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Bitter Flowers

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When Amanda O'Neill returned to Luna Nova to start her second year of studies, her arrival punctuated by a skidding broom into a crowded school hall, startling and angering student and teacher alike, she promised herself that she would do one very important thing before anything else. During her holiday she had given herself a resolution for the new academic year, something she was not only determined to achieve, but needed to accomplish for her own peace of mind.

It was, quite simply, to confess to Atsuko 'Akko' Kagari.

Amanda was a confident girl, and having turned seventeen she had felt her sureness and swagger increase by her age times a thousand. She was already one of the most individualistic girls in the school as well as the most rebellious, doing what she liked whenever she liked, regardless of the consequences and the looks teachers such as Finnelan and students like Diana Cavendish would give her.

So why could she not apply that thinking to a silly little confession?

It was a frustrating conundrum, something that bit at the back of her mind and enraged her, her head hairs feeling the brunt of that emotional hindrance when Amanda would pull at her red and maroon locks in draining despair and crippling nervousness. It had been a couple of weeks now and Amanda had yet to find the courage to make the confession. Why was such a simple thing so daunting and impossible for the American witch? It was a question that reverberated in her head time and time again when her mind was not conjuring up images of a pleasured brunette beneath her.

Emotions were hard and confusing to understand.

Mixed in with hormones too, however?

Bloody impossible.

Akko Kagari was such an attractive figure to Amanda, and not just on a sexual level of course. Even regarding that, the girl was stunning. Her shiny brown hair was always arranged in such a visually appealing way, the cuteness of her little bouncy ponytail contrasting perfectly with the alluring elegance of her untied, flowing locks. Her eyes beamed brightly in the light and dark, catching the attention of Amanda's own vivid green eyes which lost its vivid nature when compared to the burgundy brightness of Akko's.

The seventeen year old was also a head shorter than Amanda and that, combined with her perfect figure, and the way her scars were dashed around her body, blemishing her skin in just the right way...

'God bless the English and their consent laws.' Commented Amanda in her mind, grinning as she reminded herself that she'd break the law if she was in America anyway.

It was in her nature, after all.

But that was enough of Akko's perfections thought Amanda, shaking her head as she reopened her sleepy eyes staring directly at the distracted Akko who sat opposite her on the canteen table. Her grin transformed into a loving smile as she began to list all the non-sexual things that made the Japanese wonder so appealing to the American broom-dancer.

Such as her unending determination that pushed everyone out of her way when she wanted and needed to succeed. Her reckless ways, combined with near infinite levels of energy, made her the most exciting witch to be around, even when the world was not at risk of ending. Sure, she could be spontaneous and very quick to frustrate, but that also added to the fun factor in Amanda's eyes.

'Imagine what she'd be like in-'

“What are you smiling at, Amanda?”

Amanda's not-safe-for-work comment was interrupted by an upbeat Akko, who had apparently noticed the maroon-haired girl staring at her just now. Forcing down a blush and trying to prevent a stutter, Amanda responded.

“O-oh, just your dumb mouth blathering away.” Amanda said, her hand mimicking a mouth as she said 'blathering'. Amanda felt relief in her chest as the brunette gave Amanda a sizeable pout, the action reassuring the American that her flustered state had not compromised her. Amanda grinned at Akko's display, giggling a little as the brunette stuck out her tongue.

'Ah, this will never get old.'

But before Akko could retort with something equally rude, a pristine, soft hand landed on her shoulder. It was Diana attempting to calm the girl down, apparently doing so as Akko turned her attention to the blonde beside her.

Amanda ignored the jealousy building in her stomach, her face remaining as is to pretend that arriving was fine.

“Please calm down Akko, it is very early in the morning.” Diana said, pleading to the shorter witch to keep herself calm and stop herself from shouting out a reply. Akko hummed a quiet groan, resentful at the request but heeding it nonetheless. This would have been a strange occurrence to anyone else outside the group of nine on the table. Indeed, some on the table might have still found it strange themselves.

But Amanda was not surprised. Not surprised at all.

While Akko was blind and oblivious to Amanda's smiles and flirting, Amanda was not blind to Akko's and Diana's growing proximity to each other. It was apparent to a substantial portion of the table that the two witches had grown closer since Akko had brought the heiress back from her estate in the last academic year, the two spending more time together and acting more friendly towards each other with each passing day. To Amanda it was clear competition and a certain worry in her mind; that perhaps influencing her indecision.

It had already been a few weeks since the girls returned to Luna Nova, and it was clear that things were continuing to develop between the two. This character development was becoming increasingly critical and Amanda knew she was running out of time. It kept her on her toes for sure, always giving her something to think about.

But her persistent feeling of boredom was slowly being replaced by a constant sense of bitterness.

Amanda could not help but feel anger towards Diana, the blonde witch slowly stealing Akko away from her. The British witch had spent so much of the past academic year being cold and abrasive towards Akko, while Amanda had slowly grown a strong, playful friendship with the Japanese upstart. Yet it was Diana who was reaping the benefits, Amanda unable to shake off the feeling of stagnation between Akko and herself. Diana, who had said such icy words and publicly embarrassed Akko so many times, was now, quite likely, the one Akko had fallen for.

Not Amanda.

Not the one that gave her the chance to be her friend the earliest.

Not the one who talked honestly to her straight from the beginning.

No, it was Diana.

A girl whose personality flip-flopped more than Professor Ursula's identity.

'Sorry, Chariot...' Amanda corrected herself in a bitter tone, still not too pleased at what Chariot had done to Akko, intentionally or not, despite the heart-warming moment before the crew went off to defeat that wild, magical missile.

She should have heard it then, referring back to Diana's romantic encroachments, when Diana requested it was Akko and herself that should defeat the missile.

She should have seen it then, when the two clasped their hands together and smiled in such a loving, caring manner towards each other, before the two accomplished something that would forever be in the history books and the canon of every magical tale.

Amanda felt sick.

In all honesty, she knew she had missed her chance, that Akko was taken or going to be taken by Diana at some point.

Her stomach was a swirl-pool of nausea, jealously and bitterness, and she could not bear to stay at the table any longer. Not while the two lovebirds swooned, blushed and teased each other out in the open like this.

Thank God people knew she was a lesbian, because her walking out of such an obvious loving display, filled with finger jabs, warm smiles and enthused giggles, would have looked bad otherwise.

She would not have cared anyway, because the display disgusted her regardless.

“Where are you going?” Sucy said questioningly in her monotone voice, her dull, bored expression revealing little from behind her pale red eyes. Amanda stretched her arms and back as she stood, grunting out a moan as she tried to shake the sleepiness and anger out of her body. Diverting her gaze to a one-eyed one, she replied.

“Eh, thought I'd head off early; my class starts early anyway.” Amanda said in her usual, cocky tone, it hiding the depression that oozed into her blood at the reminder of her lost chance. At this point the entire table had taken notice of the soon to be departing witch, each with their own reactions. The Green team of Constanze and Jasminka knew that Amanda was not lying when it came to her having an early class, but also knew that the display from Akko and Diana had likely prompted her unusually professional decision.

The Red team was mixed; while Akko was a little disappointed to see Amanda go - a kind of disappointment you feel when your friends part ways for the next few hours – Sucy and Lotte were curious. The two looked between each other, the freckled girl raising an eyebrow while Sucy simply shrugged, her suspicions internally noted.

The Blue team had the most mixed reaction. Hannah and Barbara were sat at completely different ends of the table, with Hannah conversing with Diana whenever she could, while Barbara almost constantly talked with Lotte. It was an odd sight given the two girls usual attachment to each other. But since their return to Luna Nova, the two seemed to have grown distant for no good, obvious reason.

Everyone had noticed that, but no-one really had anything to say. At least in public.

Barbara simply shrugged, lacking much care for the departure of the witch, seeing nothing in it and preferring to return to her nightfall discussion with Lotte. Meanwhile, Hannah eyed her closely, deeply curious at the display. She was not sure if she was Amanda's friend, but Hannah knew the American well enough that her being even remotely enthusiastic for class was just wrong.

Diana meanwhile looked very passive. Diana had grown to appreciate Amanda further since the end of their first academic year, having taken part in the odd escapade throughout it. But as the nine young witches grew closer, Diana could see the value of having the American as a friend, rather than some kind of odd enemy. Perhaps frenemies was the best descriptor, the two sometimes getting blunt advice from each other on any pressing and delicate matters.

That had happened near the end of the first year and the first week of the second. But after that, Diana noted, it had suddenly tailed off. Amanda had grown a little cold to Diana, that was unmistakable.

Diana had hypothesised why, but she kept her cards close to her chest.

So, with all that said, the girls simply let Amanda go on her way. They all bid their farewells, though one did ask her a question; one with an enthusiastic and ever loud voice.

“Oh, Amanda! Can we do some broom practice at lunch?!” Akko exclaimed, accidentally bursting Diana's tired ear-drums. At least it felt that way, the blonde wincing, making the brunette utter a whispered apology and pat her shoulder. Amanda tutted in her mind, rolling her eyes in frustration. But her rolling eyes appeared to be playful and normal, the maroon and red-haired girl almost always doing such a thing when Akko had an outburst such as this.

“I'll think about it, but I want ya to do some tricks before we do more basics!” Amanda forced herself to act playful, faking her enthusiasm and teasing in order to appear normal and content. Her facade took a dent, however, when Diana outwardly tutted and shook her head.

“Now now, Amanda, Akko still needs consistency and-” Diana's prim and proper interjection was interrupted by a disgruntled Amanda.

“Yeah, yeah, I'm kidding, get some humour.” Amanda could not help but let her mask slip this time around, her usually teasing retort to Diana's seriousness appearing even more serious than Diana's prior tone. It caught Akko and Diana off guard, as well as everyone else on the table, forcing the American to wave off the suspicions.

“Sorry, ehe, just a little tired still.” Amanda said with an apologetic tone, her waving hand moving to the back of her head to scratch at it.

“That's fine, enjoy your class.” Diana dismissed the apology with a small smile, allowing Amanda to head off as she had intended. Raising both her eyebrows and placing her other hand behind her head, Amanda turned away and began to walk off toward the ground floor exit of the canteen, intending to head toward the courtyard and catch the morning sun. In all honesty though, despite her early class, she was not keen to go to it. Her chest felt heavy and her frustration was boiling over.

She felt so tired. Not from lack of sleep, but from the facade of pretending everything was alright. Amanda was not one to cry, refusing to allow her tear ducts to do their task, but she desperately needed some kind of release. She could not just grab her broom and fly off as she knew she would be caught and immediately put in detention for skipping a class to do acrobatic twists and aerial stunts. All that was really left was for her to simply turn up and zone out, hoping to Jennifer, God or whoever was listening that the teacher would not pick up on her zoning out.

If she got a detention for failing to answer a question, she may as well have flown her broom into the clouds, because at least she would not have become even more cripplingly sad.

She sighed as she went to brace onto one of the statures in the courtyard, giving herself a minute to catch her bearing and let her skin soak up the sunlight. Thankfully it was a clear day, so she could enjoy the fresh air and blue sky; providing a kind of emotional comfort to the girl.

But not enough.

She still felt really, really frustrated.

Her free hand went to grab at her fringe, pulling at it in order to vent her raging storm of emotions. She felt all kinds of frustration, towards herself, towards Akko, she even felt the tell-tale signs of sexual frustration, feeling unable to vent her desires with another or clear her mind alone on her bed. The room always seemed to be occupied and there was always a visitor, and she really did not want to tell Constanze, Jasminka, or both of them to piss off so she could rub one out.

“Ugh.” She grunted, bemoaning a light dusting of red coating her cheeks. She was just such a mess right now. Everything was affecting her, even things that would normally fly over her head or just not be a thing that would make her react out of character.

She was Amanda O'Neill! Confident, cool and collected, always ready and eager to get into trouble.

Not some flustered, depressed sulk in the corner of the room.

And this whirlpool of emotions within her? Conflicting with her normality? It pissed her off to no end. As seconds passed it grew more and more into something more specific, something more tangible.

It was bitterness. The same bitterness that had replaced her boredom. It was her new endgame emotion after her wave of depression and anger had subsided. When before her confidence and cockiness would lead to boredom and rebellion, now it was replaced by her anguish and despair, leading up to this new emotion she had rarely ever felt in her life.

She needed to vent.

Now.

But how? And how could she anyway? Skipping class this early on into the year was never a good thing but she could barely give a damn about that.

Now that Avery girl, on the other hand?

Amanda spotted her in the corner of her eye walking alone down the hallway, herself looking tired and groggy, but her short, dark purple hair still appearing neat and tidy, it rounded off by the triangular hair clips that sat at the same height as her equally purple eyes. The girl of average height was a head below Amanda and she carried a kind of aristocracy similar to Diana, her well-mannered voice the right amount of pitch to sound sassy but not annoying. She seemed to have put some eyeliner on her eyelashes, thickening the edges to create a distinctive styling.

Amanda was... drawn in.

The American had the odd conversation with Avery from time to time, usually when the two were bored and just happened to be in the same place in the academy. She would sometimes hang out by a set of stairs, waiting for friends or passing time on her orb. Those moments gave Amanda the time to get to know the girl; not by a lot, but just enough for the two to be reasonable acquaintances.

The two had yet to talk since they had arrived back in Luna Nova a couple of weeks ago. Amanda used this to justify her fast paced walking towards the girl, trying to cut her off before she went anywhere else. It was sound justification, Amanda convinced herself. There was nothing else in it, Amanda dubiously claimed in her mind.

“Avery!” Amanda shouted half a hallway in length from the Canadian witch, her attention immediately earned as her head whipped towards the call of her name. She appeared confused and irritated, perhaps not instantly recognising the voice or annoyed at such a loud noise in the morning.

“Huh?” Avery began in irritation, her tone changing to something more welcoming and reminiscent when she recognised the American jogging towards her with a grin. “Oh, Amanda, been a while.” Avery said, welcoming Amanda's presence before her. The maroon-haired girl placed her hands behind her head as she slowed down and stopped, still grinning as she replied.

“Hey, Ave, how ya been?” Amanda asked, shortening her name down and genuinely curious as to what the girl had been up to during the break. Avery frowned a little, caught slightly off guard at the sudden nickname.

“Alright, yourself?” Avery asked in kind, receiving a shrug as a reply. Amanda then continued with another question, keen to start a casual conversation.

“Got up to anything during the break?”

“Uh, nothing much, really. Was a little boring, honestly.” Avery spoke honestly, shrugging her shoulders as she looked to the side, Amanda's gaze seeming stronger than usual.

“Same, actually. You can only do so much on a broom before it gets boring.” Amanda spoke off-handedly, recalling her constant broom dancing over the summer as well as the odd local and regional race she participated in. She won quite a few, which was something of note given her age.

“Didn't you win some big race in America though?” Apparently, Avery knew something about that, which was pretty interesting to Amanda. The American's grin got wider, a hand leaving the back of her head and now resting on the wall, leaning into to it.

“Aye, was one of the major regionals, did pretty good for my age apparently.” Amanda winked as she finished, and Avery could feel the confidence oozing out of Amanda. It perturbed her, but not in a bad way. It was just something to keep note of as the American eyed her up and down.

“That's pretty cool to be honest.” Avery began, popping a little smirk toward Amanda as she continued. “Not too big into broom racing personally, but I may as well keep up with what you're doing, eh?” Her smirk became a small smile, her face appearing a little smug for some reason.

Perhaps because Amanda could not stop eyeing her up. However, Amanda did notice Avery's reaction.

Was this a hint?

“Ah, I appreciate it. Always nice when a cutie keeps an eye on what you're doing.” Admittedly, it had not taken long for Amanda to get to the flirting, not that it was entirely planned. Still, Avery seemed to take it in her stride, grinning again and leaning on the wall with her shoulder acting as support.

“Gosh, what's with the flirting Amanda?” Avery teased, giggling a little at Amanda's blatant attempts at flattery. “I know I'm fine as hell but, jeez, keep your gay down!” Avery teased further and giggled as she finished, Amanda laughing with her. Amanda quickly looked around as their laughter settled down, glancing around to find the ground floor hallways and the courtyard relatively empty.

'Hmm, interesting.'

“Hey, a girl like you deserves it. And don't lie to me, you're enjoying it.” Amanda retorted, Avery rolling her eyes but not denying it, still smiling at the maroon-haired witch who had captured her attention so intently.

“Anyway, where ya headed?” Amanda asked curiously, genuinely interested in what the Canadian witch had on her schedule today. A noticeable moment passed before Avery answered, the girl glancing to the side for a moment as if to check the surroundings herself.

“I'm... meant to go to class in a few minutes.” Avery hesitated, keeping her answer vague. Amanda raised an eyebrow, her curiosity spiked.

“Oh? What do you mean by 'meant'?” Amanda said, questioning the shorter witch as to her meaning. Avery shrugged.

“It means I've found something more interesting.” Avery replied, Amanda perceiving it to be a flirtation. She looked down briefly, closing her eyes and opening them again when she looked back up, vivid-green eyes now beaming into purple ones.

“I'm interesting, am I?” Amanda asked, Avery nodding at the question. Amanda continued, leaning in a little. “And what's so interesting about silly old me?” Now it was Amanda's turn to tease, her tone slightly lower than before, almost husky but not quite there.

“Well you can't keep your eyes above my chest, for starters.” Avery retorted with her own flirtation, a moment of silence between the two girls before they both laughed. Amanda's laugh was more hearty while Avery's was more akin to a giggle.

But they didn't walk away from each other.

So Amanda grew bolder.

“Yeah, well, I like to appreciate my fans from time to time.” Her heartbeat quickened as she dug deeper, forgetting Akko and the anger she created within her.

“Ah, and why do you think I'm a fan of yours?” Avery replied, her voice becoming quieter, an almost hoarse whisper. Amanda swallowed silently.

“Because you can't keep your eyes away from my lips.” There was no turning back from that one, Amanda thought, her eyes half-lidded and her mouth forming a deeper smirk.

“Hmm, that's true...” Avery trailed off, looking to the side again as she pondered what to do next. To Amanda, however, it was affirmation that the purple-haired witch was interested.

“Say...” Avery trailed off again, thinking about what she should say next. “My next class is not that important...” Avery was clearly being suggestive, but Amanda took her time to tease the poor girl. She figured she still had a little time before her friends left the canteen.

“But education is so important, Ave.” Amanda teased her, but Avery was one step ahead of the American.

