“To keep the air fresh,” Diana explained. “Granted that a multitude of fungi grow within your living quarters. Surely the spores give you trouble when studying.”
Akko stared at the purple and white orchids, very much at home from their perch above the window sill. She broke into a wide-eyed grin. “They’re so pretty! I can’t believe you even hung them yourself!”
Orchids. You are beautiful.
Diana directed her eyes towards the brunette, amused at how simple it was to make her smile. She kept her composure—she was a Cavendish, of course—but let herself smile for a moment before putting her ‘serious’ face back on. “Now, back to your textbook.”
Akko stuck her tongue out. “You know, Diana, that doesn’t work on me anymore!”
This would be enough, Diana thought to herself. Akko didn’t seem like the kind of girl who knew a lot about flowers.
“It reminds me so much of home!” Akko giggled, twirling around in a cherry blossom printed dress she was trying on. “A little loose, though.” She pouted.
Diana watched with a little smile. “Perhaps try another one?”
Akko gasped, and Diana followed the direction of her glistening eyes. A lovely sundress with accents of yellow at the bottom had ensnared Akko’s short-lived attention span. Pink dress forgotten, she raced towards her new find, dragging Diana by the wrist to pick it up and make her way back to the dressing room.
Moments later, Akko emerged with a stupidly big smile that only Akko could pull off. Diana felt her heart hurt at little, in a good way.
“Now, I’m torn!” Just like that, she was pouting. “I mean, they kind of have the same fit—and I love these colors. The sakura trees in that other one, though!”
Diana took a moment to regard the other dress. It was a tough choice, she supposed, both seemed to fit Akko’s personality quite well. Moving downwards, she took a closer look at the yellow flowers printed below and—
Yellow tulips. There is sunshine in your smile.
“If may offer my insight,” Diana said deliberately. “I would prefer this one.”
Akko crossed her arms, eyes narrowing in a teasing smile. “I’m tempted to get the pink one just to annoy you.”
Diana simply stared back, eyebrow raised in indignation.
“Just kidding!” The brunette hooked their arms. “Now come here and help me unzip it!”
She hoped her ears weren’t burning.
“Is something wrong with it?” Diana inquired, watching as the brunette witch inspected the potted fern she brought for Akko’s nightstand.
“No, no, it’s just…” Akko leaned in closer, squinting her eyes as if she were a detective. “Ah,” she groaned. “Nothing. Thank you!”
Diana wanted to press the issue, but Akko looked pleased despite her confusion. “The orchids have a friend now!” She beamed, moving the fern underneath where Diana’s orchids hung.
“The orchids which Lotte has been so kind to keep alive?”
“Hey!” Akko huffed. “I try!”
Diana chuckled, “of course.”
“Where were we?” The other witch scratched her head. “Ah! Metamorphie Fa—Whoa!”
“The angle at which you flicked your wrist was too acute.” Diana sighed, shaking her head as she bent down to Akko’s pseudo-mouse form.
Akko’s dormitory looked cold without her laughter. The pale moonlit glow didn’t suit it; and the lack of Lotte’s books and absence of Sucy’s mushrooms simply added to the emptiness.
Diana twirled the pink camellia in her hand before placing it in a filled vase on Akko’s dresser.
My heart is longing for you.
She vainly hoped that when Akko returned from winter break four weeks later, it would still be in bloom.
“Diana!” Akko grinned, looking snug underneath layers of winter wear to shield her from the snow. Without a second to spare, she had the blonde witch in a hug.
Diana had never felt warmer.
“Hello to you too, Akko.”
“I can’t believe they made you stay!” She whined. “Well, not that I think you’d want to be with your family for the holidays.” Akko laughed sheepishly, scratching at the back of her head.
“The prefect must make sure that those who can’t come home for winter break have company.”
“Akko,” Diana put on her nagging voice.
“But enough about that—I saw the camellia.” Akko’s hands fell to catch Diana’s. She beamed once again. “Thank you!”
“Ah, of course.” Diana nearly forgot about that. Feeling more nervous than she had any right to be, she pulled something out from the lining of her coat. “Welcome back.”
Akko’s carefully looked at the pressed daffodil, and then back to Diana’s melancholic smile.
“Thank you,” she accepted it.
Diana’s smile fell a little.
Then she chuckled, as if sharing a joke with herself, putting the flower into her pocket without giving it much regard.
“Hm?” The blonde tilted her head in inquiry.
“Nothing!” Akko reassured, already plotting her next escapade while she took Diana by the hand and ran to the snowy courtyard.
Diana’s chest felt heavy. Pressed, like the daffodil in Akko’s pocket. My love is likely unrequited; and you might never know.
The wee hours of the morning had magic of its own.
Akko’s hair was disheveled, but her eyes stilled glowed under the low light of Diana’s study lamp.
“This is impossible,” Akko groaned, curling in on herself and pushing her copy of A Fundamental Analysis of Runes away.
“It is difficult, yes, but most definitely not impossible.” Diana curtly replied. “Now,” her tone grew softer, “get up. You’ll fall asleep if you lean.”
“Can we please take a break?”
Of course she was going to say yes. “Just for a little while.”
The blonde set her book down, turning her full attention towards the brunette.
Akko seemed to shrink underneath her gaze before tearing her uncertain eyes away. In the next moment, her face was one of resolution and Diana found herself in awe of how emotions seemed to constantly dance across Akko’s eyes.
The blonde couldn’t help but brush away a few brown locks.
Akko brought her hand up, holding Diana’s hand while she lay it softly on her cheek. In a timid motion, she kissed the inside of Diana’s palm.
“I got you this.”
Akko’s voice had never been so gentle. Still stunned by Akko’s kiss, she almost didn’t notice the pink ambrosia flower.
Your love is reciprocated.
Immediately, her ears turned red. There was a warm, overwhelming feeling blossoming in her chest that made her feel as though she was going to burst.
“Back home,” Akko started, intertwining their fingers, “my obaa-san—ah, grandmother—would force us to help her pressing flowers.”
Diana’s blue eyes widened—she knew?
“It’s quite a famous art form in Japan,” Akko giggled, eyes glimmering with nostalgia. “She gave me quizzes on what they meant.”
For once in her life, Diana didn’t know what to say.
Akko had the audacity to tease at that moment. “I nearly slapped you when you gave me the daffodil! You looked so mopey, like you didn’t even ask and you were already rejecting yourself for me!”
“But you never said anything.”
“Neither did you, technically.” Akko poked the tip of Diana’s nose.
Touché. Diana would have argued back, but the warmth in her chest was still growing, and she wanted to be very, very near Akko. She dared to lean in, snuggling against Akko whose arms were winding around her shoulders.
“There is one I didn’t know the meaning of.”
Diana pulled back to look up, blushing profusely when their noses brushed against each other. She instinctively moved away, but Akko’s arms held her steady in place.
Akko tilted her head a little. “The fern. What does it…?”
She smiled. “It means, ‘I am fascinated by you.’”
“I know.” Akko grinned mischievously, nuzzling her nose against Diana’s. “I didn’t know then, but I looked it up. I just wanted to hear you say it out lo—”
Diana was having none of it. It seemed like the perfect time to kiss her.