Amanda O’Neill wasn’t exactly sure what they were, but luckily, it didn’t bother her.
She wasn’t totally clear on when it had started, either. Maybe it was that time when Constanze had picked horror for the ‘Green Team + One’s move night’, and Hannah had laughed at the gruesome death of the blonde stupid enough to hide under the bed. Maybe it was when she and Hannah were stuck outside the community showers, waiting for Avery and her latest ‘fling’ to be ‘done’ before they entered, swapping stories of their own conquests to pass the prolonged minutes.
A small shred of her knew, though, that it must have been their first night together that’d gotten them- The way they’d laid back to back, waiting for the other to fall asleep, in some desperate attempt to hide how awkward it was. It’d been so long since then, Amanda had almost forgotten it. She woke up with a face full of auburn hair (she had rarely seen it out of that immaculate ponytail. Now she had the privilege of helping it fall from it’s ribben herself), and that was it.
Their first kiss wasn’t all that special; She’d mostly been joking, trying to dramatically woo her while they were on their way back from the snack run Jasminka had sent them on, far away in the abandoned halls of Luna Nova where she’d hid one of her many stashes. Hannah had humored her, and had pressed her lips rather roughly against her own- it was clumsy, and much less than calculated, but it wasn’t bad. Hannah even had the audacity to complain about her lips being chapped afterwards.
Amanda had taken offense to that, so she demanded they give it another try, after she’d used some lip balm. Luckily, Hannah always carried hers around in her blazer pocket- it was cherry, her favorite, and she held Amanda’s chin still as she applied it. The kiss that had ensued convinced them to share another, and well… They were rather late for movie night.
See, the thing about their relationship, whatever it was, was that it wasn’t awkward. Even after the impromptu makeout session before what had to be Amanda's least favorite action film, they fit together comfortablely. Hannah hadn’t been afraid to steal Amanda’s blanket without the faintest hint of remorse, or huff and smirk like a coy school girl at the thought of curling up next to her, moments later. It was almost as if those kisses hadn’t happened- but the faintest brush of Hannah’s hand when they both reached for the popcorn bowl aided in reminding her.
She didn't know what they were, but they were something. It’d taken them a short while before anything else had happened; weeks had gone by, before Amanda dare kiss her again. It was a spur of the moment decision, in the back of the library. Diana had shoed them away to grab a couple more books for her and Akko’s study session, and Hannah was just… too short to reach them. It was hilarious, and she’d gotten a nasty look after she’d poked some fun, but before she could realize what was happening, Hannah's hands were clutching the little tie around her shirt collar, and arms were curled around her waist. Yeah, much more memorable than their first- and much more exciting, in a place they could easily be caught.
It became a bit of a regular thing, her and Hannah. It wasn’t reserved for Sunday movie nights, either- at any moment, Hannah could drag her away for any length of time, and Amanda would revel in it. It began casually, and their comfort with one another only grew as the days passed. Amanda could throw her arm obnoxiously around Hannah’s shoulders, and the smaller witch wouldn’t so much as bat an eye. Simultaneously, Hannah could stuff her hands into Amanda’s pockets as often as she pleased, in search of some place warmer, and Amanda wound continue talking as if it were nothing.
Amanda insisted that was all it was. Just two people who found each other attractive, and didn’t mind indulging in basic, human urges. It was the rest of the world that had a problem with it.
Hannah had never said their relationship was meant to be exclusive- and so when Sarah slid up next to her during class, with those piercing eyes of hers, she didn’t deflect the blatant, obvious flirting, didn’t brush off the warmth of the hand on her thigh. The funny thing was, then she looked up to give her the good ole’ Amanda O’Neill smirk, something felt… off.
She’d asked Hannah about it later- and before she could get much out, it seemed the hazel eyed girl understood. She rolled her eyes and leaned back onto Jasminka’s pillows, flipping through her magazine.
“If you want to fool around, that’s fine. I’m not stopping you.”
It didn’t sound like a trap, and Amanda relaxed once Hannah cracked a smile.
“Just let me know if you mess with anyone who may not be clean; I’d like to keep myself free of STD’s if I ever decide to let you under my covers again.”
They’d laughed, and Amanda pushed Hannah’s legs away, in mock offense.