“Who says I still won't get an education.”

'Damn.' Amanda thought. 'That's fucking hot.'

“My dorm is empty, by the way.” Said Amanda, almost blurting out the sentence as her urges overtook her rationale.

“So is mine, and the walls are thicker.”

'Fuck.' Amanda felt herself shiver at that, the alluring, almost sassy tone of the Canadian doing wonders for her rapidly increasing libido. Amanda swallowed, a last piece of regret and rationale still fighting her in her head. She'd been repressing it all throughout the conversation, focusing solely on the girl before her.

But right now?

Honestly?

She did not give a fuck.

“Alright, lead the way.” With that, Avery turned around to return back to her dorm with Amanda in tow.

Amanda convinced herself that this was what she needed, a way to vent her frustrations within herself and against Akko. Hell, even Diana was on that list, though if anything she was doing her a favour. Even just thinking that, Amanda could feel her stomach churn in bitterness once again, overriding the lust within her for the shortest amount of time. But the bitterness soon ebbed away, it converted into desire and anticipation.

It was worth it, Amanda convinced herself.

It was not to get back at Akko, Amanda lied to herself.

As the two turned the corner, heading up the set of stairs leading up to the higher levels, the Red, Green and Blue teams exited the canteen. Nearly all of them missed Avery and Amanda heading up the stairs, apart from one auburn-haired witch that looked on in curiosity...

A lonely, isolated Hannah England.

 

Chapter Text

When Hannah England returned to Luna Nova to start her second year of studies, her arrival in tandem with her best and oldest friend Barbara Parker, she had hoped that the new year would not only be a fresh start but the beginning of something grand. Hannah, along with Barbara, were determined to prove their worth to the other seven witches of the group, enthused to show that they belonged with them following the events of the prior year. Not only as powerful and unique witches, but as friends and allies in the journey of life ahead of them.

Simply put, Hannah wanted to feel like she was worth something.

Hannah would admit freely and openly that her conduct last year was not something she should have been proud of. Abrasive, bullying and mocking, being slightly sassy by nature could not excuse it. Her upper-class nature got the best of her as she not only played into the stereotype, but almost revelled in it, her unique standing in life emphasised by her close relation with Diana Cavendish.

Things had changed now. She not only wanted to be a better person and make amends, but also to be a friend. She wanted to be there to give support; not to be a thorn or a hindrance.

It had begun at the end of the last academic year with slow, cautious approaches to the Red and Green teams, asking to be a part of various activities such as picnics or magic practice. Sometimes Hannah and Barbara would ask the others to join their plans, be it walks into town to buy relatively expensive things or watching some silly romance or action movie which was running that week.

By the end of the year both girls felt far better about themselves, feeling wanted and proud of their steps and achievements. It was a heart-warming experience for the two to be there when Akko began to fly in the air, the joyed giggles and gasps as Akko completed her first mile and then her second filling the two with genuine warmth. They had made friends and made amends.

So why did Hannah still feel so isolated?

In Hannah's mind it was a rhetorical question. She was certain she knew, and the knowledge ate at her like rot on an apple.

During the same time Hannah felt warmth and happiness at Akko's monumental progress, she felt a growing sense of jealously build within her. Because as Akko beamed at Amanda giving the girl a thumbs up and blushed as Diana gave the girl a rare, tender hug, Barbara sat next to Lotte making conversation.

Making inside references that only the pair of them knew, related to a series of books that the auburn-haired witch could not understand.

Sitting on the same red and white criss-cross blanket, cosying up to each other and sharing knowing smiles.

And sharing cake between each other, guiding pieces of the fluffy, vanilla and strawberry sponge into each other’s mouths.

While Hannah felt she had gained new friends and a greater understanding of them, becoming a better companion and person in the progress, she also felt that she lost something even more important...

Her best friend.

A best friend she wished she could be even closer to or, at least, would entertain the thought of doing so.

Hannah was happy to leave things as they were, thinking it was just a phase of hers... But she did not want things to change in this manner. It was not as if Barbara had closed herself off from Hannah - not at all. It was more that Barbara was becoming less and less accessible to Hannah. Hannah felt as if she was out the loop almost all the time and the lightly frustrated look from Barbara when she did not understand a reference nipped at her soul.

She was not used to those expressions coming from her best friend, nor was she used to not sitting next to her at the canteen table.

Hannah blamed herself, something that was becoming increasingly natural to the witch, when that had happened time and time again. Perhaps Lotte had told Barbara of the odd stares Hannah would give to the freckled girl, the furrowed brows revealing a level of disdain that was not really there. Hannah was not angry at Lotte, not really... upset maybe, but not angry at the timid witch. No...

It was Barbara that was angering her, upsetting and driving Hannah away from the British witch.

Hannah was self-aware enough to know it was jealously that she was feeling, but she could not bring herself to do anything about it. She could not find the drive to talk to Barbara, and nor could she talk to Lotte, fearing that she would have reacted badly to her concerns. It was irrational, Hannah knew this too, but she was scared. She did not know Lotte well enough, so she could bring herself to take the perceived risk she felt.

Would Lotte out her to Barbara? To the group?

Hannah did not know... And because of that, she was finding herself hanging around the back of the group on the way to the canteen or class, courtyard or city.

This brought her to the here and now, standing still by the large canteen doors, the group making their way to their classes while her eyes bore into the back of the maroon and red-haired American who walked up a set of stairs with Avery.

It did not make sense to Hannah, not in the slightest.

Avery and Hannah did not talk too often, both of them finding themselves busy and pre-occupied with various things like class or their own friend groups. But the auburn-haired Brit knew that the Canadian had a class right now, never mind the American who had just stated it minutes ago. Hannah could tell that something was amiss with Amanda, and it was not like she was not known for skimping out on the odd class.

But to do so at such an early stage of the year?

Without a broom in her hands?

Hannah frowned. Something was really off. But just like with Barbara, she had no drive to make any kind of confrontation. Where Hannah might have done so before, her confidence allowing her to reach towards the girl and strut her high heels to a berating conversation, that confidence had evaporated into a strong timidness. It was like the time Diana had left; empty sadness and dismay, a feeling of helplessness dominating her soul.

Hannah shook her head.

There was one person she could ask. Well, perhaps two.

Turning away and jogging to catch up with the gang, it took a few moments for the young witch to reach the increasingly obvious lovebirds of the group: Diana and Akko. Hannah gave it a few more seconds before speaking up, swallowing on her saliva and clearing her throat. It had attracted the attention of Akko, before Hannah could tap the shoulder of her blonde team-mate, sparking a light dusting of red on her cheeks as her plan stuttered to difficulty.

“Oh, Hannah! What's up?” Akko said, curious as to when Hannah had appeared and why. Akko was not aware of what was happening with the poor girl, but she knew that she was feeling off and wanted to be as friendly as possible. The brunette was happy when the auburn-haired girl lightly smiled, the Brit appreciating the little prompt from the little witch.

“Ehe, uh, well...” As the two began to converse, Hannah stuttering and unsure, Diana turned her own head, glancing to the side as she continued to walk forward.

“Is something wrong, Hannah?” Diana started, calm and encouraging. “Don't worry, you can talk to me.” Diana finished with a smile, assuring her dorm-mate that the girl could express anything she wanted. Hannah smiled with a moderately paced nod, making sure to speak directly to both girls.

“Well, Amanda was meant to go to class right?” Hannah started, switching her glance between Diana, Akko and then Diana again, the two nodding as they accepted the facts of the matter. “Well... sorry I'm saying that a lot, um...” Diana waved off her tangent with a hand and a smile, Akko smiling herself as she nodded to beckon the girl to continue. Hannah complied. “I just saw her walking up to the second floor with Avery?” Hannah said questioningly, her confusion apparent as both Akko and Diana raised an eyebrow. The two looked towards each other.

“Huh, that's odd.” Akko said, herself confused.

“Yes, indeed...” Diana was more intrigued than confused. “I know Amanda and Avery talk to each other from time to time, Avery has told me that, but...” Diana paused, both in speech and movement, openly pondering with her hand on her chin and a frown on her face. Akko and Hannah paused too, looking on as Diana analysed the situation and all the possible variables.

“Hannah, doesn't Avery have a class?” Akko asked while Diana thought for a time. Hannah nodded, answering the question.

“Yeah, I don't get it either.” Hannah shrugged her shoulders as she spoke, Diana humming as she processed the extra information.

“Hmm... strange...” Diana commented while Akko directed her gaze to the blonde, piping up her own thoughts.

“Amanda has been lookin' stressed lately, she isn't being herself.” Akko commented, her observations lining up with Diana's. The heiress nodded in acknowledgement, but she knew Akko lacked the extra detail that Diana internally speculated on.

Diana knew that Amanda's change in attitude was more than just stress, but she was hesitant to make a final judgement on it, the implication being difficult to deal with if true.

“I... think we need to give Amanda some time and space.” Diana stated, returning to her walk to her destination, the two girls around her following her within a second. “Avery and Amanda may have had plans, after all” Diana said as she glanced towards Akko beside her, the brunette frowning lightly at the conclusion.

“Hmm, are ya sure?” Akko asked, briefly looking towards Hannah who was equally as unconvinced, the Japanese witch shrugging her shoulders at Diana's unusual lack of an answer.

“It is pointless to speculate, it might be better to ask her when we next have time to talk to her.” Diana offered some sort of compromise to the curious and concerned witches behind her. But Hannah had something extra to say.

“Privately?” Hannah questioned quickly, prompting Diana to look over her shoulder. Diana hummed, agreeing with Hannah.

“Yes, that might be for the best.” Diana stated, sparking a smile from Hannah as she felt useful. “We should decide who talks to her later and focus on class for now, though.” Diana finished the conversation and Akko nodded, drifting closer to Diana's side as they reached the door to class. Hannah simply accepted what Diana said, but she could not help the twinge of jealously that ran through her at the closeness of the two.

'I wish I could have that...' Hannah bemoaned regretfully, sour at such poorly timed thoughts.


As Amanda walked just a few steps behind Avery, getting ever closer to the more expensive and luxurious dorms of Luna Nova, the American revelled in a level of excitement she had not felt for months and months on end.

Her heartbeat pounded at her chest as a fire burned within her, her eyes wide and her mouth grinning as she took subtle glances at Avery's curves and alluring features. Even the broom races in the break could not compare to the feelings she felt just now when Avery looked behind her shoulder, her gaze half-lidded and alluring, a grin on her lips as she openly appreciated Amanda's hungry gazes and subtle blush. Her veins flowed with steaming hot blood and her breath became a touch heavy as they reached one of the dormitory corridors, reaching closer and closer to release.

Amanda felt alive.

Amanda began to forget everything.

The relief within her was outmatched by the lust building and building within her but, 'God', did it make an impact regardless. She felt content, ready... confident.

She was Amanda again.

And that was all she wanted.

“Hey...” Amanda spoke out in a low tone, her voice quiet but still distinctively hers, seeking to grab the attention of the Canadian ahead of her. Avery looked over her shoulder, a smile on her face but her eyes inquisitive rather than simply half-lidded.

“Yeah, what's up?” Avery said, questioning but relaxed, her voice giving no indication of what was about to happen.

“What's with this?” Amanda presented her thoughts to the purple-haired witch, grinning slightly as she began to poke some buttons.

“Hmm? What do you mean?” Avery returned her own question, not completely sure what Amanda was asking about.

“This. I didn't think you were the type to do this.” Amanda clarified, it more a statement than a question. Avery laughed in her throat, her head swinging to face forward as she replied.

“Eh... nothing wrong with laying back from time to time.” Avery's thought earned a quick laugh from Amanda, the girl retorting.

“Ohoho, is that how ya like it, too?” Amanda's coy comment was met with a grin as Avery turned back around, shrugging as she reached the door to her empty dorm. Neither confirming or denying, she unlocked the door with her magic key, her grin turning into a smile.

“Give me a good time, Amanda.”

It did not take much time for Amanda to see the implication.

Or act upon it.

The door opened slowly and with care, a very minor squeak coming from it as it reached halfway open. By that time the two girls had begun to walk through the archway, Amanda had already begun to reach out for Avery, a hand aiming to grab onto the slightly shorter girl before her while the other went to quickly swing the door to a close. The suddenness of Amanda's hold and the banging of the closed door startled an otherwise prepared Avery as the maroon-haired girl wrapped her right hand and arm around Avery's waist, drawing her in and having her back flush against the American's front.

A gasp escaped Avery as Amanda's left hand went to her face and her body was tipped slightly to the side, her torso tilted downwards to her right and the pressure of the hand turning her head around to meet Amanda's hungry gaze and lips. Avery only had a moment to see the wide grin on Amanda's lips before those lips crashed into hers, wet and hungry to taste Avery's tongue.

Avery obliged almost instantly, her mouth opening to allow Amanda's needy tongue inside it. The purple-haired witch moaned into the deep kiss as her eyes fluttered shut, her mind overwhelmed at the domineering display of the taller witch. In both their minds the restraints they felt were immediately cast aside as they began to enjoy themselves, forgetting their plans, schedules and worries. None more so than Amanda who sank into the feeling of clashing tongues and knocking teeth.

It was so nice to just have fun thought both the girls, to experience something different in what was often a drab and stale environment, dotted with only the odd escapade and event other than a boring class learning ancient languages and incomprehensible spells. It was also new for the two, relatively speaking. Both had the odd fling back in their days before Luna Nova, a date or two with a dash of making out and exploring boundaries.

But the rawness of what was happening right now felt out of this world, and it had only been a minute or so. All of their barriers just dropped, every perception came to fruition and every fantasy flooded into their minds. What was next after they had warmed up their tongues and exhausted the usage of their clothes? Amanda's trailing right hand that went up and down Avery's clothed stomach, grazing her chest and slipping down her sides would soon surely grow bored.

After another minute Amanda pulled away, a heavy, quick exhale escaping her open mouth. They opened their eyes a tad, staring into each other’s orbs as Amanda asked a question.

“How much time do we 'ave?” Amanda's lack of breath played havoc with her speech as she questioned Avery. The purple-haired witch grinned, almost conflicting with her dusted cheeks, before replying to Amanda's airy question.

“Who cares?”

'Good point.' Amanda thought, enjoying the blunt lack of care in the answer. At that, Amanda went to twist Avery around, grabbing onto Avery's shirt with the hand wrapped over her and forcibly pulling her around. Avery gasped again, slightly disorientated yet relishing the display from Amanda, deeply enjoying the hand that pushed on her back, forcing her torso flush onto Amanda's front. Amanda dipped down to capture her lips again, her left hand that had held Avery's face now reaching for her wand.

Amanda was not exactly impatient, but it was always easier to cast a spell to remove clothes.

Without words, her tongue pre-occupied with sliding and mashing against another, she extended her wand and flicked it, thinking of the spell in her head. After a second a poof of magical smoke exploded around them as their clothes were banished from them. Almost comically, the clothes reappeared in the air neatly folded and atop each other, landing on the floor by a lone bed in a series of quick, muffled thuds as they stacked neatly onto themselves. Pulling away, Amanda cheekily spoke again.

“Well, that's sorted.” Amanda grinned as Avery began to blush more deeply, her face becoming redder as the air hit her exposed skin, a shiver travelling up her back as it did so. She looked down and away from Amanda's eyes as she gave herself time to get used to the situation, admiring the small breasts she had. It seemed to fit her, thought Avery, fitting the image of Amanda being boyish. Despite her shorter statue, it seemed that Amanda matched Avery's size, something that filled her with a kind of confidence and reassurance that felt odd and foreign. It was a kind of sexual comfort that existed outside of the flirting and Avery enjoyed it.

Amanda threw her wand towards the pile as the hand already on Avery's back trailed downwards to cup her bottom, her now free hand replacing the other which began to grope Avery, a series of curious rubs and intrigued squeezes making Avery gasp and swallow.

“Do... I feel nice?” Avery asked with a deep blush, feeling suddenly timid and controlled. By no means did she not enjoy this, but this was a completely new experience for her, and she would be lying if she said she had no insecurity.

“Yeah, you're really soft... but firm.” Amanda spoke hoarsely, continuing her actions as her left hand rubbed up and down Avery's back in a slow, obvious pattern. Amanda's head was still dipped down, now hovering at Avery's fringe and enjoying her lavender scent. While Avery felt better and more secure at the statement, she could not help but smile at Amanda's clever answer.

“Was... that intentional?” Avery asked, unsure if the usage of a certain word was by accident or on purpose.

“Hmm, I'll leave that up to you, cutie.” Amanda grinned as she teased and flattered the shorter witch, said witch giggling lightly at the answer as she lifted her head to meet Amanda's gaze. Avery soaked in the vivid-green eyes that went to meet her stare before parting her mouth, heading towards the taller witch's lips. Amanda complied with the motion, bridging the gap and kissing her at a slightly slower pace. The lust and tension was still there, but the speed of their tongues meeting suggested a more exploratory tone, matching with their current bare state.

The two parted again, their lips wetter and their breath heavier. Amanda twisted herself and Avery around so the two could reach the bed, the hand fondling Avery moving up to her waist in order to help accomplish this. Amanda had her back towards the neat and tidy bed, it's deep purple linen straightened only an hour or so ago, hoping that it was the purple-haired girl's mattress. When Avery did not protest, Amanda assumed that it was the witch's bed and continued to pull Avery along with her backward strides.

When Amanda felt the mattress hit her legs she immediately sat down, lazily landing on the bed and pulling Avery on top of her waist for her to straddle the American. It was a clumsy affair as Avery landed awkwardly, pushing Amanda down into the bed, her head nearly hitting the wall. Fortunately she was not any taller than she was, so the whole incident was laughed off. Amanda's laugh was hearty while Avery giggled with a blush, burying her head into Amanda's chest as the witch repositioned the two, seeking to lay vertical to the bed. After a few more moments of shuffling, Amanda's head hit the pillow, Avery sitting up as the American completed her task in order to straddle the panting tomboy.

“We're pretty bad at this.” Avery said with a grin, acknowledging their lack of experience, as her hands went to grab Amanda's breasts. Amanda's short laugh transformed into a gasp as she felt the smooth, silky hands grab onto her sensitive chest, the experimental touches doing wonders for her growing libido.

“Yeah, buh-but I'm sure we're good at some things.” Amanda commented, stuttering a little as Avery squeezed Amanda's right nipple, a small spark of pleasure hitting her like a light tap on the shoulder.

