just admit it?" he thought. Aloud, he said, "Because it is true! And, Adora, it's okay. I'll find a way to accept it eventually, but right now it's too raw. I just need to go back home and…"
"No!" shouted Adora. "You are not going back to Eternia until I find out what you're talking about! I want to know where you got this crazy idea from, brother!"
Adam closed his eyes and said simply, "I saw you, sis."
"You saw me what?"
"I saw you let Hordak go," he whispered. He stepped to the side and walked away from Adora so he wouldn't have to look at her. "There, I said it," he told himself.
Despite Adam's attempts to get away, Adora wouldn't allow it. She sprinted in front of him and grabbed his arms frantically. "What do you mean I let him go? He knocked my arms away and turned into a rocket. What else did you want me to do?"
Adam met her eyes and wrinkled his face as he announced woefully, "I saw you smile!"
"What?" she gasped.
Adam nodded and said loudly, "I saw you smile!"
"No, you didn't!" screamed Adora. "How can you believe that? Why in the world would I smile about Hordak getting away?"
Adam glared at her and shouted, "I don't know! You tell me! You're the one who did it!"
Adora shook her head in adamant denial. "Adam, you must have seen wrong!"
"I didn't see wrong, Adora. I was standing right in front of you. Too bad I was standing a little off to the side, because I saw it even though you tried to cover it with your hand!"
Adora brought her hands up and rubbed down her face, trying to make sure she was awake and that this was really happening. "If I brought my hand up, brother, it was to protect my face from his rocket! It shoots up debris from the ground! You must not have had as good of a look as you thought you had!"
The prince shook his head. "You did it before he transformed. You did it as soon as he knocked your hand away. And, Adora, I might have believed that I was mistaken if this was the first time I had seen you do it, but unfortunately, it's not!"
"What? When else did I supposedly do this?"
Adam stared at her face for several seconds, scrutinizing her features to determine if she really believed she hadn't done it. Eventually, he replied, "Do you remember when Hordak had Horde Prime's flagship and Skeletor tried to steal it?"
"Of course, I fell back to the planet with Hordak in my arms that time. That's not the kind of thing you forget."
Adam nodded, took a shaky breath, and said, "That's when you did it. It was almost the exact same way. He broke lose and instead of you grabbing him again, you stepped away, brought a hand to your face, and smiled. I thought I was mistaken at that time, but now, I don't think so."
Adora stood still as she contemplated Adam's words. She didn't know what to say.
"Listen, Adora," he said softly, "I realize you barely know our parents…or even me, really, but I want you to know that we love you, even if you want to stay on Etheria. Even if you still love…Hordak."
Adam's chin trembled as he closed his eyes and waited for Adora's response. They stayed quiet for a long period of time and eventually he opened his eyes. She was staring at him with a few tears slipping down her face. "You do still love him, don't you? He raised you and you still love him."
Adora searched inside herself. She wanted to adamantly deny that she loved Hordak at all and did what Adam was accusing her of, but she didn't want to dismiss her brother's observations outright since he was so insistent. It surprised her that he believed it happened twice, but she knew her brother. She knew he would never have brought it up unless he believed one hundred percent that it was true.
As for her, the only conclusion that she could come up with was that her actions must have been subconscious…if she really did do it. As for loving Hordak, she searched herself again and decided to speak truthfully.
"Brother, honestly, I don't know if I love Hordak, but you're right, he did raise me. I know now that he is evil. He is one of the most evil men I have ever met…but there were good times. He gave me Spirit. He played with me when I was a child." She noticed Adam's face fall, but she continued anyway. "And even though I had a caregiver, Hordak and Shadow Weaver had a hand in raising me. Together, they taught me almost everything I know. There was a point in my life when I wanted nothing more than to please him…and I did often. I earned my position as Horde Force Captain and I was proud of it. I was proud to be Hordak's favorite, too.
"You say that I smiled as Hordak got away. I don't know if I did or didn't, Adam. I didn't do it consciously. I do want to go home to Eternia with you. I do want to get to know my real family. But do I love Hordak as a mentor or as a father?"
She shrugged. "I hate him for what he did to me, you, and our parents…but maybe I do still love him, as well. I don't know. I can't erase twenty years of memories. He was good to me as I was growing up. I have to be grateful for that. He could have enslaved me. He could have even killed me, but he didn't. He raised me as his daughter."
She paused in her speech to help Adam wipe the tears from his face. She slid her thumb across his cheek softly and then forced him with her hand to look at her. "Despite all of this, Adam, I can promise you that I did not let Hordak go intentionally, and if I did smile, it was unintentional. He used to fly me around in his rocket form. Maybe it was an engrained response…I don't know! But I love you and our parents. And I do want to come home when Etheria is free. And, we will make that happen, Adam. I promise you that."
Adam nodded, pulled his sister into his arms, and hugged her tightly. "Okay, then," he said softly. "I believe you." When he released her, he turned around and started walking to the gate.
"Well, where you going? You can still come back and celebrate with us! You weren't scheduled to leave until tomorrow!" She wanted Adam to stay with her. She wanted to make sure they were okay.
Adam turned around before he got to the gate and replied, "I'm already here to the site—I might as well go. Besides, I need to…express myself right now, and I don't want you feeling guilty over tears or any other response I might have right now."
"Adam," pleaded Adora.
He held up his hand to quiet her. "I know what you're scared of. We're okay. Nothing could ever make me hate you. I love you, sis." He walked back over to her and hugged her again.
When he released her, he looked into her eyes with a tear still falling down his cheek. "I'll be back soon, I promise," he whispered. Then, he turned around and walked into the dimensional gate with no hesitation.
And as soon as the gate disappeared, an intense sob left Adora's lips. She knew Adam would be back, but she couldn't stand the thought that she had hurt him…but she had no choice but to tell the truth, no matter how horrible it was to the both of them.
This is just a one-shot obviously, but who knows, if some of you want to read more, I will take it under consideration. And, don't worry; I have seven pages of the next chapter of "Noticing Adam" written. I just wanted to take a break and write something new! I hope you enjoyed it.
Oh, and by the way, yes, this story was inspired by "Horde Prime Takes a Holiday." She really does look like she's smiling at that moment, LOL.