It was all good, then! Amanda could do as she pleased. Hannah wasn’t trying to tie her down.
Then why, when she had Abigails hands in her hair, did she still feel weird?
It was like… her mind wouldn’t ‘let go’. Wouldn’t react the way she wanted it to. When she felt fingers trailing down her jaw, she thought of Hannah. When she caught the scent of school issued shampoo, she thought about how nice the cinnamon apple kind Hannah smuggled in was. When she tasted skin, she thought about the way Hannah’s flushed a pleasant red when she worked at it enough- because Hannah always dared her to put the effort in. It was mildly annoying, especially when her new partner didn’t scratch at that one place behind her ears the way Hannah always knew to.
It paled in comparison, and it infuriated her.
So what, if these other girls didn’t do it for her? Maybe she just needed more experienced partners. She’d known Hannah had had her fair share of ‘dates’, men and women, most coming from the aristocratic families back home. Maybe that was it- she’d gotten used to someone who knew what they were doing.
So she tried Avery.
But Avery didn’t have that gravely, high pitched giggle that Hannah made when Amanda groaned about her hair being in the way of her neck. Didn’t have the two tiny, pointed teeth that made an appearance on her lower lip whenever she was amused. Avery wasn’t in the mood to talk to her, either, whenever they were together- Hannah was never afraid to yank on her ear and tell her to knock it off, or play with her short, choppy locks while telling her about something she saw in town, basking in the afterglow.
Hannah was intimate in ways the other women in her life couldn’t be.
She was a rotting sickness that festered in her lungs and gave her heart palpitations. She’d found her later, that same afternoon, and swept her up into the kiss of a lifetime- they hadn’t had one, the last few days, and it made Amanda behave like a starved animal, begging for scraps.
Hannahs nose had scrunched up, just like it always did, when they parted, giving her a confused, yet critical look. It was the sass she’d been longing for, and she memorized the slight creases with the familiarity and fondness of someone who’d spent years waiting to see them.
“You taste like Avery’s chapstick. She needs to pick a new flavor.”
Amanda kissed her again, and refused to move more than mere centimeters away.
“Help me get rid of it?”
Though they didn’t make up any rules for themselves, Amanda found herself turning other women down- she didn’t really have an excuse, other than that her interest had simply died off. Hannah wasn’t hers, and she wasn’t Hannah’s (which was a lie. She was totally, undeniably, wholly Hannah Englands and it was too late for her to escape her hold).
So, when she saw Hannah flirting with an Appleton boy at a Gala, she told herself it wasn’t her right to get jealous. She figured as long as she hid the ugly feeling, eventually, it’d fade away- it had to have been the kind of jealousy lions felt when another member of their pride stole the final kill. It was shallow, that was all.
But it wasn’t, and Hannah knew- one look was all it took, before the broody, crossed arms and nonchalant expression on Amanda’s face clued her in. She felt terribly proud, and maybe just a little feral- while she herself had felt the stirrings of jealousy once or twice in her life, she’d never felt the need with Amanda. She wasn’t quite sure why- perhaps it was the trust they’d built, or the knowledge that even though there had been other girls, Amanda still found herself at her door by night's end. Whatever it was, it didn’t matter, in that moment.
It wasn’t like Hannah hadn’t done her fair share of flirting with other people during Amanda’s experimental period. Though, she guessed, her conquests weren’t as notable- after all, she was more a fan of the chase than the prize she got at the end. The hunt was simply more satisfying, and she took visible, clear-as-day joy when she’d kissed that random guy and felt Amanda’s eyes roaming the length of her back.
She didn’t give him much more than that- and relished the time she spent with Amanda in the spare room afterwards, in ways he could have never hoped to earn.
In short, they were stuck on one another; but the word ‘girlfriend’ had yet to breach their vocabulary. The first time Hannah had taken her clothes, though, it’d been called into question.
“Whoa, Hannah- is that Amanda’s top?”
Akko had never been subtle, and unfortunately, drew quite a bit of attention.
“Yeah, what of it Kagari?” Amanda shot back, suddenly feeling a little exposed. She liked attention when she asked for it- but the pairs of eyes glancing over at her from nearby lunch tables made her go rigid. She felt the sensation of Hannah’s fingers brushing against the outside of her leg.