“Mmm, let's see...” Avery said, trailing off as she moved herself down. Her hands brushed against Amanda's breasts, stomach and sides as her arms followed her body downwards, Avery straightening herself out as her head slowly came to rest above Amanda's waist. Amanda sat up, propping herself up with her elbows and grinned at Avery, Avery's confidence apparently returning despite the blush on her cheeks saying otherwise.

“When did you last get off?” Avery asked huskily, her breath teasing Amanda as the Canadian dipped her down a little further. Amanda shuddered, her heartbeat in her ears as she replied with just a hint of shakiness in her voice.

“A week ago.” It has been a decent while for Amanda, that perhaps contributing to her current state.

“Hmm. How long did it take you to get off?” Avery asked, again dipping downwards just a little more, her mouth hovering over Amanda's most delicate of places, her breath tickling her further.

“Ah, ten minutes, probs...” Amanda gasped a little as she answered, guessing the time it took for her to climax when she finally found time to be alone last week. Avery grinned, her eyes mischievous.

“Oh? Well, lets see if you can reach half that.”

'God, fuck.'

That was Amanda's reaction to the comment, it eclipsed by her reaction to a tongue licking her from the bottom of her womanhood right to the sensitive top.

“Fuh, fuck!”

It was new and different and in all the right ways, her eyes clamping shut and her head whipping back as she registered the overwhelming sensation of wet muscle rubbing over her pink, fragile flesh. She lay down, no longer propping herself up with her arms, deciding to use her hands to grasp onto the covers below her, her fingers digging into the material with such force that the pair could hear the fabric straining under Amanda's fingernails.

After watching the display, enjoying how her actions worked wonders on the taller witch, Avery closed her eyes, enjoying the unusual taste. The salty-sweet mixture was so alluring to her, and the gasps and grunts from Amanda were equally as motivating to her to continue.

“Damn, ah... feels so...” Amanda struggled to convey her thoughts as her eyes tried to stay open, fighting the urge to close them as she wished to see what the shorter girl was doing. Amanda swore she could feel the girl smiling onto her, her swearing affirmed when she felt a kiss by her bud. Amanda shivered and her toes scrunched, her hands moving to Avery's head. She was not sure what she wanted to do: Grab her hair or hold and stroke her?

Perhaps then it was unintentional when Amanda, as she reached Avery's purple locks, grabbed hold of the silken hair as another bite of pleasure coursed through her. Amanda heard the moan from Avery as she did so, slightly surprised that Avery enjoyed the action.

'One of those, huh?' Amanda thought with humour, clasping her right hand around Avery's hair again, eliciting another moan as Avery focused her tongue on her bud and her hands massaged her upper thighs. Avery alternated between slow and drawn out licks to fast and grazing grinding, forcing her tongue to draw firm patterns over Amanda's womanhood

It had barely been a few minutes when Amanda felt herself getting close, her hips starting to move against the tongue that pleasured her. Avery seemed to pick up on this, her head darting up as her hand landed on Amanda's womanhood in replacement.

“Close?” Avery grinned, the words forcing Amanda to look up and stare at her with restrained desperation, the American keen to show little weakness.

“Yeah, ugh.” She responded, pausing with a pleasured grunt as Avery's right hand grinded onto her drenched mound. “Keep going... with your, ah, mouth.” Amanda demanded, gritting her teeth as she continued to stare into the girls authoritative green eyes.

“Oh?” Avery teased, dipping her head down only a little, keeping Amanda from her relief. The maroon and red-haired witch groaned.

“Fuck, Ave... come on.” Amanda started to sound pleading, frowning lightly as her breath became laboured. She desperately needed this, and Avery was yet to comply.

“You want me to...” Avery paused, looking down at Amanda's wetness before looking up again, staring directly into now needy eyes. “...keep eating you out?” Amanda's eyes rolled into the back of her head as the simple but alluring comment hit her, another spark of pleasure riding up through her.

“Yes~ damn it.” Amanda replied in aggravation, her hips moving more and more as Avery grinned. Avery spoke out one more time.

“Alright, Amanda... your pussy tastes amazing anyway.”

'God, Jennifer, Nine damn!' Amanda screamed in her head as Avery's words hit her and her tongue returned to pleasure her, Amanda barely having time to enjoy Avery's hot, moist actions before reaching her orgasm. Her mind exploded as a long drawn out groan ripped through her throat, her thighs nearly crushing Avery's head as Amanda was overwhelmed by the pleasure drowning her. Her breathing was so heavy it was as if she had actually drowned and been resuscitated, her brow heavy in sweat as she came down from her first assisted orgasm.

“Nice...” Avery trailed off as she lapped up Amanda's juices, putting light pressure on the girl's incredibly delicate place to help her ride out her orgasm.

Avery spent another minute by Amanda's waist, lapping her up and allowing Amanda to enjoy the lingering pleasure she felt. “Fuck...” Amanda breathed out coarsely, trying and failing to lift up her head to see the purple-haired witch. Amanda then felt the girl moving and shuffling, bringing herself upwards to hover over Amanda.

“Yeah, that's next.” Avery grinned, referring to what Amanda had just said a few moments ago, reaching down to eat out Amanda's mouth again. Amanda grinned as she did so, lust still coursing through her as she replied in kind.

“Damn right it is.”

A part of her thought against it, her lust having been temporarily sated, a certain brunette having flashed before her eyes as she blinked. But then her lust took over again, and the care she briefly had disappeared.

For a time, at least... and that was all the time she desperately needed.

 

Chapter Text

Amanda walked through the archway of Avery’s dorm, leaving as the girl got dressed and ready to attend her later lessons in the day. Her dorm-mates had, apparently, not returned after an hour after all, giving the girls extra time for... fun. She muttered a goodbye and gave a lazy wave as Avery bid farewell, sounding satisfied and cocky, while Amanda grabbed the edge of the door to close it. The door clicked behind her as it shut, as did her emotions as they snapped back into a place of rationality... and regret.

Her lust and frustration sated, Amanda began to reflect on what she had just done. A biting feeling hit her stomach and her throat constricted as her mind began to fume with recollection and conflict. She did not regret the physical actions she had gone through, having enjoyed the various rounds of pleasure that she had given and had been bestowed unto her.

But her emotions, returning to the forefront of her mind as her desires were realised and her anger was vented, began to question her actions. A nagging feeling hit her as Amanda rested onto the door, her hands behind her back and trapped between it and the polished object. Her head dipped down as she breathed out heavily, her heart beating fast once more. No longer was it pumping blood to satisfy her working muscles, arousal and exertion, but as a reflex to her frazzled mind.

Because as her thoughts kicked in, Amanda now found herself in a different dilemma.

She had to keep this to herself and learn to live with what she had done.

Because no matter how many times she tried to excuse it, she could not stop but think she had done something wrong. Very wrong, in fact.

She felt like she had betrayed her own feelings.

A part of her fought back. 'It was for your own good!' One voice would shout, confident and expecting of approval. 'Akko wouldn't care anyway, she has that stuck-up Cavendish!' Said another, snide and sneering, bitter at reality. 'It felt fucking amazing, anyway. Plus you have someone to bang now, aye?' Came something more primal and shameless, feeding into her hormonal desires.

Amanda had already begun to conclude that her feelings would never be reciprocated, wasted on longing stares and depressive sulks, watching the girl she grew to care deeply for be taken away by another that simply did not deserve her. The universe, magic, Jennifer, some one or group had decided that it was Akko and Diana that should be together, not Akko and herself. This growing fact ate at her, with Amanda using it to justify what she had done.

It felt right, even if it was selfish.

But in the back of her mind...

She could not help but think that she had also betrayed Akko.

She was sure the brunette would care regardless of her status with Diana. Akko had a habit of intruding on people’s lives, intervening and assisting whenever she could, especially if she felt she was somehow involved. That was evident with Constanze and Diana alone, having helped the short, black-haired girl with her magitronics while bringing the latter back to school.

She would probably get the heiress to care too, and Jasminka and Constanze. Hell, they would probably get everyone to gang up on her to the point where she would likely be summoned to Chariot's quarters for some kind of sexual education and emotional management class.

Amanda shook her head, a breath of humoured air escaping her lips harshly.

At least she could still make light of things.

But what was she betraying, really?

Akko and herself were not together or anything. What would be the problem? Sure, Akko might feel some pain that the feelings Amanda had for her were used to justify her sleeping about, it causing the anger and frustration that forced her to vent out on a girl who was just barely an acquaintance, a fan at worst. But really? What was the harm?

You gave away your virginity to a girl you barely talk to.’

“Ah...” Mumbled Amanda, pushing herself off the door firmly and smashing her hands together in front of her, a loud clap ringing out through the narrow hallway. If anyone was sleeping in, they would probably be awake now, so Amanda thought it best to pick up the pace and to try and use her legs to distract her mind from her internal berating.

“It doesn’t matter anyway...” Said Amanda, mumbling again through gritted teeth, her neck craned to look at the floor and miss the eyesight and stares of students and professors. “Just an old social construct thing...” Amanda tried to justify to herself, continuing to hoarsely talk to her lonesome, it sounding almost like a deluded ramble.

She cleared her throat to rid it of the sticky, blocked feeling it had, glancing to the side to see a slightly confused student look at her. Her raven hair matched her black eyes that frowned with curiosity and concern before she turned on her heels, intimidated by the blank stare she had gotten from the American.

Amanda felt very uncomfortable right now.

It was just some random student who had probably only picked up the noise rather than the words, but Amanda felt like something was boring holes into her back, analysing her every move and action. This weird insecurity came out of nowhere, making her feel forced to attend the class she was missing rather than skipping out to fly on her broom until lunch. She knew she would be confronted anyway, but the idea of it was beginning to rattle her.

The confidence was gone again.

She was back to square one, yet she struggled to care.


The tedium of class went on and on, filled with the droning of an old, monotone teacher and the giggles of misbehaving witches passing notes between themselves. The odd creak of wood would ring out garnering the attention of the ancient professor, who had turned her back on the students, who would always wear the same suspicious frown that she always put on whenever something felt amiss. This repetition added little to the already boring feeling of the classes and did little to calm the nerves and worries of a certain blue-sashed witch.

Hannah sat on the edge of one of the dozen split rows of the class, a hand at her chin and holding her head up, barely listening to the education before her, and barely tolerating the whispers and airy laughs around her. Her features appeared tetchy and frazzled, an impatience only tempered by her slightly baggy eyes. Hannah did not exactly lack sleep, but the distancing between herself and Barbara made it difficult for her to smile. The edges of her eyes felt dry as she continually zoned out with discontentment and nagging thoughts.

Why did Barbara insist on sitting on a row that, clearly, could not hold all three of them: Barbara, Lotte and herself?

Was it just to sit with Lotte? Or to get away from her old best friend, a friend losing relevancy over Barbara’s new, more aligned friend.

The former was bad enough in Hannah’s mind. Every second of every moment where Barbara talked and interacted with Lotte was one less second with Hannah, and more second towards something deeper. Barbara’s infatuation with Lotte was evident with every day that the two sat together and obvious when they sat away from Hannah. Did Lotte consider her a threat? A drag to their time together debating and theorising over old stories and new plot lines?

When Hannah would begin to regret never getting into fiction and the series the two endlessly discussed, a fit of jealous anger would course through her, fuelled by the fear of the latter.

That Barbara wanted to get away from her.

Or maybe just... push her aside.

To not hurt her when the day came that maybe, probably, it was best for the two to take a step back from each other and focus on other people.

This fretting, irrational worry would always haunt Hannah, and these long, dull classes of screeching chalk and playful gasps would bring out the worst of her internal, hurtful rambles and concerns.

But something added an extra touch today. An additional scoville of burning in her chest and jealously in her heart.

She sat next to Diana and Akko today.

She did not really have much of a choice, as it was that or sitting alone, be it literally or with witches she had never sat next to before, never mind conversed with.

The questionably oblivious pair whispered and poked at each other in the most lovesick displays imaginable, and Hannah could not tear her eyes off them. There was barely any respite in the teasing words over notes and theses and the gentle pokes on their arms and hands, distracting each other from writing vital notes. The ever dignified and professional Diana was acting just as bad as the person sitting next to her, smiling and smirking at the silly antics.

Hannah swore she heard the sides of their shoes tapping against each other, making the auburn-haired witch wonder if they had interlocked their legs at any point, drawing each other closer.

It made her so... sad.

It would have been bearable if this had been one short class. Jennifer, it would have been fine if it was one long one, a period and half.

But no.

It was a back to back period, the second one being that dreaded double.

It was agony.

A giggle and an “Akko!” was whispered from beside Hannah, piercing her right ear far more than any chalk ever could. The sound of affection rippled though Hannah, making her swallow the rising nausea in her stomach. Her eyes glanced towards the display of dipping heads and restrained giggles, hands over mouths and the light dusting of red giving everything away but to themselves.

Unless, they really were that close already.

No-one really knew, but Hannah could not help but take it differently.

She could not help but think that she was left out of the loop herself, even if that was not the case at all.

Her thoughts were then interrupted by the sound of a large, old and creaky door opening, and a flash of fresh sunlight entering the room. The teacher stopped her screechy writings and turned her attention to the door. As did the students in the class, their note taking and paper passing paused while the mysterious intruder entered. Even Diana and Akko snapped up from each others papers and prodding fingers, the blonde instantly astute, as if she knew exactly what was happening.

Hannah's eyes would be greeted by the girl she saw taking a different route to the others.

Amanda.

The maroon and red-haired girl appeared... tepid. Insecure. She looked around with her slightly slouched neck and her hands on her head, keen to avoid the gazes of the students in the class and the increasingly annoyed professor while keeping her classic demeaner. Hannah knew something was off, and she was absolutely certain that Diana knew the exact reasons for it, or at least close to.

The teacher would only give out a hum and a stern frown, returning to her lecture while Amanda walked up the stairs with a heavy walk, as if something was weighing her down. Most of the students had turned their attention back to the teacher or the friends around them, returning to their note taking and note passing and gossiping about the late arrival of the flamboyant broom-dancer.

But Hannah’s eyes remained locked onto Amanda, staring holes into the girls slightly boyish face. Hannah’s curious eyes traced round her slightly pointy chin, her face less rounded than the others and matching her pointy, dual-coloured locks. It was something that the auburn-haired girl already knew, the girl having always been one to stand out with her brash tones and less than feminine actions.

But time seemed to slow down for some reason. It allowed Hannah to take a bit more notice of her, sating a part of her curiosity that had been established this morning. She saw the conflicted frown on her brow and the tension in her vivid-green eyes. Those eyes that shone so bright with fire in almost every confrontation, now seemed dulled and troubled.

And curious at her own stares.

Amanda stopped on the stairwell, a foot ahead of another on the creaky, wide pieces of wood, her hands still in her pockets while she returned her own gaze onto Hannah’s. Hannah swallowed, caught off guard by the girl she was so obviously looking at just now. Amanda seemed just as curious, her angered confusion morphing into something more simple, the hint of anger having dissipated as she looked over the girl who had watched her.

Amanda noticed the light bags under Hannah’s eyes as well as the traces of veins on them, alluding to Amanda that the British girl had been lacking sleep. But she quickly dismissed that as she traced the girls features more. The girl was uncharacteristically distracted, having decided to stare her down since her arrival instead of focusing on her class. The snide, mocking face of the girl was replaced by a stunned, rattled expression, and she seemed to be apart from her best friend again.

Had something happened? Were they upset at each other?

Glancing to the row above, she saw how Barbara and Lotte were interacting with each other, whispering in each others ears about... something. Nightfall? The lesson? Amanda was not sure, but Barbara appeared to be fine and as bouncy and confident as usual.

In stark contrast to her supposed best friend.

“Miss O’Neill!”

Amanda’s head whipped round to see the origin of the noise, her hair swinging with the motion before settling back to its spiky self, while Hannah looked down on her empty notepad immediately, swallowing a thick helping of saliva that built up during her distraction. Amanda put on her usual grin to dismiss the teacher, a hand briefly escaping her pocket to give a weak wave adding to the cocky and uncaring nature of it.

But if anyone could have really seen her eyes, they would have noticed how blank they were, and how they struggled to match the grin on her face. If that someone was Diana, they could have easily have noticed that.

Interesting.’ Diana said internally, noting down in her mind the expression of the usually confident witch, her suspicions fuelled. As well as her worries. But it was not just Amanda that Diana was eyeing up, it was the witch that was eyeing up the American to begin with.

Diverting her gaze to the slightly red, wide-eyed Hannah, scribbling nothing onto her notepad but squiggly lines, Diana could not help but worry further about her flustered, troubled friend. Diana could tell that something was amiss between Hannah and Barbara but was still struggling to find a way to talk about it, and find something solid to go on to confront them over. Despite her assumptions that it had something to do with Lotte, without some kind of argument or clear falling out, Diana felt it impossible to properly talk to the two, anxious of escalating the issue.

So seeing Hannah take some kind of interest in Amanda was concerning to her. Diana could only guess what was going on in Amanda and Hannah’s head but, when it came to Hannah, the heiress was worried that she might latch onto the nearest person she could to make up for the lack of interaction with Barbara.

She did not know to what extent but knowing how brash and unstable Amanda was right now, she did not want Hannah to get hurt.

Diana did feel the same towards Amanda, but that topic was closer to her cautious, fluttering heart. The heiress knew it had something to do with Akko, and she knew that any chat with Amanda could instantly become a shouting match if Diana assumed correctly about Amanda’s mood and feelings.

Such as those imposing stares that she could feel coming from behind her. Or something even directly in front of her.

Amanda was difficult to contain at the best of times.

But right now?

It seemed impossible. Though Diana would not have to be the one to confront the distant, changing broom-dancer.

Indeed, after Amanda had took her seat, barely paying attention to the lesson at hand or anyone around her, opting to internally debate and argue with herself, the class had continued as normal. Hannah seemed to snap back into a more concentrated state, taking down some notes but unable to brush off the light dusting on her cheeks after the stare-down earlier.

It was so intense.’ Hannah kept commentating to herself, her mind filled with deep, piecing green eyes every time she thought about it. She still barely knew the girl and she could not understand her sudden fascination with the brash American, feeling that she was only curious as to why she suddenly felt off and skipped a few lessons. Hannah would keep shaking her head too, forcing out her frazzled thoughts and vivid imagery in favour of getting through the rest of the class.

But...

She really wanted to talk to Amanda. She was that interested.

And that’s fine right?’ Hannah said in her head, questioning herself. ‘I mean, we were going to ask her anyway... I’m sure Diana wouldn’t mind.’ Hannah justified to herself, a bout of determination creeping into her gut as she found a task for herself and a way to be useful, removing unnecessary burden from the heiress.

Hannah fidgeted on her seat for the rest of the lecture, counting down the time on the clock that signalled how long she had before she could confront that girl. Her knees took turns bouncing up and down, full of energy and impatience as she waited for the clock to strike midday and grant her the start of her mission.

With ten minutes left, Hannah could not concentrate at all on the lesson. Her attempts to keep some notes were already failing, but now her eagerness and impatience got the best of her.

With five minutes to go her brow started to sweat a little. She felt a small bead of salty water escape down the side of her face, giving the impression that she might be developing a fever or was already nursing one. Hannah bemoaned this, wishing to try and remain presentable to the curious, fascinating witch she was planning to talk to.

One minute to go and Hannah become one of the many students who would look at the teacher with annoyance, silently expressing that it was time to let them go. Hannah always hated that kind of behaviour but now she was one of those students. She shook her head again before glancing over her shoulder, trying to see the girl she was desperate to interact with.

Hannah saw Amanda sitting lazily at the desk, her feet and legs on the large structure of wood, seemingly lacking any kind of care for the time. The auburn-haired witch could just see the top of her head and the orange and red locks atop it. With her focus now on the American, Hannah could not help but wonder how she was born with such hair. Witches tended to produce amazing hairstyles on account of their magical blood and heritage, but such bright and vivid colours, matching her equally vivid eyes, began to draw Hannah in further.

And then the bell rang.

Both girls snapped out of their respective stupors, with Amanda just catching a glimpse of the British girl staring at her once again. Said Brit whipped her head around to the front and went to pack her things as quickly as she possibly could. Amanda watched the display with her own sense of curiosity, humoured at the uncharacteristic rushing from the Blue-team girl. Shaking her head she went to stand up, swinging her feet and legs off the desk and onto the wooden surface of the stairs. Stretching her back and arms, letting out a little groan, she proceeded to walk down the steps, looking forward to the clear air and the chance to get something in her stomach.

But as she passed the row containing Hannah, she was suddenly stopped by a hand grabbing her arm.

“Hey!”

Amanda’s looked toward the girl grabbing her and shouting at her, her face still blank and repressing a slight twinge of annoyance that hit her chest.

“Yo, what’s up H?” Amanda said, abbreviating Hannah’s name down to a simple, single letter. The girl seemed to be a little offended at that, a quick and short frown gracing her face before she shook her head.

“Where did you go earlier?” Hannah asked as she stood up, making sure Amanda stayed in place as she hesitantly removed her hand from the girls’ arm. Amanda felt a little shocked that anyone would ask, a “Huh” leaving her mouth before she tried to dismiss Hannah’s question.

“Ah, just had something to do, no biggie.” Amanda said.

You’re not wrong...’ Said a voice in Amanda’s head, joking about the subject. It might have made Amanda snicked if it was not troubling her so much. But alas, it just seemed like Hannah was being a little nosey, so Amanda thought that it might have been nice to have a chat with the girl.

“With Avery?”

Time seemed to slow down again.

Ah, shit.’

Chapter Text

“So?”

“So what?”

Hannah followed Amanda out of the classroom with a stern pout on her face, the pair pushing through and dodging past the leaving students in a series of skips and barges. If Amanda could she would have put her hands in her pockets, but her skirt continued to be the bane of her existence; all she could do was clench them as she wore a worried frown on her face. She really did not need the questioning, and the maroon-haired witch could not believe that she was seen.

What were you doing?” Hannah asked, putting emphasis on her opening word and dodging the last student in the way of her and Amanda, sighing in annoyance as she did so. “You can tell me, you know?” Hannah added, much to the befuddlement of Amanda.

“Uh, and why would I do that?” Amanda said, not bothering to look over her shoulder as she spoke her retort. Hannah groaned and rolled her eyes, shaking her head.

“Well, I don’t know, bu-” Hannah started, but was quickly interrupted by Amanda, the American turning on her heels and folding her arms. She bent forward as she continued to throw counters to the British witch.

“Then why are you asking?” Amanda’s irritation was evident. “I barely talk to you. You’re nicer now but...?” Her right hand went to her head before she motioned with it, her hand waving off the considerations as they held no weight in her mind. Her left went to her hip, and the students they had rushed past began to stride around them.

“What if I just want to talk, huh?” The bite in Hannah’s voice was gone. She was still insistent and a frown was still present on her face, but her eyes and tone softened, and Amanda could pick up the concern. The taller witch sighed, unfolding her arms and bringing a hand to her brow, stroking it in exasperation.

“What if I just want to be a friend and help you out, huh?” Hannah continued, frustration now lacing her tone, as well as a growing impatience. A need began to surface in her stomach, a need to not only be friendly, but to be helpful.

“Friends-” Amanda quote-marked the word with her fingers. “-do give each other space, ya know?” Amanda fought back wearily, growing increasingly uncomfortable from those bloodshot hazel eyes looking at her with such need and desire to comfort her.

Amanda did not need that.

Did not need her.

“So you don’t think I’m your friend?” Hannah spoke a little louder, feeling a bit more brash, slightly offended at the jibe, but also full of a different kind of concern. The concern was more selfish this time, a worry that feed into her other insecurities and fears. Amanda shook her head.

“Ugh, for fuck’s sake I’m not saying that.” Amanda countered in even heavier frustration, her vivid-green eyes begging Hannah to let her go free. But the British girl would not budge.

“Then talk to me!”

Hannah was not sure where that came from, and neither was Amanda, whose mouth hung open in surprise. From that reaction alone Hannah began to rue what she had just done, feeling small and embarrassed at such an outburst, despite no student or teacher picking up on it. Maybe her frustrations with Barbara and Lotte came out just then, she was not sure, but she knew she was in the wrong.

And Hannah badly wanted to rewind time, frightened that she had just ruined things.

The last of the students that they had ran ahead and barged past just moments ago now passed them, moving around and flowing between them as if they were not there, like water through a sieve.

“Look, this escalated quickly...” Hannah spoke quietly, her voice nearly drowned out by footsteps and chatter. “You’re obviously upset at something-” Once again, Hannah’s softer and more concerned voice was interrupted by Amanda, but the maroon-haired witch was not as abrasive as before.

“Then why not just leave me alone?”

Now Amanda was just blunt, tired and completely closed off. She glanced to the side, not bothering to look at the curious and distraught auburn-haired witch, before turning on her heels and walking away. She ignored the wave from Akko, who - with Diana - was walking up behind the bickering, tense duo.

Neither Amanda or Hannah could ignore the spike of emotional hurt in their stomachs, that erupted within them for different reasons. For Amanda it was clear; she just could not stand seeing Akko right now, particularly with Diana and especially after what she had just done because of her. The broom-dancer could not help but deflect blame onto the innocent, bouncy witch, even if her actions were her own.

She shook her head as she walked away, her face darkening as she cursed the fiery feelings inside of her, and the sheer pain that rocked her stomach and weighed on her heavily beating chest.

Hannah meanwhile stood still, her hands clenching at her skirt and her throat tight.

Why did people want her to go away all the time?

She just wanted to care for them, to be better than before.

Her own stomach and chest stirred as she watched Amanda walk away, her head hung low and her arms lowered and loosened. It was rare to not see the girl place her hands behind her head, all cocky and confident, tall and consuming of space and attention, and Hannah felt rattled at the continued difference of her new reality. This quick, little incident unsettled her further, as she continued to feel useless and discarded. Discarded and unable to allude any kind of trust.

Hannah just wanted to sink into the ground as she felt a shiver run up her back and a growing sense of insecurity vibrate through her bones, chilling her marrow.

Her heart seemed to beat slowly, and Hannah could not help but feel a deep feeling of giving up, before it picked up in pace as the loud and cheery brunette behind her spoke up, making her jump.

“Hey Hannah!” Hannah’s shoulders bolted upwards as she jumped, the startle from Akko making her spin around to meet the pairing before her. “Where’s Amanda going? We were meant to talk to her.” Akko’s puzzled expression contrasted heavily against Hannah’s solemn, defeated one, the British witch glancing to the side as she struggled to meet enthused, red eyes with her watery auburn ones.

“It did not go well, did it Hannah?” Diana then said in her calming voice, giving a telling look to Akko that only the brunette could decipher. The Japanese girl took a step back, nodding her head slightly and moving closer to the blonde, deciding to observe. Akko could not really describe it, but when Diana wanted her to be calm, she felt like she could, and she liked to brush her arm against the blondes in these moments.

Hannah did not notice this happening before her, and was barely able to pick up the soft, sympathetic question from her team leader. She blinked slowly, and her right hand grabbed her upper left arm, rubbing it up and down to comfort herself, seeing that the dark-haired person who would usually console her was busy chatting about fiction and theories.

Hannah forced out a reply.

“No...” She spoke silently, so she cleared her throat to speak it more clearly. “No.”

Even the usually oblivious Akko could sense that something was deeply wrong with Hannah, the girl appearing and sounding incredibly fragile and delicate. It was such a shift in character that it perturbed both Diana and Akko, with the latter almost missing the teasing, bratty nature of their interactions before they became acquaintances – loose friends at a push.

“Sorry.” Hannah suddenly said, fretting and sounding slightly panicky. “I should have left it to you Diana, I’m really-” But before Hannah could continue to flood out apologies and what ifs, Diana placed a hand on her shoulder, gently squeezing and rubbing it, smiling as softly as her words.

“It’s okay, please do not worry, you did what you thought was best.” Diana said, trying to reassure the breaking witch. Akko’s eyes lit up and she chimed in, nodding her head at her closest friend’s words.

“Yup yup! Who’s to say she would have listened to us either?” Akko spoke frankly, her own little what if idea sounding kinder to Hannah, and more realistic. “I mean, I would have followed her and stuff, she can be a real pain in the a-ah...”

Diana turned to face the brunette just behind her, an amused eyebrow raised. It made Akko pause and giggle nervously, and her hand rubbed the back of her head in slight embarrassment.

“Ah, well... you get the idea!” Akko amended, continuing to laugh a little while Diana turned back to face Hannah, who glancing look had turned downwards. The troubled girl had a bitter smile on her face, appreciating the words and tone from Akko, but unable to shake her feelings of failure and regret. Hannah deeply wished that she could have got through to Amanda, to talk to her and find out what was wrong and where she had gone, and why with Avery.

Maybe the conversation could have led somewhere.

It could have been about discussing their problems after finding out all the reasons, learning more about why Amanda was currently in such a state and why the girl would skip out on so much education. Hannah knew that the American was not the biggest fan of attending Luna Nova, having found out that the girl was more or less forced to by her parents. Perhaps being a person Amanda could talk to would have helped her?

Hell, Hannah thought that, at the very least, the two could have had a more casual conversation, maybe discussing more what they had done over the summer and what their plans were during the weekends and breaks. What really were their plans after Luna Nova? Perhaps the two could have discussed that, suggested things, offered to help each.

Hannah’s pondering and reflection paused.

Why was she even thinking this..?

“Hannah?”

Hannah’s head bolted upright as her name was mentioned by Diana, shattering her internal questioning completely. She blinked rapidly and ‘Uh’d’ for a solid two seconds, swallowing and wetting her lips before she replied.

“Ye-yeah?” Hannah stuttered out, not missing the wincing from Akko who had stepped forward, now right beside Diana and closer to the shaken Blue-team girl. Both girls looked very worried for her, and Hannah winced at the assumptions the two would make over her.

“Hey...” Akko said, her tone as soft as Diana’s had been, catching the fragile witch off guard. It was uncommon for Akko to be this quiet. Caring? Sure. But quiet at the same time?

Almost unnerving.

“It’s lunch time, so how about you talk to us instead?” Akko offered, eliciting a glance from Diana. Her blue eyes widened a little, surprised that Akko had asked such a question, as well as being concerned about the timing. Diana turned her head back around as Hannah stuttered out a very hesitant, uncooperative response.

“Ah well, um...” Hannah struggled to speak, looking Diana in the eyes and hoping the blonde could get her out of the situation. Diana had a strong idea as to why Hannah was feeling so down as of late, but knew that the girl was not ready for a discussion on it.

Especially with the persons in question likely sitting on the same canteen table.

“Hey come on Hannah, you can talk to Shiny Akko!” Akko encouraged, her hands outstretching as she teased herself, setting a dramatic pose and doing a twirl, her hands and arms just missing the flustering Diana beside her. Hannah continued to object as Diana tried to calm Akko down, asking her directly.

“Ah no, it’s okay Diana... she just wants to help, but I...” Hannah paused as something caught her peripheral vision, walking up along the side of the corridor wall, chatting away and walking calmly. They carried their books between folded arms and strolled along without a care in the world, not caring that they left the class so late and that they would be at the back of the lunch queue.

She had never seen Barbara so happy and bright, and her eyes seemed to soak in the light dusting on Lotte’s cheeks as they discussed whatever they were talking about, unloading all of their class times thoughts at once.

Hannah swore that the twinge in her heart was it breaking.

And Diana could see the sheer pain on her blank face and dead eyes.

“Let’s get you to our dorm, okay Hannah?” Diana strode forward, moving herself to be a block in Hannah’s vision, a new object for her brain to process. Akko continued to be astute with Diana’s actions and proceeded to help her good friend.

“Ye-yeah!” Akko stuttered a little, a bout of energy running through her as adrenaline hit her veins, the delicacy of the situation getting to the bouncy brunette. “I think ya need a lie down!” Akko added, moving to the other side of Hannah. She barely reacted as Diana hummed.

“Mhmm...” Diana placed her hand on the top of Hannah’s back to slowly guide her along, heading the long way round to the Blue-team dorm. At first she would not budge, but after a few more words of comfort and encouragement from Diana and Akko, Hannah slowly began to take careful, delicate steps. The odd student that stayed around the hallway looked on with their own worry and concern, disconcerted at the state of a fellow witch, but too intimidated or unsure as to whether they should chime in or help.

“There we go Hannah, just small steps.” Diana said even softly, her voice quiet and almost a whisper, her hand now lightly rubbing the girls back. Akko nodded, her hands now clasping each other ahead of her chest.

“Yup yup, one step at a time, you can do it.” Akko also spoke quietly as she restrained herself, her face adorning a determined frown, mingling with her own worry. Diana turned her gaze to Akko.

“Akko, dear?” Diana said on instinct, missing the address she had used. Akko swallowed and felt her cheeks prickle a little, being as she was not used to being described as such a thing.

“Yeah?” Akko wobbled out, her fingers starting to mingle with each other in her clasped hands.

“Can you bring Hannah and us some food? I am sure the fairies would understand.” Diana requested with a sad smile on her face, knowing that Akko would be more than happy to see to it. Diana would not be disappointed as Akko nodded her head for the billionth time in the past ten minutes, her resolute, sad frown morphing into a determined smile and grin.

“Gotcha.” Her voice remained quieter to prevent a startle from Hannah. “I’ll be with ya as soon as I can, Dia.” The short and cute little nickname – that Akko had thought of on the spot – was punctuated with her spinning on her heels and dashing off to the canteen, leaving the heiress with her own dash of pink on her cheeks as returned her gaze forward, not wanting to crash into any student, teacher or pillar.

Meanwhile, Akko felt a fluster hit her as she realised what she had just said, confused that her wacky and spontaneous brain had let that-

Ah, no, never mind.

It made complete sense.

But it was still confusing to her! Like, sure, she was getting really close to Diana now, to the point where they would complete their – read her – homework together in each other’s dorms, eat beside each other at the canteen and poke and play with each other in classes, but nicknames were a really intimate thing!

Sure, it was nice to hold her hand from time to time, but there was nothing more to that. Just a silly little thing between the two, a sign of just how much of a best friend she was to Diana, and Diana to her.

I think.’ Akko concluded in her head, barely dodging an ex-performer that held many, many books in her hands and on her arms.

“Akko!” The red-haired Professor Chariot shouted, just about able to keep her balance as her head and neck followed the speeding Japanese witch. Said witch looked back briefly with her red eyes and cheeks, waving an apology as she continued her important run to the canteen to complete Diana’s vital task.


Amanda did not bother going to lunch.

Nor did she intend to go to the class after it.

She walked down the corridor towards her dorm room, her head still hung low and her fists clenching her skirt. A growing disdain grew within her at the piece of clothing as it adorned no pockets of any kind, no place for her to place her hands, no place for her to hide. She always had a kind of hatred for them, but being as she did not want to break the rules all the time, she abided by the traditional dress code and the mandatory uniform.

Sometimes she wished she could just burn all the skirts and put on some jeans or baggy track-suit bottoms. Hell, even some trousers would be a-ok in her book, as long as she could put her blasted, sweaty hands in them.

The thought of her hands made her remember what she had done earlier, what she allowed herself to do and happen.

And suddenly she felt like she needed to wash them.

But being that her parents could not be bothered to give her a higher class dorm, despite their wealth, she was stuck without a sink for the next few hours, because she had absolutely no desire or want to be anywhere else but atop her bed. She wanted to just bury her head into the pillow and lock the door, desperate to just be alone and wallow in her sorrow and bad decisions.

What bit at her the most was that she would not discount doing it again. Her frustration was still strong, as was her anger and need for something different, something new and fun. And now that she had tasted just how wonderful that kind of release could be, deep within her regretful thoughts was a need to do it again.

It was harmless fun, in the end.

That was what Amanda kept telling herself as she reached the door to her dorm, whipping out her wand and unlocking the mechanism to allow herself into one of her few solaces in this cursed magical academy. She hated the weight of expectation placed upon her; by her parents and by her sudden title as one of the New Nine Witches.

Even that felt tainted by Akko.

And it drove home harder the despair that plagued her mind. Amanda was desperate to get the girl out of her head, desperate to find a way out of this romantic hole she had jumped into and dug to such a depth.

As she collapsed onto her bed, kicking the door closed and not bothering to lock it, tossing her wand onto the floor, she sighed as her face slammed into the pillow. Her bones moaned at the softened force of the landing, and one of her legs hung loosely off the side of the mattress, but she did not care.

The only thing on her mind was her actions...

Akko...

And why the hell Hannah England cared so damn much about her missing a few classes...