“No way! Are you two, you know- together? When did that happen??”
Of course, Akko was the last of their group to know. It was hard to keep the secret from Amanda’s own team, since they were subject to plenty of casual touches every Sunday night- and Barbara, who knew of everything and anything that was within a ten mile radius of Hannah’s body at all times. None of them had questioned it, though- they’d kept their opinions to themselves, and let Amanda and Hannah find solace in one another without scrutiny.
Amanda had almost forgotten how thankful she was for that- people staying out of her business, and letting her figure out everything on her own terms.
Before she could get worked up about it, Hannah replied for her.
“Right after I bedded your mother, I think. Or was it before? I can’t remember.”
“Hey! Don’t bring my Okaasan into this, you rat!”
It caused a different kind of spat- a verbal take down of the ages, where they continued to insult one anothers various family members until eventually it circled right back around to being friendly and competitive; the distraction they needed.
The next time Hannah’s choice in wardrobe was questioned, Diana quickly changed the conversation to Akko’s grades, which had the brunette running. It seemed everyone else had picked up on it, and Amanda watched as Akko was trained to not bring it up. Whatever it was dawned on her, too, for within a couple of weeks it became as natural to see Hannah with something of Amanda’s on her than not. Akko began to think it was weird to see her go without.
As time passed, Akko’s increasingly gentle prodding (under the surveillance of Lotte and Barbara, who seemed hellbent on protecting her and Hannah’s ‘privacy’) caused increasingly mushy thoughts to stirr in Amanda’s brain.
Something she discovered was that Hannah was very soft. Physically, she didn’t have too many curves- the gentle swells of where what little excess body fat hid were nice, but her softness applied more towards her aura. She was soft, because her eyes were soft; not just for anyone, though. Only for her- and maybe Barbara, but really, she didn’t count. Barbara was the exception to all things (hell, they could probably have sex and Amanda would remain unfazed, like it were the most normal occurrence on the planet).
She was soft in the way she moved, too, a fluidity when casting spells that rivaled Diana’s, with the confidence to match. Watching her became a favorite hobby of Amanda’s, whether to be the way she turned pointedly on her heel, or put her hands on her hips while she was scolding somebody in that harsh, angelic tone she had. Her voice was like sweet molasse when they were together- a sugary honey that begged Amanda to lean closer for a better taste, a better listen. Even when she was telling her that her uniform needed fixing, or teasing her about how brutish her strength was, or shouting at Akko for being an idiot, it never failed to make Amanda’s train of thought to go that much slower.
She swore she was spending more time just being with her, rather than touching her, which was not Amanda’s M.O.
The ‘sleepless nights shrouded in passion’ had actually gotten less frequent, but honetly, she hadn’t noticed right away. The intimacy was still there, and grew with each passing moment, and for once in her life it felt like enough for her. The days where she knew she needed physical assurance still came and went, but Hannah managed to sate her in ways the girls from the past never could- a quick sweep of her palm brushing back Amanda’s bangs was all she needed to feel grounded, at peace.
Amanda didn’t have a hard stance on things, but she knew for certain that Hannah was who she wanted to be with.
Maybe it was time to say it?
“I hope I don’t get syrup on this sweatshirt- it’s my favorite.”
She was excited to get back to bed, so she could hold her.
“You mean my sweatshirt? The one I bought in Utah.”
Hannah gave her a look that made Amanda want to pull her into her lap and take her back to the dorms, far away from prying eyes that dare fall upon her. She was wearing jeans for the first time in forever- jeans and Amanda’s clothes, and nines, she looked good.
“What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine. Really, I thought Barbara would have let you know by now that I’m not the type to share.”
Hannah punctuated her straight forwardness with a bite of her waffles, carefully cut into pieces rather than the mess of a club sandwich that littered Amanda’s plate. They’d had this conversation before, and it’s playfulness never ceased to entertain either of them.
It was always like this- they worked in sync, something Amanda never imagined she could ever achieve with anyone, let alone someone with as big a personality as Hannah. They didn’t just work around each other, they worked with each other; Hannah had her back, and Amanda had hers- and she’d protect it so fiercely, no one could dare breathe a bad word about her partner without her doing something about it.