Chapter Text

A few days had passed since Amanda’s morning escapade with Avery and the brash, boyish witch laid despondently on her ruffled bedsheets. She passed by the morning hours of Saturday alone by staring blankly at the bunk above her, her hands trapped between her throbbing head and the warm, messy pillow. She wished that she could sink through them into another world, one where she was away from Luna Nova, one where she was back home.

It felt like months had passed in that long and draining week as her conflicted mind tore itself to pieces, questioning whether what she did was right or not. Her urges had yet to pass, neither had the crippling loneliness and bitterness that was drowning her, washing away the sense of self that she had built up from her childhood. Feelings of homesickness and melancholy dominated her spirit and she felt completely bed bound.

While Amanda could maintain the façade of cocky confidence, she could not stop her grin from falling the moment she was out of sight of any of her friends or acquaintances, be it in an empty hallway, a barren courtyard or the comfort of her own room. But even in her room she was not free from prying eyes and concerned words. Constanze would glance at her with a never-ending curiosity, while Jasminka would talk to her with unceasing worry. It drained Amanda of any energy she had left and as she slept for hours upon hours, arriving late to class or skipping them entirely, the maroon-haired witch wished for the solace of last year.

Where she had no crush, no worries, just the desire to leave Luna Nova as soon as she could and create some havoc along the way, pissing off some teachers and having pointless, fun flings with the odd witch that crossed her path.

But now her mind was wrapped up in a losing crush and regretful sex, even if she felt it was all worth it, even if she felt she could still win. It sharply contrasted her laid-back mindset from before and she cursed the feelings that developed inside of her, feelings that made her cringe at the thought of flirting or making out with some girl in her year or above.

She freed her right hand from its trap, but only to grasp onto the ruffled bedsheets harshly.

She was sick of laying on her bed all the time and she needed the only release she knew was safe and right.

Her trusty broom and the open, vast skies that always gave her the comfort she needed.

She could imagine it now as she closed her dry eyes, slightly darkened around the edges from a lack of peaceful sleep; the gentle breeze of the dying summer air flowing through her two-toned hair and grazing her face, the calming ambience of bird formations and civilisation below her. To fly with no end was her dream; to fly to the edge of the Earth and come tumbling back down again was her life.

She opened her eyes, once more revealing her dulled green orbs and the veins around her pupils. Her eye lashes fluttered as she blinked rapidly, sitting up and wincing as her muscles and bones protested. She brought her knees up and rested her head on them, giving her body more time to adjust to the concept of movement. The slipping cover betrayed her state; lacking anything but a white, short sleeved top and plain, grey boxers. She would often switch between what kind of undergarment to wear depending on her mood and emotions, whatever comforted her the most.

It was such a waste of time lying in bed for so long, doing nothing but sleeping and reflecting on a past she could not change and a situation she could not alter. Every minute passed was more time that Akko spent with Diana, less chance for her to change the brunette’s mind as to who she should love.

She could not take things back from Avery either. She could only make another offer or simply forget about it, and her buzzing and blurry mind was not sure if either of the two options were good.

Alas, Amanda needed some fresh air in her lungs, and that took precedence in the moment.

She swung her legs off the bed and the tips of her feet landed on the cool, wooden flooring. She brought her hands and arms overhead and stretched, twisting from side to side, rotating and pulling her muscles to shake off the last vestiges of sleep and fatigue. She felt in need of a long, hot shower and quickly concluded that she could dry her damp hair withthe air that would ripple through it. With that idea in her mind she grabbed a fresh bundle of clothes from beside her bed.

It was a fresh set of uniform that had been cleaned by Jasminka, or at least that was what Amanda thought. The pink-haired witch was always keen to help out where she could and the tomboy always appreciated it when it happened, so it was a very natural assumption for her. She would always try to reward Jasminka with a gift when that happened, and so she had found a reason to leave the grounds.

Travel to the local town and pick up some chocolates.

Maybe some broom polish too.

A box of nuts and bolts too, perhaps?

Amanda hummed with humour as she grabbed her broom from underneath the bed, hunching down and reaching for it blindly. Once she grasped it, she tucked it underneath her arm so she could carry her fresh clothes. However, she paused and thought wisely, and first deposited some shower gel, mouthwash and her wand onto the stack of clothes before continuing on.

She may have been down in the dumps, but Amanda still knew what to do; still had that little bit of effort to make her life a little easier.

With her freest hand Amanda opened the worn wooden door and danced around it, facing the door as she entered the corridor, closing and locking it before down the slightly dusty and creaking hallway. The flesh of her bare feet hitting the wooden panelling and then the granite as she stepped out onto the main halls rang out, providing a gentle tune to her sensitive ears.

She heard the odd whispers of students, who were lacking in number as they were out for the weekend or resting in their rooms. They were gossiping about her state in various manners...

She heard one of them bemoan the indignity she had in being so bare in public.

Amanda paid no mind to it.

She heard another one of the students ponder where she had been in all week, given her inconsistent appearances.

Amanda paid no mind to that either.

As she continued to walk down the hallway, reaching a set of stairs that would take her to the showers, she heard another voice whisper about her. It had a Latin accent to it, noticeable but not overwhelming to the English she spoke.

The slight deepness to it, like sticky honey dripping from a spoon, instantly gave away the Frenchwoman who admired her physique.

“Wow, you really keep yourself in shape, hm?”

Amanda paused before the stairwell and glanced to the side with her bloodshot eyes to see the slightly taller, red haired student lightly smirk at her, barely able to portray innocence as she unabashedly eyed the slightly shorter witch.

“Oh, hey Sarah.”

“Hey.” The two bid each other a verbal welcome after Sarah’s red eyes were greeted by the barely clothed Amanda. It was not common for Sarah to see another witch in such a state, nor react the way she did, but for some reason she found herself breaking convention. She could not explain why but she felt like teasing Amanda a little and having a little chat, just to see how long she could keep the girl by the stairwell.

She blamed Avery’s influence for that.

“Ya need something?” Amanda asked with a strained, croaky voice, her tired state ever more evident in the ears and eyes of the French student. It snapped Sarah out of her little internal bickering and put her back into the moment.

“No, not really.” Sarah quickly responded, blinking as she returned her attention to a slightly impatient, but apparently curious Amanda. An eyebrow of hers was raised and a very small smirk was upon her lips.

Sarah continued. “I was just curious as to why you are walking around with so little on.” She giggled a little, a neck tilting to the side a little as she raised her own eyebrow. Amanda shook her head and shrugged.

“Eh, no point since I’m going in the shower.”

“Fair enough, but don’t let a teacher catch you, you know what they are like.” As much as she found humour in the situation, Sarah did wish to give the maroon-haired girl a heads up. Amanda hummed in appreciation before beginning to walk off.

But Sarah called for her.

“Oh wait!” She raised her voice, not sure as to why she was so keen to keep Amanda were she was. The witch paused instantly at the call of her name, twisting to the side and looking even more impatient.

“Hey, I appreciate the attention, but...” Amanda said, trailing off with a very large, clear hint that she wanted to head off to the showers. Sarah pushed through however, a little fire in her belly as the back of her mind took over.

“Well, if you give me a second..?”

Amanda nodded, giving Sarah the go ahead.

“I genuinely need a full run down on the history of brooms.”

“Eh?” Amanda was confused as Sarah spoke with exasperation, slouching down a little and sighing as if she had just ran a short marathon. [I can actually picture the animation for this and I love it so much] Sarah elaborated on her request and straightened her back, trying to forget the mischievous and opportunistic pang in her chest.

“Seriously. I take the Magical Histories class remember?” Amanda nodded at the rhetorical question, prompting Sarah to continue. “I need a keen enthusiast like yourself to give me a shakedown for an essay I need to do next week.” Sarah finished off with a smile, a smile that became a little wavy and unsure as Amanda raised her eyebrow once more, her expression sceptical and unconvinced.

“Huh...”

“Please~?” Sarah trailed pleadingly, clasping her palms together in a pray as she begged Amanda to help her out. Amanda began to weigh her options in her head. To her it did make sense for Sarah to come to her for such a topic, given that she wanted to go into some kind of career related to brooms. But it seemed to come out of no where, as if the whole situation was prompted by her just being in Sarah’s gaze.

Which, given how suggestive it was when they first crossed eyes...

“I guess I could...” Amanda spoke in an open manner, almost teasingly. However Sarah thought the deal was sealed, fist pumping and smirking to congratulate herself, her eyes wincing shut at the joy of it all.

“Aw yes! Thanks-!”

Amanda interrupted her.

“Ah ah ah... what’s in it for moi?” The maroon-haired witch spoke in a manner that was certainly teasing this time, speaking a word from the taller girl’s native tongue. Now it was how turn to smirk as Sarah opened her eyes and became suddenly bashful, unsure as to where to proceed.

“Ahaha, ah, um...” Sarah stuttered, her hands fidgeting and her index fingers colliding into each other. “Well...”

“Yes..?”

After a few more moments where Sarah rebuilt her confidence, she settled her breathing down and ignored her heart that began to beat just a little bit faster. Swallowing, her red eyes scanned the witch up and down, suggestive and coy, emitting the sureness and certainty that had just returned to her.

“...lets just say I can make it worth your time..?”

Ah...’ Now it was clear as day what Sarah really wanted. She had not taken the girl to be so eager for a little fling, even if she was so new to that kind of thing. ‘Well, I’m new to it too, I suppose.’ Indeed, a vibe had settled on the second year students, and the casual flirting that may have been present before was now transforming into something more intimate, experimental and curious.

Though it could have been Avery’s influence too.

Amanda’s pausing had become evident and Sarah cleared her throat. Amanda had been glancing to the side as she pondered what to do and evaluated the situation, from before and now. She was not certain, not at all, and the happenings with herself and Avery barely a week ago plagued her mind, as well as the reasons why she had done such a thing to begin with.

But…

Why not? I can just say no, can’t I?’

“...sure.”

And so Amanda sailed herself further down the river the chose to go down, burying her doubts, angst and worries for the time being.

It was just for fun.

Nothing more.

It was not like Akko was an option any more.

“Awesome!” Sarah meanwhile was elated, her eyes brightening and her nerves vanishing as Amanda settled her mind with the little agreement. “Meet me at the Library at five! I need to pick up some books first and then we can head to my dorm.” Amanda nodded and hummed as Sarah gave out the instructions. The French girl had a little extra thing to say though.

“Dorm buds are out tonight, so...” She was not precise, but Sarah’s hinting words and tone and her eyes glancing to the side in mischief said it all. Amanda hummed a little laugh, amused at the little display.

“Don’t worry, I get ya.” Amanda calmed her nerves further, smirking as Sarah giggled lightly. Amanda turned on her heels and walked into the stairwell, taking the route downstairs. She raised her hand into the air. “See ya then.”

“Thanks~!” Came Sarah from behind her, enthusiastic at the little date tonight. Amanda could here her dash along, her footsteps quickly paced.

“...hm.” Amanda hummed to herself, continuing her walk downstairs. Her mind processed and broke down the conversation and offer that had just happened, reaching a conclusion that was short and full of implication.

I guess another round won’t hurt, right?’


The mild autumn air breezed through Hannah’s hair as she stood at the main entrance of Luna Nova, shifting and shaping her hair every now and then. The witch, looking down to her feet with a sad, monotone gaze, kicked and kicked at the gravel beneath her. She gripped her broom loosely and her body felt lacking in energy. Her mood had yet to pick up after the incident during the week, where she finally realised that her Barbara was lost to her. Right now Hannah felt at best alone.

Alone and in her own company, happy to be swallowed by it and left by the wayside.

Hannah was content to just stand there at the entrance, being a solitary figure as others passed by. She had no solid plans nor anyone to plan them with anyway. Barbara was hanging out with Lotte again, the thought of what the two may be doing making her blood boil and her stomach churn. Diana was likely with Akko, meaning the auburn-eyed witch could not go to her for a study session. Hannah was stumped. With this, and the distance she felt with the others in the clique, she began to question whether her self-imposed exile was as selfless as she thought.

As Hannah was so caught up in her own melancholy she did not notice the footsteps behind her, slow and chilled out, slowly drawing closer to her.

“Who ya waiting for, England?” Came a distinct, cocky accent from behind the mentioned witch. Hannah jumped at the words but turned around slowly, her eyes heavy and her expression appearing tired and beaten.

“Wha..?” Hannah breathlessly questioned, it barely sounding like a question at all. It was like she did not care. Amanda could tell that there was more to it though. Not only did the English girl appear exhausted and mentally shattered, but she was quiet, almost fragile.

Her posture was hunched and her aura was closed off, a feeling of there being a shell around her permeating through the atmosphere. It broke through the vibe of the autumn day and it made Amanda forget her own troubles for a while.

A concern settled upon the tomboy.

“You’re not often alone, is all.” Amanda commented accurately, an eyebrow raised as her expression took a more neutral tone. She wanted to draw out whatever was wrong with the upper-class student. Or, at least, make her feel comfortable enough to have her abrasive self around.

“...” The lack of a response was a poor start for Amanda, but the American persisted. She pushed on with her attempts at small talk.

“See ya have your broom...” Amanda stated, her eyes darting to the broom in Hannah’s hands and then back to the bloodshot eyes that glanced away from her. “Heading to town too?”

Hannah took her time replying. “...maybe.” She hesitantly mumbled, only briefly glancing back up to gaze at Amanda’s piecing green-eyes before eyeing up the gravel once more. Time passed and the two stood in silence.

“...”

“...”

It was an awkward pause.

Amanda bent her neck a little, looking away into nothing as she let the atmosphere get to her. It was never nice being in such an awkward and unwelcoming situation, but Amanda felt a strange urge to push on. She could have just bid her farewells, walked away and then flown off, leaving the little interaction as a footnote in her day.

But...

It did not seem right to leave Hannah alone like this.

However, Amanda was not sure what to say to try and continue the conversation. Words alluded her, like a needle in a haystack or a shy hamster in their cage. The normally talkative, cocky witch was again feeling out of character, and she could not pinpoint why. Was it her battered emotional state, her frazzled mind continuing to play havoc on her? Was it what had happened through the week?

Then her mind suddenly flashed images of the two’s argument in the hallway. Her eyes widened slightly as the thought hit her and the excuse to continue talking flew straight into her voice box.

“Look... I’m sorry about last week.” Her voice felt soft but croaky and Amanda could not help but pause as she apologised, unused to the concept of saying sorry. Hannah continued to take her time responding. It put Amanda at an unease that she had not felt before. It was different then what she felt for herself, given that it came from another person, since it was so different to how the auburn-haired girl used to be.

“...okay.” Hannah eventually responded, the little affirmation coming from underneath her breath. She was still looking down and away from Amanda, as if she was scared of the girl. Indeed, Hannah felt timid and insecure in the environment she was in, but she was not exactly scared. Hannah could not describe it, but a part of her wanted to open up to these small advances from the maroon and red-haired witch.

Meanwhile, Amanda felt motivated by the response. It was better than nothing, so she continued in an attempt to reassure the girl further.

“I mean it, I’m having a tough time... but it’s no excuse.” Amanda began with sincerity, taking a step closer to Hannah. When Hannah did not respond negatively to the approach, Amanda continued. “You meant well, didn’t ya?” She questioned, already knowing the answer.

“...yes.” Hannah said with little emotion, but Amanda already believed it anyway. It was easy for Amanda to tell when Hannah was being genuine, given how Hannah had been trying to make amends for her taunts and bullying from last year.

But her rattled state during the little feud had buried all of that, and Amanda really wanted to make amends herself. A smirk soon appeared on her lips as she went to tease the depressed Blue-sashed student.

“Ah, you’re the queen of one-word answers today.” Amanda voice had more of her old self within it than all of the past few weeks combined. She suddenly felt a little more free to be her real self, even if it was at the expense of Hannah’s frowning brows.

“...shut up.” Hannah responded with mock-irritation. Amanda swore she could see a little pout on her face, but her mouth was moving faster than her brain to let it sink in.

“Hey! Two words, slowly but surely aye?” Amanda teased further, taking another step forward and lightly bumping her shoulder into Hannah’s. Hazel eyes darted to frown further at Amanda, propelled to meet those glimmering green orbs by her neck whipping round as the sudden contact made her jump.

But her façade slightly broke, and a little giggle escaped past her dry lips.

“Heh... shut up.” Hannah spoke with little conviction, looking away from Amanda’s growing smirk and enthusiasm. shaking her head and straightening her neck

“Three~” Amanda trailed, moving her index finger in a circle and closing her eyes. Her voice oozed with tease, but behind it there was something more.

It sounded like the two had been friends forever.

Hannah rolled her eyes with a sad, small smile on her lips. Amanda caught the little dismissal and cackled for a bit before relaxing onto the wall that was behind Hannah. She stood next to the girl, her back touching the cool wall, her broom placed to rest upon it too, and her hands behind her head. Hannah exhaled a breath she did not know she had but settled down quickly, her features returning to something more neutral.

A silence settled upon the two as they appreciated each other’s presence. They soaked in the scenery before them: The long gravel path towards the ancient gates of Luna Nova, it protected by a field of magic to prevent unwelcome guests. White clouds dotted the blue sky and moved with serenity, dissolving and appearing slowly and with patience.

Birds chirped happily.

The wind blew smoothly.

Then a drop of water suddenly sounded out as it splattered upon the gravel, the noise soft and gentle. Hannah credited her excellent hearing for noticing such a thing and she craned her neck once again. When she turned around she saw that Amanda had her eyes closed and was breathing slowly, seemingly with no cares in the world.

Hannah’s stomach burned a little.

“Did you just get out of the shower or something?” Hannah’s question made Amanda open her eyes, but the English girl had another comment on her tongue before Amanda could open her mouth. “Your hair is drenched” It was an obvious statement and something she should have picked up earlier, though the intention to tease back was not missed by Amanda.

“Aye, thought I’d have a fly to dry it out.” Amanda explained casually, her eyes closing again. “Jasminka gave me an excuse to head out to town, so yeah.”

“Ah, what did she do?”

“Sent my clothes to get washed.”

The quick, unfiltered response caught Hannah off and she found herself dumbfounded. A short pause drifted in the air as Hannah frowned at the taller witch, appearing almost disgusted.

“...are you that lazy?” Hannah proceeded to jibe, making Amanda double take. Green eyes made their appearance once more as Amanda made a questioning noise in response.

“Huh?”

“The goblins and faeries do the washing for us, unless you and Akko have ticked off Finnelan for the two billionth time.” Within her haughty explanation was something more akin to her normal self; mocking, albeit more friendly than hostile. “Can you really not be bothered to walk down some stairs?” Hannah’s tone then turned to exasperation. It was stunning to her that the brute has no energy to wash her own personal belongings and leaving it to her friends.

“Hey, a girl’s got better things to do!” Amanda argued with no instance to back the statement up. She would only give a few when Hannah pressed for one, her eyebrow raised and her expression unbelieving and impatient.

“Like what?”

“Broom dancing, doing other girls? I dunno.” Amanda almost winced as her cocky answer fit so poorly with her mindset. It felt awkward that both situations were so factual and her mind continued to feel conflicted. Her carefree attitude should not care about such things, but here she was secretly feeling flustered and off-put.

Meanwhile Hannah was in her own odd state. She hid it well - as she already wore a curious frown disguised as something more frustrated - but her mind suddenly flashed images of Avery.

Once more her stomach began to burn. Her brain cells vibrated with curiosity and conspiracy, thinking of the day that she saw Amanda and Avery walking together up that flight of stairs. The two rarely ever walked together, more talking whenever one of the two happened to within earshot of the other, so the incident was already strange enough.

But what Amanda just said?

It just left Hannah feeling ever more...

...worried?

“...so crass.” Was all she could reply with, her voice returning to a mumble as she turned her gaze away from the tomboy. Amanda felt a weird vibe suddenly emanate from Hannah, noticing the sudden change in her demeanour.

“Haha, sorry H, I know you’re a girl of oh-so-sweet innocence.” Amanda’s voice wobbled as she finished response, wincing at the tone of it. In an attempt to salvage the situation, the boyish witch awkwardly gave an apology that sounded more like a flirtation. Jennifer only knew how Hannah would react to such a thing and Amanda became deeply worried that she had just ruined the conversation completely.

Her fists clenched and her teeth gritted as she tensed up, her belly tightening as a social anxiety wrapped over her. This was not like her at all, to be frightened over some misplaced words.

It made her feel pathetic.

“Shush.”

But the quiet little squeak from the posh, little witch brushed all that worry to the side. When Amanda refocused her attention on those auburn locks and the and the cherry red skin on her cheeks that beamed heat, her despair transformed into it’s own kind of heat. Hannah was still looking away but Amanda could tell that she was also pouting, and those brightly burning cheeks made her look ever so adorable.

It was not a thought that came across often in regards to Hannah, at least in Amanda’s mind. But it was a pleasant thought none the less.

Before things felt awkward again, Amanda restarted the little back and forth between them, referring back to what she had asked when she first arrived.

“Say, if you can’t be arsed to wait, why not come with me?” Amanda offered, thinking that Hannah had waited for too long for whoever she was waiting for. Hannah snapped out of her daze, letting out her breath harshly, turning her head back to face Amanda.

“To town?”

“No, to the forest...” Amanda rolled her eyes in mock condescension, earning a quiet grumble from Hannah. Amanda waved off her frustrations and continued. “Yeah, of course the town!” Hannah was not convinced.

“Ugh, and why would I go with the likes of you?” Hannah could not help but fight back against the offer. It was almost instinctual for her when it came to Amanda and the back of her mind scolded her for it.

She really did want the company, but part of her was fighting against that.

“Oof, harsh!” Amanda was not too phased however, though her heart beat just a little bit quicker. She beamed a genuine smile as she tried to convince the stubborn girl. “Come on, at least fly alongside me for a bit. We can have that chat if you like?” It was another reference that Amanda could cast back to. Hannah picked up on it herself, humming with false indecision.

“I don’t know, you can be a pain to talk to.” Despite the mocking words they felt friendly and real, as if Amanda had been her friend for years, and implied she wanted to ‘have that chat’. It would be a nice distraction at worst.

Amanda herself was relieved. While she was being genuine and real, wanting to have a little talk with Hannah, she really want to distract herself. She might not spill all of the details, if any at all, but the option was there to vent to the often closed-off girl. Perhaps, Amanda thought, she could get Hannah to open up more too.

The bratty witch had lost her vigour too, and it was a shame to see all that confidence and arrogance fall to the wayside.

“Heh, that’s the spirit.” Amanda hummed and patted the girl on her shoulder, earning a little jump from the smaller witch. “Come on, it’ll do ya good; you do seem really down ya self.” Amanda noted, showing to Hannah that she had noticed the change in attitude. The girl in question felt her chest grow heavy at the sentence but accepted the aid, humming and nodding slowly.

“Yeah...”

Amanda started to walk off, finding some space to become airborne. Hannah hung back for a while, her hazel eyes boring into the back of the taller, freckled girl that had suddenly approached her. Waves of appreciation washed over her as her mind processed all that had just happened, and suddenly she could feel the light breeze in the air again, and the warm glow of the autumn sun.

She could not help but look forward to the afternoon ahead, even if it was just a broom ride or full of questions. Hannah had some company now and she felt like she could breath properly again.

Hannah exhaled a breath she did not know she was keeping, a common occurrence today.

Chapter Text

Air blew onto Hannah’s face in a gentle stream, and a whispering sound coursed through her ears. The witch rode her broom only a metre away from Amanda, who appeared stoic and unreadable, watching her from the side but just behind the gaze of those vivid green eyes. It was made more difficult to tell what she was thinking as Hannah rode slightly behind her, unsure as to where things would go.

It had been a decent dozen minutes since the pair left the solid, secure earth for the freedom and embrace of the sky. It was like an oceanic expanse today, only dotted with the odd cloud that the two witches dodged and flew through with ease. Hannah could feel the moisture in these clouds, the evaporated water within leaving a lasting presence on her brow. It was almost as imposing as Amanda’s vibe.

Even as the normally cocky and arrogant tomboy appeared more fragile and reserved, she still emitted a strong aura of confidence and control. Hannah thought that maybe the broom flying was the cause. It has always been a strong point for the American, something she could always brag about and teach, a self-proclaimed master without the proclamation. Amanda may have been one to gloat, but when it came to her skills on that long wooden stick it seemed to be lacking. Sure, she would make the odd statement about her being some kind of dancer in the past or racer in the present, but it never felt boastful.

It clashed with her aura, at times. A strange enigma that Hannah could not quite figure out.

“So, what’s up Hannah?”

Hannah blinked as the accented voice shot through her eardrums, cascading through her senses like water down a melting glacier. When her gaze refocused after a few seconds she found Amanda grinning at her, obviously having found the auburn-haired witch stare at her with her hazel eyes. The upper-class, delicate girl suppressed a blush.

“Me first, huh?” Hannah questioned backed, catching her embarrassment and salvaging a decent, combative reply. She sounded more resigned than ready for a fight, but it was better than stammering and stuttering.

“Well, why not?”

“Why..?” Hannah’s tone required more than a simple offhanded comment. Amanda raised a eyebrow, letting a coy smile grace her lips as she tried to encourage her acquaintance.

“I can tell.” Amanda started. “The bags under your eyes, for one.” As if to back up her point she pointed at Hannah’s general direction, moving her finger to below her own eyes. Amanda was always an emotive speaker, thought Hannah, matching Akko’s mannerisms. Their hands would dance and emit so much feeling and energy.

It was like putting a dot over letters; making sure the meaning was not lost in translation and reading.

However, as Hannah’s bloodshot eyes focused in on where those short nails were pointing to, she could not help but notice something was amiss.

Something unfortunately similar.

“We both have eyes an undead would envy...”

Amanda was caught off-guard and quickly forced out a recovery.“Yeah well I asked first, so there.” She stuck out her tongue, suppressing the churning in her stomach as Hannah unwittingly probed her. A nervous laughter escaped from her parched mouth and she turned back to face the sky.

A part of her said that she only wanted to make sure they were not going to collide into everything.

The other part of her knew that she needed to recover from that hiccup.

Hannah watched on. She felt curiosity bubble in her tummy, mixed with a pungent, burning worry and fear. Amanda was having more and more moments like this, suddenly breaking off character and appearing fragile and distant, and it intrigued Hannah to no end. But she was concerned that she had maybe ruined the aura of the conversation already. A frightening feeling flooded her.

She felt paranoid and nervous. Anxiety pounded at her rationality, overwhelming it with feelings of dread and regret. She was just trying to help her, so why was she fighting back? Why make such a comment when the focus was clearly on her? Why rattle-

“You look like you’re in need of it more.”

Hannah jumped as her colleague snapped her back into reality.

Amanda had commented with sincerity, having observed the unease and despondent attitude that Hannah had garnered over the past few weeks and just now. The tomboy could see the panic and fear in those wide, hazel eyes as she took her time replying to the delicate girl and felt compulsion to say something, anything.

Hannah glanced to the side. She did not have it in her to deny the statement, nor the nerve to even try. She swallowed, burying the instinct to deny.

“I guess...” Hannah spoke lowly, her voice just above a whisper so her flying partner could hear her.

Amanda could feel her inner voice sighing in relief.

“I just...” Amanda paused again. Hannah said nothing, still looking away.“I dunno.” Amanda could feel her confidence sapping away again, the words she felt inclined to say escaping her. A part of her wanted to show how much she appreciated Hannah’s attempted intervention last week, but something was holding her back.

There was another pause. It was short, lasting only a few seconds. Amanda felt it best to at least apologise for her outburst on that day.

“Like, I am sorry, ya know?” The American finally uttered, catching the attention of the British witch as she adjusted on her broom. “I didn’t mean to lash out, it was just a bad day.” It was an honest confession and an genuine apology, even if her feet rubbed against each other, fighting through the friction of the rubber on her trainers.

A light gust of turbulent air hit the duo as they flew near a larger, slightly darker cloud. Their brooms and their honed skills meant they barely noticed it, though the conversation at hand was a decent enough distraction to begin with.

“And I can tell you’re going through some shit...” Amanda suddenly started again, regaining any attention that Hannah might have lost as she kept her broom stable and straight. “We’ve been around other people long enough to know when someone is off, ya get me?” Hannah was hesitant as Amanda threw a question to her.

“...sure, yes, you’re right.”

“About the ‘knowing when people are off’ thing or you having troubles?” Admittedly to Amanda it sounded like she was teasing, but she did want to make sure she was on the right track with their talk.

Hannah giggled a little, it sounding weak but a little mocking.

“Heh, both... dumbass.” Hannah insulted while Amanda appreciated the little banter, changing the pace of the chat. Amanda fought back quickly.

“Hey! It can be difficult to tell sometimes!” As Amanda had just recently demonstrated, raising her voice in mock hurt and defence. “Girls can be so hard to read, gosh.”

“Wha... how would you know that?”

“Well I am a girl...” Amanda teased back, smirking and pointing a finger at her chest. Hannah rolled her eyes with a little curve of her lips.

“Oh stop.”

“Hahaha...”

Through the banter and chatter the two girls felt encouraged over how naturally the conversation flowed and ebbed through different and similar topics. The warmth of the autumn day helped them feel more comfortable in a more general sense. The cooling breeze as they flew through the blue sky, dotted only by the odd grey cloud and wispy whiteness, kept them from feeling too hot. The unbridled warmth of the beating sun, free to shine its rays down onto them, kept them from feeling too cold.

The two continued to ride on through the freeing sky, flying in a cozy silence and feeling at ease as new words eventually flew out of the throats. Quickly, a closeness developed. While Hannah was still tepid, far from her usual self, Amanda felt a little more free to be who she was.

To express herself in front of her... friend?

“Plus I’m into girls, so I gotta like, know know them, right?”

It was spoken offhandedly, that seemingly obvious confession. Almost everyone could tell that the tomboy was inclined toward her own sex, but the pause before Hannah’s short, snappy reply brought a bout of regret within Amanda.

“Ah...”

Amanda swallowed. She was sure that Hannah was not freaked out over it, but the way that noise left her mouth put the witch on edge. It was awkward, like Hannah did not know how to reply. Did Amanda sound too boisterous over it?

Too suggestive?

Too flirtatious?

“Like uh, not in a kinda creepy ‘Appleton Academy’ like way but, girls gotta flirt in the right way.” Amanda tried to recover from the moment, desperate to make sure her doubts and worries were unfounded. “Ya feel me?” She needed to hear the affirmation, to make sure she had not crossed a line or tarnished the comfort that had settled upon the two.

“...I guess?”

Wha...’ Hannah’s tone confused Amanda. She sounded like Amanda was making an obvious statement, a ‘duh’ kind of moment. She had to double check.

“Ya guess?”

Hannah smirked.

“I guess.”

And her eyes rolled mockingly, her head shaking as she let out a little giggle.

It was another one of these sudden changes. Even while they felt more and more comfortable around each other they felt as if they were tiptoeing on land-mines. With Hannah’s more apparent attitude on display it made Amanda’s nerves dissipate. She brought her self parallel to Hannah, no longer flying just ahead of her. A curiosity was spreading through the tomboy, mingling with the growing comfort.

Amanda had always guessed that the hazel-eyed girl might have been gay herself, given how close she and Barbara were – or used to be. Taking showers together and being stuck to each other's hips always alerted the Americans ‘Good Friends’ alarms.

Come to think of it...’ Amanda began to remember some important details from the past few weeks: How often Hannah and Barbara were separated from each other, how often Lotte and Barbara were glued to each other reading novels and fanfiction...

Just like last week...

“So...” Amanda could not stop the question dancing on her tongue from escaping her mouth, but Hannah was already a step ahead of her.

“Yes, duh, don’t even.”

The dismissive, get-with-it response pleasantly startled Amanda, and she could not help but laugh at it. It blew away the seriousness that was bubbling in her stomach, and the sudden shift made a giggle erupt from her chest. It made her sudden worries and regrets fizzle away and looks so silly in retrospect; an unnecessary overreaction. As Amanda settled down, waving away the slight frown on Hannah’s brow, the auburn-haired girl spoke once more.

“I guess I’m bi? Or pan? However that works.” Hannah winced as she struggled to think of the right category for herself. She was not too good at the terms that were out there given her background, leaving most of that kind of thing to the ever-obsessive Barbara in relation to her literature.

She could remember the times when Barbara would talk at a hundred miles per hour when it came to stuff like that. Pairings, character traits, sexualities and personalities, that was Babara’s forte.

A sad sigh escaped her dry lips, something that Amanda barely noticed but chose to ignore for now.

“Really? So either-or street huh?”

Hannah shrugged. “If that’s how you want to put it, sure” It was a bit of a crude way to put it, but the witch did not mind. She did not really care about how she was judged, she just knew what she liked or did not like.

“Well, fairs to you, not gonna judge. Y’all can have it just as rough anyhow.”

“What makes you say that?” Hannah was curious at the comment, not knowing the context behind it. It really showed to her how closed off she was from the rest of the world, and it disconcerted her a little. Regardless, she was keen to listen to Amanda’s explanation, guessing that the brash and cocky girl would have an answer.

“I’m not the biggest fan of modern tech but I’ve been on the internet enough times to know the divides.” Amanda sighed, keeping the answer relatively vague. She was not keen to start a discussion on it right now. It felt too political, too stuffy and upsetting. Maybe it was a subject she could talk about in the future, or better yet allow Barbara to explain.

“Possibly something Barbara knows about? She and Lotte are probs always on it.”

“...”

The silence, broken only by the air washing over her ears, said everything.

“...oh, uh...” Amanda realised she made a mistake. It completely slipped her mind that Barbara and Lotte were a touchy subject for the British witch. “Did I-?”

“No, no no, don’t worry, seriously.” Hannah interrupted Amanda before she could ramble anything more, trying to assure her that she was fine with her comment. But the girl with those worried, green eyes could not help but

“Seriously if that’s the topic I’m-”

“Don’t be sorry...” Hannah insisted, trying to ignoring the biting sensation in her chest and the drop in her stomach. “It’s not your fault...”

Amanda could not agree with that at all. She already guessed that the dark-haired witch and the freckled Finn were a sorry point and her presumption spilled out. Her little save, almost like a white lie, made her feel guilty and off. She could not understand why her instincts made her say what she said.

Seriously if that’s the topic... ‘seriously I’m such an ass’ more like...’ Amanda already knew, and what she said just confirmed it. Trying to hide any kind of knowledge was bad on her part.

Alas, she could not turn back on that now.

“If you’re sure...” Amanda sighed out, her right hand coming to rub the back of her head. Hannah caught the nervous tick and jumped to rid Amanda of it, not wanting to keep her rattled.

Desperate to keep what was good going.

“I am, but maybe another time, okay?” Hannah offered, trying to keep her voice steady. She was trying to bring back some bravado in her voice as well, raising her voice and putting back in that flare that it used to have.

Even in this short period of time, Hannah grew to hate talking to Amanda in such a depressed tone. She wanted some of that spirit of hers back. If the troubled broom dancer could do it, why not her too?

Another sudden burst of sound from Amanda snapped her from her determined mindset, but she was quick to interrupt the increasingly intrigued American.

“Honestly, I was about to ask what made you discover your sexuality, but-”

“That’s a good question.” Hannah cut in, eager to explore it a little. “Sure.” Amanda hummed and nodded.

“Okie. So, what clicked?”

“Two things, I guess...”

“You’re saying ‘I guess’ a lot today...” Amanda teased, a wry grin returning to her lips. Hannah’s expression turned deadpan, her voice monotone.

“Do you want an answer?”

“Shuttin’ my mouth, ma’am!” The playful reply from the smirking tomboy brought a strong giggle out from Hannah. It felt so real and hearty and the auburn-haired witch felt a warmth within her. She missed laughing like that.

“I’ll get this out of the way now, since you’ll mock me for it...” Hannah paused, her alluding sucking Amanda into what was to come.

“Oh really..?”

“Well... I had always been attracted to Barbara.” It was still a sore point and a tinge of pain ran through her bones. She ignored. “But whatever, I was never really sure, it could have just been the friendship, right?" Amanda nodded. "What really made me sure was this photo I found last year.”

“Mhmm?” Amanda was very intrigued now, and beckoned her to continue.

“It came from a fanclub of a... certain person.” Hannah cleared her throat. “It looked like one of the Appleton guys, a more distinct one.” Hannah tried to excuse herself, as well trying to hide who the exact person was. “They had great hair, sleeked back... their face was so... masculine but feminine. It was just a perfect blend...” Hannah tried to suppress a blush as she secretly complemented the witch beside her.

“Ew, you had a crush on some Appleton lad?”

Amanda, of course, completely missed it.

“No!” Hannah went to insist, her blush becoming more furious than embarrassed. “Definitely not since it was a girl!”

“...”

“...”