Sure, Hannah wasn’t always the most pleasant. She could get… Akko called it being ‘prickly’. She could get prickly, but unlike the rest of her poor victims, Amanda knew how to divert it, and Hannah had certainly put the effort in towards change. Hannah had many enemies, but then again, so did she, albeit for other reasons. So long as they had each other, though, Amanda figured their lives would turn out alright.
Hannah caught her staring.
“Something on my face?”
Amanda blinked, and rolled a complimentary toothpick between her thumb and pointer finger. The shorter witch was captivating, even without the usually care she put into her appearance- her cheeks were a little more flushed, when not hidden by foundation, and her hair ribbon was ever so slightly off balance, and it all made Amanda feel like the locals didn’t deserve to look at her at all. She was a secret, meant only for Amanda’s eyes, and that deep, dark, possessive part of her threatened to trip her up.
“Nah. Just lookin’ at ya.”
Hannah grinned, reaching for her tea.
“Who’s the creep now?”
Moments like these, Amanda was glad they chose to sit at the bar. She couldn’t very well savor the feeling of their shoulders brushing if Hannah were sitting across a table.
“Oh, still you, by far. At least I stare while my helpless captive is conscious. How do you think I felt waking up to two eyes, boring holes in my skull? A stalker, is what you are, Hannah England, and I’ve got half a mind to press charges.”
Instead of another snappy one-liner, Amanda got a chaste kiss that tasted like black tea with one and a half packets of sugar, no cream. When they disconnected, Amanda blinked at her, owlishly.
“We should walk a little ways, before we get on our brooms to head back to Luna Nova. The weathers nice- I could use some sun.”
Hannah was close enough that Amanda could smell the detergent on her clothes, and something distinctly them. She felt the urge to have her be closer, so that she could bury her face in it, but behaving appropriately in public was something, sadly, that Hannah valued.
Sometimes, Amanda felt like she was wrapped tightly around Hannah’s little finger, and she couldn’t find it within herself to mind. If Hannah wanted sun, Amanda would fly right up into space to get it for her.
She seriously thought about it, when she opened the door to the outside. She heard birds chirping as the morning leaked into lunchtime, and the wind had stopped in its tracks before it could displace a single hair on Hannah’s head, as if Amanda’s gaze had been enough to threaten it into submission.
Amanda let her take the lead, as their shoes hit cobblestone streets, lazily allowing herself to stretch her arms out, savoring the light pull that caused her muscles to strain. She saved her usual runs for early, early mornings with Akko, just before daybreak, sprinting around campus as if something were chasing them. The lack of prepping and the ‘late’ start caused her to get a little stiff.
Maybe Hannah would rub her shoulders later, if she used her puppy dog eyes effectively. It was terribly domestic, the entire mood- Hannah had grasped her hand and didn’t seem too keen on letting go (not that Amanda wanted her to).
Hannah England had dreamed about going on strolls like this with her ‘future husband’ quite often, when she was a child. All those frilly, victorian books she, Diana, and Barbara shared told tales of romantic, pond side walks with lacy white umbrellas and an upstanding gentleman in a suit in tie, enthusiastically waiting to take her as swans floated by.
Sure, ‘the man of her dreams’ happened to be Amanda in a tux, but the fluttery feeling was exactly as it had been described- even as they passed by wide shop windows and dirty street puddles. The world wasn’t washed in a romantic, shining glow, but it was blissful in it’s own way.
The heat had quickly picked up from where it’d left off the day before. Hannah was beginning to regret wearing the sweatshirt, and only the sweatshirt, just a little bit- the skin that lay beneath it threatened to grow clammy, the thin, dark fabric of her bra not covering enough to allow her to slip it off.
She wondered if, once they got to the edges of the forest, they should take the liberty of exploring farther into the woods. If there was a sunny spot, Hannah would very much like to lay in it, without the prying eyes of humankind trained on her. She pulled lightly at her collar, biting the inside of her cheek.
Maybe then, when they were alone, she’d take it off.
Hannah occupied her fingers with the hoodie stringers, rolling the cold, metal tips against between them.
“Can we… go on a date?”