There was a humoured pause. It was obvious that Amanda was straining to keep a burst of laughter within her smug mouth.

“Go on...” Hannah said with resignation.

Amanda burst out into laughter.

Hannah closed her eyes and sighed in disappointment.

“You got baited, huh? Haha!”

“Oh please, I’m bi anyway so it doesn’t matter!” Hannah fought back with passion, her voice raised and her voice heavy dusted in shades of red. Amanda kept shaking her head, oblivious to the fact that Hannah was speaking of her.

“Yeah but, that made you realise, and that’s fucking hilarious.” Amanda countered mockingly, enjoying the teasing. Hannah rolled her eyes again.

“Yeah yeah, whatever arsehat.”

“Arsehat?!” Amanda feigned hurt poorly. “So British, gosh! Asshat sounds way better.”

“I will hurt you.” Hannah threatened.

“And hey, there’s nothing wrong liking us butch girls, you got some great taste!” Amanda ignored Hannah’s ominous words, her own words sounding like a brag.

“I will kill you.”


Evening had closed in by the time the pair had returned to Luna Nova. Shopping bags hung from their brooms and a cheerful atmosphere was abound. Even from the ground, the odd cackle of laughter or playful retort could be heard.

They set down with little problem, their plastic bags crumpling a little as they hit the ground. The two witches caught their brooms, naturally, so the contents would not be squashed between the polished wood and grainy gravel.

“I should head back to my dorm, I wasn’t meant to be gone for so long.” Hannah said offhandedly as she balanced her possessions around her hands and arms, her tone losing the bounciness it just had. Amanda hummed, watching the girl walk towards the entrance.

“Hmm. Well...” Amanda was not too sure why she was about to say this, but she did not want to stop herself. “If you ever need a chat, a proper one, you know where I am.”

Hannah paused for a moment.

She turned her head around to meet the gaze of caring, understanding green eyes.

Amanda felt something burn within her when she saw Hannah’s features once again. They looked so calm and grateful, and life seemed to return to that dull, hazel gaze. A small smile formed on her lips once more, and the light of the dimming sun seemed to make her eyes twinkle.

“Sure.”

Hannah did not really notice those vivid green specks of light widen as she turned around and spoke, the fatigue of the day finally getting to her. But as least the fatigued was welcomed, it being made through the blossoming of an actual, proper friendship.

Not only did she know Amanda, but she knew her.

That she was sure of.

Even if Amanda, who watched the flickering, silky hair of the witch with an odd sense of longing, no longer knew herself.

Chapter Text

“Oh, hey Hannah!”

The girl in question, weary and worn out after a good day of chatting and banter, her back slightly hunched and her steps slow and heavy, was suddenly greeted by the joyful tone of Akko as she entered her dorm. She lifted her hazel eyes from the floor, heavy from fatigue, to see the witch waving and beaming a bright-as-ever smile. She sat at one of the long, wooden desks next to Diana. Diana, who seemed to be conducting her usual tiny bouts of extra lessons for the trainee witch, smiled gently at her.

“Hey, sorry if I don’t chat much; tired.” Hannah replied with her own little smile. She was appreciative of the little welcome, though she could not deny her twinge of disappointment at the lack of Barbara in the room. But she hid it well. Diana did not just flash that caring smile of hers just to make Hannah feel comfortable. In fact the heiress felt relieved.

Diana’s attentive, azure eyes noticed the light curve on Hannah’s lips as she walked in.

“Of course, that’s fine.” Diana reassured. Akko enthusiastically nodded.

“Yup! We’ll keep it down, close ya eyes for a bit.”

Hannah felt her heart warm just a little bit more today. “Thank you.” She said with gratitude, dropping off the shopping bags beside her bed. Akko caught notice of the rustling of the plastic and could not help but speak out her curiosity.

“Ooo, where ya been?”

“To town.” Hannah spoke out immediately, feeling a little more receptive. “I was just with Amanda.” She felt welcome and it made her more comfortable, making her fight through her fatigue and reply to the cheerful, bouncy Akko.

“Amanda?” Diana became further intrigued herself, almost becoming out of character as she impulsively repeated the name that had escaped from Hannah’s lips. Akko noticed the little jump from Diana, as her eyes widened just a little and her voice shifted an octave.

“Mhm, she was heading to town too, so we just had a chat and stuff.” Hannah was in her own world though, shifting shampoos and small chocolate treats around and under her bed. To her it was just another conversation.

“How was she?” Diana pushed on, levelling her voice and turning back to the desk to write something down. “She has been looking rather glum and distant lately.”

“Yeah, she has!” Akko added. “She’s been a right moody-pants lately, kinda annoying to be honest.” It was an off the cuff statement from the brunette, her tone broadcasting how much Amanda’s behaviour had got to her as of late. Hannah frowned.

“Everyone has their moments, I guess.”

But even as she said it, Hannah could not help but feel something odd in her chest. She could not really describe it. It was a mixture of burning and solidification, like her lungs had suddenly turned solid. She did not know why, but the hazel-eyed, sleepy witch felt frustrated at her self for not saying more to counter Akko’s surprisingly coarse words.

“Ah well, hopefully you two had a good time and feel better. I just want her to get back to normal, ya know?”

But the innocent, nostalgic reply settled Hannah. Akko only meant well, and neither she or herself knew exactly what was wrong with Amanda to begin with.

“Yes, it might do both of you good to become friends.” Diana chimed in, her voice returning to the steady calmness that kept everyone around her balanced and content. Akko nodded her head, humming her own little affirmation at the hopeful comment.

“For sure! I think she could use someone like you to ground her, hehe.”

“Heh, what if I joined in on her antics, huh?” Hannah teased from over her shoulder, a small wry grin on her lips as she turned ominous. Akko blanched.

“Oh Jennifer no!” Akko blasphemed, putting her arms ahead of her in an X shape and shaking her head violently. “Don’t enable her!”

The three witches then giggled to themselves, Diana shaking her head as she enjoyed the return of a more confident, expressive Hannah. A deep appreciation ran through her thanks to Akko’s little conversation starters, drawing out the old Hannah that Diana knew so well. The heiress was missing that almost bratty, but headstrong Hannah that had dominated a good chunk of her life and it was nice to see it return.

Diana still wanted to have a more personal chat with the auburn-haired however, but right now was a good substitute.

A few minutes passed as the girls returned to their tasks and duties. Akko quickly turned back around when Diana softly poked her on the ribs, gravitated to return her attention to the blonde by the deep azure eyes that stared at her with affection. The witch-in-training felt a little bit of heat rise to her cheeks as she tried to settle back into their studies.

She struggled to do so, as always. The brunette was always distracted by things and struggled to keep her attention. Her mind was always buzzing with various little things, be it magic or the multi-toned hair of her best friend. Akko found herself constantly distracted, and these distractions – new and old – made her fidget on the wooden chair, squashing at the padded fabric atop it.

“Calm down, Akko.” Diana whispered softly, placing a hand atop of the Japanese girl's own. The heiress could not help but think of the word ‘bold’ as she did so, but she could not explain why.

Meanwhile, Akko seemed to freeze.

Oh my god.’ She thought. ‘Diana’s touching my hand!’ Her burgundy eyes seemed to swirl. ‘What do I do!’ Her cheeks began to burn even redder. ‘She isn’t helping!’ Her mind exclaimed, becoming ever more frazzled as the nanoseconds passed by.

“So uh, are you two doing student-mentor stuff again?”

‘Bless be thy Hannah... or something English like that.’

Diana jumped as Hannah’s inquisitive question pulsed through her eardrums. She pulled her hand off of Akko’s in an almost comical manner, bringing it to her chest so quickly that it could have swatted a fly stone dead. She cleared her throat while Akko whipped her head around, blessing her shiny stars that the flustering was over for the time being.

“Me and Diana-”

“’Diana and I’, Akko...” Though the blush on her cheeks, which was slowly fading away, returned when Diana cheekily corrected her English. Akko nodded her head.

“O-oh yeah, right!” Akko said, stuttering and barely able to keep herself composed. She swallowed. “Diana and I-” The brunette stuck out her tongue, quickly regaining confidence. Diana rolled her eyes in amusement. “-are looking over some things for classes next week. These subjects are getting a little more complicated now.”

“Ah, right.” Hannah acknowledged. “What are you struggling with exactly?” The witch kept up the small talk as she reached the pillowed end of her bed, tossing over the covers and crawling inside. She still had her clothes on but she just wanted to get comfortable more than anything else.

“I’m kinda just struggling with the language of it. I was never good at getting the spells said right...” Akko explained, her brow creasing and her eyes looking at the roof. Exasperation layered her voice, but she still sounded optimistic over things.

“’Pronounced’~” Diana trailed teasingly, a dumb smile on her face as she did so. Akko sighed with mock annoyance, poking the heiress in the side. The blonde giggled again.

Hannah looked on with a tiny little curve across her lips. A part of her felt sad, even a little jealous over the display. The two were so head over heels with one another and it was a little frustrating to see.

The three continued there small talk for another dozen or so minutes before Hannah took an evening nap.

Dreaming of distant, raven hair and ever-closer emerald eyes.


“Oh, hey Amanda!”

The girl in question, weary and worn out after a good day of chatting and banter, her back slightly hunched and her steps slow and heavy, was suddenly greeted by the joyful tone of Sarah as she entered the girls empty dorm.

The conflicted witch walked through the open door, pulling a wry but tired smile as she walked past the taller teenager. The room smelled of various perfumes. Citrus scents dominated the dorm room, but the fatigued and frazzled Amanda could not properly tell what kind of fruit they came from. It was pleasant regardless.

“I’m feelin’ a little tired, so if I say too little or get grumpy, it ain’t you.” Amanda reassured as she took a seat on the edge of the well kept bed. She glanced around the room, seeing that it was kept in a very mixed state. Some spaces looked clean, neat and tidy, with barely a speck of dust or strewn cloth laying about. But then another corner or edge would be piled up with crisp packets and fallen book piles, creating obstacles to a drawer or cupboard.

Sarah hummed, still smiling and full and energy, her presence dominating the room. “That’s okay, I getcha.” Her long red hair swashed and swayed as she walked over to the desk, picking up her notebook and pen before walking over to the maroon-haired witch. “I’m not in a massive rush but I do need some info, so just the important bits tonight, okay?” Amanda nodded her head slowly, barely at all.

“Sure.”

“Awesome.”

Sarah took a seat next to Amanda, her arm brushing against the girl as the pair bounced from the force of Sarah’s lazy, carefree flop onto the mattress. Amanda breathed in heavily as she felt the soft and silky skin of another witch, even if it was just for a moment, unintentionally taking in the scent of the tall red-head.

Her thoughts cast back to her conversation with Sarah earlier in the day.

The glint in her eye, the revealing smile on her lips.

It was difficult for Amanda to shake off the more base thoughts in her mind, rearing their ugly heads as they begged for her to just let things go. Her frustrations were returning as enabled temptations lurched into the forefront of her mind like a careless passer-by on the street.

“So, basically, I need a run down on the most famous figures and...”

Sarah’s curious voice, whose pitch always seemed to fluctuate from high to low, flowed through Amanda’s ears like honey. The Frenchwoman’s voice was lower than most of the girls, but she would have moments where she would slip back into something more unbecoming. Amanda could remember times when she heard her complain about Professor Lukic’s class, or Professor ‘Occult’ as Sarah would call the old witch, and how terrible she was at the class.

But right now, after the welcoming and the back and forth from door to bed to desk, it had settled onto her natural, thick tone. It washed over her spirit, through her body, her muscles and her bones, penetrating deep within her as her more primal thoughts kicked into gear. Amanda did have restraint, and she fought back against the part of her that wanted to get down to the business that Sarah clearly wanted to take place.

So, for now, the two did what they were meant to do. A study session would do no harm after all.

As Amanda taught the girl the most important aspects to broomery, from the most important figures to the inventions of broom types and flying techniques, she began to enjoy the revisiting of knowledge that was so integral to her being. It was nice to discuss the finer points of her hobby and talents. From time to time she would slip in an example of where she used flight theories and how, as well as the many types of brooms she had flown and which she preferred.

To Amanda, this was a different kind of venting. Sure, she could blabber on and on to a silent but nodding Constanze or a humming and smiling Jasminka about such things any time. But this was something more. She felt useful, accomplished, a beacon of something. In this case it was knowledge, while in others it might be skill when related to this subject.

This teaching and the conversation she was having infused Amanda with a fresh bolt of energy. Confidence returned to the witch, and she did not want to let it go. The energy that Amanda had seemingly lost through the day as she spent it flying with the auburn-haired beauty had suddenly returned.

Amanda then paused.

Wha... beauty?’

As she slipped in and out of concentration, letting Sarah justify her ramblings and thoughts, a peculiar statement rung through her mind. Now Amanda was not one to deny the sex appeal of another woman, or the angelic appearance of one, but it felt odd to refer to Hannah in such a regard. Never had she cast her eyes to her in that way unless it was to tease, and that was more to frustrate as it was back in the day when the girl was an insufferable brat.

But saying it just in her mind now?

Why did it felt so... strange?

“...manda? Heeeey, Amanda?”

The probing, confused voice of Sarah snapped Amanda out her stupor, her vivid-green eyes rapidly appearing and disappearing as she blinked rapidly. Her mouth hung upon and her throat drawled out a dweeby “Uh” as she failed to regain her bearing. Sarah giggled.

“Ah jeez, I think my questions have put you in a coma ahaha! Too much probing!” Sarah said, letting out a hearty, teasing laugh as Amanda shook her head, finally regaining a sense of herself. Amanda forced out a low giggle, fighting back against the mocking tones of the red-head.

“Depends what ya mean be ‘probing’, sweetheart.” It was a casual, suggestive remark punctuated by a classic, cocky grin from the American girl, the thought of Hannah now quickly forgotten. Sarah raised a mocking eyebrow.

“I don’t think that’s your best ever attempt at flirting, hmm?”

Amanda rose her hands. “Heh, yeah, just wanted to distract ya from my gormy face there.” The tomboy tried to defend her remark by mocking herself, ironically trying again to save face. Full of banter, the extroverted Sarah emitted another bout of laughter. Her hand covered her open mouth as she settled down. The witch was full of energy.

“Ah don’t mention it haha!” Sarah started. “I know I look fantastic, it must be distracting.” Sarah made a pose, her eyes closing and her hand motioning up and down her body as if to punctuate the point. The girl alluded the kind of confidence that Amanda could only dream of regaining.

“Damn, and people call me cocky...” Though the emerald-eyed witch still had some fight in her, rolling her eyes at the certainty oozing from the red-head.

“Hey! I’ll have you know that many girls and boys love my looks.”

Amanda cackled. “Wow, lots of people love tall girls nowadays huh?” It was a teasing low-blow, but a tease none-the-less.

“Oi!”

“Hahaha!” Amanda and Sarah laughed away. “Nah, you’re aight.” It was an off-handed comment more than anything else, but Sarah’s wry grin thought of it as something more.

“Just aight?” She challenged, raising an eyebrow as her red eyes stared directly into emerald ones. Amanda swallowed, feeling that familiar burn return to her stomach as her hormones began to take over.

“Well, I wouldn’t say that...” She countered, half mumbling and her eyes darting to the side for just a moment. Sarah, as astute as ever, picked up on this and pushed on. Hey coy smile grew.

“Then what would you say, Amanda O’Neill?”

Sarah leaned in by the tiniest of margins, but that little approach evolved the conversation into the next phase. Amanda could feel the domineering presence of the red-head now, whose knee suddenly rubbed against her own. The tomboy could see the fire in those deep red eyes, the determination within the girl's aura blasting out like an explosion as things became just that little bit more intense.

Those eyes... reminded her of someone.

That determination... made her think of another.

That I wish you were Akko.’ Rang through her breaking mind.

“I would say...” Amanda began, her voice low and a little scratchy, forcing back the words that reverberated through her skull. “...that your legs are often the talk of the town.”

“Oh really?” Sarah responded to the flirt with mock surprise. She lifted her left leg up, making her knee brush further on Amanda’s. “Usually Avery or Mary tease me about that, but I do like the power of them.”

“The power?” Amanda asked, curious as to what the red-head meant.

“Mhm, how much they attract girls like you.” Sarah finished her apparent flirtation by bringing her leg back down and drawing herself closer to the tomboy. Amanda smiled, still hiding away the longing for a different, red-eyed witch to be speaking those words to her.

“Who’s to say I’m attracted?” Amanda teased, fighting back and intending to frustrate the Frenchwoman. Sarah hummed a quick laugh.

“You knew exactly what I meant earlier.” Sarah referred back to the conversation they had before Amanda reached the showers. “And I think you would like to be rewarded by someone like me.”

Jennifer...’ Sarah’s low, suggestive tone did something fierce to Amanda. Her body began to vibrate and her teeth were almost chattering at the interactions between them.

“Maybe...” Amanda trailed, unable to take her eyes away from Sarah. “Do I deserve it?” The tomboy then asked, the implication rolling off her tongue like water off a cliff. Sarah drew herself closer. Her shoulder grazed onto Amanda’s as she drew herself in.

“Yeah.” She said in a coarse whisper. “I wanna turn that stress in you into something better.” Sarah then brought herself impossibly closer to Amanda, and the tomboy could feel the strawberry breath of the witch beating rapidly on her face. Amanda felt herself burn, the last rational part of her barely able to comment on how apparent how terrible mood was becoming.

“Ah...” Was all Amanda could say as Sarah placed a peck on her cheek, staying away from her slightly chapped lips for the time being. “Usually I’m in charge, ya know...”

“Well...” Sarah began to reply, bringing her lips lower and kissing the teen's jawline. Amanda gasped as she did so. “Let someone else take control for once.” Amanda then felt a hand push her down onto the bed. She was not pushed down roughly, but the bed still bounced a little. Her groin burned.

“Let me take complete control of you.”

Chapter Text

Bleary, brown eyes opened slowly, surveying the blurry and darkened room she occupied. Hannah lay on her side towards the wall, tucked cosily into her soft and silky bed, trying to figure out how long she had actually slept for. She knew that she had slept for longer than a nap should usually last, quickly figuring that out from how dark the shared dormitory was and how silent and still it and the hallway outside appeared to be.

Hannah turned to lay on her back, not resisting the urge at the front of her mind that insisted she do so. Her covers bunched up a little as she gave no room for them to move, laying on top of them on one side and letting them ride over her arm and shoulder on the other. The cooler air felt refreshing on her exposed arm and the skin beneath her warm, creased clothing.

She sighed silently.

An annoyance washed over her. Her nap was not meant to take her way past curfew.

To add to her woes, of course, she still felt tired. Maybe it was from just waking up, but she had felt exhausted for weeks now, so maybe that was why her weariness lingered. She could remember her sleepless nights with her stomach feeling tight, nibbling at her with an itch of anxiety and fear. Now she felt nothing, and not even the tummy tantrum of missing out on a small, modest dinner.

All that remained now was those racing thoughts in her mind.

Hannah just wanted to have a quick nap to catch up on the sleep she was lacking, on sleep she knew she would struggle to have come the night, and that point kept repeating in her head like a song on repeat. She could feel herself becoming flustered and she began pulling away the covers tucked below and resting atop of her. The bundled and ruffled bedsheets crashed into the wall with a sound that would hardly disturb a resting feline.

Her lack of sleep for weeks on end had finally caught up to her, and now she had to worry about a disturbed body clock. As if she didn’t have enough on her plate as is. She brought a hand to her face, a little clammy from her prolonged nap, and she rubbed at her eyes. The fatigue of the day must have been her tipping point in the end – which made sense since it was the most active she had been for a while.

Who ya waiting for, England?”

A cocky and arrogant voice rang in her head.

Memories of the day returned, still fresh and clear in her mind as it began to replay them like footage on a television.

“I really did hang out with her, huh...” Hannah whispered to herself, her voice a little strained from a lack of moisture in her throat and the tiredness that persisted in her body. Hannah had not been too sure whether to have her little roam on her broom this afternoon, but Amanda had somehow convinced her enough to go one step further and to the local town. She wasn’t sure why she did in the end, but she could not stop herself from admitting that she kind of enjoyed the experience.

A small smile found its way onto her lips.

Hannah let out a breath that she did not know she was holding. Her body rattled as a shiver went up her spine, as if a pulse of energy had ridden along her back to the very top of her head. Hannah felt a drive within her that she had not felt for a long time, and although she still felt tired and dreary she felt the urge to get out of bed. She was gasping for a drink anyway; just a simple cup of cold water would suffice.

Her legs felt a little buzzy, and she could not withhold their temptation to stretch and bend. She rose from her bed, sitting up and giving her legs the movement theyso desperately, suddenly desired. Her feet touched the cooler floor and her hair slightly swung from side to side before resting into a slight bed-head – nothing a two minute brush couldn’t fix.

Bringing her arms up she gave them and her back a quick stretch, enjoying the slight crackles that came from her knotted muscles.

Standing up, Hannah looked around to see if Barbara was sleeping in the bed across the room. She was not surprised when she saw no evidence of that. The raven-haired witch was likely sleeping over at Lotte’s dorm again, something that had become more and more common as every new day passed by. Usually Hannah would feel that recognisable pang of pain in her chest and stomach when thinking about it, but right now she only felt a slight twinge, mixed in with a jealous bitterness that often reared it’s ugly head.

She turned away, blinking slowly and walking over to one of her drawers. As she reached down she hazarded a glance at Diana’s portion of the room, separated by an archway. The heiress appeared to be sleeping contently, but it was difficult to see in the lack of light.

Hannah moved on from her check-up on her friend and slowly sifted through the drawer for one of her brushes. She was making sure to be careful, not keen on waking up Diana from her much needed rest, and was more than grateful in almost immediately finding the brush of her liking.

She took it from the small compartment and placed it gently on the desk. Hannah had the idea of getting out of her creased, slightly sweaty clothing and putting on her favourite dressing gown before brushing her hair. The auburn-haired girl lambasted herself for ruining a perfectly fine set of clothing by – in a warm and humid Autumn mind you - sleeping with them on with covers draped around her.

She undressed herself at a moderate pace, placing the old clothing into a wash-basket by the drawers and putting on some fresh underwear for good measure. She had a reason for wanting to put on her dressing gown: she wanted to have a little walk.

Now Hannah was not one to usually break curfews and school regulations, no no. But a growing nihilism had taken root within Hannah over the past few weeks and months, so she really did not care too much about doing that. A quick hum of laughter rumbled in her throat as she reached for her jet black dressing gown, reacquainting herself with the soft, fluffy fabric of the dress, shaking her head. Like any student on patrol would be believed when reporting her for breaching the rules... if they even caught her, that is.

Wrapping the gown around her, tugging everything into place and making a knot out of the waist belt, she reached for her brush again and began to groom her slightly messy hair. She looked at the mirror despite the darkness, more out of instinct but a little because she could just see the outline of her face.

Hannah brushed slowly, relishing the feeling of the brush swimming through her hair and scratching at her scalp. She felt a masochistic enjoyment in pulling at the tangled clumps in her hair. It was a reminder that she did indeed feel something other than bitter sadness.

As expected she had only taken about two or so minutes to sort out of her silky auburn hair, figuring out that the job was done with touch alone; She refused to turn on a lamp out of fear of waking up Diana. She lazily placed the hairbrush onto the desk instead of putting it back in her drawer, then placed her hands beneath her hair and brushed her silky strands into the air. Tossing her head around a little to finish the job, Hannah then turned on heels to face the door, her hands moving behind her to brace herself onto the desk.

A little walk won’t hurt after all...’ She thought to herself, hoping that the midnight stroll would help her expel what little energy was lift within her so she could get back to sleep. Hannah figured that she would be waking up early anyway, but a lonely morning shower would also do her a world of good.

In her humble opinion, at least.

A small little grin tugged at her lips as she pushed herself away from the desk, enjoying the swoosh of cool air that hit her face from the sudden movement. She hated feeling lonely, but a walk alone in the corridor was a very nice prospect. She strode to the door, and all that could be heard was the pitter-patter of her bare feet.

Quietly she opened the door, leaving with just as little noise.

All that could be heard was the pattering of footsteps, whose echo slowly died down into nothing. A curious witch laying in her bed listened to the fading noise, worried about her friend...


Slowly and delicately, Amanda pushed the door shut to Sarah’s dorm, using her hands and head to do so.

She kept her forehead rested onto the wooden door even after she closed it, a feeling of exhaustion and exasperation coursing through her. It threatened to drown her, and the river of self-hatred and worthlessness did nothing to help her torn feelings.

Another one-night stand. Another wasted night that did nothing to solve her problems. It may have only been her second, but it already felt like a common occurrence. To her, after the fact, all it did was make things worse. The pleasure and fun could never be worth it, even if her hormones and lust blinded her in the moment. Even those brief hours of relief, where she could forget everything that was wrong, were nothing compared to the regret she was feeling right now.

Amanda enjoyed it, she would not lie. It felt fantastic to just give in to the whims and explorations of another woman, letting Sarah pleasure her and enjoy herself atop of her. She was slowly becoming addicted to those moments, those moments where she could take control and find pleasure, or be controlled and have it bestowed upon her. The switching and swapping with Avery flashed through her mind, and the images nearly elicited the kind of reactions she had just experienced this evening.

But instead she pushed herself away from the door in anger. Amanda wasn’t angry at Sarah – no, to Amanda she did nothing wrong, not really – but at herself. As she walked further and further away from the dorm she came from her footsteps became louder and louder, as did her breathing. A rage boiled inside of her, and the midnight glow of a full moon revealed the flushed and bitter look on her face.

Her emerald eyes were wide open and bloodshot. While her brow was relaxed instead of furrowed, it gave off a demented look rather than that of pure anger. She felt lost in her whirlpool of emotions, even as parts of her body tingled and felt light, threatening to release a powder-keg of shouts and screams.

Amanda’s mind was abuzz with debate. Part of her wanted to enjoy herself and her antics, to just have her fun and get over Akko. It was so much a part of who she was. She thought to herself: ‘I’m getting laid after all’, but what use was that if she always felt so hollow inside?

And that other part of her wanted her to do more than just move on. That part of her wanted to tell Akko the truth, to sort herself out, to find someone who could help her and temper her. Something or someone that would no longer make her feel empty and foolish.

Why are you doing this?’

Just get some help for fuck’s sake...’

Enjoy yourself, seriously, come on.’

Back and forth and there and back, her head throbbed as her brain screamed at her to make a choice. Her head began to ache as she struggled with her emotions, and she began to walk on autopilot, going to any place and anywhere. She could hear the footsteps in her ears but they did not register in her tormented mind.

Still, as she began to walk in a hurry, slamming her shoes onto the hard concrete of Luna Nova’s halls, her head screeched with indecision and frustration. Even as the sound of slamming shoes within the halls grew louder, not caring about anyone catching her nor the sharp pangs of pain in her feet as she slammed them onto the floor, the white noise in her head dominated.

Tell Akko the truth!’

Move on!’

Get a fuckin’ grip!’

A loud thump registered in her ears, and a sharp pain shot through her right hand and arm. Amanda almost welcomed the shocking bolt of pain that hit her as she recoiled, snapping back to reality and nursing her now damaged hand.

She brought her hand upwards to get a better view of it, ignoring how her arm complained and protested at the action, stinging strongly.

Her knuckles were immediately bloodied, with gashes along most of fingers in a symmetrical line from where her fist made impact with the unscathed concrete wall. Around the cuts and broken skin was throbbing red skin, also sore from the action. However the dull thud of pain in her hand, punctuated with a sharp spike of pain every few moments, put the stinging of her damaged skin to the background.

Amanda clenched her jaw, biting at her teeth, keeping suppressed a shout of agony that threatened to erupt from her. Grabbing her wrist with her undamaged hand she tried in vain to somehow ease the pain, forgetting about the wand on her green sash. Her eyes closed firmly as water threatened to spill from them.

The witch spent a minute or so trying to catch her bearings. She breathed heavily and deeply, with air rushing through her clenched teeth as she tried to get used to the near debilitating pain. A part of her was thankful to feel something other than the conflict and angst raging inside her head, but already a new wave of regret was hitting her from her unrestrained action against the unforgiving concrete wall.

“Fu-ck...” Her voice cracked as she hoarsely whispered to herself. She could feel the sweat on her brow as she rode through that horrible initial pain of an injury. Her gums began to feel a dull pain, and her teeth that weird, eye-wincing sting from grinding upon each other for too long.

A few more minutes passed, unbeknownst to Amanda. Some of her red strands of hair stuck to her damp forehead now, and the witch knelt down to rest against the same wall that she had just struck.

“Sorry about all this...” She whispered an apology to the wall, trying to distract herself from the pain that slowly became tolerable. Amanda felt a little insane, scoffing at herself for talking to a wall of all things. It wasn’t exactly a brick wall, but it wasn’t lost on the witch the connotations of such an action...

And how it was a kind of comment on her life.

Every time she tried to make progress with Akko, in whatever way Amanda felt fit to do so in the moment, it rebounded on her. She could never leave stage one. Amanda was constantly stuck at finding temporary relief, never advancing from it.

“I just... need more time.” She spoke to herself, trying to reassure herself that what she was doing was correct. Amanda felt that she needed just a little more strength, a little more build up before she committed to her next course of action. But even that she was not sure about.

What was next, really?

Confessing to Akko? That felt too quick. Dropping a hint? Too much pain that would multiply with every failed flirtation.

And it’s something I’ve already done for so, so long already.’ Amanda bemoaned inwardly, shaking her head and tutting. ‘She’s so fucking dense...’ Even now she could not help but smirk and let out a bemused huff. That was Akko... that was what made her so fun.

She threw away those thoughts of Akko quickly though, and turned to the next question: how would Amanda cope with the answer she knew would come?

Amanda did not just fear that what she was doing right now would escalate, but she was certain it would get worse. Amanda was completely convinced that an even more depressed and hopeless version of herself would commit further to this rabbit hole of endless flirting and sexing of other witches at the school, of wanting to drop out of Luna Nova by committing every single offence possible...

Then going it alone in world she cared little about.

Her nihilism was always her weakness, she was quick to acknowledge that... but she could never convince herself to drop it.

Now Amanda sat on the floor, ignoring how cool it was and the shiver that climbed from her tail-bone to her neck. She rested her head on the wall, and tried to centre herself from all these thoughts that ran through her. All these admissions within her were tiring her out, and she felt resigned to the idea that she would never take action on them.

Amanda just felt so hopeless.

The tears of pain that threatened to escape began to morph into droplets of despair.

“Fuck...” Amanda whispered again, her voice etched with a deep, regretful sorrow. In the cool dark of the Autumn night she had never felt so lonely and detached from reality. She felt as if she was in her own bubble of solitude.

And it’s all my fault...’ She thought, her conclusion drench in bitterness.

“It’s all my fucking fault!”

What started as a whisper became a full blown scream, and the regret and worry she should have felt for potentially exposing herself to a patrolling teach or a sleeping student was completely and utterly absent. She could not stop the rogue tear that escaped from one of her glistening emerald eyes, nor could she control her breathing that became even more heavy and fast.

Suddenly, a questioning voice danced through the hallway, quiet and restrained unlike her cry of anguish.

“Amanda?”

The English voice was mixed with hesitant footsteps that seemed to close in on Amanda. It was instantly recognisable to the maroon-haired girl, given she had been with the woman that afternoon.

“Oh... Hannah...” Amanda said with the hesitation, trying to get up from her awkward sitting position.

“Ah, no, something’s wrong, right?” Hannah said with a hurry, approaching the injured witch quickly. Amanda looked towards where she thought Hannah was coming from, and the moonlight from the windows illuminated her.

Before her was a witch in a fluffy black gown, covering her from shoulder to toes and held together by an equally soft and dark belt. The loose ends of the sash swished from side to side as she walked, as did the girls hair that was let down instead of being tied up as per usual.

“You’ve hurt yourself? What did you do this time...” Hannah pondered, an ever so slight tease in her exasperation as she knelt down to Amanda’s current height. The American looked upon the British girl with a daze. Her face appeared soft and almost perfect, barring the light bags under her eyes and the tell-tale signs that she had just been asleep. There was a slight gloss to her skin, and her lips appeared to be a little dry.

But the image felt almost perfect.

“Wha...” Amanda finally spluttered out a word, even if it was not a full one. Hannah hummed questioningly, hearing the confusion in Amanda’s hoarse, croaky voice. The worried woman got a look at her face, noticing the tear stain that ran down her cheek, and the splotchy red around her eyes. Hannah’s brow furrowed in increasing concern when she saw how bloodshot her eyes were.

“You’re never like this Amanda.” Hannah commented offhandedly, looking around the woman to find her grasping her right wrist. After a few moments, Amanda tutted.

“Tch, yeah, and?” She could not help but bite back, disliking her image being called into question. It was one of the few things that Amanda felt she called hang onto, and it pained her to hear it brought into question.

“And you need some help.” Hannah countered, placing her hand on Amanda’s and moving it away from her wrist. “What’s happened here..?” She added, gently grasping the wrist that she assumed had been damage. Her worries were amplified when she saw the small drops of blood and gashes of broken skin on the witch’s knuckles, illuminated by the dull light from outside.

“It’s nothing.” Amanda suddenly pulled back, just about unable to hold back a moan as her wrist screamed in protest. Her grazed knuckles glanced off of Hannah’s palm, so a sting now struck Amanda’s nerves.

“Amanda, please.” Worry crept into Hannah’s plea. “You said I could talk to you about stuff earlier, right?” Hannah was not just worried about Amanda, but worried that things were about to go wrong. She knew the attitude that Amanda was displaying right now...

Don’t push me away too...’

Yesterday she would not have dared thought she would ever say that to herself about Amanda... but a single day could change a lot.

The same could be said for Amanda. She remembered the conversation well and what she said as she departed to the hallways of Luna Nova:

If you ever need a chat, a proper one, you know where I am.”

Amanda did not like to turn back on her word. She had said that for a reason, but she still did not know exactly what that reason was. Without that reason, the reason why Amanda departed from Hannah in the first place encroached on her thoughts.

Another escapade.

Another night escaping from her troubles.

Another toxic way to vent her frustrations.

“I don’t-” Amanda paused, her voice having been raised, seeing the shock that immediately entered Hannah’s hazel eyes. “I don’t care...”

Hannah felt a twinge of pain hit her chest, but it was not like she did not understand the witch before her. She figured that something must be going wrong for Amanda in her personal life, but a stubborn part of her did not want to let Amanda go.

That old remnant of Hannah that wanted to be in the right, that would never accept being waved away as something useless.

“I, I don’t know what’s wrong, but, um...” Hannah trailed unsure of how to continue. She did not want to be too pushy, but she needed to get through to Amanda. Desperation arose rapidly in Hannah, and her damaged temperament could not hold it back. Quickly, she reached for the pockets of her gown. When she found nothing that resembled her wand, just more soft, warm fabric, she cursed at herself.

“Damn, aha... I don’t have my wand!” She said in a humoured irritation, shaking her head with a worried, wavy smile on her lips. “We still need a few more years before we get decent at hand magic... um...” Hannah commented nervously, her eyes darting from side in side. Meanwhile Amanda was despondent, looking away and towards the concrete floor. At this she could feel herself faltering, but Hannah had an idea.

“Why not come to my room?”

Amanda’s eyes shot open.

“My wand is there... I can ask Diana for help too.”

Diana...’

Hannah did not know it, but within Amanda a fresh cyclone of tormented emotions ripped through her. Her stomach felt like it was contorting and twisting like it was crumpled paper.

Being invited to a room... just like Avery and Sarah...

Then the whiplash of having the witch who was stealing her girl be mentioned.

Even out of innocence, even out of the desire to help, Amanda could not stop herself from being blinded with a petty, indignant rage. Her head raised quickly, and a deep glare emanated harshly.

“Argh, fuck off!” She shouted at the other witch. “I can deal with it, just-” Amanda paused when she heard a strangled noise from Hannah.

Her vision focusing, she saw the girls eyes water and her jaw drop.

“I... I-I was...” Hannah tried to speak, but nothing could come out. Her stomach felt light and her heart beat rapidly. A part of her felt frightened, and another part of her devastated.

Amanda looked away, bringing herself up to her feet. It took a lot of effort and willpower to find the energy to do so, as well as to fight through the pain in her hand and arm. When she rose to full height, she stumbled back a little, taking one last look at the girl that was still on the floor, who was barely able to hold herself back from crying.

“Just...” Amanda started, feeling ever more bitter at herself. “Just leave me alone.”

With that Amanda walked away in a hurry, not keen on listening to another lost friend sobbing on the cold, concrete floor.

Just as alone as she was.